Chapter 1: The Trip to Chesa
Clarke looks out over the valley. In the distance, she can see the cabled walls of Camp Jaha, and the scar upon the forest where she and the hundred had burned the then attacking grounder army. Even now where she stands is significant being the last entrance to Mount Weather, the place where in an effort to save her people she had done the unthinkable and burned over a thousand people with radiation.
She left the Ark Fallen two days ago, after the events of the mountain, after the death, and the betrayal. She can’t bear to look at it all anymore.
When she looks at the forest, she sees those of her people corroded and disfigured by the mountain’s acid fog.
When she looks at those of the 100, she sees the three hundred souls she had burnt to protect them.
When she looks to the ground beneath her feet, she sees those people who had helped her escape but had been burnt anyway.
She looks to the plains below, and she sees The Commander that betrayed her and left her with an impossible choice.
She looks to the walls of the Ark, and sees all these choices and more, forced upon her despite being unprepared, choices that haunt her, and will likely always haunt her.
It is these things that have brought her to where she stands; these choices have compelled her to leave her people, to seal the mountain like a tomb. She knows what the council would plan with the mountain. She knows what The Commander would do to stop them. She knows they will hate her for taking this enormous resource away from them. But they were not the ones who pulled that lever, she is, she is the one who killed all those people, she is the one who sees them day after day, and night after night. She is the one who has had to make the hard choices, and like those before it, she will make this one. Today she will seal this mountain; it shall rest undisturbed like the tomb that it is, and then she will vanish into the mists like the ghost she has become.
Taking one final look at everything around her, she closes the last door and takes a small blade from her hip. Making a small cut on her palm she places her hand on the scanner watching as it flashes from green to red, and a pound clanking sound echoes from within.
“And in blood, it is sealed” she intones beneath her breath, and then she turns headed east and begins the long trek towards the ocean.
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The trip east is neither short nor easy. Leaving Mount Weather Clarke had brought only that which could be easily carried. She has only; her gun, ammunition, her medical kit, her knife, a compass, a bedroll, a canteen, some rations, and the bag she uses to carry it. Other than that there are only the clothes on her back.
At first, the trip is relatively easy; she knows she is only 50 miles from the coast, she remembers what Lincoln had told them when he was planning on taking them to Floukru. She starts by following the rivers and water flows that lead down the mountain, but soon enough she realises the problem with this, grounders.
The last thing she wants is to encounter anyone, still fresh in her mind is The Commander’s betrayal; the way everyone she had come to know had turned their backs. She could have even understood their reasoning, had they not forgotten one key thing. In over a hundred years, since the bombs fell those of the mountain had predated upon those of the clans. They had killed and pillaged without discrimination or remorse. The clans had been at war with them longer than anyone else, and it was this that allowed the coalition to be formed. But they never had so much as killed a Mounon before the Skykru arrived. They never posed a threat to them until Clarke, and her people stood ready to throw open the doors.
And then, The Commander had betrayed them, she had given them up for a handful of those she had lost and in the process was ready to abandon all future hope of defeating them. For if Skykru had been taken The Mounon would now walk these woods freely and all hope of one day defeating them would be as dead as her people.
Even now, she does not know where they stand, if The Commander will leave them alone, or if she will seek to neutralise them soon, while they are not a threat. And honestly, even if The Commander apologises, even if she gets on her knees to beg forgiveness for her actions Clarke does not know if when faced with the woman who has betrayed not just her, but her people, if she could keep from ending The Commander’s fight, even if it would cost her her own life.
And so she trudges on, moving away from the rivers and through the trees, avoiding the roads and well-worn game trails carving her own path east. In all that which should have been a two-day walk, turns into four as Clarke does what it takes to avoid those of the ground and any others who may be looking for her.
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It is nearing the end of the fourth day when she finally arrives at her destination. When she had first landed, this sight would have filled her with wonder, and she would have spent days with her paper and charcoal trying to capture the way the land transitions into the water, the way that the artificial reefs dance with the evening sunlight as the tide flows across them. But now, now she is no longer that girl, her wide-eyed wonder being replaced with hard-hearted and cold cynicism. The reef that would have once drawn her eye and attention for days is now little more than cover if she is attacked. The water that would have called to her entreating her to swim in its cerulean depths instead holds deadly and dangerous secrets like the beast that had nearly killed Octavia.
Truthfully she doesn’t know why she does it. The thought doesn’t even register in her head. One moment she is standing there, concealed in the trees and the next she is walking towards the water. As she walks toward it, she lets her pack drop to the sand, ignoring the thunk as it lands. She stops here inches away, she can feel the water lapping at her feet, she thinks about all that has happened, all that she has done, and then she takes a step, then another, until finally, the water is lapping at her cheeks.
Then she takes another and moments later everything gets washed away.
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The moments that follow that final step are soon lost in a briny swirl. Truthfully she doesn’t remember much; she remembers apathy, she remembers the moment the water had entered her lungs, and then nothing, utter nothingness, until suddenly she feels strong arms wrap around her midsection and start pulling.
When she next awakens she is no longer within the embrace of the sea, instead she finds herself on a bed, in what appears to be a bungalow. Movement off to the side causes her to focus, and she quickly spots a woman with reddish brown hair and wearing what can best be described as a pirates outfit.
The woman spots her movement instantly and is on her feet moments later as she says “you’re awake, we nearly lost you there.”
Clarke’s voice scratches against her throat as she rasps out “what happened?”
The woman frowns as she replies “you walked into the ocean, you nearly drowned.”
“I... I don’t really remember” Clarke says, bringing her hand up to rub against her throat.
The woman moves to offer her a glass of water “Yes, well luckily I happened to be nearby and was able to intercede, I’m Luna by the way.”
“Clarke” she offers before continuing “you shouldn’t have saved me.”
Luna looks at her in a concerned manner as she says “and why is that Clarke?”
Clarke feels the apathy growing and pain returning as she looks up at Luna with hollow eyes “I’ve done things, things you can scarcely imagine.”
Holding Luna’s gaze, she says “I’ve burned people alive, I’ve made them choke on their own flesh and slaughtered men, women, and children. I’m a monster.”
Luna nods as if it confirms her own suspicions before saying “I suspected who you might be, already stories have started to spread, about what happened in the Trikru lands, what happened to the mountain.” Then when Clarke finally seems to shy away from her gaze she leans down “Clarke, you’re not a monster, I’ve heard the stories, that which you have done, you have done for your people, and now you are paying the price that all leaders do.”
When Clarke finally meets her eyes again, she continues “I have known many warriors and many leaders who were monsters. Those who kill just for power, or entertainment, and after only a few moments with you, I can tell you are nothing like them.”
“I see their faces...” Clarke begins before trailing off
“I know, I see the faces of those I have killed too,” Luna offers before taking Clarke’s now shaking hands in her own as she says “but, ending it is not the way, please Clarke, give me the chance to help you, stay here, let me do for you that which was done for me”
Clarke looks up into her eyes, and sees the very pain she feels reflected there, she wants to say no, to walk away and not turn back. But there is something about Luna, something in the way she looks at Clarke that has her nodding her head instead.
Chapter 2: Finding Purpose
The next morning Clarke is awoken with the sun as knocking echoes throughout the bungalow. Rising from the bed, she grumbles as her hair sticks in various directions before opening the door.
As soon as the door opens Luna steps inside saying “get dressed, we’re going running.”
Clarke looks at her like she has grown a second head.
Luna not deterred says “come on, I said I’d help, this is me, helping. Get dressed. We’re going for a run.”
Realising she isn’t going to win this argument any time soon Clarke stumbles over to where she had found clothes the night before pulling on a loose cotton top and pants.
As she goes to put on her boots and gun, however, Luna stops her “leave them, you won’t need them.”
Clarke looks at her suspiciously before deciding if Luna wanted to harm her, she wouldn’t have saved her. Leaving her gun and boots behind she follows Luna out the door and onto the sand below.
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As it turns out, Clarke almost enjoys running, that is when she isn’t running from her life. Sure, since she has gotten to the ground, she has done a lot of running, from the fog, from the grounders, from the pauna, but this, this seems almost, meditative. Or at least it would be were she not currently busy being hunched over and emptying the contents of her stomach onto the beach while Luna waits nearby.
On The Ark, excessive exercise had been heavily discouraged, being that it was viewed as a waste of precious air. Only those who did heavy physical labour, such as the Zero-G Mechanics, were actually encouraged to exercise and even then they were given strict limits.
When she finally gathers herself again, she finds Luna watching her with a cocked eyebrow. There is just something about the way she is standing there that just kicks Clarke’s competitive side and stubborn streak into overdrive, and before she even realises she is doing it, she has started running back down the beach, with Luna pulling up alongside her moments later.
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When they finally return to the village, they find everyone is already awake and going about their day. Some people are in what passes for the town bakery and tavern getting their morning meals. Others have already started their work and are repairing nets and working on boats.
Clarke and Luna, however, make their way back to the bungalows overlooking the town as Luna informs Clarke that people will have baths ready for them and that Luna will join her afterwards for breakfast. Entering the bungalow, it is clear to see someone has been inside. In truth, you would have to be blind to miss it what with the bath trail in steam into the morning air. Other than that much of it appears undisturbed with mostly only small amounts of cleaning and setting out of towels done. Even her bed has been smoothed down the only exception being where her gun rests on one corner, and it is clear that whoever had cleaned has gone out of their way not to touch it.
Making her way over to the bath she strips from the sweat-soaked clothing before sinking below the water. She can feel the heat of the bath soothing her muscles, and it feels so good that we’re she not confident Luna would come looking for her she would be content to stay there until the water cooled. Instead, she makes quick work of washing herself scrubbing away the exertion of the morning and even taking the chance to wash and brush her hair before getting out.
Once she is dry, however, she is presented with a more immediate question, that being what to wear, part of her wants to slide back into the well-worn jacket and jeans taking solace in their familiarity. But at the same time, she really doesn’t want to get into them, especially since she is almost sure they could walk away on their own at this stage. So instead she dresses similarly to how she had seen those around her dressed this morning, breeches, top, and boots before strapping on both her handgun, some ammo and her knife. She chuckles a moment later as she glances at herself in the mirror, for she has to admit she certainly looks the part of a pirate from the old movies.
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Walking out the door, she barely waits a couple of minutes before Luna is emerging, pulling her hair into a loose ponytail behind her as she buckles her sword at her waist. If she notices that Clarke is once again armed, she doesn’t mention it, and moments later they are headed for the tavern in town.
Walking through the town is the most normal Clarke has felt since she was first imprisoned on The Ark. Around them the people of the Floukru go about their everyday lives, there is the occasional person who stops to stare at her for a few moments, but they are quickly bundled off by parents or friends. The actual tavern itself provides even more such a sense of normality. Walking through the door, they are greeted by a wide open room with benches and tables made out of rough-hewn planks of wood and surrounded by chairs of all shapes and sizes. Towards the back stands the bar, and beyond it, the kitchen as a middle-aged man and his wife work diligently to tend to their patrons.
The tavern is still half full as they make their way towards the bar no one pays any notice to them. Those within joking and enjoying the morning meal with their friends and family. When they finally reach the bar, Luna says a few words to the barkeep and then she is beckoning Clarke towards a table in the corner by the kitchen.
Once they have sat down, Luna turns to Clarke watching her a few moments before asking “what do you think?”
Still taking a moment to drink in the world around her Clarke takes a few moments before responding “I think it’s amazing, I haven’t seen anything like this in years.”
Luna smiles at the compliment before responding “but surely you had similar on your home amongst the stars.”
It takes Clarke a few moments to realise she means The Ark before responding “The Ark, was nothing like this, everything was based on efficiency. Everyone received the same rations designed to give them just enough energy for the day. Every day they would walk up to a slot in the wall and receive a tray, then they would sit quietly and eat before heading to work. There was no joking, no camaraderie like there is here. And besides, it had been years since I had even that much contact.”
Luna looks at her confusion clear as she asks “why did... were you separate?”
Clarke sighs before answering “I learned something I was not meant to know. Our leaders feared I would tell our people. It is illegal to kill a child, so they locked me up alone, until I was 18, had I not been seen to Earth, I would be dead by now”
Luna’s confusion turns to shock and anger before she asks “what did you learn?”
Clarke starts to answer; however, they are interrupted as the tavern keeper brings their food, and she uses the excuse to hold off even for a moment. Quickly she starts digging into the food placed before her, finding she is famished but being unable to rush herself because of the ballet of flavours she finds within. Luna looks to debate if she should press the question, but evidently, she chooses to let it go for now as she instead starts in on her own food. Every now and then Clarke let’s out a soft moan, and despite her own embarrassment, she can’t help the small internal chuckle when she sees Luna flush red each time.
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They are just finishing up their meal when suddenly the door slams open and a boy who looks no older than fifteen comes running into the tavern. His shouts of “Luna! Luna!” cause the entire tavern to stop what they are doing as Luna stands up from her seat, dropping several tokens on the table as she asks “what is it? What has happened?”
Breathing heavily the boy leans against the door as he says “there was an accident, one of the ropes gave way, and it whipped back hitting Rokor.”
Clarke is on her feet moments after “I can help” she says, looking at Luna.
Luna nods at her before turning to the boy, “tell them to take Rokor to the healing house.”
The boy quickly turns to leave, and Clarke says “I will need my bag.”
Luna nods then she yells “Jeffersen, go to the bungalow next to mine and get...”
Luna trails off looking at Clarke, who quickly looks at the man and supplies “the backpack by the kitchen table.” Jeffersen nods quickly before rushing out the tavern as Clarke and Luna make their way quickly towards the healing house.
It is immediately apparent they are approaching the healing house as the screams of an injured man radiate from within. This spurs Clarke on faster as adrenaline takes hold and she rushes through the door.
“What have we got?” Clarke asks as she moves toward the man
The head healer, a middle-aged man, stops her with a hand on the arm, and it is only when Luna comes through the door and nods at him that he releases her.
As she moves closer, she fixes him with a look that could send grown men running as she asks once more in a dangerous tone “what happened?”
This time the man gulps as he says “a rope snapped when they were pulling in a ship, everyone else managed to get out of the way in time, but Rokor was hit. The rope dragged down his arm and stuck his chest and arm. There isn’t anything we can do” this last part he says looking to Luna and the assembled family.
The others look resigned, but suddenly Clarke interrupts “I can save him.”
The healer looks at her like she is crazy, which maybe she is as he says “Luna, there’s no way...”
However, Clarke quickly cuts him off as she says “I can save him, and if you won’t help you can get the hell out of my way.”
Luna looks between them before asking Clarke “are you sure?”
Clarke takes another look saying “I can give him a chance, which is better than this man is willing to give him.”
Luna nods “very well, try your best.”
“Luna...” the man begins only for one of the assembled family members to grab him by the shoulder and pull him from the room.
Moments later, Jeffersen returns with her bag, and quickly Clarke starts about getting things ready. She immediately sends for a pot of boiling water and takes a small camping stove from her kit, heating up a needle and knife until it is red hot.
