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3 mos ago
Current Would be cool if you could just choose to not exist for a few days.
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6 mos ago
show me any two eyes that don't believe in the dark. i'd like to see them try to hold back the stars.
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9 mos ago
"One day I will find the words, and they will be simple."
1 yr ago
It's 5 AM, couldn't sleep, got out of bed did like 30 push-ups. Let's hear it for ADHD!
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1 yr ago
i am freezing. send help.
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Forelands outside City of Cero, T'sarae



In the darkness to the east of the city a lone ship sped across the white expanse.

The Sword of Dawn, betraying its namesake, was a jet black steam craft, its form sleek as an arrow, its ethersails like shadowy wings beating against the night.

Dmitri stood at the helm, frozen hands gripping the wheel, his bright yellow Omestrian eyes resolute as they focused on the shining horizon dominated by Cero's massive crystal aegisdome. He was shorter than most men, and didn't look like much a soldier. For a decade he had trained for this. Behind him, his master sat on the deck cross-legged, shirtless.

Even knowing that Master Ilya had spent all those years in the Red Seminary, seeing the young inquisitor sitting there near naked, defiant against the violent cold, was unnerving to the Omestrian soldier. Dmitri knew the cold, as all soldiers did, but to treat it with such disdain as Master Ilya did, here outside the aegis' protection, bordered on insanity. And yet Ilya sat there, his bare skin bathed in the aegisdome's intensifying light, smiling.

Master Ilya had been gone too long, and the man that returned was not the boy who left.

The sun began to break through the clouds just as the Sword neared the Ceroan forelands. In the pale light of morning the black ship appeared like a dark serpent on the ice. A tiny serpent, for it was a speck compared to the hundred or so Varyan steam ships floating on the frozen water outside the city.

The Second Armada wasn't as grand as the First, but seeing the black and steel vessels dotting the Ceroan coast was both a grim and empowering sight. Several months from now, these ships would follow Master Ilya's own ark, the Karamzina, eastward. The second invasion wave... Dmitri wondered if it would even be needed.

A gruff voice, tinged in the southern lilt of T'sarae, spoke through the radio, bringing him out of his thoughts. It demanded to know the Sword's docking credentials. In response Dmitri offered a sixteen-letter code. The voice on the other end of the radio remained silent for a moment.

"Welcome to Cero, Your Reverence" it spoke before guiding Dmitri to the nearest open dock.

***


It had been a short yet arduous journey, and Father Ilya's mood had been as mercurial as the water that he lazily shifted to and fro while standing at the deck's edge. In the first few days, during their journey southward and across the hallowed sea that stretched between Varya and Lanostre, Ilya had been bored and restless. Sailing across what the Lanostrans called The Wounded Sea, through the final resting place of thousands of soldiers and dozens of inquisitors-- Dmitri thought it would be enough to rouse the young lord from what he called his "post-Graduation stagnancy", but alas, Ilya spent most of the journey through the Wounded Sea in his cabin.

It wasn't until the Sword had to sail through the ice tides east of the Wounded Sea that Ilya returned to his usual self. The bright season was fast approaching and thus the sea itself was changing. Crossing the tides during the summer wasn't something even the most seasoned Lanostran sailor would willingly do, but Father Ilya Bjornley wasn't an ordinary navigator, and the Sword of Dawn wasn't an ordinary ship. With an entire glacier plateau breaking apart around them and a particularly vicious summer hail storm threatening to perforate the ship's tiny but powerful aegis, the Sword barely made it through the tides. It had been an afternoon of non-stop sailing since then, and Ilya's blood still ran hot.

He needed a drink.

"Leave it to the natives," Ilya said as he stepped off the Sword's deck and onto the first solid ground he had been on for the better part of a week. He was still shirtless, for the increase in heat within the aegis bothered him, or so he claimed. His pale blue eyes looked across the busy port. It didn't take him long to find the tavern he was looking for.

Dmitri looked to his master with uncertainty, his arms hefting a large crate full of Ilya's belongings.

