Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ A Soldier's Duty ❯ Chapter 12

[ P - Pre-Teen ]
Chapter 12, A Soldier's Duty
4th Labor

DISCLAIMER: Lots of this stuff by other people. Interpretations and mistakes are entirely the fault of me - Gregg Sharp, aka metroanime.

"It's best not to burst the bubble of an airhead." -Vash the Stampede

---------

For once a day had gone relatively smoothly. Well, sort of.

Grey went back to class with Ami and her friends. His Japanese was still mangled, and he had not even the slightest understanding of most of the kanji used. But he was there and tolerated.

Sakura Shinguchi, the country samurai, was transferred in. She was also, after much fussing and debate, added to the queue of fiancees. (Not that she was interested, of course, it was simply a better position from which to guard him. Any talk of engagement was purely coincidental. That he was the first guy to ever pay her even this little bit of romantic attention was merely a side note. All blushing and fidgeting to the side.) He openly admired her swords and was actually quite attentive when she explained their history and why she had two of them.

The two other new students, Honey Kisaragi and Atsuko Natsume, ended up with chalkboard duty after Atsuko kicked a soccer ball, Honey managed to deflect it, but the ball still managed to go through a window. Three blocks away from the school.

Umino and Naru quickly made friends with Grey. Not that either was of use in a combat situation, but rumor control was another sort of battle they could help with.

Setsuna Meiou returned to her duties as School Nurse, and had to treat forty eight cases of near terminal nosebleed after Morrigan showed up to share lunch with Grey.

Sometime while Morrigan was flirting with Grey during said, Ami's notebook somehow got severely mangled, Minako broke her pencil, a samurai girl stopped herself just short of drawing steel, and Umino got lots of pictures. Oh, and if Setsuna's glare had been any hotter she'd have melted the window between the Nurse's Office and the courtyard.

Eudial, still not knowing what almost all the other fiancees knew, worked at a method of delivery for the Love Poison. And oversaw the Moon Princess Love Hotel. And worried a lot. She also ran a field test of those new "Independence Draining" daimon in a place called Tarozakura. Initial results showed promise.

Haruka Ten'ou and Michiru Kaioh still wondered what the heck had happened between their talk on that truck and finding themselves outside the Shrine. Haruka's sunburn started peeling, and Michiru discovered that her ability to transform into Sailor Neptune was "offline" for the moment. Haruka discovered that she could transform into Sailor Uranus, but not hold it for long without feeling exhausted. Which meant they'd have to further bide their time before attacking.

Maya Tono found herself wondering if maybe she ought to give this engagement thing a try anyway. After all, she'd always given 100% of any endeavor she'd undertaken. Even if the number of guys she'd actually talked with in her life could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Nobody ever heard from Cyprine, so Mimette changed a sign to read the "Witches 4." She also took over the health spa/hot springs for poor Cyprine.

Cyprine was actually involved in the break up of a marriage between one Genma Saotome (whom she was frequently glomping and trying to manipulate/educate/control) and one Nodoka Saotome (who had found the two of them together doing something quite bizarre with spicy bean paste.) After that, and Cyprine's declaration that she was carrying "Gen-chan's love child" (despite rapid and sincere denials from Genma that anything had happened), Nodoka's son Ranma was pulled by his mother from the Tendo Dojo over many protests and introduced to his fiancee - Ukyo Kuonji. Who had met Nodoka recently and my isn't it strange how these little coincidences work out?

Kaolinite vanished. Nobody asked, and the Wizard wasn't saying.

A weekend training trip was planned by several sometime warriors of love and justice, to coordinate attacks and work on special combined attacks. As well as work out a schedule of teams so that the city could be patrolled but still give plenty of people time for rest and keeping up with schoolwork. Unfortunately, it didn't work out the way it was planned.

Luna found a supply of catnip that Makoto had been planning on making tea with, and was stoned out of her little kitty mind for most of the day.

Artemis found he had his hands full just keeping Luna from trying to fly to the moon.

In other words, a fairly uneventful day.

----------

It was finally the night of the Concert. The girls, and Mamoru, had attended in their best clothes, anxious to meet the Queen. The two cats attending *with* them were not attired, other than Luna wearing a fresh silk ribbon bow in her collar.

The shadows moved and Nebula stood guard on the roof. The Chain lengthened and lengthened again. The Moon Crescent stretched into a spiral shape with the knight at the center. A slight length dangled from one hand, the Star Arrow that would point if danger approached.

This was Duty, after all. Princes and Princesses attended their balls and masquerades and parties. It was part and parcel of their politics and roles. They had to maintain their contacts and alliancies, exchange information and gossip, and otherwise engage in the typical behavior of their class.

He was a common soldier at heart. Though of minor nobility, he had risen through the ranks as a grunt. First Lieutenant Basalt had once been Soldier Basalt. He'd eventually gone through the War College on Mars, required of him in his rise to Pilot and Mechanic.

The Senshi and Nobility had magic. The common troops required weapons that were a bit more grounded in plain old utility. While swords were everywhere - extremely functional and usable in tight corridors as well as having ceremonial value, there were craft and weapons built for fighting at a distance.

While the nobles attended to their political dances and schemes, the life of a common marine was more straightforward. Guard duty was a universal constant. Long periods of boring with periods of intensely dangerous thrown in at random.

As a Level 4 Esper, he got a *lot* of guard duty.

Basalt, aka Nebula, had tested high in Clairsentience. Training had brought the skills to the science that such things were in the Silver Millenium. Danger Sense, Presence Sense, and Object Read had always been there. Also some innate talent for machines - including magical devices to some extent. Training had given him Mind Block and Resist Fatigue. Also chi training, which was similar in some ways to esper training. Connection to the mana base of the Kingdom had given him the ability to heal wounds of others and to erect a barrier.

Becoming the Knight Of Duty had given him the Chain.

The Chain amplified and refined his esper talents, though it also limited them to some extent. He wouldn't be able to block a mind probe from the Princess as long as he was the Knight Of Duty. ANY of the Princesses could penetrate his mind shields with little difficulty.

He was just a grunt, after all.

All of the Knights had their roles, and special skills. With Endymion, his power and skills increased depending on his level of focus. He was also the absolute best at the Knight Moves, telelocating, of any of the various Knights that Nebula knew of. Shade, the Knight of Fear, was the best dirty-infighter. The isolationist Bennu, the most learned mage and Knight Of Reason. Quiet (some would say meek) Onyx - the most powerful of the Knights in terms of raw strength.

