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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Kho
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It was quite the revelation, but death was something marvelous. There was something quite awing in knowing that there, in that place, there where Zylana and Falyn were rolling about in the throes of killing and being killed, was an end to life. "It is wondrous," the god whispered as he circled the struggling pair and was lost in thought. He glanced at them. "But my goodness it's so unceremonious, so... shoddy. Hasty. Offhanded and inattentive. Where's the weight!" He grabbed the pair of them, eyes wide and brows furrowed in deepest fury. "Where is the wonder!" And even as he roared the both of them came to be clothed in armours of heavenly make, below them steeds of earth and wind, in their hands twin-bladed and tri-bladed swords as had never been seen in worlds before and would never be seen in worlds ever after.

Zylana stood, head high, blade raised, steed of awe turning the earth. Falyn faced her, visor down, eyes bright, sword ready, steed neighing the song of the deeps. They circled slowly, their eyes never once leaving the other. "I have thought on it long, and though I loved you once - and deeply too - still must you die." Zylana spoke hectoringly.

"Ha! I died long ago Zylana - the day I gave you what should ne'er be granted womankind. That heart there churned in the dust below your tyrannous steed - I died the day I gave it you. So lift your blade, woman, I'll prick the heart that wounded mine and see if in it's blood or wine - methinks it neither this nor that, it's liquid hate! Come come, we'll know it soon at any rate."

"En garde!" Zylana cried!
"Death!" Falyn thundered!

Their steeds erupted, their swords flashed, their cries sounded, and ah! Oh! Brave Falyn fell! "Oh me!" Cried wonder, and raised that dying head to his chest. "Oh chivalry! Oh courage! Oh swords and death and glory! Oh! Yes, this is as it ought have been!"

And when days had passed Zylana was no more to be found in that place, but there was something wondrous still. An armoured form sprawled on the earth, tri-bladed sword in its death grip, his killer's arms not far away. Aye, there'd been something wondrous there!

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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Kho
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This is the story of the thing in the forest. This is the story of the thing that sees us, the unseen, and which we, the unseen, cannot see. This is the story of the shadow of the shadow, the echo of the echo, the horror of the horror. It is the story of the awe maker, the child taker, the eye waker: it is the thing that sees.

We did not marvel much in those days and only knew one thing: we were made to evolve. We were the silence of the forests. We were the shadows of the trees. We were seeing and unseen, eating and uneaten, hearing and unheard. In our simplicity we knew nothing of ourselves - we did not see the tree, we did not see the forest, even ourselves we did not see. We saw in a shallow sort of way, without registering or knowing. But when the shadow of the shadows shimmered in the deathlight, when the echo of the echo rumbled in the jungleheart, when the horror of the horror stalked us, saw us, heard us, then we learned to see and then we learned to hear. Our eyes were wide then, we saw what we never before could see. It was fear. It was terror. We saw the trembling droplet on the edge of the smallest leaf dangling on the furthest branch at the highest point of the greatest tree. Terror gave us sight. Horror gave us sight. Wonder gave us sight.

Perhaps we saw it once. We saw it in the deathlight, when even light was dying. We saw it when the jungleheart was quiet. It was the silhouette of a silhouette, the thought of a thought, the memory of a memory. But it held something - pink and red and loud, fleshy unlike the flesh of the trees, veinous without the veins of the leaves, earthy with the stench of rust. And in the cries of that symbiote we heard it, and its speech was thus: 'I was the hidden jewel of the worlds, and I have come forth a wonder yet hidden; and I have come for no other purpose than to be known. Behold me ye who are above and who are below, ye who are granted the beholding arts: your perfection is in knowing me!'

Our perfection is in knowing you.

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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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Darkwood Denizens

Two shapes darted through the Darkwoods like shadows in the night. Clad in large cloaks of forest-kin fur that still grew despite its former bearer’s demise the two elves stalked, the rest of their forms covered in simple leafy wraps for modesty, while the rest of their skin lay exposed but not bear, for it was instead covered in delicate patterns of blue woad and red bloodroot that allowed their pale skin to blend with the shadows, while also allowing for a bit of personal expression. One was covered in swirling fronded strokes of her namesake: Fern, while the other, Stag, had depicted a leaping deer upon his own chest.

The pair also wore crowns of branches, Fern’s a ring of thorny spikes while Stag had stolen the wooden antlers of his naming for headgear. Fern thought that was going a bit overboard on a singular aesthetic honestly, and sometimes teased him about it for fun.

Less fun was his constant skittishness, which presently resulted in a hushed conversation between the pair.

“There it was again!” Stag hissed, sharpened branch raised towards a patch of shadows, “I swear something following us”

“This is the third time now. Keep it up and you’ll end up like Acorn, mauled by a barkwolf after people stopped listening to her crying out about them” Fern replied, lowering her own spear, having not quite gotten to that point with him yet that she hadn't turned the moment he had cried danger.

“It’s not a wolf it was… person shaped” stag replied, before saying “Maybe it's an outcast?” (banishment, temporary or permanent, was the favored form of punishment by their tribe) “Or one of those ghosts the Prince sometimes talks to?”

“Oh so your pretty eyes are as good as a god’s now?” Fern teased

“No but... Come on I’m not the only one who’s seen things” Stag insisted, a touch flustered, “shadows in the distance, here one moment, gone the next”

“Ehhhh. I don’t know…” Fern replied, less certain about this point. Prince Termas had explained ghosts to them after people started thinking he was going nuts, and soon after people had started to see things too, but no one was sure if it was real ghosts they where glimpsing or just tricks of the light creeping through the leaves “look let’s just keep going, apple trees are close”

They were, indeed only a few steps away, but so was something unexpected: The pair suddenly found themselves stepping out into the evening sun where it should have still been hidden by the apple trees, the pair squinting hard at its sudden intrusion. So much so that they almost fell into the pit that had replaced their gathering spot.

“What? Where? Did we get lost?” Stag asked, standing upright front he stalking stoop they had been taking through the forests, and raising a hand over his brow to look around “I swear there wasn’t a clearing anywhere near here”

“I don’t think so, look” Fern replied, pointing down into the pit where, half buried in rock and soil, she had spotted the crushed remains of several apple trees.

“What in the world?” Stag said as he pampered down at them, before looking back to Fern only to find her half way through clambering down into the pit.

“What, I don’t want to come home empty handed, do you?” she called up to him before continuing downwards. Stag glanced back and forth for trouble, sighed, and then followed suit, sliding down into the pit and helping the more daring elf with salvaging whatever apples they could from the ruins, each picking over their own half of the ruins to increase harvesting speed.

A little later Stag, a leafy gathering bag full of dirty and bruised apples, met back up with Fern, finding her standing before a gaping hole in the deepest side of the pit, one they’d missed at first due to all the shattered lumber clogging it up.

“Guess this is maybe why everything collapsed?” she said to him as he approached, rubbing a pointed ear thoughtfully before noting that “Now that I see it, I think the whole pit leads down here?”

“Do you. Do you think something dug out? Like some sort of massive root viper?” Stag said, suddenly worried that whatever it was might be coming back

Fern shook her head “Doesn't look like anything’s scraped against the edges or something… maybe god made it?”

“Why?” Stag asked the obvious question, to which Fern replied with the equally obvious answer “So we could explore it of course!”

“What. Now?”

“Yeah! What are you, scared?” Fern leaned in to tease

“No!” Stag replied, unconvincingly due to a voice crack “but… Ok hear me out. What if instead we go back and tell people about it, and then we explore it once people know where we’re going?”

“Oh. Smart. That way they can come explore too” Fern agreed, somewhat missing the point “Sometimes your cowardice is a blessing Stag”

“Thanks… Hey wait!” turned to glare at her for the insult, but Fern was already racing up and out of the pit, pausing only to stick out her tongue at him before continuing to hurry on upwards.

“Hey come on! Wait up!” Stag called after her, before chasing on up after her as darkness fell upon the land.

Into that darkness came a shadow, abandoning its curious stalking of the elves as they hurried back home, and instead slinked down into the pit to investigate it instead.

First things first, the Umbra phased its head through the ruins of the trees to find the apples the elves had missed, before turning physical in-order to dig them out and consume them. Then, once sated, it drifted towards the deep dark entrance to the underground the elves had found and put off investigating till they had supplies and had told people about their discovery.

The simple minded shadow had no such thoughts, only curiosity: where did the hole lead?

There was, of course, only one way to find out.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Lord Zee
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Lord Zee I lost the game

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Long it was that her tears fell, for uncountable did those days feel to one lost in grief. For it was such grief that gave her pause, weighed her down into un-action, drowned her in depths unforetold. She could only guess the reasons; the loss of her eyes, the tangle of her thoughts, the power she felt powerless within. She had gotten what she had asked for, well, at least what a part of her had asked for. Now she would never see again, her beauty was tarnished forevermore and as much as she knew that was a petty thing to be so upset over, it was unsettling.

It was those vain thoughts she hated about herself. She had learned to be better and still, like a disease, they whispered of looks and pleasures. It seemed it would be what she would continue to struggle with for an eternity. Now, bathed in her newest creation she lay in the dark. Even without her eyes she could feel it all around. It was that fear that compelled her still to cover her eyes, even though they were blind. It was the thought of seeing herself surrounded by crimson, the very blood of the innocents and beings she had destroyed or had inadvertently had murdered over her lifetime of lifetimes. A vivid image struck her mind, of the time she slaughtered those creatures of scales and of fiery breath. She bathed in their blood, simply because another had slighted her. Because she was petty.

This was their blood… All of it. Every creature, every mortal, everything that had had beauty once before. Now reduced to one of their most basic components. It was her greatest sin.

Her final punishment.

No! It couldn’t be a punishment. There was nothing to punish of course. She hadn’t really done anything wrong. So a few died here and there, it was all in the name of beauty. There was no reason to be so upset, for she could be beautiful once again, couldn’t she? The time for showing such weakness as this was over. If there were others they could not see her in such a state.

Wyn finally removed her hands from her eyes and was quite shocked to see, that in fact, she could see. Not like she could before, not in the traditional sense but the blood that surrounded her, looked just like that; blood. A red haze, shining like any blessed light, pulsating and flowing like it was alive. Like she had submerged herself into the veins of a vast creature. She could see in every direction, or as long as her blood went in said direction. Until the very edges became darkness, obscured by what restricted her sight.

That was infuriating but would have to be dealt with another time.

She kicked off from the bloody floor and within seconds she was at the surface, where her blooded sight grew weaker as she looked up at what she could only assume was the sky. Here in that place of her creation, only a mist or haze of blood carried itself in the air. Instead of pulsating or flowing, it hovered like a thick cloud. Like a suffocating blanket, that hung too close to the skin. It was not as rich in color as the blood she lingered in but it still gave her sight enough where she could see just what she had created. At least an outline of it, for her power lingered in it all.

All expect the dark mounds that she could not find sight in. It worked as if the dark liquid around her was a current in a river and she could not see past the rocks in the flow. She swam over to the closest one and reached out to touch it. She did not need to feel it to know what it was, the very air gave away its secrets; for the earthy smell was undeniable amidst the iron rich sky and atop it, like hairs, grew grasses that absorbed the nutrients of those thick waters.

A darker red beat within, like rust in color. She could feel the blades between her fingers, soft and clumped as she pulled herself up. There she lay upon her back for a time, taking in her mire with every breath. She found if she closed her eyelids, the dark returned but she could note little else of the world beyond her vision. Making her question what else might be transpiring outside her borders.

She could hear just faint whispers in far away lands. Echoes and songs. Something far off made the ground under her vibrate for a moment so brief she knew not if it had occurred at all. There were others at work, she was sure of it. Maybe they could help her? But why would she need their help at all? She frowned. She was Wyn, the only person that could help her was herself. That was the truth but what if… What if someone she had known was out there too? Could she face them for her crimes? Perhaps they could serve her now unlike before. Or maybe they just deserved death! A growl escaped her throat and she lurched up.

Slender hands grabbed her own throat and she took a deep breath, feeling the blood all around her on the cusp of boiling. Wyn needed to remain calm. This was no place to lose herself. She needed to remain focused if she were to survive whatever was coming her way in that new world. It was new, right? Well… There was really only one way to find out.

It did not take her long to find herself skipping from island to island, using the bloody trails as a sort of guide. In a sea of red, her feet could find resolve and not be cursed to wander without knowing. Her legs were strong and the wind through her air was a blessing she did not know how desperately needed it was. For once the Goddess was happy and she had not been so for a very long time. If at all she even knew what happiness was. If she even needed happiness. She was better than that, of course. A sigh escaped her lips and she shook her head. Such intrusive thoughts.

Then something came upon her or had she come upon it? Where one moment the flow of blood was cohesive and knowable, the next, something else struck against the flow. It was not absent from her vision however, she could see it- them. For it was them, a group of beings huddled about. Their blood flowed vertically and she could see it in so much wondrous detail. Veins connected to everything, leading back to their pumping, beating heart. It gave a macabre outline of the individual that resided within. So Wyn landed before them to hushed whispers and fright, a few even fell back into the thick waters. Once coated in blood she could see further detail and a better outline of what composed them. Athletic bodies, clad in nothing but frailty. Fair skin scratched and dirty. Hairs of many colors, now dripping with blood and mud. Curious but fearful eyes. Slender faces gaunt with weariness and pointed ears. Like a knife made of flesh, a pair for one. Where had she seen those before…? She gripped the bridge of her nose with a hand and the mortals collected themselves. Wyn thought and then it became alarmingly obvious. She had seen something similar before, so long ago, now reflected back at her. They were not such perfect images of the past but they were enough. Oh how they were enough.

With a speed she was oblivious too, she came upon one closest to her, a male, as the others panicked and once again fell backwards. They spoke in hushed voices, words she knew but cared not for. The one under her fingertips tried to escape but her grip was steel. She pressed her fingers into his flesh and she felt him. Oh how such touch sent ripples of sensation down her spine. To feel, to be felt, even as he tried to paw away at her, cursing in such rudimentary language. It was marvelous. It was terrible. She loved it. She hated it. Why not kill him? Let his beating blood, so pure and untainted under that clammy flesh, join the mire. Why was it so tempting?

Before she could glance any more information, a hand shattered itself across her face. There came a short scream of pain, followed by a whimper. She followed the noise and looked at the one who had broken her hand. Noting the lesser stature, Wyn knew it was a female. She let go of the man, much to the relief of his fellows and then she stood before the broken hand. A part of Wyn wished she could have felt the slap as it was intended to be. So pain could flush her cheeks and she could feel the rush that it brought. She was not angry. She was furious. How dare she have laid her filthy little hands upon her! How dare she! It wasn’t her fault. She was just trying to save her friend, they knew not what she was. Another growl escaped the god’s throat before she took a deep breath.

Try as she might to regain some sort of composure, it didn’t work. Wyn looked into her very heart, to all their hearts and changed the blood within. Terrible screams burst forth as they fell, writhing in pain upon the mound and in the bog as their blood spewed from their eyes and mouths. She wanted them to suffer, like she had suffered. To be in pain for all eternity. It was what they deserved for trespassing, for touching her! She blinked, her bloody vision fading into black like a snapshot of time before it refocused on what transpired before her. Wyn covered her mouth in horror and quickly waved her hand over them. The relief was instant, the pain and screaming were over but in so quickly a time, the damage had already been done. No longer did they stand so tall and proud, or with curiosity in their eyes but now they were withered and dying.

What had she done?

Thinking quickly, she lifted her hand and the crimson liquid of the bog returned to them, providing life and sustenance. Even this was perhqps too rushed and far too effective, for the blood transfused with their very souls, willed or not, and they left the very prison of their withered flesh to become something else entirely. Now what rose before her were beings of a different make, composed entirely of blood without any hint of flesh. They retained the same basic shape as they had before but there was little detail to define any differences between them. The only tell tale mark that they had once been creatures of anything other than blood, were their ears. Pointed sharp, rippling as their bodies pulsed and flowed ever on. As if they were stuck in some terribly tragic loop. A dance of elemental suffusion.

It was beautiful.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Chris488
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Anath Homura

Numerous outsiders that would become the deities among a new pantheon had come forth, and begun to shape the nascent world in accordance to their will as per her request. Now Anath Homura soared across the shimmering skies as she watched the myriad of the recently arrived all summon strange and wondrous changes in the world. Changes that were both beautiful and brutal in equal measure. It was only the beginning, and yet all of it caused her to reminisce.

She wondered whether it was foolish to repeat herself by attempting to create more mortals as gifts to the Divine, considering the cruelty inflicted upon the innocent that she had witnessed in the past, and the ache in her heart when she recalled how she was forced into forsaking the majority of her children to annihilation. She had subtly created souls that would inhabit the aspects of the world and preserve the memories of those that prematurely met their demise, except souls remained unseen and lacked creativity. She still sought to see farther upon the Sacred Path which would require further faith, and so she finally came to a decision… Soon she would recede into her realm as intended, but before that - she would go on a pilgrimage and deliver her gifts across the land to those that would accept them.

The red goddess called upon her otherworldly strength and began to construct that which would carry her smaller creations along the journey. Divine power coalesced ahead of her and manifested as a metallic colossus resembling the equine creatures that had yet to be created in this iteration. It was an immense mechanical beast of burden, and designed to hold its cargo within the confines of its hollow chest accessed via walkways built across its exterior, along with various openings located sporadically throughout its form. It was inert in a state of silent stillness, currently empty as it levitated above the land, but that changed when the remaining half of the ritual resumed.

