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1 yr ago
Current Shilling a good medieval fantasy: roleplayerguild.com/topics/…
2 yrs ago
Don't mind me. Just shilling a thread: roleplayerguild.com/topics/…
2 yrs ago
So worried right now. My brother just got admitted to the hospital after swallowing six toy horses. Doctors say he's in stable condtion.
2 yrs ago
Nice to meet you, Bored. I'm interested!
2 yrs ago
Ugh. Someone literally stole the wheels off of my car. Gonna have to work tirelessly for justice.


Oh gee! An age and a gender and interests and things. Yeah, I have those. Ain't no way I'm about to trigger an existential crisis by typing them all out, though. You can find out what a nerd I am on discord, okay?

Stay awesome, people.

Most Recent Posts

Extra post. Ignore... for now.
New NPCs

@Force and Fury
Hey. This seems to be about the only fantasy-genre RP that isn't anime, and I want to play a dwarf. Which... I think this has? There is just a lot to go through with no breakdown of races. 'Course you might not be accepting new players right now. I would just like to state my tentative interest.


We're actually starting a new arc and we're tentatively open to new players, so now is a good time to jump in. In this world, hegelans are our closest analog to dwarves and are mostly the same thing. One of our co-GMs is going to invite you to the discord and it'll be easier to answer any questions that you have there. Just be warned ahead of time that this is a pretty high-committment RPG with a great deal of existing lore and a good deal of discord use so, if that's not your cup of tea, it may not be for you. As long as we can pass those hurdles, then you might be a good fit and we're always happy to roleplay with interesting new people. In that case, let's talk!

- Force and Fury

@Fallenreaper Mahal is approved. I imagine you'll be expanding further on just why her father is so utterly awful to her in the future and I look forward to seeing that done well. In the meantime, feel free to move her over to the character tab. Let's welcome her aboard!
@BlackRoseSiren Lunara is approved, though I do wonder:Who is the friend that you referenced being the only one who didn't 'show odd qualities'? I'd appreciate if you expanded on that a bit and clarified. otherwise, well done. I look forward to seeing her in this roleplay. When you've addressed those concerns, please repost her in the character tab.

There had been a point in her life when Jocasta had hated the world and everything in it. She had first been a victim: bitter, helpless and frightened. Then, she had found her strength but lost none of her hatred. She did not, by and large, know the faces of most of her victims. She never would. She had been told that they were bad people and hadn't cared enough at the time to question those who seemed - to her warped and damaged teenage mind - to be good.

Then, San Agustin happened. Zarina happened, and Ayla, and Kaspar and Abdel and Marceline... and Yalen. Jocasta had come to understand that the world could be a bad place, full of awful people and awful things, but there was good in it too! There were things worth keeping in her life: protecting and having and loving!

It was late and she could not sleep. Yalen, thankfully, had managed the trick, but his loving wife paced anxiously about the living room, hands both heavy and light on her wheels. Finally, she pulled on a light shawl and eased herself out of the front door into the cool night air. Crickets chirped and stars shone overhead, peering shyly through the hazy bands of clouds. In a nearby alleyway, two or more cats were fighting and, presently, a dog started barking and drew out three more or its kind to join in the howl.

Jocasta rolled along the flagstones, working up a bit of speed on the flat ground and coasting, feeling the comforting little bumps and jostles beneath her wheels, the sharp wind on her nose and ears. Her golden hair trailed like a series of ghostly ribbons behind her, but her breath did not come out in little wisps as it had in Retan. It was too late in Stresia for that and Ersand'Enise was too warm anyhow.

Retan: it was still with her. What she'd witnessed and been a part of had rendered itself indelible in her mind's eye. Elder sanguiniares, she thought. Sapient dragons, Arcel of Perrence reborn, and that... tentacled titan. The crushing enormity of the threat facing... everyone was, honestly, too much for her to fully wrap her head around, insignificant girl that she was.

But it was not all that bothered her. There had been no missing the looks of reproach: Maura, some rich merchant's daughter whose venomous smile and barbed words had split the group of students, who had twice denied Jocasta land of her own so that the rich might grow richer, who looked relentlessly for advantage with her silver tongue and false earnestness; Abdel, who had rendered judgment upon others with his beasts; Ingrid, who had used her strength to intimidate Yalen into giving up his land - their land - and the security of their shared future. It was another bauble in a growing empire to her. It was everything to Jocasta. She'd had to grit her teeth and bear it for the sake of decorum, because of her position.