Turning back to Rokor, she takes a handful of the carefully labelled herbs Lincoln had taught her about and feeds them to the man before washing them down with water. Then cutting away his clothing, she listens to his breathing and feels his chest. Her suspicions being confirmed, she moves over and grabs the needle giving it a few moments to cool before plunging it between his ribs relaxing slightly when his breathing becomes more natural. Death averted for the moment she turns to the blade taking it in hand and begins cutting.
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Hours later Clarke finally sits having just finished washing the blood and viscera off her hands and shedding her blood-soaked overtop in favour of the one beneath. She watches for a few moments ensuring Rokor is still breathing before getting back to her feet and walking through the door. As she passes through the door, she spots Luna and several dozen people waiting for her.
As they look up at her Clarke nods “the worst is over, assuming he survives the night he will live. Although I should warn you his recovery will be long and unpleasant” she stays a few moments watching the happiness that appears on their faces and then turns back heading inside and back to her chair.
She has sat there only a few minutes before Luna appears bringing with her a large plate of food in one hand and a chair in the other. Handing Clarke the plate, she sits the chair beside her and says “you have not eaten since this morning, eat.”
Clarke looks down at the food and feels her stomach rumble the same way it always has when she has been forced to miss meals. Quickly she tucks into the food, working her way through what can only be described as the best meal she has ever had, and that’s not just her hunger talking.
Luna remains silent as she eats for a few moments before saying “thank you” when Clarke looks at her half a slice of venison in her mouth she continues “we have lost many to accidents like these, and never before have we been able to save even one. You have brought hope where there was none, thank you.”
Clarke looks away as a tear forms in her eye before swallowing her bite. She continues to work her way through the food but as she does so she starts “earlier, you asked me why I was separated from my people” she takes a few bites not in the way Luna’s eyes focus on her “in the sky, there are no trees. Instead, our air comes from machines, machines my father maintained.”
This time she uses the food as an excuse to bite back the tears she feels forming at the memories before saying . “the machines were dying, my father found out. When he told my mother and me, he decided that the people needed to know, there was so much experience on The Ark. If only he had been able to tap into it, he might have been able to fix it.”
This time when she pauses the words choking her, Luna offers a hand on her arm in comfort “, but my mother and our council didn’t agree. Instead, they killed him, they pushed him out into the darkness of space and watched him die. If I hadn’t have been so young, I would have shared his fate. Instead, I was locked away, into a room, alone, and with the headsman's axe hovering over me, just waiting until I turned 18.”
When she finishes, she looks up, expecting to see pity in Luna’s eyes. Instead, she sees a maelstrom of sadness, anger and righteous fury. Luna seems to blink and then she moves to offer Clarke a hug with open arms as she says “I’m sorry.”
Chapter 3: Arrangements are Made
Throughout the night, Clarke and Luna stay in the healing house, watching over their patient and making sure he keeps breathing. Each taking turns to get the rest they both need. There are several points where it is touch and go, but eventually in the early hours of Clarke’s second waking day in Chesa as she learned it was called somewhere between midnight and three AM, Rokor stabilises, and it is clear that he shall live. This finally gives the pair the chance to relax a little, and they both get up from the seats and stretch out. Taking a careful look once more as if confirming Rokors status hasn’t changed in the five minutes since last they checked Clarke and Luna step out of the healing house and out into the street. Their appearance quickly draws attention from Rokor’s partner and their children as they quickly move towards them almost as if fearing the worst.
Clarke and Luna are quick to reassure them, telling them that Rokor survived the night and now things will start to get easier. Rokor’s partner Tilla, quickly pulls both of them into a hug that leaves Clarke momentarily stunned before Tilla is racing off after the three children who have seen this as an opportunity to escape in to see their father.
Luna, however, takes it in stride before moving over to one of the roving guardsmen and telling them to fetch a healer to watch over their patient.
They wait a few minutes until the guard returns this time with the head healer from the day before following along grumbling. However, as he makes toward the door, Clarke steps close and blocks his entrance.
“Move aside Skygirl” he says moving to push past her.
Clarke, however, stands still and pushes him back reaching down to place her hand conspicuously on her handgun as she says “turn around and leave” before looking to the now concerned guard and saying “find someone else.”
Something in her tone must send a message because the guard nods and immediately moves off to find one of the apprentices. Turning back to the man before her, Clarke says “I will not have you anywhere near my patient.”
“Don’t be stupid girl!” The man snaps testily eyeing the gun now at hand
Catching the motion of his eyes Clarke’s own narrow as she says “not even Onya Kom Trikru managed to take my weapon from me, so don’t even think about it.”
The man's eyes widen, and a terrified gulp sounds as he whispers “Wanheda.”
Clarke for her part doesn’t have time to wonder what the hell he means because she looks up to see the guard returning this time with one of the medical apprentices in tow. Looking to the girl who seemed to be no more than 14, she asks “you know how to watch someone’s vital signs.”
The girl nods quickly.
Clarke looks at her and commands “Good, go inside and watch Rokor, if something goes wrong send for me” the girl nods quickly moving past Clarke and into the building. Clarke, however, has already turned to the guard and said “this man does not go anywhere near my patient, understood?”
It happens again as the guard nods with a quick “yes Wanheda” before stationing himself beside the entrance.
Sparing only a moments glance back to the still terrified healer Clarke turns to Luna, and they start walking towards the bungalows. The streets are empty as they make their way through the town and it’s not until Clarke is splitting away from Luna towards her bungalow that they actually come across anyone and even then it is only Luna’s seken waiting to fill her in on what she has missed.
As Clarke turns off toward her bungalow, Adria steps out from where she stands to the side of Luna’s door. As Luna nears her, she says “a messenger came, we need to talk”
Luna nods beckoning the young woman to follow her as she walks into her home and moves behind the privacy screen to begin to wash away some of the muck from the day prior.
As she washes, Luna asks from behind the screen “what is it?”
Adria moves so she is leaning nearby the dining space as she says “Heda sent a messenger, they brought news that the Mounon have fallen. But that is not all. They also brought word of a woman Klark Kom Skaikru; word has it that it was she who felled the mountain.”
Luna steps out from behind the screen running a towel over her neck and shoulders as she says “so that is why they called her Wanheda.”
“Sha” Adria responds as Luna disappears to grab new clothes.
When Luna reappears, she says “I need you to do something.”
“Spread the word, no one is to call Clarke Wanheda while she is here.”
“But wouldn’t...” Adria begins only to be cut off
“She came here to end her life” Luna cuts in “she is in enough pain, knowing that everyone knows of her past, that they praise her for it, it would be too much.”
“Word will get out, she will learn eventually, and eventually word will spread that she is here,” Adria says cautiously.
“I know, but for now, for now, she needs just to be Klark, not the Wanheda” Luna says remembering the months after her conclave “now go, spread the word, I need to go.”
“Sha Luna,” Adria says before hurrying out the room and missing the way Luna leans heavily against a support post.
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It’s almost two hours later, and Clarke and Luna have just finished the morning run that despite Clarke’s protestations about Luna has decided they shall do every morning. They are just on their way back to Chesa when Luna starts to speak
“Hey Clarke, I wanted to talk to you about something” Luna begins clearly nervous.
Never one to miss something so obvious Clarke immediately notes Luna’s nerves and stops before turning to face her, asking “what is it?”
Luna looks between the blue of the ocean and the blue of Clarke’s eyes a moment before saying “I want to train you, and have you train my people in return.”
Clarke looks confused as she asks “what?”
Luna seems to straighten more as she says “I want you to stay here and train our healers to do what I saw you do yesterday, and I am more than happy to give you whatever you need to do so. In exchange, I offer you a place, here in Chesa, and if you wanted to learn, I would train you.”
Still confused Clarke asks “Train me?”
“To fight” Luna clarifies.
“Luna, I...” Clarke begins trailing off
“I don’t want to push you Clarke, and if you say no, I will not speak further of it, it is just...” Luna says pausing a moment before continuing “here, even in Floukru people learn how to fight, we are a relatively peaceful people, but that peace has a price.”
Luna seems to be lost in her memory momentarily before continuing “Azgeda, for example, would like nothing more than to sweep down here and kill us, but they don’t, because all of our people are warriors,” hen she is looking at Clarke intensely “not the few like Igranrona or majority like Azgeda, but all. It is this that gives them pause because they know that anyone they raise their arms against will fight back.”
Then realising how she must sound she looks away again “I am not saying you can’t stay here if you say no, it’s just, I need you to understand why this has become so important to my people.”
Clarke for her part is a little bit overwhelmed, but nevertheless she nods as she says “you know, I can already fight pretty well” then seeking to lighten the now sombre mood she says “I might even give you a run for your money” before nudging Luna lightly and beginning to walk back towards Chesa
This seems to do the trick as Luna realises that Clarke isn’t taking this nearly as bad as she had feared she would and instead she looks up and smirks at Clarke saying “we shall have to see about that” and moving to catch up.
The rest of the walk back and the morning meal is spent discussing their new arrangement, and by the time breakfast is done, they have ironed out most of the details. Including the part where Luna agrees to send the head healer to another village because Clarke is not sure she can keep from shooting the man if forced to interact with him on a daily basis. The only time things become awkward is when they enter the tavern, and despite what is clearly the best efforts of the Floukru many people still pause and look at Clarke as they pass by toward their table.
Ultimately though they divide up a schedule, first thing in the morning before breakfast Luna and Clarke will go for the morning run, which Luna insists is a vital part of their training. After the morning wash and meal Clarke will go into the healing house and teach the healers and apprentices there about what she can. This is followed by a few hours of basic first aid training after lunch for those who routinely work in ‘hazardous conditions’ (aka the whole village). And finally training with Luna for the second half of the afternoon and early evening before the evening meal.
Chapter 4: All Good Things Come to an End
That evening finds Clarke and Luna in the private training area behind Luna’s home. They had started mid-afternoon as planned following Clarke beginning to provide some basic first aid training to those who worked on the docks. They had spent the afternoon going over stabilising someone’s injuries long enough to allow a healer to arrive, and when and how to move an injured person. All in all, Clarke has been excited by the success she had, especially since all her pupils seemed to treat her word as gospel.
That all vastly contradicts what is happening at the moment. More and more, she finds herself landing on her back in the dirt as Luna stands there smirking as she bounces from foot to foot. At this stage, all she wants it to land a hit on Luna, but try as she might the woman is just too fast. No matter what she tries, Luna always has the advantage, and it is clear had this been a real fight Clarke would have been killed several times over already. Nevertheless, Clarke rises to her feet again, watching the pride flicker in Luna’s eyes as she does so before launching herself at the woman again. This time, however, she lets her instincts guide her.
When she had been training to become a doctor on The Ark, she had learnt that her instincts tended to be correct. Sure she was smart, but when there are limited anaesthetic and blood, when everything is on a time crunch because the patient is going to bleed out, smart doesn’t cut it. It’s times like those where there isn’t the time to stop and think where Clarke truly excels. Sure her stitches aren’t as perfect as her mother’s, her cuts not as small as Jackson’s, but she was quick, and she kept people alive. Were it not for the council locking her up she would have become the first person under the age of 40 to become The Ark’s trauma surgeon.
And now, she begins to trust those instincts again, and low and behold something changes. Sure she lands on her back more often than not, Luna is still a highly trained warrior, with years of experience. But she starts to stay standing for longer, and Luna, Luna actually has to try. The sun is just about to set, and they have time for maybe 2 more rounds when it happens, Clarke manages to hit Luna, and the look of shocked pride on her face is worth the body full of bruises she’s going to have later.
The sun is setting, light flashing off the water as Luna knocks Clarke down again, this time sending her sprawling over a patch of sand. Clarke, however, manages to keep the momentum rolling back to her feet. The glare off the water must block Luna’s sight at just the right moment because as Clarke comes to her feet and throws a fistful of sand right into her face, she doesn’t have the chance to dodge.
Remembering that which she learnt from her fight with Anya, Clarke presses the advantage and quickly launches herself at Luna. Luna clearly expects it, but clearly she expected Clarke to go for her body; instead Clarke goes for her legs. Clarke crashes into Luna’s legs sending them both sprawling, then before Luna has the chance to react Clarke snaps out a clumsy punch bloodying Luna’s nose.
In her shock, at actually hitting the woman Clarke loses focus, and this gives Luna just enough time to snap an elbow into her gut and jump to her feet, leaving Clarke on the ground winded.
When Clarke does eventually look up, Luna quickly collects herself before leaning down to offer Clarke a hand up and saying “well that’s the first time that’s happened before.”
Still riding the high Clarke asks in a joking tone” I can’t believe that’s the first time a woman has bloodied your nose?”
Luna lets out a short chortle saying “no, but that’s the first time someone I’ve been training has managed to do it so quickly.”
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
The days, and eventually, weeks and months that follow, pass without significant incident for nearly 2 months. Clarke and Luna keep to their schedule and Clarke for her part starts to move past the events of The Mountain. That is not to say that nothing happens, however, in actuality much passes over the following weeks as the weather starts to turn cold.
Their morning runs become lengthier and yet shorter as Clarke begins to build muscle and endurance at an astonishing rate. Soon Clarke and Luna no longer need to stop for rest during the run, and Clarke slowly stops needing the lengthy recovery time afterwards she once had. They still maintain the lengthy breakfasts however each using it as an excuse for time where they’re not interrupted by the day to day demands of their stations.
At this stage, Clarke is acting as the head healer for the Floukru, and the former healer had been sent to one of the border villages where how Luna phrased it “his skills were needed more". Still, Clarke manages to keep up with the day to day requirements of the town and train, not just the three apprentices and other healer stationed there, but also other healers that Luna had been bringing in. This had led to a flood of goodwill from the clan's people, and many now view Clarke as just another member of the Floukru. This was all without even mentioning the decrease in serious injuries since Clarke had started giving basic training in first aid to whoever happened to cross her path.
Throughout this, all, Luna has spent her days ensuring that the Floukru will survive the winter. When she leaves Clarke after breakfast, she goes to what serves as the great house of the village where she keeps an office. Once there, she spends her time working out fishing quotas, and routes, not to mention the trade routes and monitoring the food supplies. Throughout the day, however, she is routinely interrupted as she finds herself waiting for the sun to reach a certain point in the sky before she can leave and go about other decidedly less boring business.
As it turns out, that first hit hadn’t been a fluke, and over the weeks that followed, it became apparent that Clarke, when she set her mind to something, was often extraordinarily adept. They continue to practice their hand to hand combat, Luna insisting that it is meditative and focusing. But they also begin training with weapons, Clarke being taught to use swords, axes, knives and bows in a short amount of time. When handed a weapon, Clarke could almost instinctively handle it, something Luna was sure would only serve to confirm her people’s belief that Clarke was the Wanheda.
The only problem became when Luna tried to drill her like a regular warrior, things like forms and muscle memory didn’t stick for Clarke and more often than not her internalised desire for perfection would rear its head and result in a painful experience. So instead they practice instinctive actions, something that Clarke learns rapidly and results in a decidedly more enjoyable experience for them both.
