"The Color of Change Entertains Thee with a Glittering Coat of Gold."
What would have taken a normal human easily at least a month of travel Aes had finished in a mere few seconds. When out of sight of Ue'cvis and checking to ensure there were no prying eyes she raised a hand up to the right side of her head to touch her own black antler. Then the world seemed to crack like glass to her vision as she could see thousands if not millions of veins running through the ground and sky. Some as pale as the moon, some as black as the vastness of space, and all colors in between. The images of thousands of locations were clearly shown with each and every vein, a testament to rifts used in the past to traverse long distances. Having to size down her search she cleared her mind aside from thoughts of humans. Thousands turned to hundreds as she only saw the veins connecting to the higher concentrations of human life, kingdoms. A sigh of clear nostalgia was all she allowed herself of past memories before reaching out to grab a random vein. The cracked glass look of the world faded as Aes felt herself be ripped apart and reassembled elsewhere, her thoughts wondering why no humans used this method.
As her vision returned she could see that the location she was brought to was a cliff overlooking a city below. Compared to Ue'cvis this city could be considered warm, although the melting of snow signaled it recently faced snowfall. Surrounding this city was a simple and somewhat short wall made from nothing more than odd luminescent purple gemstones. The buildings right behind the wall of crystal resembled towering spires of blue and purple tinted stone. At the top of each of these spires Aes could see large orbs, a beam of light shooting up into the sky from each of these orbs. Wanting to investigate this civilization further Aes hopped down from the cliff she stood only to see there was no ground at her feet to land on. 'Oh...floating islands, now that's obscure.' She thought to herself as she plummeted through the sky.
Reaching to her hair she casually removed a quill and then threw it to impale into the floating landmass that held the city. Then with a simple chant to herself she stopped plummeting to instead shoot through the sky toward her removed quill. Upon reaching it she then climbed by using the quill as a makeshift ice pick, grabbing a second quill as the need arose. When finished with her climb she approached the wall of gems with her eyes full of curiosity and wonder as to what purpose it served. With a simple touch of the wall the crystals hummed with the feeling of arcane energy within, enough to say whoever made this clearly was adept in its enchantment. Curious of the city beyond Aes simply stabbed her quill into the wall to climb up to peer over and see what sort of city was before her very eyes.
The overall flow of the city was immediately striking, past the spires the buildings all seemed short and simple. Although as her eyes looked forward Aes saw the buildings slowly get taller and more ornate. The first few buildings seemed to be just one room homes made from simple carved stones, making artificial caves. Then slowly as if in a display of human evolution the buildings grew taller and more elegant. Some of wood, some marble, and some just so many materials they resembled stained glass. Then at the very center there stood a twenty story tall chapel of some kind, a large silver moth placed at the very top. It's material having a silvery shine but the main color being almost too pure to be normal marble stone. With a simple twitch of her eyes Aes could see the building humming with purple lines of energy, likely the chapel was being used as a conduit of some kind for the spires.
Satisfied with her examinations Aes placed a hand on the admittedly small wall's railing near the top to heave herself over the edge. The fall after such was little more than ten feet, Aes guessed even a Human could survive this rather easily. Although accompanying her entry was the sound of a loud bell clanging from seemingly within one of the spires accompanied by loud clinking footsteps and hushed whispers. 'Oh, it's an alarm then.' Aes thought to herself with a giggle as she adjusted her cloak slightly to look more presentable.
Then the humans were before her, nine in total, each one armored in dull glowing crystalline armaments. Underneath the plates of gem armor Aes could see they wore rather thick fabric bodysuits of bright warm colors. The combination of purple with red, orange, or yellow made the people stick out but clearly go nicely along with the mismatched buildings of the city. Although she'd never be caught dead wearing such a boldly colored armor herself. Being so focused on the armor Aes didn't even care to take note of their weapons until a spear was thrust toward her throat, only to be swatted away with a flick of her wrist.
"Slay the monster men!" One of the guards shouted.
'Maybe it should just be black for the bodysuit or some kind of matching purple? No I suppose too much purple and they will just look like a smear of purple...then again that's better than this mess.' Aes thought to herself while moving a hand to her chin, a hand which was oddly on fire at the moment.
"Sir, it's not working!" Another human shouted.
"Get a mage! Get a mage right now!" Some other colorful stain of a person responded.
'Oh oh! It should be a change of the gem itself maybe.' Aes smiled as she pondered just making the gem armor itself a less outwardly obnoxious color. 'No on second thought it should just compliment the purple. Yellow is especially a no.'
