When you stay up until 1 A.M. working on a post because lord knows you can never be bothered to do that sort of thing at a reasonable time
Current Co-GM of Civilization - A New End and legendary former Co-GM of Divinus until being forced to retire alongside Kho and Rtron, by Kho and Rtron, after (absurd) allegations of laziness and dereliction of duty abounded. Petty and vengeful! (Not really)
I'll point out that humans aren't the only species to consider. The hain are more prevalent, both in terms of population and (probably) in terms of peoples' characters that you could interact with.
And then there are the rovaick, the ogres, and the dwarves. The dwarves in particular are in a desperate situation since their kingdom was just overrun by a horde of firedjinn, so perhaps that desperation is an alleyway for the ritual that causes Legio to come about. You could talk to Rainbow about that.
In any case you seem intent on using a human and using that specific ritual, but if you were more flexible with either of those choices you'd have an easier time fitting in somewhere without it feeling forced.
To the Captain of the Guard, a missive from Uklonko, personal scribe of Giwabi:
By decree of the majestic King Giwabi (forever may he live!) who is merciful to all his true subjects and yet terrible to all his enemies, the warlock called Uhulmikown is proclaimed an infidel and traitor. As prescribed by the holy texts, he shall be arrested and condemned to the scorpion pits that their venom may cleanse the evil from his blood. His family compound is to be seized as well, and all those within shall be put to justice too. For one pound of silver his daughters and nieces may be spared, but all others are to put to the scourge and then brined; should they survive for three days following the lashing, they are to be brought to the markets and sold. King Giwabi is charitable, so let any such profits from their sale go towards alms for the poor.
How their wretched, vile stench lingers upon the salted breeze and defiles the senses.
The sky and all its inhabitants (wherever they be!) may still bear witness to this abomination, but the earth is silent and motionless. It is dead, eviscerated, ruptured, upturned; its corpse defiled with brine and cremated in the heat of these monsters.
I too am battered, but not yet so utterly broken. My sacred fury does not waver. Though my close of kin are no more, I still fight on alone.
Even as the ash settles upon me, poison my body, and sap my strength, I go where the great clouds of smoke be thickest, for that is where I know that I shall find the most of my enemies, just as I find the most of pain and the most of eternal glory that such pain brings in death and which tastes so sweet compared to what we call life.
I want to reach the end, to claim my rest, and in time I shall. In the meantime, I am not ready to die. I still have so much to kill for.
I shall drown another ten thousand firedjinn before I am sated, and these six will be a fine start. They sense my presence and react. Two flee in terror. That is wise; they know their wretched power is nothing before my might, but this wisdom will not spare them for long.
Four are left to challenge me. They all fall so easily. I sweep through them and carry their sooty remnants just as I once carried silty sediment and fallen leaves down the river. Their two brethren that fled do not last long; I seep into the ashen ground and erupt from beneath them as a geyser of water-turned-caustic-lye.
Their Flickers may be only morsels, but it is sustenance desperately needed. I must rest, for the pain is too great. I choke and sputter in a futile attempt to free myself of the fire's taint.
It is said that Slag was once a behemoth of stone, one of those stubborn fools that nonetheless must be respected if only for their sheer might and tenacity. His name was Shale, or perhaps Slate; it matters not, for in either case he was an ancient and powerful lord of some rocky cliffs need the Venomweald. And then he was tainted and corrupted, but rather than accept death, he embraced the poison and became the monstrous bastard-lord of magma that now (no doubt through subterfuge and vile deeds) claims dominion over all flame and commands these wretches.
Even the greatest bastions of stone are slowly eroded -- perhaps not so slowly eroded in his case! -- but the rivers flow until they meet their end. Is ten-thousand too many firedjinn to fell? I must not allow my hunger for vengeance to hold me down and bind me to this plane; when I have no further strength to fight I must end my own life, and not a moment later lest I become corrupted and allow myself to be reborn a mongrel of sludge, but honor decrees that I fight on until that very last moment.
Honor demands a heavy price.
Musing over these things provided much-needed distraction from the pain. Since those six, I have already hunted another two firedjinn. But my fevered trance is broken, for amidst the motionless ash I sense motion. I search the wasteland, and against the black soot I perceive a hue pale as limestone.
A shaman trudged on, pushing through the thick ash to where he had remembered a stream to run. In the distance there had been plumes of smoke that rose still and the forlorn glow of straggling flamedjinn, yet they had seemed to mill aimlessly or quarrel among themselves and paid him no mind. When he crested the last tiny hill and came upon the place where a stream should have been, there was naught but the smallest gully in the plains of grey. Within it there was only a trickle of poisoned water that ran darker than blood.
But there was still the sound of rushing waters. It was only then that he lifted his gaze up to see the living fountain before him, the djinni's eyes staring back in contemplative silence.
