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Reaching Across Destiny

Location: Earthwall
Interacting with: None.
Mentions: None

The creation of the thousand kingdoms had brought the inevitability of conflict to her doorstep. At least, that is what Celestine would worry about had a new moon not appeared in the sky. It was clear to her now that she needed to remain idle no more. Her people would have to do without her for a time, for she needed to meet these deities in full and judge their intentions. It was obvious that constraint with their creations was something that not all of them were willing to exercise, and so perhaps it was time for Celestine to lose a bit of her own restraint as well.

After all, what was love if not boundless and infinite?

This is what Celestine assured herself as she placed the final touches upon the free standing gateway located atop the divine palace. The light cast by the Shellback Dome’s source illuminated the doorway with a silvery glow, and Celestine steeled herself for the fallout from the target that this would turn Earthwall into. But then there was a moment of hesitation, and Celestine looked down to the city below. Perhaps it would be best to first prepare the people of the city for what was to come. To this end Celestine focused upon the armories that lay dotted around the city. Within each one the weapons and armor assembled there began to glow, and soon thereafter they were all replaced with gleaming weapons and armor of hardened steel.

Fine bows, sturdy lances, strong swords, durable plate armor… All of it ready to use in defense of Earthwall. With hope they wouldn’t be needed, but with what she was about to do Celestine wanted her people to be ready for whatever would come. Nodding to herself, Celestine turned back to the unfinished gateway. It was time. Reaching forward and tracing a finger along the stone Celestine shuddered slightly as she felt a barely contained rift open beyond the doorway. This was a dangerous thing to make, and as the rift began to stabilize and adhere in full to its prison within the free-standing door, Celestine was knocked back slightly as a great pulse erupted from the gateway to travel across Galbar like a clap of thunder.

Catching herself upon the large crystal that powered the Shellback Dome, Celestine rose to her feet quickly. Inspecting the door, she was satisfied that it didn’t appear to be leaking. What she had done would one day have to be undone, but for now Celestine was able to indulge in an entirely selfish desire. Digging out the ring that she had taken from her old realm, Celestine approached the door and laid a hand upon it. Speaking confidently, Celestine stated her desire into the space beyond the door. ”I call out this prayer into the void of eternity. Release your grip upon the one that I love, and let her be returned to me! Let us be reunited within this new world, so that we may both enjoy this second chance!”

With that, Celestine pushed upon the door, throwing it open. Immediately a great vortex opened, and Celestine’s arm was pulled into the swirling nothingness. Quick to brace herself, Celestine gripped the ring in her free hand tightly. Mentally screaming as she felt the void slowly pulling her into its infinite embrace, Celestine was about to try and pull herself free when she felt something grasp her hand from the other side. A hand. It was then that she heard a murmur. A voice that she had not heard for the longest time. Celestine’s eyes went wide, and she grasped the hand back before pulling firmly. Planting a hand atop the Celestial Riftgate, Celestine growled at the void. ”She is mine. Release her!”

Slowly. Gently. Celestine began to gain ground. It was a battle of inches, until at last the resistance relented all at once, and Celestine was sent tumbling backwards as a figure flew from the Celestial Gate. When they were free, the door slammed shut. The grasping void contained once more. Instinctively, Celestine wrapped her arms around the new figure, who took a gasp into lungs that had not been required to work for a long time. Her body quivered as her senses returned to her, and after a few moments of stillness she began to laugh. It was a deep and hearty laugh before a confident and raspy voice spoke. ”Hah. I take it that you missed me."

The figure pushed the goddess over to lay atop her, a smile spreading across her face as her bright red hair tumbled across her head. Pushing herself up and rising to her feet, the figure spoke once more. ”Don’t worry. I missed you too.”

Now it was Celestine’s turn to smile, and in a flurry of motion she hopped to her feet and hugged the woman, who laughed heartily once more. Sinking to a knee, Celestine took the woman’s hand and began to speak softly. ”To say that I missed you feels almost like a lie. While I lay comatose within my realm my dreams centered around how I might reach you again. A part of me had almost given up and accepted that journeying into the void myself was the only way to reunite us. But then when I was called here I gained a bit of hope that perhaps someday I could return you to the world of the living… And now I have succeeded.”

The woman couldn’t help but smile, and that smile grew brighter as Celestine raised the ring she had carried to her finger, whispering softly as she placed it upon her hand gently. Boudicca of Ha-Dûna, my avatar… My love… Welcome back to my arms. May my embrace never leave you.”

Standing gently, Celestine looked over her love and smiled as she was just as she had remembered. She was taller than before, matching Celestine’s impressive ten feet tall, but outside of that she was unchanged. Just as beautiful as the day Celestine had lost her. Leading Boudicca downstairs Celestine took the time to explain what all had happened since she had parted. Then came the additional explanations as to the state of things and the plans that Celestine had. As the deity-avatar connection regrew, Boudicca found herself learning things faster and faster as information could flow more freely between the two. When all was said and done, Celestine set out to arm Boudicca properly. Just as her elves, Celestine was not going to lose her. Not if she could help it.