Clarke quickly learns how to shoot a bow, however unlike the rest of the marksmen she ‘feels’ where the arrow will go more than focusing on aiming. Miraculously enough, this means that while she may struggle with smaller targets like say an apple in someone’s hand, she could shoot a head sized target proficiently.
This pattern follows into nearly every other weapon Luna hands her, be it Sword, Knife, or axe. The only exception being the smaller, assassins style throwing and punch daggers that Clarke seemed to handle without thought and near pinpoint accuracy. This, of course, prompts Luna to start training her more and more to use them, half their training time is devoted to them alone with the other half split evenly between hand to hand and other weapons.
Alas though, all good things come to an end, and for Clarke and Luna, this happens nearly 4 months after Clarke arrived in Chesa.
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
The cold of winters grasp is finally upon them, and Clarke and Luna have been run off their feet. Clarke has been busy due to a flu-like illness that had swept through the village. While usually not deadly, it left the infected with a racking cough that if not treated, could quickly become pneumonia, especially in the elderly and young. Luna, however, had been organising patrols into the woods and along the water due to what were reportedly bandit raids on the Floukru villages. Luna, of course, suspects that in truth it isn’t the banished, or other bandits that are striking, but rather other clans seeking to bolster their own supplies and weaken the Floukru for the coming months.
This all results in a higher than average level of fatigue amongst the people of Chesa, especially Clarke and Luna. More often than not, they are so fatigued after training in the evenings that they will barely manage to stumble back to the bungalows before passing out for the night. This often goes even further after the bad days where Luna is forced to ride out and deal with the ‘bandits’ or where Clarke has had an extensive day of surgery. It is these days where they will commonly not even separate, just stumbling into whichever bungalow is closer and passing out, despite the small amount of blushing that occurs the next morning.
In the end, though, it is this habit, of random cohabitation that saves them as one night under cover of darkness and in the midst of snowfall, they are attacked.
The first they know about it is the shattering of windows and the red glow of fire glowing as they are wakened from their slumber. The next is when even as they are getting dressed and going to see what is happening three figures enter Clarke’s bungalow weapons drawn. Despite the sleepiness, they both feel it is immediately apparent that these are not friends, but rather foes come to do them harm. Without even a moments hesitation Clarke drops her bandolier of blades she had been strapping on and instead draws her gun. She fires 6 times in quick succession, all shots landing at the base of the neck. Luna for her part isn’t still as she quickly moves to put Clarke’s weapons on her as Clarke covers them from anyone else coming in the door.
As soon as their weapons are secure, they both rush outside and what greets them is a world lit in a red, glow and the crackle of flames as 5 assailants stand watching weapons drawn.
Moments later, it is on as the attackers rush towards them. 2 go after Luna and 3 after Clarke. Clarke immediately shoots down two of the assailants, but the third manages to get close enough that when Clarke is forced to dodge the sweep of a battle axe she can feel the air that follows.
Luna, in the meantime, has also killed one of her assailants sweeping aside their overhead blow and plunging a sword into their chest before using them as a human shield to avoid their compatriots attack. Luna quickly pulls her sword from the first assailant before turning back to the second flicking the blood off her sword in the direction of their face and launching a rapid series of swings that leave them struggling to block. She quickly backs her assailant up, forcing them toward the now burning bungalow using the heat from the flames to distract them long enough to bring her sword down in an overhand blow before stepping close and burying a dagger between their fourth and fifth rib.
While Luna is duelling her attacker Clarke, however, is having a slightly more complicated problem. She can’t back away far enough to get a clean shot with her handgun, and she can’t get close enough to stab him with one of her punch daggers. Instead, she is forced to dance away from blow after blow narrowly avoiding the blade of the axe each time. Finally, however, she has had enough, and she manages to dodge the axe with just enough time to spare to draw a throwing dagger and impale it through her assailant's foot using it to distract him long enough to close the distance and jab another into their neck.
Once Clarke has finished with her attackers though she immediately turns to assist Luna, she does so just in time to watch Luna step close and kill the man. Quickly reloading her gun; however, Clarke checks to make sure there are no other assailants before making her way over to Luna.
“I think that’s all of them,” she says to Luna sheathing her blade carefully.
Luna, however, is distracted as she leans down and checks the dead attacker before saying “yes, that’s all of them, they always act in squads of eight” in an almost hollow tone
“You know what this was?” Clarke asks
“Indeed” Luna responds before rising to her feet and saying “they’re an Azgeda assassination squad and this isn’t the first time I have experienced one of their attacks.”
“What do we do now?” Clarke asks
“There is very little we can do,” Luna says running a hand through her hair “we will send word to Polis in the morning about what happened, but other than that all we can do is put out this fire before it spreads, and check everyone else is alive.”
Eventually, they manage to put out the fire, but they were not the on,y ones attacked that night. And after a quick check of the town, they find three guards with their throats slit and stuffed in a ditch. Knowing that she was right earlier and there is nothing else they can do tonight, Luna doubles the guard just in case and heads back to the remaining bungalow with Clarke for what she imagines will be the only rest she gets for a while.
Chapter 5: The Overlook
Chapter by MMJohns_The_100 (Mmjohns)
So, I had a plan. That went out the window, and instead, I did a thing. I hope you enjoy this
The next morning finds Clarke and Luna curled up on Clarke’s bed. Luna is the first to awaken and spends a few moments looking at Clarke watching her sleep peacefully while she still can. The last few weeks have been some of Luna’s happiest, the only problem is there are still things that she is yet to tell the blonde, and moreover, she doesn’t know how Clarke feels about her. She suspects her feelings may be returned, she isn’t completely oblivious and has caught Clarke staring at her a few times, but thus far she hasn’t been able to summon the courage to broach that discussion with her.
Luna is still sitting there just watching and thinking when Clarke finally awakens. At first, Luna is too caught up within her own head and doesn’t realise that Clarke’s eyes have opened, or that the soft snores of the blonde have ceased. Instead, she finds herself staring into Clarke’s sleepy morning gaze before quickly rising to her feet.
Taking the opportunity to avoid what she believes will be an awkward conversation, Luna instead chooses to ask “Can I borrow some clothes? Mine are pretty much ash by this stage.”
Clarke blinks away the fog from her mind before saying “of course you can, they were yours before they were mine, really I’m the one who has been borrowing, help yourself to whatever you want” and apparently the fog is not entirely gone if that ramble is anything to go by
Luna, however, seems bemused more than anything as she stifles a smile and chuckle at the blonde before making her way over and picking out clothes from what Clarke usually uses for workout gear.
Clarke watches this and finds herself staring at the way Luna moves before quickly shaking herself and rising from the bed. In an attempt to change her train of thought Clarke quickly capitalises on Luna’s choice of clothes saying jokingly “well, if you’re taking them, then I won’t have anything to run in, we will have to cancel”
Luna for her part lets out a huff of air in amusement before becoming more solemn and saying “actually I thought we could skip the run today, I need to talk to you about some things, and we got more than enough cardio in last night with fighting those assassins.”
Clarke also seems to become more severe at the mention of last nights events as she nods before saying “what did you want to talk about?”
Luna, in an attempt to stall quickly offers, “perhaps that can wait until after breakfast hm? I don’t know about you, but I feel like waffles, and if we get there soon...”
Clarke allows the subject change and gives what Luna clearly desires as she says “ok then, you go get dressed behind the partition, and I’ll get changed here, then we can head to the Tavern.”
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
Breakfast that morning was more than a little awkward. Luna spent the morning mulling over what she wanted to talk to Clarke about. Clarke for her part was doing her best to respect Luna’s wishes even though it had worry pooling in the pit of her stomach, no matter how much food she ate to try and displace it.
Eventually, though they can’t avoid it anymore and after saying a quick thank you to the tavern keepers and settling their tab, they make their way out of the building. The meander for a few minutes before eventually Luna makes up her mind and starts walking up the hillside south of the village.
As they walk, Clarke tries to lighten the mood offering “if I knew you were going to make me climb a hill instead, I would have insisted on the running.”
Luna lets out a short Horton looking back over towards Clarke with a form of soft fondness before saying “for what we need to discuss we need privacy, and unfortunately, there isn’t anywhere truly private within the village.”
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
When they eventually reach the top of the hill, they find an old world outlook complete with concrete walls and rusting telescope mounts. For several moments they stand there looking out over the ocean and village below, Clarke just taking in the sight as Luna grapples with how to start.
Eventually, though Luna settles her mind before asking “do you remember the day Adria came to see me after you and our former healer nearly came to blows.”
Clarke nods her head, wondering where Luna is going with this.
Luna runs a hand through her hair, something Clarke has noticed she only ever does when she’s stressed before saying “she was there to let me know that a messenger had arrived earlier that day, they came bearing news from Polis, our capitol, news about the Mounon, about the Wanheda.”
“Wait, that’s what they called me; what does it mean, Wanheda?” Clarke asks
Luna looks truly contrite as she says “Wanheda means, the Commander of Death.
“The Commander of Death...” Clarke says in a hollow tone
Luna steps forward taking Clarke’s hands in her own apologising profusely saying “I’m so sorry Clarke, I should have told you, but I...”
“No, no I, I understand,” Clarke says letting out a pained laugh as she interrupts “Commander of Death, it’s, I...” she says before falling silent.
Stepping closer To Clarke Luna implores “please, you have to understand, I didn’t want you bound by a name, I know you, Clarke, that, Wanheda, that isn’t you, that isn’t the woman I have come to care for.”
This time Clarke pulls away from Luna letting out a scoff as she says “don’t you see Luna that is who I am! I’ve killed hundreds!” Then she turns away from Luna as sobs shake her frame
“That’s not your fault Clarke,” Luna starts but is interrupted as Clarke whirls back on her eyes watery with tears.
“Then whose fault is it Luna? If not mine then whose? I killed them; I burned Anya's warriors, I let Anya get shot, I pulled a lever and killed everyone in the mountain, if that’s not my fault, then whose fault is it?” Clarke practically screams as she advances on Luna becoming more and more upset with every step
Luna, however, stands her ground and as soon as Clarke is within reach she pulls her close “it's their fault” she says as she presses Clarke’s head against her chest to provide some degree of comfort. “It’s their fault, it’s Anya’s fault for attacking you, it’s the fault of the person who shot Anya, and it’s the fault of the Mounon, for not giving you another choice.” Then lifting Clarke’s chin gently she looks into her eyes as she says “I know you, Clarke, what you have done is not who you are, you had no choice. You are not the monster you fear yourself to be, the fact that you feel the guilt this keenly proves that.”
They remain like that for several moments and then suddenly Clarke moves, and they are kissing, they stand there overlooking the ocean and kissing as Clarke presses herself desperately against Luna. Then suddenly it’s over, and Luna is pulling away.
Immediately Clarke starts to panic, berating herself internally even as she tried to apologise “oh god, Luna I’m so sorry, I swear I...”
However this time it is her turn to be interrupted as Luna presses a finger to her lips silencing her “Clarke, it’s ok” she says watching the blonde relax slightly before continuing “I, I care for you, deeply, it’s just I want to do this right.”
Seeing Clarke about to protest she says “I don’t want you to kiss me because you are overwhelmed. I don’t want you to kiss me because you’re in pain. I want you to kiss me because you feel for me that which I feel for you.”
Clarke nods and Luna removes her finger. For several moments they look to each other again, Luna, with a light blush on her cheeks before Clarke makes a decision.
Leaning up, so she and Luna are eye to eye, Clarke says “I do, I care for you, Luna. It terrifies me, but I do” Then she chuckles lightly “how could I not, you’re amazing, and so, if it’s ok” she takes Luna’s chin in her hand “I would like to kiss you now, ok?”
Luna nods slightly, and this time when they kiss they don’t suddenly pull apart, instead they stand there, basking in the presence of each other and what they are feeling
When they do eventually pull apart, the last thing either of them wants to discuss is the events of last night and the coming days. However, both know the necessity and that they can’t hide their heads in the sand. The Azgeda have essentially declared war on the Floukru by attempting to assassinate Luna. While Luna does not doubt that the Azgeda Kwin will deny sending the squad to kill her and instead place the blame on whichever sycophantic hanger on has earth her ire this week Floukru can not allow this to stand. If this is allowed to stand, this opens the entirety of the Floukru to attack by the other clans and places their people in grave danger. The only choice is retribution by war or other means, and while the Floukru abhor war, they are more than capable. After all, a pacifist doesn’t last long in this world unless they are willing and able to fight and win when necessary.
To this end, Clarke and Luna remain on the top of the hill for several hours going over the options they have. Luna wants to take this to Polis, place it before the clan ambassadors and compel them to intervene. Clarke, for her part, knows that when politics becomes involved often what is right is forgotten in favour of power, and she doubts that the ambassadors will act. Luna, of course, insists that The Commander will not allow this to go unpunished and that she spent several years in a war of unification to specifically overcome the shortfalls that Clarke fears. Ultimately though they can’t see eye to eye, Luna wants so desperately to believe in the coalition, in what it should stand for. Whereas Clarke is jaded and mistrustful, her own experiences first upon The Ark, and then with Lexa leading her to believe that when pushed; when presented with the option of armed conflict the politicians will ignore that which is right and instead go with that which earns them the most favour.
It’s this fundamental disagreement that leaves them stumped as they argue their respective points for several hours each going through the potential outcomes and options. Ultimately they come to the assessment that no matter which option they choose, several things remain true. Firstly, no matter what option they choose, both Clarke and Luna need to head to Polis and take the bodies of the assassins with them. Secondly, they need to offer the Commander the chance to do the right thing before anything else. Thirdly, that there are only two outcomes to this, either they will end up at war, or Azgeda will be forced to pay restitution.
In the end, though there is only one option at the moment for both of them, despite their scepticism, and despite the risk to themselves, they have to give the coalition a chance. And so they decide to leave for Polis in two days.
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
The days before they leave are spent going over what they know, planning, and growing closer. Once they finished their discussion at the overlook, they had returned just in time for dinner. This time Luna had insisted that she would cook for them, something Clarke was more than happy to accept given that her only experience in the culinary arts was adding sauce to already cooked food.
Of course, when she tells Luna this the meal quickly transitions into a cooking lesson as Luna explains how to cook everything.
“How about I cook tonight,” Luna asks as they walk back to the sole remaining bungalow
“Better you than me” Clarke laughs from where she walks arm in arm with Luna “I’m pretty sure I would burn water if left to cook”
Luna looks over at her with a confused look “how does one burn water? Is it not wet?”
Clarke laughs leaning up to kiss Luna and remove the confused look from her lips as she says “actually we could discuss both of those at length. However, the point of the statement is that the most experience I have with a kitchen is that it’s likely a good place to find a weapon if you need one in a hurry.”
Luna looks at her as if assessing for a few moments the seriousness of Clarke’s statement. Evidently, she comes to a decision and nods before saying “in that case, as part of our training, I shall teach you how to cook after all a warrior who is distracted by hunger is easily slain.”
