Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by wild-kitsune
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NOTE: Feral is a legacy RP from before RPG was wiped and rebuilt. Although it originated in Casual, it has since been moved to Advanced due to the high average quality of posts. In addition, Feral began in February of 2010, making it one of the longest running ongoing roleplays on RPG. Because of this, we tend to move a bit slower than many of the other RPs. However, the core group of players is incredibly dedicated. We're often taking new players and welcome anyone who believes they are comfortable with our relaxed pace. Dedication will be rewarded, and rather than finding yourself in yet another game that dies within weeks, you might just find that our slower pace is more than a fair trade for being part of a consistent group that won't just vanish... even if the site does.

THE STORY THUS FAR (will be updated for new players as major events progress in the plot):
Departing on an expedition to find a cure for feralism, it wasn't long before the party was forced to respond to the cries of help from an outpost being assaulted by ferals released from an illegal underground feral fighting arena, or pit. Having eradicated the ferals in the immediate vicinity, they attempted to track the remaining ones to their source. Ultimately, this led to what seemed like safe haven in a city ruled by the Daeva noble Malum. Although his true intentions seemed less than good-natured, it was the party that struck first, revealing a larger plot but crippling the city in the process.

After spending months repairing the city and returning stability to its people, the party once again ventured forth, following leads that would eventually take them to Malum's master, the daeva-hating tiger Renji, who masqueraded as a priest in a small village. His plot to unleash a false feralism into the world had to be stopped, and in the process a number of party members nearly died as an army of artificial ferals sieged the group. Holed out in Renji's church, they fought desperately against what was clearly a coordinated assault being led by someone in the shadows. In their pursuit of the mad tiger, they became trapped in a strange, ancient labyrinth filled with magic and technology far beyond that of any of the three races. It was only after many trials that they were able to escape, although not without destroying the bulk of Renji's feralism operation.

Having killed Renji and recovered an infected party member, the group was surprised to find a stockpile of weapons and ammunition emblazoned with King Aaron's seal. Although beginning as a diplomatic mission, things quickly turned sour when Neon's feral brother Drak crashed the party, revealing a potential weak link in the royal lineage. King Aaron, having always hated the Daeva, took the opportunity to declare war on the Daeva race, and the party was forced once again to fight for their lives as they escaped the city, losing one of their greatest fighters in the process.

Now Queen, Neon turned the party's attention towards Adalrich and the Seraphim council, hoping to prevent them from joining the humans in declaring war. Traveling by boat, they were attacked by a Kraken and human soldiers. Their ship sunk and party wounded, the group was forced to take shelter in an isolated wolf village, whose antiquated practices and traditions nearly cost them the life of one of their own as they were forced to hunt him down in a bizarre ritual.

Not long after, in perhaps their first real stroke of luck, the party was able to acquire safe passage to Adalrich, where they currently reside. They have only days to convince the council to remain neutral in the coming war, and take advantage of the Seraphim's vast stores of knowledge to perhaps find a fresh lead in their seemingly hopeless quest to find a cure.

Their many adventures, while not all known to the public, have spoiled their collective reputation by those who make it their business to know, and the rubble left behind in their wake, although not entirely their fault, has made many wary when they stroll into town.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by wild-kitsune
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Some said the world would end with a bang; Others, with a whimper.

I would have killed for a whimper.

I have seen the end, and lived through it to tell my tale to the forever stillness of the endless void. It did not end with an earth shattering bang, nor the whimper of my people as they were snuffed out in the night. No great fire swept over the world and burned away all that was impure. No ice age arrived to trap every living thing in an eternal winter. No, in truth all these things would have been preferable. Then it would have been the stuff of legends, that perhaps once future generations would weave into intricate and legendary tales of bravery, with bards of great skill playing their songs of heroes and impossible odds. After all, every people wants to be remembered for their heroes, their legends. No, I have seen the world end; Stood on the precipice as it washed over me, and it came in silence.

Deafening silence.

My name is Pandora, a fanciful name my parents gave me the moment the doctors told them my little heart had begun beating five minutes after being stillborn. I'm told the name comes from that of a mythical woman who's curiosity brought all manner of calamity to the world but, with it, hope. They always did have a sense of humor. Not anymore.

Alas, there is no hope in my chest. I am a scientist by nature, and I have long since acquiesced to the power of mathematics and probability. I am the last remaining of my people, and thus the odds of my survival, of the survival of my lineage, are nil. No god will save me, nor should he if such a being existed. In our hubris we strode into realms beyond our comprehension to play the roles of gods and goddesses. The earth, sea, and sky together were our dominion. We altered the path of nature, and tapped into the very core of our planet. We created miracles.

We created life.

I am compelled by my nature to try and understand where we went wrong. No... that isn't accurate. We made many mistakes in our arrogance, strode forward too quickly without even noticing we were at a precipice. What I really mean is... where was the mistake that triggered the instant extinction of my species? I keep running the forumlas through my head, and the cave I'm calling a home is lined with diagrams and blueprints. The design was perfect, wasn't it? Yet it couldn't have been, or the device wouldn't have broken. Without my colleagues, I have almost no chance of solving this riddle. I will surely take this mystery to the grave with me.

To those that came before, on behalf of my people I am sorry for how we abused the tools you had given us. For those we left behind I, too, must apologize. You will never get to know, never truly experience, a culture founded on ten thousand years of development. The relics we leave behind and the unliving labyrinths still running beneath the soil are barely a fraction of a percent of what we were capable of. What little remains will no doubt confound you as you try and fail to unlock their secrets. You are not to blame, though, for your failures. We left you a world thrown so far back in time that our history may be lost entirely before you are capable of appreciating it.

Grow. Grow and become strong. Watch over the fruits of our experiments and tend to the fledgling species still developing, especially the ones with neither miracle nor claw. Find your path in this world and walk alongside them, and please forgive us for our hubris.

And should you tame the skies and seek knowledge in the earth, know that some things are best left buried. Should you find the core....


These transcribed words are the last testament of the lone survivor of what we have come to call the Elmir, an ancient civilization that long predates our own. The subsequent pages are severely damaged and in varying stages of legibility, and all attempts to repair them, magically or otherwise, have proven fruitless. Of particular interest to historians is the final line in the initial entry, and much discussion has ocurred in attempting to divine the exact meaning of the use of the word core which, in the native tongue of the Elmir, seems to be seperate from their word for "center", implying that perhaps this core is not that of the Czarina but of something else entirely.

Throughout the remaining text there is frequent mention of the great calamity that eradicated the Elmir, the author often taking a regretful tone for her hand in it. From what can be translated, it seems as if the Elmir created some sort of device capable of miracles, but the device malfunctioned and tapped into the collective consciousness of a species so advanced they no longer had a sense of wonder, trapped on a planet they had long since dominated. Their secret innermost desire, whatever it may be, triggered the device somehow. The civilization, and everything they had created save for what lie underground, vanished without a trace.

As for why this lone scientist survived, this author believes....


The book trailed off from there, taking a more opinionated approach before eventually becoming pages and pages of untranslated, highly damaged writing.

Deep in the restricted section of the Adalrich grand library, one could only wonder why such a tome had been hidden away, and yet to the thief brazen enough to violate the strict laws of the Seraphim and sneak into the restricted section, there were more pressing matters to attend to. The floor surrounding the intruder glowed with a faint aura as a spell circle formed at her feet, following her wherever she went.

Not far away, in a secret underground research lab, a similar circle formed underneath Neon and the unconscious Dagger. Simultaneously, the two circles lit up, their targets vanishing with the dimming light of the spell. In an instant they found themselves in the main lobby of Shade's home, where everyone had been gathered save for Hagumi and Torva. A number of the servants were sitting on the floor, runes floating around the circle they formed.

A recall spell.

It had been a long day. A slave trader had been killed. An ally had reincarnated. The restricted section of the Seraphim library was looted, and yet none of this brought them closer to their goal of preventing war. Night had fallen, and with only 2 days left to convince the Council of the Righteous to stand aside in the coming war, it would take a great deal of work to achieve their goals. For now, though, the injured would be tended to, food and perhaps a bit of merriment would be distributed, and they would begin anew the following morning.

In a residence not unlike Shade's, far less merriment was being had as Torva and Hagumi struggled to deal with her father's extreme reaction to their proclamation of love. Although her mother had been far more understanding, the rift that had formed in the family over the issue was impossible to ignore. Once the others had gone to sleep, Torva snuck out of the room Hagumi's mother had provided for him, climbing out of the window and into Hagumi's room. He had assumed he would be forced to sleep in another room, if he was allowed to stay in the house at all, but he and Hagumi had too much to discuss to retire so early in the evening.

Rapping gently on the window, Torva let himself in to find Hagumi sitting on her bed facing towards the door. From his vantage he couldn't tell what sort of expression lived on her pale face, but whatever it was, Torva knew it would only upset him. "Hagumi?" he whispered, closing the window behind him, "What should we do about your father?"

The moon rose high into the night sky, illuminating city of Adalrich in a cool blue hue. In only a scant few hours a new dawn would be rising, its bright rays piercing the darkness and bringing with it new opportunities and greater challenges. They had come so far, lost so much and gained almost nothing in return, save for each other. In many ways, this new dawn was a fresh beginning. A chance to finally find the path forward.

A chance to start over.

A wise man once wrote: “For last year's words belong to last year's language, and next year's words await another voice, and to make an end is to make a beginning." Would this be the year they found a cure? Or would twilight be bathed in the blood of their friends and family like Pandora, the end of a race and an era. Unlike Pandora, though, they still held a powerful weapon, and one they would need to survive the greatest challenge on their journey to date.

Hope.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Reaper
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Itzal was watching the sunrise from the ground floor balcony. Breakfast was being served for the group, and he had risen first as host to make sure his guests were all fine. The return to this life of decorum and etiquette felt alien but welcome at the same time. It seemed he had come to appreciate levity and peacefulness after the business with Halden concluded.

Though he had to admit he was not free of that life. No doubt the seraphim enforcers would still be looking for the criminal known as Shade. He couldn't reestablish his network of informants and contacts if that was the case. Not unless he somehow convinced them he was dead. He had explained what happened in the cave the night before to all who were present, but so far no one else knew that Shade had a new face and name.

"Itzal", he had decided to call himself now. Today he would hopefully convince the Justicar to lend his voice to their cause. Given his hatred for Shade and the trouble he had caused, surely news of his death would earn some points. Even if the councilman figured out the truth, he was not a fool blinded by hate. Hopefully Itzal's guarantee that it was a new man standing before the council would be enough... plus the assassin was willing to give up a good deal of his blackmail material and intelligence on dealings in Adalrich that would be far more valuable than one dead Spectre.

He spotted Neon walking over and greeted her. It was a strange feeling to do so with a stranger's face. He hadn't explained why he had a daughter or a life here in Adalrich he was willing to leave behind.

"She loved the sun." He began abruptly. "My wife, that is. She thought each sunset was a promise for better the next day and each sunrise was a reminder it would come fulfilled. Perhaps a strange belief for an assassin to hold on to but we were always keenly aware each mission could be our last."

Itzal managed the first sincere smile he had shown in a long time and continued. "We saved up what we earned from our contracts. Built this place together. I designed this balcony and the garden above for her. We had always intended to settle down and leave our past lives behind. Halden saw an end to that dream when he betrayed us. We were a team, the three of us and he was always jealous of what Zilla and I had... or the fact that I was adopted by his father and seemingly favoured over him."