Each of the Knights and their abilities reflected their station and duties. Endymion, the noble, who brought Hope - the refined and courtly fellow who rarely showed so much as a smudge on his armor. Shade, a commoner of low birth, brutal and fast when he needed to be, cynical and disrespectful. In many ways the two were opposite ends of the same spectrum. Bennu, the mage who didn't care one whit for the court and its dramas- particularly when so much needed to be researched and understood. Onyx, the gentle giant, the reluctant warrior and a Knight Of Courage that never once sought to brag.

Nebula missed them. Even Bennu with his aloof "it's not my business, and don't stand in the way of my monitoring devices" manners or Shade with his cold grin and harsher manners. Expecially he missed Onyx, who had passed on long before the Kingdom fell, and Hematite - who had been the brash new kid on the block.

Motion caught the corner of his eyes, but the spearpoint didn't budge. Therefore- not an enemy to him or to the Senshi. Looking more fully, he determined that the motion was from human soldiers. Much like himself. Nebula used his free hand to quickly salute, then use a quick set of battlesign gestures to indicate that he was "on guard - no danger present."

One of the figures stopped and gave a battlesign of "acknowledged - remain alert."

Nebula's eyes flicked. These all appeared to be female warriors. He counted seven who quickly finished searching the area, then leaving him alone. Except for the one.

She approached, stopping well clear of the outermost loop of chain. Her hands flickered through a quick inquiry.

"First Lieutenant Basalt, Marines Special Operative. Sometimes known as the Knight Of Duty, Nebula." He spoke in a low voice, using the language of the Moon Kingdom. Without the fancier tongue of the Court, of course. He had been banned from the Court a lifetime ago, not that he'd ever felt comfortable within it. A plain rock among the gemstones.

The woman nodded, then cupped her fist in the palm of the other hand and bowed slightly.

This caused a slight rise of an eyebrow and a bit of curiosity, even as Nebula returned the gesture. It was a greeting/salute that was common among warriors, usually used for those who were on equal ground or rank basis. It was also commonly used prior to a fight, because in the training grounds all were equal. Though common soldiers were more likely to touch fist to their chest over their heart. The cupped fist was more used by elite warriors and mages.

And Knights, of course.

Without a sound, the figure backed away and dropped off the roof.

Dismissing the mystery warrior for the moment, though hoping they'd get a chance to meet later and swap tales, Nebula returned his attention to the job at hand.

The first strains of music had begun in the auditorium below when another presence impinged on his vigil. This one remained in the shadows, watching, until finally the Knight turned his head towards her. "The concert does not please you, Pluto?"

Sailor Pluto stepped from the shadows to approach, gait more uncertain than was usual. The tip of her staff gestured towards his back. "Is this seat taken?"

There was no need for a guard at his back, and she knew it, and he knew that she knew it. So he nodded once and shifted the Chain so that it encircled them both.

There was a moment of companionable silence, as he felt her back press against his own so that each of them could face the darkness with a trusted fellow at their back.

"Why?" Nebula finally asked, breaking the silence.

"It's rather crowded," answered Pluto, "I'm... not used to crowds."

"Ah," said Nebula, though both knew that hadn't been the question.

Pluto decided to answer the rest anyway. "I did write. There was no way to get the letters to you. The Queen commanded that none were to know of the Gate, nor were there to be any visitors." Pluto then muttered something about how neither seemed to work for more than a few millenia anyway.

"Ah," acknowledged Nebula.

"Where did you go, anyway? I only saw glimpses of you afterwards." Pluto was curious herself, she'd been new to her duties at the time and hadn't gotten the hang of observing everything until much later.

"Afterwards, there was Hematite to train and bring up to speed. i introduced him to the other Knights, and showed him those he was to protect." Nebula shook his head. So much promise, and all for naught. "i thought that as important as anything else. To know why you fight. It is one thing to swear fealty to the Throne and the people, another to put faces there."

Pluto made a little sound that might have been agreement as she pressed her back against the Knight's. "A bit chilly tonight."

If Nebula thought that those short skirts *always* looked chilly (he did) or that her Senshi transformation should protect her from those things (it should), he didn't say so. He wasn't sure *what* he was supposed to do, but it didn't seem that a weather forecast was what was required either. So, instead, he tried plodding on. "Also spent a fair time in research. You know i've always been a general purpose repairman, long before i was a Knight or even a Marine."

"Yes," Sailor Pluto said, though whether it was to the night or the Knight wasn't clear. "What did you research? After all, that's more Bennu's bag of tricks than your own."

"If you mean magic like Contact Other Plane, or Clairvoyant spells, or dusty tomes, you're right," Nebula acknowledged. "What i sought were answers to questions that Bennu didn't think worth investigating. After you had apparently abandoned me, and my duty to guard the Nursery had been forbidden, there was only duty to the kingdom to sustain me."

"Did you find answers?" Sailor Pluto partially turned, observing the Knight from the corner of her eye.

"Some." Nebula decided to ask another question. "Pluto? Are you... were you serious?"

Sailor Pluto didn't answer with words at first, merely hugging from behind. "Yes... oh yes. I'd observed you at court, you know. Saw the devotion and caring you showered the Queen with. It was not that you had fallen in love with her, it was just that there was so much love within you that all you needed was someone to devote it to. Loyalty. Devotion. Caring. And the Queen threw it away, not knowing how rare such things can be."

"And then Jupiter."

"Jupiter was ever fickle, as was *her* general. In this life, it seems the karma she sowed then has come back to haunt her." Sailor Pluto sighed. "You're wrong about their tactics, by the way."

"Really?" Nebula blinked, but didn't move from the continuing hug. Actually, he thought to himself, this was rather interesting. Pluto was significantly cooler than the warmth of the Queen, and not nearly so strong as Jupiter. Each hugged in a different manner. Pluto's hug was looser, more gentle.

"When Sailor Moon faced Beryl and her minions, Luna attempted to get them to fight more effectively, to become better warriors. Which would have been a disaster. It wasn't until the 'gloom and doom girls' that they actually faced hunter-killer yoma as opposed to the weaker ones sent to gather energy. The Generals as well, for fighting the Senshi had never been the number one priority. They were schoolgirls relying on their Make Up transformations. Had Beryl considered them a real threat they'd have been wiped out long before the Eternal Silver Millenium Crystal made an appearance."

Nebula considered that. "Was this a deliberate deception, then?"

"Usagi and Princess Serenity are more seperate than you and Grey, Nebula. It is rare, but one sees the Princess rise to the surface briefly and only at great need. When Usagi finally matures in full, the two will at last grow together." Sailor Pluto hung her head against Nebula's shoulder. "On that day, I shall mourn, for some of Usagi Tsukino's innocence will die. And some of the Princess' poise as well. But poise can be relearned, while innocence lost is forever gone."