"Burn it to cinders men!"
Aes could swear she heard someone shouting, but too absorbed in her thinking she reached out to tear the chest-plate of one of the humans off to examine the purple gem closely. There was in fact small veins of blues and green tones running throughout the purple. 'Oh their like an entire rainbow. That's cute. Well back to the matter at hand for now.' She could vaguely hear someone screaming as she casually threw aside the chestpiece. When looking around herself she walked over the nearest human, who was currently pointing a simple straight sword at her as she approached, then grabbed him by the collar of his armor. The feeling of a sword stabbing through her lower stomach was obvious but Aes simply ignored it before giving the armored man a gentle smile.
"Would you happen to have a ruler of some kind or government body which runs things in any sort of form? A council perhaps? Flying cities always have councils in my experience for some reason."
"Uh...w-well I don't know." The guard stammered out.
"No need to worry I shall simply look around then. Also have you considered a new outfit? Your armor is very...hard to look at due to my personal taste in coloring."
"Can I please be put down…?"
"Yes yes, sorry about that."
Aes smirked as she placed the guardsmen down gently and thought to herself that he was far less interesting than the last guardsmen she had met. Whatever his name was Aes had forgotten and found herself absorbed in thought for a few more minutes as the many armored humans departed and gave up on their odd way of greeting someone new to a city. The streets then slowly filled with the citizens of this city in the sky, Aes spent at least a solid minute just staring at them as they walked by. The style of the people in whatever place this was clearly caught her interest, each one with very few exceptions wore brightly colored robes that seemed to both hug the body and elegantly flow out around the skirt and sleeve areas. The art upon each one looked obviously personalized as images of stylized scenery, animals, or even beings of which Aes could only guess existed popped onto each piece of attire. Her staring soon led her to exploration of the city that led her to watching through a window of pink glass to see one of these robes still being created by who she assumed was the shop owner. The process of creation made Aes have to sit and examine in order to commit this to memory.
From what Aes could see there were clearly rectangular segments of silk-like fabric and crystals laid out for use when melding it all together. The fabric in general looked to be laid out in a T shape to start off with before slowly the tailor used the crystal gems to connect the many square segments in such a way it resembled multiple section of folded paper, it even partly resembled a bird in flight by the time the many square were assembled. Slowly this bird shape turned from a flat two dimensional image into a three dimensional model until the many crystal shined brilliantly with a rainbow of both warm and cool colors. With gentle and practiced hands the tailor then began making small adjustments until this bird slowly looked like an owl calmly looking out into the world. The light then settled into a reddish purple, the owl turning to have dark violet feathers with a few bright pink ones. Aes giggled loudly as she saw the fabric and gem owl even spread it's wings and move on it's own until then it just unfolded itself into a perfectly usable robe. The tailor then examined the robe and then tapped it with a single finger, causing a hood and extra cloak to appear around the neck of the attire. As if testing it she then slipped the newly made clothing on after undressing.
With a clearly genuine smile at the gaining of knowledge Aes reached out to open the door and walk into the shop herself. As her eyes examined the clearly female tailor she began to question what traits were normal at all with humans. While most humans had reasonably short hair compared to her own this tailor had long hair that surpassed even Aes' in length as it dragged along the ground behind her as she turned to look at Aes. Multiple golden combs seemed stuck in her hair but did little to restrict the many crashing waves of hair as it also seemed to have two long strands in the front that went down to her ankles. The color of this mass of hair was clearly a light mix of green with hints of blue to create some color resembling teal, despite this the color dipped far into blue every so often.
The tailor's eyes meanwhile were also notably abnormal to Aes' expectations. Her pupils were notably reptilian in shape and also bright colored to the point they shined brightly. The main color was obviously a golden tone of yellow while the eye also had swirls of blues and reds to create a gleaming vortex look to her eyes. Her skin by comparison was far less interesting to Aes as it was more or less just a brown toned version of Arikern's skin in some spaces with multiple patches of more pale skin to contrast the brown to the point she resembled a patchwork doll. Despite this the sight of a few scales did make her look far more interesting to Aes. The scales only appeared in small patches around her neck and one cheek but their colors were notable as being eye catching due to the fact they were seemingly each resembling a topaz gemstone. By comparison the robe almost looked dull to her large amount of colors which slightly hurt Aes' eyes now that she took the time to examine each vivid feature closely. The tailor then spoke without any fear clearly and instead with a tone that rang out with obvious passion to the point she sounded ready to burst into song at a moment's notice.