Focusing her divine power once more, Celestine drew from nothingness a large claymore before imbuing it with the same qualities that her own sword possessed. It was made unbreakable, unfathomably sharp, and capable of harming even divine beings with ease. A scabbard was made to contain it, and it was gifted to Boudicca. But this would not be all. Dipping into her divine power once more, Celestine fashioned Boudicca a suit of armor similar in style to the equipment she used to favor, and then infused it with a simple yet incredibly effective effect: It granted Boudicca incredible protection. Enough that even divine opponents would have a hard time harming her.

Truly, Celestine was sparing nothing. Not for the one she loved.

At last, when all of this was finished and Boudicca was comfortable in her new armor, Celestine could not resist pulling her into a firm hug. Boudicca returned it earnestly, and even kissed Celestine for the first time in what was likely centuries. At last, the goal had been accomplished.

Boudicca and Celestine were together once more.

The gathering storm of War

Location: Earthwall
Interacting with: None.
Mentions: None

Celestine stood atop the high tower of the divine palace, looking towards the horizon of the mainland. She did this often these days, seeming to shut herself away from the hustle and bustle of the daily city duties for hours at a time. It was somewhat unbecoming of her, but for the generosity that she had been giving to Earthwall, it was entirely fair that she might take some time to herself to dwell upon things.

And the things that she dwelled upon caused her a great deal of concern.

The near attack of Wyn upon her city and the creations and actions of other deities yet unmet spelled an almost certain future for Earthwall and its people: Conflict was coming, and like it or not Earthwall, the first city, was going to end up being wrapped up in things beyond her control even if she wanted little more than peace and prosperity for her people. Something would need to be done, then.

For that, Celestine figured that perhaps it was time to arm herself a bit better. It was unbecoming of a war goddess to be unprepared for battle. Thus, she set out to finalize the armament that she had started on by restoring duty to its unbroken form. Returning to her quarters, Celestine stepped over to a stone desk and began to weave together raw divine energy into something new.

The basic shape came quickly, a simple heater shield design with little in the way of frills. But Celestine began to iterate upon this, adding in some decorative heraldry and changing its color palette to resemble her current cloak and armor combination with a deep red base color and silver accents. Sizing up the shield a bit, Celestine adjusted the grip of the shield to make it more comfortable upon her right arm before finalizing the shield's physical form. Nodding to herself, she dubbed the shield Loyalty. It would do just fine.

But then she almost immediately grew dissatisfied with it. To defend Earthwall would likely mean inevitably going blow to blow with other divines, and as such such a simple shield would likely not last more than a blow or two. Setting the shield back down upon the desk, Celestine began to iterate upon her designs for it.

Firstly, she made the shield unbreakable. At least by most physical means. It could still simply be unmade by the will of another divine, but in a conflict less decided by the expenditure of divine energy it wouldn’t do to have the shield fail before she did. Secondly, she decided to make the shield a great deal more practical to carry around and equip. Setting the shield into its best position upon her right arm, Celestine then began to merge it with the gauntlet upon her right hand.

The process took only a moment, but once that moment was up the shield was gone. Turning and stepping into the main space of the room, Celestine brought her arm up as if to block a blow, and in that moment Loyalty manifested in her hand. Lowering her arm, the shield remained. Willing the shield away, Celestine repeated the motion, but willed for the shield to not appear. Thus, it didn’t. Excellent. All had gone according to plan.

But then more thoughts came to Celestine’s mind, and she manifested the shield once more. Focusing upon the heraldry that she had added, she infused the ability to manifest a barrier into the shield, one that would serve to be quite potent, even in the face of divine fury. Summoning and dismissing the barrier a few times, Celestine adjusted it until it was two meters around her, and was then satisfied. In the event that she needed to protect a few people, it would do quite nicely.

But a shield alone would not save Earthwall from what troubles might assail it. For Earthwall to be truly safe, Celestine would need to return what fury was given to her in equal and perhaps greater force. Drawing her sword, Duty, Celestine began to focus energy into it as well. First, the edge of the blade was sharpened. Then more. Then more than that. Celestine kept going until the blade was almost sharp enough to cut the air around it while idle. Then, much like Loyalty, she reached into its heart and strengthened the core of the blade until it was unbreakable. She recalled the state that it had been in when she awoke from her long slumber, broken and useless. No more. Not if she could help it. As a precaution in the event that it would be needed, she also poured a small ember of her fury into the blade, enabling it to cut through even divine defenses as needed. She had no longing to become a murderer of deities, but if they threatened her city and her people, she would do what she must.

Stowing her enhanced equipment and returning to the top of the divine palace, Celestine once more looked out to the horizon. But her gaze did not linger there for long. Instead it trailed downward to Earthwall itself, and soon Celestine began to pace around the top of the divine palace, watching the elves go about their lives within its protective walls. They were her people, and she would defend them. So long as they were within her walls and gave her their fealty, she would be their armor against whatever the harsh world would bring to bear against them, and she would not restrain her wrath against those who sought to take them from her. Their shield, and their sword.

With this thought came a deepening of understanding. Armor and its components started to have their details manifest within Celestine’s mind almost as if it was second nature. She began to tweak and tune at her own armor set, making it a bit less bulky and a bit better of a fit, enhancing her mobility slightly while retaining all of the protection that it offered. Which, while a bit meager against other deities, was still more than nothing. Perhaps it too would need enhancing.