He sighed and took a moment to sip his tea, talking about Halden now, he could barely muster any hatred for the man he once called brother. "When all of you met me, I was driven by revenge and wanted nothing more but to see Halden dead. I joined you so I could continue tracking him. I did not expect to make... friends. Now I think I can leave the past in the past and I have all of you to thank for it."

He managed a laugh and started playing around with his throwing knives. "Don't think I've gone soft because you can still expect me to do what I need to in order to see your quest completed. But maybe I'll do so without adding more crimes to our already extensive list, eh? That said, I have business to attend to. I'll see you around later, I suppose."

Before he departed, he turned around and looked at Neon seriously. "Maybe I'll show you all her grave before we leave. It's in the garden."

He departed without another word and left the front door. There he fished out a letter and the memory shard he had of Torva and Hagumi during their night on the ship. It was addressed to the two of them.

In case Hagumi's parents need convincing, tell them you have jealous friends who are ready to spread the contents of the memory shard to every home in Adalrich. A last resort if things go bad. Consider it the first of many wedding gifts.


Itzal sent the letter off with one his shadow bats, before taking flight and heading to meet with his old nemesis. Let's go turn ourselves in. He thought ruefully.
Kayla rued the thought of missing civilisation the moment she had stepped in the council chamber at the Tower of Elements. The only Academy in seraphim territory that trained Element Masters, it was also one of the recruiting grounds the seraphim military liked to approach. It also meant when the human dignitaries had come to petition the seraphim for an alliance, they were all alerted.

The Council of Elements was in session, deciding their stand on the issue. While they could not dictate the decisions of the High Council, they had a fair bit of influence and voice. Kayla, being the youngest and the only one still able to bear children in the room, was growing tired of the arguments.

"We should not hesitate to go to war if we are threatened, but what the humans are proposing is genocide!"

"I call it an end to all our woes. How many of our students have died hunting ferals or by ferals?"

"Ferals is the keyword! They did not die because the daeva are bloodthirsty killers set on razing our cities and pillaging our towns!"

She had heard different variations of the same argument for hours and her patience was wearing thin. She decided to speak up. "If we go to war and slaughter every daeva in Xerxes, we still wouldn't be rid of the ferals who roam the land. King Aaron was paranoid and his mind warped by fear - I saw it for myself. He had daeva chained and put in stocks for no other crime then accident of birth! I admit that my associates did destroy a significant portion of the palace, but when the humans brought the might of their army to bear we had no choice.

"But that is irrelevant to my point. There is no such thing as a war to end all wars. Going to war to stop the bloodshed is as rational as chopping off your arm to be rid of a splinter. The daeva are not our enemy. The real enemy has no face and hides in the shadow. They manipulate and tug on the strands of their web to get what they want by moving their puppets. I've seen them turn daeva feral with nothing more than a vial of liquid! If you're looking for an enemy to war against - it's them.

"It's years of fear, suspicion and prejudice. It's years of isolationism between all three races. There was a time when all lived together and in peace and harmony and when we did not need to discuss if killing of an entire race would be better for us all! Unless we can be better than ourselves, there is no true hope for us."

She saw nods and murmurs of agreement. Even those who were vocally calling for the extinction of the daeva race seemed to hear her words. Kayla felt as if she had become better herself at times like this - when a wingless like her was taken seriously in a room full of "normal" seraphim.

"Yes, I agree with Kayla. Despite her youth she has learned much under her mentor... Old Rhazga would be proud." The headmaster and eldest of the council, Sidrin spoke. He eyed the vial she had brought closely. "This poison that replicates feralism warrants more study and it is my hope we will find a cure for it. Until then, Kayla, I charge you with bringing our reply to the High Council... and returning to your old friends and seeing this quest to the finish."

Kayla smiled and bowed. "It would be my honour."
"Blast it!" Fiora cursed under her breath as she picked up the book she had found. No doubt guards would be coming soon. If she was to help Neon locate her father's tome, she had to work fast. She moved down the aisles, looking quickly and passing over any book that didn't match Neon's description.

"The thief is down in row fifty-seven!" A gruff voice shouted. Fiora sighed as she worked out how best to evade her pursuers. That's when she saw it. A thick black leather bound tome. It was exactly as Neon described. Fiora grabbed it and smashed the crystal Shade's servant had given her. In moments a flash of light enveloped her and brought her back to the mansion.

The rest of the night was a blur. Shade was now Itzal, having done some ritual that gave him a new body. Fiora thought it a useful spell, save the fact it could only be done when on the verge of death. She would have liked to be able to assume different bodies and forms at will.

She had used the rest of the night to establish her alibi - Ruby had brought her down to the forge and smeared some of her magic dust and other materials, to make it seem as if the two had been working at a new project for the past few hours.

Fiora a went a step further and burnt her hand on the forge, screaming in pain but trusting an assassin's home would be well equipped to treat her. Ruby added some ointment and hid the freshness of the wound. She could always sap some poor soul later to fully heal it.

The guards certainly bought it, though it took some convincing.

"Sir, if I were a thief and activated this spell circle of yours, the last place I'd teleport myself to would be where I was staying." She argued. "Clearly the thief thought a group of new arrivals in town would make the perfect scapegoats. Besides, a woman with long black hair is an extremely vague description, and you've seen my burn for yourself. I could steal a snack from the larder, let alone this library of yours."

Fifteen minutes later, with some help from Ruby, Fiora managed to talk the guards away. The fact that they had covered their tracks well helped. Fiora laughed off the wound and simply took some energy from different servants until she was fully healed. "I've gotten in worse scrapes." She brushed it off.

What she had not counted on, however, was the fact that her biological father would come looking for her the next day. There was a ruckus when she awoke, having slept in after the excitement of last night.

"I demand to see my daughter. You said your father had guests here and she might be among them."

"Seeing as how my father is out on business and I don't even know who you're referring to, I will have to ask to leave, Lord Garen. It is hardly appropriate for you to be calling here, so rudely I might add, in my father's absence." Ruby was trying to turn the man away but he didn't seem to want to leave.

Fiora sighed as she observed from the second floor window. She had wanted to keep a low profile, and wanted nothing to do with man who contributed nothing to her life other than the seed that conceived her. The alternative, however, was to leave Ruby alone to deal with an unruly house guest and Fiora felt she owed the girl something in return for helping the thief evade the guards last night.

"It's quite alright, Ruby. I assume he's looking for me... I'm the only half-seraphim bastard in the party." Fiora spoke up as she left through the doors, relieving her host from having to deal with the man. "Though he has done nothing to earn the right to call me his daughter."

There was a heavy atmosphere and an awkward silence as Fiora's bluntness hit home for the nobleman. "I... I hardly think that's fair. I couldn't leave my family or my duties! It was my father who chased your mother away without my knowledge -"

"You did not go after her and a bag of coin was all she had to raise me with." Fiora interrupted. "I rather think you didn't want to leave a life of comfort for one where you were poor and a walking insult to everyone's sensibilities."

She was not letting this so called father of hers have an easy time, though she supposed whatever conversation they were going to have was best done in private. He had taken his personal carriage here, it seemed, and Fiora supposed it was as good a place as any.

"I will give you half an hour to ask and say what you need. Ask your driver to circle around in that time." Fiora offered, gesturing at the carriage.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Rtron
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Daren, after the interesting events surrounding the stupid bastard's return, decided to explore the sights of the city. After all, he had never expected to find himself in the Seraphim capital, able to explore the sights. It had been a dream, of course. To see the world, not just the capital, but it had been high on the list of places to see. But, that faded as both age and reality set in. Still, some small part of him clung to that dream, even as he moved farther and farther away from the city. And now he was here. Wandering the city of Adalrich, his flaming eyes darting to and fro at the gold and silver and marble buildings. It was a beautiful city, he had to admit. Even if it was way to easy for someone who couldn't fly to fall to a very messy death. Do to this rather easy chance of dying from falling, Daren stayed a prudent distance from the edge of anything that stared out over the land with a very long, very lethal, drop. It wasn't a fear of heights, he supposed. It was more of a fear of falling, despite the fact that even if he did fall he could turn himself into something made completely of fire that could either fly or wouldn't be affected by crashing to the earth. Still, that knowledge didn't make him any more eager to tempt fate and stand too close to an edge. As he walked, the seraphim native to the city gave him odd looks. Daren was, after all, an unusual occurrence in a city so secluded and isolated.

Thus Daren wandered the city...and got himself lost. He didn't mean to. He had truly and honestly meant to stay within sight of the house that was offering him shelter and protection(mostly). But he had been too busy staring at the city around him to notice where his feet where taking him, and by the time he realized night had fallen, it was too late. Muttering curses under his breath, Daren looked about for a familiar building or landmark or something that could point him in the right direction. The house was comfortable, safe. The city, alone, at night, probably wasn't. The whole, 'sleeping in a random part of a city' thing bothered him. He had done it before(quite comfortably) and he'd do it again. What bothered him was that he was in a strange city, whose inhabitants could all use magic in various degrees, and if he stumbled upon one that could use fire magic who didn't like him, things would go badly. Very, very badly. Eventually, however, he gave up. There was no way he'd be able to retrace his path, and setting off in a random direction was more likely to work against him. Thus, with a few more curses(just to make himself feel better), Daren resignedly chose a spot relatively out of the way of the main city traffic, and set about watching the stars above him and wondering, what possessed him to follow the group that with the man that had threatened to kill him. Woman...both? Regardless, the person had implied a very painful death of being burned alive, or drowning himself to stop the pain, by shadow flames. For all his bravado, Daren was wary of someone who could wield that power. Namely because he liked living. He was still wondering when sleep finally claimed him, the stars twinkling above his sleeping form.

Daren was promptly awoken by a boot in the ribs. Groaning, he began to speak. "What the h-oof!" Only to be abruptly cut off by another boot. "Get up and leave, cretin. You happen to be sleeping on my property." A rather haughty voice ordered. Grumbling and climbing to his feet, Daren glared at the Seraphim who had so rudely awoken him so early in the morning. "I was lost and had no where else to-" The seraphim cut him off. "I don't care. Leave. Now." Biting his tongue on a few choice words and reminding himself that this city was filled with magic users, Daren complied. A few minutes later, and he was still lost. "Now where do I go from here...."
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Pumirya
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Hagumi had turned at the sound of Torva’s words, looking at him with such a profoundly sad expression one would have thought she had just lost a loved one. “I’m sorry,” she replied softly, patting the bed next to her. After Torva had sat down, Hagumi took a deep breath, licked her thin pink lips and then sighed again, heavily. “The truth is, I like my life here,” she whispered, clasping and unclasping her hands. “I like the city, the people... well most of them. I like home, and all the nice things I have. The good food, the nice clothes… I almost even like my tutors... almost.”

Hagumi paused then and turned to look at Torva, staring deeply into his eyes, her own ice blue ones brimming with tears. “But I like you too, I love you… I like being with you, I have, even though it’s been so rough at times, even though we’ve almost met death over and over. I want to stay with you, or have you stay with me… but well…. You see how my parents, and others have reacted.” Hagumi bowed her head and stared at her lap fixedly as her shoulders rose and fell sharply. “I don’t know if I could make it out there, Torva. I’m so used to this… a pampered life. I’m a spoiled princess in the end, and I don’t know if I could make it out there. I can’t sew, I can’t cook. I’ve never so much as claned dishes or clothes.” Laughing softly, she murmured, “I can fix my hair and nails at least.”