"Ah! You're quite the tall one aren't you? I'll have to make my door bigger, no no I can do that later. What do you eat? NOT IMPORTANT! Let's get to measurements, gosh I love you already!" She pulled out a white tree branch and took one of Aes' hands to begin measure it in her own unusual way.
"You're certainly more open than the guards. But if there is one thing I can appreciate it is passion for one's craft. All I ask in return are some simple questions of your people here. Do we have a deal?" Aes asked with a smile.
"Yeah uh-huh anything you want to know!"
Thus Aes had learned for the most part just general information about this flying city. Among this information she learned this place was known simply as Decreux, as well as that this was once the center of trade and travel for a far more vast empire in the past. Then her questions grew far less important and more just for directions to where everything is in the city so that Aes could walk around with some amount of direction.
"Well if you want to really learn about us you could stay for the festival of crossing over." The tailor began as she also tried reaching up to measure Aes' horns. "I'm sure it would be interesting for someone as curious as you!" Aes knelt down as the tailor finished speaking.
"I suppose I'll be requiring something more than this ragged travel cloak, if only there were a clothing store nearby."
"Ah I gotcha, wink." The tailor then closed one eye after the other.
"Yes, wink indeed." Aes repeated the tailor's action as a show of good faith. "May I know your name before I trust you with this task?"
"Sol'hamingju. You can just call me Sol for short though, its much easier to say!"
"You may just refer to me as Aes then."
Aes pondered the name Sol in her mind while the woman went to work measuring and at times grabbing sheets of crystalline fabric to fold around Aes. The lack of conversation allowed Aes to then ponder other, more pressing, matters in her mind. 'Why have a city in the sky away from the rest of humanity?' 'Should I check under the earth for humans as well?' 'What could they be celebrating at this festival of crossing over?' 'Should I send this city crashing down to the ground below?' 'Should I ask for this outfit in purple?' All of these pressing questions danced around in her mind as she sat. Finally she came to an answer for at least one question.
"Sol, I'm thinking purple."
"Really? I was thinking something more golden and white to accentuate your radiance!" While saying this Sol tossed out a handful of sparkling gems no bigger than blades of grass that got stuck in her hair on their descent down.
"Radiance huh? That's new. I like that actually. Yeah let's go with this 'radiant' look."
At some point during her waiting Aes had closed her eyes and drifted off into the deepest form of meditation she knew of, also known as sleeping. When her eyes opened however she was now wearing an outfit that snugly hugged her body like a blanket but still flowed out elegantly. Her previous cloak was clearly incorporated into the overall look as she now had a bright white cloak that went up high enough it covered her mouth with the collar. The new cloak also had the smallest golden trim along it's edge. The main body of the cloak meanwhile had a very clear golden sun in view with what looked like a few small owls fluttering away from the sun itself. Below the sun Aes could make out an oddly familiar city carried upon the back of a larger Urukin. The details down to the architecture being notably impossible for human minds to comprehend the construction methods was entertaining to her.
"How do you know what Gaia'lazerga looks like?"
"Your memories said you saw it as your home." Sol answered while hanging upside down from the ceiling of her store. "Oh sorry about the owls! I had my last work in my head."
Aes gave Sol a simple nod before her eyes went to looking below the cloak as she swept it aside. Underneath the cloak Aes could see one of the folded robes Sol herself was currently wearing, although its shape was oddly rounded in a few lower sections compared to Sol. With a shrug she assumed it was due to her height and needing more room to ensure the garment's strength. Among the sleeves of her robe she could feel a layer of feathers of some kind which were oddly comfortable.
"I'm surprised a human could gaze into my mind at all, not even mentioning doing it and remaining sane. Still this craftsmanship is impressive, surprising even considering it took you just a few hours."
"Deadlines do breed quick creativity after all." Sol chuckled to herself before continuing. "Besides we should get going if we're going to make it to the festival grounds."
With all the grace she could muster Aes stood to do a flourish of her arm and offer her hand out to Sol. The pair when joining hands then ventured out into the city of Decreux. The packed streets were lined with decorations depicting a variety of flowers sprouting from the branches of miniature trees lining the buildings. The many colors of the buildings was neither outshone or triumphant over the floral arrangements. Instead the flowers fulfilled whatever colors were absent from the buildings they decorated. Much like the guardsmen armor the city stung Aes' eyes at her first glance although slowly she began to appreciate everything not looking dull to her vision. The sight made her look in disdain at the image of her home due to the difference in coloration and wonder about decoration ideas for her homeland.