The further on that she went, the more that Jocasta thought. Something had surfaced after that, though. She had taken, for herself, three items of value to make up for the loss, ignoring Maura's judgmental glares. How quick she was to turn bitter and righteous when it was her on the losing end of things. Go cry into your stacks of money, you spoiled bitch. Then, there were bullies, like Ingrid and, now, possibly Abdel. The latter at least did so out of some sense of moral superiority and it made him dangerous but not bad. The former, however, the more that Jocasta thought about it, was simply a bully, through and through: eager to threaten with her superior strength and - usually - quick to back down if she sensed that she could not win or felt, in their glares and mutterings, the burning resentment that people held towards her actions.

And that was when Jocasta knew it: she had strength of her own and talent in magic that far outstripped theirs. She had people that she cared for and that she wanted to protect, because they were what made a bleak life in a bleak world... something better: something 'worth it'. But there would always be Mauras and Ingrids. There would always be people who sought relentless advantage for themselves and were either too blind to see how awful they were, too callous to care, or too weak to change. And, as long as there were people like that, there would be a need for Jocasta. There would be a need to protect herself from their aggressions, whether with words or force. There would be a need to protect Yalen and Ayla and Zarina and Marci and Kaspar. The best way to do that was to be strong. There was some good in the world, but it was a place of predators. She could not show weakness. Every testing word by Maura was a sniff for blood in the water, so that she might force and subject her prey into either agreeing with her or being cast as villains. Every too-firm hand on the shoulder, warning draw of energy, or buyout of some auction was Ingrid's attempt to place herself above others and then help them - on her terms - from on high. They were all so power hungry and all so relentless, and...

Jocasta, quite frankly, did not care about any of that. She'd have been perfectly happy to live and let live. Yet, the closer that she let people like that get to her level, the stronger they became in comparison to her, the greater the chance of it happening again: they would step on her. They would humiliate her and crush her underfoot and leave her loved ones vulnerable. She would not be left counting on their dubious goodwill. That was not a mistake she would ever make again. The refuge had used and abused her. The Volti had shown some care - true - but they had used her as well, in their own way. The school, certainly, was using her at this very moment.

She came to a stop, eventually, at the edge of the arboretum, and the cool brisk wind was making her eyes water. She wiped them clean with the back of her sleeve and turned on the spot, blinking and looking about. Not anymore, she promised herself. In truth, she could kill them. She could kill almost anyone. If she were an animal, like Benedetto, she might. It would be so easy and so... What? Satisfying? It wouldn't, though. It would just make her a murderer. It would get rid of a few run-of-the-mill bad people who might, someday, even see the error of their ways. No. Jocasta would have to drink this poison. She'd been living the past nine months in a fantasy world - a kneejerk escape from her more customary misanthropy - where she could simply be nice to people and have them be nice in return. They weren't, though, and the tethered was reminded that she was not a nice person either. She took and released a couple of long breaths, rolling to the foot of the gazebo before turning back. She had her immense magic. She had her position of authority at this school. She had her wits. It was time to use them: no apologies or pretense. It was time to take the offensive.

Present: Ayla Arslan @Ti, Evander Fino Synesti @RezonanceV, Tku Pictor @dragonpiece, Fiske Flachstrauch @jasbraq, Zarina Al-Nader @YummyYummy, Desmond Catulus @Th3King0fChaos, and Yansee Keelee Kensen-loon @CaliforniaState

Marceline did not realize that she had fallen asleep. She’d ended up talking to Fiske the previous night, in their shared misery and then… the next thing that she knew, she found herself woken by a cat. It was a large, fluffy orange one, very much like Kurbis, and she thought that it was him for a moment. The teenager rolled over lazily in bed. She may have slept but it had clearly not been all that much. “Oh hello, little fellow,” she yawned, reaching out to ruffle his ample fur. Yet, her unexpected visitor was rather insistent, unleashing a stream of rather eloquent meows and yowls, pawing at her, and design away towards the door, shooting expectant glances back in her direction. He was trying to tell her something, and that got her attention.