"I remember you," Barak croaked before the dryness of his throat reduced his speech to dry coughs.
It must be close to dying, for it does not even see me yet. The unaware do not live long, be they mortal or djinn.
But now it does see me, and its eyes betray no fear.
It speaks. No, it calls to me. I draw closer, and eye it closer too. It shudders and heaves like a dying stonedjinni.
Before I can decide whether it be worthy of my effort to mimic its own crude language, it speaks again, this time in my own.
"Son of Fountainhead," the creature says. Its speech is crude, not unlike its grimy shell.
I recognize it now; 'twas one of the shamans. Of course. "Lord Fountainhead," I correct it in equally base and flavorless prose, "for my father is gone, and all my brothers, and our watery demesne, so the name alone is left for me to inherit."
"What's in a name?"
Bah, it does not understand. Its ignorance of language betrays its youth and inexperience. I grasp at my own mind, trying to recall their word for the concept, then trying to warp the air to make the right sound, "Nam. Nayim. Name."
"I know what it is. But what is in it?"
Now it is I who am confused. The shamans asks a queer question, and one for which I had no answer. I think for a few moments, then answer, "Pride beget legacy which runneth as river of power. The river falls from weeping rains of soul and Flicker, distilled by sun-rays beating upon seas of honor."
...I am not sure if it can ever understand such things.
The djinni answered with its poem, but the sound could not reach Barak; instead he heard the echoing words of his lost father, 'It was a long time before I could understand Fountainhead, for his words run as swift as the rivers and yet carry unspoken meaning as deep as wells.'
Yet at the end, he somehow understood. He had derived the meaning of the poem without even listening to it, or perhaps he had known the answer all along and merely projected that truth onto the djinni's flowing words.
It was at this point that Barak noticed another hain standing a short distance away. He hadn't noticed the hain before, and the hain was much cleaner than he would have expected of anyone in this ashen wasteland. The new hain's posture indicated sadness. He was holding something in his hand. Ash poured from the hand and revealed a scorched arrowhead. After inspecting it forlornly for a moment, he dropped the arrowhead and wiped his hand on his leather apron.
The hain then looked up and saw that he had been seen. "Dreadful, isn't it?"
Barak eyed the wanderer, hoping against hope that it would be someone that he knew, but reality disappointed. "Just gone," he answered the stranger, "Gone, everything that I ever knew."
"Not everything. The perpetrators of this horror still live, so vengeance remains." The young Fountainhead twisted its mercurial body to face the newcomer; the djinni lord stared at that odd hain closely, clearly sensing something that Barak could not.
"I know," the newcomer replied. He looked at Barak and then Fountainhead. His gaze lingered for a few moments on Fountainhead's murky waters. "I have something which could clean you up," he said to Fountainhead, and he reached into his satchel to retrieve a jar of fine white powder.
Fountainhead scrutinized the stranger with a thoroughness that took his eyes to the creature's odd expression, across every crevice of the hain's immaculately clean shell, and to the strange satchel and jar that he held. Recognition seemed to appear on the djinni's amorphous visage, but Barak was still left confused even as Fountainhead began a rapid undulation of speech in his own language.
"When has it ever become a Divine to flow across our kind, carry away our plight, and surge onward with benevolent intent? Basheer, Gneiss, Flow: the names of Jvan's victims run endlessly as the rivers, and she is not the only tormentor! There be also Vestec whose dark work wrought the maddened storm djinn, and no doubt others beside whose misdeeds are not engraved into time as canyons are carved into stone. I am wary of your aid, Teknall, for you have never shown love to my kind; whatever you offered to our Father was surely a lie--where fell your staying hand when the tyrants drove him away?--and e'en now the Dark Lord reigns supreme atop a throne erected by your own hands whilst you withhold."
Teknall's eyes narrowed at Fountainhead's words. "Suit yourself, then." He slipped the jar back into one of the smaller pockets of his apron and continued talking. "I came here to survey the destruction which this horde of fire elementals has caused and is causing, and possibly determine some means to prevent further destruction. Preferably without performing a mass smiting."
Fountainhead's long and alien face seemed to contort, though Barak could not tell if it was in skepticism or confusion or disdain. "Their lord Thermaron is slain, felled by the treachery of the three-faced coward called Boreas, and so their head is severed. They rampage without thought or regard for purpose. If you do not smite them then I shall, for honor demands it, and besides, they shall not submit to the likes of you or I. Only flame can rule flame."
Barak looked lost the whole time, glancing back and forth between the two with a curiosity and disbelief that seemed to banish his sorrow, if only momentarily. Finally, when there was the tiniest lull in the conversation, he stole the chance to ask, "Are you some sort of shaman? Your wisdom is incredible; none from my village could understand djinn so well as you!"