"You know about the dangers of the Crystal then." Nebula said, a hand coming up to briefly grasp Pluto's hand.

"Some," agreed Pluto. "Enough. Can we not talk of more pleasant topics during our vigil?"

"Well then, O Guardian of Gates Of Time, if a humble Knight may ask."

Sailor Pluto smirked, though it was unseen, and responded in kind. "Aye, Sir Knight. Tis late, mayhap, yet I deem 'twould do no harm. Ask away then."

Nebula looked out at the night, still holding the lady's hand and being held by her. Still surrounded by the quiescent Chain with the other hand holding the dangling Star Arrow. "If we were not on guard duty, i'd ask the Lady if she'd care to dance. As it is..."

Pluto's smile was momentarily near predatory as she heard the reference to a dance. "As it is?"

"What are you planning for our date?"

"Ah, Sir Knight. THAT... is a secret."

"Spoilsport."

The clear bright laughter of Sailor Pluto briefly echoed through the rooftops. Maybe, just maybe, she allowed herself as she snuggled up against her friend. Maybe she didn't have to be the *lonely* Guardian anymore.

--------

Beneath the Knight and a Lady, and quite some dialogue previous, a reunion was taking place. After 10,000 years, the Queen had returned.

Neither Eudial, Haruka, Michiru, nor Morrigan had accompanied them. Grey, being a precog first and a Knight second, had taken a look at Eudial and immediately felt warning signals. The same with the boyish Haruka and her more feminine companion. He'd relayed this to Rei, who had passed the word around. Morrigan, however, declared she'd had her fill of courts and intrigues long ago, and would rather be part of the guard.

Almost everyone else was in attendence. The Senshi had conferred long on this, and it had been decided to show up in their Senshi transformed state. That way, in the inevitable case of the youma attack, they'd be ready. (It was with considerable relief that, other than some stiffness in joints, there seemed to be no ill effects remaining from their previous petrification.)

Maya Tono had found a dark blue evening gown that fit her well, though she was clearly uncomfortable wearing it. Honey Kisaragi had no problems acquiring her own gown, and looked as elegant as was humanly possible. Nuku Nuku (Atsuko) hadn't a thing to wear that qualified as elegant, so had worn a Chinese sleeveless slit dress that she'd procured from a thrift store. Hotaru Tomoe was similar, though hers was a deep purple to Nuku's red and from the same store.

Five men, one woman, stepped forward and took places alongside the empty throne, standing at attention while the music played.

The musicians had played the first set and were about to start the second when they stopped and bowed. Those here to see this also stopped what they were doing, and either bowed or curtseyed. Well, except for Usagi who tried to do both.

The Queen had arrived.

Every Senshi, Knight, Mage, or other functionary had some special quality to set them apart from the rest of humanity even if they had never become Empowered. Endymion, for example, was especially charismatic - a leader if not a ruler. Usagi's basic nature, if you stripped away the clumsy crybaby, had her as a healer by nature if not skill. Nebula was a Class 4 Esper - Sensitive and Precog. Rei was a Class 3 Esper in Precog and had a natural affinity for flame that might have made her a Class 6 Pyro if she hadn't become a Senshi.

Queen Serenity looked physically very similar to Her daughter - Princess Serenity, aka Sailor Moon, alias Usagi Tsukino. There all similarities went out the door. It was Her aura that most struck those looking. Commanding, regal, graceful, that here was someone who defined royalty by Her every breath and movement.

She walked, and the world waited for Her. She sat, raised a hand slightly, and nodded.

"Mama?" Usagi asked, stepping forward.

"Daughter," said the Queen, smiling and inclining Her head, a trace of moisture showing.

"MAMA!" Sailor Moon launched herself. While Ikuko Tsukino was a good mother, this one was the mother of Sailor Moon.

*WHAM!* Queen Serenity winced as Sailor Moon's face impacted an invisible shield. "Slowly, daughter, with dignity. Always remember, We are Royalty."

"So, uhm, you're Queen Serenity." Sailor Jupiter wasn't sure what to say. "I thought you were dead."

Queen Serenity sat back, serene and tranquil. "Like you, We were reborn. The circumstances and method were different, the results similar."

"Uhm, we're the..." Mars was, for once, at a loss as far as what to say.

"The reborn Senshi, including my daughter, Princess Serenity. Prince Endymion." Serenity's eyes swept over the others.

Maya stepped forward, swallowing nervously. "I am Maya Tono, your majesty, and I..."

"You are not of Our Kingdom," Serenity said, obviously dismissing the girl as being of no consequence. "Neither are those two. Why are they in Our presence?"

Maya frowned at the slight, though she quickly recovered.

Honey was less impressed. "Yeah, and you're a monarch of a failed kingdom. I'm a representitive (however reluctant) of a current government."

Serenity's eyes flicked over Honey, then Nuku. "Why are My soldiers associating with mere constructs?"

Honey turned on a heel and started walking towards the door. "Maya-chan, Nuku, let's go. It's obvious the Queen here is stuck in the past."

Queen Serenity looked over Her Senshi and raised an eyebrow at their reactions as the three left. "A commoner and two constructs. Do not waste your time with them, my Senshi. They could not survive the first clash with the sort of enemies you must deal with. Only those of us from the Kingdom have a chance against Our enemies. Now... where is Nebula? We sensed that he was Awakened. We have also sensed Sailors Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. We see them not."

Endymion cleared his throat. He technically wasn't one of the Queen's subjects as the Earth Kingdom had been seperate from the Moon Kingdom. "Nebula has taken up a guard position on the roof, in case of enemy attacks. We have not located Uranus and Neptune."

"Ah," said Serenity, nodding and relaxing somewhat. "Yes, that would fit in with his duties. Though We would prefer he be within Our presence for this. And what of Pluto? She has abandoned her duty at the Time Gate? No, We sense that someone yet remains to guard that Gate."

"Actually, I think Pluto is up on the roof with 'Nebula'," said Makoto, bowing slightly to her monarch and still really uncertain of how to proceed. Fortunately, the Queen didn't immediately interpret the expressions of various individuals.

"She. Is. What?" The room temperature seemed to drop twenty degrees. "Why?"

"Uhm," Makoto started getting more nervous. "Because she wants to start up her relationship with him again?"

The Queen sat back on her throne. "This will not do. Janus. Hermes. Fetch Nebula here right away and remind Pluto that she is neither to leave the Gate nor allow other near it."

A sly looking member of the guards grinned. "And if they resist your orders my lady? They are already disregarding your wishes, if I may point out."

"Bring them both here. You are empowered to use whatever means you feel necessary. They should know well that their duty is to Ourselves, first and foremost."