Following this, Celestine began to have various weapon plans pour into her head. Longswords, shortswords, spears, halberds, longbows, shortbows, recurve bows, crossbows, and even things like ballista, catapults, and trebuchet. Everything one would need to defend a city, or take it from someone else. All she needed to do was contemplate what the role of a group of soldiers would be, and the best weapons and armor to give to them filled themselves out almost instantly. Cavalry would do best with heavy armor and long lances, while supporting archers would do fine with longbows and light armor in order to stay mobile.

Then in order to take a city, catapults and ballista would be needed. She would have to teach the elves on their use, but even now she could see where these weapons would be best placed upon Earthwalls defenses. She would have to see about training the elves in their use. For now, she was tired and needed rest. Returning to her chambers, Celestine found herself once more gazing longingly at the ring she had.

What would she think, Celestine pondered…

Location: Galbar’s northern continent, east coast. Borders of the city of Earthwall.
Characters involved: Celestine, Wyn, Navari.
Mentions: None.

Blood within Earthwall

Ever trapped in a haze of dark, Wyn didn't really know how much time passed as she rode the shambling beast to wherever it wandered. She could feel the distant earthquakes, most likely of divine origin, and the ramblings of Pride, whose storm she hadn't a clue the whereabouts of and anything else of note slipped past her, so she thought. For Wyn and just found herself rather apathetic to it all. She had other things to worry about presently, mainly the increasingly problematic moodshifts.

After coming down from her vanity, she was amiss to realize just what the things she created could do to others and thus was a little upset at herself. A loathing that etched itself firmly into her being and drove her to inaction. Was she truly such a spoiled brat of a god? 'This is ugly, that is ugly, where is my beauty?' She gritted her teeth at the thought of herself drifting backwards when she had come so far. It had to be amended and changed. She had to be better and more in control. And to be better… She had to go back. A present conundrum as Wyn had no idea where she was.

The moths she had created only came sparingly but the information shared was rather poor. There just wasn't a whole lot going on where she was. Just the comings and goings of animals and some wild elves here and there. No, if she was to fix her mistakes she had to do it on her own. With a defiant thousand yard stare, she once again put a fist to her palm and then walked off the shambling beast with little fanfare. All at once the free fall shocked her and she screamed at the idiocy of herself before a loud crack and her momentum came to a rocky stop. The only sounds for a moment were the gentle vibrations of the shambling beast, uncaring as it moved on and to signify its departure, a stream of blood found its way into the newly crater and filled up with her inside.

With a tired sigh, Wyn lifted herself up and out of the hole. With one flick of her wrist the blood flew off of her and she felt cleaner. She then found herself at a crossroads. The shambling beast went in one direction and from where it came she could easily follow the trail back. So she did until the blood began to dry up and her vision became splotchy until darkness reigned, save the smallest blips of animals.

She felt anger begin to boil in her blood. Anger at herself for waiting so long, for being so stupid. She sat down with her knees up and crossed her arms over them. Then she leaned her head forward, face pointing at the ground as she rested. She took a deep breath, letting her strained emotions calm. If she let anger or vanity win, she knew it would do her no good.

After a while she felt something land upon her shoulder. Tiny, soft legs walked closer to her face and with ticklish antennas, the pale moth nuzzled her. It was hard not to smile at such a display and Wyn took the little one into her hands. A kindred light in the dark. "What is it, little one? She murmured, "What have you found?"

The pale moth did not speak but instead there came the flashing of places and memories. Winding plains and open shores with green to rest and color to suckle from. Then there came a flash of something not natural. A long bridge, it sailed over invisible currents marveling at the structure, before it came upon a city and then turned to find her as figures walked through large gates. It was close, very close, for not long after the moth had found the shambling beast and then herself. The connection faded and Wyn thanked the moth, letting it flutter off on the breeze. She watched it go, noticing how much it reminded her of a lantern in the night sky. She gulped down the wave of nostalgia and rose.

A city meant people and people meant civilization. The thought was strangely exciting, to be amongst people again. It had been so long she could hardly remember any faces… The elves she had torture changed flashed before her eyes. A gloom came over her. Right. She had messed that up but like always, she would strive to be better.

With that in mind Wyn devised an idea, to make her an unassuming being, not the god she had become. In her hands she waved together a piece of fabric whose color she knew not but the texture was silky smooth and it reminded her of a fancy handkerchief. With it she wrapped it around her eyes, tying it together at the back of her head. Already she felt calmer, more in control and she could still see the pricks of red that could only be animals.

That was good. So with that in mind she recalled the location that the moth had given her and took her first step.

Parchment and ink. Nothing but parchment and ink.

Most of the time that she had spent since her appointment as Celestine's champion had been spent managing an entire population of the chosen elves. They were the people of Earthwall and Earthwall belonged to Celestine. It had to be managed carefully. It had to be managed with absolute attention to detail. But in her attempts to catalog all problems she quickly found herself overwhelmed. Where she thought she would find but a dozen she found a dozen upon a dozen upon a dozen. Not enough time nor enough hands to handle all of it on her own. It all the more made sense that Celestine appointed her a collection of masters to handle the distribution of work and enacting doctrines- strategies for handling their own problems. Even with this, she felt herself responsible to, at least, make an appearance.