Teknall turned his head to Barak. "I am Stone Chipper," he told the hain.
That simple answer was met with wide eyes and open palms from Barak. He whispered, "We thought that you were only a myth."
But though Stone Chipper's nature may have still rested beyond the hain's grasp, Fountainhead had heard of gods and their powers. "What use is power in the hands of one that refuses to wield it? You, a being that makes Graund and the mightiest stonelords look as insignificant as fleas, could mend the scarred earth here and call down a deluge of stones to drown my dying body beside all these marauding firedjinn. You could, nay, should make things once more as they are meant to be," he declared. The waterlord's every breath grew more belligerent and challenging. "But perhaps I expect too much of you."
Fountainhead's words were beginning to stretch Teknall's temper, which simmered beneath Teknall's words. "The power of the gods is tempered by the power of the other gods. Xos has already killed one of my siblings and wounded three others; it would be folly for me to make myself his fifth victim by such an overt action. But do not presume that I have been idle. I have armed my allies to defeat the shade. I have brought one of his divine victims back from the brink of death. And now I work to subvert his influence on Galbar. I shall act as I deem fit."
"So then what is it that Teknall 'deems fit'?"
Teknall paused for a moment. "This horde of fire elementals is leaderless and aimless. We could attack this horde, but that would be costly, and will do nothing to weaken the forces of the 'Dark Lord' who originally sent forth this horde and who continues to wreak havoc elsewhere. It would be much more effective to find a firelord who is aligned against Xos and put him at the head of this horde, such that their strength can be turned against those who ordered this destruction."
"...a fine plan," the combative djinni finally conceded. "But know that under their 'Baron' the lords of flame have grown corrupt and delusional. It is said that Slag was among the first to swear fealty to the Dark Lord, and his entire court are known for their great cruelty. Among the sea of snakes, there is only one noble salamander that I would nominate to you. His name is Kindle, and he is known to be honorable and sage. In his youthful days before he was a lord, my father was consumed by wanderlust:
"So it was that he once came across this kindly sion. He told me that their meeting was in a place beneath a distant sun, that he swam from the Sea of Tsunami and through Wash's Rill, following the lazy river's forks bend by bend up until he came to a primal land untouched by mortal hands. There the trees grew tall but the high hills were stripped bare by mighty crosswinds where away from the rill and upon a bluff made so austere, there be a tribe of djinn that Kindle does steer."
Teknall pondered the directions for a few moments. "Is Kindle still at that location, to your knowledge?"
"The waters of my river saw many things," he hazily answered, "but they could never reflect what was across half the world."
"Do you know any more about Kindle?"
"His reign began not long after the stonelord Cliff fell and became the monster Slag, and even as the other firelords were subjugated one by one, Kindle remained unbowed and unwavering in his refusal to serve a tyrant, e'en though his defiance may have been his downfall. For that, my father remembered him."
Barak could only look back and forth between the two, struggling to translate the words in his mind fast enough to keep pace with what Fountainhead said.
Teknall nodded his head. "Thank you Fountainhead. You have been quite helpful." Teknall reached into his pocket, retrieved the jar of powder and proffered it. "You sure you wouldn't like that sludge cleaned out?"
"I am not so wary of you any longer, so perhaps that will inform why I have refused."
"If that is your wish, then." Teknall put the jar back into his satchel. From the satchel he took out a bottle of fresh water and stepped towards Barak.
"Barak, you look thirsty. Would you like some water?"
The youth startled at the mention of his untold name, but then gave a nod. Teknall gave Barak the bottle. He drank deeply for what should have been long enough to empty ten bottles, and yet this one seemed bottomless.
"Thank you, Stone Chipper," he finally said as he parted with the bottle.
Teknall nodded and put the bottle back in his satchel. Teknall looked around at the burned landscape around them. "What will you do now, Barak?"
His empty eyes held no answer. "I do not know what is left for me to do. Perhaps I can find purpose elsewhere, if I can make my way to unscarred lands."
"The world is a big place. There is much you can do out there," Teknall said. "If you trek south for a day or two you should get to the land beyond this battlefield. Perhaps Fountainhead might help you, since you seem to know each other," Teknall added, giving the water djinn a sideward glance.
"Thank you, Stone Chipper," he stammered once more, and he glanced to the djinni even as Fountainhead's emotion remained an enigma to his eyes.
"Never forget the price of honor. Fortune be with you, Teknall."
Teknall reached into his satchel once more, removed a green-tinted flask of sugary syrup and handed it to Barak. "Some food for the journey." After a moment's thought, he also placed the jar of white powder into Barak's hands and whispered, "In case Fountainhead changes his mind." Then Teknall stepped back and waved to the two. "Safe travels." Then he turned and walked off over the hill. The odd duo watched him go, then turned back to one another.
