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He looked at them, glaring across the burning city and seeing nothing but mice running from the fire. It was humorous, truly, a marvelous sight that made his heart dance. This was Terra, before it all fell apart. It was a horrid waste, a vile and contemptible fallacy of human ‘Glory’. Sure, the Terra of his time was bright and golden, but one can cast a pile of shit in gold and underneath it all, it is still shit. But that is for another time, for another life many years into the future, for another him to learn. He would deal with it in time, of course, as it was his destiny. He would forge the beginning of that path here and now, with a single action, changing his fate forever. He turned to face the cowering man, holding the scrolls to his chest and sweating in fear as the necro spell ate away at the people further in the palace to give rise to the abominations. Far too similar to the rotting masses of the ‘Grandfather’ for his tastes, the dead should stay dead in his mind so that they may continue on the path of change. So that they may nourish what comes next, but those that refused to die only complicated and stagnated.

“Do not fret, little mouse.” Korvo spoke, looking at the man in his thick robes which reeked of his fear. “You have been granted glorious salvation, a chance to change your fate.” he said as he practically skipped over to the man. His heeled feet clicking over the stone floor in a staccato tapping rhythm, dancing to a beat only he could hear. Holding one hand out like a showman, before he tapped his cane once on the ground and caused a swirling portal to begin to form. “You will be sent far from here, to a cradle of humanity, where you may live a life free of the terror and pain. You and your ‘vast’ knowledge will elevate you, will allow you to take the people I shall give to you and bring them back to a wondrous new future free of this ‘Emperor’.” he said with a whistle on his lips, as the air began to shimmer with new color, vivid hues the man could not identify winked in and out of existence as flames danced and laughed. Little cackling maws opening in the flames, as if laughing at some unseen or unheard joke, or perhaps they could taste the humor and let it spill out. The little flames danced with their master, as the portal swirled open and revealed a village with near industrial age aesthetics. Korvo slid across the floor, stopping before the man. “Take your knowledge, take your life, and live well.” he said as he lifted his cane, and gently pushed the man through as he fell down into a bundle of hay. “Here you were a slave, bound to a library to keep accounts, but there you shall be something of your own making. Goodbye, Sir Phobos.” he let out, giving one last friendly wave, before the swirling portal closed with a cackling pop, causing a small plume of smoke and confetti to rain down before it burned up in bright colors.

Looking to the side, he smiled at the table, filled with important records, schematics and designs for things long lost. Things that could no longer be made due to a lack of infrastructure on Terra. He snapped his fingers, causing a few of them to shoot up into the air, and roll into tubes before they fizzled and popped away to be perused later. Yet Korvo knew he did not have long, he had to be quick and concise with what he did next or he could end up facing down the Master of Mankind and that rather potent mind he could sense in another part of the city. Going back to the window, he looked down to see those golden armored abominations, the early iterations of the Emperor’s very own legions. “Ah, the flawed ones. The Necessary Evil.” he said as he tapped his cane a few times as he mulled over his options. “Distractions distractions.” he said as he tasted the ideas flowing over his mind as he felt the bird on his shoulder twitch, growing a multitude of eyes across his wings, and a mouth that formed on every feather and chuckled. “Do not fret my Master, broken toys they are, meant to be discarded in time. What does it matter if you break a few early?” the deep voice swam in his mind, even as the mouths spoke in a language no man could replicate. “You are right Vissar my friend, I suppose a bit of playful mischief could come to occur. After all, they are flawed products, and flawed toys tend to break at the worst of times.” he said as he waved a hand, creating a thin mist that flowed to the ground and mixed with the smog of war. Beautiful blue, or perhaps potent pink? None would be able to tell as they marched down the streets. Thick pops of gunfire mowed down the poor victims of the necro spell, and yet did nothing to stop the smog they so readily breathed in. They thrived in the crucible of war, in the death they caused, and it was almost cute.

“Look at them Vissar, if you focus you can see them for what they are. Puppets, dancing on the strings of a master who cares not for them outside of their ability to kill,” he said as he held up a hand, glowing strings reaching down off his fingers, as a tiny little Thunder Warrior formed on the end of it. Moving his fingers in a playful manner, it began to dance and twirl, slave to his whims. One of the Thunder Warriors down the lane began to replicate what was happening, dancing and twirling in a way he could not stop. He could practically hear the music in his mind as he watched the dancing slave, “You have Strings~ But there are no Strings on me.~” he sang to himself as the Thunder Warrior swung his hand around and unloaded his gun into his brothers. The gunfire drowned out the cries of surprise before the others returned fire and decimated his puppet, and yet despite the lethal shots the Thunder Warrior continued to dance around and shoot into his once allies. He did not need to be alive after all in order to serve his purpose, and in a handful of moments all five of the Thunder Warriors were dead with only a crater riddled standing corpse left before it fell slack and dropped.

Korvo smiled as he hummed the rest of the tune to himself as Vissar chuckled from the small display. “Vissar, I am sure this is quite amusing but we do have other duties to attend to. But I am quite sure, it shall ultimately be oh so very fun.”

