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Lamarck was cautious when approaching the dead god, unsure if the corpse contained some poison or trickery. After observing the other gods meddle with it, he brushed his scaled hand against it. After receiving the divine knowledge and stepping away to look at the corpse, he supposed there was some small honor in outliving the world that had birthed him. It was almost a shame that he was too weak to capitalize upon the opportunity.

He listened to the other gods petty and inconsequential words. The horned one was correct that a god's character would be revealed through there creation, but was deluded that the next world would not be forged in blood and ichor. He did not dismiss cooperation so easily. He saw no great need to be the one to conquer all thirty-five nodes, but he would not surrender the prize to the weak and cowardly.

The goddess with the squirrel headed spear showed immediate potential, but she was unrefined and brash. She had drawn unwanted attention to herself by so brazenly reaching for power when there was so much empty territory left to be claimed. Perhaps only in hindsight could he judge her haste.

The other gods seemed to bicker about peace, revealing the inherent fragility of the concept. He could tell which voices were sincere, but it did not matter. It would be advantageous to assume they were all liars rather than fools.

The Slumbering Depths - Roiling

Leviane had spent days in isolation. She studied the orb meticulously and sent away any who would disrupt her focus. Her eyes glanced over their concerned faces and her ears were deaf to their worried voices. Should her people be endangered once again by a threat from the foundation or the dead-space, their people would need the true power of the divine.

Eventually she was disturb by a large gathering of her precious hydromancers. When she tried to send them away, they refused. They could not be satisfied with the gift of magic. Their endless greed had compelled them to treason. She was angered by their treason, but they had simply revealed their own inner weakness.

Followed behind them was a second group of hydromancers. Misplacing the blame for their imperfection on everyone except themselves, they hated both their pearl-keeper and the other traitors. She could see that it was a mistake to permit those talented but ill-adjusted to proper society to join the prestigious ranks of the hydromancers.

Even their defiance of her, they were still disunified. The cacophony of chaos was what truly broke her heart. She could even tell that there were several within each group which did not truly believe their purported purpose, but she did feel it was necessary to speculate their own causes.

She could tell that they intended to murder her, and then pointlessly fight each other afterwards. Using their magic, they cast waves and ice alike towards her. She barely needed to act, their own techniques work against each other and meant that she was in little danger. She brushed her hand and created a tide that swept what little reached her away.

Perhaps had all of her best students worked together against her, they would have possessed some amount of threat. The few gifted students among those who had cast away their futures were hampered by the work of their inferiors.

One was more bold than he was bright. He conjured an ice spear from the mer, and charged at the pearl-keeper. With one hand motion she crafted a shield of ice, and with another she pushed it away. The assailant was slammed against the moving wall.

The side opposing the spearman continued their attack. Seeing how their ally was in harm's way, the others retaliated. Thus before they could even land a single glancing blow upon the pearl-keeper, they had begun to wage war upon each other.
Even though all that had gathered in front of her were worthless traitors, Leviane still felt bad seeing her fellow mer turn against each other, maiming and killing each other senselessly. She had felt as though she had failed them. She knew that she had failed them.

Leviane held the sacred pearl tightly within her webbed hands. Within the tempest of her emotion, she could feel it’s power awaken. By her command, a large rip-tide washed through the disorganized masses, washing away their measly attacks and disorienting them.

Shards of ice appeared behind her, and her slightest thought she could send anyone of her enemies to the true goddess’ dream. But they were not her enemies, and perhaps in their surrender, they understood that.

Those who died in the carnage were permitted a proper burial, while those who survived where all treated as murderers. Even if one did not personally kill another, it did not matter. They all shared in that profane guilt. And as such, they were all banished.

It was obvious to the pearl-keeper people required greater attention lest their base desires lead them astray once more. They required correction.

Autumnal Order - Expansion

Moonlight illuminated Lord Night’s territory. It was never impossible to tell day from night except to look up and see what color orb dominated the sky. Adan patrolled the band he was traveling with. While most were asleep, several herders remained awake to watch over their herd of sheep.