Clarke just rolls her eyes fondly at the declaration and manages a small nod of assent.
“I can’t believe it,” Luna says somewhere between shocked and impressed.
Clarke looks between Luna and the stove where she had been cooking “I always thought it was a joke.”
“Well joke or not ai hodness, you managed to do it,” Luna says
“In my defence though, I didn’t think it was possible” Clarke tries.
Luna looks at her deadpan “Clarke; you literally burnt water, there were flames and everything.”
“Yeah” Clarke admits, rubbing the back of her neck.
Luna can see that this is really starting to bother Clarke says “it’s alright hodness, we still have plenty of time, why don’t you take a seat over there she says indicating the kitchen bench and continuing whilst feeling emboldened after their earlier confessions “I will cook, and you can sit there and enjoy the view”
Clarke looks at Luna feeling emboldened by Luna’s flirting and momentarily forgetting the destruction she had nearly wrought says “well, it is a breathtaking view” while shooting Luna a wink and moving to sit at the counter.
After that dinner continued with few to no issues as Luna made quick work of cooking the vegetables and fish they had set out while Clarke watches. The pair stays at the kitchen counter enjoying the way it encourages proximity before finding their way to the small lounge area and onto what serves as the grounder manufactured version of a couch and beneath the furs there.
They are sitting there enjoying being close to each other when Clarke broaches a question she had been mulling over.
“Luna?” Clarke asks drawing her attention
“Hmm” Luna hums in encouragement for Clarke to continue.
“What does ai hodness mean?” Clarke asks
Luna unconsciously stiffens slightly before saying in a soft tone “it means my love.”
Clarke, for her part, seems shocked by this for a few minutes before letting out a soft “oh.”
This does nothing to assuage Luna’s concern, and so she remains tense.
A few minutes pass in semi-awkward silence before Clarke asks “Luna, what exactly are we?”
Pulling back slightly to look Clarke in the eyes, Luna asks “I don’t understand?”
Thinking about how to communicate what she wants to ask Clarke asks carefully “are we girlfriends, are we dating, are we exclusive to each other, where do we stand?”
Luna, for her part, gives this a few moments of consideration before saying “I would like to be dating, as for being girlfriends, I do not know this term.” She pauses thinking about how to phrase what she wants to say before continuing “I would consider you my houmon, I think the closest word you have is partner although it can also mean spouse, but I don’t think we are there yet” then she says with a crinkle above her brow “as for being exclusive, if I understand what you mean we of Floukru do not enforce single bond pairings, and if you wanted to seek another partner you are able”
Clarke smiles at the way Luna is treating this with exceptional care as she says “from what you say girlfriends are similar to houmon, it means when two people are dating each other but are not yet ready for marriage.” Then she says “exclusive is when you and I are dating, and we will not date another, although if you were interested in potentially dating another, it was not uncommon for my people to invite a third into a relationship and it means more about both of us dating them”
Luna considers what she has just been told before answering “in that case Clarke Kom Skaikru, I would be honoured to be your girlfriend and be exclusive with you. Although I am happy with you alone.”
Moving close so she can kiss Luna Clarke says “in that case Luna Kom Floukru, I would be honoured to accept you as my girlfriend and I to am happy with you alone.”
The rest of the night passes with the two on the couch and apart from a little making out nothing really happens with the pair going to bed not too long afterwards.
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
The next morning they are awakened with the sun and after a little bit of negotiation where Luna promises that they can go to the tavern for waffles she and Clarke are back to their morning run. Surprisingly enough, the missed day hasn’t affected Clarke’s ability, and she quickly falls into position next to Luna as they run up along the shoreline.
Once they are finished their run as promised Luna takes Clarke to the tavern, and they each get a large stack of waffles that Clarke proceeds to smother in one of the local berry preserves while Luna enjoys hers with some fresh cream that had been made only hours earlier. Throughout breakfast, they remain side by side and holding hands something that doesn’t go unnoticed by the others in the tavern, and it is clear that they are the source of quite a substantial amount of gossip.
Eventually, though it gets on Clarke’s nerves and she stands up on her chair to look over the tavern before yelling “since we seem to have the majority of your focus, then let me satisfy your curiosity. Luna and I are dating. Anyone have a problem with that?” Something about her tone must communicate just how dangerous it could be for anyone with a problem because she is met with a series of shaking heads before sitting down next to Luna.
“Hodness” Luna says looking at her with a small shake of her head.
“What they were staring? Like you wouldn’t have done the same.” Clarke scoffs
Luna chuckles “that’s fair,” she concedes before asking “but what if they had challenged you?”
Clarke looks at Luna, and despite everything, she can see the genuine concern in her girlfriend's eyes. Bringing Luna’s hand up to her lips and pressing a soft kiss there she says “then I would have beaten them, you forget darling, I am The Wanheda, and perhaps most importantly you trained me.”
“Well I guess I can’t argue with that” Luna says with a small roll of the eyes before saying “just in future, please try not to challenge an entire clan to combat, ok?”
Clarke lets out a joking sigh as she says “As you wish.”
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
After breakfast, they go their separate ways after a slightly more passionate than appropriate kiss outside the tavern. Clarke heads towards the healing house as Luna heads towards the great house, both receiving several congratulations along the way. The rest of the day is spent much as usual except that instead of having lunch, Clarke uses her lunch break to go to the village quartermaster who oversees all the old Tek they have recovered.
Walking In the door to what seems like an old warehouse at the edge of the village, Clarke calls out “hello anyone there?”
“Just a minute” calls a voice from amongst the clutter of the storage area.
A few minutes later, one of the village elders emerges from the back and asks “hello, and what can I do for you today?”
Clarke looks at the older woman before responding “Hi, I, Luna and I are meant to be heading to Polis the day after tomorrow and I just wanted to see if you maybe had anything that could help me keep her say”
The woman immediately seems to brighten as she says “ahh, you must be the Klark I keep hearing about from my grandchildren. Unfortunately I do not know of anything like you seek, but to be honest much of this is beyond me if you want to look around anything you find is yours.”
Clarke moves forward to take the woman’s hand and shake it as she says “mochof, I promise I will not as quick as I can.”
The woman releases her hand and waves off her assurances saying “take your time youngon I am not going anywhere.”
Clarke smiles at the woman before making her way towards the shelves stacked with equipment. She works her way through the rows of equipment carefully and methodically looking for anything that might help her to protect Luna in the event that things go awry when they are in Polis. She spots several things that she decides to come back later and examine further, most significant being what looks like an intact X-ray machine and some solar panels. However, it isn’t until nearly the end of her search that she finds what she was hoping for.
They have clearly seen better days, and she is going to have her work cut out for her repairing the damage done to them, but at the very back beneath a dust-covered case are what looks like four sets of prewar armour. Each is sporting several broken panels or bullet holes, but as she examines them, Clarke estimates that she should be able to get two or three sets of armour out of them. Unfortunately, however, the cloth that binds the panels is beyond repair, and she decides instead that she will need to stitch them into what they already have.
Carefully Clarke extracts the armour taking care not to leave parts behind before making her way out to the front.
“Did you find what you were looking for, youngon?” The elder asks
Clarke smiles at her before saying “I believe so, but unfortunately, it will need some repair, you couldn’t point me towards the clothier so I could get some thread and cloth, could you?”
The woman returns the smile and says, “of course” before directing Clarke towards her destination.
Leaving the store Clarke makes her way toward the clothier stopping on her way to ask one of the guards to let her apprentices know they will need to take over her first aid sessions and non-emergency duties for the foreseeable future as she will be busy until she and Luna leave for Polis. She also asks them to let Luna know that she will have to miss their training session this afternoon and that she will see her at the bungalow for dinner.
Once that is done, she hastens towards the clothier. Once she arrives there, she quickly explains her plans to the man and woman who run the place before getting to work. They work well into the evening until finally it is time to leave for dinner and Clarke heads back to Luna being assured by the clothiers that they will happily continue doing their best to get things ready for the next day.
Once she arrives at the bungalow, she is met by the sight of Luna stirring a pot as she waits for her. She slips inside and makes her way over to Luna, pressing a kiss to the woman’s cheek as she loops her arms around her.
“I missed you” Clarke whispers into her ear.
Luna smiles as she suggests “perhaps you would not had you not cancelled our training session.”
Clarke pretends to think on it a moment before replying “nope, and you’re going to have to do better than that if you want to know what I’ve been doing”
Luna puts on a false air of innocence as she turns to face Clarke and protests “why I have no idea what you’re talking about hodness.”
Clarke glares at her playfully before stepping close to kiss her before pulling back and saying “of course.”
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
The next morning finds Clarke back at the clothiers and as they had promised much of the work has been completed, and all that is left is to insert and mount the armoured panels into the clothing. Several hours later and after some mi or alterations Clarke is quite proud of what they have managed, if one didn’t know the armour was there they’d never be able to tell. The clothes are the same as Clarke has seen Luna wear before when dealing with official business and look precisely like normal everyday wear. The difference is in the tight underclothes that rest below and can be easily worn beneath any of a dozen other outfits. The armour covers the torso, sides, back and legs in a series of small plates that together should stop most weapons from penetrating. It will still hurt, especially if shot, but it should prevent the injuries from being lethal.
Clarke is quick to praise the clothiers, and they wave it off with as much speed. They are just happy to have helped Clarke and their chief desiring no further recognition. Furthermore, they swear not to speak a word about what they have made knowing their value of an advantage about which your enemy does not know.
By now it is just after lunch and Clarke decides to forgo the wait, and with the armour carefully hidden amongst other clothes, she makes her way to the great house. Upon entering she makes her way to Luna’s office and finds her staring grumpily at some paperwork that can undoubtedly wait, but Luna’s work ethic won’t allow her to forget.
She watches a few moments before saying “how about you leave that, while you and I go back to the bungalow so I can show you something.”
Luna jumps at the sound of her voice, and it brings Clarke a moments amusement before Luna asks “of course ai hodness, what did you want to show me?”
“That’s for me to know and you to find out,” Clarke says, smiling.
Luna pouts a moment but quickly agrees.
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
The trip back to the bungalow doesn’t take long and as soon as they are inside Luna is like a kid at Christmas eager to find out what surprises Clarke has in store.
Clarke quickly shows her the clothing and Luna looks momentarily disappointed before plastering a smile on her face and saying “I love it hodness.”
Satisfied that if Luna, who is holding it doesn’t realise the purpose, Clarke smiles as she says “don’t worry darling, it’s not just new clothes.” She takes one of the sets with the armour built in and makes quick work out of pulling loose some of the armour panels to show Luna before saying “I went to see the quartermaster yesterday, I wanted something in case things went wrong in Polis. Unfortunately, the armour itself was damaged, but I managed to salvage enough for three sets like this, as near as I can tell it should stop most weapons barring a large calibre bullet and those are extremely rare.”
Luna looks at the armour dubiously as she asks “this will stop a sword?”
Clarke nods before taking one of the panels and placing it on the table. She looks to Luna “strike it” she says
Luna quickly complies first slashing then stabbing the armour once she has finished Clarke steps closer and holds it up showing its undamaged.
“It’s still going to hurt if you get hit, but it should stop most blows” Clarke’s warns
Luna steps over to her and kisses her soundly “it’s perfect hodness.”
When they leave Chesa the next morning, it is not like most would expect. Instead of travelling by horse amidst one of the armed columns leaving the Floukru villages, they depart before dawn on one of the villages small fishing boats before meeting up with a skiff further out to sea. Usually, the Floukru were exceptionally careful about what they let the outside world see, even Clarke as close as she and Luna had become had no idea that the Floukru still operated vessels of this size.
As soon as they are aboard, they are met by the captain who welcomes them and quickly explains that it will take them a day and a half to reach Polis, before giving them a tour of the ship. Clarke is amazed at the size of the vessel and the fact that the Floukru have managed to keep something like this running all these years. Eventually, once the tour is completed, both she and Luna are shown below deck to the small cabin that has been set aside for them. At first, Clarke feels bad knowing she and Luna are putting the captain out of his own cabin, but he assures them it is alright and that he can share with his first officer since one of them will be at the helm the entire time.
That settled Luna gently tugs Clarke into the room, and after several hours of discussion regarding the coming days, they both decide they need to get as much sleep as possible since for all they know they could be at war in the coming days.
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
They arrive at the Polis docks in the dead of night. Their skiff cruising silently through the waves before pulling up alongside the docks just long enough to let them off before taking up a position in the mouth of the bay away from prying eyes but close enough that if something goes wrong, they can get them out.
The town is black, the raised walls obscuring the minimal light shining from the moon overhead. Clarke and Luna don’t bother with torches, instead making their way through the capital under the cover the darkness provides. Both are wearing their armour, and are armed well enough to repel most any attack. Still, they take care to make sure they aren’t seen.
It takes them almost a half hour to worm their way through the city to their target, a small house at the edge of the district that bounds the tower. As they get closer to the tower, the illumination and number of guards grow, and they need to be more careful to avoid detection. Eventually, though they reach the house and unlike many would expect they head to the cellar at the side of the building, climbing down into the inky blackness.
At the foot of the stairs, waits a handful of Floukru warriors, as soon as they confirm that it is Luna they quickly lead them down a tunnel beneath the city streets and up into the Floukru embassy 3 streets over. Once inside they are immediately shown to a set of rooms deep within the complex and are still joined by the Floukru ambassador.
As soon as they are seated Luna offers “Ambassador, I apologise for the suddenness of our visit” then turning to Clarke she says “Clarke, I’d like to introduce you to Ambassador” then when Clarke quirks an eye she continues “the name is a tradition he was known as Thaddeus before this”
once Clarke nods her understanding, Luna turns back to the Ambassador and as discussed says “Ambassador, I would like to introduce you to Klark Kom Skaikru, the Wanheda.”
The Ambassador’s eyes widen in shock as he says in an almost reverent voice “Wanheda” before giving a half bow.
Clarke inclines her head slightly as she says “a pleasure” before turning back to Luna and asking “shall we get down to business, the sun will be up in less than 5 hours, and we need to be prepared.”
“Of course hodness” Luna confirms before turning suddenly to look at the Ambassador who has apparently fainted at hearing the term on endearment falling from Luna’s lips.
Sighing heavily Luna turns to Clarke again, asking “help me get him up would you.”
Clarke stifles a chuckle as she says “of course.”
Once the Ambassador has been awakened and apologised for showing such weakness fainting in such a manner, they quickly get down to business. They are relieved that this far no one had any indication that they were on there way in. Unfortunately, however, it seems that they weren’t the only unexpected visitors and not only had the Azgeda Kwin arrived but word had it that a Skaikru delegation was due that day as well. This both helps and hinders their plans but ultimately it is decided that they will proceed and as soon as the sun rises Clarke and Luna shall make their way to The Commander’s tower and demand that they produce the Kwin to face the charges.
That being decided the following few hours are a rush of carefully hidden activity. Undoubtedly the other clans have agents watching the embassy and Heda always has her informants. So to ensure word does not leak of what they have planned, they construct a carefully structured external facade while inside everything is at action stations.