Excess energy of the spell seeped through the contours of the colossus, and materialized among the many crevices and cavities found within. With experienced precision, Anath Homura summoned the elements and merged them into living beings - beings similarly shaped to herself, but blank and awaiting characterization at the hands of those they would come to worship or despise. The bodies of these primordial amalgams that would eventually become humans were nestled safely into the heart of the colossus, ready to be transported now that the ritual was complete - The colossus itself stirred and strode onward like a thunderous storm upon hearing her unspoken command. Then Anath Homura alighted upon its crown and proclaimed to the world:

“Humanity shall once more be reborn, dormant and dreaming until their fires within are rekindled. Forged from the essence of the cosmos - ever malleable to the desires of the Divine, and capable of change and cultivation. Speak with me, and receive my gifts, for I have begun my blessed travels…”

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Utrax
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Utrax 𝕰𝖝𝖙𝖗𝖊𝖒𝖊 𝕭𝖎𝖗𝖉

Member Seen 3 mos ago


Fire Islands

Today, the Fire Isles had a visitor of most unusual form.

A massive unicorn, towering over the head of every mortal, pranced about along the shores, wildly knickering and winnying, and seemingly having a fantastic time in the land of sea and fire. His fur was a dazzling display of white, which shifted dizzyingly to different hues and colors, as the light of the volcano refracted off of it.

From a distance, a few Porries pointed and screamed, alarmed at this creature that was shaped so.
… what in the name of the gods is that?!

"BLESSED CREATORS, WE BESEECH YOU," cried one panicked Porry, with all the zeal of a destined preacher, "HELP US!"

“Already on it!” A scratchy voice yelled back. Running behind the unicorn was Po, dazzled in flames and arms outstretched as she cut across the sand, leaving prints of molten glass in her wake. “Come ‘ere! Let your favorite Po have a taste!”

Myrtu halted immediately, turning their massive equine head toward Po, to regard the other with eyes of a dazzling multitude of shifting colors. In a voice that came not from a mouth that moved to speak it, the Unicorn responded,"HAH! As if a creature, whom looks so lowly that their clothing is but burlap, would even be allowed to dine upon mine own immaculate flesh!"

“I’m all fire, baby!” Po trilled as she leapt in, hungry eyes poking out from the blazing white void under her hood of fire.

"All fire yet thine words are but puffs of smoke- was thy mother but a bundle of hay?" Myrtu did nothing more than dodge aside, prancing out of the way, in a manner that was clearly provocation.

Po crashed into the ground, molten sand spraying everywhere. She sat up in her new pool of glass. “Do you mind prancing a little bit more this way? I know a nice warm spot for you.”

"Is this the speed and fierceness of the flames on this world? At the pace of the glaciers, mayhaps you'd catch me in an eternity- come closer- catch me, brutish cinder lacking in ferocity! Where art thine words ablaze? Is this all you've to offer?" Myrtu pranced absolute circles around Po then, at a speed that was casually slow. Obliging the request, perhaps?

A long pause. “What?” Po stood up.

Myrtu only halted then to dance like a proper show horse as they explained, "You've all fire yet no bite! Insults, burning being, they are what can scald the heart of thine enemies before they blaze has chance to lick the flesh. Demoralizing an opponent! Think now, then insult mine whore of a mother!"

"Your mother's a whore?" Po asked more than declared, taking a few steps closer.

"Come now- conviction and true vitriol must drip from thine words! Thou must believe that mine mother is but a slattern and streetwalker in kind!" Myrtu noted the closer steps yet… stood there. Tauntingly, even.

Po pointed a confident finger at the horse and shouted until her fire blazed a blinding white, setting the area aflame. "Your mother is such a whore, that it damaged your confidence as a child and inadvertently turned you into a self satisfying braggart adult in the hopes of fulfilling the lost feeling of a complete and nurtured upbringing!" She stomped her foot and a cylinder of lava blasted from the earth to surround them in a small arena of heat. Po jabbed her finger in the sky again and shouted, "Now let me eat you, it runs in the family!"

Absolutely leaping with joy for Po, Myrtu whinnyed as they proclaimed, "Brilliant! Wonderful! Absolutely fantastic!" They laughed despite the danger,"Perhaps sampling a part of me shall indeed be a fine reward- you've a brilliant and growing future in the realm of proper insults, despite that one being startlingly specific, and it deserves nurturing!" Myrtu's horn began to glow, a most singular and blinding light beginning to coalesce into a bead at the tip, "Yes! I shall feed you the heat of distant stars whose colors I did take for mine own!"

Po pointed at the far too bright void under her hood. "Hit me with it!"

Myrtu, eyes swirling with the absolute chaos of colors known and unknown to this world, aimed their divine horn directly for the target. In a display that would blind any mortals unfortunate enough not to turn away- with the condensed heat of hundreds of thousands of cosmic suns upon impact- a beam of pure light and color shot from the pointed tip of Myrtu's horn! Such intense heat did too add to the collection of sand turned glass, creating there, glasses of chaotic form and chromatic colors where the excess sparks flew forth from the beam. This brilliant laser sustained for moments far longer than likely expected. Oh, was Myrtu giving Po an absolute FEAST.

"BLBLBLBLBLBLBLBLBLBL!"the rapid fire gulping sound echoed from Po until it ended with a loud burp and the tiniest "''scuse me."

Po held a hand up to her hood and lurched for a moment. Another burp snuck out. Then another… until finally the loudest burp of all cracked through the sky and a galloping herd of flaming horses came stampeding from the god. The majestic beasts of flame scattered and thundered, all but hiding another small "excuse me!"

Once again, Myrtu jumped and pranced about with glee, "Glorious! Brilliant! EXTRAORDINARY!" And in a small aside voice replied, "Thou'rt excused."

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Enzayne
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Enzayne Invading Eldar

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Pain. Fury. Agony. That was all she had to focus on. The rest was a haze - a blur of memories unsorted and unaddressed, slipping between fingers. Where was she? When was she? Who was she? That last question still lingered. Aveira. Betrayed general of her creator. She felt the sword in her hand, the blistering heat and animosity that radiated down through her arm as she wielded it. Yet it was not there. Aveira was not sure if she had arms with which to wield a blade anymore, nor could she see anything but a black void - hindering her from confirming her suspicions.

Fragments of being returned to her mind, single panes of memories ordered to return some semblance of awareness. She had never been disloyal, of this she was certain. Battled to fulfill a goal set by her creator. It was not her own failing, but her creators refusal to admit her fickle shift in mood and goals that landed her here. A scapegoat. A venomous contempt filled her, even as she was acutely aware that this was the fate of all who served another. To be used and discarded when it was no longer convenient to be kept around. She wasn't surprised, just angry.

She tried to move in the inky void, but found she could gain no purchase nor flail any limb. Another painful flash of fractured thoughts brought her recollection to her banishment - her creator and her disgusting enemy-turned-companion dissolving her to wipe clean the memory of her creators fickle mood swings and ulterior motives. She was unmade, and yet here she was. Stewing in nonexistence in some unknown void. A sliver of contempt replenished by some notion of mercy. Perhaps her creator had doubted herself in unmaking her and stowed her away - perhaps it was simply a cosmic mistake. All Aveira knew is that she could no longer feel the presence of her creator, nor of the teeming lifestream that had infused all of creation. She was elsewhere, or elsewhen. Suspended in nothingness and made to wait. Perhaps this was the punishment for a service well done. The prize for loyalty. She vowed then never to serve again, though knew it was a mere distraction from the fact that she was unmade and banished. How would she ever make good on such a promise when she could not even speak?

As if called upon by her seething thoughts, a distant voice pierced the veil of existence. Elsewhere, and elsewhen, a call had resounded across creation - it was only by happenstance that it had breached whatever prison Aveira found herself in. “I am Anath Homura! Come forth to me, and become the cosmic cultivators and architects of a new realm! Join my pantheon, and become Divine! Shape the sturdy land, shift the singing sea, sculpt the soaring sky, rewrite reality in accordance with your visions!”

For a time, all that existed in this featureless place was this call to action. Not even Aveira comprised enough form and will to contain the echoing thought once it had breached through. It made her desperate for freedom, and Aveira struggled against the bonds of creation.

She called out for aid, but did not have a voice with which to speak aloud. This was her only chance. She would answer the call and gain her second chance. A new life. A new domain without fickle creators and treacherous overlords. Aveira willed herself towards the call, straining all her spirit to find the breach in the veil and ride this summons back from whence it came.

This time, she would make sure noone could do this to her. This fate worse than death. It was her time to wield unyielding power. She felt the words close around her and pull her with them. Rewrite reality according to her vision.

"I accept."

The universe under Anath Homura's rule shifted imperceptibly. Reality groaned with an inaudible pop and where there once had been nothing but wasteland, there now stood a winged woman with skin like ashen snow. Aveira trembled and nearly toppled over as the sensation of being washed over her senses all at once. Sight, smell, sound, touch, taste. In an instant she perceived the world around her, but it was nothing quite like she recalled.

She looked herself over and found her form foreign as well, yet could not truly recall how it differed from what shape she had worn before. She extended her wings to feel winds whip and howl among her feathers. This was new as well, even though she knew she had always had wings. Faint recollections of her creator, old wars, and the devastation of her prime enemy - all seemed faint and growing more distant with each passing second. Almost as if this new place burrowed itself into her mind and replaced her old self with new experience. The angelic warrior found herself unbothered by this; deep down she knew she wore her ideal form, untouched by meddling or subterfuge. And hazy, spiteful memories were slowly replaced by a singular purpose built from the very words that guaranteed her freedom. A vision for reality itself. It was her time now.

Her prideful adulation was cut short by the rumble of the earth, and she gazed out to the horizon to see a massive silver structure - no, weapon - strike and burrow deep into the dirt and rock, kicking up dust and debris that was still unable to fully cover this majestic assault. It towered over all and dominated the skyline even compared to mountains. The angelic conqueror realized now that she wasn't alone. All around her she could sense shifts in the atmosphere, rumblings from below, and the groaning dirt being invaded by roots.

Aveira stretched out her hand, and in her grip a long staff with a sharp, forked prong extended out of thin air. The obsidian metal with which it took shape resembled no other material, but was formed from the recesses of her mind to establish her vision as truth. Doubling as both a weapon and a tool to herald her rule, it rested neatly in her hand like an extension of her arm.

Likewise, all around her torso and limbs this black metallic substance took hold, molding itself around her form like an impenetrable fortress and protection of her modesty. Though she was certain she was no longer home - she felt the absence of her old creator deep in her being - there was no telling who was also here, or how soon they would oppose her ambitions.

It was with that first thought that Aveira spread her wings, and lifted up far from the wasteland in which she had arrived. She struck out westward with rapid pace, intent on avoiding whatever had assaulted the planet with such force. She needed knowledge of the land, before the time came. That had been her mistake last time. Relying on another for knowledge.

Now, it was going to be all hers.

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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Timemaster
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Timemaster Ashevelendar

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A Hellish trade deal

Ashevelen let the Umbra roam the forest as she lifted herself in the air, becoming invisible to the mortal eyes. Watching their interactions with each other and the world around them. They were given minimal intelligence, for Ashevelen wanted them to learn about the world on their own.

The Umbra roamed the forest trying to hunt the different critters that roamed it with minimal success at first. Unknowing how to use their ability to become corporeal, they would hide in the shadows and pounce on unsuspecting prey only to pass through it and scare it away. After, maybe an hour, some of the Umbra learned how to use it and suddenly, food became easy to catch.

It was in that hour that some of the Umbra decided to go after easier prey than other critters. Themselves. Two bigger Umbras approached a smaller one from behind and in a moment of inattention, pounced on it. Biting and clawing at the smaller one, eventually it died and the two other Umbra started devouring it.

Ashevelen appeared as a thunderbolt between them in an instant.

STOP you fools! Did I give you permission to kill each other? ” shouted Ashevelen at the two Umbras. Her anger was clear on her face.

In a moment of pure stupidity, the Umbra looked at each other and decided the divine being in front of them would make a truly refreshing meal and tried to attack Ashevelen. With a mere flick of a finger, the two died instantaneously.

Other Umbras watched the exchange and approached their creator, heads bowed down low. Fear radiating from their bodies.

Let that be a lesson to all of you. You shall not eat each other and you SHALL NOT try to attack your creator. Next time I shall remove you from this plane, forever. ” continued Ashevelen, as the Umbra surrounded her. Quietly listening to her words.

But maybe, just maybe…I was too harsh. I shall teach you today something very important for your future. I shall give you 3 great gifts. The gift of knowledge of trading, light resistance and how to strengthen yourselves to better hunt. May these three gifts be a sign of my benevolence and love towards you. ”.

Concentrating on the surrounding Umbra, Ashevelen looked into each of their blank eyes and started talking about the basics of trading. Buying, selling, profit and loss. Everything that would make a person a shrewd beginning merchant. Following that, she let out a strong friendly light from her body and while the Umbra initially tried to shield from it, they quickly realised that the light was not doing them harm but strengthening them. Continuing on that, shadows swirled around her body. Flickering in and out. In. And. Out of existence. Some of the Umbra understood the hidden message in the shadows and quickly tried to reproduce the effect. While still at its early stages, one of the Umbra gained the ability to modulate their shadowy hands into something sharp.

Just as the teachable moment had concluded, a new figure entered the scene. Floating down from above, there was a godly aura about him. As he planted his feet on the ground, the Umbra suddenly felt compelled to throw themselves to the forest floor and prostrate themselves. He was tall, with red skin, a pair of horns, and dark attire. The soul of an unknown creature swirled around him, occasionally trying to dart off only to be yanked back - as if tethered by an unseen chain.

He briefly glanced toward Ashevelan, before his gaze shifted to the sludge-like remains of the two Umbra she had slain, forgotten. The stranger extended a hand, and the two souls of the Umbra suddenly became visible for all to see. They were pulled toward him, and began swirling about his figure alongside the first soul.

Ashevelen felt the arrival of the new divine being as they approached from above and went on her guard. Unknowing the divine aura, it was better to be ready for anything than be caught unprepared.

Umbra, leave us. ” commanded Ashevelen and while the other deity compelled them to bow, as her creations, she had the upper hand for now. All but the few that were already close to them left the scene, swiftly.

Looking at the souls of her Umbra as they went towards the newcomer, Ashevelen nodded. Whoever this deity was, it had power over the souls of mortals.

Welcome divine brother. I am called Ashevelen and these are my mortals, the Umbra. If you wish to bring them harm, know that I will be mighty displeased and I shan’t take it kindly. ” said Ashevelen, her voice calm but guarded.

“I intend these ones harm,” the newcomer said, nodding to the souls he had taken. “Though I didn’t think you would mind, given that they are already dead. But where are my manners? My name is Aldion,” he said with a polite bow.

Those you may take. They had the audacity of trying to attack me. Their creator. If they weren't dead, I’d kill them again. But, I didn’t mean those, I meant the others. I ask you, Aldion, from one divine to another, let them be. I’ll find a way to punish the others for their sins later on. ” replied Ashevelen, her voice becoming friendly. Gone was the guarded tone.

“Enacting punishment for sin is a commendable goal,” said Aldion. “And it just so happens to be a goal I have taken upon myself. You aren’t after my job, are you?” he asked, raising a bemused eyebrow and offering a slight smirk. Contrary to his words, there was no suspicion or unfriendliness in his tone, although there was calculation in his eyes.

Is that so? You wish to punish the sins of mortals…” said Ashevelen, a smile on her face. The gears in her brain were already working out potential ways of how to use this new divine in her own purposes.

I wouldn’t wish to take your job at all, my friend. Mortals are silly things and I’d have to punish them for their sins, the cosmos would end twice over by the time I’d be done. But, either way, if that’s what you wish to do…I wish you good luck. ” replied Ashe, making a small break before continuing “ May I ask what you’ll do with those souls?

“I have some ideas,” Aldion nodded. “I’m not ready to tell you every minor detail - trade secrets, and all that. What I can tell you is that the process will be quite painful, and there will be little left of them by the end, but what is left shall be repurposed into something more productive. I’m also not going to be collecting every single one of them by hand, as I have done thus far - that shall become tiresome, and as you say, will take far too long. Right now, I am currently looking for a suitable location to establish a… centre of operations, so to speak. Not here, however. Do you find this agreeable?”

Ashe nodded as Aldion explained and her eyes flashed at word trade .

If they deserve to be punished then feel free to do so. I care about what happens to them while alive. If they follow my commands, they are free to do whatever they want but if they don’t…death is what they deserve. I had mortals before and it always ended the same. This time it will be different. ” replied Ashe, her tone turning sour at the mention of previous mortals.

Shaking her head, Ashevelen grinned at Aldion. An idea finally formed in her mind.

I have an idea.You may call me a master trader and a pact maker. So, I would like to propose a trade between us. Would you be willing to hear me out? ” continued Ashe.

Aldion raised his eyebrows. “I had a bad experience myself, in my past life,” he said softly. “I place great stock in pacts and contracts myself, and so I understand they are not to be engaged in lightly. But, in the name of a different future, I shall hear you out.”

A fellow pact maker. Very happy to hear that. I need a way to control my Umbra, to make sure they follow my commands but without me having to punish them every single time they break a commandment.