“Miauw,” he prodded, and she rose to a sitting position, wriggling and stretching out her toes. “Prrauw! Brrt!” She could feel pins and needles in them - the unwelcome tingling of dying nerves - and took a moment to stretch them out. It was ever a battle and she would need to find another grey aberration soon, or even a white if she was desperate. “ME.OW.” She regarded the creature dimly for a moment before sighing. “Okay. Okay. I’m coming.”

“Mew.” He seemed satisfied with that, pacing around the door as she stood and stretched. She’d fallen abed in her day clothes, so there was no need of a change and, as she looked about the room, her eyes fell on Fiske, who had similarly fallen asleep in a corner on some cushions. Her cheeks flushed. To have fallen asleep in the same room as a boy - one who she was… she shook her head. It was scandalous, but nobody here would know or much care, she imagined. The cat - she had been thinking of him as Kurbis in her head, though he was not - was now pawing at Fiske, and he, too, snapped awake.

In the proceeding few minutes, both were led cautiously outside, through the slowly-stirring streets. Morning had taken hold of An Zenui and the surrounding environs, and it was already a hot and vicious thing. Sand from the previous day’s storm still lay about the place; the Stuzé-Upets and other assorted slaves had been hard at work, but they had not yet cleared it all. Not-Kurbis hurried out ahead of them, his little head glancing back, letting out the occasional “meow” of anxious encouragement as he assiduously avoided the areas where it clung to surfaces or had piled up in small drifts. For much of their walk, moments of stillness prevailed. The arms of the sun reached deeper into the shadows of the canyon in which much of the city lay, but it was, as always, the rich who enjoyed first light.

It broke over a clearing by the cliffs and there was already a small crowd of curious onlookers gathered. Fiske shielded his eyes with magic from the glare while Marci used more traditional methods. Both took in a gasp. From a scraggly tree hung a body, swaddled in ornate silks and flowing veils. It took them both a moment to recognize who it was.

“Ayla.” Marceline darted forward, her voice a terrified squeak, and she bade Fiske to follow. The cazenax and sirrahi who had gathered swirled back at her sudden approach, jabbering rapidly amongst themselves in their foreign tongue at the arrival of the two humans. Marci paid them little and less attention. She reached out with her senses and felt the energies in Ayla’s body. To her immense relief, the girl was alive, but her breathing was shallow and her heartbeat irregular. Fiske, of course, could’ve already told her as much, for such were his gifts as a sensemaster.

Together, they brought their friend gently to the ground, pushing back the nascent crowd, and trying to figure out just what had happened. It was Fiske who sensed it first. “Poison,” he said grimly. He’d been grim ever since last night. She had too, but there was no time for self-loathing at the moment. “It’s a paralytic.” She was not good enough with chemical magic to have sensed it, but he clearly did. “Look for those places,” he directed, “Where the muscles seem colder.” Arcane was a language she spoke at least a little, and she found them after a short interval. The damage was near-terminal, but binding was a language that Marci spoke considerably better, and she set to work. If she could not neutralize the foreign chemicals, she could remove them entirely, and heal the harm they’d done. The entire time, Not-Kurbis paced around protectively, and she began to grow suspicious that there was something special about that cat.

Ayla was jarred from her near-death reverie quite suddenly, and opened her eyes to the sight of Marci and the cat - Benny - leaning over her. Fiske hovered nearby, holding off a growing crowd, and they did not have long to linger. Within a minute, she was on her feet and they were on their way. Perhaps they might’ve headed back to their underground bolt-hole beneath the cliffs, but the city had become an oppressive-feeling place, full of hidden enemies, where they’d be instantly recognized and surrounded by crowds. If they’d found a handful of sympathetic faces, like Pan’s, they were, at best, a curiosity here. To some of those in power, however, they were a threat, and it was Ayla’s recommendation that they reconvene at the 4S sweetwater farmstead.

Zarina’s journey there had been of a different sort. Her vigor and ambition to catch this Wesca - this puppetmaster behind the attack on the stead and perhaps other happenings - had collapsed against an onrushing wall of profound exhaustion. Yansee had not betrayed her, either. Against all odds, the renegade eeaiko had seen her safely to the farmhouse and, after a slightly tense encounter with Zox, to bed. Persevering through mumbled half-coherent resistance, she laid the Virangishwoman to sleep.

