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Bio

I'm not really a bird.

-0-

Where did I play,
A land of twisted branches,
A kingdom of clay,
A swamp of memories,
A never-ending day,

Where did I run,
Across the dawn,
Through the sun,
Across the sky,
Through laughs and fun,

Where did I walk,
Pristine grass green,
White cliffs of chalk,
Pools of sky so blue,
Orchard stones that talk,

Where did I sit,
By the gates of silver,
Near endless pit,
By forever horizon,
You may remember it.

Most Recent Posts

Hot & Angry

Po & Anath Homura



The colossus continued on its journey along the north eastern shores, beyond Lektoria’s Stormbreaker Mountains and the cold woodland realm created by Ravdur. It followed the jagged path where the sea mingled with the land, swiftly traveling southwards while accompanied by the shimmering lights that Myrtu had set loose upon the world.

Anath Homura stood upon the crown of the colossus in pensive silence, arms crossed and a brow arched as she contemplated the various accumulating contributions and creations across the world brought forth by the new pantheon. A strong heat bathed over her back as she thought, quiet yet crackled until a scratchy shout broke the peace.

“Your fire is a little flat!”

“So it is.” The red goddess replied, as she turned her one-eyed gaze from the heavens, and looked to the flame that had addressed her. “I am Anath Homura, and I have come offering peaceful greetings and gifts to bestow upon you.”

Po pointed to Homura’s straight red hair. “Are you cold?”

“Hmm… do I seem cold?” Anath Homura asked, as she swiftly shifted through her silken hair with her hand in a single motion.

“Your fire is flat,” Po reiterated. She held up her hands, the flames flickering a hot blue. “I’ll help.”

The red goddess gave a gesture of approval, awaiting whatever assistance Po could provide with an amused glint in her sole eye.

Po’s fire flared and her cloak fluttered as she heated up. Her blue flames turned white and then with a loud roar, a raging torrent of fire exploded from the fire goddess and engulfed Homura as well as the entire crown of the colossus.

“Do you accept my gifts?” Anath Homura asked, as she remained standing still in the inferno while Po worked with the flames, so she would not interfere with much more than a simple conversation.

“Huh?” Po was squinting with concentration, stopping for a moment. The fires swept away to reveal a red hot area as well as a toasty Homura. “Gifts? Yeah! I’m hungry.” A pause and Po lifted her hands again. “Are you still cold?”

“No, your flames were sufficiently warming.” Homura replied, and then gestured towards the lower sections of the colossus. “If you wish to feast on the flames of humanity, they await your burning touch within.” She explained.

“Oh, thank you!” Po abruptly grabbed Homura. It was less of an embrace and more of an investigation as the hidden face of Po looked her over. “And what about you?”

“Hmm?” Homura brows furrowed with bemusement.

“I’m hungry,” Po said simply, her grip heating up. “Show me my food.”

Anath Homura held out her hand, and the colossus rumbled with inner activity as metal grinded against metal and split apart. Once more, many openings and orifices appeared along the exterior of the colossus, revealing the still slumbering vessels that resided within the multitude of chambers and cavities inside its immense hollow chest. The pale featureless faces of the primordial humans gazed up at Anath Homura and Po, calling to them with their silent voices.

“Gimme!” Po screeched before blazing away from Homura. Her hood flew off her forehead to reveal her face burning with hungry passion, her eyes as wide as saucers. She smacked her lips and dove into the mess of humans, her flames immediately flooding the cavity. Anath Homura remained silent as she watched Po consume the slumbering humans within the colossus. The resilient earth that acted as their flesh was not designed to withstand flames from outside their forms, and it crumbled easily. The water and wind were devoured, and the little fires of each vessel were overwhelmed by the much more potent and vast flames of Po. Thousands upon thousands, all that were dormant within the colossus, turned to cinders.

By time the cavity was a swirl of ash and fire, Po was on her hands and knees, fiery teeth gnawing on the very material of the colossus. “Oh wow.” Her voice came out muffled. “Thish part ish really toughf.”

“I suggest sending your flames elsewhere. The celestial metal of the colossus will not burn.” Anath Homura called out.

“WHAT!?” Po shrieked. She jumped to her feet, her fires skipping right to white hot. She fumbled her words a moment before falling on, “WHAT!?”

“Your flames will not burn that metal. You cannot feast upon it.” The red goddess affirmed, shifting her one-eyed gaze between Po and the parts of the colossus that glowed white-hot from the searing touch of the former.

“No!” Po hissed. “Everything can burn!” She stomped her foot, a plume of flames so hot it burned iridescent popped up. She stomped her other foot and her white mantle turned to the same intensity, reigniting the cinders around her. The ashes disappeared under the new heat. “I will eat it!” She slammed a fist against the wall, the bang echoing through the cavity.

“Your flames lack the strength required, and the colossus belongs to me. I do not intend for you to eat it.” Anath Homura remarked, her apathetic visage descending from atop the crown to the exposed and empty chamber where Po fumed.

Po continued to throw her fit, stomping and hissing. With each hit, her flames grew and grew until they expanded to fill every corner of the chamber and then started to engulf the outside. Before long, vicious licks of fire were devouring everything around the colossus and burning the air itself orange. Po was a solid white figure at the epicenter of the growing nova, her swearing drowned out by the ear shattering crack of fire.

“You will not consume it.” The red goddess repeated without inflection, standing somewhere in the raging inferno.