What do you say, if we make a pact that all my Umbra’s souls will, by nature, go to you. No matter where they are in the world, they will be attracted to you and your base of operations. Only way for them to stop this would be to follow all my commandments. If they break any of them, they will come over to you. You will get the power of their souls and I will have a way to guide my mortals. All you’ve got to do is to build an artefact or something of the sorts which will attract their souls to you, just so they don’t get other ideas and try to run away. How does that sound?
” said Ashevelen, laying out her plan to Aldion.

“That sounds more than fair,” Aldion agreed. Then, he extended a hand, and closed his eyes. A moment later, a thin black leather tome with gilded edges was conjured into existence, and a feathered quill appeared in his other hand. He flicked his wrist, and one of the Umbra souls shrieked in pain as it was set ablaze by phantasmal fire, transforming it into energy which flowed into the quill. His hands a blur, Aldion then flipped open the tome and began to write, with the Umbra’s essence serving as his ink.

Then, suddenly, he stopped. “What sort of commandments?” he asked her curiously.

Ashevelen watched Aldion’s display and shook her head. That was more majestic than it needed to be. With a snap of her fingers, a papyrus appeared floating in front of her. The terms of their deal written in plain language.

The commandments are as follows: You shall not kill other mortals unless it is in self-defence or an accident. You shall not cheat each other, ever. All trades are final and non-refundable. Always strive to get the best deal out of a trade between two parties. If another mortal asks for your help in trading with another, you are not allowed to refuse him. Your decision in a trade is final and you will not change your mind. You shall never back down from your part of the deal, even if you lost. Never lie. Always tell your version of the truth as you know it. Follow the law. If you outsmart someone in a trade, you must accept if the other party proposes another to you. ” said Ashevelen, her voice was like steel. These were her commandments and they will be followed or else…

As she spoke, the papyrus in front of her started to be filled out with the words she spoke.

May we add to the deal, as I am the one losing here, that for each 200 received souls, you shall give me one of your more…martial mortals to protect my people if needed and they have to follow all my commands, whatever those may be? ” asked Ashevelen, cautiously.

“I cannot accept such a term,” Aldion said. “For I have no mortals. No living ones, at any rate. And even when we count unliving ones, I’m still down to only two.”

Not yet at least. Let’s say…every 300 souls and when you’ll have mortals, you’ll pay me back for every 300 I already sent over. They can be mortals, golems, undead warriors. I care not, as long as they can act as bodyguards.

Aldion considered this for a moment. “500,” he proposed as a counter-offer. “For you are asking me to fall into debt. And I have not yet decided how many mortals I am to produce. Some breathing room is justified, I think.”

400 and if you will never make mortals or not enough. I will accept an artefact of my choosing for every 10000 souls, you would be in debt for. ” quickly countered Ashevelen.

“That seems fair enough,” Aldion nodded. “Now, I have some conditions of my own. Whatever forces I provide you with cannot be deployed against me, my realm, or any of my servants. Doing so will result in the immediate destruction of the forces who have been ordered to do so,” he suggested. “Of course, alongside this deal I would be happy to sign a separate non-aggression pact, specifying that our forces are not to attack one another on the condition that we do not interfere with one another’s contracts or trades, and that you do not interfere with the destined afterlife of any souls which are rightfully mine. Does that sound agreeable?”

Ashevelen considered the offer for a moment, more out of habit than anything. The terms were more than fair.

I agree. Your forces will never be used against you, your realm or any of your servants as long as they identify themselves as your servants and that they do not initiate the attack first. Self-defence will be permitted. ” clarified Ashevelen and the continued “ I agree with the non-aggression pact as well. I will not interfere with the souls that are rightfully yours. By rightfully, you mean as per our first pact, I assume. I’d like to add that if our people are, for whatever reason, compelled to attack each other by a different mortal or deity that we will meet and discuss it in person. Each and every time it happens. That way, we will avoid the situations where the pact is broken due to outside interference.

Aldion shook his head. “When I say rightfully mine, I refer to all souls which shall be bound to me - by contract or by deed. If a soul of any creature is already destined for my judgement or ownership, then any contracts you make with such a soul cannot supersede that. You may barter for anything else they possess - just not their soul. And of course, when I speak of deeds, I refer to oathbreakers, dealbreakers, perjurers, betrayers… for they are the worst sort of scum. Those who live lives of crime or commit grievous atrocities according to the laws and customs of the society in which they live, as well, he explained.

“I speak not just of creatures who commit such offences against me or my servants, but of creatures who would commit such offences against anyone his voice became surprisingly heated, but then he settled down somewhat. “I am sure a goddess who values pacts and contracts as much as you do will not object to the gruesome punishment of those who try to break them, and I am equally sure you have no interest in laying claim to that which is already owed to another.”

Ashevelen shook her head, “ That would mean you’re getting all the Umbra, no matter if they followed my commandments or not which would null the first contract. You would be already getting a major part of the souls of the Umbra, any more and I might as well just kill them all now. Oathbreakers, deal breakers are already covered in the first contract. They would break my commandments if they would do so. Violence is not permitted either. Everything that was stipulated in the first contract is part of the second. You’d end up getting the souls, claiming the second deal and you will wiggle your way out of the first one’s debts. ” countered Ashevelen, talking fast.

Aldion sighed. “You misunderstand,” he said plainly. “I was speaking of creatures other than the Umbra. Such as…” he pointed his quill toward the soul of Zylana. “...This one. Let’s say one of her kind - not one of your Umbra - commits one of the crimes I have already described to you. Their soul shall be mine to judge and punish. Let’s say someone attempts a barter with you, either offering you their soul, or asking you to protect their soul, in an attempt to escape that fate. Do not accept such a trade, because their soul is not theirs to give - it is already mine by right.”

He gave this a moment to sink in, before continuing on. “ Besides, the terms under which I am allowed to claim the Umbra’s souls are already quite clear - I do not see how this loophole allows me to claim all of them. You have quite clearly stipulated that if they follow all of your commandments they are exempt from such a fate, and to be quite honest I do not see why I would wish to punish a soul that truly obeys every single one of your commandments.”

Ashevelen laughed out loud and shook her head.

" Sorry, my new friend. I assumed you talked solely about my Umbra. I won't interfere with the souls of other creatures. Unless they request one of my Umbra or even myself, to barter on their behalf with yourself regarding their souls which I won’t refuse but otherwise, I shall not interfere with their souls.

Making a small break to check her papyrus, she continued talking soon after : “A divine that knows the meaning of honour and won’t punish mortals just because. A rare sight. One more thing before I agree or disagree. Say a Umbra or another mortal is doing something truly evil, let’s say negotiate the death of innocents but only because he was hired to do so. A Umbra would not be allowed to deny helping out the negotiations even if they knew it is a bad thing to do. Would you brand said Umbra as a sinner?

“Your commandments do not make allowances for killing innocents, even as part of a contract,” Aldion pointed out. “So yes, I would.”

I don't mean as the killer themselves but as a negotiator, a third party which my commandments state they are not allowed to refuse a request. What I mean is, if one does evil without knowing it is evil, do you hold that one accountable? "

Ashevelen waited for Aldion to speak but before he could answer she shook her head.

" No need to answer that. I understand what you mean. I agree with your terms. If a troublesome situation appears, I'll make sure to point it out to you and we can discuss further. "

Aldion raised an eyebrow. “Very well,” he said, taking another glance at the contract Ashevelan had drawn up, before beginning to write a copy of his own into the tome he had conjured.

If you would sign on the contract with your blood, souls, initials or anything that might link to you, I shall do the same on yours. If we are in agreement, of course.

“It would be best if we each signed our names on both contracts,” Aldion pointed out.

Ashevelen grinned at Aldion. “ Very well. I think this will be the beginning of a long partnership.

Ashevelen signed the contract she had drawn up and passed it onto Aldion to do the same. Aldion did just that, before offering his book and the Umbra-infused quill to her.

Taking the book and the quill, Ashevelen inspected them twice. The book to make sure there were no tricks and the quill for her own curiosity. Satisfied, she signed the book with her name, binding the Umbra to torture and pain if they should not be what she imagined them to be.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Double Capybara
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Double Capybara Thank you for releasing me

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First Delivery

Anath Homura & Lektoria

Atop the Misty Tableland new life could be found, born from the work of Ia’Akhul, the wave of life had not discriminated against the artificial land form. Strong winds had dictated a dilapidated land of spread out trees and shrubs, but a verdant land nonetheless. Another thing could be found at the abnormal mesa, and that was the goddess of earth, Lektoria. She patiently awaited a visitor, who she could feel was drawing near.

A strange storm announced her arrival, thunderous and yet suppressed so that the land and sky only slightly trembled as a giant beastial colossus forged from celestial metal currently cantered towards Lektoria. Upon its massive crown stood the familiar sight of Anath Homura, who sent forth her otherworldly voice from afar, with her words crystalline clear and powerful despite the ambient whirlwind around her.

“Mountain-Maker and Lady of the Deep Earth, I come with peaceful greetings and gifts to bestow upon you.”

The sphinx smirked simply, jumping down from the rock outcrop to the ground, looking up at the matron goddess. ”Neat.” she said with her typical casual irreverence. ”I will accept your gifts, it seems they will be part of what is to come, and so, you have my word that they will be defended and protected under my care.” she declared in a louder voice, while waiting for the red goddess to land.

Soon the colossus came to a halt, levitating above the land as Anath Homura leapt from it and alighted close enough to Lektoria for a more conventional conversation. The strange storm that accompanied the coming of the colossus dispersed suddenly, replaced with a calm breeze which gently blew upon the two goddesses. In the absence of the whirlwind, the ethereal song of the stars could be heard, and its melodious presence bathed the world in serenity.

“I am comforted by your conviction.” Anath Homura said, before she bowed respectfully and the motion was followed by her colossus companion in the air as it repeated the act.

”When given a task, I do them with certain zeal. Sorry if I gave you the wrong impression in my birth. But, what you bring to me seems important to the planet. And I can see why, born from clay, it seems, a natural child of the earth, a human.” the earth goddess looked up with a curious fixation, having already paid her own respects with a bow, she looked only at the mortals seemingly carried by the colossus. ”And yet, not only earth, I also sense… fire, not lit, but marked in clay. Hmm. Fire… Well, given your name, I should have expected flames.” she jested. ”But… of the elements, to make Fire the second ruler of these beings… that is peculiar.”

Anath Homura indicated bemusement by tilting her head after she arose from her bow, and then subtly furrowed her brows while she replied with an impassive tone. “These vessels are forged from earth, water, wind, and fire. Bones, blood, breath, and being - all of the aspects that are necessary to be alive. In the end, each of the four primordial elements are equally vital in sustaining their existence.”

”Oh on a physical level, yes, but… these things do have a certain spiritual meaning. Earth takes shape and lasts, that is the opposite of Wind, which is shapeless, merely kissing the face of that it touches, while being so ephemeral too… Water dilutes, it consumes, but it also holds within it the essence. Now fire, hmm~ Fire consumes, what it consumes is changed or lost, it also hungers, desiring more and never being truly satisfied…” she patted her chin. ”But perhaps that is why these mortals are needed? The other races may find satisfaction in existence alone, this one, however, does not, as its very being is defined by seizing more to its flame.” she finished, a feline smirk on her face.

”Yes. That will do. I can see their place and why I was called to nurture them. I will hold my share of them to this mesa for now, keeping their safety, but also letting them rest in anticipation of what is to come.” another upward look, a certain hint of apprehension. ”You wish to also gift them to many gods, hmm? I am honored to have been among the first. But… well, you are far older than me, far older than the planet, who am I to judge. I do request however a certain quantity of them, unspoiled, as to guarantee the populations of the eastern shores, and perhaps a bit beyond.”

Anath Homura merely possessed an enigmatic expression as she listened, and then allowed a pensive silence to linger before she spoke. “You may freely sculpt the humans that you receive, of which will be a plentiful amount. If you wish to distribute them across the land, you may do so as well.” Accompanying her words, the openings scattered over the colossus began to funnel the slumbering humans within via watery cradles carried by the whispering wind. Thousands of stark statues were swiftly laid upon the land beneath the colossus, now resting in a complex arrangement of interweaving and swirling rows. Afterwards the wind and water that transported them receded back into the massive beast of burden, leaving the once-cargo unblemished and alone.

The earth goddess overlooked the whole process, raising and reshaping some of the land around to better shelter the humans, at no moment losing that certain bewilderment in her eyes. ”Well, there they are. I will need to better survey the land, and let the elves nurture some of it, anything to avoid needless suffering.” she tilted her head, now looking at Homura. ”You know, for such a small figure, you are extremely heavy. Lots of burdens to carry, I take?”

“I am what I am.” Anath Homura answered, and then sighed. Her one-eyed gaze drifted aimlessly across the horizon for a moment, before it returned to Lektoria and the red goddess softly smiled. “I will be returning to my realm after I have greeted the other gods and goddesses that are willing to speak with me. Lektoria, I ask that you please visit my home and share the gift of your wisdom with me again.”

”Oh, back to your realm? That explains some of the things I felt. Now, I may be a bit earthbound, but I do have the desire to meet you again as well. My spirit may be foreigner, but my guidance is not. It is my wish to keep the world moving along the tracks of the plan.”

“Then this is farewell… until we meet again.” Anath Homura politely intoned with a fading fondness, before she stepped back and suddenly leapt high onto her perch atop the crown of the colossus. With the completion of the first delivery of the slumbering vessels to be shared among the Divine, the red goddess resumed her journey across the world to spread the seed of humanity.

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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Utrax
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Utrax 𝕰𝖝𝖙𝖗𝖊𝖒𝖊 𝕭𝖎𝖗𝖉

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Northern Glaciers

High in the northern glaciers atop the world, beneath a sky which danced with random colors and dazzling glimmers, there came crackling lights and dazzling bursts of raw godly power, erupting from the surface of the ice, as the unicorn god bucked and danced about. She was creating! And who could possibly create without proper song or dance? All of those beautiful rainbow sparkling lights she had placed in the sky had been inspiring. Before her stood a statue delicately carved from the glacial ice by her godly horn.

This, too, would act as inspiration for... whatever those Mortals were? Truth was, when she had found them crawling across the ice, freezing to death, their appearance had been met with both surprise and disgust. Why didn't they have any hooves? Or fur, for that matter? Their bodies were large, sure, but they were not STRONG. Nor did they have the speed to set themselves FREE from the approaching icy grasp of death. A whole heard (which might be the proper term for the skinbacks) of them lay frozen atop the ice around her creation.

She would show these (now) transparent observers (that were probably ghosts) what a truly perfect form was! Of course, Myrtu considered herself to be perfect, but hers was not a form achievable for mortals. No! They needed something to aspire to. Something that they'd ask to be blessed as, if ever they sought the freedom of the skies or the freedom of dashing across the land.

“Who is causing these colors?” Ravdur asked himself as he was making his way to the glaciers. He was busy admiring the landscape that he had created when strange lights appeared in the sky. Curious what is behind these sudden colors in the sky, he ventured north to where they seemed the strongest, and soon then, he could sense something. A god, like him, and he moved faster to see who this god is and what these colors mean.

After some time, he arrived at the glacier and found both dead and light. The area was bursting with light and rainbow colors, but that did not distract Ravdur from the frozen remains of the mortals. Kneeing down to one of the bodies to study it and like the rest. They were clearly killed by the cold, and he wondered why these mortals were here? Explorers maybe and but either way, unprepared for the cold.

After going further north, that was when Ravdur saw the god he was looking for and was surprised. He was expecting something humanoid like him and instead found a creature dancing around blinding colorful lights. He can easily sense that this creature was a god and probably the one responsible for the strange lights. So after walking a bit further to the god, Ravdur made himself known. “Hello, I am Ravdur, and who are you? You the one that made these strange lights in the sky?"

The large Unicorn, four legged with a set of wings that seemed made of rainbow light itself, turned its head to Ravdur. All of her motions halted and, for a long quiet pause, she looked Ravdur over in curiosity. When she spoke, the voice came not from the movement of the mouth or lips, but projected by some other means aloud for the other god to hear.

"Twas I who colored the sky, behold– ah- Where are thine hooves?"

Turning her sparkling eyes of no one color toward the frozen mortals, she spoke, "These creatures had not swift hooves to spirit them from this place- which seem illsuited for furless hides, so supple– and so they did meet their fate in the ice but you. How is it that you, with same hoofless feet as theirs, made your way so far north?" She shook her head, her mane dancing wildly about as she asked a third question,"I sense within you that which makes thee like me, yet... you have no hooves. How could you be like me without hooves?"

Ravdur's glowing blue eyes met with her colorful eyes and he spoke. "I do not have hooves, and I can ask you the same thing hooved one. For I have not have thought I would have met a goddess like me.” The first of the gods he meets, and this one is a curiosity.

"I am a god, we move much faster than a mortal, and why I do not freeze like them. I am the lord of ice, it is my domain, the cold never bothered me. And how we can be the same while different. For while we are clearly different, we both share the spark of the divine. A spark that separates us from the mortals and that others that have come to this world share. I take it you have not met them yet, but neither have I. Only seen their marks on this world and the one that called us here.”

Then his tone shifted slightly to somewhat serious, “I have answered your questions, but you only answered half of mine. Who are you, what is your name, hooved one?”

She listened with attention, her ears perked toward Ravdur, as his words were analyzed and agreed upon with a slight nod. "I doth suppose there is merit in thine response- that we are indeed the same. How interesting!" Shaking her mane about in a shimmering display, she replied, "I am called Myrtu, in the tongue of mine kin which sprint now across the depths of the cosmos."