The city still held its poisons, however, and they festered under the fuming midday sun. Naxos and Tku had decided to leave An Zenui for the time being, heading back to the stead, and they had retrieved Desmond - none too popular a figure even if innocent - from his cell only to find him sleeping.

It helped with Tku’s cover story, at least, for Naxos had advised him to avoid Desmond’s wrath with a little white lie about how Benedetto had learned the truth. Why, even now, forces were roving about the city, searching for him, and the threat of mob justice loomed. They also, after a fashion, decided to make their return to the farmstead, away from prying eyes, crowds, and the ever-hovering danger of what was starting to be revealed as a far-reaching conspiracy.

It was into this cauldron that Tennaxi and Classa inadvertently walked, or, at least the latter did. Zarina had sped off in another direction unexpectedly during the early hours, and the ambiguously undead eeaiko who they were not certain they could trust had disappeared in a crowd. Now, they found themselves alone in the city. The clamour for Nyax-Acan was all about them, but there was no going unnoticed for very long. If centaurs were not a common sight, they warranted little more than a second glance, and Classa was generally a sponge for attention, prancing about, talking to people, and putting on a show. Tennaxi had never been noteworthy or different in any way that she could remember, and the stares and points quickly began to force a retreat. “Is it just me,” she whispered to the junior accomplice upon whose back she rode, “or are they… kinda hostile?” A handful, at different junctures, had already darted off in some other direction, seeming in a hurry to get there.

“They seem a lil’ weird,” the girl agreed warily.

“This isn’t how things usually are for… sorry, what was her name again?”

“Samaxi,” came a pointed reply. “And umm, no. They’re not.”

Then came a shout. “That’s him!” and another: Her! It’s a her!”

“Fuckin’ excuse you!” Tennaxi retorted.

“It’s Potes-Palix!”


“It is!”

“He’s gotta be crazy.”

“Or ‘she’!”

“Didya think what disguise could fool us!?” shouted one boldly.

“The fuckin’ nerve!” cried another.

Tennaxi’s heart was hammering and, beneath her, she could feel Classa tensing up. The little centaur was about ready to bolt. “Classa,” she whispered, “What the hell did Samaxi get into?” but the girl only shook her head fearfully, as the first shout of “assassin!” leapt forth from the crowd. “I… I dunno!” came the high-pitched reply. “She just sold sweetwater.” She shook her head. “And she’s still here somewhere, or else…”

“They fu-” She paused and tempered her language in front of the child. “They got her or she’s in trouble.”

“Or maybe she’s dead!” wailed Classa, and she broke into a quick trot, the milling mass of people surrounding them jogging or running to keep pace.

Tennaxi tried to give her a reassuring squeeze. Riding was a harrowing thing without legs, she was learning. “I think she’s just lying low,” she tried, not sure if she believed it herself. One of their unwanted escorts tried to reach out for Classa’s tail and Samaxi summoned what she could of magic to bash him away, lest the centaur kick. That was it, then. It was on. A second one came, and then a third. Kinetic shoves and slams tried to hurl them off course and Tennaxi found that her capacity - always high by the standards of her people - was a good deal less now that there was a good deal less of her. “Run, Classa! Run! The horse-girl took off and she was, indeed, fast. Wind rushed through Tennaxi’s and Classa’s hair alike, and the twin streamers rippled behind them. The crowds began to part. The gate hove into view. In the distance, Classa even thought she might’ve seen Tku and… some other human guy.

That was when there was pain: pain and sudden nothingness. When she came to once more, she was in a large room with stern-looking men and Tennaxi was nowhere to be seen.

If she was lost to Classa for now, virtually all of the others were eager to be out of sight as well. Amid swirling crowds and increasing scrutiny, they made a desperate flight towards Jascuan and the sirrahi’s bolt hole from two directions. Time after time, by trickery, stealth, intimidation, and cajolery, they escaped those who paid them extra attention. They drew close, their goal within sight, their pursuers evaded, and Tku, Desmond, Naxos, Ayla, Fiske, and Marceline dared hope that they might’ve pulled it off. They could slip in unnoticed and leave their hideaway safely anonymous.