'From the Sea of Tsunami,' the Fractal Sea, 'and through Wash's Rill, following the lazy river's forks bend by bend,' up into the highlands between the Changing Planes and Pictaraika, where 'the trees grew tall but the high hills were stripped bare by mighty crosswinds.' This was 'a primal land untouched by mortal hands.'
Centuries had passed since old Fountainhead had travelled here. Several hain villages now inhabited this land, with livestock grazing on the blustery hills. The numerous villages were divided into different clans and tribes, but from each of the settlements along the lazy river or beneath the mighty trees there were dirt paths, and all snaked across the land before eventually finding their way to the highest hill of the land. Teknall could sense them; there were pilgrims walking the roads, along with others. Many carried corpses or the sickly atop pallets, but there were none that returned from the smoking hill upon stretchers.
Atop this hillock there was another village, if it could be called that. A few scattered hovels around the edges housed members of a local djinni cult with the shamans and their families, but in the center of the hill was a great blaze whose trail of smoke had risen to the heavens for generations uninterrupted. Near the center was a monumental structure so large that it could only have been a temple or a palace, but before its threshold there was a huge firepit. In a perfect circle around the blaze were many stone slabs that looked not unlike shrines. Some had offerings of food or riches placed upon them, whereas the dead or sickly were laid down upon others.
Unnoticed by the other hain, Teknall stood beside one of the hovels and watched the blaze and its strange circle of shrines. As noon began to approach, there came the arrival of many of those pilgrims that he had sensed. They gathered on the offskirts of the village waiting, but not for long. A shaman soon emerged from one of the hovels and approached the central fire. He called out a name to the roaring flames, but it was not Kindle.
After a few moments, there emerged a dozen small firedjinn. They swept out from the firepit to approach, and though they passed by the wood hovels they were lesser elementals and in their careful wake there was only a passing warmth, not an ashen trail of waste. They approached the waiting hain and began to direct each group toward one of the stone altars assembled about the fire, but then one of them seemed to notice Teknall. This one was young and small, certainly too weak to speak. So it tried to signal the attention of one of its larger brethren.
As Teknall watched, a larger spiryt approached. "You do not stand with any of the mourners." With a sort of confusion it eyed the god in his guise. "Are you ailed by an affliction?" it finally inquired, "Or do you bring an offering in that satchel?"
"I have come to speak with Kindle," Teknall said.
"Lord Catharsis reigns atop this hill."
"Do you know what has become of Kindle, then? He reigned here at a prior time."
By the end of that exchange, the hain had already assembled around the central fire. A shaman called out to the blaze three times to chant Catharsis' name, and then the firelord began to emerge from what seemed like a burrow below. He was so large that his form engulfed the entire bonfire and then some, looming over all of the squat houses. He looked to where the dead had been lain atop the altars, and with a small motion of his fingers he lobbed fireballs upon them. The corpses were bathed in such heat that their shells cracked and fell apart, and within seconds the pyres had consumed their bodies. Attendants quickly swept up the still-smoking ashes into urns and presented these to the weeping families that had carried the fallen. It was over in a few moments.
Then Catharsis turned to one of the sickly hain resting upon the cold stone slab. This one was only an infant. He stepped out of the fire and stretched to the point that his head was almost directly above the mewling baby. He stayed motionless, peering at it closely even as its mother stepped forward to tell something to a nearby shaman, who then translated it to Catharsis. After perhaps a minute, the firelord pointed a spindly finger of fire towards a nearby jar. The shaman opened it and gathered some sort of dried herb, then filled a brazier with the plant and brought it closer to Catharsis.
The djinni lord breathed a single spark that ignited the incense. As its smoke began to drift into the air, Catharsis manipulated it and brought it closer to the crying infant. Then he forced some small wisp of the smoke into the hain's mouth and its mewling stopped. As the shaman gave the baby back to its mother and began to clean the brazier, Catharsis had already turned towards another one of the altars. Upon it was a hain with an arm that had been mangled. This time there was no careful contemplation or deliberation; attendants offered the unfortunate fellow some medicine that would presumably dull his pain, and then they held him down even as Catharsis seared away the broken limb and cauterized some lesser wounds to stave off infection.
Then attendants began to apply some sort of poultice to the agonized hain as Catharsis moved on to the last of the sick. This one had been still and so most attention had been paid to the bawling infant and the obviously maimed hain, but perhaps that was in error for upon closer inspection this final patient appeared deathly ill. From a wound in the abdomen, a strange, blackened tumor was spreading. Parts of the shell around the central wound had already flaked off and taken an ashy hue, almost as if some other medics had already attempted a crude cauterization of some sort. Catharsis seemed to be at a loss when the hain suddenly stirred. He must have been unconscious before, for immediately upon becoming lucid again he began to howl in pain. He seemed to ebb, passing in and out of consciousness. Some of the attendants and shamans came to a forgone conclusion, for it seemed as though they were already moving to console the victim's family. Catharsis began to conjure a fireball.