“Shut up!” Po roared. Her voice summoned a popping silence. Time seemed to slow and the whipping flames that devoured mountains shrunk for a moment only for everything to come rushing back. The earth below the colossus was lifted from the massive explosion as Po vented all her heat outwards. Her flames turned to rings of fiery destruction that reigned taller than mountains, radiating from the still intact colossus. The grinding storm evaporated everything in its path, leaving molten residue and snapping white flames in place of whatever lived there before.

Po slouched for a moment, noticing she was still standing on the colossus. There was an unseen pout, a flip of her hood to its upright position and then with an angry plop, she sat back on the floor and crossed her arms. Her licking flames returned to her, though the devastation outside was still growing from the epicenter. “You win…” Her voice was small. “This time.”

Anath Homura approached where Po was seated, and kneeled next to her. “It was never a battle.” Homura murmured, and then glanced around the barren interior of the colossus for a brief moment. “It seems my travels have come to an end, and I shall return to my realm. Po, I ask that you visit my home and share with me the gift of your tenacity again.”

“You don’t get it,” Po snapped, refusing to look up from her pout.

“You are a different kind of flame. A familiar flame, but not the same as me.” Anath Homura murmured, peering at Po with the unrelenting weight of her otherworldly gaze.

“You invited me here,” Po turned her head so she couldn’t see Homura at all. “And it’s so cold, and you wanted my fire, but then you made something I can’t fix.”

“Perhaps I intended for another to mend the broken. Your fire is welcome, but you cannot consume all that is, do you understand?” The red goddess inquired with a sharp tone, rising to stand beside Po.

“That’s so unfair!” Po turned to look at Homura from her sitting position.

“It is what it is.”

Po pointed a finger. “You don’t even care about me!”

“I have been told that I lack love in my heart. I have murdered my children, and consumed the corpse of my father. I have betrayed many, and I will betray more. Perhaps you are correct… I do not care.” Anath Homura intoned, before she ascended from the desolate interior now levitating above the scorched colossus and the burning land.

“Well, you don’t have to prove it!” Po shouted over a sniffle. She rubbed an arm over her face for a moment before growling. “Ugh! You’re just like the others! You talk a lot, and say so many confusing words but they are as empty as smoke. Talk talk talk, no fire!” She turned away from Homura, content on staying in her spot on the colossus. “Leave me alone!”

“So I shall… though I would enjoy your presence in Keltra.” The red goddess replied, and then held out her hand. The colossus stirred, its celestial metal shifting and grinding against itself as its shape began to swiftly change. Within the interior; panels overlapped and merged, larger pieces became condensed smaller pieces, and the walls folded in upon themselves. The immense form of the colossus was reduced, reduced, and reduced, until it was too small to carry even a crumb of dirt, or a pouting goddess. At the end of the transformative process, the colossus had vanished from mortal sight. Its miniscule shape, visible only to the eyes of the Divine, now resting in the outstretched hand of Anath Homura.

Po’s voice came from the molten waves and spinning flames below. “You’re mean.”

“I am what I am. Farewell, until we meet again.” The voice of the red goddess echoed as she vanished as well. With her journey concluded, Anath Homura departed once more - feeling a pang of regret. It was unlikely her intention to end her travels with letting the remainder of humanity be consumed, and an angry goddess exploding in her face, but sometimes that happens.



oop




Always meet your heroes.


I


Smoke welled up under the chariot’s hot pink hood and leaked out via the many cracks and dents along the metal surface. The smoke itself was either black or yellow, and seemed to be building up faster and faster.

From inside the cockpit, Mozmoz sighed and let herself sink into her fancy synthetic leather driver’s seat which was, of course, much too big for her.

She removed the soaked sweatband off her forehead and swept her matted hair back, then blew her nose into a tissue, furrowing her brow as she saw hints of blood in the mucus.

“Qui, I really don’t thin-” Mozmoz froze as she turned to look at her partner, who looked as fresh as ever and was currently dabbing some kind of random cosmetic powder on her cheeks. “Shut the hell up! You’re doing your makeup at a time like this! Did you even share the engine burden with me at all?”

Quiqui giggled and shrugged. “Nuh-uh. You really expect me to show up to tonight’s dance with a bloody nose and demon eyes? No thanks!”

Mozmoz huffed. “It’s cause of that ‘Sun-Downie’ guy I guess? Sounds like your type.”

“Sun-Downer. And duh, he’s a silver fox. Or I guess a silver bull? I definitely have the height thing down unlike you, shorty.”

“Says the airhead.” Mozmoz pursed her lips.

“Says the tomboy.” Quiqui smirked.

“Men like tomboys.”

“Not when they refuse to wear eyeliner, no.”

“The hell does eyeliner have to do with anything?! It’s all a rip off anyway, that Beneavolence stuff.”

“Try it before you talk smack, Mozzy!” Quiqui offered a small oval-shaped object to Mozmoz, almost as if she’d had it ready for that exact moment.

“Eh…”

Quiqui groaned and pushed the object into Mozmoz’s hand, then kicked open her cockpit and jumped out. She was careful to avoid any of the more dangerous parts of the chariot, and walked all the way over to one of the detached wheels, a whole couple dozen paces away from the vehicle and right on the edge of the public Internodal 1. Once sat down, she pulled out a small white cylinder out of her pocket and lit the tip on fire with a lighter, then took a deep drag.

A few minutes after that, Mozmoz jumped out of her side of the cockpit and walked up to Quiqui’s side before plopping down on the grass.

“So… How do you use this stuff?”

Quiqui nearly snorted as she turned to look at Mozmoz’s face, with scribbles of black paint all over her eyelids, making her look more like a raccoon than a sexy ratkin.

“Yeah yeah, laugh at the poor little tomboy.” Mozmoz rolled her eyes. Quiqui was silent, uncharacteristically so.

