Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Sigma
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Talanian Heartlands
Grand Sanctum of the Fathers

The Grand Sanctum, a small semblance, a small piece of what was once the home of the Fathers. Rebuilt and expanded upon to fit their desired result, a home away from home. The eerie glows of blood red ether crystals shining a menacing light in these darkened lands. Lord among all Fathers, Duralus, strolled upon the ashened ground, escorted by a cadre of of the robbed, faceless Black Guard, making his way into the largest structure at the center of the Sanctum's grounds.

As Duralas approached the steps leading to the assembly hall, he was greeted by rows of priests, members of the Church of the Fathers. The appearance of the priests were typical of one directly in service of the Church, cleanly shaven scalps with an assortment of finely-designed tattoos engraved upon their flesh, their person wrapped around in ornate golden, ebony and crimson garbs and trinkets. "Welcome, oh greatest of Fathers." They announced in unison. Duralas made no reply, his very presence, if silent, was more than enough to please the priests.

The Black Guard escort moved ahead, pushing through the grand doors that awaiting him. Walking down the grand hall as it led to the assembly room, fellows members of his race awaiting for Duralas. One of the other, lesser fathers, Ukani, stepped forward to greet his superior. "Pleasant mornings, my lord Duralas." He spoke. "I trust you rested well?"

"Well enough." He replied bluntly, clearly not in the best mood today, his bright eyes scanned the assembly room, it appears all members are accounted for. Duarlas turns to his guards. "Leave us." Without hesitation, the Black Guard turned and left, leaving the Fathers to their own devices. All took their seats around a large round table, at the center was a holograhpic device projecting an image of riftworld, although the Greater Talan region was more focused. "My compatriots." Duralas announced. "This past month, we've received both promising, and troubling reports from outside our borders." He paused for a moment, than continued. "Acra Aprella continues their game for the Northern Seas, another skirmish is on the horizon."

Another Father, Ellumis, spoke up. "Our spies have shared with us that there have been talks between Rosecordia and Norshao of a royal marriage of all blasted things."

"Speak not of those damnable barbarians..." Another, Jrekmal, spoke up with distain.

"We've also heard reports that the Valgradian Empire has been providing material support to Acra Aprella." Another spoke.

"The irritable insects had always looked upon us with distain." Duralas said. "It seems our enemies and rivals are intent on out maneuvering us. For what we know, we must act on it."

"I can arrange a diplomatic envoy to the kroak homeland." Jrekmal said. "They've proven loyal enough to our cause and may relish a potential battle to come."

Duralas nodded. "Make it so." He paused and scanned the room once more. "As for the rest of you, do what you must to protect our holdings. Make all who dare challenge us weep with regret and sorrow!"
Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Helios
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-- Kroak Top Land --

A long drawn *Hummmmmmmm* consumed the air. The swamp, festering with all of its smells, and sounds, and vibrations became controlled by the ethereal call. The wind and water and time moved in sequence with her presence like still water after a pebble's strike. And then it was gone.

The swamp remained still for a moment more. Even the beams of light, dancing on stilts atop the water, held their pose for a brief refrain. It was a meditation. A digestion of the Voice which ruled this bog; ruled this this space and time. Its maker was unknown. But what was it to know, when one could feel.

A sharper, more earthly croak cut the air. Impatience was palpable in its voice. Atop the weathered porch of a hut sat two frog-like figures. They relaxed in wooden chairs slouched and cross legged, juxtaposed to a game table. A small tub of briny water held floating figurines. They bobbled loosely in the murky bowl, their placement just barely noticeable amongst the checkered features of its glass walls. Within this grid the two figures played a game. Pieces moved and took other pieces. Each with a turn, casting aside the lost figures like garbage. The game was familiar: strategy, maneuver, risk, reward. And yet like all things Kroak, it was played in three dimensions. The real fight took place in the depths below.

“They dishonor us. They dishonor the Voice.” A whisper came from a purple Kroak, very old and frail much like their speech. Her people called her Guunghnoknok, and she was a venerable voice amongst the swamp. “Let us cast upon them like the gnats they are, creeping upon their short sight toward that which would end them.”

The figure across from her did not stir. He sat a green toadkin, grizzled with the scars of a hard life and various trophies of rotting bone and flesh. Xnokylynya, the chief of the Top Land. Between his fingers hung a small roll of foul smelling fungi. It danced glowing embers into the firefly-dappled sky. He took a drag of the biri and filled his generous sized sac.

Xnokylynya held the smoke for what must have been an hour, staring, watching the floating figures in the bowl.The sounds of the swamp had grown louder as the air cooled and darkened around them. Faint wisps of blue smoke began to trail from his nostrils. The high pitched trills of small insects. The altos of life amongst the canopy. The low croaks of his countrymen hidden yet thriving deep in the swamp’s fold. His smoke joined the early evening haze that was beginning to cloak the surface of the pond below.

His opponent sat patiently. By now the mist of night had constricted their view to only each other and the still floating figurines before them, all else was a warm haze. The same blue smoke trailed upwards from his nostrils, yet glowed like sapphires in the dwindling light of the day. Without warning something flew into their vision from above. A black figure, dancing wings the only clear sign that it was alive. The green scarred Kroak unleashed himself at it. Amidst a puff of incandescent blue soot shot a tongue. It wrapped around the flying creature and drew it into his clutches. And yet the captured foe was bigger than the Kroak. It scrambled and writhed its insectoid features as he gripped it with his hands. Its wings dashed frantically before one was torn off with a wrenching bite. The violence of the tussle betrayed the looks of the old battered toadkin. He held on with all his might casting wood and dirt into the sky. Without hesitation, the purple Kroak picked up the chair that had been her perch and broke it across the face of the insect. The beast was stunned for a moment, and in that moment it found its fate. Xnokylynya, chief of these lands, ran the creature's head into the murky bowl of figurines. The creature frantically tried to escape his grasp. Yet he would not relent. He held firm, his tongue slowly pressing its head deeper and deeper into the watery grave.

At last it ceased. The air turned quiet again; like it had after the Voice. And yet no hum cut the silence. Time and space crept along in the humid fetor of the bayou. The last whispers of light still danced amongst the lightning bugs. This time, only the deep, baselike song of Xnokylynya croaked into the night air.

“Tell the Talan we feast.”
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