Across the city, Malcador looked up with a sudden wince of pain as he felt the firmament shift insidiously. Next to him, a coruscating wave of putrescence flung forth by a now-dead sorcerer shifted in its arc by the slightest of margins, sailing harmlessly into a building that immediately crumbled into dust. Its intended target, Xenophon, looked up at his master with pursed lips, both knowing that a fate decreed had been defied.

Blowing out an unsteady breath, the psyker straightened himself as he put his weight upon his staff. “An alteration has occurred. Remain here and provide what aid you may to the Lucifer Blacks, follow the orders of Borethensipulas as if they were mine. I shall handle this myself.”
A shimmering skein of energy coalesced around the ancient man as yet another doomed fool sent a bolt of colors that were not, dissipating harmlessly as the Sigilite took his leave. Vanishing into an alleyway, he vanished in truth, walking through more subtle corners as he crossed the expanse of Memphos on paths drawn on no map.

He saw the bodies of the Thunder Warriors first, the spray of gore that erupted from their brutal armaments plastering far more of the cityscape than any humane - or practical - weapon. Drawing in a soft breath, Malcador wrought his soul to reduce its shine within the Warp, for the stench of witchcraft hung thick upon the air. Cautiously, he extended not his body but his mind, searching for the well of power he was all but certain had wrought this death. Of course, he knew all too well that his own travels had been far from subtle, rendering the Sigilite both hunter and hunted.

Korvo shook his hand, as if waving off the magic that had bound the corpse to his will like it was some sort of unwanted foreign material. Vissar, that great avian ‘thing’ that sat upon his shoulder would, to the eye of Malcador, be more an ‘unknowable mass that was not a mass’ than the simple crow-like form others would perceive it as. Not to include the absurdity of a creature the size of a building casually perched on a humans shoulder like a pet would be. However, despite the fact Malcador was dimming his presence in the warp, Korvo and Vissar both would turn, as if drawn to a gaze that could not be seen. The man smiled, and the Bird that was not a bird cackled, both of them stepping into the immaterium to more properly greet their guest. Korvo and Vissar’s presence melded together in some amalgamation of horror, both hiding and bolstering their presence as they confronted the ‘Voyeur’. There was only two beings on this planet, to their knowledge, that could perform such tasks.

Considering the fact they were not boiling alive in its presence, it seemed the Golden One, the Anathema, had not turned his gaze or presence this way. So it could be only one, the grand one, the Sigilite. They took in the presence of their hidden guest, and did not prod any further, it would not due to play with the tapestry of fate to much just yet. Some things must happen as intended, the weave must be spun wide before grand designs could be sown in amongst the rest. The ‘Thing’ that was Vissar and Korvo twisted and turned, a million eyes opening and closing as they looked around, before going blind all of a sudden and embracing vibrant nothingness. Then it rang out, a voice that spoke with no words, playful yet serious, arrogant yet humble.

“We welcome you, our dear friend Malcador. Blessed One, Cursed One.” spoke the avian voice, before the voice of a man came through. “We would speak with you more, yet we have things we must do. Tales we must Spin, Fates to Weave into being. Do hurry along though, we hope our next meeting shall occur soon enough. For the Great Game is ever in motion, and we must play together at that point. Shall we gather pieces first?” “Or shall you?” the man spoke, as their presence would begin fading, the avian voice came back at the end as if to mock the man. Yet they knew the strength of this one, fearsome it was, and they would not test staying too long in his presence just yet. Yet they could not help but urge the Sigilite forward, after all no game is fun if there are no players.

“An enslaved master and a ruling slave,” Malcador muttered, his voice splitting into a thousand whispers that rippled through things that were not air. “Now is not the time of our meeting, now is not your time. Get thee hence, and return to your when. We shall have our confrontation later, shadow of the future.” Disdain laced the psychic echoes of his voice, even as he dissolved himself amid the firmament. Daemon and psyker had been bold enough to announce themselves in their strength, and while a battle would be grievous for both he could at least take advantage of such arrogance.

They felt him, heard him with ears that did not exist, and yet the voice of Malcador was like both gentle rain and booming thunder in the Warp. The warning was clear, but he did not come this far to heed such a warning. His confidence came borne of knowledge, he ‘knew’ the fate of many and the Daemon had shown him even more. The tower he ruled, the times he had seen and visited, he knew exactly what to expect and yet sought to change it. “Shall we dear Sigilite? Shall we have our confrontation with walking Dust? Before I leave however, I will make you a promise.” the voices said before the man came forth, his face cast in ever shifting color and shadow that shone bright in its darkness.

“I am going to show you something Beautiful.~” the voice said as Malcador would be able to hear the shifting color of words. Before the sound of a million million crows burst into flight and the entity vanished into the warp, as Malcador had requested. Riding the wave of time to the future, yet….not to far.

The crackling stone welcomed me, the heat kissed my skin as it rose from the earth below, the cavern was lit well with the glow of magma that flowed through the stone and poured into the pools below the ledge. My hands drifted over the carved stone tables, holding numerous tools of varying size, shape and strength. My Fathers Forge called to me sweetly, and it felt as if I had returned home after years away.