“I want the world to be like I see it in my mind… like I want to make it,” Hagumi explained sharply, standing suddenly and walking across her room to the windows. “I believe I can do more good here, but then, then maybe I can do good elsewhere. I wasn’t to keep you by my side, but to do that, I have too leave everything I know behind. I won’t be able to come back, this I know. You saw how my father acted… If there were just more like my mother…” Hagumi’s trembling voice trailed away as she looked out over the moon kissed city, gleaming softly in the faint, pale white light of the moon. “What would you do, Torva? What would you do in my place?”
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Marcus XVI
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Cadogan had been more busy than what he had been in ages - well... at the least he had been more busy now than during the whole time that he had spent with the group thus far. He had spent a good while purchasing resources and probably accumulated a debt that could be called a king's ransom while doing so. Despite the lack of sleep the Great Inventor hadn't managed to blow anything up, or lose any fingers or other assorted appendages. He yawned and once again made sure his creation would be ready for the coming competition. A small smile crept to the white haired man's lips as he made some final adjustments and other such to all the little things he had built, then he turned his attention to the new war walker that was meant to be the actual competition entry.

Silently he admitted to himself that the war walker was a quite fearsome sight - as an afterthought he added that some help would be needed to get it actually running, since as the Great Inventor reminded himself with some minor amount of bitterness humans had no magical abilities which made it impossible for him to activate the command runes he had carved painstakingly to the metal plates that covered the clockwork mechanisms.

It would still be a good while until the start of the actual competition so Cadogan felt it might be a good time to get some fresh air and other necessities. He was humming a catchy tune as he made his way out from the small workshop he had managed to rent for his use - it wasn't quite what he had been used to back in Dumont, but for his current needs it had been enough. The Great Inventor stared to the distance for a good while and wondered what the others were doing at the moment.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by wild-kitsune
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Neon spent the night tending to Chii, the tiny dragon on the verge of death when she first arrived in the mansion. To Shade's, or was it Itzal's now, credit, he did manage to bring her back alive. Of course she hadn't really expected Chii to enter into the mouth of the lion's den and come back unscathed, but even so Neon had to wonder just how complex Halden's operations had become to challenge them to such an extent. After counting all of Chii's limbs to make sure they were still there, Neon chose to assist in tending to her wounds, the alternative being throttling Shade in his new body until she choked him out.

Although stabilized, Chii's recovery was far from over, and her uneven breathing throughout the night kept Neon from truly resting. Waking in the morning with a stretch and a tired yawn, she first checked on the little dragonness' condition before slipping from the bed. Today would be yet another long day, hopefully one without the need to escape from anywhere she shouldn't be, but she was eager to learn what the others had discovered on their own errands. After passing Itzal without a second glance, Neon stopped in her tracks at his greeting. "Oh, right... this is going to take some getting used to."

She listened to Itzal's story quietly, Neon thinking back to her own bleak past. It was surreal to see the assassin smile, and honest smile and not the facade he normally used when trying to persuade others. She was glad that his revenge had brought him some semblance of peace. It was such a rare thing in this world, and as she looked at her own hands, stained with the blood of so many, her father's included, she wondered if peace was something she herself would find one day. Neon had spent the night listening to the voices now so often present in her head, trying to separate each from the crowd. They were silent, for now, and she had to wonder if these brief moments of quiet, small reprieves in the storm, were all the peace she would ever know until the day she died.

Itzal departed with a final word, but not before Neon let him know that she was, sincerely, glad that he had returned safely... in one form or another... and for protecting Chii. Heading downstairs to prepare for her trip to the council, Neon looked around for the others, eager to hear if they had any more success in swaying the council.
Torva's eyes welled at the very sight of Hagumi's forlorn expression, but he held his tongue and sat beside her at the seraphim's beckon. Resting his hands in his lap, he listened quietly as she spoke of love and life... and of sacrifice. He understood it all too well, but even so her words cut like diamond. Torva knew he couldn't provide anything close to the life she could have in Adalrich. Their life wouldn't be one of servants, marble halls and fancy parties. He wanted to believe it would be a happy life, even without those things, but it could also be a difficult life. "What would I do?" He asked himself, repeating Hagumi's question. "I don't know that I can answer that. I already made that decision when I killed my feral father and abandoned my home to go on this quest, but I have a lot more personally at stake. Even if we fail, you have a home to return to, whereas I'll be hunted down and killed like an animal."

"I've never had a comfy life, nor been put in a position where I could help others." Torva admitted, rubbing his arms. "I don't know what sort of injustices you could right as a member of the council, but I also don't know if we'll find the cure even if you decide to stay with me. The future is... hazy. It's like running through a dense fog knowing full well you're near a cliff."

Torva paused, taking Hagumi's hands in his own, her pale soft skin cold against his fur, "All I can do is be decisive and have faith that I'm doing what's best. I can't tell you what you should do, but as long as you do it with conviction I'll support you however I can." Ears twitching, Torva glanced towards the door and quietly stood. "It sounds like your father is coming to check up on you. I'll see you in the morning, my love." he added before quickly kissing her on the cheek and escaping back out of the window.

The morning sunlight cast its warm rays onto Torva's face, awakening him from his slumber. He had somehow made his way onto the floor in the middle of the night, the soft bed too squishy for his own comfort after so many years sleeping on dirt, stone, and wood. Stretching, he quickly dressed and opened the door to his room, sniffing around to see who else might be awake. Hagumi's father was gone, possibly having left for work, and Hagumi was still in her room, just waking up by the sound of it. Her mother was downstairs by the sound of it, discussing something with the servants although the exact discussion was muffled. Choosing to take the opportunity to discuss their next move with Hagumi, he knocked on the door to her room and whispered through the wood, "Your father isn't here, and your mother seems upset about something. Should we go talk to her?"
Wandering about, Daren found himself once again lost in the great city, wondering aloud where he should go. "I've found myself asking that same question to myself many times before," an old voice responded unexpectedly. The voice was that of Master Vates of the Seraphim Council, having taking an interest in the strange daeva that had found himself in front of the Council of the Righteous completely by accident. "Are you with that raven boy, Gerome, by chance? It seems there are quite a few daeva popping up in these old streets nowadays" he said with a chuckle, resting gingerly on an ornately carved staff with a blue crystal at the top. "If you seek direction, why not ask the council? Many seraphim have gone to watch the grand inventor's games today, leaving the council with precious little to do, and I must admit I've never been one for competition."
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Reaper
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Itzal thought ruefully that perhaps he had made his claim of being more lawful to Neon a tad early. Despite walking in through the front door and being as polite as he could muster, the clerk outside Justica's office was being incredibly dense. "Sir, I must insist you lay down your arms and present your documentation if you wish to meet with Lady Justica." The fool insisted for the umpteenth time. It was incredibly that Itzal had ever been on the run from these idiots for such a long time.

"And I'm telling you my knives cannot leave my side." He explained. "How does a seraphim not understand the meaning of the word enchanted? Perhaps you should go down to the competition today and see for yourself?" The wit and condescension was likely winning him no favours with the clerk, but his patience was wearing thin. The woman in charge of the safety and security of the seraphim race was unable to receive intelligence or make diplomatic exchanges because her assistant was unable to think on his feet. It was a miracle Itzal had not assassinated her by now, and he remembered for a moment that only the desire to avoid a nationwide manhunt had prevent him from doing so.

It was amazing that the woman could work through this din, though he supposed she did not get where she was by being distracted by such background noise. Just as the idiot behind the desk to repeat another rehearsed line, Itzal lost his patience and decided to take a shortcut. Placing his hands under the edge of the table, he threw it up and upended all of the stupid bastard's paperwork over his body. There was a yelp of surprise and a flutter of movement behind him as the guards came to remove him. Itzal raised glared at the pair of armed idiots coming at him and produced a firecracker from inside his cloak. Good thing he had planned for distractions if the front door didn't. If Justica refused to budge from behind those wooden doors from this, then Itzal would be forced to destroy them. He lit the fireworks and threw it on the floor before the guards, who jumped back in surprise for a moment, forgetting it was a simply matter of dousing it with water magic to silence the damned thing.

If it was one thing Itzal relied on, it was how poorly those used to routines and peaceful jobs reacted to strange situations. No doubt the idiots thought nobody would dare light a firecracker right outside Justica's office. It was then that the woman appeared from behind the doors, a stern expression on her face as usual and glaring right at Itzal. So long as she's not trying to kill me on sight. The former assassin thought. "What is the meaning of this?"

"As I was explaining to your assistant before I had to resort to making a ruckus, I came bearing intelligence regarding the assassin known as Shade."

The woman's eyes narrowed and she studied him carefully. Despite the regal look of his leather armor and garb, he looked very much like a rogue who spent too much time at places he shouldn't have been. "What of him?"

"He's dead." Itzal replied simply, defying her with a look that told her she would have to let him into her office if she wanted to learn more. She would consider it a trick, a ploy to get close to her and assassinate her, or some ruse to throw her off her old nemesis' scent, but she was too determined to catch Shade that she would willingly take the bait if it meant letting a killer in her office. "Bring your guards and a whole battalion of soldiers in if you wish, I simply wish to talk."
Fiora was well aware that the driver was not circling the mansion at all. She could feel it in the carriage's movements. The man was droning on about his position and how he did not wish past mistakes to mar the changed man he was, but she saw it for what he really meant - he was afraid her presence would threaten his reputation and standing in seraphim society and wished to make sure she kept silent, or perhaps rid himself of the only evidence of his indiscretion.

"How is your mother?" He asked suddenly, trying to change the subject once he realised Fiora had no interest in what he could offer in terms of power or wealth.

"Dead." She replied coldly. "An unwed woman with a bastard daughter doesn't have much coin for healing. I've had to survive on my own with what skills I learned in my youth."

"I... see." The man answered awkwardly, now that his question was shut down so abruptly. "Did she... suffer?"

"She did not show it around me, but when the sickness took its toll it was quick to do so. The pain did not last long." Fiora replied. She wasn't going to be cruel, not about this. She would not deny him answers if he wished them. Better if he felt guilt and shame for letting his old lover die than feel as if he had a right to order Fiora around.

"It must have been hard-"

"Spare my your platitudes. You know nothing of what I had to do to survive, or the injustices I've suffered to do so." Fiora cut the man off suddenly. If he was offended that she would speak to someone of his position so rudely, he did not show it. "A bag of coin was all you gave my mother as proof of your love, and not once did you attempt to show any more responsibility to the pair of us. Frankly, you have no right to call me your daughter for all you did was to seed me in mother's womb and nothing else. That deserves no credit."

Her hands balled into fists and she was struggling not to smash the carriage from the inside. "I am here in Adalrich simply because my company has business here. I neither wish to be around you or discredit you with my existence. If you will turn this carriage around, I shall be out of your hair - and mind, I expect - once our affairs are concluded here."

"I'm afraid I can't do that." Sir Garen answered, his expression stiffening into that of an unwilling perpetrator. "If anyone else knew... not to mention the fact that you are my daughter, despite your feelings on the matter, and I have an obligation to care for you. You are coming home with me."

