lol, so this is my first Vindictus fanfiction. I'm not that far into the game to know much about its history and the locales, so I'm just getting most of this from general knowledge (and also the Vindictus Wiki, hahahaha).

Just for the holiday spirit, here's a sweet LannxEvie fanfic for all (I am definitely glad to know I'm not the only LannxEvie shipper around these parts). Just a twelve word prompt my best friend thought of, since I was suffering from Writer's Block and whatnot lolololol.

So now, enjoy. I present to you, Twelve Times We Came Together. Merry Christmas to you all, and to all a happy new year.

1. Quiet

When all was done, and the festivities were over, the residents of Colhen all filed back inside their homes, as the snow blanketed over the ground. Everything was silent and calm, and the view of the town's tree, lit up with candles and decorated with crystals, standing lonely in the center square…it was picturesque. All seemed quiet. Almost.

The familiar black-haired mage sat gently at the edge of her fellow warrior's mattress, the young man's short, ash blonde hair tousled and mussed up from tossing and turning in his sleep. She gently brushed away the messy strands with deft fingers, then sat up and pulled an Erg Crystal out of her pocket. Cupping the cold stone in her hands, the crystal glowed white and shimmered away, leaving behind a crystalline figure in the shape of mistletoe. The mage carefully held it up in front of her, then leaned down to her fellow warrior. She leaned in, and her tender lips pressed gently against his. Not a sound was made, and everything was as is.

The following morning, when everyone was tearing apart their presents, eager to find a shiny shield under all that wrapping, or opening a box filled with five jugs of strawberry brandy, or finding a measly frost stone inside a dented tin box, the blonde young man sat in bed, wondering if an angel kissed him last night.

2. Enticing

Romance flitted through the air as Colhen was engulfed by the waves of fluff and happiness that morning. Aislinn was handing out free jugs of her "special" strawberry brandy, claiming the fire spirit remnant sitting at the bottom of the jug worked well to "warm people up" that night. Clodagh was trotting around the general store, hanging up pink and red curtains, embroidered with hearts made of golden spider silk thread. Gallagher was sitting in front of the mercenary outpost, telling the recruits to go look for a "heart-shaped booby carp", then proceeded to sit back and laugh, counting the coins he earned from selling his overpriced fishing tickets.

Lann thought it was going to be another uneventful Valentine's Day, idly staring down at the sack of enhancement stones he received from Karok, then at the crude-looking Sarghamiu nose ring that Fiona shoved into his hand as they were exchanging gifts. He ran a hand through his short hair, cringing as he remembered what he himself got his friends: both two jugs of Aislinn's brandy that he ran to get upon remembering it was Valentine's Day. Counting the number of stones in Karok's sack, it came to his attention that the last member of their little band of buddies was missing; even more so that he had forgotten to get her a gift too.

Before he even moved an inch, there was already the telltale giggle of the female mage. When his crisp blue eyes looked up, they almost jumped out of their sockets. Evie grinned down at the warrior, looking absolutely festive in Wonderland wear, dyed red and white. The young blonde's jaw dropped, until Evie shoved a chocolate-covered strawberry in his mouth and laughed.

"I hope you like it! I made these myself." Lann stared with awe-filled eyes as Evie bent down in front of him, showing him a platter of plump strawberries covered in chocolate…as well as very, very bare cleavage. His cheeks turned pink, and he could only muffle a chuckle, the strawberry still sitting between his lips. "Do you know where the other two went? I haven't seen them all day, and I wanted to let them taste these!" The black-haired mage picked one of the berries and placed between her lips, biting it off slowly, the chocolate and the juices smearing on her lips. Lann almost groaned. "Well, I guess I'll see ya later, Lann. Happy Valentine's Day!" The mage turned and began to skip off, before tripping and falling face forward, and giving Lann an enticing view of whatever it was underneath that incredibly miniscule dress.

It took him about five seconds to get to his senses, wipe his nose, and swallow his strawberry before running over to help up the girl.

3. Pompous

"Do I really have to wear this?" The young blonde squirmed uncomfortably as he stared at himself in the mirror.

"Yes, you lost the bet, so you have to wear my latest creation!" Clodagh cackled and waved her arms as she spun around the brightly dressed Lann. He focused his vision on his reflection, sourly taking in the dark, light, and neon greens that adorned the Sharpshooter set that Kirstie gave to Clodagh. "Don't you look wonderful?" Clodagh giggled and pinched Lann's cheek.