Several eidolons had attempted difficulty navigating the eternal dusk, however Adan’s eyes had adjusted. He saw a lone herder begin to wander off after a sheep. He increased his pace after him. As he became distant from the group, his eyes cast a wide net to both of his sides.

As his head turned, he saw the blur of an intruder’s maw racing towards his neck. While this would mean death for an ordinary person, he was no ordinary Eidolon. He did not have time to draw his scythe-glaive, but he reached his hand to stop the winged intruder from biting down.

He wished he could have simply strangled the monster, but it was hard simply to keep his grip. A stray thought had crossed his mind that he should have kept his weapon in hand, perhaps he had grown complicit and forgot that intruders could be so bold.

The beast’s claws rose up and slammed down into one his shoulders, his other shoulder just barely dodging away from his crude attack. He felt his life-force drawn towards the unnatural appendage intruding upon his body, but he gritted his teeth and directed it away.

His essence flooded into his arm and before the intruder could react, he had punched him square in the gut. A terrible sound emanated from where he struck. It had attempted to swipe out with his free claw, but after the wind was removed from his lungs, his attack did not amount to anything.

It stumbled back, releasing his shoulder and using his other hand to hold himself up. He paused, his eyes betraying his uncertainty. He turned around to fly off, but his moments of hesitation allowed the reaper to draw his weapon and catch the creature’s calf with its perpendicular blade.

It managed to escape into the air, but did so without one of its legs. Its foul blood quickly began to be pulled towards the ground and created a trail behind it. It must have realized that it was doomed to bleed out.

It did its best to gain height in what short time it had left before being dragged behind the shroud. It swooped down, claws extended to make one final attack. Before the eidolon was in arms reach, the scythe glaive had adjusted its blade to be spear-like and it had thrown itself upon its point.
Adan spun around to ensure that there were no other intruders lurking nearby. While he was examining the area, the lone herder began to wander back with his sheep. His eyes had stopped at the dead intruder. He wordlessly mouthed a thanks, before quickly rejoining the others.

In the morning, Isabel began her patrol to allow Adan a chance to eat. He would not have an opportunity to sleep before the band needed to continue forward. Everyone agreed it was best to make the journey to the sunny north as short as possible.

Adan, Isabel, two other reapers, a handful of golems and a story-teller called Abril had joined with this traveling band to offer protection and establish an outpost in the north. It would have been better if they could send a large group, but they simply didn’t have enough people to do so.

While eating, Adan noticed the herder from last night pointing him out to the marshal. The marshal walked towards him with another person which he introduced as his son. The marshal had congratulated for slaying the intruder, and danced around the topic but he could tell he was asking if his younger son could join the order. He finished eating and directed the marshal to speak to Abril.

Being polite, he had guided the marshal and his son to Abril. She was chosen to lead the northern outpost mostly because nobody showed any interest. While there were those who had started to eye leadership roles, fortresses closer to the silo were generally considered more prestigious. Adan had found Abril exchanging stories with the band’s storyteller, which he would guess was her own reason for traveling north.

Adan found himself wandering around afterwards. As they were in a particularly dangerous area of the Duskwall, away from both the silo and the northern edge, it was decided the group would press forward several days, stopping only to sleep. All of the adults and older children busied themselves to prepare for the long trek.

Several young children had gathered around the golems and pestered them. The golems seemed happy answering even some of the more inane questions. While it was difficult at first to read golem’s tones and mannerism, Adan thought he was getting better at it. One seemed to react with mildly bemusement at a child climbing up his back.

One of the other reapers was still sleeping since she was the one to stay up on patrol tonight. The last reaper was busy cleaning their spare clothes and blankets while watching their horse. They needed to bring one in case they needed to quickly return to the silo to relay an urgent message. It was apparently Isabel’s horse.

The next few days were uneventful. He briefly wondered if the intruders spoke among themselves and that was why they were so hesitant to attack directly. Three intruders in false skins and tattered clothing approached the group, but a simple incision into the skin revealed their insidious nature.