Fiora felt her hands go numb as they were locked to her side and her legs glued together, unable to move. She had been placed under a binding spell. She panicked, but knew that there was no way he had planned this out well. She had an entire party of friends who were all easily angered at any sign of hostility and would no doubt come looking for her, not to mention the fact that they were all rather skilled at barging into places and getting their way. He had made a big commotion right outside Itzal's door as well, so there was no way this abduction would end well for him.

"So I am to be your hostage then." Fiora spat, glaring at the man. He must have known she could handle herself in a fight from a single look, but he had certainly neglected to find out if she had any magical abilities from her seraphim heritage. The only useful thing this man had given her. She would not overplay her hand, however. They were in mid-air and she had no means of flight, which meant she was completely at this man's mercy until they landed and he lifted the spell around her, or until her comrades came to rescue her.

"You are my daughter, even if I have been absent, I do wish for you to come under my protection. Blood is thicker than water, after all." Garen protested.

"The full quote is: blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb." Fiora hissed in quiet rage. "You shall find out how true that is once my friends come looking for me. The entire seraphim army couldn't save you then. You best pray it's the nice ones that show up."
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Hagumi was seated in a chair in front of a ornately carved dressing table, and at the sound of Torva’s voice, she paused in the brushing out of her hair to stand and pad silently across the room to the door, which she opened and ushered Torva inside after a quick kiss to the end of his nose. “It’s probably nothing, but we’ll be going downstairs soon enough,,, I’m sure if it’s important, Phryne will be here shortly… if not, don’t worry so much. Mother is always discussing things with this servant or that one. I guess I don’t pay it a lot of mind.” Giving Torva another smile, Hagumi returned to the dressing table and seated herself, once again picking up the pearl handed brush she had been using, and resuming the brushing of her long, golden blonde hair.

“Did you sleep well?” Hagumi asked softly as she drew the brush slowly through her hair. Hagumi made for a lovely picture most times, and now was no different. She was clothed in a shimmering silk nightgown that reached to her ankles. Her golden blonde hair fell like a shimmering waterfall over her creamy, silken soft shoulders. Her figure, even seated, showed the curves and valleys that made her form so alluring, even when dressed in the simplest garb. Her ice blue eyes, however, seemed clouded a little as they studied her reflection in the dressing table’s rounded mirror. “I have… slept lots better,” Hagumi admitted with a long, quiet sigh.

“We should be going downstairs soon… breakfast will be ready,” Hagumi said, seeming to be speaking partly to herself as well as Torva s she stood and crossed the large room to a tall wardrobe that was against the wall opposite the foot of her large four poster canopy bed, Slipping out of her nightgown, Hagumi allowed it to drop to the floor before moving to retrieve it and placing the garment in a clothes bin beside the wardrobe. Dressing in fresh undergarments and robe, white with a sky blue border around the neck, hem, and wrists, Hagumi again crossed the room to the dressing table, where she picked up a pair of tiny pearl earrings and put those on, before she turned again toward Torva. “Let’s go,” she said, giving his larger hand a squeeze with hers as they stood in the now open doorway to her room.

Arriving downstairs a short time later, Hagumi spotted her mother and Phryne standing near the entrance to the dining room. From inside said room came the sound(s) of servants going about setting plates and glasses, along with some muffled bits of hushed conversation. Th scents of various food(s) wafted from the room, teasing those outside with the delightful aromas of tea, bacon, sausage, waffles, pancakes, and other such things, all made even better, of course, by seraphim chefs, or so they claimed. With a loving smile, Hagumi embraced her mother, kissing her on the right cheek before she gave Phryne a hug as well; offering both a ‘good morning,’ as she stepped back, waiting for Torva to say his ‘hello,’ and for the morning meal to begin, the conversation Torva had mentioned now in the back of her mind.

-

She was alive… somehow; this had come to Chii as a surprise as her eyes had fluttered slowly open at some point during the night. She had drifted back into slumber almost as quickly as she had awoken, not waking again until some time later. Seeing no one about, Chii had sat up, yawn prettily, well as prettily as a sore and battered dragoness could, then turned and slipped her feet over the side of the bed she had been placed in. Chii winced a little as she stood, not from the coolness of the floor against her bare feet, but from the motion as she stretched tentatively, arching her spine, stretching her wings and grasping at the ceiling above her as she lifted her arms slowly above her head. “I wonder... where... Neon is...?”

Musing softly to herself, Chii looked about the room and after looking about some more, found a long royal purple cloak, It was the best thing she could wear, as there wasn’t anything else about that fit her. Slicing two slits in the back of the cloak, her claws making short work of the velvety material, Chii pushed her wings through and tied the cloak about her, fastening it at the neck and wrapping it around her before she wandered off. Not knowing where to look for Neon, or the others, Chii randomly searched room after room of the home she found herself in before growing vexed and taking her increasingly vexing and fruitless search outside.

This wasn’t much better, Chii thought as she paused at the side of a random street. Finding a bench nearby, the little dragoness would sit down with a loud and exasperated sigh. The truth of the matter was, Chii was a bit lost. Lost in the sense she didn’t know where to look for Neon or the others next, She could return to the home she had awoken in, Chii thought with a slight frown. Someone there would know something, probably, and maybe Neon was there after all, running about doing something. Or maybe she would just go back and sleep some more. What was it with seraphim and being up at the crack of dawn anyways?

No; she didn’t mind that so much, she was just yet feeling tired from her ordeal, Chii mused to herself as she sat on the bench, starting to feel more and more relaxed as the golden yellow sun climbed higher and higher into the sapphire blue, cloudless sky, and bathed her in soothing, warming rays of sunlight. Maybe she would go back later, Chii thought aloud, raising her right hand quickly to her mouth to cover another loud and long yawn that had escaped her lips. “Cadogan.. I wonder where Cadogan is,” the dragoness pondered aloud as her eyes started to slide closed, their lids suddenly very heavy. “I wanted him… to make me… some new armour…”
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Daren jumped slightly when the voice sounded behind him. He hadn't expected an answer, least of all from one of the native inhabitants of the city. He appraised the old seraphim before him, eyes interestedly noting the staff, before responding. "Gerome? It's a possibility, but I can't say for sure. I joined the group I'm currently with a day or so ago, and the only name I know is Neon. So, there could be a Gerome somewhere in there, but I don't know." It was a bit of a novelty to be speaking to a Seraphim that wasn't arrogant or threatening to kill him, then again, his experience with Seraphim hasn't exactly been with the highest standard of their kind. Some, most in fact, would say he's only seen them at their worst. Regardless, this one wasn't trying to hit Daren with his staff. The hybrid took that as a good sign. "It's a good thing that more Daeva are appearing on these streets, right?" Well, unless they were like the hybrids he had grown up with...those tended to have slightly murderous tendencies when dealing with anything that wasn't another hybrid. Daren doubted they would have had enough self-control to get this far without causing some form of trouble, however. Daren glanced around briefly at the mention of the Council, only now seeming to realize where he was. "Oh...I suppose that would be a good idea, but there's a small problem with that. I don't know whose house we're set up in, or where that house is." Not completely the truth, but he certainly wasn't going to be explaining to this Council member(he suspected at least) that the owner of the house was know to him as stupid bastard.

"From what I know, the owner is a rather surly fellow, hostile, and he can manipulate shadows. It's where Neon and the group is settled in at. If any of that rings any bells about where the house might be. Otherwise..." Daren shrugged. "I'll just have to hope wandering this beautiful city will get me where I want to be eventually." Curiosity got the better of him, and he added, "Inventors games? What would those entail?"
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A little thunk followed by scraping was also followed by a rather vexed "Damnit...." From the Great Inventor as he lifted his walking stick from the ground and pushed the thin blade back to the shaft. Few tightened screws seemed to fix the problem of premature and accidental piercings. Good thing I carry the tools with me... Someone might have lost an eye with that... Cadogan thought to himself and made his way forwards - well... he wasn't sure how much he was going forwards, more like in larger and larger circles. The white haired man examined the city with great interest and every once and a while he adjusted the rose shaped silver hairpin that kept his hair away form the left side of his face. He remarked to himself that it was probably good he hadn't had a shave yet, or people might mistake him for a woman - again.

Deep in thought the former Great Inventor of Dumont wandered around the streets as the sun began bathing the city with it's warm light. He had been on the road for what... A week, maybe two, but Cadogan hardly missed Dumont - not that there would be a place to go back really. The slightly sour expression of his became a faint little smile as he bought a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread - though the smile faded as soon as he had paid for the purchase. Even if he would win the competition that was about to happen later today he'd be in trouble if the prize was not paid in gold. There was no reliable way of contacting his relatives and king Aaron had probably confiscated what was left of Cadogan's personal property. Thus the Great Inventor was up to his bollocks in debt at the moment.

Cadogan pried the bottle open with his teeth and took a little sip. The wine atleast was pretty good for it's price and didn't leave a bitter aftertaste. A little mischievous smirk made it's way to the white haired man's lips as he came to a simple conclusion. We are not going to be here for long... Even if I don't win the competition there will be long enough time for us to leave before people come asking their money back. Unless we end up being here for more than two months... In that case my bollocks will be on the chopping block... Cadogan shuddered at the idea and took another sip of wine to calm his nerves.

As he walked past a bench on which sat a familiar looking person - in truth he at first passed the bench before his brains registered that it was Chii. He glanced over his shoulder, took a large sip from the bottle and coughed politely as he walked to within and arm's reach of the li'll dragoness. "Oi, li'll miss, I don't think that's a very good spot for sleeping." Cadogan stated in his most overtly polite and stuffiest tone before taking a rather ungentlemanly gulp of wine and continuing with his normal tone. "No offense, but you seem like you have had better days." He politely lifted the bottle up a bit. "Want a sip?"
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Chii blinked and sat up abruptly as she heard a voice, she having fallen asleep under the sun’s warming rays. “Cadogan,” Chii exclaimed, clearly quite pleased to see the Great Inventors. Chii blinked again as the question Cadogan had asked her registered in her now more wakeful mind. “No thank you,” Chii replied after a few more moments; then stretched and yawned a second time. “I’m glad you’re here, I was looking for you… Before I went to sleep… I need you… to make me something...”

Chii fixed her gaze firmly on Cadogan’s face, her golden, silver flecked eyes staring at him, her expression not changing as she watched the man took another sip of his wine. “You’re The Great Inventor, right? Chii asked softly, leaning forward a little and folding her hands in her lap as she continued to gaze steadily up at Cadogan, a light gust of wind ruffling her hair, the dragoness falling into a brief silence as several seraphim strolled past, all engaged in their own conversation(s), or walking in silence.

“I need new armour,” Chii said after watching the last seraphim vanish into the distance. “I lost my old set… back before you came along,, I think,” she mused; then nodded her head several times slowly. “I could show you what it looked like… I can draw really good,” Chii offered, her expression turning a bit more hopeful as she watched Cadogan. After all, if anyone could forge her a new armour set, it would be the Great Inventor, right? All he needed wa a place to ply his craft and the materials.

