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Lavaridge Town
A squadron of Swellow glided across the skies above Lavaridge Town. Grand Watcher Clerk wasn't keen on the idea of another mystery Draco Meteor taking out the remaining survivors for which she was responsible. The squadron bullied any wild flying Pokemon from traveling through. It was announced that only those with authorized permissions from the Grand Watcher herself could have approved Pokemon fly over Lavaridge. And so they dove straight toward the Xatu they spotted from above the clouds.

Oracle would have known their approach soon enough, but their speed would be quite concerning. Though they were headed straight toward her, they broke formation and simultaneously turned away like a kind of blooming flower. Oracle would hear a faint command from a voice she wasn't familiar with. "Leave the Xatu alone..."

Before relief could wash over her completely, she was summoned to the building attached to the bathhouse by her teammates. Their collective confusion and curiosity would have filled her consciousness before she cleared it to focus on the past and the future of the place. She heard the entire conversation among three people talking about the woman she could see being commanded to go to The Quay in Rustboro City. A Decidueye shot through a window on the other side into the void that surrounded one of the women. The man was levitated and slammed into the wall. The void disappeared and the man was released. But the conversation, itself, was overall vague. The ability to hear subconscious thoughts from the past was beyond any psychic Pokemon, as they were so thin and fleeting. Fortunately, their target was confirmed - they mentioned Ms. Shade, their target. She watched as the vacant orb in the room disappeared.

The void was very familiar to Oracle. It felt very similar to what Ether would do to hide herself and others, if she chose, from the prying "eyes" of others. It was unnerving to feel something so definite and potent that she could say it matched Ether's, though the thought might have frightened her a little. Regardless, after the void disappeared, the other two eventually left the home. Oracle could follow them to the tram that went directly to Rustboro. Once they were far enough away, her vision faded into the present.

"Um, excuse me, sir? Are you going to do anything?" a voice asked behind Tristan. When he would turn, the young man would say "are you okay? Do you need help using that?" he asked and pointed at the Pokestation Tristan was standing in.

When Tristan and his team decided on their next course of action, Oracle's eyes glowed bright and her wings splayed out straight from her sides where she stood. Her body glowed bright and the air around her buzzed with intense psychic energy. Though she thought she had mastery over her visions, when she pushed her abilities, there would be times she couldn't control them. This display was specifically when she saw powerful visions of the future.

She hovered far up in the sky above Rustboro. It was pouring rain. There was no wind. It felt heavy. Rustboro was burning to the ground. Her vision zoomed in to see a large man slumped over something on the ground. A Masquerain - dead. Beyond him, another man in a suit stood emotionless. A Gorebyss and Huntail hovered on either side of this man. Her vision shot up toward the sky, past the clouds, into space. A Pokemon - unmistakably Jirachi. Her vision followed it back down until it was hovering above the man flanked by the Gorebyss and Huntail. He touched the Gorebyss and all four of them teleported away.

Her eyes dimmed and the glow around her faded and she fell to the ground - exhausted.


Mauville Island
The week went by like it always had, though with the addition of Rai. Jerrek and Rowan welcomed him to their vacation and had him chase them through the forest and swim with them and jump off a nearby cliff into a deep pool. They ate and drank much. They slept at their leisure. They chatted and sat in silence to listened to the nature around them.

When the week came to a close and Forrest was packing up camp, Shaq-ti notified Forrest of someone approaching the camp - a young woman. Shaq-ti felt a twinge of unease but thought it was just due to the surprise as she looked innocent enough. Still, she alerted the rest of her teammates and they all instinctually moved closer to the camp.

Samantha. Samantha Kurin. Rai's sister he thought had died when they were children back in Olivine City. It took some time to convince Rai that this was, indeed Samantha - his sister. She revealed she had found him thanks to years of searching and the help of her Espeon that apparated from elsewhere. The reunion was quiet but certainly intense. Forrest made Jerrek and Rowan busy with something elsewhere so they could have the time to experience the existence of each other. Forrest was glad that Rai's broken family was a little less broken.

She convinced him to go with him to where she had made her home in Mauville City. The city had yet to be entirely restored, but she knew her home would be safe to go to. Rai thanked Forrest and Forrest gave Rai his contact information as a sign of friendship. They then teleported away.

It took a few moments for Forrest to recover from the experience. But he was soon finished with packing up camp and getting to the boat that would take them to Mauville as well.


Rustboro Wharf - Rustboro City
Forrest's large brown boots seemed to pound against the tiled hallway floor. His fitted jeans zipped rapidly with his pace. The muscles under his short sleeve white shirt could be seen flexing rather erratically. His face was stern, determined, irritated. The Rangers moved out of his way when they realized he wasn't going to move for them.

It looked as if he tried to tear the door handle off the door as he swung it open. He took two steps into the office and stood straight up with his arms crossed and his brows furrowed. His eyes bore into the Master General.

"Fucking bastard decided to show his ugly fucking face right after my vacation. I haven't even had a solid week at home for eight months, now. Where is he? I'm done playing his games."

"Whoa, Forrest, calm down a little. No need to be so fired up." The Master General raised his open hands and shook them a little. "I forgot it was your vacation week. I wouldn't have called you if I had remembered."

