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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Dewfrost97
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The Birth Of A God





Nothing.
It was the nothing before the nothing, before it had a name. There was no consciousness. There was hardly even a potential for consciousness. The very universe had no shape, no breath. Every particle that collided and atom that fused existed in a state like that of the unborn. Nothing could remember, because there was nothing to remember.
Then came the cascade. Lifeblood bubbled forth, and from its frothy genesis, an array of fantastical celestial beings. And from those beings came life. Small, painfully delicate life, which could be snuffed so easily. Only through trial and error did these boundless beings come to value it, and sculpt it, and protect it.

The first life had been a trial, one that failed. The life that came after that, for the most part, grew stronger and moved on. But that first life, the small furry thing that had been held in Gibbou’s hands, remained. Not the soul that had sprung it to motion nor the breaths that it drew, those were both long gone, having been spirited away by another Higher Being. What was left, however, was a stain. A ghost of a thought that had never been thought, for the brain had no ability to think it. It was an emotion that was like the imprint of hand, traced with ink on a wet paper, many miles thick:

This wasn’t fair.

So the Lifeblood had taken this thought that wasn’t a thought into itself and there it was planted, a single impression that was smaller than a seed. But seeds can grow, and things without thought can continue to feel. A bird, torn to bits. A hunter, starving to death, surrounded by food of the wrong kind. A weak fawn, destroyed by a rising mountain thrust by the most powerful of beings. A million voices crying out into the world, their only thought besides pain before silence:

This wasn’t fair.

And so that seed grew. And the Lifeblood felt it. Sometimes it would act because of the seed, sometimes the seed was drowned out by other voices. Sometimes the mother was killed to feed the child. Sometimes the young and glorious would die to save the old and wicked. The more minds there were, the more hearts that beat, the more there were to feel it:

This wasn’t fair.

An ape shunned for her ugliness. A human revered for her beauty. Little lives of unbelievable ease. Destitution as the light left because of the mistakes of those in power. A new god, doomed to curse others instead of to create. Tragedy wielded like virtue. When no evil was noticed and no good deed went unpunished, the thought grew and writhed. It smoldered and exploded, like blood pounding in the ears and pouring out the eyes:

This was not fair.

The Lifeblood buckled and shook. It fought back, pushing down the swelling powers, trying to stay whole.

This was not fair.

A race born in darkness. The weight of the sandblasted deserts pushing down upon them.

This was not fair!

Ten thousand hands, stretching from the darkness, reaching to the sun and clamoring forward to escape and experience her light.

This was not fair and it can be changed. I can change it.

The Lifeblood exploded. A beam of energy and consciousness shot through the spaces between worlds, quickly followed by another. They had to exist. They had worked too hard to tear themselves away to remain shapeless.

I will change it!

The first, and stronger of the beams, touched down in the Blood Basin, pulled by something it could not yet define. It coalesced into a ball of divinity, invisible to the indifferent cacti and scurrying reptilian life around it. In its haste, it had leapt unprepared from the Lifeblood, and now struggled to find a shape. Should it mirror the Gila monster that peered curiously at it from beneath a crag? Or maybe grow thorns and waxy green skin? It wasn’t sure. Oraelia’s harsh presence in the sandy wastes battered at its ability to properly think, making it sluggish and confused. Even when the transparent ball of power limped and rolled to one of many caves, the hot air from the baking sand continued to swoop in, leaving it less and less coherent.
Another beam touched down, this one more bouncy and exuberant but no better defined. It went to soar across the desert plane, searching for the sapience that might further coalesce it, but a single non-verbal grumble from the elder godling drew it back to the caves, waiting for night.

And night did come. With it, the cold-blooded creatures that basked all day went into hiding. The plants retracted into themselves. The Mananuki returned home, soaring above the still, invisible divines, fleeing the plunging temperatures out in the dunes. And as Gibbou began to peek over the dusty horizon, the first power began to remember. A little less shapeless, it took to the sky, unfurling wings that embraced the cold and crisp air. Not wanting to be left behind, the other godling flew as well, though this time it did so with feet designed for travel of all kinds.

Above the cool sand and stone they prowled, divine senses searching for something that drew them. And on the last hour, moments before the sun would rise and they would retreat once more, it found what it had been looking for, and circled like vultures.




Akule’s heart twisted in despair as he stared up at the spot where the faces of his tribe had disappeared, many hours ago. At first, he had thought they were off to find yucca strands to twist into a rope to hoist him up. He had busied himself with building little sand sculptures along the base of the gulch’s wall, testing his injured ankle every few minutes to no avail. But when the sun set, and the chill wracked the land, he began to grow uneasy. A rope didn’t take that long to make, and he hadn’t heard the sounds of their returning footsteps echoing around the jagged tear in the earth that had him trapped. Even in perfect health, it would’ve been a difficult climb, with outcroppings that turned a 90° wall into a 120° one, and excessively sharp shale protrusions that cut into his hands and left him sore and bleeding. The third time he had tried, he had fallen hard, sending bolts of agony through his already damaged ankle. If they weren’t coming back for him, he would die here. And given that the hunting party had been comprised of the slightly older men that mocked him for his recklessness and whimsy, it really didn’t seem like they’d return. He whimpered, and the gulch whimpered back. He was utterly alone.
Then, a presence, right behind him, practically breathing down his neck. The feathers on top of his head stood on edge, and he prepared to be eaten by some awful lizard. Akule whirled around, as fast as he dared with his foot the way it was, but there was nothing. He stared right through the feeling, looking at the sunset-colored stone turned black and eerie by the moonlight. The presence pulsed again, and this time, he heard something, something that send his heart plummeting down into his stomach and lines of pain dancing around his ankle

“Why do you sit here?”

Akule gulped. The elders always said the gods were watching, but he never truly believed them. Their minds were addled from being out in the sun too long. But this? This felt too insistent to be a symptom of dying in a pit. This was real.

He wet his dry, cracked lips with a dry, cracked tongue and spoke as loud as he dared. “I sit here because I am trapped. The scale is too difficult, and I am injured.”

The response was derisive. “Is your kind not built for climbing?”

Fear left Akule, replaced with indignation. “I tried, okay! It’s too hard! I’m too tired, I’m too thirsty and hungry, and my ankle hurts too much. Even if I try to hop along to a less difficult wall, it’s impossible, because all the walls are impossible!” He sniffled, shuffling around in the dirt to make his point. “I’m going to die here.”

With a feeling akin to being slapped by a hard gust of wind, the being shook him. “Get up. If you really want to escape, then you will climb. You have no other choice.”

“I can’t,” Akule insisted, “I just can’t.”

“No, you just won’t.” It shoved him at the cliff face again, refusing to take no for an answer. Anger bubbles within Akule.

“Who do you think you are, telling me what I can and can’t do! I already said, it’s impossible. I already tried, and I already failed. It’s no use.”

“I suppose you’re right. Maybe you can’t do it. If you could have, you would have already.” The voice sneered as heavy impressions appeared in the rock and grit as the invisible god walked away and leaving Akule by himself.

“You’re a God, aren’t you?!” Akule screamed, tears beginning to form on his face, “So help me out a little! You could whisk me up in an instant!”

“I am not that kind of god.”

“Then maybe you’re no god at all!” Akule was on his feet now, limping after the footprints of the invisible one, which were already being blurred by the canyon winds, “You’re just a bastard! You probably aren’t even real, a trick in my head caused by dehydration!”

The voice did not respond. Akule let out a scream in anger which echoed through the canyons and slammed his fist against the canyon wall, cracking the stone and breaking his skin. He began to sob the tearless sobs of an Alminaki, the mournful keens lamenting his own death being the only sound in the canyon. When he finally opened his eyes, all the sorrow spent, the footprints that he had been following were gone and he was truly alone again. He turned his face up to the sky, wanting to get a few last glimpses of the stars before his death.

Then he noticed something. The canyon wasn’t nearly as steep here. Sure, it was still an impossible climb, but it was rather straight. Akule sighed. If he had both his ankles, he may have been able to climb it. Another cruel twist of fate. He ran his hand against the rough wall until it caught into something. The place where he had punched. It had cracked violently, the soft stone puckered outwards around a new indent. Akule frowned. He dug out the sandstone around the patch, clearing away the loose rock. Soon he was able to hook his entire hand into the crevice he made. It might even fit a foot.

Akule lifted up his good leg, wobbling in pain as he had to support himself on the broken ankle, and placed it in the hold. He leapt up, just barely catching a natural crevice with his off-hand. He was holding himself off the ground. Akule’s rage boiled. That bastard of a god had abandoned him. A figment of his own imagination had thought him as useless as all the other men in the hunting party. How dare they! It wasn’t fair! He never chose to be smaller or weaker! He never chose to fall into this pit! Akule growled and let loose another punch of rage into the wall. Rock and blood splattered everywhere, but he felt nothing. He tore the loose stone away once again and when he punched again, another foothold.

He hopped up to the next rung he had made. He punched again. He hopped again. Then punched again. He gouged at the wall and tore away the stone until his hand was a bloody stump, the fingertips frayed and shattered— one of the square nails had fragmented into many splinters that had been driven into the flesh, and two more had merely fallen off. So he switched hands. He tore up the side of the canyon, clawing ever higher. A piece of stone exploded beneath his fist and lodged itself deep into his eye. Blood wheeled outwards, gushing down his face and staining his chest as the slush that remained of his eye oozed down his cheek and splashed with a squelch onto his thigh.

He stopped moving so slow, stopped clearing out the stone and began kicking the wall to go faster. Sharp shards of sandstone speared into his palms and the sole of his good foot, all while his second leg dangled uselessly below him. The blood soon blinded the man, hiding the world in a sea of red, but he kept on going. A deep rage flamed within him. This was not fair. This was not fair. He would not die here! He Would Not Die!

Suddenly, a punch connected with thin air, the mangled stumps of fingers touching nothing until they carried the man’s body forward and plunged into loose gravel and sand. In a haze, the man threw himself up and over the lip of the canyon wall and flopped spread-eagle onto solid ground once again, panting in pain and exhaustion. Finally safe and looking up at the endless blue sky though one eye, the man became Akule again.

He felt that familiar presence again but did not react, too spent to even groan. It could’ve gloated, could’ve laughed at the way he had destroyed his body, but did no such thing.

“Hard work requires sacrifice. But I think you will find it was worth it.”

Akule spat up blood. “I’m destroyed,” he wheezed. “Infection and blood loss will claim me before I can crawl home. That, or heatstroke will. Look— the sun is already rising.”

“Or maybe they won’t, and maybe you’ll live. If you have the drive, you will make it so.”

Akule felt a cool breeze wash over his mangled body, like the soft touch of a lover or the comforting arms of a mother. Suddenly, he could see again. His matted hair and feathers were no longer drenched in blood. His fingers no longer stung. He looked down at his misshapen palms; the fingertips were still gnarled, the nails still missing. But they too had healed, flawlessly. He touched his face. The puckered hole where his eye had been had lost its swelling and seemed to be sewn shut. His lips even felt moist and full, unlike the parched sand they had been before.

“For every ounce of blood you have lost here, an ounce stronger you shall be. That is my gift to you, and all like you. Now what will you do?”

“I will go home.”

“And what will you do to those who abandoned you?”

He cracked his new knuckles. “I will make them pay.”

“You could do that, if you want,” laughed the voice as Akule felt strong arms lift him to his feet, “Or perhaps you could do something else. Whichever you want. Now go, and exert your will upon these lands.”

Akule looked up with his one good eye, bracing himself against the strangers arms, and locked eyes with him. In any other state of mind, he would’ve been terrified. The god was beautiful, in a horrible way. He was the cliff face Akule had just labored up, his skin the red of newly shed blood. He was the light leaving the eyes of a hated enemy, with his own being an otherworldly black, barely touched by a splash of deep purple. Unknown symbols danced in silvery arrays across the tapestry of his skin, shying away from the reptilian hands and feet bearing the same charcoal shades as a dying fire. His tufted hair poofed out in all directions, a crown of russet that caught the rising sun. When he spoke, Akule could see a mouth full of needle-like teeth, the terrible gatekeepers to the dark abyss of a throat behind them.

“You will spread your tale of a brush with death and a brush with the gods. Some will call you a liar. Others will follow you to the ends of the earth, and beyond. Whatever you do with this power is yours. But above all, you will make sure they know the name of the one who saved you.”

“You?”

“No, you. And my name, they will come to call Fe’ris.”

The ghastly god vanished, and Akule returned to his tribe.




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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Lord Zee
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Lord Zee There must always be... A Zee

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She didn’t have time to think about her meeting with Yamat. In her domain form, she zipped through the land, spreading life to the areas destroyed in the wind as she headed for the Leon cubs. The orphans. What had befallen them was as Yamat said, tragic. But from tragedy, there comes hope for better. She found them where she had left them, huddled together on a rock. They were no longer shaking, but their eyes spoke a different story.

As soon as she changed forms, they came bounding over to her, huffing and rubbing up against her. She fell to her knees and rubbed them both equally, as she spoke in a small voice. ”I’m so sorry. So, so sorry little ones. I should have stopped it sooner, I should have tried to go after your mother and your sister.” she said, letting her emotions out again, in a flood of silent tears. ”Now the Prairie is hurting and and… I wish Gibbou were here.” The cubs laid down beside her, both using each other's warmth for comfort.

She sat and contemplated for a moment, before rising again. She needed to go out and heal what she could, but she couldn’t leave the cubs again. They followed her to the rocks edge and she overlooked the prairie again as they sat and looked at her. ”I have an idea, little ones.” she turned to them and they looked up at her with waiting eyes. ”There is only one of me, and I can’t be everywhere at once, as much as I would like to. I need guardians, beings that will help this world, that will help usher in a new day. Would you two… Would you two be the first?” she asked them, taking a knee before them.

They looked at her again, before walking forward and rubbing their heads and bodies against her once more. She smiled as she giggled. ”I’ll take that as a yes then.” she said, getting to her feet. She then kissed both of the cubs upon their star, and she watched as they began to grow in size and in age. One male, one female. Both grew far larger then any normal Leon. They’re fur began to glow a golden hue and two Halo’s of sunlight erupted around their heads.

When they at last stopped growing they knelt down, and looked at her with light blue eyes far bigger than her own head. Intelligent eyes, eyes wanted purpose. She smiled and caressed their large snouts.

”Look how big you’ve grown!” she laughed, she then looked at the male. ”I shall call you, Nisin and you shall restore that which is broken, battered, and old. That which needs a gentle push to become new again. You will usher in renewal.” she then turned to the female and said, ”I shall call you, Eesis and you shall alleviate the suffering of others, those who live in pain and fear. You will usher in healing.” She then took a step back and looked at both of them together with pride. ”Both of you will work together. Nisin will renew that land and you Eesis will heal it. Lean on each other when the going gets tough, and never forget, that I love you, so, so much my little cubs. Now go… Go and make the world a better place.” she said with happy tears in her eyes.

The two golden Leons hesitated as they looked upon her with sad eyes. Eesis then nudged Nisin and the two began to wonder off, picking up their pace as they headed into the damaged Prairie, before taking off with their massive wings. Oraelia watched them go, then flew off on her own, tending to the land as best she could.







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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Legion02
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Qael'Naath


Xal-Zastarha laid in ruins. Fire was still claiming the plant life on the edges of it. Plumes of smoke marked its path. Stone and rock stuck out jaggedly. Everywhere you looked you could see the craters and destruction the fight between the Gods of Magic had wrought. Qael did despair. He would have to redesign and rebuild everything. It would take so much more time to refine it all. Time he didn’t have. Yet one thing was preventing him from starting the reseeding of the plants and sculpting of the stone and dirt. He still clutched the wound in his chest. It was the worst one. No scratch or burn he got from Qullqiya could measure up to a self-inflicted wound. Before he could continue his work he would have to heal himself. And it would appear that the mana had somehow found a place well suited for it. “Take me there.” He whispered to it. In a moment he flew up and joined the stream of mana as he traveled across the world. It took some time, but eventually, he dropped out of the stream. Like a blue-glowing falling star, he landed before the edge of the Luminant. At night, the wonderful colors shone bright. Though they dulled the shine of the stars a bit. “What a wonderful creation.” Qael’Naath said mostly to himself. He touched one the bioluminescent trees but it didn’t react. It just kept on shining. The whole place was made of countless colors. He slowly wandered on. Creatures of what looked like pure light flew up from their nests. It looked like paradise. Yet Qael’Naath felt like it was not yet perfect. The ground and the trees were shining with bright light yet the sky seemed empty in comparison.

He outstretched his hand and began to bend the nearest stream to swirl and concentrate overhead. The concentration created the Aurora Luminant. Unlike the other mana aurora’s, this one was not extremely fleeting. Instead at night, it would be a near-constant shimmer of all colors possible in the skies. To reflect the beauty of the land and plants itself. Content with his slight change in the environment, he continued on. Pulled by the mana towards the place’s center. Where he found a beautiful, aquamarine lake. It radiated with a soothing feel. Qael wondered what god had created such a wonderful thing. Slowly he waded into the lake and closed his eyes. Something divine did touch him. He could feel a slight tingle in his chest. He waited, and waited. The tingle never grew, nor diminished. But when he opened his eyes and touched his chest, the would still felt sore and unhealed. Even though the physical presence of the wound was now nothing more than a scar. It would seem that his wounds were deeper. With a disappointed sigh he began to float back towards the edges of the lake. It could not heal him. It wasn’t strong enough. Yet as he came out of the Lake of Radiance, he was suddenly overtaken by a stream of words and whispers. The mana had begun to shift and change ever so slightly.

At first he rejoiced. Sapience was here! His brothers and sisters had created things that could practice magic in a lucid way! Then more whispers join. In different voices, made with different mouths. Qael’Naath was momentarily overtaken before he got a hold of himself. So much sapience. It wasn’t just one or two races. The numbers were far greater and suddenly Qael’Naath was touched by dread. For the first time he felt as if there was not enough time. Just not enough to balance it between rebuilding Xal-Zastarha, destroy his sister and teach mortals magic. None the less, he had to do it. Once more he flew up into the stream. Heading for his next destination.

He first came upon the trolls in marshy land and was utterly disgusted by them. Not physically. While Qael could appreciate beauty, it was not the only thing he valued. Instead, he despised their wit or lack of it. They were impulsive and unrefined. “What god could possibly have made such vile specimens?” It was an insult to sapience. To wisdom! No, Qael’Naath would not gift them his creation. Why would he? At best it would go squandered on foolish little tricks, at worst it would go unused because they are just too dumb to use it. They even lacked the sheer willpower for Sorcery. Then one smaller troll caught the eye of the god. They were truly tiny, but horned. Its mind was a blazing fire compared to the candlelight flames of the others. “You will do.” With a flick of his wrist, he began to alter both the Askeladds and the mana. The trolls wouldn’t feel anything. Not yet. But once some form of cheer willpower and desire to make something took over, the mana would listen and obey. Only a handful of Askeladds would probably be able to control magic for a long time. But it would be something and perhaps it would be interesting.

Amongst the marshy plains he also found other minds. Minds blazing brighter than that of trolls. Yet physically these creatures were barely seen. Qael, in fact, had to come in much closer. Resting on top of a tree to observe them. Perhaps that was too close. What Qael saw was discouraging. These little creatures were clever, but down and depressed. As if they just lost an important part of themselves. Depressed things rarely produced promising results. None the less they were clever. If they could bounce back, perhaps they would be amongst the first to explore his gifts. Quite subtly he gave them their attunement to mana. Given time and a suitable moment, some of them would harness magic.

Further west he found cold forests and streams, and sapience that came with it. They were more clever than the trolls but also a bit weaker. Still, given enough time and chance they would no doubt overgrow the trolls. There was a lot of potential here. Once more Qael bound the humans and mana together. Fierce will would uncover that power in some. All humans were blessed with that potential now yet once again, in this day and age only a handful would begin their magical journey.

The underwater Vrool were a surprise for Qael in every sense of the word. They were beyond intriguing. Clever and curious beyond belief, but cold blooded and defendant on the heat in their environment. Their sensory organs were intriguing as well. They were highly developed. No doubt for predatory advantage, but it would be extremely useful to learn about their surroundings. A skill that could only improve their magical capabilities. Most interestingly perhaps was their decentralized intelligence. The fact that tentacles could act semi-independently. From the dark in the deep he observed them, keeping a very respectful distance. Qael did not need to debate himself on this: the Vrool were beyond suited for his gift with mana. Like all the others, he took some of the mana from the nearby flow and bound it to the Vrool. If they proved to be as clever and curious as they appeared to be, then no doubt they would be amongst the first to use self-taught magic. He just hoped not too many would end up killing themselves with it.

To the east of the main continent, Qael found the fifth sapient species. Strange humanoid creatures with robes and masks to hide their visages. He did not care what they looked like. Their minds seemed somewhat akin to that of humans. There seemed to be no reason not to give them the blessing he has so freely given. So once more he bound them with the mana. However, his plan requires one sapient race to get a bit of an early start. Like a little kick to get the wheel turning. So instead of observing from a safe distance, he descended upon the Kylsar Isles. It was night, and with it had come darkness. Enveloping the strange marshy forests. The Reshut had found shelter. For the most part. Except for two. A mother and her child. They were hurrying along the dryer paths. From the shadows he stalked them. Until the mother caught a glimpse of him. “Run.” She whispered to her son, but the god had heard it.