Chii had forgotten Cadogan’s observation until then, so focused had she been on asking her question. “I’m fine, really,” she would murmur, standing and turning in a circle, stretching her wings to their fullest to ‘See?” she proclaimed with a hint of pride showing in her voice as she sat down again. “I just needed a nap.” Was that a conflicting statement? Perhaps it was, Chii mused to herself. She did feel okay, just more tired then usual. To be faire, she thought silently, it had been a long time since she had fought like she had in the cave. “Anyways.. will you help me with my armour?”
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Behind large wooden doors a woman sat behind an ornate desk, furiously tapping her quill on a piece of parchment, her irritation palpable as the noise outside grew. “Is it too much to ask for enough peace and quiet to write a simple letter without losing your train of thought?” she asked herself as the tapped even harder. With a loud bang the woman finally snapped, as did her quill, as she stood up and furiously walked over to her office doors.

With some minor effort the doors swung open into the grand looking hall that led to the offices. The sound of the frames hitting the stoppers echoed throughout the marble halls as the woman glared at the source of the disturbance, as well as at the incompetent staff that allowed things to escalate so quickly. “What is the meaning of this?” she demanded, frustration apparent in her tone.

At the mention of the name Shade, Justica's eyes narrowed. There were few in the capital that dared to utter that name in her presence, and fewer still that did not know of her seething hatred for the assassin. He and his antics had been a thorn in her side for years and, in her mind, reflected poorly on the entire Seraphim race. In addition, as keeper of the Law, Justica saw Shade's work-for-hire approach to justice a flagrant insult to order and the rights of the accused. “What of him?” she seethed, venom in her voice.

After listening to Itzal's answer, she turned without a word and gestured for him to join her in her office. “I sincerely doubt that, but you've earned ten minutes of my time. Come, you have much to explain.” she stated simply, stepping back into the room and sitting down at her desk. Once Itzal entered she gestured simply with her hand and the doors slammed shut. “My guards are there as a screen to keep the weak and stupid from wasting my time. I assure you that I alone will be sufficient to thwart any attempts on my life.” she said confidently as she gestured once again to a chair that slid back towards Itzal. “Now sit.”

“First off, know that I sincerely doubt your claim, if only for the fact that Shade has on more than once occasion feigned his own death to escape capture. I can assure you that finding one of my own men shrouded in shadow in the guise of that assassin ceased to be amusing after the first half-dozen times.” Justica began, both hands placed firmly on the desk. “Nevertheless, I'm willing to humor your story if it means that troublemaker is actually gone for good. I take it you have evidence if you're banging at my door?” she asked, raising an eyebrow at the rogue before him. “At the very least, you seem like someone who might travel in his circles.”

“So,” Justica said, leaning back in her chair, “What details do you have? We can discuss compensation after I find out what value your information may have, if any.”
Torva snuck into Hagumi's room after quickly glancing up and down the hall and sniffing for the housekeeping's whereabouts. He simply sat down and watched as she performed her morning rituals, the light riding down her hair like the crest of a wave with each brush stroke. He found her beautiful even in her current state having just gotten out of bed, and yet he could tell she was restless. Tired. “I slept well enough once I moved to the floor.” he sighed, slightly embarrased. “The bed was so soft I kept waking up from dreams of falling. I needed a bit of firmness to reassure me I was on the ground.”

Glancing up, Torva watched as Hagumi's nightgown slipped down her body, the seraphim's curves accentuated by her pose. For a moment Torva forgot all about breakfast, perhaps distracted by dessert, but the smell of bacon wafting under the door and Hagumi's morning attire brought him back to his senses. Together they descended the stairs to the ornate dining room as servants hustled to and fro performing various tasks. After Hagumi has embraced her mother, the daeva followed awkwardly bowed, unsure what the proper greeting was in seraphim society for one such as himself. “I'm... sorry for yesterday. I did not mean to cause problems.”

“Please,” Hagumi's mother said, lifting Torva's chin up with a porcelain hand so their eyes could meet, “you don't need to apologize. My husband is a bit... protective of my daughter and perhaps took his duties as father a bit far.” she apologized, embarrassed by her husband's behavior.

“I am afraid things aren't over though,” she added, resting her hands on the back of her chair without sitting down. “He... he's met with the council.” she said, looking directly at Hagumi. “He has put in a request for you to undergo the seven wonders.”

“What are the seven wonders?” Torva asked, concerned by the severity Hagumi's mother seemed to be taking the subject.

“To explain simply, the seven wonders are seven acts of magic qualified mages must perform before the council to assure themselves a future chair in the event that a council member dies. The spells range from difficult to dangerous, and many seraphim have died performing them.” she explained, moving from her chair to Hagumi's and embracing her daughter from behind. “I told him you weren't ready, but he insisted that you prove that your time abroad has been more than a vacation.”

“Can't we postpone the tests?” Torva asked, alarmed. “If you don't think Hagumi is ready what is the rush?”

“It's not that simple. Once the ceremony has been arranged the decision cannot be altered. That is the law.”

“Well then we just need to get over there before a date is set!” Torva said, getting out of his chair and preparing to spring to the Council of the Righteous.

“It's too late. She will stand before the council tomorrow after they have decided on how the seraphim will act in regards to the coming war.” Hagumi's mother said, her voice wavering. “Oh my baby... my little ice princess... do you think you can do it? Please tell me you think you are ready.”
The old Seraphim laughed at Daren's description. “No, I do not believe that rings a bell, although it certainly sounds like the sort of group he would associate himself with.”

“Ah! The inventor's games!” the man said, excitement in his voice, “It is held every year in the capital, and is where Seraphim compete amongst each other in a series of categories to prove themselves the most capable inventor.” Pausing momentarily to gather his thoughts, he realized a small correction was in order “Although technically the games are open to all races. To be honest it has been years since a non-seraphim has competed. It is simply too far out of the way for more inventors to bother. Still... seeing great minds create new weapons, devices, armors, and magicks to power them has always been a large draw among the citizens. The games should begin at some point this afternoon, if you're interested.”

Although...” he added, “I myself have seen enough fighting for one lifetime to take interest in the new toys soldiers and blacksmith entertain themselves with. And so, I spend days like today prattling about in my office, writing to myself mostly. I would welcome the company, if you can stand the stories of an old man such as myself over the thrill of magic and metal. What do you say?”
A familiar looking seraphim hurried down the road of Adalrich, blueprints falling out of his muscular arms as he half-ran half-waddled towards the Colosseum for the inventor's games. Seeing Cadogan mulling about with Chii, the seraphim took a small detour he could hardly afford, not wanting to see his competition, or perhaps partner, miss the event. “Oy! Cadogan!” he shouted at the man “Signup is over in less than an hour. Get your arse to the Colosseum or you'll miss the deadline. You need to pick what categories you'll be entering in between weapons, armor, and trinkets, and be assigned a work bench where you can make final preparations on anything you're bringing ahead of time. Once you've been given an ID come find me and I'll explain the rules. They change a little every year but I should be able to give you the short...err” he paused, looking up at the sun in the sky. “Make that the shorter version of the rules. I'll even charge your runes if need be.”

Resuming his run, the seraphim shouted once more to Cadogan as he ran “Just hurry your arse up! You can bring your tiny friend along if you want as an assistant. Sometimes it helps to demonstrate what you've created.”
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Itzal smiled and produced a map, plaing it on the table and opening it. "May I?" He asked, before borrowing her quill and marking the location of Halden's den. "This is the location of one of Halden's Pits. I'm certain you're familiar enough with the name. He worked with Shade for some time before the two were trying to kill each other." Itzal began, producing a pendant that belonged to him and a larger, round package.

"Perhaps I should start at the beginning. I've been travelling with Lady Dralina for some time now, and a few of us decided to shut down Halden's operation after we got word of his presence here. He was a bigger problem for the daeva than the seraphim, but someone here might appreciate our efforts all the same. Anyway, Shade had tracked Halden there and the two clashed, while we were fighting off a handful of seraphim nobles who were there. Unfortunately, many of us were heavily injured or exhausted, so I could only bring you Halden's head. The two exchanged mortal blows to each other, and from what I saw, it seemed as if Shade had let Halden's blow land in order to kill him. There was no way he could have survived a punctured lung." Itzal continued.

"You'll find the truth of my words once you check the place out." Itzal adopted a more leisurely pose, though he was on guard and well aware he had not prepared a very good lie. There was just no way to cover up the ritual he had performed to cheat death - there would be no body of his old self, and he had no memory shards that would prove his point. Especially not from the others, since his own memories would show him fighting Halden instead of Shade... and he needed the two to be separate identities now. "Even if Shade's body isn't there, the list of seraphim nobles funding and backing an illegal feral fighting ring should be quite valuable as well, no?"

Crossing his arms, Itzal looked Justica right in the eye and waited for the woman's response. He was not certain how well-informed she was of his movements, but while he wasn't keen on dying, should the woman figure out who he really was, there wouldn't be any point in resisting. Fighting his way out would only serve to condemn Neon's efforts and he would have to consider that. There was always the truth, though how the real story would change Justica's opinion, he did not see.
Kayla arrived in Adalrich as the warm afternoon sun lit up every building in the city. The council had received her notice and she would be put up in the guest rooms. She had received little to no word of where Neon and the rest were, but hopefully she would meet them tomorrow when the Council convened to make their decision on their participation in the war. To that end, she had been summoned before Macto and Munus - the two of them wanted to her version of the story and get her stand on behalf of the Element Masters on where they stood regarding the war.

It was a small meeting room where she awaited them, and she gathered her thoughts as she went over how she would describe everything - she would stick to the facts and the truth of things as best possible, and hope it was enough to convince them. On the matter of the Element Masters assisting in the war... she would have to be hopelessly stubborn and make sure the two men understood they would not have some of the kingdom's most power magi back them up. "Councilmen," Kayla greeted them with a bow, as they entered the room. They exchanged polite greetings, and Kayla tried not to betray her unfamiliarity with this all. She had corresponded and spoken before the Council on occasion, but never in a fine robe like the one she was wearing or alone in the small room.

She began her story, from start to finish, sticking to the facts. King Aaron had been paranoid long before they even arrived, and she saw for herself how daeva were treated in the city, feral or not. She described the events at the banquet, when a feral dragon daeva attacked and caused the king to panic, declaring the entire royal family ferals and to be executed on sight, firing the first shot. "However much destruction we caused, ser, was only as severe as the humans' reaction. They brought out their war machines and air ship just to deal with a group of suspected ferals. The king endangered his own people with his actions and decisions." She finished her tale, and tried to read the pensive looks on both men's faces.

"I have spoken my part as a member of Lady Dralina's entourage, now I speak as a member of the Council of Elements." Kayla began again, refusing to let the two men dictate the flow of the meeting and steer her into a corner. "We regret to inform the council that we cannot, in good faith or conscience, back any war effort against the daeva. Our brand of magic teaches us that all elements must co-exist in harmony in order to bring balance to the world and its inhabitants. Such is the nature of the relations between our three races. Eradicating the daeva would make us no better than the ferals who kill without regard." She left the words hanging in the air, as the atmosphere grew heavy. Unsure how the two men would react, she hoped that Macto would at least be tempered enough to see the folly of such a call.

We can only hope.
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Harbringer Death to Asgard!