"Yeah, and have them pussy-foot around 'cause he's a fucking Fairfax? Fuck that. I'm going to parade his head around town and then bring it to you on a platter."

"Enough theatrics, Forrest!" the Master General's voice boomed louder than Forrest was shouting. "Calm the fuck down! You're acting like a child! Now sit!"

Forrest took a deep breath. His arms lifted to his chin as they were still pulled across his chest. His jaw clenched but he took the few steps to get into one of the chairs in front of the Master General. His nostrils flared as the tensions lowered.

"You're right, Forrest. I've been too precious with him because of his last name. That ends. I'm more furious than anyone that it took the destruction of Mauville for me to wake up to that. Mauville is my fault. I had him five years ago, but I let him go just because of his last name. He's going to pay for all the lives he took and ruined."

"What's the plan, Dick?"

"Raid Rustboro Wharf."

Forrest's brow rose and he kept quite for a couple moments. "He's in the Wharf?"

"Yup. That's his domain. The Fairfax's admitted that they don't control it anymore. But only one of my spies assigned to Jonton still lives."

"So I can raze it to the ground to find him?"

"You are under my orders to use whatever means and force necessary to bring him into custody either alive or dead. You also have clearance to use whatever means required to neutralize any and all threats that you come across."

"Hell fucking yes," Forrest said with a determination that was almost gleeful though his face remained stone still.

A couple moments passed until the Master General pushed up out of his seat. "Go, you fucker! I want that fucking bitch's head on my desk before sunrise tomorrow!"

Forrest nodded and quickly rose and almost started running out of the Rangers Headquarters and straight to the Wharf. Forrest remembered how it used to be called the Quay and was still referenced as such colloquially as he released all of his Pokemon. Due to his lack of discretion, he was soon recognized and people started to follow him. Children cried for his autograph or to ride on Antligon. Adults wanted to shake his hand and ask him questions. They were all fended off by his Pokemon, however. Additionally, Rangers started to make way for him so he wouldn't be disturbed.

"Mr. Aeros? What are you doing here?" Forrest asked once he reached the massive gate to the Rustboro Wharf. He stopped and leaned back on his foot and crossed his arms. He wore a wry smile and curled a brow. "Do you know what I know. Are we both here for the same reason?" he asked and tilted his head to one side.
I'd like to run a PbP campaign in my homebrew setting.

This will be a character-based and roleplay-focused campaign with plenty of combat, intrigue, exploration, and adventure. It will be sandbox after the first "arc" which will be railroaded for the purpose of:
* Getting used to me as a DM
* Getting used to each other
* Getting into character
* Establishing inter-party relations