"I have seen-" Myrtu paused "-mine reason that I, in past tense, did believe the others had hooves as I; Atop a snowy peak, I did behold one whose legs ended in mighty hooves, though their upper half were more similar to thy own. From there, did I sprint here, for your domain, Lord of Ice, brings me comfort. The cold reminds me of a home I did claim amidst the stars," and as she turned her eyes to her sculpture of ice, Myrtu replied, "And I do enjoy shaping the ice into forms upon which I shall bestow life, in eventuality."

There are more of her in the cosmos? Ravdur thought to himself.

More godly hooved creatures that roam the stars and speak without speaking? What oddities did he miss while sleepily wandering the void? Did her kind cross paths once? Better to think about that later, “Hmm, so the gods of this world are not what I expect in this case.”

What do the others look like? He wondered, but his thought shifted when Myrtu spoke of home. "Home… that word, I am not sure I had a home or ever had one. My memory is not the best, and I guess this world is my home now.” He said with a sigh, he does not remember much about his past before being called and wonders why that is so.

But he forced his mind to focus on the matter at hand. “You spoke of shaping the ice and giving it life. What kind of life are you making?”

"We say that home is beneath thine hooves, anyway- or… whatever those things you possess are- feet! Yes, in such case, therefore- you truly are home," Myrtu responded, before turning to their carved ice. "This shall act as guide and mold for coming Pegasus- a winged and hooved, creature, with a strong back, and determination enough to define its own freedom and purpose! Though I have worn myself weary and require rest before granting it freedom from its icy form."

She moves so that Ravdur can see the carving better. It appears to be a creature similar to Myrtu, though it lacks horns or the same stature, and it is reared up on its hind legs, with finely carved feathered wings. "The ice acts only as template, for I've not the ability to do.. likely what you're able- what are you able to do, Lord of Ice? Create ice sculptures with ease, no doubt," she laughed slightly before waiting on the answer.

“Hmmm, I see Myrtu and a Pegasus, you say,” intrigued he is. So Ravdur walked to the carving to get a better look. Stopping just a few feet from it and it studied it for a bit. An interesting mount if one could tame it but based on what Myrtu said. It will be a challenge, or maybe a different method be used.

Ravdur, chuckled, "Yeah, I can make ice sculptures with ease.” Looking down at his hands and briefly ice formed in his hands, “I have created some for this world, though so far only making cold ecosystems for this world. Since these mortals have ventured this far north, they had to have crossed it.”

Ravdur took a minute to think and then spoke in time, looking at Myrtu. “I do have plans for this world, and I think my next creation will be black ice. Something for the mortals and myself. When they discover how to use it, and do you have plans for this world too?”

Myrtu briefly looked down at the frozen Elves, shaking her mane disparagingly, "If they crossed through better zones of habitation then truly, they were foolish, yet admirable to have come so far."

Then to Ravdur, she said, "I have come to understand those odd non-hooves and will bless the world with examples of a multitude of superiorly hooved creatures. So, for now, there shall be Horses I'll bring into this world. Many and more. For if these creatures cannot have the freedom of being born with hooves, then perhaps an alliance with those that possess them, will alleviate what must surely be a source of sorrow and pain. All should be free to know what it is like to be carried swiftly by hooves of liberation!"

Myrtu danced about with her front legs only briefly before asking, "And what shall thine black ice do for the world? What creature is there that can withstand the cold- for if these creatures are what populate the world, then they are weak indeed."

“Yeah, they did, the zones I made were, yes, cold but habitable. Where one could thrive.” Ravdur looked back at the frozen elves and then back at Myrtu. “I am sure they had a reason for coming this far north but were unprepared. Perhaps exploring the world and ventured too far for their limits.” Bold and yet foolish, he thought.

He chuckled once again, “So more horses into the world, a noble endeavor.” He is not sure about the superiority of hooved creatures but giving the world possible mounts is not a bad thing. Only he hopes they are not as… odd as Myrtu.

“As for what is black ice, it is a ice that is blackish in appearance and never melts. Stronger than any metal the mortals can make. One that can be used to make strong weapons or reinforcement of buildings. Making them stronger, keeping them insulated from the cold if done right and even used to it to make special armor.” Ravdur paused, and a smile appeared on his face.

“Soon, I think I will make it and see how it takes for mortals can figure out how to use it.” Then that smile went away, “But as for elves, they are called, weak maybe. But, if they to survive in this world, they need to adapt, or perhaps a more hardy race needs to show them how?” That last sentence made him think, Should I make such a race?

But he quickly got his mind back on track.

“Still, we will see if these elves will stay foolish and weak. As I said, they need to adapt and learn if they wish to survive and thrive in this world. For it will not show them mercy as these elves have seen.”

"The world is young yet- plenty of time for adaptation, if there is any to be had among their kind- but perhaps the motivation of a competing species could, indeed, propel them swiftly along the path of growth," Myrtu replied, before suddenly going stiff. Her eyes began to dance with multitude and myriad of colors so swiftly that it was always a question of what color had been in place previously.

Sounding surprised, she gasped, then proclaimed, "They could be anything. Everything. Possibilities endlessly contained within all that makes the creatures of creation- needing only but a nudge here- a blessing there- and perhaps the whispers of freedom indeed." Her head tilted to the side, "And if it true that your Black Ice would have such usefulness, then that grants them even more profound possibilities! How would they adapt to a world with creations wrought from a substance with such potential?"

Whinnying excitedly, Myrtu danced about again, moving her legs up and down, "Are you going to make it now? Here? Right here and now?! Shall the Black Ice come from this place?"

Ravdur was taken back by Myrtu’s sudden excitement and dancing but did not show it. “Not here, not this far north. But someplace where it would not be exploited by everyone. Somewhere only by those willing to make the journey and have the tools and knowledge to gather it, can use it. And that knowledge will be accessible only by a temple of my make, and I know where to place it.”

Myrtu halted once more, regarding Ravdur with a steady gaze, and a brief silence. "I see," her head lowered slightly as if disappointed. A soft huff left her as a hoof pawed the ground dejectedly, "Very well then. Please, mind not the sculpture of Pegasus. I shall leave it here for a while, mayhaps come back to redesign the proportions. I've need to stretch mine legs and wings--" she lept high into the air without kicking up so much as a snowflake, her wings of light burst forth brilliantly.

Speeding off, without giving the Lord of Ice so much as a moment to protest or even say goodbye, Myrtu was already dashing across the sky and out of sight.

“Guess I disappointed her,” Ravdur said to himself as he watched the goddess fly out of sight. He felt kinda bad about it but at the same time. He could not feel about how Myrtu was an odd goddess, and his gaze turned to the Pegasus and had half a mind to surprise her with a living one.

But went against that idea since he did not have the power right now nor wished to disappoint the godly horse more. So at that spot, using what power he had, Ravdur created black ice and spread it in a small area. The area between two of the mountains that next to the stonebreaker mountains. And placed his temple that held the knowledge needed to gather and use black ice and a clue to where it could be found in the area where three mountains meet. Which is made of black ice and can not be damaged or removed.

Satisfied with his creations, Ravdur left the area and headed south. With Myrtu unintentionally giving him an idea and now to see if these elves can find his temple and the black ice. If they have the drive to venture this far north, albeit unprepared. Then maybe they can uncover the temple and discover the strength of black ice. But, for now, Ravdur has other plans though waits to see if these elves or someone else finds the temple first.

edit: some missplaced text color
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by ActRaiserTheReturned
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A child was found being chased by canine predators after the fatal mauling of his parents. The eight year old clang to his new born sister as he fought for his life against the wolf like animals with each labored, running step. The beasts would have the children cornered, at least for now, as they took refuge in a cave, futilly, and frantically searching a place to hide from their hunters. To no avail. The pack closed in, they circled the boy holding on to his infant sister and braced for one last time as the monstrous canine lept forward for the kill. Suddenly, a clawed, furry hand struck forward in the dark, separating the beast's head from it's body. The rest of the pack was just as easy to destroy. Eloreon would have smiled but smiling would have bared his fangs towards the small child. "Come with me, little one." Several miles later, Eloreon would bring the children to a Human proto-settlement.

The Lion god was not primarily a god of magic, but he saw that mortals were coming into the world now. So, as the god of virtue, he would decide that some sort of fall back for mortals to fight back against evil had to be created. Eloreon had decided to create a powerful form of magic called White Magic. White Magic could heal, ward against harm, such as diseases and possession, and even excorcize demons and evil spirits from people, animals or even locations. Lastly what White Magic would be most famous for would it's ability to cure diseases and heal grevious injuries. White Magic could be used by invoking the names of good deities, such as Eloreon, first and foremost, or by their own virtues. Powerful white mages often fasted and denied their bodies pleasure in exchange for power. Sometimes extra power could be given as a boon for being virtuous for long or just strongly enough to earn it. These boons didn't always seem to be based on white magic. Sometimes it was something like telekinesis, or even elemental powers like conjuring ice, lightning, fire, etcetera although these gifts were not particularly Eloreon's forte. Some people were gifted with White Magic at birth. Most others had to learn white magic through studying books or the oral traditions of elders. Eloreon seeks after Humans and other races that can choose between good and evil, and grants some of them the ability to cast many White Magic spells and teach them. Lastly, Eloreon grants the possibility for people across the world to just learn White Magic Spells through study. Great Masters of White Magic would eventually even learn how to transcend mortality. Due to Eloreon's Roar, the creation of White Magic, a large number of mortals would be born with White Magic and all their children would be born with White Magic as well.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by blackshade10


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A Cordial Meeting

Anath Homura & Seele

The tempest that was the equine colossus traversed along the Stormbreaker mountains, soaring over the many peaks, towards the sight of a single massive structure in the shape of a spear that was protruding from the land. The spear seemed to pierce the sky, and exude an aura of haughty disdain for that which did not compare to its majesty. The valley and nearby mountains were enveloped in the same silvery substance that comprised the strange looming landmark that would instill awe in the mortals that gazed upon it.

Anath Homura stood upon the crown of the colossus, gazing upon the changes wrought upon the world by those that had come from outside the cosmos. The metallic beast of burden acting as her mount ascended higher, until its head had reached the height of the spear, and the red goddess could clearly see the one that had awaited her arrival.

Atop the white spear, the Sovereign of Pride sat atop an extravagant throne… trying her best not to look dreadfully bored. Her eyes lit up as Anath Homura rose up above the clouds and entered her more direct field of view. She’d taken a fully humanoid form to lounge, dressed in a long dress of spider silk as white as snow. A hooded shawl that matched the dress rested on her shoulders and covered her long hair, an embroidery of an obsidian colored spider, legs on her shoulders and head atop the hood, was the only color she seemed to add to her regalia.

“I wondered how long before I got my first guest. I am Seele, the Sovereign of Pride. Who might you be?” Seele asked as she rested her chin against her closed hand, seeming genuinely curious- even delighted to have someone to talk to. She did not rise from her throne, seeming intent on maintaining an aura of authority, but if one put that aside she radiated a doubtless interest and geniality.

“I am Anath Homura. I come with peaceful greetings and gifts to bestow upon you.”

“How kind. So you are the voice that called out and pulled divinities to this world. I am curious, why invite us? What are you hoping to see as the pantheon of this world grows?” She raised her free hand to gesture out widely toward the horizon in a sweeping motion.

The red goddess hid her one-eye behind her hand as she answered. “I wish to see what awaits the world further upon the Sacred Path. I invited you and the others to fulfill that wish. Now, I have come with the seeds of humanity as a gift to give to the new Divine. Malleable mortals to be shaped and sculpted in accordance to your will.”

Seele seemed to contemplate this answer for a moment before responding. Pale red eyes stared up at the other goddess before she gave a simple nod.

“Very well. I shall gladly take this offered gift, and begin my work on what I envision for this nascent world. I’m sure it’ll be entertaining, to say the least. I can only wonder how long before divine egos begin to collide into disaster. I guess only time will tell.” She offered Anath Homura a soft smile, appearing to at least be content with the current state of affairs.

“War will come. It is… inevitable. Hmm… shall I begin depositing the humans here then?”

“Yes, down below at the area surrounding the spot where my fangs pierced the earth. I will begin my work with them immediately.” Seele rose from her throne, looking rather cheerful. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Anath Homura stayed silent and still as the swift process of extracting the slumbering humans within the colossus began. The dormant vessels devoid of distinguishing features fell towards the land, pouring forth from the chest of the colossus like cascading water in a slow and safe descent. After they had reached their destination, the humans were scattered across the valley, arranged in intricate rows where they lay awaiting the touch of the Divine.

Seele strode to the edge of the platform made from the end of the spear, looking down at them, contemplating for a moment before looking up to Anath Homura once more.

“Thank you for your kind gift. Is there anything else you wished to discuss? If not, I do hope you’ll visit again.” The Sovereign of Pride smiled broadly at her. “Respectful guests are always open to enjoying my hospitality.”

“You are welcome. I must continue my journey, and afterwards I will be returning to my realm once I have spoken with the other gods and goddesses willing to speak with me. Seele, I ask that you please visit my home and share the gift of your graciousness with me again.” The red goddess said, her words were followed by a respectful bow.

Seele returned the smile giving a slight motion forward- not quite a bow, but a brief moment of consideration. “I am looking forward to it. Your manners and courtesy have my respect, and I see no slight against my Pride to give you this concession of courtesy in return.”

“I shall not hold you from your journey any longer. I leave you with but the core of my own Path, my own teachings- the difference between Pride and Hubris is whether or not you control it, or it controls you.” She gave another smile, seeming to have been put in a cheerful mood by the interaction.

“An intriguing distinction… Farewell, until we meet again.” Anath Homura politely intoned, and then vanished from view as the head of the colossus receded before the massive metallic steed turned away to continue its course across the world. The peaceful pause in the strange storm that had accompanied the arrival of the red goddess resumed once more, but quickly became a distant quiet sound as the colossus thundered farther away.

Seele watched her guest depart, pondering for a moment before she looked down at the gift she had received, awaiting her hand to shape them.

“Well then, my Firstborn- let us begin.”

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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Under the Darkwoods

Beneath a glinting glowing globe of their god the 5 elf band advanced with an assortment of wariness and excitement. The daring Fern led the pack stalking through the tunnel deep below the earth with a tooth sharpened pointed stick held in hand, bare feet sloshing through the shallow river flowing down with them. Behind her, where a man wrapped in furs that covered all but his eyes and ears carrying a slab of bark as a shield, a woman with a bag full of stones, a second woman holding a set of long fangs like knives and then at the back, Stag, bringing up the rear.

Or at least that was where he would like to be, but unfortunately for the nervous elf the person who was actually bringing up the rear was the jauntily sauntering Jeon who was holding up the light for them.

“M-my prince, I don’t mean to instruct you but, well, should you not be in the front what with you being so strong and skilled and all” Stag finally plucked up the courage to ask

“What, and claim all the glory and fun for myself? No no no what kind of god would I be to do that!” Jeon replied “besides, back here I can keep an eye on all of you aaaaand what’s ahead at the same time, so its the best place to be while supervising your first adventure. I mean sure, if something comes running down the tunnel I would be the first target, but what if something comes up from behind? Or comes burrowing out of the wall? Oh oh what if one of those stalactites is actually a creature in disguise and it drops on you hmmm?”

“Y-you almost sound like you want that to happen” Stag observed

“What? No! Nononononono. Of course not” Jeon assured the antlered elf before immediately proving himself a liar by saying “well I mean at least it would be interesting. I mean the cave was neat at first but it's just so tunnely. Where’s the glowing mushrooms and giant spiders and living crystals mon-”

Jeon was interrupted from his tirade by a gasp from the front of the group coming from Fern, which prompted the god to rush forward saying “make way I wanna see!” as he blasted past the centerlay leves and arrived at Fern’s side in the blink of an eye where he skidded to a halt and then whistled at the sight.

Before them the tunnel suddenly opened up massively to reveal a massive cavern with a relatively low ceiling and a floor that was completely submerged in water, forming a massive underground lake over which light now flickered for the first time from Jeon’s magelight.

There came a swake from their left as confused penguin grew alarmed at the appearance of these predators and swiftly dove into the water, disturbing a few water insects as it splashed into the pool in now called home.

“Huh. Wonder how that got down here” Jeon asked himself as he peered into the darkness, to which Fern pointed towards a crack in the ceiling from which a small river water was trailing and said “maybe it fell down?”

“Maybe” he agreed, as he observed several other underground rivers flowing in here, and the various aquatic-insects and water-birds he had made to fill the forest’s rivers that must have been dragged down here by shifts in the landscape caused by the underground’s creation.

Water and detritus pooled here, and then at the far end of the cavern it flowed on off to who knew where, bringing life and nutrainse from the topside along with it. Where food flowed in darkness, the Umbra weren't far behind it seemed, as the god spotted a few off in the distance, beyond his mortal’s ken, drifting above the water, hunting for fowl and bug. He wondered how far they’d gotten out from beyond this cavern at this point.

Before any sort of reaction could be had from the group, a massive stone pillar formed around them, the dust, previously spread out and chaotic, now encircled them while also leaving their image clear towards the creature atop the pillar. On a similar note, there was clearly a creature on the top of the pillar.