"I don't trust these folk. I will unpack the ship, my lord."

Ilya approached him, his crooked smile widening.

"Don't worry. There's nothing here of importance," the young inquisitor said, placing a surprisingly warm hand on Dmitri's shoulder. "To be honest, I don't care if they toss it all into the sea. Now, let's go drink."

With that, Dmitri sighed and shoved the crate on to a passing T'saraen sailor's arms.

"This is the ship of Father Ilya Bjornley, Inquisitor of Warband Leviathan. See to it that all his belongings are safely delivered to his chambers aboard the VSS Karamzina. If anything should go missing I will personally come and find you, T'saraen," Dmitri spat to the sailor, staring down the lad.

"A-Aye, sir. It will be done," the sailor stuttered before yelling at a group of uniformed men to follow him onto the ship.

"Right then. Let's go get drunk," Ilya said before walking in the direction of the tavern, not bothering to wait for Dmitri to catch up.

***


It was a nice enough place, Ilya thought. He had spent the last decade of his life getting drunk in secret with passing SA soldiers at the Seminary. Thus sitting down at an actual pub was a lot nicer than sneaking around in dark hallways where Marius couldn't find him.

It was shameful, a sin according to some clerics, to partake in alcohol while serving under the shadow of the Red Shrine, but Gods what else was he supposed to do in the Seminary? Ilya was not meant for such places. He was meant for the battlefield and the sea, to be among soldiers. As he walked through the pub, Varyan soldiers saluted him. This is more like it.

"Barkeep! I will pay for everything," he said to the T'saraen tavernkeeper as he passed him by. The Varyan soldiers cheered him on in approval.

"Your Lady Mother would never approve of this," the young Omestrian warned as Ilya took a seat at a table at the front end of the tavern.

"Approve of what, man? Her darling son celebrating his Culmination? Perhaps me drinking in honor of the successful maiden voyage of her newest, most shiny steamcruiser would be enough for her to turn a blind eye."

"You are an inquisitor, Master Ilya. A champion of the Varyan people. And this place is... beneath you. It is disreputable. The city is crawling with men from the Imperial Chronicle, if they see you in here--"

"Let them see me! Look at my abs! Look at these arms!" Ilya yelled, laughing out loud, flexing his well-toned muscles. He took a swig of his drink.

The shame on Dmitri's face was palpable.

"Sit down, why don't you? I don't see you for ten bloody years, then Mom forces us on that ship without giving us a moment to catch up... but now we're finally here. We can relax, take it easy for a while," Ilya spoke, his pale eyes regarding his young servant warmly.

"Have a drink with me. Or several."

Dmitri leaned in, his lips inches from Ilya's ear.

"You very well know that I can't do that. Now please, at least put a shirt on."

Ilya smirked in response and said nothing more. He continued to drink as the hour passed. He invited soldiers and T'saraens both to his table, drinking merrily with them, asking for the latest gossip. He learned of rumors regarding a black-haired summoner who had escaped imprisonment in Sapharan, and of the whispers surrounding the destruction of the small Varyan fleet patrolling Lanostre.

His eyes stared unblinking as he heard tell of these rumors. Dmitri remained silent.

"What about you, Reverence? Are you excited for the journey?" a young Varyan conscript asked him.

"Pft. Of course I am! Wouldn't you be?"

The conscript looked around cautiously. He took a drink and took his time placing the glass back on the table.

"I... I think... If I may speak freely?"

"You may."

"I think it's a mistake. There is... darkness across the sea. It's a place of demons and devils and... people who consort with such monstrosities. Our Lord has already brought all of the peoples of the world under His protection. This strange place beyond the storm -- the people there, why do we need to bring them into our flock? They are no better than the Omestrians," the young conscript spoke in measured words, his eyes falling on Dmitri with disgust.

Ilya's smile disappeared from his face.

"Hm. I'll have you know that I have served with Omestrians and I can vouch for their strength and tenacity. They worshiped the wrong God, of course, but they themselves aren't so bad."

