He offers a slight bow and a smile upon your loud clapping, so giddy of the exclusive performance that you were lucky to witness. It was a treasure that every local wishes to see beyond the battles he fights. Men and women alike yet out of them all it was you who was graced with this blessing.
"Beautiful as always, Alatus!" Your wide smile was infectious and his grin grows the closer he comes to you, arms finding its way around your waist and across your back in a soft hug. The giddiness continues as you turned into a giggly mess from his special affection, reciprocating with a tackle of a hug.
"Did you miss me that much?" He was answered by wordless nuzzles to his chest, making him chuckle and pull you closer.
Alatus was a great and powerful spear dancer, and he had been protecting the village you two reside in ever since. Gods and beings trekked the world commonly and it was too dangerous even for stationary communities. More so for those who lack the Vision to fight in the first place.
He was one, if not the only one capable enough to protect everyone. And many times he would go beyond the parameter to exterminate threats before they became an issue. Most of the time he disappears for a while during this expedition and then return triumphant as the village people greet him and praise him for his hardwork.
But at the end of the day, he settles down in your quiet home where he engulfs you protectively in his arms. There you two would exchange your tales during the span of his expedition, and he would indulge you in a showcase of his dances as compensation for his absence. The highlight of your day.
"There seems to be higher activity in the surrounding territories regarding monsters and Gods," he introduces the topic as he picks up the nian gao with wooden chopsticks, munching the soft treat as you poured a cup of tea to match the snack. "The other villages are asking me to patrol their parameters for a few days to at least clear some of them."
"There's been disturbances around here too," you worriedly chewed at your own snack as you two sat by the veranda of your home, watching the whole of the village from your spot over the cliff. This must be one of the reasons he liked staying here too, an easy access and overseer to the whole area for his duties.
Alatus hums in agreement but continues eating. The way he chews his meal was a telltale sign that there's a worry gnawing at the back of his head. And you had the same worry, except much lighter than his.
The growing tension between the Gods of Teyvat spurs on more turmoil at the news of Celestia's sudden challenge over the archons. And with such offers and desperation, powerless humans and villages had been wiped recently courtesy of the war.
It was a matter that didn't really bother him nor the village, but somehow it came back to him tenfold in multitudes of worry. He has a gut feeling. But Alatus cannot make himself turn away from the pleas of the people that call his name for saving grace.
"Come home soon," your smile snapped him back to reality upon knowing that he wouldn't just leave the other villages behind.
Yet when he left, there was still a gnawing anxiety at the bottom of his stomach.
Alatus for once... had lost his grace for in his hand his spear shakes in unspeakable fear. In front of him beyond the cliff's edge is the blazing ruins of a village he protected for years, day and night diligently. Monsters and men ravaged what's left and he tries to push away the guilt of ignoring them when he rushed immediately to his home.
To where his home should be.
"Alatus," the towering figure turned around to face him and his pupils dilated at the image, muscles flexing to dash when its hand raises in a motion to stop him, tutting mockingly at the warning. "Ah, ah, you wouldn't want them to die like this, would you?"
The being of pure evil had your unconscious form in its arms, a fight evident on your bruised and cut form as blood trickles from your forehead to the earth beneath. And on your head, the source of the wound, is a crown of thorns. He fights the urge to cry and vomit at the state you were in, at the state he could have prevented if he'd just STAYED.
"Please," his broken voice ghosted a smile on the God's face, "Please leave them alone."
"I'm afraid I can't do that," Alatus' heart sinks at the refusal with his gaze unfocusing at the difference in power. "After all, they're the one I wanted in the first place, everyone else is just collateral damage."
From that point forward, to preserve the little life force you have, Alatus was under the grasp of the evil god. Under his command he razes the villages he once protected, eating the dreams of the humans that only wish to live in peace. His hands of grace grips his spear with the stains of blood as he kneels in front of the evil God, its name he didn't bother to remember anymore at this point.
It smirks at him while over its hand floats a cube only a few inches bigger. Your cell, where you're cooped up with only a glow of deep blue indicating your existence within it. When he misbehaves he hears cries of agony from it, when he does very satisfactory he even gets to hold it but only that.
The years of painful service had wiped off his smile and most of his memories. Alatus had already forgotten your voice and your face at this point, only the humans and beings he had killed comes to his memories.
Soon after, he has only known the cube to hold something dear to him, a weakness that is a precious one he could not risk. When he tries to remember, he's reminded of a vague visage and a sweet taste on his tongue. If he could cry now he would. It was one of the only good things in his mind now even tho its details continue to ebb away with his horrific deeds.
And finally, like a light that shines through the canopy of the overhead trees, a being mighty enough to contend his evil master comes down to end his suffering.
Rex Lapis, the Geo Archon, the one the evil god desperately tries to overthrow died in his hands.
It is done, all of it. No more innocent blood should stain his hands. "The cube this god possessed is a cell." What should he do now? There was no other place to come back to, maybe the You that resides in the cube had any ideas, to start over. That sounds like a good idea.
"Alatus, was it?" His head slowly picks up from the blank stare it had on the ground.
"Yes, Rex Lapis?"
"Do you know of the one who resides within this cube?" There was a hesitance in Rex Lapis' voice that passed through him.
"They are someone that I know."
"It seems... that human... has perished 200 years ago in this cell."
Alatus, like that last day in a ruined village, had lost his grace when he collapses to the ground. His weakness and his hope both gone.