Various Senshi began to wonder if the Queen returning was a Good Thing after all.

---------

"You realize that Morrigan's two roofs away, watching us?" Nebula said to Pluto.

"Honey, Nuku, and Tono-san left the meeting," Pluto said. "I wonder if the Queen's in one of her moods again."

"Like the time the Senshi threw a fit about the short skirts, and she stuck 'em with that nude transformation sequence... Waitaminute, she never did reverse that, did she?" Nebula blinked as certain things clicked together.

Sailor Pluto frowned out at the night. "That's right."

"And she'd shortened the skirts because... Sailor Uranus had started the whole thing by requesting hers came with pants, then... oh dear." Nebula was momentarily silent. "i never met Sailor Uranus or Neptune. Were any of the rumors true?"

"Some," conceded Sailor Pluto. "Definitely not anything involving the Moon Crystal Rod, a greased pig, and five pounds of bananas."

Nebula let out a breath. "Thank goodness." Actually, he hadn't heard that one, and he didn't want to. The gossip of the Moon Kingdom could be rather Earthy.

"At least that I know of. I don't think they could have gotten the Moon Crystal Rod from Princess Serenity, especially if she knew they were going to do *that* with it."

"..."

"Though the bit about the two of them handcuffing each other to the minnaret on top of the Moon Palace dome, and getting caught there by Queen Serenity - yes. That was one reason they ended up being the *Outer* Senshi and assigned to guarding the solar system from outside attack." Pluto looked up at the sky. "Though, as both Uranus and Neptune frequently complained, that job would be far better accomplished if they'd had a Warkraken Class Ship."

"She never gave them a private teleport? Had to rely on vehicles? No wonder they sent a squad of Marines to the Derelict." Nebula nodded as something clicked. He remembered a *lot* of his previous life, but there were still gaps. "Hmmm. That looked like a Senshi uniform over there. Might be those Outers. Want to go reaquaint yourself?"

Pluto shrugged, their backs touching sending that motion through her old friend. "I'll admit that while I was technically an 'Outer' - my job was considerably different. I didn't exactly get to interact with anyone. Guard the Time Gate - allow no one near."

"Company," said Nebula as forms began appearing. "They don't look like yoma or daimons."

"Well, well, such a touching scene," said a tall, slender, young man. "Pluto, you're failing your duty to guard the Time Gate. Off with you now. Nebula, it's been a long time. The Queen demands your presence."

"There's a guard in place, my younger self," Pluto said crossly.

"IGNEOUS!" Nebula growled. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Royal Pardon, now I'm the new Head of the Queen's Guards. Soldiers, if you'll deal with these two?" Igneous held out his hand, and a massive mace appeared in it. "You can hurt them. In fact, I insist."

-------------

Jared had finally found the time, the resources, and the assistance. As god of crossovers, this was in his portfolio, but he couldn't do it alone. The spell was *that* difficult.

Mimir's Well, a place where multiple probabilities met and where viewing timelines was so ridiculously easy that first season Usagi Tsukino could have done it. Here, possibilities could be made real, if one had the Will. There were other places it could be cast, but not many.

Bets were up (Fleece giving 3:1 Odds), that if Grey made it to Magical Guardian status, his dragonform would be situated here to keep unauthorized personnel away. Since Toltiir had made his Bet, knowledge of just what was possible had brought in all sorts of visitors. It had just been approved to cut his Labors down from twelve to six, just to have some sort of check on unauthorized use. There was talk about cutting *that* number down as well.

All it had taken to get permission to clear the site for the length of this operation had been a few volunteers to guard Mimir's Well for a mortal day. With Shan as one of the guardians, this had gotten instant approval within the bureaucracy.

Though there *had* been a few surprises. Word from the Sailorjin timeline had finally come - Son Usagi (or Usagi Son as some insisted) had married her childhood sweetheart, Tsue, in a reversed gender version of a more typical Dragonball timeline.

(The word had come from that world's Ami Mercury. Which was something found very interesting by many. A version of Ami who was far weaker than any of the other "Senshi" of that world. In a more typical Dragonball world, she'd have had the role of Bulma. She was accompanied by that world's version of Hotaru, who was pretty much the role equivelant of a fellow named Trunks.)

Still, it was a chance for Jared to cast the Seperation spell and finally start removing Aspects that he'd inadvertantly gotten. The main problem: no physical form would be granted by the spell. So he'd had to find a way of storing an Aspect for those not in the simulation.

Lorelei (the marionette that had accompanied Ginseng) had gotten together with his own Lorelei (the flesh and blood one that was Sailor Terratwo) and the two had come up with a functional soul/personality storage device.

It was, after all, the very thing a Virgin Circuit was made to do. However unknowing the original builders had been of such things as souls.

Soon several ghostly catlike specters were ready to be merged with other Aspects that would be more in keeping with their origins.

In particular, the wraithlike form of one Ameow Mizuno eyed the slumbering body of an Ami Mizuno and awaited her chance to be reunited with her husband.

--------

The fight had been fierce, if short.

Had the Guard tried to be reasonable, or the Queen come herself, there wouldn't even have been a fight.

Five Royal Guards, including Janus, backed by some female soldiers that Nebula didn't know - serious power on that side. Nebula was mainly a sensitive, his abilities were mainly in finding things, and his role had originally been to find and then delay opponents up until the heavy-hitters could arrive. Pluto had her 'dead scream' and some talent with using her staff, plus a lot of experience. Not, unfortunately, in using her attacks. Worse, all their efforts were in self-defense.

Then Morrigan arrived, using her 'Soul Fist' and 'Drill Press' attacks until Hermes joined the fight and used a Forcecage to imprison her. Maya had come from nowhere, determined to try even when she knew she was heavily outgunned. As soon as she'd fallen, Nebula had turned his attention briefly towards getting her to safety. At that point their defenses had crumbled.

Hermes had simply used Forcecage, then Janus used *his* new special attack. Disruption.

The three were disarmed, Morrigan left alone with the holy magic draining her strength, and quickly chained and brought to the ballroom.

Queen Serenity's mouth quirked downward. "Janus, there should be good reason that these look as if they'd been through a war."

"My Queen, my apologies if I overstepped my bounds, but they did refuse your gracious summons." Janus was at his most oily.

There was dark muttering from more than one of the Senshi, and Sailor Moon looked ill. The mutterings stopped as the Queen held up her hand for silence.

"Nebula, why did you refuse Our summons? Does Duty hold sway no more in your heart?" Queen Serenity asked with an expression of sadness briefly crossing her face. "Why must you try me so?"

Nebula looked up. "My Queen. i can do more towards my duty guarding you from above, and it was you yourself who exiled me from your Court."

