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 Day One, June 6th

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PostSubject: Day One, June 6th   Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:30 pm

Christian didn't like travelling without his armor, which was ironic, considering how seldom he was able to leave New Rome with it. It wouldn't have helped him much in Black Creek, but he couldn't keep it out of his mind that it might have been the difference for Lennie. She hadn't even been under medical care for a whole twenty-four hours yet, and Christian was already back outside of New Rome. The night prior, nearly right after he arrived back home, he'd stopped by The Tipsy Toga to soak his hand in some vodka to disinfect it. After leaving, he'd passed by Aspen, who had confessed some seriously dark matter to him. There could be Romans out here, that needed help. But she said she'd only bring him if he came alone.

That led to here, an early morning rise and a decent drive led them to an unmarked forest. Christian had left his armor back at New Rome, and his pilums with the car. He carried his folding knife, like always, and Lennie's hatchet. It was the farthest thing from Roman to have, but Christian couldn't let it out of his sight. If things didn't get better for Lennie, this could be all he'd have left of her. Even still, there wasn't room to worry about that. There was work to be done. If all of this effort led to even one clue that there were Romans alive from Aspen's quest, it would be worth all the hell it might take to find it.

"Do things look familiar yet?" Christian turned to look at the older girl. He'd never once talked to her outside of New Rome. It was strange, after everything had happened, to have any ties to Aspen Davenport. He realized just how many demons she might be facing, being so close to where her fiance was killed.
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PostSubject: Re: Day One, June 6th   Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:51 pm

It had been a year if not more since the daughter of Bellona had left Camp Jupiter. To be outside again had made her nervous and it made her unsure. Everything looked just as she had last seen it. When she had walked back into camp with blood on her and she had been fairly beat up by it. There were still a few small scars on her body, but they were small and hardly noticeable.

They spent most of the early morning driving to the forest that she had last been in. The area was eerie and almost haunted. It was haunted by the past, it was haunted by the present. Everything about it screamed no to Aspen. Still she got out of the vehicle. Carrying her two imperial gold gladiuses on her back, ready to grab if need be. Aspen Davenport was walking alongside the younger demigod, the whole time walking along the path there was no need in hesitation. There was no need to contemplate where she was. She knew. Aspen Davenport knew this place like the back of her own hand.

Sure some things were a little overgrown, but every part of this forest had shown up in her nightmares. She relived through her whole quest multiple times. They weren't too close yet, but she knew it was coming up. The area where he was killed and she left the rest of them for dead. Sometimes she wondered if those people that killed him were still out here. It made her wonder if they were, if she could kill them all. Or ruin something they loved. The emotions tore away at her as she battled an internal struggle.

The brunette wasn't too keen on being here, but he wanted to see if these people were alive. Aspen was still thinking it was clear they weren't. Even with all the struggles circling around in her head, she couldn't help from thinking of the night Christian walked her home from the bar as he turned to look at her. A lot of that night flooded into her mind which only disoriented her more in the moment.

"This whole place is familiar. It's hard to forget a place that haunts you every night. We aren't close to the spot yet though, it's deeper in." Aspen said with more of a melancholy tone.

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PostSubject: Re: Day One, June 6th   Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:03 pm

A quick survey of the area showed it to be a more wild forest. Very little in the form of human visitation, which wasn't exactly a common thing in California. He wasn't much of a tracker, but he wasn't seeing any signs of human life. A bad sign, if you had to call it a sign of anything. At this point, given all the evidence and time passed, Christian was pretty sure they wouldn't be finding anyone to take home. Still, he had to try. Any Romans that were out there were his people, his and Aspen's. He continued onwards, in the northern direction, that's what he figured the "right" direction was.

Christian hadn't changed his gauze since he'd woken up, and while he was probably due for a change, it was the last thing on his mind. He couldn't help but wonder if it was wrong to ask her to do this. He wasn't asking it for him, and while there was a small chance it might help her find closure, there was a much larger chance it was only going to make her life worse. He paused in his steps, turning to look the older girl over before he spoke.

"You don't have to come." Christian finally made his choice. "If you tell me where it is, I can go on my own." He reached into his pocket, pulling out the keys to the car, and offering them to the girl. He didn't want Aspen to leave, but he could tell this would haunt her, assuming it already wasn't. What good was it to make her suffer over something she couldn't change? They were here now, and if there was something to find, Christian was going to make sure to find it.
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PostSubject: Re: Day One, June 6th   Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:10 pm

The words that came out of his mouth felt like a slap in the face. To insist that she were too weak to do this? At the same time though, she knew he didn't mean it like that. It was just the way she was conditioned to think. The way she was raised. From a young age she was taught if you don't take up the challenge you're weak, if you quit and go back you're weak. In a lot of ways, she felt like she had already been weak, and she wasn't going to let this be another one of those moments.