”Ohhh, so it is you who brought those shadows into my realm? Hmmm~ They have not been the most pleasant, I must confess.” the sphinx sighed. ”Punishment may be necessary. I have eaten many things, but an elf I have not. Perhaps I could amend that, with a simple challenge, a game of charades? Or maybe, a decimation, have you pick the one who shall be sacrificed!” the goddess said, trying to hide a smirk while looking down at the panicked mortals, her bluffs making the situation no better for them.

“Ah ha ha! Now we’re talking!” Jeon cheered as the mortals panic, taking a moment to Fern from chucking her spear at the goddess before stepping forth, before raising his free hand next to his mouth and calling up “How about riddles? Those are a classic!”

“My god, you can’t be serious!?” Fern cried out, trying to get her spear throwing arm free from the god’s grip.

The sphinx looked down with distant eyes, while some might think she was smug towards them, in truth… she had not expected the mortals not to flee, she had not made a good riddle actually, and was somewhat struggling to come up with a good one.

”Uh… what comes with plates and a crust, but is not a pie?” she asked, sweating in shame, to the random elf with the stones.

“I… I… I…” the elf stammered eyes darting to and fro desperately before suddenly breaking down and wailing “I don’t know what any of those things are!” before bursting into tears

Now the goddess was just feeling sorry for the poor thing. ”Well I uh… Would you look at that, I am on a protein diet! Elf meat would be terrible for me, so I guess… you get a pass. But do learn about pies! Yes. That will be my mission to you, in exchange for sparing your life.” she stumbled her point across. ”Now, I see there is a fellow divine being with you. May I have a moment alone with him? To uh, further clear up this situation and his trespassing into my realm.”

Jean let go of Fern’s arm, the elf now too confused (and a mite suspicious) to carry out on her daring attack, and sauntered over while the elves either looked on in awe or went to comfort the poor riddle receiver who was now burdened with divine purpose.

“I am Jean Du Termas, adventurer extraordinaire” the god introduced himself while giving a theatrical bow before standing up, pointing towards a little outcropping sitting in out in the water, connected to the shelf they where stood on via a set of stepping stones, and saying “how about we talk over there? It looks nice and scenic”

”Lektoria Koreh Tellur. First Secretary of the Core, Oversee of the earth.” The sphinx also moved after her introduction, hovering over a nearby area, waiting until the elves were away from the scene, beyond their voice. ”Ok… That was terrible. Argh. I should have planned better… it was just so annoying, to watch y’all losing your smile as you went in deeper into MY REALM. Like, at first that elf girl was so excited, now she is straight up bored. BORED. So I wanted to do a little thing, make it more exciting… might have overshot. Uh.” she adjusted her hair, ears twitching free from strands. ”You have been with them a bit longer, can you explain to me what happened to the mood?”

Jeon followed after her, skipping from stone to stone on nimble cat paws, and once they were clear and Lektoria had explained her deal he had to have a light pearly laugh at her expense. “So that’s what it was. I mean yeah, you did go a bit overboard but still, 10/10 for effort” he reassured her, and then had the decency to look a little embarrassed. He too had been insulting her realm only a few moments before after all.

“Ah, well, it's just tunnels are a bit samey, you know. Just by their nature. There's only so many meters of dimly lit stone walls you can walk through before you grow acclimated to it” Jeon explained “but hey, it also made suddenly coming up on the lake a whole lot more impactful! Not that it ain’t mighty fine on its own! Though I guess getting down here and then finding it just has stuff from the surface was a little disappointing maybe?”

The god himself had found it quite fascinating, but then again he could see far more than just the little pool of light the elves were restricted to, and also understand how it all fit together forming an intricate and entirely organic ecology neither of them had intended to exist.

”That… is a very valid point. I did not expect others to come prodding in so soon, if I am to speak in honesty. Life will naturally diverge here in a few eons, give or take, but perhaps a more direct approach will be beneficial.” she turned around while deep in thought. ”On the other side, would mortals truly be interested in seeking a place full of exoctic, and possibly dangerous, life? If I made hermit crabs that use stalactites for shells, how would the novelty factor outperform the worry of being clawed in half by their rock claws? Questions, questions.”

“Kinda wish I didn’t forget how I made my woods so I could give you advice based on my experience of creating things, but as someone who just lives for adventure and excitement, its all about incentives balanced with danger” Jeon replied “So, say, you fill a tar pit with alligators, well, no one wants to go there because its all danger and no reward. But if you make a cave full of jems right out in the open well that’s no fun at all, and it’s gonna be cleared out in a week anyway.”

“If we come back to your rock crabs, well, make em too repressive and the caves to droll and it doesn't matter if they are neat, which they are by the way, if they make it so people just avoid going to the cave” the god had produced a piece of paper and was doodling crabs and terrified mortal stick figures in a long corridor as he talked about this, before adding a big diamond at the end “but make a thing they want at the end and suddenly the crabs are adding to the experience. Adrenaline, excitement and experience from the encounters themselves, and prestige added to the reward at the end because they can say ‘I battled past the deadly rock crabs to get this thing!’ and everyone will be impressed”

He tapped the gem while talking about it, and then thought for a moment and added “I mean it being an actual big jewel does kinda limit it to a one time adventure. Maybe make their eggs really tasty or their rock flesh stuff repurposable so people have a reason to keep dealing with em. That last is what I did with my first-kin, I think” he gestured over to the elves (who were watching the pair with a mix of curiosity and concern) and at their varios garbs and implements made from the plant-animals roaming the woods above.

“So it seems and yet…” she tilted her head, a somewhat feline smirk appearing where once was a more hawk-llike keen expression. “That would be positive feedback, then, of course, there is negative feedback. In other words, not bake the first pie and gain a gemstone, but bake the first pie or I shall make you into the first pie.” she giggled, imagining how the elf would rect to that hypothetical.

“I think I understand your spirit, and if I am to be honest, I appreciate it, but there is an element of… wishful thinking. The more grounded laws of the world may interrupt an adventure. For example, say those stone crab shells become very sought after by the kingdoms that will one day occupy the surface, and it becomes a habit to just send hordes of peasants down the tunnels to fight the crabs by sheer numbers. That does not feel much like an adventure, more like a two sided massacre.” she closed one eye and held her chin. “And would that not be a shame?”

“Urgh, yeah, totally ruin the whole point of the deal” the god stuck his tongue out in disgust at the idea, having half memories of dealing with that exact sort of operation. “But then it also doesn't work because.. Because.. Gah I’ve seen that exact kinda deal before I was a god how did it go…”

Jeon’s face twisted up as he tried to remember why before snapping his fingers as he recalled how it went “oh oh, yeah ok I remember now. The poor chaff fighters were so miserable that they hailed me as a hero when I came in and wiped the floor with all the gem crawlers. Pretty sure we overthrew the jerk who orchestrated the whole thing too in the end? Yeah, that was a riot for sure!”

”In full honesty, I have very little idea of what you meant just now. But I believe I can understand some of it.” or rather, she had her own idea to peddle to the adventure god. ”We are gods and our words are taboo. What we say to mortals, they will take to heart and soul. So what if we just force our desires here? Soldiers are soldiers, and they are not adventurers. Sure you could send your army to deal with a great beast, and by a certain logic they would have a better chance than three colorful hobos just off the local tavern. But you cannot do that, because that is not the way it is done.” she smirked again. ”Can you somewhat understand what I am trying to do here? I am afraid charisma is not my forte.”

“Oh for sure that is how it's done. An army versus a massive monster, that’s just a tragedy. No glory, just corpses. What you want is heroes! Preferably a small band of, mmm, about 5 people” Jeon said, having clearly influenced the composition of the exploration team given their number being just the same thing “going out there and getting stuff done! That's the kind of stuff you can tell stories about, and for that, you need a way that people can get stronger. Exponentially stronger. So that the more challenges they face, the more the can take on in future.”

“What we need-”

The god turned his page to face him and quickly scribbled over it, before turning it back and unveiling a simple diagram of a wimpy stick figure elf pointing a spear at a wolf, then an arrow to the same elf with muscles awkwardly painted on and a pair of big axes facing a snake thrice its size, and then finally another arrow to one with an axe twice its size facing down a towering tree creature that could squish the elf flat with a step, and yet the hero, a shining aura surrounding it, showed no fear in its pose.

“-is progression!”

Lektoria looked up and down at the drawing over and over. "I see… but why is the little man juggling bowls with its arms? Ahhh. I believe I just do not understand this." shaking her head, the sphinx had to fly a bit closer. "Ah wait, it's a muscle. Huh!" she turned midair.

“You just don’t get my artistic brilliance” Jeon replied with exaggerated snobbiness

"Hmm. That would make sense. A level of progression beyond what a simple soldier or king would attain. That could work. It is my belief you should officialise it. Put all adventurers under your system by rule. I wish I could help more, but at the moment I have a great backlog of things to do in the underground…. That said, if you ever need gemstones or gold, I have river of those, not even a figure of speech."

“Ooo” the gods eyes lit up at the thought, a little bit of the old wrym greed raising its head before he quashed “Well. I mean. That won’t be useful once there's any kind of civilization. Elves back there don’t even know how to cook yet, let alone bartter for stuff. Buuuuut in the long run yeah that would be super handy I’m sure, so I’m not gonna say no to a wealthy patron sponsoring my fun, no mame”

“And, well, I think you’ve helped plenty, coz you’ve given me this idea” he flapped the paper with progressing elf about a touch “and for that you have my many thanks kitten”

”Hmm. To me gold is its own reward, but, I am glad I am of help. I do like the idea of adventurers exploring the caves and mountains I made, over uh, petty armies and kings.” she sighed. ”I would invite you to meet again, but I am currently homeless, I need to fix my things, carve a realm, then I can accommodate you, serve you some tea. My own way of saying thanks to you… lizard? goat? Hmm~ What to call you?”

“Oh I’m one of a kind my dear” the cat lizard goat elf thing replied with a flourish, before saying “but I’ll take goat for how funnilly ill fitting it is, or wrym, which is what I was”

”It is decided then, goat. We are now business partners.” she grabbed forward, as if trying to handshake, overshot, and ended up just sort of grabbing Jeon’s head, turning that into a headpat and pretending that was always the plan. ”Let’s make this a fun world to live in, yes?”

“Oh uh, sure thing” the goat replied, briefly flummoxed by this move, but in a good way, before recovering and pumping a fist excitedly “Yeah! You and me, we’re gonna shake stuff up, bring the party and ain't’ no one gonna stop us till this is a place full of heroes and epic tales of adventure!”

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by CFProxy
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CFProxy Für Gott und Kaiser

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War creates order.

Location: Galbar’s northern continent, east coast. City of Earthwall.
Interacting with: Navari Sathia.
Mentions: None.

Celestine walked briskly through the city, passing through the great gates that permitted passage through the immense walls of each section. The immense doors and heavy portcullises were open wide for now, allowing easy passage throughout the inner city walls. Celestine kept an arm on Navari’s back as she walked, aiding the elf in keeping pace with the tireless goddess. The end goal of this walk was the central palace, where Celestine would give a more formal explanation of what Navari’s duties were to be along with the expectations that Celestine had. As the two walked, Celestine was already doing her best to explain some things. ”The pressure on you when I am not here will be immense, but hopefully with the organizational structure that I have in mind you will have the people needed to help you overcome even the most complicated decisions. If all else should fail, I have no aims to abandon the city, so I can step in personally when I have the time in order to give you time to rest.”

As they began to draw near to the farming districts that held the entrances to the interior palace grounds and thus the palace itself, Celestine prompted Navari to speak up by posing a question to her. ”Do you have any immediate questions about anything? I will explain as best as I can.”

Walls that rose to touch the heavens. Districts that cultivated the many walks of life. The warmth of the sun which gave light second only to the goddess.

Reeling as it all was, nothing was quite as dazzling as the arm that guided her through the city. Even now none of it really felt quite normal. Heavenly? Was that the best way to describe it? This feeling of walking in a city made of clouds where all found common purpose? The taste of the air as sweet as nectar. The smells of the fortress a comfort equal to a mother's bosom.

Beyond it all there was still the waking realization that something stirred within. Everything felt so... strange. It had felt as though she had simply slept through an eternity in the rift. The suggestion of memory fanning her awake until the sobering call brought her to life. To top it all off she had been made champion and beside those feelings was another that stirred in its sleep. It was a gentle urge. A suggestion within her gut that there was something to awaken... or maybe she just needed more sleep...

She drifted for a moment, eyes blinking rapidly before taking in the presentation once more, feeling consciousness take root as she stiffly walked to Celestine's side. The goddess stirred much within as well. Oh yes, her radiance was a wonder to behold. Beautiful skin that looked gentle to the touch, but not so clean that one could not feel the faintest of scratches left by eternity if one concentrated enough. So confident in the way she walked, the way she talked, the way she provided guidance. Caring enough that she personally took her in her embrace. Navari was nothing if not thankful. In this moment she may have wanted nothing more than to simply cradle her head against Celestine and embrace sleep once more... but now was not the time for rest. It was time for action.

Eyes shifted to Celestine as they walked, head turning to better gaze up at her patron. "Many, but only few that matter. What would you have me do first, my goddess?" Few words but great many a possible answer.

Being asked what would be expected of her first was something that Celestine actually had a prepared answer for, but that answer would require something to visually accompany it to fully display the weight of what Celestine was going to ask of Navari. Fortunately, they didn’t have far to go, so she was able to start explaining her answer immediately. ”The first thing I would have you do is pick the people you’re going to rely on to have your back in making the complex decisions you’re going to have to make.”

Stopping before another set of doors that although much smaller than those that parted the dividing walls, were no less capable in the defense that they provided. Celestine pushed them open to reveal a fairly short narrow corridor that led into a circular foyer with several other corridors branching off of it. Leading Navari through the central corridor, she brought her to a relatively small room that possessed a fairly large round table and [number] chairs. Gesturing to the largest one, Celestine spoke softly. ”Sit, if you wish. This chair is yours when I am not present, and mine when I am. Your first charge is thus.”

Walking to the other chairs, Celestine would place a hand upon each one before listing off the position that whoever was given them would fill. ”Master of cultivation, their task will be to ensure that the city has enough food, for I will have no one go hungry here… Master of production, their task will be to oversee the smiths and other craftsmen, for I will have every guard and soldier armed with the best that we can give them, and whatever we trade shall be the best of what we can produce… Master of relations, their task will be to ensure that we maintain good standing with whatever other civilizations come to our doorstep, for even if the city is built to be defended I am not eager to see its defenses tested constantly… Master of strategy, their task will be to manage scouts of various capacities in order to keep up with the changes to the landscape and other fields and devise tactics for battle in the ever changing environment, for I will not have the army caught unaware of where it will be fighting… And at last, master of the army. They will handle the training of soldiers and guards, as well as their direction and combat planning with assistance from the master of strategy. Each of these roles will be important in making sure not only this city, but the people as a whole, are capable of defending themselves and thriving, even without me. If there are any more positions that you can think of that need to be filled, please do feel free to state them. I will make accommodations for them. They will all answer to you, and you will answer to me. Beneath them will be the advisors that they pick, and so on. It is my wish that the general populace have the means to make both requests and complaints heard equally to both your ears and mine. To make this clear: This process is critical to maintaining the happiness and smooth operation of this city. It will be impossible to do everything, but I would still do as much as possible. Thus, I would say to make your choices carefully. Sometimes the best choices will be the people that disagree with you the most. But, ultimately, the choice is yours. I am not here to dictate your freedom away from you. Thus, during your selections, I will merely be a silent companion.”

Faithfully, Navari followed every guided step. Eyes grazing upon the passing craftsmanship of the corridors. A hand gently brushing against the reinforced wood as they continued on their way. The throne, no matter how ordinary, held significance to Celestine's champion immediately. She thought to sit, but upon hearing her out, the mortal shook her head. "It is as you say. Mine when you are not here. I will stand, that you would see me as worthy to share such a seat... I am honored."

Upon being explained the functions of the table thoughts formulated and carried on. Eyes wandered and hand brushed gently against the table, imagining who she would have sitting upon their table. Pressure straining upon their neck as she began to wonder if she would be capable of choosing worthy souls. Still, Celestine wouldn't have given her this role if she could not handle it... right?

There was a moment of silence, the woman bringing her arm back to her side before looking at Celestine, though without daring to look into her eyes. "I will do my best to serve you. I understand my role is primarily in administration. And, forgive me for this, I would like to understand the other roles I am to undertake before I make such important decisions."

Nodding at the request, Celestine would gesture for Navari to follow her before she began to lead Navari throughout the palace and explain each room and its purpose. When not explaining the rooms, Celestine explained her plans for Navari. Not only was she to be the guide for the city when Celestine herself wasn’t present, she was also to be Celestine’s replacement as the de-facto leader of the Virtus Elves on Galbar should something happen.

This revelation likely panicked Navari a bit, so Celestine took the time to explain something else: She was the goddess of war, and she felt a sense of inevitability that someone was going to make an attempt on her life. She would naturally be prepared for this, but in the event that someone or something was successful Celestine did not want to leave the elves suddenly leaderless and lost.

That was where Navari came in, and it was also why Celestine placed such great pressure upon her. She, quite frankly, needed Navari to have nerves of steel in order to lead a people that had lost their goddess. Such a task would be monumentally difficult, but Celestine knew that Navari had the potential to achieve the task set before her already. She just had to harness it. That had been why she had been chosen after all.

