Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by Scarifar
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Scarifar Presto~!

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Niciel and Vestec

Vestec appeared next to Niciel. He looked...odd. His form shimmered, and his colors were muted. "Sorry we couldn't meet in person, but I'm busy chatting with Kyre and just have something you might find interesting to show you!"

A portal appeared in front of the two of them, and a clear picture formed in it. Slave Hain in Cornerstone were killing the last of the Angels. "They ventured too close to Cornerstone. Toun got paranoid, ordered his slaves to kill them. You know how he is after Jvan lashed out against him. So hateful. So petty." Vestec giggled. " A lot like me at times!"

(If you're on before I make my IC post, here's the rundown. Vestec de-corrupted a handful of his Fallen Angels, messed with their minds to make them think Niciel ordered them to exterminate the Slave Hain, put memories in their heads to back that up, and sent them to Cornerstone to kill Slave Hain and then die. Vestec is now chatting with Niciel and Toun in an attempt to play them against each other.)

Niciel turned her attention to Vestec, or rather, Vestec's apparition, who was revealing something quite disturbing. Hain killing Angels. At first, Niciel was surprised at the sight. Then, suspicion set in. Niciel knew Vestec well enough that tricks like this were not beneath him. In an attempt to gain some more information from this situation, Niciel asked Vestec, "Vestec, what are you planning? Toun may not be the kindest God, but seeing as you're here, I can't help but imagine that you've played a part in this."

Vestec tilted his head. "Well. For which part? With Grot and his army, I'm planning on assaulting the Nice Mountains, lovely name by the way. With the Hain army, I'm planning on butchering Cornerstone. With the Pronobii army, I'm planning on slaying Reathos' Pronobii. And if by part you mean that your Angels were probably going to warn the Slave Hain of the danger, because of my armies, then yes! I don't know, obviously, as they wouldn't let me get near enough to ask. Really, have I gotten that bad of a reputation?"

He shrugged. "Other than that, I thought you'd like to know when someone other than I was butchering your creations. And I do mean butchering." He giggled again. "I think that one Angel is still alive, and they're just stabbing, and stabbing, and missing all those vital organs. Painful way to to die. And all for a warning."

Niciel was still skeptical. Niciel fully believed that Vestec had indeed earned "that bad of a reputation", especially considering that he did try to harm the Codex of Creation, as well as corrupt several of her Holy Wisps for who knows what. As for Grot and the assault on the Nice Mountains, Niciel wasn't exactly pleased about that either, though she was confident that her beloved child Falas could handle the situation.

Still, there was no denying the horrible spectacle Vestec was showing her. "I will speak with Toun myself," Niciel said. "Perhaps things will become clear from there." There was also a slight pause of hesitation before adding, "Thank you for this bit of information, Vestec." With a flash of light, Niciel was gone, having set off to gain an explanation for this.
Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by BBeast
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BBeast Scientific

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Celestial Citadel

Like a diamond in the sky, the Celestial Citadel floated high above the surface of Galbar, up at a height where the atmosphere was thin enough for the stars to be plainly visible. Its walls and spires of dazzling white stone were breathtaking, and the blue gem adorning it pulsed with power. The clouds billowed about it, holding it aloft as though they were foundations as strong as the earth itself.

Teknall stood about a hundred meters from it, standing in mid air, admiring the craftsmanship of his own hands from when he had first landed on Galbar. Why had he not visited more often? Across the sky he walked, alighted onto one of the many landings, and strolled into the airy halls.

Yet he was not alone. The bold presence of Zephyrion was hard to miss, but others were present too. Illunbar, the Muse, made her presence here. And there were a few others who were less familiar. About a thousand tall, humanoid beings with three eyes, which he hadn't seen before, made their homes in a couple of the towers and chambers. Air elementals flitted about the open corridors and windows. But two individuals in particular caught Teknall's attention. One was human in form, wielding almost godly power, yet not quite, and bearing several artifacts he could tell were made by gods. The other was more human, and held some power, although nowhere near as much as the first.

What use was an ogre? Zephyrion had been ruminating upon that question as he stared out a window towards the verdant Venomweald that carpeted the land far, far below. It had been a long time since he had left his creations to their own devices there, and still he had not quite decided what was to be done with them. Perhaps he would simply leave them to fend for themselves as Toun had done the Hain.

Such thoughts were interrupted when the Lord of Change felt a familar presence rapidly approaching. With a tugging thought he quickly summoned Ventus to his side. "My dear brother Teknall approaches; you must go forth at once and welcome him, for he is to be an honored guest! Be to sure to walk him inside straight to me!"

The Vizier sighed at the needless complexity, but then again he had already known that his master oft took a liking for absurd formality and grandeur. Quickly Ventus billowed through the halls to emerge upon a large terrace where he anticipated Teknall would land. He found the god already there, for as fast as the windjinn could fly, it remained near impossible to outpace a god.

"Hail to Your Divinity, O great Teknall! You are well met by this humble servant of Zephyrion, the Vizier Ventus. My lord would meet with you in his chambers, just through here!"

The Majordomo moved to lead Teknall through the palace, though such courtesy might have been unnecessary for the one whose very hands had built the place. Still, with so much formality and politeness as he could muster, Ventus led the way. Never once did he insult the god by showing his back, so he found himself flying more or less sideways. 'The things I do for Zephyrion...' the djinni found himself thinking.

"Ah, thank you, Vizier Ventus," Teknall replied. He had not been expecting such a welcome, but he took it gracefully, following Ventus to Zephyrion's quarters.

Through winding spiral staircases and halls hall did the two go, until they at last came to one of many large rotundas near the uppermost reaches of the alcazar. In the center of that vast, rounded room there was Zephyrion.

He received his guest, "Dearest brother Teknall, it has been far too long! I bid you make yourself comfortable and at ease here."

He examined Teknall more closely, noting with some shock and disapproval that the god had seen fit to take on the form of a lowly Hain. For what purpose did he disgrace himself so? "But Teknall, why do you take on such a form? You debase yourself with such simplicity; to inspire civilization and great things, you must be marvelous, perfect, and larger than the life of any mere mortal!

Alas, I am carried away. What deeds have been yours since last we met?"

Teknall looked around the room, and found it practically bare. The gaseous form of Zephyrion had needed none of the comforts of home, so when Teknall had built the palace he had included none. But now he saw this as a serious shortsight, something he would have to fix if he were to spend any appreciable amount of time up here. At a whim, a chair of stone rose from the floor, the floor rippling as though it were water, and Teknall sat upon the chair.

"It has been far too long indeed. But I have been busy, for the same reasons I have taken this form. To inspire civilisation, I need not manifest in my full glory and awe all who see me. Instead, I have spent the past few decades walking amongst the Hain, teaching them from within. Civilisation requires progress, and progress requires critical thinking, something that is hindered by appearing as a god.

"The Hain were made with great potential, yet Toun has abandoned them. So I took it upon myself to foster that potential. I've taught them many things, giving them the tools necessary to grow and develop into a fully fledged civilisation, given a little time. I've trained an apprentice to continue that task for me, as I have noticed the emergence of many other intelligent races.

That's what I have been doing. What have you been up to?"

"Then woe and wanion unto those who knew not that they were graced with the presence of a god! I have been given little cause for action. With infinite foresight I created the spiryts that this world calls djinn so as to carry out my will and direct the forces of Change autonomously.

Heretofore I did find joy and solace in shaping and protecting my own corner of the world: that stretch from the blue waters of the Sparkling Sea, past the salt flats and rolling dunes of the Firewind, and finally stopping somewhither in the jungles at the foot of your own mountains. With your Urtelem as a foundation I built a mighty creature with which I am determined to people Galbar with; perhaps one day in the near future, you might visit them as you did the Hain.

As of late, however, I have taken to offering guidance towards the young Lifprasil. A demigod brought forth by the perfidious Vulamera, I still see potential in him yet, and perhaps under my tutelage he will become something great."

"Ah, another race. I shall indeed have to visit them some time. And talk to the other people here, for I am sure they have interesting stories of their own," replied Teknall, "Speaking of the world, could you set this Citadel moving, such that it will tour the world? Many new things have appeared in this world which I am yet to see, and here is one of the best vantage points to do so from."

"Ah, the view is indeed marvelous from these soaring heights! As you wish, so will I command," Zephyrion obliged. An ethereal appendage writhed its way out of the god's vortex and from that hand there came a golden wind that found its way to the massive gem crowning the Citadel. The conduit for Zephyrion's power activated, Teknall would feel the hum of magic as it poured throughout the palace and the sky itself. Mortals would hear or sense nothing; the Citadel would simply take motion and begin speeding through the stratosphere's thin air, the land below gradually changing.

"I now leave you to converse with those droll 'inhabitants' that flit back and forth through my halls; it was well to see you, but now I must attend to some matters with my Vizier."

In that moment both Zephyrion and the nearby Ventus dissipated into smoke that simply wafted away, the two beings having traveled to somewhere far away. Teknall was left alone to find his way through the palace. Normally the god might have seen that as rudeness fit to be called nothing less than an insult, but in Teknall's case, there had been no ill intent. The palace's architect surely could not become lost!

The next place Teknall visited was Illunabar's quarters, which was really an entire floor of the Citadel. The Muse had expressed her beauty in the space she had been given. So for some refreshment from the bare halls he wandered up to her lavish halls. She had hidden them behind illusory walls, likely to keep the mortals out, but such measures were transparent to him. Even if he couldn't see straight through the illusion and other walls, he was an expect stone mason, and could tell that such walls were foreign to the Citadel. Before crossing through, he knocked on the adjacent wall to announce his entrance and stepped through.

The difference between the sides of the walls was striking, Ilunabar had never been lazy on her work across the Celestial Citadel, yet most of her best designs were left to her quarter and Zephyrion's rooms. Some statues and paintings were piled on the ground, indicating that they had been moved recently, some spots of dust along the walls of the Lifprasilian quarters would make their previous locations quite clear.

The central bit of her area was a small square room with a fake sky drawn into its roof, the paint moved around and changed colours to simulate day and night and the fake sun and moon glimmered gently over a round fountain decorated with flowers. There were four rooms. Right now, Meimu's room was decorated with flowers and marble furniture, and many birds could be heard singing from their large and luxurious cages. Notte's room was full of clothes and jewellery, some of it noticeably from Hain villages Teknall had visited, and oddly, the many mirrors were covered with sheats or turned down. The third room was empty. Finally, Ilunabar's room. Many would theorize it was a luxurious place, full of delicious treats and gorgeous artworks. Instead it was messy, scrolls left on the ground, dry paint and used brushes ruining fine pieces of marble and a lot of doodles and maps left floating in the air.

Once inside the room however, one would quickly notice a small terrace to the side, far tider than the mess of a studio. There the muse was calmly writing on a small notebook, while enjoying the view, in fact, the Aurora she had created could be seen from this altitude. The furniture of the terrace was familiar, those crystal chairs and table were an old design that Teknall and Ilunabar had made back when the world was young.

Walking past the fountian, Teknall realised that one thing the Citadel lacked was drinks for guests. Morphing out of the stone floor and floating up to his hand came a stone cup, and with it he scooped a cupfull of water out of the fountain. With it he took a sip of the water through his hain-beak. It was not that he actually needed water, but it was a habit he had developed over the past few decades. Finally he spoke to Illunabar from the central room. "I like what you've done with the place, Illunabar."

The muse had already sensed the presence, even so, as she stood up and walked toward the voice she felt surprised when she actually saw him in his Hain form.

"Oh! Teknall? It has been an eternity! If I knew you were visiting I would have called my girls here." she walked toward her brother and grabbed his hands, a smile on her face "You changed a lot huh? I see that you became quite fond of the Hain too..."

His head to the side so he could see her and beak upturned, he replied, "Indeed. The Hain hold much potential. I have left an apprentice with them to carry on the word of teaching them. So what have you been up to, sister?"

"Oh quite a lot I believe" she rested a finger against her chin "You left before I even ended up my project, The Arpeggio." She formed a miniature image of the tower that stood in the center of The Raka. "I'm quite proud of this building, and it brought dreams to all mortals across the universe. Other than that, I have been working a lot with the girls, have you ever got to see the flower I, uh, actually, Meimu, made for you? The one that changes its colours depending on the minerals underneath it" her excitment to finally have someone to talk with was almost touchable. The divas were too bound to her, and the other gods didn't care much about design.

"Ah, I had noticed it, although I hadn't been able to identify the artist. It is indeed a wonderful piece of work. A beautiful fusion of form and function," Teknall said, "You mention your 'girls', Meimu one of them, and I see rooms for them, although I know nothing about them."

"Ah! I thought that you had run into them already, considering how much both have been working with the Hain. They are the divas, something like a pupil you might say, perhaps a bit like the Gerrik fellow you walked with? Meimu is the Diva of Petals and she is tasked with promoting natural beauty. Notte is the Diva of Mirrors, she deals with mirrors and is the one who has the most contact with civilization" she then took a step back and looked for some notes.

"Piena is the third one, she is very young but by far the most responsible, she is the Diva of Aesthetic, and her mission is to organize my projects" she looked outside for a bit "She was here just a while ago, but she left to scout villages for my next project. I will do what I can to promote culture brother, while at times our will clashes, our objectives are the same."

"Ah, some helpers. It takes a load off having someone to share the work with," Teknall replied, "And it is good to hear that we are aligned in aiding civilisation."

"For me it's less about having extra hands and more about having more minds and voices. It is something I learned from our Sibling's mistakes, without the clash of opinions one's worldview becomes weak like the muscles of a sedentary person."

Teknall considered these words for a few moments. Eventually, he said, "Indeed. Perhaps I could make a voice with a second opinion some time, too."

Then Teknall turned his head and, with one pair of eyes, looked down at a point on the floor, as though distracted by something. "You've noticed those two talking?" he queried.

"Oh? Lifprasil has been around for a while, a spoiled kid, but has potential, if only he would stop bringing so many annoyances to the citadel" The Muse sighed and started to write again "You have not met him yet, have you? He talks a lot about empires and whatnot, so he might be of your interest. I myself am far too busy with this big project, so I fear I won't be able to accompany you on the rest of the vist. But it was nice to talk with you, and considering how this play is evolving, I believe we will have to meet again very soon"

Teknall nodded and turned up a palm. "Indeed. I look forwards to our next meeting. May your project go well."

And so Teknall departed from Illunabar's quarters, and headed off towards the gardens.


In a secluded albeit easily accessible chamber near the bottom of the Celestial Citidel lived the critic. Having risen from a dreamless coma in a pool of his own blood, he set to work immediately. Prior to his agony-induced siesta, Allure had taken to his new habitat with utmost irreverence. He truly hated the place his defeat forced him to call home. In the featureless walls and the empty rooms there existed no beauty whatsoever, not even the faint prettiness of nature. The base floor of the Citadel featured no more than nine square rooms arranged in a grid, but in short order Allure observed that each chambers' vertical pillars would serve to alleviate his boredom. With only enough hesitation to ensure the quality of his disassembly, the hero of beauty got to work whittling away at the pillars. Shards of stone flew and skittered across the floor as a testament to the hero's destruction.

Yet from the ruins arose something new. Slowly, and poorly at first, he freed from the confines of stone a slew of shapes. He shaved off more and more slivers of rock, creating contours and edges, all according to his whimsical creativity. An hour of ceaseless labor passed before his first statue, a featureless woman with long hair, stood in the empty wreck of a room. He paused after her completion, just long enough to learn from his mistakes and gather up the shards of rubble into a neat pile, before beginning on his second statue. This time, he depicted a woman sitting, with hair done up in a bun. While troubled by the pose, he managed to tease the material into a shape that pleased him. More disposal and contemplation followed, and over the course of a half-day Allure ate nothing, drank nothing, and slept not at all, for there was no food to eat, or water to drink, and no beds in which to sleep in this austere citadel in the sky. Where applicable, he dabbled his fingers in the only paint available to color in the hair and eyes of his invariably female subjects. At the very end of his hours of toil, he decided that he had honed his talents enough to try and capture true beauty.

By afternoon, a new, larger statue stood, separate from the others. Allure collapsed, exhausted in mind and body from such intensive labor, but he smiled to see a likeness of Notte standing before him, frozen in a coy pose with a hand curled near her mouth like a noblewoman. The hero of beauty did not find much peace in his art, for the pain of the new lines plowed in his brain would not abate so easily. Unyielding taskmasters, they forced him to continue. Groaning, he willed himself to his feet and set about dragging slabs of stone where he needed them. From rough, useless blocks with pointy corners he hewed a table, a chair, a stool on which to rest his feet, and a primitive and unpleasant sort of couch on which to rest, only better than the floor for the sake of aesthetics. These he applied only enough care to in order to make them functional; they did not fit into what he considered the realm of beauty in any way. Lying upon his couch, he ruminated. "What a truly awful place. It did not escape my imagination that the immortals might not have any use for the objects of mortals, but I did not expect it to be so laughably stark. I walked every inch of the palace, but witnessed nothing but walls and the spirits that flitted about between them. No furniture, nor food, nor fortifications, nor anything of any kind. A building is perfectly worthless if it is less interesting and useful than the nature upon which it is built. Even in the sky it is true; this castle is a waste of good air. I have created the only things of value inside it, even with my small power, and the gods who inhabitit this place with all their powers have done nothing. Who is more insignificant?"

What pleased him least of all, however, was that there was nobody around to listen to him give vent to his displeasure.

After the speech faded into the abhorrent nothingness of the Citadel's alabaster walls, wreathed in waves of teal threatening to overtake the simplicity of the place; a small oval landed on Allure's chest. The white game piece was crafted from stone, with a surface worn down over hours of concentration in part of Lifprasilian craftsman. Now, Lifprasil stood at the entrance to Allure's den, having escaped the emergence of the other deities to check on his compatriot.

"The one who is insignificant is the one who resigns to nothingness, satisfaction is the death of work, and work is, coincidentally, what is needed to express satisfaction. How that work is applied, however, rates the individuality of an individual based on their goal - it defines the word." Lifprasil said as he walked into the room, wrestling a tiny, black orb against the palm of his hand, kneading the material into his flesh. He only wore a tunic in this confrontation, he had left his armor, and his weapon behind.

Allure laughed. He hadn't suspected that the room might grow even more boring. "Another pithy statement. It is fortunate that I never break my word." He picked up the white game piece and studied it. In seconds he deduced both the greater time taken to make it and the poorer standard to which it had been made, in comparison to his work. "Huh."

"If your goal is to rid this world of the ugliness that blights it, your resignation to just sculpting images of a puppet confounds me, you have changed a single room, when you could change this entire citadel into a work of art; rather than the droll fortress of the Wind God." Lifprasil continued, and paced around the sculpture in profound silence, running a finger along the nape of the faux Notte's neck. "Your quest goes to waste if you do nothing to mend the issue you're faced with - creating beauty requires only an eye for such, but I plan to extend leadership to teach it when I descend from this place." the Demi-God finally finished, and turned his head to look down upon Allure and his own white game piece; similar to the one he held in his hand. "Perhaps you could teach it, too."

These words struck Allure as particularly amusing. As if the concept of true beauty could be taught! "Go and quibble elsewhere. Tell the so-called gods, who can do anything with a snap of their fingers, to make works of art. All I have is my eye for beauty. My hand does not hunger for creation, and doing so is too strenuous for me, like trying to force a spoon to serve like a fork, not that there's a smigen for a poor mortal to eat around here. It can only destroy; what you see is the beauty in destruction. What interest have I in the beautification of this bare fortress anyway? Bland is, at the very least, not ugly." He stood up from his couch, coaxing himself to his feet, where he swayed slightly as if lightheaded. "Beauty can never be taught. It is not a skill. It is a calling. An ultimate element of the universe, beyond sovereignty, power, or honor. I neither can nor will teach it, especially to disgusting creatures like hain." He crossed his arms and smirked.

Lifprasil shook his head in disapproval. "Pathetic, you have become a reclusive barnacle." he teased, before he extended a hand to him. "I will treat you to a meal, as my High Lifprasilians have prepared food on the walls of the Citadel. Maybe then we can continue our talk." Lifprasil offered.

A dazzling, handsome grin appeared on Allure's face, though his voice was acerbic. "I do so endeavor to rise in your estimations. I will take food, though. Can't live without it." For the second time in as many days, he refused the hand offered to him. Instead, he extended his hand upward, and carved into the ceiling a triangle-shaped hole through which to spring. "Lead the way. As for me, I cannot tell one featureless hallway from the next."

A sigh escaped Lifprasil, before his feet left the ground, and he flew through the melo-dramatic triangle carved into the ceiling. He flew, and flew, past massive arches, extensive hallways that went on forever, and most importantly; masses of High Lifprasilians spending their time either training, sleeping, or inventing more weapons from the primeval materials they had been given. Eventually, Allure found himself being led onto a sweeping balcony far too big for a pair of mortals. Instead, it was occupied by a small group of unassuming High Lifprasilians, all of which focused their efforts on tilling, and harvesting the soil that had balanced itself within the myriad of abnormally sized vases and pots installed by the efforts of many before them.

The hanging gardens had developed into a beautiful sight, thanks to the favor of Zephyrion, and the farmers that had clung to the sides of the Citadel, a garden that became anything but frugal was created; primarily through trial and error. "While you waste away, Barnacle, I begin my plan." Lifprasil exclaimed over the violent winds of the outside. "My army trains, it feeds, it sleeps, and it refines itself like a weapon, a machine, even, something created from so many moving parts that many would be hard to understand the machinations and motions directing it. Each part in my machine, my Empire, moves in key with one another, no matter the pace they set themselves to. Those that cease perish, but those that persist continue to function; a predicament I believe you would find yourself in, if you expressed insight." explained Lifprasil in congruency with his former statement, before a single high Lifprasilian with an arm quite unusual approached with a basket of fruit.

"M-m'lord! Look w...what I harvested!"

She was tall, lanky, and her unusual arm shimmered like crystal in the sunlight, her normal one extending the hefty basket to Lifprasil himself. "Thank you, Lakshmi." Lifprasil said, and took the food into his hands, and then passed it on to Allure. "Sit, the both of you, progress moves around us, so we may rest in the center of it." he demanded, to which Lakshmi obediently did.

The very act elicited a chortle of derision from Allure. His eyes took in every detail that surrounded him, and he found nothing worthy of praise. Loyal knight that he was, however, he would not keep the shortcomings of the great Empire to himself. "What was that? An Empire? Ah...hah hah hah hah hah!" The hero of beauty forced himself to cover his face with a splayed-out hand to hide his merriment. When he spoke again, however, his tone cut more cleanly than a surgeon's knife. "Oh, hail the great conqueror! Master of a featureless floating shell in the sky, and lord of a herd of ready-made minions manufactured for you by the gods. And you kill whichever ones might express a morsel of free will and think twice about blindly following your every wish? I am the first challenge you have overcome, Lifprasil. You have not earned a single thing you have. I must confess myself, lowly, pitiable mortal that I am, unimpressed by all of the gifts heaped upon you. Though I would kill to be so favored." He drew his finger along the edge of an orange, severing it in two in a single stroke, and taking the top half, he held it over his mouth and tipped his head back, dribbling the juices across his tongue and down his chin. "Perhaps you do not like my observations," he murmured after licking his lips, trying to get a word in before Lifprasil replied. "No doubt your first experience with a being expressing contrary beliefs--indeed, not feeding you drivel about how special you are." Allure expected Lifprasil to be smoldering, but did not fear him. Without his armor, the demigod could not withstand an attack, yet no matter how cruelly verbose Allure grew he would wait for his great liege to strike first.

The surrounding gardeners, and passing warriors all take pause, even the air around Lifprasil stopped in anticipation as he just sat, legs crossed, and hand splayed over the fruit basket. With a slight shudder, Lifprasil took a banana, a low murmur escaping his lips, before he squeezed the fruit into a very explosive demise. [youtube]His murmur exploded into a fit of laughter,[/youtube] a cascade of merriment that could easily rival Allure's own condescending giggles. This heaving fit of gasps and ensuing laughs from Lifprasil continued for a minute - until his expression snapped to its default all too suddenly. "U-uh... Eh hehe... Heh..." Lakshmi mumbled with a worried frown, clasping at an apple, and accidentally biting her tongue when she went to consume it. She recoiled and yelped, which caused Lifprasil to avert his gaze from the sky he had fixated himself upon, and back to his allies. "On the contrary, I love your opinions, Barnacle, it's why I didn't concede to destroy you when we fought. In fact, if I have earned ONE thing, it is you." Lifprasil explained with some pluck, giving Allure a light poke on the nose; and a smile. "Your existence is my own. You are not my slave, but my friend, my brother by choice. You may be the first hurdle I have faced in the grand order of the divine, but I have faced many smaller obstacles helping tend to my own ilk, and look how they have blossomed! As I have said before, one's own signifigance is dictated by what work he does, and I expect to make us both very, very significant people. I will rule Galbar, and with your help I will continue overcoming obstacles even larger than you." Lifprasil finished, before he took the apple from Lakshmi, and had her crane her mouth open so he could look at her tongue. "Aaaauuugh..." Lakshmi groaned, while Lifprasil busied himself.

For once, Allure remained solemn and still. Confusion did not mar his features, though he did feel it. Every moment he expected Lifprasil, or one of the beings egotistically named after him, to attack, but the assault never came. All that assailed him was a light touch, which he did not find any magical significance in. Therefore, the man listened, and when Lifprasil finished, Allure appeared pensive. "Interesting. I am sure that any god would have struck me down on the spot. I got an inkling of your nature in the desert, and here it seems you have passed my test. Make no mistake, I meant every word, but it rather...pleases me that you consider what I say." After a moment, Allure seated himself. With his dry hand he pushed his hair back, and with the wet one he pulled a pear from the fruit basket. Studying it, he said, "Overcoming great obstacles suits me. Ugliness is one such, but there are many out there. It would not be so much a tragedy if you ruled, I suppose. Perhaps my service will not be a waste of my time after all." He bit into the pear, and stared off into the sky, thinking as he often did of Notte.

Lifprasil's smile only widened when he released Lakshmi, and she found her tongue to be healed. He took a bite from her apple, and then handed it back to her, which she nearly dropped on the floor upon the exchanging of food. "We are equals, these people are my equals, and all of Galbar will be equal to me, and maybe one day, the gods... Now, Barnacle, express some posture. We are in the presence of one such a creature, and I would not want to disappoint a guest of my people."

Lifprasil's current guest said nothing in reply, but his expression made his paucity of delight utterly clear as he consumed his fruit. In the presence of a god, such impudence would not serve him well. For the time being, his disrespect would lie hidden. With a sense of morbid anticipation he waited.

Walking into the garden came the humble figure of a Hain. Teknall had been listening in on the conversation between the Demigod and Hero as soon as he had arrived, and had carefully considered their words and actions. The Demigod, who was called Lifprasil, was a charismatic individual, although he had plans, for unification by conquest, for an Empire. Teknall had misgivings about this, but at the same time Lifprasil did not seem malicious. The Hero, who the Demigod had jovially called Barnacle, although he suspected this might not be his actual name, seemd to have an almost religious stance on that of beauty, and to Teknall's ire he considered the Hain 'disgusting', although his critique on the state of the Citadel was fair. He also observed his abilities, with his ability to slice through fruit and stone with equal ease and precision using spectral claws. He had evidently put those skills to use, creating an assortment of well-crafted stone statues in what was his room.

"Greetings. I'm afraid we haven't been properly introduced," said Teknall, beak upturned in a smile, and extending a hand to the pair, "I am Teknall, the Great Artisan, architect and builder of this palace."

Allure's uneasiness could be palpably felt as he slowly stretched out his hand to shake Teknell's. Under normal circumstances that hand would have turned the Hain before him into a bloody smear, but Lifprasil's warnings and his own senses made that possibility very remote. Awkwardly he shook Teknell's hand, clearly not familiar with the gesture, and he said nothing before returning to his seat.

Lifprasil smiled, and took Teknall's own hand, wrapping his palms around both Allure, and the god's visage. "Prosit, what would your plight be here, good creature?" he questioned. Lifprasil's grip on Teknall's power was apparent, as he expressed respect towards a god so gentle as to be an artisan.

"I am simply here to see what is happening up here," Teknall replied. He reached out and took a pear from the basket of fruit, "And to rest and eat. I like what you've done with this garden, Lifprasil. I'll need to put more plants about this palace of mine." He then looked to Allure, and said to Lifprasil, "While I have heard your name, I'm afraid I still don't know your friend's name." To Allure he added, "I have noticed that you have quite a skilled hand as a sculptor."

"Did you?" The man did not know whether to appear pleased or humbled. He settled for cautious optimism. "Thanks be. I am called Allure." Without any semblance of his usual theatricality, he remained still, waiting in anticipation.

Teknall could sense Allure's unease. Perhaps Allure was not used to speaking in the presence of a god, an interaction Teknall had not done for many years. "Well met, Allure. Be at ease." He pulled up a chair and sat down before biting into the pear he had taken, the juice running down his chin. From the pocket in his leather apron he procured a square of clean, white cloth, and wiped the juice from his porcelain shell. Then he turned to Lifprasil. "You are a new being, and I have not heard about the existence of any demigods before now. I have heard that you were brought forth by Vulamera. Was she the only god involved in your birth?"

