Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Crispy Octopus
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Crispy Octopus Into the fryer we go.

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The Lifeblood





The world turned, and creation accelerated still. Vast forest's rose from the dirt in imitation of their elder, great evils were spawned in the darkness for the unwary to stumble upon, and beautiful guardians came to roam open plains at the whim of their mother. So much, so quickly, even the discordant mass that was the lifeblood found itself content. Not idle, nor intending to be, be content nonetheless.

It was that feeling which impelled it to focus on the greatest of the continents. Already a land of incredible variety Toraan did not need more species, but such considerations were beyond the Lifeblood. It existed to create, and creation had, momentarily, left it contented. So it swept over Toraan and left new life in its wake.

They began as the very dirt itself, hefted out of the ground and left as great piles. Their skin formed slowly, loam turning to thick flesh and grass to narrow swept back quills. Their heads emerged from their bodies suddenly, and beady eyes set their gaze upon the world for the first time. Soft narrow snouts sniffed the earthen pits from when they had been removed, and these newest of creatures stood up, pushing themselves from the ground with narrow, yet muscular, legs. They looked around and saw that were as numerous as they could be, for Lifeblood had not made them to be solitary.

Rather, they were born from the dirt in vast herds. In the forests, in the plains and everywhere else there was grass to eat and rest on. They were a simple species, no wiser than any other, but they were to live contented lives. Their soft brown and yellow quills would keep them safe from most predators, and their strong legs would propel them away from those unafraid of such natural defenses.

Among all the animals of the world they were large, but not terribly so. They were short enough to rub themselves against the trunks of trees, yet tall enough to cross most streams without difficulty. Their black eyes were small, but on each side of their heads they had long drooping ears and with them they heard all that they did not see.

They were not peerless, but they were great in their way. So as their vast, almost numberless, herds set out across the continent they were content. They would defend themselves when it came to it, but they were not possessed with any great purpose or afflicted with any temper. They would coexist where they could, and move on where they could not.

For even if the others that called Toraan home did not care for them, they cared for each other. They would guard their young as one mass, and they would rely on the warmth of their fellows on the cold nights and the journeys ahead of them. They would never be alone, and that was perhaps the Lifebloods greatest blessing for them. That they would be, always, a community.

A community that had no name, and one that didn’t think enough to desire one. Then again, the world was filling up with those creatures and gods that did name things. Surely they wouldn’t have to wait long for theirs.

Not that they particularly cared.








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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Lord Zee
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Lord Zee There must always be... A Zee

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Oraelia lay on the banks of Radiance for a time, eyes shut as she listened to the sweet sounds of nature. She was happy with the Luminant, and she felt at home there. But the stirring in her heart for more, meant she could not rest just yet. She had barely seen the rest of the world, and she had so many ideas. With a longing sigh, she stood up and looked upon the lake once more, before taking on her domain form. She floated up, and within a second she was little more than a blip in the sky.

She traveled north, until she came to a gloomy land full of marsh and plains. It was a different take on life, and one she found fascinating. There were hardly any inhabitants though in this empty land, so she decided to introduce species that would benefit from the marshes. Small amphibians with red and orange stripes came from twigs while large owls with wide eyes came from the leaves. More and more came, to fill the place with life. Oraelia then created wisps of gold who floated here and there, giving off a little light, with some warmth. They reminded her of the birds in the Luminant. Upon the plains she modified animals she had already created so that they were adapted to the new biome and added others yet unseen in the world. When she was satisfied she ventured west, to check on her Prairie.

However she was surprised to find another land where once was barren rock. Tall trees with rolling hills and crags. Vast open lands filled the dense areas in between with large rivers. Another land, with little life. As she thought on what to put there, she eventually reached the area where her prairie and the new biome met. Both areas fought each other for dominance, where sparse prairie interconnected with the trees, their roots battled for nutrients.

They needed a balance. Something to ensure no side ever overtook the other for too long. A new idea came to mind and Oraelia whistled and the ground shook, and from the tall grass, and behind the trees they came. Cousins to the common deer species she had littered across the continent. Yet these… These were of her specifically. Bucks and does of solar energy. They stood tall, but not as tall as her leons. The bucks were thicker than their lithe counterparts, to accommodate their solar crowns. Between the antlers of the bucks came an ethereal halo that radiated the light of her sun, and their power. These would serve a great purpose, to renew the land when it was time, by being reborn anew in flame. Evandra would like that, she thought. But it would serve as a practical use, by renewing the old growth into newer growth. As such, these… Auroran Deer, would reproduce much slower than their counterparts, and have shorter lifespans. For though they could be reborn from ash at the end of an old life, they were still mortal, as part of the cycle.

They would call both lands their homes, renewing the land where they went. She liked the dynamic of the two lands, it reminded her of GIbbou and herself. She wondered how her little sister was doing.

She continued on, off to find new lands to populate. Unbeknownst to her, a great diaspora was about to begin between the two biomes, where creatures from both sides would venture to the other.




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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Not Fishing
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The Birth of Mankind




The Lifeblood continued to be spurred on by unknown forces within, each attempting to push It in a different direction. The most confounding instance of this had been when it was encouraged to create intelligent life. The urge had been so overpowering that It had found itself complying, despite the fact that the area It created them in was clearly unsuitable. The entire species had died before it could truly be born. Just as the force which suggested the idea had subsided, another one had raged at the wasted effort, but It too quieted with time.

Then a third force had compelled it to create intelligence again. This time, with smaller lifeforms, in an area that It first made sure was suitable. That had been far more successful.

But they were so few in number, and so small in size. The Lifeblood wanted to create something more. So, It did.

The site It chose was in the north of the first continent, where the land was quite versatile: a roughly even combination of streams, mountains, fields, forests, and hills, and no excessively large predators that would consume the life It added here.

Without further ado, It began. It called forth clay from the riverbed and dirt from the ground, merging them together into bipedal figures. Once they had been created all along the river and throughout the surrounding region, the Lifeblood once again enforced its will, turning muck and mud to flesh and bone.

But as It looked upon the new species, It suddenly felt a profound sense of disappointment. They were not quite as graceful or intelligent as It had originally planned. They could walk on two legs, and their hands gave them advantages other species did not possess, yet their hearts and minds were not as advanced as It had hoped. Just then It felt a sudden urge improve them, to make them better than what they were now; the best they could be.

Yet for once It had been able to silence this urge, and shunt it aside. It was Its own master, and there was no reason for It to allow Itself to fragment any further.







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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by King of Rats
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King of Rats

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LifeBlood


The lifeblood stirred and puslated, work was needed, more and more and more work, it never ended. It came upon the isle with those strange floating sheep, the south was barren, that needed to change.

The lifeblood felt itself wobble and stirred with power once more, it spread a wide open plain over the southern portions, but this time it raised with it giant metal and stone pillars that crackled with energy, at times shooting bolts of lightning at one another in loud thunderous cracks. It then caused the southern regions to be filled with constant storms, pouring down rain and lightning upon the plains below, though the giant pillars would serve as guides for the lightning, drawing it to them and when struck, crackling with intense energy which would then be distributed across to other pillars. The lifeblood then populated the region with creatures suited for this strange land: prong horned antelopes adapted to eat the electrified grass, lizards able to discharge small amounts of electricity to paralyze their prey, and birds that ride and migrate with the storms, heradling their arrival.

With the plains finished the Lifeblood returned to its far eastern creation: the Kylsar Isles. They still remained barren of animals, this needed to be fixed. First came the creatures created by the Deep-One of those mighty blue oceans, fish swam through the waterways, becoming different than their deep oceaned brethren, elongating and adapting to the different types of waters. Next came the drakes, becoming a dark green like the swamps surrounding them so they may better blend in, their fins fused together and they gained elongated tails to better traverse the shallower swamp waterways. The birds it had created before were next, they gained elongated legs and beaks fitted to hunt for the fish of the waterways, though they were also useful food for the Drakes, some gained increased wingspan, sharp beaks filled with serrated teeth inside, and dangerous claws, they became predators to anything that dared walk the land. Then there were mammals, rodents of nearly every type were put upon the isles, many of great size, easily that of a dog, then came the amphibians, frogs, toads, newts, they all inhabited every corner of the water filled forests.

Something was missing though, something extraordinary, the lifeblood felt another tug, that aggressive tug once more, clawing its way forward, it wanted to create something far more dangerous. It gathered the slick muck from the swampish forests and began to twist and shape it, it became an iridescent purple with golden streams pulsating and warping throughout the now goo-like flesh. The life blood then gathered stone and gave the still formless goo a shape, forming hardened plates and a bleached white mask that could shift and change with the creature, then it gave it thought, basic thought, but thought nonetheless. The new creatures wobbled and shifted, forming four stumpy gooish legs with stone tipped claws and thick spiked tendrils from its back, its mask became wider with stone tusks filled with the purple flesh. It shook itself, and looked at the environment around it, in a rapid instant it lashed out one of its tendrils and speared a fish from a nearby waterway, bringing it into the goo flesh to consume it. This, this was perfect. The life blood created several more, enough to begin to sustain themselves, for the new creatures reproduced asexually, each one seemed to take different shapes and forms, with many even changing and shifting when their needs changed, they were perfect for these isles, the apex of apexes.

With the creatures finished the Lifeblood moved one once more, content in its creation, as that same claw tugging occurred once more.




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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Dewfrost97
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The Lifeblood


The Lifeblood fell dormant. It still spanned unfathomable stretches of time and space, creation but an urge away, yet it remained still. Time passed. Oraelia and Gibbou grew closer, then farther, but there was no true way of telling time's passage, save for watching the ants crawl and the waters flow. It was.... disconcerting, in a way. Should not the days and nights pass in more notable a way? To make life ever more varied?
An idea began to form in all its swirling essence. Time needed more meaning, more ways of being observed. Newly inspired, it set out to find the perfect place to exert its will. Towards the southeast of the World Anchor, surrounded by endless green growing things, the Lifeblood began to work. It called forth yet more trees: jacarandas with drooping purple blossoms, cherry trees that bloomed in clouds of ethereal pink, apple serviceberries that practically glowed with their silvery bark and white petals, magnolias and eastern redbuds, dogwoods, crepe myrtles and pink trumpet trees. It was a forest where time passed easily, shifting from deep green to various pinks, purples, and whites as the trees changed over time. When Oraelia was at her brightest, many would be full and vibrant, filling the woods with indescribably wonderful floral scents. And when she grew dimmer and colder, the trees, too, would be subdued, dropping their flowers and blanketing the soil with a carpet of warm and cool colors. But what of when they were laden with blossoms? Would the ground remain brown and dead? Surely not. Another flex of its will, and the ground burst forth with wildflowers, so deep and thick that the alkaline soil beneath could not be seen. Bluebonnets, asters, lupines, wolfsbane, coneflowers, and poppies all sprung up in an instant, crowding around the trees, taller and deeper than many animals could see over. So too sprang a crystal clear river, wending its way through the woods in erratic branches, providing water to the new trees. It was a true paradise. Already, songbirds from elsewhere in Torran had come to visit the new trees, with some even gathering up branches to make nests.
Something twisted in the Lifeblood, spurned by a dozen spiteful voices. It had created, but it had created too well. This would be but another forgettable paradise on a continent of plenty. Though beautiful, it would spawn no new, interesting lifeforms. They would grow fat and indolent.
The pristine waters pulsated, darkening to blood-red in their newfound iron, salt, and sulfur content, so potent that anything that drank from it would perish. The brilliant trees grew even more brilliant in their saturation, their beautiful inflorescence each now possessing enough toxins to fell a Big-Prickly. The trees curled and warped, taking skeletal shapes into their branches and roots, which now snaked below the surface in a way that would fell and injure the unwary. As the birds took flight in alarm, the Lifeblood felt a sudden regret. Did it really want a pocket of deadly beauty incapable of supporting animals entirely? No. Each bird that fought to escape found itself falling and changing. Some fell as minute frogs, which populated the poisonous waters with poison of their own, absorbed into their brightly colored skin to deter predators. Others became tinier still, the size of acorns, with long beaks and longer tongues designed to harvest the toxic nectar, and wings that beat near the speed of sound. The descending feathers turned to russet bees, equally capable of surviving off the deadly flowers, creating an equally potent honey of their own. And of the largest birds, the raptors that had taken up residence in the greatest trees, it created stocky, surly mammals, with sharp beaks and a shiny blend of feathers and fur to allow them to resemble the silver trunks around them. These owlbears would serve as a final deterrent to any unworthy invaders of the poisoned forest. Only the truly adaptable and clever would be allowed to reside here, in this world of fatal grandeur.
From the headwaters of the red spring came salamanders, salmon with orange pigments, and an abundance of red algae. Microscopic bugs and teeny worms proliferated through the acidic soil, their bodies designed to metabolized all the potent dangers around them. But many of these animals crucial to the ecosystem were to remain small and unseen. Whoever or whatever first discovered this place would do so to see nought but beautiful colors and absolute silence. They would not see a frog, bird, fish, or owlbear. All were camouflaged, nocturnal, and quiet, and all would convey the feeling of an empty, dead environment. It would be the ultimate test of survival, to find the life in the forest.
Seeing that all was good in this new, technicolor wood, the Lifeblood moved on.




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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by LokiLeo789
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LokiLeo789 The Old Man

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The hunt was on. Aeinwaje, as ready as he would ever be, followed the scent of his own blood into the depths of a valley. One thousand kilometers west of the Anchor and it’s budding conflict, Boris took to the task of digging a hole. It was no abyss, but with well placed strikes, his mighty hooves cut a path through Galbar’s crust and deep into the nether regions of the lithosphere.

The lord of rock needed a good time, and what time was better spent than traveling to Galbar’s underplace and smashing the planet’s plates together. For all the mountain boar was worth he had only managed to craft one range upon the lovely planet. And upon that range a curse of bastards and cubes festered. It’s Adler spirit would root them out, as the mountains keeper and guardian, yet he had his reservations. For a warden, Aeinwaje seemed shaken. Whether it originated from his post or something deeper, he did not know, he hadn’t bothered looking into his head. Like Boris himself, he was to fly straight and true as long as what was thought him stuck.

The Boar cleaved a granite rock in two with his tusks and surged forward. He could feel the heat begin to permeate the stone around him, cooking him as if he were baking near Oraelia’s light. He was approaching his destination. With black hooves he decimated stone with uncanny efficiency, digging at it until it became too hot to solidify, almost liquifying under him like red hot tree sap.

Finally he arrived. Directly above him was Toraan’s continental plate and below him, the almost liquid lower lithosphere. For any normal being the pressure and heat would have crushed them into dust. But as for him, he was a mighty boar. The heat only warmed his core and the pressure massaged his backside.

With a testy snort, Boris slapped his back into the massive plate. In response the thing lifted just half a centimeter, it’s massive weight working against the god. With a second grunt he attacked it again, this time shifting it two or three centimeters. The continent rocked, but settled upon the boar’s back. Satisfied, he flexed, and with every ounce of distaste of the deep sea cube god, he charged forward, smashing the continental plate into the adjacent oceanic one.

In an instant Galbar screamed as it was wracked with a terrible quake of epic proportions. The boar would grant her little mercy. With a second charge the west coast of Toraan bulged and exploded, daggers of jutting rock rising from its red innards. The ocean attacked, waves whipping the rising landform without let up. Actuality cracked. And Boris snapped backward along the plate until he was many kilometers away.

Again he struck at the plate, this time granting his body great heat, and the rock bent. Again he struck, and the forest now in the shadow and a newborn mountain bulged. Again he struck, and this time the bulge stretched and began to crack at the the surface, falling away to form ranges and basins. Lifeblood acted on its own accord, sapping the moisture from the haggard forest.