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
Less than an hour has passed since the sun rose over the horizon, and Clarke and Luna are making their way through the streets of Polis towards the Commander’s tower. As soon as they had left the embassy, they could tell they were being watched, not just by the spies that indubitably stood watch, but by the people who even now are starting to go about their day.
Luna hasn’t been in Polis since she left the conclave, but her face is still well known amongst the people, as she was the first Natblida to refuse what was demanded of her. Clarke's face, however, is relatively unknown, truly she is known only to those who fought the war giants the Mounon, and many of them live far from Polis. That, however, does not stop people from recognising her, after all here walks a woman, with blonde hair, blue eyes, armed to the teeth and with a pistol strapped to her hip; the rumours have been circulating long enough that the people recognise the Wanheda.
As they near the tower the buzzing of activity grows and as they approach the tower they come face to face with a squad of the Polis guard. As they stop in front of them, one steps forward hand on his sword and demands “identify yourself.”
Clarke and Luna share a look, and then Luna speaks in a tone that rings across the courtyard “I am Luna Kom Floukru, I come to speak to Heda, and to demand restitution.”
All around them the whispers are building and Clarke for her part decides to make the most of it. Going off script, she straightens to her full height and says “ai laik Klark kom Skaikru, Wanheda, jus drein jus daun” I am Clarke of the Skaikru the Commander of Death and blood must have blood
The entire square falls silent, as if everything has frozen, and the guards standing in front of them pale at the proclamation. Clarke lets the moment hang in the air for a moment before speaking “take us to The Commander.”
Immediately the noise seems to rush back and all around them people hurry off to tell their friends and relatives about what they have witnessed. About the Floukru natblida and Wanheda who stand at the gates of the tower demanding blood.
A few moments later, the guards seem to unfreeze as well, each of them taking a careful step away from Clarke and Luna before the leader nods and requests “please, follow us.”
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
As they walk inside the entire building feels on edge, and it isn’t until they reach the elevator that they are left alone long enough for Luna to say anything.
As soon as the doors close Luna looks at Clarke and hisses “what the jok Clarke?”
“Hey, it got us inside,” Clarke says
“But now everyone thinks that you’re here, that we’re here to kill the Commander,” Luna says
Clarke puts on a flat expression as she deadpans “well maybe I will, I still owe her for betraying me at the mountain.”
“Clark” Luna groans stretching the last syllable as she feels a headache coming on.
“Relax Love, I’m not actually going to kill her, that would be far too quick” Clarke offers jovially.
Luna looks up from where she was rubbing her temples deadpanning “well I’m glad you can still joke at a time like this”
Taking Luna’s chin in her hand Clarke presses a soft kiss to her lips before pulling away and saying “besides you’re missing the best part of this, if the Kwin thinks we’re here for The Commander...” Clarke trails off the rest being left unsaid.
Luna pouts but is quickly forced to hide it as the door opens, and with a wink, Clarke is stepping out of the elevator.
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
It takes them only minutes after that to reach the throne room, and as they approach, they see the way the guards around them shrink back. Many of them still remember the Natblida, and the skill with which she handles a blade having seen her during the conclave. They have also heard the stories about the Wanheda, and how she slay the entire Mounon single-handedly, the last thing they want right now is to catch her ire, no matter what their duty may say.
They don’t hesitate or slow down as they approach the giant wooden doors instead watching as the guards scramble to open them before they arrive. Moments later they are in the throne room, all around them are the ambassadors from the 12 clans. They had counted on this when they left this morning, knowing that the ambassadors would often take breakfast at the tower as a way to work on whatever alliances they were making or breaking that day. Evidently, word had reached them about their impending arrival because not only are they all present, but they look sufficiently worried, implying they have heard that they have come for blood.
Lexa for her part remains seated atop her throne as if this is barely of note to her, only the way she twirls her dagger letting them know she is worried.
Titus, however, is not as composed and as soon as they come to a halt he strides toward them red in the face screaming “How dare you! How dare you enter the council chambers...”
Luna, however, ignores his pompous blustering and instead talks over him her voice echoing throughout the chamber “I Luna Kom Floukru, stand here today to demand retribution!”
Just as Titus is about to continue his hissy fit, Lexa stands from her throne and asks “from who do you seek satisfaction?”
Luna looks over the assembled ambassadors slightly enjoying the way they shrink away from her glare until she reaches the Azgeda Ambassador. “Azgeda” Luna spits, the single word echoes throughout the room and causes the Azgeda Ambassador to pale.
He quickly tries to defend himself, starting “Heda I have no idea...”
“Silence” Lexa commands and then turning to Luna she asks “of what crime do you accuse Azgeda.”
Luna turns, so she is facing Lexa again as she says “I accuse the Azgeda Kwin of the attempted assassination of a clan leader, I accuse her of treason.”
“You have no evidence!” The Azgeda Ambassador yells
Around them, the ambassadors start yelling and arguing growing louder and louder. This all, however, is brought to an end when Clarke raises her voice “I, Wanheda, stand witness to this crime.”
Immediately everything falls silent around them as Lexa asks “you witnessed this crime?”
Knowing that now is the moment Clarke straightens and says “I witnessed the attack on my Houmon Luna kom Floukru, assassins came for us in the middle of the night. They tried to kill both me and Luna while setting our home on fire. We killed them to the last, but before they passed, I found out who gave them their orders. I Wanheda accuse Nia Kom Azgeda, I demand blood, Jus drein jus daun.”
The room is silent, following Clarke’s proclamation, even Luna looks a little shocked at the way she is acting. However, it is Lexa who recovers. First, she turns to the guards that stand by her throne “arrest Nia Kom Azgeda and bring her here, she shall face trial under charges of treason.”
Chapter 8: Polis Part 2
Clarke and Lexa talk, Clarke comes to some realisations and healing begins
Following Lexa`s command, the council is dismissed to give the Polis guard time enough to find and arrest Nia before bringing her to the tower. However, as they are about to leave the room, Clarke and Luna are asked to remain behind.
“Klark, Luna” comes Lexa`s voice causing them both to stop where they are standing and face her. As soon as she is sure she has their attention, Lexa asks “would you both stay behind; I need to talk to you.”
“Heda, I…” Titus begins only to be interrupted
“shof op Titus” Lexa snaps the fixing him with a glare she says “leave us, now.’
Titus displays great self-preservation instinct by leaving them quickly as Lexa waves the guards in the room out alongside him. As soon as Titus and the guards are gone Lexa seems to shrink, The Commander`s persona seeming to fade as she becomes less the all-powerful Commander and more just Lexa. Seeing this Clarke looks at Luna with a raised eyebrow receiving an unsure look in return.
“Leksa?” Luna asks worriedly
Something in Lexa straightens just enough to indicate that she remembers she is not alone and she steps towards them offering Luna her arm in greeting saying “Hello old friend, it has been too long.”
Luna takes her arm offering “indeed, it has been, I was sorry to hear about Anya, she was a fine warrior and a better person.”
“She was,” Lexa says with a small smile then turning to Clarke she says “Klark, I…”
Clarke, however, doesn’t let her finish instead holding up a hand as she interrupts “spare me your apologies. You betrayed me, count yourself lucky, I did not come here for you. The only reason I am here is that Nia tried to kill Luna, and she insists this is the only way to put it to an end.”
Lexa almost seems to stagger back as if Clarke`s words physically strike her. Meanwhile, Luna places a hand on Clarke's shoulder beginning “Clarke…”
Unfortunately, though Clarke isn’t taking this as well as she thought she would and she pulls away from Luna. Missing the look of pain on Luna`s face at her actions Clarke whirls on Luna “No! She betrayed me!” Clarke yells startling them both. She points at Lexa viciously “she left my people and me to be killed! She condemned us to the same fate as all those taken by the Mountain, except, unlike them, we were forced to watch! We were forced to watch as friend and family screamed in pain, begging for help! It is because of her I see their faces! It is because of her; I hear their screams!”
When Clarke finally stops, her breasts are heaving as she feels overwhelming rage and emotion surging through her. Luna, for her part, looks contrite, almost beaten and seeing her like this, brings Clarke up short. Clarke knows Luna doesn’t deserve this, that all she wants is to help. Luna doesn't deserve Clarke's fury, and it is enough to snuff out the flames of rage that lick at her. However, what truly brings Clarke up short is the way Lexa kneels on the floor where she once stood, silent tears stream down her face, head bowed. She can see what her words have done to Lexa, can see the destruction they have wrought and despite herself, despite the anger, she still feels she is reminded of the Lexa she was coming to know. The Lexa, who despite the steel of her appearance, was secretly soft. A single word drops from her lips “Lexa.”
This seems to break the dam within Lexa, and suddenly Lexa is no longer sobbing silently instead tears flow freely as she begs forgiveness “I’m sorry Klark… I’m so, so sorry… I” Lexa begins clearly devastated
And for what its worth Clarke can’t find it in herself to be angry, not at Lexa. She hates The Commander, despises her with all her heart, but this Lexa, this Lexa is not The Commander. This is a girl forced too early to war, to make the best decisions she can under the worst circumstances. This is a girl who has seen too much death, too much suffering, who has seen her closest friend, mentor, and lover killed. She sees so much of herself in Lexa at that moment, she sees the woman who does what must be done to keep her people safe, and she realises that is what causes her such pain, brings forth such fury. She realises that if she were in Lexa`s position faced with an impossible choice between fighting an enemy that has beaten them time and again, or taking a deal, she doesn’t know what choice she would make.
Finally, she too falls to her knees, this time, wrapping her arms around the sobbing girl and saying three simple words that she never thought she would mean “I forgive you.”
They remain like that for several minutes Clarke just holding Lexa while she slowly regains control while Luna slowly moves to kneel beside them, wrapping an arm around Clarke. Eventually, though Lexa recovers enough to ask “you forgive me?” and her tone is enough to show that she doesn’t understand why or how Clarke would do such a thing.
Clarke pulls back, taking Lexa's hand in one of her own as the other seeks out Luna`s. She swallows the emotion she still feels as she says “I forgive you Lexa, I… what happened at the mountain was not your fault.” Then turning to look at Luna, she kisses her hand softly as she continues “Luna has been helping me realise that sometimes the actions demanded of us are not our own.” Turning back to meet Lexas eyes, she finishes “You did not choose to become Heda, just as I did not choose to become Wanheda. I hate the Commander, but she is not you, just like I am not Wanheda, they are masks we wear. So yes, I forgive you, Leksa.”
This time Lexa launches herself at Clarke wrapping her arms tightly around her as she cries into her shoulder. Beside them, Luna smiles proudly before bringing Clarke's hand up to her lips, pressing a kiss against it.
It takes several minutes after that for them to collect themselves and honestly they are all exhausted, despite it being only 10 am they are ready to fall asleep the emotions of the day already taking their toll. Knowing they likely have several hours before Nia is brought to the tower, Lexa offers them both the room next to hers at the top of the tower. Clarke and Luna are quick to accept and so shortly afterwards are both laid on the bed in the room Lexa has given them.
As they sit there, Luna says “Clarke.”
“hmm” Clarke replies from where she rests nestled against Luna's chest.
“I`m proud of you,” Luna says, continuing “I know how much pain you felt, and well, I'm proud of you.”
Clarke raises her head from where it rests, looking Luna in the eyes as she says “I'm sorry I yelled at you.”
“its… I understand” Luna says accepting the kiss of apology Clarke offers before continuing “just please next time could we avoid the tears and crying in the throne room, it would not be good if someone saw us, especially Titus.”
Clarke settles back down against Luna's chest before declaring “Titus can go float himself” earning herself a small chuckle from Luna.
Minutes later they fall asleep within each other's arms.
They are awakened hours later by a knock at the door; the sun is about to set and the day nearly at an end. Quickly Clarke and Luna stand from where they lay on the bed and make their way over to the door opening it to find The Commander on the other side. Immediately realising what this is about they quickly don the masks of Wanheda and the Pirate Queen before following the Commander to the throne room.
As soon as they enter, they are met with a cacophony of noise as Nia stands shackled in the middle of the room yelling at the ambassadors, calling them weak, calling them fools, demanding to be set free. However, as soon as the doors are opened the noise quietens, all the ambassadors falling silent as Luna and Clarke enter.
The only one who dares speak is Nia who turns to face them and demands “what is the meaning of this charade?”
However, at this point, The Commander walks through the door to the side of her throne. Coming to stand before her throne she speaks “Kwin Nia Kom Azgeda, today you stand charged with treason, how do you plead?”
Nia turns to look at The Commander, a scowl fixed on her face as she says “Not Guilty, obviously.”
The Commander narrows her eyes “then you deny it was your assassins that tried to kill Luna Kom Floukru and Klark Kom Skaikru.”
“I do not; however, I was not the one who ordered them to attack,” Nia says a smarmy grin on her face as she continues “they were dispatched by one of my advisors who became overenthusiastic and sought to gain my favour.”
It is clear the commander knows she is lying, but without further evidence, there is nothing she can do “Very well in that case…”
However, before she can finish speaking Wanheda interrupts “so your defence is that you’re too weak to control your own clan?” she questions
“I am not weak!” Nia snarls angrily turning to face the Wanheda
“Then how did you not know about the actions of your advisor and stop them?” Wanheda questions as she begins to circle like a shark circles its prey “perhaps you are nothing more than a figurehead, too weak to control her own clan.”
“Stupid girl, nothing happens without my say so…” Nia snarls before trailing off realising how easily she has been baited
Seizing the statement Wanheda pounces “if nothing happens without your direction, then how did an advisor dispatch a squad of your most elite warriors without your agreement?”
Nia remains silent, her jaw clamped tightly.
Seeing that she has her exactly where she wants her Wanheda says “then it seems either one of two things happened, either you’re so pitifully weak you cannot control your own people, or you ordered the assassination.”
“I`m not weak!” Nia says her fingers gripping the chains tightly
And then the Wanheda smirks the smile of a predator going for the kill as she says, “then you admit you ordered the assassination of Luna Kom Floukru!”
Realising no matter what she says she has been backed into a corner Nia turns to Lexa “I demand trial by combat!”
Lexa looks to Luna and smirks “very well, you shall have your trial by combat, you shall face…”
Clarke once again cuts Lexa off as she says “as Wanheda, Houmon of Luna Kom Floukru, I exert my right to justice, jus drein jus daun.”
Lexa and Luna share a look, knowing at Clarke's proclamation there is nothing they can do, after the events of the Mountain people see Clarke as a deity, only the Commander being of similar power. They cannot deny this request, and if the rage and fire in the eyes of Clarke is anything to go by, she knows it
Her hands figuratively tied the Commander speaks “very well, Nia Kom Azgeda, you shall face Wanheda Klark Kom Skaikru in single combat, sentence to be carried out tomorrow at dawn.”