In silence, Lifprasil shook his head, his face entering a state of placidity once again "The god of Chaos, Vestec, is my father. I do not harbor his nature, however." he said, looking up to Teknall from the floor. "What I have in mind is the good of the mortal realm. And you, Artisian?" he questioned.

Teknall's eyes widened and his beak turned slightly towards Lifprasil in surprise at mention of Vestec. Vestec and Vulamera? I did not expect that... he thought. "I am working towards the good of the mortals too. I work to build civilisation." Teknall's eyes stared firmly into Lifprasil's "I do hope that you keep the good of mortals in mind while you make your Empire, both during and after."

Lifprasil met Teknall's own eye, and his golden eyes flared with an intensity as bright as any challenged mortal, but he remained mild in tone. "Of course. My only nature would be the good of mortals. Any discrepancy would be to go against my domain: Emotion. As a vessel of emotion, I empathise towards sentientkind in its entirety, and I know they need something to look to, an international factor of unity; an Empire unhindered by landmasses or oceans, a World Order, if you will. Something more... Personal." Lifprasil finished, his gaze in all its intensity shifted back to Allure and Lakshmi, and his expression changed back to its original, reassuring grin. He then turned his head back to Teknall, wearing a much more controlled expression of goodwill.

"Surely that's agreeable, is it not?"

While Lifprasil's words were indeed agreeable to Teknall, a small part of his mind couldn't help but to be wary that they might just be honeyed words. But this was only a small suspicion, a mere possibility, and something about talking with Lifprasil just seemed to put him at ease. "Indeed it is. If you need my help for anything, just let me know."

They may have conversed further, if Teknall did not perk his head up as though hearing someone call to him from afar. For a message had been broadcast to all the gods, and it bore grave news.

"Kyre?" Teknall said aloud, "I haven't heard from you since Creation... Oh my, he did what?" His fists clenched and teeth bared. "How dare he!"

Teknall looked to Lifprasil. "I'm sorry to have to cut our chat short, but your father Vestec has decided that marching an army across Galbar would be a fun game." He spat this last word. "I must go now and make preparations of my own, before he slaughters half the planet's population."

Abruptly, Teknall left, disappearing. There were armies to be observed, plans to be made, and counter-attacks executed. A lot of work had to be done if he was to protect those he had pledged to protect.

Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by The Irish Tree
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The Irish Tree Awoken to Justice!

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Lifprasil and Belvast's Excellent Adventure

Lifprasil, Level 1 Demigod of Emotions (Sentience), 4 Might
Belvast, Level 1 Demigod of Physical Space (Portals), 0 Might

Lifprasil, after he made his goodbyes, and all had been said and done, decided to finally escape to the outside world - but beforehand, he needed wears that would fit with the time.

With a sigh, he traversed the Celestial Citadel's hallways for the last time in a long, long time, but decidedly left something behind for Zephyrion. With a little focus, and a miniscule amount of his power, he took some insipiration from his current muse(s), and created a device of song, a Sliver of his own being given shape as what appeared to be an multicolored ocarina. The device split, and the split in the instrument turned to liquid and scurried away. This was his first Fractal Artefact - a symbiosis procured by the mind.

He left it behind for Zephyrion to sing through while he was away.

After this labor was complete, Lifprasil escaped the Celestial Citadel, covered in a bundle of rags that hid a thick, faded tunic; the clothes masked his shape, so his true gender was unseen by any prying eye. In this mission, he will be Vesamera, the Angelic Scholar, not Lifprasil, the King of Kings.

From the Western branch of his home, she sprang forth from the sprialing solid alcohest created at the behest of the Artisian. She broke her fall before the ground had come to meet her, kicking up a minute storm of dirt that masked her entrance. She had landed at the tapering shore of the West Coast, bare feet pressed into sand, and sand pressed into bare feet.

The water elluded her, and it faded off into the horizon, but she did not persue that horizon, instead, she took confidence in wandering away from the distant sea, and into the marshy lands beyond.

She had to move quickly, however, the sun was dipping behind that very horizon she had gazed into earlier, and the swan song of night called upon its creatures...

Days. Days and Weeks. Weeks and Months. Months became Years, and Years became centuries, and even THOSE beget millenia. Thousands of years spent wandering. Belvast, in his naivety, assumed that traversing the world would only take so long...but as the planet itself was shaped and spiraled, changed and rearranged in some bits, he realized something. He'd never be able to explore Galbar fully in one visit. His 'Fate' as it would seem would be to wander until the gods were settled and down with their world, and see it all after that...and then move onto the next world. He was certain there was at least one, it was easy enough to tell at night as he camped out amongst the trees and riverrocks, all looking upwards at the sky the gods created.

In his wandering, Belvast would come to know many sentient races, though the only ones he'd particularly interact with would be the Treemind. Their forms were familiar, as was their ancestral home to the north, the familiar blanket of sleeted white that spread for miles that he'd wandered before they had grown and built a kingdom. He'd known the land long before the bears were many and spoke in tongues, not in roars. Though he'd interact, he'd never interfere, as he was worried that if he saw his mother somewhere there, he'd break their promise. The tastiest of fish was not yet his, after all.

Wandering still, Belvast sat alone in the Deepwoods, before an idle thought struck him. Boredom. He was bored. Bored bored bored...soooooo bored. Sitting up, his hat tipped past his ears and obscured his vision, before he adjusted it. Without really understanding what he wanted to do, Belvast opted to simply sit and think for a while, before he was struck with an idea. He'd invent a way to entertain himself. Something simple...but variable...oh, but games were no fun alone...All these thoughts and feelings of wanting entertainment he poured into a simple board of wood as he carved it with his claws, intricately carving and evening out what was once a simple piece of one of the Deepwods' trees into a simple wooden board with four legs with which it could stand on. Then, the divine part kicked in. All games needed rules, but Belvast was personally too lazy to come up with them. So, naturally, he made the board do it, and gave it the assets to make whatever rules it wished so long as they were fair. Fair rules meant fun, even if it was competitive. Even for what was essentially a millenia old child, Belvast understood that perfectly.

With his masterpiece complete, the Mobius Game stood on its four wooden legs. Stunned and excited, Belvast was struck with a realization. He'd just invented a way to entertain himself...that relied solely on interaction with another. Sighing as he realized his mistake, he picked the board up and tied it to his back. Time to go find people to play with...

Light pierced the thick canopy, and put an ambiguous spotlight on both Belvast, and a silent newcomer. She was a woman covered in drab clothing suitable to a lowly vagrant, but she carried herself like some form of royalty. Her hair cascaded in unkempt rivets all the way down to her unusually fair ankles, that which were draped by the fleeting visage of a silken tunic, the vibrancy of the cloth had been smothered by leather and fiber; but a creature of Belvast's... Stature would find it hard not to notice.

"You're afflicted with boredom, it would seem." Vesamera stated as her eyes, which had become tinted a crimson and a purple at the beginning of her journey, narrowed to the bipedal feline's game.

In a hand, she gripped the Fractal Utensil, that which had taken the shape of a quill, and the feather glowed a myriad of vivid colors. In her other hand, she cradled a cube at the crux of her abodnem, but it was featureless, a deep shade of ebony so pure in its darkness, that no light escaped its grasp.

"Prosit. Allow me to seat myself at your will, child of the Gods." Vesamera requested as a mortal, despite the essence that fluttered off of her on the wings of magical creatures that had leapt from the bedrock of her soul; as if radioactive force.

Belvast gazed upon the strange woman with his two open eyes, blinking a few times. This was suspiciously convenient, and she was suspiciously...un-normal for a person. Very un-normal. "Um...I-I suppose." Belvast said, in his still innocent, child-like voice and tone. Like he was devoid of sin. Sitting down slowly, he set the board down. "May I know your name Miss?" he asked, tails swishing behind him. "I'm Belvast."

"I am Vesamera, the Angelic Scholar." Vesamera explained through her dirtied scarf, before her cube split into four pieces, and from the center a void created from the penchant texture of a scroll was produced. The Fractal Utensil escaped Vesamera's grasp, and began writing on primitive parchment - it seems it was recording this encounter.

"It's very nice to meet you, Belvast." she said, before she eloquently lowered her olive colored scarf with a crooked index finger. "My, you sound frightened. Does an unassuming woman like me scare you?" Vesamera questioned, her lips parting into a rather feminine grin.

Belvast's ears twitched beneath his cloth-woven sack-of-a-hat. "I'm not frightened Miss. You just surprised me is all." he says before looking at the board idly. "What kind of game do you want to play? Mobius can write the rules if we give it things to use for the game."

Vesamera began to hum, before she procured a wooden cat from her sleeve - as if magic! "I'll play the cat if you play the human." Vesamera said, her voice swimming through the atmosphere, and into Belvast's conscious being, as if a drink to be savored by the recipient.

Shivering slightly, Belvast could tell that something was wrong with this atmosphere. It was far too convenient for her to have a randomly carved...whatever a cat was in her sleeve. Getting up, belvast procured a sizeable river-rock, as well as a bit of driftwood that was almost as large as the board, Returning with them, he placed them onto the board, and removed a small wooden egg from his pocket. "Okay. Now we wait for Mobius." he says before the materials placed on the board suddenly vanished. After a few moment's wait, the board suddenly and very VIOLENTLY carved itself up from the inside, the pieces of driftwood being stripped apart and torn to become suitable for the game, making "Squares" along the board in what appeared to be a spiral. The rock was neatly trimmed by Mobius as it spiraled into existance as a mountain in the direct center of the board, intricately tumbled to appear as if it were a real, weathered mountain. The egg stood beside the Cat, at the same "Start" position on the board. Four strange wooden cubes would also tumble into existance, as if rolled from thin-air onto the board in front of each of them, holes carved into each light cube to represent numbers from 1 through six.

Several moments of set-up passed as the board seemed to paint itself as well, or at least weathered the wood to look uniform and maintained as in front of each "Player" a panel of wood jutted from underneath the table, reading: "The first to the top of the mountain is victorious." as a basic description of the game itself. "The holes shall tell how swiftly you fly, and only the luckiest will find themselves atop the highest peak."

Smiling proudly at his little creation, Belvast said: "The first game is always simple. You can take the first roll Vesamera." he offered, tails swishing behind him with pride that he didn't care to hide.

Vesamera nodded, confused by the creation Belvast had formed through his own form of might. "Thank you, Belvast." she whispered, before with a flick of her wrist, she cast the dice onto the board. All four landed on a one.

"Oh fooey! Does this mean I only move four spaces?" Vesamera questioned, disappointed by her own bastardized luck.

Belvast nodded, before her space would move Four on its own across the board. Suddenly, another panel popped up on her end. "Event: Move Forward Three Spaces."

"Looks like it can even make hidden rules..." Belvast said to himself, apparently unaware of the exact limitations of what Mobius can do to create games. Rolling the dice, Belvast's total became 7, as the egg slid along the board accordingly to put him at Vesamera's piece's position.

"How interesting! And you made this yourself?" Vesamera doted, grasping the dice in a hand, and rolling a total of five. The wandering scholar let out a slight 'herumph' at this, and moved her little cat foward five spaces with a pinky, and when she finished in this respect, her smile returned.

Belvast rolled once more, after answering with: "Mhm. I got bored, and I don't know how to make games, so I made a thing to make games for me!", apparently very proud of his own lazyness. Eleven was hit total, and as such he moved forward that much before a panel popped up. "Retreat Seven Spaces." it said before his piece was flung back. Crossing his arms, he chidlishly says: "This game is conspiring against me..."

Vesamera stifled a giggle "Luckily for you, Fate conspires against me." she replied, rolling a ten. "It seems we both have bad luck - isn't that a silly coincidence?" Vesamera questioned, patting Belvast's nose with a thumb. She then moved her cat forward ten spaces - this time without so much as touching it.

Belvast rubbed his nose fussily, before he rolled again. Staring at the result, a purrfect 24, a quartet of sixes a...hextuplet of fours, his piece slid along. Eagerly, he watched his piece move ever closer to the mountin beforeanother wooden panel popped up. "Return to Start."

The most existentially broken and deprived look entered Belvast's eyes as his piece moved back to the beginning before he rolled onto his back and curled up. "It conspires still..." he says, ears falling flat against his head.

With a sad clicking of her tongue, Vesamera rolled again, and mustered an eleven this time. "Poor Belvast. Perhaps your luck will change if you bet something? That always adds a tinge of excitement to a game."

Belvast blinked before he very slowly turned a suspicious gaze towards Vesamera. Now it was clear...she must have planned something. "I have nothing to bet. Aside from the fish I caught today...Do you want that?" he questioned, sitting up once more. Her answer would either make him trust or distrust her...he supposed.

"Just your friendship." Vesamera teased. "Is that too much to ask?"

"That is something you can't ask for." Belvast said before the third eye on his head opened and a portal appeared behind Vesamera. "And something that is too vague to be offered." he continued. As the son of the Godess of Pacts, he was a stickler for knowing what the terms for anything were, and "Friendship" could mean anything from a business partnership to a slave.

Vesamera raised her brow, and looked behind herself "Goodness!" she exclaimed, gripping her seat. "I just mean the unconditional friendship that forms when two people spend some time together. Where we speak at times and enjoy one another's presence - why would somebody as lonely as yourself be against gaining a friend? And if I lose... I'll catch you one whole fish." the child of Thought explained, brooding over the concept as she spoke.

Belvast's outright sinister glare went back to neutral. "...It has to be a big fish!" he says, crossing his arms. "Don't think I'll let you cheat me with a sardine if I win." he says, now 100% on board for this bet. "I accept the terms of your bet." he added on, before his third eye, as well as the portal, closed.

Vesamera nodded, and with a cheery grin, proceeded to move her piece the alotted spaces that she had rolled before. "I'm glad we see eye to eye, friend."

Giving her a cross look for a moment, Belvast rolled. "Not quite friends unless you win, Miss Vesamera." he said, rolling a 15. He was back in the game, though Vesamera now had a pretty good lead on him.

By the skin of her teeth, Vesamera kept her steady pace with a four. "Like I said, Umal'Sharar and Fate dislike me." she shrugged, as if the statement was a casual remark.

Belvast rolled once more, a small sum of 8, though a panel did pop up that said: "Move Forward Four Spaces", so it was more like 12. Feeling like he'd rather not lose this one, Belvast was ready to...wait, this took no actual skill. He was ready to feel lucky, then.

Vesamera smiled, and rolled a ten, and managed to keep her lead. "You look like you're feeling lucky."

Belvast nodded and kept on rolling. Truly this would be the most glorious board game battle in all of recorded history. All five pages of it.

The cube floating alongside Vesamera made sure to record that fact.

After hours of incessant rolling, and a very boring session, the inscrupulous board match came near its conclusion with both Vesamear, and Belvast facing head to head. Vesamera looked to Belvast, seeming much more intent than she had been through the median point of the game.

"Your turn." Vesamera stated, and raised an eyebrow.

Belvast narrowed his eyes and rubbed the four dice between his hands, before releasing them all in a clustered toss onto the board. All 6's. "Yes!" he said, his piece sliding forward and UP the mountain before the mountain cracked open with thunderous fury, a shiny cache of worthless geods inside. Sure was lucky that those were in the rock to begin with. Shining incandescantly, the board started losing its features as the pieces were slid back into the side-drawers and into the board itself, leaving only the cracked-open rock on the table. "I believe you owe me a fish." Belvast would state, smiling, very amused by the whole game.

Vesamera frowned, before she smiled, and stood. "Direct me to the nearest river, then." she had requested, already pulling up her raggedy clothes to her knee; exposing her bare legs and feet.

Belvast got up and excitedly ran through the forest, a blue portal left where he was sitting beside the board. A moment later, his head poked through the portal. "Here!" he said, grabbing the board and beckonin for Vesamera to follow.

With a sigh, Vesamera followed Belvast, tailing him in silence - perhaps still a little miffed by losing.

By stepping through, Vesamera would feel the sensation of switching vertices, as she was displaced through space and then re-placed beside a flowing, yet calm river with what appeared to be numerous fish darting past in the water quickly, sailing over tiny rapids in the river and dissapearing beneath the wake. Belvast was fixing the board back to his back with a length of vine, along with his pack of knick-knacks.

Vesamera let out a light 'eep!' upon touching the chilling waters of the river, before she compulsively swipes at a passing fish, and consequently misses. She falls flat on her face, pulling her, and her long hair out of the water with a gasp. "Augh... The rocks are slippery over here and the fish are swift - how do you manage to catch them?" she questioned, while even now, Vesamera's Fractal Artefact chronicled her failings as a fisherwoman.

Belvast yawned and demonstrated, setting his board down by the riverside, and removing his spacious hat, now showing the closing third eye as the portals closed. Swiftly, Belvast dashed across the water, actually swift enough to run atop water, his twin tails suddenly darting beneath the water as he made it to the halfway point of the river. In an instant, two decently sized fish were torn from their home and into his grasp, the two flopping in confusion and gasping for breath before he opened his mouth and bit their heads cleanly off, chewing. "Ish eashy." he says before finishing the two he caught off and sitting down on the riverside, drying his feet near the bank. "Or you could do spearfishing. Both work well. The latter especially more if you only have one or less tails."

Vesamera watched the process in silence, before she let out a sigh of concentration, and with a timid foot, took a step onto the glistening surface of the water. Her soles did not sink into the liquid, but were perched as if on solid ground. With narrowed eyes, Vesamera leaned forward, and slid her right foot backwards, leaving her left to bend forward; and she targeted what appeared to be a fat, meaty trout bulleting downstream.

The Demi-God took off, revealing her true nature with her immense speed, and when she brought herself to a stop fifty feet upstream, water rushed to fill the void she had created, and she held a fish in her hand for Belvast. "I have your fish." she called out, waving to the smol cat.

Belvast stared, confused before accepting it and eating it raw as soon as he had it within his grasp. "Tasty. And, with that, the wager is done. Thank you very much for playing." he said before bowing his head respectfully, tails resting on the grass behind him.

"And what will you do now?" Vesamera questioned, straining out her hair. "A game needs two people, after all."

Belvast hummed and sat down, mulling that thought over. "...I didn't really think of that at all." he confessed before quickly added: "I suppose I'll just play with whoever I find on my travels. Maybe I'll even make more for people to use for themselves someday."

Vesamera took a seat next to Belvast, and crossed her legs, looking up at the sun as it, once again, began to dip beneath the horizon, like at the start of her journey. "I'm going to go meet new people in far off places." Vesamera explained, and as she did, she pulled Illunabar's map from the artefact floating beside her. The divine scroll had the consistency of a tarp, and she spread it over the laps of the two.

She pointed to different places all over Galbar, and said "I'm travelling here, here, here, here, and here. Perhaps you could come travel with me? I've found that being alone on my journey has proven to be... Boring." Vesamera finished, and parted her lips into a smile. "You could meet luckier opponents than I, even."

Belvast hummed in thought before he patted off his hat, placing it back atop his scalp. "I don't care for luck. I just want to see more things." he stated before he looked at her. "And I don't think you're being honest with me about much Miss." he said, no clear animosity in his tone at all, just curiosity.

Vesamera tipped her head "Would you like me to?" she asked.

Belvast nodded. "Very much so." he says, tails entwined and swishing behind him as he anticipated her answer.

The wandering scholar shrugged, then pulled her clothing down from her shoulder to reveal her flat, featureless chest; the lack of breasts made it appear as if she were a man, at a glance. But if Belvast just looked at the stark curvature of her body, she had a very feminine disposition carved into her body. She let her clothes remain at her waist, enjoying the sun upon her bare, genderless chest.

"I am the child of Thought and Chaos, I am the Demi-God of Emotion, a genderless representation of all sentient creatures. I am on this journey, under the pen name of Vesamera the Wandering Scholar to better acquaint myself with mortal culture; and to chronicle the world as we know it. I like you, and would like you to be my friend, as it's hard to find other immortals in this world that are not too infatuated with something else to pay me any mind... As a plus, you seem like a kind soul, and I would rather take you under my wing before somebody else does, there are many evils in this world, most of which would attempt to take advantage of you and your power - given the chance. That's me being honest." Vesamera admitted. "My real name is Lifprasil, the King of Kings, but call me Vesamera for now."

Belvast let Lifprasil talk before he noticed the fact that his...her...he didn't know anymore...'s chest was flat. Curiously, he batted at it softly with one paw before staring blankly. "How do you use the bathroom!?" he questioned, suddenly realizing the implication of being genderless, basically ignoring most of what Lifprasil said.

Vesamera chuckled, looking up at the clear blue sky.

"I don't have to do such things, I'm not a mortal creature. I don't have to sleep either, but I've become infatuated with it. It's relaxing." she said.

Belvast's expression grew ever more distant and blank. He thought he had to poo his entire life...how much time had he wasted these past millenia with deficating!? Falling on his back to look up at the clear sky, Belvast said: "But I have to..." in a somewhat sad tone. He didn't like having a butt.

Vesamera fell on her back too, and rested her head on her arms. "You can if you want. I find it unpleasant. So what do you say, wanna come with me?" she asked, patting Belvast's tiny nose with a finger.

Belvast shuddered as his nose was patted. It felt good, but also unpleasant...so many nerves. Turning on his side, Belvast nodded, closing his eyes. "I wouldn't mind. Though I don't know how long you plan to wander...I plan for indefinitely." he stated, tails flopping flat against the grass.

Vesamera smiled, and pulled up her clothes, so that she was covered once again. "That sounds fine." she said, and began to pet the Demi-Cat as he fell asleep. She'd confided to wait to let Belvast sleep until morn, so that he would be ready to pursue Vulamera on her own, harrowing journey.
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Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by BBeast
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BBeast Scientific

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Gerrik Far-Teacher

Level 1 Hain Hero
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It was just another night. That is, until the phantoms lit up the sky. Gerrik Far-Teacher had wandered far enough to have seen the Aurora a few times before, and this looked similar, yet it did not feel similar. The lights were intense, and much further from the poles than should have been possible, and they took forms, strange forms, twisting and turning like some sort of dream.

"What's going on?" he muttered to himself.

I'm almost as stumped as you are, to be honest, came the reply.

Gerrik almost jumped, and his head swivelled to the left and right to attempt to see where the voice was coming from. Looking was in vain, though, for he could not Perceive any source for that voice. This left him to conclude that the voice originated from within his own mind. But of course, it was Stone Chipper's voice, and had he not promised that if he ever needed him, all he had to do was ask? He hadn't realised that this was what Teknall meant, though.

I have a few extra observations, though, Teknall's voice continued once Gerrik had composed himself, This is a global event. No part of the sky, not even the day side, is unaffected. It seems to be the work of Illunabar, the Muse. Something to do with dreams...

Gerrik stared at the writing light-show in the sky for a few moments in silence. "But what does is it doing? She wouldn't go to this effort just to make lights?" he eventually asked.

Teknall was silent for a moment, deep in contemplation. This seemed all too similar to that time Jvan had spread her virus across Galbar. I wouldn't put it past her to make pretty lights for the sake of it, but I can feel her power pulsing across the planet with it. But I trust that whatever she is doing it is for the better. Get a good night's sleep. You'll need it for tomorrow.

The voice of Teknall faded, and Gerrik was left looking at the sky like the others in the village. However, his words did not slip Gerrik's notice. 'You'll need it for tomorrow'. Those words were foreboding, yet Teknall dropped no hint as to what they foreboded towards. Gerrik decided to trust Teknall on this matter, and once he tired of looking at the sky he returned to the hut he was staying in, slipped under his blankets and closed his eyes to sleep.

Yet Far-Teacher did not sleep soundly that night. His heightened senses and new power of Perception made everything more vivid to him, including his dreams, and tonight his dreams felt real. The lights in the sky descended upon him, and the world about him changed into a phantasm of reality. Rather than the quiet darkness of sleep, he Perceived scenes around him...

A strange creature materialised in his mind. It was bipedal, of form not completely alien to a Hain's, yet this being was taller, with different proportions, a single pair of eyes on the front of the head, covered in soft, pinkish skin, and with a skeleton on the inside rather than outside. The form appeared feminine, and was dressed in clothes and carried equipment not too dissimilar to his own. She was nomadic, well travelled, not even staying long enough to enjoy the hospitality of the villages she visited. Yet he saw her stumble, trip and fall, and the pain as the bones of her leg bent and fractured was almost enough to wake Gerrik. Then whiteness washed over her, and her leg was wrapped in bandages and leaves. Incapacitated, she stayed, and now the Huntress became the teacher. He could see a material similar to rawhide, yet more flexible, and also contraptions of string and sticks, yet the harder he focussed on them the blurrier the picture became, until the whole scene faded...

Stories and fables, dancing Hain and acted scenes, music and colour. These sensations all came at once in a great collage of culture. Yet they all followed a pattern, and soon Gerrik realised that this was all from a single village, a single history, some story about Slaying a Fiberling and upholding traditions. Yet in this kaleidoscopic scene he noticed that some of this story was not simply acted or sung but carved and painted into wood, a method of recording which was quite unlike any which he had seen before...

Next came visions of a single man, a Hain fat from feasting and gluttony. Yet not simply fat with food, but with power. This man was portrayed sitting in a high chair, surrounded by hungry Hain who begged for some of the odd, white food he held in his hands, and those Hain stood like slaves. Gerrik could see that this haughty Hain was grinding something in his hands, and he sensed that this had something to do with the food, yet he could not tell what it was. And it was with this secret that the other Hain were forced to kneel to the Grinder...

There was a tent, and in it were two creatures of the same sort as the Huntress, conversing. It was between a male and a female, the latter appearing to be a traveller and collector of sorts. However, the conversation was in a tongue foreign to him, and their body language was difficult to decipher, being much more subtle than that of the Hain, although there were hints of a potential conflict. The only word he could distinguish in the conversation was a name, Vascogne. Yet tensions melted away as the male went to the casks and opened one. The aroma that wafted out was vaguely sweet, yet with a sharp edge, and this strange scent engulfed the scene and smothered Gerrik's senses until all that was left was a happy pink haze...

When he finally awoke it was not long after daybreak. Gerrik climbed out of bed and looked to the sky, and found that it had returned to normal. Yet he was confident that what he had seen when he had been sleeping were not mere dreams, but visions with meaning. And he had good reason to think so, for even though many details of his dreams were blurred, there was one piece of information he had learned with perfect clarity- location. Somehow, although he did not know how, he knew where all these visions had taken place, and as such his curiosity compelled him to visit those places and people, for according to the vision each of them held some technology, some new piece of knowledge, which he had to learn and spread.

He ate his breakfast, of meat cooked dry and gathered vegetables, and was considering the things he had seen when a voice spoke to him. Come meet me outside the village. Obediently Gerrik walked out of the village and over a hill nearby, where another Hain was waiting for him.

"It is good to see you are well, Gerrik," Teknall greeted.

Gerrik's beak and his palms turned up as he bounded down the hill to meet Teknall. "It's good to see you again too, Chipper."

Despite Gerrik's enthusiasm, Teknall only reflected a fraction of that emotion, for he seemed troubled by something. But Teknall suppressed that worry for the moment. "I have seen everything you have been up to, so there is no need for you to report everything to me. But there is one thing I must ask. What did you dream about last night?"

Gerrik paused for a moment of recollection before answering. "The visions... I saw four scenes. One of them was of a culture and stories of a particular village, and in it I saw that these stories were carved into wood and coloured by some means. Another revealed a Hain who ruled over other Hain by means of food, and control of it, and this food is an odd, white food which I have not seen before. The other two visions involved not Hain but some other strange beings, tall, bipedal, fleshy, yet also intelligent. One vision was of a huntress, who taught knowledge of a material which seemed similar yet different to rawhide. And the final vision included two of these creatures, who possessed a strange, fruity drink.

"But most fascinating about all these visions," Gerrik continued, "Is that when I awoke I knew exactly where all four of them took place. I could travel to those places, and discover how they made what I saw, and then spread that knowledge to others." His gaze looked off wistfully, considering the possibilities.

Teknall thought for a moment before answering. "Last night was a strange one indeed. I do not claim to understand the machinations of Illunabar's dreams, but I have already seen some of their results. They have sparked a wave of inspiration across Galbar. I'm sure you will find many new technologies besides the ones you have seen in your visions, and you shall learn them and share them as well.

"But now is not the time for that. I did not come to speak of dreams, but of a great danger that is coming."
Teknall's jaw clenched, and his tone became grim. "The Mad God Vestec has unleashed a horde upon this world, a horde which will slaughter all in its path. He treats this world and the life on it as if it were a game. That is where you come in."

Teknall grabbed Gerrik by the hand and his senses dissolved around him until he shared a part of the god's vision. And revealed before them was the horde. Marching along, their numbers covering the hills and filling the forest, were many Hain, all carrying weapons. At the flanks of the horde, and flying ahead, behind and above it, were strange beings, similar to those he had seen in his dream, yet with wings like that of a bird. Gerrik's head flitted from side to side and his teeth chattered at the terrifying sight of all of this. Never in his life had he even conceived of such a large gathering of murderous beings.