"No" Aspen said firmly. She took his hand in hers and closed his hand gently back over the keys. "I'm not going back to the car. I said I would do this, so I'm going to do it." She said finding her strength. There wasn't a lot of use with it these, days and she needed to use it more often. Soon she was going to become no better than other members in her family.

She had to be the best of the best and that was final. "This way." Aspen said and she continued to walk on into the forest. After some time they came upon the small clearing. The place didn't look like it had changed at all. It was just as she had remembered it. As her heart began to beat in her chest like crazy she took steps forward. Steps that felt like they took minutes each. As she did it felt as if she was about to experience everything again.

"This is it. Last place I saw our people." She said out loud. The words were hard to get out, but they had to be said. It was the last time she had seen her former fiance, lifeless and gone from the world. Some parts of Aspen felt, she should have just let herself do it instead. She should have been the one to play his role, but she wasn't.

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PostSubject: Re: Day One, June 6th   Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:49 pm

Christian could tell how difficult it was for Aspen to be here, with each step. He understood why. They stood in a graveyard, their own kind had been killed her in bulk. Lives, with friends, family, love, and a lot lost time. It should have bothered Christian a lot more than it did, but what they couldn't fix was not worth holding onto. There was work to be done. If even one Roman life could be saved, or any possessions found, then someone back home could have some ease. What could be done was worth doing, what couldn't be done was not worth embracing. Christian gave Aspen the hand signal to fan out quietly to search the clearing. He was positive if anyone out of the legion knew their signals still, it was her.

He took the outer front edge, fanning trees and surrounding environments. As far as he could see, there were no signs of regular life. He continued to fan out, checking what was around. There was nothing, at least, nothing to give a lead. There were some other ideas in his mind, a few directions to check out. But realistically, he knew there was probably nothing left to find here. He glanced back to Aspen. Who knew what was going through her head at some point.

Christian gave the signal for clear. "I should probably tell you something." Christian opened up. He'd kissed Rowan that one night, and then spent time with her a night since. All that was left in their lives was stress. Still, he felt Aspen deserved to know. "I kissed your sister. The night I came back, when Liam got beaten."
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PostSubject: Re: Day One, June 6th   Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:05 pm

The place seemed like it was ageless. Nothing changing, nothing moving. Almost as if the wind wasn't moving. Only difference? It seemed more vacant than it had been before. She couldn't do much but have her feet planted to the ground and she just looked. She could pin point where everything had happened, luckily with the rain and weather the blood wasn't there to haunt her. It wasn't long before he gave her the signal to fan out. She unsheathed one of her gladius' and began to quietly stalk the one line of trees looking for anything, any clues at all. There didn't seem to be any life.

Aspen had paused a few times thinking she had seen something with the bushes rustling, but with a shake of her head and looking again, there was nothing. She took a few deep breaths in as she slowly began to walk towards Christian. He had given the signal for clear and she gave one back to him. Then she heard the words that no one really wanted to hear. What did he have to tell her? Was it something important? Aspen's mind ran through so many theories as she just stared at him.

When he finally said the words, the daughter of Bellona was frozen for a few seconds, before she could feel her blood begin to boil again. He kissed her sister? Out of everyone at Camp Jupiter, he kissed her sister? It was hard, because at least he was being honest, but it still didn't help the jealousy that ate away at her.

"So, you kissed the less hot version of me?" Aspen said with a bit of anger in her voice. She put her gladius away knowing it was never a good idea to hold weapons when emotionally unsettled. "Did it mean anything to you?" She asked in a softer tone.

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PostSubject: Re: Day One, June 6th   Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:21 pm

Christian's eyes squinted at the demigod. His expression didn't show any inherent emotion, whether it be anger or regret, he was relatively neutral. He didn't expect the topic to be troubling for her, he suspected it would roll off of her like water on a duck's back. He gave her a moment, waiting to see if there was anything else she needed to ask, but it seemed it was the one question that came out on top. "Aspen, you should appreciate your sister more." He made the statement, with Crystal in mind, the sister he would give anything to have back. "After Liam was so close to death. You still have your family. You'd be a lot happier if you took time to remember that." He insisted, still calmly. It was the right thing to do, to tell her.