Perhaps they thought they could overpower the band if they could get close. But they were quickly proven mistaken in that regard. One of the other reapers guarded the marshal, while Adan managed to slay two with his scythe. The last managed to escape out into the wilds, and they didn’t pursue as it might lead to an ambush.

As they continued, there were several minor encounters with the intruders. One day, he was pulled away to look at the corpse of a giant wasp that another reaper had killed. He had heard vague rumors about them before, but this was his first time seeing one. Based on what he had heard, he was glad it was dead.

The band eventually reached the edge of the Duskwall. The abrupt end caught Adan by surprise. He needed time to adjust to the brightness, everyone did. While most wouldn’t want to settle down so close to its border, having several reapers to guard them allowed them to be more bold. Everyone, including the sheep, were tired from pushing as hard as they did.

The members of the order continued to travel with the band while they looked for an appropriate place to establish a new fortress. It also gave the band some time to adjust to the new lands and make plans for where they should go. Draza had shared what knowledge the order had regarding the north, but even still it was unfamiliar territory.

As they continued traveling, they eventually ran into another band that was a part of the small Saltstone Alliance. The two bands had lengthy discussions with each other and Abril. He was invited to attend, but wasn’t particularly interested. The Saltstone leader was called for and joined the conversation. It was decided that the wandering band would join the alliance, while the order would establish a fortress nearby closer to the Duskwall.

Living so close to Lord Night’s territory had instilled a terror of intruders, and so the Saltstone were glad to have someone to their south to help protect them. The wandering band offered them wool and rations as thanks for providing them safe passage. Having several encounters with intruders would have led to many deaths, if not the annihilation of the band, had they not had guardians. However even so, they couldn’t take so much and leave them empty handed. They didn’t have much to give, but they gave them some grains taken from the silo as a gesture of goodwill.

The group took some time finding the right spot to set up the fortress. The golems were very particular about things Adan didn’t fully understand. When speaking to each other, they would often revert to their native language but he could pick up certain words like soil and wind. When they decided upon a location, the reapers gathered together and stood in attention. Abril dug a small hole in the ground and filled it with grain from the silo, she said a prayer before burying it and then marking the location with a twig from a bush.

The Slumbering Depths - Rell

Rell’s webbed hands clawed through dirt before swiftly stashing away a strange material, a drifting piece of cloth, and burying it. She trusted the foundation to hide away her secrets. While keeping curios wasn’t exactly forbidden, it was frowned upon especially after one merfolk stabbed another with a pointed piece of rock.

Had she been any ordinary merfolk, Rell would likely not need to resort to such measures. However, she was not fortunate enough to be any ordinary Ao. She was chosen to be a hydromancer as her mother had gained the Pearl-keeper’s favor, and while she had two older sisters, neither had the displicine for rigorous studies.

Rell liked to look up to the mer’s edge, and wander what was beyond it. It was why she collected stray bits and kept them hidden from the others. She wondered if the dead space was truly as terrible as the stories say, but she obviously could share these doubts with no one, not a soul.

Everyone knew that she was rather strange, but she was only ever bothered by other hydromancers. Her genuine talent and meek nature allowed her to escape most of the harassment, but there were a few others that were not as fortunate. When the Pearl-keeper did visit, everyone would treat each other nicely, but those visits keep becoming rarer and rarer.

There was only one time when she remembered being yelled at in front of the Pearl-keeper. Ice naturally ascended to the dead space, however this was inconvenient for creating ice tools that would float away when they left someone’s grasp.

Rell attempted to resolve this by creating hollow spaces within her constructs and filling it with the dirt and rock of the foundation before sealing it up. Her instructor had thought that this was a terrible blasphemy, and waited for the Pearl-keeper to agree. Instead, her cold glare fell upon the teacher. She regarded the sinking ice with curiosity, telling her that she was misguided but that the idea held merit.

“Go you among the fleeting, and make it that the name of the One God is given due veneration.”