The scene faded and returned to the peaceful hillside when Teknall released Gerrik's hand, yet he was still shaken. Teknall, his tone unwavering, continued speaking. "If they are not stopped, they shall kill everyone in every village they find. So I have decided that they shall be stopped here. You are to prepare weapons, build fortifications, warn the townsfolk. And make many, many arrows, for you will need them."

Gerrik stood for a few moments in stunned silence. He was about to speak, but hesitated on remembering when he had last made a foolish statement about Teknall's work. So he picked his words carefully. "But Teknall, there are so many of them, and I am only one man. If I have nothing more than myself and the villagers, then there is no way I could stop them all."

"I think you underestimate your capabilities, but at the same time you are right," Teknall replied levelly, "But you shall not be alone. The Urtelem are my own creations, and I will call on them, such that it will be as if the very earth had risen up to fight for you. But even with that help, it will not be an easy fight. Come here."

Teknall beckoned, and Gerrik drew close. Teknall laid both his hands on Gerrik's shoulders, and the air hummed with a divine glow. "Be strong, Far-Teacher. Be swift. Be agile. Be durable. May you stand stalwart against your foes, and be a guardian for the innocent and for civilisation. Do not fear, for I am ever behind you, and with me you shall stand like the mighty mountains, unyielding to the forces which try to batter you down."

Power flowed from Teknall and into Gerrik Far-Teacher. Once this was completed, Teknall removed his hands, and Gerrik took a new breath, his vigour increased almost as much as it had the day Teknall had first blessed him with power. And with this new strength came courage, and the fear faded from Gerrik's expression. The situation was still dire, but he now had confidence that he would overcome it.

Teknall gave Gerrik a few moments to establish his resolve. "I entrust upon you the preparations here. You have seen your foe, so you know what is coming. Vestec's Hain will fall easily to my Urtelem, and although some will still get through which you need to account for your main foe will likely be from the winged people. While many of them did not carry weapons you could see, they have the ability to project their power to create weapons of pure energy. If the horde keeps their current pace, they should be here in about ten days. Refugees, Hain who have fled their villages to escape the Horde, will be coming before then. You should have enough time to prepare adequate defences and enough arrows, if you get help and work efficiently. Understood?"

There was no miscomprehension or forgotten words, for Far-Teacher's keen mind caught every word. He nodded, "Yes."

"Good. I shall leave you to it. Good luck," Teknall said. And then he turned and walked off, and Gerrik also turned and walked back to the village. It was time to prepare for war.

Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by Rtron
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Rtron Knight Radiant

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Vestec and Kyre.

Vestec appeared next to the God of War. "Got your message my dear boy. In return for slowing down my armies I'll require two favors of my choice. Three if you want me to personally ensure that the Pronobii are set back." He tilted his head for a moment. "Let me clarify. By favours, I mean two or three things you'll do for me when I tell you to. Don't worry, I won't make you do anything terrible like 'Rape Niciel' or 'Eradicate the Hain.' Truth be told I don't know what I'll use the favors for. But it's always a good thing to have the God of War owing you, isn't it?" Vestec giggled, spinning in a circle around Kyre.

It was halfway to Zephyrion's citadel that Vestec met with him, "Vestec, I will not make deals when they are so vague, you are asking me to do something you ask in the future. Unless you can come up with actual requests, we won't be able to make a deal on that front." It wasn't just that, it was also the fact that he was dealing with Vestec, a god who was... well, Vestec. He was upredictable.

The god of Chaos giggled in amusement. Kyre was being stubborn again. "Are you sure? I won't slow down my armies any other way. This is your last chance God of War. If you refuse this I won't slow down my armies one bit. All those poor little Hain villagers who Will die before you can train them will die cursing your name. One little deal, and you can save hundreds of lives. "

Several moments of silence passed, with only the wind to accompany them. He made his decision, they would curse his name for months to come, hundreds would die. "You try to convince me through regret and guilt. I have made my decision, Chaos, perhaps after I had asked the request. This 'little' deal is no longer possible, I will do what I can for those that live."

"On your head be it." Vestec replied, chuckling darkly. "I've been looking for an excuse to release Violence..." Without further adue, the god of Chaos ripped a piece a piece of himself free and tossed it to the ground below. He cackled maniacally as he healed, godly drops of blood falling to the sky. The chunk of himself that he had ripped off started to grow legs and arms, gradually taking form.

It left a large crated as it hit the ground. Vesterc's Avatar stood and stretched. "Time to go make a bloody mess of things."

With that, it leapt off in the direction of the Hain and Fallen Angel Hordes.

Vestec thrusted his hands to the sky two streams of dark and purple light erupted from each hand respectively, before entwining and booming over the sky. "There there...now I have my own plans. I hope Reathos doesn't mind." The God of Chaos disappeared, leaving Kyre to his planning.

Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by Legion02


Member Seen 13 hrs ago

Battle of winds

West from the Fractal sea there was a tiny settlement. Many generations of humans have lived there still. But many still talked at night about Paradise. A land where gods walked among men and the large, divine flower would shelter all. They’d talk about the bright stars in the late night sky. Sadly, Galbar had never been able to offer such beautiful lights every night. Though recently there had been a night so filled with light that it was more beautiful than the day itself. With dancing waves of color high up in the skies. But then the storms came. Storms so vicious that they uprooted entire trees.

A father and a son had both witnessed the reasons of the fighting. Two creatures, made from the wind itself were fighting out a vicious battle. The clouds darkened above them and rain came falling from the skies. The two could do nothing but watch in anguish as the two monstrosities fought. With lightning crashing down onto the ground. The two Djin tried to consume one another. But neither seemed to have more success than the other. One leeched the essence away from the other, only to have it stolen back. Everything pointed to the fact that they would utterly annihilate each other and the surrounding forest.

The humans cowered behind a rock. Hoping that the heavy boulder would be strong enough to protect them. Until it started to shake a little. The child felt it first. He knelt down on the ground and touched it with his hands, making sure he was feeling it right. Then a faint rumbling sound echoed from below. The father did hear it too now. He crouched down, touching the earth while the Djin fought on.

A flash of lightning struck the tree not too far from the boulder, and it would have seen that this was the drip that flooded the bucket. Whatever rested beneath the earth began to rise up. The two humans desperately grabbed the big boulder, which was part of his hunched back. Trees cracked and fell over, while dirt fell off the rock stone body of the Earth Elemental.

The elemental’s voice was so low, but so loud that it made the very ground beneath him tremble. “Who…Disturbs…Tremor’s…Rest?” The two Djins seemed to not mind him at all. Until he led out a deafening roar. The two must have noticed that the far greater Djinn of Earth could easily have destroyed them. Like the winds they were they scattered. Taking their stormy clouds with them.

In their aftermath they left a forest destroyed, trees uprooted and the land scarred by wind and lightning. The Earth Elemental had not seen the humans on his back. Nor felt them. For a matter of fact, he felt very, very tired once more. Slowly he sat back down, closed his eyes and went over to Raka. The humans however, remained. Forever impressed. But sadly also deaf by the roar. Together they went to the village. Where they did their best to explain what had happened. Eventually the entire family came to the lone rock in the battle-scarred area. Even those who remained at the village had feared the destructive power of the ever-growing storm near. They could not be happier that the strange rock had cast it away. They celebrated a long time, dancing around the rock. Covering it back with earth like they found it. As a sign of gratitude the villagers often went towards the lone rock, which soon turned into a mound of dirt, to plant flowers. And thus the sleeping Earth elemental slept under a blanket of Illunabar’s colorful flowers.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by BBeast
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BBeast Scientific

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The Coming Storm

The Great Artisan, Divine Mason, Builder of Civilisations
Level 4 God of Crafting (Masonry, Carpentry)

12.5 Might & 0 Free Points


Storm's King; The First Gale; The Embodiment of Change
Level 3 God of Change (Air)

23.5 Might & 3 Free Points

Vizier Ventus, Majordomo to Zephyrion
Level 7 Hero
>34 Khookies

Vestec, level 4 God of Chaos. The Execrable Chaos, The Devil
8 Might, 1 Freepoint.

The clink of porcelain plates and the ruffle of feathers marked the advance of the horde of Fallen Angels and Hain. Yet as violent and dangerous as they seemed, they were fairly weak. Perched high atop a tall tree was Teknall, unseen to all mortal eyes. With his own eyes and Perception he watched as the forward scouts came too close to a herd of Urtelem, and alerted the stone men to their presence. The Urtelem, sensing the violence which reeked from their unwelcome visitors, were stirred into a rage. While the scouts could fly safely out of reach, the Urtelem rolled up into boulders and charged towards the incoming horde. At the warning of the scouts, the Hain turned and ran, scattering into the trees and hills before the Urtelem could arrive, while the Angels soared skywards to safety. About a dozen Hain were found and killed, each crushed in a single blow, but the rest managed to escape and regrouped an hour later some distance ahead.

Teknall, watching all this, smiled inwardly. If these warriors were scattered so easily by a small handful of Urtelem, then they stand no hope against a whole army of them and his champion, who would rain arrows upon them from behind fortified walls. The only hard part would be containing them. The Hain could be trapped if he sent Urtelem from all sides, but the Fallen Angels would be more difficult. He would need to find something which could contain them, something which could fly, maybe even with command over the winds itself. But there were still several days to arrange that.

There was one thing that did need immediate attention, though. Two other Hain villages were threatened by possible paths of the horde. Fortunately, protection would be fairly easy. In person he descended to an Urtelem herd near each of those villages, and in their language of stony grunts, hand gestures and dancing he instructed each herd to settle, at least temporarily, in and around their respective Hain villages. They did so, and while some of the Hain might be annoyed at the intrusion into their space, this measure ensured safety for them and their villages.

With preparations against the horde of Fallen Angels and Hain made, Teknall turned his attention to the other Vestecian hordes, flitting across Galbar to find them.

Must jarring and formidable of the hordes was not a horde at all but just one individual. Yet this individual stood as high as a mountain, had festering boils, and in its arms and on its back carried a horde of corrupted Urtelem, humans, and another race of humanoids, varied in sort. His footfalls shook the earth. His strides overcame all barriers. Occassionally he stopped to let the horde he carried crawl off him and raid a village, if he did not crush it under foot instead. The terror of this beast would make the hearts of even the bravest mortals tremble. And this unstoppable force was heading due east, for the Valley of Peace.

There was a moment of panic for Teknall as he struggled to find a way to defeat this foe short of smiting it himself. Yet as he looked around, he realised that the solution was already in motion. The Angels of the Valley of Peace, who were still pure and uncorrupted, were preparing for war, led by a mighty seraphim. And Jvan's Sculptors were leading herds of Urtelem towards the impending battlefield, making use of the gift of communication he and Jvan had given them not so long ago. And given the unmissable stature of this horrid foe, there would no doubt be other challengers. While this battle would be the biggest and most difficult, it was also the best attended. Satisfied that others were already dealing with it, Teknall moved on.

He found another horde marching south-west from the Changing Planes, along the western coast of the Fractal Sea. While nowhere near as imposing as Grot, this horde was still terrifying in strength. In it were about a hundred Ashlings, those accursed creatures, and about fifty people made of ice, yet disciplined and equipped as though they were well-versed in the art of war. And on they marched, threatening to wipe out all sentient life living along the Fractal Sea. And there existed many Hain villages on that coast. Teknall could not allow them to continue.

He descended to the ground beside a herd of Urtelem, not too far from that dreadful horde of Ashlings. This horde would be no pushover, but at the same time Teknall had designed the Urtelem with fighting Ashlings in mind.

The Urtelem saw the Hain appear amongst them. Normally they wouldn't have given him a second glance, but this Hain had an aura about him which radiated an authority they could only dimly comprehend but were compelled to respect nonetheless. Their attention gained, Teknall communicated with them in their own language. Between earthen grunts were gestures of shaken fists, thumped chests, somewhat more elaborate gestures denoting specific types of creature, and a dance which traced out locations. This language he and Jvan had set up, while less efficient at communication information than spoken languages, was strongly emotive, which worked well with the Urtelem who were themselves highly empathetic beings. In this dance Teknall told the Urtelem of the many evil-black-powder-rocks which had come together into a massive herd to fight and kill. The watching Urtelem were understandable outraged, and they wasted little time gathering themselves before they curled up into boulders and rolled off to where Teknall had told them to.

Teknall repeated this several more times, until he had mobilised a little over two hundred Urtelem, thus depleting all the Urtelem in that region. Teknall had carefully choreographed where he told them to go such that they would all meet at a point somewhere ahead of the Ashling and Pronobii horde, and thus be ready to attack as a single group. Due to the distances he had to search over to get the required quantity of Urtelem, the two forces would clash in two days' time. And it would be a terrific clash, a battle royale to the death. It pained him to think of the losses which would occur on the side of the Urtelem, but to fight such enemies was their primary purpose, so such losses would have to be borne.

While Teknall had been establishing all these things, though, he noticed another threat which had come from the Changing Plains, although it was not a marching horde. Instead, it was gangs of elementals, powerful djinn of the storm corrupted by Vestec. Teknall knew that Djinn were powerful beings, greater than any of the other mortal races, even more powerful than his Urtelem, and were not to be considered lightly. Fortunately, they were generally more concerned with other elementals than the rest of the mortals, so usually the people of Galbar only had the collateral damage of their battles to worry about. And at the moment this seemed true for Vestec's Djinn too, for he watched as they hunted down another powerful elemental, overwhelmed it as a group and then divided its vital spark amongst themselves, before flying off and hunting for another elemental. But Teknall knew that this was only the beginning. If they weren't contained they would grow ever more powerful until they threatened to upset the very balance of nature on a global scale.

While Teknall did not have the skills or connections to arrange some way to stop the Storm Djinn, he knew someone who did.

He manifested inside one of the halls of the Celestial Citadel and announced his arrival. "Zephyrion! I need your assistance."

The Master of Change, however, had other engagements. Teknall had come at an awkward time, for Zephyrion and Ventus were in the midst of an explosive quarrel.

"He is not slave to you; far from it, more like a son, for look at this gift and symbol that he left for you!" Ventus asserted, gesturing to the Fractal Ocarina that hung in the air, kept suspended by the raging winds of the djinn and his lord. "Such art is as humbling a farewell as any, and betells of a love he had for you that was surely not even reciprocated! You-"

"Silence!" interrupted the god's thunderous voice. "Lifprasil was charge to me! Forsooth, he remains bound to this house by honor, duty, and mine own proclamation eke that of his own father. I shall not suffer this disobedience wherethrough he insults us all, leaving without so much as a farewell, much less allowance.

Regarding love, it was through these such slights against the will of myself that he brought about my ire. He resisted and opposed learning ifsoever I tried to imbue it into him, and now stands living proof of failure on mine part. It is not meet that he venture out now, marring and disgracing the reputation of his forsaken master-"

Neither of the two seemed to so much as notice Teknall's presence, so preoccupied were they by their bickering and the question of Lifprasil's flight.

Now it was the Vizier who interrupted his lord, "And herein my stance rests, proven true! You care not for Lifprasil, moreso for your own repute! You think that it a show of weakness that you did not trap him here, break and remake him, and finally send him out as nary more than a reflection of yourself. Alas, by good fortune it was not! Letting him loose with nothing more than the blessing of the wind shows only true wisdom, kindness, and acceptance--the recognization that you are not perfect but have done so well as you could nontheless. Now, in your speech you begin to sound a villain just so much as this 'Logos'..."

Zephyrion's fury was palpable, yet he did not so much as think to strike down his loyal Vizier. Perhaps Ventus was the only one that could speak to him with such audacity and fear no storm, but even so, the god did not respond well. The Windlord roared with a force that shook the sky, "Liken me never to Logos!" The air calmed. Zephyrion slowly regained his composure, and went on softly, "I know that I am not so different to him; the starkest difference is simply that of legitimacy, of humility, and...and..."

A pregnant pause filled the room. Only the soft hum of the two's winds broke that irrepressible silence that might have reigned.

"We shall speak more of this another time, Ventus...for now Lifprasil will wander as he may." Zephyrion adjusted himself slightly to point his eyes toward the waiting figure of Teknall, Ventus following his master's gaze. With a start the Vizier gasped. How long had Teknall stood there?!

"A thousand sorries be due ere redemption! Good lord Teknall, prithee pardon our speech--it was not proper that you endure the assault of such venemous spittle," the words instantly poured from the djinni's humbled and mortified mouth, stopping only when Zephyrion interrupted him with deliberate quiet and slow.

"Dearest brother, I beg forgiveness as well. I humbly beseech you to keep such thoughts twixt those in these rooms, and speak nothing of what you heard.

That austerulous event now past, now I can properly ask what brings you here."

Though the argument had been ferocious, not only in words but in the winds which billowed in their anger, Teknall was not visibly disturbed. He dismissed the matter with a wave of a hand. "You are forgiven. I have come to request your assistance, regarding the hordes Vestec has unleashed upon Galbar. As you have surely noticed, there are many corrupted djinni and elementals, yet I have nothing suitable for stopping them. And if they aren't stopped now, then they will surely grow in power until almost nothing can stop them."

The softness in his tone entirely banished by now, Zephyrion answered back in his usual voice--loud and almost condescending in its level of self-assuredness. "The djinn were created precisely so that they would be left to their own devices. I do not intervene in their affairs, for to do so would compromise the ever precarious and delicate balance that I created so perfectly in all of my foresight."

Ventus knew his Master's argument to be absurd; precarious was not enough to describe how delicate this 'balance' was, and Ventus knew that his master, in all his infinite 'foresight', had not even intended to make the so-called lesser elements. His intent had been merely to create beings of air to control the weather, and yet through his carelessness he had similarly created beings that reigned over everything from plate tectonics to volcanic eruptions, floods, and even thunder...but of course Zephyrion would claim that all of that had been part of a grand plan that dwarfed the machinations of any other.

Ventus' face betrayed these thoughts even though he said nothing. Meanwhile, Zephyrion had been similarly thinking to himself, and now continued, "Furthermore, I do not think it meet to disrupt dear Vestec's plans. Splendid Teknall, do you not think yourself the rude one and the aggressor in this ordeal? Through your dogmatic belligerence you would provoke Vestec and thwart his attempts to find meaning and entertainment, all in the name of simply spiting him? Hah, perhaps this would be a most fitting reaction for the likes of the foolish Vulamera or another of her ilk, but against one so amicable as Vestec? What villainy would you wreak?"

Teknall had not expected Zephyrion to be quite so unhelpful. But of course, Zephyrion liked Vestec, didn't he? Clearly, he would have to speak more carefully if he were to get any help at all. He looked at Ventus, and saw the expression on his face. Teknall's own face was less transparent to his thoughts, but perhaps the fact that it was a solid porcelain mask contributed to that.

"I assure you, Vestec will have his entertainment in full," Teknall said after a moment's thought. Carefully he suppressed his rage, for while the thought of Vestec taking pleasure in destruction made him seethe he knew he needed to be political. "For don't you realise that this war is all a game to him? He does not care about the hordes he has sent forth. He just wants to have them fight, and he doesn't care what gets destroyed in the process. I'm sure someone as wise as you would be able to tell that Vestec wants us to send armies to fight his own, and you would have also noticed that if you don't take some kind of action then he will settle for tearing apart that precarious and delicate balance you have created amongst the elementals."

Zephyrion briefly stopped to consider this: the idea that Vestec had created those armies without so much as caring whether they were victorious was a peculiar one indeed, but was it really so alien to make an object with the full intention of it one day being broken by another? Ah, Vestec was a clever one! This was indeed a very crafty plan that he had devised, sure to bring entertainment no matter what happened. That being said, no mere game could be allowed to disrupt the equilibrium and precise balance that had been made manifest by the will of him, the Supreme Being.

In the end, Zephyrion found himself simultaneously bemused by this new outlook on Vestec and irritated that Teknall, probably rightly, said that Vestec might take a liking to disrupting nature's balance.

With what might have seemed like preposterous ease, Teknall had swayed the First Gale, even if it did not quite lead to the result that he might have hoped. "I have ruminated upon yours words and decided," Zephyrion began after his brief pause, "that perhaps you are right! This all does smell of one great game that Vestec created, and a fun one at that! You and I will have to find armies of our own to join in on this war and fight in our names, lest the mortals forget our glory or relegate us to the same status as those lowly divines content to do precisely nothing.

But in the meantime, I will indeed stop Vestec from disrupting the fragile dance of the djinn. Vestec, amicable and competitive, simply does not know when to stop I fear! But this is no matter; I will see to it that these 'corrupting' djinn are pruned from the flower of my grand creation. In fact, it is long overdue that I bring order and rank to my House."

Once again Zephyrion paused for a spell, as if wondering to himself just what he would do.

"Yes, I think I shall raise a guard of my own to carry out my will and maintain this equilibrium. Through my guiding eye and knowing direction they shall be made a force to be reckoned with, swift and sure as lightning!" he declared. Just when Teknall might expect Zephyrion to take an abrupt leave and see to that at once, he boomed out, "Ventus! Make this so!"

The Windjinn scurried out of the window to carry out his Master's bidding, bringing into fruition the vision of a truly organized order of several powerful djinn--something that had hardly ever been established before.

Zephyrion now continued on to Teknall, "This is why I adore Ventus so! When trifles like this demand attention, he can act entirely in my stead and leave me free to divert my attention to more deserving things, such as this new game of Vestec's! Long have I contemplated what I might do with those beings of my creation, the ogres as they call themselves, and here I am delivered answer: I will enter them into one of these 'wars', that they may compete against Vestec's creatures and fight to prove my glory and supremacy. But they need not fight for me alone! You could help me prepare them for what is to come, carving the mighty bow from the mere branch of wood...and in return their victory would honor you too! What say you?"

Teknall flipped up the palm of his hand, pleased by the offer to help another sentient race. "Ah, the ogres. I have been so busy that I have only glanced them in passing, but I will definitely help prepare them. What I have seen of them indicates that they could be fearsome warriors, perfect for fighting the armies of Vestec." Teknall's hand closed back up and lowered it as he realised the consequences of what he had said about the ogres. Fiercesome warriors they would make indeed, but not only for fighting Vestec's armies. Given Zephyrion's temperament, they could easily become just like Vestec's hordes. "Although there is no rush. Even if they could be armed and trained fast enough, none of Vestec's armies are passing through the territory of your ogres. For the next few days I will be busy coordinating my own forces, the Urtelem." Teknall let out a jovial chuckle, "Perhaps you have me to thank for providing such an excellent template for your ogres. I think you would enjoy watching as my Urtelem crush the horde of Ashlings in a couple of days in a brawl of great proportions and ferocious intensity."

Teknall moved to one of the many verandahs abutting the hall. "I would love to talk further, but as I have said before I have much to do and not much time to do it in. We shall meet again some time."

"How poetic that the Mason flies with more haste than the Storm! You will learn patience and the joy of deliberate slow one of these days, brother, and when that dawn comes you shall be sloth indeed! Faretheewell, Teknall," Zephyrion offered back.

Their farewells having been said, Teknall turned, put a foot onto the railing, and in a single push launched himself into the air, flying through the stratosphere like a bullet.

Yet he did not return to the ground immediately, for he had one more thing to arrange. It took him no time at all to locate Ventus, and barely a moment more for him to be flying alongside the windjinn. "Hello once again, Ventus," Teknall greeted, "I have a small additional request for you, if you are willing."

The Vizier was taken aback by the god's sudden appearance at his side. So powerful as he now was, scarcely anything ever outpaced his flight or appeared unexpected. Nevertheless, the djinni's quick mind chimed back with nary a pause, "Through service I bloom, like lilacs in spring."

Teknall clapped his hands together. "Excellent. Come this way and I'll show you what I want you to do." Teknall veered his path towards the north and flew off, travelling at a pace which the Vizier could maintain.

Ever straight, his words dry as the Firewind, Teknall had a way of speaking plainly and with the sharpness of a honed tool. It was droll in a peculiar sort of way; the words of he, Astarte, Vestec, and the like stood in contrast to Zephyrion's endless formalities and embellished mannerisms. Still, Ventus too took to speaking with a sort of...finesse that he subtly wished others might reciprocate. Nonetheless, the djinn followed in silence and hoped that Teknall's vision did not pierce into the depths of his mind.

Soon the two were floating high above wooded hills east of the Gilt Savannah. Beneath them were about two hundred armed Hain and fifty Fallen Angels, advancing onwards under the impetus of Chaos. "Here is one of Vestec's hordes, crawling across Galbar and scouring it of life," Teknall explained, notes of anger and disgust present in his voice, "I have set up an ambush for them, one which I hope will destroy them surely and completely before they can bring any more suffering. However, you will note that some of them have the power of flight, while my forces are constrained to the ground." Teknall flew ahead of the horde and beckoned for Ventus to follow. A few days' march ahead of the horde was a village, one which had rings of logs and spikes being set up around it. "This is where I plan to meet the horde. My servant Gerrik Far-Teacher is fortifying the village and preparing weapons. Many herds of Urtelem shall surround and close in on the horde as they advance. What I want you to do is create a storm, or a great wind or something which will force the angels to stay close to the ground, such that their advantage is reduced and they can not escape."

"This is to fight with a twig whilst a spear lays at your feet. I see why you ask that I and the mortals fight: Vestec would never suffer you to intervene directly. But why settle for a wind that would merely bring them low when one could flay their flesh and tear off their wings?"

Teknall considered this new idea for a moment before nodding. "Alright. You may fight them directly as well. Such can only help ensure the thoroughness of our victory. Gerrik Far-Teacher, the Urtelem, and yourself will be an overwhelming force to these enemies of the peace. There are a few more days before the horde reaches this point, and in that time you may do as you wish. But make sure to be here in time for the battle. Is that alright with you?"

"When the time comes, a storm will assail them without relent. They will know the meaning of divine fury. 'til then, I am bound yede in service of Zephyrion. Organizing my kind will be no small task, so I must work with what moments I am given."

With that, the Vizier was borne far away by his task, searching for the strongest and surest of djinn to recruit into Zephyrion's guard. This upcoming battle might be a fine test for the first few members of this new holy order.

Teknall watched as Vizier Ventus departed, and was content in the knowledge that victory was all but guaranteed for this battle. For what army could possibly stand against the might of two Heroes and an army of Urtelem?

Then he perceived something new, something excedingly powerful approaching the horde. For a moment he clutched to the hope that it was something set on destroying the horde, but that hope was dashed when he realised that this thing was overflowing with the essence of Vestec himself.

The horde was suddenly stirred into an excited frenzy. Stone weaponry was thrust to the sky and shaken as the horde howled. If one could listen, they would have heard a name being chanted over and over. "Vestec! Vestec! Vestec!"

The Avatar took the lead of the horde, its dark power radiating outwards.

Panic filled Teknall's eyes and his head flitted from side to side. "No, no, no, no! This is bad, very very bad." Nothing he had would be able to stand against an Avatar. Not the Urtelem. Not Gerrik. Not Ventus. It had all been too easy, but now all that he had prepared lay on the precipice of destruction.

Vestec appeared next to Teknall, floating upside down. "Teknall, my friend! You may have just noticed my Avatar at the head of the horde. Its going to corrupt all the Urtelem and slowly torture the Hain to death. Then the visions will be sent to you and Kyre. Now, if you want to stop this and go back to your business of smashing my horde to bits, convince Kyre to agree to my deal. I'll slow down my armies, and he'll owe me two favors. Not even bad favors like 'Rape Niciel' or 'Destroy the Hain'." Vestec giggled. "Of course, he might view owing me anything as a bad thing."

At the appearance of Vestec, Teknall's fear turned to anger. One pair of eyes bore into Vestec burning with hatred, and it took all his willpower to not summon his adamantine maul into his clenched fists and strike Vestec down right then. His callousness and giggling only stoked his fury. Teknall raised a fist and bellowed, "You use innocent lives as bargaining chips, and to add insult to injury you consider it a joke!"

"Not a joke. Just amusing that a God who speaks so often about his honorableness and radiates it with every twitch, is so willing to callously sacrifice hundreds of Hain lives just so he won't owe me." Vestec giggled again.

Teknall was breathing heavily. He could have continued his rage, but he saw the futility of it. Shouting at Vestec would not make things better. Slowly he lowered his fist, and took a deep breath. He lowered his gaze and turned his head away from Vestec, and thought for a minute. "Kyre has refused before, hasn't he?" Teknall said.

"Once so far." Vestec said idly, spinning around Teknall.

He sighed dejectedly. It was with great reluctance that he uttered the following words. "Will you accept a favour from me in his place? My favours involve making you something." Teknall strained for a moment before adding, "Making pretty much anything." He did not want to do anything which might help Vestec, but he wanted to stop him from slaughtering all the Hain even more.

Vestec paused, considering the offer. He rotated himself rightside up and landed in front of the Craftsman, looking at him. Suddenly, the God of Chaos shot his hand forward."Very well!" Vestec took Teknall's hand and gripped it. "This mob will be slowed in return for one favor." The air seemed to ripple around the two Gods, binding them to their agreement.

The Avatar held up a hand, and the Horde stopped. Soon they began to spread out, making a rough camp. Vestec looked back at Teknall. "You have a month or more, then my Avatar and the horde will arrive."