Then she heard it, the rhythmic thumping of a hundred sets of plated boots. The distant clanging of metal plates, and the telltale glint of reflected light washing over the hill to the South, in the direction of the 16th region.

Dotting the horizon, the strange army came to a halt and then it happened. A massive gust of wind came howling over the hills, slapping Mozmoz and Quiqui in the face with a stiff gust. A glittering dragon spilled into view soon after, its titanic wings blasting spiralling torrents with each beat deep in the reddened atmosphere. The creature circled above, blotting out the sun. And then, gracefully, the dragon descended and landed in the middle of the wide road (engulfing it entirely) with one last mighty flap of its glittering wings.

That last flap, of course, knocked the beauty pair off their seats and onto their backs, sinking into the calf-high grass.

“W-What in the flying…!”

Benea’s head popped over the side of the dragon’s neck, a gentle smile on her face and a bubbling glass of something-something in her hand. “Hello there, dears, do you know where I can find the people in charge of this region?”

Mozmoz raised an eyebrow and struggled her way up to a sitting position, then raised the other eyebrow as soon as she saw Quiqui’s wide eyes, trembling brow and gawping mouth.

“Oh. My. Bloom.” The tall mousekin said slowly, lifting her hands to cover her mouth.

“What? What? Don’t tell me this is real? For real?” Mozmoz bit the tip of her tongue as she took in the sight of the dragon and the woman on top. “Hey!” She shouted, “You look lik-” Quiqui quickly lunged at Mozmoz, shutting her up by sticking pretty much her whole hand in her mouth.

“A-Ah, uh! Oh Bloom. Y-You’re the main model for the Beneavolence brand, aren’t you? I saw you on the posters last month! I sent you so many letters, and so many gifts! I love the moisturiser lotion that just came out last season, you know!”

Mozmoz tried to speak, but all her words came out muffled and all her struggling was ineffective against Quiqui’s death grip.

Benea couldn’t stifle her laughter and let out a snorting cackle from atop her dragon. “That’s just adorable, dear, do you want me to sign your…” A pause as she looked Quiqui over. “Well whatever, I suppose.”

Quiqui beamed, a high-pitched squee escaping her throat as she jumped up and ran back to the chariot, releasing Mozmoz in the process, who coughed and spat a few times before looking up at Benea’s barely visible face, seeing the ‘supermodel’ sip on her drink through a rather brightly coloured blue-yellow stripped straw.

“What kinda supermodel doesn’t wear her own makeup brand? You really from the Snowlands? Whatever, you or your army can do anything to us, we’re officially recognised racers.” The short mouse girl declared with a huff and crossed arms.

“Can’t fix perfection I’m afraid, dear,” Benea called back before taking another sip. In the background, one could barely hear Quiqui squeal in excitement at hearing the famous line. The squeal grew louder as the tall mouse lady came trampling back with a huge rucksack held in between her arms, which she dropped onto the ground and opened to pick out a single framed drawing.

“P-Please sign my Beneavolent Portrait please!”

Benea gave Quiqui the sort of smile a parent might give a toddler. “Of course, dear.” She turned to look behind her and shouted. “Jermane! Sign this sweet thing’s picture!”

A baritone roar came from behind the scales of the dragon. “At once, ma’am!”

With a loud grunt, a castle of a man came falling from the dragon. He landed on the road with a bang and rammed a sword bigger than both Mozmoz and Quiqui combined into the ground. Marching over he shoved a massive hand under his plated armor and yanked out a pen.

“Picture, please, miss.” The giant rumbled.

Both women stared at the man slack-jawed. Even Quiqui, being the tallest woman to ever be born in the Ratcaves, was a full head shorter than Jermane, and Mozmoz, well… After a minute, Quiqui quietly offered the drawing to him, the only sound that resonated throughout the area being the squeakiness of the pen. Then, after all was done and Jermane turned to leave, Mozmoz cleared her throat.

“Hey, you’re uh. That guy that’s on the powerwasher posters in New Dama, right? Shirtless?”

“Are you flirting with gentle Jermane, here?” Benea called out from the dragon, almost teasing as the giant of a man yanked his weapon free from the earth.

“O-Obviously not! I’m just saying! There’s a dance tonight at, uh…” Mozmoz trailed off.

Quiqui intervened, “The Vulpes’ Estate! I’m sure they’d love to have you there. I can bring you Benea, and Mozmoz can bring Jermarvelous! There’ll be drinks and food and a mixed hot spring.”

Benea perked up. “Oo! Jermane, a hot spring!”

“We have the army, my Queen, and the triggering event.”

Scrunching her nose, Benea answered, “true. I’m sorry lovelies but we really do need to be getting to the node and your government as soon as possible, you know, before the world ends.”

“Node? Wait, you’re a God?” Mozmoz asked in surprise. “You look too… Capable. Plus I haven’t seen any god since Eleanna got put behind bars. I thought they were all dead.”

“Don’t be rude, Mozz!” Hissed Quiqui as she elbowed her best friend in the shoulder. “Uhm, anyway, yeah just follow this road north-north-east and you’ll get to New Dama. Might have to ask little Orbita for permission to take it over, though…”

“Thank you, dear,” Benea smiled down at the pair. “And don’t you two worry, your favorite Benea will up and fix the tear in the sky and see us all safe and sound.” With little else, the dragon rocketed up to the sky with a subsonic blast of air and dirt.

Long after the dragon had flown over the horizon and as the regular footmen were marching past, Quiqui pat Mozmoz on the shoulder and grinned. “So Tomboy Mozz has a thing for Massive Manly Men? I thought you were into girls for a while there.”