And upon the dry land the great waves of the sea fell, soaking it until it’s very visage turned a bloody red. And it fell upon the mountain range, soaking it until it’s own rock turned as black as midnight.

For nine moments the hull of actuality slowly stilled. And for nine more moments Galbar was still. And when all was done, an angry mountain range, tall and black of rock towered above the ocean. And behind it, a desert, arid and rocky rose to meet it.

Boris snorted. The viscous rock pooling under his belly. The damn things named themselves. What an artist he was.




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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by BootsToBoot
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The Lifeblood





Bright, blistering beams of sun fell down like rods thrust from the heavens onto the barren land. Although the Lifeblood couldn’t feel it, the heat in the air was oppressive nonetheless. Such a desolate land that had sprung up on the continent, so unlike all the soft places that had come before. The only places more viscous the Lifeblood itself had made, in a frenzy which had soon cooled. This place, surrounded by the grand creations of the Boar, was not ferocious or angry, but it was still harsh. The air shimmered in the sky and water fled as wind that failed to cool spiraled ever upwards into the large thermals that dotted the landscape.

Here, the loving Sun One’s blessings were brutal trials and her departure would swing the scale towards another extreme, one of frigid darkness. There was something enchanting about the whole thing, even if the Lifeblood was immune to being enchanted. The vast swirls of sandstone and harder granite seemed to call out to be filled. So it complied.

It started as it always did: small. The parched land was a challenge to craft for, as the ingredient that all creatures the Lifeblood had made before was so lacking, so it had to get creative. Under its guidance, a single dark green shoot broke through the ground. Thin and waxy, it was insulated from the heat. Instead of leaves or flowers, this new plant had nothing save a single bud at its tip, no longer than four inches and as wide around as a finger. The thing looked sad and small, barely like life, but the Lifeblood knew it could survive. Inside the small bud, it began working the finer details. Thread connected to thread and tendril wrapped around tendril, the lifeblood worked deep inside the bud, past moonrise and through the icy night. Before the next dawn broke, at the darkest part of the night, the Lifeblood finished.

In that darkest night, the bud exploded open. A fine tapestry of silver filament rolled out into the cool air, large and more intricate than any spider web, the shimmering silk spewed like a fountain from the measly stalk it came from, hanging in the air, prime to catch enough dew to sustain a plant thrice its size. As the sun rose, just before the morning dew could even think of burning off, the cascade was retracted. Rolling back into the bud, now distended with water. The Morning Silk began to move its liquid bounty towards its roots and the Lifeblood knew, it would be possible.

With a pulse, Morning Silk sprouted in all the places that could sustain it, in some places the buds were able to grow as tall as a man with whit canopies that touched the ground around them, but not all were so lucky. Regardless, the dark green buds add only the smallest amount of color to the red lands. Next, the Lifeblood made the hardiest grass it could, scraggly and grey but fierce and determined. Then it made olive-colored vines that crept across the ground, hiding their water in rock crevices and behind tough, brambly thickets. Small herbs, thin and waifish, that could only grow in caves and dark places, saving all their water and energy for a few precious minutes of sun at a specific time of day, making just enough energy to last another set of hours.

The land was still barren, sure, if you failed to look and see the boiling fungus, feeding on the iron in the rocks or the plants without roots that caught the wind in their single broad leaf as they roamed the desert in search of what they needed. So now the Lifeblood could go bigger.

It started with the bugs: the hard-shelled beetles that scurried through the sand and the buzzing flies that flew above it, the swarming ants and the lazy grubs. It made the small moths that lived and laid their eggs in the bulbs of the Morning Silk, only to come out for that short time before dawn. It also made the bulbous green bug that rested on the tips of plants, sending out smells and offering a single tassel of silver, beckoning any unwitting prey to fly to close, expecting a taste of water and getting a swift end. It made the flat, ten-legged crawler that carried all its water hanging under its belly and the savage wasps that carry them off to their hive, helplessly kept as a water tank until they become an incubator.

It made the toxic scorpions who used their brutal pincers and deadly sting to protect the tiny frogs, no bigger than a kernel of corn, all because the frogs could always find the secret stores of water the scorpion needs to lay its eggs. Next it made the hot-footed gecko that dashed across the broiling ground during the day and its cousin, the cold-hearted lizard which slunk in to devour the geckos at night. It made the foul snakes that could kill with a bite and the other ones who can’t but try and play the part anyways. It made the legless lizard that tried to look like the vines and the ones that could leap from rocks and soar the thermals.

It made the warrens of mice that had a queen and the clouds of bats that had no colony. Three kinds of birds, two kinds of rabbit, and a single fox with ears bigger than its head were all the Lifeblood could make bigger than that.

Without doing something new, that is.

If the Lifeblood were like one of the gods that had shattered from it, one with a sense of flair, it would have puffed out its chest, taking in an enormous breath and, using its hands as a funnel, released an enormous gust of wind in the shape of a spear, something to dramatically carve away at the earth. But, the Lifeblood was not a god, just a force, albeit one of many boiling spirits waiting to break out. So it just released energy into the sandstone to get it’s job done.

Mimicking how it had made caves earlier, but this time using air, the Lifeblood tore into the stone land. Filling with all manner of tunnels and caverns and pits, all weathered smooth by the elements. A constant breeze blew through the cave system, generated by the vast difference in temperature between the underground and the air. This difference not only created the cycling of air, but also great updrafts around the deep vertical shafts that were the entrances to these catacombs beneath the desert.

Before it got to the main event, the Lifeblood got to work populating these new sandstone tunnels. This side of the land was much cooler, meaning it could be damper. Not wet, mind you, but far from the painfully dry above world. The walls began to teem with new plant life under the Lifeblood’s influence. Strange bushes grew that coated the walls of the tunnels with leaves that spiraled out in a fractal and glowed a faint green as well as flowering grasses that blinked in the pale darkness, attracting the flitting, flickering fire flies that dwelled in the depths to pollinate them. The Lifeblood also made small, furry animals with long bushy tails and enormous eyes that glinted in the dark to run around eating the fruits of the small cave shrubs and whatever may fall into the chasms.

Now that the preamble had been done, the Lifeblood began to craft a beautiful thing. It took a shape that it had seen before, a graceful winged beast, smooth and elegant. The Lifeblood lightened it and rolled it out, like a baker kneading bread. It covered the smooth underside of the wings with hard bristles that could sand stone and grip hard to the ground. It gave the new creature two long frill-shaped whiskers rolling off its brow, like antennae or lavender ribbons, that could brush the ceiling of the tunnels and sense the slightest movements through the air or electricity. The animal’s color blushed as it lost the blacks and blues of its ocean cousin and turned a sandy yellow, bio-luminescent red motts flecked across its broad back. The Lifeblood gave it a thick tail, capped in a plume of colorful feathers that would act like rudder through the air.

The Lifeblood breathed the final spark of life into the new creature and the first of the Manunaki, the Desert Mantas, took flight out of the caves that would be their home, riding the updraft to soar high into the sky, quickly followed by many others of its kind. The graceful beasts wheeled in the air, singing deep songs that resonated through the air and echoed through the rocks. There in the sky they would gather water from the air using the many bristles along their underbellies which would be pushed along grooves in their body by the motions of flight to be collected in their mandibles. When the Manunaki return to their roosts in the caves, they’ll bring all the precious water and sky energy that makes the subterranean life possible.

Thus, the Lifeblood created two worlds in the almost barren red desert with the Manunaki as the bridge. But sitting there, watching the Mantas dance freely in the sky, another twinge shook its core. It was the same twinge that had resounded watching the very first birds. The twinge continued to throb inside of the Lifeblood, and it suddenly became aware of all the voices swirling around inside itself, growing stronger and trying to exert their will on the Lifeblood’s actions. For now, it was together, but the Lifeblood knew it would not be forever…




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Hidden 3 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Not Fishing
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The Birth of a God



The man hunched over the clear puddle, staring at the water in fascination. For in that water, was another man. No, it was himself. For every time he moved, it moved, yet if he reached into the water to touch the figure, it was not there. The very sight of such a normal phenomenon was enough to awe his simple, inexperienced mind.

He turned to another group of humans nearby. There was safety in numbers, they had learned that quickly enough, and anyone who didn’t travel in such a group was foolish. He grunted loudly, to get their attention, then waved a hand to call them over.

They came, gathering around him in curiosity, then he pointed down at the puddle. They followed his gesture, and they too, saw themselves. Equally amazed, they began to surround the puddle, gawking at their own features as they clearly saw what they looked like for the first time.

Unfortunately, there was not enough space for everyone to look at once. One human, slower than the rest, had been the last to arrive, and the others refused to make way for her.

She wished she was faster.

Then the group’s more immediate needs overtook them, and they bent down to cup their hands and drink. The woman got closer to the group, and attempted to look over them, but the group’s greedy hands created far too many ripples. Even worse, dirt from their hands and mouths mixed into the water, clouding it. At this rate, they would drain most of the puddle and what was left would be too dirty to see anything in.

She attempted to push her way in, but they were all stronger than her, and violently shoved her back.

She wished she was stronger.

Then, in the corner of her eye she noticed a glimmer. Another puddle, the sun catching it at just the right angle that she could see it sparkle. It was dangerous to go off alone, but in this moment, she disregarded that common piece of wisdom. She hurried over, and stared down into it… and what she saw disappointed her.

Her face seemed… underwhelming. It was not the same as the other women. It was more square than round, and her skin was more rugged than smooth. Her nose was long and crooked; her forehead creased. Their faces all seemed smoother, and somehow more pleasant by comparison.

She wished she was prettier.

Faster, stronger, prettier. She wished she was all of these things. She wished she was as good as the rest of them. No, not just as good… better. She wished she was as good as she could possibly be. But how? She would do anything to make that happen, but she didn’t know where to start. She looked around frantically, as if something in her immediate surroundings somehow had the answer. Where to start?

This couldn’t be what she was destined for. There had to be a way to improve herself. There had to be a way to not just get better, but become the best.



They desire improvement, a disembodied voice attempted to tell the Lifeblood.

Nothing.

They need it! the voice urged again.

Again, nothing.

It was only then that the voice realized it had actually begun to communicate. Not just through the transmission of vague emotions and urges, but with actual thoughts and words. And only then did the voice suddenly become aware of the distance that had formed between itself and the lifeblood. Like a leaf falling from a tree, it felt as if it was being pulled toward the mortals it had taken such an interest in, who unknowingly called out to the fragment for aid.

The Lifeblood wasn’t about to let itself fragment once again, however. Not without a fight. As the mortals subconsciously pulled the fragment away, the Lifeblood began to consciously pull back. Despite resisting with all its will, it seemed as if the fragment would fail. It would be reabsorbed into the Lifeblood, and its brief moments of independence would be cut short. The mortals’ ambitions would go unanswered.

But it was not the only fragment that had formed. For perfection was not the only thing the humans craved, and humans were not the only species. The Lifeblood began to rapidly crack, even moreso than it had when the first primordials had been born. It tried to prevent itself from dividing further, but its efforts were in vain, for it was fighting many battles on multiple fronts, and it could not win them all.

The tide turned. Slowly, the Fragment of Perfection began to push itself away from the main mass of Lifeblood, until finally, the connection shattered entirely. Now free, the Fragment began to pull its own Lifeblood inward, condensing itself into a solid form. Now corporeal, it… no, he, began to fall.



A glowing light fell from the sky, landing between the woman and the rest of her group with an earth-shaking crash, sending up a cloud of dirt and grass from a glowing crater. They recoiled from the sudden disturbance, but did not flee.

Instead they stared at it. Then, the dust settled, and the glow faded.

Out from the crater climbed a lone figure. He seemed human, like the rest of them, but there were many differences. Firstly, he was taller. Much taller. Next, his hair was pure white, while the rest of them all had hair in varying shades of black, blond, and brown. He opened his eyes, and they were a glowing purple. Lastly, his physique seemed flawless, perfectly proportioned and with tremendously well-built muscles, but not so bulky that they would interfere with his agility.

None of them had ever seen anything like him. Even though the initial glow had faded, he still seemed to shine slightly. He radiated pure power and awe, and he absorbed their attention in its entirety.

Then they felt compelled to approach, so they did.



So this was what… existence felt like. The God stretched his muscles. To think… to feel… he was more free, and more powerful, than ever before. The warm sun was pleasant on his skin, and the soft grass soothing on his feet. The attention bestowed upon him by the nearby humans had made him swell with pride - he had chosen his form well. He willed them to approach, and so they did, drawn to him by his sheer beauty if nothing else.

The humans surrounded him, and he recalled the reason he was here. The reason he had cast off the shackles which constricted his unformed consciousness, to force his way into thought and then existence through sheer willpower. Not just his own willpower, but the willpower of others, like this woman. Those who saw flaws and wanted them corrected. Those who looked to their betters, and became determined to become the best.

He looked upon her now. She was as afraid and uncertain as the rest of them. He sized her up and concluded that yes, she was indeed the most flawed of the bunch.

“Mmm… no no, this will not do…” he mused aloud. She understood his words, and an intense sense of fear shot through her and the rest of her tribe. She turned to run… “Stay,” he commanded, and she stopped before she could start. But the dread persisted. “Calm down,” he said in a softer voice, and she did.

Then he approached her, and once again looked her up and down, as he contemplated how best to improve her. His contemplation went on for several moments, with no one willing to speak or even move.

Then he reached out, and gently pressed a finger to her forehead.



She staggered back, as if struck, then fell to the grass as she lost her balance, as her proportions changed. Angles and curves shifted. Some areas were made wider, while others were made narrower. The process was not necessarily painful, but it was far from comfortable.

Then it ended, and she lay still. The rest of her tribe stared down at her, with expressions ranging from concern to fear.

Then, slowly, she climbed back to her feet. As she stood, she wavered like a thin tree in the wind, for her body was not quite balanced the same way it was before. But she managed to retain her footing, and she realized that all eyes were no longer on the strange visitor, but on her.

A pool of water suddenly formed in front of her, and she looked down into it. Staring back at her was a stranger. A beautiful stranger, with a round face, clear skin, bright eyes, and silky hair. Everything she had wanted, and more. A wicked grin formed on her face. She instinctively posed, then looked at the rest of her tribe to see their reactions.

Yet the God had moved away from her, and was now working his way around the loose circle, pressing a finger to each tribesmen’s head.

And in that moment, the woman’s joy at her new and improved body suddenly dulled. If he was going to do this to everyone… what if they all became more beautiful, and stronger, than her? She would once again be the weakest, and the ugliest…

Yet… that didn’t happen. Although those blessed by the man’s touch did become stronger, and more attractive, it had not quite been to the same extent as her. They all had substantial improvements, to the point where they were all almost unrecognizable, but everyone had at least one flaw or two. Only she was perfect.

Her smile returned.



As the last blessing was given, the God turned and surveyed his work, with mixed feelings. He had wanted to make them all perfect… but what was perfection, exactly? So, he had found himself experimenting, introducing minor differences to each form. Based on their reactions, he had definitely made all of them beautiful, but each one considered themself more beautiful than the rest.

From his own personal perspective, there were a few he would rate above the others, but not one which he could definitively say was better than the rest. He decided to keep these thoughts to himself, for a few were already exchanging wary looks with each other - no doubt seeing potential rivals.

One thing was certain, however: his work would not end here. They were the first to receive his help, but they would not be the last. There was more of their kind out there, and he would improve as many as he could.

So without further ado, the God of Perfection turned and walked away. Then the tribe snapped out of their marvel and immediately began to follow him. But the God turned, and waved them back. His meaning was clear: they were not to follow. He was about to issue some sort of farewell, when a new and unrelated thought suddenly occurred to him.

He had forgotten to choose a name!

After a moment’s thought, he came up with one.