With a handful of papers she proved to be quiescent. Sitting atop of masonry set aside for another day. Staring into the sky without a worry in mind for but a moment. Maybe it would last forever. Maybe it would go as soon as it came. It was impossible to know if the sky would change before her very eyes. But while it was there and it held her gaze she would drink in its warmth and enjoy the soothing blue that sailed across the skies.

"Tired of work already?"

And there- that brief moment of tranquility was over.

Navari turned her head to her side, eyes noting the smile of the elf beside her. Same grin and same playful attitude.

"Just taking a moment to enjoy the day."

"I don't suppose that moment will last all day?"

"Testril, do you really have to?" Eyes rolled some, legs lifting her off from the stone and back to the ground that waited for her.

"If not me then who else? Should the goddess?" Playful as the man was, it did serve to annoy the champion. With a tap of the shoulder, Navari tore the elf from his own spot upon the stone, dragging him by his leather.

"Shouldn't you be on watch? Elowin didn't spend hours rounding together eyes for it all to end up unattended." With a light throw of his arm she shoved the man before her, his shoulder flowing hair protesting in the wind. The man raised his hands, dipping head some with a grin.

"I mean not to simply rend idle words. I am- or was- on watch. The truth is that we think we may have spotted something and that it would be best to confer with either you or Elowin. And given that Elowin is further along and I am the messenger..."

A slow grin etched its way upon Navari's face dull eyes staring upon the sky now lit ablaze with a passion waiting deep within. A hand rested against the hilt of her blade. "Spotted something have you? Show me."

Sometime later...

Testril was given an important job. A very simple but very important job. Find Celestine and inform her of the shambling beast. Not that it was especially interesting to him. Though it seemed to be but the first of many. Some familiarity it felt like. Maybe he had seen it before. But, then again, maybe he had never seen such a beast in his time. It was hard to know. Everything felt ever so slightly foggy as if he had forgotten something, but it hardly mattered now. Yes, riding upon a silver maned beast with pure white colors flowing freely was enough to take his troubles away. Clopping along the masonry that paved the paths in the fortress that they all came to live in. Waving to many a neighbor and giving his hellos to the kind people who passed him by. And in his satchel he held the simple message he was to deliver.

He rode up high, even spotting Navari for but a brief moment with a band of 12 scouts readying to depart. It was a sight he figured he would see more often as the world woke from its seemingly long slumber. For a world that appeared wild and untamed showed signs of new life with every passing moment. But it wasn't always so dynamic. Sometimes the plants knew to stay in the ground and soak in the bliss of stillness. And the thought did occur to him; would Navari and Celestine learn to take in the joys of a quiet life? Well, then again, who would ask him questions of politics? He was just the messenger.

Down below, readying at the gate was Navari and the chosen scouts. Navari had chosen a particularly sturdy stead. Bulky enough with its frame and accompanied with metal to soothe any potential pains from this trip. No promises, but this was simply for the best. It is how Navari justified it anyway. The scouts, on the other hand, were more lightly armored and their horses enjoyed the work of lighter armors weighed onto them she was sure. Simple bows and quivers. A blade upon the side should they need it but no more than that.

"Are we ready to depart?" Navari asked, keeping eyes upon the elf taking notes upon parchment.

"Yes, my lord. We trust in your judgment, but I have sent word for Elowin as requested. Are you sure you do not wish to wait for his arrival?"

"For what, Malfas? Do I not seem capable?"

"No I- forgive me. I will do as I have been instructed."

"Good." With a satisfied glow the champion turned to face the scouts, leading her mount as she tugged it along to better face the men and women before her. "We will be watching for any activity today. The beast that you may have heard of is still out there and it will be our duty to see to it that it is handled properly. It may be wild or it may belong to someone but we will not know until we search. Think of it as little more than a training exercise. I want you to get accustomed to the feeling. And not a single person is to draw string unless I say so. Stay in formation and cover my flanks. Rasyth- you will take your five and cover my left. Uliova- your five and my right. Understand me?"

"As you command, Ser Sathia!" The unison of voices shouted. A wide grin flashing approval over the two scouting parties.

"Good. And remember, you do not ride close to me unless I will it. Keep your distance. Ride cautiously and slowly. Forward!"

Hooves marched in unison, tightly leaving the gate to then spread apart beyond the bridge. Nervous individuals, some of them, but they were meant to be nothing more than eyes and ears. Potential protection from whatever the wilds may decide to throw at them. She looked up upon the sky once more, soaking in the feeling of tranquility for a moment more. A beautiful feeling. A wonderful day for a fight even. Maybe she could help out with training once she got back. But, for now, she would tend to this.

Navari smiled as she came ever closer to the beast before her. Her scouts dispersed to follow from the lengthy distance they were to occupy, each searching around for any potential signs that else had been there. It wasn't every day that one encountered something such as this. Gentle or furious was the question upon her mind. Before she could get much closer to attempt to handle the creature, however, she noticed something beyond it. Something- someone- walking towards them.

Wyn could see them at first, like little red lights on the horizon, growing closer and closer. Next she could feel the earth trembling, a different sort than by which her beast had made. Minute details became apart, as well as an old familiar smell. One she had once loathed- horse. An enormous breed, ridden by the likes of those she had met before in her Bloodmire. She flushed with embarrassment, then quickly shaped her ears to be pointed like an elves. Her flesh became like clay and if she truly had been mortal, it would have been extremely unnerving to her. But she was not and so Wyn paused in her approach and let the horses and their master’s come to her.