Before you consider reaching out to me, there are some significant changes you should know about:
* I've made changes to many of the classes.
1. Bards have been recreated as non-casters and a pure support class.
2. Clerics have no armor proficiencies and few weapon proficiencies and a d6 hit die and are Charisma-based spellcasters.
3. Druids have no armor proficiencies and few weapon proficiencies and have a d6 hit die.
4. Paladins & Rangers are 3rd-casters (highest level spell is 4th and no cantrips).
5. Each class has unique saving throw proficiencies (some are the same, most are different).
* I implement a homebrew point-buy system for stats that allows for "greater" min-maxing and somewhat higher stats than standard point-buy.
* Characters have max hit points.
* Every character gets a homebrew "trinket" that will either be tied to their race, their class, their subclass, their background, or a combination of these. It will increase in power as the character levels and/or milestones are reached.
* I only use Milestone Leveling.
* Characters are required to be from the setting and have depth.
1. I don't allow "pocket dimensions" where a character is completely cut off from the rest of the setting and know nothing about it.
2. The following races will be discouraged and restricted: Goblin, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Bugbear, Minotaur. Some other monsterous/exotic races will need to be approved. They do not inhabit this part of the world but they do exist.
3. Joke characters without substance will not be allowed.
4. Edgy backstory, dead parents, antisocial characters will not be allowed unless there is a plan for them change over time (and sooner rather than later).
5. Characters must have a reason for adventuring and seeking out a party to join.
6. Characters must have a short and long-term goal.
* I allow homebrew content, but I will work on it to be balanced to the best of my ability. I have homebrew spells created that are allowed to be used. All homebrew content is subject to change at any time.
* The setting is civilization vs. environment. All civilizations/governments are largely benevolent. Corruption of political figures is very unusual and dealt with swiftly and harshly. This is not to say that there will not be any large conflicts, political intrigue, or signs of corruption.
* I stick to RAW and don't implement any optional or variant rules other than XGtE and TCoE content as well as some character creation things such as Ability Scores and Starting Equipment (I provide more equipment to characters if it makes sense for their backstory). I do not and will not use flanking, penalties for sleeping in armor, penalties for not sleeping, etc. However, I don't claim to be an expert on the rules and welcome civil discussion and arguments regarding rulings I make.
* Some specific rules: Counterspell - you don't know the name or the level of the spell being cast; Shield - you only know if the attack hits or not, not if the hit is critical like you would with Grave Domain's Sentinel at Death's Door feature; spells have flavor text that is not be taken as mechanical - see Chill Touch - it is affected by cover.
* There is a great deal of high-level lore already created. It will not be required to be familiar with or read all of it, but I will reference specific things that are pertinent to the character you are creating. But I will, otherwise, reference it ICly and OOCly. Conversely, I welcome and encourage collaboration in deeper world building and the development of specifics.
* I do not balance encounters specifically for the party. I create encounters that make sense to the story, the location, and/or the event it's related to. I never have the intention of TPKing or killing any character ever, going so far as to give an "out." But if that is not taken or character actions lead to harsh outcomes, I will usually follow through.
* There are consequences for actions, both good and bad, both seen and unseen, both known and unknown. Threatening the Mayor will likely get you arrested - resisting arrest will get you attacked by law-enforcement. Telling an NPC you're part of a specific organization might garner help or present resistance to the point of having you assassinated. Refusing the deal of a BBEG might get an entire town killed/destroyed. Giving money to that orphan might see that orphan rescue you in a time of need. Working with an Herbalist might get you free potions from another herbalist in another town or city that's more well-off.
* There will be grander events occurring throughout the setting without the characters' knowing. Whether or not the party includes themselves is up to them. They may not even hear about it unless they ask the "right" question or overhear a conversation in a specific tavern.
* The setting map is final and settlements are, indeed, an average of a 7-day walk between neighboring settlements (one of the main reasons why it's "civilization vs. environment").
* I will be using Foundry VTT. Character sheets will be made, maintained, and updated there. Combat and Rolls will be done there. It is free to use and requires no special requirements from anyone and doesn't require downloads or anything.
* Character development, cooperation with other player-characters, and working as a team is required.
* No evil alignments or Chaotic Neutral characters (I don't really use or reference alignments, anyway).
* It will be required to post at least twice a week/within reason. Posts will only be done once after I post unless otherwise stated. You will be skipped on your request or if too much time passes. Be honest with whether or not you can meet this expectation.
* Players are DM's of their own characters. I may ask a player if their character knows about something or not or has been to a specific place or not or has met a type of person or not.
* There will be no PvP unless all parties agree. I will not call for deception or perception or insight or sleight of hand checks when a character wants to do something to another character. Those two players will decide how they want to handle the situation. Actions against/toward other characters can be refused outright (though it's expected to act in good-faith).
* I'm here to provide the setting and information for your characters to help the players tell a grand story. If you don't think you can or will be able to contribute to creating a complete story, this will not be the campaign for you.
* Humor is allowed and encouraged to a degree. This is meant to be on the serious/epic side, but moments/scenes/events of hilarity are welcome.
* This is not a romance-centric campaign, though I will allow it if it makes sense and adds to character development and not self-indulgence. X-rated scenes will be fade to black. Profanity, nudity, vulgarity may and likely will be present, though alluded to and not explicitly described. Topics such as sexual assault, torture, self-harm/suicide, beastiality and other extreme fetishes will not be allowed, discussed, or present in this campaign.
* Posts are required to move the plot forward to some degree. I don't tolerate "time holes" where we have a discussion between characters for 20 posts but are still within the same 5-10 minutes in-game. Collaborating on single posts would be encouraged if you wanted to play out an entire conversation, but keep in mind in-game time and allowing the plot to move forward.
* Posts are expected to be at least 2 paragraphs - 1st paragraph reacting to what previously happened and the second paragraph performing a new action.

I may add to, remove, or amend any of the above.
You may respond here with questions or PM me. If you are interested, please respond to as many points as you can with relative detail (organized in any way you see fit).

Thank you for your time.
Lavaridge Town
This one was terse. Samantha certainly respected that. That annoying Cutiefly was forgotted by this quick response.

She shifted slightly to pause and consider which emotion she should play next. She giggled briefly and put a hand toward her mouth. Embarrassment. "Oh, yes, I apologize," she said with a slight smile and oddly dead eyes. "I'm just so caught up with the fact that my brother might be here.

"I knew him as Raiziel Kurin from Olivine City in Johto. I don't know if he's assumed any other names. I remember him having a Charmander that he called Kye or something."

She looked down at the Espeon sitting stone still beside her. She reached a hand down to place a soft hand upon the periwinkle coat. A brief twinkle in the gem upon the Espeon's forehead shone as leaves shifted in the passing breeze.

Samantha sniffed as if about to cry. "I haven't seen him in so long, I have no idea what he could look like. We were only children when we were separated.

__________


The town fell into an organized chaos. Now that some Mauville districts were habitable, there was a sense of relief among those directly impacted by the disaster. Rumors continued to swirl around, but they were casual and without much weight as the Rangers refused to disclose any more information than the news coverage that was beginning to slow down.

Despite all this, Veritas sensed a strange amount of residual guilt and embarrassment and fear. She followed it until she arrived at the Muro Bathhouse and tagged her partners to join her and affirm her assumptions. It was agreed that it would have been something to look into.


Rustboro Wharf - Rustboro City
The Rustboro Wharf was named such out of courtesy. Owned by the Fairfax Association, it was an entirely private portion of the city. Security clearances were required to enter and exit the Wharf and was well-situated to make it quite difficult for outsiders to see exactly what happened beyond the ten-foot fence, gates, and tall warehouses without windows.