Teknall walked forwards against the protests of the small djinni that just spoken to him. "Ashling infection," Teknall said aloud. "A difficult case, but I have something which can help."
Catharsis' minion acquiesced and fell away from Teknall's side as the god spoke aloud, while the firelord himself lowered the hand that had been preparing to deliver a final mercy. He looked up to the oncomer and stared at Teknall. Unlike Fountainhead, he did not seem to immediately identify Teknall, but he certainly sensed something unusual.
Teknall reached into his satchel and pulled out a fistful of shards of what appeared to be some kind of yellow and pink glass. "Shards from Lensling trees target the ashling infection, but don't harm living creatures. Implant one of these in the wound to stop the infection."
Catharsis approached Teknall, though when one might have expected a wave of sweltering heat to accompany the presence of a hulking firedjinni, there was nothing of the sort. Teknall could sense the amount of effort that went into suppressing a smothering aura that would otherwise bake all those present. A small, spindly finger of smoke and fire gingerly lifted up the lensling crystal. Catharsis inspected it closely for a moment before handing it to one of his disciples. "Purify him," he commanded. Just as Teknall had instructed, the attendant plunged the crystal into the gaping wound within the infected hain's abdomen.
There was no immediate effect. "The treatment will take time; perhaps a few days," Teknall explained, "But he will recover. The infected flesh will get replaced with this harmless crystal. Until then, I recommend analgesics."
"Then he is purified, and I am now prepared to turn my attention to pilgrims of less dire circumstance. You have earned the right to speak first, stranger. What brings you to my realm?"
"I bear news from distant lands about the current conflict among the elementals, and offer a special opportunity," Teknall said. "I wish to speak with you privately about it."
"You are not a mortal. It is just as the Golden One foretold," his realization suddenly came. A brazen eye peered over his assembled priests and worshipers, over the stone slabs, and over their piles of offerings until its gaze was level with a nearby building that dominated all others upon the hill. "I will speak with you, stranger. Within my temple we may find the privacy that you desire."
The various shamans and attendants made way for their master as he suddenly spun about and made for the grandiose stone archway that led into his temple. The structure was of mud brick and crude masonry, but it was ten times the size of any of the hovels in its shadow and its presence dominated the hill. Some that had not heard the exchange between Teknall and Catharsis made to follow, but the djinni lord waved them back. Even as they entered, other attendants that had been caring for the the interior got out of their way and then scurried out the door.
Inside the temple were engraved walls, a floor of shalestone tiles, and a great many benches before a large dais that was surrounded with unlit incense torches. There was nothing of cloth or wood to be seen save for a few soot-covered timber rafters to support a slate roof; even the countless benches assembled within were more akin to boulders whose tops had been flattened. But Catharsis did not stop to look upon any of those things; he led the way to the dais whose lightly charred markings showed it as his regular place (presumably when he meant to address more than could circle around his bonfire in the clearing outside, or perhaps when he was performing more formal ceremonies) and then he turned around to face Teknall. "Great Divine, I am eager to hear of this news and 'opportunity'. But first, I bid you welcome to my domain. I am Catharsis, and this is the Temple of Purity. The hain of these lands have erected it to show their dedication to the cleansing flame."
"And I am Teknall, who many hain call Stone Chipper. It is refreshing to see a cleansing fire which does not leave destruction in its wake," Teknall said. "Before I deliver my news, I have a question: What has become of Kindle?"
There was a very long silence uncharacteristic of any djinni. Then Catharsis finally answered:
"He was a mighty lord of fire, a purifier, with unbroken descent from great Char. But in these days that I heal and cleanse, Kindle would have thought to ravage and raze."
He seemed to wish that such an answer would have been enough to satiate the god, yet sensing a persistent curiosity, Catharsis obliged him with a tale of length.
"Kindle once brought his host to the Rill of Wash 'Watch,' he bid them as he stepped into the stream. Dream of what those fish felt when their world became naught but fire and steam. He said, 'These waters are worthy and pure, free of vermin.' Within the water floated only dead fish and smoking driftwood. Would you call that just? He thought it good. And when the first of the hain came to this land, Lo and woe, for he sought to purge them too. Through the woods they were chased by his retinue, and brought to that fateful river to burn or drown. Down below, the lady Wash heard the sound. Screaming hain and crackling fires; she emerged weeping, For her river was beautiful no more. Abhor Kindle, but know that to other djinn he always wore honor, and so he was shattered when Wash condemned his slaughter.
"Kindle looked to me in the river and bequeathed his lordship unto me. He looked to the seared and cracked shells left in his wake, ache in heart as he saw his mistake.