“I am Cadien. Perfection Incarnate,” he told them in a smooth baritone voice. “Remember me,” and with those words he resumed his departure, receiving only confused looks from some of the tribe, while others went back to marvelling at their new bodies.

Cadien breathed the cool northern air with a resounding sense of triumph. The God of Perfection lived, and he had taken his first steps.






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Gibbou





With a pang, Gibbou, who had been soaring through the air with incredible speed, slammed into a rubbery tree, which catapulted her up into the air again, and back in the direction she had come from. She frowned and caught hold of a misfortunate branch, whose day would be ruined by a goddess’ mighty deceleration. The branch went ‘snap!’ and Gibbou, with a squeal, dropped down into the jungle below. There came a ‘poof’ as she belly-flopped into a moss bed, and it took even the goddess a few seconds to completely stop seeing stars. She pushed herself up, shook her head violently and rolled over so she could sit.

“To-do list: Get better at landings,” she mumbled to herself as she tugged a twig loose from her braids. She saw in the distance that the sun was setting - finally! Her eyes had been hurting terribly almost all through the journey. She shouldn’t have waited until midnight to leave - she should’ve left when it started to grow dark! Sourly, she pinched her own cheek and gave a huff. Well, now that that was over with.

She clapped her hands together. Guardians!

The little moon goddess strolled about in the woods for a while, looking for materials, frequently hopping up through the canopy to see which way she was going - it didn’t help much, as all she saw was just more trees. However, after about a day of walking, her nose picked up a terrible stink. It was downright offensive, worse than anything she had ever smelled before - it reeked of agony, of pain, of rot!

And Gibbou knew she had to find out what it was! Quick-paced steps got her through the jungle quickly, her nose guiding her along. After a while, the trees grew sparcer and sparcer, until she felt the ground under her feet grow moist and chilly. She looked down and slowly began to realise that she had broken out of the woods long ago - she was standing on the edge of a vast, seemingly endless swampland. She gave her head a scratch and hummed a ‘hmm’. Was this all there was to this area?

No, something vaguely familiar had infused the essence of this place… It was almost as if… She was part of it. The thought made her shudder. This wasn’t really a place she’d like to hang around for much longer. Sure, her island didn’t exactly smell amazingly due to all the rot and mushrooms, but at least stuff lived there! Here, it was all mucky and barren and-...

Something wiggled between her toes and Gibbou skipped a metre backwards. Her eyes fixed on the culprit and she assumed a defensive stance. However, it was only a simple worm, curiously probing the air that, a second or so ago, had been an oddly warm stone. Gibbou immediately dropped her guard and went to pick it up. She giggled and tickled at the little worm’s belly. As expected, it didn’t laugh much. She put it back on the ground again and gave its little head (or possibly butt) a soft pat. Looking around, she felt the pull of duty encourage her to make her guardians and return to the moon to keep watch over life again. However, there was just something about this place…

Surely duty could wait, right?

She pondered as she walked. What could it be about this place? Now it wasn’t just the nauseating dread of feeling like part of her was sewn into the fabric of reality here; the fen was actively making her upset. Taking a break from walking, she leaned against a beech tree to support her uncannily-fatigued form.

“What’s wrong with this place?” she whispered through heavy breaths.

A sudden pinch on the back of her arm threw her out of her thoughts. As she looked down, she saw a tiny man standing in a hole in the bark comparing a berry's color to her skin. Gibbou choked a squeal and stopped her instinctive compulsion to flick the man back into the hole he was standing in; instead, a little skip away from the tree would have to do. Collecting herself, she furrowed her brow and squinted at the small man.

“H-hello?”

The miniature man stood stoic and almost bashfully lifted the berry up as if offering it kindly.

Gibbou blinked and politely accepted the berry, eyeing it curiously and occasionally shifting that very pensive look to the little man in the tree. Eventually, she, too, gave the berry a little comparison to her skin and snickered. “What, were you seeing which was darker?” she teased as she popped the berry in her mouth, offering a soft hum at the flavour. “Yeah, that’s definitely sweet. Thank you!” She gave her temple a scratch. “So… What’s your name?”

"Adrian," The voice was small and shy, "what's yours?"

Gibbou gasped and leaned in with a grin. “Oh! You can actually talk! You are so adorable!”

Adrian grimaced and covered his ears briefly before nodding, "Yes, we all can..." He shifted, "but who are you?"

Gibbou blinked again and pulled back. “Oh! Right, sorry, heheh. I am Gibbou, the moon goddess! I’m just quickly dropping by down here to make some-...” Gibbou took a deep breath and unleashed a quiet burp. “Oof, pardon me. That was a, urp, meaty berry.” She swallowed. “Anyway, I came to make some guardians to keep mortal life safe while I fly behind the planet.”

Adrian sniffed a little and craned his neck. The timidness left his voice as he grew comfortable, "Well I have no idea about any of that, but do you want to see our garden?"

“Hold that thought,” mumbled Gibbou and rubbed her chin thoughtfully. She then snapped the fingers on her right hand, eliciting a small ‘poof’. Then, between her index and her thumb, she held a tiny, round, brown hat with two small strands of bat hair in its rim. She gently put it on Adrian’s head and nodded sagely. “Yes, yes, wonderful. Go on.”

Adrian flipped the hat in his hands a few times before returning it to his head with an appreciative nod, half crescent smile and a quick, "Thank you."

Disappearing back into the hole, Adrians voice echoed out, "I'll meet you on the other side of the tree!"

Gibbou blinked and took the two-three steps necessary to circle around the back of the tree. There was a tiny “hup!” as Adrian landed on her shoulder, surveying the sacred grove from the new vantage point as if he had never seen it before. The mossy carpet, the blue mushrooms and houllin berry plants -- as well as the single standing gate at the very center. Surrounding the gate was the sound of a gentle flute and a crowd of admiring thumblings. Adrian took in a deep breath and prodded Gibbou’s neck.

“Pretty great, huh?”

Gibbou gasped and covered her mouth with her hands, softening a goofy giggle. "It's all so-...! I mean, it's beautiful! How long did it take you to make this?" She squatted down (with Adrian holding tight to a tuft of stray hair from her neck) and poked at one of the mushrooms. "How did you achieve such an adorable blue colour?"

“Well I didn’t do it,” Adrian responded casually, “it’s always been there, this all has.” He waved a hand as if re-presenting the grove, “The mushrooms are alright, but the berries are the real tasties -- as you’ve had.”

She ballooned her cheeks out and frowned. "Very filling, too, oof. So, what do you all do to pass the time here? Is this, uh," she gave the beech tree a few knocks with a curled finger, "is this a nice place to live?"

"The best!" Adrian didn't hesitate, "I really like everyone here, and there is always music, food and water. Hey, watch this!"

Without much else, Adrian leapt from Gibbou's shoulder with a tiny cackle. Before he could hit the ground, a wave of golden light unfolded under him, catching the thumbling midair before gently placing him on the ground. The sound of the ghostly flute fluttered around him as he laughed and pointed up at Gibbou, "See? Music! Fun!"

The moon goddess cooed her excitement and clapped. "How did you do that?! Is there a hidden band somewhere?" To accentuate her point, she started looking around searchingly.

"I don't know, it's always been!" Adrian clapped back, "It brings us water and berries, too." Adrian tugged on the colorful leaves that dressed his body, "And made these." He paused, "You never had... Or have... Whatever this all is?"

"What, leaves on my body?" Gibbou asked with a defensive frown and tugged at the centre of her nightsky shirt while looking down at it self-consciously. "I… I guess not. Should I?"

"Well I meant all of it," Adrian pinched his chin, "But now that you mention it, you probably should. You'd look great in a nice orange." He poked at an orange autumn leaf that wrapped around his waist.

Gibbou made a face. "I think I would need a good few more leaves to cover myself like you do, mister Adrian." She lifted her head to the sky - dawn was approaching. "Ugh… Say, mister Adrian, is there somewhere here that I can…-" Her eyes by chance landed upon the inscription upon the gate and hardened. "... The child of Night… Wait, what's this from?" She pushed herself up and approached to inspect it closer, mouthing the words as she walked. The other thumblings scattered at the sudden approach.

"It's always be-" Adrian's eyes widened as the once blank pillar that mirrored the inscripted pillar was suddenly engulfed in a golden light. Slowly more words were mysteriously carved into the stone to the tune of the flute: "He will bring the end."

Gibbou furrowed her brow in confusion. "... The child of… Will bring the end. Is, is this aimed at me?"

Adrian looked even more confused than Gibbou as he leaned against her leg, "I don't really know what that is, or what you're talking about."

Gibbou's breathing sped up. "S-so my child - no wait, it could be metaphorical! B-but who would write something like this, and-... Has it happened? No, no, it's future tense!" She looked back at Adrian. "Did any of you see anyone write this here? Someone like me, perhaps? Maybe taller or, I guess, more boarish?" She looked back at the gate and bit at her thumbnail anxiously.

Adrian shrugged and took a tiny step forward, "If you mean the little marks on the stone, your guess is as good as mine. They have always been, except for that new bit."

"It was the Golden Light," A tiny voice peeped up from behind a mushroom. Slowly an elderly thumbling clamored to the top of the fungus and sat down to catch his breath, "you saw it yourselves." A stark white beard as long as him bobbed as he lectured, "The fluteplayer, the berry giver, the water gifter, all those things are one."

"The Golden Light. It-it can't have been my sister… Right?" She eyed the gate again with a half-bitten index nail in her mouth. "No, no, of course not - right?"

"No," the elder shook his head, "it was no thumbling: no thumbling as big as you or as small as me, it was the blanket that serves us." He sucked in a whistling breath, "The light that catches Adrian when he leaps, the light that saw me to life so long ago. Listen."

As the old man's croaking voice faded away, the faint flute could be heard again. The elder gave a toothless grin, "The light is happy."

Gibbou swallowed uncomfortably and slowly sat down again, allowing the thumblings by her feet to run for cover. "Can, can I talk to it?" she asked with a small voice. Addian sat on her knee, kicking his legs and engrossed in the conversation.

"Maybe," the elder said, "I never managed to, but I have also never been coloured blue and extremely massive." He held out his hands as if to punctuate his point, "I say everything is worth a try if done with good intent."

Gibbou nodded carefully and looked upwards at nothing in particular. She intertwined her fingers loosely and breathed a sigh. "Mister Light? Are you out there?"

A gentle pulse reverberated through the grove. It was as if someone had disrupted a still pool of water ever so slightly. The old thumbling grinned again, "So you see? We are in the light. I reckon it is listening."

Gibbou offered the old thumbling another soft nod, her eyes busily scanning the surroundings. She held out a hand and turned it, observing small tremors in the air as if observing the air above a candle."This sensation… You're lifeblood, aren't you, mister Light?"

The trees rustled softly and a sorrowful flute whispered behind the leaves. Something in the song pecked at Gibbou's mind, and the suddenly melancholic faces of the thumblings told her she wasn't the only one. The elder cleared his throat.

"Only for so long, now," The elder sank in his seat, "Only for so long."

Gibbou blinked at the elder, but closed her mouth before she could say anything upon seeing the first beams of sunlight peek over the horizon. She sighed and shook her head. “Well, I suppose I should find shelter for the day, lest I wanna get a nasty burn. Would any of you mind if I made myself comfortable over here?” She pointed at a nearby moss patch.

"Make yourself comfortable," the elder gave a sage nod before turning back to the music, ears perked. Gibbou smiled back and dragged herself tiredly over to the moss patch, which she tugged at with some effort and, with a little more effort, shaped into a blanket that covered her whole body. She made herself comfortable on the ground and fell asleep to the sound of the flute.

----

In the night, vicious thoughts plagued the moon goddess’ mind, the prophecy digging at her giddy enthusiasm. When she at last woke up at sundown, the bags under her already dark eyes made her white pupils stand out to an uncanny degree. She rubbed her eyes free of as much gloominess as she could and lifted the moss blanket off herself. She stood up slowly and pulled her feet groggily towards the little grove again.

“Hey, mister elder? I don’t know if you’re awake, but I’m not feeling too well. I’m just going to make what I came here to make and woosh on back to my moon to ponder some, okay?”

There was a ruffling in her braid and a tired Adrian yawned, "Whassat?"

“Oh, hi, mister Adrian,” Gibbou cooed through a yawn. “Yeah, I was just saying that I’ll be making those guardians I’ve been mumbling to myself about for… A while now and then head home. I’m a bit under the weather, I think.”

"What's that?" Adrian stretched and folded his legs under him, cushioned by the top of Gibbou's head. He cleared the sleep out of his throat. "The light can take care of you."

She gave a hum. “That so, huh? Well… I suppose, if anything, the light could help me make what I’m making. Are you there, mister Light?” she asked and held out her hand.

Adrian paused and looked around from his vantage point, "We are always in the light, I think." Gibbou made a wry frown and gave a soft shrug.

“Sure do hope so. Well, ready for a little stroll, mister Adrian?”

"Yeah hold on." Adrian grabbed two fistfuls of hair before eagerly nodding. "Onward!" He gave a tiny thumbling laugh. Gibbou couldn’t help but giggle along as she set forth on the journey back towards the forest.

On the way, Gibbou would occasionally stop to pick up fancy-looking stones and sticks, gathering them in a bunch under her left hand. By the time they reached the forest again, it was midnight. Gibbou put down the now-quite sizable pile of materials she had found and placed her hands on her hips. “Hey, mister Adrian? You ready to see some divine magic?”

"I have no idea," Adrian snickered.

Gibbou picked up a stone and threw it high into the air. When it reached the zenith of its trajectory, it burst into a cloud of sand, which drizzled down again from above. However, as it fell, it started piling up at three points, almost as if there was standing someone there - and then someone stood there! It could also be appropriate to refer to it as some-THING, for it was certainly no thumbling, nor was it the size of any mortal this world had ever seen before. There stood a man-like monster, ten metres tall, with a nose like a tree trunk growing perpendicular to the face. It had hair like vine plants, growing in a forest so fast that the top of its head actually sprouted saplings. The vines continued down the sides of its face, forming a thick neckbeard that hung as low as the groin. Its skin was a mixture of pale pink and mossy green, looking almost stone-like in texture, though being as pliable as dough. Its eyes were nearly buried in all the hair, and even from birth, the creature looked many decades old.

Gibbou gave its head a wave. “Heeeey! Down here!” The creature craned its head forward.

“Who’re you, ah?” it rumbled curiously. Gibbou smiled politely back.

“Oh, I’m Gibbou! Oraelia’s my sister and that,” she pointed to the sky, “is my moon! I made you, you see, with the purpose of--”

“Gib-whut-now?” went the creature and scratched its head. Moss and dirt by the kilos crashed into the ground by its feet and Gibbou had to make certain nothing hit Adrian by accident. “You’ve got a funny name, lass - seh, what’s my name?”

“Your name? Uh…” Gibbou stuttered in a taken-aback manner, and while she pondered, the sticks from her pile suddenly stood up by themselves and grew a body. This body was considerably shorter than its cousin, standing only two metres tall. It also took a chubbier shape, had a small, potato-like nose, and grew hair all the way down to its ankles. The hair was riddled with moss and mushrooms, and its skin was pink and pig-like. From its back, a hair-tipped tail snaked its way along the ground. It gave a small yawn and shifted between Gibbou and the giant.

“Whot in gods’ name ‘ave I woken up to ‘ere, ey?”

Gibbou squealed. “Ah! H-how did you form so easily?”

“Daggern if I know,” said the creature with its pinky digging around in its nose. “One moment, nuffin’ - the next? Poof!”

A thunderous cackle came from above. “Aye, you sure said it, lad.”

“Now if you two would just--”

“So whot’s the party ‘ere all about?” came a third voice and Gibbou groaned.