The conscript cleared his throat, and once again stared at Dmitri.

"I didn't mean any disres--"

"Dmitri here has served my family since he was a child. He was born in the pipeworks. His parents died in them, giving a lifetime's gift of their ether to us. He was destined to do the same, until my parents saw in him a calling for something greater. Do you know what that means?"

The conscript stared back, unsure of how to answer.

"For an Omestrian to rise above cattle, they must prove themselves of having extraordinary potential. Thus, if you ever come across an Omestrian who is free of his chains and serving the Empire proudly, nod to them in reverence, for each one of them is a treasured pearl worth several of us Varyan men."

A derisive laugh rang out loudly from a table at the far end of the tavern. The pub immediately fell to silence, and all collectively turned to face the one who would dare laugh at a Varyan inquisitor.

A dark-haired man sat alone at a table, sipping from a martini glass. He was dressed in ordinary civilian's clothes, but there was no mistaking him.

Ilya smiled. "Father Hassan," he said, his voice reaching throughout the quiet interior. The T'saraen inquisitor stared back silently. He was leaning back in his chair, the shadows were still around him, his lightning blue eyes like two sapphires in the dark.

"I didn't notice you come in," Ilya cried out.

"You don't seem to notice a lot of things," Hassan answered, chuckling to himself.

Ilya rose from his seat. He found that he had become... cold for the first time since entering the aegis. He glanced at Dmitri, and immediately the servant removed his own officer's coat and draped it around Ilya's shoulders.

Hassan was on his feet. His lips were curved into that dagger smile of his and as he began to walk towards Ilya the Varyan inquisitor felt his ether begin to surge within himself, a natural instinct, but when Hassan greeted him with a warm embrace, Ilya allowed the magic in his veins to dissipate.

"It's been a while. Shame you didn't join us on the journey down here," Hassan said, clasping Ilya on the shoulder.

"Believe me, I wanted to. But... family obligations," Ilya answered, glancing at Dmitri.

"This your man-servant?" Hassan asked, turning to regard the Omestrian with a curious gaze. "Ah. You have clear eyes. Not as sunlit as most I've seen. They're very pretty. Take care of those," he added, winking at the servant before turning back to Ilya.

"Come on then. We have much to discuss."

Without turning back, Hassan walked out of the bar.
Yeeess Oreeen

Btw, this OOC has been kinda dead, but the RP isn't! Not sure if anyone in the forum reads this thing, but we do most of our planning/chatting on our discord these days since it's easier. The OOC is kinda... yeah, but the RP itself is still going strong!
Mother Xera Athalos, "R'haelyn" (Lanostran for "Hunter of God")
Age: Unknown
Occupation: Lanostran High Inquisitor



One of the most powerful Lanostran inquisitors in known history, Mother Xera Athalos is a name spoken in high reverence throughout the nation. For near a century she was the edge to Lanostre's spear, defending the nation from both rebellion and threats from outside the nation's aegis. At the end of her long tenure, the aged inquisitor faced down the Varyan empire's invasion, using the last of her power to defend the nation for as long as she could. At the end of the war, she dueled Father Gregoroth for three days on end, and it was only after they were both mortally wounded that Lady Lanostre herself called a ceasefire to the fighting.

After Lanostre's annexation Xera refused to serve Lord Varya, claiming that her blood was bound to the Goddess and no one else. In honor of her service to the nation, and some would say to appease the Lanostran inquisition, Mother Xera was banished from the nation instead of being outright executed for her defiance. She was sent on a coffin ship into the southern blizzards and is believed to have perished, though there are some who believe her to have survived.

***

Father Lior N'halaam, "The Lightning's Song"
Age: 35
Occuptation: Varyan Inquisitor



A flamboyant inquisitor of half Lanostran/T'saraen blood, Lior is a celebrated hero throughout the empire. He is renowned for his adventures into the western storms to hunt ice dragons for sport and is beloved as a patron for the commonfolk of the empire due to this outspoken criticism of the Varyan nobility. Lior was the former warleader of Phoenix Warband-II, and his rivalry with Mother Indira continues to this day. A mercurial and restless thrill-seeker, he was the originator of Warband Seraph but abandoned the group halfway into their training once he grew bored with academic life, an act which has earned him no small amount of ire from other inquisitors.