Nia turns to look at the Wanheda, intent on proclaiming how she was going to kill her and make her lover watch like she had once done to Costia. Instead, she is shocked to silence as she looks at the woman before her. The Wanheda stands there with a wicked, evil smile on her face as her eyes burn with fury, and for once Nia actually feels fear. She is lead from the room without a word.
As soon as Nia is led out the room explodes into noise, the ambassadors talking amongst themselves. However, that is quickly brought to an end as The Commander raises a hand and says “everyone but for the members of Skaikru, and Floukru leave.” Immediately everyone files out, undoubtedly going to tell their clansmen about what they had seen and what had been scheduled for the morning.
As soon as they are gone, Luna turns to Clarke “Klark what the jok was that!” she exclaims, throwing her hands up.
“She tried to kill you!” Clarke counters “what the hell do you think it was”
“I think you just forced yourself into a death match against the Azplana!” Luna retorts “how could you be so stupid!?”
“Stupid?! Stupid!?” Clarke exclaims moving to stab her finger into Luna`s chest “I don’t know if you realise this, Luna, but she tried to get you killed, and she nearly got away with it!”
“Clarke…” Lexa tries to intercede but is met by a furious glare that has her falling silent and holding her hands up allowing Clarke to continue
“I don’t know if you’ve realised it yet Luna, but if it hadn’t been for me, she would have walked out of here today free and clear. She knew the moment that she demanded trial by combat you would have to face her, she knew that you wouldn’t kill her, that you couldn’t kill her.” She pauses a moment catching her breath “if you kill her it means war, you’re a Clan Leader, your actions are those of an entire clan, I am Wanheda, I represent no clan, if I kill her no one can say or do jok.”
Then comes a voice from the back of the room “She has a point.”
Clarke quickly whirls around, so she is facing the voice asking “mom?”
“Hello Clarke,” Abby says before turning to Lexa and Luna saying “as much as it pains me to admit it, she does have a point, your people see her as a sort of avenging spirit, if she kills Nia, there is nothing they can do.”
“But what If she doesn’t win?” Luna asks in a soft, broken voice as a single tear sits on her cheek “I can’t lose you, Klark.”
“you won’t” Clarke reassures her stepping forward and pulling Luna close “you trained me, remember? she doesn’t stand a chance.”
They stand like that for a few moments, Luna and Clarke basically wrapped around each other until someone behind them clears their voice.
Quickly Clarke and Luna pull apart, a blush indicating that they had forgotten at least momentarily that they are not alone. Turning to face her mother and who she now realises is Marcus standing behind her she says “well Mum, I suppose now is as good a time as any, I’d like you to meet Luna, my girlfriend.”
Abby steps forward, looking at Luna and says “you look like a pirate.”
“mom” Clarke groans under her breath stretching the word.
Luna, however simply nods before saying “that is good, since as Clarke has informed me, I am their queen.”
Abby fixes Clarke with a questioning look, eyebrow raised
Clarke huffs “Luna`s the leader of Floukru, they`re mainly fishermen, but they also trade and yes dabble in occasional piracy.”
Abby takes this in before fixing Luna with a look that swears death if she lies and asks, “you love my daughter?”
Luna gulps lightly, trying to disguise it with a cough. She has faced down many warriors, but somehow, she is more intimidated at this moment than she has been before “I do, I would die for her”
Abby nods seemingly appeased by the answer before turning to Clarke “, and you love her?”
Clarke nods “yes, I do.”
Abby seems to relax the threatening aura dissipating as she answers “then that’s good enough for me.”
Chapter 10: The Death of Nia
Chapter by MMJohns_The_100 (Mmjohns)
Just to clarify a point, as far as I am looking at this, Clarke and Wanheda,
Lexa and The Commander
are going to be written as different people. the reason for this stems from the idea of traumatic dissociation, whereupon the mind can shield a person from their actions by creating a type of alternate personality think Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde except grounders
In the hours between when Luna meets Clarke`s mother and the trial of Nia the next morning little happens for Luna and Clarke. After Abby and Luna are introduced, they quickly head back to their rooms to retire for the night. Luna justifies this by saying that Clarke will need her rest in the morning and this has nothing to do with Abby hypothetically scaring the hell out of her. Nevertheless, Luna is insistent that she and Clarke need to retire for the evening so that Clarke can be as well rested as possible for her fight. Once they are in their room however is when the real work starts for several of the Towers guards who are stationed around the floor and in the rooms below, for their job is to ensure that the Wanheda lives long enough to face the Azplana in the morning. Throughout the night the guards remain vigilant, and despite the best efforts of three Azgeda assassins who try, no one gets through to harm either Clarke or Luna while they rest.
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
The next morning they are up with the sun and Luna helps Clarke put on her armour before they make their way down to the tournament field where the battle shall take place. As they walk towards the field, Clarke tries to pursued Luna to take her gun.
“Luna, you're being ridiculous” Clarke sighs holding out the gun and holster to the older woman.
“No way Clarke,” Luna says, holding her hands as far away from the weapon as she can keep them “there's no way I'm carrying that thing around with me.”
“Luna, if I take this into the ring with me the challenge will be invalid” Clarke reminds her.
“Then you should have left it in our rooms,” Luna says still backing away.
Clarke scoffs “yeah right and let someone like Titus get his grubby mitts on it, no way.”
“Then perhaps you should give it to your mother, or Lexa” Luna evades
Deciding now is the time to play dirty Clarke says “Luna, I swear to god, either you take this while I fight, or the first thing I'm going to do when I walk into that ring is sit down in front of Nia.”
“You wouldn’t” Luna growls narrowing her eyes.
Clarke stops, placing her hands on her hips she says “I might as well, if I take this in there with me, the Azgeda are going to attack. I don’t have enough ammunition to shoot them all, so they're going to kill you, me, Lexa and whoever the hell else Nia feels like getting rid of”
Knowing Clarke is right, and despite the emotional blackmail which they are most definitely going to discuss when they are alone later, Luna nods. Stepping closer and raising her hands, she allows Clarke to strap the gun to her leg before Clarke places a kiss on Luna`s cheek. Luna grumbles a few moments at the movement but lets it go knowing that at least in Clarke's mind all this is, is a silly superstition and that Clarke believes she doesn’t have the time for a long drawn out argument.
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
A few minutes later they arrive at the tournament field being met by what appears to be three-quarters of polis assembled to watch the match between the Wanheda and Azplana. Stopping just outside the ring Clarke kisses Luna tenderly a hand cupping her cheek before patting her cheek lovingly and stepping into the ring.
As soon as she steps into the ring she sees Nia waiting for her, and as she looks at Nia, she feels the anger growing, flames licking at her chest as she readies to fight this woman. Approaching her, she can see the smirk on her face, and part of her wants nothing more than to launch herself at the woman and punch her until she can no longer smirk. However, the other part of her, the part that Luna spent so long training, honing into a warrior recognises this for what it is, stupidity. Nia is a warrior she couldn’t lead the Azgeda if she weren’t, and she is going to use every dirty trick in the book to kill Clarke in front of her beloved. As such, despite how hard it is, Clarke allows the anger, the rage, the righteous fury to wash away, and in its place comes numbness, blankness, an absence of everything but for a singular focus, kill Nia, and do it quickly.
Nia, for her part, tries to get into Clarke`s head, talking about what she is going to do when she wins. She talks about how Clarke will beg her to die, how she will make Luna beg before finally ending her. However Clarke hears none of it, Wanheda has taken over, and at least for the moment, Clarke isn’t there. Instead, Clarke has truly become the Commander of Death, and she is owed a soul. The only thing Wanheda hears is The Commander`s voice, the cries of the crowd, and the command that starts her forward. The Commander commands, and Wanheda obeys, death surging toward Nia. Nia for her part was clearly once a skilled warrior, but her time ruling from a throne has left her softer than she is used to, her reaction times slower than they should be. She buckles under the assault.
Wanheda gives no quarter, shows no hesitation, she moves to kill Nia. As soon as she moves she is a flurry of attacks, instinct guiding her every move as blades whip through the air toward Nia. Nia for her part even manages to dodge or block a few of the blades, but that morning Clarke had strapped on not just her armour, but also over two dozen blades. Despite Nia`s best efforts, she truly doesn’t stand a chance, not against the Wanheda. Instead even as Nia blocks and dodges knives keep sinking into her flesh and through the cracks in her armour, each hit coming faster than the last. In total Clarke hits her nine times out of 17 throws, her blades sticking out of Nia`s knee, feet, arms, and even her chest. As she grows closer, Nia finally collapses under the onslaught, her knee giving way and her feet unable to support her. She tries to lift her blade in a final attempt to defend herself, but she can not, instead she looks up just in time to feel one of Clarke's blades lodge itself in her throat.
Around them, the crowd explodes into cheers at the sight of Wanheda slaying the Azplana. Meanwhile, Wanheda has seized onto a memory of Clarke`s
Lexa stands in the light of a single candle, her body language defeated as she looks up at Clarke a tear in her eye she begins to speak “She killed her because she was mine, and she thought she knew my secrets. Then when it became clear that Costia wouldn’t betray me she killed her, butchered her, and returned her head to me in a box”
Wanheda ignores the cries of the crowd, the way the people celebrate. Instead, she reaches down for Nia`s sword before stepping back and making one final swing. Around her, the crowd goes silent, and the Wanheda reaches down. She takes the head from where it rests on the ground, its lifeless eyes staring blankly off into space, and then she straightens. She makes her way over toward The Commander and then she does something no one expected, she kneels before her and offers the head of her slain enemy.
Even The Commander is brought to a halt by the actions of the Wanheda, and it takes her a few moments to realise what is happening. Reaching out carefully she takes the head of Nia and holds it up for all to see causing the crowd to let out a cheer before raising the Wanheda up to her feet and inviting her to stand beside her.0
Chapter 11: Aftermath
Apologies for the delay, unfortunately, real life happened and likely will do so again.
Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy.
Following Wanheda`s actions at the tournament grounds, the city of Polis is a cacophony of noise. The people in the streets are drinking and partying as they always do after a good fight; however, this time, there is something more to it. There is a carefree air around the people. They have watched Nia killed at the hand of Wanheda, and it brings them comfort to see death so closely allied with their protector.
But alas not all is sunshine and roses, for there are some who look upon such an affiliation with fear and mistrust; these, of course, are the clan ambassadors. Those of Trikru, Flowkru, and Skaikru, are not worried for they do not seek power in the same way as other ambassadors. However, those of the other clans, Azgeda, Delphi, Boudalan and others fear this alliance. They fear for their power, their influence, that they have carefully cultivated over many years. Faced with the spectre of Death itself allying itself with The Commander, they no longer know for how long they will remain in power. Their biggest worry, however, is military in nature, before now The Commander ruled over a sizable army, but that army was loyal to their own clans more than anything, only Trikru being unfailingly loyal to Heda. Now, however, The Commander has the loyalty of Wanheda, and with it comes the armies of Skaikru, and Flowkru. In addition to The Commander`s own Trikru, this gives her enough warriors and supplies to fight a war against any clan unilaterally and without the support of the ambassadors, and the ambassadors don’t like it.
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While those around them are celebrating the death of Nia, Lexa is already setting things in motion. Moving from where she stands, she takes Nia`s head over to Titus and requests “have this cleaned and mounted on a standard.”
“Heda?” Titus questions not understanding
“I shall explain later, just see to it” Lexa responds.
Titus quickly nods, and with a “sha Heda” he is moving off to carry out his orders
Seeing Titus move to do as he has been asked Lexa turns back towards Clarke and Luna asking “Clarke, Luna, would you come with me please?”
Clarke and Luna quickly nod before they are following her down from the stands and out into the streets of Polis. The streets are filled with people around them; however, they are giving their Heda and Wanheda a wide berth. As they walk along Clarke wraps an arm around Luna who grimaces slightly at the blood spatter that Clarke is unintentionally sharing but lets it go in favour of wrapping an arm around her Houmon.
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Halfway back to the tower however Luna untangles their arms just long enough to reach down and unsnap Clarke's pistol from her leg before holding it up for the woman “I believe the match is now over” she says looking at Clarke expectantly.
Clarke rolls her eyes with a half-smile on her face before taking the pistol from Luna and reattaching it to her side as they keep walking. Once the gun is back where it belongs; however, Clarke doesn’t spare a moment before wrapping her arm back around Luna.
They keep walking in silence for a few more minutes before Clarke decides enough is enough and asks, “where are we going anyway?”
Lexa stops just ahead of them giving them time to catch up before saying “we are going to see Roan, he's Nia`s son and the crown prince of Azgeda.”
“Oh great, someone else who’s going to try and kill me” Clarke snarks
Beside her, Luna lets out a choked off laugh at Clarke's antics before saying “I don’t think so Hodnes, Roan is nothing like his mother, in fact, that’s why he has been imprisoned here.”
“Luna!” Lexa hisses sharply “not here.”
“Oh, calm down Leksa, Nia`s dead, it doesn’t matter now,” Luna says looking at Lexa before turning back to Clarke “he's been here since he refused one of Nia`s orders, and she tried to have him killed.”
“Asylum?” Clarke questions
“Something like that” Lexa sighs before asking “can we keep moving now?” and striding off leaving them to follow her or be left behind.
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When they eventually arrive at Roan`s rooms in the Polis tower where he has remained ‘imprisoned’ they are greeted by him asking “who died?”
Never one to beat around the bush. The Commander responds, “your mother.”
Turning away from where he stands at the window, he nods before moving to take a nearby seat before looking at The Commander and asking, “did you kill her?”
Wanheda steps forward, back straight and head high “I did, she tried to kill the woman I love, so I challenged her”
“You bested her in single combat?” Roan questions
Roan appears to mull things over for several moments before saying “well that changes things then.”
“How so?” Luna asks
“What do you know about ascension within Azgeda?” Roan asks the group
“Not much” The Commander answers honestly “only that you are Nia’s son and thus next in line to the throne.”
Roan looks at them confused a moment before saying “I am not Nia`s son.”
“But I thought you were the crown prince?” Luna asks confused
“I am” replies Roan “but I am not of Nia's blood, that is not how ascension works in Azgeda.”
“Then how is it done?” Wanheda asks
“Through single combat” Roan answers “those who rule are and have been our best warriors back since Becca Primheda, succession is determined by single combat against the one who holds the position you seek.”
“So, you mean to say...” Luna asks her voice somewhere between confusion and horror
“Yes, Wanheda now rules Azgeda by right of succession.”
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Roan spends over the next several hours explaining about the complicated way that succession works within Azgeda. This includes the fact that due to Wanheda’s actions in giving Heda the head of Nia, she had pledged her fealty and by extension the fealty of the Azgeda in perpetuity to Lexa.
This sparks a further discussion about what this would actually mean given the Azgeda have been acting counter to the coalition since the third Commander. Roan, however, had been quick to assure them that Wanheda’s actions, both today and at the mountain virtually guaranteed that the Azgeda would obey their new Kwin.
Ultimately, they conclude that with Nia dead at Wanheda`s hand there is little choice but for Lexa, Luna and Clarke to head north; taking Nia's head with them. Once there they will need to establish if the Azgeda will comply as honour demands, and together they can root out Nia's loyalists before they can stage a rebellion against Wanheda, or the Kongedakru.