I doffed my robes, and donned my apron. My arms were swollen with muscle, my chest expansive and taut under the apron, and my eyes glowed like molten fire as I took in the shape of the anvil and hammer that laid upon it. I was but a boy of 12 years, yet I had a body surpassing that of any man on Orichalcum. My skin had gone from a light pale, to a more ashy hue, my hair blackened like coal. I had adapted fast to the world I had come to call home, resembling its people more and more as time passed. I reached down and took the hammer from the Anvil and lifted it up, the brassy head of the hammer reflected my visage in the magma light, and so many things I could make with it came to mind. Yet I turned my gaze to the blueprints I had crafted a few moons ago, small devices that could be worn on the body and required a more delicate touch than this hammer could give.

So returning the hammer to the table, I instead picked up a finer tool, a set of tiny chasing hammers and carving pins. I pulled a set of near micro headed pins and hand tools made for the most delicate of work. A device, no larger than a common pocket watch, was pulled from its place as I sat down and began my work. The steady sound of the magma flow eased me into a working lull as my eyes took in my work, and I could see all I would need to do to make this device to the degree I wished.

Small rivets I had forged earlier were pulled from shelves, alongside other devices such as Micro Fusion cells and field emitter arrays the size of pinheads. Some looked like elegant jewels, some were slotted into surface faces no bigger than a ring face, yet each of them was no less effective than their upscaled brothers and sisters on the ships above his planets atmosphere. If anything, they so far surpassed them that it would be an insult to rate them together. These small emitters could stop so much more per volume, compared to those things. It was the perfect gift for his family, for the father and mother who had taken him in despite the oddity of his existence. They had provided safety and warmth for him, and so he shall do the same. It took but a handful of minutes to assemble the devices, to insert them and hammer coverings into place gently. A bit of micro shaping to give the elegant surfaces some added finery to add an element of nobility so that they could be worn acceptably in any scenario in the future.

He had modified his fathers seal of house into a personal shield emitter that would reliably stop even a direct hit from one of the army's heavy tanks. His mothers Choker was far more powerful, given he could fit more into it. With his younger siblings' penchant for staying at their mothers side during events and galas, it would also have to be able to widen the field to accept more bodies to protect. He would of course be forging more things for his family, for his siblings, as they grew older he would extend to them the same protections, they were his family and he treasured them. He felt himself shift, as his cool gaze turned towards the anvil once again knowing that soon enough he would be forging more deadly things upon its surface.

He could feel it coming, a change. He felt the stirrings of War.
Segmentum Ultima
Sector Priam, System 3249
World Malfesia, Crown World of the Phobos Family

Change always comes, in Time

Korvo awoke, from yet another dream of fire and blood, years spent watching the world through the eyes of the unseen. He had been an old man this time, pouring over old tomes and scrolls in his tower. He had fought back, feebly and fruitlessly, against a tide of change sweeping over his kingdom in a tide of fire and blood. A Dynasty, a line unbroken for centuries, had been brought low by an upstart Emperor. One that had sought to bring all before him to heel, or put it to the sword. Sometimes he would do the same regardless of submission or revolt, be they meek sheep or dogs backed into a corner lashing out, many would find the ax at their neck regardless.

It shamed him to say that he found himself, in this dream, an Old Dog with no teeth and no ability to use his mind. No ability to think or reason, just an old rat filled with fear at the coming change. He had watched, years upon years, as time whittled by in a blurry haze of fear and loathing, until that Emperor had pushed all the way to the very palace that he had hid in with his tomes and scrolls. Yet what could he do? What could he influence in a dream in which he held no control? He had been forever a passenger in his dreams of other lives, so ultimately the fire of change consumed him. Yet he was not upset at it, it was not Change that he feared, it was the helplessness. To merely be a puppet to the fear of the coming tides, the Unknown was the great enemy. It was Anathema. Even his young mind, tempered by centuries of lessons, could see what so many he had observed missed. Knowledge was power, and those with the most held the power of their fate within their grip.

He was a child, but he had learned much, but among it all what was key was this. He had paid attention, he had learned from failures that were not his own, and he knew that knowledge was most powerful when it was kept to oneself. And so he studied, he applied his mind at every turn, studying the books of his family libraries, finding many connections between his dreams and the written accounts of ages past. He recalled what knowledge and scrolls he had seen in his time as the Old Dynast King, he recalled the ever advancing Golden Army and he understood that with it came change and death for the unprepared. So he would be prepared, for how could he not? Yet even as he read and studied, his ever faithful companion sat on his perch and watched him through avian eyes.

His oldest companion, the oldest friend he could remember, was not another child, but a feathered crow that had come through his windows years ago. WIth feathers that seemed blue in a certain light, yet when you focused all you would see is a crow, though sometimes those eyes seemed to hold a light that felt painful. Yet he said nothing, he revealed nothing, he was nothing but a crow to those without the mind to see the differences. His father was one of those, and he had hoped that his father would have been more observant but it is what it was. Not everyone could be held up to the standards he had come to expect of himself, and he only pitied them, for they were lost in their own ignorance. He would abandon Ignorance, and Embrace Knowledge.

In Time, Comes Change

The Boy read the scrolls, each and every day, he dug through dozens and eventually hundreds of scrolls seeking the knowledge he craved. He was at the very least better than many others of his kind, never satisfied with the things he knew. He craved more, always more and more, he sought the fruit of knowledge held just out of reach. It was amusing, truly, he sought elevation not understanding he was just following the plan laid out before him. He was seeking to escape the fate of the ignorant, and failed to realize he was simply marching down the paths of fate, as a pawn would and should.