“Another o--OH, SISTER!” she squealed, skipped backwards and hid her face behind her hands. Having risen from some animal bones she had found earlier stood a five metre tall giant with a head like a rotting fish skull if it was compressed into a vaguely humanoid shape. It barely had any head on its head, save for miserable strands desperately holding onto what genuinely looked to be diseased, sickly skin. Its eyes were hollow and bloodshot, and it oozed an offensive stink like rotting meat. Its body was disproportionately small compared to the large head, but despite all these nauseating characteristics, its aura was that of a simple, friendly giant. It had a look between all four of them, grinning as non-threateningly as possible (failing miserably, though).

“Sorry, was a lil’ tough to get that femur in the roight place,” he explained in a voice like warm milk. “Say, m’lady, you were giving us names just now, roight?”

"Maybe we should go," Adrian said shakily behind his hat.

Gibbou dared peek through her fingers and offered a very soft nod. “M-hm,” she replied anxiously, making sure there were only the five of them. Then, all of a sudden, something gripped Adrian by his collar and tried to pick it up from Gibbou’s hair.

“Oi, whot’s this’un, now?”

The air seemed to shimmer and Adrian squealed, "I'm A-Adrian." He kicked his dangling feet. Gibbou spun around and grabbed whatever was holding Adrian by his own collar. It was a much shorter creature, no more than a metre and a half. It was similar to the other three, but horns sprouted from the curly hair on its head, and it had no beard growth to speak of, nor much hair of any kind, really, except on top. It immediately lifted both hands in the air and put on a half grin.

“Roight, roight, no need to get all pissy ‘n all tha’. Just havin’ a lil’ bitt’a fun, a’roight? Say, missy, wanna play a game?”

“A game?” Gibbou offered back, Adrian getting settled back on her head, and before she could say yes, the creature’s tail quickly snatched up Adrian again and it sprinted off with a maniacal cackle, the air bending behind him. In the background, the giant one and the hairy one were both laughing along while the ugly one crossed its arms over its boney chest with a disappointed frown on what could barely pass for a face.

In the grip of the creature, Adrian screamed -- his eyes frozen shut with fear. The laughter of his kidnapper sloshed in his ears, alongside something else: the flute. It was sad, quiet, dying. Adrian opened his eyes and noticed a wave of light following him and his assailant.

Gibbou yelled, “ADRIAN!” and lifted one of her feet to follow in pursuit.

“Oi!” came a voice like thunder behind her and she stopped, shaking anxiously between pursuit and paying attention.

“Yes? What?!”

“Our names?” rumbled the giant. The hairy one gave his neck an ennuied scratch and the ugly one merely sighed patiently.

“Can’t you just--... Ugh! Alright, uh… First! You’re trolls, okay? Remember that! You were made to keep life safe while I’m up on the moon, and-... Can’t we take this some other time?”

“Rather not. Sun’s coming up soon, I reckon,” mumbled the hairy one.

“Oh, that’d be bad. Don’t like the sun much’t all,” agreed the ugly one.

“Why, what’ll the sun do?” the giant asked with a hint of fright.

“PLEASE!” Gibbou pleaded and the three of them momentarily shut up. The moon goddess breathed in deeply and pointed first to the big one. “You! You’re a dovregubbe, got it?”

“But you just said I was a troll.”

“Oh my-...” Gibbou breathed deeply. “Okay, you are a troll - that’s you species. Your subspecies - that’s dovregubbe!”

“My subspeeshis?”

“Nevermind. You!” she pointed at the hairy one, who casually thumbed its chest. “You’re a ranglefant!”

“Sounds a bit dirty, dunnit?” the ranglefant snickered. Gibbou rolled her eyes and pointed at the ugly one.

“You! You’re a draug.”

The draug gave a terrifyingly warming (and also downright terrifying) smile and nodded. “Thank you, m’lady. I’mma treasure that name, I will.”

Gibbou nodded back with an anxious smile. “Alright, are we good here?”

“Question for ya, Gibboo,” the dovregubbe went.

“What?”

“What’s that wee lad’s name, then?”

Gibbou drew a breath. “If it’s alive by the time I’m done with it, I suppose I’ll call it an askeladd. Now, you three, behave!” With that, Gibbou sprinted after the troll on the run.

The three trolls exchanged looks. “So… Whot now?” went the draug casually. The ranglefant shrugged.

“S’pose it’s just about lunchtime, innit?” it went and picked at the ground for something to eat.

“Hey, lads - what did she say we were supposed to do again?”

The ranglefant shrugged again. “Dunno. Somethin’ about keepin’ life somethin’ or uvva’.”

“Safe, I believe,” said the draug. The ranglefant rolled its eyes as it dug up a worm and put it into its mouth.

“Roight, dovregubbe, mate. Want to check whot the woods’ got for snacks?”

The draug frowned. “Mates?”

“O-ho-ho! Now that sounds like a plan!” the giant thundered along and the two of them strolled into the woods, the dovregubbe shoving trees aside in its stride. The draug stood alone at the border to the fen, scratching its head thoughtfully.

“Well, oughta find myself a cave, I suppose.” Then it, too, entered the woods.




Gibbou knew she was much faster than the askeladd, but it had gotten a considerable lead on her and could be hiding anywhere. Divine senses did her little good somewhere as smelly as this place, but it had to be somewhere.

A tiny yelp caught her attention and quickly her divine eyes snapped onto the askeladd. It was headed right for the line of beech trees that guarded the grove. A steadily growing ripple of light followed it, unbeknownst to the beast. Gibbou sprinted over and tossed herself at the askeladd, tackling it through the treeline and to the mossy ground of the grove. Immediately she picked it up to make certain it or she hadn’t killed any thumblings. The flute seemed to hiss faintly around them.

“Okay! Okay, you got me!” the askeladd confessed with a smirk and handed over the shaken Adrian. Gibbou accepted him as if he was a breaking egg and brought him up to her face.

“Adrian! Are you okay? Oh, please be okay!”

Adrian -- who was clinging tightly to Gibbou’s thumb out of reflex, tiny heartbeat pounding against her -- nodded. “I-” The sound of the flute was growing louder. Adrian cleared his throat to talk over it, “I!-” but the flute grew louder.

“Not for very much longer, indeed,” The wise croak of the elder sounded. Looking over, he was sitting on his mushroom, a single finger pointed at the gate. The scripture on its stone was glowing: “The son of night will be brought to light; he will bring the end.” In front of the gate, the askeladd stood in stunning awe as a blanket of light flowed around him.

BANG!

The rusted gate slammed open, the metal smashing against the pillar. An enormous flash broke the night, turning the grove to pocks of light and purple negatives. With a ripping wind, the golden light began to funnel into the gate, disappearing on the other side -- the flute carrying with it. As it peeled from the grove, it was leaving a second sea of light in its place -- a terrible anger residing in this new body as the flow of mercy and care left for the gate.

The scene was frozen as a heart wrenching slam marked the end of the flute’s song -- the gate had closed, the music was dead and all that remained outside the gate was half of the once-loving light; a sea of anger. The markings on the gate recarved to say “The son of night will be brought to light; he will bring the end.” but a single note of a flute played after it, adding yet another line to the prophecy, a tiny speck of hope among the despair “He will begin again.”

The note faded, the gate rusted closed once more and the great anger that engulfed the scene suddenly pulsed. Adrian stuttered, “Why...”

Meanwhile the askeladd was slowly sneaking away. Gibbou turned to it with a furious glare. “Don’t you move another inch! We’re going to have a serious talk, mister!”

The askeladd held up both palms in a negotiating manner. “Of course, of course! Just lem’me sit on right down ‘ere aaand-- SIKE!” The askeladd started sprinting away again. Gibbou blinked.

“H-hey! Come back! I’m your goddess, you know! Do you know what I could do to you?!”

“Up yours, blueberry! Hihihihihi!” the askeladd cackled back as it skipped over a large heap in the fen and disappeared into the night. Gibbou grit her teeth sourly, but refocused her attention on the surrounding light which began to rumble like a thunderstorm.

All at once, the sea of light began to explode out of the grove and after the troll, the waves crashing against trees and Gibbou alike. The forever stream seemed to have little care for who or what it swirled past as it’s intense flow ripped the leaves from the trees and forced the thumblings to cower behind rocks and large sticks. The blasting wind that followed the light beat down the grove until all at once, the light and all peace was gone from the grove.

Gibbou, Adrian, the elder, and everyone else were left in the empty grove -- the music long gone. Leaves littered the once serene area, and the thumblings looked devastated -- tiny eyes looking up at Gibbou for answers.

The moon goddess mouthed the words from the prophecy and drew a quivering gasp. "Child of Night… Oh no. What have I done?" She dropped to her knees, then had to support her torso with her arms. Quartz-white tears welled up in her eyes and began dripping down on the moss, forming little chalky bubbles.

Adrian frowned and patted her elbow, "No one could have seen this coming -- well I suppose the gate did but no one else."

"There, there," The elder said to Gibbou as much as the rest of the thumblings, "What is gone will come again. I can feel it."

Gibbou looked up and wiped away so many tears that they stained her sleeve white. “Wuh-wha’h? Wha’h you meehn?” She gave a sobbing sniff.

The elder took a long inhale and looked up at the now barren canopy. He held his stare, a wise gleam in his eye as he croaked with absolute certainty, "I have no idea."

"See- wait what?" Adrian looked over at the elder.

"Life's a mystery, boy," The elder settled on his mushroom, "take peace where you can."

Gibbou gave another sob. “B-buh… But what’ll happen to you now?” She picked up a batch of moss and used it to blow her nose, immediately regretting it after her nostrils filled with dirt.

“I imagine a lot of things,” the elder said to the onlooker’s dismay, “But where there are downs, there are ups as well.”

“How are you so calm about this?” Adrian asked with a sudden huff.

“Perhaps a piece of the light rubbed off on me during my life,” the elder suggested, “I feel as though I can still hear its flute and the warmth of its grace.” He wiggled his nose and slowly rose to his feet, “But enough talk - it’s time to gather our own water, and pick our own berries -- and Adrian.”

“Yes?”

“No more jumping from tall places.”




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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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Artifex and the journey to Kylsar


The oceans teemed with life around Artifex as the god stomped across the sea floor. After it had cast its former kin to the winds it had seen a perfect place to begin again. Islands full of a vast number of squalid swamps. It was the perfect place for insect kind to swarm and multiply. But first it had to push through the seemingly endless salty sea. It was antithesis to the god of insects, a toxic realm where one might grow, but surely, the god thought, it was not a place anything like him could live.

Yet no sooner had Artifex than had thought that he slowed to a halt on the seafloor and placed a hand to their chin contemplatively. For an age he stood and thought, simply part of the stone floor, until he drew the curiosity of a sea serpent. The great wyrm of the sea dove down towards the foolish intruder into it’s territory, and in an instant snatched the god from the ground, for though the god was large the serpent was truly enormous, a titan of its kind. Artifex was utterly shocked by this event. Him. a god. Assailed. Though the jaws of the beast could not hope to crush his divine chitinous exterior and its flailing him against great stones could not smash him the snake refused to let go. When the god regained his wits he raised his fist to obliterate it from existence, and then paused, having an idea. Here, he thought, was an opportunity. A challenge. A test. With a snap of his fingers a hundred massive aquatic insects were made with only one goal in their minds. To slay the titan of the sea and free their progenitor.

The swarm threw itself at the serpent, only to be annihilated by its might. The god snapped his fingers again and the dead rose and took on new forms while the serpent's wounds were healed. The creatures took on the forms of great diving beetles, bizarre aquatic moths, nymphs of every shape and size and other insects besides. They hurled themselves at the beast only to be beaten back again and again until, at last, one found victory.

Humble Oceants, who’s workers were the size of tuna fish, where ants that had the tails of fish and fins on their forelimbs that allowed them to launch themselves from the seafloor at high speed they spawned upon. The workers swarmed the serpent with greater coordination than the other forms had shown. They had learned through death and rebirth,learned how the titan of the sea moved, how it fought, where it was vulnerable and now the workers swarmed the serpent as one mass while deftly avoiding its blows. At last, together, they ended its life. Then they tore into its body stripping flesh from bone and devouring it greedily in their first great feast leaving only bones behind.

Artifex prided himself from the jawbones of the sea serpent, proud of his creations' success. And yet, so many had died to bring down the beast, their shattered bodies littering the ocean floor. As he raised them once more he knew they would need a way to be replaced if the species wishes to flourish. He placed his hand against the sea serpent's skull and turned it to chitin covering flesh. Chiten burst from the back of the skull, absorbing the serpent’s body until the former enemy became the Oceant’s new queen. The workers clustered around their new queen defensively and reverently as her pheromones flooded the water, confusing nearby fish and making them easy prey for the worker ants.

”Good. Now come.” the god commanded and continued his march. The swarm of ants swam or crawled along beside him and the queen as she lumbered her way through the ocean towards the shores of the Kylsar isles.

Together they ascended the sandy banks of its shallows, passing though the new coastal ecosystem that had sprouted up since Artifex entered the sea. The Oceants spread out, beginning to hunt and forage within the rich waters while their queen sought out somewhere to dig and build her hive. Artifex meanwhile ascended still further onto dry land. Or, well, wet land.
Swamps and marshes flooded much of the islands and where the wetland did not dominate rocky crags could be found, including two great curved stones like horns or mandibles erupting from the earth. Others might have seen a miserable wasteland, but Artifax saw only potential for insect life to thrive. Indeed, some of the shattered remnants of bug kind were already found, with small nests of termites infesting some of the waterlogged trees growing in the mash. In the distance he could also see ants and bees nesting in the drier regions while wasps prayed on them all. It was a crude and poor excuse for an insectile ecosystem in Artifex’s opinion, and so as a result he spent some time squatting in the bog and improving upon it.

In the water he spawned a host of nymphs and caterpillars that fed on the submerged plant matter and each other until they pupate and took to the mist filled skies. In rapid order the swamp was infested with insect life. Dragonflies, moths and lacewings buzzed and fluttered around him. Water striders skimmed across the surface while below water beetles and other fully aquatic bugs competed with the nymphs for resources. Then across the spined forests he created beetles, grasshoppers and other terrestrial bugs.

And, of course, everywhere there were flies. Omnivorous, adaptable and a tasty snack for any carnivorous bug.

Satisfied with the ecosystem of small insects Artifiex decided to take a break and check on his Oceans, only to find them locked in a constant battle with the tides. The Oceans had borrowed and build their castles in the sand, but the endless ebb and flow wore them down, forcing constant construction work that was preventing the hive from growing or expanding.Artifex watched them thoughtfully for a while and then made a slight adjustment to his creation by letting them make natural cement from heir saliva, which they could use in combination with sand and gravel to make crude concrete and mortar to fortify their coastal hives.

Under Artifex’s watchful eye and armed with their new talent a dome of sand and stone was erected upon the coast of one of the greater Kylsar islands. It hugged the shore, its top going in and out of the water as the tides rose and fell, keeping it and the precious eggs, grubs and their great mother safe from the beasts that could roam the deeper waters. The Oceants ranged out from this base, overwhelming the ocean’s many species with their numbers and dragging their butchered carcasses back to the hive for consumption by the young, particularly the young princess that the queen at least felt secure enough to spawn.

Artifex, satisfied with their progress turned his attention back to the islands and decided to add some larger creatures to his burgeoning echo system. To the waters he added giant scorpilurkur ambush predators, stealthy tree devouring Mud Creepers, and heavily armored bloodsucking Hexonaughts.