Steps were taken to approach that distant traveler, keeping sight on the scouts who kept watch of her flanks. A curious bunch to be sure, but none were permitted to come closer to Navari. A gentle tug brought her own mount to heel and with little more than a pat upon its side the creature seemed to be content. There was moment of contemplation before, a questioning of what exactly this person was before familiar signs bid her lower her guard some. This one was not of the chosen people, but they were elven all the same. With a small trot her steed turned some to let Navari take a better look.

“Greetings, traveler. I am Ser Navari Sathia of Earthwall. I ask that you state your purpose here and that you tread carefully. We have a beast here, and I’m unsure of where it came from or how friendly it may be. Unless you could answer that for me?”

The elf woman cooked her head, red ribbon around her eyes obscuring any sight, yet she looked at Navari all the same. She opened her pink lips and then closed them as if poised to talk. She shifted her weight onto her other leg and brought her hands together in seeming nervousness. She opened her mouth again and then did speak, "I have no purpose Ser. I am but lost and wandering here upon this land. Do not worry yourself about the beast, I think it a friendly sort."

Navari eyed the elf curiously at her statements, giving a moment to ponder as she glanced between the woman and the beast. The choice of cloth was curious. She had not known of many to simply cover their eyes as such, but then the world was still young.

"So certain for one with uncertain living. What shall I call you wanderer who thinks kindly of beasts? And may I bring you to safety? Perhaps even some time to visit the markets? I owe you that much as kin."

"You are… Very kind." The elf maiden replied. "I am called Wyn. Where is this safety you speak of Ser?" She inquired, never moving from her spot.

"I share my love as the goddess has done with her beloved people." Navari rode a bit closer, dismounting as she came to be but a few paces from Wyn. Their difference in height became evident, as Navari was two heads taller than the girl. "Beyond us. Earthwall. It stands tall. A citadel of bright white and a testament of Celestine's might..." The champion took a moment to think, looking back to Earthwall's tall frame before pressing lips together for a moment. If it wasn't obvious before, it sure seemed to be now.

"Allow me to help you upon my four legged companion?" She asked, waiting for a response before moving to offer a hand to guide Wyn along. Wyn’s own answer came with much hesitance but gingerly, she outstretched her hand and allowed Navari to take it. All the while she looked forward, unawares of where she was being led.

It was but a few steps. A few steady steps before the same guiding hand came to press a little bit closer. Perhaps spared questions by the second skin of the gloves that they wore. Hand touched shoulder, preparing Wyn for what was to come. "Trust me. I'm just going to lift you."’

With that warning delivered, Navari guided Wyn to lay her hands against the horse and leaped to mount her steed. Stopping half way up to carefully swing her leg. A few adjustments later and the front facing elf soon turned to face behind the horse. "Up you go." Arms took Wyn by her sides, quickly lifting before settling her upon the back of the exceptional horse. "There we go."]

"Can you tell me about yourself, Wyn?" Navari asked, adjusting again to face in front before giving a few more instructions. "Come forward to me and keep your hands around me. It can be a rough ride if you're not used to it."

The elf maiden did as asked, scooting closer and grabbing onto Navari, instead of around her. Wyn rested her head upon the tall elf’s back and sat silently for a time before giving an almost inaudible sigh. “There is not much to tell Ser. I awoke like the rest of our kin out in the wilds of the world. I thought much but knew little. I found some fellows but they… Did not…” Her voice grew silent before she changed the subject, “Was it Celestine who made us? For what reason?”

There was much that Navari did not know of Wyn. Mysteries of character that were probably equal from one smooth stone to another. Not so dissimilar patterns that provided any one observer to see that they were hardly different. Even as Celestine's chosen there was so much still unknown. Doubt swelled so easily when thinking on such things. Celestine showed very little of what rested deep in her heart. That was simply the way of things, but in what part of her love she did expose she suffered them to live. She worked to ensure they were fed and kept safe from the outside world. A united people rested under the watchful gaze. And they were taught to fight, or rather knew of war from within. Maybe there was more beyond such knowledge, but it would have been of no consequence to know. While all felt new, it all felt ever so vaguely familiar. But no matter the doubts, she would not cast such perfidious thoughts upon the lost. Not upon her own kind. After the silence passed, she spoke.

"Celestine did make us, yes. We were made- to live. We were made to thrive. To care for one another. It is her will that we should create a just world that we can share with those we love. Many of our kin were lost to the wilderness, but it is my belief that one day- when our work shows fruit- we will share in all between our lost kin. It is their birthright- your birthright- to stand with your brothers and sisters in harmony. And we will make all that we see strong in the eyes of our people. And I speak with certainty because I am Celestine's chosen. Champion of Earthwall and protector of our people. It is my duty and my passion to see these things come to pass as Celestine continues upon her great work." Every word passionately delivered and hopeful as the Ironbone trotted upon the ground they would call their own, moving ever closer to the gates with Navari's hand raised in signal to call back the scouts. Each group joining her and riding a distance behind.

“You speak with conviction.” She said with sincerity. “I hope such a vision comes to pass. It seems so sad a fate to be left all alone in the wide world but I take heart in knowing such a place exists. This Earthwall, city of the Goddess.” She sighed again. “Oh how I’d hope to see such beauty.” She murmured.