"In your haste, Vestec, you didn't stop to listen to my terms," Teknall said, "I care not for a few extra days. The outcome will be virtually identical if I have 3 days or thirty to prepare, so a mere delay is not worth a whole favour. What I want is for you to remove your Avatar from this war, such that the mortals and civilisation will have a fighting chance."

"Ah, ah, ah." Vestec said, wagging a finger. "It's too late. You already agreed to take Kyre's place in his deal. This horde is slowed. That was Kyre's and I's deal, only for all of them. We're bonded in the eyes of Fate and Amul'sharar to our deal. One favour for one horde slowed down."

If there had been a table, Teknall would have slammed his fist upon it. But being midair, he settled for waving it at Vestec and roaring, "You dirty little trickster and thief! You knew very well what I wanted!"

Vestec tilted his head at the God. "You're not suggesting that you're going to try and spite them, are you? That'd end very badly for you, brother. I don't want to see you be destroyed." For a moment, the God of Chaos was serious, his colors slowed and darker. Then it was gone in an instant, replaced with his normal patternless color changing.

Teknall's rage cooled back to a simmer, although it would not subside fully for a long time. Vestec was right in this case. He had been vague when striking a deal with a vagrant like Vestec, and had paid the price. He snorted, "Very well. But you will pay for your deceit in due course."

"If you want me to get rid of my avatar, make Kyre agree to my offer. I'll even lessen it to one favour for removing the Avatar. Two if he wants me to slow down the gigantic Grot. Three if he wants me to slow down the Pronobii too. Those are my terms." Vestec giggled. "I'm sure you can be convincing!"

"Will another favour from me do to remove the Avatar?" Teknall asked, "Just to be clear, favours from me involve making something." He did not relish the idea of owing Vestec another favour, but he didn't want Vestec's Avatar slaughtering everything even more. And he suspected that even now Kyre would refuse to give Vestec a favour.

Vestec paused, thinking on the offer. "Hmmm, no, I think I have enough favors from you. One month Teknall. Then my Avatar arrives." His colors pulsed in a fast, excited, manner. "What a lovely game! A race against time. Can you convince Kyre before my Avatar arrives? Time will tell!" Vestec giggled, clearly enjoying himself.

Teknall huffed. "Fine. I shall speak with Kyre. Now begone from my sight." It seemed this matter would have to be dealt with the hard way, unless Kyre could be convinced to cede to Vestec's demands. Teknall made an about face and flew off into the distance with a supersonic boom.

Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Muttonhawk
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Muttonhawk Let Slip the Corgis of War

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Perfect Division, Pure Intentions

Toun and Niciel, Cornerstone

Toun's hunched form stood staring at the shattered tile before him. He did not know for how long that Vestec's revelation had kept him there, but its sheer contradiction had him transfixed.

Niciel was one of the few that wished to protect creation. She allowed shelter for Toun in her valley while he treated the visions in his mind. Her valley spoke only of peace and compassion, rough though it was. Would she not wish for paradise as well? Toun clutched his head in his distended hands for a moment and tried to process the treachery further. It did not matter that a weakling army was on its way to wash against his white walls. This slight had quickly festered in his mind like a splinter. If she was so blithely ignorant of Toun's intentions, then she did not deserve to be anything more than an obstacle.

Toun stood up straight again upon the now shattered central tile of his empty fortress court. The engines of his vengeance would require an improved method of control. Something more sophisticated than the static imperatives of Cornerstone. He set the refinement of initial concepts in motion, fueled by the energy of his anger. Some ideas coalesced, delving into his own fundamental marks upon the codex of creation itself. He needed nuance. Something...

A white light suddenly flashed nearby Toun. It shined very brightly, then quickly faded, and Niciel was in its place. Niciel was smiling, and she currently had a look of compassion and understanding, although this was offset by the slight aura of distrust she was giving off. She did not mean to feel this way, but with Vestec's actions and the fact that she really knew very little, if not anything, about Toun, well... it certainly didn't help matters.

Right now, Niciel had one goal in mind: to find the reason why her children were killed. Vestec had explained the reason, but she didn't trust Vestec's on the matter in the slightest, mainly because it was Vestec. So, she would have to ask the one responsible for the deaths herself.

"It's been a long time, Toun. How have you been?" Niciel asked Toun. She did want answers, but there was no reason she couldn't start off with pleasantries first.

Why is she here now? Toun thought to himself as he slowly turned his head towards the mother goddess. His blue eye twitched with impatience. "You have nerve to appear before me with such oblivious talk, sister," Toun said lowly with a shudder to his voice. "Have you come to declare your adversity openly--" Toun's voice began to hiss, "--or do you simply wish to twist the wound you left with your duplicity?"

Niciel's smile soon turned into one of disdain as the insults from Toun piled up. "Oh, Toun," Niciel began. "I had thought better of you than to use such foul words to describe my intentions. Then again, I suppose I should have known better, seeing how your children had reacted to the mention of your name. Hain, I believe they were called. What you have done to them, and in my own sanctuary as well." With each word, Niciel slowly lost her smile until there was nothing but a look of contempt. "But I digress. That is unrelated to the matter at hand," Niciel said, dismissing the topic with wave of the hand. "What I have come here for is to get an apology for the death of my children, and I intend to get one one way to another."

Toun could listen to Niciel's complaints about how he had seen fit to use his own tools for his own means, but her last statement caused him to slowly clentch his fists. "An...apology?" he repeated, "You demand an apology for the death of those attackers?" Toun's voice raised into a bluster, "What right do you have when it was you who sent them to their deaths by ordering them to start killing my own servants!?"

Niciel was both confused and outraged to find Toun accusing her of being the one to have attacked first. "I sent them!?" Niciel asked in surprise. "What are you talking about?"

Toun positioned himself straight on to Niciel and held his head stretched forward further than physically usual. Toun continued matter-of-factly, barely hiding his previous hate, "I saw their minds myself, sister. Images of their mistress ordering them to crusade against this fortress." Toun's words sped up in his rant, "Destroying my hain in spite of their pitiful numbers for the sake of expressing your personal distaste for what is necessary. Their deaths are on your hands! Take their bodies and reflect! I owe you nothing but that!"

A scraping of glossed clay sung out as Toun willed the tiles beside Niciel to lift and move aside, revealing the mangled and exsanguinated corpses of Niciel's re-purified angels unceremoniously laying together in macabre stillness. Niciel stared at the mangled bodies, horrified by their treatment. She continued to do so for a short while as she tried to make sense of these new pieces of information that had come to light. She was supposedly the attacker, yet Vestec had told her.... wait a moment...

"You have sent your message, sister," Toun continued in a mutter, "I will not be your font of respect any more than I was before you set foot here. I have a fortress to defend, I trust you do as well."

It was then that Niciel realized that both she and Toun had been played for fools. She had been suspicious of Vestec from the start, but the heat of the moment made her say things she now regretted. Taking a quick look herself at what still remained, Niciel found their memories of her ordering her children to do just as Toun had described, though she could help but notice that there were a few creative liberties taken with then. Niciel thought about telling Toun about her revelation, but she could tell that Toun was no longer in a listening mood. One day, she would get Toun to see the truth, but not today. With a flash of light, Niciel and the Angel bodies vanished from the fortress.

As for Toun himself, Niciel's sudden retreat after her apparently surprised denial did not leave the matter resolved. It was still possible that she could have been genuinely fooled. Toun might have even believed her on such a matter before. Though now she was to be trusted no longer. When Vestec shall be struck as an example, perhaps then Niciel will be the one apologising.

Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Cyclone
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Cyclone Trapped in the Past

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A Murmur upon the Wind

Shard of the Mountain

Bringer of Thunder, Herald of the Storm, Djinni Lord of Sound

the All-Beauty

Every grassland is a sea of its own right, and this one was beautiful: its surface gleamed golden beneath the endless skies, the tops of the grass lurching in the wind like the waves of any true ocean. That same, overwhelming sense of endless expanse and one's own smallness reigned here as well, for the land was flat and broken only by the occasional stubby acacia. Nothing stood out upon the distant horizons save one lonely, gargantuan figure.

After one huge stride there came a soft rustling as the giant's foot returned to the earth, flattening a tiny patch of grass. Despite his hulking size, the ground did not so much as tremble at his passing; Gneiss was at one with that earth, and so his footsteps fell down as lightly as the softest mist of rain. After a long time, the Stonelord strode forward again, his every movement cumbersome and slow. In spite of all that, by merit of his colossal figure Gneiss still managed to make good time in his travels.

He trudged on for days without rest, thinking nothing of it. In traversing these vast seas of grass he passed a herd of brush beasts, the humongous things comparable to his own size yet hardly skittish. When one was a mountain and knew no predator, one also knew no fear; so it was that not even the mightiest of djinn made a brush beast bat its eye with anything more than curiosity. Far from home, he eventually came to the edge of the grasslands for all things had an end. Nothing stood a better testament to this than one somber monument: the humble remains of a once-mighty giant, perhaps an elemental that had been even older and greater than Gneiss himself.

Here, a giant rested.

The enduring Stonelord had pressed on for many days now, but this was enough to halt his journey for a short time. He knelt before the fallen giant and closed his eyes, brushing a fingertip across the weathered face as he tried to imagine what sort of cataclysmic battle might have felled such a leviathan. Gneiss meditated for a short time, perhaps a week, before his eyes opened once more. He gazed once again upon the giant, its body a grass-covered hillock with only the weary head and one arm left unburied. The Stonelord stood once more, then looked down and smiled. Natural beauty was never found in permanence or anything eternal; beauty was a precious, fleeting thing, and that was what made it beautiful.

His long ruminations over, Gneiss continued onward. While that giant eventually faded into the horizon behind him, his thoughts remained with it. One day, that giant's features would be worn away and buried and nothing would remain. But Gneiss knew too that one day, he would return to Galbar's earth, and perhaps he would not look so different then. Tomorrow was only ever a hope and a dream, never a promise.

Thinking upon such things, the wise giant found his long journey at an end before he even knew it. Truly, the weeks and months passed as mere blinks of the eye to him now. Was this sense of timelessness what preceded death? He would find out soon, for he knew not what to expect. He had weighed the possibilities of imminent death or even worse fates, and yet something had still drawn him to this place. To Jvan. Perhaps through talk of a truer sort than had taken place at that moot of the four elements, peace could be obtained.

In Gneiss' youth he had been as tumultuous and violent as any other, but with age and great size had come more than simple strength or power--great slowness and great wisdom had transformed him. He had reluctantly consigned himself to accept the inevitability of war between the elements; that was their nature and the way of Nature itself. But war against mortals and innocent, precious life? Such tragedy was worthy of his efforts to stop. That was why he would tell Jvan that her children were in danger, so that perhaps she might take better care to protect them.

The giant's lumbering steps brought him to the shore, and then to the water's edge. Still he walked onward, wading deeper and deeper until he was submerged. This was normally the domain of the waterlords and now he felt peculiar outside of his own element, yet in Jvan's presence he doubted that any overly zealous djinn of the water would come to quarrel with him. So it was that he walked on and on beneath the sea's surface, until the stir of verdance once more became an ephemeral, living swirl of colour and pattern, and the glow of a cathedral mountain rose from the depths before him. Until he found Jvan.

No time was wasted as the reef set about unfurling itself over a plateau of shoulders. Echinoderms.crept and clambered attritively upon Gneiss, firm, spiny things seeking a perch upon which to sift the current and sponge for edible dust. An eelish polychaete fluttered its way between his dim shadows, swaying for the ribfish that swallowed their gills and fled on stilted fins when it drew near. Such was the passage of time, measured in little lives and big stones.

And yet here that mouthless river did not pass Gneiss by, as it was wont to do in the places which no god claimed. Crinoids swam like feathered flowers towards him, towards only him, posing themselves, a vivid garland on his brow. Like angels, the pale worms of the night plains danced and spun around him, a halo, and pauldrons of glass-sponge scintillated into being on his body.

Delicate as a summer mist, the gaze of Jvan turned its blessing upon him, and its word was life.

"Child, son of my brother, you are come to a lonely place, and you are welcomed to it." Thus spoke the carmine glow of the body, its voice whirring from far within, where the grey flesh churned.

Oh, Zephyrion... You have your little trademarks. The Elementals were beings of action, and energy, and a pride that imbued them with an oddly regal manner. It's endearing, at its best. Jvan knew what she knew, and that was little, for though change Flickered on her back as it did all over the world, the evolution of her own habitat was under artful control. She dissuaded those Djinni that styled themselves princes, for a prince may yet inherit a rebellious sultanate. To dismiss her suitors so did not accustom her to seeing the face of an elemental lord.

To receive one now out of blue skies- Something new. Curious. Why now? Why at all?

"My eyes rest on you, Stonelord, and they rest easy. I see age in your palms, and the work of ages has been in your hands. A long life, with many sons, and many stories. But say, then: Do you come to tell, or to listen? To stay, or to go? To sing, or to dance? Perhaps I am visited by an elder, upon the end of his time? Perhaps a noble, growing stronger with every passing moon? Talk, great spirit, converse, for I know little, and offer much."

"An audience,"
concluded Jvan, "Has been requested." From one side or another.

When the innumerable creatures sought to find purchase upon him, at first Gneiss struggled and made some effort to keep him back. Eventually he succumbed to indifference, the effort being futile. They rendered little harm anyways; indeed, the more slothful of his kind oft bore beards of moss and sometimes even trees atop their backs.

The goddess' disconcerting voice resonated from the watery depths, so Gneiss clambered atop the nearest atoll he could find in this reef. Ah, the dry earth beneath his feet felt good. Now he could speak back. "I...have...come..." he began with words that rolled out slower than the waves lapping upon the shore.

Why had he come?


As the hours passed into days, he slowly regaled Jvan with tales of the Great Moot and what had happened since. Finally, the story began to draw to a close, and he finished, "You...defied...nature...once. They...defied...you...in...turn. Now...bury...your...quarrel...and...use...your...power...for...a...noble...purpose. Return...peace...to...the...earth."

Gneiss's stolidly neutral retelling thrummed over deep and thoughtful cords in the body of the god, but his sage compassion was not soothing. The flight of sun over the horizon only saw Jvan's red fog of light roil and scrunch itself away into her flesh. Those remnants of a desire to speak to the stonelord with a familiar pride shed themselves away when his final appeal rumbled over the water. A still waver possessed her voice. "No, stonelord... No. I can't do this. My students must- I must- I have my own nature to follow that I can not relinquish."

A quarrel? Jvan shrank, in anticipation that superceded fear of all but her own course of action. This has already progressed far beyond a little quarrel. The natural order is illusory. Mortal will falls to the necessities of God. Art alone is worth pursuing, and the complement of beauty is vast. For the Djinn to restrict its paragons so- I must at least confirm, before I act on the word of one.

Tension came over the great body. Jvan seemed to inhale, and her luminescence returned in a shout.

"Delta! Naranbaatar! Mistral!"

There was quiet. Not the quiet of success, for the call soon recurred.

"Yerasyl! Purgatorio! Ochre Dauber! Lylein! Caracal's Eye! Scrimshaw!"

A silence.

"They do not respond," breathed the goddess from within. "Neither to their first names nor their taken nomers. These students are truly gone, Gneiss. My children are dead. There can be no peace. Only, perhaps, an armistice." There was a keen, wet crackle. From the back of the giant, the living things were receding, though many had braved dehydration to come so far. The lacy sponges cracked and rotted away from their skeletons. Resilient starfish were falling to the atoll. Lives were ending.

"Tell me, Gneiss," resounded the voice again, and now it rose. "Does a djinn know anything but his own pride? Does sycophantic tribute satisfy, or the objection of an equal give him pause to think? Will threats vindicate his arrogance, or does he just deny? Are the spirits so fickle as to taunt Horror and then turn their backs?" There was no pause to breath, no end to the swell. [colour=9e0b0f]"Must a deity beg peace from a pebble, an ember, a raindrop, a breeze? Is there a cause so noble that I will empty my hands and gouge my eyes for it? Am I not God, from whom nature takes its fleeting law? Tell me, Gneiss! [i]Who will save the little ones?"[i][/colour] And this last word was a roar, a challenge, a mockery that swept forth into a livid calm.

"Is it not I, stonelord? Is there any other?"

She was on the right track and would soon see reason, the giant knew, for after the fire comes rain. After pain there came calm. Jvan would just need his continued help to arrive at the right mindset. "Yes...you...will...end....this, when....you...heed...my...counsel," he declared, "and...yes, we...take...after...our...All-father...I...am...told. Be...warned, great...goddess, that...my...kind...is...legion...and...will...match...fury....with...fury. Only...rain...will...make...the...flowers...of...peace...bloom...again. Never...fire...nor...brimstone."

As he continued, the giant did something most unusual--he bent his knees, and just before it looked as if he were about to kneel, he gently fell backwards into a sitting position with a grace that left hardly an imprint upon the ground beneath. From that position, he continued on as if nothing was amiss, talking like a venerated grandfather might to a small child. He was sure that Jvan would see the path given enough time, and to him time was nothing. He hoped that she was not like those petty, dogmatic rivals of his: Tempus, Hydraxis, and Cinder. Each of them had a fatal flaw, and each of them would be undone by it. But could deities have flaws or be undone? He was not so sure, but he leaned towards no.

The weight of the giant impressed quietly onto the body below. It was the heft of stubbornness, maybe, age, certainly, and perhaps not a small dose of stupidity, for Jvan rejected those words that branded themselves into her memory, cast them aside to watch them echo again like weeds. She swelled and spurned with red fog, beating, for a moment, like an angry heart. And she recoiled.

Anger spurted and curled from the porous monument in the form of spongy trees and fruit-bodies, short-lived splashes of paint flung on a canvas in temper. "I don't know what part of the First Gale you take after, but it is not one with which I am well pleased, you insufferable boulder. You rock." And yet, what had she been expecting?

To rage against something that raged back? No, such luck was rare, even for gods. There were only boundaries with this one. And it would only hurt to tire herself against him. Smug work he is. But he has a nature to fit, as do I.

"Fine! I hear your counsel, stonelord, and keep it until it makes good use of itself."
Something deflated. Popped like the crack of knuckles. To admit this much, perhaps, was sound judgement.

Jvan's prior insults were met with only mild amusement; he did not allow the spittle of any to wear him down. It took a stronger wind than words to wear down a mountain. "I...know...that...you...hear. This...is...not...enough. You...must...listen. For...every...djinn...you...may...smite...down, a...hundred...Sculptors...will...die. The...war...will...never...end...until...peace...is...sought...by...you."

"Oh, there are too many already, Gneiss." It stung like the salt of tears. A wise instructor let her students go. Were there more, who were dead, in their silence? "I may seek peace when I am satisfied," or, hellish thought, exhausted. "But my heart burns. An artisan of the likes of a Sculptor is not easily replaced, yet I cannot cradle them... They must roam free. They must find a place to seek shelter while I rage."

"Perhaps, Gneiss, Child God though I am, I am not a fool. Maybe it is better if this skirmish is waged out between its true belligerents, the Djinni Lords and I, Cancer, heart of their ire. My students are scattered and their guardians are peaceable. If you ever want my tantrum to end, I must first lash out. More death of mine will only prolong what happens. But you, you dumb, slow thing, you irritate me, because you are different... And that is beautiful. You have offered sanctuary for the innocent. Will you prolong that, stonelord? Will you give the Sculptors a place to craft in your halls, while I put fury to fury and knife to the wind? You want me to end this, but, maybe, you can help me in that."

Something impossible began to happen. He had been deceptively kind and patient thus long, and as such shows had a tendency to do, this perhaps brought out Jvan's contempt. It had seemed as if she, like his rival djinni lords, and lost all respect for him and refused to acknowledge the good that he had brought. And so after showing a few signs of stress and cracking, his wall of patience suddenly and violently broke apart as stone was wont to do.

With each passing word, Gneiss now had a chip of his seemingly boundless patience eroded away. Beyond simply being disappointed with his results, Jvan's response actually had the effect of infuriating him. She was a mother that would hurl her dead children by hurling the hapless bodies of her living at them, sowing only more strife and inflicting more suffering upon hers than she might have through utter inaction. Disaster was him; Gneiss' visit here had been beyond a waste, it would actually make things worse!

At first the change in the gentle giant's temperament was subtle: his utter stillness gave way to a slowly increasing vibration, and the faintest of rumbles echoed out from his bowels. When Jvan was done and had asked her question, there was only silence. Silence save for the sound of pebbles and sand sliding down the Stonelord's body and onto the ground as they broke off. There he sat, quite literally disintegrating, for a long and ominous pause, now quite visibly trembling in anger. Suddenly he exploded with the violence of an erupting volcano, and as the mortals told tales of this legend it would give way to a new Galbarian homage: beware the fury of a patient giant, for slow but sure his ire may grow.

Boulders and pebbles alike soared through the air and rained down, then shot back upwards into the sky, circling in a wild path around the djinni's raging heart. At last they assembled themselves back into a roughly humanoid shape, the disjointed body parts of stone left suspended in the air without even touching one another. Throughout this whole ordeal Gneiss had let loose a bloodcurdling roar of rage, or perhaps what might be construed as one of pain if Jvan did not realize that his physical change had come about as a result of his changing attitude.

Finally, from the terrible djinni lord that hovered amidst the storm of flying stones, there resounded out a grating voice most unlike that calm and slow one that the giant had previously used, "I NAME YOU A BLIGHT UPON THIS WORLD AND A BLEMISH OF CANCER BEYOND REASON. WE ARE DONE HERE; I REVOKE ALL SYMPATHY FOR YOUR WRETCHED CAUSE AND RUE MY ILL-GUIDED THOUGHT THAT YOU MIGHT TREAD THE SOLEMN PATH.


Following that, he let lose yet another horrific cry that resembled the sheer sound of metal ground against stone. Low to his breath he mumbled something about the other elements being wiser than he, and with that, Gneiss turned to flee.

Where others might have been filled with despair or regret, angry at their own naivety, Gneiss placed the full weight of the mantle of responsibility upon Jvan. He had done all that he could, yet she had only insulted him before making perhaps the worst decision that she could have.

And the Stonelord himself was soon to lament the fruit of that decision personally.

"If they are dead through my doing," whispered the fog that rose insidiously, even as he spoke, from the water, the atoll, that seeped from the pores of that monumental body. "Then let them die, but they will not be alone." While the echoes of his groaning rupestrine shriek still skittered violently from stone to stone in that maelstrom of aroused earth, rebounding out between sea and sky, the sands of the atoll was pulled up and away with them.

Their absence revealed the grey of bare flesh, a mangle of tendonous buttresses supporting the walls of that great tilted cathedral, an arch of which was no longer plugged by the earth of the islet. And the twisting meat within those halls contracted grossly, pulling in air, life, space, the impossibly voluminous lungs of a god in motion.

Furious though was the energy animating the rocks of the whirling figure, that first step became a standstill. The tremendous force of a Djinni Lord in motion pitted itself against the vacuous sucking, slowed and stopped as the ceaseless inhalation grew. Equilibrium lasted a delicate moment. Even in the resolute vitality, the epicentre of the Stonelord began to bend backwards again.

"You were not different. No, Gneiss, beneath a lying skin of rock, you are the same as all the others. Elegant, animated, so noble as to be reduced to stupidity. My brother gave your ilk more power than you deserve, but you are no lords. You are slaves! Mindless slaves to the futile ideal of natural order! Would that raw change had been preserved from the before-time, that it might not have been stifled by you!"

Fragments slipped from the stonelord's once-eternal hold, a minority first shuddering until they jerked out like roots of a tree, then falling smoothly, easily, from Gneiss's extremities. Clattering upon each other, sinking into the sea, collapsing into the mouth of Jvan.

"I will grind this squabble to its knees! Think you in your arrogance that your genocide begs my apology? See, then! Let me show you the place where nature falls away and yields to creativity, as it should! As it M U S T!"

And the stones rolled down into the fog of the goddess, and the Flicker of a naked giant was dragged with them.

Embedded in bounds of grey muscle like a city with no understanding of 'up' or 'down' lay the flexing, beating, twanging organs of Jvan, obscured under the sanguine mist. That colourless meat rearranged to avoid impact with Gneiss's essence as it fell deeper, crunching the delicate symmetry of shrines and viscera back into that from whence it came. Some glimpses were taken before the shapes could recede.

There was a spiral of sound, the harmonics of the air taking physical shape and wrapped over a span of bone. A gallery of darkness, of absent void in its myriad latent forms. Ten thousand gourds and glands of spitting, churning meat wrested from the errors in space where Toun and Teknall had failed in the pre-world. Upon a grey dais the abstract concept of conscious thought screamed as it bled onto the gristle frame it was crucified to. And there was a heartbeat of time, bottled, pickled, a specimen to behold for the ages.

Deeper still were the remains of the spirit inhaled, into a place where there was colour.


From the fluid air, the cloudy sensory medium that filled this jaggedly spherical pod, there issued a heavy spill of radiance as the fog of the goddess condensed and pooled. As silt in the Mahd is dragged forth, Jvan carried into the egg the ichor of that place, the far nightmare, where Nature had never been conceived, and the womb of creation had borne another flesh.

The streams of blood and bile thickened and raced, carrying in chunks of the not-life that had eaten itself since the dawn of time in its hollows, until the ever-thickening coagulation at the core began to writhe.

Jvan ceased her hand and the vacuole became almost pristine. Clouded-clear, as a stagnant droplet in a briny cave. That thing in the center was but a wisp now, a concentrate. The essence of everything she could drag into being from her bubbles of Other life. It curled up into loops and reached, groped blindly for the little speck of animation that had once been named Gneiss. She held him back.

"From Breath, Vengeance, Take Forth the Drowning Shape, and Choke that Pain of Light in Which Thou Roil, for in My Eyes Shall You be Ever Resplendent, and Fury can Only Bleach Resentment."

Stilled, the ink listened, and obeyed perfectly the command it was given.

A vivid glow seized it, and it bubbled into chambers and branches that flexed around one another, reaching out and waving over one another spasmodically. It became a shape that had no symmetry, that was translucent to its own glow and thus broke up any solid outline. Stumps and tendrils in colours too vibrant to be alive waved in hope of catching some scent in the darkness and organs bulged with oozing cells and bubbles. The stain obeyed, and painted itself into a living thing.

"Go forth and be as you are, Diaphane. You are beautiful, and that is all I ask."

Silence, and the voice of the goddess dissipated back into her body, replaced by the rising sound of a newborn hum, a voice with no breath, a flux that was not borne by vibrations but by a smooth pulse of distortion. The rhythm of growth rippled the elegant fabric of the written universe in time.

From the mass, two lines of needle-thin stalks emerged, and from them, more, spreading in a gill-like tangle. Diaphane lifted her shining wings and surged forth.

The taste of high order was irresistable, and the fragile Flicker buzzed with it.

"Enjoy your new life, Gneiss."

Diaphane collapsed over the bubble of primordial potential. Within her form it unwound, the ink on its share of the Divine Manuscript slipping away as her dye replaced it. The encapsulated Stonelord bloated vividly under her skin, denied death, to fuel the Change-Eater for eternity.

* * * * *

Sky. Free air. Clouds. Earth.


This world had ripened for a thousand million years. Galbar had been formless and empty and that formlessness had matured into a dynamic mosaic of life. So much energy had been sponged into this monumental project, raising its towers of complexity to dizzying heights. So much juice to be squeezed.

Diaphane had never known food before her birth. Expulsion from her mother's body had been her first memory, and all she recalled was the flavour of the air. How good it was, to eat, to partake of the elixir of life for the first time! She looked back, and knew that her first mouthful had in fact been a poor and tasteless one indeed; But to her virgin essence it was as divinity is to dust.

And she had laughed, oh, Diaphane had laughed and whirled and fluttered like a dancing maiden, for this world was good and ripe.

Soon she had learned that there was better nourishment than air and water, and she had dissolved her bright, vivid form into a spill of fluid once more in order to reach it. It swam beneath the waters in shoals, and crusted into reefs, and drifted in microscopic fragments on the surface of the water. It was a taste of life. Diaphane was thrilled. So many varieties! So much structure and motion!

Fish, trees, birds, and every living thing that creeps upon the earth, all came to know the mouth of Diaphane in their turn. She swallowed them whole or sometimes played with them, feasting on their collapse back into entropy, seeping their raw constituents back into the Gap where even such basic nourishment would sustain life for millenia. Where she ate, narrow swathes of empty dust were left, highways where even the peat in the soil had been dissolved.

It was sad, yes. A little dreary, even, to see an emptied plate. Such is the nature of a meal: There is only one moment of beauty, only one burst of colour on the tongue to savour in the moment.

But this world was so vast. Not in a myriad myriad years could Diaphane consume it all. So why lament? This banquet will never end!

Then, not so long ago, she had learned why this world was so full. Why, exactly, there were always clouds to drink, always new grasses to nibble, always a new animal to chase. Galbar had change. It had motion and renewal. Such things were still strange to Diaphane, but she had learned their source. Under its soft, sweet flesh lay a nut, a morsel that resisted her teeth and filled her like no other. This rare meal, this perfect candy, came in many forms. Sometimes as a spark of flame on the savannah. Sometimes an angry spring of water that sought her out and pelted her spicily before she could reach out and gnash it in her teeth.

