Luke Fortune leant on his staff, standing atop the large hill overlooking The Hollows. His expression grim, his gaze swept over the chasm that dominated the area, watching the Trolls moving between the ruined buildings still left on the surface. Even from this distance, he could see the expressions of brutality between them. It was disturbing, but not a threat.
A soft noise on the hilltop behind him made him turn slightly, Regarding the small, pale winged creature and the taller young lady with flaming red hair. Mallicent and Lita, his adopted sisters. Mally, the enigmatic and positive ice Elf, her short stature and always sparkling face grim as she stepped to Luke's side, Taking his free hand in hers to reassure him.
Lita, her red hair flowing back over her shoulders in some unseen breeze as she touched his Staff in her own stepping forward, her eyes bright as she looked out over the chasm where Luke had been staring. Her melodious voice spoke softly, heard easily by the other two as she stopped, watching.
"Every week, brother, you come up here and watch, but do nothing. Ever since the Black Bastion fell. What is it you keep wondering?"
Mally piped up, her small voice speaking carefully, like she had to keep control of how fast she spoke. "Luke, if you're dwelling on things you're never going to know what is coming."
Luke turned back to look out over the canyon, his sisters on either side of him. "I refuse to forget, that is why I come here."
Both sisters were silent as he continued. "I refuse to forget what it was like, being a slave to The Bastion. Having no free will of my own. Being driven by others. I refuse to forget those that fell because I was made to fell them. I refuse to forget the horrors of my past, no matter how much they hurt me."
Mally shook her head. "Little brother, you're only sixteen, seventeen in September. You've seen more shit in your life than most adults ever do. You need to let it go or the shit that's yet to come is going to break you."
Lita, almost a year younger than Luke, just listened, her brow furrowed with concern.
Luke shook his head. "The Bastion has fallen. All of us, The entirety of Fennec Enterprises and the Dawn Academy, we took revenge for the amount those bastards fucked with people's lives. Liz is still helping the 300 worlds that have joined the central council to rebalance - many more haven't joined and are striking out alone. The scars will always be there, the memories of what those battles took from us."
Lita tossed her hair and glared at Luke. "And what good will picking over them again and again do you, huh? You've got to let those wounds HEAL, Luke!"
Luke chuckled softly. "Those wounds healed when the Black Bastion fell. When I knew that the pain was no longer driven, no longer forced upon me... that free will was once again with those that had been dominated, as I used to be." Mally squeezed his hand slightly as he continued. "That sort of slavery is not something that any should have to bear."
Mally sighed. "You're right Luke, but that pain isn't yours. Why do you come up here, now?"
Luke turned his head and looked down at her. "I have to ask myself, always, 'what now?' I haven't chosen what I want to do with my life, I don't know even what options there are."
Lita piped up. "Finish studying first. Learn your magic, Learn the Staff."
Mally added afterwards. "Be a hero Paragon City needs. Be one among the many, find the foes, take them down. Even Roy and Lali have commented you're more intelligent and wise than most boys your age. Use it - help the world heal its other hurts."
Luke watched the Trolls as they smashed their fists together in the beginnings of a brawl. "A hero is flashy, spectacular. You two, you throw ice and fire. I only have a limited amount of lightning magic in comparison. And the staff? Anyone can poke others with a stick."
Both girls slapped Luke on the back in frustration, sending him stumbling forward. Catching himself after a few steps and turning warily, his hazel eyes watched his two adopted sisters for a long beat, both ladies glaring at him.
Mally broke the silence first, snarling as the echoes from the slap stopped reverberating around the area. "Your magic skill and power in perception is rare Luke! I've not seen ANYONE use it as well as you. And your staff? You mastered that in a short time! You HAVE the skills!"
" And the smarts!" Lita continued. "You taught me focus and more about magic than just making stuff go boom! You really need to stop with the self doubt, brother!"
Luke smiled slightly, managing to look a little abashed. "Well... if you insist" he murmured softly.
In one smooth movement, Luke hurled his staff like a javelin at both girls. Neither had time to flinch as it hummed straight through the air between them, then rebounded with a hollow-sounding "THOK!" off the skull of the Troll sneaking up behind them, investigating the loud noise it had heard.
Both ladies stared at the troll for a long beat, then turned to look back at Luke. Luke simply shrugged. "Um... Look out behind you?" he quipped with a grin.
"SMARTASS!" His sisters shrieked at him.