And so it instilled faith as she had hoped it would. That critical faith would be needed for the great work that rested beyond this time. However long it would take, Navari was ready to see her people united.

"We will do as we can to bring our kin home and to forge new homes for them to live upon... I cannot promise that we can fix your sight, but I promise that we will try to find solutions for all of our people." A moment later, Navari spoke again, looking forward to the gates which grew larger in her perception with every passing trot. "But for now I would have you think of what would make you happy, Wyn. And what you may want to do as the days pass. And, maybe once we partake in the work of our land you may express those wishes to me. How does that sound?"

“Worry not for my sight, dear one. I see in other ways now.” She put cryptically, squirming and shifting as she tried to get comfortable. Eventually she settled and said, “It does sound…” Her voice faded to a whisper, yet still audible beneath the clamor of hooves upon stone. “Lovely though.”

Silence overtook Navari for a moment, unsure what to make of such a statement. But then again all was yet possible. If this citadel was raised to house them all and the earth was yet still to bend to their beck and call then who was she to think of anything being far from truth? It was simply a reaffirmation that faith came before all. "Then it will be as you say. One step at a time, we will create paradise."

What could one say of Celestine's work? What would they know about her and her beliefs? Was there a flaring passion that swelled at the sight of all those who lived? Was there a desire to raise up a race for their own benefit? To give life for the sake of sharing in a gift that the gods only held? It was impossible to know aught. It was the persisting doubt that pricked at her mind with her elven sister upon her back resting peacefully. She knew only that what mattered was the here and now.

Gallop became trot, trot became pace, and pace became but mere clops upon the ground. The desolate world given life by mysteries unknown. Beside the brambles and the cracked earth lay the definition of civilization. The dominion of elvenkind and the truth that though the elements surround them they would yet stand tall. Pearly white and open to those who hear the call. The light reflected perfectly upon them and for a moment the world was celestial. A feeling that Celestine was warming them home as the reflective metals embraced her spirit with the sun's glory.

Road to gate and gate to road. Chains held firm as the thunderous march of the few came to bask in the presence of the many. Welcoming arms and beckoning of names. The colorful market open to they who would enter. A simple string of commands flowed from Navari. To go forth and place all as they were, to take watch as they were once given, and to rejoice in the finding of the lost. One could be lost in the sounds of the streets even as they had merely entered the mouth of the beast. But there, traveling upon the clean paths of the citadel Navari saw a stall fit for their purposes.

"It is time to come down, Wyn. You're home." A bold leap preceded a stable fall. The clambering of protective metal announcing presence before arms reached up to take Wyn gently and slowly off of the esteemed gentlehoof that carried them.

"Nefaan served you well I would hope, Ser Sathia?" A voice asked. The bold greens dyed upon his shirt giving the form of flower growing in the stone. Sharp curved ears flowing downward from the rightly straight point where they sat upon the horizons of the eyes. A sharp smile given as he took hold of the reins. Gentle yet strong voice a guiding star upon his person in the sea of speech.

"Yes, he did. Thank you, Lorsan. Mayhaps we will find a smaller one for our recovered sister."

"Mayhaps we shall. A wonderous thing you have done by bringing one of our own home. Persi- for instance- may be the perfect fit. With a bit of training I-"

"You will do this for me and let Wyn rest. There is no telling what she has had to endure and I am sure some food and a proper bed may be just the thing for her." Navari commanded, the voice receding in strength as it knew to obey.

"Of course, Ser Sathia."

To that end Nefaan took his strides and began his departure with the equally tall elf. The voices of many spoke up some, many in wonder and pondering upon their kin, wondering and waiting to see what Navari and Wyn would do now that they were home.

"Have you any memory of food that you once enjoyed? Perhaps bread or a fruit of some name? The cut of a beast?" Navari asked, placing a hand upon Wyn's back to help her know where to go.

Wyn seemed to move with unnatural grace as she walked and touched the area around them to get an understanding of it. "All of it smells wonderful but I am not quite so peckish yet. I have never known such a bustling place such as this. So many sounds and smells. No doubt sights as well. Are all so content here?" She asked, turning to Navari.

”I would hope so, else my efforts have been failing.”

Celestine’s voice rang clearly from behind Navari, causing more than a few heads to turn at the sudden appearance of the goddess as she emerged from a building with several Virtus elves following behind her. Apparently she had been doing some form of teaching, since the elves behind her all had books and writing implements at hand. Due to how tall she was, it took less than a few steps for Celestine to approach the two and place a reassuring hand upon Navari’s shoulder for a moment. Looking down to Wyn, she spoke once more. ”I am Celestine. This city and its people are my creation. Navari here is my second in command. You are the first visitor we’ve had, so I bid you welcome to Earthwall. I hope your visit thus far has been enjoyable.”

Taking a few moments to study Wyn, Celestine pondered what might have brought her here. Where had she been? Where had she come from? There were many unknowns about her, but for now Celestine welcomed her as she would anyone who wasn’t an immediate threat. Hopefully her trust wasn’t being misplaced.