A talented machinist and even more adept marksman, Lior created a full armory of magical weapons that only he could wield. He currently commands the Red Wrath, a powerful Varyan stormship at the vanguard of the Elurian invasion.
@The Angry Goat Awesome post! It was really cool seeing the parts of Cero City that aren't traditionally T'saraen. Makes you remember that there are just normal everyday people in the T'saraen race who aren't super intelligent engineers and scientists. :p

The ring is a super cool idea! It's definitely a rare item, with the wood and the unknown stone. I definitely have some ideas about where it could've come from, but I'll save that until it becomes relevant... which might be soon-ish, depending on what happens. :p
@OppositionJ that was incredible. Your posts always inspire me in unexpected ways. Didn't feel like writing atm but now I do. So thanks?
Posted this on the discord, but I figure I'll post it here as well!

Hey everyone!

So, right now I think @CollectorOfMyst and @OppositionJ are working on posts. Can I get a quick update on where you guys are at? No hurry of course.

I'll also be working on another post from Hassan's perspective at some point. And probably Ilya. Because he exists. Somewhere.

@shylarah @The Angry Goat @CollectorofMyst

Wow that took longer than it should've!

Thank you to each of you for the collab! You all did such a a great freakin' job and I loved being able to have our characters finally converse and share a moment with each other. I apologize for how chaotic it got at some spots, but I think it came together really well in the end. <3
ONE Centre, First City of Cero, T'sarae


[written by Lovejoy, shylarah, Collector of Myst & The Angry Goat]


It was a beautiful and terrifying thing, the Aegisdome.

All around him, the city of silver spires gleamed in the grey radiance of the impossible barrier that hung over it. Earlier that morning a hard snow had begun to assail them just as their train reached the domed city. Since then, the sky had erupted in a vicious icestorm that was now pummeling the aegisdome. Ragnar had spent the entire afternoon gazing up at it. Boulder-sized hail crystals assaulted the monolithic crystalline barrier, sending faint pulses of light dancing across its surface. It was of course impossible to hear the sound of the hail smashing against the dome, but Ragnar winced all the same, imagining the shearing chorus of millions of remnants of ice shattering all at once. He wondered how many storms the barrier had withstood in the centuries since its construction, and how many it would take to turn it into cracked glass.

He finally tore his eyes from the terrifying sight above him and eyed the crowds of T'saraen civilians walking the city streets. He observed the native people with a jealous and somewhat scornful expression as they traversed through ONE Centre, the city's largest plaza. It was a vast open space surrounded by tall gleaming buildings and elevated highways, while strange metal trees covered in silvery crystal leaves had been erected on manicured pits of hard earth all around the plaza, giving it a natural yet strangely manufactured atmosphere. Ragnar and Stina had converged on a platform overlooking Xegatris Station, the great train terminal where the remaining members of Warband Phoenix would be arriving.

This was the young Muraadan's first time in the Land of the Skull Remnant, and to his surprise, the people here weren't what he was expecting. He remembered the T'saraens who had crowded around Tatiana when she returned to Lanostre all those years ago on her summoner's expedition. Even now he recalled the warmth in their smiles as they welcomed her home, how they danced around her and stared in awe at the enchanted shadowcloth of her inquisitor’s coat. The T'saraens who had found a home in Lanostre's Bridgetown were a loud and gregarious lot, a people not unlike his own Muraadan clansmen, but the men and women who walked through the beautiful pathways of the First city were silent and stone-faced and didn't so much as spare one look at each other. Not even the icestorm raging just outside the barrier elicited any response from them. They seemed to be solely focused on getting where they needed to be and little else. And thus, despite being surrounded by crowds of people, there was a strange lack of noise in the plaza. It filled Ragnar with a strange unease.