"We may have been over hasty in that regard," said the Queen, still sad in expression but beginning to show the traces of a smile. "Now is a new Era, and a chance for fresh starts. We think that perhaps your role as Consort should be taken up again. We would grant this boon. Pluto, on the other hand, seems in need of discipline."

"No, My Queen," Nebula struggled up. "Pluto has done no wrong. She has found an earlier version of herself and trades off that duty."

The trace of humor left the Queen's face at this sign of defiance. "Do not forget, Basalt. You are Consort only. Do not seek to influence Our decisions."

"i must, My Queen. There are many duties involved." Nebula paused. "And also must i request not to accept the duties of Consort. There are... others who have a claim upon me."

Serenity was actually shocked, and it showed. Then the sadness increased. "So, Basalt, you abandon me in this time of need?"

"No, My Queen. You are and remain My Queen. And you occupied a special place in my heart for many a year. Yet the times change, and while i was cast from your presence others did try and succeed in touching my heart."

Usagi sobbed. "Waaaah! It's just like in a shojo manga!" Everyone ignored her.

"I see." Serenity said, her expression firming. "Yet Pluto must be punished for this dereliction of duty. If her role as guardian of the Time Gate is too great a burden..."

Everyone watched as the Queen held up a hand, clenched it briefly, and when she spread her fingers again there was something on her palm. The Silver Crystal.

"...then let this burden be lifted." A silver glow shot from the crystal to Sailor Pluto, who quickly transformed back into Setsuna Meiou. "Perhaps you need time from your duties as well, so that you realize to whom your loyalties should lie. When your priorities are once again straight, We may restore you." Another glow and Nebula became Grey. Queen Serenity smiled. It wouldn't take long before he realized his mistake, she was certain. His duties required his transformation to Knight. He'd also realize that she was still tough, in charge, and capable of looking out for her subjects. Then she'd have her Consort back again.

Though for some reason he didn't look very healthy all of a sudden, curling up on himself like that and turning ashen. Maybe it was that he was realizing the significance of his actions?

"I must protest!" Sailor Mercury blinked, then realized that that had been *her* voice. Seeing everyone's attention on her, she continued anyway. "They have done no wrong for you to punish them! They... oh dear."

Having transformed Sailor Mercury back to Ami Mizuno, the Queen looked about. This was certainly more complicated than she'd wanted it to be, but she had to show her strength right off - just to head off complications. It was cruel perhaps, but sometimes a ruler needed to show "Anyone else?"

"Yes, I..." Whatever Setsuna had been about to say was cut off by another brief glow from the Crystal, followed by Setsuna and Grey taking an unscheduled nap.

Maya Tono might have protested, except she was still unconscious. Several Senshi looked decidedly nervous, also thoughtful. Finally, one other could not stand silent any longer.

"You can't just..." Sailor Venus suddenly glowed to become Minako Aino. "Okay, maybe you can. But two rights don't make a left you know!"

"That's 'two wrongs don't make a right'," corrected Sailor Mars, but quietly. She hesitated and glanced at the remaining other Senshi. If they were removed, who'd be left to guard Sailor Moon? Sailor Jupiter looked back, realizing the same thing. Besides, after the Queen calmed down maybe they could get her to give back the others' transformations.

"Next? Good, now We have found this whole ordeal stressing. We shall therefore convene court again in three days. At that time, We shall discuss Our plans for rebuilding the Moon Kingdom."

---------

Grey, as Nebula, had possessed a psychic link to the Chain. Much of his psionic potential and capability had been sacrificed in the forging of that weapon. The Chain had been a part of Nebula's existence, a physical manifestation of his being.

Snapping the link and forcibly dismissing the Chain had affected Nebula even more than Queen Serenity had guessed. She was a ruler, not an engineer. He'd remained conscious, but hadn't been able to raise protest of his own due to the shock. The identity of Nebula crumbled, much in the manner of someone whose body had just been chopped in half would tend to. Then the command to sleep was driven deep into both identities.

Ginzuishou- the holy crystal. A tool of near infinite power that was controlled by emotion as much as will. And it had been used in a moment of jealousy. Disasters have started with less.

No, Nebula aka Basalt was not doing very well.

Setsuna Meiou, the former Sailor Pluto, was also unconscious but doing slightly better.

Her younger self was still at the Gate of Time, and this might be a concern for later. Right now she was just sleeping. She had *finally* stood up to her Queen. She was not the easily intimidated young woman of the Silver Millenium, and she'd protested what she had felt was an unfair action. And actually she felt kind of good about this.

Maya Tono was not, unlike Setsuna, smiling in her sleep. She'd taken a sufficiently heavy blow to her stomach from a really large mace that it registered even in dreamland. Still, she'd acquitted herself better than she'd thought she would have. Not much of a sop on the pain, but it was something.

Neither Ami nor Minako were sleeping, and while they had some problems with being thrown out with the three sleepers into the alley like that by Janus, there wasn't a lot that could be done without their henshin pens working.

"Well, what can we do at this point?" Minako asked Ami.

"I'm not sure," Ami said, looking at the tangle made by the other three. Without a Senshi transformation she wasn't strong enough to carry any of them - including Tono-san.

"Dang," said Minako with a similar assessment.

There was a throat clearing noise. Ami and Minako looked wildly around for a moment, then slowly looked upwards. Morrigan was standing on a wall, completely unconcerned that she was acting as if gravity had been bent at a 90 degree angle.

"You know, looking at that could make you dizzy," Minako said, cocking her head to the side.

"Morrigan-san, can you help with...?" Ami made a little gesture towards the heap.

"And where were you?" Minako asked, shaking her head. She kept feeling like she should be falling or something when she looked at Morrigan standing there.

"I was in a forcecage. It took me a few moments to get past the defenses because this Silver Millenium magic has some elements of holy magic. Which is not among my most favorite things." Morrigan walked down the wall, then stepped over the ground and continued to the group. Selecting the largest of the three (Setsuna), Morrigan slung her over a shoulder. "Well, come on."

There was a brief moment while Ami and Minako attempted to follow suit.

Ami finally came to a sad conclusion. "I'll call mother."

"This never used to happen in the old days," complained Minako.

--------

Heaven:

"So why is the Mage sulking *now*?" Serafita, six-winged archon of CG, looked off at where the Pheonix Mage was running off into the distance, having restarted his game of "tag" with Edema.

"He was rooting for Queen Serenity, particularly after some of the scenes in the first Labor which had the two pretty well reconciled. With everything started out anew, there are no happy memories and the Queen has not accidently abdicated in favor of her heir." Celeste shrugged, not particularly interested. As long as he stayed away from the simulation. "I'm still tempted to do a reset. Just the press coverage is enough. This is supposed to be a Labor for Grey. Also possibly a Labor for the girls in question, but mainly Grey. This Wizard, the Mage, certainly having Imperial Walkers, and the press have all confused the issue."