Considering the current events, any Pokemon usually employed at the Wharf were now filling temporary positions in security. Much of the staff were required to relocate or change occupations temporarily to accommodate those affected by the "Mauville Incident" for those still able and needing to work for a living.he hollers boomed through the night and into the day. Metal scraped against wood and ropes were pulled taut or snapped. Planks slapped against the docks as a constant percussion to the almost-overwhelming symphony. Everyone worked as one and with a heavy sense of obligation considering the state of Mauville. But that didn't mean there was dissatisfaction and contempt that it occurred in the first place.

The gray clay-concrete walls of the storehouses made for a rather monochromatic and dull atmosphere. Splotches of white excrement were the only contrast upon the buildings throughout the Wharf. The pathways were barely wide enough for two men abreast. Hiding in the mazes of the alleys was a struggle only for the fact one could easily get lost. The textured cement pathways dissuaded walking without proper foot-wear, but that didn't deter some of the more sea-hardened individuals.

The only interest in the Wharf was a single wooden spire that shot up past the rest of the storehouses. The planks looked of a rich mahogany and cherry with steel structure beams painted black. Red velvet curtains would peak from behind windows and lights would be seen on throughout each night. Access to this building was highly restricted. Walking past it was reason for termination and arrest.
Refugee Camps - Lavaridge Town
@c3p-0h
"Master General -" she said with chest high and hand at her head in salute.
"At ease, Sentinel."
"Thank you, sir."
"Where's Major White?"
"He is currently verifying the state of the refugee camps and the Lavaridge Medical Centre, sir."
"When will he be back?"
"Not until tonight, sir."
"And Grand Watcher Clerk?"
"She's in her tent, sir."
"Thank you, Sentinel."
"Sir," she said in a farewell with another proud salute.

It'd been almost a week since the Mauville Attack. He was concerned to not have heard anything devastating happen in Lavaridge. However, it was also not entirely surprising as it was Grand Watcher Clerk who was tasked with overseeing the operations of the area.

There was no contest when it came time to promote a Sentinel to Watcher. She was the youngest in history to ever be promoted to the rank, but none knew of a better candidate. She was impossibly bright and focused, though harshly stern and doggedly focused. But the Air Rangers of Hoenn were known for their effectiveness, not their sense of humor.

This kind of task is in what she excelled. She could retain high volumes of information without needing to record it immediately. In fact, she often came into the frustration of the other branches when she'd fail to properly record information despite being able to recite it verbatim.

She was the hub of all information. Currently, she was the hub of all information about the Mauville Attack and the goings-on in both Mauville and Lavaridge while she was updated about Rustboro by the Land Rangers. She had a team dedicated to solely recording all the information they'd gather in a day, and they only just recently became current.
__________


She watched from afar at this "Haven" playing with a Cutiefly. The thoughts revealed it was newly hatched. Samantha cursed at herself for finding it as cute as she did. Keeping hidden behind a tree for a little longer showed a softness and a strength in this girl that Samantha found surprising. Considering her recent past, she was impressed with Haven's determination to continue on as if nothing happened.

Samantha absent-mindedly brushed her ear where that damned Decidueye had got her. It bothered her that she didn't see it coming.

"Excuse me, Haven," she said as she stepped from behind the tree but keeping the distance between them.

Her tone was soft and polite, almost meek. She kept her hands behind her back as to keep a non-threatening air around herself. "That's an adorable Pokemon you've got there. Does it have a name?"

Now with pleasantries out of the way, she could get to the point of this conversation. But she had to be tactful. "I heard your story from the rangers around here and thought you could help me with something." She fidgeted with her hair a little to portray a kind of nervousness Samantha assumed might be warrented in this kind of situation.

"I know someone I think you might have seen and I was wondering if you'd be able to tell me where you saw him last or where he could have gone. I want to make sure he's alright."

Her brows shifted down in a kind of sadness and concern she'd seen others express before. "I haven't seen him in a while and I'd really like to meet with him."

A long pause was held between them. The mauve pelt of her Espeon appeared beside her and rubbed its face against her calf. Her eyes rose to meet Haven's. They were beginning to swell with tears she'd only recently learned she could produce.

"I'm his sister."


Mauville Island
@Kymera

The new hatchet worked well without having been sharpened after purchase. The fire-starter was largely unnecessary with Kye around. But the fact he wouldn't have to rely on his Pokemon to start a fire made him oddly self-confident. It wasn't long until he'd managed to accumulate a hefty pile of small logs and large twigs by the firepit Forrest had thrown together with some nearby rocks.

The tents were up and equipment laid out in neat order. The two men then worked on falling a tree to then chop in half to use as benches by the fire. It'd only taken a couple hours, but the moon was high and the air cool by now. Jerrek and Rowan were running around the fire and the nearby woods. Forrest paid little mind as Medicham and Flygon were around to get them out of any trouble they would be able to find.