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"I don' be likin' this, lad," Garran said as he looked around at his surroundings. Usually, people would feel uneasy around the cutthroats and brigands of a port bar but...Garran's fears ran in the complete opposite direction. "Why, whatever do you mean, my dear friend?" Caelum asked monotonously as he brought a finely decorated porcelain cup to his mouth, delicately sipping at the fragrant tea within before placing it back onto a saucer. Garran turned around and glared at the Seraphim, whose nearly atrophied wings flapped gently in the breeze. "Ye know what I mean," Garran shot back as he glanced briefly at their surroundings. In a famous restaurant of Aldarich, the Wings of Daelon, deep in the merchant's district, an unlikely pair sat together at one of the more isolated, rear tables, a third seat going unoccupied. Going to great pains to disguise Garran so he could enter the establishment, Caelum had hung a talisman around the pirate's neck which changed his appearance. For one thing, the giant gaping wound on Garran's face had been patched up with illusory magicks, but it also gave him a pair of broad, muscular wings. Purely for decoration of course. He had even been forced to dress for the situation. His hair had been combed, de-liced and tied back in a long white ponytail, while his usually bare chest was covered with a thin sheet of cotton and a tie, the dress shirt doing nothing to hide his form.

The pirate shifted uncomfortably in the padded seat. "Why 're we here 'nyways?" he asked as he wrapped his hand around the tiny tea cup, lifting it up to his lips and draining the contents in a single sip. Grimacing as he put the tea cup back down, he signalled for one of the waiters to bring him more tea. "To meet an...old acquaintance of mine," Caelum replied, placing the saucer onto the white tablecloth after a short pause, "I have matters to discuss with him and...well, he's known to be rather temperamental...and I'd rather have someone by my side if something happens."
"So...he be a dick?" Garran said bluntly. At the mention of the foul word, a lady from the next table over spat out her tea and looked at him in open mouthed indignity. Garran didn't notice. "I would never say it so openly...but yes, I guess you could say that," Caelum replied, a small smile appearing over his face, despite his paralysed muscles, as ever entertained by the pirate's simple mind. "His emotions change rapidly, and as such he's hard to predict..." Caelum said as he stared blankly into the chair in front of him, as if expecting something, "he is a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, bound by a conundrum..." Garran raised an eyebrow, not exactly understanding what his friend was saying, but hmmed thoughtfully anyway, stroking his clean-shaven chin. "So when's he goin' t' get here?" he asked. "He's already here," Caelum replied, calmly sipping his tea again. "Hello, Valiance."

"I was wondering how long it would take you to notice me," chuckled a rich, mellow voice from beneath the table. With a disgusting squelching sound, a puddle of red pooled beneath the table and then climbed the chair, eventually pooling on the upholstery before morphing into the form of a Seraphim and solidifying, colour taking over some of the scarlet. Alarmed, Garran was holding the neck of the vase, about to attack the strange apparition, but at a shake of the head from Caelum, sat back down. "Hello old friend," Valiance said as he placed a wide brimmed red hat on his head, trimmed with white and decorated with a single feather of the same colour, "how long has it been since we last-"
"Don't give me that," Caelum replied as he took another sip of his tea, "last time we were together you let the Kill Teams to my house and tried to convince them that it was me who killed the Marquis." Despite the accusation, there was little emotion in Caelum's voice.
"Ah yes...that old hijink...hehe, it was fun to watch you reason your way out of that," Valiance replied, crossing his legs and leaning forwards.

While the two talked, Garran couldn't help but feel a chill run through the room as they spoke, as if their mere speech required heat to operate, but still, Garran felt like he had to examine the newcomer. Dressed in a well tailored red suit, the front of his body was hidden under a long red cloak that was fastened with a golden brooch on his left shoulder, bearing a blood red jewel in the shape of a tear drop. His face was smooth and unmarked by scars and age, and his silvery blonde hair, hidden under the large red hat, flowed over his shoulders and halfway down his back, covering one of his piercing blood red eyes. His hands, which were neatly folded in front of him, were hidden under a pair of well maintained white gloves, and his face always seemed to be smiling. "Garran...meet Valiance Sengris, a blood mage," Caelum said, Valiance granting a nod of his head and a pleasant smile to the pirate who replied with a grunt. Blood mage...the mere name brought up old superstitions of people sacrificing creatures and people alike to some greater god. Not exactly someone he wanted to meet.

After a waiter refilled Garran's tea, which swiftly disappeared once more, and gave Valiance his own, deliberations began. And Garran was swept away by the speed of their negotiations. Words passed between them in a flurry noises, and Garran understood why he would never be a diplomat. Their tongue was elegant and refined, and bore nothing that was similar to common, the language that was mutually shared. Instead of spending his efforts futilely listening, Garran instead scratched the side of face. As much illusory magic helped to hide the wound, he could still feel the raw flesh of his ripped face. Still. He didn't want it completely fixed. He would bear it proudly as a symbol of his fallen comrades. Lost in his reverie, he continued feeling the wound.

Meanwhile, the two Seraphim spoke in a tongue seldom heard outside of the northern marshes. "So why have you called me here today?" Valiance asked, a devious smile on his face as he brought the tea cup to his mouth, but his tone indicated that he knew exactly why he had been called, and he had chosen to entertain this knowledge seeking seraphim. Caelum looked straight at him, he facial muscles unable change, but finally his lips moved, forming the difficult and arcane words. "You know very well why you are here, Son of the Herald of Aelthanion," he said as he mixed in a little bit of cream, the spoon slinking against the sides delicately as he rotated his wrist, "surely, you have felt it too. He has risen once more." Valiance chuckled quietly, cutting himself a piece of the cake on the table. "Indeed I have, rune mage," he replied, moving the brown slice onto his plate, "the tides of change are blowing. The blood shed by your friend over there," he said, jerking his head inconspicuously to Garran, "has awoken my former liege from his slumber, the former soldier that the Seraphim now regard as, 'The God of War'. He was not kidding when he said that he was eternal." Caelum cocked his eyebrow quizically. "Former liege?" he asked. Valiance bowed his head and spread his arms mockingly. "I am now referred to as the 'Pariah' by my peers," said with a self-mocking chuckle, "I refused to listen to the Oracle and herald the arrival of my lord to the world, and thus, I was ostracised." Caelum nodded his head, but then came the inevitable question. "Why would you do this, Pariah?" he asked, using his new title. As if stung, Valiance visibly winced, but that was the only reaction he had. "The seraphim...are no longer ready for war as Aelthanion knows it...under his leadership, he would bring our kind to ruin. We are knowledge seekers through and through, not soldiers...but my bretheren think differently...they desire him to lead the Seraphim into a new age of prosperity...but all I can foresee is sorrow..." as if to punctuate his words, Valiance drained the rest of his cup, before looking to the sky. "And what do you plan to do about it?" Caelum asked. Valiance scoffed. "It is not what I am going to do about it," he said, looking back down to Caelum, "it is what you are going to do about it."

Smiling sadly, the seraphim stood up. "Time has passed quickly...if I am gone too long, my brethren will suspect my actions," he said in common tongue. Caelum did not react, instead, he sat pensively in his chair. "If further contact is needed, use the discrete channels. The Sanguine are growing suspicious of my absences, and there is no need to stain my relations with them further." Looking over to Garran, who waved him goodbye, he chuckled. "Oh, and my large friend...I have two parting gifts," he said as he strode closer. Caelum made no attempt to stop him, and Garran, his name having been mentioned by this utter stranger, leaned in closer out of curiosity. Moving his hand, Valiance gripped the talisman around his neck gently...and then blood began to flow, causing Garran to try and shrink back, but the seraphim bore surprising strength, holding him in place as rivulets of blood ran all across the mage's hand, winding their way into his palm. A slight tingle on the side of his face and all around his body was felt, before there was a collective gasp and more than one scream. "You cannot hide who you are," Valiance said with a mischevious smile as the talisman's power faded, to be replaced with a blood red jewel similar to the one set into the seraphim's brooch, having grown over the talisman. Garran, surprised, looked into the glass in the side of the wall and saw his face in its original form, scars and all, before looking back to Valiance, about to rise and knock his teeth out, but he was stopped with a look from the seraphim. His eyes were glowing brighter than before, and Garran found that his limbs refused to obey him. "And here's my second present," he said as he leaned in closer, almost able to kiss the pirate on the forehead. Garran growled as he bared his teeth, but instead, Valiance lifted his hand over Garran's cup, and let a few drops of blood trickle in. The drink steamed and boiled loudly, before clearing into a blood red fluid. "Look deeply into the liquid...and you will thank me." he said, laughing loudly, turning back into a blood red liquid before sinking into the floor.

Allowed to sit back down again, Garran swore viciously, despite the fact that all eye were all on him now, and rubbed his head. Look into the liquid? What could that possibly...was that...Fiora? Leaning in closer to his tea, Garran, saw a familiar form, but from below. Blood ran lightly from her wrists, and the view was intermittent. Only in the shape of droplets of liquid, but with every drop from her wrist, the image grew larger. Soon, it became larger than the cup could reveal. "Cael'm! Make th' thin' bigger!" he demanded of the rune mage. Caelum looked over to Garran but shrugged. "I am not privy to the workings of blood magic...but logically if you gain a larger surface area then-"
"ENOUGH A' YER SCIENCE TALK!" Garran said, standing up and shaking the table, "JUST TELL ME WHAT T' DO! ONE A' ME MATES IS BEIN' HURT HERE!"
Staring at Garran, Caelum finally chuckled. "Pour the tea onto your plate, Garran," he said as he put his own teacup down. He hadn't seen Garran this angry in a while...not since someone had hurt one of his crewmates.

Doing as he was told, Garran poured the tea out from the tea cup and onto the small plate before him. Like Caelum had said, the image grew larger. "That be Fi'ra!" Garran said, peering closer, trying to spot something that would give him a location. Damn this new city! As another drop of blood fell, something became vaguely visible, and Garran pounced on it. It seemed to be...part of some sort of heraldic emblem..."C'mon lass..." Garran hissed, clutching the table and, as bad as it sounded, willing Fiora to bleed a little more. It seemed that the gods we're on their side though. A final drop of blood fell before he could see the wound close up with magic. "Cael'm! What be th's sign?!" Garran demanded. Casually, the Seraphim glanced over. "That...huh...Garran...we depart now," Caelum said, his tone definite as he and Garran stood up. "Sirs! You have not paid ye-" the waiter started, before Garran threw a bag of gold to him. "Keep th' change," he said angrily as he stormed out behind Caelum. If anything...the Seraphim seemed angrier than he did...but this was a different sort of anger. It was invisible, but the hidden flame burned all the hotter.

As they walked along the streets, Calum started to talk to Garran. "That was the seal of Sir Garen," he said, dodging a passing human merchant, "a brown nosing little bastard who campaigned for the reduction of funding to the University of Magic to hinder my parents' research, for little other reason than to spite them." Moving down a smaller street, the seraphim continued, explaining further. "Our rune magics are now the primary defence of Adalrich, displacing his own field of magic, and so we cut his luxurious funding. Something he hates us for." Pausing at an intersection, he pointed to his left. "Now he's barely holding onto his power, and if word got out that he was kidnapping a young lady...well..." Caelum said with an evil smile on his face, "his credibility would decline...and as would his campaign progress. Besides, if he's kidnapping someone who's important to you, I have a duty as a friend to assist you in stopping it, do I not? It is merely coincidence that he is my enemy as well, is it not?"
"...Caelum, ye scare me som'times." Garran said as he trailed behind the seraphim, feeling the flames of hatred spilling out of him, "b'sides...Fiora ain't anythin' special t' me..." a small blush came onto Garran's cheek as he upped the pace. "If I remember correctly from our old meetings," Caelum said, calling up a mental map, "his residence should be in the west wing..."