Her thoughts were only interrupted when Sol suddenly pulled her along toward a collection of brightly colored tents from which the scent of alien foods were both obvious and tempting. The sights were filled with humans with oddly reptilian wings flying through the air and tossing down sugary treats to the crowd below. Every few seconds one of the flying humans did a twirl in the air or elegantly flowed through the air to avoid a collision just close enough to make one wonder if it was planned or improvised to show their skill. The patch-like skin and scales were familiar enough Aes could see the connection and discretely scanned over Sol's back for a bump or any hints of wings. She saw nothing to say Sol had wings, nor could she see anyone else in the crowd who had her traits but lacked wings. With just a slight pang of empathy Aes reached out to pat Sol's head before speaking.
"Your imperfections only prove your qualities to be special."
"A bit cliché although yes I agree entirely!" She joyfully responded with a slight hop.
"You're still more interesting looking than most of these humans." Aes remarked.
"Ah yes...about that." For once Sol's cheer was oddly lacking. "Human would be a bit inaccurate to both me and those above. They are Va'sharen. Full dragons when they wish to transform and become one. I'd say their thousands of years old at least." Her eyes looked away from Aes after she responded.
"And you are?" Aes asked without hesitation.
"Somewhere in-between according to my findings. I can't transform as far as I know. It's a grim subject about my birth I'd rather we more focus on you enjoying learning for now...excuse me for a moment."
"Of course." Aes said stoically as she looked over at the falling confectioneries.
Only when Sol'hamingju walked away to head over to a pile of fallen treats did Aes feel guilt due to bringing up the Va'sharen in the first place. The joy of gained knowledge helped to dull the guilt however and she decided it was best to just give her some space. 'I suppose I still can make errors in communicating with other races...just when I thought I had it down too.' She thought to herself grimly. She only let her mood dampen for a moment before suddenly the tent darkened to the point it was pitch-black darkness, luckily her eyes adjusted within a few seconds.
In the darkness she saw all of the flying Va'sharen, whether their scales were purest white or a brilliant single shade of a specific color, fly underneath a massive collection of silver fabric just dull enough it didn't shine or create light. As they filled out out the fabric it became obvious it was a large robe and they made themselves stand, a simple and featureless black mask covering the one hole of the robe where a face would be. As each of the Va'sharen spoke their voices combined in a powerful combination of vocals that spoke in perfect sync. Aes assumed it helped they were all female from what she saw of them as they flew.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, you have come for a show and a show you shall get! One like never before...shall be brought before your very eyes." The tent suddenly flashed as the many scales underneath the robe shimmered bright enough the fabric glowed with all the colors of the rainbow. "Now behold, for the one and only time one of you shall join the stage with us!"
At the sound of this announcement Aes looked around to the see the many gathered members of humanity looking to grin with clear excitement as their focus stared at the now glittering robe. All except one of course. Sol currently looked to be somberly eating some kind of gelatinous treat with a look that showed a clear malice Aes would never have guessed to see after seeing her pure joy earlier in the day. What it was Sol particularly felt hatred toward Aes could look over what little she knew of her and guess, she absently hoped it wasn't due to her questioning. It was only when Aes noticed a collection of glittering lights surrounding her that she tore her attention away from Sol.
"You there, You shall be part of this night of unbridled passions! Under this moonlit waltz you shall be one of us. Wing to wing and heart to heart you shall be a dragon of our flock. We shall be as kin stranger, now come join us in our sweet revelry!" The voice of the Va'sharen announced while the robe lowered and the mask split open cleanly.
Behind the mask Aes could see to her surprise not a mass of the many Va'sharen who went inside the robe to fill it in the first place but instead a swirling vortex of colors in the most base of a being's core, a soul. The lack of a corporeal form made Aes have to sate her curiosity and reach out a hand toward the vortex in her effort. Her senses tingled for just a moment and then she realized this was a ritual she had only seen a few times in her journey. As the crowd looked on in awe Aes smiled slightly as she reached her hand within the vortex, feeling the excitement of the many Va'sharen as they then tried to enter into her being and combine with her soul. Their intentions were clear as for just a moment she could see, feel, and understand every emotion each Va'sharen had at one point of their lives. They were all as one in the spiritual sense, although she frowned slightly as she stared down at the palm of her hand.