Lann swatted her away and rubbed his sore face. "I look ridiculous! I look like a-"

"-Leprechaun! Exactly!" Lann groaned at the girl.

"I know you said you'd dye it for free, but this isn't what I was expecting." He turned to glare at the girl, the usually serious warrior looking absolutely comical in the bright green armor.

"But you know the rules, Lann; all dyeing is completely random!" The brunette smirked at him. "And since this was free on my behalf, you're going to have to pay me double if you wanna dye it again. Now, I don't think you have enough money after running back and forth from here to Ferghus's place, delivering all those expensive brandies…" She waved a teasing finger at him.

Lann let out a defeated sigh. "…Let's just get this over with before I rip this up and spend the day walking around in my underwear."

"…What in the world are you wearing?" Tieve looked up in confusion at the green Lann, while Clodagh simply patted him on the back with a grin.

"You guys like my latest fashion design? It's in honor of St. Patrick's Day!" The group situated at the inn's dining room could barely hold their laughter.

Karok burst into laughter, nearly toppling his stack of pancakes. The blonde oracle covered her face in embarrassment.

"I think he looks like a freak." Fiona blandly replied, sipping her coffee idly. Lann frowned, and looked like he was about to go storm off.

"I think he looks cute." His head shot up at the words, and Evie modestly stood up with a grin. "You're going to be my lucky charm today." She tapped his nose gently, making the taller man flush. "I have a feeling we're going to find something good in the dungeons today. Let's go!" Evie giggled and took his hand, pulling him out the door, leaving everyone speechless.

"…That was oddly cute." Tieve smiled.

"Well, at least I know someone liked my design!"

4. Devilish

"Gallagher, why the hell would you spike the punch?" Kirstie glared at the offensive-looking man, who only shrugged.

"This lame party needed a kick in the ass. You can thank me now." The redhead only gaped her jaw, before stomping away, crushing his foot in the process.

"TIME TO SPIN THE BOOOOOOOOTLE!" The two cringed at the sound of Clodagh's ringing through the lounge of the inn, and quickly scurried over.

"Why did you mix all our brandy into the fruit punch, Gallagher? Look at poor Lann, I think he's drunk now…" Tieve glared at the scummy man, before turning to where the dual wielding man sat in their little circle on the floor. Currently, he was giggling and rolling around in a ball, talking absolute nonsense about gnolls and goblins having tea.

Everyone came to attention as the sound of glass clanking onto the floor was heard through the room. The brunette "Fomor fashionista" giggled at everyone. "Now it's time for spin the bottle! Of course, I stole this bottle from Aislinn…like I did with all that strawberry brandy, but don't tell her that, okay?" Tieve only groaned and covered her face. The black-haired mage meekly smiled and eagerly settled in. Karok chuckled, holding steady his dual wielding friend, while Fiona sit rock still, a stoic expression on her face.

"This could only be bad…" Kirstie murmured.

Marrec and Brynn huffed next to each other, while Clodagh held the bottle down and stared at everyone, a demonic glint making its presence in her eyes. "I spin first!"

Twisting her hand, the glass bottle spun quickly for seconds, until it slowed down. Its neck pointed to the black-haired mage. "Me…?" Evie looked up at Clodagh with confused eyes.

"Now spin the bottle and see who your partner is!" She smirked and leaned in.

Quickly, the girl grabbed the bottle with nimble fingers and gave it a twirl, and everyone leaned in just like Clodagh to see who it would land on. They all looked up at where the neck pointed, where the blonde dual wielder was simply chewing on his middle finger, making groaning noises.

"Okay, now into the closet you two!" Clodagh grinned and pulled up Evie and Lann, the mage who was blinking in surprise, and the warrior who was snickering to himself like an idiot.

"Clodagh, wait-" The door slammed on both of them, the darkness overwhelming her and the young man. The closet was stuffy and tight, and she could almost smell Lann's brandy breath.

"Seven minutes starts now!" The fashionista's voice seemed muffled from behind the door. Evie simply sighed and tried to make herself comfortable. The silence became unbearable, and her cheeks flushed from being in such close proximity with the blonde swordsman.

Suddenly, his voice cracked the quiet.

"…Hey Evie, can I try something?" The sincerity and calmness in his voice became surprising after seeing him drunk on the spiked punch.

"Yeah…sure. What do you want to do?" Warm hands settled on her cheeks, and soon enough she felt a pair of soft lips pressing against her own.