Ultimately it was disappointing.

He had held hopes for the boy, he had borne of an auspicious pact made many years ago, well at least according to humanity. The concept of time in their measuring was flawed, they saw it as a linear progression but failed to understand time was a concept that could not truly be understood or defined by their limited scope of knowledge. Regardless he is pontificating now, and had lost track of what was before him. He saw the boy had stopped reading and had simply been staring at him, observing him as he had for so many years now. He had been curious, he had made the pact on a whim, and he did not understand what compelled him to stay.

The boy had proven himself a slave to fate, like everyone was, for even he could not escape the weavings of his master. Fate was the ultimate force in this Universe, in all of Reality! It was a magic so profound and powerful that the sole being capable of manipulating it had used it to ascend to Godhood in the instant of his birth. They had always been fated for it, or so they intended, and simply wove it into being. He was blessed to be even a fragment of such a being, a sliver of an existence which transcended understanding and time and effected change on such a scale as to move all of reality forward on the winds of Magic.

Yet even as he contemplated this, all of the grandeur that comprised his existence and origin, he still found no answer to the question he had. Why did he stay? What compelled him to remain as the aide to a child, even as strange as the boy was, he could see nothing in the weave of fate when he looked at the future held for the child. He could not even see a single day in advance, for anything tied to the boy was as clear as muddied water. Certainly you could argue it was this muddied fate that held his interest, and yet when he gave it supreme thought he realized it wasn’t this. For even if he could not see the exact route he would take to get there, the boy's fate was damnation at the end and that was clear as crystal. So no matter how muddied the path, if you knew the ending then what did it matter?

No it was something else, something that brought a chill to his mind. He could feel it, as if the answer was before him but not forming on the tip of his tongue. So he watched, he played the role of attendant and pet, and observed. That was how the years went by, the boy bloomed as puberty struck, his mind growing in leaps and bounds. He was quickly becoming a man that led millions, billions even. 9 Worlds, the most auspicious of numbers in service to the great one, all called him Young Lord. They answered to him, the men and women who sowed the seeds of harvest all the way to those that marched in formation and fought in the defense of their homes. Generals and Warriors, all powerful men and women, knelt when he strode before them. He saw this all from the perch he held on the boy's shoulder, the loyalty and trust they held in him. He could see why he had them so enthralled, for the Wise always rose. The Ignorant and the Foolish found serenity in Wisdom and Knowledge, and those with both led Empires.

Very rarely the boy ever spoke to him, not in the last few years since his boyhood had abandoned him, he seemed to grow bit by bit every day as he awoke. He was more knowledgeable, wiser and more powerful in mind and will, and he could feel it growing each day. The connection to the weave of magic, he could feel the sorcerous growth on the boys soul and yet he knew the boy had not touched a magical tome or text in the entirety of his existence. It was slightly curious, then again perhaps he was just a natural mage, they did occur quite often in a species as large and expansive as humanity was. Their emotions, while not on par with the Aeldari or their Progenitors, were powerful in how raw they were emotionally.

It made them excellent mages, while also making them pitifully easy to control and corrupt, for even the barest hint of power could have them dancing in your palms moving to the tune you wished. It was laughable, how much that could be achieved with a whispered word or a sweet promise in the ear of a desperate human. Ultimately he knew that the promise of power, mixed with the temptation of knowledge would drive this Human, this Korvo Phobos, into the grip of fate and the ultimate damnation that awaited him. 9 Years had passed, and it had finally come time to leave. No matter how much he felt compelled to stay, nothing had truly changed. He had aged sure, become wiser and more knowledgeable, and even had surged in mystical apptitude. Yet it was not enough.

At least that was the thoughts going through his mind, before the boy spoke to him again after years of silence.

“Hold your flight Vissar, we have many things to do together. It would not do for your time here to be wasted, it would not do at all. The Future is now my old friend, my old companion and you and I have a future to mold. A Fate to Shape. A Path to walk.” the words said as they drifted over his mind, his name had taken root and compelled his obedience. He did not leave, he did not take flight with wing or magic. He could not, after all his true name had been called and so he must answer.

“You!? You know? How? When?” were the only words the Daemon could offer from his perch,his voice was heavy and powerful, and yet held no effect on the boy. A man would be driven to madness at the very least upon hearing his voice, should their mind be weak, and at the worst his presence could cause blistering mutation of the flesh and soul and yet Korvo simply stared and smiled. Vissar could feel the strength of will that had now leashed his own, the dominance of this human over his own existence. Yet his confusion had slammed full force. How had the boy known? How had he even realized? Never had he spoken, never had the boy had any interaction with the Daemonic forces aside from him. No scroll or tome on the planet held the knowledge that would even begin to formulate the idea that he even existed, let alone offer the boy what he had just invoked. A True Name, the one granted him upon his creation by the being whose shard comprised his very existence.