"Oh," Serafita wasn't really that interested, but saw some interesting designs dancing on the monitors. "So which of these girls do *you* support?"

"Setsuna," Celeste responded. "I've backed *her* since day one. The girl who became the ice queen, manipulative and cold, because she had to turn her back on love. Tragic. About time the woman got a break."

"Oh," said Serafita. He knew that Amaterasu favored Rei, Urd favored Minako, and a number of others had *their* favorites. He just wasn't into the betting aspects. So he got to the real point of his interest. "What are *those*?"

Celeste brought the files she was flipping through into greater detail. "These? The Nebula Aspect was just killed. Due to preset conditions in the simulation, that means that the abilities he'd gained through that Aspect are lost. Memories remain. The Chain is gone, as is the Knight powerup. Even those minor psychic abilities are gone, as those were remnants of his Lunarian heritage. The Queen could resurrect that Aspect, but its not likely to happen. So these are other Aspects that could be substituted."

"Because in the genre, in times of great need or emotional turmoil, the individual can draw on hidden abilities and evolve to meet the threat." Serafita nodded, understanding this. "So these are Grey's other dimensional Aspects that are available?"

Celeste brought up the first image. "The cleric and healer, the silver dragon Frostbite is his prime Aspect." The dragon morphed into a normal looking guy, except the eyes were pure white and he was fighting a bigger guy named Juggernaut. "The superhero from a world of mutants, the living fusion battery Kestral." The boy shifted into a different dragon. "The gold dragon mage Orion." The dragon shifted into a lanky form dressed in a no-frills combat uniform. "B-Wing pilot Artemis Grey."

"He's a girl?" Serafita sounded surprised.

"In a number of faith systems that use reincarnation, the soul is neither male or female in itself - and one can reincarnate as either as time goes on, though most souls show a bias for being either male or female. In his case male dominates, and seems the decided preference - but a few Aspects were female and still managed to stand out from the crowd." Celeste gestured and the tough looking Star Wars Rebel pilot blurred to become a cuter but still tomboyish form. "Noa, trainer of pokemon."

"Using *that* would sincerely concern any of the girls in that timeline. Well, maybe not Rei or Haruka or Michiru, or maybe..." Serafita thought about it for a moment. "No, probably not."

"Agreed. Likewise, the damage control tech on the Yamato Shinosuke Yagake, the marionette repairman Mamoru Tengoku, and the half-angel albino Shinji, are likewise inappro. In any case, observe *this* Aspect." Celeste flipped another image. "The sex angel from the Second Labor. And this one is the catboy Aspect, altered to a form of werecat and manifested by Bast (you know how *she* can be), and the esper version from RI-SW 201351."

"Which will you use?" Serafita asked, looking over the char designs with interest.

"Oh, I'll probably ask for a vote," answered Celeste. "We'll see. Oh, now *that* is interesting."

Serafita read the screens Celeste was flipping through. "What? Someone else interfering in the simulation?"

"Yup, fairly subtle too. Also *not* someone I would have suspected, but that's definitely her touch." Celeste flicked back. "A shared dream from Sif of all people. She's rooting for Ami, wonder what she's trying to pull."

----------

Ami's mother had not been able to get away, with predictable results.

"I know!" Minako exclaimed. "A kiss!"

"A kiss to awaken someone from an enchanted sleep," Morrigan mused. "It *could* work, I suppose."

"Oh dear," exclaimed Ami.

"But that only works if someone who is a True Love kisses them," added Morrigan.

"Excuse me," came a deep rumbling voice.

"Frank? No, just a similar build," assessed Morrigan, looking over the guy in sunglasses and a black suit.

"Your mother, Mizuno-san, indicated you required a ride." The dark clad man gestured. "I have been sent to assist."

When the offered ride turned out to be a limousine, Minako was delighted, Morrigan was suspicious, and Ami was merely exhausted from carrying Tono-san all the way to the parking garage.

Morrigan vanished into the night rather than accept the ride, though Ami had a sneaking suspicion that she was following the car during the entire trip.

At Ami's apartment, Hotaru was still up and able to give a hand while Minako went home by herself.

By the time Ami and Hotaru had carried their charges (requiring three trips) to the spare room, they were exhausted.

Ami was asleep before her head hit the pillow.

Then she began to dream. Oddly enough, the same dream was running through other heads.

----------

The crowd was playing a card game of some sort. The table was a semicircle, with the women along the curve. Ami briefly looked around, recognizing most of the various girls present, including Senshi among their number. Her mother was present, which was really a jarring detail. And that blonde woman was wearing a lab coat and an ID badge from her mother's hospital. And Katsuragi-san, her teacher. And others who were less familiar.

Ami looked down at her hand and restrained a gasp as she quickly examined one after the other. The first card was of HER - wearing her summer yukata and carrying a fan, just as if she were attending a matsuri. The image seemed to have captured her winking at the camera? A carefree happy moment, or so it seemed.

The second card was of herself, posing, but as an older Sailor Mercury. Where the first card had captured a girl simply out enjoying herself, this image was neither happy nor smiling. Sailor Mercury was serious, and even a bit sad somehow. The pose was of her leaning against a pillar, watching something over to the image's right. Ami guessed the age of Mercury in this photo to be in her mid 20s.

The third was of herself wearing a lab coat, stethoscope curled behind her neck. As with Sailor Mercury, this was an older version of herself. The ID badge pinned to the coat read *Dr.* Mizuno. The image was smiling down at a group of children, standing in the white corridors of a hospital, a room number (E-102) visible from where it protruded from the wall behind the Doctor.

The fourth card showed another image of herself, wearing a bridal gown? Where the Doctor had been smiling in mild amusement, the Yukata girl had been smiling and flirty, and Sailor Mercury had been sad, the bride practically *glowed* - mouth open in a smile, tears glimmering in her eyes, flushed as she raised a bridal bouquet up to throw it. Ami could just imagine the mad scramble from her friends beginning offcamera. This one looked older than she was now, but maybe only a few years at most - seventeen or eighteen. Maybe not even that much.

The fifth and last card showed a version of herself, but why did she have cat ears and a tail?! And was that fur? Curled up on herself, sitting in a sunbeam, her head in... Grey-san's lap? Some guy's lap, and it *looked* like Grey-san, even though his face was out of the picture. While he was scratching her behind an ear? Ami could practically hear this odd vision of herself purring.