Wandering away from the river-side encampment, Raul walked upstream to be alone. His mind was plagued by thoughts of the intruders, and how he wished he had the strength to kill every last one. What he had lacked in talent and finesse, he had compensated with rage and brutality.

Holding tightly to his scythe, he had demanded that his essence return to his core. Instead of invoking the names of the ancestors, he repeated one name over and over again, “Aritz, Aritz, Aritz.”

This time, focus did not come so easily. An odd feeling of tension, honed by a life amid danger, clenched the nape of his neck, distracting from the recitation. It was not long until certainty crept over him - he was being watched.

Raul stood up and made a quick motion with his scythe to extend the blade outwards, however what tried to accomplish in one clean swing required several awkward attempts. He franatically cast his gaze left then right, before finally turning around.

Behind him was a strange spirit unlike anything that he had known. He immediately started taking several steps back as if by raw instinct, using the point of the spear to prevent it from reclosing the gap. He stammered out, "What is your nature, spirit?"

The shifting cloud of smoke that was the being’s body did not approach further. A single red eye looked at him with placid amusement from its folds.

“I come from the house of Father Death, in whom all things end,” she intoned in the rush of a flame, “It pleases him how gladly you send many to meet him across the shroud.”

While trying to maintain a brave face, he stammered out a response, "The River flows with or without us. In that regard, I am not worth notice."

“Only he knows for sure where it will carry us,” the wraith recited in monotone, as if it were a formula she had committed to memory, “Tell me, young one, would you like to live a great destiny, the greatest among the slayers of dusk?”

His hands wavered, and the inner mechanisms of the god-forged scythe struck against like barely audible bells, "The ancestors have already bestowed me with greater purpose than I deserve."

“You deserve what you aspire to, that is the way of things,” the eye swayed, “Honour the spirits, and they will give unto you. There is no end to what the determined can become.”

The scythe-glaive grew heavier in his hands and began to lower, and he muttered, "Honour the spirits.. Pleased by." His hands regained their right grasp and the point of the blade ascended to meet the strange spirit, "Is Father Death pleased when the intruders kill my people. Was he pleased when they killed him."

“The intruders are selfish beasts,” the spectre’s voice crackled with scorn, “They know neither balance nor ritual. The lives they take are not returned to the River, but swallowed in their gullets. The world becomes less for their predations, and our Father favours those who cut them down.”

"So. So. He is." He rose his scythe-glaive into the air, but could not find the strength to let it descend upon the spirit, "Everyone is taken by the River. He can't be… You must be lying."

“The River takes all, but does not leave the same. Some reach the mouth, others are dropped to rot in the shallows. Watch, I will show you.”

Her eye blazed bright, and together with its reflection on the blade, it was blinding. The biting red light swallowed Raul’s senses, and he saw-

Between two steep grassy banks there flowed a wide river, dark and deep, smooth and even. Its course was lost in the distance, which it pierced like a spear, not wavering in a single bend or turn. On one bank, a large band of eidolon was tending to a score that lay motionless on the ground, some struck down by age, others by hunger, others still by large ragged gashes on their chests and throats. The living dutifully swaddled them in furs, after the northern fashion, and gently laid them onto the water’s surface, where the current carried them downstream without letting them sink. The other bank was teeming with hideous monsters, bats and leeches and gnats of horrid size, who gnawed and drained on bodies mangled beyond recognition. Those they reduced to pitiful wrinkled husks they tossed into the waves, and likewise did the river carrying them away, bobbing and twirling as they went.

On and on the river flowed, and with it the bodies, until they came upon a wall of grey fog, swirling here and there with hidden winds. The shrouded corpses, borne ahead by their confident weight, did not stray from course, and passed unscathed through to the other end, where he could dimly glimpse an incredible expanse of still black water. Their tormented brothers were not so fortunate, for, light and loose as they were, shifting currents pulled them apart and dashed them against rough banks and sunken stones, until they were broken to even more sorry pieces. Some made it through the mist and were lost beyond, but the heads were all caught in rocks and whirlpools, and they wailed in sorrow for their fate, forever trapped neither in one place nor quite in another, but in the uncertainty between.