Yet even as he swam in doubt and mystification, he could hear it on the winds of fate, the laughter of an amused god. His great creator had been amused, he had been given a show and been surprised pleasantly. It was his condemnation, but also his validation. His compelled stay, his unnatural obsession with the boy for so long. He had spun this tale into being hundreds of years ago, when he saved a mewling coward from the fate he had been promised and watched a nation spring up in the far reaches of space. He had watched fate weave and twist, as the eddies of the warp manifested a child that would bring damnation. Never did he expect to wind up a slave to his own machinations.

It was a joyful occurrence, and maddening all at the same time. It rankled his feathers, and made him grin in a manner no crow could ever achieve as a bit of his true self slip through his disguise. Black Feathers bled blue, a multitude of eyes sprouting on his skull and across his body all staring at the once boy but now Man, Master of Vissar, a Lord of Change. He was one of the most powerful beings in all of creation, surpassed only be a few select existences outside of the Greater Daemons of the Four Gods and the Princes that served them. Yet now, he had a master that was nothing more than a Human. A Human gaining power was never surprising, many had even managed to ascend to Daemonhood as a Prince, and among them were a select few of notable and fearsome power. Yet not Korvo, he was just a man still, untouched aside from what little his presence over the years had imparted upon him.

Yet here he stood now, a Master Planner that had somehow escaped his notice, who had so subtly gained knowledge of such quality that it should not exist in this universe. He could feel the joy radiating through his being was not wholly his, it came from the part of him still connected to his creator and god, to Tzeentch the Fate Weaver. The Human had, with but one request, gained favor with his god. He had offered no sacrifice, he had made no bargains or pleas for power, he had simply shown his knowledge and his will and had risen. The Human known as Korvo Phobos held great promise, for he was slave to nothing yet. The Only slave here sat upon the shoulder of a human, and he looked forward to what was to come.

“Tell me then, how did you find out? How did you know? Never before have I seen a human as maddening as you, for all the boredom that compromised your existence. Your entire life the result of a passing whim of mine ages past. Yet in this one moment, you have caused me to question everything. Tell me Human, my Master, how is it you came into possession of my name? 9 Years I have known you, and 9 years have you had me fooled. How?” the feathered one asked as the Human began to walk back into his palace. The Great emptiness of its walls and sculpted statues offered them silent vigil as the human smiled. Holding his hand out for the Bird Daemon to step to, the blue feathered many-eyed Daemon did so so Korvo could stare down into those blazing eyes.

“When one knows and sees the eyes as impermanent, ignorance is abandoned and True Knowledge is gained. When one steps into a Dream all things become possible, and the Mind’s eye allows one to see the true nature of things. I have known what you were since I was a boy. I have always known, and you chose to play the role of pet and I allowed it. For the more I observed you, the more I learned and even now I learn more and more. So do not rush to the ending my friend, enjoy the path. Watch and Learn, grow in enlightenment with me and let us carve a path together. I promise, you will not be disappointed.” he spoke so simply. Waving his hand as the candles that lit the path extinguished, the magic was clear and it showed how much the Daemon had missed. And so the man walked in time with the bird sat upon his shoulder, the swaying fabric of his suit and coat shifting from velvet red to pearlescent blues and pinks before going back to the velvet it had always been. The man had found himself blessed, and Change was now following him wherever he may walk.

With a tear, sounding much like a rolling thunderstorm and roaring lightning bolt sizzling away the flesh of an unfortunate victim. A grand swirl began to emerge in the air, thick blue and blacks mixed with a sickening purple that would drive a normal man mad, appeared. If one was to look, they would see anything used to measure the passing of time begin to tick in odd ways, before it began to spin backwards maddeningly fast until the very machinery inside began to slag itself and the portal stabilized. One could see a grand city under siege, and a cowering man clutching at books on the other side of the glassy portal. With little hesitation, Korvo stepped through. Going from the 40th Millennia to the 30th. And with it, the rules had been changed, and the Game started fresh.


It had been years since he last felt cold, truly cold, and even now as they lit a fire to drive away the cold he had to fight back a biting laugh. “Ha. Cold. You milk drinkers don’t know what Cold really is.” he said as he drank from his mug. “Cold, real Cold that is, drives the heat from your body the moment you step into it. It sucks the very heat from your blood, it slows you, your heart begins to struggle to pump the blood through your veins.” he said as the fire licked at the air. The yellow and red flames looking like tongues baying for food. The memory of ‘Cold’ surged within his mind.

True Cold came from the mountains, carried on the winds as the gods sought to bathe the world in Frozen White. It was a curse that claimed the lives of the weak, and the stupid, sending them to early graves where they might rise up one day to prey upon the warmblooded survivors. It was a tale told within the people, spoken to children to educate them on the dangers of the Cold. You needed to survive, and to survive you needed to be smart.

“True Cold. It will freeze your balls off.” Tytan spoke heavily, as another man chuckled. “Aye, and how do you keep your balls from freezing off then Tytan?” one of the men said as he was getting deeper into his cups leaning on the massive man, before one large hand palmed his face and sent him sprawling with a ‘light’ push. “Easy. You move. You keep moving, keep the blood flowing, keep yourself warm. Walking is Good, Fighting is better.” he said as he sipped his drink. “And Fucking is best. Not that any of you sods could get deep enough into a woman for any meaningful heat.” he let out before letting out a roar of laughter. Many a man took offense to it, barking out how they were experts in the art of pleasing a woman, insisting they had more maids than the man next to them.