"Yeah, it did mean something. It meant a lot, actually." Christian tilted his head a little, trying to gauge her reaction. "She wasn't there for me when I needed her. I know. But she did the right thing, it got me clean. I don't understand why this matters to you." He finished. The pair had shared a moment together, long ago. Christian was high on painkillers, Aspen was tipsy on alcohol. Everything about that night had seemed like Aspen considered it as just a clockwork event. Were things changing now?

Just then, a sound rustled in some bushed outside the clearing, then stopped. Christian's demeanor changed instantly. "Come out!" Christian demanded, to the clearing behind Aspen. He still wasn't sure, maybe it was just an animal. His instincts put him on edge, however.
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PostSubject: Re: Day One, June 6th   Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:11 pm

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean it that way. I'm just upset." Aspen said in a soft tone and she couldn't keep her eyes focused on the legacy of Mercury in front of her. It was hard. She could feel a lump in her throat as he mentioned the kiss had meant something. Aspen could feel herself wanting to cry, but she held the tears back. She wasn't going to try in front of him again. That just made her vulnerable.

Being vulnerable to Christian is what landed her with these feelings. Yet the daughter of Bellona didn't regret any moment the two had shared. Except knocking his head into the wall at the hospital.

"Did anything we did mean something to you?" She asked putting herself in a very vulnerable spot. Aspen swore she would have cried if it werent for the rustling of the bushes and Christian yelling. Aspen turned around to see if anyone came out.

The person that came out of the he bush was the last person she thought she would ever see. It was him. It was her deceaaed fiance.

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PostSubject: Re: Day One, June 6th   Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:19 pm

Christian would have been at least somewhat thankful for the distraction, had it been anyone else. Granted, he understood Aspen's pain, losing a loved one and then the addiction. Of course, with this happening, maybe that pain could at least be put to rest. Still, that didn't stop Christian from practicing caution and skepticism. He'd seen dopplegangers before, and plenty of other things that would make someone go mad without proper perception. Given their location, it could just as easy be an illusion of some sort, Christian wasn't willing to leave any stone unturned here. But if it was him, he supposed, it was a good thing.

He almost felt a sense of territorial defense as the man began walking forward, tears in his eyes, towards his fiance. Christian stood guard, waiting for something to go wrong. Surely enough, he reached her and wrapped his arms around her, and Aspen returned the gesture. The moment the two of them were having was clearly an emotional one, and Christian hated to interject. In theory, he could send them off with the keys right now, and they could go home and live happily. Still, he was somewhat well groomed, and that didn't bode well. Where was he this last year and a half?

Christian knew he was being the bad guy here, at least in their eyes, but some questions needed to be asked. Christian removed his handcuffs from his belt, holding them forward. "I have reason to believe a questioning is due. I need you to put these on. When you two are done." Christian asserted. Surely, they could at least have the moment. He gave Aspen a look. He could only imagine what was going on with her right now.
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PostSubject: Re: Day One, June 6th   Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:44 pm

Aspen couldn't move. She was tethered to the ground and held there in shock. Almost as if her feet and the ground were magnetic. Was he even real? Was she delusional? Was this really happening? Or was this some kind of weird dream she was having and in a few moments she'd wake up and be alone in her room. He started to walk towards her and she still wasn't able to move.

As he was about to wrap his arms around her she flinched a little. She had some caution and reason to believe it possibly wasn't him. It was possible this was a trick, but once his arms were around her, all sense of caution ceased. Aspen's arms wrapped around her fiance almost as if she were on autopilot. There were so many questions in her head, but only one kept surfacing over and over. Why didn't he say something sooner? The feeling of betrayal was rooted deep inside the daughter of Bellona. She didn't feel like she could trust this guy, but yet how do you say that to someone who had been gone for a year and a half? Someone she had genuine feelings for regardless? Also what continued to be on her mind, was the fact Christian was here. Christian was here to see this, and she cared deeply for him.

She didn't want to ruin anything with him. She felt happy with him, she felt like she was at least getting there. Aspen had fun with the legacy of Mercury and she could feel the connection. The connection she wanted to see through.

When she heard him speak up she pulled away slightly to look up at her fiance, "He's right. You showing up after a year and a half after being pronounced dead doesn't look right. It'll be okay though." Aspen said rubbing her thumb gently on his forearm. "I understand." He replied and that was the first time Aspen had heard his voice in over a year. She slowly withdrew herself from him. "I just need a minute." The brunette said as tears began to roll down her face. She had a mixture of emotions. She wanted to cry, she wanted to yell, she wanted to hug him, but she couldn't really do either except the first one.