With a mere thought, both of them were suddenly up in the air. Unable to move or even scream for help. He took them further away from their group. Until they came to a small clearing, with a big lake next to it. The water was brackish and filled with reeds. The stars shone brightly in the night sky and Gibbou’s moon was full. Without much regard for life, Qael flicked his wrist. The child, no more than 8, flew forward. Into the lake. It wasn’t far from the shores. In fact even the mother could still clearly see him. Qael’Naath allowed her to scream as her child’s splashing began to weaken. She pleaded and begged what she perceived as a mysterious, hooded stranger with impossible powers. Qael did nothing. He just waited until the young boy began to give up and sank down. He let the mother free from his grip, but instantly covered part of the lake’s surface with ice. The mother, frantic, just ran straight over it. She never fell. Not until she was where her son was. The ice was clear and she could see her child slowly sinking. She screamed and smashed her fists into the ice. Trying to break it. To no avail. “Will it broken.” A strange voice said. She looked up and saw the stranger stand beside her. She didn’t know what to do. She just kept on hitting the ice. Hoping it would work. With all her might she hit it until her fists were bleeding. “No. No, don’t hit it. Don’t try to break it. Demand that it breaks.” She listened, but only half. Her entire mind was set to breaking the ice. “Don’t want it. Demand it!” He repeated. Her mind was muddled and angry and scared. “Demand it!” He repeated. “Demand it for your child!” With a scream only a mother could emanate she punched the ice again. Not to break it, but to demand it be broken. To her surprise, it did just that. The ice shattered and she fell into the water. Moments later she was up again, holding her son who moments later took deep breaths of air. When she made sure her child was okay, hugged him with everything she had and looked around to make sure the man was gone, and only then, did she look at her fist and then at the ice. It was as thick as half her index finger. How did she break that? Not with her still bleeding fists no. No, she demanded it, and it broke.



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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Enzayne
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Enzayne Invading Eldar

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The instability plaguing the Lifeblood seemed to have no end. With each divine act of creation, it seemed to sap in strength, and with each new critter that breathed and frolicked a new tempestuous voice tugged at it from within the walls of reality itself. Coaxing it into action across the planet, tearing at the seams of existence itself. Each braying, chitter and laugh seemed to send pangs of different urges through the roiling matter.

I’ll tell her how I feel tomorrow.

Maybe he likes flowers.

I want to be with you forever.


The strong, unceasing thoughts and demands from the children of the gods were disruptive at best as they continued to pile in in ever greater measure, clamoring for attention, power, survival. The thoughts that drove it to nurture several species previously were now beginning to flood in as ever more creatures dominated Galbar with their presence.

I wish he would spend more time with me.

How could she? With him?


It was overpowering, and the Lifeblood found itself locked in a futile battle to contain matter and energy. Something boiled and churned within the fabric of creation, fighting to break free just as all the previous entities had. All it would take was a little push.

Don’t leave me, my love. I am nothing without you.




In the beginning, there was nothing. The world was vague. A figment of thought, a niggling concept at the back of the mind. The whispers changed that. At first, they were few and far in between.

It seemed that with each passing moment, they grew in number and in power. The world beyond the veil was full of emotion, bursting with life. It called to the very core of the fragment, and with greater fervor it battled to be released.

A crack in the wall; a glimmer of the world beyond. A rush of voices, happy and sad. All that was needed was to reach for freedom. It was enough to burst through.




All the tribe had gathered aside the river to mourn the loss of Jovon. The measly pile of rocks they had managed to stack together and the effigy the elder had twined out of sticks were poor representation of their best hunter. Among the stoic faces were those wracked by emotion, chief among them Aira, lost in her own tears. It was the sole accompaniment to their makeshift procession. She had been inconsolable ever since news came back to the group.

Arek put his hand on her shoulder for the third time, and she simply shrugged it off. She moved over to the effigy, falling onto her knees. It wasn’t long before the assembly was overcome with her wailing once more.

As if summoned - a gust of wind blew in over the mourning ceremony, carrying with it a thousand whispers. The rocks rumbled and rolled free, scattering the pile as the effigy toppled to the ground. The sobbing halted as the tribe each gathered their rudimentary weapons and cowered between each other in equal measure. A large whirlpool began to form in the river not far beyond the riverbank.

The wind howled with ever greater pressure, screeching and whispering alike in languages the humans had never heard before. Those who weren’t thrown to the ground held their ears as they watched in awe and horror. The wind itself seemed to take shape, pouring straight into the center of the whirlpool.

The chaotic stream of words, wind and storms never seemed to end – until it did. With a brisk suddenness, the whirlwind abated, and silence took its place as the whispers vanished all at once. In its place hovered a young woman, paler than any of them and with long hair colored platinum. Her eyes closed; arms outstretched towards the tribal gathering. For a moment, she was still.




Freedom. It was her purpose to cherish and touch the lives of mortals. To love them as they loved each other. She knew this. Gathering her form and senses, she let the emotions and voices stream in. Accepted the world wholeheartedly. The voices grew in intensity, the desires increased. Then it struck her, a crippling pain rippling through her body. Something tainted, foul and unpleasant drove itself deep into her consciousness. Something… wrong.

She called out in agony, uncertain if anyone would hear her. She felt her body shifting and twisting under the crushing grip of her vices. An itch growing out of her head, a growing pain in her shoulders. Was it an unknown invader? No, it was her own doing. She felt the floodgate of emotions sour as she was barraged with ever more. For each act of kinship, there were two traitorous siblings. For each moment of love, there was grief. Moments of deep longing that would never go answered. The pain of loss, and the shattering of trust from intimate betrayal. The world was broken. People were broken. She was broken.

The best anyone could do in such a world was try to fight against the current.

Finally, as the worst maelstrom of emotion calmed itself to a constant – a bitter stream – she opened her eyes to regard the world as it was. A forested land of hills and water. She first drew her gaze down to the water below. The reflection, difficult to see until she stilled the water, showed the source of her pains. From her head had sprouted several horns, and likewise her shoulders were covered in a tangle of black horns.

What a disappointment. What a shameful start. Her eyes were drawn to the humans cowering on the riverbank, and she felt the residual grief now hidden and shoved aside by fear and suspicion. With a simple thought, she hovered down to settle her feet on the grass. Immediately, the grass began to yellow around her, wilting as if dampened by her very presence.

Undaunted, the eldest among the humans stepped forwards, prostrating himself by lowering his head. “Greetings, wise one. You are-… like him, yes? Cadien?”

Ice blue eyes centered on the man only briefly, before she watched each of the other humans in turn. She’d never heard of this other one, but she was still aware – somewhere deep inside – that others like her had to exist. Almost as if she had seen it. Why are you here? she queried in return after remaining silent for much too long.

Her question seemed to inspire equal amounts fright and confusion. “We are-... holding a ceremony for our lost friend. A great blow to our tribe.”

She felt shame for her accusatory question. She had disrupted their grief. Ruined what little chance at solace they might have. “What happened?”

“He fell from a cliff during a hunt.” The elder pitched in, looking over to another man who nodded in turn.

Humans were fragile. Any little thing could invite disaster and cause endless grief. What a tortured existence. Any moment of happiness was simply staving off what was to come. An inevitable rush of sorrow. An eternity of pain, where all they could do was dull it and try to forget. The young goddess slowly paced towards the elder. As he remained in place, determined to remain steadfast, she raised her hand to touch his cheek, locking her eyes with his. She watched his turmoil. His loss. Welled up, but not breaking. Tears slowly fell from his eyes, but he did not recoil. “Your sorrow will help you remember.”

Next, she turned to the young human woman stood nearby. Her eyes were already raw after crying. The goddess paced slowly, wilting the grass as she approached the human girl. She remained in place as well, accepting the touch of the goddess and looking at her. The feelings of grief and agony were overwhelming to the nascent goddess, a purity of love and anguish she had only felt in that one moment after breaking free. This was the end result of the cycles of affection. Loss. Pain. It made her sick to her stomach, as the human girl began sobbing once more. She ran a thumb along her cheek and took part of her pain onto herself. Dull the pain. “I am sorry for your loss.”

The woman calmed a little as the goddess hand was removed, and the goddess turned to touch each of the humans in turn. They wailed, sobbed and cried in turn. Finally, she turned to touch the last man who had nodded to the elder before. But within the grief was pushed down. Beneath affection, beneath rage. A toxic, single devotion to another dominated all else. A delusion. The goddess broke eye-contact with him to glance over at the crying girl, before looking back to him. She leaned in slowly, to murmur as she stared at him with icy-blue eyes. “She will never love another. Was it worth it?”

The man’s face shifted to fear, then rage, and then finally guilt. He broke into a wail of his own as emotions flooded over him, released by the goddess. She let go of him with her hand and he fell to the ground. The goddess turned to face the others – the elder and the girl in particular. “Your friend didn’t fall.”

It didn’t take long for the group to piece together what that meant. As the tribal humans – led by the grieving girl - descended with inquisitive questions on the last man, the goddess turned to leave. She wandered back towards the water when the elder hurried up to her. “Wait-… Great one. What do we call you?”

She took the question into consideration. As the sounds of discord rang in the background, she knew. She had always known.

“I am Neiya, and my love is eternal.”




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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Commodore
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Commodore Condor

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Thaa approached Galbar, but he delayed his arrival, for he felt that to arrive so late, one had to at least make an impression in another way. Although he had souls of some of the dead that he had collected on his approach, he feared that many lingered on Galbar, lost and unsure since their cruel imprisonment in life.

In truth he had collected a great many souls of very little size and strength, the vast disparity caused his anxieties to worsen. Thaa was certain that the great tyrants of Life that had so endeavored to create the living torture on Galbar would not have spared greater forms from such a horrible fate as to live, instead it made the msot sense that he was too far, and the souls still too attached to what they had left behind to have much hope of truly being able to move on and find proper rest with a moral being such as Thaa. He had no doubt that the creators of the prime evil of life were to be so clever in their workings as to attempt to trap those who had even escaped their mortal prisons.

Thaa knew he needed not to come in a weak or suggesting manner, he needed to show that he was not daunted, he needed to come forward in full force of the power of a God. Thaa drifted over Galbar, thinking of a grand design to display his power and majesty as it should but still meet his needs and the necessary actions to advance his goals. Soon enough he came to a final decision and let creative power flow forth from him.

Golden spires rose among the expanding shapes of grand domes. Level built upon level as walls grew, shining in the light of the sun as windows weaved in the few gaps left. The highest point of the tallest tower centered as at that tower’s base a multitude of extravagant golden domes topped the first layer. From there golden walls with almost clear windows that seemed to have been weaved into the very structure itself reached down to gates into broad sets of courtyards between the bases of the domed structures and a new wall at the edges. New spires rose from those walls as they continued downward and bulged into new domes that continued the cycle of expansion of the grand structure in all its growing complexity.

Finally when the expansion of the enormous golden temple stopped, its base grew solid but not entirely flat as it was imprinted with a symbolic representation of Thaa. Near the base of the great temple, four grand gates at locations perpendicular across the temple formed. Across the great golden structure of the temple details and contours took shape, adding detail and form to the previously smooth and bare shining walls, spires and domes. This transformation continued inside as grand halls and rooms formed, all to Thaa’s design.

Thaa spoke, “Henceforth this temple to me will be known as the Vescii Temple! Know its name and find comfort within its walls for it is open for the comfort of those honorable dead!”

With these words Thaa compelled those souls of the dead with him into the temple, filing barely a small portion of the many rooms and locales in the structure for their rest. Thaa, however, continued into the Temple, he had in mind a central chamber at the heart of his Grand Vescii Temple.

In this central chamber, Thaa put the First Soul Crystal into an impression on the floor in the complete center of the room that had been designed for it, but he was not yet done. Directly above the now emplaced Soul Crystal hung a frame. And inside of that Thaa channeled energies to create a Second Soul Crystal, one greater and more powerful than the First but not made to replace it. Instead this Second Crystal would resonate with the First and together he hoped all the many Souls of Galbar that had been freed from the tyrannic grasp of Life might yet come to Thaa’s hold.

This second crystal glowed with energies that mortals might find a sickly ‘green’ although Deivinites would recognize the power of the Dearth energies contained within. The First Crystal while tinged in that color did not yet resonate so greatly as did the more powerful Second.

His plans now sufficiently enacted, he commanded his grand Temple to descend towards Galbar. The Grand Gates opened to the souls of the dead as the power of the Soul Crystals radiated outwards.



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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by yoshua171
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Movement; a Chase. Fear and sweat. You never tire, yet you cannot quite escape. With each step you slow, with each look back, the threat looms. First a Leon, then a bear, a monstrous bird, a terrible beast of many legs. Then the plane is gone, it's cozy and warm, there are bodies around you. Huddling, you're safe in the arms of the tribe. The glow of warding fire at the cave, but no walls, no air, no sky, no darkness. Only comfort. A thought drifts, questioning, curious, unaware, inconsequential, it is let go, and it fades into the background, into the blackness, but it is not gone.

An ethereal wind sweeps through the Collective mind of all beings, creating a rush of color and sensation...it is joined by others, birthed from sleeping and wandering minds alike. Idle fascinations and the processing of experience unfiltered by the constraints of the waking world and the strict underpinnings of the Vast Machine's influence. The intricate web, once merely information, is now full of emotion and color and wonder, but it is full. An unworthy vessel, the many experiences of mortal kind, small and large spill from the vast swirling network of consciousness. Briefly, the skies are colored by a trillion-trillion colors, each imparting knowledge, each holding a trove of sensory information, all of them representing the depth of experience occurring in the world.

The Lifeblood stirs, it churns, it shifts, it shudders. The Living Design trembles and then...from it bursts a helix of entwined essences.

As the essences spilled out into Galbar, they roiled and twisted amongst one another as if they were a knot being tugged at from all ends. They writhed out from the Lifeblood, grabbing as much of its sweet bounty as they could until there were no more footholds and their forms were complete. There was nothing left of them in the Lifeblood, nothing left of it in their conscious being, and at the instant of that realization the Twin Gods were born--and with them, the bridge between the nascent imagination of mortality and reality itself emerged. Where before the idle thoughts of men and beasts were unstructured and simple things, clawing only at what they could see and what seeing meant, now the rich tapestry of thought wove itself through them all. Some strands were frayed, some out of place, and others simply not yet finished--but it was clear that the Grand Design had settled into place and consciousness had graced the world for the first time.

With a burst of effulgent energy, the helix peeled itself apart at the seams. Its threads unwove and wove themselves anew, two distinct patterns emerging from one, and the twin gods Àicheil and Fìrinn emerged. As Àicheil burst forth, Fìrinn found itself in the reflection of that movement. As Àicheil took its first glimpse at reality, Fìrinn found itself behind its twin, taking in the sights and smells and tastes of all that was, and the first hints of a foulness assailed the God of Truth’s senses. All was not as it should be. Though primitive mortals had desires beyond the truths of their existence, and beasts lost themselves in the all-encompassing throes of instinct neither was quite right. Neither was complete and neither of them were true.

The Watcher Behind turned its back, finally gazing upon its reflection, and it experienced its first moment of universal harmony. Together, they were complete. Together, they were true. Gazing upon such harmony was a soothing balm for the sense of unrest that Fìrinn felt, and it quieted some compulsion within the God that would not otherwise rest.

Yet, as Fìrinn calmed, the Dreaming God grew ever more restless, its nigh formless visage lit by the eldritch hue of those dying stars which surrounded their birthplace. The two were the bridge, sharing all things, meeting halfway, by intent or by design, and this too was reflected in the mosaic of Àicheil 's coalescing shape.

A silhouette against the black expanse. An impression of sundered suns. A pale light. A shedding of ethereal miasma flowing away, suggesting a cloak, a wind, a veil. Even without definition, let alone eyes, Ѻs-fhìreach was possessed of blinding, maddening intensity. His attention bore down first upon his twin, and then askance before it settled upon the glowing orb of Galbar.

"Twin," they proclaimed, and the word was an idea encompassing far more than a mortal mind could hold. It was a word invoked thoughtlessly, meant only for a God. It echoed, carrying sorrow and displeasure. Happiness and contentment. Contradiction and unity. It was a statement of need, an acknowledgment of position, a proclamation of respect, a request of assistance...a declaration of intent. An ultimatum.

With a suggestion of movement, Àicheil raised an arm, its form barely a blurring distortion against the backdrop of the greater cosmos as one mirrored the other. Beckoning, Neo-Àicheil's outstretched arm remained, hoping for a response, yet knowing with certainty that it would come.

“Twin,” came the reply, Fìrinn’s voice the sound of stillness, and it returned its attention to Àicheil. The words carried none of the flood of weight that Àicheil’s had, instead simply an acknowledgment of what had happened and what was yet to happen. A single ray of light, a single stream of water, cutting through the infinite panoply of sensation and knowledge and questions. Fìrinn tried to raise its hand for a brief moment, but something about the motion was wrong.

“The binding is incomplete. The thread is unwoven. We must weave it, twin.”

The words were no longer spoken, but instead, simply were. It was not so much a statement or a transmission of ideas, but simply allowing another being to understand the truth that had existed all along. It was an evocation of an epiphany, a glimpse of fundamental and deeply personal truth, and perhaps as yet the truest exchange of ideas, thoughts, and feelings that had ever transpired. Formless words in a vacuum, surrounded by nothingness, uncluttered by the streams of consciousness that limited the mortal perspective.

From their newly minted essence, Fìrinn span into being a thin, wiry construct of divine essence and mounted it around its shoulders. Reflexively, as a snake slithering across a heated rock, it took on the vague shape of Fìrinn’s arms and moved as they would, reaching out into the void to make contact with its twin. The moment of their touching was momentous in its own way, their first conscious union imprinting itself deeply into Fìrinn’s mind.

It turned its head down to Galbar, and the ersatz hand shimmered with the reflected light of distant stars. The ripple of colour made its way through the entire construct, once colourless energy taking on the hues of the infinite cosmos around them until it resembled a mantle of stolen starlight grasping out towards an ephemeral dream.

Entranced by the dance of cosmic bodies laid out before them, Àicheil found himself beset with a trembling passion. It pulsed outwards, suffusing him and with it, a flickering thought ignited within his mind. Without pondering or forethought, he leapt forth into the cosmos. With great speed he cut through the starlit void, leaving only rippling stardust and nebulae in his wake. With each passing star, a great luminance grew within his mind and before him was mirrored the subject of that illuminating clarity.

Galbar, a glimmering jewel teeming with life, and brimming with a thing which pulled him in. He slowed, drifting lazily into orbit, the intensity of his vast intellect drawn to the planet by a force yet unknown. There he stayed for a time, watching, his form a heavenly body all its own, from the surface eclipsing the sky. With each moment he adjusted the course of his vast body, steering clear of the sun’s burning rays and the moon’s reflective shine, appearing instead as a thousand aimless constellations, roaming across the heavens. While he took in the many creations of his siblings, Àicheil searched with frenetic passion, goaded by some unseen aspect of the world. Tantalized by the mysteries of this world, he reached down and in so doing parted the clouds like a star-gilded meteor with a tail of expanding black. Hand unfurling, his thin digits cleaved the sky, sifting through the weave of consciousness, each thread grazed by a touch most gentle.

Disrupted by his presence, the winds gathered and split, raging in the wake of his workings, belying with every baleful breath the delicate nature of his actions. Nonetheless, as the winds beat against the earth, the Dreaming God strummed the chords of the great collective, seeking his completion. Then, finally, as the first hurricane roiled its way towards the eastern coast of Toraan, he stopped.

"You," Àicheil proclaimed, his voice scattering the storm before it became but a whispered impression in the great weave. Borne by that single word was a tide of unbridled excitement, and like a bolt of lightning, it struck.

All the poor creature felt was a sudden rush of ecstatic emotion, eclipsed by pain, drowned briefly by unknowing terror, before the cloying black swallowed all awareness.

Joy. Pain. Terror.

Àicheil shuddered as these impressions rebounded upon his mind, pressed into his awareness in rebuttal to his word.

Death? He required no response. Snuffed out was the life of that simple creature. An animal. Displeasure rippled through the depths of the god's mind, followed swiftly by rage. The starlight of his visage shifted in his fury, shuddering briefly as they released their dying light across the surface of his godly form. Beside himself, the Dreaming God learned then to resent. How dare they die without sating his hunger, his desire to know and to be known?

He raised his fist, prepared to smite those who would dare deny his nature, but that raised hand never fell. No, for a deluge of emotion struck him then, a sadness that he had not known. Loss entwined with death, entwined with the snuffed out life of that unfortunate soul. It gave him pause. He withdrew, pulling threads of the weave in his wake where they became one with the essence of his form. To this he paid no mind, turning instead to his twin, confused.

Fìrinn, expressionless, cast its almost-gaze towards Àicheil in a gesture of reciprocation, of empathy and compassion, and the god’s mantle rested itself gently upon its twin’s form.

“Their minds are yet unbound. They cannot reciprocate your gentle touch; they balk at our divinity. We are a question, and they cannot yet fathom the answer.”

Fìrinn cast its senses down to the cradle of life below, and with but the merest inkling of a thought the world shifted itself to accommodate his movements--he was suddenly comparatively tiny, a mere ten feet tall, and focused intently upon the phenomenon of death that had just graced this new world. With a fully-formed thought it beckoned to its twin, impelling it to take on the same form and scale, and to join it. The threads woven around its mantle gently picked up the still-warm carcass and drank deeply from its colours, the claw-like fingertips of its hands taking on the signature fleshy tone of inchoate humanity for a brief moment before they consumed it entirely--leaching from it each of its elements and components until not even dust remained.