Remaining silent for a few moments to allow Navari to absorb the information that Celestine had given her, Celestine led them back to the initial strategy room before turning to face her and asking if they had anything else they wanted an answer for.

This was a lot to take in. Everything about this was a lot to take in. To be brought to life only to be told that there would be the possibility of being abandoned was hard enough, but to be the one that all eyes would look upon if it happened was more chaos than she was comfortable with hearing at the moment. It felt like there were needles in her spine, every muscle in her body stressing and her heart pounding in anxiety. And yet... She didn't have to do this alone, and above all she needed to have faith that with or without Celestine that life could continue on. It was all she had... did others have such faith? Surely...

As they passed through every corridor she glanced into the window that every elf had. There was spirit there. A flow of emotion and thought that was ceaseless. Men and women who were capable of much. Some more determined than others. Some more afraid. But all took comfort in the gaze of the goddess. Understanding that even in the midst of their remembrance there was a figure that seemed to make everything make sense. They gathered, speaking to one another of their duties. Each one seemed to recall one thing and then another. Each revelation seeming to grow as Celestine took her place among them. The holy revelation of even her cloak sparking inspiration into the minds of the elves. One or two managing to even touch it as Celestine passed by, the eyes of the few glowing with realization before sprinting to chase a dream born of mind.

And as they returned Navari looked down upon the city from the highest rise of their citadel. All lives with one goal in mind. A goal to not just survive, but to live. That gave Navari hope and purpose. For even beyond serving the one who walked above them all she needed to see what was at stake. She needed to understand what would be lost if all did not push to fulfill their duty... and such thoughts did flood her mind. A great nightmare of a barren city with broken walls. The very flash causing her to close eyes for some time to then reopen to see all was still there. Much to consider as she focused again on her walk with Celestine. It all coming to end once more in the table where masters would sit.

There was a long pause as Navari closed eyes and took a deep breath, calming thoughts as best she could before standing upright from her hunched posture. With an exhale she looked to face Celestine, placing hand over heart as she spoke with a determined expression. "Though this is is all new to me, I assure you, I will not fail you. I will know this city and I will make every attempt to bring our people to prosperity. I will give my soul to this until the void takes me whole and I return to the endless dream..."

She brought herself to one knee, bowing head. "So please... continue in your great work. I will handle things from here. Nothing more is necessary for the time being."

Celestine nodded at Navari’s enthusiasm before speaking up once more. ”Good. I will return to review your choices at the end of the day. If all is in order, I will assist you all with establishing the routines needed to keep the city going and make sure that reports are handled adequately. Until then, the day and its choices are yours to do with as you see fit.”

And with that, Celestine left. Ascending the tower to watch both the horizon and the city below. It was there that she remained until the sun passed to the horizon. As the light faded and torches were lit around the city, Celestine returned to Navari and took the time to interview both her and each choice. All of them eventually earned her approval, and soon Celestine began to explain the system of providing and receiving reports regarding the status of their governed sectors. The sun was well gone by the time she finished, but at the very least the structure was explained.

With things finally set up for the city to run independently of Celestine, she bid Navari to take up the mantle of leadership before once more ascending the tower to keep an eye on the horizon to track what the other gods were doing.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by AdorableSaucer
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AdorableSaucer Based and RPilled

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The Ferryman

Midnight was never bright, but in the Umbral Woods? Hoo boy, even gods could mistake shadows for beasts. In his short, busy life, the Ferryman had admittedly seen very little, and the darkness of the forest wasn't helping much. He had seen the invoice for the pick-up of three souls, however, and it has said that they would be waiting right here.

Right here.

The Ferryman looked around with feigned patience. A little whistle escaped his lips, drawing on in its lifespan as the Ferryman's semi-visible eyes rolled casually around in their sockets. A little finger drum on the rim of Wellington decided to join in.

Another minute passed and the Ferryman regarded a little hourglass from the breast of his robe. Softly, he called out: "Hey, uh, dear souls! Your transport has arrived." Silence. The Ferryman exited his vessel and extracted a small scroll from his pocket. "Anyone? I'm looking for the souls of… Okay, how do you pronounce this?"

Umbra.” came a voice out of seemingly nowhere.

Ashevelen just finished her contract with Aldiona and was about to take off, to watch the Umbra from the darkness and see how her mortal deal without her presence to keep them on the straight and narrow path when she felt the presence of another divine approaching. Truly a busy day for the lady of the trade.

Watching from a distance, she noticed a small boat approaching and on top of it, the divine being she felt. Ashevelen shouted out the name of her creations from afar upon hearing the Ferryman’s voice.

Greetings divine brother and may I say, your vehicle looks truly magnificent. My name is Ashevelen, the lady of the trade and I beseech you, don’t harm the Umbra for they are my creations. If they did something to offend you, I’m sure we can work out a deal ” said Ashevelen, her voice as always, was sweet like honey.

The Ferryman offered her a small bow. "Evenin', miss Ashevelen. I'm the Ferryman. And thanks - yeah, Wellington's pretty sweet, isn't she? An eight-footer, she is. Flat-bottomed and fit for pretty much any body of water, should that ever be relevant." He waved a hand in small circles. "Don't be concerned for your creations, by the way. Hurting people is not my thing. Life always finds a way to hurt itself, anyway - don't need more of it from me." He rubbed the back of his neck. "I'm more of the sort who cleans up after. Speaking of, you wouldn't happen to have seen three souls on a stroll, would you?"

Ashevelen returned the bow gracefully and smiled at the Ferryman.

Wouldn’t you be able to make it levitate above any body of water? I could probably work out a deal for you with another divine if you wish me to. ” if one would even exist in this place but of course, Ashevelen didn’t say that out loud.

“Life always finds a way to hurt itself”, you can say that twice. I’ve seen many of my creations destroying themselves over the most basic need they seem to have, greed or fornification. Disgusting behaviour in most mortal races that I’ve seen. Three souls, you say? ” said Ashevelen inquisitively.

And what would you do with those souls if I happened to know where they are? Would you try to take them away? ” the recent contract she made with Aldion was fresh in her mind, if this new divine being would try to take them, Aldion might see it as a way to get out of the contract.

The Ferryman shrugged. "I guess so, yeah. Not sure where to, though. I'm building up a bit of a backlog, you could say." He showed her the scroll displaying the names and death location of the souls. "See, I'm supposed to take them to the afterlife, but there ain't none around. It's pretty frustrating, actually."

Then I know exactly where they are. Aldion, another one of our divine brothers who answered the Call, took them. As much as I could understand from him, he plans to punish all the souls that break his rules. Here, I can show you. ” replied Ashevelen and with a snap of her fingers, the contract which she signed with Aldion as well as their conversation about it, appeared in front of the Ferryman.

Feel free to read it but don’t touch it. No offence intended.

“None taken,” said the Ferryman with a polite smile and leaned in for a closer look. “... Let’s see here… All Umbra souls go to… M-hm… Attract to a place… Ah… Hmm… For every ten thousand souls… Uh-huh… Mine (being Aldion’s, of course) by right… Yeah, alright, I think I get the picture.” He pulled back and rubbed his chin. “So souls’ll go to him by themselves, huh?” He clicked his tongue in the same way a disapproving party would when trying to display neutrality. “Sounds slow and inefficient, if you ask me.”

Ashevelen waited patiently for the Ferryman to read the contract, watching for everything that could give an insight to his motives. Anything that might prove useful in further negotiations and her waiting was rewarded.

Slow and inefficient, you say? Would you have a better way? Maybe you’d want to cart them off yourself, just in case the souls will try to run away from the punishment that surely awaits them if they end up with Aldion?

“My thoughts exactly, honestly,” the Ferryman agreed. “That’s, uh, that’s why I’m here. Wellington’s pretty fast, so it’d be a lot faster than souls walking. They’re slow as decay.” He nodded. “So, got a way to contact this Aldion fellow?”

There is no need for that, is there? You’ve read the contract yourself. It is stated that the souls must reach him, the manner of how they must reach him is not specified. In other words, if you wish to take the souls to him, you are free to do so. ” clarified Ashevelen “ Provided of course, that you won’t take the souls to someone else, consume them for whatever needs you may have or anything that may damage the goods. Not trying to insult you or anything, I’m sure you’re good at your job but just want to be sure everything is clarified. ”.

“Oh yeah, that makes sense, I guess,” mumbled the Ferryman. “Well, since the souls here have already been swept off, I guess I should be heading to the next ones.” He gave another small bow. “Miss Ashevelen.”

If duty calls, then be off on your way, Ferryman. I am sure we’ll see more of each other in the future. Actually, do you have space for another divine on your magnificent boat? I’d like to let the Umbra roam the world without being shadowed by their creator. ” asked Ashevelen with a smile and a wink.

“Yeah, there’s space,” replied the Ferryman with a polite smile. “Here, watch your step - stepping in the soul river won’t hurt, but it doesn’t wash off so easily.” He knelt down and pulled the little dory even closer to the bank of the eternal river of magic that began and ended on average two metres in front and behind the bow and the stern, respectively.

Ashevelen took a deep breath and jumped on the boat, careful not to land in the soul river and hopefully in nothing that the Ferryman might have inside it.

Onwards and…upwards? Yes, ONWARDS and UPWARDS my friend! ” shouted Ashevelen happily.


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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Utrax
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Utrax 𝕰𝖝𝖙𝖗𝖊𝖒𝖊 𝕭𝖎𝖗𝖉

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A Strange Neigh-bor

Myrtu & Anath Homura

As far as the new deities went, Myrtu was likely the hardest to track down, seeing as he rarely stayed still for long. Anyone seeking the Unicorn would also likely find it frustrating that he tended to sprint off at random or completely derail conversation. So when it was that Myrtu instead found others, then initiated conversation with them, it was like… well… seeing a Unicorn.

He'd spotted the massive metal horse from a distance and used quite the enthusiastic pace to catch up with it. Now, he was running about beneath it, shouting up at it with a very excited, "GREETINGS FELLOW EQUINE! Would you care to partake in a fine bit of prancing?"

“The colossus cannot speak, but I have no specific destination I am going to now. If you wish to prance beside me, then so be it.” The voice of Anath Homura echoed from above, where she stood atop its crown, as the colossus itself continued to canter onward with a strange and ethereal whirlwind left in its wake.

At the sound of the voice, Myrtu kept into the air, their winds expanding into a brilliant multitude of lights behind them. He flew to hover alongside the crown and its passenger. His head chanted in confusion, "Then it is you I sensed and not the Colossus itself?" The disappointment in his tone was heavy.

“Indeed.” The red goddess replied, her voice remaining neutral akin to her impassive visage as she stared at Myrtu with her sole eye, before she spoke again with an otherworldly authority. “I am Anath Homura, and I come to offer you peaceful greetings and the bestowal of gifts.”

"Anath Homura- ah! Twas your voice which called out through space as mine comet did venture close enough to hear it- finally, we have met," Myrtu danced about in the air rather gaily for a moment. "Thine greetings peaceful are welcomed and returned in kind! However, I am at a disadvantage- for I've no gifts ready to offer in exchange."

She whom once called from across the cosmos simply raised her hand in an attempt to alleviate his concerns as she endeavored to speak cordially. “Hmm… your amusing antics are an equal exchange for these gifts then. Or otherwise, you may merely consider my gifts a charitable act, as the world would flourish with more mortals.”

Myrtu gasped, “Mortals? Then truly-” their eyes went to the massive form of the colossus, “- they shall be as grand as that which I see before me? Tiny ones made of metal with hooves that many a road would pass beneath effortlessly?”

“You are free to shape and sculpt the humans you receive, as you wish.” Anath Homura answered, before she gestured to the colossus itself and solemnly asked of Myrtu: “Do you accept my gift then?”

“Humans?” The confusion in his voice was palpable, “I– before me I see a great and mighty horse- are there not horses which this one shall create? And is not the horse itself an item which could be copied?” A beat of pause, “Are Humans a type of horse? If it is so then I shall graciously accept. Though,” as the logistics of the situation bounced around within Myrtu’s godly equine mind, their eyes swirled with a myriad of colors, as the endless possibilities poured in, “From what has been presently explained, if they are not, then horses they might become! Therefore they are already a type of horse!” Tossing his head about so that his mane shimmered unnecessarily, Myrtu doubled down, “Tis a fine gift indeed! A vast herd of horses!”

The red goddess slightly arched her brow while she replied to each and every question. “Indeed, humans currently reside within this colossus. I am the one that created the two, and the latter shall not further reproduce, though as an artifact itself - its mechanism and function could be replicated.” She idly stepped forward, leaning over the edges of the large crown she stood upon, and glanced at the landscape below her where the process of transporting the slumbering humans from the interior of the colossus to outside had begun.

Thousands of statues resembling the shape and size of Anath Homura were laid upon the earth once again, but they were pale and lacking any distinguishing features among them. They stayed in a state of dormancy, however a hint of life flickered within all of them, and sought the attention of the Divine. The primordial vessels were seeking to be given a new form and function - to be finally awakened. Without halting in her speech, Anath Homura continued to converse as her gift was arranged into a multitude of intricate spiral rows scattered across the land below both Myrtu and herself.“In this scenario, it would be more accurate to assert that horses are a type of human, though vice versa is equally true should the coming changes be enacted in reverse. Since you have accepted, you shall have your vast herd of horses.”

Tilting his head back and forth, Myrtu took in the given information, with what seemed to be mild disappointment at first, which was swiftly swept away by the sheer curiosity at the emergence of the primordial humans- those formless statues calling for influence. To say that Myrtu’s attention was absolutely captured by both the form of the beings emerging from the horse and the manner in which they were laid out, would be an understatement. Already, it seemed that the Red Goddess was becoming an afterthought. The further proof of this was in how abruptly Myrtu landed among the spiral formation. As if in awe of them, he stalked among the formation with a series of leaps and bounds, skillful precision to see the forms at different angles. After such a lengthy pause, finally he looked up, then declared with a full heart and inspired voice:

“By the nameless, glorious, and swirling cosmos, they are Hideous! With a muted leap back up, ending in a spiraling corkscrew for flourish, Myrtu was once again level with Anath Homura, as he said, “Deeply, I am grateful for such creatures- for this disgusting form shall serve as excellent indication for their coming venture into spectactacularity! It is one I shall keep always in mind as I usher them undo their truest, freest, most GLORIOUS selves.”

“So it shall be. Now, I must continue my travels, and then I will be returning to my realm once I have greeted the other gods and goddesses that are willing to speak with me. Myrtu, I ask that you please visit my home, and share the gift of your mirth with me again.” Anath Homura said after she had allowed herself to sigh aloud with seeming content, and afterwards bowed respectfully towards him.

Returning the bow as it was given, Myrtu asked his last question, “And how does one find thy realm?”

“Ask the Archai after the celestial celebration, and my messengers will show you the way.” She answered, indicating with a wave of one hand towards the shimmering stars in the sky that had continually illuminated the land with their bright and boisterous festivities. There was a pulse of otherworld power, as the colossus heeded an unspoken command and continued its cantering onward.

Myrtu watched her depart for only a moment before descending rapidly, excited for working with those primordial humans, and shaping them into beautiful and glorious forms! Beneath his diving hooves, something crunched- or was it more of a pop? Squished? Myrtu looked down, then back up to Anath Homura’s departing form, then moved a few steps to the right to conceal the crushed protohuman from any over the shoulder glances, trying their hardest to maintain an air of innocence.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Lord Zee
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Lord Zee I lost the game

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Something overcame the Goddess of Blood, so strangely alluring her creation had been. She neither wept nor felt further animosity towards them for daring to touch her skin without permission. In fact, one could say she felt little for them beyond what they made her feel. A stark contrast to how she had been only moments before. They were no longer those filthy, ugly elves anyway. With a bemused sigh she straightened her back and stood taller, chin raised how a proper dignitary might. Feeling the distinct lack of clothing upon her body, Wyn conjured up an attire suitable for her. A tight fitting dress, fitted with patterns and embroidered with intricate markings. It left little to the imagination, she hoped.

But more importantly, it was how a god should be.

No longer were her thoughts so disjointed and scattered like leaves after a summer storm. It was beneath her to let such conflictions ruin her and she scoffed at the very notion of entertaining her lesser inclined inhibitions. Disbelief at it all drove her to put her own fist into her other palm. A gesture of being. She was Wyn. She was a deity. No more feelings of doubt, weakness and despair. She would bring those things to others as was her proper rights, bestowed by her own divinity. A smirk spread across her face that pulled into a sleeker smile.

She was in control now.

With the Mireborn settling in and subsequently snagging any other struggling elves, Wyn looked to the rest of her land and was utterly disappointed at the lack of life and diversity within. What was a goddess to do? It was one thing to create by accident and another by acting but she could not leave this place (as stupid and unsightly as it was) without so much as correcting it. Even if she simply wanted to be done away with it. What would others think? That she was some frail, airhead of a goddess like Tonta? Ugh, even now she wanted to wrangle the neck of that bi-

Wyn took a deep breath through her nose and exhaled. Now was not the time for the past. Now was the time for the future!