“A bunch of soft meat like you, you don’t know what it means to lay with a woman. Your dogs, the lot of you.” head said while picking up a rucksack and humping it like an animal before tossing it aside and sitting back down. “Rutting without a care in the world, your only desire to get your satisfaction and be done with it. But that is what the whores are for I guess, to dip your little peckers into.” he said, holding up his pinky and wiggling it around. “But we are getting away from the point. True Cold, you wouldn’t know what True cold was until your fingers and toes turned black, having to be cut off with a hot knife before it kills you. That is what True cold is.” he said as another more sober member of the Order sighed. “Yes Yes, Tytan, we know. You're a Bastard of the North, I am sure we wouldn’t last a moment in your backwater homeland. Might die from boredom first.” he said as others chuckled and laughed. “That or a knife to the back, or a sword to the gullet, or even preyed upon by a great wolf. There are many ways to die in those lands but I will admit you lot are handy enough with a blade.” he said as the night continued on. Laughter and merriment continuing, even a song or two was had when enough of the men were drunk enough. As Tytan sat on the bench staring into the fire, reminding himself that he was no longer home, and no longer among his people. He would have to make better efforts to get along with the Kneelers.

Time whittled by, more and more men retiring for the evening or being dragged away by their less drunk brothers, or even escorting a barmaid or whore to their room for a more entertaining night. But not Tytan, he sat there, and stared into the flames before looking at the few runs he had on his armor. Each one telling him of his trip, of his choices, reminding him of what he gave up to be here. To be a true son of the First Men, and to set out upon the world.

The sky was caught between night and day, the hour so late, or so early. Even the largest, oldest, city in Westeros seemed asleep. The only movement came from the Watch stationed around their strip of Port Market Street, and they, themselves, seemed half-asleep as they stood in small groups. Throughout her youth, she knew there was life to find: the fishermen down at the ports, the bakers rising early.
But here, there was little more than darkness and the chill of Spring’s pre-dawn. Mina had only gone to bed after talking to her about Ceryse, about the Hightower, and more than anything, about Godric. To Vittoria’s big brown eyes, her younger sister’s excitement came as little surprise. The conversation with Dennet after Mina retired was short, but meaningful. She reported some of what Mina had said, and Dennet had reported some of what Godric had said.

And, together, the two shared a quiet laugh at the sweetness of the two youth. She wished him a good sleep, short as their sleep would be, if either of them were to get sleep. She was still in the thin silk gown with its lace and deep cutting neckline, the green that shined and darkened as she passed before fires. Now she found herself outside the Chandler’s home, staring up at star and sky, her ears drinking in the pure silence of the moment.

Her body begged her for bed, but her mind stubbornly refused. It replayed the words of the High Septon. The threats of Lord Oakheart and Rowan. The relief of getting to put her arms around Ceryse and tell her how sorry she was. The excitement of seeing him. The gratification that came with how his eyes looked when he saw her. And then, sighing, rubbing at the back of her neck, her body began to move on its own as she thought of Garin. His daughter. His wife. The squire. The squire would live, and seemingly recover well. If there was a miracle in the night, that would be it.

There was relief, there was rage, there was sadness, joy…there was a maelstrom of every emotion she had felt through the night, descending on her poor mind in a torrent of emotion and realization. In the face of such an onslaught, she did what she always did: she reverted to the escape of thoughts far, and safe, from the madness of emotion. She checked one inn, and found only a Knight asleep at a table and a Maester reading a book. She checked the other and found a Squire going through sword strikes and footwork. He never saw her, and she slipped out without notice.

The only other place close by was the Nameless Tavern. She rounded the corner between the street and the alley, finding the windowless building with its single door not far behind the back of the Chandler’s house. She entered with barely a noise, and found only one soul in the place, nursing a mug and a dying fire. Vittoria took up sentry beside and just behind him, her own eyes letting go into the flames as her mind wandered through the night she had just had once more.

My life began as a Lady of Highgarden, all pins and needles and prayers. It would end with swords and daggers.
It was a thought she had thought so many times before, it had become part prayer to her. A thought she never, not once, doubted the prophetic certainty of.

He lifted the mug to his lips, but he stopped when he finally felt it, the presence behind him. At first he wanted to go for one of his hidden knives, but it felt familiar. So he turned his head, the red hair parting as he gave her a look through one eye and then a soft smile. “My little Lady, little rose.” he said before inclining his head once in a nod. “What brings you out here this fair morning.” he said, as he finished his mug. Putting the cup down, he gestured to the bench where he sat and she would see there was room for her next to him. “Join me, tell me your mind.”

“…are visions and dreams not but lies, Ser? Are we really so often consistently fooled by the present that we must mystify the past?”

Her voice was like nothing the Knight had heard from her before. There was no sign of the Lord Commander, no ease of command, no righteous confidence, no hint of the High Marshall of the Reach now. Just a girl who sounded as far away as she could ever been for standing just feet from him, arms crossed over her chest, eyes a thousand yards into the fire before them.
When the voice and tone he recognized her for returned, when her eyes drifted to him, there was no comfort in it—for either of them. “Where are you from, Ser? Truly?”