Lexa and Luna are naturally opposed to heading north amid the winter storms, but they soon recognise that they have no other option. They need to head for the Azgeda capital, Toront, before the word reaches them of what has happened.
Hours later they are making final preparations to leave the tower and make their way towards the Toront.
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Lexa looks up from where she is sharpening her sword at the foot of her bed as a knock sounds throughout the room “enter” she calls. Moments later, Luna and Clarke enter the room holding a set of garments.
“What can I do for you?” Lexa asks as she lays her sword down on the bed
“Luna and I have been talking, and we want to give you something,” Clarke says, moving forward and holding out a jacket.
“Clarke found these when we were in Chesa,” Luna says holding out the pants “they are from before the war.”
Lexa waves towards her armour rack by the far wall “I appreciate the offer, but I have armour.”
“Not like this” Luna smirks and then in a mirror of how Clarke had convinced her Clarke takes the sword at Luna’s hip and drives it into the armour leaving naught but a scratch.
Lexa watches on in shock before nodding her head “I accept this most gracious gift.”
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It is the next morning, and they are leaving the tower and headed towards the Polis gates. They usually would wait several more days, giving them time to rest, and prepare for the journey ahead. But not now, not when news of Wanheda`s actions has already started to spread beyond the walls of Polis. That aside the force leaving Polis is nothing short of impressive.
Ahead of the procession ride several scouts, and then a standard bearer with Nia’s freshly prepared head mounted on a pike alongside a standard bearing the symbol of Heda. Immediately behind the standard bearer are several squads of Heda’s personal guard followed by Clarke, Lexa and Luna themselves. Lexa Clarke and Luna all ride side by side, wearing the armour Clarke had crafted, with Roan immediately behind them at Clarke’s behest. Then beyond that trail eight more squads of the most loyal Trikru, Flowkru and Polis guard.
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“Clarke you can’t be serious,” Luna says, exasperatedly throwing her hands into the air.
“Luna,” Clarke says, moving to stand in front of Luna before she starts pacing “I’m deathly serious, we need him.”
Luna turns to Lexa “Leksa, help me out here; we can’t take Roan with us.”
“I agree, it is too dangerous to take him with us,” Lexa says, moving to stand beside Luna.
Seeing the woman arraying themselves, Clarke steps back before asking “Oh really, and tell me what’s more likely to kill us. Roan, who has thus far proven himself loyal to the coalition, or the complete lack of knowledge of Azgeda politics and protocols once we get there? As this whole mess proves we have no idea what we are walking into up there, Roan however does, they are his people.”
“And what if he is pressured to take command once we’re there? What if once we reach Toront, they decide that they want him to rule Azgeda?” Luna asks her voice rising with every syllable
“I want him to!” Clarke yells finally “I want him to command Azgeda, I don’t know if you’ve noticed Luna, but Toront is twice as far from Polis as Chesa and in the opposite direction. I don’t want to rule from there; I want Roan to deal with the day to day things while I stay here, with you!”
“Clarke...” Luna begins only to be cut off
“No, Luna, I love you, I’m in love with you. Hell, I introduced you as my Houmon to my mother.” Clarke says cutting in “the last thing I want is you stuck in Chesa while I’m forced to be in Toront. This way we all get what we want, Roan gets to rule over Azgeda, I get to stay with you, and Leksa gets someone who is loyal to her in command of the Azgeda, it’s a win-win situation.”
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End of Flashback
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The hours that had followed the discussion about Roan had been long and arduous, until eventually, they had reached a consensus. Roan would travel north with them to Toront and barring any significant issues would rule as regent while Clarke returns to Polis.
In exchange, however, Lexa would arrange for several of her agents to keep an eye on him and be allowed to bring a not insignificant force with them when they travelled north. But it was Luna’s part that arguably provided the most protection. As part of her agreement to this plan, Luna had insisted that they discuss everything with Roan while they were still in Polis. To say Roan had been shocked at Clarke’s proposal was an understatement and truthfully, he had expected to be executed to ensure he did not try and depose Clarke in the future. So, when they came to him, and offered to make him regent of Azgeda he had been more than willing to agree to whatever terms they offered even going so far as making a blood oath that he would not betray them.
And now they all find themselves marching north to Toront, a journey that has not been made successfully by a Heda for six iterations. A journey that may very well decide the future of the Coalition itself.
Chapter 12: To Toront, Part 1
The first day of their trip is spent marching away from polis and towards what was once Ton DC. The entire way there Luna Lexa and Clarke remain silent, as if weighed down by the pressure of the coming days. They make several stops along the way to allow their people to rest and even then the conversation is stilted as everyone keeps watch on the trees around them watching for bandits, or whatever dangers the forest may throw at them. The stops last just long enough for several of the warriors to hunt, build, and replenish their supplies; and it isn’t until they finally arrive at what is left of Ton DC that more than a few words are spoken. Even then they are merely instructions to make camp for the night before they continue at first light. That night they camp on the outskirts of the crater that was Ton DC, each taking turns to keep watch against the inevitable dangers that stalk the night.
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Clarke walks towards the tent that she will be sharing with Lexa and Luna that evening. At first, she had been ready to protest, after all the last time she shared a tent with Lexa she was planning a war. But it hadn’t taken her long to quash those thoughts; it would be unfair to make the others guard another tent just for the sake of her sensitivities. Honestly, she isn’t sure what terrors her sleep will hold, and despite everything she trusts Lexa knowing the woman just like Luna is haunted by her actions, and having both her and Luna close grants a certain sense of security.
Walking inside, she is greeted by the sight of Lexa and Luna seated side by side on the bed in mirror image sharpening their blades. Both are wearing the armoured underclothes and are quick to look up as she enters ready to defend themselves if necessary. It is only when they realise it is her that they both go back to what they were doing, each sporting a tiny splotch of blood on their daggers where they had gripped the razor-sharp blades ready to throw them.
Seeing that neither is paying attention to the small lines of blood gradually dripping down their hands, Clarke rolls her eyes before moving to the packs on the floor. She rummages around for a few moments before finding what she is looking for and taking them out. She walks over first to Luna and holds out her hand waiting. Luna sees her hand and rolls her eyes before placing her own palm up in Clarke's hand and allowing her to wrap it this debate having long since having been decided in Clarke's favour. Once she has wrapped Luna's hand, she walks over to Lexa and repeats her actions.
Lexa looks up from her blade meeting Clarke's expectant eyes before saying “it is nothing do not worry.”
This earns her a chortle from Luna who already knows how this is going to end as Clarke takes Lexa`s hand despite her protestations as Clarke commands “you are not in battle at the moment, do not be stupid and let me take care of it” her tone brooking no argument
Lexa quickly yields with a soft, “she Klark” unable to argue with Clarke no matter how much she is tempted. This, in turn, earns her a laugh from Luna, causing her to quickly turn and glare at the other night blood “shof op Luna.”
This, however, causes Luna to laugh harder and Clarke to let out a small chuckle at the way Lexa pouts. Moments later however Clarke has finished binding her hand and releases it. Then walking away from the pair on the bed Clarke makes her way to the rack in the corner that is made for her arms and armour before shrugging off all but for a couple of knives and her under armour. When she turns around, she spots both Luna and Lexa blushing as they studiously focus on the blades in their hands.
Clarke quickly unseats Luna and Lexa pulling the furs off the bed before saying “come on, there will be plenty of time for that later, we have to be up early tomorrow it's going to take us the better part of a day and a half before we reach the mountain.”
Lexa and Luna don’t argue, and minutes later they are all in the bed, piled in close and fast asleep.
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The next morning, Clarke is awoken by the sounds of camp being broken down. The sun is yet to rise, but already the morning meal is cooking over the fire and those around them are getting ready for another day of marching.
Clarke groans as she tries to sit up, finding herself unable to move. Blinking the sleep from her eyes, she can feel the panic starting to set in, until she hears the soft snores she recognises as Lunas coming from beside her. Looking around carefully, she spits out a mouthful of hair that is neither hers nor Luna`s. She quickly finds the reason she can’t move, during the night, both Luna and Lexa had moved close, and all separation had dissipated. It brings several feelings to mind the least of which is a sense of confusion, confusion because she knows something should feel wrong about this, but it doesn’t. Instead, she feels fondness amongst other feelings as she watches Luna and Lexa cuddled up to her chest side by side, sharing the same breath. The only problem with this, she really needs the bathroom, and she can neither feel her arms, nor escape the embrace of the women.
It takes her a few moments, but eventually, Clarke manages to wiggle enough to free enough to slide herself free of the pair. Careful not to disturb them, she slides out of bed cursing under her breath at the cold of the floor as she slips into her boots before padding silently to her armour. Once she has gotten her armour and weapons back on, she quickly slips out of the tent.
A couple of minutes later Clarke returns to the tent as the camp breaks down around them. She holds several plates of food in her hands as she walks through the door. However, what she finds on the other side brings her up short and has her laughing. Somehow both Luna and Lexa have managed to wrap themselves around each other, and one of Clarke`s pillows and are grumbling in their sleep. However as soon as she laughs both shoot awake, arms still wrapped around each other as the sit bolt upright being met by a laughing Clarke. Seemingly they both come to the same realisation moments later as they look at each other before blushing heavily and jumping out of bed and into their waiting boots.
Breakfast that morning is an exciting affair as Clarke tries not to laugh at the way Luna and Lexa struggle to look at each other. However, her enjoyment is short-lived as they are forced to get marching as soon as the sun rises, in order to avoid marching through the forest at night.
Chapter 13: Not an update
Just letting you know what Is going on
sorry but this isn’t an update. As some of you may be aware my posting schedule is more than a little erratic. I won’t go into too much detail but this is due to my work and the nature of the field I’m in. Sometimes I have lots of time and inspiration other times I do not, and that’s as far as I’ll say on the matter. I appreciate you all, and the time you take to read and comment and I do want to say that it is my intention to update this (and other works) when I get the chance
Chapter 14: To Toront, part 2
Unfortunately, not everything goes to plan and what should have been a relatively short march toward the mountain, taking only hours instead turns into a marathon march. The detour takes them well into the night as they are forced to reroute away from where a mudslide has washed away a large swath of land. Ultimately it isn’t until late in the night that they find themselves finally nearing their next stopping point, and by then the dense, dark, shadow of The Mountain hangs over the valley below obstructing what light the moon casts.
They don’t bother with tents that night, time is already against them, and they need to be awake and ready to move in the morning. Instead, the procession lays out their bedrolls at the edge of a clearing close to the trees for what little protection they offer. They spread out, and as has now become standard the warriors take turns to patrol around the camp as Clarke, Lexa, and Luna are allowed a respite. However, for one of them, sleep will not come.
Lexa lays in her bedroll as she looks out into the night. Around her, she can hear the soft snores of her warriors, Clarke, and Luna. But regardless she cannot sleep, no matter how hard she tries to close her eyes and drift off into oblivion, she cannot manage it. Instead, she is drawn to look out over the clearing; looking into the distance to The Mountain that even now looms over them. She knows what it is that keeps her awake this night, it is not fear, for she knows the Mounon are no more, vanquished by Clarke’s very hand. No, what keeps her awake is guilt.
Lexa knows that Clarke says she forgives her, but Lexa, Lexa cannot forgive herself. She cannot forgive herself for the betrayal she committed, especially in the shadow of the now fallen Mounon. As she lays there in the shadows of her fallen enemies she is bombarded by memories, the nights that they had spent planning the war, the sacrifices they had made, and worst of all the betrayal on Clarke’s face when she had just walked away. She remembers names, sees their faces, and feels the condemnation of them all for her actions bearing down on her. No, it is not some tangential fear that keeps her awake. This night, her demons are far more real, and far more painful.
The moon is high in the sky by the time Lexa eventually begins to drift off, and she is moments away from that blissful oblivion when she feels Clarke beside her start to toss and turn. She quickly turns until she can see Clarke, the moonlight causing Clarke’s hair to glow ethereally in the night, despite the distress upon her face. Moments later Clarke is shooting upright, her face covered in sweat her chest heaving her eyes staring unseeing into the darkness.
Without thought, Lexa leans over placing a hand and on Clarke’s arm and asking “Klark, are you alright?”
Clarke acts faster than the eye can see, her entire body on autopilot and moments later Lexa finds herself pressed into the earth, watched by unseeing eyes as a knife presses against her neck.
“Klark, please” Lexa manages to croak out her voice strained.
And then moments later she is free and instead Clarke is standing several feet away, her blade resting in the dirt as she looks at Lexa shocked.
By now Luna has also woken up, and even as Clarke begins to back away from them, she sits upright and with a tone that does not match her bleary expression commands “Clarke, Hodnes, come back here.”
“Luna I...” Clarke begins only to stop mid-sentence
Sensing that now might be a good time Lexa says “please Clarke, it’s alright, it was my mistake.”
Clarke looks between them her eyes clearly unsure, and then after a few minutes of deliberation, she makes her decision and sits back down into her bedroll again. As soon as she can Luna reaches over and wraps her arms around Clarke offering words of comfort. Clarke doesn’t fight it instead relaxing into Luna, allowing the soothing words to help her. The only change to their routine being when she reaches out with her arm and takes Lexa`s wrist, her fingers coming to rest there feeling the rhythmic pulse of her heart. Eventually, they all manage to drift off into oblivion, but this takes several hours as thoughts of the night that has yet to end haunt and refuse to leave their minds.
Morning comes early that day, too early for Clarke, Lexa, and Luna who find themselves running on too little sleep. They are exhausted, having spent the wee hours of the morning trapped in their own minds. Even Luna and Clarke, who had gotten some sleep, are exhausted what rest they did get doing them more harm than good. However, despite this, it's clear that while they rest under the shadow of The Mountain, none of them will sleep well. And so they press on, marching north towards Toront as fast as they dare despite their exhaustion moving as quickly away from The Mountain and its shadow as they dare.
Chapter 15: To Toront part 3
Contemplation of suicide and I’m not sure how else’s to phrase this but ‘dark thoughts’.
Additionally some potentially graphic descriptions of cannon typical violence
The day that follows their night beneath The Mountain drags by slowly, as if time itself is moving at a mere crawl. The procession begins their march just after dawn and continue throughout the day, the only stops coming every 3 hours to give the horses time to rest. As they march no one speaks, not even amongst the column of warriors accompanying them. The weight of The Mountain is still bearing down on them and they are doing their best to make their way away from it as fast as possible.
During the march Lexa, Luna, and Clarke can’t help but steal glances at one another, not a word has been spoken since they awoke this morning and none of them appear willing to break that pattern yet. Instead rather than meet the others eyes they quickly focus back on the road before them.