After hiking for two days and then prepping the camp site with Forrest, Rai was ready and glad to be able to rest until the morning. He and Forrest drank a few beers each. Forrest partook in a cigar with the kids indulging in a soda before bed, something their mother would never allow. He made them go to bed soon after, which they did without much fuss. Rai was mildly relieved to see Rowan with clothes on, but with the air being cooler, he couldn't blame the kid.

Forrest, on the other hand, was down to undershorts. His shirt and pants were slung over a rope that was tied between trees so it would hang relatively close to the fire for more efficient drying. They were even wrung out before being hung, proving that staying in them was the poorer of options. By now, Rai couldn't be uncomfortable with anything they'd do.

The flick of a match pulled his eyes from the fire. His tired eyes saw a cigarette in Forrest's hand as he laid on the ground, partially propped up by the log and laying his nearly-naked body worryingly close to the fire. Another beer filled his other hand as he watched the fire as he thought Rai did. But his eyes blinked up and caught Rai's. He twitched his chin in an offer to grab another for Rai. Forrest managed to reach for one, open it, and pass it without actually getting up.

Rai was just glad to experience the calm of a silent night in front of a fire. It felt good to be out on the road again, even if he wasn't alone. It amused him how quickly he'd become used to Forrest's company. It'd been so long since he felt part of a family.


Ground Zero - Mauville City
@Akacen

Any surface damage caused by the attack was cleared away and repaired in little time with the help of the Rangers, both national and international. The presence of an Elite Four member also made things progress much faster than expected. However, repairs to the energy circuits throughout the underside of the city was a whole other project Mr. Sturm would need months to get back into normal working order.

The outskirts of Mauville were beginning to re-populate as the power grid was reworked to avoid the affected generator as it was being repaired. There was still a heavy presence of Rangers throughout Mauville as investigations continued as to cause of this attack. The suspects that didn't die were sent to Fairfax Hospital and there was precious little revealed as to the reason for this attack. All the rangers could get from these criminals was "Jonton is back."

"Sir Aeros, excuse me." A young man bowed before the Elite Four member with a hand outstretched with a piece of parchment rolled inside it. "A message from Madame Fairfax. She requests that you act upon this in haste."

When the scroll was properly delivered, the man simply turned and left without another word.

Sir Tristian Aeros,

Your presence is requested at the Fairfax Manor estate at once.


The script was a beautiful calligraphy he'd never seen before. It was never known for Mrs. Fairfax to request a personal audience with anyone. She only deigned to expose herself to the public when she so cared. This was certainly far from what would be considered expected behavior of the Queen of Fairfax.
The Valley
It took too long to repair the damages from the portal. The earth was black. The nearby trees were ash. Each house was scorched and either partially collapsed or completely destroyed.

Those who could fled. Those who would protected those who could not. Willow remembered hearing a voice warning her of a terrible danger. She looked up to see bulbous black clouds materializing directly above them. The other villagers were keenly aware, but her shouted command to run alerted them to act.

It was quiet. The Valley is known to be a sanctuary of peace and temperance. When the yellow light pierced the ground like lightning, even the children didn’t scream. When the fiends and devils spewed from the corrupting light, they found tough foes. Despite being a secluded village upon a holy site, the denizens were as fierce as any warrior. The time Brightwood spent training his children, his siblings, and his peers was clearly time well-spent. Though he wasn’t here for this atrocity, everyone else took up the mantle of a leader to protect their home and their families.

Quickly a losing battle, they fled into the distant forests in any direction. The clouds above spread like a swarm of flies, rapidly infecting the sky. It felt like days that they ran and hid. The smaller and quicker fiends were batted away from the children. Willow counted the heads of her many half-siblings. Their mothers as determined to protect them as she. Willow was quickly running out of breath, mentally unprepared for such a sudden disaster to strike them and threaten everything she knew. And she couldn’t stop thinking about her father. What would he do?

She tripped on an unearthed root and hit the forest floor hard. Her forehead touched the dirt from the impact, leaving a brown mark on her brow. She looked up and turned around. A bright flash shone through the forest from their village. And as quickly as the black clouds spread above them, they disappeared.

She realized the air had been filled with sulfur and soot. She surprised herself with a sneeze, learning the inside of her nose and mouth were coated with ash. She coughed. She continued coughing until she vomited black. She looked up to see others doing the same. Those that managed to cover their mouths and noses seemed unaffected. Her eldest half-brother, Duer, approached to help her up and to get her to breathe normally.

The silence didn’t cease. It was too soon for such a devastating threat to be neutralized. She thought how the light must have been Scathach, and that was why she was told to run. She looked around at the gathering children beginning to surround her. Another headcount. “Where’s Iden”

Her voice was a screeching caw cutting through the silence. A few eyes looked at her with concern. The others only watched the forest line and listened to the air, too skeptical to believe they were no longer being pursued. Willow’s head scanned the area. All were still. She began to walk through the crowd of her siblings and toward the village, newly determined to find her missing brother.

The crowd behind her was much more hesitant than she. Their footfalls were quieter and more deliberate. They flowed around the trunks and avoided the low hanging branches as if to begin to mourn with silence those who they’ve yet to learn to have lost. The ground grew black and the trees grew ashen as they continued toward their home. The smell of cleansing fire filled the air and the yellow light was extinguished. The daylight returned to them soon.
_________

The boys ran all around him. They were sweaty, some were smeared with dirt and some wore fresh wounds. Willow worked them well. They called out to their father to join them at the western bank, their designated bathing area. He interrupted his meditation and rose calmly to follow the high energy of the children.