The lamentous wail jolted him from the vision, and once more he was standing by the stream, the spirit before him.

“Ritual honours the living and the dead alike,” she said, “Those lost to it are taken, but never borne anywhere. That is an unworthy fate.”

The Eidolon's hands and voice began to waver, "No. You must.." His words trailing off without him, "Why? Why did you intervene sooner? Why did no one intervene sooner?"

“Death is our domain,” the spirit answered, “Our reach among the living is short. Only now that your Order has been brought together can we act alongside you.”

Raul remained silent, though something began to change right behind his eyes. His grip on his scythe changed, becoming neither too tight or too loose.

“Take it or leave it, the choice is yours,” the smoky mass rolled, giving the impression that she would have shrugged had she but had shoulders. A tongue of pale fire licked the ground between them, and when it withdrew a large, faceted bead of glinting black stone lay there in a circle of charred grass. “Bear this into battle and offer those you slay to the Father, and as long as you have no fear, death will not find you there. Else throw it into the water, and the River will take it back.”

With those words, she spread her coils and roiled away on a rising breeze, soon fading into a wisp on the horizon.

Raul glanced between the bead and scythe uncertainty. The words of the spirits haunted him even after they had left. His eyes eventually landed upon the river, flowing ever onwards.

Autumnal Order - Death

When Adan was a child, Death had crept through the shroud and found him. He was a foolish child who had strayed too far. It had lurched upon his back and stabbed him with a terrible dagger.

Death has lured him to sleep so that he might simply fade away. His uncle had forced Death to escape its corporeal form. His parents told him that it was the Sun that had intervened upon his behalf, but he could never share their conviction.

Against the wishes of his parents, he had traveled into the Sunless Lands to fight against the slaves of Death. There he was drawn deeper into Duskwall and closer to the Shroud. It was by the grace of the ancestors which he survived.

Adan had remembered Death, and Death had remembered Adan. Death’s sibling, War, had brought about his confusion during a struggle with the grim servitors and he had once again strayed too far from the group.

Death seized its upon to cling to his back once again. The stab of its terrible dagger was debilitating, and his body refused to move. His mind was stronger, and managed to resist the false allure of sleep.

The organic intrusion pulled up his life-force with unnatural suction. Using all of his will, he resisted it. His essence respected his tenacity, yet it had only made the tug of Death more apparent.

As the dimmed and distant sun traveled across the sky, coldness crept from his fingers and toes up his appendages. It felt as though someone was pricking his skin with needle grass. A realization dawned upon Adan, he was going to die.

He had found a quiet serenity. He reflected. He remembered his uncle’s words about how you should neither run to Death, nor should you run towards it. Death will bring you to your ancestors when the time is right. He understood those words.

He had realized that he was the same foolish child who clung to something as pointless as fear. The monster was removed from his shoulders, but it never left because he did not allow it too. And that it was precisely that, a disgusting monster.

His assailant was not Death, but another monster of the same kin. He had found a strange resolve. While he had accepted Death, he had found no reason to surrender so easily to his enemy. Perhaps if he could withstand the mockery of flesh, then it would starve. He recited the names of his ancestors as he focused upon not ceding a drop of essence to the monster.

He had heard the sound of hooves in the distance, and thought it might be an ancestor’s horse returning from the Shroud to aid him in his final journey. Instead, he heard someone dismount the horse, the sound of metal sliding against metal, and then the muffled death-throes of an intruder. He heard them kick it off his back, and comforted by its death, he permitted himself to sleep.

Fluttering in and out of consciousness, he felt that he was resting on his stomach on a clay slab. His woolen shirt had been removed, and he could hear two salters beginning their work. He felt the pressure of a stone knife prodding him, opening the wound further so that they could remove the fleshy dagger from him. They washed the wound and packed it with salt.

His senses slowly returned. Pain was the first. Where he was stabbed felt like it was burning, while soreness radiated from it. Eventually he could glance around and look at the packed earth walls.