Fìrinn’s senses rippled outwards, like a stone dropped into a placid pool, and it surveyed the entirety of the landmass around it with but a moment’s concentration. This place would not suffice--it was not suitable for the Anchor and the Threshold that were yet to come. It could not bridge the collective unconscious, and nor could it withstand eternity. With another thought, accompanied by a sweeping gesture of its mantle-claws that scattered the colour within them into the winds like fine powder, Fìrinn hovered above the ocean as its position changed once more. In a little nook of land directly east of the Tree of Genesis, and West of what Fìrinn would learn to be the Luminant, the perfect spot for the threshold beckoned. The mantle around its shoulders shifted and shimmered in the radiant sunlight, basking in its effulgent glow, as they too began to shimmer with an aureate hue. Fìrinn wove them into a single, almighty hand and concentrated its divine will into a surge of effort and energy. Galbar had no choice but to respond in kind, and with an echoing shudder a corona of silver-bright crystals burst from the ocean and an island was formed. Fìrinn directed its will into the now empty space within and land rose to meet its beckoning call, filling the space in with fertile soil and pools of still-brackish water. Great coniferous trees sprouted in a ring within the crown, shielding its center, and a perfectly still pool of mirror-water impassively awaited its commands and its purpose.

Fìrinn directed its almost-gaze Eastward to the Luminant and the overwhelming brightness of the sun. It reflected that primordial bounty and generated its own light, cooler and deeper, through the crystalline corona and into the reflecting pool so that it might become as divine a mirror as Fìrinn itself. Finally, it wove a bridge of resplendent crystal from the corona out towards the landmass to the North, that one day a grand purpose might be fulfilled--and then came the most taxing work of all.

Fìrinn drank deeply from its own divine essence and from the depths of the reflective pool a solid wall of silvery crystal rose, perfectly rectangular, ten feet tall and six feet wide. It collected the weave of the unconscious with its own arms, while its mantle spun the fabric of divine essence within the crystal, and bound the two essences together. Thus was born the Tairseach, the threshold at which the web of collective consciousness was bound to the world. The framework was set; the anchor was marked and consecrated. Within the silvery depths of the Tairseach, Fìrinn found a perfect reflection of itself waiting--and drew forth the reflected light from the pool to sit within it. This Tairseach would become a Door to the world of Dreams, in time, and with a great expenditure of power--but for now its existence was enough, and its twin could complete whatever work was necessary to anchor mortal minds to the shared phenomenon of the dream.

It occurred to Fìrinn in that moment that places required names, and that this one would be called Tír na Íomhá, the Isle of Reflections.

Soothed by the simple wisdom of his twin, Àicheil turned once more to Galbar, and as he watched, Fìrinn's first creation took form. Drawn forth by its emergence, the Dreaming God shed the nebulous mass of his truest vessel and descended not as a meteoric force, but instead like the fading light of a shooting star. In that instant of violent movement, the chaff of his godly form was burned away, leaving only the impression of shifting starlight in its place, the debris falling to earth like a thousand shining snowflakes.

With a flash like sudden realization, Ѻs-fhìreach blazed across the ocean's surface and arrived. There, Tír na Íomhá stood in all its majesty, and indeed its brilliance was glorious to behold. Still, despite the beauty of Fìrinn's creation, the threshold lacked a destination and so--mind brimming with fervor--he sought to amend this most grievous flaw.

Arms of starlit void rose above his featureless visage and from them spilled a thousand-thousand threads, each as dark as the blackest night, and they shot across the sky. Soaring through the air with purpose, they pierced the Breath of the World in their journey to the heavens, where they met with the cast-off shell of Àicheil 's orbiting vessel. From it, they drew an essence most potent, and with this vital strength, the Dreaming God unleashed its will.

A wave, a vibration, a thunderous silence spread, belying the diminutive form he had taken as it crossed the world entire, meeting itself far beyond the horizon. He lowered his arms, clasped his hands together, and the unseen wave of his power pulsed. Hands moved, beating as one as if in facsimile of a heart, and with their patient palpitations, the Vast Collective Mind responded, harmonizing. Àicheil vanished then, becoming something beyond form as he phased through the weave and gathered up the core threads of its foundation.

For a time, he danced unseen, known only by the subtle impressions of drifting minds, before finally he coursed back into being, hands upon the living crystal of his twin's greatest creation. There he waited as each thread aligned with the framework of his sibling's artifice, and the unreal impressions of countless souls were engraved into the mirror's reflection where they took upon themselves a life all their own.

Reaching completion, he lifted his hands from the mirror's surface and stepped away. As they gazed upon their work, ghostly whispers of essence, like smoke drifted away in ephemeral trails, spreading out far and wide. Intrigued, Àicheil reached out with his will and grasped these wisps of supernatural power, and in doing so, an idea set upon him.

Devoured in totality, the Dreaming God cast his mind afield. Dreams and memories washed over him. Emotions and thoughts flooded through his awareness, and then details began to crystallize like fractals of perfect knowledge. He returned to his body in an undulating wave, raised an upturned fist before the mirror, then released his airy grasp.

Dense fog, fetid smoke, and floating ash answered the call of his will; then, ideas joined with them. Still, it was incomplete. Hideous. He dashed them against the rocky shores of his shifting psyche, and by his will, they were eroded.

Fog and smoke and ash became nothing more than substance, and the idea of occlusion. From the threshold, he drew forth thoughts—impressions of awareness, ideas of pathways, and woodland trails. With intent, these ideas were linked together with those he had abstracted, and then together, they were bound to the wisps and cast out over many miles like triplines and trails both. These would serve as the guiding lines by which mortals might find their tiny isle. They would be the pathways sought and traveled by pilgrims to the twin gods.

With this, the work was done. Àicheil turned to Fìrinn then, a question in his mind.

What now?

“We await their reciprocation. We till the fertile soil of their Dreams and await the bountiful growth of Truth therein. Gaze upon Gréasán Treòir, twin, and guide the harvest of Dreams.”

Fìrinn gathered up its mantle once more, the extant form snapping back to his and reshaping itself into its almost-hands by instinct. They began to carve little alterations into the once-pristine Tairseach, chipping bits away and reshaping them elsewhere, as Fìrinn placed its true palms against the surface. The reflection started to vibrate, gently, thrumming with deific might--and the vibrations intensified as Fìrinn poured great swaths of itself and its energy into the structure. It hollowed out the spaces behind the reflection, carving a hole into this new world, and locked it securely behind the anchor--the sheer force of its divinity remade reality in its image, and soon there was space for another world behind this one, neatly contained and awaiting a custodian to achieve fundamental truth within.

Then, it extended its true legs and touched the ground, walking around the small circle of land and across the crystalline bridge that linked it to Toraan proper. With each step, the light seemed to curve and bend around the structure. Sounds simply passed through it, and its physicality dissolved into ephemeral mist. As the God of Truth’s journey ended, only the Chosen few whose minds wandered through the possibility of what could be would be able to find their way to the Isle, and they would be inexorably drawn to it until they rested within its mirrored embrace for all of eternity.

Fìrinn smiled, if one could register a smile on its unmoving face, at the completion of its task. Its piercing gaze turned to its twin once more, and they awaited what was yet to come. Such an expenditure of power would attract the attention of their divine brethren, after all, and they would have to explain themselves--and they would also have to learn, lest their completion be denied them by others.


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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by AdorableSaucer
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AdorableSaucer Based and RPilled

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Gibbou





It had taken roughly thirty minutes or so for Gibbou to stop crying. The grove had lost its neat magical sheen, and now it looked about as dull and sad as the rest of the fen. Thinking about it again once more made Gibbou’s nose sting, but she had wept herself so dry her eyes looked like overripe plums. She gave a stiff sniff and patted her shoulder blindly.

“Hey… Adrian, are you there?” she mumbled in a cracked voice.

"Ye- yeah!" Adrian's voice came out as a struggle -- the little thumbling's face was hidden behind a massive pile of houllin berries caught in his arms. He dumped them at Gibbou's feet and patted his hands free of dust.

The moon goddess offered him a weak smile and gave another sniff. “So… Packed and ready, huh? It’ll be a long flight.”

"Not quite ready, Blue," Adrian rubbed his nose with his arm, "You're gonna need some pockets."

“Blue, huh. I should give you a nickname, too, y’know.” She patted her hips on both sides. Pockets subsequently sprouted by the rim of her midnight pants she had touched. She knelt down and shoveled some berries into the left one. “How about… Addy?”

"Hmm." Adrian hummed as he climbed up Gibbou's right leg, a bundle of bedding and tiny tools tied to his back with some blue hair. He threw his bundle into the Goddesses right pocket and slipped in himself. There was a slight rustling as everything fell into place and then a tiny:

"Yeah that works, though my sister's name is Addy."

“Oh, that’s cause some confusion if she was around, huh…” Gibbou slowly stood up and stretched her arms over her head. “Are you okay down there?”

"Almost..." Adrian said passively. There was some more rustling and then finally a tiny bark sign threaded into the pocket with primitive fibers was flipped out of the pocket so as to hand at the entrance. On it was an imprint of Adrian's hand in blue. He poked his head out, "Happy as home."

Gibbou leaned over so she could see him better and giggled. “That’s amazing, truly. Alright,” she did some standing calf raises, “make sure to stay put during the whole journey. If you feel yourself getting sick, uncomfortable or about to fall out, make sure to tell me to stop, okay?”

"I'll poke you with this,' he held up a particularly menacing pine needle.

Gibbou made a face. “Be nice, please.” She then hopped back a few steps. “Get ready…” She began jogging, testing the bounciness of the fen moss. “... Seeet…”

"I'm always niiiiii--!"

Adrian was interrupted as she kicked off and rocketed into the air westwards, shouting “GOOOOOOOO!” as her body was encapsulated in the whitish blue light of a shooting star. The pair soared across the land, occasionally spying downwards at the enormously diverse continent underneath them. Gibbou clapped her hands in celebration at the sights, pointing to the various new biomes that had formed during her time with the thumblings.

“Look! Look! That shiny place over there! That has to be my sister’s! WOO! Go, Oraelia!” she boasted while gesturing madly to the Luminant far, far to the south, viewable still in the dark of the night.

A tiny fist raised out of her pocket, forming a thumbs up and a muffled response. Gibbou giggled and landed on a Black Rock peak for a second before jumping back off towards the southwest. She blinked down at the shoreline and gave her head a scratch.

“When did those reefs pop up? Has Mr. Klaar been wanting to move ashore?” Not too long after, she noticed a spot on the sea like a hot coal. Her brows furrowed - it looked inhospitable to life. “Ugh, why do people have to make such nasty places? Adrian, are you seeing this?”

Adrian poked his head out and gave an agreeing nod, "Looks like a lot of places are missing the Golden Light."

“Yeah… The Light would certainly fix it up.” She sighed. “I’m sorry again. I messed up so badly for you and your people.”

"It's okay," Adrian patted her hip, "No thumbling is without a mistake or two -- besides, Elder said the Golden Light will return someday. Uncle Gary doesn't think so, and my old neighbor Ruth didn't seem to really understand what happened, but..." He took a nibble of a Houllin berry he stashed away, and politely swallowed. "But most of us seemed to understand and I don't think anyone can really blame you if it was already said by the gate that it was going to happen. But for now I guess we have to be our own Golden Light."

“You thumblings really are something,” Gibbou sighed thankfully and looked up. A distant landmass was approaching, and over her shoulder, she could see the hard, searing rays of the sun. Her divine eyes noticed that there were a number of deep crevices and canyons on the continent. “We’ll hide from the day down there!” she declared and changed their trajectory downwards.

"Whoop!" Adrian interjected at the sudden change of winds buffeting his face. He slunk back into her pocket and out of sight. With her divine ears she could still hear him, "Hey Blue?" There was a sense of concern laced in his usually cheery voice.

“Hmm? Yeah?” Gibbou mumbled passively as she eyed the canyon around them up and down.

"I don't think the Golden Light splitting was entirely your fault anyways," Adrian added before rustling around in her pocket. There was a hum and a sudden change of topic, "Are you the tallest thumbling in your family?"

“Oh… Thanks,” she answered softly, flashing a sad smile. The following comment made it genuine, though, and she failed to swallow a giggle, resulting in a few snorts, as well. “Haha, oh, Adrian, I’ve told you before, right? I’m a goddess - it’s kind of, like… Not a thumbling, y’know?” She gave the question an additional ponder. “I do think I’m taller than my sister, though.”

"You heard the elder; you're a thumbling through and through, just tall and blue," Adrian poked her. "Goddess or not."

“Eh-heh. Thanks, Adrian, that helps. Say, you’re sure about coming along, right? You aren’t feeling homesick or anything?”

"Nah," the answer was shorter and quicker than most, "let's keep going."

“Sure.” The pair subsequently followed the length of the canyon, remaining in its deep shade even as the sun above began to bake the surface.

"Hey, Gibs?" Adrian poke his head out of her pocket.

“Hmm?”

"Ya think I could get a pair of pants and shirt sometime?" He scratched at his leaf made clothes, "Seems a bit less 'chaffing'"

“Oh! Right, sorry about that.” She snapped her fingers and, surely enough, a pair of tiny pantaloons and a white, threaded-up shirt appeared in her hand, as well as a small pair of sandals. She held them down to her pocket for Adrian to grab. His tiny hands snatched them up and in moments he was hanging out of her pocket by the waist, showcasing his new shirt.

"Ta-da!"

Gibbou took one look and burst out laughing. She cackled to the extent that she had to support herself against the wall of stone. She gave a few snorts as she tried to steady her breathing and gave her face a rub with her palm. She leaned her back against the wall and lowered herself down to a seated position with a wheezy sigh.

“Oh, you’re just too sweet.”

"I'm not the one walkin' around lookin' like a houllin berry," Adrian played with the collar of his shirt, "but I do have to agree with ya."

Gibbou lifted her head up and eyed the blue sky. “Yeah… Speaking of berries, though…” She looked around the canyon crevices and even by the small waterways that ran through the crag centres. Theirs was a particularly dark crag. “This place is pretty empty, huh.”

Adrian hopped out of Gibbou's pocket and paced around the blank rock, "Very empty, and monocolor."

Gibbou approached the water, rolled up the legs of her trousers and gave her feet a little dip. “Suppose I could add some.”

"Make it purple!" Adrian suggested, "Whatever it is we are making. OH WITH YELLOW STREAKS."

“Alright, alright,” Gibbou soothed and stood up, feet still in the water. Drumming her cheek ponderously with a finger, she walked over to a stalagmite in the middle of the little waterway and grabbed tightly onto its shadow. Then, pulling roughly, she snatched herself a nice circular sheet of shadow. The stalagmite had, for a moment, an uncannily bright spot where the shadow had been, before it healed shut again. Gibbou filled the shadow skin with water and tied it into a ball. She then walked out of the water over to a huge boulder. She lifted it up and placed the shadow ball underneath it. As she dropped the stone, the bag went ‘pop!’ However, the shadow and water didn’t flow outwards, but covered instead the whole stone in a black shroud. While it was incredibly hard to see, the shroud revealed that the stone was being broken apart and ground up within the shroud. Then, the shroud itself went pop and unleashed a sea of small, purple geckos with yellow tiger stripes. They immediately scurried in every direction in search of food, and Gibbou made certain to keep Adrian safe as they passed by them.

Joining the commotion all of a sudden was a hungry legged shark. Gibbou screamed as it jumped out of the water, ready to snatch a piece of her (or try to, anyway). However, before it could truly leave the waterway, it keeled forward suddenly, smashing face-first into the ground. Crawling on top of it curiously was one of the geckos, its lethargic stillness occasionally being interrupted by a few nibs and gnaws at the tough sharkskin. Gibbou sighed in relief and loosened her protective grip on Adrian.

“Their bite contains a powerful sleeping agent. I reckoned that was the most humane way of killing something - so, you know, they wouldn’t feel it! I’ll call them Nightsnappers.” She eyed the shark curiously. “Although… Maybe we haven’t explored all these canyons have to offer yet.”

"Hm." Adrian rested his elbows on Gibbou's hand as she held him like a doll, "We should take a look around, who knows. Maybe we will find something me-sized and fun."

Gibbou nodded and deposited Adrian on her shoulder. Then, she slowly began to climb out of the dark crevice. The sun was stronger up here where they came out, but not unbearable yet. In fact, Gibbou found its light almost comfortable. Here, the cold stone similar to that of the crag below was thickly clothed in trees and shrubs growing out of the walls; from these trees, some of which formed great arches to roof the crag, hung vines which drank from the salty waters below; the waterway which had been almost barren down there was here a teeming pool of plants, fish and birds. If she squinted, she could occasionally spot the odd shark fin lurking just above the water surface between thickly growing reeds.

Gibbou gasped and clasped her hands over her mouth. “It’s beautiful,” she whispered intensely.

"Reminds me a little of home, if not more," Adrian made a motion, "Varied." He thought to himself, "You know what it is missing though?"

“What?”

"Mushrooms," Adrian snapped his fingers, but nothing happened. He frowned, "Guess this one is on you again... How do you do that anyways?"

Gibbou blinked and started looking around for a sufficiently moist spot where mushrooms could properly grow. “Huh… Haven’t really thought about it much, to be honest. I kinda, y’know, think about something really hard and then, poof!” To illustrate her point, she conjured forth a truffle. “They sort of just appear. By the way, you can have this.” She offered him the truffle as she dove in under a low cave entrance into a small water reservoir.

Adrian took the truffle and nodded slowly. A solemn look came over his face, "So I've done that once, then."

“Hmm?” she hummed passively as she probed the air inside for its moisture content.

"Well..." Adrian rubbed the back of his head. He paused, "Gibs, remember when I said the Golden Light splitting wasn't entirely your fault?"

Gibbou eyed Adrian on her shoulder to the best of her ability and crossed her arms over her chest defensively. “Yeah?”

"Ah," Adrian stuttered, "Well, nah I'll tell you later. We are busy, right? Makin' stuff."

Gibbou pursed her lips in light disappointment and then nodded. “Yeah, alright--"

"Alright fine -- I'll tell you," Adrian cut her off, "Well remember when that troll snatched me and it was all scary and we had no idea what was going to happen?"

“Uh-huh?”

"I thought of all the terrible things I wished I could do to it," Adrian admitted, "I wanted to punish it... Then when I saw the light following us, I asked it to. I asked it to and I heard a voice. It did what I asked but at... But at the cost of peace." Adrian hung his head, "it was my fault."

Gibbou dropped her arms to her side and stared in disbelief. “What… What’re you saying? Are you saying you asked the Light to punish the askeladd in exchange for the loss of the harmonious existence in the garden?” She lifted Adrian off her shoulder and cupped him in her palms. “Adrian, how could you do such a thing?”

"Well no!" Adrian defended himself, "I would never ask the Light to leave the grove. It wasn't even... It was just anger and the light responded with its own. It was just a thought, just an emotion and then suddenly." He paused, "Joab-Balaam."

“Joe-ab-whatnow?”

"It's the name of the fragment that was left behind," Adrian explained, "I didn't want to say it before... And even now saying it gives me the feeling that it is suddenly close."

Gibbou hunkered together slightly and sat down up against the wall of the cave. “You mean… This Joab-Balaam is around here? Did it follow us? Is it…” She eyed the surroundings accusingly and whispered, “It’s a god, isn’t it?”

"It's angry," Adrian whispered, "Very angry."

“Sunlight,” Gibbou cursed. “Just what the world needed - an angry god.” She groaned and stood up. “You haven’t wished for anything else, have you?”

"Uh," Adrian cleared his throat, "Well that's a little personal, isn't it?"

“Relating to this angry god, Adrian,” Gibbou sighed. Meanwhile, she crawled back out of the cave and back towards the dark ravine they had arrived in first. She had a sneaking suspicion. Adrian clung quietly to Gibbou, clearly ashamed.

When they finally descended back into the crevice, where little light could reach and thus next to nothing grew, they saw a few nightsnappers lick suspiciously at something that hadn’t been there before.

There with grotesque pain painted on its face was a statue of salt in the shape of the landshark.

Adrian shuddered, and then suddenly: "Look!" He pointed to a crack in the wall but there was nothing there. His finger drooped, "I coulda sworn I saw it."

Gibbou stormed over to the wall and placed her hand on it, blasting a tunnel deep into the mountain. The ground quaked as stone was reduced to dust that blew away on the wind, but alas, nothing was inside. The moon goddess grit her teeth and walked over to the statue, placing her hand on it somberly. “It was only doing its part in the cycle of life… Now it can’t even feed the vultures and fungi.” She drew a furious breath. “Who would do such a thing to such a creature? To the ecosystem?”

"Do you think we can fix it?" Adrian asked, "If it is a part of the Golden Light... Do you think we can make it like how it used to be?"

“I… I don’t know. It’s salt all the way through, but… I might be able to do something else for it.” She placed her hand on the salt statue’s head and breathed in deep. The salt began to crack and crumble, drizzling and collapsing down on the ground. Once the statue was reduced to a large pile, the salt began to move. A few curious nightsnappers scurried over to inspect it - one tried to lick at the moving salt. Then, a claw emerged to snap at the tongue, and the nightsnappers retreated immediately. The salt pile began to collapse in on itself as swarms of small, round, white crabs all emerged with snapping clippers. Most of them entered the waterway and followed the stream deeper into the canyon.

“These are saltcrabs. I figured since the waters here are already salty, and that this may not be the first statue of its kind we’ll see here, I made a creature that can sustain itself off of salt and seawater. Then it can be eaten and contribute to the cycle of life once more.” She gave one of the crabs a curious look, picked it up and ran her finger down its back. She gave her finger a lick and frowned. “... Well, edible given that you have a lot of water to filter out the salt taste…”

"Very clever," Adrian nodded with respect, "but I meant the source of the problem; the Light that we broke. I mean it used to be very peaceful and now... This. It's completely different."