Most of them he’d sired. Many of them were his nephews. To only a few he wasn’t directly related. He knew them all very well. With all the training and play and work they did every day they were turning out to be competent despite all of them being under the age of 12. His chest became ablaze with pride as they continued to play in the river or help the other boys with their injuries. Some stole their clothes off the bank and threw them into the river and laughed as they watched the current take them away. They laughed harder as the victim raced to retrieve them. Some of the older boys raced to see who could get it faster.

Brightwood’s bare feet skated over the rushing water. He scooped up the small clothing and leapt to the other side of the river. The racing boys stopped when they realized their goal had been taken from them. They looked up at the patriarch of the Valley and whined and shouted at the unfairness. Brightwood just smirked and began to pace back up the river to lay the clothes out in the sun. He then removed his own clothes to meditate in the river.

The soft coolness flowed around his body. The boys splashed and screamed around him. He could feel the power of Scatach fill his muscles and reinforce his bones. He could feel her hair as his own and her touch across her cheek. It all went silent for him.

He didn’t know how long it’d been since he fell into this meditation. When he opened his eyes, all the boys had assumed similar positions within the river, meditating as their father, uncle, and patriarch. He rose quietly and turned around to be met with a foreign yet familiar figure standing just off the bank.

“Brother Brightwood” Akacen said, greeting him with a bow.

This simulacrum was used to the rather liberal Valley, rarely phased by the unclothed man. Brightwood began to dry himself off with a piece of his clothing. It was the one Akacen remembered him wearing during the cold months during their time on Scilira. He couldn’t be sure what it was called, as it seemed like an enlarged scarf connected into a circle.

“Headmaster,” Brightwood greeted back in a stern and deep tone.

“I was wondering if you’d be willing to meet with me back in the Eastern Reaches. I know you haven’t the fondest opinion of the place, but there is something I wish to share with you.”

Brightwood dried his face, darker than Akacen remembered. Staying so long in the Valley and living how he enjoyed living, his dark skin tanned even darker. His hair, however, was highlighted by the sun. It was still twisted in the same long braid, but the coarseness was easier to see, now. His eyes looked brighter, somehow, when he finally turned to look at Akacen. They were softer. But he seemed larger than before despite Akacen being used to craning his neck to look upon Brightwood.

“Does it put my family or my home at risk?” His stare was almost paralyzing.

“It very well could, the nature is similar.”

Brightwood’s large chest pushed out in a deep breath. He sighed silently, exhaled slowly as he considered his answered.

“I will gather some things and say goodbye to my family. Meet me at my home and we will leave thereafter.”

Akacen bowed deeply, understanding all too well how conflicted his friend must be to return to the place where he died thrice and was resurrected twice. The last time, Akacen had done it in person in Tierm. His good will, determination, and righteousness was not enough to compensate for his rashness and confidence. It was all he could do to not openly sob as he approached the river once more.

He didn’t spend much time saying farewell to his children and their mothers. It was intimate in their own way, but even Akacen was surprised at how brief it seemed.

He was wearing the same type of clothing. The only thing different was a backpack that pulled against his bare skin with an amount of weight that he betrayed with his posture. Akacen had begun to perform the spell to Teleport them to his destination. Brightwood stood surprisingly close to Akacen at the spell’s activation.

He put his backpack down in a nearby dorm room. There was much more activity than he remembered. But he made his way up the foreign yet familiar staircase that followed the cylindrical walls of this Scolia Arcana. The banquet and study hall had students pacing around, practicing and reciting Arcane findings at each other. Students, Brightwood thought was interesting. Last he knew this Scolia Arcana was dying.

The third floor was harshly silent. His bare feet could not be heard slapping against the stone steps and then the stone floor. “Greetings, Headmaster. Headmistress.”

Tierm
“You shouldn’t be here.”

His voice was level. Uninterested. Bored, even.

“Nor should you.”

Her voice was stronger. Demanding.

“You don’t have that authority, miss. Why don’t we just go up to the barracks together. I’d rather this not be more tedious than it already is.”

“You don’t have the balls, sir” she said to mock his apparent lack of age. “You couldn’t touch me if you tried for 10 years!”

-

“Ah! Fuck! Fucking bastard!” she started to scream, her voice echoing against the concrete sewers all around them. She barely heard leather zip against leather before finding a knife in her thigh.

“Didn't have to be so difficult.” His voice was deeper now. Threatening.

“You don’-”

She was silenced. Muffled. An arm wrapped around her head and over her mouth while her arms were grappled behind her. A foot kicked at the back of her knee, forcing her to stumble. She got the hint and began walking forward. She screamed and fought as much as she could, but this was clearly not the first time he’d caught someone like her. The inside of his elbow was reinforced with an additional layer of leather. He couldn’t feel her gnawing at it. He forced her arms up from behind her, causing her more pain if she fought too much.