Ami glanced at the cardplayer to her right, which turned out to be Minako. Five cards in her hands. A look to the right, and Ami wasn't too surprised to see Setsuna who seemed to regard her cards as if she expected one to turn into a venomous snake and bite her. Further down to the left was Tono-san, then her teacher Katsuragi-san? The physician, and some shorthaired nurse, an albino(?), then finally Queen Serenity? Further to the right, Ami could see Morrigan, then Nuku Nuku, then that Eudial woman, some girl in samurai garb(?), a girl with odd markings on her face, and finally Makoto.

Across from them all, sitting in the middle of the flat part of the semicircle, was Grey.

There were several people around, mainly shadowed shapes, but they were all rooting for one person or another.

A redhaired girl with batwings was rooting for Morrigan. Usagi was rooting for Queen Serenity. Rei was rooting for Minako. Ami's mother was, unsurprisingly, rooting for her. And also for that samurai girl?

Grey moved, laying five cards in front of himself where everyone could see.

Ami noted that his cards were similar to her own. There was a depiction of the Knight Nebula and his Chain, but as she watched the colors ran out until it had lost its vibrancy.

Ami had read Freud. She wasn't sure where the cards fit into a sexual theme. Maybe a Jungian perspective? Putting his cards out, all seven... hadn't there been five there earlier?

Ami nodded after a moment. He was laying his cards out on the table - symbolic of openness. He was keeping them close to his edge of the table - they weren't being discarded.

If her cards were odd, *his* cards were even more so. The faded picture of Nebula. A gleaming dragon of silver, with a glowing orb of white energy forming in between his foreclaws. A bright dragon of gold, crouched protectively in front of a relatively small Sailor Mercury?! A flying figure with eyes of pure white, recognizable as Grey-san except that his coloration seemed "off." A catBOY that seemed a match for her own cat card- though he seemed even more feline with fur showing. Another picture where he resembled nothing so much as a boy she knew named Ryo Urawa. The final picture showed a robot or something similar - an armored warrior of some kind.

Ami looked away from his cards, and found herself meeting his eyes. There was concern there, and sadness, and the embers of something else. Like the glowing of a pile of tinder, waiting only for her to breathe upon it and it would become an open flame.

Ami ducked her head and considered her cards again, not sure of how to deal with that sort of intensity. The neko version of herself opened her eyes, *looked* at her, then winked.

Ami put her cards facedown on the table, her head spinning as she tried to analyze *that*! An idle portion of her mind fastened on the observation that nearly all of the others had done the same thing and with the same startled look.

Except Setsuna, who had put all but one of her cards facedown. The last one she held in her hands briefly before putting it in plain view.

"I understand," said Setsuna Meiou, placing the card forward. "These show potential futures. With the timestream in chaos, Crystal Tokyo is no longer the certainty or even the most desirable option. We no longer face a future where a single Outcome is foreordained, a single path that does not lead destruction is no longer our Destiny."

"You got all that out of a bunch of cards?" Minako asked in disbelief.

Everyone craned their heads to see the card that Setsuna had put forward. It was...

Ami woke up, looking at her ceiling. "Well, darn."

--------

Celeste shook her head. "Not bad, Sif. If they had come to a decision among them, the scenario would have ended and that would have thrown the Wizard's plans all to heck. Besides, with this crew they would have talked it out and come to a decision among themselves. They still might, but it shouldn't be the result of outside interference."

Serafita shrugged. "Except that when the Mage merged the scenario with a timeline from a disaster movie, things started moving in a completely different direction. Now it's 90% ready to merge, and the black asteroids are actually bringing Galaxia into the picture a couple of seasons early."

"Oh crap," said Celeste, wondering if maybe a reset was out of the question.

--------

She came awake gasping.

"My Queen, are you all right?"

Serenity willed her heart to slow its rapid pace. "Yes, Luna. It was merely a dream."

"My Queen, may I yet speak?" Luna asked, ducking her head in respect.

"It may be some time before We may sleep again, so speak if you will, Luna. Your counsel has always been good of intention." Serenity shrugged on her robe and willed the globes to light.

"My Queen," Luna sought to put this delicately, "were you trying to drive Nebula into the arms of one of those other girls?"

"Of course not," countered Serenity, "while perhaps We overreacted, We are simply following your counsel in this matter."

"You are? I did? Oh dear." Luna spent a few moments trying to remember, then gave it up. "My Queen, 100 centuries of suspended animation has left a few, errr, gaps in my memory. Perhaps if you could explain, I might remember?"

Serenity got a wistful expression on her face. "Very well, and perhaps We, or I at least, can cease being so formal since we're alone."

Luna made herself comfortable so that she could give her full attention to the Queen.

"Basalt became Nebula, the Knight Of Duty. And, of course, his primary duty was as one of the guardians of the Castle - in particular the Nursery and its charges. From time to time, I took a Consort - for the needs of a Queen are many and the people were comforted by seeing their Queen with such a one.

"He was a soldier, a minor noble, and unused to positions at Court and the like. He didn't know, and likely didn't care, that the position of Consort was one with no authority or emotional attachment involved." Queen Serenity sighed, looking off into space. "He was kind and gentle, strong and protective. For all that he lacked polish, his good qualities shone through. Perhaps he was a rock among the gems of the court, but he was stronger and more useful than any of the gems. And perhaps, having been dazzled by gems all my life, the simple qualities of Basalt made him more attractive."

Luna would have shrugged if she could. "So, my Queen, that explains why he was your Consort. What about this advice I gave you?"

"I'm getting to that, dear Luna. He was useful, as I said, with talents he'd developed working his way through the ranks and an inner strength many of the courtiers did not have. I started sending him away from Court, because I trusted him completely. He was my Knight, and while he was hardly the best warrior or the best mage, he had a gift for being able to fix problems. Then, one day, the news came of a large ship of unusual design from beyond our solar system. Not from our old home, the ancient seat of our race that created the Crystal. No, this came from outside our solar system and tracking its course backwards indicated it may not have even come from our galaxy."

"The Alien Derelict," guessed Luna.

Queen Serenity nodded. "We realized later that the quantum signature was wrong. It wasn't even entirely *in* our universe, and likely came from another universe altogether. That it was steadily decelerating indicated that if it had been allowed to continue, it would have begun a solar orbit, somewhere between Earth and Mars. Naturally, this was all very concerning, and so a group of powerful operatives and specialists was quickly sent to intercept the craft and learn what it was."

"And most of them died," Luna said, remembering *that* much now. "What did they find?"

"Horror and death." Serenity said. "Only the fact that Nebula had mental defenses against that sort of thing, as well as a teleport, saved him. Do you remember what a wreck I was when I'd heard that most of those who boarded were dead, including a Knight and a Senshi?"