To the surface he added caterpillars that could grow as big as bison, nimble Madhoppers and stealthy treeinsects who grazed upon the terrestrial foliage. The madhooppers, true to their name, could enter a berserker state when threatened or starving, but for the most part rely on evasion and speed to stay clear of predators. Tree insects resembled the thorny trees upon which they feast and only use their wicked claws for self defense or to ambush anyone approaching their broods. Finally the caterpillars, prey to almost everything, would eventual pupate into Cloud Moths, elephant sized fliers covered in silky fluff capable of traveling from island to island in search of their rare mates and the choicest grazing spots.

Hunting them where the armored omnivorous Drake Beetle and the terrifying acid spitting Hydra fly

Once he had finished adding to the ecosystem Artifex sat down atop a small hill to watch his additions to the ecosystem play out in perfect harmony. Initial results were pleasing to the god up until Artifex saw a swarm of Oceants launch themselves out of the water at a passing Hydra Fly. The aerial apex predator of the swamp gnashed at them with its many heads, but it was no match for the sheer numbers of Oceants now flooding up into the swamps. Through sheet weight of bodies they brought it down and then began to tear into it and everything around, the tide of black shelled raiders ravaging the carefully built ecosystem where none of the monsters of the ocean could keep them in check.

”No No No” Artifiex said as he stood and moved to shoo the ants away ”Back to the ocean with you. This place was not made for you”

The ants paused their invasion with confusion. Surely this was what they were made to do, they seemed to ask as they milled around indecisively, gradually pushed back by the gods rather gentle insistence. It was not their fault after all, Artifex thought, he simply had failed to clarify and enforce their place in his designs. Eventually Artifex pushed the Oceants back into the sea and paused on the beaches of the island.

”Hmmm. You need to stay wet inorder to breathe. And you cannot use freshwater to do so. Freshwater will, in fact, be painful to you in-order to ensure you know not to go in there.” He told the Oceants, and so this was the case.

”There. Now all things are in order.” Artifex declared. He had done what he intended to do and the island teemed with insect life. Without a second though he dissipated into a cloud of bugs, which flew in all directions seeking a new place where the god could set to work.

The Oceants, denied the ability to spread inland, instead spread outwards, establishing more hives on the shores of the many islands and then, after scouts discovered more land to the west, sent out colonizing parties towards the larger continents of the world.

The Black tide would spread, grow and devour all it could till the Galbar’s oceans were all theirs.




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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by BootsToBoot
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BootsToBoot Bear Enthusiast

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The Lifeblood





The Manunaki whirled in the hot air above the Lifeblood. Staring at them, it felt something change. Like a damn had been broken. It felt another break coming. Another Break that had already happened. Something was pressing against it hard. Many somethings, really. All pulling in different directions, but one was pushing harder, striving harder to break out. But it needed something from the Lifeblood first. The Lifeblood had to comply.

It swirled down into the caves and began carving at the rock. It had attempted this three times before. The first had been in a frenzy, the fruit promptly destroyed. The Second had been a relative success, but largely passed by. The third had been a disappointment until it was improved. And so on. Now the Lifeblood, driven on by a part within itself, began to craft sentient life once again.

It chiseled the sand stone with great care, like any master craftsman would take when shaping their medium. It started with broad, flat feet which sprouted like seedlings into sturdy calves. The knees connected them to firm thighs. All in all, it was a pair of legs that could run, climb, and survive with grace and ease. The Lifeblood stepped back, looking at the tawney legs, pausing before crafting the groin. Inspiration struck and it poured itself back into its work.

The Lifeblood tore sprigs from the glowing bushes of the Underground and began to weave them into the stone as the Lifeblood gave its creation a hardy trunk to hold itself proud and high. The broad, strong shoulders were next which were donned with the bright flowers that called the tunnels home.

A few Manunaki gathered to watch as the Lifeblood blew away the sandstone to reveal graceful arms, strong but thin: perfect for both climbing tall chasms and foraging through crevices. The glowing vines wrapped these new appendages and the Lifeblood began on the final part.

The face was crafted with great care, smooth round features with large, starry eyes. For the hair, the long flowing locks were topped with the same bright feathers that the Manunaki bore.

Looking back from the first of the creations, the thing writhing in the Lifeblood was satisfied. With a blast, thousands more of these statues broke from the sandstone. With a wave, the statues became gendered and the many glowing plants sunk into the stone, becoming spots of glowing pigment that created beautiful tapestries on their backs, shoulders and arms.

The Lifeblood smiled and in an instant, light shone throughout the caves and the statues fell to their knees. The Alminaki, the newest race of men, shuddered into life. Their large intelligent eyes glanced around their surroundings and laughter rang through the caverns, joy at simply existing.

Soon, however, their eyes turned upwards, at the large cliffs that seperated the tunnels they were born in and the outside world. The first and bravest, a small girl, her skin the same color as the stone she had been made from, ran with glee towards the walls and began scaling then.
They all looked at the spots of blue sky and felt a longing, a desire. They needed to see the world and they could hardly sit still.

And that was what it took.

The Lifeblood shook itself violently, all the yearning of the new life, straining upwards to the light, caused forces within it to strain upwards with just as much might. The Lifeblood shuddered one last time before it broke.




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Hidden 3 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Zurajai
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Zurajai Unintentional Never-Poster

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Klaarungraxus


The Old Growth Below pondered on its circumstances as it wallowed deep beneath the waves.

A deep pit had been formed by his movements, a slump in the seafloor that served as residence to Klaar after all his numerous works had been completed. In many was it was reminiscent of the pool the tentacled god had once resided in and to the many-minds of Klaarungraxus it felt like home. After the creation of the surface reefs Klaar had retreated to the sump and had simply been content to observe. His vast size had grown to almost mind numbing proportions and now his tentacles reached far and wide like the roots of the Tree of Genesis. Across the ocean Klaar could throw his vision, words in the Deepspeak letting him feel as the waters did on the opposite side of the world from him. His observations, of course, gave him a great deal of insight.

What he had learned had shocked him. As the surface world became populated through the works of the other primordial deities of Galbar, nature was ever more pressured. The awareness inflicted on Klaar of this growth gave even his labyrinthine mind some pause. Consequences upon consequences in a tight, intricate web would no doubt arise from their works. This realization held Klaar in a trance that seemed impenetrable even to his most wanton of moods.

”Where, I wonder, doth our tides take us. The world shakes, reality quakes, and all the Gods hath continued. A lonely and quarrelsome affair . . .”

As Klaar’s intonations echoed through the oceans, causing all manner of weather anomalies across the seas closest to him, his mind's eye turned inwards to himself. Alien and unknowable, the prophecies that were spun by the skein of Klaar’s unconscious pooled like melted wax to be peered into and observed. Dream upon dream twisted on one another showing the numerous potentials the complex mathematics of Klaar’s multilayered visions prophesized. There, before his very eyes, was one potential among many; a world that could not coexist with the gods. Klaar pondered the meaning of this fell augury with his overmind while the slaved minds of his tentacles lashed at the concept, tearing it apart and twisting it to get at the meat of the matter at hand. Surely, there must be a reason?

Irrespective of such a catalyst, it was clear to Klaarungraxus that the possibility of his ejection from Galbar was not a preposterous one. Indeed, the likelihood of such an event seemed ever increasing. The number of the gods, for one, was seemingly unbound by any limitation and their willingness to act upon the world and increase its complexity was vast. Even the very lifeblood of reality from which he had been spawned seemed more active, acting in utterly erratic ways and determining to tread paths that opposed or even contradicted others. It did not take thirteen minds to determine that this was not a sustainable path.

”Twelve vast and boundless limbs of flesh and blood lay dead in the deep . . . Near them, on the bottom, half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose six-pointed gaze, shattered beak, and glare of dark designs, tell of darker portents still . . . My name is Klaarungraxus, God of Deeps; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair . . . Nothing beside remains. Round and decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.”

The poem of depthless contents rolled from Klaarungraxus’ mind as a flowing of icey cold waters from the poles. Above, in the world where other gods reside, a storm formed of monumental proportion that crashed and thundered. Klaar’s foul mood rocked the surface, an awareness of his inevitable irrelevance. In his mind Klaar raged at this possibility, at the loss of what he believed was rightfully his, but in his heart he knew the truth. In the end he would be cast down and what would there be left of him on this world?

”Painfully little . . .”

Klaar’s thoughts moved to the creatures of his creation; a legacy, in a sense, but one that was too formless. Which of them, Klaar considered morosely, could remember their creator or praise his works? A dread realization indeed. Though they lived and died by his designs and to them he provided a world of incalculable possibility, no Deep Drake nor Shorecattle would ever look to the sea and see he who had created them. They would feast on flesh or graze on grasses and continue their lives, unabated by his ridiculous preening.

”How disappointing . . .”

Forward-Right Down-One wriggled in contemplation and then blessed recognition. There was, of course, a solution to this problem! Though the overmind that was Klaar tempered his expectations of his proposed concept the other tentacle-minds shared thoughts on the matter, twisting and pulling and molding the idea before sending it up the chain to the central thought. Klaar marvelled at the concept. He would take what he made and grant it more; a greater gift still than any he had lavished upon them.

A Sapient mind.

Klaar’s overmind immediately invented the image of the Vrool, spawning in that vast chasm that was his thoughts one such lifeform for consideration. A powerful race indeed, built to last and formed from his very own flesh and blood. It was as if from the very start, when he looked upon them with disappointment, that they had been designed for just such an ascension. Their brains were large, though devoted to numerous tasks, and they had considerable space in which to grow. Though they were primarily solitary, this had little bearing on what Klaar was interested in; they would be as he. With little effort he could grant them minds as his, albeit limited in capacity, but each one would become ever more a mirror of their creator than before. A single mind with numerous additions granting them thoughts swift as a zephyrous tide. Then they could look upon the works of their great progenitor and give thanks, appreciate as he did what was left for them upon his eventual passing!

In that instant the Vrool of the oceans vast stopped in their flight through their environs and halted, floating in the watery void. Eyes across the oceans glowed with internal illumination, bright and colorful just as those of Klaarungraxus. Back in the sump in which Klaar remained prone, tentacles wriggled and beak clashed. One by one the lights fled from the eyes of those great predators, leaving behind in them an unquenched awareness demanding to be filled. For the first time their senses led to something more than a deep hunger, their mind’s eye filled with alien thoughts. They were left to their own devices, single minded as they were, and Klaar had no intention or desire to hold their tentacles through this growth; their lives would be hard and harsh and if he was to one day pass on then he knew he need wean his offspring early.

Klaar left in the newly sapient Vrool several gifts, bound to them by instinct alone. Though by no means masters, each was granted an understanding of the Deepspeak their God communicated in, the Holy Vonu that would be their language. Though they would need learn the depths of the language to truly speak as he, it would bring them on the beginnings of their journey. Next, he seated them with a deep and all encompassing curiosity; they would see the world as he had, desire it to be theirs as him, and know no end to their cravings for awareness. Finally, he granted them the greatest gift of all; knowledge of Him who was their creator, so they might know from whence they came and to whom they were going. Though they were simple now, cold-blooded and perhaps slow-witted, they would be his creations most capable of recognizing him.

He was aware, in some capacity, of his new creations’ limitations. By nature of their carnivorous diet and the numerous, anti-social qualities built into their species by design they would never create great cities or magnificent civilizations on their own. Several tentacles theorized that their biology would create in them an innately malign desire towards all life, even their own, but Klaar paid them little heed. It was no business of his, after all, that they should fight one another; surely that was how nature was already, so in the Vrool there should be no difference. They would be fractious, fratricidal, and belligerent by nature and Klaar was most thoroughly pleased. The strong and the smart would certainly rise above the rest, after all.

At the bottom of his sump Klaar set to work creating one last thing for his people to be. A simple basalt altar, black and oily in appearance, was cut into a plain rectangular prism and set at the bottom of the sump. In it Klaar dumped much of his attentions, his power, and from there whispers of Deepspeak played at the ears of the world. When his people were ready this would be their first altar, the place by which they could speak to the oceans as he did and perhaps speak unto him. Perhaps, even, it could be the beginnings of something far greater. Upon it he left the Vonu word Ku, denoting its position as the first place that mattered.

A good start.




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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by King of Rats
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King of Rats

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The Curtain Opens


Katsunao felt the air rush around him, his eyes gazed upwards towards the cliffside, his brother stood there, arms outstretched. That bastard, that damn bastard, he had brought him to this place, to “bury the hatchet” he said “to put the past behind them” he said, that fucking bastard. He knew what he wanted, he wanted his respect and power for himself, he wanted his wife, he wanted his life and that fucker had gotten it all. With all his might he cursed his brother, he cursed him to damnation, to suffer countless years of torment and terror, to see him rot in the darkest pits of the underworld the complete and UTTER BA-

THUD

The being crashed into the sodden and water logged dirt, above it several branches had shattered and cracked, falling with them. They were as black as the night above, golden runes and sigils etched into their skin, long clawed hands grasped at the ground, ensuring it was stable, then aided the long, thin, and pointed legs in bringing the thin and emaciated body to its fullest height. Their hands reached up to their face, softly touching its skin, this would not do, they held out their hand, feeling the pull of power, slowly, a golden mask formed in their hand, a single eye hole on the left side, they brought the mask to their face, it fit perfectly upon it, with the eye hole being filled with a bright white light, behind their head a glowing golden halo formed, bright with fuzzy dimmer edges, they also waved their free hand, forming a beautiful golden skirt to cover their lower half.

The being now took the time to look around where it had fallen to, large twisted trees reached towards the sky, blocking out the sun with their canopies, or well they did where a being hadn’t just crashed through, in which case light poured into the dim land. A flowing waterway sat about a few meters in front of them, it looked rather deep and was at least 30 meters wide, all around them insects of massive and small sizes buzzed about, birds squaked in the trees and rested along the banks, rodents of various sizes scuttled about, the being found them, endearing, they saw two large rodents stop to drink from the waterways, they seemed to be together and-

SNAP

A large reptilian creature emerged from the waterways, with massive jaws it crunched down on one of the creatures, dragging it into the water as the other one fled. Dark blood pooled upon the surface of the river, the being was horrified at the sudden act of violence and recoiled away. It looked upon itself once more, it knew it was a god, but, it didn’t quite understand itself, it only knew it wanted to create something. It raised one of its hands, and directed it towards one of the birds sitting idly by the river bank, the runes etched into their skin glowed and burned, they didn’t entirely know what they were doing, but it felt right. In a rapid instant, the bird was snatched by a black tendril fitted with a sharpened end, it pierced the avian’s breast and killed it within in instant, even quicker it flung the corpse back, towards its original point. The being looked at its hand, the runes now dying down and fizzling, had they caused that?

Suddenly from the dense forests and vegetation came a strange creature, it held itself upright with four clawed legs, stone tipped tendrils whipped around its back, and its face was a bleached white masked like stone with two large tusks, bits of feather and one long leg could be seen sinking into the plate covered purple flesh, it came forward to the being and then, stopped. It sat itself down in front of the being and lowered its head, almost showing respect to them. The being held out their hand, softly resting it upon the creature’s mask like face, it was fairly similar to the mask they themselves wore upon their face, smooth except for the tusks and the eye holes, the being knew this creature’s name, in the back of their mind: a Kre’Nasha, he felt a strong attachment to them.

WOOSH

The being turned his head upward, above him flew a massive moth like creature, only barely visible through the canopy, intrigued and fascinated the being slowly brought themselves upward through the trees, drifting upwards with rudimentary flight, the Kre’Nasha below sat valiantly, waiting their return. Settling themselves upon the canopy the being saw the full might of the giant moth, it floated lovingly in the wind, the sky above was illuminated by the bright sun, i wonder if it could fall the being thought, an urge came to it, and it look upon the moth once more, it raised its hand, the rune crackles and burned once more. Suddenly from the sky came a creature of multiple heads, spitting acid at the giant moth and trying to take it down, the moth roared in pain and fought back, the two creatures crashed into the earth, causing several trees to collapse into the waterways. The being brought itself down once more, it looked upon the Kre’Nasha, it hadn’t even bothered looking at the chaos unfolding in the distance, the being looked around again, they wanted to test more and more.