Mozmoz zipped up her jumpsuit and pulled up her collar to cover her face. “Shaddup.”





:O!


A flood of legionaries stood on the hills of the 13th/14th region border. The verdant road was packed tight with Anak’thas’ soldiers and he himself stood with his elite knights at the fore. It had been too long since he had stepped foot in the 13th realm, his first home, and after today, he was sure he would never have to leave it again. And why would he? It’s his. Looking up at the endless blue sky, he swallowed the vision of his paradise.

“My Lord.” The voice of Anak’thas’ most trusted advisor came up from his right. He still didn’t know the man’s name, nor was he interested.

The mode of light that served as the gods eye flickered over to the pragmatically armored advisor, only to find him pointing to the horizon. Following his finger, he could see a dark line form in the distance, the ranks of his enemy.

“I know…” Anak’thas said, unamused by the assumption that human eyes could have seen them before he.

On the other side stood two of the three great dusklander armies, the banners of Hatzur and Daga, curiously the third army, the one they had met the most, the banner of Theodoro, traitor of Node 13 and most often rival of the legion, was nowhere to be seen, an unpleasant wildcard in the great, and final, battle that was to come.

Both sides knew of this, as the dusklander cards were also all on the table, for years the battles had dwindled to skirmishes of small groups, but now both sides were so numerous as to clad the horizon with their flowing flags and banners.

“I don’t see her,” the advisor said. If Anak’thas had teeth, he would be gritting them.

“She will come,” he answered. Raising his arms, he let golden ribbons swirl and circle them, his mighty vambraces of light pulsing with power. “She will have to come.”

The magic around him crackled and popped as it grew, the swirling ribbons coming together to form a large ball of golden light that kept growing and growing. Anak’thas’ knights gulped from their powersuits, they could feel the static energy from even behind the god. Sound clapped and with a bang, the orb of destruction launched from Anak’thas and towards his enemy.

The shadows grew as the overwhelming light crossed the field, then, they lunged at it, rising from the ground in a single focal point, the goddess of dusk had arrived, dashing against it and stopping its descent. The power was so immense the goddess would be pushed back as she tried to stop it, leaving a trail of dust and torn apart ground as her heels would grind against the ground. The core of her army, supposedly clad in magical unbreakable metals, was forced to open up its ranks and move aside as the simulacrum of a sun dove past them, only held back by small petals of shadow.

Ultimately, despite her efforts to keep the angle upward, the sphere of destructive power dove into the ground and exploded into a pillar of flames. The goddess' attempt to stop it did give her army the possibility of avoiding it, but it also meant taking the brunt of the power upon her own body.

Not even the most optimistic of Anak’Thas believers however held the hope this would be the end of the shadow witch, soon the pure bright flames, still rising, gained a taint of black as the profane sword Eclipse ate its light away, dwindling into a hellish glow as the shadows crept back on the field, giving the dust raised by the explosion a hellish had.

And from that the dark figure of the goddess emerged, she walked as if unharmed, but those who could see her in detail would see that her right side had been seriously wounded, charred jade butterflies falling off in shatters as their protection had failed on that area, scars of burns creep from the arm all the way up to the now blind right eye. Her army was shocked at her state for a good moment, their morale only rising again as she picked up the Eclipse and pointed it towards Anak’Thas, declaring the battle to have started as the men roared, the bells rang and the horns blared.

Anak’thas’ own troops rushed forward, peppered with mechanical knights and a few golems that shook the ground. It was a blast of sound when both lines collided, blood being ripped from either side. At the head of it all, Anak’thas commanded a devastating presence, his beams of light sawing through the enemy as he made his way to Dzallitsunya.

“Sister! I see you!” His voice was drowning in anger.

“It was about time, do you tire of hiding behind your people, brother?” the goddess retorted, her voice much colder.

“I tire of seeing you slaughter them, usurper! You and Benea shall pay for your crimes!” The lantern god let out a howling blast of light, the crackling energy cutting above some soldiers and darting towards his new target.

Waving the shadow petal, the goddess darted straight to Anak’Thas, diving under the light and rising near the god. “Your dedication to being a fool is unmatched, I gave you many chances to change your path, you wasted all of them. No more, you are blinded by the flame of your own pride and too many were burned by it, today, darkness comes, and all shall be brought under the shadow.” slicing at a few nearby legionnaires, the goddess of dusk tried to make lunge towards Anak’Thas.

A golden lattice forced between the two, catching the Goddess’ attack and limiting her direct movement. The light in Anak’thas’ left hand buzzed holding the lattice like a shield, while his right formed a mighty sword. He hefted his sister off his shield of light with a shove and dove after her with his blade.

Using her relic, the goddess stopped her apparent fall midway and immediately held her sword up, clasing with the striking blade of Anak’Thas, who clearly held the upper hand in that first strike, however, it was not enough to overpower the goddess, who parried the blade and took a more ready stance. What followed was a clash of the blades of light and darkness as the two traded blows.

Over time, Anak’thas managed to pour more of his magic into his weapon, adding fuel to his impressive strikes. Each clash against Eclipse sent shockwaves around the fighting pair, shaking the ground and knocking away any immediate fighters. The battle that raged rang them, not daring to get too close to their heated exchange.

As hard as Anak’thas was hitting though, Dzallitsunya was faster and managed to dip and dive between his strikes with grace and ease, only further enraging the lantern god. His powerful strokes started to miss more often, renting the ground and sending shards of rock to the sky.



The battle was truly chaotic as both sides involved had developed much that they had not shown in the skirmishes. Mages of Anak’Thas had grown more powerful and focused, with a wider variety of spells far more adapted to the battle field, their suits too had been adapted and refined, some made bigger and bulkier while others were made light and agile.