The salters would occasionally lift him so that he could drink from a clay bowl, chew some medicinal herb and eat a little meal. They would inspect his heart lifemark, and Adan used the opportunity to glance at the thatch roof. They would wash out his wound again, and repack it with salt.

While the clay was not the most comfortable to rest on, it was the most conducive to healing. He was thankful to be sheltered from the elements, especially when it rained. He had overheard the salters mention how the earlier roofs would collapse after a heavy rain until they used a slanted design. He had not paid much attention to it before.

Besides the salters, Adan was only visited by Sage Draza. He was an old story-teller, and had become a spiritual leader to the disparate Eidolon. He was interested in Adan’s account of his survival.

Someone had been dragged to the slab beside him. It looked like they were struck by lightning but it had not rained for several days. The people who had traveled with them explained that they had encountered a strange metal thing in the ground.

It had seemed harmless at first. While they were walking away from it, a burst of energy ascended to the sky. Stray bolts peeled off from the column and had become lightning and one had struck the poor fellow beside him. Those in attendance felt the intention of the ancestors, ”Contain this threat, but do not destroy it.”

The energy geyser was particularly far to the north. They had wondered why there were so few intruders in the area. While the area otherwise seemed safe, it seemed best to be cautious. There was a river between it and the first garrison. It was agreed that they would establish a second garrison at the river, and then a third some safe distance away from the geyser.

Adan was eventually well enough to light work around the encampment, however he would occasionally help carry the large jars of water when the salters were not looking. He did not feel unwell, it felt like he was swelling with essence.

Thinking back to his ancestor’s words, he had stopped for a moment and called his life-force into his arms. The jar felt less heavy, yet after he had completed the work, he collapsed. He had to be carried back to the salters, and they were not pleased about that.

Draza also did not approve of his actions, but it did confirm his suspicions. While it was obvious that could not subject every member of the Order to near-death at the maw of an intruder, he had thought there were less barbaric ways to replicate this success.

They had developed a meditation technique called the Ancestral Prayer Rites where a person would sit down, and force their life-force towards their core while reciting the names of their ancestors. It was effective, but it was strenuous and took significant amounts of time to see progress.

As the Order became more established, it was obvious that not everyone was suited for the life of a warrior. The region around the garrison also became safer as intruders became more distant as those nearby either fled or died. Those who weren’t adapted for combat had placed their scythes into a storage area and gravitated toward other roles.

In recognition of their martial services, the scythe-wielding martialists were bestowed the name of Guardian Reapers. Everyone could sense the Ancestors’ approval, and their intention was clear, ”Craft more scythes.”

Voligan Week

Alum had considered himself unlucky. As was common, he had a great love of aesthetic but no skill to impose it upon the world. His fingers lacked the dexterity required to make elegant sculpture. He was a golem, and he was cursed from his creation to have a large, bulky body of hard-packed clay. It was useful to collect materials and carry them around, however he knew that he could do more. He had a great sense of detail and structure, and he knew what he needed to do, but his form simply wasn't the shape that it needed to be and there was a better chance that the unanimated crafting supplies would listen to him than any member of his community. He would tell them that their structure was top-heavy and instead of reinforcing the base, they would add more flourishes wherever they pleased as if to spite him.

However one day while gathering materials, he encountered a collapsed bion. He had seen them in the distance, but they usually did not approach this closely to the crafting grounds for reasons he did not understand. Out of compassion or curiosity, he had brought him to two golems had taken an interest in organic life. Their knowledge was mostly limited to what they observed from passing animals and thus one of their early attempts was to feed him grass. Eventually, he received water and was permitted to rest.

Alum had found himself primarily responsible for the bion as he feared the consequences of leaving him alone with the other golems. He could not be certain what those disinterested in organic life might do him. He was even less certain if he could trust those who interested. The bion clearly had some type of language which he spoke, but it was not shared in common with the golems.