Safe to say, those seven minutes passed very quickly.

5. Flower

"Lann! Please just come back to Colhen! It's my birthday today, and I don't want you to work! Please, can you do it for-" She squealed and fell backward as an arrow nearly pierced her, before one of her fellow mercenaries kicked it into a nearby stalagmite. "Lann! Listen to me!" She pouted, her messages not reaching through the loud commotion happening inside the majestic ice cave.

Apparently, it seemed Lann was more devoted to his dreams of paradise, that he'd forgo spending the day off with Evie and the others for her birthday. But she was determined to stop that and not let her special day go to waste without everyone she cared for safely by her side. Even if that meant chasing after him during a polar bear raid.

"Lann! Stop it! Come back here!" She growled and focused her energy on her staff, ready to shoot an icicle at the ignorant dual wielder. Suddenly, the ground shook and she nearly stumbled, hearing an incredible roar echo across the cold caverns, and quickly the mercenaries shuffled to their feet, led by the suspected blonde swordsman. Evie scoffed and quickly got up, running into the adjoining cavern.

The mage stopped in her tracks and looked up in fear at the absolutely massive polar bear crouching ready at the far end of the cave, surrounded by brutalized kobold remains. Its white fur was stained with dark, crimson blood, and it shook as it let out another roar.

"Ready your weapons!" Lann's voice echoed across the giant cavern, he himself readying his trusty twin swords while the rest of the mercenaries pulled spears, bombs, and hooks.

Evie watched with wide eyes as Lann bravely (or so he thought) ran up to the bear, quickly catching its eye. The mage smacked her forehead and grumbled. "Lann, you idiot…!" She quickly rummaged around for a feather- or not, seeing it would be easier to drag him back to Colhen if he were unconscious.

"Fire!" Her brown eyes looked on to see hooks shooting out, spears flying through the air, and bombs whistling in the cold, only to explode seconds later. She spotted her armored friend slipping back from the commotion, before running and doing a hefty slash on the giant bear.

Apparently, it didn't do much as the bear still managed to pounce on the blonde warrior, the swordsman quickly tumbling backwards with much force. But before anyone could see anything, he was already back on his feet, sliding over to the bear and jumping into an upward cut. As the bear reared backwards, Lann dashed in, charging an attack while the other men held it back with more spears. Finally, the bear stood up and the swordsman unleashed a wide slash, which made it roar and tumble backwards onto the cold floor.

The mercenaries all dropped their spears and rushed in to get hits on the bear as it was down, the only one there being Lann who was giving its defenseless body a multitude of slashes. All of a sudden, it started to stir and the giant Fomor gave out a loud roar before standing up and slamming down its fists, knocking back the mercenaries and absolutely trampling the blonde swordsman.

"Lann!" Evie's eyes widened and she rushed in, focusing her energy on her staff. Her eyes flashed up to the bear as it stood again, ready to get another hit in. The swordsman could barely hold his ground, standing up then falling to one knee, coughing up blood on the icy floor. Quickly, she let out the energy, and a barrage of blue bolts attacked the bear in a flurry of explosions. There was a roar heard over the sheer amounts of smoke, and then all seemed calm again. Evie quietly stood there, her heart pumping along with the rest of the terrified mercenaries.

From behind the sheer screen of smoke, they all saw the dual wielder's body hunched over, motionless, in front of the polar bear's defeated carcass. Immediately, they all rushed over to their leader, everyone taking out their potions and feathers, while the only thought running through the mage's head was of desperate worry.

Right when Evie and the other men and women had gotten to Lann, they quickly rolled him over onto his back and removed his helmet, only to see him grinning weakly through blood stained teeth. The mage gave him an odd look, and looked almost ready to slap him across the face.

As Evie was about to raise a hand, the swordsman held out his fist with a frail arm, and slowly opened it with slow, blood-stained fingers. Everyone blinked and stared at it in awe, for the object sitting in the palm of his hand was a miniscule, violet-colored blossom, with sharp, glowing petals. It was a night shade, one of the rarest plants you could ever find.

Evie observed the blossom for the longest time, before turning to the fallen warrior. He flashed her a bloody grin. "…Happy…birthday." The mage couldn't figure out whether to thank him or to kick him in the groin, so she simply threw her arms around his neck.

"…I hate you so much, Lann." But he already knew she didn't mean that.

6. Fire

Things had gotten worse, and it already had been the worst Colhen's ever experienced. The usually busy town was deathly silent with mourning, and things couldn't be changed back. Never again would a warm, evening campfire be so comforting to anyone. Especially Lann.