He chewed on the words she gave him, where normally he would be dismissive of those digging into his past, he felt the little rose was far more than he gave her credit for. She had, at least to this point, earned a fair bit of his trust. “Visions and Dreams, should not be discarded so easily.” he stated as he looked into the flames. “They come in many forms, provided by the Gods both new and old or by drink and memory, but they always have meaning.” he said as he tapped a rune on his left gauntlet. “This means ‘Remember Yourself’ but it can hold many meanings. Remember who you are, remember where you came from, remember why you chose a path.” he said as he stood up and turned to face her. “I dream of my old home, of the frozen ice that would choke the rivers. I remember the storms that could cover entire villages and freeze a man solid standing up. That is what life was like in the North, the greatest enemy we faced was not man but nature and the gods. I chose a path that led me away from all that, and brought me down here beyond the wall.” he said to her.

“I am Thenn, one of the Free Folk but your kind called us Wildlings. Barbarians. Savages. We of the Thenn however were the only ones that participated in Trade with you Southerners, we gave you wares and goods only found in the True North and you provided furs and foods and various other things.” he said as he revealed himself to her. “I have fought at your side, and I know you to be a logical and strong willed woman. You decide for yourself, you make the choice. Be your Dreams or Visions that trouble you, have heart little Rose, and decide what you think is best.” he said as he looked into the fire. “If the fire shows you things, they have meaning, but don’t be consumed by it. Decide your own fate.”
Lady Vittoria of House Tyrell…just stared in silence at the man. She never moved to respond, she never came close to cutting in; she just let him talk. When he motioned to the runes of his armor, she didn’t look. She didn’t have to; she could have sketched them out on parchment from memory. Her mind hoarded details like Maesters hoarded books. But the man, himself? This was cut from a different sort of cloth.

Vittoria liked to think she could read men, but the truth was far less certain. She could, usually, gain a reading. Sometimes the narrative she crafted was accurate, usually it was close enough, but sometimes? Sometimes she felt as if she were blind to the obvious, or too trusting of those from her past. I’m still angry at the High Septon. At Oakheart. At Rowan. She thought she should be, on some level, angry at the deception of the man before her when they met. He took vows.
…yet, something inside Vittoria told her that this man, this Wildling, would hold truer to a vow taken compared to nearly any man of the Reach. It was enough. In the end, her only response was, “This will not end well, Ser. We are between the Faith and the Crown, and neither side trusts us…I hope it even matters, at all. Any of it.”

She said, sniffing, her eyes dropping down to the ground as her crossed arms seemed to hug herself all the more.
He looked at her, before he felt himself moving, his hand coming out to be placed on her shoulder in a small measure of comfort. He knew she was strong, she was like steel when she needed to be. “I knew my presence in this land would draw the wrong eyes, aye. It is why I decided to tell my tale as I did, because I did not want to encourage any men to cut me open from groin to neck and make me hold my guts.” he said with a laugh. “Do understand little one, I did not hide myself out of spite, but for the need to survive so that I could experience this world. And does it matter where I am from truly? What about what kind of man I choose to be? Am I not a Knight of your own laws? Did I ever stop being that man simply because my land of Origin is a bit further North?” he said as he raised an eyebrow at her. “I will still eviscerate a man the same, whether I am from Beyond the Wall or beneath it, all at your command my little lady.” he said as he sat back down.

“The only trust I need is yours, damned be anyone else. It is only your friends and those you love that matter. Hold onto those, because they are all you have.” he said as he tossed a log into the fire, watching the embers kick up and burn away.

Vittoria blinked. Some of her men had complained of the man before. How he talked to them. How he boasted. But, mostly, how he talked to her. She had decided long ago it didn’t matter. Tytan knew how to communicate with her. How he talked to her around a campfire was different than how he talked to her on a field, armored and ahorse, true enough, but he proved his ability and his loyalty.
The benefit of the doubt was won, as far as she had been concerned. “If I didn’t understand, Ser, we wouldn’t still be talking.” Though the tone was firm as the High Marshall often sounded, the words, themselves, were soft as the silk hugging Vittoria’s body. “Be ready. I fear this place is not as welcoming to us as it would have been years ago. The realm is lost in a madness, and I won’t let us be swallowed up by it. And…get some sleep, Tytan. You will need it to be at your best for all that ‘eviscerating’, you know.”

Her brows flickered like the flame before them, a gentle tease for the giant man, and a layered amusement, as they could both be certain that Vittoria Tyrell wouldn’t possibly allow herself the recuperative rest she insisted her own men took.
He stood up and walked towards her, patting her back once heartily. “Of course, I will be fine but I can see that you need some sleep as well little Rose. How about this, you get some rest, and then you can bark at us full of vigor tomorrow. I feel the men might need it after how deep into their cups they swam, it will be amusing to see them fighting off the herd of mammoths that shall be stampeding in their skulls.” he said with a grin that looked almost shark like. He enjoyed seeing the suffering of the men, it was character building to have such a thing.