Wyn tentatively looked in the direction of where Celestine had approached and as she did, the elf maiden stood a little straighter. Indeed, her posture became pristine for such a split second one could have blinked and have missed it. For soon after she seemed to sink and her features became alert, ears twitching as her lips became neutral. “I-It,” Wyn stuttered, “Has been so, lady C-Celestine.” She began to rub the back of her neck. “T-Thank you.”

The reassuring hand was all the answer that Navari needed. In one simple gesture Celestine provided her with all the clarity- and all of the faith- that she needed. Turning to face the goddess she smiled wide, basking in the glow of her creator. Her eyes sparkled in awe and wonder of the things the progenitor would show them all.

"I know that the veil hides her features, but believe me when I say that Celestine is like no other. Their heart is equally as beautiful as their divinity. With such a goddess, I assure you that those who live here are content and with every passing day we will thrive beyond yesterday's needs into tomorrow's desires."

Celestine gave a soft smile at Navari’s praise. It was proof, in at least a small amount, that her designs were working as intended. Looking to Navari for a brief moment, she posed a question to her second in command.

”Have you had anyone speak of working with the horses I created? Does anything need to be done regarding their form or temperament? I will be able to modify them soon and can implement things that people have requests about.”

Looking back to Wyn, Celestine asked her a question as well. ”I have no intention of being rude, but might I inquire as to your name? I have not heard it in passing and would wish to know how to address the first visitor to this city of mine.”

The elf maiden squirmed as if she beginning to have a frightful fit. "I-I a-am…
S-Sorry!" Her voice grew fierce in an instant as she doubled over with a low growl. Then she became rigid like iron and flashed sharp teeth with a hungry smile.

Navari had been too absorbed in Celestine's presence and the harmony of her people, enjoying the sights and the works. Happy to receive one of their own. It was for these reasons that she could never see what came after- what came for her. So concerned for her own and believing that all elves were of dearest kin that not for a single moment did she think of herself. Even as she came closer to the obviously disturbed Wyn she did not falter in her desire to help.

And then it happened.

In one cold moment Navari's heart stopped, the fangs of Wyn lunged for her and instinct took over. Arm swinging up to defend her neck in sacrifice with her other arm simultaneously reaching for the blade she didn't think once of drawing. But she had no idea if she could defend in time, especially as she played a losing game in moving back while they pressed forward. Was this the worth of a champion?

To Celestine, time seemed to stand still for a moment. It was when Celestine saw the flash of sharp teeth within Wyn’s mouth. Celestine instinctively wanted to reach for Duty, her personal sword, but it would take too long for the blade to clear the scabbard at this distance. Closing her hand around nothing, there was a brief flash of light as a new sword was forged instantly, embedding itself between Wyn’s teeth as time began to rapidly flow normally again. Though it was not as unerring as Duty was, the blade held as stiff as Celestine’s arm. Navari would not be harmed on this day.

A great clang rang out as teeth bit into blade. Neither teeth nor metal shattered when it seemed as if either would. Wyn let go and flew back, taking one look at them all despite being so blind. She crouched like a predator, a terrible smile cresting her lips, as if she was poised to attack again but she shook her head, gripping it and almost looking remorseful for her actions and then she was gone, taking off at an unnatural gate, often on all fours as she went from whence they came.

Perhaps the strangest part of it all was that the blade Celestine had defended her champion with, had taken a crimson sheen, mottled with black lines. A toothy bite mark sat upon its left edge that vaguely resembled a wolf.

Celestine’s eyes narrowed as Wyn left. When she was out of sight, a frown came to her face. But those thoughts were put aside as she looked down to the sword she had conjured. For a divine object to be changed so easily… Something about their visitor was off, and Celestine began to suspect that they may have been divine in nature. An assassin of some kind, perhaps? But who? And why? No matter. Her people would need defense, and this sword would need study.

Summoning a scabbard for it, Celestine sheathed the tainted blade before adding a metal peace-binding to the scabbard, preventing the blade from being drawn. It was all she could do for now until time was taken to study what had been done to it. Turning to Navari, Celestine issued a command. ”Make contact with guard captains and conduct a city-wide search. Ensure that our visitor is not hiding somewhere within the walls. I will take additional measures to ensure the safety of Earthwall. Go.”

With that, Celestine herself turned and began to head for the central palace. The top of it would prove to be the most effective location for what she had in mind.

As quickly as it came so too did it leave. But faster than expected and equally as disturbing Wyn charged off in a manic state, moving unlike any elf ever should. It all left a familiar burn that quietly whispered inside with no choice but to rage brighter. It left a question that held no answer.

"Why?" She asked, taking not one but two steps backwards as her outstretched hand crawled back to her neck, feeling and holding at what could have been gone- what would have been gone- if Celestine did not intervene. "I- trusted her... She trusted me... She is kin... Why?" But the fire was not satisfied. It raged yet more. It burned across the fields of her body and mind; unrelenting as fear, anger, and confusion stitched together in a frantic weave.

But what bothered her more than anything was that regardless of if Wyn had taken her life from her she would have proven to be a waste of potential. For her life would have amounted to naught more than one who collected souls for a purpose she never would have seen the fruits of. Emotions ran high and in her off hand she tightly held her blade. Trembling not in fear, but in anger. But now was not the time for emotion, she had a duty to Earthwall and Celestine made it clear. There was a duty to serve and protect and both need play their parts in providing the security that these dear people needed. She wanted to say so much to Celestine, but the goddess ever had the right of it. There was always work to be done.