Then, towering before them, out of nowhere, came a Seeker: a demon of the fourth tier. It filled most of the alley that it emerged from and there was no way that it could fail to draw the attention of anyone watching. From two angles, they laid waste to it, but it took all six of them and every ounce of power that they had. It drew exactly the unwanted attention they had feared, forcing them to assault and knock out two more interlopers There should never have been such a monster moving about in broad daylight in the middle of the city and, if it had been summoned in so precisely in their path, its summoner had been someone who possessed both great power and knowledge of who they were, where they were, and what they were doing.

They scrambled into their hole in the ground, some unexpected mirth and desperate camaraderie along the way, to find that Jascuan and Samaxi had preceded them. Five long hours of travel down a tunnel and an emergence in the desert as the shadows began to grow long saw them battle profound exhaustion, delirium, and claustrophobia. In the home stretch, they overtook Jascuan and Samaxi, making their way forward only with the help of magic. By the time that the expanded group straggled in through the archway of the farmhouse, Pauppaup was there with Yansee to greet them and Zarina was still in a land of blissful dreams. There were strangers in the house, prisoners in the shed, Classa and Tennaxi missing, and…

None of it mattered. Tku passed out on the spot. Desmond staggered and seated himself ungracefully on a sofa. Marceline, Fiske, and Ayla followed, finding whatever space looked comfortable. Mostlike, they did not even register the absence of their two allies, else they might’ve been stirred to action against their better judgement. The home was left to Zox, Yansee, and Pauppaup, exceptional trust placed in the latter two only by dint of circumstance.

Afternoon gave way to night and night to morning. Zarina was the first to rise, and Samaxi a few minutes later. The latter brewed an invigorating sweetwater drink and, soon, they were all up and present, but for their questionable eeaiko allies and - now they noticed for certain - Classa and Tennaxi. Surely, something had gone wrong. Surely, nobody would stoop so low as to harm an innocent child. There was so much to say - so much to be exchanged - but how much time did the group have? They needed a plan and they needed it quickly.

Some yasoi girl who's gonna piss half of you off. Enjoy.

Present: Esmii @BlackRoseSiren, Oksana @Ti, Yuliya @Suicharte, Marz @Th3King0fChaos, Yvain @jasbraq, Roslyn @Fallenreaper, Khaliun @YummyYummy, Sven, and Penny

F O R T P E R E K R E S T O K ||

It started with more disagreement. Everyone had their ideas and not all could be followed. The urgency built. The seconds ticked away. Agents of the Dieci Volti Nascosti closed in on the epicentre of the anti-magic disruption.

The students of Ersand’Enise split into two teams and evaded the legendary assassins for as long as they could, remaining within the bubble of safety where they could use their Gifts, scouring the city for the magic disruptors.

Then, they split.

Yuliya, Marz, Sven, Khaliun, and the latter’s mercenary ronin, Sugawara Yoshinori, headed straight for Fort Perekrestok at the confluence of the Kuska and Belykuska rivers. Yvain, Roslyn, Penny, Esmii, Oksana, and the remaining mercenary, Fritz Rudolf von Weigenen, went to investigate a warehouse they had already identified as suspicious some days earlier.

The latter group met with failure and made to cross the river instead, with the aid of magic, before the teams were too far apart. Oksana’s bridge of ice proved sturdy enough to resist the mighty river’s flow just long enough for most to cross, but Penny found herself stranded on the other side with a mild concussion after slipping and no way across.

Time was everything, and they could feel it eating away at their chances of recovering what they knew to be weapons of terror hidden throughout this remote Vossoriyan town, so they left her and carried on. It wasn’t long before they found themselves shadowed by nearly a dozen more shadowy operatives, and it was only Roslyn’s quick thinking that saved them from having to fight for their lives against odds that no gambler would’ve taken. A canny use of a smoke cannon, a feint attack, and some arcane magic threw their pursuers off and they raced to rejoin their allies.

Those allies, however, had not been so fortunate as they, for, as they had approached the small triangular island on which the fort perched, they came upon two things. The first was indisputably an active magic disruptor, and Yuliya rushed to turn it off. The second, however, was the man in the blue mask who had tried to murder Yuliya and Yvain less than a week earlier - not merely an agent of the Dieci Volti but one of its actual members: the legendary assassin Soldato. He was not alone.