On the dusklander side, alchemical materials and devices controlled the field, the shower of maelite glass tipped bolts denied the legion the possibility of using lighter troops while the sparkdriver rifles cracked many of the less prepared heavier troops. By now the legion had noticed Mithril in play, and started to single out such soldiers with their magical heavy troops, though the typical tactics of smashing or grabbing and throwing the soldiers far off were ineffective thanks to the impact retardant property of the alchemical material, the legion soon found themselves taking spears of magical ice or halberds from fallen dusklands to instead attack the mithril troops and with them finding better results.

This focus of the heavier troops around the dusklander’s elite opened the previously unbroken metal wall of the legion, typically the dusklanders were a slow moving force, so the legion felt safe in such a situation, the mithril clad swordsmen were the main threat. Furthermore, the lighter troops and mages were protected by resonating faith barriers and thus neither crossbow, spark drivers nor silver cannons would be able to harm them.

But, under the influence of an eclipse, the field had been dark, the main source of light being the increasing fury of the lantern god and the faint glow of the eclipsed sun, and in that shadowy world a mass of darkness had been waiting, and now it charged towards the light of the legion.

As it approached, the first suspicious eyes of footmen clad in boiled leather started to be drawn towards the enemy side, the only hint of it being the dark banners flowing against the purple of the twilight sky. Then the sound of hooves attracted even the most distracted soldiers, and all gasped in shock as fires were lit in the weapons of the enemy, finally revealing what was coming for them. Dark riders in dark horses and raptors, stellasteel morning stars now lit in alchemical fire, the meteor hammer as it would be called, swinging rapidly before clashing against the soft barrier in a barrage of steel and flame. In that chaos, raven masked warriors from node 19 started to dash into battle, dark knives and arrows aiming for none but the forward mages of Anak’Thas.

Avian screechs and hoots echoed among the screams of man, as Sally’s Selected, a group of Daman Landers, dove into battle, aiming for the back line of Anak’s faithful, armed with their claws and iron needles in their wings, they expected a quick annihilation of their worst enemies, as the mages’ craft could break apart troop of orichalk and mithril alike, yet soon found themselves countered as guards and archers had been carefully placed among the chanting mages, protecting and countering the harpy’s strike.

The breaking of the light troops was the sign the legion needed to no longer hold back either. A loud ring of brass silenced the field for a moment as the three sentinels rose up, ambrosian armors of unequal power, two with flails and the central one with a hammer of war, bringing strikes of such power no armor could hold back, and with a protection so thick the cracks of lightning against the brass did little beyond negligible scarring.

Meanwhile, the broken apart mage groups the dusklanders foolishly considered finished proved their zeal one final time, starting to rush against the dusklander troops chanting their final prayers, bringing with them great spells that could freeze the warm blood of man or break the ground apart into flowing lava.




In the heart of the carnage and chaos, the battle had continued, an impasse as the light did not find the speed to cast off the shadows, but the darkness did not find enough strength to blot out the blazing lamp. After one such clash, Anak’thas floated backwards and pushed his lattice outward to cover him. His sword dissolved for a moment as a great orb started to grow in his right hand. A frustrated hum vibrated from his form. “This will be the end.”

Having already lost an eye to such a thing, the goddess did not have faith in surviving a second strike, but to move away was to let her own people die, and that she could not do. Her mind raced for a solution, and the first priority was to make sure that should this be her end, then it might as well be the end of her enemy as well. Striking the earth with Eclipse and charging it with her godly power, the goddess summoned from the blade’s own shadow a rose bush, of smoky quartz petals and obsidian thorns. It quickly followed the light of Anak’Thas and clashed with the lattice, a battle between the light consuming petals and the light-given-form ensuing, though a stalemate was all needed for a branch to reach further, attach itself to the flowing cape of the lamp-holder and start to spread from there, obsidian tearing apart all it could touch.

Yet, the spells reached its completion, as the goddess knew it would, ironic, that what she faced now was all she reviled so much, the concentration of pride and rage, of unjustified rightfulness and frustration at the world that did not turn around itself. It disgusted her to the core, but it was an old enemy, and that would be her one chance at salvation.

She raised her hood over her head and took a running stance, wind starting to be cut apart as she prepared herself with the power of the shadow petal. Anak’thas’ lattice wavered as his left hand turned to a heated knife of light, hacking at the strangling vines only for them to regrow stronger with each cut. He groaned, his right hand still growing in immense power. The lack of concentration kept the light crackling, threatening release at any second.

Dzallitsunya kept the power of the shadow petal growing and growing, and finally, she jumped forward, a loud bang and then complete silence as sound itself lagged behind her, her aim holding the cape over her face she dove at immense speed straight towards the very core of the faux-sun.

A ball of burning plasma left on the other side, the goddess opening her cape to cast off most flames, though the lingering embers still quickly ate away at Shadow Petal. Right behind her, the orb started to turn on itself after the core damage, starting to implode. In her hand, the goddess held a blade of dark, cold steel with a faint red glow, though her relic was breaking apart, with the last bit of movement manipulation allowed to her, she twirled gracefully and threw the knife which she had used to cut apart the hell of burning light inside the orb with her aim being none other than Anak’Thas true form, the lamp being carried by the wraith.

A sickening crash sounded as the blade smashed through the divine glass. Anak’thas’ mote grew wide with surprise and his power faded from his arms. The collapsing ball of energy spasmed for a moment before engulfing him in the deadly light. A loud baritone yell erupted from the god as his own power started to consume him until all at once there was a clapping explosion.