He remembered the Tale's End slums in Magnagrad with its dark steaming alleys choked with dirty people crowding over barely-working etherlamps and its children hawking stolen blood in exchange for food. Cero wasn't open to folk like them, of course. The slumrats of Magnagrad were destined to live and die in the mechanical abyss that sprawled within the city of blood and steam. The native T’saraens on the other hand would never have to worry about freezing on a street corner. These people lived safe and measured lives, free of the cold that clung to every inch of the world. The Aegisdome kept them warm and safe while their beautiful city offered them enough freedom and infrastructure to allow them to work on their miracles and machines...

Why couldn't Magnagrad be turned into such a place, Ragnar mused, not for the first time.

"It's nice here, isn't it?" Ragnar said to Stina, trying his hardest to fake a smile. They had been stuck on a cramped train for the past two days and so it was a welcome relief to be able to stand out in an open plaza, despite the circumstances. Stina nodded in agreement. “Too….. too many people on that train.”

Ragnar turned to smile at this warbrother. Stina had chosen to stay with Ragnar as he waited for the other members of the warband to arrive. Hassan and Vivica didn’t seem to share in Stina's desire to keep Ragnar company and both left soon after their arrival. The young Muraadan had greatly appreciated his brother's company. Despite them being stuck on that train for so long, Ragnar didn't want to be alone. He never wanted to be alone.

Allowing the pent up air to escape his lungs, his eyes fell on a pair of T'saraen teenagers waiting to cross an intersection.

"So much death and yet it never seems to reach this place," he thought aloud, desperately hoping that Hassan and Viveca weren’t getting into any trouble.

Across from them a small group of Varyan soldiers marched through the plaza in lazy, ill-formed ranks. The soldiers were whispering among themselves, not paying much attention to their surroundings, when they finally noticed Ragnar and Stina in their inquisitor's coats. The soldiers saluted them and hastily turned to walk in the opposite direction. Ragnar couldn't help but notice the look on their faces. It was the same look on everyone else's faces, T'saraen native and Varyan soldier alike. There was a disquieting rumor that something had occured in Lanostre, but the Church had been blocking all information from escaping the Queendom.

At that moment an old train covered in steaming ice pulled into the station. Ragnar's worried expression suddenly melted away, a giant smile forming across his face as he turned around to face the train platform.

The train was an ancient beaten down machine, its faded steel exterior covered in giant hunks of ice. It had come from Magnagrad, Ragnar understood. No other journey would cause the train to accumulate so much ice build-up. As the train slowed to a stop the ice covering every inch of it began to crumble and fall apart. Ragnar gripped the railings of the platform in anticipation as the train doors slid open with a mechanical hiss.

Mother Ziotea and Father Oren stepped out of the train.

In truth, it had only been about two weeks since he had last seen the two Omestrian inquisitors, but it had felt like an eternity to him all the same. He began to hop in place, disturbing the three wolfpups who had been cuddling near his feet, and then proceeded to wave his arms like a crazy person. He shouted at the top of his lungs, not caring if all the world heard him.

"Oi, you two!" he shouted, his voice seeming to cause the entire plaza to stop and stare at him with a confused expression..

The two Omestrian inquisitors turned to face him, their eyes still squinting at the sudden influx of light given off by the massive aegisdome looming in the sky above them. Ragnar looked back at his giant companion and waved him over. "Come on Stina, let's go welcome them!"

Not bothering to wait for Stina, Ragnar jogged down the steps of the plaza to the train platform.

***


Ziotea stood alone, while Oren was conversing behind her with the small crew of the train that had brought them here. The pale inquisitor bowed his head, presumably as a gesture of thanks, though his lips moved so little and his voice was so low that it was difficult to discern what he actually said. Seeing Ragnar approaching, Oren turned and made his way to where Ziotea stood at the edge of the platform.

There was something off about Oren's gait. Ragnar had only been in close proximity to the Leviathan spellranger for a few weeks since Oren and his Leviathan warsiblings were transferred to the warband, but in that short time Ragnar had taken note of each of their physical quirks. He had to make certain that if something was off about any of them, if they were wounded or needed help in any way, he'd notice -- and thus, Oren's slight limp immediately raised an alarm.