So, she raised her arms and willed forth creation itself to rise across her Bloodmire. Creatures came forth from the land and the blood. Ones she deemed as appropriate and sightly, at least by their currents of blood. Large sluggish leeches, the full length of her arm, wiggled out of the ground as well as much smaller worms and dainty snakes. From the murky red waters, there came a multitude of biting, itching, stabbing insects and red and white feathered birds. Some had beaks meant for gobbling up prey and others that looked like long, thin swords. Swimming in those waters and so hard to see, there came fish large and small crimson scaled with dark beady eyes. Other aquatic creatures swam amidst them, far too many to even count or care for but Wyn knew each was perfect.
From discarded rocks and woody vegetation came thick-coated prey and sleek-hided predators. From the smallest carmine rat to the large reddish-black panthers. Wyn frowned at these creatures, for their blood, as miniscule as it was, was flaked with black. It wasn’t perfect, no, and the thought of destroying them crossed her mind almost as instantly as she saw them through her eyes. But her thoughts blipped again into saving the creatures, they did not need to die. Did they? She growled and then slapped herself, the pain providing clarity.

They could exist and they could exist because they would be hunted. With a scowl she created something else in that place of hers. Large and sleek, long proboscis sharp as knives, silent wings and grasping feet. They were mosquitos, a quarter of elf size, with blood of pale white. A stark contrast to the world of red, like beacons of dazzling light. They shot off into the air, seeking warm-bodied prey. They struck at those beasts she so loathed and Wyn knew they would do marvelous work.

With that solved, she wiped her hands together and from that act sprang groves of old gnarled trees, in thick patches whose roots grew deep and drank deeply of the sanguine waters. She could see these trees, whose sap ran like lines up and down their grooved trunks. Leaves like snow blanketed their tops and they collected from the haze small droplets of red, which added more appeal to the land. She would call these…Wyntrees. Yes. The only trees that would ever matter in the world. Not those pale imitations that would no doubt crop up. She smirked. It was perfect.

Next she tapped her foot upon the earth and from it a great groan was given, followed by suction sound. A giant pop echoed out as the land lifted from the mire upon four towering legs. Wyn let herself be lifted upon the creature’s back, for it was indeed a creature of great stature. Like a turtle in movement but with legs long enough to have a long stride, it began to walk, carrying with it not just the Goddess but the very land itself upon its back. For this was its sacred charge, to spread her blood across the world and it was not alone. For a way off she could not only feel the rumbling of earth but could see the large mass of flowing blood rise from the earth.

Two to wander, always apart but never alone. Her ivory mosquitoes and even some Mireborn fancied themselves as passengers. And there upon that height, Wyn created once more. She outstretched her hands over the where she could see the Wyntrees and from the leaves she fashioned small moths, pale as moonlight. They flew to her and surrounded the goddess in a flurry of light. To any other it would not have been so beautiful. They would act as her eyes and ears in the world and whisper to her the sweet nothings that came from it.

And all would be perfect, as she intended. With a smile, she bid them goodbye and sat down, waiting for what would come next.

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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Double Capybara
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Double Capybara Thank you for releasing me

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Lektor's Lectures

- 1α -

That temple was a symbol of commitment. It was not born by the greater magic of the gods but instead held together by only her will, any distance or distraction would be enough to shake it to its foundations. It felt trapping to the goddess, but, with it she would be able to guide the humans, earthlings, towards their destiny.

It was a simple round thing, brutish in design, with a central atrium with a stone pillar where the goddess stood, to its surroundings many floors in a tower-like round structure, with balconies so that all humans may watch her. The outward ring of the round structure was an endless row of dormitories, spartan in design, with merely a bed and a washing bin in each. All humans wore simple robes with a middle sash holding them together. Initially, they were all green. Clean water was offered, and so was bread, made by the goddess to make sure they would have good nutrition in them.

The mortals, just raised from lifeless stone forms, were all very much dazed, and they all looked at the goddess with curiosity.

"Good Morning my pupils. I am Lektoria Koreh Tellur, goddess of Earth. Today, the knowledge that will be imparted to you will be that which is most basic. You will learn of this world, of its gods, of how your body works and how it will survive. You will also learn how things will work here in Haven. This very temple where you stand."

And the goddess did follow that exact proposal with very little distraction. Most important were the rules of her lectures and their staying in Haven. "Every morning and every evening you will listen to me and pay attention to my lessons. They will start simple but become more complex. There IS a world out there, far beyond these walls, you MAY choose to go there, but, once you LEAVE you cannot go back, Haven will be lost to you, so will be my overwatching blessing, you will need to forage your own food, defend yourself, and build your own shelter. You may not interrupt me whenever I am lecturing, even to ask pertinent questions, it is simply not allowed. the rules were so simple even the newly-born mortals understood them. And for the first few days, the lessons would be peaceful and none would leave.

But as time passed, some mortals were too eager for their own good. Too excited. although Lektor always made sure she explained how dangerous the world out there was, a group of humans thought themselves ready enough to face it, curious even, wanting to be the first to leave the building. They knew how to eat, they knew how to drink, what else was there to learn? Surely nothing important!

And so, the first batch left.

- 1β -

At night, as all humans slept, the goddess of the earth adjusted strings in her hand following the pattern of a cat's cradle.

"Seems like the first few have left. How brave, yet how foolish, very low self-control and wisdom on those. Yet they made be necessary for mankind when certain times come." she adjusted the strings and knots in her weave. "I believe those who do it for curiosity may fare well among those, but those who do it out of ambition and pride... well, those are truly lost. It is not yet the time of men, it's the age of shadows and flames, with their masters the elves at the lead. A time of tragedies and great change, of falling sounds and the spreading carmine wound." she sighed.

But there was nothing that could be done, the flame in those few burned too bright, now it was up for Fate to decide which ones would be pruned. She had her lessons to continue.

- 2α -

The teacher's teachings would become more hypothetical and figurative as time went on, long gone was the simple "There is this, there is that, this is named x, this is named y." of the past. Now she spoke of sentiments and feelings, and even her more grounded words were sapped with metaphors and unclear answers. But given survival was easy and guaranteed most did not mind that shift, that is, until all those who are too adventurous had left and days went by without new abdications.

A long time would pass of relative peace and no changes within the temple, when the goddess felt it was time new lessons were given. Tasks to be completed. Typically menial beyond belief. They seemed to come in waves, one day it was very physical, like cleaning the walls, running around the building, pruning plants and sand raking; the next day would be menial too but more mentally challenging, students would be given jars with pebbles within and asked to count them over and over, or separate them by aspect, or puzzles were given, or the students were made to remember the names of all those within their floor. There was no punishment (at the moment) for failing these tasks, just the shame of it, some students cheated as they could not find joy in these tasks, Lektor took notice, others, finally, gave up.

The earth goddess had expected that, and she took notice of what tipped over each student, some did not mind the bureaucratic tasks but minded the physical ones, while others thrived in mindless forceful work but did not deal well with numbers, some were too lazy to do either but also not clever enough to cheat. Thankfully the former two were more numerous than the latter.

The adventurers had been left to go without care or aid, but to these newly departed the goddess would give some guidance. She would tell them of caves and bountiful areas within the mesa, and instruct them to live in those places as they were more peaceful than the lands below. She made it clear that it was not their time yet to settle beyond the mesa, she would not stop them if they tried, but success would only come when special students arrived to their villages, ready to lead them properly.

- 2β -

The cat's cradle formed an image of iron and clay strings surrounding a single ruby. The goddess had spent the entire night observing it.

"Wind and Water act mechanical, bound to the earth that is the body. But the fire, it is the spirit. And yet... why is that." she pondered in whispers, unheard in the dead of the night. "It clearly is not random, there is a design, but not even the creator seems to contemplate the decision of making the spirit an ember. That can't be the full story. What does it provide? What does it define? What is the philosophy of this alchemical product?" she re-adjusted the strings.

It was no use.

"Perhaps the solution to this earthling puzzle is in accepting it, sacrifice the whys for the hows. The first students who left had flames too bright, those who leave now have flames too fickle. Those who have the fire but whose earth failed them were more likely to force themselves or to cheat, that is ambition, but what of those gifted in earth but with low flames? Are they of use? I will need to create more situations and test it."

She sighed, so much work to do, yet her own enthusiasm was lacking at times, she was not, after all, a goddess of fire, but she was not foolish to let just let humans go into the world untested. When all of this was over, she would likely take a long rest, and poor will be the humans who ever expect her to help them again.

- 3 -

As the population of the temple settled again, the waves of people leaving stopping and the shape of the temple adjusting for the now more empty areas, the goddess started to think over her task again. It seemed her effort had already filtered a chunk of the humans, the time was coming she would need to change things.

"The days to come will make this less of a temple, more of a forge. The most peculiar and potent humans are now under my command, it is time to test them. First, the minds, then the body. Some will need gifts, so I should wait until I have more energy."

But one last test would be made, it was time to give these humans the fruit of knowledge, and know how they would react.

One day, they would wake up and find their clothes had been changed for colourful garbs, crowns of jewels and rings of silver were given to the, the temple was colourful and vibrant with images from all over the world in its walls. The food too, was wine and nectar, bread with meat and fruits, pie slices too. For one day life in Haven was a feast.

The next days that came, however, gave nothing but the nutritious bread and clean water, the white garbs and brutish rock walls. And Lektoria would refuse to answer if the mortals would ever see those colors and tastes again, merely smiling when asked or reminding them they were not to interrupt her lessons.

The sphinx waited to see what would happen next. This was but one of many tests to come. Not simply testing if the humans would succeed, but more scientific in nature, where the results are truly unknown even to the gods.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Commodore
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Commodore Condor

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Gone, so very many fell to not rise again. When many had used to the rarity, the escape and freedom from such harm- it became all the worse when harm had once again descended upon them.

Where once there had been joyous fields, now lay deserted barrens. Where one had joined another and another after, a birthplace of choirs. Now it was empty.

Life had spread. She had quite plainly made sure of it.

Ia’Akhul laid luxuriously along a leaf, sipping nectar from a flower. Perhaps it was a decadent usage of her power but something she enjoyed nonetheless to create like all the rest. A forest where it had once been barren, life where there was emptiness. It was satisfying.

A bevy of deer grazed in their cautious way in the clearing below. Creation and creation interacting, even if it was one eating another. There was something fascinating about how much more came from such growing complexities than any singular creature could accomplish on its own. It reminded her of home in a way.

Of course those deer were being hunted themselves. The little elf things had taken to her forests quite well, taken to most places quite well it had seemed. Downwind, creeping with their sharpened rocks- hoping to take the bevy unawares.

A misplaced step and the deer were off, the elf pack half jogging after to wear them down or catch them later. It had happened before and likely would again. Ia’Akhul took flight, a lone elf seeing a flower falling from a branch before following onwards.

Mountains were a good place to start, especially right here. Ia’Akhul could see, even if a mortal sense could not. The metals that she needed, or rather, what she planned to make would need.

There before her, form came to the idea she had expelled. In the fore, and foremost, came the head. A radial maw with ten mandibles outstretched, five sets in all. An armored skin giving way to five radial eyes, larger than most beasts of the land and themselves armored and inset behind transparent flesh. Set behind these as ideas became flesh and form more sealed entrances to itself in measures long planned. Heavy plates interlocked as divine energy made mortal bone and meat, muscle and sinew.

Corridors filled between walls of bone and meat, organs filled and functioned. Even while still being made flesh it came to life, its mouth tearing stone and rock to get at the necessary metals. Already picked out so closely spotted by the maker goddess.

Grasping tendrils of great length formed and restricted close to the main body. The winds blew and rushed away as great void sacks formed to keep aloft the beast- even without the goddess’s help. Radial five by five in numbers repeated and carefully made- the flesh became form.

Armor and bone, eager flesh giving creation to micro and macro immune systems. Tendrils stretching and grasping in creation. Flesh all over, but most dorsally, eagerly absorbing solar rays. Creation slowed and form has come forth.

Ia’Akhul flew up into the beast, through sacred and secret corridors, through unknown routes and passages. Till she reached a room, a room planned and made within the beast. Close to its vital thoughts and with purposeful guidance made. Guidance indeed, her senses reached out, pressing into the panels and energy receptacles, telling the great beast ideas and guidance. Not commands no, she let it have such decisions itself, but guidance for her beloved living beast.

Even so, with beloved life made, this great beast, her Oge’Ivu- her thoughts turned to the Proclamator. As the flesh groaned around her, pumping around those first rounds of life, Ia’Akhul thought about the words of that proclamation. Was this cultivation? Architecture of the world? Life and form, flesh and thought- would the others accept that which she created? Would they embrace her beloved creations? The land had been changed, life spread by others, but all so different.

She thought about her meeting with Po, would the others be like her? Ia’Akhul felt herself different even if she still liked Po. Would others be as different as well? Would she be alone in her own way?

She had no answers, only many more questions- and her thoughts of creation. She flew through Oge’Ivu, where the corridors curved around her internal void bubbles. The grand spaces inside, the careful doors so perfect seals, the growing and developing macro immunities, the powerful tendrils sending vibrations through the air as they moved and stretched.

She flew out of the great beast and landed on its head, her wings flapping gently as the floating titan began to move away from the mountain with its metal need cured- basking in solar rays as little got through the atmosphere. Turning towards the ocean, it was of flesh and it would need flesh to support itself, especially for what came next.

It would take some time for others to realize the purposes she had planned Ia’Akhul knew. Perhaps less if she actually had a chance to share them.

As the great titan drifted and carried itself over the mountains, aiming for beyond the lands to the ocean- Ia’Akhul knew she had to create just a bit more of what she had so carefully planned.

Divine power flowed once more, flesh and form taking flight. Schools of carp taking flight, their fins guiding them along currents of air and cloud flows. Built strong of weight and strong of back. Capable of carrying others well before achieving their full adult forms. They would be Gedhe’iwak, great fish of the skies. Food for the children of Oge’Ivu should they find the great beasts of ocean and land lacking. She also hoped one day those little elf things might learn to look up and travel the sky with their help.

Before long along the ground she spared an amount of power for life below. She made bipeds hairless gray hominids although their head and neck came to a large mouth with a pair of black beady eyes on each side. She made them smart enough for some cleverness. Their flesh gave them hints of behavior, to hide, to mimic the works of others for benefit. Lacking in communication to be sure, they might at least benefit from others' own abilities. Omnivorous in all aspects, although they preferred to gulp down their food whole and move quickly.

They scattered out over and under land, smelling their way and dodging fierce trees with their less than great eyesight. Nagna, great gulpers of flesh and form. But they would not be alone. No, she had to make something more protective.

Kin to the bevy she saw before, large and tall as the trees, their backs of grass with bodies to blend with tree trunks and colorful leaves. Stags with impressive antlers twice as wide as they. Does and young bucks traveling in little families without such protections. They would be large forest protectors- beyond their prodigious size and strength they’d have great magical ability, capable of assisting the growth of plants and healing soil from destructive scenarios and materials. They would try to assist smaller life and frequently appear in places of greater distress.

They were Huwu’idang, great deer of growth and protection of forests, life, and many smaller things.

The flow stopped, and they too began to spread- Ia’Akhul looked upon them and wondered. She wondered what the other invitees would think. Would they care about such things? Were they fickle- ready to blast out of the sky something that blocked their view? Would they adore them? Hate them?

And what of the little ones, the hunters of deer and thinkers of smaller plans than the gods. Those mortal lives- would they find these useful? Would they find peace with her creations? Would they, as the work of other gods, be ready to destroy them?

She did not know, but would find out.

Oge’Ivu had reached the ocean, it would feed and then it would soar to the heavens above- far beyond the kith and kin that spread on the world below. A last flow of power went through Oge’Ivu- she would be mother to a race in form of her own. The Iava’Oge, they would be like her, but different. Smaller perhaps, but in short time grand titans of the skies for all to see. They would be necessary for the plans to come.

She needed a word however, so she took her leave. Flying off the great beast’s back, a word with that grand inviter. She had heard her new words, and it intrigued her- although she had many more things to think about than just that.

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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Utrax
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Utrax 𝕰𝖝𝖙𝖗𝖊𝖒𝖊 𝕭𝖎𝖗𝖉

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Ashevelen, The Ferryman, & Myrtu

The Steppe, prior to devastation…

Standing among the spiral formation in which a large group of proto-humans had been deposited, in the very center of the nearly uninhabited lands of the vast Steppe, there was a unicorn staring at the sky. For moments uncounted, Myrtu had stood there, waiting for Anath Homura to be out of sight, then further waiting for the ‘coast to be clear’. Slowly, ever so gingerly, she moved her hooves to the side, shrinking them as she went, so as to avoid yet another accident. Beneath each hoof was the strange ichor of the unformed human, which had been crushed beneath her landing, having been killed before it even understood what living was. Those still dormant vessels had not witnessed this act- a thing for which Mytru was grateful- so it was easy to make up for. Very simple to cover up. Easy.

Dipping her head, Myrtu skewered the half-statue half-squishy parts (of which they still could not name) upon the tip of their divine unicorn horn, then leapt into the air. At first, she’d thought to simply toss it into the nearby star, but that was a little anticlimactic. This was more than likely the first death on the Steppe, unless there were more Elves freezing to death out here too, and it deserved to be given some form of fanfare! Maybe the weird transparent screaming soul it’d left behind would stop screaming with a celebration? Right. A ghost was screaming in its formless-shapeless-sort of soundless voice beneath Myrtu. While the noise wasn’t loud it was somehow loud-without-sound which was even worse and she wanted it gone.

So, without further ado, Myrtu dashed a small distance into the air above, then charged up what they hoped would be the most brilliant funeral-death-celebration-laserbeam of them all! A lightshow began in a myriad of colors and unnamed shapes, as Myrtu incinerated the corpse, and used the ashes as sparkling dust within the light show.