The force of the blast knocked Dzallitsunya backwards and blinded onlookers. Through the pink negatives, Anak’thas was gone, all but a crater remained. Above where he stood, the sky bled a sharp red, flashing angrily. Under the angry glare of the sky, the battle started to slow — as if unsure. Murmurs mixed with the wails of the wounded, only to jump with a yell as a black crack slashed across the bleeding sky.

At the edge of the crater, the surviving goddess rose up against the carmine sky, coughing and taking inventory of her body, her limbs, her equipment. She still wore the scars sustained in the beginning of the battle, her clothes were left as half-burnt tatters, more shockingly, her trustworthy Shadow Petal was fully torn, having taken most damage from the sun dive. Though she shared a solemn second to mourn the cape, her eyes quickly focused on the black slash on the scarlet sky, questions quickly filling her mind as never before had it lasted so long nor had the black rot spread across it in such a way.

The armies around here were stilled by the sight and a budding realization crept up on Dzallitsunya; the lives of all Anak’thas’ surviving followers were now hers to judge.




Above Benea, a crimson sky broke what would otherwise be a boring scene.She stood by the node of the 17th region, her paladins covered in the blood of its vain defenders. In the far distance, her ships crowded the shores, hauling even more soldiers of hers into the region to stabilize it against remaining holdouts. The goddess herself was just patting her own back, congratulating herself on splitting Anak’thas’ attention for her sister Dzallitsunya when the sky broke. Now she was staring up at it with a furrowed brow.

Pursing her lips, she let her eyes flicker down to her hand, which was still laid upon the surface of the 17th node. Unlike how it usually was, the node was warmer to the touch — almost hot. Benea let out a long sigh. “Are you waking up already?”

“What do you mean?” Jermane peered over her shoulder.

Turning to meet his eye, Benea said, “the first signs of the triggering event are upon us, dear.”




32 and 17


Benea stood facing the ocean calm. It’s black surface was already starting to break into fluttering blue as life spilled into it from the 32nd node. High above her, the dragon named Tagro flew in large loops which in turn pushed a steady wind over the seas. This wind was caught in the billowing sails of the paladin ships — their galleons dotting the horizon. An army was on its way and soon the node would be colonized and ready to be used to strike.




Anak’thas floated above his golden throne. He had taken the the chair more recently as a place to think in solitude. It was center sat in a large hollow room painted to every corner with vast murals. Most depicted the exodus from node 18 and his original faithful, while the rest showcased his victory against Benea at 14. But now he sat with a heavy brow. A messenger stood beside the throne with a meek composition as the god unraveled his words.

“So my sister has taken the 32nd node?”

“Yes, sire.”

“And you’re sure of this?”

“Word traveled fast, sire.”

“No doubt…” Anak’thas’ great eye peered upwards, already envisioning the possible reasons of Benea’s recent move. “She has her eyes on 17.”

“That’s what the generals are saying, sire.”

“And I’m busy in node 13, why wouldn’t she go after my tail end lke the backstabber she is.” Anak’thas groaned. “I need to finish this war.”

“How, sire?”

The great light that was his eye snapped to the messenger, blinding the man in the spotlight. “How!?” The frustrated god shook the walls. “By finishing it myself!”




Fora and Renault… and Jole!


Off in the quaint countryside once happily referred to as “cannibal’s crest” was a small village tucked between two hills (or cannibal crests apparently). It was in that village that Renault and Fora found themselves, happy to be further south and away from the snow. The chills were still north enough that the desert hadn’t overtaken the temperature and as such, Renault decided to dress comfortably for once — leaving his armor at the camp in favor of some black trousers and a wide, blue shirt cut in the Benean fashion (with loose, short arms and a large, open collar). Even still, this relaxed look obviously hid many knives and blades and gadgets, all of which Fora had the pleasure of seeing him sneak on his person.

Fora herself stood slightly in front of the man but behind Francis, who was whistling happily as she led them through the hamlet. The magistrate had yet to regain her invisibility, instead rocking a look of cream white and pink, after a long struggle with wearing rags, she had regained her proper clothing of silk and fancy textiles with many silvery accessories, to top that, she had a massive umbrium-waxed parasol that fully kept her safe from the ever hellish sunshine that assaulted the world with greater intensity as they got closer to the desert. Though she wore a relaxed face, her mind skilfully traced the countryside for anything suspicious, especially anything signaling to whatever could get a place to be called Cannibal’s Crest.

“It’s not a bad place, eh Fora?” Renault could be heard behind her. “Almost reminds me of home.”

“I don’t doubt it does… I mean it is quaint for sure, just make sure you don’t lose anything in there. Specifically, a bite-worth of flesh.”

“Ah a little bite never hurt,” Renault missed her meaning completely. “You know, my home is sandwiched between two hills as well, just a bit softer slopes and a brook running down the middle. My house is on the west side of the brook with a well of white stones and an oak tree.”

“I lived with the rest of my clan in a spire not too far from Tsorovah, deep in the swamps, . Hills were on all sides, but I was so dead center in the foggy swamp I never could quite see them. Can you guess what my family’s profession was?”

“I suppose it wasn’t fishermen.” Renault answered with a playful sarcasm.

“It was actually. But my mother came in as a manyadjir from a jeweler family, aiming to help dive for pearls... It was like, very early in the settling of the land, back when spires were what we did not for fashion, but to avoid the constant flooding. I had a pet frog named Bubble, and he would eat any bug that got into my room. He was very fat given all the insectoid intruders I had to deal with, sleeping at the highest floor, with just sooooo many windows.”