Activity had halted for a momentary while in the bustling town of Colhen, and even Rocheste was affected, when news came to bear that Ellis, the cheerful, eager, and enthusiastic cadet of the Royal Army, was brutally murdered at the forbidden town of Ainle by the goblin chief Kalis, after he had foolishly tried to investigate the deserted area without any supervision.

Of course, there was no one to blame for him wanting to help out the Royal Army and the Crimson Blades, but had someone managed to dissuade him, he wouldn't be gone now. There was no one to blame for any of it, but only one person had still felt the burden of guilt and irresponsibility on their shoulders.

The days following the death of cadet Ellis, the swordsman Lann, one of the people Ellis admired the most, hadn't removed himself from his bedroom at the inn since. The usually eager and optimistic man didn't even bother reporting for Tieve's breakfasts or dinners, and the distressed oracle had resorted to leaving him a plate in front of the door for days.

Tieve had finally gotten to the decision that she would personally ask Lann's own companions for their help. Fiona naturally said that she was already doing him a favor by picking up all the slack he's left behind since he retired to his room the week prior. Karok said that he didn't know Lann that well enough to know how to cheer him up. It was Evie who stepped up and promised to help cheer up the depressed warrior.

The mage knocked on the weathered wood softly, hoping to get some response from the young man. Silence. "…Lann? It's me, Evie. Can I come in?" Still, there was silence. Letting out a sigh, she quietly turned the knob on the door and stepped inside. Closing the door behind her, she looked to see the young man all dressed up in his armor, sitting glumly on the edge of his bed facing the window, his head down. Her shoes made soft clicking noises as she strode across the floorboards, taking a seat next to the swordsman.

She laid a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "It's not your fault, Lann. You couldn't have done anything else to stop him. He left on his decision."

"…If only I'd told Gwynn…if only we persuaded him not to go to Ainle…he'd still be here. If only I had followed Gwynn's orders and not accompanied him to Ainle…I'm so stupid!" His voice shook and his body trembled. Just as Evie was about to say a word, the man turned and wrapped his arms around her. The mage blinked in momentary surprise, before returning the action. Her hand traveled to his hair and stroked it gently.

"…He was too good for this horrible world we live in. But he's in the presence of the goddess now. He's in a much better place. May Morrigan bless his soul."

That night, when everyone sat around the fire in front of the inn, Lann couldn't help but think of all the good times he had shared with the young boy.

7. Ending

That day was a great day, so he thought. Tieve made him her specialty that morning: an extra high stack of pancakes with syrup. She had even placed a candle on top and later handed him a small box wrapped in simple blue paper. Lann asked if it was her's, but the oracle simply shook her head and told him it was an appreciative gift from Brynn himself. Upon opening it, he found that it was an engraved silver ring, with a murky, deep blue stone inset in its band.

"He told me it was a Warrior's Courage ring. It'll help you in combat." The oracle laid a gentle hand on his shoulder and smiled.

The blonde warrior smiled. "Now why would he make this for me…? It's not in him to do something like this."

Tieve gave him a meek smile. "I know he doesn't show it very often, but he's very appreciative of everything you've done to this town, Lann. You should be proud of yourself." The warrior grinned up at the girl like a young child.

"Please tell him I said thank you."

"I will…happy birthday, Lann." Tieve patted him on the back, before taking his empty dish into the kitchen. The young man smiled and sat back in his seat at the dining table, wondering what to do next. Just as he was about to get up out of his seat, a lithe hand pressed down four pieces of paper on the table. In surprise, he looked up at the visitor, and was greeted by the familiar faces of his fellow mercenaries.

The mage grinned down at the young man. "We bought four fishing licenses so we can go fishing today. Isn't it a nice way to spend your birthday, just having a relaxing fishing trip on the Ignacht?" Evie pressed the licenses into Lann's hand.

Karok immediately took the opportunity to step forward and slam a harpoon onto the dining table, then wrapped a friendly arm around the smaller man. He squeezed him by the shoulder encouragingly and grinned viciously at the young man. "We…are going to catch a crap ton of fish, alright? We'll show that idiot Gallagher…!"

Lann could barely manage a squeak, chuckling slightly. "Hehe, yeah…I guess."

"You guess...?" The trio looked up at the blonde knight. Fiona quickly pulled out two harpoons, a fiery look manifesting in her icy blue eyes. "When I'm holding this know we'll be getting damn fish."