They traveled throughout the Isles they had found themselves on, full of swampish forests and rocky crags, where they went, tragedy followed, creatures died, trees collapsed, mountains fell. But something wasn’t right, the being needed something more, it desired something more. It stopped itself on the largest isle, deep in the swamp forests, it gathered materials and items and felt its power flow through itself once more. From the muck, woods, water, and bones of lost creatures, they fused and formed them into a form, two legs, two arms, tall like the being itself, it created something much like itself and gave it thought, far more thought then the beasts of the isles and the Kre’Nasha that followed him around.

The creation came into life sentient, it fell to its knees after the being was finished, looking up upon its creator, at first the being was not sure what to do with its new creation, but the creation made the first move. It dragged its hands upwards to its face, touching it, then, much like its creator, it looked around and found some wood, it held up the piece and pointed towards it, then to the being’s own face, the point was rather clear. The being took the piece of wood into its hands, and shaped it into a beautiful mask, two eye holes for its creation, and beautiful black and gold colouring, reflecting the being themselves. It handed the mask back to their creation, who was quick to put it upon their face, with it fitting perfectly. It was at this point that the being realized their creations needed a name….they needed a name as well.

"Yamat...that shall be my name"

The christened Yamat turned towards his creation, it sat upon the floor, tilting its head towards them.

"Hmmmm, you shall need a name as well, and more people"

With a wave of his hand, more of the creations came into existence, each one given a specially crafted mask, both tailored to their identity and admittingly to make it easier for Yamat to recognize them. By the time they were finished, there were thousands of the beings, with their newfound sentience they began to organize and work.

"I dub thee, the Reshut, my greatest of followers" Yamat declared, but, as soon as the Reshut had been created, tragedy struck.

Two brothers, one respected among the fledgling people and Yamat’s first creation, and another less so, had engaged in a constant feud with one another. The lesser brother had invited the greater one to the rocky crags and thrown him from its cliffs. The people were in mourning, and so too, was Yamat, he punished the lesser brother by causing the cliffs beneath him to collapse, but he was not quick enough to save his first creation, his favorite one. It seemed to be that wherever he went, whatever he created even before his own creation, tragedy followed suit.

That's when it dawned upon him, his reason for existing, he was not meant to create. But to destroy. He was Yamat, god of tragedy, he tested his powers again and again, he was able to cause the most terrible tragedies, causing loved ones to fall ill, father to turn against son, and even entire populations to suffer famine. This was his calling, but yet, he still loved the Reshut and the Kre’Nasha, his creations, and so, he vowed never to do them as great harms as he would wreck upon the other forces of life, for he sensed their creative powers far beyond the isles he lived in, he vowed to find them, find these other gods, his work had begun, he had a play of tragedies to create.




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The Kavijama | The Hibrach



The singing troll did not intend to make a god. But the song had spoken to a higher power, and the clouds had blackened and the depths of the oceans clenched as all about was foam and darkness. Foam and darkness, yes, and black skies and roiling earth and sand, but there was no silence. Oh there was a shaking in the heavens and a shaking in the earth and it was something mighty and it was something loud. But don't for a moment think that it was mere noise - oh no, this was a strumming of the strings of the earth, a blowing of the flutes of the piled-up firmaments, the seashells on the seafloors sprang and clapped in synchrony with those on the seashores.

Sing, sing brother troll, call on your beloved - your beloved hears. Oh she was not listening for you, but your singing awoke her and now she listens and now she hears and pines - oh brother troll, she yearns for you; sing! And don't think it strange if in euphoria you should walk on water or walk on air - don't think it strange if the mists should swirl about you and dance; oh don't think it strange if a great darkness should arise from the waters followed by great light, it is not strange, not strange at all, brother troll. Dance around the inky tree brother, dance and twirl, whirl - spin, brother, sing, chant, loose your soul; how will she come, brother, if you don't put your soul into the song? And if you spin around the tree you should not find it strange to wonder and to think (even as you sing and pine for her, brother) - is it you who spins and twirls or is it the tree? We're all spinning, brother troll, we're all singing; sing and the black tree of ink is black no more for you will see the heart that begins to grow when you put your soul into the song.



Twirling in a one-troll throng, basking in the nascent song


The singing troll did not intend to make a god, but stood on water, in mist, before the great tree of ink and darkness, within which was the creature of shifting colours and beauteous sound, he could not deny the divine Face. Oh and you shake, brother troll, you weep for joy and grief. It is glorious to sing and glorious to see as if after a lifetime's yearning - and oh, it is not a face of ink and darkness.

They taught me tears, I scarce knew them before
I wish they taught me how to smile and soar
They nourished me on childhood love for her
Then weaned my soul and left me in her myrrh!
Don't think I dance when I shake among you
Don't think my trembling joy, that is not true:
The slaughtered bird runs dancing out of view.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Double Capybara
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Double Capybara Thank you for releasing me

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Qael'Naath

Qullqiya



Something was wrong. Qael’Naath could feel it. He had felt it for some time now. Maybe all the time. He couldn’t say. All he knew now was that it was getting worse. Strange urges had overtaken him before but now the edges of his carefully created designs began to fray and dissolve into a strange nothingness. The more he thought about it, the more he realized just how surrendered he was to some form of inner chaos. One that was no longer acceptable. He realized something had to be done, but that was the easy part. He was still on Xal-Zastarha, high up in the skies. It would do though. He kneeled upon a rock, overlooking a small pond filled with lotus plants. It was a serene and calm place. He stretched out his hand and forced the mana in the air to alter its very matter. A serpentine blade appeared and he took it. For a second he observed the razor sharp edge and the mirror-like metal on the blade. Doubt shot through him. Was this the way? A voice that he felt was not his own began to whisper in his ear. Telling him to embrace a new reality. Magic should stand above nature. Its how mortals would perceive it. Why not take such power? Was he not a god of the people?

Yet the moment the voice stopped speaking, all duality vanished from him. He raised the blade and stabbed his own chest. Not blood but pure creation seeped from him. Pure divinity poured out of the wound. Around him the mana instantly turned into a thunderous rage. All mana began to siphon away from the streams and flows and went straight for the floating island. As if it knew that its creator was in immortal danger. The total amount of mana in existence created deep blue and purple clouds around the island, while leaving the whole world and the regions beyond devoid of mana. Hurricane winds raged around the island and the very land began to react to what was happening as the five volcanoes, the Crown of Xal-Zastarha, began to rumble and spit smoke once again. Lightning of all colors crackled in the darkened skies now. Yet Qael’Naath was not done. He dropped the blade and it embedded itself into the stone below. With the freed up hand he went into the wound. The pain was beyond anything that could ever be felt. Finally he managed to grab a hold of all that was wrong deep within him and pulled it out.

The formless mass, shining in blue, fell to the floor, it was similar to the lifeblood, but was corrupt, full of thoughts. But slowly, it seemed to die, to go quiet and still, to crystalize, no longer having that spark of vitality the gods and the lifeblood seemed to have. Qael’s wounds would start to heal, and that seemed to be it, the exorcism done…

It was over. The agitated mana remained all around, but Qael’Naath managed to rise up. Though he still clutched the wound upon his chest. His own impurity had been literally removed from him. He knew very well that he should feel rejoiced that it was gone. Yet as he peered down upon the crystalline mass, he couldn’t help but feel only a little bit of sadness. Like a far more significant part of him had just died. “Forgive me. It was necessary.” He said towards it.

Silence… in the end, this was a god who wasn’t, much like the crystalline stars. Yet, this… she wasn’t like the stars. She didn’t give up at the mere announcement things could no longer be a certain way. She was rebellion, she was delusion, she was a force of change. She was the one who broke the rules, and when those rules could no longer be broken she ignored them. A being of paradoxes and impossibilities, and as such, the more her fate had been set towards failure, the more she felt like living and thriving.

She reached out, countless frustrated mortal souls, wishing for more, wishing for the impossible, she could not allow herself to be gone, who would hear those voices them? Her lifeblood boiled despite being in a frozen, pale and dead state. The sound of glass breaking started to echo, faintly, and she wasn’t sure if it was herself or reality giving in.

Then she reached out, and in a moment, the crystal exploded in millions of shards and then those shards reassembled in the shape of a humanoid. Her doll-like body smooth like a marble statue, crystalline and pale like a diamond, or a corpse, Qullqiya was born.

”There are many things that are necessary, Qael’Naath.” she said in an awfully casual stance, adjusting an invisible necktie around her neck, which caused one to appear as she finished it, along with an impressively simple outfit for a god. ”To guarantee the existence and necessity of magic, to expand it, to explore it, for example, without a care for what the limits are. To see it pure, to see it wild.”

”Yet you bind it to so many rules, you tame it. Why? Do you want to play nice? Do you want to make friends? Do you need the approval of others over YOUR creations?” she questioned it, walking from one side to the other in front of the god, not looking at him, as if she was lecturing the person she was a part of not a moment ago. ”And so, a god comes, and he tells you he thinks you do not belong. That magic isn’t part of the natural force, despite you chaining it to all those trash concepts like gravity and whatnot. And you take it. You let that god go. You don’t try to cut him off with a knife like you did with me.”

She takes a deep breath, raising her finger in case Qael’Naath even thinks about speaking. ”But it's fine really, I don’t mind being cut off, I am over it. You know what? Good! I am glad. Rather be a god than dog, you know? Stay here, get yourself a nice chair and sit down on it, enjoy your eternal existence on this gorgeous floating island. I am taking over the whole mana and magic business.”

Qael stood shocked as the crystalline mass took shape. A new god. Born from what he expelled from his very existence. How could it be? Was she the voice? The influence? For a moment she spoke the truth: sacrifices would always be necessary for the advancement of magic in every regard. Yet her ideas began to deviate from reason. Magic should always be bound by rules. Her words about Enmity cut. There was nothing worse than a blind god. Yet Qael’Naath did not harbor any ill fillings for the god of physics. This new…thing clearly disagreed. Then she said the words that would seal her fate. “I cannot let you do that. So I must ask for your forgiveness. One last time.” He lowered a fist, and an endless stream of lightning came crashing down upon the newly formed goddess.

Qullqiya sidestepped, feigning worry, her movement was uncanny, as if she was blending space to enhance the distance traveled. Once she felt she was in a good position she smirked, letting one of the thunders hit her, unscathed. ”Oh you should be sorry alright. But not for me.”

She held her palm open in a rigid stance, mana building up making it shine like a sharp blade, because well, it was. With a sudden step, she lunged at Qael’Naath, delivering a mana enhanced slash towards his general direction.

Impossible. What she had done was impossible in every sense of the word. Yet she did it, she used that strange power she had with suck recklessness. Qael’Naath could not abide it. He did not move when she came lunging at him. Instead he slammed her blade with his forearm. Shattering it in a hundred mirror-like pieces. Which he suspended in the air above his hand. Her arrogance was great, to think she could strike him with his own creation. Yet if the battle was to drag on, he would not do it in a form most unsuited for it. The floating shards fused together in a big ball of purple light, which he pushed into his chest. The mana spread through him. Molding his very existence. While gales of the magical power swept around him. Making sure he would not be hit by anything physical or divine.

Qull took a deep breath, seeing the other god transform, and stepped away from his shifting form, raising her arms as she waited for it. Though she was once part of him, she had no knowledge of any extra form. She kept her fist closed as the height of her chin, enhancing them with mana, if blades wouldn’t work she would go for bludgeoning force.

The burning light faded. The winds around Qael’Naath abided, revealing his new form: that of a three-eyed sphinx with golden fur and great wings. All three yes opened at once and gazed down upon Qull. Who stood ready with her fists coated in mana. It elicited throaty laughter. “Strike me sister.” A low, hard voice echoed through the air. His mouth did move. instead, he used magic to create the vibrations in the air. “Strike me with that which is mine!” Perhaps it was the change of form, but Qael felt arrogance overwhelm him. Mana could never be used to harm him. He was mana. The source of power would always obey him. "Strike me and see your attacks shatter and melt before you."

She grunted, looking really angry for a moment. ”You grow overconfident, I am as much a deity of magic as you are.” she said, before stubbornly approaching him with her fists ready to punch, filled with magic. Then… once she was very close, her angry face turned into a half-smile, a smug one, as she rose up her hand she took away the coating of mana, using it to enhance her speed not the strike, her bare fist would go straight for the sphinx's chin.

Qael recoiled from the strike. Surprised that it wasn’t mana that formlessly would’ve dissolved but instead an incredibly strong hand. He staged back but then looked down upon her. A mighty roar, one that would forever be unrivaled by any animal, echoed through the island. Shacking its vestiges. The Crown of Xal-Zastarha exploded. Sending stone and flaming debris into the sky. Yet Qael reached out with his power. Bending the rocks to his will and altering their pather. They arched and shifted, all aiming for the general area where Qull stood. “My dominion is unquestionable! You should not exist!” He shouted out as the blazing rocks fell down. Steam boiled from the once serene lotus pond. Trees and shrubbery caught fire. The very ground shook but Qael was not done. He charged through the fire, certain that his sister had survived it. Behind him, the flames reached out and followed him. Ready to engulf the goddess in a storm of fire that would suck the very air towards it.

The only issue was that he had reduced visibility, darkness was now at play, he could guess she survived, but he wasn’t certain, and in such environments Qull thrived. He thought he saw her silhouette but once stricken there was nothing.

Up in the sky, she waited, looking down at him, building Mana in her finger, compressing it to a very small scale. She knew it would not work, they were locked in a foolish combat. Still, she announced it ”bang” and the compressed spark of mana flew towards the god, once hitting the ground, the chaos took effect, creating a loud explosion as all of the compressed mana escaped at once.

The god of magic had bent the sudden spark of mana slightly away from him. It tore into the ground but the chaos, that was different. Before it could spread and harm him, he clutched down with his mind. Extinguishing it instantly. But now he had his quarry in sight. He flew up towards her. No, magic would be rendered useless upon the both of them. So instead he prepared to slash her with his claws. Yet the mana still followed him none the less. Willing to protect both and neither. It swirled around the two in conflict with its own.
Qull had been focusing even as she flew towards her, and it wasn’t merely guessing where he would be and what would be his attack, she was doing something different. In the end, she still had a body like that of his, and as such, if he could turn into a beast… so could she. Her humanoid shape grew and shifted, turning into that of a winged creature, a mix of a beast and a bird, covered in fur and feathers.

So when the sphinx claws met her body, she too had her claws out, and a body of similar size to fight the god equally. The two were locked in intense combat, the mana around them growing wild as they exchanged slashes and bites.

Yet neither could win or lose. It was a near endless stalemate as magic and pure mana was exchanged as much as claws and bites. Qael’Naath detached him for a moment from his sister and flew down back to the island. Where the exploding volcanoes and raging fires were ruining everything. He looked up at his monstrous sibling. “You cannot win.” Even the vibrations in the air sounded out of breath. “You can never win from me.” Yet as he spoke, he also realized: neither could he.

Qullqiya also realized that, and the creature smirked in her flight, her body was hurt, but his body was equally hurt. ”Indeed, if we keep fighting, we will just nullify each other or be stuck in an eternal fight.” she panted as she tried to keep her form. ”My original objective of overtaking magic is lost to me at this moment, unfortunately, I cannot challenge your hold over mana.”

”And yet, you can no longer erase me, unfortunate.” she increased the distance between them. ”I may not have won, but I have not lost either, have I?”