Pursued relentlessly by nearly twenty enemies, the group of youths made a desperate crossing and then turned off their anti-disruptor at the key moment when their enemy tried to follow. Four plunged into the river, one drowned, two washed far downstream. It was then that they unleashed a withering counterattack, and agents of the enemy fell before them.

It was not a massacre, however. For all that the enemy bled, so did the students, now surrounded, now hemmed in. Yuliya had found the crate containing the magic disruptor and a hundred more of its kind - dormant - and she made a desperate play, with her nascent temporal magic, to teleport the entire thing back to the royal palace in Karamevo.

It was Soldato, though - the Blue Volto - who they could not best, however. His shot struck her and the girl’s concentration was broken, the contents of the splintered box scattered across the still-melting snows on the tundra some mile or so outside of town. One by one, she and her allies fell, gasping for breath, mortally wounded, perforated by his deadly accurate fire. Azure Devil - rifle of the magusjaeger volto - sung its deadly song and, for all that they were able to lay low the lesser members of the attacking cabal, they could not touch him.

Then, they beheld Penny’s fate. Their abandoned comrade had dived into the warehouse they had visited earlier and there found a similar crate of magic disruptors. While she had shut the active one off, the act had come at great cost. Waylaid by another Volto - the lilac Coccinella - she had been brutalized to the edge of death, as had many of them. Yet, the enemy never killed. They never seemed to seek unnecessary bloodshed. Again and again, they entreated the foreign youths to stop fighting and let them have what they had come for. Most of these attempts fell upon deaf ears.

Coccinella hovered in the air before the youths, however - not a human, but half-transformed beast: a thresher of some sort, with Penny impaled on one of her claws. She tossed the limp figure aside, and how the others ran for it! How they wasted their time rescuing, healing, and fretting over their friend. It was Sven who suffered next, pierced by Soldato’s bullets. He dropped to the ground, seemingly at the door of death.

They could feel it coming, too: the final remaining Volto, and his power was massive even from a distance. Then, the Eskandishman revived, seemingly out of nowhere, and his rage was something to behold. Gone was the meek, polite, academic Sven Bjørnsson that they knew best. With a bestial fury that they’d gained only glimpses of before, he tore through the Volti agents, making his way towards the Blue Volto. Even Soldato was laid low before the fury of the Southman.

Yet, he was not defeated. Sven was. Coccinella made quick work of him and left the Eskandr giant lying unconscious, right back where he’d started. It was… finished. They were surrounded. The final Volti’s forces had arrived to cut them off and the dainty little Lilac had revealed her true, monstrous power. She was one of the ten - The Originals - an ancient wildblood of unfathomable power. Against this, against Soldato, against two dozen others and the final Volto - as yet unseen - victory did not seem to be an option.

There were two factors that the enemy hadn’t counted on, however. First was the sheer, relentless spite of Yuliya Ilyanovna Vassilieva, Tsesarevna of the Vossoriyan Empire. If there was one thing that she wanted above all else at that very moment, it was to reap a terrible vengeance upon Soldato for the injury that he had caused her and her allies. The second was that she had, in her possession, a chaos marble. This, she launched toward the sniper as he perched on a rooftop across the river and there were none present who could stop it.

There are moments where it becomes clear that one’s enemy is not actually an evil being, and such was the case for Soldato. If Yuliya had not a care for what would be destroyed or how many would die from her attack, Soldato did, and he threw himself into the path of the projectile as it was still in flight over the river, knowing that he was a doomed man but hoping to prevent the death of dozens of innocents.

R A D O M I R ||

Then, the world wavered and there hovered, in the air, a man. He was tall and strongly built, with a full and well-trimmed beard and richly ornamented robes adorned with the ancient seal of the Vossoriyan Royal House. Yet, most of all, it was his face. As if carved from a block of ice, it turned to the feuding parties, even as he released the limp and broken figure of Soldato, who he had grasped, with indescribable force, by the neck. The corpse splashed into the frigid water and was gone.