“Maybe you can show me after all this.” A pause. “And maybe after that I could show you mine.”

“Uh. I no longer live in my parents’ attic? But I guess I could show you around Badja Kiri where I live now, I wonder… how much fancier it got since I left. It will be nice to show up with a tall and fit paladin though, all the magistrates would be talking about it, though I fear half of them would only be interested in your body.” she noticed what she said. “As in, experimenting with your body.” she noticed what she said, again. “As in, open you up with a knife.”

“Well you got my hopes up quite nicely before cutting them down,” Renault answered. “You know, Fora, I’m not just any old paladin, or did you already have a secret dossier on all of that?”

“Oh, the whole heir apparent thing?” she casually mentioned.

“The what?” Renault dashed to her side. “Did you just say heir apparent?”

“Oh?” she gulped, had she spoken more than she was supposed to know. “I said chair judgment. You are the one who tests all of Benea’s fancy chairs before she sits on them, yes? To make sure they are all comfy and warm?”

“That’s not what you said.” He put his hand on her shoulder. “You know something you shouldn’t, don’t you? C’mon, Fora, you can tell me — we’re partners!”

“Stop saying it like that all the time! Then when the hyena thinks we are just saying we are not a couple to mess with her, you don’t know why.” she puffed her cheeks. “How would I even know anything about your social position if I just met you for the first time in this wildland? I can’t access our massive archives of personal information on all politically relevant people in the north! Do you think I have a whole network of owl harpies quickly sending my messages back and forth to the dusklands? That would be silly. Tsk tsk.”

“Alright, fine.” Renault let go and crossed his arms. “We are sweeter than maple lovers on a Daman honeymoon, and this is our best friend Francis who happens to be a dingo-lady and not a hyena.”

“Damn right,” Francis muttered. “Now shut up; you two are embarrassing me.”

The trio was standing in front of a simple wattle and daub home now, stamped shut with a wooden door and fine iron knobs. The dingo-lady kicked the door open with a bang and shouted into the flickering darkness. “Now introducing Mr and Mrs Loudmouths.” She paused to look back at the pair. “Newly weds.”

Inside, an old man with large donkey ears and a smooshed nose blinked behind thick glasses of Xavior design. “Congratulations?” He was standing behind a workbench littered with fibers and metal parts. All that lit the workshop was a small table of candles, giving the entire area an orange glow.

Fora typically was able to be quite subtle when she wished, this time however, even Renault was catching the magistrate looking over and over the room, seeing the complete lack of anything that yelled ‘master soulcrafter’. “Uhm. Hello. Are you Mister Jole?”

“Master Jole, I am,” He corrected. “And what do I owe the happy couple?” He put down a screwdriver and wiped some dust from his hands with an old rag.

“The dude needs a new d-”

“That’s enough,” Renault interrupted Francis before stepping forward. “Master Jole.” The old man turned his attention to Renault and the paladin continued. “I’m Renault, third of the Paladin Order and in service of her Queenship Benea. I’ve come with word from both the Commander of the Pristine Palace and Benea herself that you are required in the Northern Queendom.”

“And I am Fora Dzikalla, grand magistrate of daman affairs, master scout and head of the biological department of Badja Kiri.” she said, always annoyed how these words meant nothing to most people, isolationism was such an issue. “I represent Dzallitsunya, and I too come to ask for your wisdom to be brought westward.”

“Well this is a surprise, indeed!” Jole gaped. “I had no idea I was so famous that two goddesses would take interest in one such as me.”

“That handsome face? Who could resist,” Francis snickered.

Renault smiled. “So you’ll come, then?”

“How about we discuss it on a walk?” Jole beamed.

“By all means!” Renault nodded eagerly.

“Fantastic!” Jole grabbed a hammer off his bench, but as he yanked the handle, the head didn’t come loose from the surface but instead cranked upwards with a mechanical whirr. The whole house started to rumble and wisps of blue magic pulsed down previously unseen veins that lined the entire cabin. The old man walked over to the window, where a dresser flipped to reveal a control board. All at once, the cabin was lifted into the air but giant mechanical legs and started to walk away from its spot in the valley.

Between thundering steps and the sound of Jole clattering away at the controls, the old master spoke. “So what exactly do your two goddess want with me?”

Fora was spooked enough by the sudden movement to grab at Renault for support. Forgetting to let go when it ended. "I was not particularly informed, but she does seem like the type who would want to know how to make massive walking houses."

Renault didn’t correct Fora and gave Francis a grin, who simply shook her head. The paladin piped up. “You’ll be paid for your services of course and hailed for bringing the technology to the Queendom. I hear you’ll even be given land in the 6th node.”

Jole perked up. “Well that sounds great!”

"Yes. Same thing for us too. The Dusklands can provide as much materials and workforce as you need for your designs. Our alchemists would also be glad to help if you need novel materials."

“I’m in.” Jole announced.

Renault let out a happy sigh. “Finally, something easy, eh Fora?”

Fora looked at Renault with nervous eyes. “Do not. Jinx this. You dense bastard.” she calmly whispered. The anxiety in her was easy to see, everything was going too smoothly, it almost seemed like a rock was about to drop, and the magistrate found herself overthinking.

Taking a deep breath, she looked back at Jole. “Right. So uhm. I guess we should get going soon then? Given the uhm, civil war situation currently happening. A…anything else to talk about? Or are we all set on conditions and plans?” she smiled, but her eyes didn’t hide true dread.

“A lot of people want me dead because of the whole civil war thing,” Jole said with a big smile. “But I feel like the Dusklands and the Queendom can handle that, let’s get the fuck out of here.”