Karok fist pumped and let out a hearty cry, while Evie simply giggled and Lann reared back in slight terror.

"Well, that was certainly and wonderfully successful." Lann grinned as he sat around the large pile of fish flopping around on deck, leaning back against the insides of the boat in a lax position. He sat down his empty harpoon onto his lap and looked up at his other crewmates.

Evie stared at the multitude of aquatic creatures flopping limply on the deck of the boat, and she giggled. "Wow, Karok and Fiona really outdid themselves…"

"That's right! I say we count how much fish we caught before we head back into town, yeah?" Karok dropped a few barrels and crates and placed his large hands on his hips.

"That'll be easy business, seeing as I probably caught about 90% of all of it." Fiona idly replied, tying the sail firmly in place. The large man glared at her.

"You know that's not true."

"Oh yeah? 5,000 gold says I'm right."

And soon enough, the knight and brute were at it, digging through the horde of fish, tossing the poor things everywhere in a careless fashion as they counted every single one of them. Lann and Evie could only watch in slight discomfort.

After a moment, Evie gently tapped the birthday boy's shoulder, to which he looked up in curiosity. "Hm? What is it?"

"Can you come with me over there? I wanna show you something before we go back to the mainland."

Lann quickly stood up and followed the mage to the end of the boat, where the mail owl hooted at them in an intrigued way. "What is it you wanted to show me, Evie?" He tried to look over the mage's shoulder as she rummaged around in the storage trunk inside the tent.

"Don't tell the others, but I wanted to get you a personal gift too. I really think you deserve these." Evie turned around with a sincere smile, holding a long parcel wrapped in burlap and twine. She placed the package in his hands, and he looked down at it with blinking, wide eyes. Evie simply chuckled at his natural interest and placed a hand on it. "You can open it now if you'd like."

The blonde swordsman looked at her with curious eyes, before turning back to the large parcel, moving forward to set it on top of the storage box. He carefully tugged at the twine knot, and it soon became loose, pulling apart for him. The burlap wrapping unraveled and there sat a pair of swords, with long and thick blades. It's design had broad blades, engraved with a streamlined groove, ending in a curved, angular tip. Its metal was silver and shone like gold under the late afternoon sunset. He blinked with surprise and stared at it with pure awe.

"Evie, these are…"

"Dreamwalkers, I know. But only the best deserves the best, right?" Evie grinned up at the young man. "Do you like them? I even had Ferghus enhance it as high as he could, and I was careful not to break it. I also had Brynn enchant it too, and he seemed absolutely astounded I would do this all for you…" She gave him a meek smile.

Lann turned to face her, his mouth out of breath. "…I would've never thought anyone would do anything like this for me. Thank you, Evie."

"You're welcome. Happy birthday."

Slowly, he leaned down and captured her lips, and she responded positively, placing her hands on his shoulders trustingly.

To him, that was the perfect way to end the best birthday he's ever had his entire life so far.

8. Orange

As time went on, the endless war with the Fomors never ceased, and it almost seemed like it had gotten worse. The number of mercenaries had continued to decrease with each passing day, and it was hard enough trying to find people that were willing to be recruited into the Crimson Blades, much less people who had the skill to stay alive among the bloodshed that was done every single day.

People launched out on boats every single day, hoping to fulfill the promise of Morrigan, that someday, everyone will be whisked off to their paradise, a place with no fear, no bloodshed, no pain. As they relentlessly cut down the bodies of their enemies each passing day, their hopes waned, but there was always that one person who reassured everyone that their goddess had not forgotten about everyone. It would only be a matter of time before the Fomors were destroyed, and the goddess would be back to repair everything that had gotten wrong.

As the leaves changed color, and the weather got colder, and the ground had gotten even more and more redder, there were three things that still assured Lann that the goddess had not forsaken her loyal people, and that he would be remembered among his kin when time came that Morrigan had to fly him away on black wings of bliss.

Those three things? The support of his comrades, men and women alike that would eagerly give up their lives to save each other. A warm fire in a welcoming home, where everyone was dying, and there'd always be that one person who never wakes up to see his reflection in a blade again. Finally, the company of perhaps one of the most optimistic people he'd had the greatest chance of meeting. Evie's warm smile and positive words of praise and encouragement gave him the will to live to fight in the name of the goddess. Even if for one last day.