“Alright, gents. Come get the bitch!” he called up through a manhole.

The gray light of the evening cast down through the hole. It lit the bars of the ladder unevenly. Two City Watch came down, unaffected by the deceitful lighting. The first one managed to cuff the woman while Tumise still grappled her as if they’d done this every day. The second made sure she didn’t run away as she was released from the grapple.

“Gah. This one’s a right nasty cunt!” the second Watch said as her face touched the light when she was pushed forward.

Her face was plain. Her hair was a nest. Her skin was pale. What came out of her mouth was the most offensive. She kept calling for Vargrimst, for his justice, or power, or whatever. He wasn’t really listening anymore. They all said the same things.

Tumise slipped his dagger out of her thigh before she pulled away. He put a hand on the Watch’s shoulder, keeping him from moving. A piece of cloth was tied tight around the thigh to keep it from bleeding too much.

“Why bother? Just let the cunt bleed. Less work for us.”

“You know this isn’t really her,” he said plainly. “Make sure you actually get this one to Professor Illyis.”

He walked back into the sewers before they could retort further.
_________

Professor Humplebumple made short work of reconstructing the city. It was clear that she’d had plans for this reconstruction for quite some time, considering how quickly she made the city better than new. Streets were reconfigured for ease of flow. Buildings held more consistency between them while still having individuality. It was a brand new city. It had to be considering the utter destruction of it all. Not only that, the Scolia Arcana was expanded and new Schools added. She and the other Professors worked to elect heads of these schools. Each discipline would be represented at the Scolia Arcana of Tierm, even Necromancy. They would be known throughout the continent in not only being able to do so, but also choosing to do so.

Caelynn made it her priority to oversee the mass Transmutation of the city while her Lieutenant, Tumise, worked to clean up the corruption of that yellow demon light. She let him work more closely with Ghesh so Tumise would learn to appreciate her more. The Transmuter students were learning quickly as if practice and necessity accelerated one’s ability to learn. She hoped Tumise was going through a similar transformation.

The swarms of people that were teleported back from the Valley with the help of Lorilla couldn’t fill the city proper. It showed both how much Lilli and her students expanded the city as well as how few people survived the invasion. At least they fared better than Golabah. It was too bad that most of them settled permanently in the Common South rather than return to Scilira. Those that returned were absorbed into Tierm’s population. Efforts to rebuild Golabah and even Loughlof Town were postponed until further notice.

“Captain, may I have a moment?” He bowed.

Caelynn knew this was only a simulacrum. Akacen would never address her so formally, and nor she him. Her heart still sank, though, knowing he hadn’t yet returned. “Yes, Headmaster.”

“I’d like to see you in the Eastern Reaches. While Tierm is aptly rebuilding and finding a state of normalcy once more, I’m hoping you’ll find the time to help elsewhere.”

She sighed but kept an even face. She remembered her outburst. She remembered holding Brightwood’s body in her arms. She remembered sobbing so hard that her throat swelled until she could no longer make sound. The familiar feeling of her heart breaking while seeing Isshyim fall and then rise came back hard.

She took a deep breath. “We’ll see. I’ll gather Tumise and Kephalos to go with me.”

“Even better. I’ll meet you at the Spire, then?”

Caelynn didn’t answer. She took a sharp turn on the balls of her feet and pointed to one of the City Watch to fetch her Tumise and Kephalos. If they didn’t make her regret taking Akacen up on this offer, they certainly would.

-

They found rooms for themselves, though Kephalos and Tumise had to share, to place their belongings before heading up the stairs to the third floor where this meeting would be held.

Tumise was relatively glad to be back home - longed to return to his actual home and change it for the better. Kephalos was impressed with how much it’d developed since he’d first come here. They were putting in as much work as they were back home.

“Hello Akacen,” Caelynn announced in a teasing tone and a playful smile. “And hello, Headmistress. It’s good to see you alive again,” she said. It might have sounded unnecessarily informal, but those that knew her knew how serious this statement was. It was her way to continue to cope with the events that occurred.

Arhew
The Princess of Storms was beautiful. She wished to stay in her presence forever. But she was pulled back to the Prime Material after a single breath.

These mountains were steep, bare. She looked around at those who looked upon her with caring eyes. She looked up at the whipped clouds against the pale blue sky. The sun shone white. The stone beneath her was solid and unmoving. She looked down at herself. The bold reds and muted oranges of her dress proved to her how peaceful she was in death. She was no longer afraid of it.

“You bring me back for more work?” she asked rhetorically. “Fine.” She smiled, though. Warm.

Her smooth face betrayed her age as it had when she’d first accepted the crown. Her hands were soft and without a blemish. The brown-green pigment looked lush over the slate of the earth beneath her.

“It is by Diancecht’s decree that you undo what you’ve unjustly done.”

The creature hovered over the stone, as if deigning to touch it would reduce its purity. She twisted her neck toward the creature. “Merzi,” she said with a modest bow.

Her hair fell over her shoulders. The wide ringlets as defined and regal as ever. She allowed the volume of it to remain over her shoulders as she shifted to face the others who were also resurrected. Her delicate feet clicked forward. She rose a hand over their heads and released the scent of nutmeg and the seeds of a dandelion as she did so. She brought both hands under their chins and extended to them warmth and comfort as her Princess had done for her upon her arrival to the Elemental Planes.