Ragnar's violet eyes narrowed, and he cast an accusatory glare at Ziotea. Hearing Stina's loud footsteps behind him, Ragnar's courage flared. Good, I won't be alone in this.

"What did you do to him, Zee?"

“To him? Nothing.” She didn’t exactly look pleased to see them, but then the small woman rarely did. She was though, that much was obvious, at least to Ragnar. “Saved his ass, probably. I’ll have to tell you about it later.”

“Why is he limping? You two visited those ruins right? Those quiet, safe ruins?”

“The ruins were fine. It was after we came out...look, it was weird as hell, and we’ll tell you about it, but not right now.”

“I knew I couldn’t leave you alone with him. I tried to warn you, Oren.”

The Leviathan’s gaze shifted to beyond Ragnar. “Unfortunately, she has the truth of it.”

Ragnar turned and, seeing Stina standing behind him with the wolf pups trailing him, the Muraadan protector took one of them and lifted it proudly in front of Ziotea.

“Wolves! From my homeland! Aren’t they precious? We bought them in the slums!”

Ziotea eyed the animal warily, but when all it did was squirm and stick out its tongue she shrugged. “I guess.” She was trying hard not to be dismissive of her friend but she was clearly distracted. “Did you go on a trip after all, then?”

“We went to that pub and I saved a bunch of civilians from a rocket. But I’m sure you will hear about it soon enough. The soldiers can’t stop talking about how much of a hero I am.”

“Already? I’m jealous. Here, let me rub your head for good luck~”

Ragnar happily allowed her this gesture, and she gave him a smile.

Stina, somewhat suspicious of Ziotia’s unwillingness to share information, looked downwards at her, as she rubbed Ragnar’s head, with a small measure of hostility. “I hope tha-tha-that you will not forget to tell us. Someth… ...ing that harms an Inquisitor is something we should all be aware of.”

“Look, I said I’ll tell you all, and I will tell you all, just...when I can tell all of you. I’m still processing. Besides, if people start turning into weird blue giants, I’m sure you’ll notice.” Ziotea paused long enough to deliver a playful but solid punch to Stina’s arm. “Bigger than even you. Kind of hard to miss.”

Stina grunted and shrugged his shoulders. “Do not let your emotions distract you frrrrrrom protecting us as well with information as you do on the battlefield.” It felt like he had more to say, and he paused despite still holding the attention of the conversation. Perhaps it was something about respecting her need to understand a trauma before being able to verbalize it, but he didn’t have the vocabulary to even fully comprehend the thoughts he was trying to convey. He instead settled for softening his facial features, and resting his hands in the pockets sewn onto the inside of his cloak.

“Blue giants, Zee?” Ragnar shook his head. “Really?” the young inquisitor asked with an incredulous expression. He threw a quick glance at Oren for any hint of confirmation to this ludicrous lie. When the Leviathan inquisitor gave him only an impatient glance in return, Ragnar frowned.

Oren folded his hands together behind his back, his eyes trained on Ziotea, his mouth pressed into a thin line. “Is the open really the best place to discuss recent events, Warband Phoenix? We can talk about our encounters later; at present, we need to make sure we’re ready to leave.”

Ragnar breathed a heavy sigh. He was very much looking forward to hearing Ziotea and Oren’s account of their visit to the Corpseland, but the pale-haired inquisitor was right. Now was probably not the right time to speak of their visit to that place. Still, their reticence to speak on the matter picked at him. Hm. Whatever had happened to them in those ruins, it has to be important, Ragnar thought to himself. Ziotea wouldn’t be drawing it out so much if it wasn’t. Still, the events at the Shadow and Storm pub were too monumental for Ragnar to keep quiet about. Ziotea and Oren had traveled to Cero on an empty train and thus they had no way of knowing about the “Butcher of Tale’s End” and the justice he had dispensed at the legendary tavern.