Hello, my name is Cole and I’ll be the narrator for this last bit. You see, after the gang ‘got the fuck out of there’ they headed west to the daman border where they slipped back into Dusklander territory. Once there, Francis made a pact to stick with Jole throughout his Western adventure and then Renault decided that it would make the most sense if Jole was to stop in the Dusklands before heading to the Queendom. He figured this due to geographical sense, and also because I’m pretty sure he wanted an excuse to hangout with Fora a little longer.

Regardless, this is the end of their Daman adventure, but certainly not the end of the rest of their adventures. Until next time, and remember kids — always recycle. What? Oh wait, there is more already…




Epilogue 1: Fora’s home

“Didn’t I say this place would be even weirder when I came back?” the magistrate confessed, the spires now seemingly threw lightning bolts at each other for some reason, she wanted to ask about it to Nyoriko, but she did not have the heart to show up to her with a tall paladin and pink hair, she would rather fall into the meat grinder and be served to the caged animals.

The pink magistrate smirked. “Sorry for telling you people didn’t wear clothes around here! So… have you been enjoying my home? It's a little dimly lit to your kind, but I do like the brass framed clear glass windows with views to the garden.” she puffed her chest with pride. “By the way, where is Jole and the ocelot woman? Didn’t I leave them eating flatbread and drinking fire tea before I left? They are notably not in my living room anymore?”

“You call this living?” Renault was still pouting. “Not even a half naked thing in here.”

"I can change that. I do still have my pearl diving suit." The corner of her mouth twisted in a smirk.

Renault clapped his hands together and started rubbing them schemishly. “Half naked swimming suit you sa-”

“Hey guys!” Francis barged into the room holding the loop of a broken mug. “I can’t find the other half of Jole’s tea.”

A pause.

“Or Jole.”

Renault fell to his knees. “No… no!”

Francis perked a brow. “Wow, I wasn’t expecting such a strong reaction to that.”

The sound of laughter of an old man and an old woman could be heard, as the familiar figure of Jole entered the room, along with him, the dreadful (To Fora) familiar figure of the engineer Nyoriko.

"Truly? An arched bridge with tendril muscles? You are something else old pal." The bespectacled scholar continued to laugh, before adjusting her pink glasses upon seeing Fora. "Dearheart, you are truly as pink as I had heard. And this must be the infamous Renault. It's not often we have a Paladin in here, I hope you don't mind having Fora's sister-in-arms stalking you, this is, you see, a research facility." She said, straight up poking the paladin in the chest.

"Huh? Miradja hasn't show up…" Fora started to say, but was cut, by the canine masked woman, typically Dzallitsunya's personal guard, making herself known and stepping just to the side of Renault.

"This has been by far the most dreadful job I have ever been assigned to. The only thing this man spied on were a few ladies in the boutique, otherwise, all they talked about is nonsense. Like Fora wanting him to show her, and I quote, pearl diving suit."

"Oh dear darkness, is that true?" Nyoriko laughed. "Are you sure he will understand the cultural context in showing up wearing only a tsillo backpack?"

Fora blushed pink "I was just… what are you even doing here you gods damned four eyed demon?"

"And miss the chance to speak with the famous master Jole? Never. Thanks for bringing him over, and oh! Thanks for lending your home to his project."

"My… my what? Huh!?" It was only then she would notice the old master installing more tendrils of ambrosia muscle right across her prized mushroom garden, a little shake ringing around her home as he tested it. "... I knew there would be a catch to it, it can never be this easy."

"Actually." Renault hooked an arm over Miradja's neck and pulled her close. He pulled a golden seal from his pocket and waved it in front of her. "I'm glad you showed up. You recognize this, yeah? The diplomatic seal between the Queendoms and the Dusklands. Well I have a request, there is a certain Marcus that I have an arrest warrant for filed by the Pristine Palace and authorized by your government. Could you bring him into custody?" He cracked a grin. "Right now?"

The assassin looked distant for a moment, before nodding. "I will have him dealt with. Excuse me" she easily slipped out of his hold and vanished into the hallways of Fora's home.

"And you." Renault poked his finger right back into Nyoriko's chest. A long pause. "I actually got nothin for ya"

"Good one…" Francis shook her head and then wandered off after Jole.

“Oh I see, you want some privacy. It's okay, I understand.” the engineer patted Renault’s head, having to really stretch to be able to do it. “I will leave you then, have some fun.”


[center]Node 32[/borked]

Node 32 wasn’t all that alien to Olipha as she stood on top of it. She could feel the heated pulses underneath her shoes, one of the many hints that sent Garravar spiraling on his way. She knew the black pillars went downwards forever, and she knew the world was round, but what she also knew was that they never touched — not physically. She crooked a slant in her cheek and took a seat on the edge of the node. Another crucible, her third.

Olipha shook her head, it was hard to believe she had been alive for so long and yet some things just didn’t seem to change. She once again was at node 32, the node of Galina. This is where her sister died and this is where she took control over the entire known world. This was the exact spot she rose above all other gods and made herself supreme.

Now, as she looked outward from the site of her past victory, all she saw was a quaint replica of Galina’s home. White beaches, warm forests, gentle hills and lapping blue waves — forced to stretch over the shallow sands. Gulls called above and darted between floating clouds, and sparrows hopped from brush to brush. It was hard to imagine that a battle had been fought here — a battle that tore the ground asunder and split the sky.

Her paladins of old were fresh behind her eyes as she looked outward, as was the dying gaze of her Galina. Deep in Olipha’s heart, she prayed to the fates that this one might end on a lighter note than the previous two. She was but a god, a god with only a sprinkle of hope left.


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