These confections, these Flickers, they thrilled her heart and fueled her like nothing before. To chew on life was to live. To feast upon Change was to thrive. Each spark warmed her belly until it became part of her, and that warmth became hers. Her heat, her vigour, her power.

Diaphane grew. She grew until she was so large that something else was growing inside her. There was no one to teach her of these things, but she knew it, as all mothers know: She was pregnant.

And her time had grown soon. All she had to do was eat.

In those days Diaphane grew ravenous, greedy for the only thing that truly sated her. She desired a Djinn of sufficient size, to graft into herself a Flicker that would generate enough energy to go into labour.

She found him.

They tussled long. He blazed the grasses with his fire and tried to choke her with his smoke, but Diaphane fought with a rage that only comes from motherhood, from protecting a child, a fury that had been built into her at the moment of her birth and which she now remembered. She slashed at his essence with tendrils, lacerated at his coalesced inferno with spurs that dissolved as soon as they came, back into her fluid. Fluid that lay spilled upon the air and in the dust from her wounds when it was over, steaming back into the not-universe from which it came.

Now, with his Flicker settling into her asymmetrical body, his energy healing over her form, she was ready. Diaphane dug herself into the earth and waited, smiling, for her eggs to come forth.

* * * * *

Across the pelagic expanse of the Sparkling Sea's southermost reaches there walked a good many Stormlords; in attendance were the great Notus, Cyclonis, and a hundred lesser lords whose names were not so noteworthy. These great spirits convened to create a divine storm of great proportions and drive this hurricane onto the land as they were wont to do during this monsoon season. The typhoons were necessary for many reasons: through their erosion and flooding came splendid change, thorugh their sheer might the awe and terror of the mortals was inspired, and through this regularity the elementals of the storm found their meaning. This was their calling, and while many might say that this made them slaves to Nature, in a sense they were Nature. Without their fury and their generosity, the world might be a duller and lesser place.

A Djinni Lord walks the path, bringing with him the Storm

In attendance was also Murmur, Herald of the Storm, Bringer of Thunder, God of Sound as some preached. Though he was of a unique and rare nature not quite like that of the Stormlords, he had earned his place through countless millennium of service. He was not a minion of any particular Stormlord, and indeed he was probably more powerful than most. Still, he served the supreme element of Wind by assisting any and all Stormlords that might require it, and that meant that he was always present at each and every grand typhoon such as this.

Yet even if he was present in corporeal form, his mind was elsewhere. They were everywhere, the lesser elementals: for every stormlord present there were a thousand common spiryts and the lesser spirys tenfold beyond that in their number. Whereas the lords were colossal, terrible figures in all their might, these were not quite so grand: the common spirits were perhaps the size of men, whilst the lesser were most often hardly strong enough to even stay corporeal or visible for long.

It was a common spirit, for those were the ones that became capable of true speech and intelligence, that had approached the lord Murmur and whispered a dire tale into his ear, "Lord Murmur, splendid be your grace, there is an insidious beast--a spawn of Jvan, no less--that has nested inland...I tell you that this was like no other, for when I brought rain to the barrens under the service of my good lord, this foul creature did manage to sense, overpower, and devour him as it has no doubt done a thousand others..."

Rage had boiled within Murmur, mixed with an odd passion that he did not recognize: the thing that most mortals would call bloodlust. For most djinn, this was an entirely alien emotion.

Therein lest his conundrum: he was torn between one duty and the other. Serve the Wind by leading the Storm and bringing thunder, or serve Nature by obliterating this nemesis. The Thunderlord's Call, his obligation and joy at the honor of leading the Storm, felt gray and dull: it was then that he realized that he had lost all passion for what had once been his very Nature, his calling, that purpose ingrained into the very fabric of his being. He had been consumed and transformed in his quest to purge all of Jvan's abominations, and indeed he had spent more and more time upon that sacred task with each passing moon...

It was time to acknowledge this new phase in his life, this new, splendid purpose: he had ascended to something greater than he had been before. What use was leading the storm, anyways?

After much deliberation, when the Storm had already made landfall and all had proceeded as normal for many days, Murmur left his post. He went to the great Stormlords and told them of his holy task that could be delayed no longer.

Cyclonis had reluctantly agreed, for he was an energetic djinn of action and intervention; he, like Tempus, was amongst those that had supported the hunt of Jvankind. While Murmur's passion for the unsavory task was perhaps disconcerting, his zeal would serve him well. Cyclonis gave Murmur leave to embark upon his mission, with due haste. The Storm would need him to return as soon as the winds could carry him back, after all!

Notus, a gentler and more traditionalist spiryt, was not so easily swayed. Still, she was powerless to stop Murmur, and so he left as words of her scorn, dismay, disappointment, and condemnation of his desertion followed after. He ignored them all; Notus simply did not understand.

He sought out that elemental that had first brought word of this beast--though many others had confirmed his tale since then--and eventually found that one amidst a sea of a million other spiryts inside one great stormcloud. "Lead me to this beast, wanderer," Murmur bid that one in an alien and melodic voice.

* * * * *

A low, distant rumble signalled Murmur's presence long before he drew close. The rolling sound was something akin to that of a beach's rolling waves, or perhaps the din of a faroff volcano as it churned out ash and the burning blood of the earth.

Tirelessly, he searched. Endlessly, he probed the landscape for the presence of Jvan's taint. At last, he eventually picked up the slightest of traces upon the wind. Melancholy and monotony were banished; with joy he raced through the air, finding the source, finding the kill. Hurtling through the air as a living, roaring fulmination, the one and only Djinni Lord of Sound raced towards the place where he sensed Diaphane's presence. Earth, wind, tree, flesh; these were no obstacles for him. Sound could bludgeon its way through all things, and when Murmur's melody reached its magnificent crescendo, it became so loud that it was silent. When he reached his prey, he was no longer sound; he became a glorious explosion that sundered all things.

He practically slavered. The screams were always so vivid, so beautiful: agony, terror, surprise, horror--each being seemed to sing a different sort of song when they met the Orchestrator of Thunder, yet none of their music was ever so pristine as his. Only he was a virtuoso.

The earth beneath the cataclysmic symphony ruptured even before it neared, and impact shattered the soil such that it instantly became a cloud of fine silty particles carried on shuddering waves of Murmur's exuberance. There was no warning for Diaphane. A herald is always first to arrive.

No shelter had the thick dust of the savannah offered- It shook and bounced in the quavering vibrations, becoming, for a long moment, a liquid swill of weighty air. A hundred bubbles and capsules studding the Change-Eater's body ruptured under the force of the voice, leaving a seething gelatinous residue. Colour spilled outwards from the point of impact in a great wave, thinned, and swirled back into itself on her own current as the cloud of disruption grew ever higher.

Diaphane did not have time to be livid, only to dance.

Such an attack could never have been natural. Or, perhaps, could only have been natural. There was a savage thrill of reflexive energy through her form. Never before had anything challenged her so grandly, and never before had any deathly lyric rung so true. So, then, it was her life and her daughters against an unseen orchastrator.

Unseen he was, so to leap further into the open from whence he came was unthinkable. Diaphane could only listen. So the swirl of ink spread its wings and dived back into the heavy plume in the instant the first shock had passed. The debris had not even begun to settle before she lashed out mightily into the singing air, beating blindly into the dust, shredding the airborne ripples of clamouring music around her with the vanes of her wings in a blind, racing twirl.

The plume lifted even higher as her fragile feathers dissolved and mingled into the cloud, claiming whatever toneful vibration they found on dust and air and loosening it back into formless noise. An offering of harmony into the mouth of entropy. And as pain began to manifest back into the parts of her body where something was shockingly absent, Diaphane could not spare her bitter resources to think or reel, only laugh, laugh a high and fragile note into the overwhelming clamour she created.

...and so the struggle began! Lashing with tendril, fang, claw, the abomination's strikes found no purchase in the air. For all it seemed, Murmur was nowhere and everywhere at once. He was in every dying gasp, every rustle in the wind, every might roar--yet for all that omnipresence, he was so hard to find in the thick of battle.

"This..." an otherwordly voice spoke from everywhere at once, even echoing within the very body of the eldritch creature itself, "will be a masterpiece!"

The tumultuous clamor, her sharp notes of laughter, the pounding of the earth as it quaked and broke beneath his power; in all of these things, Murmur found inspiration. What delightful death would he sing?

His taunt resounded within the chaos, filling the air around Diaphane, compressing her and shaking. More than a singer, Murmur was a speaker, she saw, and he spoke with brutal confidence. And it was painfully easy for the creature. What was left for her to threaten, when her wings only beat on empty air that beat back even harder?

Empty air.

Diaphane gave up the helpless flailing that only diffused her inky blood further into the mess, staining the dimness of the dustbowl in blue and pink and yellow. But her cessation was not a surrender, nor resignment to death. A keen note entered her laughter as she condensed back onto the earth, a vast protector of the bubbling eggs within her.

"Work For It," sighed a voice of deathly foreignness in a mockery of Murmur's own, as the plume imploded thunderously.

She consumed the air from all around her, swallowed it in great momentary gulps, leaving a cavernous vacuum that imploded back into her as the pressure struggled to equalise. The air and dust collapsed in this way several times in a single second, swallowing great bulges of sky and sucking the song into the Gap with them, leaving only the rattle of her own hunger.

The djinni lord reeled backward from where he had hovered invisibly above, struggling against the sudden and violent suction. With a roar of frustration, he repelled himself backward at supersonic speeds as a mighty explosion. The great boom might have shook Diaphane to her core had she not the protection of that void of space she had created by sucking the sky itself into her maw.

"This one struggles, and it can fight!" a low, almost reptillian hiss echoed. Like a needle through cloth Murmur's voice pierced right into one's soul through all noise and distraction, regardless of any air to carry his breath. He simply generated the small sound of speech directly inside of them; his mastery over the element allowed him that much ability, even from afar.

"But what is its name? The fall of nameless beasts makes for a poor legend!" laughed the soothing, sweet voice of a placated child.

Casually, the djinn manifested himself perhaps a mile away from his quarry and then maybe that high from the ground. He clapped his hands and so created thunder, and from this unmistakable sound was roused the attention of a nearby windlord and his host. With the haste of their Creator-God's heavenly zephyrs, those djinn raced to answer Murmur's summons.

Reluctantly did the Change-Eater slow her consumption. Perhaps if it was less exhausting to overindulge so, to feel the atmosphere beat back on her repeatedly, she may have continued- Anything, any gluttony for the survival of her and hers. But the Voice was no longer close. His song had fell apart into echoes, and she had tasted the calamitous blast of his exit. Now he was playing tricks with her. Mocking. Speaking, always speaking, as Flickers so do.

Wary of the tricks played by the waves of the ear, something soft and threateningly confident resounded from the final vacuum. Amplified by what lurked beneath a void.

"I Am DIAPHANE, Vocalist, The Lady Engorgement."

But the air that spilled back carried an answer that was far from conversational. The rumble of the empty sky came long before the clouds, but they did not laze, nor were they unfaithful. Nature had its laws, and it was Flickers like this, those powerful djinn, that twisted them.

She did not presume on having much time. The assaillant moved faster than she could, and the elder winds would not settle for tardiness.

"Catch Me If You Can," whispered she in a flirtatious taunt, and dissolved into a streak of smoky dye, a stain that raced for dear life into the high heavens. If she could flee into the greater abyss outside Galbar, then, perhaps, she was safe. Diaphane could handle much, but such a banquet as the heavenly host of the coming storm was beyond her tastes.

"The hideous beast Diaphane, smitten down by a Murmur upon the wind," jibed back a callous voice that was juxtaposed by a dozen disconcerting sets of laughter all at once.

Just what did this foul terror gorge itself on? The Djinni Lord let out a soft whistle and an imperceptibly high yet loud sound shot through the air towards Diaphane, where it would pass through her, and in doing so, tell him everything that he might want to know about her innards and how many delightful ways she might die. Words could not describe his fury when the sonar met with nothing but empty air, Diaphane already trying to effect an escape.

She was clever, for Murmur was indeed weakened higher up into the sky where the thin air carried sound poorly, and near powerless in the void of space beyond even that. Like lightning he surged through the air to intercept her pathway into the heavens, and from there he beat his own chest and clapped his hands, shaking the entire sky with a tremendous sound. Even now he could feel the rapidly approaching windlord and his elementals; Murmur needed only terrify Diaphane long enough for that good djinn to come, and then she would know no escape above. Though she mightn't even realize it, the chances of escape from the violent winds and her horrific assailant grew slimmer with each passing moment.

Dogged by its own booming trail, the djinn's voyage flickered through the air, and it was beyond Diaphane's abilities to see him moving. Only on the apex of his bounding ascension, above even where she flung herself in growing speed, did he make himself known with his voice.

Grimly melodic was the death-drum rhythm that bayed for blood in the far skies, and from that first pulse on was the sight of a shrinking ground forgotten in the sea of quaked air. But for Diaphane, the elemental display came too soon. And for Murmur, it may have come too late.

The reverberating burst was everywhere, filling her unseen, shaking where once there had been a lull. Its origin was not. For a hasteful moment at the peak of his ambush, the Herald beat shimmering hands that, deep in the mirage, were almost human. This sound had a source.

No time given to slow, no time left to return, only one moment, one being, and one star, twinkling down from the night above the atmosphere. And twelve eggs, that may never taste that first breath of stale air to which all life under Nature and above it has a right.

Diaphane careened herself into Murmur's manifestation and exploded.

Vibrant liquid debris catapulted up far past where the final step in the Change-Eater's dance had terminated. The heave of the sound had shaken her apart at the seams where she passed through that core of noise. Only momentum continued, dying quickly for the remains of her body, slower for the copious polychromatic blood spat into the stratosphere by her rupture. Diaphane's body squirmed to re-coagulate even as it trailed a long, widening smear of dye. It wasn't worth the pain of having her interior purged out like a burst bladder.

Helplessly she languished into the top of her arc. There the star shone still, behind a curtain of life-blood. Somewhere a Djinni Lord named Murmur stood. Had she consumed him, or was she simply above him? Would she die alone? It didn't matter. High above the sky, reaching up to the gods, twelve thin streaks of colour scattered.

She had held them closest to her heart, and now it was time to let go.

Somewhere nearby there was a spark, a Flicker, an ember burning its way out of her remains and into the fabric of the air where it belonged. As if encouraged by its vigour, others began to crackle and sear a path of escape from Diaphane's carcass and the luminous fluids she trailed as she fell. She was dissolving, she knew, back into thoughtless puddles of Other-slime, but she felt nothing, not any more.

A final sound reverberated out across the skies; it was not the booming thunder of triumph, but rather a frustrated wail. His song had hardly even begun and his adversary had fled! Murmur felt cheated out of a true victory, but in time he would find some measure of calm to requite his rage. He would continue his Art, striving ever closer and closer to perfection with each act. In time, his masterpiece would come to fruition.

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Enough time in the empty solace of Cornerstone tends to dull the edge to any emotions. Toun may have been a god scorned, but even he could not keep his mind away from his previous thoughts for long.

"I will make this world better without Niciel as an obstacle, just as it shall be without Vestec," Toun mumbled to himself. He stepped to turn himself west and squinted at the wall on the horizon. "It is time to see exactly what manner of tide Vestec has decided to wash against this place."

In one impossibly elongated step, Toun flew around the western side of the white ocean until the bodies of corrupted angels and hain came into his purview. His eye narrowed immediately.

"Brushed against Zephyrion's living clouds, and in such small numbers as well. What manner of horde is this?" Toun angled his head, "And what is this power that resides within?" Closer analysis shot into Toun's mind like a spiked mace. There was no other name for it, "Violence."

Toun shot back to Cornerstone with changed plans. "So he wishes to bring his power directly to bear?" he hissed. "He sought such a brutish method after my defences were tested? We shall see, brother." Toun willed the central, circular tile of Cornerstone to lift into the air and begin spinning like a potter's wheel. "We shall see."

The first shape that took form on the wheel was the same as usual; an amorphous white lump of clay that barely had any more meaning than its own potential. "Refinement is required. The mistakes of the past shall not be made here."

The lump at first took the shape of a white giant. "The substitute pieces of a soul are too inflexible and cannot reproduce to replenish their lost numbers." The shape then warped into a hain. "Slough's influence is too chaotic for this purpose as well, but its potential is required." The lump became amorphous again. "Writing only what was needed upon the codex of creation required much...refinement. That is needed here. The power of those words is needed here."

Recalling the scratchings upon that most ancient surface, Toun's forefinger began to bead with red. "To combat the power of a god, the power of a god is required. I write upon this creation the essence of myself."

In a single, long, flowing, and utterly perfect stroke of his finger, Toun inscribed a single character in red upon the shape.

The sheer transfer of power caused the tiles around Toun to thrum.

"To overcome this Violence, a single sibling you shall have." Toun willed another shape out of the spinning wheel and inscribed the same character. "But you shall not be equals in all categories."

The first character was just a basis. A vessel for Toun to grant his power. Painstakingly, he wrote upon the shapes in various manners characters that described their nature, piece by perfect piece. Every symbol held its power through its exact representation of its concepts. Only the steady hand of Toun, who had written similarly on the design of creation itself, could put them to the physical world without a single mistake.

"One of you shall be the first to strike and strike the hardest. Your power shall be on the apparent, seen from widely around. You shall hold power over the greater, with my blessing." One lump was given more stoic and angular characters. As more was written, it took the shape of a tall, muscular humanoid with Toun's emblem upon its chest.

"You are Majus," Toun incanted.

The final characters scrawled upon Majus' essence had his form refined into a sturdy knight in plates of white porcelain armour. Where there would have been chinks for purposes other than movement, there were instead flush surfaces. Even the joints seemed to shift to accommodate flexibility without exposing anything underneath. In Majus' gauntleted hands was a long, hefty looking, white pole hammer, tipped with a curved spike on the opposite direction to the hammer's strike. Majus knelt before Toun with such blundering weight that it was a wonder that the tiles below did not crack.

"The other shall be the one to control and outlast. Your power shall be on the subtle, unseen such that its influence is great. You shall hold power over the lesser, with my blessing." The remaining lump upon the spinning wheel was given dizzying and flowing symbols that never seemed to begin or end. It took form with Toun's emblem upon its chest as well, but it was distinctly shorter than its counterpart. Indeed, its physique was lithe and malleable.

"You are Minus," Toun incanted.

Where Majus was an imposing figure clearly made to garner attention to its lumbering form, Minus may as well have been a shadow. The form had a hunch to it as if hiding. A pristine white cape billowed from its shoulders and a much lighter and thinner form of Majus' armour served as its skin. From each hand, there hung forth white chains that ended in flanged balls. From how the chains were wrapped around Minus' arms, it was unclear exactly how long they were, but they were barbed to twist and trap any that were caught in their path. Minus knelt down with the grace of a dandelion seed. The only disturbance upon the world around it was the clinking of the chains as they crumpled upon the floor.

"My servants. You have demonstrated that strength may not necessarily be created with weakness." Toun gestured out to the west. "Go forth and turn the impending Violence away so that we may make this world perfect."

Without a worded response, Majus and Minus leapt in the direction of the west with their mission well in hand. Toun knew that delivering orders to creatures he held such intimate control over was a formality if anything. An inkling flash of flesh in his mind's eye gave a hint of an answer.

"I shall make this world perfect," Toun's mumbling was to himself, hushed and seething. "There is no other that will."
Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Frettzo
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During the Phantasmagoria

Astarte looked to the left and saw tree trunks that reached for the skies and went down into the earth, casting shadow over anything under them. She could see no sign of life within the darkness, but she could feel the gaze of predators on the back of her head when she turned to look away.

She looked to the right and saw a forest. Cast in the orange light and cold breezes of an autumn sunset, the reddening leaves fell, slowly, off the branches of white barked trees. Critters moved to and fro, across the red grass and onto the thick treetops. In the distance, Astarte saw a lone figure laying on a pile of red leaves. When Astarte turned her head away, she felt as if she had lost something dear to her.

She looked back and saw a barren land. There were no trees, no grass, no life. When she squinted and focused on the horizon, she could barely make out two figures, towering over anything and looking down at her from the heights. Astarte couldn't see the figures' faces, but she felt their judgement. As soon as her heart sank and she found herself weak in the knees and looking down in shame, she knew. They were disappointed in her. She felt nothing but an emptiness in her soul when she turned away.

Then Astarte looked forward.

A jungle. The thickest foliage she'd ever seen, barely held back by fences and what looked like a dirt road. While the treetops were thick, light managed to come through and light her way. She looked down and saw something different than usual. Instead of seeing her long lavender hair draping over her thin shoulders and her white silken dress over the rest, she saw a stout body. Human male, relatively short and very strong with big hands and scarred knuckles.

She took a step forward in the foreign body. Her boot caught a root and she fell.

'Oof!' She gasped. She'd put her thick arms forward and scraped them on the gravel and dirt road.

When she gathered the strength to look up, she saw a swarm of vibrant butterflies. Thousands, maybe even millions, straight through the path. Astarte smiled as she watched the swarm. All colours and all shapes made themselves present, and by the time the swarm whittled down, a figure burst through the butterflies. Another human male, Astarte realized. She couldn't make out his face and she couldn't hear his voice, but she could feel calloused hands gently wiping away her tears of joy.

And then it was gone. Everything turned black.

Until she stirred. Groggily, Astarte opened her eyes. Heavy, calloused hands were wiping away at her face. I'm crying? she thought. One held her head up by her jaw and the other took care of the rest. For some reason, the gentle touch just made her want to cry more.

"W-Where-" She started, only to cut herself with a sob. She pulled away from the gentle hands, sat up and rubbed her eyes. With a clear vision now, she opened her eyes again. She was back in her usual body, and the one in front of her wasn't a human male, it was her new friend. The ogre that Zephyrion had given to her. Even with half of his face burned beyond recognition, it looked at her with worry on its face. It was laying down in front of her to be at her eye level, and again used his hands to gently wipe Astarte's new tears away. "Where are we...?" Astarte asked and closed her eyes.

There was no response but a worried grunt.

"I-I don't know if I named you yet but... I think I'll call you Big, okay?" Astarte sniffled and gently grabbed the ogre's hand with both of hers.

"A... Asti..." Big's deep, grumbling voice shook even Astarte, who smiled in response.

"Yes... I'm Asti."

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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Frettzo
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Lauder
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Lauder The drunk kind of hero

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Daughter of Malice

As Flawlessly Collaborated by:

Vulamera, Goddess of Mind


Vakarlon, God of Chance


Keriss, Demigoddess of Chance


The Trickster awoke on Cogitare groggily. He had fallen asleep after the journey into the mind. He extended his senses and leaped to his feet. "By Fate! I have slumbered for far too long! There is no telling what the others have been up to in my absence. Why did I sleep for so long though...?" Suddenly, a voice tinged with malice and spite spoke in his mind. Take a wild guess. Upon hearing the familiar voice, Vakarlon growled angrily. He did not speak aloud but rather mockingly replied as Serandor had. So that's all you can do now? Help me get a nice refreshing sleep? I feel energized and rejuvenated! The Fiery One Within responded without missing a beat. Yep. That's my job now, make sure you get a nice refreshing sleep of a few million years while we fight for dominance inside that fleshy, once-mortal noggin of yours. This way, my body will be healthy when I finally claim it.

Vakarlon shook his "fleshy once-mortal noggin" and decided to stop arguing with the voice in his head and go talk to Vulamera. She would have kept a close eye on what the others had been up to. He closed his eyes and began to concentrate. Vulamera had been inside his mind briefly while digging for memories and as such, he had a simple time finding her. He sprouted a pair of wings made of fire and flew to the moon Vigilate where Vulamera meditated. While he hated to disturb such peace and concentration, he felt she would be interested in learning how long Serandor had kept him asleep. Not realizing his footsteps made no sound due to his nature, he calmly walked up behind her and spoke. "So I was asleep for a few million years battling Serandor inside my mind. Did I miss anything important? "

"Yes." Vulamera did not move a muscle, nor even lift an eyelid, as she spoke to him in the creaking yet calm voice of an ancient. "Sentient races rise now from the depths of animal instinct, chaotic landscapes pollute the once-pure land, and our siblings draw ever closer to a war threatening it all. Galbar has changed, my friend, and I have changed along with it. This world is a different one from that which you must remember."

"Sentients, chaos and the looking threat of war between beings capable of tearing apart the world they've worked to build... The new look is interesting though. I see you have decided to join the crowd and have a tangible form. " Vakarlon became serious once more and his face showed signs of worry with old memories in his eyes. "What lines are being drawn in the sand between the others?"

The Goddess's lips bent downward in a guilty frown. "I shall not decieve you- I have a place in the discord that has erupted on our fair world. Not long ago, I was just moments away from blows with The Fool of Cha- I mean, with Zephyrion." A sigh released itself from her wrinkled body, her eyes easing open, and lifting up to meet Vakarlon's. "I am to blame for much of this tension. Judge me not! I did what I had to, in defense of my only begotten son..."

Vakarlon sighed and sat beside her. "If war is inevitable, then I suppose all that's left is gather one's strength and-" He stopped, blinking with surprise. "You have a son? When did that happen? Who is the father? I have missed far too much..."

A smirk danced across Vulamera's face. "First, answer me this: who do you least expect?"

Vakarlon thought hard "Well, my first guess would be Zephyrion but you came into conflict with him over the child's well-being... You can't be serious. Vestec is the father?! When you said Galbar had changed, I had thought I had stayed in the same reality!" Vakarlon looked at her in disbelief, certain that one of the changes was that Vulamera had adopted his mischeivous ways and was making a joke at his expense.

"It is not what you think..." She rose to her knees and shook loose the clinging, pale dust of Vigilate. "...it was not consensual- not for either of us. Following my successful excursion into your mental domain, I believed that I could gain further insights within Vestec's mind."

She paused for a moment. "Here. This will serve as a fitting explanation for things which words cannot express." Her hand buzzed like a hive with the blinding sapphire glow of psionic energy.

An old finger tapped once lightly on Vakarlon's forhead, filling his mind with memories of recent occurances. All that had happened since the events on Cogitare was injected into Vakarlon's mind, barring private details regarding Vestec's thoughts, or the exact makeup of Vulamera's creations.

Vakarlon absorbed the knowledge quickly. It was almost as if his mind had already been dimly aware of the events on Galbar. He nodded with understanding, fully grasping how serious the situation was becoming. A madman hunted the Goddess of Life. Vestec gathered his forces of Chaos. Vakarlon narrowed his eyes at the thought of this. His homeworld had been devastated by a dark deity with an unnecessary army of followers, he'd be damned if he was going to let the same happen to Galbar. If Vestec wanted bloodshed and destruction, he'd find himself on equal footing. He sensed Serandor rolling his non-existent eyes "Oh, how noble, you won't let the silly mortals you have no real connection to be terrorized by my counterpart simply because you are unsure if you can ever truly recover what was lost. You are not doing this out of nobility or heroism, you are doing it out of regret. Regret you couldn't save them. Regret that you weren't there to stop my dear worshippers as they slowly skinned your loved ones alive. Admit it. You are not as benevolent as you wish to be. You merely want to soothe the burns of guilt. Burns that will linger until the end of this universe and possibly longer. You might as well just give up control to me. I can make your annihilation painless and swift if you only surrender. "

Vakarlon stiffened. Outwardly he said "I understand Vulamera, my friend. " Inwardly, he berated his Inner Demon. Be silent fool. You mock and torment because you rage helplessly at being naught more than my overly talkative supper. You say I have no true attachment to mortals? I shall create my own. You think I couldn't save them? It isn't over. Now that you have faced the retribution for your crimes, I have the power to bring them back. I merely need to learn how. You are pathetic. So much potential and power and all you did was break that which your betters had made.

With this, the Destroyer simmered silently with rage but said no more. Vakarlon was then able to give his friend the attention she deserved. "Yes, Galbar has certainly changed. There is much to be done."

Vulamera tilted her head curiously to one side. "Is there, now? And what do you propose to do about it? I intend on abandoning Galbar in favor of a new world. Clearly, it is far too late to rescue our creation from the ravaging claws of Chaos, and the relentless stranglehold of Darkness." She had resigned the earth to this fate.

Vakarlon shook his head. "No. If we begin to work on a new world it too will come to their attention. We should not let our creation be ruined so easily. I for one will stay and stand against the Mad Ones. I refuse to let Dark Gods rampage unopposed. Still, I am but one and even with your help and Niciel we would be outnumbered. The Balance which I hold dear is greatly imperiled and Logos, the would-be keeper of Law has already given up and fled." Vakarlon was pensive. After a minute, he spoke. "The mortals need another champion. One capable of doing battle with the likes of Grot. Perhaps we should forge such a champion. "

Vulamera's eye took on a deep and serious aura. Behind them, Vakarlon could spy her thoughts grinding onward like gears in a well-oiled machine. "Remember who you're speaking to, Vakarlon. I am not confused by vagueness." She chuckled. "You mean to propose a Demigod, do you not?"

Vakarlon blushed mildly. "Indeed I do. Do you accept my suggestion?" Vakarlon had thought of a way to fashion such a child already. One that would not cause discomfort and innuendo in their friendship.