As the leaves turned orange, and fell off the trees in time for winter, Lann knew that spring came, and everything would go back to the way it was, all new. He knew that someday, hopefully soon, their own spring would come for them.

9. Remembrance

One could never forget the feel of losing everything, be it a lost comrade in battle, a town destroyed by your mortal enemies, or the toy the little child dropped as they fled their home, their hot tears running down their cheeks as the distance between them increased.

No one could. Fenella still had a façade on her, her expression cheerful yet so empty, and while she kept a simple life trying to help out as much as she could around the general store, any mention of Ainle would have her quiet and speechless. Kirstie still kept quiet about her history with Arthyen and Hakam, as much as Gwynn demanded information about their enemies, the redhead was headstrong and silent about her origins with her master and former rival. And even though they were grown up now, Tieve and Clodagh found it impossible for Marrec and Keaghan to reconcile, even though they all knew it hurt to grow apart over the years.

Fiona never said a single word about her own origins, and no one ever knew either. It was often a bad idea to ask Karok about his own origins, for it seemed he refused to remember anything about it. For Lann and Evie, it was far different.

He could never forget the scene before him, as Fomors descended upon his quaint, countryside village. He was only a young farm hand, pure at the age of twenty and working off his debts to his family. He lived a calm life, everything was simple and basic. Nothing was complex and frustrating. He would never forget the last words he ever heard, his mother hunched over his unconscious father, tears running down her face as she begged him to stay. Lann would've stayed with them till the end, but his mother begged him to go, to run far, far away.

It was too late for them. "…May Morrigan bless you with her all, my beloved child…" Then she pushed him out the door, and before he could turn back to them, a burning pillar collapsed in between them, the fires licking away at both of them, and he could barely make out the Fomors gathering behind them from through the smoke.

His eyes watered from the smoke and pain he experienced, and he quickly tried to make his way out of the ruined village, faintly hearing a familiar voice screaming in fear from way behind him. The former farmer's son only made it so far before he was cornered between a burning fence and a trio of monsters, brandishing their rusty axes and swinging their crooked blades. Out of desperation, Lann picked up a burning pitchfork, and unleashed his rage out on the wretched creatures, spilling blood on the hot cobblestone, and staining him with their cursed essence.

By the time he made it to Colhen, the nearest town he came upon, he had collapsed in the middle of the street, his clothes singed and torn, and his skin caked with blood, ash, and bruises. After joining the blades, he built his entire identity and reputation on the prospect of intimidation and ferocity on the battlefield, hoping to one day avenge his lost family.

As for the mage, it was almost the entire same thing, her stately home being scourged by the Fomors, her father willingly sending her off with the remaining living guards while he stayed with his dying wife, a countess of the region. Pain could not describe the emotion that ran through her mind as her father's men quickly escorted of the crumbling castle, their numbers dwindling as each one of them served as a distraction for any Fomor they encountered along the way.

The last guard that stayed with her passed away halfway through the journey to Colhen, having bled to death as they journeyed on. The earl's daughter made the rest of the trip on her own, the will of her parents' lives being the only thing pushing her to stay alive.

She arrived at the mercenary outpost in Colhen in complete disarray, and when they questioned her about her origins, she didn't say a word of her royal lineage, only introducing herself as "Evie". It soon came to be believed that the entire earl's family had died during the siege of their home.

But as they moved on, things became "normal" for them in Colhen, but no one could ever forget the reason for why they're fighting in the first place.

10. Mischievous

Whoever's idea it was to decide to camp out in Ainle- of all places -on Halloween should've been punched, Lann thought. Or in the case of Evie, "severely ravaged", as his perverse mind thought.

The mage had wanted to plan something fun for Karok's birthday, and seeing that the big man had absolutely loved thrill and adventure, they went behind Gwynn's back yet again and brought camping supplies to Ainle for the holiday.

"Having fun there, big guy?" Evie asked, toasting herself by the campfire. She giggled as Karok went to throwing pumpkins at unsuspecting vampires. The slender skeleton men shrieked and toppled over each other, before running away, wailing their arms in horror.

Lann simply sat in a corner, preoccupied to himself as he idly carved out a pumpkin. Digging his knife into the tough, orange flesh, he finally chucked out a piece, making what looked to be an absolutely horrified pumpkin face. "I'm scared too, you're not alone." The usually ferocious dual wielder chuckled nervously at the pumpkin before looking around for any signs of danger. It was not that uncommon for the Blood Prince to appear in the deepest parts of Ainle.