“Oop! A new arrival,” said the Ferryman and extracted a scroll from the breast of his robe. “Oh, neat - this one’s on the way, actually. Bit north of here and we should be there soon. Very unfortunate death, gotta say. Celestial objects are generally not a common murder weapon. Will be a hell of a tale to share in the afterlife.”

Ashevelen enjoyed the view and while the Ferryman wasn’t one for small talk, occasionally he’d chip in. The conversation was always light, never something truly important. Eventually, Ashe settled on just observing the world, far away from the Umbral Woods. That is, until the Ferryman spoke.

Celestial object death? Correct me if I’m wrong, wouldn’t that mean that one of our brothers or sisters killed the mortal? Celestial objects don’t randomly fall out of the sky.” asked Ashe, curiously.

"I wouldn't know. The Universe is full of secrets and while I wasn't born yesterday, it hasn't been all that long." The Ferryman backed up his argument with one of his signature shrugs, then he gave the note another look. "Huh. No name. Not a lot of details at all, actually. Tch… Well, guess that's another one for the Ghostel."

No name? Maybe a new mortal created by other divines and got killed by accident. How funny would it be if someone stepped on another divine’s mortals by mistake?” said Ashe with a grin, aware of the grim joke she just made.

"Not sure it'd be funny at all, I'll be frank," the Ferryman replied matter-of-factly. "But to each their own, I suppose." The forest eventually gave way to giant mountains, and beyond, an unending sea of grass intermittently broken up by small, wave-like hills or on the rare occasion mountain tsunamis. Here ran the occasional horse flock, and on occasion Wellington would almost crash into an indignant eagle, but otherwise, it was fairly empty. The Ferryman scratched his head. "Can't fault anyone for dying out here, 'cept maybe ruminants."

Not for them that for sure. Bah, Ferryman you need to learn how to laugh. ” said Ashe laughing out loud. Truly a curious sound from the boat of the Ferryman, joyous laughter.

Amazing. Maybe I should’ve made the home of the Umbra here. This place looks quite nice, a lot of grass and places where you can run around. Imagine a massive bazaar built on these plains, mortals from everywhere would come. Ahhh…” said Ashe with a hopeful voice, half-daydreaming the day she’ll instruct the Umbra to build her the bazaar.

"A migrating settlement of sorts sure would be a doozy," the Ferryman agreed. "Sell a bit'a this, a bit'a that - all that good stuff." They sailed a bit further on, their altitude bringing them on collision course with a ribbon of dancing aurorae. Wellington dove down below and the Ferryman ran his fingers through the colours, magic dust spotting his hand. "Neat!"

We’re more alike that I initially thought, Mr. Ferryman. I do have to say, I enjoy your company. ” replied Ashe then proceeded to take some magic dust into her hands, only to put it inside her pockets. Surely it would be useful later.

"Thank you!" the Ferryman said with an ambiguous smile. "It's the joy of any ferryman to please one's passenger. And…" He breathed a relieved sigh. "... It's nice to sail with a friendly face for once."

"It must be lonely to always travel alone. Well, then, let me provide a gift. You've given me a lift and I'll give you something else in exchange. A trade if you want to call it that. " said Ashevelen, smiling.

She pulled her robes apart and from the shadows, a group of 6 Umbras appeared. Hiding in the shadows of their creator.

" I give them to you, my creations. As long as they follow my commands, they are free to do whatever you may wish them to do. "

The Ferryman blinked and eyed the shadows behind him. “I, uh…” He rubbed the back of his head humbly. “Thank you, miss, but, uh… I don’t know if I can accept them. I’m on the job all day and night, and if these things need to eat, then I won’t have time to feed ‘em. I, uh…” He looked over the edge of his boat. “Do they mind bartending? Wait, hang on, they’d have to be dead to even see the Ghostel…”

The Umbra in his shadow quivered at the mention.

Dead? No, no. They don’t need to be dead to see ghosts. ” smiled Ashe and with a wave of her hand, dark light flashed in the usually blank eyes of the Umbra. The Umbra were very much scared initially and then, if their faces could have expressions, it would’ve been one of amazement. Blessed with the ability to see the dead, the Umbra were amazed by the number of souls around them.

And done, they can now see the dead. As for bartending, I have given them the ability to understand the nature of a trade. Offer them your divine protection and in exchange, they’ll do what you need. They can eat pretty much anything but I can help them a bit more if you wish or just use your own power, let them eat souls or whatever else you wish. ” smiled Ashevelen, kindly.

The Ferryman, not really knowing any other ways to politely decline a gift, conceded defeat and nodded. “Thank you, ma’am. I’m sure they’ll come to good use.”

And on the Steppe, still so early in its stage of growth and population, any sound but that of the wind, was carried as unbroken as a wave, until it rolled ashore. Laughter, bright and babbling- yet somehow contradictingly imperceptible- echoed from a place somewhere beneath those dusty multicolored lights.

An oddity amongst oddities would be the sight of the statuesque and dormant humans, of which there is a sizable number, arranged in a great spiral formation, atop the rolling golden grass, at whose center-point danced a god. A large winged Unicorn, whose colorful mane and fur did shift hues as they moved, was putting on a show for an audience of one.

Myrtu moved in a precise manner-bucking and leaping- tossing their mane and leaving trails of light and color with their wings. Before them a formless unnamed soul giggled, in the soundless-cacophonous manner of those whose voices would forever go unheard by mortals.

The Ferryman slowed down the pace of Wellington and blinked. He waved his hand with a small movement and greeted, “Afternoon, friend!”

Ashevelen looked, a bit amazed, at the other divine. A truly majestic form they’ve chosen.

Amazing horn brother! And your mane !

Myrtu halted, then leapt into the air- his wings of light glittering brightly behind him- until he was even with the front Wellington. A moment of equine examination took place, as he looked the two over. Finally, in a voice that came without the use of his mouth, he spoke brightly, "Greetings! Where art thine hooves? Does this vessel act in the place of them?"

The Ferryman looked over the edge of the boat to behold the magnificent quad of polished hooves attached to the amazingly fabulous unicorn. After a very jealous spot of pondering, he managed to muster a small, “I suppose so. Sure wish she was as shiny as yours are, though.”

"Only a paltry few granules of stardust would be required for shining the vessel- though the collection of stardust involves going near those stars which have collapsed without falling into the collapsing void thyself- one need simply outrun it. Or," he tossed his mane about, along with a few sparkles, "Partake of a sum from mine flowing tresses, I have much to spare."

Myrtu abruptly gave Ashevelen a stare down, "And where art thy hooves? Unless- ah, a duo of Divines which sail the skies?"

My hooves? I have hooves, look again brother. Hooves, tail and everything in between. ” answered Ashe and to prove her words, she lifted one leg in the air and lo’ and behold, one of feet was turned into a hoof. A parlor trick for a divine but hopefully, the other divine would’ve found it mildly amusing at least.

I just went along for a ride, to answer your question. My mortals need time to grow and more places to be than they can travel on their own. As such, the good Ferryman offered us a space on his boat.

"Yup," the Ferryman said with a nod.

When Ashevelen revealed the hoof, Myrtu bounded about midair in amusement, making a little circle before facing the two again. "I have, in mine contemplations, asked why each Divine does choose their forms, and why, upon this world, there is a startling of hooves, so far as I have seen."

"-and did you say mortals? Ah, I've quite the collection- "

Below, the infantile soul cried out in confusion, to which Myrtu abruptly and immediately responded. He went toward it with a spiraling descent, so careful not to go near any of the dormant human statues.

"Here I am! Please do not begin the wailing again-" Myrtu shouted upward "-twas nice to meet you however I am quite busy!"

The Ferryman blinked and extracted the little scroll from his breast pocket. “Say, uh…” He unfurled it. “... Would that soul have happened to have been squashed by a celestial object in its living days? Would you know anything about that, mister…?”

Myrtu stared up at the Ferryman, then back to the soul, then back upward. A tense moment of silence passed. A very deep sigh left Myrtu as he explained, "Accidentally there was a most unfortunate and unintentional crushing of one of these statues, which represent a dormant race of mortals called Humans, by mine most mistaken and accidental misstep, in which I unwittingly smooshed a statue with mine hoof. Accidentally. Unfortunately. Thereby rendering it unto a state most deceased."

“Huh. Guess that’s one-oh to you, Miss Ashevelen,” the Ferryman conceded.

Ashevelen listened to Myrtu’s very unfortunate tale, on how he killed this mortal race called humans and then nodded to the Ferryman with a grin.

Wow. A joke I made turned out to be real. Who’d have thought about that? ” quickly replied Ashevelen while laughing and tapping the Wellington with her hand in delight.

Divine brother, may you offer us your name? I am Ashevelen, lady of the trade and this here…” pointing to the Ferryman “...is the Ferryman of the dead. Called to ferry across the world, the souls of the dead. In other words, the one below there.

Myrtu shook his head about anxiously, stepping into a little dance for the soul, which cooed and giggled, before he responded, "I am called Myrtu, and full glad am I that this one may be sent elsewhere- I've nary a clue as to how much entertainment I could provide for much longer."

“Oh, very kind of you, mister Myrtu,” said the Ferryman and beckoned the soul aboard his vessel (it didn’t have much of a choice in the matter). It was seated very politely on one of the plank seats next to a myriad of Umbral shades, one of whom conjured forth a fraction of Ashevelen’s shadow and made a little puppet show for the soul. It received copious applause for its mimicry of a skipping foal. “This one’ll…” The Ferryman regarded the soul scroll. “... Go to the Ghostel for the time being, it seems. But hey, it’s somewhere.”

Ashe watched with great interest the Umbra’s puppet show and laughed copiously at the story they portrayed. The souls seemed to enjoy it as well but she soon lost interest in them, instead, she turned towards Myrtu.

Myrtu, it seems to me that you’ve got quite a few humans down there. What do you say about a trade? I give you some of my Umbra and in exchange, I’ll take some of your humans. How does that sound? ” asked Ashevelen. "Humans and Umbra might get along," replied Ashevelen, "The Umbra could use some new trade partners and maybe, some new food if they don't prove themselves useful."

Heaving a great and weary sigh, Myrtu settled down, folding his legs beneath him. Ashevelen's words were taken in with a quiet moment of equine thought, as he shifted his head about, taking in the sight of the humans at different angles. Calculating? Idly, as he looked about, Myrtu asked, "Ghostel? I... will have to find this place, in due time. What is this Ghostel? The afterlife for mortals?"

Then to Ashevelen he responded, "And if there will be a trade, I'd ask only for equal numbers of these hoofless blobs in exchange," he shook his mane about with some amusement, "These are mortal creatures both with potential which awaits unbinding and realization. Only as they grow might we know what their capabilities truly are."

That is a fair trade. Say, 50 of mine vs 50 of yours? Enough for them to grow on their own without us needing to shepherd them. ” quickly replied Ashevelen.

“I agree- that number will be suitable- these mortals will quite overwhelm them with amount, however, among them shall I unleash variation in form and build, so that they might engage in teamwork and compensate for each other's strengths and weaknesses. These.. Umbra, will make excellent variation to that which is planned,” Myrtu bobbed his head, “Though forgive me, as I am quite weary, and will not be able to transport that number easily until mine breath hath returned to me.”

The Ferryman followed the logic of the conversation, as well as Ashevelen’s frequent eye shifts back to him and mumbled something like, “... Well, I guess there’s space in Wellington for a few.”

Only if you allow it, Ferryman. You can drop them at any time in the Umbral Forests. Pretty sure some of the Umbras are dying as we speak, seeing that I haven’t offered them much to begin with.” smiled Ashe, shyly towards the Ferryman. She realized a bit too late that the Ferryman will end up…ferrying alive mortals as well.

With a knock on her robe, a few more Umbras came out. These, like the other ones, hid in Ashe’s shadow and just waited for her to allow them to come out whenever they were required. Of course, the blessing which affected the Ferryman’s Umbra, affected them as well. Giving birth to a new type of Umbra.

There, 50 Umbras for you, Myrtu. Thank you for your trade.” said Ashe as she gently let the Umbras on the ground, next to Myrtu’s humans.

Myrtu regarded the Umbra on the ground with an ambiguous expression, as most of his expressions were, seeing as he’s a horse, before looking back up to Ashevelen. “These humans are bound in statue form and, though I am certain they may be transported with ease, I’ve no idea as to their weight and if such a tiny vessel would be able to carry them. Therefore I propose that I, in due time, transport them myself to your forest. I am capable of carrying numerous objects at once, with the powers of mine Divine Mind.”

What in tarnation did you just say about my vessel, you little foal? I’ll have you know that I graduated top of my class at the Ferryman Academy and that I have over three hundred confirmed deliveries. I am trained in navigation and I am the top sailor in the entire Intercosmic Undertaker Association. You are nothing to me but just another colleague. I will ship you away with speed and comfort the likes of which has never been seen before on this Galbar, mark my darn words. You think you can get away with saying that stuff over telepathy? Think again, horsey. As we speak, I am contacting my known network of souls all across the planet and your mind is being filled now with positive reviews, so you better prepare for the storm, stallion. The storm that tells you that I actually do a pretty decent job. You will learn a lesson, foal. I can be anywhere (within reason), anytime (well, virtually), and I can transport you in over three ways, and that’s just with my boat Wellington. Not only am I extensively trained in rowboating, but I have access to the entire fleet of the Intercosmic Undertaker Association and I will use it to its full extent to ferry your respectable self off the face of this Steppe, you kind sir. If only you could have known what comfortable service your little ‘clever’ comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your respectable tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t and now you won’t be paying the price (I ship for free, see), you respectable gentlehorse. I will ship cordially all over and you will enjoy it. You’re damned welcome, foaly.”

The Ferryman blinked as he realized what he had just said and mumbled, “Sorry, dunno what came over me just there.”

And unto the Ferryman, Myrtu asked in a deadpan, “Can thine vessel transport fifty statues?”

The Ferryman looked around his little dory. “Uh, probably. Guess we’ll have to try, huh?”

“If it cannot,” Myrtu got to his feet, shimmering, “Then it shall be declared the teeny tiny shipping container from the Intercosmic Undertaker Association.”

“You’re on, horsey.”

With a Single flip of his magnificent sparkling mane, Myrtu’s horn glowed brightly- illuminating outlines around some fifty grouped human statues. With a second swish of hair, which rained down significant sparkles, the statues lifted all at once toward the Wellington. Like a true dock-loader, Myrtu asked then, “Lengthwise, stacked, or other way, transport?”

“Stacked lengthwise. Don’t you worry, sir - she’s handled her share before.” The Ferryman gently put his Umbral Six in a dark corner in the back, gestured for Ashevelen to move back some and stood up to guide the shipment down in the ship’s belly with his hands. Ashe just stood there, wide-eyed. Her face was of utter disbelief. Looking at the Ferryman and then back at Myrtu, their exchange getting heatedly-polite. Eventually, she started laughing and laughing and continued to do that until the Ferryman gestured for her to move and then, afterwards, she continued to laugh again.

Amazing. Divines everywhere, this was just amazing. Wow, just…wow. I’m speechless. Ferryman, Myrtu, I have to say, I quite like you two. Please visit my realm later on when I’ll build one. We need to have a brew and talk more. Pure entertainment. ” said Ashe, barely managing to speak in-between laughs. A tear slowly rolling down her cheek from pure joy.

As Myrtu lowered the fifty statues into the Wellington, one by one, as guided by the Ferryman, he mumbled, “Well, foolish would I be to turn down a chance to entertain and bring joy to others.” Oh, Myrtu absolutely was going to passive-aggressively keep loading up the Wellington, even if things looked as if they weren’t going to work. With an amused shake of his head, Myrtu added, “Mayhaps next we meet, we may share progress on how our mortals are faring.”

The Ferryman, with a competitive glint in his eye, pursed his ambiguous lips as the vessel sank deeper and deeper into the magical river it sailed. “Mayhaps we shall.” The Umbra had already flowed out from their hidey hole and tried desperately to keep the tower of humans in balance. The barrier barring souls from exiting the vessel without the Ferryman’s leave would have helped - if it had been calibrated for the living. The Ferryman tried to hide the beads of sweat on his forehead. “Mayhaps, indeed.”

Myrtu continued loading statues without any sign of slowing down. He remained silent.

Do you need help, Ferryman? More than happy to row as well, for a price. Maybe some more divine power is required? You can accept after we leave from here, out of the eyes of Myrtu, of course. ” said Ashe with a grin while helping stabilize the human tower from falling over.

“No need,” the Ferryman insisted as he cast a soul spell to balance the tower at the top while also transporting a panicked Umbra back aboard after they almost fell to their death. “Wellington has never lost a passenger before. She won’t lose one today.”

Pride doesn’t suit you, my friend. ” quickly replied Ashe with a friendly smile.

“I thank you both for stopping by,” Myrtu spoke up, after placing the final statue atop the stack, “Please do visit again.”

Goodbye divine brother! It was a pleasure meeting you!” shouted Ashe with a wave.

“Oh, this’ll probably be the sort’a place I return to often,” said the Ferryman with feigned confidence. “A very good day to ya, mister Myrtu.” With that, they sailed off like a stack of plates on a skateboard, statues dropping off and being put back with telekinesis like an endless game of jenga.

edit: fixed some scuffed spelling, formatting, and inserted the elusive myrtu token

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