As they attempted to share words between each others, Alum thought he could turn to earth sculpture to help convey ideas that could not merely point to. At one point, he had even tried to create one of his own however his clumsy hands had made it difficult. However, instead of mockery, feigned concern or a look of annoyance, the bion attempted to help him. Even as they struggled to communicate with each other, they worked remarkably well with each other.

As they had a great grasp of each other's language, the bion eventually could convey that he was an Eidolon named Eduardo from a community in the far-south. He described a harsh landscape devoid of greenery where one bad step could be disastrous. While facial expression did not have the same significance to golems, the distress of recalling the memory was carried by his tone. He had saw that there was golems near that region as well, which Alum did not know as nobody he knew ever travelled that far from the crafting grounds. Despite being more able, he wasn't willing to say much more than that. He dismissed it as unimportant.

Eduardo and Alum worked together closely, spending time gathering food while collecting materials and working together on projects. One day, Eduardo asked what the purpose of the sculptures was. After waxing lyrically about the joys of art and creation fell upon deaf ears, there was an argument. As it escalated, Alum asked him what the purpose of living in a land so hostile to his existence was. Eduardo deflated. He explained that salt was valuable to Eidolons and they always needed more. If you couldn't be trusted to do any other job, you had to go the wastes to gather. That if you didn't have a job, you would just wither away and become inanimate. After that, the argument vanished and they agreed that the reason to make sculptures was because they wanted to make sculptures.

While others were skeptical at first, their combined efforts had proven worthy of praise. Compliments were not something that were given lightly in the community. They were even encouraged to spend less time gathering to further pursue their craft. It was nothing something Alum had ever expected to hear but what he had previously considered tedious had became far more enjoyable with another's company. Besides, they still needed to gather food as while others had tried, the concept seemed to elude them.

One day while gathering materials, a bion flew overhead. It was a different type of bion than the Eidolons, it was something Eduardo called an intruder. They did not usually approach the golem's crafting grounds either, however when they did they were usually nuisances knocking over sculptures and saying words which he knew to be rather rude in nature.

It happened so quickly, Eduardo froze before trying to find shelter behind the golem. However the intruder had already lunged and pinned him to ground and bite down hard on his neck. Alum warped his arms around the dangerous bion and pressed with all of his rage. In the aftermath, both Eduardo and the intruder were made inanimate.

When a golem became inanimate, the community would honor them by returning most of their form to the earth while using the best part of them in sculpture. Eduardo once explained how his people did the same, and the community gathered to replicate it the best that they could. His heart crystal was removed, cleaned and embedded into a soft portion of Alum's chest. His body was encased in clay and buried.

Alum had one chest upon his chest, remembering his friend, and he lead a group of golems across the darken plains. While Eduardo was travelling north, he had heard about a group of Eidolons travelling in Duskwall, the Eidolon term for the shadowed region his community resided, to fight back against the intruders. He did join as he said that he didn't have the proper motivation.

As he wandered, he encountered a group of Eidolons fighting against two flying intruders and three grounded ones. They wielded strange weapons which seemed to help keep their dreadful mouths away. There was a strange dance where one side was approach and the other would back away, followed by the other side doing the same. There was a brief conversation before the golems charged at the unprepared intruders, throwing stones at the flying ones and using the weight of their hands to crush the grounded ones. The one that managed to avoid being clubbed by a clay fist ended up running right into the blade end of a scythe. After the grounded ones became inanimate, the flying ones fled.

Alum had became more accustomed to facial expressions, and they seemed surprised. He approached and using their common language asked, "We wish to join you."

The Eidolons were even more confused, muttering something about earth spirits. The concept of spirits was never something he learned a great deal about, but he was vaguely aware of what the word meant. He had never considered himself an earth spirit, but it wasn't an inaccurate description of his existence.

The golems were lead to outside the trenches guarding the Grand Silo. A few Eidolons were left with them to watch them while the others discussed. While some of the other golems knew a few words of the Eidolon language, only Alum could speak it well. They waited for a long time, but the golems understood the importance of patience and deliberation. One of the guards however began to get nervous and started explaining things to avoid the eerie silence. He talked about how the tower was crafted by the ancestral spirit's power and the function of the trench. Alum would let him finish his thought before translating it to the others. It became harder to listen to the guard as the ones behind him started their own conversations, such about how impressive the tower was or how the trench should be wider.