As the mage stood up to gather more wood for the waning campfire, she passed by her female knight friend, who seemed to be doing target practice on a few makeshift scarecrows- specifically, Information Chief Kalis, the Servant of Hell, and something that looked like a silly Blood Prince. They all stood on brooms and colored sacks filled with hay, and with pumpkins with appropriate faces on them. Evie simply chuckled at the sight.

She then turned to look for the missing dual wielder, who would be sitting next to her by the campfire if he knew what was good for him. She scratched her head and looked around, before spotted a trembling, hunched figure in the corner, its blonde head rocking back and forth in some sort of terrified stupor. Evie simply shook her head.

"That idiot…"

Dashing back to Fiona, she simply smiled at the knight before grabbing the Blood Prince scarecrow and dragging it away from the pumpkin patch, making the knight scowl.

Evie grunted as she heaved the scarecrow over, careful not to destroy it on the rough cobblestone. She stared intently at the blonde warrior, who was currently rocking back and forth for reasons unknown to her. If he had been averse to going to Ainle again, why couldn't have just said so? The black-haired girl shook her head and smirked, pulling along the makeshift dummy.

"Erm, excuse me sir?" Lann blinked as he felt an unfamiliar hand on his shoulder. "Can you please lead me to the nearest blooooood bank?" He slowly turned to look behind him, and suddenly he let out a scream as he stared right into the "Blood Prince".

Evie laughed for a momentary second, before she was suddenly pushed back, hearing an audible metal shing as she fell backwards. She opened her eyes to the see the scarecrow sliced in half, and its pumpkin head slowly rolling away to set itself right beside another pumpkin head with a terrified expression on its face. She paled slightly and looked back at the blonde warrior, who was on his knees and looked like he was about to break down in tears.


11. Food

As the residents of Colhen gathered themselves at a long table inside the Inn, the simple room decorated with flowers and autumn leaves, and lit up with warm candles, they all thought about what they were most grateful for in the entire world.

It had been such a rough year, and with everyone dying on their count, it hadn't been too pleasant either. But Tieve was there to lift everyone's spirit, to ensure that their goddess would be there to give them another great year to look forward to, and that there isn't that much more to fight through before it would roll in.

So as the prayers were done and everyone was digging into their meals, Evie looked on at her own comrades, their faces lit up in joy. Clodagh and Aislinn were sharing a potato together, Kirstie and Arthyen were actually speaking with each other, and there was something that kind of resembled a smile.

The black-haired mage looked on at the blonde dual wielder and the pillar wielder scarfing down Tieve's great food, shoving at each other playfully.

If there was anything, or anyone, she was thankful for, it was her group of friends that keep her wishing for another year to come.

12. Superfluous

She stared out the window for the longest time, just watching for any sign of him. Through the cold snow, the raging winds outside as the past year had started to come to its closing. But there was still no sign of him anywhere. She couldn't see him. He had to be there.

The mage rubbed her eyes and willed herself to not lose faith. The goddess would be kind enough has to let him come back from his journey. She understood that he had to leave a few days prior to attend to the problem at hand, promising he'd be back in time for the new year, but so far, nothing. She dusted off her dress and glumly sat back down on the window sill, her tired eyes staring out through the foggy glass.

"Only a few more hours…" She drearily whispered to herself, smacking her lips and leaning against the wall. Within moments, she was fast asleep.

It only seemed like a minute of sleep before she felt a pair of arms snake around her waist, and a warm pair of lips pressing on her bare shoulder. Her eyes fluttered open and she slowly turned her head, only for those pair of lips to set themselves on her own. She blinked for a moment, before realizing them familiar and leaning in, cupping the familiar jaw in front of her.

"…Lann…you're home…" She whispered as she pulled away, looking at the man in front of her. His blue eyes looked steadfast, and he nodded.

"…Yeah. I promised I'd be back."

Evie could only sigh and look down, before wrapping her arms around his neck tightly. Their eyes met for a moment, before he leaned in and pressed their lips together again. Before long, his tunic had been discarded and left on the ground with his armor, and she was silently running her fingers through his blonde locks as he unbuttoned and untied the strings on the back of her dress, which would soon join her heels, gloves, and leggings on the floor. She blushed as the blonde dual wielder scooted her out of the loosened outfit, then sat her back on his lap, his hands rubbing warm circles into her chilled skin.