“I suppose we do have places to be right now, Father Oren, but you must at least listen to Stina’s story,” he said, slapping Stina on the forearm playfully.

“Go on. Tell them about the ice pirates!”

“What, that louuuuuusy lot of heretics?” He laughed,. “After training aagainst you lot for so lo-o-ong, cutting through them was like a…. a walk in the park. Honestly the best part of th-th-th-the whole thing was right at the beginning when Hassan just w-w-waltzed in and cleared out all the civilians with a single sentence.” He thought back to the night again. It really had been wonderful: no repetitive training, no teacher yelling at you for holding the sword slightly too low on the handle, none of the politics involved in talking to people. Instead there was just battle - and the hunger he had just now discovered, but that still sat, eagerly, deep in his soul, crying to get out. He grinned as he continued, though the smile seemed to hold a little bit of the bloodlust within him.

“After that, a-a-a-a--- sssssshort shootout, before a Secular Armyman encouraged me to charge the pirates. It wennnnt poorly for them.” He stood there, collecting his thoughts for a moment before continuing. “This one,” he said, nudging Ragnar, encouraging him to tell his own part of the story, “stopped a huge explosion, aaand Hassan caught up to- t’their leader. Got some important information about the apostate Dara.” He finished with a scowl, as if the man’s name had a bitter taste to it.

The mention of the lost apostate seemed to bring Ragnar back down to earth.

“Father Dara... He was last sighted in Lanostre, wasn’t he?”

His thoughts returned to Tatiana and the others. All the crazy rumors going around about an attack on the Varyan flotilla blockading the Lanostran capital and about a young inquisitor being involved had filled him with trepidation.

“I know you and Oren have been secluded up there in Omestris but, have you heard anything about Lanostre?” Ragnar asked Ziotea. “I haven’t met with Galahad, Astraea, or Tatiana yet but, there are rumors. Weird ones.”

“Nothing,” Ziotea answered. “We just got in, only had most of a day at the Seminary before heading out again, and I wasn’t listening to the gossip.”

“There’s been all kinds of talk about some kind of attack. The lord clerics are keeping a lid on everything, of course.”

“Of course. Bastards.” Ziotea spit in the snow at the mention of the clerical branch, causing Stina to break into a smile.

Ragnar recoiled instinctively, immediately scoping the area for anyone who might have caught sight of the blasphemous act. He leaned close to the Omestrian warrior. “There is something strange happening. I can feel it.”

“I hate being toyed with,” she growled, feeling the skin on her arms prickle under her vambraces. “There’s definitely something going on, I can tell you that much. I just don’t get how it fits together.” She frowned for a moment, then made herself relax. She was back with her warband, and together they could face anything. “We’ll discuss the details when we’re all together, yeah?”

He nodded, cuddling the wolf in his arms.

“I met with Rodion earlier. Tried to bring him food but he shooed me out of the room. Some new ethereal toy has him ensnared, I bet. I’m certain he’ll make time for you though.”

“You did?” Her face lit up at the mention of the engineer. “I suppose I’ll have to track him down, then.”

“He is aboard the Karamzina, our wonderful new state-of-the-art steam ark. It’s a beauty, Zee. Sharp as a blade and and sleek as a spear. It’s docked at the Forge, the special drydocks at the southeastern edge of the city.”

Ziotea nodded, and split off at once. She’d not seen Rodion in far too long.

For a few moments, Oren watched after her. Whether or not she saw it, Ziotea’s eagerness was all too plain. Well, so long as the watcher knew what to look for. He turned to look at the other two, and with a small grimace, he said to them, “Well. As nice as it has been to talk to you, Father Ragnar, Father Stina… I need a bath.” - and then started to walk.


Hey everyone,

Just a quick update on where we're at.

Currently waiting on @CollectorOfMyst and @the Angry Goat to get back to me regarding their characters' dialogue in a collab post. That post is like 95% done I think, just waiting on some final input before we can move on.

Also waiting on @vietmyke to send me a PM.

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