She then turned. “High Priest Tiadar. High Priestess Taidra. Are you ready?”
_________

The Temple of Ledwonnú saw more patrons in the past week than it had in its lifetime. Wynlynn’s final Wish was to undo her Meteor Swarm that she’d cast on the city. Now she put all of her energy into resurrecting the churches, if not the people themselves. Tiadar and Taidra proved highly competent in seeking out hidden worshippers of the other Gods that had survived the culling of religion and then the dissolution of the region. They were gathered to Arhew to discuss their roles and hierarchy. They could rebuild how they saw fit. They could take leadership roles throughout the region, but within reason, of course.

Ultimately, they were the heart of the Eastern Reaches. They would be ones to mend hearts and console the broken and find the lost. While laborers rebuilt structures, the religious leaders would rebuild spirit.

During one such effort, a banquet hosted by Wynlynn herself, an unexpected visitor approached her as she worked on baking rolls and pies.

“Priestess Casilltenira, might I have a moment?”

She spun around with a fair smile on her face and in her eyes. Some sweat sparkled on her brow, proving how long she’d been working these ovens. She handed the large bowl she was mixing batter in to a halfling who anticipated the situation before Wynlynn could.

“Ah, Awoan! Good of you to join. Shall I fetch Tiadar or Taidra for you?”

“Oh, no thank you, Priestess.”

“Please, dear. Wynlynn is fine.”

“The Headmistress and Headmaster would like an audience with you when you have the time,” she said, returning the friendly air but not the informality. She couldn’t anticipate how swiftly Eladrin might change and if they could be contradictory, if their memories were different.

“I have so much work,” Wynlynn started.

“There is no rush at all, Priestess. Wynlynn,” she said as if to humor her.

“Did they receive my invitation to this event?”

“Oh, yes, of course.” Awoan took a moment to remember the enchantments placed upon the envelopes and how showy they were when it was opened. “Unfortunately, they’re not much of the celebratory types. They feel much too responsible for the state of the Reaches.”

“As do I! That’s what all of this is about!” This form seemed gracefully cheerful.

“They completely understand. But we all have our own sense of duty.”

“How true. How wise.” Wynlynn paused to ponder the idea. Her lips pursed but then spread into a gentle smile soon enough. “I will see them tomorrow,” she said with determination to keep her own promise. “Now, go find a seat. I need a representative of the Arcana here tonight.”

“I’m flattered, but -”

“No buts!” Wynlynn almost shouted with a giggle. “You shall stay and find comfort in my home,” she said, gesturing all around her.

Awoan thought for a moment but couldn’t help but smile. She thought of all she’d been through recently. She believed both that there was so much work for her to do and so much responsibility being placed on her as well as the fact she definitely deserved to have some time to relax and enjoy herself and her company. What would Headmistress Isshyim do? Fire her?

Awoan giggled, herself, and thanked Wynlynn. She offered to help in the kitchen but was shooed out as soon as she opened her mouth.The night was long, but she was full and content. She was comfortable. And, strangely enough, she was happy. Happy to be alive and happy to have the connections she did.

-

The scent of nutmeg and pumpkin filled the room before she entered. The sound of drying leaves rustling in the autumn breeze echoed against the stone as she ascended. Her heels clicked softly against the stone. Intentional as to not sound harsh even while walking.

“Greetings, Headmistress, Headmaster. You wished to see me,” she said with a shallow bow and looked upon them with a gentle, matronly smile.
I'm working on my post, don't worry. D:

Part 1 of 3 posted since I know you've been waiting for more than a month, now :)
There's more I need to add to the 0th post to further clarify what is going on. But right now, yes, we're all on/with the cart.

Lyria Va'lesh
The nights were cool here. Dissimilar to her home in that the air was not filled with salt and noise and light. Lyria marveled at the stars above and could begin to recognize the constellations that portrayed the history of her pantheon.

She was traveling these lands in the hopes of finding a foreign relic of her patron, the Crimson Ram. She'd traveled farther than she ever wanted to, but was enjoying her time as a foreigner. Lyria would occasionally wince at the realization that most did not even know of her pantheon, never mind her own patron. But she enjoyed sharing what teachings she could.

Their path was leading them to Nightstone for the evening. It was out of the way, but being that it was so late now, they needed to stop to rest for the evening.

"Thine Crimson Ram guides thee," she said to he one steering the cart, more out of habit than necessity. Her eyes remained pointed upward, gazing at the glowing dots in the blue-black sky.
Chapter 1
Part 1
You've been traveling along the High Road for days. As evening approaches, you spot a wooden signpost next to a trail that heads north into the hills. Nailed to the post are three arrow-shaped signs. The two marked "Waterdeep" and "Daggerford" follow the High Road but point in opposite directions. The third, marked "Nightstone", beckons you to follow the trail. If memory serves, Nightstone is roughly ten miles up the trail.
@Akacen@AlgizHieronymos

Sorry for delaying everything. I promise to have something up by Sunday.
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