Evie placed her head on his shoulder, breathing deeply as she stared at him. She placed her fingers on his chest and traced them down his torso, observing and feeling his sculpted physique. Lann's blue eyes scanned her up down, licking his lips slightly at the plain sight of her in nothing but her underwear.

Lann blinked and breathed deeply, the hot air brushing onto her shoulder. "…We don't have to go all the way-"

She shook her head and wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing their foreheads together. "I'm not going to say anything." Lann quickly met her gaze, and again their mouths were on each other, giving feverish kisses.

He placed her hands under her, and carefully lifted her up, not breaking their contact, and deftly maneuvered around their discarded outerwear and walked up to her bed. Gently, he climbed up onto the soft, warm mattress then laid her down on the sheets. She looked up at him and pressed her nimble fingers against his cheek. Lann leaned down to her, and the kisses continued.

The mage let in a sharp intake of breath and clutched his hair as he worked to unfasten the clasp on the back of her bra. She pushed back and slipped the underwear off, then fell back on the pillows, baring herself to his eyes. The warrior momentarily took to observing her, before turning his gaze back to the young woman.

Lann leaned down to her face and kissed her lovingly, cupping her face. She responded the same, before he pulled away slightly, moving to plant his lips along her jaw and then down to her neck, earning soft mewls from the mage. The blonde trailed his warm hands up and down her body, soothing her gently, while his lips made quick work of her neck, Evie moaning and gasping as he sucked on her shoulder.

Carefully and slowly, he made his way down, until suddenly Evie let out a yelp as something wet and warm engulfed her bare peak. Lann pulled off of her breast with a soft pop, before dragging the pad of his tongue against it. Evie gave out an ecstatic gasp as her back arched, her hands gripping the sheets tightly. Before her knuckles turned white from blood loss, Lann quickly pulled away, startling the mage.

"…Too much…?"

Evie could only sit back and take a breather. The dual wielder smiled affectionately and leaned forward to kiss her again, and she welcomed it with open arms. The kiss became heated as he nipped down on her bottom lip, and she gasped, letting him slip his tongue inside. The mage hummed pleasantly and arched her body, their torsos rubbing together on the sheets. The feel of his hot, hardened body against her soft, cool one became intense, and he let out a guttural groan. Evie threw her head back and clutched his shoulders as he started to grind himself in between her legs.

Suddenly, he pulled away, his hot breath visible in the cold air. "…Let's make this easier for both of us." Before she could say another word, he claimed her lips once more, and his hands shuffled to his waist. He started to fumble around with his pants, unbuttoning and untying them. Evie sat back and watched with warm cheeks as he kicked off his boots and shuffled out of his trousers, leaving him in his bare, black inner armor.

He turned back to Evie and crept towards her, and immediately they were interlocked once more, her arms around his neck, his hands on her hips, and their lips pressed together. Evie's body burned with his touch, even as the room was dark and cold, and the snow raged on outside. They writhed on the sheets, his hips grinding so slowly against her own, and they both let out pleasured noises. The mage moaned against his lips as she felt his hardness pressing against her through the thin cloth of his inner armor, and Lann let out a stuttering gasp.

Finally, Lann sat back and Evie laid on the sheets, waiting for the next move. He placed his hands on her hips and started to pull down her underwear. The mage breathed in sharply, and gulped as she felt as rush of air in between her bare legs. Slowly, she opened an eye to see him slowly tugging down his own pair of inner armor, looking back and forth from him to her. She gulped again and her pale cheeks tinted rose as she stared at his proud appendage, the heavy organ standing stiffly from between his legs.

"Once we go, I'm not going to stop, okay…?"

"…Don't stop." Evie blushed and laid back, spreading her legs apart for him. She breathed in deeply and watched him. He nodded and leaned forward, pressing a sweet kiss against her lips before sitting back between her legs.

Both of them grunted as he started to press against her, and everything became a blur as she felt his intrusion.

They both gasped, and soon everything was a flurry of passion. Their lips connected in heat, and she cried out in pleasure, arching her back as he moved inside her. The blonde warrior grunted and panted, gripping her hips tightly and thrusting within her heat, consumed by passion. Their bodies moved in a sweaty dance, writhing on the bed and twisting around.

It was all overwhelming, almost excessive, but it didn't matter.

The morning after, the blonde cradled her in his arms, kissing her gently and softly. The mage traced her fingers along his jaw and looked up into his blue eyes.

"…I love you, Lann."

"…I love you too, Evie."

And that my friends, is my last gift to you all. Happy New Year's everyone. :3