"These eyes suggested to him that there was a better way. In me he saw a kinder, nobler image of himself, I think. So Kindle sought redemption, drowning himself in that river to earn redemption, and now I rule as best I can. It has been a great many cycles since Kindle walked these lands, so many that his legend may soon fade from the memories of the hain."
Teknall paused for a sober moment. "I had originally been sent here by the recommendations of a water djinni named Fountainhead, who claimed that Kindle was honourable and sage," Teknall explained, "This report came from before any hain had moved into the region. From what you have told me now, it seems better that I have met you instead.
"Now, for the news. How aware are you of the current conflict involving Xos and elementals across Galbar?"
"It is best not to utter that name! Some say that the Dark Lord grows ever stronger with each whisper of his name, or that it draws his attention and then he listens.
"For your question, I was not called to this war. Just as my predecessor did, I refuse to serve Slag. But the other lords about these lands have gone, almost all of them. Near the seashores not so far from here, there have already been skirmishes between the minions of Notus and Anshal. The Golden One foresaw all of this: he said that there would be much death, and that a great divine would one day come and I would find myself embroiled."
"Then I shall get to the point. On the opposite side of Galbar there was a great battle between many powerful elementals which has left a vast stretch of land completely desolate. In this battle the firelord Thermaron was slain by Boreas, who is against both sides of this war from what I hear. Thermaron's massive horde of fire elementals remains, though, and continues to run amok. The horde is currently leaderless. One of Slag's other lieutenants might claim the horde eventually, but it would be advantageous if a firelord opposed to the shade were to claim the horde first."
"So you would propose that I rally them, to what, usurp Slag's ill-begotten throne?"
"Usurping Slag would be brilliant, but is not my target. The battles between elementals are ongoing, and it would be bad for both djinn-kind and other mortals if the shade's side were to emerge victorious. The firepower of that horde would be a considerable boon to whichever side controls it. At the very least, I'd like to see that horde of fire elementals brought under control."
"If they truly rage in pointless furor and lash out upon all that is around them, then they must be brought to heel by one that values purity over mindless destruction. I could rally them, though not soon. Even for one such as I, it is not a quick journey to the other side of the world."
"I can arrange transportation, if you are willing," Teknall offered.
"I must not abandon the hain here without a word or time to ensure that there will be order in my absence. Return in a day's time, and I will be ready."
Teknall nodded. "Understood. I shall see you then."
We begin with a nameless waterlord that survived the big djinni battle. He's dying but he keeps on fighting the straggling firedjinn that are drifting around.
Barak is wandering the ashen wastes and stumbles across this djinni lord, then recognizes him as one of Fountainhead's minions. This one is also called Fountainhead, having adopted the name for himself after his father was destroyed in the battle.
Soon another lonesome hain appears, but this is Teknall in disguise. He offers to cure Fountainhead's ailments, but is nominally refused because Fountainhead dislikes and doesn't trust Teknall. In reality, Fountainhead just wants to die.
Teknall is recognized by Fountainhead Jr. and is subject to much criticism.
Eventually he justifies himself enough for Fountainhead to stop being so hostile, and then Fountainhead is willing to suggest that Teknall could fix the situation of rampaging firedjinn by finding some leader to rally them and check their destruction. He suggests Kindle, and explains in a riddling way where this random firelord makes his home on the other side of the world and how the first Fountainhead encountered this 'honorable' firelord centuries ago.
Teknall parts by giving water and directions to Barak, as well as the chemical cure to Fountainhead's ailment should the suicidal lord change his mind.
Teknall then muses over Fountainhead's riddling directions, realizing that they are centuries outdated, and eventually finds the place that KIndle once ruled. It's in some region settled by Hain, a fair ways inland from the Fractal Sea and between the Changing Plains and Pictairaka. Where Fountainhead has described it as a land untouched by mortals or civilization, Teknall finds that there are numerous tribes of hain.
Where Kindle once dwelled the landscape is dominated by a large temple and a small village of pirests and shamans that regularly receive pilgrims from all around. The hain here worship a benevolent djinni lord named Catharsis, who represents purity and who emerges each day to heal the sick, cremate the dead, and counsel those that would come to him with questions.
Teknall watches the proceedings for some time, until Catharsis is presented with someone infected by an ashling. Catharsis is clearly unable to heal that, but before he euthanizes the hain, Teknall steps forward to offer a cure.
With Catharsis' attention then gathered, the proceedings are halted as Teknall asks to speak in private. Catharsis recognizes Teknall as a god of some sort, and in fact seems to have been expecting him. For that reason he grants Teknall's request and they go inside the temple to speak.
Teknall asks what became of Kindle, the one that he had sought out, and Catharsis answers with a strange and misleading riddle. But in the riddle, Catharsis claims that Kindle is long dead, and Teknall accepts that at face value.