"Uhm, no, actually I don't remember it at all," Luna admitted. "Pretty bad, huh?"

"Yes. 'Pretty bad' as you say. Then you, Luna, noted something that stuck with me. 'A Queen cannot afford to be dependent on anyone or anything.' And that a Queen was *expected* to be able to sacrifice anything for the good of her people." Serenity was briefly silent. "It nearly killed me to do so, but I sent my Consort away. Even banished him from Court so that I would not be tempted and my resolve not waver. Using the Ginzuishou, I was able to erase the memories of her father from my daughter. But there was no one who could do the same for me."

Luna's tail twitched, sometimes Serenity had a tendency to overreact. And Luna recognized (though she'd never admit it) that sometimes her advice was *not* the Wisdom Of The Ages. "Uhm, my Queen..."

"But that doesn't matter now," said the Queen. "He is back and can fill the role of Consort again for now. As soon as he relinquishes this rebellion and acknowleges my authority once again, all can be as it once was. If I do not rely on him, and I keep my distance, he may be able to fulfill his duties without the emotional attachments I once held for him."

Luna doubted that it would be that easy. Doubted it a LOT.

----------

in the meantime, here's a little something. (Anyone wanting to make corrections, please do so.)

omake-
3rd edition D&D stats:

Rigel Maerklos, male human, 9th level Psion (Telepath), Size M (5ft, 8 in tall); HD 9d4, hp:38, AL:NG; Spd:30ft; AC 12 (+1 Dex, +1 Ring of Protection, +4 Inertial Armor); Str 11, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 16, Wis 17, Cha 16. Languages spoken: Common (Waterdhavian accent), Elvish (partial- has trouble with the flowing syllables), Waterdhavian. Feats: Improved Psicrystal, Inertial Armor (1 pt psi, +4 AC), Psionic Bastion, Psychoanalyst, Talented
Skills: Animal Empathy 8, Autohypnosis 3, Bluff 4, Concentration 8, Diplomacy 4, Disguise 2, Gather Information 4, Intimidate 2, Knowledge (psi) 4, Move Silent 3, Profession (Trader) 4, Psicraft 6, Remote View 6, Ride (horse) 3, Sense Motive 6, Use Psionic Device 3
power points: 39
melee +4, ranged combat +5, Fort Save +3, Ref Save +3, Will Save +6, +1 initiative (Dex bonus)
Psionic Combat Modes: Empty Mind, Intellect Fortress, Mental Barrier, Thought Shield, Tower Of Iron Will; Ego Whip, Id Insinuation, Mind Thrust, Psychic Crush
0 level - Daze, Missive, Telempathic Projection, Control Shadow, Detect Psionics, Inkling; 1st level - Charm Person, Empathy, Lesser Mindlink, Object Reading; 2nd level - Detect Thoughts, Intrusive Sense Link, Sensitivity To Psychic Impressions; 3rd level - Lesser Domination, Mindlink, Remote Viewing; 4th level - Domination, Aura Sight
Special Equipment: Ring of Protection +1, Psicrystal (Quartz, Observant/Sneak, +2 on Spot checks, +2 on Move Silent).
Rigel Maerklos was born of a lesser branch of the family Maerklos in Waterdeep. His birthcries were felt as far away as the Dalelands by telepathically sensitive individuals. However, as all of his family are mages or learned in magic, he is considered a "Black Sheep" among his family- particularly due to his relationship with Wisp.
Due to his unusually strong telepathic birthcry, it was expected that Rigel had a Destiny or would turn out to be a great hero of some sorts. So far, his performance has been disappointingly normal - he hasn't manifested any abilities that one wouldn't expect of a trained telepath of his level. He *has* been attacked by assassins on three occasions, all hired by the same woman if telepathic scans can be trusted. Looking for a mysterious cloaked woman doesn't give him much hope of finding the why or who behind these, and his family has come to the conclusion that it's simply a rival trading family who resents the edge a telepath has in negotiations.
The only thing that stands out about him so far is the bond he forged with Wispara when drow slavers attacked his adventuring party. Even that, however, may have been the working of a magical device the group had found - only to be forced to turn it over to Waterdhavian authorities as it was sufficiently powerful and unknown to attract the attention of the Lords.
He has since met and befriended the priestesses of Elistraee in the Promenade under Waterdeep.
Their rings of protection are a matched set, what the elves refer to as "promise rings" - indicating that they are lifemates or intend to be.

Wispara Deunan, female elf Rog9: Size M (4 ft., 6 in. tall); HD 9d6; hp 32; Init +6 (+2 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+2 Dex); Attack +7/+2 melee, or +10/+5 ranged; SV Fort +2, Ref +10, Will +3; AL CG; Str 12, Dex 14, Con 9, Int 11, Wis 9, Cha 12. Languages Spoken: Common, Elven. Feats: Dodge, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Quick Draw.
Appraise 5, Balance 9, Climb 9, Decipher Script 8, Disable Device 7, Escape Artist 9, Hide 9, Listen 8, Move Silently 10, Open Lock 9, Perform 4, Pickpocket 7, Search 12, Spot 9, Swim 2, Tumble 8, Use Magic Device 7, Use Rope 6, Wilderness Lore 2, Craft: Weaving 8.
Special Equipment: dagger +1/+4 vs tiny; rapier +2; ring of protection +1, leather armor +1
Wispara Deunan is short for an elf, extremely so. She carries herself much larger, for the most part. She is sometimes mistaken for a Tallfellow halfling, to her continual annoyance. Wispara is a refugee from her homeland, though she refuses to talk about it, other than to declaim that it wasn't her fault. Wispara gets along fairly well with the drow priestesses of Elistrae under Waterdeep, though this is mainly on an individual basis.
Wispara's reason for being a bit of an outcast is actually her own birth. It seems her mother wasn't quite faithful to her father, and she is of mixed elf birth. A Sun Elf, but with a trace of Moon Elf in her. As someone shunned by her heritage, Wispara can relate to the good aligned drow of the Promenade.
Wisp is short, slender, blond, blue eyed, fair skinned. She's somewhat jealous of human women (for their height and bustlines mainly), and is fairly possessive and protective towards "her Rigee". Even though she's a Rogue by talent and class, she considers herself a warrior who simply has some skills in other areas.

CAMPAIGN USE: Wisp & Rigel will almost always be encountered together. The two are deeply in love, though Rigel tends to be quieter and easily embarassed by Wisp's open displays of affection. They undertake missions for the Promenade due to friendships with that group, or (as they are trying to establish relations with that group) the Harpers.

Chapter 11
Chapter 13
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