Radomir, legendary protector of Vossoriya and - some claimed - its first emperor reborn, had arrived. He regarded Coccinella and the other Volti like the insects they were as he took a pair of knives from his pocket and slipped the chaos marble casually into it. His gaze was cold and unblinking. "You have five seconds to get out of my city," he commanded, "Or these are going into your necks." Immediately and reverently, Yuliya sunk to her knees before him, only a single question on her lips. "Почему ты здесь, сэр??" (Why are you here, sir?)

Radomir's cloak and ribbons flapped in the dusky breeze as the last rays of sun disappeared beneath the horizon. His icy eyes flicked away from the Volti for just a moment and took in the form of Marz well below him. "This boy -" He narrowed them. "has my hammer."

Then, however, he judged that about five seconds had passed, and it was time for these Revidian criminals to learn why they should never have come to Vossoriya. First was the illusionist who Yvain had been speaking with. She exploded upon contact, chunks of flesh, shards of bone, and ribbons of skin raining down across the small courtyard. A second was cleanly decapitated by the elder sanguinaire's hand, his head hitting the ground with a meaty 'conk'. So sudden and terrible was the violence that the Volti were slow to respond. A third and fourth were roasted alive where they stood by the sanguinaire elder's mere gaze.

He came for the next one on his hitlist, eyes wide and burning with ravenous bloodlust, only for his unstoppable force to be met by an immovable object. Coccinella was zipping and whirling above, but Radomir had run headlong into something massive, like a bird hitting a window. He rebounded and reeled, shaking his head to clear it. In his path stood a mountain of a man, his wild, bristly beard poking out from beneath a yellow mask with a smiling face, his gigantic arm steaming where Radomir had impacted, and his great gut protruding before him. He straightened. "Bad idea coming alone, kompis." He shook his head. "Imagine that: living a thousand years, founding a dynasty, becoming a legend, just to die here to some fat guy." From behind the mask came the high, unsettling sound of the man's laughter, tinged with hints of madness. He seemed endlessly amused by his own taunt, giddy and eager.

Radomir's face remained stoic as he, too, straightened. "Who says I came alone?" he asked, and a half-dozen oprichnina of the Zavesa Imperii (Veil of the Empire) materialized around the courtyard. A tall, pale woman was among them, standing beside Yuliya, and the girl might have recognized her from the portraits handing within the family palace: her own great grandmother, Ekaterina. There was a distinct resemblance between the two. She leaned in and whispered something in her younger descendant's ear before drawing back. Her peers were already starting to engage the Volti in battle and, just then, Radomir lashed out once again at the colossus that some may have recognized as Il Sorriso (The Smiler) or Volto Giallo. This time, he had the Chaos Marble clearly in hand and was aiming to use it.

The oprichnina turned to the students. "My friends, you have helped us much, and your service will be rewarded. I ask one more thing." She gestured broadly, taking in the rest of the city. "There are two more crates like this one. If this terrorists retrieve them, our country - and many others - will burn." She glanced up above as Volto Lilla went hurtling through a wall with one of her fellow high sanguinaires in her clutches - not that anyone aside from Yuliya and perhaps Penny could've known what they were. "I know where two of these are. Me and another officer will go with you."

Then, the junior Volto was there: an insectile being with few human features remaining. "I say to you, once again, that the greater evil would be to let these devices fall into the hands of Vossoriya," she buzzed. "You are only our enemies so long as you fight us." The monster leveled an arm at Yuliya, "Except for -" A half-dozen skewers shot up from the ground, furrowing the wildblood's carapace and forcing her to dodge aside. "Run!" shouted their guide. "For the warehouse where you first found them! I will follow after I deal with this menace!"

I N T H E B A L A N C E ||

There was, indeed, a menace, but what form it took was very much a matter of opinion. Even as magic returned to Kirimansk and its people began to rejoice and clean away, in earnest, the debris of these two weeks of calamity, others fled the growing conflagration at Fort Perekrestok and agents of the Dieci Volti Nascosti swarmed about, hard at work. They had claimed the crate full of disruptors that Penny had fought for and lost. They had come upon the second crate as well, out to the east, and stolen it. Even now, they were seeking the chaos marbles hidden beneath the town in its sacred caves and searching the sparse taiga forest to the north beyond for the precious devices that Yuliya had spilled there. Time was, once again, wasting, and much hung in the balance.

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