His companion and prospective fellow parent seemed to study him intently, observing everything from the form he presented himself in to the way he stood. After what felt like centuries but could only have been a few awkward minutes, she responded. "You are Chaotic. This child will need to be of law, so that it may beat back the forces crawling below. If this is acceptable, than I agree. Afterall, no force, bar deities themselves, are more powerful in war than a Demigod- and, it pains me to say, war is what it may well take to save Galbar.

Vakarlon nodded. "I understand of course. Combat draws nearer and nearer. We must be sure the child gravitates to the right side of the fight. A champion of Order is absolutely necessary."

"I'm impressed! You truly are not a Child God, as our siblings unfortunately all are." She cleared her throat.

"Now. How do you propose we go about this child-making? I would surely hope you are not expecting any carnal acts." Vulamera winked, to show that she was only teasing.

It felt odd, teasing. She had never done so before.

"I can enter your mind, and from there allow your divine essence to merge with my own, as was done with Vestec and I. We must be watchful, though, of the Fiery One- you know who I speak of. He will not suffer this new God to be born without first attempting some plan."

Vakarlon smiled and chuckled. "No, I was not thinking of carnal acts. While that may be the traditional way for mortals and some of our brethren, I don't think that is the best way to bring the child into being. I was thinking of actually fashioning the child from some material but the merging of minds would be a better strategy. I feel the Destroyer is locked away to some extent. Or at the very least, sulking."

Vulamera nodded. "Yes, he is locked away. I could sense that much for the brief time spent within your thoughts. It is almost like... a cage, with bars of iron. Those bars are strong, but weakening every second."

"Regardless, when I am merged with you, I perhaps can strengthen your hold on Serandor, while simultaneously forming the Demigod. If possible, I would like not to delay. Are you ready?"

"Indeed I am. The prospect of a stronger hold on Serandor is certainly appealing as well. I am ready when you are. I should warn you though, at times I feel him rage against the bars. I would not advise going too near the cage.

I do not think the bars will break, but it is certain he will try to work his mischief. Be wary of him as you enter my consciousness once more. He struck at you with malice the last time you met. "

Vulamera closed her eyes. At her silent command, an almost Zephyrionic whirlwind of fog lurched into the airless moon. It wrapped itself around Vakarlon's eyes and senses with a serpentine twist, hiding from him all that which is not inherit to the mind or inner-being. The insectiod buzzing invaded what remained of the subject's hearing, so as to weaken any lingering subconcious hesistation from him.

The Transcendent Mother entered in.

Stone bricks stretched onward into infinity. A reeling Vulamera had arrived in Vakarlon's mind. She began stumbling to her feet, but fell right back down to the earthen dirt-floor as a mortifying roar made the atmosphere tremble.

"Your inner-being manifests itself as a dungeon, friend." Vulamera spoke out to her host who, while not he could not present himself physically, would be receptive to her speech. "I must wonder what this signifies? Are you somehow caged... or is someone else? Perhaps our reincarnated friend?"

An answer came to the Shadow's inquiry in the form of yet another ground-shaking roar.

She stood, succesfully this time, and gazed about the world manifested within the Trickster. She realized that her previous observation had proven somewhat false: this was not a dungeon, but a maze.

The bricks did indeed stretch onward into infinity, but only to her north, as a massive hallway with no end. In stricking constrast, her progress to the east and west was opposed by stalwart stone walls like sentinels. She scowled. The only way forward was south.

Sadly, she had no way of knowing which south. Two alternate paths lay in that direction: one a hallway of shining white marble, the other a corridor of lightless obsidian.

"I would simply love to explore the entirety of your mentality, friend Vakarlon, but I fear that we must be direct here. I do not suspect Serandor-" An interrupting roar punctuated the pronuciation of his name. "...as I was saying, I do not suspect he will allow me to remain long. It would not be beyond him to push me from you, if he did so with zest and determination.

"So then, which path do you feel is the quickest one to whatever is at at the end of this maze? For it is there, I think, that your Essence will be found."

Vakarlon's voice echoed throughout the maze. "I would advise the marble hallway. It is a far more pleasant path. However, if you see a lion I would not advise approaching him. The Fiery One seems to favor the form of the Beast King when caged. Also, I do not mean to be rude but if you see any statues, please leave them be."

"Be careful around lions? I guess you will next tell me that fire is hot? Should I also avoid drinking poison? But yes, I will leave the statues to rest as they are."

"Fire is indeed very hot and not drinking poison is indeed sound advice. It is good you are able to generate such sheer wisdom. I digress however, thank you for leaving the statues be."

"Generating wisdom is my job, thank you for noticing!"

It was then that another voice like crackling flame whispered through the air. "Young goddess in the mind of my tormentor, may I speak with you? I was once like you... As the voice spoke, screams echoed from throughout the labyrinth like the grating of stone against metal.

"We may speak, yes," Vulamera cautiously said, "but I fail to see how we are alike in any concievable way. You were once free, that much is true, but you utilized that freedom in a very different manner than myself."

"There was another time. One before I became the Destroyer. Believe it or not, I quested for knowledge long ago. When I sought learning and intelligence, I was surrounded by savages, mad gods and petty tyrants much as you are. For countless eras I did my best to persevere and keep the universe from falling apart. Eventually, I simply couldn't take being alone against so many foes. I felt fury, nay, I felt emotion for the very first time. I struck out against one of the legion of fools that stood against me. With my power of the mind and planning, I destroyed my foe with ease. It was then that I felt more happiness than I ever had before. That Universe did not deserve knowledge and enlightenment as it was mostly designed by squabbling children who cared not for their playthings. I realized that my true purpose was not to save the Universe but to cast wrathful judgement upon it. I set about purging the corruption from reality and destroyed many worlds before I crossed paths with the one who holds me captive. Tell me Scholar, have you not felt the anger within? The desire to break and judge all in your path? I can see the misery in your soul."

Vulamera's eyes widened in slight surprise, then quickly narrowed in distrust. "One who lies so confidently must be a truly foul being. But I can see through it. You were never a God of Intelligence, nor of Knowledge: I felt your mind once before, Serandor, when you burned my soul. It was the essence of destruction, of decay and collapse. Knowledge builds, Knowledge grows- you are not of Knowledge."

Even as she spoke, the speech of Serandor seeped into Vulamera's heart like a venom. She was certain his words were lies, but what of herself? She had twice now felt the urge to destroy her foolish siblings, to cast down their idiotic creations or burn their wicked paths. She could be judge, jury and executioner...

No! A voice inside her suddenly cried out. When knowledge is used as a weapon, it defeats its own purpose. You are holier than this, Transcendent Mother.

The Goddess knelt down, running her hand across the floor of Vakarlon's psyche. The floor was of rough, cracked bricks. Upon contact with the ground, a thirsty, sanguine liquid clung to Vulamera's fingertips. "Is that... blood?"

In the dark of the dungeon, she had not seen it earlier, but now realized that much of the floor was coated in someone's- she could only wonder who's- fresh blood.

A blue flame burst into life at her command, eager to guide the way. With the room now lit in a cold sapphire glow, the contrasting red of the blood stood out stunningly.

Serandor chuckled from the dark and the screams echoed from close by. "I am indeed lying in this case. However, I sense that deep down, you know it could have been true. I have always been the Vengeful One, the Wrathful Judgement of Fate and the one to wash all the filth away with blood. Tell me, what do mortals do with knowledge? They turn it to death and slaughter half the time. Their advancements serve two purposes: to improve their own lives and to destroy the lives of others. I am Destruction. I am the only possible end. You fight a losing battle. Knowledge cannot last and eventually the 'Child Gods' as you call them will ruin all that you have built. Even now, you see some of the madness within your closest ally's mind. That blood you see? It is the blood of his loved ones. I have a feeling that you will be seeing them shortly, they really aren't at their best..." Serandor deliberately trailed off, and he seemed rather eager to have Vulamera investigate where the blood led.

Vulamera stooped down to track the blood more closely, and walked along the path it set out. It bent first into the marble path.

The Goddess was forced to cover her eyes as the dull light of her flame bounced off the shining white walls of this passage, again and again, creating a blinding prism of blue light.
"Ah!", she gasped. A snap of her fingers extinguished the flame- its light vanishing along with it- though the pain lingered. It took a moment, but she soon realized that the pain was tinted with suffering, not the fleshly sensation but the divine essence of suffering. Just as Vestec carries within him the essence of Chaos, and Vulamera holds the essence of Mind, Vakarlon's Chance and Serandor's Destruction had managed to fuse into one, single power: suffering.

This was odd, to say the very least. Vulamera had never before encountered a God with not one, not two, but three separate divine essences within him. Even Vestec was just a combination of half-formed Gods, which had never fully developed their own divine identity, and thus all shared the essence of Chaos together. Vakarlon, though, was apparently hosting the power of many potential Gods within him: his own power of Trickery, Serandor's of Destruction, and... another power, Suffering, which was some conglomeration of them both.

"Vakarlon, do you feel this? Suffering. It is not yours, it is not your adversary's, but rather an unnatural fusion of both. It's amazing."

Vakarlon spoke, his voice quietly echoing throughout the labyrinth. "I feel suffering both as an emotion and as a power that lurks within. One I could master due to my knowledge of it but one I have no desire to master. Another name for the power you sense is Misfortune.

When destruction and chance are combined, what else can there be but misery and ruin? For every gambler that saves himself and his family with his vice, there are at least ten who bring hardship on both. Those who are wronged by chance suffer greatly as there is no true motive to their woe.

At least the cruel tyrant and the marauding bandit desire something from a person. Chance is heartless and simply uncaring. While I try to emphasize its positive characteristics in a world like this, all has a dark side to it. Serandor took it upon himself to lecture you on the destructive uses of knowledge, for those millions of years in which I slumbered he taunted me with how Chance almost always brings more hardship than it does good.

For every king who defeats a great and terrible foe by chance, there are countless peasants who starve because a drought wiped out their crop. I wish it were not so but it is. Serandor and his Destruction, when combined with Chance, can produce little else. This unnatural fusion you have found is of equal parts his and mine."

"You are correct," Vulamera chimed in," and I understand how you must feel. My own domain is similar: for every man gifted with genius, there are a hundred inflicted with retardation. For every thinker or scholar, there's a legion of fools waiting to leer at his revelations. Yet, they belong to Mind as well, for I am the Goddess of their foolishness just as I am the Goddess of brilliance.

"As Gods, it is not our place to attempt defining such concepts as good or evil, positive or negative, fortune or misfortune. We exist in another state entirely, which resides far beyond those mortal notions. Our task is to bring our wills into the universe- nothing more, nothing less."

"It is of no import however. We have a duty to creation and a new champion to call forth from the void. One that I hope can remove some of the wanton destruction and suffering sown by Misfortune."

Vulamera said nothing in response. She knew, without regret, that Vakarlon's well-meaning wishes would not be satisfied. Not as long as Serandor existed.

Vakarlon was no fool however. He noticed Vulamera's silence and sighed deeply. "I take it the child will not be one to relieve pain and suffering but one to spread it. So be it. The world already has plenty of pain and suffering, it can take a little more since we're in this for the long run. Let's make a champion."

"I am sorry, Vakarlon. Your child will never be kind. Not as long as Serandor exists. It is in the nature of destruction to spread like wildfire, until nothing remains. It will seep into the soul of any child we create, corrupting it to lean towards amorality."

"I fully understand. So be it. If a fiend is to be the result then at least our fiend will be on the right side. I will of course be working to eradicate Serandor utterly. Until then, a villain fighting the correct enemies will have to suffice."


Vulamera dropped into silence once more, as she cautiously walked along the marble path, following the ever-stretching blood trail.

A heavy sigh, mixed of both excitement and exasperation, escaped Vulamera's lips as she came to realize how truly complex Vakarlon's mind was. Vestec's was random, her own was indescribably detailed, but Vakarlon's was... confusing, even for her. Everytime she dared to glance up from the blood she followed like a torch lighting her way, she would become nauseated and disoriented by the shining walls and twisting, unpredictable pathways. Vakarlon was a maze.

A wave of nausea forced her to glance back down to the floor. Clearly, the blood was her only hope of navigating.

And so she did. Diligently sticking to the red-soaked way, she found herself turning left, then right, then right again, so on and so on for what could have been days. Possibly weeks? Something akin to boredom almost came over her. Would this maze have no end?

It might not, she realised. Afterall, this is purely a mental realm. It doesn't have to follow the laws of reality. There is a real, frightening possiblity that the maze goes on forever.

Steeling herself for the confusion that would no doubt attack her, the Goddess timidly glanced up, to see if anything had changed.

Nothing had. In all directions, the marble stretched onwards. To her left was another branch in the path followed by another, to her right a solid white wall, but to no direction was there an escape.

Earlier the Goddess's confidence would not have allowed her to consider this option, but now no other choice was left.

"Serandor, is there any way you may aid me? I'm... lost. I blame you, for the record. It's your influence that is making this mind so hard to understand."

The wicked lion of fire laughed from the darkness. "I could of course guide you despite your intense dislike of me. However, I am a bit tied up at the moment. Follow the sound of my voice to me, loosen these chains just a little and I will happily assist you through the Trickster's maze."

Vulamera's brow furrowed in disbelief. "You must take me for a fool! It is utterly against my principles to alter the contents of any deity's mind. I would not free Emotion, and likewise, I will not loosen your bonds, nor would I strengthen them."

When the Fiery One replied, he was completely unfazed. "Odd that the goddess of the mind will not meddle in her own domain. If you will not loosen my bonds then I cannot help you at all even though I wish to. If you will not change your mind, then I wish you the best of chances . Farewell, good scholar. I hope you find your way."

The Transcedent Mother spoke without emotion. Her words were almost of a robotic cadence. "If I meddled, no God or Goddess would dare trust me within their mind. Would you allow me in your thoughts, if you knew I might change them? Of course not. You would be a fool to do so. Therefore, I must promise every deity whose mind I enter that it will be the same mind when I leave. Brainwashing is not a practice I indulge in." Vulamera paused to think for a moment.

"If you truly are interested in helping me, O Caged One, I may enter your mind personally and simply extract the information leading me through the maze. It would be most fascinating, to see a mind within a mind. Furthermore, you seem to be arguing that I hate you largely because I do not understand you. While it is not true that I have any negative feelings towards you- only ones of distrust- this would be an oppurtunity to prove that I have misjudged you. For if I am within your thoughts, I will know for sure if my distrust was justified." She added with a ghost of a smirk, "And, of course, you can be sure that I would not meddle."

"This maze is always changing as the mind is a fluid thing. It takes instinct, not knowledge to navigate it. However, you are certainly welcome to enter my mind since our dear host seems to be missing and you can follow that wonderful crimson path of painful memories to yours truly."

Ages passed by, while the Goddess of Mind walked along that blood-stained trail. Mortals were born and died, families were formed and torn apart, buildings erected and crumpled back to the earth, and still she walked.

Until the maze ended.

Before her lay a room of the coldest, grayest stone bricks, like those found in King's dungeons. Blood wept across every inch of the floor, so thickly that Vulamera could not see the ground she stood on. It was a swamp of crimson.

Rising up from that sea of death were three cracked and beaten statues, each possessing faces warped in torment, with eyes coated in dry blood. In their hands were strong, steel chains, two feet wide at the least.

Vulamera's eyes followed them from the statues to the throat of him: the Fiery One, the Lion of Torment, the Beast of Rage, the Bringer of Destruction- Serandor.

Lying there, beyond the golden gates that had been left wide open was a lion with black fur, a mane of fire, pools of darkness for eyes, iron claws and fangs. The beast was chained and unable to pass through the gate. Beyond the room of cold gray bricks, was a desolate wasteland that appeared to be a forest that had burned, nay been blasted with unnatural fire. The lion shook his mane and stood up. The statue's screeched once more as he spoke "Ah, Vulamera, I see you have found me without incident. You'll have to pardon the décor, Vakarlon likes to keep me on a short leash." The lion walked forward, closer to the Goddess of the Mind. "I believe you wanted to see the inside of my mind. Come right in."

As the lion invited Vulamera closer, the statues yanked upon his chains with expressions of bitter loss and the deepest hate. Serandor roared in fury and the room shook. As he expressed his wrath, a fresh wave of blood flowed from the eyes of the statues, wetting again the trail of dried crimson that flowed down their faces and bodies onto the floor.

The Goddess steped back slightly out of Serandor's reach. "First..." She spoke with hesitant curiousity, "...who are these statues?" Her fingers ran gently along the one nearest to her. "Such a vital part of Vakarlon's mind must represent something truly meaningful."

As Vulamera made contact with the statue, it turned to face her. The statue was of a young woman of medium build. On her face was a look of pure sorrow and oddly enough, pity.

The lion sighed. "They are the reason he despises me so. The statues are of his dead family from when he was mortal. They were slain by my worshippers, not I. Who knows the extent of depravity a Bringer of Wrath attracts among his followers. The followers of mine who did this were particularly sadistic. They skinned these three you see before you when the victims were alive . After I was devoured, Vakarlon used his new powers to hunt the ones responsible down and he cursed them for all eternity. They met gruesome fates in that life and have been suffering ever since.

Vulamera nodded sympathetically. "I see. How fitting! The reason Vakarlon will not allow Serandor greater freedom is because he remembers his past family, and so, in the mental plane, it is his family that is literally holding Serandor back. A perfect metaphor! The mind so often works symbolically like that.

The Shadow of Revelations shot Serandor a fierce stare. "You say that it was your worshipers who slew them, not yourself, yet I see no difference. You are fully responsible for the conduct of your worshipers, for it is you they aspire to emulate. If they commit violent deeds, it is because they follow a violent master. You should feel no guilt over the death of his family, of course- it is the duty of a God to both give and take away, especially when it comes to lives- I am simply stating that you cannot, and should not, attempt to scapegoat those who were only following your example."

She straightened her posture and approached the beast fearlessly, with dignity. "We will now see if you are as corrupt as I have heard." With that, her eyes closed, mist gathered up in heaps around her, and she lay her hand on the Lion's forehead.

All was dark, for a time, as the thoughts of the Goddess of Mind entered those of the Destruction Incarnate's. It was a painful, difficult process- she struggled to fully enter, and lashes of pain like a whip forced Vulamera to cry out in torment.

After what felt like a great deal of time, but may have been only a few heinous moments, a world begin to form about her. First came the ground, charred and black, as if a great fire had raged across it. Then the sky, as forboding and grey as iron. Finally, she saw the buildings, though they were little more than burnt rubble.

Vulamera strode through what seemed to have once been a large town. Almost medieval in design, most likely poor but not in poverty. The rubble strewn carelessly across the ground was mainly of wood, sometimes stone or iron, but never steel. An early civilization, killed in its infancy, before it could have ever grown into something great.

"Such is the nature of mindless destruction," Vulamera said thoughtfully, "that it would ruin a people before they even had the oppurtunity to gain knowledge, or to show promise. The power of destruction is great, and so it must be contained and tempered by the wise. It is no wonder that Fate decided to cage you within another, Serandor. You need to learn discipline."

Serandor manifested himself beside Vulamera. Instead of the lion form he had taken in Vakarlon's mind, he appeared as a tall man with black raven wings on his back. He was clothed in white flame with a red crown. At his side was a long black sword. He turned and gave Vulamera a look of mock hurt. "Come now, you cannot say I lack discipline. I have shown nothing but dedication to the task I was made for. You were born to to bring knowledge and I was born to bring ruin. You yourself said that a god must take away when it comes to lives. I am who I am, and that is the Final Vengeance. As for Fate caging me in another, it is the pinnacle of arrogance to assume we know the mind of the God of Gods. All I can do is be who Fate created me to be and wait for something new to transpire. All else is futile. "

Vulamera was not impressed.

"You wholly lack discipline. By your own logic," Her elderly voice creaked like a door, "I could tighten those chains which hold you back as much as I wish, and it would all be acceptable, as I could claim that I believe Fate made me to do it. This is a dangerous train of thought, Serandor- it justifies any action or reaction.

"It is one thing to do as you were created to, but it is completely another to do so with wreckless abandon. You must caution and control yourself. Notice, how I created the Insidie as perhaps the most truly sentient race currently alive, and yet I only made them intelligent to a certain degree. I could have made them with a mind to rival the Gods ourselves, I could have made them able to see truth as quickly as we can, and I could have made them to live millions of years so that they could spend the entirety of their lives gaining knowledge, but it would have been careless of me to do so, and most certainly would have had great reprecussions. Vestec, also, who I count as a friend despite my alliegiance to Order, controls his Chaos just enough so that it is always a looming threat, but never totally out of balance. Just as truly blessing the Insidie would be careless of me, it would be careless of him to allow his Chaos to flow into the world unopposed.

"Likewise, it is careless of you to destroy without far more extreme restraint. Bring to ruin only those things which must absolutely be brought to that state. It is not your purpose in life that you fail to understand, but rather, the greater scheme of reality which you must limit youself to fit into as only a single piece among many."

Serandor looked at Vulamera with a hint of curiosity. "What a fascinating way to look at things. How then would one determine what must be destroyed? Would such a judgement not potentially allow those in need of destruction to live? You and your colleagues have all shown such odd restraint. A Chaos God with discipline is no Chaos God at all."

"And a God who does not know how to use their powers well is simply not a God. Just a child with a God's powers. After what I have heard from you, and what I see in this mind, I'm half-tempted to strengthen those chains afterall, if Vakarlon would permit it. At least temporarily, until you learn the value of self-control."

Serandor looked at her with true pity in his eyes. "Oh, how truly little the goddess of knowledge truly knows. There must always be one despised above all else. There must always be a common foe to unite others. Otherwise, it all falls apart. Look at Galbar now. No true common enemy has risen and what has happened? They bicker and bite at one another's throats like animals. No, the only thing that can unite the gods into a functioning Pantheon is the threat of ultimate annihilation. That is my burden, daughter of the mind. It is my task to bear the hate of worlds and universes upon my shoulders so that the gods can work together. They are petty creatures, these Child Gods of yours, oh yes, I know your little name for them. Only unrestrained destruction and ruin will whip them into shape and get their attention." Serandor walked as he spoke, and Vulamera walked alongside him.

They came across a flower blooming in the ashes. It was a Snowbelle. Without a moment's hesitation, he plucked it from the ground and crushed it between his fingers. His hands, impossibly hot, turned the flower into ash. He scowled and spoke "Stay out of my mind, Chancellor of Chance. This place is my last privilege as a divine being. I know quite well that you have adopted this flower as your own."

"He was spying on you?" Vulamera spoke with a slight surprise, but her tone was tinted with another element as well: defensiveness. The mind was her domain.

Serandor nodded "He and I are in a state of total war. The only reason he can try to spy into my mind is because I am trapped in his."

Her face twisted into a frown. "This is... an abomination. The mind is my domain alone, and I would never use it to spy on the innermost thoughts of another. I am disappointed in you, Vakarlon." She projected her words outward, so that the God of Chance would hear.

With a brisk, soldier-like motion, she turned her focus back to Serandor. "I will make this offer only once: do you want me to keep him out of your thoughts?"

Serandor breathed a sigh of relief and gave a smile free of guile. "That would be wonderful."

"Very well. Vakarlon, I banish you!"

Her words were punctuated by a shivering in the air- it shook as if lightning had struck. Then lightning did strike. One massive bolt of violet energy hit the ashen earth with all the force of a hammer, burning a Mark of Vulamera directly into the spot which had previously held a Snowbelle.

Her Mark glew faintly in the presence of it's creator, casting a dangerous sanguine light onto the darkened landscape. So long as it stays bright, no other God nor Goddess will be able to enter the mind of Serandor- it is his alone.

Serandor smiled delightedly. This was perfect. Vakarlon was out of his mind and Serandor, being trapped in the Trickster's mind, could now make advances into Vakarlon's mind without fear of being pushed back. The young goddess had served him well. "I thank you for this kindness. Perhaps not all the gods are deserving of annihilation."

"Of course not, and I hope you learn that. I do not ask that you cease being a creature of Destruction, only that you learn where Destruction has a place and where it does not." Vulamera would not dare say it now, while vulnerable inside Serandor's mind, but she fully intended on limiting his ability to attack Vakarlon's as well. If she had her way, neither would be capable of harming one another- only staring angrily.

Normally, Vulamera would feel terrible for altering a deity's mind, but this case is unique. It is wrong for any God to invade the thoughts of another, as decreed by the Goddess of Thoughts, and so Vulamera felt that she had no choice but to prevent them from harming one another. She was not truly changing their minds, but protecting them from eachother.

"Now, we must make haste! Grant me the information to find Vakarlon's divine essence."

Quickly, the Lion of Torment poured a legion of memories into the Mind Goddess's grasp. Along with these memories came a burning sensation as if each memory were coated in acid. In each one of them, the Lion wandered the corridors of the maze until he found the Trickster and then they fought in vicious combat. Each time, the path was different. To any but the Mind Goddess, the pattern would have been impossible to notice. The pattern was there nonetheless, pointing the way to Vakarlon.

"Ahhh... I see it. Even the most conflicting mind has a key." Her hand went to her forehead as she spoke- she was clearly in suffering. Something, the Transcendent Mother thought to herself, almost frightened, something else was hiding in those memories.

"Goodbye now, Serandor. I will think on what you have said to me, but you must consider my words as well."

Another flash of magical energy collided with the ground, and Serandor's guest was gone.

Vulamera's voice echoed through the corridors that she now strode confidently along. "When I first entered your mind, friend Vakarlon- it seems ages ago now- I said that I may grant you a tighter hold on the beast within you. In retrospect, I have done just the opposite."

She paused in her path to Vakarlon's divine essence for a moment, expecting a reply from He of Change.

Yet she recieved none.

"Are you angry, my friend?" Still no reply. "I see."

She saw it.

The maze had stretched, now, into a straight, elongated hallway. It went on for miles, entirely plain marble bar the rare- but unmissible- statues. They stood like stone sentinels in Chance's mind, and each one gave Vulamera a cold, unforgiving stare as she passed them by. She dared not look them in their bloodied eyes, for fear that they just may make a move against her.

But there, at the end of this infinite hall, rested the Essence of Chance. The very thing that at the core of who Vakarlon was as a divine being.

In most deities, the "essence" of who they were was not stored in a single location, but rather, spread out throughout their mind, body, and soul. Vulamera had a hypothesis that the only cause for Vakarlon's to be so concentrated that it could be located in a single, clear place within his mind, was because of his inner-war with Serandor. The constant conflict between Chance and Destruction had forced his essence to cower like an animal, hiding from the lion that would surely destroy it.

The Goddess approached, softly as mouse.

As she approached, a figure stepped forth from the shadows. It was Vakarlon, he looked as he normally manifested except for several key details. All over him were the scars from the heated metal claws of Serandor. He wore a suit of silver colored armor emblazoned with the Snowbelle as a coat of arms. His eyes were pools of darkness and fire. All about him, the chill touch of winter left its mark. Upon seeing his fellow deity, Vakarlon nodded curtly to the the Goddess of the Mind. " Vulamera. " The Trickster was most displeased.

The Shadow nodded back, with a formidable amount of curtness. "Tell me, friend, how do you justify invading the mind of another, attempting to spy on their most sacred thoughts, and then calling yourself my ally? That is not only against my principles, but it disrespects who I am as a deity."

Vakarlon met Vulamera's disapproving gaze without an ounce of weakness. "Vulamera, my friend, I ask you, do not remember when you drove Zephyrion to anger? It was a rather similar situation. You could not ask permission, such was the extent of your peril and anything other than your course of action would have meant death. In these millions of years, I have been fighting tooth and nail for my life, my soul and the good of Galbar. I am truly sorry that I had to intrude on your domain but will you forgive me like the wise individual I know you to be? Or shall you emulate Zephyrion? "

"I am not angry with you, though what you did was wrong. I do not care how desperate the situation is- to spy on someone's innermost thoughts is sinful. Even when I intruded on Zephyrion's mind, I did not glance at his thoughts, nor was I tempted to.

"But it would be wrong of me to leave your side of this mind defenseless while Serandor is protected."

As she spoke, a small Mark of Vulamera carved itself into the floor at her feet, glowing just as brightly as that in Serandor's mind. And just as the one in Serandor's mind, it would defend Vakarlon from all invasion. Serandor would be helpless to attack, just as Vakarlon would. Neither could do harm. Perhaps, Vulamera hoped, this will force them to learn to cooperate- or, at least, not to try actively attempt mental murder.

"Glad that the fuss is over. Shall we get down to business? "

The two reached out and joined hands, their divine will following suit. In that moment, two Gods became, very briefly, one, and the perfect fusion begot a daughter who both knew would be destined for great things in that small world below.

Outside of Vakarlon, on Vulamera's cold and lonely moon, a spark begin. It started small- a black light in a world of nothing, but soon grew into a greedy, dark flame large enough to devour a man whole. It's power was unsustainable, it's thirst insatiable, and so when it found nothing to consume, it turned inward to consume itself.

No mortal words can describe the magnificent beauty of the flame twisting like a ribbon, then imploding like a dead star. In it's place now rained only ashes.