Within their memories she could see the slaughtering of an entire people. She could feel the sorrow in each of their hearts as she recognized the shapes of giant figures invading a city in the sky. The slight blur and lack of detail in the memory was enough to tell Aes this must have been passed on from lifetimes ago. These were in fact the last members of their people, but freshest of all the emotions she felt was an arrogant disgust in the same tailor who made the clothes Aes now wore.
"The final fragments of a race deserving of death...how odd. Yes I know you all quite well, Another Urukin helped end your ancestors in fact. You are no more dragons than serpents. With how few of you there are you still turned away one of your own due to her parenthood. Even those before you could see the value in a creative mind. Such wasted potential. Just like the very winged fools you descend from you've made me feel something I hate to feel. Disappointment." Aes said with obvious hatred in her voice.
For the first time in nearly a century Aes felt genuine anger. Her very bones seemed to shiver in rage as she formed in her hand a collection of solid gray fog that twinkled with just the slightest of color every few seconds. It was then that she closed her eyes and forcibly removed the many souls of the Va'sharen and forced them into the mist she made in her hand. As each one exited her body she ensured to remove their memories to just make them twinkles of light in her hand. They were then entirely formless and without bodies. They even lacked memories to the point they didn't know why they even existed to only instead be jumbles of emotions without memories attached.
After opening her eyes the mist turned into a solid gemstone that constantly shifted in color. Aes felt herself calm down and then looked to see the many confused faces of the humans who had been waiting to see a new dragon. Ignoring each of them Aes simply walked toward Sol and held out the gemstone she had just made. To Aes' surprise she smiled and then quickly took it before devouring it. Her own scales then began to constantly shift in color as she stood and a pair of ethereal wings formed, made from what Aes assumed was the very formless thing Aes had turned the many Va'sharen into. Although from what Aes had learned from the Va'sharen the humans of this world just called this jumble of emotions Mana. Sol began laughing loudly as she quickly grabbed Aes' hand and the two walked out of the colorful tents of the festival. The many humans who tried to stop the two of them were simply knocked unconscious by Aes with a quick punch or outright incinerated by Sol's wings with a quick impalement of the Mana based instruments. When outside it was then that Aes giggled slightly at this unexpected side of Sol'hamingju. Sol was then the first to speak, sounding as bubbly and joyful as when she was making a robe for Aes just earlier that day.
"This feels...different. It is the passion of a new creation but it's so very...overwhelming. Their sorrow is elegant to the point I am overflowing with emotion. I could just tear the entire world asunder and still seek more destruction. It is beautiful in it's futility...it is inspiring." She once again let out a joyous laughter.
"Well it seems a Urukin before me had missed a few of the race they were testing. Not to mention they were so absorbed in their views of themselves as superior it made me quite angry. I am biased in this case, it was selfish of me to rework them in such a way. However I see it as fair they find a new home as stepping stones for something more than them. Someone more than them. Your mind is clearly quite nice after all." Aes slowly began to wonder to herself the new possibilities of testing using Sol.
"Gazing into your memories may have changed me after all...or perhaps it is these emotions. I feel the need for new experiences more than ever before. I require more inspiration. I must draw, paint, write, sing, dance, do all there is that can express an artistic soul." The twinkle of inspiration shined brightly in Sol's eyes.
"Oh no." Aes giggled. "You did not change. You merely spread your wings and perhaps gained some insight from my memories. But what will you do first now that you are the last Va'sharen?" Aes asked gently while leaning toward Sol.
"Hm...I will paint a wonderful picture fit to be put onto the greatest fabric." Sol said with a slight hesitation at the nearness of Aes.
"May I suggest one of calamity?" Aes offered while motioning a hand to the city around them, then even pointing to the spires directly before continuing. "A thing is only beautiful because it is temporary after all. Why should your painting be any different? Why should the world be any different?" She spoke just loud enough to echo into Sol's ear.
Aes did not need to wait for a response as she reached up to her black antler and gently rubbed it for a moment. As the world cracked like glass she could see a broken reflection of a city falling from the heavens. Even as it plummeted she could see sight of the many bright flames and almost hear the enraptured song of inspired laughter. She then smiled as she grabbed one of the veins of the world she could see it and tore it open to form a rift. It was then in just a moment that the shining comet of a city would fall to land near the silent city of Ue'cvis. As she influenced where the city of Decreux would land Aes mumbled to herself.
"There that should give the wolf something to sharpen his fangs on...I do hope you'll show me the limits of human ability. Ari..oh what was his name again…?" It was then that Aes was gone, moving onto the next location for her testing.