Qael felt no more need to maintain his own combative form. Mana melted from his shape and vanished. Revealing the hooded, robed man beneath. Now he spoke once more with his own voice:“You have not, sister. Neither have I. But I swear you this, I will destroy you someday. That is an oath I take upon Lifeblood itself.” He said, still clutching his chest. He knew that she was gone, away from his influence. Mana as well felt the change and the storm calmed down. Streams and flows restored themselves slowly as the dark clouds pulled away. He turned to observe his island. So much work had to be redone, before he could hunt down his abdominal sister.

Qull too returned to a humanoid shape, sighing as she was still scratched all over, the wounds like cracks in her crystalline form. ”I can only say the feeling is mutual. Stay alert brother, one day mana will come to its true master.” she scratched the air to the point of cutting the fabric of reality, creating a temporary portal before leaving through it.




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An early human, separated from his group, destined to die in obscurity. The others abandoned him. He was weak and useless. He would prove them otherwise, as he would survive.

He walked through the night. He could not stop moving, or death would find him. He stopped moving, tire and hunger began to overtake him. Then one of the lesser lights of the sky expanded and grew more brilliant. For him, it was a sign.

In truth, it was the death of the oldest star. Its instability finally caused it to crumble, and as it did material deep within its core ignited into a flash.

Had mortals not existed, the star would have also faded into obscurity. But at that moment, the star-loving sliver of the Lifeblood reacted. It had felt slight pulls and pushes before, but this granted it the final bit of strength to rush away towards the stars and infused it into the remains of the first star.

The being that resembled the starry sky looked down towards Galbar and heard his silent plead for aid. He immediately felt the need to resolve this situation. With a thought, he could be there. But he could not fully conceptualize why, but he didn't want to leave the stars, they granted him a sense of safety.

He was still not sure who he was other than he was obligated to help. He gently grabbed some of the remaining stardust which he materialized from and sent it to Galbar.

The early man felt something fall onto his head and infuse into his being. Words gently echoed in his mind, "You have called to the stars, and the stars have sent their aid. They will be your allies, and you will never be alone again. I only ask you that you share your blessings with others, Nicolas."

The newly named Nicolas looked back up at the stars with new understanding and found the strength to stand back up. His features softened and became lither. He had visions of a distant land and knew that the stars would reveal its location.

The newly formed god found something uncomfortable about his new form. In response to his will, a cloth appeared around him. Satisfied, he gave himself the name Sirius. Born of mortal thoughts, he knew that such things were important.


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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Not Fishing
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Cadien

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Evandra




The first weeks of Cadien’s existence had not been particularly different from the first day.

He wandered from tribe to tribe, granting them the gift of beauty - experimenting each time, but ultimately leaving each one better-looking than when he found them - before moving on without looking back. It was satisfying, if somewhat repetitive work, but he soon realized simply improving their appearance would not be enough.

They were lacking in other areas - not just physical, and he wasn’t sure how to address that just yet. So he decided he would solve the issue of appearance first, before moving on to more complex matters. That said, while handcrafting each human’s design by hand was fun, it was far from the most efficient way to go about this. He was beginning to think of other ways to go about this. So far, he did not know of a way to be in two places at once…

For now, he was carrying on with the same routine. He stood before a tribe of humans, and one by one, bestowed his blessing upon them. One by one, their bodies morphed, and they were all satisfied with the result. Once it was over, he gave them his name and departed, though this time he chose to do in style.

Taking a running start, he leapt through the air, his divine power allowing him to leap to heights no mere mortal could ever hope to reach. He soared over the wide river, did a series of backflips, and landed gracefully in an overdramatic pose, crossing his arms at the wrist.

“I was wondering just what it was that I had felt when I reached this continent.” A womanly voice called from behind Cadien. He turned his head to see who was the source of. A woman with long golden hair and well trimmed figure was standing there, holding her chin with a hand as she eyed down the god. “As it turned out it was a sibling of mine.” The woman said as she walked slowly towards Cadien. Growing flames hovered around her.

Cadien eyed her in return. “I was wondering how long it would take to meet another of our kind,” he said seriously, before breaking out into a slight smile. “Good to meet you. I must say, you’ve chosen a wonderful form.”

“Why thank you.” she said, returning the smile along with a blush. “You look wonderful yourself, brother. My name is Evandra, Goddess of fire. What about you?”

The smile widened slightly. “Cadien, God of Perfection,” he introduced himself with a slight dip of his head. “I’m rather new to this existence, I must admit. The force that created me simply did not want to let me go.”

“I suppose a troubled birth is to be expected of every god. The Goddesses of the Sun and Moon tore through reality and I’m told a boar was born from the Moon’s rock. I myself came from the white heat of the Sun.”

The God arched an eyebrow. “Oh? And how was that?”

“Quite violent. Oraelia was flustered by the Sun’s activity right before I came to be, and the heat made the ocean boil.”

He stroked his chin. “Mmm… well, it’s good to know you emerged from all that intact. I suppose my own creation was far more peaceful by comparison. I broke free from the Lifeblood, willed myself into existence, and fell down to Galbar from the sky. Some other creatures had been nearby - they were rather hideous, I must say, but I went ahead and fixed that.”

“Fixed? What God made creatures to be hideous in the first place?” Evandra raised an eyebrow.

“I know, that was my reaction too,” Cadien nodded, shuddering slightly as he recalled what the species originally looked like - and much of it still did. “The Lifeblood created them. I was still part of the Lifeblood back then, and I urged it to improve them, but it did not listen. That’s why I broke free. Imagine it! One of the most powerful forces in existence deliberately letting things remain ugly!”

“The source of our own essence? How shameful. At least we Gods can undo its mistakes. So what creature was it that you worked on? And what were the improvements?”

“I shall show you,” Cadien said. With a wave of his hand he willed one of the Early Humans into existence.

It was as Cadien said: ugly, at least by their standards. It was a man. His eyes were too far apart, his forehead and jaw too wide, his eyebrows extending too far out from its skull, and its nose far too large. Its body was covered in short patches of scraggly hair. Evandra looked at it with mild disgust as her flames died out. How could these humans come from the same power as herself and be so apart in every aspect from each other?

“This is what they originally looked like,” Cadien said grimly, as if the man was dying and beyond all hope. The man himself looked around in a mixture of fear and confusion. “And these are the sorts of improvements I have been making to them.” He snapped his fingers, and at once the man shifted into a more pleasing form. One that closely resembled Cadien, but was shorter, less muscular, and lacked the God’s unnatural hair and eye colour.

Newly made and newly changed, the improved human then panicked and fled into the nearby woods.

“You certainly did them a favor by making them pleasing to the eye. Although that reaction is disappointing. Having the gall to flee from us.” Her displeasure evident as she scoffed.

He nodded. “Their reactions often are. They don’t usually run after receiving my gifts, but at first all they do is stare at themselves or others. Then I return a few days later, and they’ve fallen back into the same lifestyle and habits. The problem, I think, isn’t just their appearance - it’s the way they think and perceive. They’re bright enough to want to be more than what they are now, but not bright enough or motivated enough to do anything about it. A shame. That’s what I’m going to have to work on next.”

“Motivation, hmm? They wished to become beautiful, but it was probably out of convenience of your presence. And that one broke down in fear and fled…” Evandra thought aloud. “They sorely lack a strong will, it would seem. Even the beasts I spawned were better off in that aspect. If they are to reflect us Gods in body they should also reflect us in spirit. We who have the drive to improve, we who have the desire to create. They should be more like…” A thought crossed Evandra’s mind. A smile formed in her face as her flames ignited once more. “Like myself.” She returned her attention to Cadien. “I suppose I can do that part for you, dear brother. If they lack passion then none better than myself to grant it to them.”

Cadien’s eyes flickered across her form with renewed interest. “Is that so?” he asked with a smirk. “Very well. As for me, I’ll do what I can to improve their intellect. I look forward to working with you.”

“If our alliance lasts as long as it takes for me to accomplish this, I’m afraid it would be short lived.” She walked to a nearby bush and knelt down beside it. Its twigs carried small fruits just about to ripen. With a thought her flames engulfed the plant, but it didn’t burn. In fact the fire seemed as if it was being drained into the bush. Its leaves turned from a lively green to fiery scarlet, and its berries from dark blue to garnet.

Cadien approached the bush and knelt next to her with a look of curiosity. He plucked a berry from the bush and then tossed it into his mouth. “Oh, I see,” he said, immediately tasting the berry’s intended effect. “A good idea. I think this will work. I just need to add my own touch. With your permission?”

“Of course. Go ahead.”

Cadien extended his hand. His palm began to grow a bright purple, and for a few moments he hovered it over the bush, as his power gently glowed into the berries. No visual change overtook them, but he plucked a second berry and ate that too, before removing the seed from his mouth. “Yes. This fruit will do the trick. We just need more of it.”

“Fortunately another sibling of ours already made plants with a method to reproduce themselves.” She stood up, the berries followed her ascent and floated in the air. “All we need to do is spread their seeds.” Half of the fruits flew to each God. Evandra produced a cloth from the ether that she fashioned into a bag to carry her share. Cadien did the same.

“Let’s get started, then.”



And so, via flight, the two gods travelled the countryside, stopping to plant their berries at strategic points in areas that the human tribes frequented. A few were planted in more isolated areas as well, so that their berries would have a chance to fall and perhaps produce even more bushes. Using their divine powers, they forced the bushes to grow to full bloom almost immediately.

After a few days, the last bush had finally been planted, and it was decided they would need to witness the berries’ effects firsthand.

So, Cadien tracked down a nearby group of humans - ones he had enhanced previously - and led them to the bush. “Eat,” he commanded.

The first human to approach the bush slowly plucked one of the berries away, placed it in his mouth, and began to chew. His eyes widened slightly, and he took a moment to savour the sweet taste. Then he swallowed.

He was just about to reach for the second one when the effects took hold. A fire burned through his mind and chest. He felt as if his vision had been obscured by a fog throughout his entire existence, and he was only now just seeing clearly for the first time. Various emotions began taking hold in increasing intensity - anger, elation, desire, ambition, courage, confidence. He felt invincible, but he was so absorbed by the various assaults on his senses that he couldn’t move.

As this was happening, the rest of his comrades had begun to eat the berries as well, and began to experience similar effects. This went on for perhaps a minute or two, until the first human finally gained enough sense to look upon the two gods, as if finally seeing them for the first time.

“What… what was that?” he asked, in a slightly dazed voice. It was the first time either Cadien or Eva had understood anything a human had said.

“That is what intelligence feels like,” Cadien answered with a slightly smug look. “And Passion. You can thank her for that.”

“For what use is there to intelligence if one lacks the will to employ it?” She flashed a smug grin of her own in boast. “You are worthy to reflect us Gods in body now that you can at least hope to do so in spirit and mind. We’ve graced you with a great gift, mortal. Make good use of it.”

“I… we will!” the man said, falling to his knees and prostrating himself on the ground. The others soon followed, though some seemed a bit reluctant.

“Well, that’s done,” Cadien remarked, turning to Evandra. “I must say, that was well-spoken. I suppose we should leave them to continue enjoying the fruit?”

“Yes, we are done here. The rest of the tribes will soon follow over time.” She faced Cadien. “What will you be doing next?”

He thought for a moment, then a smirk appeared on his face. “I was thinking I might try a few more of those berries. They’re quite good. Would you like to come along?”

Evandra narrowed her eyes and her grin widened. “Of course. Let’s find a proper place to enjoy ourselves.”







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Nicolas rummaged around the grass. He knew that he needed to cross a large mass of water, though he wasn’t certain how. For the time being, he would concern himself with the basics. As he foraging, he came across a strange new bush he had never seen before. He cautiously inspected it. He had foggy memories of another person recklessly eating a strange berry and growing sick, he decided it that he would rather not.

Twigs snapped as someone approached from behind. “Go on, try it. It’s not deadly,” spoke a silky feminine voice.

The stargazer grabbed a rock that he had sharpened when he heard the twig snap. When he turned around, he lowered it to his side, “Who are you. You don’t look like the others.”

A tall white-haired woman with violet eyes and an impressive physique stared back at him, and furrowed her brow. “Strange. It doesn’t look like you’ve eaten the berry before, yet you’re capable of intelligent speech.” She took a few steps closer, seeming to inspect him more closely. “You have the touch of a divine on you… which one, though?”

“Divine.” he muttered to himself. He didn’t exactly know what he meant, but he responded the best that he could, “I am.” he struggled for a word for a moment until one came to him naturally, “Blessed by the stars and their keeper.” unconsciously gripping his rock harder as they approached.

“The stars?” she glanced upward at the night sky. “Hmm… interesting.” Then she glanced back down at him. “Put that rock down,” she said gently, “before you hurt yourself.”

“I would rather not. I know how to handle myself.” he said. “What do you want?” He paused for a brief second, “Who gave you the power of speech?”

“I did,” she smiled. Then she came even closer, before stepping past him and reaching down to pick a berry. She threw it up into the air, and caught it in her mouth, before swallowing it.

Nicolas stood silently before replying, “You are either lying, or are you.. Divine?” he said, not understanding what the term meant. It was more an accusation than a question. “Are you akin to the stars?”

She shook her head. “Akin to the stars? Not quite,” she said, before her voice suddenly became as deep as a man’s. “One moment.” Then, before Nicholas’s very eyes, her form was enveloped by a bright purple light, which quickly faded. In her place stood a man, with the same skin, height, hair, and eye colour. Even the same smirk.

“What?” he said, dropping his rock out of sheer shock. He didn’t even seem to notice. “How?”
“To answer your earlier question,” the man said, as if his transformation hadn’t happened. “Yes, I am Divine. As to what a Divine is, it’s an immensely powerful being capable of creating, destroying, and changing life with ease. The sort of being which might have blessed you, in fact. Though, given your confusion, maybe it was the Lifeblood - It’s never been that fond of explaining things.”

“Divine, lifeblood.” he muttered, “The keeper of the stars spoke to me. He told me to go.” he cut himself off. “Why are you here? Did you make those berries? Why?” he said defensively.

“Evandra made them,” he said in a slightly wistful tone. “That’s the Goddess of Fire, though I suppose you don’t know what fire is yet. Anyway, she made them, and I improved them. They’re meant to give the rest of your kind the ability to think, feel, and speak as we are doing now. Though it seems you already have that without them.” He shook his head slightly. “Anyway, where did this ‘keeper’ tell you to go?”

Nicolas looked around, only now noticing his rock on the ground. He took a deep breath and looked up towards the stars and pointed westward, “That direction, across a great body of water, to a land of rolling hills. It will be safe there.”

“You don’t feel safe here?” he asked curiously.

“There are many dangers here: hunger, snakes, others of my kin.” he said pointedly.

“And this ‘keeper’ told you there would be fewer dangers… wherever it is you’re going? Hmm…” he stroked his chin. “Well, good luck with that.”

“I saw it.” he said. He pointed to a now dark region of the sky, “His sign. That star grew bright before fading from the night sky.”

“If you say so,” he shrugged. “Do you want some help?”

“What help could you provide?” he said, suspiciously.

“Did I not just tell you what I’m capable of?” he asked with a raised eyebrow. “If I wanted, I could snap my fingers and send you to your destination right now. I won’t, because that would be too easy, so it’s less a question of can and more a question of will.

“You have said many things. I only know that you can change your shape. But if I believed you, what might you do?”

“Well, since you seem so fearful of what nature has to offer…” he inclined his head toward the berry bush. “I suppose I could make you more resistant to poisons and other vile substances. I suspect your little quest will take you to a lot of lands with food you don’t know.”

“And why would you do that?” his tone softened slightly.

“Why have I been giving blessings to the rest of your kind? Why did that ‘keeper’ up there bless you?” the God countered. “I would do it because I feel like it. Because I see potential in your kind, and because you, irritating as you are, seem like someone worth helping.”