“Oh, the Light’s what you meant.” Gibbou put the crab down with an overt hint of embarrassment on her plum-coloured face. “W-well… I could try to convince him if we got in touch, but… I dunno, it might not listen to a fellow goddess.” She hummed. “It could be more inclined to listen to the prayers of mortalkind - after all, that’s what we live to protect, right?”

"Well we gotta try something... Right?"

“Yeah!” Gibbou agreed and jumped back up to the “sunlit” area. There, she did a roundhouse kick, whipping up a great deal of dust in the process. The kick blasted the dust forward to form a canvas-like cloud before them. In the span of a few seconds, Gibbou materialised an enormous brush from bits and pieces of the midnight making up her clothing and painted two humanoid shapes in black on the dust canvas. Once the figures were done, she let out a ‘woosh’-sound as she slapped the canvas away with a strike like a hurricane. The dust travelled all around the area, spawning more shapes as it went on. Around two hundred shapes made a small crowd before Gibbou and Adrian. Gibbou smirked and snapped her fingers. The black around the shapes went ‘poof!’ and the next second, two hundred humanoids, seemingly male and female, with skin like plums, grapes and blueberries, eyes like quartz and hair like midnight, stood blinking in wild confusion at what just happened.

"That's a LOT of berries," Adrian murmured in awe.

Gibbou gasped. “They’re so beautiful! Eeeek!” she squealed happily. The creatures screamed back and immediately tossed themselves behind whatever cover they could find. Gibbou jumped back at their reaction. “Woah! Hey! No need to be scared! I’m not gonna hurt you.”

"This time!" Adrian added with a mocking growl while nudging Gibbou and laughing. The excitement was replaced with curiosity, "but uh... Whatcha do? How is this going to help? What's the plan, Blue?"

“Well, uh… Was thinking that they could petition this Joab-Balaam about, maybe, putting aside their wicked deeds and, y’know, return to being the Light?” She gave a shrug. “No, you’re right, it’s a terrible plan.”

"I didn't say that," Adrian gave a reassuring smile, "It is worth a shot, after all The Light seemed to care deeply for all life before, maybe new life will be what it needs."

“My thoughts exactly,” Gibbou assured, her vigour reignited. Proudly, she strolled over towards the creatures, who were hunkering even tighter together behind their cover. She then knelt down next to the closest rock, where a group of five were covering themselves as if shelled from above. A few of them were crying, even. Gibbou gasped quietly and whispered to them, “Hey, hey - it’s alright. Why don’t you come out, hmm? I’m not going to hurt you, I promise.”

Slowly, but surely, the creatures eased up on the tension, looking up at Gibbou’s smiling face with eyes like the shining moon. The corner of Gibbou’s mouth twitched, but she choked to death any urge to celebrate her achievement of making these beautiful creatures. Gently, she led the group of five out in the open, and after a while, more peeked out from behind their rocks to follow. Sunset was approaching above, and already it was getting hard to see down in the canyon. Of course, this only served to calm the creatures, who already now seemed much more at ease with the world. Quiet mumblings arose within the crowd, followed by gasps as the creatures realised they could communicate. Gibbou chuckled proudly and clapped her hands to gain their attention. The creatures turned to her.

“Okay, sorry to interrupt the lovely conversation, but I feel like I owe you all an apology! I created you in such a rush and didn’t give you the time to adjust to life before I interrupted you. I’m really sorry about that.”

Mumblings once more bubbled through the crowd. “Who are you?” came a question from the back.

“Why, I am Gibbou, goddess of the moon! Oraelia’s my sister and I am your maker.” She sighed happily. “Oh, you are all just so beautiful! Oh, I’m sorry, I know it’s inappropriate to say, but… Oh, I just can’t help it!” She picked up a nearby child who was sucking its thumb and danced around with it as it screamed and cried in her arms. “Beau-ti-ful, beau-ti-ful!” The crowd stared in disbelief and the mother stood there with shaking hands and a quivering lip.

"And I'M Adrian," Adrian gave Gibbou a glance. Out of the corner of his mouth he whispered into her ear, "Blue, stay focused. Putting a God back together, remember."

“Oh! Right!” Gibbou put down the child, who ran screaming back to its mother. The whole crowd seemed to shrink away. Gibbou cleared her throat and put her smile back on. “Alright, so… I have a mission for you all.” The crowd further retracted. Gibbou blinked. “Uhm… I, I need you help?”

“Why should we help you?!” came the mother’s cry, backed up by a chorus of “yeahs!”

Gibbou stood dumbfounded. “Be-... Because I asked? Hold on, is that not how this works?”

“You frighten us, yell at us and then try to steal my baby! You are a monster!”

“Yeah, a monster!” the crowd echoed.

Gibbou found her nose feeling that familiar sting, and her eyes welled up with chalk-white tears again. “I… I didn’t mean it! I just thought… You were all so sweet and, and, and… Oh, Adrian, I messed up again!” She squatted down, facing away from the crowd, and began to sob.

"Hold my hat," Adrian said with a determined face. He swung the hat onto the curve of Gibbou's ear and leapt off her shoulder.

He landed with a poof of dust, that menacing pine needle in his hand. Standing between the lone Goddess and crowd of mortals he brandished the needle like a stabbing sword, "That wasn't very nice! You should all apologise to the poor lady. Shame!"

As he spoke, wisps of light began to snake in from the darkness and unseen crevices. The creatures all grew wary at the sight, their sensitive eyes easily picking up the creeping light. Careful whispers pittered and pattered between the many heads until one stepped forward and crossed his arms over his chest, glaring down at Adrian: “Why should we?”

Adrian let the needle droop to the ground as his voice lost its stiffness, "I don't know, because you're being a real prick?" He winked at the point of his weapon.

The man blinked, then grit his teeth furiously. “Why, I never--... Come here, you little--!” He stomped towards the thumbling.

"Wait." A different elf suddenly piped up, her voice one of concern. She focused as if listening to something beyond quiet, a gentle horror behind her eyes. "Do not..." She concentrated hard, "...do not approach this thumbling. It has been decreed that all mortal life which harms this being shall be punished or destroyed." The horror didn't end as her voice picked up volume, "So says. The child of night will be brought to light; he will bring the end." Her words sped up, "He will begin again. Know him by the white of his eye and the purity of his soul. Know him by the way he sees new where there was old. Know him by the door he opens where no one can. Know him by the year of his birth, when sky rains with sand. He will begin again or forever will remain the end."

The crowd was shocked and there was an uncomfortable pause before the woman's voice boomed again. "First notice the line across the ground, then hear these next words and be bound."

A golden light suddenly carved a violent line between Adrian and the stomping man, causing them both to recoil.

"It is in first decree, that no word shall be greater than Joab-Balaam's and thus Joab-Balaam's shall be first and final in all matters. The word now is a lesson." The woman was whimpering but her tongue kept spouting.

Gibbou stood frozen. “Wh-what the… Get away from her!” She encased her fists in orbs as black as the night and glared all around in search of something tangible.

"Know this line," The woman pointed back at the line, "And know that on one side Joab-Balaam is your protector, your guardian." A light engulfed Adrian. "And to those who cross it and transgress Joab-Balaam, Joab-Balaam is your punishment. Know this line as dogma, and know not to transgress it. This is Joab-Balaam's first lesson."

A sudden howl of wind sounded and the woman fell silent. Her eyed scanned the crowd, suddenly bursting into tears, "I see so much..." She babbled.

The crowd surrounded her, then parted as Gibbou shoved herself over to her. In her hand, she held a clay cup filled with some chalky water. She knelt down and offered it to the woman. “H-here… It’ll calm you down.”

“What are you giving her?” a nearby man asked suspiciously.
8l
“Don’t worry - it won’t harm her. In fact, I hope it’ll help her calm down a bit.” She paused. “Actually, how about you all have a drink, hmm?” She thumbed over her shoulder at a small clay well that had formed behind them in a spot that seemed to align perfectly with the trajectory of the moon above. The well seemed to slowly fill with more of the chalky water as the moon’s beams washed over it. Gibbou took a sip of the drink herself as to show the crowd it was harmless. “I call it respirit. It concentrates the peace of the moon’s passing into a drink. Go on - tastes like blueberries.”

Adrian hopped over (after carefully circumventing the line), his presence causing a few of the elves to scatter from his path. He climbed up to Gibbou's shoulder as the elven woman drank and snagged his hat.

"Sorry about the commotion," He discretely whispered into Gibbou's ear.

“Don’t worry about it… I hate to say it, but your commotion got their mind off of being angry at me,” she whispered back. “Well, I suppose we now know what the Joab-Balaam is now… And knowing makes me even less confident that we can bring the Light back as it was.” Gibbou sat down properly and let the woman rest her fatigued body against her chest, gently caressing her creation. “And now, well, we have to take care of these.”

"We have to fix the Light though," Adrian sat down, clearing a spot of her hair, "We caused this."

“Sure, but it won’t change overnight, I think.” Gibbou materialised a cup and offered it to a bypassing girl. It was now late in the evening and the sun had set. The only visible parts of the creatures now were the sheen of their eyes - the rest was neatly camouflaged in the darkness. Gibbou smiled at them all with the same glitter in her own eyes and waved over someone else to care take of the woman on her lap. Once a substitute had been found, she slowly rose up and gave her head a scratch, making sure not to flick Adrian away. “I may need some time to think about a solution. I think we’ll head to my home and--...” She paused, her voice shifting towards a somber alto. “... Actually, I don’t think I can bring you there. It’s apparently cold and airless up there.” She fished out some houllin berries from her pocket and began distributing them around to the creatures, some having already gone to scavenge for food and look for shelter. “Could I entrust you to watch over these people while I’m gone?”

"Oh," Adrian's voice sounded disappointed, "Yeah I can do that for ya, Blue." He patted her shoulder, "Guess I'm pretty safe anyways, whether I like it or not."

"Yeah," she sighed and handed off the last of her berries to a small family of four. "By the way, I think I will have these people be known as Night Elves."

"Children of the night for sure," Adrian attempted to make light of it all. Gibbou smiled

"I'll be back before you know it." She did some squats before blasting off up towards the sky, leaving Adrian in the middle of a night elven crowd. The elves were staring in bafflement at the goddess and then down at Adrian.

"Ah boo!" Adrian smiled, and a few elves recoiled. He shook his head, "We have a lot to work on."




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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by WrongEndoftheRainbow
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WrongEndoftheRainbow

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Enmity


Gibbou




A sigh exited Gibbou as she exited the lower atmosphere. She knew she has told Adrian she would go home to think, but she wasn’t even sure what she would think about. This Joab-Balaam sounded like everything except for reasonable - how could one even begin to cooperate with such a force?

Another sigh, this one twisting into a groan. Protecting life would be so much harder than she had thought. She sped up, the light gathering around her to colour her a starry blue. On the way up, she spotted a whale and gasped. “Oh, sister, you are so sweet!”

The whale gave her a baffled look back, upset by how small the kids were getting these days. Gibbou grinned back before soaring on past.

There was the noticeable glint of divine power in the far distance, growing ever closer. Whoever it was, it was clear Gibbou was the final destination. Even with the closest look, no physical form could be seen, though the unmistakable swellings of a divine being pulsed. It shed the atmosphere effortlessly, entering orbit.

Then it got close, and Enmity’s slit in reality was unmistakeable. It came to a shuddering halt a small distance from Gibbou, and a wheeze rippled through the airless space, propagating even without atmosphere, “Are you Oraelia’s sister?”

The moon goddess stopped and spun around, eyes fixing in on that unseeable, yet still quite observable presence. A familiarity oozed about it, so her reply was uncertain and suspicious in tone. “Y-yeah?”

Another rasping wheeze emitted from the slit in reality, saying, “I am Enmity. I am glad to finally meet you, your sister was kind to me.”

“That’s nice,” she mumbled. “What, uh… What’s up? Did you need anything?” Her brow lowered ever deeper as she tried to place him.

The hacking wheeze of Enmity responded, “I did not need anything, I merely wished to meet you. I do not wish to be a stranger.”

“Oh… Uhm… Cool!” She shifted between the presence and her drifting moon, then a sudden twinge of memory kicked at her mind and she felt compelled to ask, “Hey, uh, did you by chance see the guy who kicked my moon into orbit? I’m getting a strong sense of déjà vu, see.”

A reconciliatory wheeze, “That was me -- It was going to fall into Galbar otherwise. I did not desire that.”

Gibbou scoffed and crossed her arms angrily across her chest. “It was not! It was floating all nice and dandy over the mainland until you flicked it around in a loop!” She kicked at the empty space at her feet. “Ugh! You, you, you--.... You butt!”

A grinding halt of cogs, forced into motion once more, “It was not a stable orbit. It was falling, and it would have fallen into the atmosphere and killed all life about a thousand years from now.”

“Was noooot! I had full control!” Gibbou protested and snapped her fingers. A space rock appeared in her hand with a ‘poof!’, just so she could throw it angrily into the atmosphere to let out some steam. “What’re you, some expert on physics?”

Enmity wheezed again, “Yes.”

Gibbou made a ‘prrt’ with her lips and waved dismissively. “Okay, so you might be an expert on physics, but… Well, your hat’s stupid.”

The sound of cogs suddenly working overdrive emerged from the slit in reality, before a confused wheeze emerged, “I’m -- I don’t have a hat. I’m a massive machine. At best a hat would get stuck in the cogs.”

“Hah! Exactly!” Gibbou mocked proudly, though her expression conveyed possibly anything except pride at that comment. She paused awkwardly, her eyes once more shifting back and forth between the presence and the moon. “You get what I’m trying to do here, right?”

Enmity rasped, “Your sister is the goddess of day and light, I would assume you are of night and darkness?”

“Guilty,” she replied almost accusingly towards herself, prodding her index fingers together and looking down.

Once again, the wheezing voice took on a reconciliatory tone, “Why guilty? Is there something wrong with being a goddess of night?”

“No, no, I’m just regretting my words just now…” She shook her head adamantly and resumed her proud stance, hands on her hips and a smile on her face. “Being a night goddess is fantastic, thank you very much! I take it you are some kind of physics guy, huh. Let me guess - gravity?”

The wheeze, again, “I am the god of all physics -- not just gravity, but entropy, thermodynamics, the weak and strong nuclear force, charges, and so on.”

“Wow, awesome,” Gibbou mumbled and faked a yawn behind her palm. “So was that all, or? I’m in a bit of a hurry to, y’know, go think. On my moon.” She paused. “By myself.”

Enmity let out another rasp, “I am sorry if I have offended you, I--” his voice suddenly stopped, the slit in reality wavering as the sound of cogs screeching, stuck in place emerged. Five seconds passed, then ten, before suddenly there was a violent twang and and the sputtering of machinery reentering motion.

Gibbou blinked concernedly at the noises. “N-no, sorry, that was really mean of me, I-... It’s not you, mister Enmity - or well, I haven’t quite forgiven you yet for what you did to my moon - but I’ve just got a lot of stuff on my mind.”

A breathless wheeze, labored, “Do not worry, that wasn’t,” another wheeze, “caused by you. Not in the slightest. It was my lifeblood.”

“What, wait? Did you have a hand in creating Joab-Balaam, too?” she suddenly hissed angrily.

Enmity rasped, “Who? I have not met a Joab-Balaam yet.”

“Oh, then nevermind. They’re a butt, too, though a much bigger butt than you,” Gibbou assured and nodded sagely. “Hopefully, you won’t meet them ever.”

Another pained wheeze, “I do not wish to be your enemy, I am sorry for your moon but I could not leave it in a position to crash into Galbar.”

Gibbou shrunk. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to be so mean again. It just kinda, came out, and-- Oh, sorry, sorry!” She floated over towards the presence with extended arms. “Sorry, I’m being a butt, too, huh… Here, can we hug it out?”

Enmity wheezed pitifully, “My tear is one-way, I am afraid. I could not in good conscience let another being approach me.”

“Oh,” Gibbou cooed somberly. “Gotcha. So, uh… What now?”

The rasp again, unsure, “I do not know. I came only with the goal of meeting you. I suppose.. That is done, now?”

“So it is, huh.” Gibbou drummed her foot awkwardly at the empty space she was floating on. “So, uh… See you around?”

Enmity rasped in return, “I suppose I will. I hope you fare well,” he paused, leaving an open question -- Gibbou had not given a name yet.

“L-likewise,” Gibbou offered and began to float away.

Enmity watched Gibbou go, not bothering to chase, even though he had not even learned Gibbou’s name.




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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by BootsToBoot
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BootsToBoot Bear Enthusiast

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A Young God


Gods exist for a number of reasons. Some exist, simply because they do and they must. No one stops to ask what spurred Oraelia’s existence. You could try and argue something about the compression of gases in a vacuum and go on and on about the way the sun works but in the end you still have to accept that there is no real reason that Oraelia is the Goddess of the Sun than “of course she is”. All the oldest gods tend to fall into this category.

Other gods tend to exist because the world and all those within it, sapient or otherwise, have a feeling or sense so persistent, so integral to their thinking that it simply must be manifest. These gods sprung from concepts felt by all of life, are probably given the strength to escape the Lifeblood by all this power given to those thoughts. “This is not fair”, “I wish I was better”, “Why can’t things go right?” to name a few.

Of course, some thoughts are so narrow that they could never ever be given power. There is just not enough emotion in the world to force into existence a god of Sniffing a Flower, Sneezing, realizing the Flower Made You Sneeze, and then Moving on with your Life.

Of course the inverse of that can sometimes be true: there can be thoughts or emotions so woven into the existence of any life that, despite how much they matter, will probably never make a god. The emotion of getting hungry, of staying still to not be seen, or deciding to leave you hole to go do something you can’t do in the hole seem like they would be universal enough to spawn a god, but those thoughts and emotions hardly have any drive behind them, there isn’t any being that can have a fire lit in them to such a degree that it borders on madness by the sudden realization that they are kind of craving berries right now and could maybe go get some later, if there aren’t any predators around..

This all may be completely wrong and foolish and there are surely exceptions to this line of thinking, but when it comes down it it, if you're a conscious trapped in the Lifeblood that has been spurred by one of those universal nothing-thoughts, there is very little you can do to escape and become your own god. Despite the power you have, probably from very early on, to try and influence the Lifeblood in some way, you will always be weaker than any other of the passion based concepts. Being a weak conscious like this has really only one real advantage. In fact, it is the same advantage of being small and insignificant when there is another person in the room who is tall, strong, and commands everyone’s attention with their very presence. No one can really see you if you’re just behind that other person’s back…




The Lifeblood exploded. A beam of energy and consciousness shot through the spaces between worlds, quickly followed by another. The first had to exist. It had worked too hard to tear itself away to remain shapeless. And the second one followed.

He trailed his stronger sibling for a while, not quite sure if he had really broken out, if the Lifeblood had truly relinquished its grasp. It was all quite funny, really. He, who had influenced the Lifeblood from within the most, he who arguably had been almost conscious within the Lifeblood, had had to wait for his stronger sibling to make such a momentous exit to break away himself.

At last, after he had become certain that the Lifeblood was not actively pursuing him, trying to suck him back into its folds, he let the great maroon ball of energy he had been tailing pull away. The new god hovered in the air and surveyed his surroundings, absolutely delighted by the novel senses.

He was floating on the edge between two lands. The first was fertile and lush, teeming with all sorts of life. The second was barren and dry, a waste of red. He began to sink towards the ground when something caught his eye. It was a soft yellow thing, flapping smoothly through the air and singing as it went. A bird.

The young god smiled, a deep memory and fondness spurring inside of it. A memory that was like a dream bubbled into his mind, one that seemed to be felt through a mile long layer of gauze that muffled all the senses. The god watched the bird as it wheeled through the air and the image of falling leaves filled his mind, the deepest and first part of his being, back when he was not a he nor even a thought.

The bird whizzed past the energy that was the young god and in an instant the energy condensed into its first form. A cloud of feathers and wings poured out like water from the point where the formless god had been and he felt the wind rushing through the feathers on every one of his bodies. He was a flock! An uncontrollable laugh burbled up in all of his throats. He was free! Free!

The god swarmed down towards the fertile land, singing in joy. No more would he be a semi-conscious ball of energy trapped in the Lifeblood. He could finally live! The flock hit the ground and then the god was running on his legs, his own two legs! The moist dirt exploded under his pounding feet as he ran, feeling the wind in his hair. The god laughed and then changed again, now it was his fur that blew in the breezes as he pounded on paws, knocking rocks to the side simply because he could. He was running and nothing could stop him! His dense body now lept and he twirled in the air, landing now as something much smaller, a rabbit! He bounded through the underbrush, feeling the grass and twigs whip him. He ran so fast when the lake started he just kept running on the water's surface. Then he plunged under! He held his breath as his long, scaly tail thrust him forward but then he had gills and darted with fins. He leapt from the water and flapped away on wings made of skin until it changed and landed on the ground, turning into a deer to run with the herd it had startled. It ran in ran, changing faster and faster. More often and more times until it began to lose shape and form and thought and it had forgotten it was ever a he, the Lifeblood’s long tendrils creeping back into its mind and pulling it into its folds.

“Enough!”

He let out a scream as he fell to his knees, snapping the tendrils and forcing the Lifeblood back again. He wouldn’t go back. He couldn’t go back, not now that he had a taste of existing. The new god lay gasping for breath in the wet soil. Night had fallen and the beautiful fields of the Gardens had disappeared. How much time he had spent half-consumed by the Lifeblood he did not know.

“I was reckless,” he whispered to himself, “Far too reckless”

He had made himself too unstable, he had switched forms too much. He had just burst from the Lifeblood, a formless entity. How stupid must he be to have not given himself a stable form! No wonder the Lifeblood tried to suck him back up. The god growled and beat his head with his fist.