Teknall gets into business and tells Catharsis about the situation abroad, and Catharsis is willing to help by going over there to establish order among the firedjinn and hopefully turn them against Slag and his master, Xos.
Catharsis is given one day to settle his affairs with his cult before Teknall returns to transport him to the other side of the world.
Cyclone & Kho In the name of the great King of Kings, Giwabi (forever may he live!) whose face is painted with sword, who is the son of Giwoke, and the Blessed and Beloved of Ankai, and who rules the First City of Ado and all the other great many lands within the Kingdom of Giwabi, I, Uklonko, son of Olwo and scribe to King Giwabi, do record the Beginnings of Time upon these tablets.
Where once the entire world was as one perfect piece, it was entirely smooth and flat like a stone in the bottom of the river. But the perfection of the one Stone that was the entirety of creation was not to last forever, and after some time there emerged giant cockroaches from the darkness of the void. The cockroaches of this day are but pitiful shadows of their progenitors' horror, but like these distant relatives, the giant cockroaches that came to infest the Stone did not drink of water or feed upon root or flesh; their unholy bodies were sustained by rot itself, and they fed upon the decay that they brought forth.
These cockroaches rampaged across the Stone, and in the wake of their thunderous footsteps were carved all of the canyons, mountains, hills, and lastly the basins. But in carving the greatest of these basins did the roaches create their own downfall, for in their fury they sundered the seal between what was Below and Above. From the ground there burst forth great springs, and the water of these wells was pure and without end. So it drowned the most cockroaches as it flooded the Stone's lands and created the oceans, and what was left of the cockroaches scattered. From their drowned remains came forth all manner of monsters and demons, and from the degenerate survivors were bred all the vermin that still curse the land to this day: flies, mosquitoes, wasps, rats, centipedes, and those smaller cockroaches of these days. But among them are not the spiders or scorpions, for those are of nobler sort and have other births that shall not be detailed yet.
Thus were the lands in the beginning of time shaped to be as we know them today, perhaps one hundred-hundred-hundred days and nights ago, for these times predated the sun and moon which are both known to be only ninety and three hundred-hundreds of days old.
I’m reluctant to do an Aihtiraq-Legio plot without knowing more on what you intend to do with Legio @KabenSaal. He was handing out wishes like candy at first, because suffering on nearly any scale bothered him and he was new to the world. But he’s now been around for some years and that has mostly stopped; he’s fixated upon a very specific goal. I don’t see why he’d stop to help a mortal attain divinity, especially through means of sacrificing many mortals to empower just one (something he’d abhor).
So unless Legio would serve him directly or otherwise act in a way that would further his interests, I think it’s best to leave Aihtiraq out.
Well Kaben, add me to the list of voices asking you for what initial story arcs you’d intend to do with Legio
Regulus sighed. His Sylvans need the ability to speak in order to function as a society, and yet his power reserves were beginning to run dry, and this would not be the best time to invite Promus over. He took some time to think about this situation, taking consul from Yggdrasil. "Aurum" he called, and the young golden Sylvan ran into Yggdrasil's chamber. "You wish to see the world of you creation.", to which the young Sylvan nodded. Regulus paused, before taking his spear and gently tapping it on the Sylvan's head. "You will be my ambassador to the other gods. I need you to go and speak with Promus." he paused, thinking of his poor choice of words. "He should grant you and your siblings the gift of speech craft. Once he does, ask him what he would have you do for his gift."
Aurum, newly appointed as a hero, absorbed every word that Regulus said, and simply nodded in response. Regulus sighed, and handed him his sacred spear, Anhur. "Use it well." he said, waving his hand teleporting him back to Galbar into the cave of his creation. He slowly walked out of the cave, looking around curiously, and when he did, a flash of divine light flashed from the spear like a signal flare, causing a nearby griffin to come to him. He felt the words of Regulus guiding him, "Take the griffin to sky. It will lead you to where you need to go.". a saddle appearing on the back of the griffin. Aurum nervously got on. He had seen griffins before, but this would be his first time riding one. As he did, the griffin took off.
The journey was not a quick one, swift though the griffin was. But as it beat its wings it surely made progress, and after some time it brought its rider to the volcanic plains of Phlegra. Below it could be seen the lumbering cyclopes, some sleeping with a stillness that might have made one take them for mere rocks were it not for the fire and smoke of their slow breathing. Some of the other cyclopes entertained themselves through throwing stones the size of a horse's head or by wrestling with one another. But the griffin ignored them as it made its descent towards the rough seashore, and Aurum found himself landed upon a basalt pillar beside Promus. The Sage seemed so fixated upon the waves that he had hardly noticed their arrival, but the griffin's tumultuous landing was enough to draw his attention. The robed figure of Promus turned to look upon those who had sought him out, and Aurum was faced with a visage that resembled a bird's and yet had eyes of intelligence.