Lexa for her part can’t help but run through what had happened the night before, her own guilt aside she knows what happened with Clarke was her doing. She can remember what Anya had told her about those warriors who had seen too much, whose actions followed them into the dream world. She remembers Anya telling her to never disturb the rest of someone like that because in the twilight between the two worlds they didn’t have control of their actions. She remembers the times after their war of unification when Anya herself had become one of those warriors. She remembers talking with her Fos about the faces and actions that haunted her dreams. And now, now she sees the same in Clarke and Lexa knows no matter what Clarke may say this is her doing.
Clarke similarly is spending her time replaying the events of the previous night within her own head. She replays the nightmares that had driven her to awaken, the memories of those she had killed, spectres still following her even in the light of day. They haven’t been this bad in months not since she had arrived at Chesa, but now... Now she sees the piles of ash that had been Anya’s warriors, feels the heat rising off the ground from where they had burnt. She hears the crack of the rifle, and feels Anya’s blood soaking her hands staining them ruby red. She can feel the heat and the shockwave from the loss of Ton DC, the silence that had followed and then the screams. But most vividly, she remembers The Mountain, room after room of men, women, and children dead by her hand. She remembers seeing parents clutching their children to them as if trying to shield them from the very air. She remembers stepping over the bodies, whose skin was virtually dripping to the floor below them mixing with the rivers of red that seemingly flowed down the halls.
She almost reaches for her sidearm, almost takes the opportunity to finish that which she had started all those months ago. To put an end to it all, but she brings herself up short when she catches sight of Luna riding beside her, the woman she loves mere feet away, and instead she digs her fingers into her thigh and keeps riding.
Unlike Lexa and Clarke, Luna is not haunted by her own actions. She is not haunted by the spectres of those she has killed, instead she is haunted by that which she can see in those around her. Luna has always been keenly observant, something which her brother had always assured her made her a far better warrior and leader than others. But it is this ability that is bringing her distress at the moment, this ability to read and understand those around her that is causing her worry.
Leaving Polis she had been apprehensive, especially when it became apparent that they would need to stop both at TonDC and The Mountain. These last few months she has spent at Clarke’s side have shown her that despite being one of, if not the, strongest leader she knows, Clarke always shoulders the burdens heaped upon her heavily. She has spent nights holding the other woman as she sobs and bandaged her wounds after the darkest days. The memory of how they first met still ligers in Luna’s mind and it terrifies her that they are headed back to where it had started.
Her fears were only further confirmed as they grow closer to the mountain. She has spent months at Clarke’s side, she has seen her at her best, and at her worst. Luna begins to fear more and more for the burden this is placing upon her beloved. Worse though is that which she did not see coming. Once, years ago she and Lexa had been close, almost sisters, until they were forced to try and kill each other. Luna once knew her friend as well as she knew herself and it worries her what she sees in Lexa as they grow closer to the Mountain. It is clear to her that Clarke is not the only one haunted by demons, and her worry only grows after the events of the night outside the Mounon.
The day that follows she finds herself carefully thinking and watching both Clarke and Lexa, she recalls the events of the night before, Clarke having one of her night terrors, Lexa looking defeated with a blade to her neck. She knows the look on Lexas face, she herself had worn it once after the events of The Conclave. But it is the way they both move, even in the light of day that has her most worried, the way they move as if they are both awake and yet not, sparing not a single word. She watches them throughout the day, and by noon it is clear, one way or another she will need to do something, and soon.
Chapter 16: To Toront part 4
Things finally start to be aired out, Clarke Luna and Lexa have a discussion
They stop their march earlier than usual that night, it will cost them nearly a day in additional travel time, but it is abundantly clear that to continue marching would be counterproductive. Everyone is exhausted both mentally and physically, these last few days they have been keeping up a gruelling pace allowing them to cover large amounts of territory quickly, but at a price. This price has begun to impose itself as the warriors that march with them show signs of fatigue, clumsiness, and slowed reflexes being the most dangerous.
Therefore, they decide that they will break their march earlier that day and instead of continuing into the late evening, they find themselves a defensible position atop a hill and begin to make camp. The spot they select is more than secure enough to allow them to decrease the number of warriors on watch with unobstructed views in every direction and trees large enough to allow them to string hammocks between the branches and take cover above the ground for the night. Even if someone was following them the chances of them being found, let alone ambushed in the trees was minimal.
The camp they build for the night ends up being significantly larger than the previous nights; because they intend to spend several hours there before dark and into the morning. They spread some cooking and campfires away from their main bunk areas as well as hanging several watch positions away from the main camp. Finally, they also hang hammocks and cloth platforms up in the trees in the canopy and out of sight.
For Clarke, this would have posed a problem once, but no longer. Since she has been training with Luna, she instead finds it simple enough to climb to their new camp using a borrowed set of climbing spikes. Despite this, some of the warriors volunteer to stay in the guard posts for the night a bit closer to ground level.
Once the camp is finished, it is a simple enough matter to get settled for the night ahead. Dinner is cooked early, comprised of whatever game had been unfortunate enough to stumble across their path and some rations from their packs. The horses are given space to eat and taken care of before being tied up for the night. Then finally just as the sun is setting and everything is finally done, they retreat to the trees for the night everyone climbing to where they intend to either sleep or unwind until the next morning.
Clarke, Lexa, and Luna all share space as per usual, except this time Luna is unwilling to allow things to fester as they have previously. Tonight, they are significantly farther away from the rest of the procession located higher into the trees at Luna`s request where the branches obscure any sound from travelling far.
As soon as dinner has been finished Luna speaks "We need to talk."
To their incredible credit, Lexa and Clarke manage to hide their worry exceptionally well, neither showing significant signs of the concern they feel at Luna`s proclamation. For Clarke, it is the worry that she has done something wrong. In the back of her mind, there is a nagging feeling that as good as things had been; things are going to come to a swift and unpleasant end. As for Lexa, her worries are less about what she may have done now and about what she has done in the past and the concern that Luna has decided that she is not comfortable with Lexa anymore.
However, Luna has never been one to beat around the bush and says "we need to talk about what is happening. What has been happening, and what will happen. The events of the last few days have shown me that."
Luna pauses making sure she has both of their attention as she continues while looking at Lexa "Lexa, it is clear you are still haunted by what happened at the Mountain, and you feel guilty for what has happened as a result."
Lexa shies away from meeting Luna`s intense gaze, and Luna chooses to change tacks instead and looks at Clarke "Clarke, I met you when you were at the darkest point of your life, and have seen you grow beyond what was forced upon you. However, as we have been travelling, it is clear to me that you haven’t entirely dealt with what brought you to the ocean that day, and I fear for what might happen."
Luna falls silent again for a few moments waiting until they are both looking at her again to continue "You both need to talk, properly, about what happened, no secrets, no lies, the truth."
Luna`s words hang in the air a moment, and then Luna says, "And after that, we all need to talk about what this is, between us. Because as much as I wasn’t expecting it, there is something here. We need to figure out what it is, what we are to each other, alright?"
There’s an element of shocked silence, and everything seems to hang there for a moment before Clarke and Lexa share a look. A few deep breathes later Clarke begins to speak, knowing that for Lexa this sort of vulnerability is far worse than warfare and has always been far more dangerous.
"You`re right" Clarke begins looking at Luna before finding something interesting beneath her nails as she studies them intensely. "When I came to Chesa, I was at my breaking point. Ever since I fell to this damned planet, I had been at war. First with my people, then with yours, I finally found some modicum of safety in that mountain. And then, I found out that those I thought were friends were the worst enemies of all. But throughout it I kept moving forward, I had to keep moving forward, not for me, but for my people.”
Clarke pauses a moment starting to pick at whatever has garnered her attention before continuing “I never wanted to be a leader, but that was what I became. Then suddenly, I found myself confronted with harder and harder choices. When I escaped from the mountain with Anya, I thought that maybe just maybe I could put an end to it. Perhaps I could take her back to Arcadia, organise an alliance and then just fade into the background."
Clarke scoffs as if the whole idea had been a grand cosmic joke " Then Anya died, and before I knew it, I was planning another war. But for once I wasn’t alone.” Clarke looks up from her hand catching Lexa`s eye “Throughout it all, the planning, the strike at Ton DC, the march into the fog, I wasn’t alone. For once, I had someone who would stand beside me.
Clarke sighs heavily as she looks back toward her hand “Then when you left me at the mountain, I was alone again and faced with an impossible choice. I couldn’t retreat; they had my friends; they were killing them. I had only one option, and so I did what was needed of me. I pulled that lever and killed all those people. In the blink of an eye, I killed thousands.
By now her fingers have started to bleed from where she is picking, but Clarke doesn’t notice, her eyes taking on a faraway look “When it was all over, they wanted me to come back with them. To live amongst them, the hero who saved them. But that’s not what I had become, I was no hero, and I couldn’t bear the looks on their faces. So, I left, I travelled east until I came to the ocean. Even now, I don’t know why I did it. Maybe it was all too much. Perhaps I just finally needed to silence the voices in my head of all those I killed. But I stepped into the water, and that was supposed to be that.
Finally, she looks up again this time meeting Luna`s worried glance as she continues “but then, you pulled me out, of that water, of... you gave me the chance to be something else, someone else. Someone whose worth wasn’t measured by how many people she had killed.”
Clarke smiles forlornly before continuing “you looked at me, and you saw Clarke. Not a warrior. Not a leader. Not the Mountain Slayer, or Wanheda. You saw me as I wished I could be and slowly; eventually, that became who I was.”
Clarke`s voice takes on a more sombre tone as she looks away this time finding the branches above her new focus “then just like always everything went to shit. Azgeda attacked, and I was at war again, and that peace, that happiness I had found was torn asunder again. I had no choice but to become someone I hate yet again. And now, now, as we march towards what could be another war, past the smouldering ruins of the last. I can’t help it; what little sanity I have is breaking away.”
She stops this time looking down into the worried expressions of both Lexa and Luna as her throat tightens and tears swim in her eyes “I feel it slipping through my fingers like sand and the harder I try to clutch to it the faster it slips away. I’m terrified, terrified to lose what I finally have, and yet I know I need to let go of it because if I don’t; someone might take it from me.”
At this Clarke finally breaks, she begins to sob with heaving breaths as she looks down to her hands in her lap, hands stained with blood both in the figurative and literal sense. Tears roll down her face, and it becomes harder to breathe and then suddenly she feels arms wrap around her from both sides. Lexa and Luna both having moved until they can hold her tight their arms seemingly forcing the pieces of her back together their words helping comfort her as she finally admits the pain she has been holding onto for so long.
Eventually, they pull away, and Clarke gives them both a watery smile as she wipes her cheeks free of the tears that stain them. They stay like that for several minutes, no one moving, not a word spoken. This continues until finally; Lexa seems to build up the courage to speak.
Lexa sighs deeply as if shedding a great weight and they watch as her walls seem to fall slowly. Finally, Lexa sits there devoid of her mask, of the walls, of her shields, bare emotion on display and she begins to speak.
Her voice begins out soft, and unsure recalling events she has never spoken of before "the first memory I have is being taken from my parents, by Titus, I think. I barely remember anything, but I remember that my parents didn’t want me to go, but they didn’t have a choice, 'it was for the greater good', or so they were told. She scoffs slightly before continuing I’m sure it had nothing to do with the small army Titus brought with him.
“The days that followed are lost to me, but I remember feeling lost until the Heda took me aside and told me about my duty.” At this she takes on a more serious tone “I was a Natblida, and it was my duty to learn to fight, to lead, to give up everything even my life if it was demanded of me for my people. So, I did as I was told, I trained I learnt, and I fought until I was the best warrior I could be.
She pauses a moment her very being seeming to shrink as she continues “I knew it wasn’t enough, there were others that were far better than I...” she looks meaningfully at Luna as she continues “but somehow I ended up as Heda, and I had a duty to my people above all others.”
She looks skyward as she pauses a few moments then still staring towards the branches above she says “what happened next was years of war, fighting and dying in the hopes of something better. Then when it was finally within my grasp the worst happened”.
Lexa`s voice seems to quiver, and a tear appears on her cheek “I lost Costia, and there wasn’t a damned thing I could do about it. She had been taken from me, and I wanted more than anything to fight a war to get her back, but I couldn’t. Hours after she had been taken, she was dead, and her head rested in a box on my bed while there was a peace ambassador outside my door.”
Lexa`s voice seems to harden, and she continues “I wanted so badly to kill him and keep killing until I got the bitch that had killed my beloved, but I couldn’t. I had a duty, and I had to carry it out, so instead of war, instead of killing thousands, I agreed and brokered the peace the people so desperately needed. No matter what it cost me to sit across from that bitch at a table of peace.”
Lexa finally looks down and meets Luna`s and Clarke`s gazes as she says “and for years that was all I did, I did my duty. I kept the peace I had fought, and so many had died for, but that was all I did. And then I got reports, stories of an object that fell from the sky, tales of a woman who had defeated my Fos, and slain hundreds of our best warriors in mere hours. And so, I came, again prepared to do my duty, and then everything changed.”
This time she looks directly at Clarke as she continues “you know, you looked just like her, the fire in your eyes was so familiar, and just like her you weren’t afraid of me.”
She smiles sadly looking down at her feet “I allowed myself to become weak, to care again. Then after Anya, after Ton DC, when we were standing on that mountain. I was offered the same choice I had been offered years earlier, war, or peace. And again, I chose to put my duty to my people above all else, no matter how much parts of me screamed not to, and I left. I broke my oath and walked away.”
She looks back up, and her pain is written across her face as clear as day “for every step I took I wanted to turn back, I wanted to turn my armies back and do what every part of me screamed too, to stand beside you, but I couldn’t.”
There’s a pause as Lexa sighs heavily her entire frame seeming to shudder with the effort “when word reached me of what had happened I sent scouts, watchers, to find you, to make sure you had made it out ok, I knew then that whatever had been growing between us had been killed, slain before it had a chance to grow. But I couldn’t let go, no matter how much I knew I should.”
“When word reached me of your disappearance, I feared the worst. I prayed every night that you were ok, but I knew it might not be enough. And then somehow, my prayers were answered, you appeared before me.” Lexa chuckles self depreciatingly “even though you hated me, you were alive, and that was enough, or at least I thought it was. I thought I could live with your hatred; it`s what I deserve. After all, I left you on that mountain and whatever you feel now is because of me.”
Tears once more appear in Lexa`s eyes as she continues her voice becoming weak “but I couldn’t, I can’t, live with it. And it kills me to know that I caused your pain. It Kills me that I can't take it away or bear it for you. Every step north has been driving that further and further home.”
Finally, the dam breaks and Lexa lets out a sobbing “I’m so sorry" and collapses forward.
Luckily both Clarke and Luna had seen it coming and move to catch the other girl before she can hit the canvas below them. They stay like that for a while as Lexa sobs her apologies again and again while Clarke whispers words of forgiveness and Luna what words of comfort she can.
Eventually, though they pull; apart and despite everything, they are exhausted. Luna still wants to discuss the other thing hanging over their heads, but she knows now is not the time. Instead, she finds herself pulling both Clarke and Lexa towards the middle of three canvas floor, and they all settle down into the first peaceful sleep they have had in a long while.