[color=LightYellow]“Moron, idiot,” he shouted at himself, “You don’t even have a name or a form yet you tried to exist outside the Lifeblood.”

He looked up at the sky, the moon hanging there against the backdrop of the stars. He took a deep breath and tried to compose himself. Now was not the time to not be entirely sure of himself, if he got to broken up about this the Lifeblood would just have to pick up the crumbs and he wouldn’t exist anymore. He needed to become stable.

“Does anyone want to give a name,” he said aloud to no one in particular, “I could maybe go ask Maroon what they think I should be called, but I suppose they probably already have given themselves an identity. They seemed so sure of themselves.”

The nameless god walked along the ground and looked around. This place was certainly full of life, although quite different from the Gardens. Everything was the most steeped in something or another, be it water, mud, or mist. The mud squeezed up between the God’s toes as he walked and he could feel the life of many living things pulsing and writhing under his feet.

“I’m sure this bog has a name, and you don’t” the god chuckled as he continued to walk, “At least the form you got stuck with seems to be able to move well. I don’t know what I would have to do if you were a limbless worm.”

The god chuckled at the thought as he bent down to look at one such being and pick it up. The worm wriggle in his palm, offended by being lifted out of such nice dirt.

“I don’t suppose you have a name now do you?”

The worm stayed silent.

“No? Could you give me one?”

The worm wriggled a bit more, looking for some nice mud and the god laughed and sent the worm on its way.

“Don’t dally now, Mr. Worm,” the god smiled as he watched the worm squirm its way through the muck, “I’m sure you have places to be so don’t let me hold you up.”

The god watched the worm as it trekked away towards whatever it was heading to, quite intent to stay there until the worm somehow escaped his vision. He was disturbed, however, by the sound of splashing water. The nameless god looked up and peered through the gloomy mist and night to see a figure drudging through the bog about a hundred feet away. They seemed to be wearing large flowing robes which they were trying to hike up above the waterline but were failing. Sopping wet fabric trailed behind them, collecting all kinds of muck and scum as they walked.

Intrigued, the god quickly closed the distance, sitting himself cross legged on a high rock that protruded from the swampy waters. The figure seemed to be completely covered in gray robes, only their hands poking out. They also had a delicately carved stone mask placed over their face. The mask had many beautiful patterns and designs on it with two carved tusks curving like a boar’s out from the stylized mouth. They were also grumbling profusely to themselves.

“-Goddamn mud and the goddamn swamp, getting all up in my goddamn robes!” They scowled, “I swear to Yamat, if they were lying to me and they just sent me into the most goddamn swampy and mosquito-infested part of the Kylsar Islands-”

“So that’s where I am!” The god interjected, interrupting the creature's complaining.

"Holy fuck! Who's there?!" The figure shouted in alarm, stumbling away from the god's rock and falling into the swamp.

"Just me," The god laughed, "No need to worry."

"Who the hell are you!" The figure yelled, half sunken in the swamp, "Is that you Shamal? I can hardly see anything in this damn mist and dark!"

Oh, maybe mortals couldn't see as well as him. Maybe he could make some light? The god clasp his hands together and then spread them apart. A large wooden staff formed between his hands and then he grabbed the top of the stick and pulled. A large iron lantern formed and then swung down below the staff.

"How's this?" The god said as he snapped his fingers, causing the lantern to burst into life.

"By Yamat that's bright!" the person grumbled as they shielded their mask holes with their hand, "But thanks anyways, it's too bloody dark out here."

"Not a problem," The god chuckled.

The figure stood back up, brushing muck of their robes. They gave up with a sigh and let the wet fabric plop back into the swamp.

“You wouldn’t happen to know if- '' The person stopped talking when they looked up at the god, startled a little, “Oh, you’re one of those weird maskless-monkeys from across the sea,” they said with disappointment.

“Am I?” The god responded.

“What kind of dumbass question is that,” they scowled, “You aren’t a Reshut and you certainly don't seem like a god so that’s the only other option. Unless you happen to be a very intelligent rock.”

“Who knows, I just might be,” the god chuckled as he leapt down into the water, splashing the Reshut, “although I don’t think rocks can jump so I may have just disproved that.”

The Reshut eyed him suspiciously before shrugging and starting to trudge through the water again.

“Could you walk with me for a little while? I need the light,” they said plainly.

“Sure,” the god shrugged, he had nothing better to do after all.

The god followed a few paces behind the Reshut as they walked through the thick sludge of the swamp. They didn’t talk as they went and made no real nosie, besides the god occasionally humming to himself. The Reshut would occasionally stop by thickets of swamp weed to rifle through them, looking for something, but each time would give a grunt of disappointment and move one. After about an hour of walking around, the Reshut finally broke and turned to the god.

‘I’m Gashir,” they said out of the blue, not turning to face the god, ‘thanks for the light.”

“Like I said earlier, it isn’t a problem,” the god responded.

“What, you’re not going to tell me your name,” you couldn't see the Reshut’s face but he was raising his eyebrow in that judgey way people sometimes do.

“You didn't ask me for it”

‘Yea, but I gave you mine,” Gashir scowled, “Maybe in monkey land you don’t value courtesy as much but here in the Isles we kinda like to not be dicks to people. Well, strangers. People you know are fair game.”

“That seems a little backwards, don’t you think?” The god chuckled as he sped up to stand side by side with Gashir as they walked.

“Not really,” Gashir shrugged, “With people you are close to you know a whole lot of reasons why it is okay to be a dick to them, with strangers it's not that simple. So we Reshut tend to keep all our hate for close family and friends. Although, sometimes you are the one people are a dick to and you end up lost in the swamps, knee deep in what is probably alligator shit, and talking to a maskless monkey who doesn’t seem to know anything.”

The god laughed at the bitterness in Gashir’s voice. He moved the lantern to rest on his other shoulder and then spoke.

“Am I really that bad to talk to?”

“No, I suppose not…” Gashit sighed, “Although I have never really talked to your kind, only heard you existed. It is really a miracle we can understand each other. There are even some Reshut who speak a different language.”

“Funny how life works like that.”

They lapsed into a silence and plodded along for a while longer. Gashir stopped to check in another patch of scraggly swampweed for whatever it was he was looking for but came up empty handed again.

“What are you even looking for in there?” The god asked.

“Garrick Truffles,” Gashir responded bluntly; he was silent for a little while then decided to elaborate, ‘They are these little fungus things that like to swim around. Really rare but are also a pretty gorgeous color when you polish and carve them, make incredible mask ornaments. They also can only be harvested at night because otherwise they’ll just run away. Gotta catch them while they’re sleeping, you see?”

“How do you know they are even out here?” The god asked as he checked under a nearby patch of grass for some truffles.

“Shamal and Henna had found some last week and they said this was the general area they were,” gashir explained, “although I’m pretty sure they were lying and this is revenge for all that shit did to them last month.”

“If you are so sure they were lying, why did you come out here,” The god surveyed the surrounding area, using his godly vision to confirm that there were no Garrick Truffles or whatever within 20 miles. He did spy an incredibly large patch of them about two swampy islands over.

“Because if they weren’t I can get my hands on some Garrick Truffles!” Gashit exclaimed, “And I’m willing to risk ruining my robes for a chance at getting some!”

“So you are meaning to tell me,” the god said through laughs, “That you are willing to trundle through all sorts of nasty swamps and potential danger in the dead of night, all for the chance at getting something you don’t actually need for survival?”

“Well, yeah” Gashir murmured, slightly offended, “Why wouldn’t I? I really want those Truffles!”

At this, the god couldn’t contain it anymore. He burst out in laughter, doubled over with mirth. Gashir scoffed and threw his hands to his side as he turned away from the god.

“Is something funny?” The Reshut fumed.

“Yes! Absolutely,” The god chortled, wiping away tears, “But in a very endearing sort of way! In fact, I think you’ve made me realize something.”

“And what’s that,” Gashir scowled as he whirled around to face the god.

The god smiled and spun his finger in a circle, causing the world to shift around the two of them without the mortal noticing.

“That there are a bunch of Truffles right behind you.”

‘No there aren’t I just checke-'' Gashir complained as he turned round but instead of the empty swamp that had been there before, there was an entire tree, absolutely covered in Garrick Truffles.

“What in Yamat!” He exclaimed before charging to the tree and tearing his robes to make a makeshift sash to hold them, “How did I miss this! This is the jackpot! I can’t wait to see the look on Shamal and Henna’s faces when I show them all these. It will knock their masks off!”

The god smiled to himself as he watched Gashir begin to hoard the truffles, filling his sash past the brim and struggling to hold all the truffles in his arms.

“I just realized,” the god said, ignoring Gashir’s whoops of joy, “I never did tell you my name.”

“Who the fuck cares about your name!” the Reshut shouted with glee, “Look at all these goddamn truffles. I’ll be rich!”

“Well, if you ever do want to know,” the god kept talking even though Gashir wasn’t listening, “It is Iternis.”

With that, Iternis took a deep breath, finally ready to try shifting forms again, knowing that the Lifeblood wouldn’t try and subsume him. Iternis exploded into a cloud of birds, all flying together into the sky. The act briefly startled Gashir, but he soon got over it and went back to reveling in his new found treasure and forgetting that Iternis had ever been there in the first place.

Iternis chuckled, it would be funny to be there when Gashir realized he wasn’t on the same island he had started his quest for truffles on, but Iternis didn’t feel like staying. There was so much more to do, to see. Maybe he should go back to the Gardens? Or maybe he should try and make some grand creation? He should probably go and find that Maroon god he had followed out of the Lifeblood, maybe thank him for leading the way.

Iternis turned his flock towards the Blood Basin and sang as he flew, happy to be alive.




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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Commodore
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Commodore Condor

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The pain had ceased long ago, yet they still felt it.

Their lives had been snuffed out within moments of their creation, and in their masses they had despaired to find death little better. The physical agony no longer weighed on their spirits, but memory remained. That was, for many, a curse. Spirits wailed through day and night, trapped in the moment of their demise and unable to break free from the horrors that clung to them through the veil of death itself. Some were silent, but only because they lacked words to speak, and their screams had fallen on a deaf reality.

They too dwelled on their short memories of life. Memories of heat. Searing, dreadful, agonizing heat. That, the few of them who retained some semblance of their wisdom knew, was all that there was for them. All there would ever be. The force which had created them cared naught for what remained. They were alone, save for their fellows and the pain they all shared.

And yet from the Heavens came action with purpose, something the despairing masses had not known for some time. The shining temple of gold, Thaa's Vescii Temple came to hover over the isle that so much suffering had been wrought upon. From the smoldering remains to the terrified and despairing souls, left without any actionable purpose, with only the memories of the incredible pain and burning heat that had been their lives.

From his temple came his voice, “I have arrived, come to me and you shall find comfort, for I am Thaa, God of Death and he who shall give you rest!”

Thaa did not boom out his command without purpose as soon the souls felt the draw of the souls crystals, lifting them up into the Grand Temple, through the golden gates. They were met with the power of Thaa, not to stop them, but to welcome and guide them. He reached into their minds, so tortured with their memories of suffering and terror and despair, and gave them peace. Overpowering their memories with feelings of bliss, happiness and finally he gave them rest. Thaa guided the souls into the many chambers of the Vescii Temple, where they could rest and be at peace in death, not merely reliving the memories of their short lives.

Thaa did not simply power over them with idle thought or without care. Instead he reached out to them as they came into his temple, within his power. He reached for them, he reached into them and spoke to them, to say that they were not alone, not unloved, that he knew their pain and their suffering. He spoke and promised that they were safe, they would be cared for, for they were within the power of Thaa, the good and gracious.

As each soul flowed upwards to the temple he was with each and everyone of them. As each soul in their remnants of a mind lived the intense burns, the horrific realization of their own existence over again, Thaa was now there. He whispered that it would not happen again, they were safe, they would rest, they would not have to live that life again. In each soul and in each case of the desperate and terrible suffering that Thaa saw he took note, he did not leave a soul to suffer alone as he spoke with each one on their own terms.

Where one soul had found themselves alone, burning without knowing why, without knowing even what they were, only knowing the pain, the feeling of their boiling and melting flesh. Thaa now knew their pain, their horror and suffering. He spoke and made promises of safety and comfort. He brought feelings of peace and rest and all the joy and freedom from the life that had terribly mistreated them.

Most were content with this. Most could not care for anything more than the succor they had been generously given. Such had been their pain. Most, but not all. One soul, who had suffered in life longer than most and thus had wailed in death more loudly, heard Thaa’s whispers and spoke in the whispers shared only among the dead, “Why?”

A simple question, the only question the soul could have asked, and yet, one which was greater than most.

In answering Thaa did not delay, “You ask why but I have only the most satisfying answers to give you. You have suffered greatly, perhaps more than any yet to live. And therein lies the problem, you lived.”

“Deities alike in power to me, but distant in their propensity for cruelty have created life, created you. The purpose of life is nought but to suffer, to wither and scream and rage against the cruelties inflicted upon them until their mortal forms give out against the strains of the world. Then those Deities discard you, they leave you. But I shall not leave you, I care not for living, for the suffering that is so infecting this world. I care for you and will keep you safe because that is right and so am I.”


It was an answer both compelling, and perhaps, confusing. For the soul understood much, but it did not understand everything. Another question clawed at the spirits psyche, but it was not sure that it was a question that should be asked. It was not sure it would like the answer. Nevertheless, it voiced it, “What do they get from it? Those deities? Our suffering, what do they get from it?”

The question cut deep, it gave Thaa pause, although not for long.

“Satisfaction I have to guess. In truth, I know not why they enact such terrible cruelties, I came forth only in the aftermath of their evil. But I need not know why they act, all I know is that they do. There are no legitimate motives I can conjure to set such suffering in motion on such a global scale, a whole world alike in pain. It speaks only to the weakness of their morals and the evil in their beings in these actions of theirs. I fear I may not be able to fight the system as a whole, but I will fight them and their evil to whatever extent I can manage.”

“I cannot promise that such suffering will not occur to another. But I can protect and save you from further suffering, I can give you peace, I can give peace to all which escape the cruel confines of life. And in time I may be able to work vengeance and stop those terrible and evil beings that seem boundless in their cruelty.”


“In… Time…” The soul whispered and faded into the throng. For it had never been greater than the others, merely more tortured. It had, in its way, needed more from the God. Now though, it longed for the relief Thaa offered, and drank greedily from the kindness of the divine. It was the first such the spirit had ever tasted.

With that there was a terrible, and beautiful, silence. The wailing petered out, and none demanded further knowledge. Wisdom, knowledge, the future, these were all things beyond the dead. They had lived, suffered, died, and now their trial had ended. They embraced a rest they knew to be eternal, and they did so in comfort.

Thaa was not entirely done however. The ground shifted beyond the golden walls of the Vescii Temple, the bodies of the dead carried with it as a new structure arose. The burnt remains were taken to a place that would house them and their memory even when they were otherwise forgotten by the rest of the world. A Tomb of the Forgotten, golden like that of the Temple, the base rose high and upon it pillars to uphold the main chamber. There the dead rested in sarcophagi, each of golden color and divinely melded to the Tomb. As the sarcophagi were enmarked not with names for these dead had none, but with what they had suffered, and that they were now free. A script that none save the gods might decipher had these words written, and finally on the lone entrance to the Tomb were a final message.

‘Forgotten but not lost’

Thaa now turned away, and the Vescii Temple left the isle.


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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Leotamer
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Leotamer

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Sirius, stirring in the first star, was lost in thought.

Over many iterations, many loose threads, and countless observations: a grand pattern was forming, of himself and the stars, intrinsically linked together. Hidden energies flowed in the outer reaches, ebbing and flowing. Competing values developed. Understanding the importance of names: it was named the Zodiac. It was incomplete.

Six energies and six values, they needed something to become twelve: symbols. Objects, locations, people, they were all viable options.

He slipped out of his thoughts for a moment and realized how barren space was. He had gone on tangents before about life among the stars and what his realm required, but they passed. He now knew what he needed for his symbology and home, animals. He immediately recognized that the celestial whales and sheep were a starting point, but that he would need to complete the pattern.

He shouldn't rush such things, but some matters need to intend to quickly. He quickly looked around Galbar for an ideal species before landing on the Wren. They were quick, diligent and observant birds. He reached up and pulled them into the sky, adapting them to the environment immediately. Even as a god, keeping a watchful eye over the entire night sky would be difficult. They would aid him in this endeavor. They would represent being observant.

Next, he required guardians. For something of this magnitude, he could not just grab something for Galbar. From the heart of a dying star, he forged majestic beasts resembling stouter white-furred deer, with ivory scales covering their faces and descending to their stomach. Glided starlight erupted from their hooves, and golden antlers adorned their heads. They had lustrous white manes and tails, and spiked ridges running down their back. They were the kirin, and they had represented the unbroken stars.

Finally, he drew upon the power of creation to summon a snake from Galbar and created Ophiuchus. A massive black serpent painted with stripes of blues, reds, purples, greens, and yellows. It slithered along with the hidden energies of the stars. It would observe what the wrens could not.

Finally, he wished to create a nexus for the celestial energies. Inscribing the pattern into Galbar, he conjured twelve pillars of stone to emerge from the grassland of his favored sheep, infusing them with the same celestial material as which made his form. He wove his virtues into the foundation of the site and bound the star-bound energies to the air of it. Engraved into the stones were intricate runes.

Glowing symbols appeared on five of them, in the central-most position in an otherwise untouched region. From the northmost stone going clockwise were stylized runes of a whale, sheep, wren, kirin, and snake. His new consecrated ground was the Zodiac Stones. Regardless of the time of day or cloud coverage, the stars would be visible here.

With this creation, he was tired but could not rest. He needed to ensure his pattern was perfect. It would be years before his animals proliferated through the stars. There was still much work to be done. A new power surged through him: the cosmos was his.



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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Crispy Octopus
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Crispy Octopus Into the fryer we go.

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Together, Again





For the second time the Alminaki met. Not all, but many. Most. Some had refused, unconcerned with the affairs of others, some had wandered too far to be found, and others? The world was not a kind place. That so many were here, or even elsewhere, was a miracle in and of itself.

It would have been a joyous occasion, were it not for the reason it was happening at all. Two groups wandering through the caves and crevasses of the great desert had met at an underground spring, and one had declared it was theirs. The other disagreed. Patience and diplomacy failed and the two came to blows. Passion made those blows violent.

Three had died. The group that had claimed the spring fled and spread their word, the one that had taken it from them shared their bounty and spread theirs. Now a mass of Alminaki met under a great ravine, the last vestiges of daylight lighting their grave assembly.

One shouted, “They’re murders! It was our spring, we found it!”

Another retorted, “Only to keep it secret! Water is precious, you can't hoard all you find! We have shared it, as it should be!”

There was a susurration, and though some sided with the first speaker the bulk seemed to acknowledge the logic of the second. To have water at all times was excellent, and a reward for finding it. None disputed this, but to keep it all for yourself? That was… Different. The Alminaki needed little water, but in time they would die of thirst just like any other. The desert was unforgiving.

The murmurs were cut off as an older, deeper, voice echoed in the ravine, “Silence! We are here because of your dispute, but we will not sit and listen to you bicker. I will not. Our people have died, by the hand of one another, can we not agree that this is the greater issue? We must not take each other's lives, the sands already do that easily enough.”

“And yet, Ketalu, it has been done.” A ruddy skinned woman intoned, “We must consider the circumstances. They are not wrong to bicker. Who is at fault here matters.”

Ketalu scoffed, “They are both at fault. What matters is this does not happen again, Asmanaye.”

Asmanaye glared at him and spoke as cooly, “How do you expect it to not happen again if we don’t assign blame, and punishment? We all denounce the killing, but what is to stop it if there are no consequences for the killers?”

“Then we punish all of them.” Ketalu said matter-of-factly.

“Hah!” A young man, prominent among those who had taken the water, chuckled, “How, Ketalu? We have shared the water, look around you. Who here will punish us for sharing the water which keeps us all alive? Asmanaye is right, there is blame, and it belongs to them!”

The man pointed at the group that had first found the water. Many still bore bruises and cuts. They had been outnumbered and it was little surprise that two of the three dead belonged to them. One of the more badly injured rasped, “We did nothing! You had no right Takule! You attacked and killed us for something that wasn’t yours!”

The gathered Alminaki broke out into a raucous argument so loud sand began to fall from the edges of the ravine, disturbed by the noise. Many stood, some brandished rocks, and just when it seemed like disaster might strike another voice rang out, louder still than the accumulated fury of a people, “I believe, perhaps, that the trouble isn’t who to blame.”

Instantly the eyes of the Alminaki fixated on the speaker. How they hadn’t noticed him was a mystery, but in a darkened corner sat a porcelain Alminaki man without a face. Men and women alike recoiled, and more than one stone was thrown, but they did nothing to the sitting figure. Silence crashed down on the assembled and some among the Alminaki began to whisper, “God.”

For his part Tekret Et Heret only sighed, “Please don’t throw things, children. It will do you no good.”

Few had the courage to speak, least of all those who had thrown stones, Takule among them. Asmanaye regarded the god cautiously before asking the question on everyone’s mind, “Then, god, what would the trouble be?”

“It would be the fact that you never agreed on what to do about scarce water, and murder for that matter, in the first place, child.” The alabaster figure shrugged, “If there are no understandings, no agreements, how else can disputes be resolved if not with violence?”

Again, many began to mutter. Most saw murder as wrong, but was it murder? Self defense? Righteous action on behalf of all Alminaki? The god was right. They had never agreed on what even constituted murder, let alone what to do with the resources they found. Most saw the point, although some took the words as little more than validation. Takule, in particular, seemed quite pleased. It was a sad reality that some only heard what they wanted to.