Thankfully, the layout of the city had not changed too much and they pair managed to make it to a large mansion, protected by a large iron gate and a pair of guards. "This is the house," Caelum said as they emerged from an alleyway. Immediately, the two guards reacted. "Halt! You two there, what business have you here?" shouted the first one, a seraphim, raising a staff to point at them. "We must have words with Lord Garen." Caelum said gently. "O' w'll be havin' a lot m're than words!" Garran shouted, prompting the second guard, a human to raise his blade. "Quiet Garran!" Caelum hissed angrily. Garran growled in compliance, but the human slowly lowered his blade. "Garran? As in Captain Garran?" he asked, almost reverently. "Aye, what's it t' ye?!" the pirate shouted. "You...you rescued my family from the capital...they're staying in Xerxes right now...I must thank you!"
"Quiet human!" the seraphim replied, echoing Caelum's earlier mood, but Garran didn't care. "If ye want t' thank me so much, l't me in!" he shouted, stepping forwards, but the human raised his blade again. "Sorry sir...but I need this job...to support my family now more than ever," he replied. Angered, Garran stepped forwards, about to crush his skull, but the sign of a carriage flying overhead drew all of their attention. It bore the same mark to the one Garran had seen in his tea. The seraphim guard looked back down. "Leave now, or I will be forced to make you leave!" he warned. Neither Garran nor Caelum moved an inch. Raising his staff, it started to give off a yellow light. "Last warning!" the seraphim said. Too bad that he was focussing entirely on Caelum, who had his Grimoire in his hands. With the crunch of breaking bone, Garran's fist slammed into the side of his jaw, sending him flying and his staff tumbling away. The human guard, to his credit, reacted immediately, slicing down with his blade. easily, it cut through the woven cotton of Garran's shirt and sliced into Garran's flesh, but powered by berserk fury, the pirate turned on him. Grabbing his face with his large hand, the pirate threw him to the side, where he was knocked unconscious against the wall of the gate, the blade clattering onto the flagstones.

When the two people stepped out of the carriage, one of them ignited something in him. But it wasn't anger. "Fi'ra!" Garran shouted, catching her attention. The other person, a male seraphim, saw his two guards lying on opposing sides and then back to the pirate, whose right arm was dripping with blood, both his own and the Seraphim's. "Guards! Seal the gates and stop the intruders!" he shouted, dragging Fiora bodily into his home. "C'mere ye little bastard!" Garran shouted, diving straight towards them, but as he took a step forward, he found his body's movements frozen. A rune circle had been placed at his feet. Looking back towards Caelum, he snorted out rage. "Traitor!" he shouted, but Caelum shook his head. "This much i can cover up with my own political influence...but killing a nobleman is sure to have repercussions, Garran," Caelum said, stepping forwards, "think about your little party, and how it would affect them." Hearing his words, the analytical part of Garran's mind processed it, but his rage centre was just blocking everything out. "I d'n't care!" Garran shouted as he tried to resist his magical bonds. "You can't be a pirate forever Garran," Caelum said as he walked towards the gate, "one day, you will have consequences for what you do." Garran growled. Deep down he knew he was right, but he still refused to admit it.

The gate had been sealed, both physically and magically. "Hmm...this could be troublesome..." Caelum said as he examined the gate, seemingly oblivious to the fact that there were now house guards closing on him. With a wave of his hand, the prison encapsulating Garran was released. "Deal with the bugs for me, Garran...I must crack Garen's codes," he said as he opened his grimoire. Growling in assent, the pirate walked to protect Caelum's back while he worked. "Cease and desist!" shouted a seraphim as he closed, a ceremonial staff held out before him. The tip glowed red hot. "Don't make me use-" he started, before he was promptly cut off, his staff suddenly snapped in half as Garran wrapped his massive hands around it and bent it. "Wha-wha..." the seraphims tarted, before he was slammed across the head with the mace-like head of his owns staff. The scent of burning hair was prominent as the mace followed its master. More guards appeared, this time human. The seraphim probably didn't think themselves low enough to live their lives as guards. The first one approached, swinging a small sword, but being the experienced fighter that he was, Garran sidestepped and brought his fist crashing down onto the man's head, flattening him into the ground. The next one swung another blade, but Garran used the momentum of the swing to dodge and sent him sprawling with a kick to the ribs. The third one hesitated as he licked his lips, his clammy hands sweating as he held the knife in his hands. "Ssss-surrender now!" he tried. Turning to him, Garran bared his yellowed teeth. "Run," he said, prompting the man to flee for his life.

"Done," Caelum said, finally undoing the magical seals of the door, "now time to figure out how to physically op-" Without warning, a pair of massive arms appeared over him and gripped two of the iron bars. With a low groan of effort, Garran pried the bars apart, the metal protesting all the way as the pirate made a gap large enough for Caelum to pass through. "That works," the Seraphim said, stepping through, "although i could have just flown over. There was no reply. Instead, the gate opened out further, until the two bars broke from their housings, allowing Garran to step through. He was silent. Striding past Caelum, the Seraphim watched him pass...It was probably better for him to go alone at this point. "Try not to kill him," Caelum said, "remember what I told you. There is only so much I can cover up...I'm going to go erase the memories of the guards. Be careful." Garran replied only with a hand wave.

The doors were locked. As expected. Not to mention they were heavy oak doors. Running his hand over them, Garran felt their solidity. Well. That never stopped him before. Grinning vindictively, he took a step back, before running forwards and crashing his entire bodyweight onto the door.He felt it give a little, but it was immediately pushed back. Probably people were barring it shut with their own bodies. Taking a few more steps back, Garran tried again, and the door gave again. Taking a deep breath, the pirate took a final few steps back, before screaming loudly and charging straight towards the door. With a heavy crash, one of them splintered inwards, and the pirate found himself slamming into two armoured guards, one of which was swiftly knocked unconscious by a piece of door. The second one took the brunt of Garran's heavy weight and was also knocked out cold. "FIORA!" Garran shouted, his voice echoing in the darkness, "I BE COMIN' FER YA!"
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Reaper Slayer of Dreams

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Fiora's vision was fading, but there was no way a binding spell would knock her out, would it? A mysterious, red figure appeared before her, though it wasn't her father and it certainly didn't alarm him. “Fret not, I'm a friend... well, friend of a friend of a friend.” He drew a blade and made a small cut on Fiora's wrist, letting a few trickles of blood spill out. “That should suffice. You'll thank me later. Now, I'm late for an appointment.”

The figure vanished as quickly as he appeared and the wound didn't seem to hurt at all despite the warm drops of blood running down her hands. Held tightly against her body, the blood was trapped between her wrist and the leg of her leather shorts. It prevented Garen from noticing anything.

When Fiora had warned the bastard that her friends would be coming for her, she had no idea just how soon it would be. Imagine her surprise then, when the carriage door opened and Garran of all people was standing right outside the nobleman's door. There was a great cry of outrage from the pirate and all hell broke loose, and Fiora strained to free herself of the binding spell as she was dragged behind a thick, oaken door and hauled away. She couldn't help but start laughing hysterically at the whole situation. Garran is saving me from Garen. She noted while trying not to look crazy.

“I did warn you I have very protective friends.” She began in a monologue. “That man is a pirate and gets into brawls for entertainment when he's sober and in a good mood. I really don't envy you right now.”

“Silence!” Garen snapped angrily as he entered a room and dumped her immobile body into a large cage. “This ought to hold you. It was designed to restrain even dragon daeva, and absorbs any impact upon it to reinforce the barrier around it. That pirate wouldn't be able to rescue you even if he had a ship and broadsided the steel.”

The binding spell on Fiora was released and she fell limply to the floor – Garen obviously didn't want her hurt too badly as he shut the cage and confined her within it. The floor suddenly fell away and Fiora found herself suspended in a steel container in mid-air. Her father was still hovering in front of her, smug grin across his face as he thought he must have outwitted the pirate. “You may have bought yourself a little more time – but Lady Hagumi is one of my companions, and there is another seraphim assassin among us as well. They can both fly, not discounting two dragon daeva and an inventor who could probably think of something to cross the gap, if he doesn't just shoot you down on sight.” Fiora continued her speech in a mocking tone, intent on pissing the bastard off until he did something stupid. Well, he already did, but she wasn't going to tell him that.

“Shut up, you ill-mannered wench! I intended to take you in and provide you with a lap of luxury you had never enjoyed -”

“None of which I asked for and you seem to be doing a poor job of it now that your home is about to be demolished.” Fiora cut across the man, as Garran's yells echoed throughout the house. She walked right up to the edge of the cage and leaned against it casually. “Besides, I don't need to live in luxury – every ounce of my being and who I am today is thanks to growing up poor. It has tempered me and taught me much more than you ever have or will.”

Her hands ran over the door of the cage and she made her best impression of a sweet innocent smile mixed with generous amounts of condescension. “For instance, how to pick a lock.” Fiora swung the cage open and stood herself against the edge of it. “Now, you might be able to explain away my kidnapping as taking me under your protection... but I wonder if you can explain away why a young girl plummeted to her death from your home?”

There was no way Fiora was going to end her life to spite some fool of a absentee father figure, but he didn't need to know that. Men like Garen were more concerned about their reputation and status. Fiora's death would not only bring to light his indiscretions as a young man, but label him as a murderer. Proving her point was the way her father started moving closer to her and held up a hand to stop her from jumping. “Let's not be hasty, now.” He was obviously trying to close the distance so he could catch her or send her back into the cage and lock it more securely. It was fine by Fiora, she only needed him to get a little closer.

“Well, you should have said that when you built this cage.” Fiora continued on her tirade of insults. “What is the use of being able to hold a dragon daeva in here and keeping it from being broken by force if a single lockpick is all it takes to undo all this security?” She rolled her eyes at Garen, watching him as he inched closer... just a little more...

Fiora's hand whipped out quickly and grabbed her captor's outstretched hand, pulling him towards her as she started draining him. Shock widened his eyes as he realised what she was doing to him. “The only gift you have given me, father.” She hissed as she raised her other hand, fingers pointing straight down at him and hitting him squarely in the solar plexus as she used a technique she had not needed for years. “This was what years of living on the streets taught me when I had to fend for myself. Did you know that there is a pressure point here that blocks the flow of vital energies around the body? In humans and daeva that would paralyse them momentarily. With my ability, and relay the life essence I absorb back into the blow and make the paralysis permanent. In seraphim, it extends to their magic as well.”

Garen tried to resist her attempts at holding him down, but soon that any magic he was summoning fell apart at his hands. Fiora smiled and retreated from him. “Oh relax, I was kidding about the permanent paralysis.” It was a half-truth. As much as she wanted to take the high road, she had a debt to settle with the man and leaving him without magic until he found someone with her level of skill to undo the block she placed on his vital point, he would be as useless a seraphim as he was a father. Though now that she had her revenge, Fiora was regretting exacting it so soon.

“Now what am I going to do about the floor...” She wondered to herself as she realised she should have probably gotten him to disable whatever had vanished the floor. “I did not think this through.”
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Harbringer Death to Asgard!