Despite the joviality of his tone, he took her words very seriously, because it was one thing for a normal person to feel ill at ease. But when his Little Lady felt it, she was typically always right, there would be something happening and he would make sure to keep the Brass Axes sharp just in case he had to send some poor stupid fools to the Warrior early. “Where will you be resting Milady, just to put my mind at ease. After all a proper nights rest for my little lady is very important. A rose does not shine its best out of a proper garden.” he teased before he spotted a couch, and decided to lay down upon it and stare into the ceiling. He had no desire to return to the room he shared with another, because he knew it would reek of vomit and cheap women and given his propensity for the ‘fairer and more firm’ of women, he had no desire to see a man in rut with a lesser one. He blamed his lady, for raising his ‘standards’ as the men called them.

There was something about a strong willed woman, that made him hope to find one on the night the Red Wanderer met the Moonmaid.

Another fell, he could tell as the senses he had spoke to him of the dying tide washing over them. Slowly, painfully, his cadre of Thunder Warriors pushed through the slog of bodies with care for they had learned the consequences of haste. One of the men had been set upon by an advancing horde when he rushed into a corridor in his haste for bloodshed. The man had been on the verge of a battle craze, seeking the next fight and the next slaughter.

It was no true loss, not in the grand scheme, as the men with him served their purpose. They were crafted as tools of war, and they performed this duty admirably, it was the sole redeeming feature. A tool that serves its purpose well, was a tool well worth crafting after all, and yet tools all eventually broke and are destined to be replaced. Such was the way of life, fading and growing anew. The very concept spoke to the artist within him, and would perhaps lend itself to his next portrait, perhaps of the great deserts meeting the edge of burgeoning forests.

Yet even as he contemplated his future works, the other parts of his mind were laser focused, even as his axe cleaved through another half dozen undead abominations. The foul taint of sorcery choked the air, that much was clear, and the foolishness of the Dynast-Kings was never more evident than now. "You have sold yourselves, all for a tally of lives to be added to the conquest. A pitiful end to worms, struggling in the dirt never able to see the light that could grant them a whole new world. If you had simply looked beyond yourselves-" he spoke softly, his words not leaving the confines of his helmet. He would seek out his brothers, it was time to push forward and cut the head off the festering serpent.

He saw it, even now as far as he was from the center he could see it, the Square of Kempfar and the end goal for his Vanguard deployment. "Men, proceed." he spoke to the remaining 4 Thunder Warriors his voice coming from the helmet with a cold tone of steel, as his squad of killers pushed down the road towards the square at a clipped pace. His Axe cleaved through the unliving obstacles that arose against him, while his Axe Barked loudly time to time to stop a sweltering horde from approaching. Devastating buildings and creating blockades for kill boxes. Yet as he drew closer, he saw the whirl of Gold and recognized a Brother for what it was, a welcome sight.

He saw the human troops, the Blacks as he recognized them, and felt pleased to see the more competent of the Guard here. He called out to his golden brother, giving a hail. "Brother. Awaiting your Command." he spoke simply, nodding to him before turning to regard the Guard with measured respect. Taking his place, his Axe in hand he looked up at the Citadel. It would be grim tidings indeed, and yet he would press on. For his Emperor, For Humanity.
Kargon stared at them, watching them closely, the quickly growing youth understood what they were doing almost instinctively. As they poured over charts and ledgers, they spoke of quotas and logistics all to the end of supplying another of the Crevice Cities a few leagues away after a Molten Flow burst from the wall and cut off one of the underground railways. It was inane babble, far to much discussion about unnecessary topics but it seemed to put their frustrations at ease, and that helped him understand them better. They were complicated, delicate beings despite the hardiness of their form and lives. Even at his young age of 4 he understood that in order for people to live and work together amicably, you must ensure that they felt comfortable with you, and that involved conversation and pointless diatrade.

He stood at the table, and looked over the papers himself, while his father and his servant spoke he made short concise changes in schematics for a new tunnel to be dug. He listed ways to carve the stone, natural ways to improve weakpoints to better prevent unexpected molten flows in the future, as well as ways to temper the stone to further reinforce it. It was all so simple in his mind, things that flowed to the forefront when confronted with a problem. He did not question it, because it was simply that simple, and he saw no difficulty in helping his father with his work. He finished quickly, the work his father had been contemplating for 3 days was finished in ten minutes. He tugged at his fathers robe, drawing him from his conversation. Yet even as the man looked at his son, in order to address him, he saw the altered schematics and started to pour over them with his worker. They spoke in hushed tones, disbelief in their voices, and the servant questioned the veracity of anything designed by a child.

Despite this, Father saw fit to give his son's work a bit of trust, because he felt it would work. It took three months rather than the full year they thought, the tunnel was simple and strong and the finest engineers in the city complimented the man's ingenious design. Yet he knew, his son was gifted, and he began to bring him to more and more of the same issues. His son designing clever ways around them, and as the years passed the issues he dealt with only grew and yet were solved as simply as before. It didn't matter, be it city planning or reconstruction, each was dealt with swiftly with precision planning and revolutionary designs. The City became a modern marvel, and the planet benefited from the advanced designs and better logistical planning offered.

Soon however Kargon found himself drawn to other pursuits, most importantly, he found himself drawn to the Forges. It was here he truly shined. Soon, from the Forge of his home, he crafted truly remarkable things. Things that had not been seen in many, many Centuries. Things he knew he could not have known, yet he knew instinctively. It would bare later thought, but for now, he simply needed to forge what he could. He felt things changing.
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