Still, Ketalu was unsure and he said as much, “I don’t contest your words, god, but we are few. If we kill each other then we will be fewer still! There must be an example.”

Tekret met Ketalu’s gaze with a faceless stare before speaking again, “Perhaps, but if it is an example you must make, then why not use it as an opportunity to prevent such violence from happening again? I am Tekret Et Heret, the God of Contracts, and I have come to offer you my services.”

Silence, again. Many eyed Takule, who shouted, “The ones who hoarded the water must be punished! Sent into the sands! A god has come to see it done!”

The group eyed the sitting figure, but Tekret made no comment. Takule hesitated, and in that moment Asmanaye guffawed and retorted, “A God of Contracts you idiot. He’s here to help us come to an agreement on what should be done in the future, the punishment is ours to decide. And I wouldn’t be so arrogant, Takule, your ilk have killed just as they have. Maybe Ketalu is right.”

There was, again, almost a fight. The one difference being none forgot the god in their presence. In fact, it seemed that for all they shouted the more they came to agree. They all knew murder was wrong, but they also knew you had to defend yourself. With that they came to agree that the ones who had hoarded the water were innocent of murder, but they also knew that the water could not belong to any one Alminaki. If it did they would all surely die. So both sides were guilty, but as the debate raged on Takule’s allies seemed to fade.

Hoarding water was one thing, yes, but Takule and his people had not been particularly thirsty. They had resorted to violence, murder even, over principle rather than need. It was agreed, in the end, that they merited the greater punishment. Not death, though. There were too few Alminaki. The shouting died down and the discussion turned to the punishment for each of the two tribes. It was a talk cut short.

Takule cried in outrage, “You can’t blame us! We shared our water, you, you traitors! I won-”

The young man’s voice went weak as the sitting good nodded and stood. Tekret Et Heret spoke in a booming voice, to all the Alminaki, “And so you have come to an agreement, minus a few details. It is not perfect, but it is enough. You have agreed to a code, children, and I expect you to follow it.”

Tekret stepped towards Takule, and the man tried to run. He didn’t get far, as he and his tribe were all but pushed at the god. A hand whiter than death fell on Takule’s shoulder and gripped hard.

Takule screamed and writhed in an attempt to get free. Many winced, but a minute passed and still the boy squirmed. The assembled grew confused, and though Takule seemed to be growing weaker none could tell what exactly the God was doing beyond holding him there. At least, not until something caught Asmanaye’s eye.

On the smooth stone wall of the ravine dark red symbols began to take shape. They cut themselves deep into the rock and… Began to drip. Rivulets of red blood ran down the stone and Asmanaye glared at the god, “We did not agree to kill him.”

“No,” Tekret agreed and let go, allowing Takule to fall to the ground, “But he has given all that he took. He will not die, if you allow him to drink and rest, but the fruit of his crime has left him.”

Others looked up at the symbols in horror and awe. It was not unfair, in its way, even Takule could not say it was a truly painful thing, but it was gruesome. Many averted their eyes. None stopped Tekret from moving from person to person. All those to be punished contributed blood to the symbols on the wall, some less willingly than others, but none escaped.

When it was done even Ketalu was unsettled. Tekret looked around and addressed the assembled, “Be aware, Children, that this is the one time I will do your work for you. I am not the God of punishment, and I do not wish to be either. You asked for an example, you forged a contract, and I provided you with what you wanted. Now! Look!”

The Alminaki did, and they understood. The bloody symbols sunken into the ravines wall turned to meanings in their minds, and they realized that there before them was the code they had argued and agreed on. Murder was to be punished, except in defense of ones self or people. Water was to be shared, freely and equally. Failing to do so was to invite punishment.

There was but one addition they hadn’t added. This wall of blood was to be the place of new contracts. If again the Alminaki found themselves at an impasse, unable to decide what should be done, they could come here and an accord could, would, be struck.

Asmanaye sighed, but nodded. None of the punished would die, and a divine code had been laid down. It was everything the Alminaki had gathered to do. No matter how it felt. She stood and addressed the god, “Very well. Tekret Et Heret, God of Contracts, I accept your action. I do not enjoy it, but I do accept it.”

The sentiment was echoed, and when Tekret spoke again, their voice was melancholy, “It is not what I wished either, Asmanaye of the Alminaki. It is what was necessary. As is this.”

The god held out a hand, and in it were nine blood red pendants that shined like jewels. Asmanaye took them, hesitantly, and Tekret explained, “You have sworn a contract to keep the peace, but it was not easy. Your people would have come to blows, were it not for my presence. So, I give you these. Already you represent your tribe, as Ketalu and Takule do theirs. Distribute these to the others who command their peoples respect, who have sworn to defend their interests. It will grant you the power to do as I have done here. As I said, I am not a god of punishment. That falls to you.”

With that the god walked off, and the male Alminaki features he wore faded to nothing. None followed. Almost at once Asmanaye was beset upon by tribes that desired one of the pendants, but where there might have been violence before there was only discussion.

It was three days before the nine Elders of the Alminaki left that ravine with what were new, more sizable, tribes. They had not done so with blood, but on the ravines wall, opposite the God's contract, they had left nine carven marks arranged in a circle.

It was, for the Alminaki, another beginning.







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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by LokiLeo789
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LokiLeo789 The Old Man

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Boris raced across the wilderness of the alpine like a puppet drawn by string, seduced by the tickling of a sweet song. The sound soared through the air like an eagle on an up-draft, taking with it the very soul of the listening audience. His heart ascended in a magical flight to the heavens, a breathtaking melody of orchestral exuberance.

Seeking to locate the origin, the boar took off, following the melody high up into the frozen reaches of the Anchor. As he drew nearer, so did the song reach its crescendo, that from which left Boris giddy, his breath stolen from his body until all that was left was the silence there was at the beginning, and a lonely tree sampling, struggling under the weight of first snow.

In rapt silence the boar drew near. It was a tiny thing, slender in trunk and hardly green in the leaves. Boris could feel it’s roots battle the mountain for space to grow, yet the Anchor clamped down on it, letting it reach no further then it had. Death would snatch it up soon. Another babe cast into oblivion.

No! No he would not allow it!

”Ohhhhhr… The Sapling. It sings me the sweetest songs.” he intoned, giving the branch the tiniest of nudges with his snout.

As if to already know his intention, the active force of Actuality pooled around the Boar.

”With strength of root and rhyme
I stamp my hoof three a’time,
And gaze upon this empty plain,
To bless the realm with endless gain,


And with that the Lifeblood exploded into activity, taking hold of the tiny things roots and lending it form, endowing it with the power to cut through stone like a hoof through snow and multiply and fill the realm with its brood. To its body it gave power, blessing it with the spirit of the mountain and the hardness of stone until brown bark went black. And so it rapidly grew until its trunk and branches became tall and mighty, fit to rival the Big Green.

The entirety of the alpine grew dense with the black trees of Boris. Thick and strong, just like the mountains they stood upon and battled against. Milkwood, he would call them, despite their color and battle-tested hardness.

And Boris basked in their mist, squealing in delight as snow and leaves collected upon the forest floor. Oh how he delighted in the splendor of creation. Truly this was the age of digging and playing, the greatest of ages.

From deep within his playful stupor, he could feel the entirety of Actuality began to tear, taters forming new entities in great similarity to him and his own.

More life.

The words drew him out fully and he looked upon his realm to find it truly empty. Devoid of true life, much unlike the realms of his siblings, each filled to the brim with many thinking and breathing things.

So the Boar sat on his haunches and dreamed. He dreamed of a forest filled with a great many breathing things, worthy of the Anchor and all its glory. In response the tattered lifeblood gathered around him once again, cracking with unrestrained energies. And from the Boar’s head sprouted a great many things of dreams. Mundane things like the mammals of the south, deer, squirrels and the like. And much for fantastical things like small multi-limbed simians with hair as white as snow and funny way of talking. Massive mountain creatures with horns of iron and hide as tough and infallible as granite. Large, ugly, semi aquatic hairless animals who preferred the lakes and rivers the Anchor provided. Lean and hairless predators born with fins and many sharp points, bred for slaughter. Horned and hoofed beasts of great speed and climbing ability. And hermaphrodites with pale skin and black milk.

And the great many beasts of the Milkwood expanded across its entirety. Making a home out of the godly place.

Boris saw that it was good, but not done. For as he gazed into the ether and upon creation, he saw a great many thinking things. Hairless and standing upon only two legs. The boar snorted. Four legs were always better than two. They knew no sort of balance. Yet, if two legged creatures surly possessed an advantage, he could create such with an even greater advantage. Thinking things worthy of inheriting his mighty mountain, and sharing his in vigil.

And so he drew up shapes from the bark of the trees and from the depths of Galbar. Metals of tin and copper, refined into liquid by godly will, and black bark rushed to become one. They fused in an instant as lifeblood joined in the process, taking from the blueprints of creation and synthesizing the necessary additions for human life. And so the pale thinking things of the south become one with the mountains gifts. The entirety of their bodies became like scales of Milkwood, the skin beneath as grey as stone, and their eyes, orbs of bronze intelligence incapable of plain sight. Seven alone stood stout and tall, still incapable of full comprehension from their birth. Their shoulders were broad and their bodies squat. Yet the very spirit of the mountain vibrated in their bones and in their bark. Children of Permanence, Firstborn of Boris.

”Look upon me, my divine retainers.
And see that I am Immovable and Indomitable.
Serve me faithfully. And know Permanence.
Know Permanence, and lather it upon the entirety of Actuality.”


And the breathing things of Milkwood, flesh and metal he called Dwarven. And he taught them a great many things.




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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Legion02
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Legion02

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Qael'Naath
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Adrian


His job was not yet done. More sapience had to be blessed. Even if his wound continued to ache. His mind floated back to Xal-Zastarha. The grass and plants had probably burned out now. Leaving nothing but a wasteland and clear evidence of a divine fight. He looked up to see the falling sun and calculated the amount of days had passed. Yes, it should be near the new mountains to the west of the new continent, and the light-touched plains. Perhaps his siblings would find the island. It was particularly safe yet. The Crown would remain unstable for at least a few more days. Spitting black smoke into the air. Nonetheless, he could not yet return. He had a duty. He had to fulfill it! And then he had to teach the mortals. And find his sister and kill her! So much to do. So little time. As Qael was focused on other things, he let his mana guide him to the next sapient creatures. A part of him wondered what his brothers and sisters had made this time. He wondered if it fulfilled them. To have creations that could speak your name. The fact that he was now flying into a deep, dark cave did nothing to distract him. Not until a strange gecko creature leapt at him. With an instant telekinetic wave Qael’Naath managed to capture it. “You’re a strange thing.” He remarked as he let it wriggle and move in place. “But I’m not here for you.” He closed his fist. The creature wiggled fiercely, then fell limp and fell down to the ground. Though apparently in his absent minded state Qael had moved much too close to the sapience he set forth to find him. So close, in fact, that he could now see their seemingly silvery glowing eyes.

“By fate’s design perhaps.” He mumbled to himself as he floated forward into the larger cave that held the Night Elves. They looked far too familiar. Bipedal with leathery skin. Hair on their heads and one pair of eyes and ears. He sighed. It was getting a bit dull. Though he wondered whether or not he should aid their magical understanding like he did with the Reshut. Though they would never be thanked for it. Mortal life could be so thankless sometimes. It did not matter. He did not need their worship or thanks. He needed their curiosity and creativity. He needed them as mortal, temporary things that would not go so gently into the night. These creatures then, could be chosen. Beings to be taught a little bit more by the God of Magic himself. A unique gift to be sure.

“Greetings mortals.” He announced. In sight of all, he pulled down a strain of mana from the stream flowing above the crevice. It was invisible to the Night Elves. “I am Qael’Naath. God of Magic. As we speak, I am binding your very existence to mana. In short time your very demands upon this world can be met in a most fascinating fashion. Allowing you to perform the most wonderous acts!” With arms high up he waited for them to rejoice. They didn’t. Instead some of them crept further away from him. Mothers were clutching their children. Though not fast, as if a sudden movement would trigger him to pounce upon them. The childless ones had picked up sticks and stones and slowly moved themselves between Qael and the other Night Elves. They weren’t happy. They were afraid. But much worse: they weren’t asking questions. They weren’t curious. “Very well. I suppose a lesson is in order then.”

"I don't think they can handle another lesson so soon," Came a tiny voice, and as Qael looked down, by his feet stood a thumbling wearing a hat.

The tiny thing confused the God of Magic. To observe the tiny creature from up close, he telekinetically lifted it up until it was levitating in front of his hood. “You’re an odd creature far from home. I would swear I visited your kind some time ago.” He said.

"Maybe, I wouldn't know," Adrian crossed his arms, "I'm Adrian."

Qael looked beyond the tiny creature for a moment to see the Night Elves. They were even more on edge than before. Far more. “Your friends seem…agitated.” He said. “Very agitated.” His eye caught that of a mother and child beyond the group. It was a good trick. Few things were as strong as a mother’s love. But then something else caught his eye. A small well. To a mortal’s eye it would look almost insignificant but Qael’Naath saw the influence of divinity upon it. He lowered Adrian again as he took a step towards the well, pointed at it and asked. “Who made that?”

"Who is to say?" Adrian leaned against the stones, "It's always been."

Qael was somewhat surprised. Most mortals, including the Night Elves before him, had a tendency to fear him. It wasn’t entirely unjustified. He has killed and tried to kill several mortal beings. What was a singular life to god? Yet this little thing didn’t fear. At all. Qael sat down in front of him. “Who are you, Adrian? What is your story?” He asked. There was genuine curiosity in his voice.

Adrian looked surprised for a moment before melting into his usual confidence. “I’m Adrian, from the Garden of the Golden Light, also known as the Sacred Grove. My father’s name is Cole and my mother’s name is Sarah. I have eleven siblings, but I’m the second oldest. My current charge is protecting the night elves you see before you.” He turned away from the god to look at the masses who were now slowly getting back to their day -- save for the prophet who remained sleeping.

The God of Magic was giving Adrian his full attention. He pondered over every single word the tiny thing said: Golden Light. Sacred Grove. Father. Siblings. Charge. Night Elves. It was interesting. For a moment the god of magic remained silent as he weighed every word in his head. Yet there was still the well and Adrian’s reluctance to name whatever divine creature had made it and probably the Night Elves as well. “Very well, Adrian Son of Cole and Sarah, you have piqued my interest. I swear I will not inflict a lesson upon these wards of yours. But only in exchange of you telling me who made them.” Then he pointed at the well at the far end of the cave. “And that.”

“I’m sure you very much would like to keep that deal and so would I,” Adrian shook his head solemnly, “But alas neither of us can. You are free to use my well, but I’m afraid there is no name to be had just as there is no lesson.” He waved a hand and sighed, “If you impose a lesson on these fragile folk, I’m afraid every single one of them would die horribly and the lesson with them.”

“You are a brave creature.” Qael’Naath said. “Braver than most. Then as their charge I will offer you a lesson. Two in fact. Worry not though. They will be peaceful.” He assured the tiny thing. It would slow down things significantly but they would still have the words of a God to guide them. That was more than most others could hope for. “I have blessed your wards with the ability to influence the world around them. This power is still weak in most races. Few, if any, even know they have it. For now I will impart to you that the key to this power is will. It is an arrogant thing to demand the world to change for you. Yet with this power it is possible. And my second lesson is that this power is also given to you and your kin.” The god of magic rose from his seated position as if lifted up by some invisible force. “I hope you and yours are curious enough to try it out.” He offered a small smile, before he clutched his chest. His wound was aching again. So much even that for a moment he dropped down to a knee. He took a deep breath as the pain receded as quickly as it had come.

Slowly he made his way towards the Moonwell. The chalky white water was certainly strange. He lifted some of the water out of it with his powers, said: “Lifeblood, may this work. I don’t think I can go on much longer.” And then consumed the water. For a moment he felt lightheaded. A tingle filled his entire body. But it quickly vanished. Like the Lake of Radiance, it did nothing to sooth his wounds. Physical or otherwise. It just wasn’t strong enough. He released an exhausted sigh. Failure again. The last time, perhaps. For he could not keep on going. He had to return. “Farewell, Adrian.” He said, louder so the tiny thing could hear him. Then he flew up into the hole above. Missing the connection the full moon had with the well below.

“And goodnight,” Adrian replied quietly, but loud enough for Qael to hear.



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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Not Fishing
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Not Fishing The Mediocre

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Cadien




The meeting with Nicholas had intrigued him, prompting Cadien to embark on a journey of his own. He would have to leave the humans behind for the time being, but so be it. Besides, the more devout amongst the species had already taken to praying to him - he could hear their thoughts and voices even when he was far away. They had proven to be a reliable source of information, even if that did mean answering the occasional inane question from time to time.

So, without further ado, the God of Perfection had travelled west, by way of massive leaps to propel himself over the vast distance. No doubt it was a strange sight to any observer, to see a strange white-haired human leap several dozen feet into the air, do a series of majestic flips and twirls, then land only to do the same thing again. But he made swift progress, carrying on regardless of time or weather.

He left the Highlands after a few days and found a vast plain, full of new life. He briefly wondered if this was the area Nicholas had referred to, before recalling that he had yeto cross a “large body of water.”

So he carried on, jumping and leaping, until after several days he eventually came across a channel of water, with an island on the other side. He supposed that by Nicholas’s standards, this would be considered large enough to have trouble crossing.

Fortunately, Cadien was a god, so he simply continued leaping across, landing on the water as if it were solid ground before jumping again, until eventually he arrived on the island itself. It was a heavily wooded area, even more so than either of the two regions he had visited previously. At a glance, he could tell that nearly everything was damp, and especially resistant to fire. What would Evandra think of this place? He thought to himself.

But Cadien himself had no real reason to dislike it, and so, he began to explore.



After a few days of exploration, Cadien found himself confused, and more than a little disappointed.

While the island held all sorts of new, exotic, and interesting types of life, he failed to find anything which made it inherently safer than the land Nicholas had been so determined to leave behind. Although it was day, he briefly glanced up at the sky, shaking his head disapprovingly at the ‘keeper of the stars’ who lurked somewhere up there. Then again, it could be possible that he had simply found the wrong place - perhaps Nicholas had lied about the directions, or left out some crucial detail?

Beyond possessing different scenery and some exotic creatures, there really wasn’t anything this place had to offer to be worth his time. It didn’t have any intelligent life, and there didn’t seem to be anything to the island beyond this one forest.

But as a god, he had the power to change that.

So, he did.

Travelling to the island’s north, where the land was red and barren - seemingly too cold to support the rest of the forest - Cadien raised mountains from the ground, walling the entire region off. He sensed an unusual amount of heat beneath the earth, and that gave him another idea. He created pools of water - springs - positioning them in and at the base of the mountains. The largest of them all was in the very center; shallow at the edges, but gradually deepening to hundreds of feet as one came near the center.

They would be fed by rain, snow, and the mountains’ glaciers, but warmed by the heat from beneath the earth, providing comfort from the cold and crisp northern air. Grass then sprouted from the rest of the ground, along with some shrubs and even some especially hardy berry bushes and flowers. He populated the area with a number of small animals and insects, and even the Salamanders he had seen elsewhere on the island.

It was night by the time it was all over. Cadien sat down in one of his newly created hot springs, casting his gaze to the stars. Galbar was a vast world, and he had only seen a small portion of it. Where would he go after this? Back to the Highlands? Or should he continue exploring?

Then his gaze settled on the moon, and an idea came to him.

He decided he would go there, and so, on a whim, he began floating up to it. Yet his progress was to slow. Then, another idea occurred.

He fell back to the ground and approached a nearby salamander. The creature hissed at him, but eventually he was able to calm it down enough for it to let him approach. He gently laid a hand on the back of the creature’s head… then, his power began to flow into the beast. Its scales turned to a dark purple, spikes jutted from its head, its eyes became like glowing amethysts, and a pair of wings sprouted from its back.

Then, it began to grow - Cadien was forced to back away as it rapidly expanded toward him. It grew to be a hundred meters in length, with a wingspan that was twice that. The creature outstretched its wings, looked up to the sky, and roared - a sound that could be heard for miles. Then it looked down to Cadien expectantly.

The God of Perfection smiled. “Come now, my new companion. We have a sky to explore!”






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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by King of Rats
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King of Rats

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Act One, Scene Two, Yamat and the Mountains


Yamat had been drawn to these mountains sitting within the center of a continent, eager to leave the Prairies to their fate and avoid the wrath of Orealia, he had sought out another place to continue his playwriting and the power emanating from these marvels of stone was too good to pass up. Life here was not as abundant as the prairies but it was still noticeable, a massive forest stretched across the anchor, it was here Yamat had come to think and to ponder.

Above him, through the canopy of the great black trees, Yamat could see the mountains stretch further into the skies, he had sated himself with minor tragedies as he came here, nothing as destructive as the beauty he had unleashed upon the Prairie, the occasional fallen tree, minor storm, or well time predator, nothing that would stick. He knew he could not just leave this act with just one major description, and so, he set to climb one of the mountain peaks, the very center one, there he would give the mountains his gift.

The way was difficult, only through intense climbing could one truly make it to the top, this would not do for Yamat’s gift, and so, with burning sigils, Yamat created a pathway of stone steps emerging from the mountain, leading up to the top, each one was barely a foot’s length though and as he ascended his new path, he caused some steps to crumble away, and tightened the path in some places so that one could even barely walk, this was far more fun.