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PostSubject: Re: Day One, June 6th   Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:33 pm

Christian clasped his forearm into the cuff, and then locked the other arm into the other side, placing him firmly in the hold. On the off chance he tried to run, he wouldn't get far. On the off chance he tried to fight, he'd only have his legs. "Believe me, it isn't exactly the most attractive option to me to lock you up, I know you used to be important to the legion." Christian opened up, not that formalities or tactics mattered at this point. This man already knew all of them.

Christian eyed Aspen, who had been withdrawing. Maybe it was best for her to be away during this. Christian had no way to tell which way this was going to go, but beyond this man's story, Christian had something else much more on his mind. "Our other people. Do you know where they are? I need you to give me a re-account of the events that happened a year and a half ago." Christian wondered how much he would confess. Would he really be able to admit Aspen had given them up in order to save them? Christian mused that it wasn't likely. Even still, honor was the last thing on his mind. He needed to find his people.
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PostSubject: Re: Day One, June 6th   Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:08 am

The older male nodded his head and allowed himself to be cuffed. "Like I said I understand. I would do the same thing." He said sympathizing a bit with the situation. He knew it wasn't the ideal situation. A legionnaire pronounced death is suddenly alive after a year and a half. He had a lot to explain, some of it he wasn't sure he could. He wasn't even sure what to tell Aspen, but he knew she had questions, and he knew she was mad at him.

When the other question came up about the other people he sighed. He knew the answer, but he also knew Aspen probably didn't want to know. This day was already hard enough. But he had to do what was right and what duty and protocol called for. "I am not too sure of where they are at this precise moment. They're alive too. Not all of them made it, but there's at least three or four of them. Last I saw them they were out of state, I don't have coordinates or anything. It's hard to even remember it all to be honest." He said with a bit of a somber tone in his voice. His eyes shifted to Aspen, she still wasn't looking at him. He couldn't blame her though.

"I think it's best if we talk somewhere else about this. We aren't in the safest area, and I think being here and me being here is hard enough on Aspen, I don't want to talk through everything that's happened right now in front of her." He said speaking softly.

Aspen was a little angered at what he had said. As if she had to be some protected person from everything. She just shook her head and wiped away the tears that had rolled down her face and she turned to face him. "Don't do me any favours." With that Aspen turned on her heel and she began to make her way out of the forest. "Just heading back to the car." She mumbled under her breath as she continued to walk off towards it.

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PostSubject: Re: Day One, June 6th   Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:33 pm

Christian watched the exchange between the two, and was grateful that he wasn't either one of them. He could only imagine what it was like to be Aspen right now. He was surprised at the amount of objectivity she was still carrying. He wasn't sure that if he was in her shoes, that he'd be able to handle himself the same way. He supposed there was a reason to be suspicious of the whole thing. If it ever seemed like it was too good to be true, it always was. "Aspen." He called for her, digging the keys out of his pocket. He tossed them to her, trusting her instincts to catch it. She was always ready for anything.

"Hard to remember?" Christian echoed, after Aspen has began to walk away. "We'll be safe long enough for you to at least answer the basics. If something more important than our people being taken has happened, I need to know about that too. I need to know that now." Christian finished. He rotated around the demigod, looking to face him head on. "Sooner this is done, the sooner we can go back. Your parents are gonna be excited to see you."
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PostSubject: Re: Day One, June 6th   Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:21 am

Aspen heard her name as she was walking away and she extended her hand out to catch the keys as she began to walk through the forest to get back to the car. She just didn't want to be in that area anymore, and she didn't want to be treated like a charity case. It was a hard thing to process. He was still alive. He had been alive this whole time. Yet she remembered clearly seeing his lifeless body. She just wasn't sure how any of this added up. The tears still kept trickling down her face. She could feel a heavy weight sitting in her chest. It felt like with every step she took it only tightened. The daughter of Bellona was getting closer to the end of the forest. Aspen leaned herself up against a tree unable to continue walking for the moment. Her back was up against the bark, but she slid down into a sitting position bringing her knees up to her chest and she couldn't help but cry harder.

Meanwhile, Alexander was looking at Christian. He kept asking questions and demanded that there be answers. He was silent and he just shook his head. "A lot has happened. I didn't get exact locations on things, I have a decent memory I would probably know it if I saw it. Like I said I think only three or four survived. I think they were taken in by some nice people. I'm not positive. That's all the information I know. "

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