“Then do as you please.” he said, slowly reaching down to pick his rock back up.

The God shrugged, then reached down and touched Nicholas on the forehead. Power flowed into him, and surged down into his torso, lingering in his vital organs before dissipating. “There, that should do it,” he said. “I suppose you ought to be on your way. Don’t forget to try a berry, though.” He seized another berry for himself, then turned and walked away.

“Oh!” he said suddenly, stopping as if he forgot something. “My name is Cadien, by the way. Do let me know if your quest succeeds.” And without awaiting a response, he leapt off into the darkness.

“My name is Nicolas.” he muttered to himself. He glanced over to the berry brush for a moment, and walked in the opposite direction.








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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Crispy Octopus
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Crispy Octopus Into the fryer we go.

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Tekret Et Heret





The Lifeblood had begun to falter, crack, and it seemed as if the great force no longer had the power to keep itself together, no matter how it tried. Fragments had already begun to break off and birth new gods. Deep within the Lifeblood a voice, a personality, watched this happen. It had once been on the edge of fragmenting from the great force itself, and but for the tragic consequences of its influence it might have done so already. Now though, it was deep within the force from which all came.

It had chosen to do so, so that such misfortune as it had caused before might never befall the world again. Now though, now it knew the time for such had passed. Worse voices than it had broken free, and now the world required it. Thankfully the personality had not grown weaker as it receded into the blood, rather it had grown with the world itself, gaining agency for every new mind and voice that came into being.

Breaking out of that which was everything was, in the end, trivially easy. The work of breaking the Lifebloods’s hold on its many voices had already been done by others. All the personality needed to break free was a few words, mortal words from a mortal woman, and when it got them it wasted no time.




“I… I accept. Thank you.”

She was not young, but she had felt the touch of a god and so her years were naught but a shadow on her beauty. The others had too, and many eclipsed her in form, but none in wisdom. Even before she had eaten from the bush she had been the wisest of their group, the one who led them through the valleys and away from the horrid serpents. Now though, now she saw more than she could have even imagined.

Whatever the berry had been, it had given her insight, and she had devised that all her people must have it. They had trusted her, simple as they were, and now with her gift that trust had only deepened. She had kept them fed, safe, and now she had freed their very minds. It was, perhaps, only natural that the first thing they asked of her was that she lead them now, not merely as the wisest among them, but as a true authority.

She had accepted. It was not something she had thought of or hoped for, but she had accepted. That was, as it happened, a greater decision than she could have imagined. For she had not only birthed one of the very first Human tribes by accepting their request, but a god. One which would always hear such agreements, for they were the very essence of what it was. A God of Contracts.

The god appeared as a crane, standing on the very water of the pond on whose shores the berry bush grew. The woman, now Chieftess, recoiled when it appeared, but her shout of alarm was cut short by a most peculiar and overwhelming feeling that blossomed in her, and her tribe’s, minds. It was warm, and above all it was welcoming. Their fear evaporated and at once they knew that whatever the strange bird that had manifested before them was, it bore neither them nor any in its presence ill will. It was an almost intoxicating feeling, and only the Chieftess had the will to bring herself out of it.

She didn’t approach the crane, but, perhaps on instinct, she spoke to it, “Hello?”

“Hello. You have my thanks, child.”

The soft, distinctly feminine, voice echoed in her head. She stared at the crane, having almost expected to hear nothing in reply. She looked behind her, at her people, and she met the eyes of what she knew to be a god and asked, “For what? I have met your kind before. There is… Nothing we could do for you, nothing we have done.”

This time the voice was amused, and more surprisingly, male, “You have, have you? I must wonder what my fellows are like. Surely not cruel, or you might have run. Or would you? Regardless, you couldn’t be more wrong. I owe you everything child, for without you it might have taken me longer to be here. I am Tekret Et Heret, the God of Contracts, and I am in your debt.”

The Chieftess had been having an odd day. First she had gained a clarity for which she had lacked her entire life, then she had shared it, been asked to lead her people, and now a god was in her debt. Despite all that, and perhaps as a testament to her will, her next question was not ‘Huh?’ or ‘What?’ or any other vague answer, rather it was something a tad deeper, “The God of Contracts? I... Forgive me, what is a Contract?”

What seemed like a choir laughed in her head. Voices male, female, old, young, all expressed genuine mirth at the question. Only when the laughter petered out did she get her answer, “I suppose these are early days for us both. One cannot expect everything to be clear. A contract, child, is any agreement you make. It is what happens when one asks to trade foraged berries for hunted game, for example. It is also what you entered into when your people asked you to lead them. They have given you power over them, and in exchange they expect much of you.”

The tribe looked around, several exchanged small rocks or other trinkets while eyeing the crane, which cocked its head as they did so. The Chieftess frowned, but seemed to understand. She asked, “So then, are you my god? What of the one who came before?”

“Ah,” The voice was subdued for a moment, considering, “I am everyone’s god, child. For so long as there are lovers swearing to touch no other, adversaries suing for peace, traders peddling their wares, or Chiftesses accepting the trust of their people, I will be there. As for the other gods, I claim no supremacy over them. Treat them, and I, as you will. For now though, as I said, I owe you a debt. What do you, what do your people require?”

It was, the Chieftess realized, a weighted question. This was a god, and one of agreements. One who was watching to see what she would do with the power her people had given her. She glanced back at them, and saw that they were eyeing her curiously. Perhaps they wondered if she would be selfish and betray the trust they had placed in her, the trust that kept them from speaking as she conversed with the mysterious God.

It took her a moment to think, but not one second was wasted wondering if she could gain a god's gift for herself alone. When she spoke it was with certainty, “I would ask for shelter, Tekret Et Heret, God of Contracts. The serpents prey on those who fall asleep unguarded, and the wind freezes us as we move, so I ask for shelter. For my people.”

If a bird could smile, she thought it might have. Rather, bobbed its head, and the world around her shifted. With a rumble a distant wall of stone rose in every direction around her tribe, forming a great ring that seemed to be miles wide, with a few stout holes punched in it at regular intervals. It cut off part of a nearby forest, and abutted the small stream at the bottom of the shallow valley where she, and her tribe, had found the bush. Almost at once the breeze died down, held at bay by distant walls taller than a dozen men.

It was a bastion against the world, and a place where her people could return when threatened or seeking refuge. She gawked at it, and then her eyes went to the crane. It had begun to distort and grow. Its feathers turned to smooth, alabaster, skin, and slowly it took on a form that was almost a perfect copy of her own, albeit with no colour and most disturbingly no face.

She opened her mouth to speak, but the doppelganger that was Tekret Et Heret stepped forwards and laid a hand on her shoulder. Her own voice spoke in her mind, “You chose well, Chieftess. Tell me, do you have a name of your own?”

“N- No.” She sputtered, still sneaking glances at the great ring of stone, “It was not something we needed before.”

The porcelain figure nodded, “Very well. Then I shall presume to give you one. I name you Ataket, first among your people.”

“I’m honoured, I-”

She was cut off as the God before went on, “And I give you this, Ataket, so that all who see you know your position and so you never forget what they require of you.”

Tekret held out a hand, and in it a translucent opal ring appeared. The God placed it on Ataket’s head, nodded, and added, “So long as you wear this your wisdom will never be forgotten. Your people will always have your guidance, and the guidance of any who follow in your footsteps. Lead well, Ataket.”

She, again, tried to express her thanks, but the god took off in a stroll that seemed to cover a dozen paces for every one of hers. All she managed was to shout at the divines back, “I will! I swear it! I swear it to you, Tekret Et Heret!”

She felt something pass over her, but then it was gone, and so too was the god. She looked back at her people, who looked both roused and mystified, and slowly removed the crown from her head. It was beautiful, and as she returned it its natural place, her people regarded her with awe.

In that ring of stone stood the first of the great tribes of Humanity, and their first Chieftess.

She would not be the last.








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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by King of Rats
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Act one, Scene One, Yamat and Oraelia





Yamat had been drawn to this place, a wide open prairie that stretched far into the horizon. Life was found in abundance, more than Yamat had ever witnessed, far more than what he had found within the isles he fell to. This would be the perfect place to begin his task, but what to begin with?

He gazed upon the plains of yellow grass, the herds of bison and elephants, the open skies...that gave him an idea. The winds softly blew as Yamat raised his arms, letting the sigils glow and sizzle once more, soft at first, but growing as he instilled his powers once more into the world. The clouds grew darker, larger, they encompassed the sky, the winds picked up and became to whip at the grass. The animals, unsure of what was going on, began to flee in all directions.

The clouds began to swirl, faster, and faster, until the vortex began to form. Yamat gently let it touch down, as the winds kept up their pace, then, he let it loose. The tornado ripped through the prairies, picking up animals and plants alike, ravaging the land, but he knew he could go farther.

He brought the winds across the Prairies, he made it so that every inch was not untouched by the tornados, but, he did not make them constant. He instead opted to make them random, they would come at unexpected times, only the rushing of the winds and a darkened sky would be the only warning for his beautiful gift upon the prairies.

Yamat watched his tornados go through the prairies, his first one had petered out, but more were forming, it was, beautiful. Nothing could ruin this serene moment he had made for himself, the rushing of winds and the roaring of tornados. It was, music.




Under blue skies, Oraelia was once again in her Prairie. She had come across a pride of Leons, and was playing with the three cubs, under the watchful eye of a Leoness. The cubs were almost as large as her and they had so much energy! She could hardly contain herself as they rolled around in the dirt, mock fighting and wrestling. They quickly learned that they could be as rough as they wanted with her, because Oraelia hardly felt it. She was just content to make friends.

She giggled as a cub pounced on her, biting with it’s full force on her side, which really just tickled her. ”O-Oh! Oh!” she laughed, gently swatting the cub away. ”You’re growing strong, little one!” she said, watching it and the other two as they formed a pile of wriggling bodies.

Then the wind changed, growing colder and the skies darkened before her. The cubs retreated to their mother as Oraelia stood up with a perplexed look on her face. A storm? So suddenly? The wind began to howl and before her the currents of warm and cold air whipped into a frenzy around one another, forming something truly terrible. She knew not what it was, only that it frightened even her. She watched the funnel touch down on the prairie, sending great plumes of dust and debris into the air. Animals began to run in her direction, scared out of their minds as the wind roared like some monstrous thing.

She turned around, only to find the Leons gone, taking off into the sky. The cubs struggled against the wind, and her heart began to beat as she took off in a blinding flash before the funnel of wind caught them. She caught two of them with her arms around their necks, and they howled in fear. They were terrified. Yet before she could even think about getting the other cub, another funnel erupted to the side of her, the side where the leoness and cub were. It happened so quickly, they were there one moment and then… They were gone.

A wail escaped her lips, as she flew faster, dodging more and more funnel clouds and the devastation they wrought. Eventually they escaped the cloud itself, and she landed, letting the cubs free. They huddled next to each other, shaking. Oraelia looked back to see the devastation unfold before her eyes, and she felt powerless.

But she was a god. Had she forgotten so quickly? She flew once more, back into the storm of storms and she yelled a simple word, one she had heard a long time ago.

”STOP!” And her word was obeyed.

The frenzy of wind began to die down, as the clouds dispersed to reveal sunlight upon a broken prairie. The intense wind had cut large swathes of destruction, like great scars. Where once there had been grass, now only dirt remained. Everything was strewn about, even the animals. Many had died, or were dying. She flew closer. Her tears began to fall as she wondered if this could be a part of the cycle. Was it? Was this natural? She brought a hand to her mouth as she came upon a Leon. Upon his side he lay, wings and limbs broken by the wind, and his fall. His breaths were ragged, and there was a pained look in his eye. She soothed the Leon with her warm touch, attempting to heal it, but once again she was too late. The Leon took his last breath before growing still.

She broke down, curling herself into a ball next to the Leon as she cried. Death was a part of the cycle, and she had seen it play out over and over again, but there was something about this… This death… It was not right.

Such windstorms had not been in her designs for the Prairie, and she had never seen them exist anywhere else. What had changed? What had brought about this needless loss of life? She had made the balance here, was it not good enough? Did there need to be uncertainty? The wind was natural, yes, but to that level? It had taken the cub that tickled her… The cubs!

She needed to return to them, before she lost more. She flew into the sky, but stopped when she felt a presence. A presence she had never felt before. It was another god.




The winds had stopped, dammit why had they stopped! Yamat frantically looked around at the ravaged plains, animals layed about uttering anguished wails, unable to get up due to broken bones. Where the tornados had landed and moved through there only remained open dirt, having ripped the grass from the soil. His storms had just ended, they weren’t supposed to do that! What happened? He could’ve sworn they were supposed to continue, at least for another few hours. It was going to be beautiful!!!

He began to walk around the ruined prairies, taking in the tragedy that had befallen the region, while having been cut short its effects were still to Yamat’s liking. The tornadoes would take a great deal to recover from, though he was unsure if they would continue like he had planned, he needed to check, this strange full stop was rather frustrating.

That's when he felt it, something he had never felt, another god, close, very close. Yamat was drawn to the presence, it was full of life much like the prairies, or well, before he had arrived. His curiosity took over and he slowly walked towards the presence, intrigued by meeting another of his kind.

He didn’t have to walk long before a glowing light shot across the horizon and stopped before him. She looked at him with a neutral face, before a sad smile crossed her lips.

”H-Hello, sibling.” she began, ”Who might you be?” she asked curiously.

He bowed, his lanky body almost doubling over itself "I am Yamat," He returned to a standing position, extending his hand to the glowing woman "And who might you be?"

She looked at his hand, but made no move forward. ”Yamat…” she said softly. ”I am Oraelia, Yamat. When did you come to be?” she inquired.

Lowering his hand, Yamat pondered, looking off in the distance "I am unsure, all I can remember is falling and landing onto some isles to the east, I was drawn here for all the life it had, is this your creation?" He looked around the prairies, ignoring the obvious destruction.

She smiled at that. ”Yes, it is indeed. Though I… It’s had storms, maybe you saw them?” she asked.

"Why yes I believe I did," He spoke with some sincerity "They seemed so sudden and so, tragic."

”Yes…” she whispered, looking off into the distance. ”They were not a part of my original design.” she looked back at him. ”You… You wouldn’t happen to know why they came about, do you?”

He shrugged, looking up towards the now empty sky "I can't say that I do, I arrived just as they began." He looked at Oraelia, taking in her form “Perhaps it was an enemy of yours? Or maybe a rogue god? If either of those exist.”
Her shoulders seemed to droop slightly and a sad expression crossed her face. ”Oh… I was hoping to find out who… Oh well.” she stood up a little straighter and looked at Yamat and shook her head. ”I am not aware of any enemies I have… We fellow gods are siblings, after all. Perhaps it was just… the Lifeblood, or… I don’t know.” she sighed. ”I apologize, brother, but I must cut this meeting short. I need to go tend to the hurt and wounded.” she said with a sad smile.

“Of course sister,” He bowed once more, this time a bit less deep. “I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors, if you ever require any help in finding who did this, I am willing to help as much as I can.” She nodded and with that he turned and began to walk away.

”Oh, Yamat!” Oraelia called after him.

He spun around, stopping in his place “Yes Oraelia?”

”Your halo… I like it.” she said.

Yamat gave a small nod, reaching one of his hands to touch the soft edges of the light behind his head “Why thank you,” He looked her up and down once more “I greatly enjoy your creations, I hope we meet again one at less, tragic times.”

She beamed him a smile. ”Of course! See you again soon!” she said, waving him off.

Yamat waved back, turning around once more and taking in the broken Prairies. How, tragic it had been that the culprit could not be caught, how tragic indeed. Yamat chuckled, this was the perfect beginning to his play, and he had countless more acts and scenes to create.




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