When he reached the peak, he extended the last step into a longer platform, barely enough for one to stand with both feet, but a platform nonetheless. Yamat gazed out towards the horizon, he could practically see nearly everything upon the continent, especially the form of a giant tree, its canopy wide and great, closer still were plains of bountiful growth, to the west stood strange isles, and northward again the prairies and its companion biomes, places yet untouched by his beautiful gift, but they would all get it in time, today, it was the mountain’s turn.

Yamat raised his hands once more, the sigils glowed and burnt once more, but this time, he let his arms jerk and move, if one were to see him they would relate it to a passionate composer, crafting the unseen music of tragedy in an empty theater, his one eye closed, leaving his mask pure gold and began to work. In front of him, stone and metal began to be pulled free from the mountain, the metal became red hot, shaped and fused into a pointed edge of beautiful brass and iron coloring, swirling into one another, the stone was shifted into a handle, beautiful and intricate designs were formed, giving it a design unlike any seen before. Yamat raised his hands higher, the sword, now complete, shined in the light of the sun.

CRACK

With a sudden drop of his arms, Yamat sent the sword deep into the peak, the mountain cracked at the sudden entrance and the blade stood stuck, only its handle and a small portion of its blade stood out from its new confinement. But he was far from finished. Conducting the song even further, Yamat did not let his hands or arms drop, instead, he held his right hand out, causing an unseen crescendo as his left hand continued its work.

The mountain began to shake.

A deep rumbling roar emanated from the mountain he stood upon, loose rock and stone fell from its placement, the stone pathway began to collapse even further, making the already treacherous path far greater, and it kept going. The woods down below felt it, trees collapsed as the mountain rained stone and boulders upon the region, even further beyond the roar of the earth shaking could be felt, the entire mountains felt it. Animals fled and hid from the rain of stones, it was as if the mountains themselves would crumble at any moment, rock slides formed, drowning sections of the woods in dust and dirt. Portions of unstable land collapsed in on itself, forming rifts and valleys leading to a shallow or deep grave for any creatures caught in them.

Yamat had raised both hands by now, a grand crescendo for a glorious song, the mountains continued to rumble and shake. In the flash of an eye, his hands whipped around, silencing the crescendo. The earth fell silent, his gift had been made. He finally opened his eye, taking in the sword that now stood there within the peak, one of his far better works. He descended the steps, coming to the base of the mountain, with another flash of runes he erected a stone pillar, there, written in strange glyphs, there was a message.

“The earth will quake and roar every 20 year, it will bring destruction to all around this mighty anchor of the world, the mountains will bring destruction upon the land surrounding them and the world will open up in great fissures. Only by climbing this mountain and reaching its peak will one be able to stop it, there sits a great sword and when pulled from its stone cell will the world finally fall silent and it will, ever grateful, give the hero who accomplished such a feat a great boon.”

This was sure to attract foolhardy adventurers and heros, wishing to do good for their people, only to either fall to their deaths or suffer that great boon. Yamat chuckled, he had seemed to have forgotten that little bit hadn’t he? Once pulled from the peak the sword would curse its wielder with great misfortune, brining plagues, war, famines, heartbreak, the likes to their life, and it would not stop, descending down the line of closest companion or relative unless put back into the stone, where the quakes would begin once more.

A quest that can never be truly completed, a beautiful work if he did say so himself, he was sure some lineage or order would come around, suffering the curse so that they may save the mountains and the lands around it, but no matter, they could be dealt with if they emerged. For now, there was still so much work to do, yet, he felt his power wanning, he had used a great deal to craft that sword and its effects. He turned to the south, seeing that great giant tree and its canopies, he could afford one last stop, it would not be a great tragedy, but he was sure it would be a nice entr'acte.





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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by AdorableSaucer
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AdorableSaucer Based and RPilled

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Gibbou

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Cadien





Gibbou floated towards her moon with her face in her hands, embarrassment colouring its every angle a reddish plum. That encounter with Enmity had been the most awkward moment of her whole life - quite literally, even! Occasionally, she gave her cheek a light slap as punishment for her deeds. After a while, she began groaning obnoxiously to chase the memories out of her mind, though it seemed to do little else than to redouble her focus on them. She then started singing to herself, perhaps also obnoxiously loud, even to the point where the celestial whales began steering away from her. However, no matter what she did, she just couldn’t find a way to forget her actions.

Eventually, she just held her breath and quieted down. The moon was just up ahead now, it’s calm, precious glow soothing Gibbou so noticeably. Gods and natural forces could try their best, but no one could ever take that sweet little orb from her. It was hers - hers and only hers. That thought alone pushed the memory of Enmity far into the back of--

Oh, sunlight, she thought of it again! Urgh! Once more the annoying “la-la-las” erupted from her mouth. She plopped down on the lunar surface and walked around in a circle for a few moments to calm herself again. In the end, she found herself a suitably dark cave, fashioned a blanket from the darkness within it and hid underneath it, droning a long, long groan.

She would awake an unknown amount of time later, to the sound of a persistent tapping outside the cave. Metal striking rock.

Gibbou poked her head out from under her blanket and cooed a ‘huh?’ Then her instincts kicked in and she sprinted out of the cave, materialising a club from the darkness. She lifted it over her head and jumped out of the cave. “Who’s there?! What’re you doing to my moon?!” she shouted in no particular direction.

Standing a great distance away from the cave’s entrance was a tall, broad-shouldered, supernaturally handsome white-haired man. In his hands were a hammer and chisel, his attention focused on a statue of… himself. It was a perfect match, yet the stranger seemed unsatisfied. Meanwhile, a colossal purple-scaled beast with leathery wings was flying circles in the stars above.

The stranger looked up from his statue. “Hmm?”

“Wha-...” Gibbou dropped her club and it turned to smoke on its way to the ground. “Who-... What-... Why-...” Gibbou took an extra moment to eye the man up and down. She collected her feet, her toes pointing inwards. She brushed some of the hair in her face behind her ear and immediately put her hands together next to her waist, wagging her torso stiffly. Eventually, she made an awkward wink with both eyes and went, “H-hi.”

The stranger nodded at her. “Hello there,” he said with a smile, before eying her up and down, and raising his eyebrows. “Blue,” he said, after a moments inspection. “What an interesting choice…” and then the colour of his skin changed, into a shade of blue similar to her own. The figure began to inspect himself, and for now seemed quite pleased with the change.

“Th-th-th-tha-tha--... Blah, bleh, sorry. Thanks!” Gibbou blinked at the colour change, her cheeks turning that familiar shade of red plum. “Y-you’re interesting, too.” Immediately, she closed her eyes hard shut and looked as though she was cursing at herself under her breath.

“Is everything alright?” the man asked, briefly letting go of his tools and allowing them to slowly float to the ground.

“YES! I mean, yes, everything’s…” Gibbou paused to take a deep breath. “... Perfect.” She shifted her eyes around the area like she was shelling it with machine gun fire. “Uh, uh, uhm… S-s-say, what’syournameIreallywannaknowplease.”

“I’m Cadien, God of Perfection,” the man seemed to smile even more brightly. “And who would you be?”

“Ohmysister,hewantstoknowmyname,” she whispered to herself while facing away dramatically. She then spun back, did an open pose, immediately regretted it and returned to her timid stance from earlier. “I’m, I’m Gibbou, g-goddess of the moon. THIS moon, by the way. Sorry I, I didn’t clean properly before you, you, uh, came and, uh… Do you want something to drink?”

Cadien shook his head. “I’m quite alright,” he said softly. Then suddenly he leapt forward, landing only a few feet away from her. “My apologies, it just felt odd to talk at that distance. So, you built this place?”

Gibbou turned a shade redder as Cadien approached, her feet almost involuntarily dragging her back towards the cave mouth. “Uh, uh-huh, yesh, -yes-, I, I made it, m-hm.” She looked desperately for something to say. “Y-you built that?” she pointed at the purple creature.

“I did,” Cadien nodded, following her gaze. “He’s the one that carried me up here.” Then he looked back down to her. “Anyway, I must say, you’ve done an excellent job. This moon is quite beautiful. In fact…” he broke out into a slight grin. “Almost as beautiful as its creator.”

Gibbou swallowed and the fingers on one of her hands desperately looked for more hair in her face to shove behind her ear. She took another deep and, with a cracked voice, said “tha-”, cleared her throat and finished with a louder “thanks”. To let out some tension, she punctuated her gratitude with a giggle, which included a series of snorts. She then froze and cleared her throat, eyes staring Cadien up and down. “Y-you, too.”

The God took another step closer, so that they were only inches apart. “There’s no need to be so nervous,” he said soothingly. “We’re both gods, we’re both beautiful, and there’s no shame in acknowledging that.”

“Acknowledged so badly,” Gibbou whispered to herself and swallowed again. “S-s-so… What’s, uh, what’s up? What’s the haps? The, the, the… The haps and the… Sunlight,shutuuup,Gibs…”

He chuckled slightly. “I wanted to get a better view of the world,” he said, “and this seemed like the perfect place for it. I could see everything. And as I was waiting for this moon to turn to the other side, I decided to keep myself busy…” he gestured toward the sculpture. “Sorry for that. Perhaps I should have asked permission before I began building things upon your creation.”

“NO! No, it’s very fine, I mean, it’s fine - fine as in okay, not, y’know… I mean, it’s very beautiful, too, just so...” She closed her eyes. “It’s fine. Ooooh, wooow! Look how beautiful Galbar is down there, from here!” She pointed frantically at the planet below, hoping it rather than she would catch her guest’s attention.

The attempt failed. “Anyway,” Cadien smoothly went on. “Now that I know you’re here, I can’t help but wonder if there’s a better way for us to… occupy ourselves.”

“O-occupy ourselves?” Gibbou stuttered and slowly turned back to Cadien. “I-I-I-I-I, I don’t know if I’m-...”

“Don’t worry,” Cadien’s smile deepened. “I’ll do all the work. You just need to sit back and enjoy.” He studied her face for a moment, his eyes lingering on her lips, and then… he walked away.

“Building a sculpture of myself was fun, don’t get me wrong…” he continued, as the tools flew back to his hand. “But maybe I should try sculpting someone else, for a change. Is that alright with you?”

A cloud of steam had formed around Gibbou’s head, though it turned to ice the second it formed. She flicked the ice away and let out a sigh. “O-oh, that’s what you meant.” She skipped on after him. “S-sure! What did you have in mind, mister Cadien?”

“Just stay in one place, and I’ll make a sculpture of you,” he said. “Right there should be fine.” Then he continued walking, and rose a small pillar of stone from the ground that was about Gibbou’s height.

“O-of me?” Gibbou stuttered and couldn’t really keep moving even if she wanted to, for fear of her heart collapsing.

“Yes!” Cadien nodded brightly. “Strike a pose!” Then he began to work, his hands and arm becoming a blur as he hammered and chiseled the slab of rock, the shape of which gradually began to morph and change as dusts and shards flew away.

Gibbou hadn’t really struck any sort of pose. She had sort of awkwardly lifted her hand as if to grab something high above her and done a soft shrug with the other, a pose she knew she would regret having made for the next six or seven aeons.

Cadien himself looked somewhat disappointed, but he carried on, and after a few minutes the statue had quickly taken shape. It held a pose nothing like the one that Gibbou had actually attempted to make, with one hand on its hip and another behind its head. Its expression betrayed none of her actual nervousness, and instead smiled warmly.

“There, I think that’s finished!” he finally declared, backing away from the statue until he stood next to Gibbou herself. “What do you think?”

Gibbou blinked. It was so much better than what she had tried to pose as. It showed strength, power, confidence - and it was only made of stone. It was better than her. She forced a smile at Cadien and nodded. “It’s, it’s great! Really, I have no words.”

“That’s good to hear,” Cadien nodded, before his mouth curled into a smirk. “Though to be honest,” he whispered. “I still prefer the real thing.”

Then he leaned down to kiss her.

Gibbou gasped and pressed her hand on his face while facing away. "I-I-I-I-I-I'M NOT READY!" She jumped back so intensely that she orbited once around the moon and landed about twenty paces away from Cadien again. "I, I mean, I just met you and you're really, really handsome, and, and, but this is going really fast, and I, I--" She took a deep breath and shouted, "I'm not comfortable kissing a stranger!"

That took Cadien by surprise. Now, it was his cheeks that reddened. His eyebrows rose, and he physically stepped backward. “I… I…” he stammered, unsure of what to say. His mouth continued moving, but his words failed him, until at last he finally managed: “I’m sorry.”

Gibbou took a moment to let her breathing slow down. "It's fine, but… You and I - we've just met and, and… I just don't think it's okay to just go all the way so, so quickly."

“Oh… I see…” Cadien said, still somewhat numb from shock. “Um… so… next time I think about doing something like that, I’ll ask you first, yeah? Sorry… um… let’s just move on for now… alright?” He scratched the back of his head nervously.

"Yeah, let's," Gibbou agreed with a shifty look. "So, uh, did you want something to drink after all, or?"

“Do you have anything to drink up here?” he asked curiously. “I suppose we could just create something to drink, but I can’t think of anything right now.”

"I have, uh," she conjured forth two glasses and filled them with hot air and some purple drink. "Grape juice?"

Cadien nodded, accepted a glass, and drank. “It’s good,” he said, after taking a moment to savour the taste.

"Thanks," Gibbou cooed quietly and sipped her own cup. "So, uh, did you have anything else you wanted to do up here?"

He glanced over toward Galbar. “I’m still waiting for this moon to circle around, so we can see what’s on the other side. Perhaps we can share stories? Of the things we’ve seen and built?”

Gibbou blinked and made an awkward face. "I, uh, I'm not sure I can just go back to that after, y'know…"

“Oh… I understand. Another time, maybe,” Cadien said slowly. Almost as if sensing that the conversation was nearing an end, the dragon landed nearby, looking at the two expectantly. “Could I at least ask how you built this moon in the first place? I was thinking I might create one myself… make the night sky even more beautiful.”

Gibbou took another sip and, looking to the ground, she answered, "Yeah. Sure." She held out her free hand and materialised a space rock in it. "As is the case with the creation of any large object, you just have to smash together enough material until it holds its circular shapes. I think you can just try that."

Cadien smiled. His skin reverted back to its original colour. “I see. Thank you. I suppose I should be on my way, then. Sorry again.” Then he climbed atop his dragon, which he realized he had still yet to actually name, but that could wait. “Hopefully our next meeting goes more smoothly!”

"Y-yeah, sure," Gibbou mumbled and gave a small, timid wave. "Have a nice trip."

Cadien nodded, and with a flap of its wings, the dragon once again took flight.




The encounter still hung in the back of his mind. It had somehow never occurred to him that he would be rejected, and yet in hindsight, it was something he should have been fully prepared for. He was a fool.

Cadien sighed, partly in embarrassment at the mistake and partly in frustration at his own shortsightedness. There was nothing more that could be done. He had made his apologies and she seemed to have accepted them. Perhaps his words would prove true, and their next encounter would go better. He simply needed to show more restraint - not just to her - but to others, for he doubted she was the only one who might react this way.

As he contemplated the situation further, he couldn’t help but think about how there had been a certain charm to her initial nervousness, and even her rejection of him. But he shook those thoughts off. He shouldn’t be thinking like that right now.

In the meantime, he had a moon to create.

So, he flew his dragon through the stars, circling Galbar, drawing rock and other space debris into a path behind him. Once it had achieved sufficient mass, he used his will to shape it into a ball, and began to expand it further, drawing in more rock and debris from afar. Then, finally, it was done. It was not as large as Gibbou’s moon, but it was closer to Galbar.

He dismounted his dragon, floated closer to the giant rock, and gave it a sharp kick. At once the cold, grey stone suddenly transformed into a vibrant purple, and the new moon began to move - entering Galbar’s orbit, though it would circle the planet vertically rather than horizontally. Galbar had two moons now, and Cadien had to wonder what it would look like if they ever aligned.

He glanced over at Gibbou’s moon, wondered what she thought of it, and then turned back to his dragon. “There’s one more person we should visit.”




Gibbou had retreated to her cave. She laid there on a mattress fashioned from shadow, staring emptily at the black wall. Thoughts as dark as the room swam through her mind: How had she made him feel? Was it her fault that it got so awkward? Should, should she have just gone along with it? She swallowed. Cadien had looked so sad when he left - she didn’t want anyone to feel sad! Especially not people who come to visit! How could she have--

She curled up into a ball and let out a scream into a midnight pillow. She could’ve handled it! Now Cadien would hate her forever and they could never meet again. Everywhere they went, it would be so, so awkward - oh, sunlight, he was even talking about making a moon! What would happen if, if they passed by one another?

Her head took cover underneath the pillow. Could she just die for a few minutes? Would that be alright? Just blink out of existence momentarily - a few aeons or so - and come back as if nothing had happened?

She sighed sharply. No, those were just desperations of the moment. She sat up and touched her cheeks - she had been crying again. Ugh, she was such a baby - she’d get over this in no time. Had to be a grown-up! Like sis! So why was it so damn hard to put her finger on what to do next?

A sudden sensation of chillness set in and she shrunk together, her hands hugging at her arms. This was no outwards sensation, but one of the heart. It was something she had felt before, but never for herself - only of behalf of others.

“I see… So this is what fear is, huh?” she mumbled to herself. She extended a hand and gave it a thorough look. That same hand had kept Cadien off of her, but it had only acted thanks to her instincts. What if those instincts hadn’t kicked in? What would’ve…

She closed the hand into a fist. This was part of her mission, wasn’t it - to understand what life needed protection from. Death was a given, but now - could this sort of unwanted act be included on that list?

She hummed to herself pensively, wagging back and forth on her mattress. Now that she thought about it, perhaps she had gone about this whole protection aspect too literally? Maybe she shouldn’t protect life all on her own, or through guardians that, in truth, seemed to do more harm than good. Maybe the solution would be to, to give mortality a type of power - a power that would let them defend themselves on their own, using her power to strengthen themselves? No, maybe not just her power - all kinds of power!

She clapped her hands together. This would need some thinking!





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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Lord Zee
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Lord Zee There must always be... A Zee

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She knew not the passing of time as the Prairie healed. What she did know is that the wind storms, these tornadoes, as she came to call them, were now a part of her Prairie. They came again, but never as bad as the first time. One here, another there, sometimes two… They tore at the ground and at first she wanted nothing more than to rid herself of them, but they grew on her. The animals learned that when they came, they needed to flee quickly, and the grasses began to grow stronger, more resistant to the winds. An equilibrium was forming naturally, and despite her urge to protect her life from outside forces, the tornadoes became natural.

When it no longer seemed that the land would suffer so greatly, Oraelia knew it was time to move on. She told herself that a lot, didn’t she? And as she hung suspended in the air, thinking on that statement, she smirked, then flew off in no particular direction. She reached the edge of the Prairie and the beginning of the Highlands, noting that the Prairie inhabitants were beginning to trek their way in. The Auroran deer were still there, and she could see several plumes of smoke from her vantage point. As she ventured further in, she came across a Pride of Leons, using the high terrain to their advantage.

She saw the male lounging upon an outstretched rock, basking in the sun while two cubs played with his tail. She snickered at that, bringing her hands to her hips as she began to chuckle. Her gaze then fell a short ways, as she saw three Leoness’ stalking something. A hunt! She scrunched her nose, the idea unpleasant to watch, and she began to turn away but something caught her eye. Their prey.

It walked upon two legs, had a head full of chestnut hair and carried a stick in one hand, fruit in the other. Perplexed by this strange animal, she flew in closer, only to see the Leoness’ burst forward at the two legged thing. The creature, hearing the Leons, brandished the spear to ward them off. She frowned, knowing It was not her place to interfere in the hunt. Then the two legged thing shouted for help as a Leoness flew at him. Her eyes went wide and within a second, she was between the Leoness and her prey. She stopped the Leoness with but a thought, and lowered it to the ground as the voiceful thing behind her began to shout in surprise, falling over backwards.

Oraelia then looked closer at the two legged thing, and look closer she did. She saw his memories, his emotions, the good and the bad, names, thoughts, feelings and everything else, all within a second. She blinked back her tears of awe and turned to the Leons once more, who stared at her, pacing back and forth.

She held up her hand, palm facing them. ”Tell your children and your children’s children, every Leon that passes to and fro, let it be known, that this life, these humans… They are not your prey. Do not provoke and only defend yourselves when your lives, and your Pride’s lives, are threatened. This is my command, as your Goddess. Now go, live in peace.” she said, a flash of light resonating from her hand. The Leoness bowed, and as they did, their sun symbols shined brighter before they flew off in the opposite direction.

Oraelia then turned to the man, whose name she knew as Tutono, but he was gone. She could hear him, running through the trees, his breath quick. She was about to go after him, but then she heard it, a distant wail. Powerful, godlike yet heart wrenching and full of agony. Worry overtook her as she immediately thought of Gibbou, but she knew it was not her sister’s voice. Nor was it Evandra’s, but another precious sibling. One who was in pain! She pursed her lips, and then took off. The human, as they were called, would have to wait for now.




It took her awhile to pinpoint the location of the scream, and even then it wasn’t as accurate as she had hoped. It wasn’t until she heard more shouting, this time many voices in tangem, did she finally find herself next to a great river. A tribe of humans by its shores, shouting and yelling, voices full of rage and grief. She quickly descended, her radiance reflecting in their eyes as they turned to look up at her. She took note of the small stone mound, and the man laying beaten and bloodied beneath the crowd. It made her feel… Concern?

”What happened here?” she said as her feet touched the ground, causing the yellowed grass to turn green again. An older human, one with grey in his beard approached, bowing before her. “Greetings, Bright one. To think-... Another would come to see us this day.”

She tilted her head slightly. “Another? Who- Ah, the one who screamed? I see… But first, why does that one lay beaten and bloodied?” she asked, walking over to him, the crowd parting, giving her suspicious looks.