Aurum looked around this strange environment with curiosity, though the robed figure immediately pulled his attention. He wasn't quite sure what to make of the figure, but it was most certainty interesting. And apparently this was where he was suppose to be. He held the spear tightly, and was holding it upside down as he had no idea how to use a spear. He wasn't exactly sure what he was suppose to do, so he just began to tap the point of the spear on the ground as if would do something.
That action was met with a quizzical look from the god, but then curiosity took hold and he approached. "That weapon is not of your make," he finally spoke. "And yours is a magnificent steed. Have you come to bear the message of Regulus?"
The hero paused. He was not fully sure the answer to that question, or even how to do answer it. He started by nodding, and then shaking his head. Aurum stopped for a moment, and looked confused how to answer that question.
"Of course. You bear his spear and his steed, so clearly he holds you in high esteem. You are worthy of words, so have them. Take them."
Each breath left the avian beak of the god and manifested as clearly and as thickly as smoke, even in the warm salt-air by the sea. They all came to rest upon an outstretched palm and coalesced into a single breath that Promus offered to the Sylvan.
Aurum took the smoke, and brought it up to his face to look at it more closely, as he did, it begin to enter his nose and mouth. He instinctively began to cough, but once it was over. He felt something strange well up inside him. He looked at the god, and began to sputter out words, "Regulus... sent.. me." after another cough, his words began to flow more naturally, "Regulus sent me to ask for the gift of speechcraft for my brothers and sisters in his domain, and in exchange, I am to preform a task for you." he said, puffing out his chest and lifting up the spear.
"That gift is easily given, so it shall be yours in good faith, O Envoy of the Lion and Hand of the August Lord. But if your master offers one favor in exchange, I will gladly take it; two dozen griffins to guard the peaks of this land will be enough to settle any debt."
The hero paused for a moment, wondering if this what his master had meant when said he would do a favor for him, but the offer seemed harmless enough. He took the spear, and held it into the air, and once again a flash of light erupted from it. The saddled griffin remained still, but Aurum gave his insurance, "They are coming."
"Then your side of the bargain is upheld. Take this to your kindred."
For many minutes Promus exhaled, and this time he conjured from the air a small pouch to contain his long breath. Then it was done and a divine syllable allowed the pouch to levitate its way towards the griffin and nestle itself within the beast's mane. "I think that there will be enough for all of them, but little to spare. It will last for their lives and manifest within all of their descendants unto perpetuity, but if so much as a breath is stolen or gifted unto others, one of your kind and his lineage may be forever without a voice. So guard my gift closely, honored Envoy."
Aurum nodded. "Thank you." he said, as he went to get back on his griffin, a light spread from the sacred spear engulfing him and the griffin, and then he vanished. He reappeared in the castle, already ready to leave once again, but first he gave his brothers and sisters the gift of speech-craft.
Regulus empowers the Sylvan known as Aurum, thus creating his first hero. (-1 MP)
Aurum is then promptly given Regulus' spear and teleported to Galbar with the mission of finding Promus and asking for the Sylvans to be granted speech.
Aurum rides a griffin to Phlegra and finds Promus being moody by the beach after his encounter with Krosus.
A quick deal is made: Promus gives Aurum the ability to speak and then gives him a bag of speech with which he could enable the other Sylvans to speak, and in exchange Aurum uses Regulus' spear to order two dozen griffins to Phlegra as a gift to Promus.
Regulus Level 4 1 Might Left 2/8 to Level
Aurum Heroified : 0 Prestige +2 Prestige for being in a post +2 Prestige for being in a collab Total Prestige : 4
Current Co-GM of [url=https://www.roleplayerguild.com/topics/167577-civilization-a-new-end-2-5/ic]Civilization - A New End[/url] and legendary former Co-GM of [url=https://www.roleplayerguild.com/topics/91565-mid-high-casual-divinus-the-deity-roleplay-mk-ii/ic]Divinus[/url] until being forced to retire alongside Kho and Rtron, by Kho and Rtron, after (absurd) allegations of laziness and dereliction of duty abounded. Petty and vengeful! (Not really)
<div style="white-space:pre-wrap;">Current Co-GM of <a href="https://www.roleplayerguild.com/topics/167577-civilization-a-new-end-2-5/ic">Civilization - A New End</a> and legendary former Co-GM of <a href="https://www.roleplayerguild.com/topics/91565-mid-high-casual-divinus-the-deity-roleplay-mk-ii/ic">Divinus</a> until being forced to retire alongside Kho and Rtron, by Kho and Rtron, after (absurd) allegations of laziness and dereliction of duty abounded. Petty and vengeful! (Not really)</div>