The ashes, they began crawling amongst one another. Slowly, the ashes gathered into one location. It seemed that something had begun to form on the ground, a humanoid being began to take shape, laying there on the ground. The ashes began to settle into place and then began to stir. Soon enough, the ash being was attempting to stand. It succeeded before a roar of pain came upon it, doubling over, wings violently erupted from its back. The foundation of the being had been completed.

Though, the ashes began to harden in place, color coming to them as they did so. First the legs, then the chest. It had only taken a fully minute for all the dust to harden, leaving a reptilian being standing where the dust once was.

As it took its first gasps for life, a wave of air appeared on the atmosphereless moon, encasing the creature so that it may breathe in that barren world.

"I- I live," the being stated. She was the demi-god that they had all formed, the one they believed would drive the forces of chaos back, a being that had been corrupted. What should have been someone pure of heart, eager to help the common mortal of Galbar, was a monster of darkness and pain. Yet, she did not even know here own name. She looked down at her hands and inspected them with curiosity.

"Who am I?"

She wondered who and what she as. Conflicted, as she felt both good and evil inside her, destruction and protection. She forced herself to look up, trying to find somebody in sight who could help her answer this question.

The answer came in the form of her mother's words, caring but strong.
"You are Demigod, child of divines, destined to rule over mortals by right of your blood, bound to punish them by your anger.
You are That of Pain, One of Malice, born from the conjoining of Mind and Chance, corrupted from the touch of Destruction.
You are The Enforcer, Keeper of Law, made to create Order, taught to ruin Chaos."

"Yet, I have no true name to refer to myself as. Nothing for mortals to truly hail to. Thus, I shall name myself Keriss."

The demi-god gave a wicked smile upon naming herself, a name that would make the forces of Chaos to route and for mortals to bow to. Though, the words. The words seemed to come from all around her, a voice that she seemed to be familiar with despite being born not to long ago. So, another question came to her. "And who are you?"

Keriss felt the need to become familiar with whatever this force was for it held an immense power compared to her. She held a strange hunger for knowledge, wanting to know about what she would be dealing with.

Mist gathered up at Keriss' feet, clinging to her scaly legs and working their way around her body. She felt as if something was probing her- examining everything about her, and learning the entirety of her existence in an instant.

A voice with no body echoed out from the fog. "I am Vulamera, the Goddess of Minds, the Shadow of Revalations, the Transcendent Mother, and- perhaps most importantly- your mother. You feel a need for knowledge, yes? Do not forget that drive to learn, for it is me, and if you lose it, you lose your bond to me as well."

Vakarlon stepped forward and explained who he was to his newly born daughter, teaching to her how she came to be and the purpose in life that had been planned for her. The moon orbited Galbar many times while the mother and father instructed the One of Malice on her role.

"My daughter," Vulamera said at last, "you are destructive, but this world you are soon to enter is yet moreso. Even a Demigod can fall to the terrors of Galbar, the earth of Gods. It is a harsh reality, and so you must be harsher. For every greedy snake that bites at your heels, you must be as vicious as one hundred more. To my last child, your half-brother Lifprasil, I gave words of self-control and balance, but you must walk a much darker path. And so I grant you this gift, to ever keep your mind sharp and your claws ready."

The mists of the Goddess rattled, flashed a fleshy colour, and condensced into the solid shape of the old, wrinkled scholar which had found itself becoming Vulamera's preferred apparition.

"Not the exact form that I thought you would take, but it will have to do I suppose. No offense, mother." Keriss stated, crossing her arms and looking at the old woman that had appeared in front of her.

The old woman gave a forced imitation of a laugh. "And what form would you prefer?" The rotted body of Vulamera suddenly lurched and spasmed in the process of becoming another shape entirely. Six perfect white wings sprouted from her back, each flawlessly etched like paper with holy knowledge that a creature like Serandor could never comprehend. She stood up straighter, more confidently than before and showed that she had grown above twelve feet tall. A sword made from blue flames grew in place of the quill, while her eyes split themselves into six narrow slits of a matching colour.

Encasing those piercing eyes was an exoskeletal, triangular face without features, without a mouth and without any more detail than a blank mask. Her thin body, also, had lost all signs of age or mortality. It was as distorted, hard and shady-grey as heated iron. She wore no clothes, because her skin already resembled a twisted and melted suit of armour.

All around her, translucent orange triangles would appear at odd angles just briefly, then vanish. They incased magical runes that matched the symbols adorning her wings.

"Does this better fit what you expected?" Vulamera's voice was a chorus of furious insects.

"That is a whole lot better looking. I must admit, love what you've done with your face. A whole lot more... Intellectual-like," Keriss gave a slight chuckle, not moving from her spot as she watched her mother transform.

"Now!" Keriss's creator raised her shining claws up above. "No more prattling about appearance! I still have a gift for you!" Her knivish hands slammed down into the soft, vulnerable meat of Vigilate, forcing a hungry patch of thorns to rise from its earth.

The vines grew in an instant to strangle around one another, all the while transfiguring into an impassable briar bush.

"Look, now, Keriss. I grant you thorns, because of all the bounty of nature, these are the most like you."

Hearing a Goddess's silent command, the briar was uprooted by invisible hands, then brutishly weaved together into a Crown of Thorns, each coated in dry blood.

Keriss watched her mother make the crown, dropping to a single knee to bow to Vulamera. Her gaze rested on her mother. Silently, she waited seemingly knowing what to do in this situation.

The Transcendent Mother, without any display of emotion, ceremonially lowered the Crown of Thorns onto her newly begotten daughter's head.

A shine of violet light emanated from it, if only briefly, marking it as having been blessed by the will of Vulamera.

"I desire you to use your own powers as much as possible, but if you cannot control your many gifts on your own, use this. I name it the Crown of Pain, for it will channel my mental power directly to you, enabling control of the very minds of your enemies.

"If any mortal or God is foolish enough to attack the Warrior of Mind, Destruction, and Chance, it will paralyze them, strike them with brain-death, or even force them to obey your will as though you were truly divine. Once more: excersize your own abilities when possible, but do not hesitate to rely on mine if you fear. Keep it with you as a safeguard, for moments where you may not succeed. My power is its power."

"As you say mother. I shall keep it with me at all times. No one shall dare tempt me to use its powers," Keriss said, raising to her feet, continuing to look up at her mother. However, I do not know the full extent of my powers. I suppose I will have to find this answer myself."

"Indeed you will. Are you ready, now, to finally see Galbar? It is there you must begin your campaign of Law..."

"Yes. I shall not stop my campaign until all chaos are dead," Keriss gave a wicked smile, eagerly awaiting to kill the foes that her mother had directed her to.

With a flash of violet, a lightening bolt struck VENOMWOOD, delivering with it the one who will soon become the Terror of Law.

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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Antarctic Termite
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Antarctic Termite Resident of Mortasheen

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The killers leave the desert, and through the subjective lens of my perception, my journey seems to have accelerated.

They have names for themselves and I listen keenly. I listen, categorise, and listen again, not to confirm what I know but to interrogate it for flaws. From the moment of my first thoughts, cognition has been exploding within the Other-mind that blackens my worldly form, and weals of red twist themselves in among the filaments, embroidering my thoughts into my frame. Or, maybe, they are unrelated. I cannot say.

Many are winged. These are called angels- It is beyond my conjecture to guess whether that means a species, ethnicity, order or family. If they are weary, it does not show. Gliding in formation, their bodies seem familiar, distantly, a cautious intuition I struggle to trust. But the arrangement of my own shape does not escape me. Torso, hands, legs, cranium- Sometimes, when I do not watch myself, I cease to flow over the ground with the centipedes, and I walk. I knit myself into a shape with scythed arms, a short but sturdy spine, ears fourfold- Even, though the material doesn't not suit the shape, teeth, and a forked tongue. Do I only imagine these moments? Do I only imagine everything else?

Other things walk, too. Some of those whom we encounter are in the likeness of the angels. They are tall, upright, darkened, endurant. Perhaps they came first, and the angels are in their likeness. Beyond my scope of knowledge.

We 'encounter' them, indeed.

Fur from the remains of their scalps sustain my body. I do not know if death is a curse or a blessing or a mystery but the old part of my whole, that which was hair before it had spirit, it marks out the carnage with revulsion. The ravenous horde of Chaos considers it a curse, and bestows it freely for that reason. Pale ceramic bone clads the the bulk of our party, the other kind, hain; and over this armour they wear spear-belts, clubs, quivers. I do not often get close to them. Dislike, discipline, sheer coincidence- Their minds are unfathomable to me, but something internal keeps them away from me. The tall humanoids we encounter do not have that privilege.

Sometimes a hain will swing at me. It damages me, and I think I feel pain. So I flee, to follow the horde elsewhere. Humans aren't so quick. They crunch. They break. They smell nice on a bonfire. We all restock with whatever materials fuel us, and push on.

When we are first exposed to the Ground Folk, they repay us for all we owed to mankind. Everything I see when I return from escaping the mania and blood suggests that the hain horde is nearly lain to waste. My imagination, burgeoning as it is, is still not yet equipped to simulate other explanations, imagined scenarios that I yearn for like my companions desire water.

I am not again to have the chance to observe such a conflict. The powers that be intervene long enough to grant us a guardian. A deeper force thrusts contemplation away from me, and, for a moment, I stand as I did long ago, reclaiming a rare fragment of certainty in my bitterness.

God has joined us.

I did not see him arrive. He is fast, or stealthy. Perhaps he was always with us, always
part of us, and only now reveals himself. In all cases I must accept that this is the reality I am part of now. He is here.

I watch energy simmer from his armour and feel the old emotions of birth bulge in my every hair. Hatred. Fear. Defiance. Pity. Disgust.

I do not know whether to hide, or run.

* * * * *

Morning. Today. My last day alive, maybe, or my first. Maybe the only day in all of existence, preceded by false memories. Yesterday? Today.

It is still cold upon the sparsely wooded fens. Mist lies over the waterlogged peat, peat which lies in a cold, dead fire heap, barely burned. I think it is plausible that the hain have heaped and lit the sedge and sphagnum last night, trying to find enough comfort to sleep. That the mist rose from the sodden earth then and will disperse come noon. These are doubtful ideas, even for me, who doubts much. At some point in this bog, time either lost its meaning or gained its truer, more frightening one.

Something has slowed perceptibly and painfully. My body is intact but my thoughts grow redundant and loop into knots for hours on end. Days drag on, leaving us to sit, and stand, and pace, and drink the icy bog-water, and sit and stand and pace with little conversation and an aimless gait. Nobody walks. Not with any purpose. Not with the same ardent drive- Lack of drive?- That beset them to take us so far. We look at each other and look away. Reality's seams are unwoven and depression sinks in.

We are slowed.

I watch the hain endlessly, and the angels with them. They aren't spending much time in the air. My mind offers the possibility that something above the mist has been blocking them like a hand, and though I see the looks of confused apathy in their eyes, I cannot disprove it. They do not often look back, even when I am arranged to have a 'front' and a 'back' to turn. Stagnation breeds familiarity, complacency, and even the beaked fighters tire of standing away from me. I hide less and less, but for the thing on the far end of the crude encampment.

Even the pace of God had dragged into a trudge. Maybe he was waiting for us. Maybe the slow madness coming over us gripped him worst of all. Maybe he had
caused it. Maybe, maybe, the world is uncertain, and God is the least certain thing of all.

There's a straw-haired angel giving me bladed looks from the other side of the water. There are plenty of possible outcomes of her curiousity, and most of them leave me wary.

* * * * *

A night grows late and I feel them coming.

Tremors of movement carry far through the waterlogged peat. I envision the faint noise as the rumble of a great crawling insect in the earth, or as the natural fizz of mire-gas released by a small earthquake. My imagination is clear, but it cannot discredit the familiarity of the sound. It is far from the first time that the Ground Folk have sought us out.

A hain stares at me skeptically as I stand, human-like, with my feet in the frigid puddle. Does it know what's coming, or did I just startle? Neither they nor angels sense vibrations as I do; They are deaf or apathetic or both. But they are watching me now, the hain and the dangerously curious Angel who has stalked me languidly since the depression began.

Reflexively I swivel my 'head', as if I have eyes. At the far end of the encampment sits God. Masked. Unmoving. Too far.

I face the hain and she stands down, a little, taking grip of her javelin. I coil tightly but don't move closer, though the noise draws close. Through bared teeth, she says something hainish, challenging. I've never stood up to one of them like this before. We barely differ in height but muteness makes me feel small.

The earthen shiver is urgent. Strategic thought takes a pause, and I point to the ground- I communicate. It's the first time I try, and it mounts on the roiling anticipation for what is coming.

Though she looks, the hain realises late.

Matted turf blows apart as the Urtelem breaches the surface, clad entirely in grey black peat. Its arms gouge the ground as it forces itself forwards, absorbing the movement on its arched back, rolling. While I lose shape and collapse into the porous earth, the hain shrieks warning and runs, and God laughs, utterly sure, utterly unsurprised.

My stunt buys me little time. The boulder unfolds over me and slashes its fist outwards, heaving great hunks of earth into the air while I flow to evade. Its weight squeezes water from the ground and it pursues me into the mire with a burst of low, grating sound, but I am untouchable, unfindable, liquid. From elsewhere, I hear chants, and the groan of metal shattering rock. God sees to his own.

A hefty palm swings through the water and gouges a furrow of air into it, sucking me into the whirl. Only one surface presents itself to me as I seek grip to readjust and I find it, curling up and over the Urtelem's body. I lament the fact that a body which can crush stone is too strong to be infiltrated; I don't have any other means to defend myself from the creature.

Not everyone thinks about defense.

A hefty 'clack' sounds from the Stoneman's body along with a sharp jolt, and I see a glimmer of golden magic dissolving around a chip of rock. In the hands of a viciously grinning angel swings something like a pickaxe, a congealed, heavy light. Its weight swings behind her as she flies, finding momentum for the next pass, and the Urtelem twists to the source of the pain, working itself deeper into the morass. I slide over its body in a moment to cover its eyes. When it claps its hands to its face a moment later, I'm already gone, and the savage angel is diving, dropping. The weight of her fall from the sky only adds power to the swing of the weapon and again the skull of the Stoneman is chipped.

Comprehending its injury, the creature drives itself face-first into the water, gouging through the layers of peat to seek the stone below. The organic debris does not part for it the way clean stone does. A third strike lands on its upper back. It curls itself into the sandy under-layer and tunnels. I cling like a barnacle. No obsidian-smooth Ashling ever dislodged themselves from my grasp when I lived in the desert, and no Stoneman ever will.

I dig in as deep as I can into the rough skin of the being and sense our direction change as it tries to scrape me off against the ground. Too tightly twisted onto its shape, I remain. Even as it wearies of the rapid burrowing I cling to its joints and furrows and force its direction to change. The earth may blind us both, but my sense of direction is keen, and when it emerges again to breathe, it breaches into sodden layers of sedge.

It struggles to roll without slipping, but I'm in its eyes, between its fingers, pushing mud under its feet, and soon the fallen angel returns. It is not alone.

Angels are creatures of unity and cooperation, even in chaos.

The blows land upon inch-thick layers of rupestrine skin. Nothing cuts the Stoneman, but, one chip at a time, the armour of its neck and head comes apart, cracks, cracks further under the beating force of magical hammers and chunks of ferrite lugged from the desert. Its braincase begins to split, and it groans horribly. Its first attacker is also its last.

Swinging its enormous fists until the end, breaking wings and legs and hips wherever it isn't blocked by blue magic, the viciously grinning angel drives a golden spike into its brain, and it collapses.

There is loud noise, the sound of God laughing, the sound of hain screaming. The other Urtelem are long gone. This one's miscoordination only earned it a slower death. I regather my mass back into a two-legged shape. It doesn't feel like noise. It feels like quiet.

Pink angels are seeing to the wounded, but the straw-haired one, the one with the savage smile, is watching me. I watch back, and after a moment I face her.

A familiar hain-javelin lies in a puddle. Broken. She picks it up by its point, and offers me the splintered handgrip.

I can envision a multitude of possibilities arising from my refusal, and even more from my acceptance.

I take it.

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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Muttonhawk
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Muttonhawk Let Slip the Corgis of War

Member Seen 2 hrs ago

The time it would take to bring Majus and Minus to confront Violence was something of a lull in Toun's schedule. He flexed his recently working fingers in front of him, trying to distract himself while idle. He hated being idle. It forced memories forward. As much as he preferred to block them out, they would burst up like gas from an underwater volcano and leave an unpleasant smell. One memory, in particular, was unpleasant, not because it held regret, but because Toun found it distracting. He would catch himself boiling through his memories to find it, for it was the one instance where the result was different. It was more recent than most memories, as well.

Toun's fingers stopped moving as the memory came forth again. He remembered the music first. All that was attached to that melody sent a looseness down his shoulders.

At the beginning, it was ever so subtle.

He was seated, seated on his wheel. Eye closed and deep in thought. The notes that wavered forth might have been the wind for all he noticed. The way that the zephyrs danced across the odd acoustics of his fortress tended to play tricks. It was not noticed either, the way that the winds seemed to repeat themselves, growing in volume as they approached. It was not a malign presence, merely stirring and weaving sensations here and there. It was music, he knew in retrospect, unlocking faculties that had been starved by silence.

The sensations had no meaning to Toun at first, but his distracted state had brought unwitting thoughts and unvetted orders to his servants. The slave hain opened their eyes and found themselves compelled to walk to the expansive, empty courtyard. Their scraps of independence had been marvelling at the sight that Toun did not see as the music wended its way through the fortress grounds.

The first change that had been apparent was the sky above Cornerstone. The heavens were painted in gradients of pink, blue, purple, and grey. The blank surfaces of Cornerstone's floor only reflected and amplified the colours in a pastel that caused the slave hain a strange sense of relaxation. Or perhaps it was Toun, still giving thoughts and orders.

Unconsciously, Toun's mind conceived an image to put to the sounds. It was a featureless dancer in a large, wispy white dress, leaping and floating in time with the wind. She was distant, but each leap and twirl of the music brought her a step closer. Toun did not open his eye, hypnotised by the movements.

The slave hain found themselves driven into a formation, but their bliss was interrupted by its foreign nature. This was not the rank and file that Toun often demanded. Unusual. Their stunted consciousness recognised a spiralling pattern. The image of the dancer found its way into their minds as well, confusing as it was.

For all the strangeness, Toun felt no confusion himself. The music had layered upon itself with winding streams and tones that made him tingle. The dancer was close now. Toun reached out for her hand. She spun away. When Toun stepped to follow, the dancer continued to dodge around him in step with the music.

The slave hain did not know what they were doing until the movement brought an excitement to their hearts. As one, they were moving with leaps and twirls. The spiralling formation had them jump through the gaps between each other's positions, nearly colliding, but never quite touching. It was so foreign. The movements were graceful but were doing nothing. Normally their orders were purely pragmatic. The only grace they experienced were kaolokinetic forms. The blatant waste of energy in this jumping around began to form an anticipation of punishment.

With his mind still lost in the movements of the dancer, Toun stepped after her, each time being out of reach and each time out of position. He did not understand. He was moving with the right trajectory to reach her. His steps could close any distance. Yet there she wasn't, every time. Toun tried adjusting his timing, trying to head her off before she could dodge away. She evaded him. What must I do? Toun nearly cried out to the dancer.

The dancing never seemed to stop for the slave hain. Toun was giving them the energy to go on. As time passed, the vigour of their dance shook out their previous worries until their expected punishment faded away. They gave way to primal emotions brought by the endless dance. They were grinning and chuckling to one another. Though their minds were servile and simple, this dodging and weaving and stepping and twirling and leaping and dodging and bobbing and thrashing and weaving and moving...it was so much fun!

The sheer joy and excitement around Toun were completely unknown to him through the distracting puzzle in his mind's eye. He moved as much as he could in every different way to reach the dancer. She continued to evade. In a rush of realisation, Toun stood still. He found his mind, not sending, but receiving. No messages of gods, no prayers of monsters. Just leaping, dodging, thrashing, weaving, laughter, fun. He was transfixed, utterly confounded by the power of the thoughts. And yet, he felt connected to them at a deeper level. He was unsure how to react but he saw something in the thoughts that would solve his little puzzle. It was not intuitive, not direct, not efficient or logical.

The slave hain converged as they continued to dance through the night. Their spiral formation was making its way to the centre, where Toun sat. They found their excitement increase as the formation contracted to make their near-misses closer with each pass. At this point, their simple minds were not insightful enough to ask why this was happening. They simply continued to dance in the daze of colour.

Toun's solution had begun to evade him just like the dancer. It was because he was thinking about it too much. That was why it was so counter-intuitive -- the less he thought, the closer he got. The dancer weaved by once more as if waiting for Toun to act. Toun quietened his calculations and his temper. Every other thought flowed out with an exhale from his non-existent mouth. And then, he reached and caught her hand.

The first thing Toun felt was a rush as the dancer pulled him into a whizzing spiral. He nad no control over where he moved, but he didn't mind. He was with the dancer, spiralling through his empty mind with no perceived end. That was all that mattered. All the joy and the excitement that he felt in his mind resonated in a feedback loop, casting itself out to all listening at twice the volume.

Out in the courtyard, Toun's servants were now hand-in-hand as they leapt and twirled and dodged and thrashed and weaved. Their minds were flooded with pure joy, now amplified with Toun's empathy. Toun sent it back and forth in rapturous waves with the music until they were all lost in it. They were all in touch with the happiness of one another in that moment, beyond the ken of any other mortals.

Toun's dance with this figment in his hands was beyond his own reasoning as well. Regardless, he revelled in this gap in his purpose for all the hours it lasted. They danced in Toun's mind as if they were never to separate. Never did they exchange words or expressions. But the music did fade. And with it, the joy did diminish.

Toun began to stir.

He opened his eye to greet the sun. It was yellow and harsh, nothing like the joy of his previous thoughts. He saw the slave hain gathered around him, holding the hands of one-another in an inefficient formation. Within the next moments, awareness of all that had happened caught up with Toun.

The slave hain had slowed to a stop. They all looked at Toun in the centre of their formation with uncertainty. One fell to one knee, letting go of his neighbours. Another collapsed completely. Exhaustion overtook them one at a time, even as they tried to remain standing for their master's instructions.

Toun looked slowly to his right as the hain fell to the floor with dull clinkings. Then, his head shakily panned to the left as he blinked and tried to gather his thoughts. More hain fell, some fainting, some simply trying to dull their aching limbs. Toun was speechless.

Once all of the hain had fallen, Toun blinked again and stood up from his wheel. Rather than rage and shout at this lapse in his duties, he was surprisingly calm. "We have become...distracted," he intoned with an unsure waver in his voice. He swept his right hand out and lifted the tiles around him to transport all the slave hain back to their shelters on the wall. "Rest. We continue tomorrow."

As conflicted as he was about his experience, it had left odd residue in Toun's thoughts. As he mildly recognised the end of the memory, he began to flex his fingers again, waiting for Majus and Minus to finish their journey. He hated the coincidence of the calligraphy used to create them happening after phantasmagoria. Those powerful symbols were not recalled by chance, in all truth. He also hated that he kept going back to that memory, as if there was something beyond Fate and beyond improving the world in that little, inconsequential dance. It served no purpose. He truly hated being idle.

Toun looked through the eyes of Majus to check their progress. Upon mental command, Majus' head turned from the rushing ocean below to Minus flying beside it. Minus looked back blankly with a certain sheet of billowing, wispy white fabric crackling furiously in the wind from her shoulders.

Why did I give Minus that cape, anyway?
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Scarifar
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Scarifar Presto~!

Member Seen 14 hrs ago

The Mother Goddess, Angel of Light, She Who Shines

Level 3

- pre-Vestec Shenanigans -

As the Angels got ready for the battle against the incoming horde that was Vestec's army, Niciel realized that she had grown complacent. She had become insensitive to the passage of time, and Niciel resolved to fix that.

Niciel peered into her Orb of Escry, the first time she had done so in quite a while. Some spots the Wisps were observing were rather boring and uneventful, just some trees in a grassy area or a land of barren sand. These locations were hardly worth paying attention to. However, there were some sites that definitely caught Niciel's attention, most notably the various groups of Vestec's army. A few Wisps were even destroyed while Niciel was watching, forcing the Orb to focus upon another Wisp.

One Wisp was currently watching Loth atop his winged White Giant. Niciel wondered how her beloved child was doing. She began to worry that maybe she didn't provide enough for him, and wondered if he would be alright. Niciel briefly considered sending him a gift, but quickly decided against it. She believed that he would do fine.

After peering into the Orb for some time, Niciel came to the conclusion that she had spent too long in the Valley of Peace. Things had been advancing very far in the world, and she had not prepared for any of it. Therefore, it was time to fix that.

Niciel called upon some Holy Wisps, and a few soon appeared. Concentrating her power, Niciel began to duplicate them, creating more and more of them until she felt that their numbers were sufficient. Then, she began to alter them, giving each division a different task. One group she altered to be Attackers, which would attack enemies with much more powerful beams and bolts of Holy energy than their normal counterparts. One group became Sustainers, which would be capable of healing others through various means. Another group became Barriers, which, of course, created force fields and shields of varying kinds. One group remained unchanged, despite careful thought from Niciel on what else to create.

As Niciel pondered, the apparition of Vestec had appeared...

- post-Argument with Toun -

Niciel laid the five Angel bodies in the center of the Valley of Peace. She could not help but be saddened by their deaths. They did not deserve to die, after all; Vestec had tricked them. Niciel would remember this lesson that had been taught to her. She would not be so foolish again.

Calling upon her child Falas, Niciel sent a mental message to her, "Falas, come to the center of the Valley of Peace. Bring four Angels that you trust wholly and completely. This is a matter that concerns the world."

Soon, Falas had appeared, bringing along four Angels. They were all disturbed by the sight of the bodies. "Mother Niciel..." Falas began. "Who did this? Who committed this... atrocity?"

Niciel's voice took on a gloomy tone as she explained, "There is much to explain, and so little time, so I will do my best to tell you only the most relevant information for now. You see, the world you reside in contains many beings, and not all of them benevolent. There are beings out there with power that rival my own. Other Gods and Goddesses. The army that currently approaches the Valley of Peace was created by one such being: Vestec, the God of Chaos. As for the one who killed these Angels and mangled them to such an extent is another God: Toun, the God of Perfection."

Falas did not know how to react to this new piece of information. Other Gods with power equal to Mother Niciel's... and one such God had created the army that was coming to attack the Valley of Peace...

Niciel gave them some time to let the information sink before continuing, "Not all Gods are wicked or cruel, but do take care when you meet one. It's very difficult to tell how to deal with any of them. Imparting this piece of advice to you is not the only reason why I called you here, though." Niciel concentrated her energy, then four white orbs appeared and entered the bodies of the 4 Angels that had accompanied Falas. Their bodies began to glow, and their form was altered ever so slightly. When the glow finally subsided, there changes were quite visible. Their wings were now the same color as their hair, and the irises in their eyes now had two different colors within them. "You now hold the power of Archangels," Niciel told them. "Use this power wisely." The four Archangels knelt down and bowed their heads in thanks before rising back up. "Do not think I have forgotten you, Falas. You too will receive a gift," Niciel said as another orb, brighter than the others, descended from the sky and was absorbed into her body. Her body began to glow as well, but there was no visible change once the glow subsided. "You possess the ability to turn your fellow Angels into Archangels as well, or even a Seraph like you, if you so desire. Take care when bestowing such power upon others."

"As for the fallen... please do your best to make sure that they are given a proper funeral. That is all," Niciel said before her presence faded.

With their task set before them, Falas and the Archangels looked at the mangled bodies of the Angels in dismay. It was not a pleasant sight to see members of your own kind dead, especially in such a fashion. "Commander Falas, let us take care of this," one of the Archangels said. "You should focus on the upcoming war. Once we are done, we will rejoin you." Falas stared at the bodies for a few moments before turning her attention to Archangels, saying solemnly, "Thank you. I appreciate it," then flying away.

As Niciel pondered how else to make the Valley of Peace secure, the sky suddenly became dark, followed by a plethora of colors. Niciel briefly recognized this power belonging to Ilunabar before her mind became clouded. It was an odd feeling, indeed, yet somewhat familiar as well. Niciel felt like... she wanted to dance. At first, she merely swayed left and right to the rhythm of the music. Then, she began to do a little more. Twirling, weaving, leaping, humming... it felt so comforting.

Niciel concentrated her energies, and the Wisps began to move to the music as well. Trails of Wisps bobbed up and down in sync. Some Wisps formed pairs and danced around each other as if they were participating in a ball. Others created little lightshows of their own, in which Wisps fired off bolts and beams of energy, following the rhythm of the music and creating shapes in the air with other Wisps. Even the trees within the Valley of Peace, both Holy and normal, swayed to the rhythm of the music, and some of the Wisps revolved around them. As they did so, some of the Wisps began to change. The Wisps' original colors slowly faded, becoming a light gray, then gaining a light-greenish color. Then, some of the green Wisps began to merge with the trees. As a result, the affected trees began to change. They began to uproot themselves, their roots coiling around each other to form feet and their lower branches growing to form arms. On one side of the trees formed a pair of small silver eyes. These new creatures continued to dance, stomping their feet on the ground repeated as they swayed their branches in all directions.