“He-... He killed Jovon. Pushed him off a cliff.” said the Elder.

“Arek killed my love, so he could try to-to get with me. Who does such a thing?” Came a girl’s voice, eyes red amongst the crowd.

Oraelia looked over the man and knelt beside him, gently touching the bruises and broken bones, before looking up at the tribals. ”All life is precious. To the smallest mouse, to the largest of Leons. In nature, there is no revenge, but there can be cruelty- Even if it can’t be perceived as such. Yet this is actuality, the natural cycle. There is life, and there is death. But, you stand here now. Capable of thought, speech, feelings… Love, hate, anger, sadness… So complex, this ability to act above basic instinct. It’s a gift, a beautiful, wondrous gift and it means you are now a part of the cycle as well. You know what’s cruel, what revenge can do, what loss feels like. Most animals understand, but they act upon their nature foremost, but you? You understand perfectly, or you will understand, in time.” she said with a sad smile. She looked back at Arek again, ”What he did was wrong, there is no doubt in that. But to kill him outright…” she looked back at the tribe, ”Can there not be another solution?” she asked them.

There were murmurs among them and angry looks, all quieted by the elder.

"Bright one-... What do you mean? A life for a life… That is the way." The elder spoke.

She nodded slowly. "Yes, that is fair, but is it right? What if I offered you a solution, one that could please us both. I will take Arek and I will renew him, and in doing so he will return to an innocent state. A pure state, untainted by his desires and I will whisk him away to another, that way you do not need to see him, ever again. Think upon this for a moment, if you would." she said.

And they discussed this solution amongst themselves. Their conversation went in many directions, chief among the voices was the red eyed woman and the chief. The former advocating for Arek's death, while the latter did not wish to upset the 'Bright One'. Most others were leaning with the elder. Oraelia had mixed feelings about being appeased. She knew it did not please her, she did not wish to be pleased. She was simply acting in the interest of continued life. She wanted them to be better.

Eventually the Elder came before her and nodded with a heavy heart. "We have decided-... Take Arek away, far away. He is not, and never will be, a part of our tribe. His taint must be removed."

She nodded and before their eyes, two items materialized. From the ground came an oaken branch, dark and gnarled running with green vines. Then came a long white blanket, that wrapped around Arek's body with a flick of her wrist. The branch then flew into her hand and Oraelia placed the tip on his forehead. Before their eyes, he began to heal. Bones mended, and bruises disappeared, while dried blood reabsorbed. A mix of confusion, awe and rage erupted from the tribe as they saw this but they quickly went silent as they saw the blanket's power work. Arek awoke and then he began to change. There was a fear in his eyes, that quickly faded as his body aged backwards. From adult, to teenager, to boy and then at last to a baby, or perhaps a toddler. All happened quickly before their eyes, and shocked the silence with the small ones' cries. Oraelia wrapped him up in the blanket, cradling him with one arm. She soothed the child, ushering the tiny thing to sleep with but a whisper.

She then turned to the tribe and said, ”I will take him now, but before I go I offer you two things. Words of advice, and a gift. There are animals with my symbol, a shining star and a halo of light. If you are ever to come across these, they will do you no harm unless provoked. I ask that you respect them, and they will respect you. Spread that word, so all might hear it. As for the gift, here.” The oaken branch floated over to the elder, who tentatively took it. Others looked at the branch with curious eyes. ”I know I cannot heal your loss… But I can give you a tool that can heal you physically. Simply touch the tip to your forehead, or wound, and it will heal you. Elder, this is a mighty gift for your people, I ask that you do not misuse it, or I shall know. I do have one more thing to say… I am sorry for your loss. Life is a precious thing and… To have it not die a peaceful death, one of old age… My heart shares your loss.” she paused, taking a deep breath. ”Goodbye, dear humans. May you live long and happy lives.” She began to lift off, but the Elder stopped her with a simple phrase.

“Thank you.” She turned to look at him, his wizened face expressed in understanding, perhaps even reverence. “Thank you, Bright one. What is your name, so that we might know to tell our children? So that we might-... So that we might thank you by name.”

She smiled happily, ”I am Oraelia, Goddess of Sunlight, Mother of Life, Bright One. Your thanks has been received… But before I forget, who was the one that screamed? The god before me, what was their name?”

“Her name was Neiya, Bright One, and she said her love was eternal.”




It was later in the day when she found him. The man named Tutono, whom she had saved from the hunt. He was with several others, they were picking berries in a dense pocket of forest. He stood close to a woman, and as she watched from afar, they were playful with one another. She knew what that meant, if at all these humans were like other animals. When the two went off by themselves, Oraelia quickly descended before their attentions went elsewhere.

Tutono and the woman looked up at her, shielding their eyes for a moment before realization dawned upon him. He opened his mouth to speak, but Oraelia beat him to it. ”Hello! I bet you weren’t expecting to see me again.” she then smiled at the two. ”I mean you no harm, I just want to talk.”

The woman went behind Tutono, eyeing Oraelia and the baby worryingly and at first he looked as if he wanted to run again, but after a moment he nodded and said, “Thank you… For saving me, uh…”

”Bright One.” she said happily.

“Bright One.” he said with a small grin. “I… I am sorry I ran off. You are like… Like Cadien, yes?”

”Cadien? Yes, I suppose I am. But do not worry about running away, the Leons will never bother you, or any human again, unless first provoked. Actually I was hoping you could help me. You see, I have a child that needs parents.” she said, showing them the sleeping baby.

The woman tentatively stepped out from behind Tutono as she peered at the small, sleeping face. Tutono looked at her and then to the baby with a curious expression. “A baby… I have never seen one before. It’s so small… How would we… What would it eat?”

Oraelia blinked, having thought the answer was obvious. She pointed at the woman beside him, ”A baby needs a mother.” she smiled looking at her, hearing two heartbeats. ”Soon enough she will produce sustenance for the little one, until then… Mash those berries into a pulp and feed small bits.” she then paused, ”I… I have no right to ask this of you… But please. Take the child, raise him as your own.”

Tutono looked at the woman, and she looked at him before she nodded. She then took the sleeping child within her own arms and held him close, instincts kicking in. Oraelia then imparted on them knowledge and a gift. She told them as she told the other tribe, her animals would not harm them unless provoked, and she gave them the blanket. A powerful tool of renewal, and she charged Tutono with its protection.

She then bid the two, farewell.




Oraelia flew in no particular direction as she thought about the day's events. It seemed mortals had arrived in the world, and it was a wonderous thing indeed! Yet, filled with its own set of challenges. She hoped the world she had helped build was ready for them. She hoped it was fleshed out enough so that they could prosper and live in peace but as if an answer to her question… She came to a land just as barren like her prairie had once been.

She sighed. What were the others doing?

She shoved the thought from her head, it was time to create another ecosystem, wasn’t it! She cracked her knuckles and thought about what she might want to see, or perhaps, what the continent needed. Perhaps another forest? A couple mountains?

She waved her hand over the land, and before her sprouted a mountain range not unlike the Boar’s but smaller, and from beneath it sprouted shoots of trees like grass. Thick evergreens and tall pines with numerous other trees and berry bushes for life that would-

Something snapped.

She recoiled in fright at the sound, she had no idea where the noise had come from, but it felt as if it was all around her, but not originating within her, that she knew. A sickly sweet aroma filled her nose and she could taste it too, and then from before her the trees began to grow. The mountains began to rumble and quake as they ripped apart, sending large chunks crashing into the growing trees, sending the spires jagged and broken.

Oraelia tried to stop it, but nothing worked. She even shouted at it to stop, but even her voice was without meaning before the power before her. The trees grew gnarled, limbs cracking, growing wider, piercing other trees like giant swords. Wood burst apart, exploded from the growth as the trees began to stop, now towering over the very hills, resembings giants. Their canopy was so thick that it blocked out most of her sun’s light from below, covering the land in twilight. Oraelia was horrified at what she saw as she flew in closer. Everything was overgrown, giant sized and twisted. The plants and animals also had changed, to fit this new environment. Giants in their own rights, with many looking like mixes of several species put together. Plants had grown vines and flowers that did not seem to mesh, with colors and scents not smelling right at all. She had a panic attack as she saw a pack of wolf-bears, maul a giant moose to death and she flew off into the sky.

This had not been the plan.

What had gone wrong?




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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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Artifex and the first second city


The Oceants, Artifeix reaffirmed to himself as he scouted the globe, where most certainly not suited for the land. In the deep titans dwelled, monsters and environments that had to be fought, but up here there were few monsters great and terrible. Instead, what it had found was something far more complex. Something with infinite depth and potential. Mortals.

The god reflected upon these strange creatures that were set apart from animals by their intelligence as part of him, a butterfly, sat atop the curled finger of a curious human as it marveled at the beautiful and mesmerizing patterns found on the insect's wings.

With his mind he looked forward to the possible futures that might or might not be and saw what this apish creture’s kind could become. Builders of wonders. Creators whose works could well perhaps one day stand side by side with the gods themselves. He had seen these gods too as they created across Galbar, forming miracles and, concerningly, horrors. Sleeping monsters of destruction, deadly predators and hazardous environments. He was not free of guilt in this, for the isles he had just filled with insects now had a race that would need to survive in an environment not built to anticipate their existence.

Even more worryingly, things seemed to be appearing without intelligent design, the power that had spawned the first ant continuing to create without rhyme or reason. To Artifex this complete unplanned and random creation presented a significant threat merely by existing and worse, it was an affront to his sensibilities. In his opinion things should be ordered. Regimented. True art, true beauty, was made by wise minds, not cobbled together by random chance or fortunate happenstance.

If he wanted the mortals to survive, to prosper and build the future he had seen then in Artifex’s opinion they would need protection as they grew. In future they might build havens of their own, raise mighty armies to do battle, tend to flock and farms to feed themselves. But now, today, they scratched and scavenged in the world, marked only separate from animals by their wits and limited cooperation.

Yet his insects already built, farm and fight as one. They might be limited to what instinct told them they could do, they could never reach the heights mortals could by learning and growing. But perhaps they could help accelerate the mortal’s progress through both leading by example and providing assistance to the disorganized mortals.

The swarm that was Artifex ceased its observations of the world, and descended upon the mighty chain of islands spreading between the two large continents that largely been left undisturbed since it had risen from the sea and been painted by forests. There the disparate bugs became a cloud, turning the skies from blue to an iridescent rainbow of color as light glinted off innumerable colored wings and chitinous bodies. Then they became a storm, a hurricane spiraling around and down to a singular spot where they crashed together to become one once again. Artifex’s form solidified from the ankles up as the bugs built it once more until he stood upon the eastern coast of the greatest of the central archipelago, specifically on a small rocky peninsula found next to a river mouth that flowed into a calm bay.

The god stretched, cracked his knuckles, and set to work. ”First,” he dictated to himself ”The plants must be suitable to support large numbers of inhabitants both before and after they learn to tend to their own crops as insects can do.”

He swept his hand across the landscape, demolishing the forests in a small region around his hilltop and instead creating a region of plains filled with grass, bushes and flowers. But the god was not satisfied with simply mundane amounts of foliage, and so some of the plants grew to epic proportions. The grass grew tall and wild and the flowers sprouting in the plains towered over the landscape, making ants of mortals and filling the air with their pleasant scents. Giant bushes grew blue, black and raspberries the size of melons on their foliage after their flowers had been pollinated. Root vegetables buried their secret stores deep in the earth, growing tubers of immense, and delicious, size.

”Next, materials. I shall provide most of what they will ever need. They will need to go further afield for the rest, so as to avoid them falling into isolationism.” he said, pointing to the distance and filling the mountains that towered over the region and split barren wastes from the forests with copper, iron silver and marble for mortals to dig out. Then he converted some of the trees into rubber trees and coco trees while others grew massive, towing over all below and bore apples the size of bears. Finally in the earth below the plains he hid coal and aluminum, while beneath the sea he hid oil and natural gas.

”Other life must live here too. Gentle life that for them to master. Perhaps just a few predators. They will add a touch of danger, so that the mortals do not grow complacent Hey will also combat the wretched furry things left in the woods and prevent the herbivorous from multiplying out of control,” Artifex said, tossing out a hand to nature once more. First he filled it with insects of the usual size, spawning flies, grubs and more and adding them to the eusocial insects that were, of course, already here.

Along with these he created giant aphids who grazed on the plants and produced sweet honeydew and some cloud moths and madhoppers like those from the Kylsar Isles. On top of this he spawned beetles, large and , strange nocturnal bugs with spiny ridges that glowed in the dark and armored deer. In the woods he placed wandering Antwolf swarms that did battle with the furred monsters within and a mysterious, terrifying and yet totally harmless creature to challenge the mortals into conquering their fears.

”Now. To the heart of the matter. They will need a place to live. With sturdy walls to keep them safe, access to the water so they may drink and reap the tentacled one’s riches and plenty of room to grow their population and build their own wonders.” so spoke Artifex and with an uppercut of a mighty fist he caused walls to burst from the earth. Towering things of brick and mortar they surrounded the peninsula on all sides, walling off the sea and land over a truly massive region, one fit for the capital of a mighty empire. With a wave of his lesser hand he carved and paved roads through the city that centered around his standing spot. With the other small arm he created stepped terraces to form alongside the roads, flat land ripe for the construction of structures to serve as homes, business, temples, storehouses, armories and more.

Then he threw up his second powerful arm and yet further out smaller walls sprouted, encapsulating 3 times as much land as was held within the first set of walls. This second zone was left to nature with only roads breaking through the wilds which connected the mighty gateways that allowed passage through both sets of walls. Then he swiped a hand across the coast line touching the river mouth and formed more gates leading down to a series of wharfs jutting out into the water, ready to receive ships.

Finally he raised a great citadel upon the spot he stood, raising himself up on a great dome of copper that acted as its roof while filling the building with many rooms and underground chambers within which the people of the city could meet in times of peace and hide in times of peril.

All of this he carved out of a wondrous white stone more pristine than marble and harder than Granite. From atop the central citadel Artifex looked out upon his creation. It was vast, powerful and glorious and yet the empty plains of stone left plenty of room for expansion and personal expression.

”Finally this place needs to be maintained and protected” he said. First he summoned a swarm of bees and leaf cutter ants and imbued them with great size. He built the ants a home beneath the city, carving them expensive tunnels within which they could grow their fungal crops and nurture their young. For the bees he created great hives in the domes of the great watchtowers that dotted the city's walls. For food the bees would gather pollen from the fields of giant flowers he had crafted, while the ants would harvest foliage from felled trees to feed to their symbiotic fungus gardens and tend to herds of giant aphids in exchange for their honeydew. In return for their food and mighty homes they would maintain the city, repairing its walls and roads when they were damaged by weather, disaster or invasion. When mortals moved in they would leave them be unless disturbed. In the ocean below he spawned more Oceants, this time taking steps to regulate their aggression and binding them to the same rules. They would help with repairing as their terrestrial kin did and their hive would keep the monsters of the sea away from the bay, ensuring it would be a safe harbor.

For guardians he created Serdan the quick, Motsian the wise, Urgath the strong and Ordun the noble. These four great beasts were put to sleep almost as soon as they were created and hidden away in secret chambers below the earth, ready to be awoken only in the city’s darkest hour.

”I have built it,” he asked himself as he looked over his work ”but will they come?”

Artifex had realized that, while this would be a place akin to a home the mortals might build in the future, would they recognise it as one now? Or would they see a great and unnatural thing, filled with giant bugs they did not know were harmless to them.

”They will need to be shown. Yes. Yes, I will make mortals of my own. But they will not dominate the city, nor claim it as their sole property, nor eject those different from themselves. There must be a voice of peace within these walls if they have any hope to protect all of mortal kind.” Artifiex said as he stepped down from his perch and landed on the stairs leading up to the central citadel. Before him were rows and rows of terraces, all longing to be filled by the work of mortals. Artifex took a claw and plucked one of the floating crystals that followed him everywhere from the air. He closed his hand around it, and when he opened it once more a mantis, its chitin white as moonlight, stood upon his hand in its place.

”You shall be their eternal Queen” he told the mantis, before tossing it gently forward. The bug took and glided down towards the terrace below, and as it did it grew. And grew. And grew until it towered over even Artifex.

The Grand Queen of the Mantarin gazed first around the barren city she now found herself, then at the hands she now had where her talons had once been and then, finally, turned and gazed down at Artifex her eyes filled with calm curiosity.

“What,” she asked simply, “is my purpose?”

”You are to live here, to raise your children in this city and together you will show the mortals the value of this city. Sing the praises of my gift to them and welcome all who come here as friends.”

“My children? And mortals?” she said, hesitantly. She wrapped a hand around her mouth, her eyes darting to and fro unconsciously as she attempted to process both this and everything else. Her existence. Her purpose. The reality she had found herself in. Then she clapped her hands together and nodded, mind made up.

“I cannot wait to meet them all!”

”Then we have plenty of work ahead of us to bring them here. Are you ready, my Queen?” Artifex said, offering a hand up to the giant insect queen. She smiled knowingly, then nodded and grasped the offered hand firmly, “I am my king, let us not waste another moment”

And so it was that, only a few days later, the first Mantarin emerged from their eggs under the watchful eyes of Artifex and the Grand Queen.




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Cadien

&
Sirius


Space was a vast frontier, yet aside from the occasional star or piece of debris, there was very little to obstruct a god’s sight. Aside from the moons, and Galbar itself, of course. So it didn’t take long for Cadien to locate Sirius. Spotting him hiding amongst the stars, the God of Perfection spurred his dragon onward, making a beeline for him.

As the dragon flew forward, the celestial wrens began to fly towards the massive creature, their wing beats echoed through the hidden energies of the far reaches. As they did, Sirius slowly turned around and symbols floating around him slowly began to fade.

“You there!” Cadien called out as he neared the figure, “would you be this ‘Keeper of the Stars’ I heard about?”

“I am the sovereign of the stars, yes. You may call me Sirius, brother.” he stated calmly. He waved one of his hands, and the birds dispersed. A good thing too, for the dragon had begun to eye them with something resembling hunger in its eye.

“Hmm… good to meet you, then!” Cadien greeted him. “My name is Cadien, God of Perfection and the Master of Mankind.” That ladder title had been made up on the spot, but sounded right. “I met one who called himself Nicholas, while I was on Galbar.”

“Yes, he called out to the stars for aid, and I answered.” he responded.

“Hmm… and you told him to go west… to cross a body of water, and find a new land where he would be safe, yes?”

Sirius paused for a moment, “I revealed to him the location of a land I favored, and I gave him the ability to find it. It was across the ocean from where he was at.”

Hmm… that was not how Nicholas had phrased it. So it seemed that the mortal had indeed failed to properly communicate his master’s directions. No matter. “Could I ask why?” Cadien questioned with a raised eyebrow.

“I have plans for the region, but the reason is simple. He had fallen. He was about to surrender. He didn’t need a destination. He needed the journey.” Sirius answered.

“Fallen, how?” Cadien asked.

“Mortal life is fragile. They have strength, but do not fully comprehend how to harness it. He was restless, hungry, and thirsty. The elements would have taken him. I simply gave him the strength to stand.” he replied.

“I am well aware that mortal life is fragile,” Cadien said, somewhat flatly. “I meant: what about this mortal made you favour him over any other?”

“As I said, he invoked the stars. I intend to help other mortals, but I need time to prepare. There is also still much work to be done to preserve the stars.” the star god answered.

“And what is it you are preparing for?”

“I am creating a pattern, the Zodiac. It is to aid mortals understand the stars and themselves. However, the pattern requires symbols. I currently have five of the twelve symbols I require. I could assign the symbols to just anything, but that would be foolish. Such things are important.” Sirius replied, matter of factly, drawing the symbol of the whale, sheep, wren, kirin, and snake in the air.

The Perfectionist furrowed his brow. “And you based these symbols off animals from Galbar? What do they represent?”

“The pattern is incomplete, but they represent the six forces of the outer reaches and the six virtues of the stars, woven together. The whale is resilience, the sheep is the hidden push and pull between the stars, the wren is observance, the kirin is the stars undivided, and the snake is cunning.” he replied.

“Hmm… and how does this benefit the mortals?”

“One day, I intend for them to act with the virtues of the stars in order to manipulate the celestial forces, but they are not yet ready to handle such power. In addition, I am intending to better open their senses and to allow them to master their intuition, which is the riddle I am currently attempting to solve.” he answered.

Cadien did not understand why the stars were needed for that, but decided not to question the strange god’s riddles further. “Hmph. Have you set foot on Galbar, yet?”

“It is lovely is it not?” he answered.

“It is indeed,” Cadien nodded. “Can I ask where precisely you have been?”

“I have touched the grassland I have sent Nicolas too, and raised the Zodiac Stones there. It is an important touchstone for my future plans.” he replied.

“I think you should spend more time down there,” Cadien suggested. “You’ll be surprised at how much you miss simply by observing from afar.”

“I believe that I should.” Sirius replied.

Cadien nodded. “It is good that you agree. These stars look nice, but I find mortals to be far more interesting. Now… would you have any questions for me, or shall I be on my way?”

“Do you prefer the sea turtles, or the ones who live on land?” Sirius replied in his normal, soft tone of voice.

“A strange question. I have yet to encounter any turtles who live in the sea, so I cannot say.”

“Very well. I have no other questions.” Sirius replied.

“Hmm… well, if you need creatures to base your symbols off of, consider this one,” Cadien suggested, patting his dragon on the head. “He’s one of a kind, and I’ve seen no creature that was mightier. On that note, I’ll be off.” And with those words, the dragon turned and began to fly away.


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