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The house wasn't exactly crawling with guards, but there were enough of them to impede Garran's progress. Swinging one man by his legs, he slammed him into another man, who dropped his sword out of reflex in an attempt to save his comrade. The makeshift flail and its victim slammed heavily into the wall, where they remained immobile. The corridor was littered with unconscious bodies, both seraphim and human, and one of the walls bore scorch marks from an attempted spell which was rudely interrupted by the pirate slamming his head into the man's face. Opening a door, he found a room with two women in maid outfits, one clutching a younger one. "Stay away you brute!" the older one shouted. "Sorry ma'am," Garran said, shutting the door again. Taking another few steps forward, he opened another door, thif time occupied by a single turkey that gobbled at him. Closing the door without a word, the pirate moved on. "It be a fra'kin' maze in h're!" he shouted as another guard rounded the corner.

A full ten minutes later, and after systematically checking every door, Garran arrived at the last door. "This had b'tt'r be it," he muttered under his breath. Throwing the door open, the pirate shouted before he even saw what was inside. "'LRIGHT YE LANDLUBBIN' PIGEON! WHAR BE THE LASS!?" With a horriffic screech, Garran ripped the door from its hinges...and there was no reply. Instead, he almost fell into a giant gaping hole."Wh't th' bloody hell!?" he exclaimed as he fell backwards to avoid tumbling into the abyss. Looking up, he saw his target. "Fi'ra? How're ye doin' tha'?" he asked as she floated within a cage.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Marcus XVI
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Marcus XVI

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Cadogan took a casual sip from his bottle as he did his best to smile politely - and not cackle like an idiot - while Chii spoke. He took a deep breath, adjusted his coat and took a better hold of his walking stick. "Yes, Chii. I'm the Great Inventor." The white haired man nodded and waved his hand at the dragoness like a little kid would. "Pleased to meet ya." The little smirk was gone as soon as it had appeared and Cadogan fixed his most humblest and politest expression on his face. "Now, in all seriousness I can't say no to a request like that. There's just a little detail..."

His trail of thought was interrupted by the familiar looking seraphim - whose message was very clear. Cadogan didn't have time to answer to the fellow before he was gone, so the Great Inventor just shrugged his shoulders and turned back towards Chii. "I'll make you the armor, we'll discuss about the payment later, ok?" He asked with a rather excited tone while politely offering his arm towards the dragoness "Shall we be on our way? I have a contest to win." ...At least Cadogan wasn't lacking in confidence.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by FinDragon
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FinDragon

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A person in red approaches the city of Aldarich, well, two actually, one being carried by the first one. The pair were quite a loud, well, the carried one was loud, he was swearing, shouting death threats and even trying to strike deals, but he was quickly shut up when the carrier smacked him across the face with his right hand.
They approached the city quickly at a steady pace, and soon enough it would be only minutes away, the man who, along with his now obvious prisoner, carried eight swords with him, and without a doubt some of them would soon enough taste blood, as six men appeared from both sides of the road, they were brutes and bandits, most of them atleast. Some of them were a bit smaller and relied to long range weaponry from afar, one of them shouts at the man."Alright there you asstard, let the bossman go before we hack, slash, cut and burn your ass to ground!"

The shout has enough impact on the man to stop and glance at the surroundings, counting the six men down and letting out a sigh."I have no intention to do that." He then replies and locks his green eyes to the speaker."You are the second in command, hm? I have no interest in you, so run along, take over the group and go get yourself a name, so I can come and take your head too." He states and takes one step forward, only to stop and sigh again when his path is blocked.
"You let him go NOW, and we will only beat you to blue, a'ight? You do not even know do you? You are laying your hands on the king of these roads, dumbass!" This last comment pulls loud, mocking laughter out of the man, and he drops the addressed bandit down."Oh, that made my day kid." He then kicks the bandit to the side and takes a step back, landing his hands on two hilts of his swords."To be a king, first requires one to be a man. I see neither in this lowlife. 'Cayne the Ladykiller', a woman hating, probably manloving, scum of a person. He wouldn't even have these whole 20 thousand on his head without him, probably by accident, killing off the wife of the high counselor. So, you know, scram, let me be on with my business and.."

He was rudely interrupted by a large thug, who swung his sharplooking axe towards his head, apparently he had enough of the bounty hunter and his arrogant mockery of their great leader or so. Too bad for the bandit, his attack swung past the ducking man."I guess that is a no then." He states as his voice turns cold. His hands grip the two hilts and the nearly invisible runes on his worn armor light up blue, he pulls out a straightsword to his left hand, and a katana to the right one, moving his right foot down a bit and then suddenly kicking his left one, both sending sand and dust in the air, and launching himself into a spin as the bandits attack towards him. Axes and swords rise to strike, but the man and his weapons were clearly faster than the ones bandits were using.

The first bandit falls with his throat slit wide open before he can even blink, while two others blink and try to focus their aim half blind from the sand and dust, the only seeing bandit at close range lifts his sword to parry an incoming attack from the spinning man, but his sword is knocked aside by a heavy strike from his straightsword, and before the bandit has a chance to protect himself again, the sharp, curvy blade cuts his stomach open, and the bounty hunter leaps in the air, just in time to evade the pair of heavy axes from the other thugs, and he lands right on this poor bandit who tries to keep his guts it, knocking him down on his back.

The hunter slashes into thin air, and his blades clean from blood before his slides the weapons back into their scrabbards, only to switch out a broadsword and a scimitar. He turns around and lifts the two blades, catching an incoming blade of an axe between them, he kicks the bandit wielding the axe right below his self esteem and tips him over the firing line of a bandit who just fired his crossbow, right at his comrade's back of the head. The last standing thug curses the bounty hunter, his family and friends and anyone he has ever come in contact with and swings his axe at him, barely missing due him dodging the attack and he slips the broadsword away, pulling out another katana instead. He takes a backstep and evades yet another attack."Every step, every strike, fueled with anger, not with skill. And that is why you die." He states coldly and sidesteps, both dodging another bolt and the axe."You are afraid of the lack of your own might, am I right?" He asks and sprints past the thug, swinging his swords at him and cutting his right flank right open, turning around and jumping on his back, bashing him to ground and slashing his swords to both sides of his neck, swiftly backflipping of and leaving him bleed.

As he lands, he turns to face the bandits with the crossbows, they both are strugling with reloading their weapons with their shaky hands, he simply stares at them, and takes one step onward. Another bandit drops his weapon and turns, running away, while the other one simply falls on his rear and soils himself. The bountyhunter shakes his head and sheathes his blades before cleaning them again with swift strikes in the air. He walks back over to the groaning leader of this group and lifts him onto his shoulder, heading back to the city again, the glow all over him fades away.

He manages to take three steps before he hears a click, and feels an impact on his shoulder as a bolt hits it, shot from a crossbow.He simply turns halfway towards the bandit sitting on the ground and glares at him, he drops the crossbow and begins to shake."Go home kid. Go home, and ask your mother for a cake." He laughs and turns towards the city again, leaving the bandit behind to shake in fear all he wanted.
After that little incident the bounty hunter, Lazarus, finally makes it to the city, of course first of he has to show the face of his prisoner to the guardsmen, both from the living being and the wanted poster he carries along, also he makes a request for one of them to yank the annoying bolt from his shoulder. Finally he gets to continue his journey towards the center of the city, or at least some spot close to the center, as long as there are enough people as crowd there he's fine with it. His eyes glance around a bit and he mumbles to himself."It has been a while..."
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Pumirya
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Pumirya

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Hagumi’s hand paused, hovering in the air somewhere south of her mouth, swirls of steam curling into the air in front of her face from the bit of scrambled egg impaled on her fork. It took the seraphim a moment or so to realise her breath had caught in her throat, and Hagumi let her breath out slowly, doing her best to remain calm as her mother’s words sank in... Slowly, Hagumi lifted the forkful of scrambled egg to her lips; chewing the food and then washing it down with a swallow of hot tea before she placed her utensil ever so gently back down on the table beside her still mostly full plate.

Was she ready? Hagumi closed her ice blue eyes for a moment as she felt her mother’s arms wrap themselves around her. A part of Hagumi was, admittedly, a little angry at her father. “He wouldn’t have done that if I’d came back with some pretty boy seraphim,” Hagumi muttered under her breath, not loud enough for most of those in the large room to hear, with the exception of Torva and perhaps her mother, the latter being so close... For several long, tense moments the air in the room became bone chillingly cold before it returned to its previous warm, comfortable temperature.

“I don’t know, mother,” Hagumi finally said softly as she stood up from her chair and then turned to face the other woman, Hagumi’s hands moving to grasp her mother’s gently… “The quest, mother, was no vacation,..” the younger seraphim added, her eyes gazing deeply into her mother’s. “The battles I survived… the enemies I faced, all of them have made me stronger… but will it be enough? A part of me says ‘Yes, it will be,’ but then another says, ‘I don’t know.’ I guess I don’t know what answer to give..”

“But I am sure of what I can do. I shall have some surprises for the council,” Hagumi added as a sudden smile spread across her face like a new dawn across the eastern horizon. Giving her mother’s hands one more squeeze, and embracing the older woman tightly, Hagumi placed a kiss lightly on the crown of her mother’s head before she turned to look at Torva. “Let’s go for a walk. I’ll eat something later.” Turning, Hagumi left the dining hall, Torva in tow, and a short while later found the two walking along a street leading away from Hagumi’s home and toward the city’s east edge…

Hagumi eventually lead Torva to a small, park-like area, which in appearance was like the rooftop garden of Hagumi’s home, with benches set about a central fountain. Patting one of the low stone benches, Hagumi sat down and watched the golden-yellow mid morning’s sun climb slowly higher into the sapphire blue sky as Torva seated himself next to her. “Torva, I would have had to undergo The Seven Wonders eventually,” Hagumi murmured as her eyes tracked a lone seraphim soaring across the skies above them. “The answer I gave was the truth. No one can ever be truly ready for a test they do not know… All I can do is their best, and trust in my magic.”

Seeing that Torva was still worried, Hagumi grasped his near hand and squeezed it tightly. “And my best is pretty good, if I do say so myself,” Hagumi added with a smile, sounding more like herself again as she turned to look toward the distant mountains. “This is one of the places I used to sneak off to… Well, for a while until I was found… then I had to find a new hide-a-way… It wasn’t that long ago, really, but it feels was ages ago… now.” Hagumi lapsed into silence as a elderly seraphim walked past… knowing he was staring at she and Torva, although their backs were turned to him.

Seeking to lighten the mood, and get her mind off the certain to be grueling ordeal to come, Hagumi stood and turned back toward the city.. “The inventor’s competition is today,” Hagumi said as she looked over her shoulder at Torva, who had stood with her. “I wonder. Yes, let’s go watch, it should be fun. Maybe Cadogan is there? I bet he would be” A strong gust of wind ruffled Hagumi’s golden-blonde hair ad her wings, dislodging a single pristine white feather and placing it squarely across the bridge of Torva’s muzzle, tickling his sensitive muzzle and nostrils as it fluttered in the wind.

Hagumi and Torva approached the entrance to the competition area, just in time to see Cadogan approaching as well, Chii in tow, the little dragoness hurrying to catch up with The Great Inventor, who looked rather excited and maybe a little drunk as well. “Hey,” Hagumi called out, raising her voice to be heard above the hustle and bustle of the large crowd, lifting a hand to wave at Cadogan and Chii. “I told you he’d be here,” Hagumi said cheerfully as she glanced at Torva before looking to Cadogan and Chii. ‘And I bet The Great Inventor has plans to win. I’ll be rooting for you,” she whispered, leaning down briefly to whisper into Cadogan’s ear.
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