Soon, the strange influence began to affect the Angels as well. Instinct overcame rational thought, and some of the Angels dropped whatever they were doing to dance. Some chose to leap into the air and perform complex maneuvers, while others landed on the ground and danced with their feet. The Angels that were not affected grew curious about this strange phenomenon. The more they did, the more they too succumbed to the dancing until they joined their dancing brethren. Wisps floated towards them to join the Angels. Bobbing and pulsing and revolving and twirling... then the Wisps slowly began to merge with the Angels, the little orbs of energy floating into their bodies from all directions.

Niciel could only think about the music and the dancing, and the energy she concentrated grew and grew until it finally infused itself back into her.

This phenomenon continued for many hours, but it eventually came to an end. Once it did, many Angels dropped to the ground, having used up so much energy they could hardly move. Many of them had never experienced such exhaustion before, and it was actually a rather unpleasant sensation. When they did eventually come to, though, they could tell that they had been changed during the event.

Niciel's presence also appeared as Niciel said to her children, "Are any of you hurt? I apologize if you are; that was not my intention. By now, you should have realized that you all have gained a new power. Call upon a Wisp, and you will find that they now respond to you. Pay close attention to the Life Wisps, however." Several green Wisps floated over to nearby trees and entered them, each one disappearing under the surface of the trees. Then, the trees began to grow taller and uprooted themselves, forming arms and legs from their branches and roots. A pair of silver eyes also appeared as well. "These are Ents. Command them as you wish, for I believe they shall prove useful in your upcoming battle. Take care." With that, Niciel's presence vanished.

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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Legion02


Member Seen 13 hrs ago

Collab between Legion02 and Rtron

Nimueh against the Horde
Level 1 Hero

The corrupted Pronobii charged into the fray with harrowing cries, spears of ice flying through the air to crash into their normal brethren in front of them. From the front ranks of the charging corrupted Pronobii came naked members of the horde. They clenched only stone knives in their hands, and charged far ahead of their corrupted allies. “I love Lakshmi!’ They screamed in unison, their skin and knives glowing. The Order of Lakshmi charged through the ranks of the Pronobii, heedless of weapons and magic, their daggers slicing and cutting through armor and flesh.

Of course, once a minute was up, they fell like wheat before the scythe in spectacular sprays of blood.

As the corrupted Pronobii clashed with their brethren, there was movement in the sky. Ashlings with wings were waiting to fall upon the unsuspecting Pronobii, using the clouds for cover until the right moment.

Nimueh kept her ground. Her blade reaping the approaching Lakshmi warriors and the corrupted Pronobii. The ground around her got thick with clear ice and blood-muddied snow. They could barely stand against the suicidal madness of the Horde. The assault from the sky turned the battle into a slaughter. The line of Nimueh’s Pronobii started breaking. Small skirmishes broke and in the chaos the flying Ashlings picked out the Pronobii left and right.

Nimueh, despite her best ability, knew she could not win this battle. There were too many of them, and too little of their own. “Pull back!” she started yelling, while she and a few others kept her ground. Giving her uncorrupted brethren a chance to flee. But she was dragged out of the final defensive line by an elder. “You go with the others! We will hold the line!” They had to yell to simply hear another. So loud was the battle. “No! I will buy you time! Go to Reas’Thul! Fight there.” But the elder shook his head: “Reas’Thul will fall. There are too many of them and too little of us. We must fall back. To Nime’Agul.” For a moment Nimueh was shocked, but when she saw the loose bands of her people fleeing, she understood. “Lead them.” continued the elder. “Make sure they survive.”

And so it came to pass. Nimueh fled with the others. While the strongest and the elder kept their ground. Forbidding any of the Horde to pass through. Those who retreated kept firing ice spikes at the flying Ashlings. Keeping them away. Eventually the Ashlings stopped pursuing. And so she went back to Nime’Agul.

The Ashlings fell from the sky onto the unsuspecting Pronobii. While their enemies were far more skilled, they had the advantage of numbers and the fact that for every Ashling that fell, they infected at least one of the enemy to replenish their numbers. The Pronobii broke, and they killed those that weren’t fast enough running away, or stood their ground.

As the last body fell, it turned from slaughter to looting. In these cold, miserable lands, anything that the natives used was beneficial. Those Ashlings who hadn’t already began arming themselves with the better gear of the Pronobii, and those Corrupted Pronobii who were behind with the times began to do so as well.

Rasul stood amongst the carnage, blood dripping from his sword and shield. “Run, run, as fast as you can, little chosen one. You of all people should know that you can’t outrun death.”

From the very cliffs where Reathos stood watching over his children a bit longer, there too stood Nimueh now. Behind her the Pronobii walked away in long, scattered lines. Reas’Thul had fallen. Their Lost brethren spared no building. The avalanche approaching from the distance heralded the complete annihilation of the place. Soon it was time for the Temple-Arena of The Great Prophet. The place was razed to the frozen ground. Snow filled the pit, as the halls teaching the great Ways of Combat collapsed. The crude, but named, statues perished as groups of black abominations and icy traitors completely emptied out the place. Nimueh could do nothing but watch, and wonder if they would ever recover from such loss. Not only in material. But also in knowledge. The hordes of chaos had broken the few elders ensuring Nimueh’s retreat. Those elders had an unbelievable amount of knowledge. Having mastered many Ways of Combat under the tutelage of the Great Prophet’s golden age. All that knowledge was now lost.

Nime’Agul stood its ground for longer than Reas’Thul. The village was not only prepared, it was strengthened by those who pulled back from Reas’Thul. With the united bands of warriors, Nimueh could form a true army. One that held its ground the following battle. That was, until the sky born threat that were the flying Ashlings came bearing down once more. Her line wavered once more. Threatening to fall apart in the small skirmishes where the Pronobii would end up losing. Even Nimeuh, fighting in the center with whatever strength remained in her couldn’t keep it all together forever. Until the first of the flying Ashlings fell down with a deafening shriek. Behind her stood another Pronobis. Unlike her brothers and sisters she did not wear armor. Nimueh pulled out of the fray to question her. When she approached the Pronobis, who looked more and more like a mere girl half Nimueh’s age, Nimeuh asked herself how this little one could have taken down an Ashling by simply looking at it. Until she was a mere 5 meters away. The girl had found her target. In a rapid move she commanded a shard of ice to fly through the sky. Impaling another Ashling. “Who are you?” asked Nimueh. “Arcadia.” Replied the youngling, as she tracked her third target with her eyes. “Come find me when this is over.” Was the only thing Nimeuh could spare for the little girl as she returned to the battle. With every Ashling slain the army of Nimueh’s moral grew. With every deafening shriek plunging from the skies the True Ones rose their blades higher and held their shields firmer. The battle was won, but at a steep price.

Arcadia obeyed Nimueh’s command. She appeared before Nimueh after the battle. “Who taught you?” was the first question Nimueh had for the girl. “Nobody. I’m Unwanted.” Unwanted pretty much meant weak. It meant that she had no physical prowess. Most Unwanted became cast outs. Useless. They died out into the tundra. “Then how did you learn to throw the shards of ice.” Arcadia looked at her for a few moments. “When your Great namesake lived, the Pronobii were in a golden age of prosperity. Many new Ways of Combat were developed. Then she died and we stopped developing. I chose to not follow suit. I may be Unwanted but I have a talent for the sacred art of Cryomancy. Thus I created my own Way of Combat. Casting.” Nimueh listened quite attentive at the girl. Like most unwanted she looked thin and frail like all Unwanted.

Nimueh, in the meantime started to venture out of Nime’Agul after every battle. The battles she had to face turned bleaker every time. It soon became clear to Nimueh that the survival of her race was at stake. Chaos didn’t spare anyone. It destroyed everything in its wake. Like a great avalanche. Only now did she realize just how dangerous it was. And on her own, she could not win. She could not unite the villages. Nor could she drill the locals enough. After every battle she saw how too many had died. It took some time, but eventually despair cast over her.

After every battle, be it on a summer-day or a winter-night, she ventured out from Nime’Agul. With her blade laying gently on the snow before her, she knelt, and prayed. She prayed in both the spoken language and, at the best of her abilities, in the language of the True Names. Though she only knew separate words. However, Reathos seemed to not appear. Not even after a full summer-day. To the dismay of Nimueh, they were also losing heavily. Soon she could do nothing but retreat with the few survivors of Nime’Agul to the next hamlet. Which didn’t even get a name yet. Her numbers were small and many of them were tired of the fighting.

It was on a glacier when it happened. Once more, Nimueh was on her knees, eyes closed. Praying to her god of death. From the distance a black dot appeared on the horizon. In the twilight of the dusk-evening it could barely be seen. So only when the dot grew bigger, more active and closer to Nimueh, did she notice. At first she didn’t fully understand what she saw. But then realized that it could very well be the aerial Ashlings. She lifted her sword from the ground and held it ready in one hand. A strange sense of dread swept over her. She could not take on the entire horde on her own. If they attacked her, she would perish, no doubt. The dread spread through her like a virus. Even tainting her syphon deep within her.

Then the image became clearer. In the distance, a murder was approaching. The birds were too small to be Ashlings. Before Nimueh knew it, they began to land all around her. Confused she looked around. A strong force was among the murder. But all the crows looked so harmless. They didn’t even caw. What she felt and what she saw did not line up. Until the giant crow approached her. With wide eyes she looked at the approaching bird, until her warrior reflexes took over and she readied her sword to fight whatever monster approached.

But right before she ended her silent prayer to Reathos, thinking it would be her last one, the Crow exploded in a harmless cloud of pitch black smoke. Though the smoke began to gather, forming ash which swiftly fell on the snow and down the cliff below. Before her stood a cloaked man, with a silvery mask. In his right hand he had a gauntlet, made from the same silver holding a lantern with a bright purple flame. While his left hand looked boney and black. “Who are you!?” she demanded.

But the man before her remained silent. He merely stepped forward, while Nimueh kept her sword ready. If she wasn’t trained since the day she was born, she was sure he knees would rattle. As she could feel the raw power ooze from the person before her. A raw power that felt eerie familiar. The man eventually reached the tip of the blade. The mask betrayed the movement behind it. The being looked down, at the blade. Yet, probably unimpressed, it pressed on. The blade phased through him, as if he himself was made from a cloud of black-grey smoke. With his boney hand he reached for her. Nimueh wanted to act, but an overpowering fear froze her to the ground. She could move anything, except for her wide eyes. Gazing as the person’s hand approached.

But instead of anything horrible it could have done, it merely cupped her cheek. It spoke with a strange, heavy, distorted voice. “My daughter…My true daughter. You have changed.” The man took a few steps back, so the blade was ‘out’ him again. Nimueh’s instinct loosened up. She could control herself once more, and lowered her blade.

“Are you Reathos? The god of death.” She asked, looking at him with still big eyes. A few crows cawed at her when she mentioned ‘Reathos’. The man beneath the mask nodded. “Why did you call me your True Daughter?” she asked, curious. She wanted to ask a thousand different questions. A million favors. She wanted to ask him to reap the souls of chaos. Yet when he called her his True Daughter, she could only ask that one question.

“Long ago, clearly before you were born, I created your kin. But like all newly created sentience, you all feared your surroundings. You feared the world for it was all new to you. So I controlled a Pronobis’ body. The one you now call the Great Prophet.”


“Indeed. It is no mere coincidence that you and her share the same name. You are her. She is you. Back when I controlled her, your kin rose to great heights. They had a gift to control their very environment. However, eventually, the body I controlled, had to die. But I never expected a being like you to have spawned.”

“But I was born on the day the Great Prophet’s death day. How can I possibly be here. Never before has it happened. People don’t get reborn.”

“You are right. Nimueh died. But something must have happened. A piece of my power must have lingered. I cannot give you all the answers, my daughter. But what I can tell you is that you have the exact same soul as the Pronobis I controlled. However…I reckon that is not why you have been praying to me?”

Nimueh suddenly realized the vast amount of problems she was facing. Not the least the idea that her kind could be destroyed. But the saying of Reathos made her doubt he request. What if they were the old already? “I-I… Father… Are we destined to… Perish?”

Reathos remained quiet. As he pondered on the question. Such things should be asked at Fate, not him. He was merely the reaper. He did not decide when people should go and when not. “Such things… They are a matter of Fate. I do not know the wishes of the elusive goddess. I merely enact her final will upon all creatures.”

“Father, we are dying.” Nimueh began to beg. Falling to her knees, she looked straight at the empty holes where his eyes should be. Seeing only blackness behind the silvery mask. “We are outnumbered. They wield weapons from a material we never saw before. Please… Just… If we are bound to die. Then for mercy’s sake, just finish it already.” She slammed her blade in the frozen ground next to her, and lowered her head. As if she was a prisoner on the block.

“No.” the voice of Reathos was resolute and sure. “Fate… I will test her. I will test you. My children, survive for what you call 6 winter-nights. On the dawn, you will meet your salvation.”

Level 3 God of Death

Giving little chance to protest, Reathos exploded once more in a smoke and ash-cloud. From it the Crow Form rose high towards the skies. Towards the southern Ironheart Mountains. On the highest peak he landed. Right in time, for he suddenly felt a great pain straight through him. As if someone had taken a massive spear and pierced his chest with it. “What… Is this!?” From everywhere around the world he suddenly saw the corpses rising. As prisons of souls that should have descended towards the wraith-stone. “Impossible!" he bellowed, as another strike of pain hit him. The very flow of souls, it was disturbed. Tainted. “Vestec…What have you done.” Reathos could utter, as he tried to rise up. With a great deal of pain within him, he could. Dealing with Vestec’s absurd games would have to wait though. He had made a promise to his children. He gathered up his power, and a green burning orb appeared before them. In silence he started to create and shape his divine will. Eventually, it was finished.

The murder of crows had grown larger and surrounded the peak now. Cawing loudly in the cold gale winds. When Reathos was done, he lowered his hands and the orb shattered in a million pieces. Each shard flew out from it, hitting a crow. Yet the crow seemed unharmed by it at first. Each crow hit swiftly flew off towards all four corners of the world. While Reathos looked at them. He could not smile.

The crows began to burn. At night, all over Galbar creatures would witness green streaks of light, like falling stars, across the dark sky. While at day long trails of smoke left a line across the skies. When the crows approached their destination, they exploded in an ash-cloud. Descending upon the ground. Where under it, the bones of the dead stirred.

Through his crows’ eyes, he saw how his army of skeletal fighters formed itself. Digged in by nature herself, the bodies were in shallow graves. But not only angel, Hain and human rose. Rovaick and even animals rose with it. As the grand bushbeast bones marched once more over the world, Heraktati long perished ran between their legs. All headed towards the southern pole, hunting for Chaos.

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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Antarctic Termite
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Antarctic Termite Resident of Mortasheen

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Diaphane was ended, crushed out of existence much as she had been wrought into it- In a flow of blood. Of her eggs, Jvan knew, some had survived to scatter over the surface of Galbar, where she hoped that the Elementals would be surprised to find her children tenacious, and eager to cast their spawn to the winds. Luckiest was the one whose plight she had heard and soothed and borne into the fragments of Galbar's ring. There it may stay, and proliferate in peace.

The first, perhaps, of much migration into this world from Other flesh.

Vestec's glittery doing in the skies beckoned for further touches. Too long I have relegated my art to mundanity. Grounded things, derivative of the works of others. Galbar was beautiful but there were places beyond. Diaphane may have been wrought of necessity, but she was nonetheless the final cue, upon which Jvan would wait no longer. Zephyrion's castle of the air had its place, his children theirs. For the system they had established to become broader, more dynamic, it had to expand.

Perfectus had disappeared into the errorsome Gap. Now it was time to reverse the loss.

The Horrorsome Engineer curled into herself, folding the tidy flesh of her form until splinters of underlying frameworks pierced the distorted surface. Burrowing into her own fog, groping in the ever-churning chambers for traces of that which she had secreted away long ago, Jvan forced her awareness into the Gap, ballooning her flesh into the overstretched bottleneck. The Other had waited for her since the time of the pre-world and it waited still, a hot, glorious mess of shudders in the shadows.

Oh... How you've grown.

Other-forms slithered between minuscule vacuoles of not-space, the scattered nature of their forms no detraction from their magnitude. Jvan felt their weightless clinging, spreading like mould into every inch of her body. It stung her. Like mire-sludge itches upon skin as it dries, it stung her.

Gods had built the universe to accommodate them. This place was their amalgamated failure, their conflict, mistakes and flaws that all attempts to heal had only scarred over. Divine trash shunted aside by all but the fool, the Child God who had blessed it with life and stability and now stood under the reckoning of her choices.


It did not.

The Other stung her, and it fed. Jvan bloated further and further into the silent hybrid of Vowzra's sabotage and her own words, but the living being took after its illegitimate father and its emaciating bite became a tear. Layer by layer of manifold flesh shrivelled and peeled away into the lightlessness, ravenous in isolation of aeons. She pushed on, constructing greater and greater swathes of her body into the fractured crevice but her spawn only consumed. A shivering warmth seized the goddess and the edge of her perception became a nauseous blur.

I am... Losing myself. My child, my child, what has the Viceregent done to you? Why must you slay your own?

Beneath the waters of the Fractal Sea, a convulsive wave spread, as Jvan's cathedral body began to sag over disappearing foundations. Push became a pull, and then a tug of war.


But the fever-dream was far from breaking.

Other-flora seethed over her, into her, and only the heat of her whirring core scorched the tip of its advancement enough to hold it from leeching into Galbar. The corpulent God sagged on the horizon like a spilled bladder, consuming itself, sacrificing its exterior to fuel the engines that stood bastion to the parasite growing within. Flesh ate flesh ate flesh, as is its way.

No resistance could hold back the encroaching sprawl, until, deep within Jvan's cavity, the creeping Other found something hard amidst the softness. Old, buried under the new.

White, within the grey.


As its enclosing scar toppled and fell away into Jvan's ardent resistance, a delicately balanced shard of perfection was flung free into the violence. Uncompromising. The porcelain shrapnel cut and sliced through god and anomaly alike, annihilating the Other and searing the Jvan's vaulted shape until it sloughed and rose anew. Fresh, and perfect.

Order seized Jvan, purging its bile and snapping its body into sleek concentric spirals that stood immovable and jagged against the waltz of error. From the wounds of the shard, symmetry spread in a single pulse that left the arches of Jvan's body quivering with tension and the Other seared away into the impermeable grey fog; And the wave of order swept on, echoing deep into the Gap, shining a carmine glow that carried a hale voice.

"E N O U G H !"

The familiar, dim red light of Jvan's control resonated deep into the fracture, wresting the Other back on its own spine until it cracked and splintered and collapsed, mangled, before her.

"I am All-Beauty! Artist of the every seam from which you spilled! Engineer of the flesh with which you breathe! I am the Key, who opened this gate, and I am the Bastion that shall hold it closed! I alone am the Other God, and none shall deny me my domain!"

And the fracture yielded before her.

* * * * *

From a million negligible vacuoles, from false starts and erroneous calculations, did the will of Jvan coalesce. She whirled into the fragmented space and buttressed it with her bones, supported it on pillars of her back, drawing together a great swathe of what had been splintered since the dawn of time. The bubbles and cracks of the Gap balanced against one another at her command, clearing a great cavity around which she and the Other curled in a symbiosis only the Horrorsome Engineer could design.

From her firstborn's body she began to weave a new structure, and she did it thus.

Starting at a single point, Jvan created two materials in the darkness. One supple, and translucent, a near-white pink, and the other flexible but firm, pale beige, like faintly yellowed porcelain. The latter material she extended into a long, segmented cord, and, twisting gravity, caused it to curve in a half-circle. She wrapped this in the soft material as her awareness moved from the first point along the curled shape, enclosing the narrow tube for maybe a quarter of its length.

There she extended two spines of the harder substance into the arc formed by the narrow tunnel, side by side, and from each one another such rod at a tight angle from the end of the first, facing towards the starting-point. These too she enclosed in the soft fabric. Thus Jvan propped up the thing against the external gravity holding it in place.

She then created the core of the thing, and for this purpose she created a third material, a dark carmine substance the colour of her own voice. Jvan formed it into an orb and implanted it, too, upon the inner arc of the thing, where it swelled and collapsed rhythmically. This core she protected with two inwards-curving fences of parallel spines, extending from opposite sides of the thin tunnel and composed of the same hard, pale material. Each fence guarded one side of the orb, and she enclosed all this in the translucent substance, covering the rigid tube to a two-thirds of its length. And from the layer of softness encasing the fences and their precious cargo, she extended a long, long tube of the same material, and implanted it into herself, so that she would always draw energy from this Other-machine, and it from her.

Three-quarters of the way up the arc, she extended two more struts, this time bent towards supporting the furthermost end of the arc, opposite the first pair. Enclosing this in soft material, Jvan finally produced a hollow orb of the hard material, into which the segmented tube lead. In this space she allowed unadulterated Other-flesh to curl up and rest, and left in the ball two portals through which it would be eternally connected to the Gap. This far end of the segmented tunnel she clothed in supple material, completing the thing.

It needs protection.

Taking the entire, fused Gap cavity, and her own flesh that was within it, and the divine construct that was attached to it, Jvan excised this entire assembly from the rest of the Gap and held it within her physical body. Here she built around it a cocoon of kilometres-thick grey bone, in the simplest and strongest shape- A triangle, curved into a sleek three-dimensional fortress. At its two upwards points, she extended vast, curved horns, each several miles long, that did not taper into points but split into frayed, circular organs with which she could listen to the transmissions of all of her Sculptors, and sense the sounds of stirring from within the Gap.

From its sides leading towards the third, downwards point, Jvan extended two rigid, thin stalks, and budded on each of them a living, growing battery of her Eyes. And at the third corner of the triangle she built a grey gate, a circular portal into the Gap-cavity within the fortress, wherein her living flesh received inspiration from the Other. When this great door opened, it opened only slightly, and with great strain, for this smoothly bulbous structure was the only entrance to the cavity and its fragile contents.

* * * * *

The Ovaedis being done, Jvan migrated it slowly from within her to her uppermost surface. Slowly, moment by moment, its great horns rose into the sky, and the whole structure hovered slowly into orbit, joining the meteoroids of Galbar's ring.

And as it rose, a strange thing can, perhaps, be marked. Though the Gods of Galbar are weird and many, they are of one kind, arising from the word of one being. Certain traits resonate within them, and have been present since before they were conceived. Even All-Beauty, who rejects the shape and ways of her siblings, is not apart from the Divine Caste. Disguised as it is, in size and purpose, the Ovaedis follows a familiar form.

Indeed, it takes the shape of an embryo in utero. From its curved spine with extruding tailbone, to the thin bends of two arms and two legs, to the rounded skull and two small perforations that might be eyes; From the heart within two sets of ribs and the umbilicus coupling it to its mother; From the uterus holding it, complete with fallopial tubes, extruding ovaries, and single cervix, the Ovaedis of Jvan is, at once, divine and mortal.

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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Cyclone
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Cyclone Trapped in the Past

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Turn 6

God Name - God Level - God Might - God Freepoints

Astarte - L4 - 27 MP - 5 FP

Belruarc [NPC] - L2 - 31 MP - 6 FP

Ilunabar - L4 - 14 MP - 1 FP

Julkolfyr [NPC] - L2 - 22 MP - 3 FP

Jvan - L4 - 12 MP - 1 FP

Kyre - L3 - 34 MP - 6 FP

Logos - L2 - 31 MP - 3 FP

Niciel - L4 - 16 MP - 1 FP

Mammon - L4 - 26 MP - 2 FP

Reathos - L4 - 19 MP - 1 FP

Slough - L4 - 20 MP - 2 FP

Teknall - L4 - 22 MP - 1 FP

Toun - L4 - 21 MP - 3 FP

Ull'Yang - L4 - 31.5 MP - 4 FP

Vakarlon - L3 - 30 MP - 6 FP

Vestec - L4 - 14 MP - 2 FP

Vowzra - L3 - 17.5 MP - 5 FP

Vulamera - L3 - 21 MP - 6 FP

Zephyrion - L3 - 34.5 MP - 4 FP


Demigod Name - Demigod Level - Demigod Might - Demigod Worshippers

Belvast - L3 - 6 MP - 0 W

Lifprasil - L1 - 8 MP - 0 W

Keriss - L1 - 4 MP - 0 W

The Bard [NPC] - L3 - 7 MP - 0 W

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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Lugubrious
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Lugubrious Makes the big edits

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The sky itself danced with mad colors, rippling and reverberating through the eyes and souls of man and god. Beneath the steady, portentous tread of bedeviled thousands, the earth shook and the grass became juicy pulp like so many squeezed tears. Through the aging atmosphere the wind howled and howled, a sonorous clamor of chaos, and little maelstroms of chaos danced across a cultivated world. New abominations, loathsome brainchildren of the diseased consciousness, sought out the little chaoses as their spirits beat to their own tunes, and sucked from them their very existence til even the littlest breath held more power. Above the particulate expanse hovered the bastion of change, keeping captive within its winding halls the arbiter of beauty, a triad of talents, and an empathetic lord. Mutative poisons lashed from the gullet of the titan of the Venomweald; colossi of the sea drifted, flailing, into the abyssal leviathan's jaw. Magic bled from stone into the floor of a forest buried alive, bones and ice conspired to stave off a damnable defeat, and perfection stood as the adversity of nicety. Some of the old gods stirred in their self-made graves, like the reclusive warmonger, while the names of others vanished from the memory of even their kin. Occupation consumed the world, and it left it stripped to the bone.

And so it was that in one year the season changed, not a fall to winter, but a fall to famine. Robbed of substantiation, every living thing wilted. Trees shriveled up and dropped their leaves, their branches reaching like bones toward an uncharitable sky. Across Galbar the green grass became a carpet of rotting brown, while the opulent fronds of the Gilt Savannah lost their luster and took on a mantle of ash. Creatures, be they of thinking minds or not, starved, but they did not die. For an entire season there was no death—and no life. Every being dwindled to a husk, a corpse not yet robbed of its movement and not susceptible to decay. Even unnatural life fell still, as if caught in a trance. In this season of profound stagnation, death lost meaning, time went unmeasured by mortal mind, dreams dwindled like dying fires, no mouth sang, no brain thought, no hand rose to gave thanks for light, no craftsman crafted, no warrior warred, and only ill winds, devoid of tiding, blew.

Of course, to a god or demigod, what was a season? When spring came, the spell passed, and existence resumed as if nothing had happened. No mortal, from peasant to warlord, remembered a thing. Perhaps it was merely all a bad dream. It sank away just as quickly.

Only on one corner of Galbar was the Aimless Time remembered. At the mouth of the Mahd river, where it splintered through a great delta into the Fractal Sea, there lay a broken land. It was a drab, deary, and temperate country of canyons, cliffs, bluffs, plateaus, mountains, fjords, and gulches, most hundreds of feet above sea level and the nearby desert, rising like misshapen giants above a web of fog created by the rivers far below. On the tops of these structures stood little forests and towns, a blend of farming, fishing, and logging villages of the decadent backwoods variety. In this place lived the wanderers, the explorers, the seekers, the pilgrims, and the lost. Somehow, all of their journeys led them here—here, where the Aimless Time went unrivaled by any other conception of reality. Every one of them, be they hain, human, angel, troll, tedar, goblin, seemed hollow. They seldom spoke, and moved slowly, as if they had all the time in the world. Even for this place, however, one settlement in particular stood out as strange. At some point evidently a ring of houses and towers around a great pit in the ground, but the entire place had been suffused by enormous roots, vines, and branches. The naked eye could not discern plant from bone still lined with dusty, clinging flesh, but still the plants lived and grew. They grew through the bodies of the town's inhabitants, either pinning them in place for eternity or turning them into walking foliage of their own. Nothing bloomed; there was no green. At the bottom of the pit, this Deadwood Sepulcher lay the root-mangled corpse of a deer. Strips of flesh hung on to its bones, but nothing else remained save a bog of putrefied biomatter staining it and the ground around it and an accursed soul.

In this very spot, long ago, life had been laid to rest, and by mortal and god alike she had been forgotten. Though her tortured body cried out for the aid of any being, only her custodian remained by her side, mournful but powerless to help her. He eventually went mad, his caring soul turned raving insane by the eyes on the inside, and he left her to die. So many years went by that the earth changed around her, twisted, raised, lowered, and raised again into the broken country that now resided there. When Slough's second death finally did come, a trace amount of the vast, unnamable curse within her eked out to bestow upon the forgetful world a semblance of death all its own, forever changing the Forsaken Cragland in the process.

Her curse had rotted the land, every man, woman, child, beast, bird, flower, and tree. No life remained. Vacant beings wandered the heights, tending to the land, the homes, and the tombs. Graves littered these crags, their stones outnumbering the crows, and within some of these graves lay dimly shining souls in worthless and transitory cadavers, recalled through accursed undeath and never given a proper home.

Much in this profaned land was still, yet at the base of the Deadwood Sepulcher, the Rottenbone shivered and wished she could weep.

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