Chivalry Picture

A warm spring wind rose through the grassy hills, carrying the lone traveler high into the air. As a flitting wisp of bluish light, the fox climbed on the rising breeze, soaring over the wooded mountains far below and into a cluster of small clouds to the northwest. The ethereal creature alighted upon the nearest cloud, turning her head back to the south. A smile crossed her snout as the familiar scent of her pursuer drifted downwind. With a soft chuckle, she rose to her hind legs as her animal shape faded into mist, replaced with the regal form of a Chinese woman in an elegant, silken dress.

Within moments of her transformation, the woman was startled by a sudden shadow from above. The sun was masked by great outstretched wings as the colossal, red serpent dove out of the sky towards the waiting woman. With a tremendous flap of his mighty wings, the creature came to rest atop another cloud across from her. She tilted her head with a playful grin as the sandstone-colored beast watched her silently with razor-keen eyes.

"Come now, sir knight," the woman called out as she held her hands behind her back and rocked back and forth on her bare heels, "I won fairly, yes? First one to cross the border into Gaul."

"You cheated, Lihua" the serpent grumbled as he snorted a plume of black smoke between his teeth, "You took a shortcut through that valley in Germania."

"You didn't say Germania was off limits," she replied with an innocent smile.

The beast rolled his eyes with a loud sigh. He extended his wings out and wrapped them around his body, which then became enveloped in a pillar of smoke. As the smog dissipated, the creature now stood in the form of a golden-bearded warrior of the Norse. He stepped forward, crossing the clouds and open air as easily as one would a paved road, until he stood with the Asian woman who had outfoxed him. Before he could scold her for cheating--again--Lihua stood up on tiptoes and kissed the tip of his nose, causing him to blush and take a step back.

"I'm sorry, Stian," she laughed, patting the warrior's chest, "I know how much my ingenuity ruffles your feathers."

"Ingenuity, hm?" Stian smirked as he wrapped his muscular arms around her softly, "That's an elegant phrase for 'dirty cheating' if I ever heard one."

The pair remained in the embrace for a long while, standing silently in each others' arms as the warm sunlight bathed them. Time seemed to stand still around them, all their cares and worries melting away in the wind. A sudden cold gust across her back snapped Lihua back to reality. She turned around, resting her back against Stian's chest while she surveyed the green countryside below. The Romans were advancing further into Gaul every day and soon this verdant land would be trampled under their legions. It didn't matter where the supernatural couple traveled, despots and empires and conquerors awaited them, carving up the world into smaller and smaller portions. "Soon there won't be any room for beings like us anymore," Lihua said somberly.

Stian's firm hands rested on her shoulders, massaging them. "I witnessed Babylon rise and fall, my lady. I saw the Philistines and the Assyrians brought low. We will see the Romans meet their end in my lands, just as we saw Qín Shǐ Huáng's dynasty fall in yours. Many more will rise and fall in the centuries to come. These things are temporary, Lihua. We are made of hardier stock."

The woman closed her eyes, her head rolling back with a soft moan as his strong hands caressed her. "You moreso than I, sir knight. I'm still rather young for my kind, but I doubt I'll live anywhere near as long as you."

"That doesn't matter to me, Lihua," Stian replied calmly as he ended his massage and leaned down to kiss her neck, "You're the only important thing in this world to me, my lady."

Lihua broke away from his touch and turned to face him, her eyes bright with worry. "But...When I'm old and grey and fading into the night, you'll still be young and strong and go chasing after the next young creature that catches your eye."

The warrior shook his head, placing his hands back on her shoulders reassuringly. "It doesn't matter if I must go on ten thousand years without you. I will never love anyone, never know anyone like you in this life. So long as our hearts are one, I will always be at your side."

Lihua gazed into her lover's eyes and they gleamed with truth. " really mean that?" she sniffled, blinking back a tear, "You promise?"

Stian said nothing but beamed a warm smile. His hands still on her shoulders, he led her to a raised cloud and set her upon it above him. He then knelt down on one knee before her, resting his left hand on the pommel of his sword. With his right hand he gently raised Lihua's bare foot to his mouth. The warrior bowed his head and softly kissed the woman's foot as Lihua's face lit up with joy.

"I am yours, my lady. Now and forevermore."

Meet Stian and Lihua! I've had these characters in my head for quite a while and now I finally get to draw them. I hope to draw more of them on their journey through history, revealing more about them as we go. I tried to describe what kind of supernatural being each of them is without outright saying it, dunno how well I succeeded. XD You may need to be familiar with Chinese mythology to get Lihua. And yes, they are related to The Ending Night.
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