Eventually, someone walked over a gap in the trench and announced, "We would be glad to welcome the noble spirits of earth into the Autumnal Order."

Four-horn Culture - Inheritance

As the eldest child of war-leader Sophia, everyone had great expectations of Isabel. Under this great amount of press, she excelled. She was proficient using either a dagger or spear, but could never master the sling. Others would comment that she could ride any horse, however she knew that there was one she never could.

When Isabel was young, she and her brother travelled with her father's band. She was expected to train hard than everyone else, but it was rather idyllic. They rarely travelled near the contested grazing lands, and thus rarely saw their mother. Isabel remembered the first time she had visited the war camp. Her father was a noted warrior in youth, and a recent draught had embolden the Sunsworn and they launched successive preemptive attacks to help secure fresh grazing land. Apparently, they had even started to kill their livestock when they grazed in the contested lands.

She had learned about the history of war, but the war camp was the first time it wasn't far away and ethereal. It was different watching someone use a sling to kill a bird, than watching a line of slingers practice creating a rain of stones. She looked down into the ditches dug around the encampment, and how they would throw thorny plants into them. And for what, grazing land? It did not seem to her they were lacking that, though she was only a child at the time.

She remembered vividly that her father was taken from her during that trip, and how she would be consigned to live within that dreary camp. But he was not slain by the hatred of their mortal enemies, but stolen away to satiate the demonic hunger of intruder. She was the one to find the body. At first she thought he was sleeping. But he wouldn't wake up when she called him. When she touched him, she couldn't feel his presence but she denied what it meant. It wasn't until she flipped him over did she see the wound upon his back. It was to small, it shouldn't have killed him.

Sophia had entered the camp next, and she was silent. But she looked, and she didn't need her touch to feel her intense rage. For the next few days, nobody was allowed to leave the encampment and anyone who tried would be struck by one of Sophia's most loyal slingers. If they survived, they would be dragged back. They didn't find the intruder this way, but one Eidolon was whipped for insubordination. Everyone was tested, Sophia even going first to ensure their would be no argument. The disgusting, small thing tried to weasel his way out, but he was found and publicly killed. There was some people more spiritual than her that told her to never take joy in the death of another, but in that moment, Isabel ignored them.

When Isabel was on the verge of adulthood, she had heard starting hearing interesting rumors about a group of people travelling to Duskwall. But then, Sophia became gravely sick. A war-wound had reopened before it could fully heal and became infected. Salt was applied, however the particular strain had proven resilient to this treatment. Deaths of this nature were slow, as the disease slowly festered siphoning away the host's lifeforce to grow and siphon more and more.

Isabel was called to her mother's tent. She was not surrounded by the usual gaggle of salters, but by a group of war-marshals. She had been chosen as the next war-leader. Her mother seemed rather indifferent to the entire affair, almost as if she simply wanted them all to leave so that could go ahead and die. She had been raised her entire life for the role and yet it seemed so sudden. As she prepared to give her answer, something came over her and everyone looked upon her with a shocked expression before she had a chance to say, "No." and turned around to leave.

She had been expected to be stopped and turned around to look. Sophia stumbled upon to her feet, and signaled everyone to say. Her mother said, "Let her go. She is my daughter, she will do as she pleases." She never did understand if that last part was a command or a mere acknowledgement of fact.

After that, she was even permitted to her horse and spear and ride out into the Dusklands with the others. She quickly learned what the others were gawking at as her life marks had changed from gold-brown to the smoky gray of her mother. She thought of this while practicing with her scythe, falling into routine motions of using it as a spear. It was only after realizing how familiar it was that she practiced using the bladed edge to slice at the air, and some of the more complex techniques.

Looking around, she noticed people digging ditches and crafting various items including shields. It was familiar, but different. It felt meaningful.

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