With crumpled eyes and a pained frown, she furrowed brow in resolve and bowed briefly to her lord. "As your will commands." There was something more to it all, but if she posed to strike her then what would she do to those yet unaware. There was chaos in the streets, those who had seen were beginning to cause a scene. It had to be put under control. Even with methods to move in such strange ways, she had to be found if she was yet still within the great walls. With blade held tightly in hand she resolved.

"Wyn, if I find you again, I will make you answer."

Celestine walked through the palace with steely conviction in her step. Ascending the inner stairs two at a time, she quickly dropped the tainted sword in her personal chambers near the top of the tower. It clattered to the ground harshly as Celestine continued upwards, eager to see the plan she had in mind to completion. Reaching the flat roof of the tower, Celestine summoned her divine will and pointed to the center of the floor.

A stone pillar began to rise, and soon thereafter a large crystal flashed into existence before sinking into the supporting pillar. A few moments later the crystal began to let out an immaculate glow, and a beacon of light erupted from its tip. The light shot skyward before beginning to bend and warp across the city, forming a large see-through dome. The entire city was enveloped by this dome, along with roughly half of the great bridge that connected the city to the rest of Galbar. Once the barrier was stabilized, it quickly grew more and more transparent until it was difficult to tell that it was there at all. Only a slight distortion from time to time served as the reminder that it was there.

And thus was the Shellback Dome complete. Another contribution to the defense of Earthwall. It would have done nothing to prevent the events of today from transpiring, but in the event that the city came under siege it would prove invaluable.

Observing her creation for a few moments, Celestine closed her eyes and nodded a few times before turning away. Walking down to her personal chambers once more, she retrieved the discarded sword and set it upon her desk for later. Sitting down in a nearby chair, Celestine allowed herself a private moment to bury her face in her hands. The city and its people had existed for such a brief amount of time, and yet already violence had come to them. Had she failed? Had she not projected enough strength to ward off attempts to tear her city and her people out from under her?

Reaching into a small pouch, Celestine retrieved the ring she had taken from her old place. Thumbing over it for a moment, Celestine pondered upon her past. There was one, now long apart, that might have been able to counsel her on such matters. But how might she be brought back to her side? It surely wouldn’t be simple, would it?

Looking longingly down at the ring for a few moments more, Celestine tucked it away once more before standing. There was research to be done, and not just on the tainted sword.

The birth of War

Location: Galbar’s northern continent, east coast.
Interacting with: Navari Sathia. (To be created!)
Mentions: Anath Homura.

At first there was nothing. Peace. Quiet. Tranquility. Silence. There was an overwhelming nothingness that permeated through thought and time. A great hollow that was forgotten by almost all… Save one. The last of the deities that chose to exist from a time long waylaid and obscured. Sleeping quietly within a grand yet empty castle, surrounded on all sides by nothingness was a goddess. Clad from neck to toe in gleaming plate armor, an empty scabbard lay at one side. In their left hand was a broken sword. Perhaps some conflict had taken place, and even though victorious the goddess was left exhausted of all of her power? There was no way to be sure.

One might have assumed that this goddess was human, save for the fact that her ears were most decidedly not. It became apparent then that this goddess was an elf of some kind, though whether or not they were the first of the elves or the result of the elves was a mystery that had been lost to time. But all of that had faded away into irrelevance with the perpetual passage of time. For now the goddess slept and dreamed of times where things were better. The goddess did not know how long the dream lasted, but all at once she was stirred to life once more by a voice echoing beyond the boundaries of time and space. “I am Anath Homura! Come forth to me, and become the cosmic cultivators and architects of a new realm! Join my pantheon, and become Divine! Shape the sturdy land, shift the singing sea, sculpt the soaring sky, rewrite reality in accordance with your visions!”

At first there was no motion, but after an unknown collection of moments a blue eye opened, then the other. Their color stood in stark contrast to the washed out surroundings that the goddess existed in. Stiffness creaked within their body as the goddess began to move for the first time in ages. Placing a hand upon the arm of the throne they had been slumped in for so long, the goddess rose from her idle position and looked around what was left of their realm with what could only be described as curiosity. How had it gotten this bad?

Remembering their discarded scabbard, the goddess returned to the throne room and retrieved it. As it was moved, an ample amount of dust fell from it. How long had it been since she had dropped it there? Looking at her broken sword, the goddess gave a sigh before coughing. It had been so long since she had spoken that her body had grown unaccustomed to it. No matter, that would recover soon enough. Placing what remained of her sword back into its scabbard, the goddess remembered two other things that were out of place.

The first, which was addressed immediately, was her hair. The goddess bid it to grow as it wished once more, and as she walked towards another room in the castle her hair gradually restored itself to its proper length: Mid calf. The second was contained within this room, albeit discarded in haste and not properly stored as it should have been. Laying upon the ground was a hooded cloak, and it too was covered in dust. Lifting the cloak gently, the goddess frowned at the fact that its brilliant red color was washed out by the overwhelming light of her realm. No matter. It too would be restored in time.

Slinging the cloak around her shoulders gently, the goddess walked out to a balcony and looked upwards towards the encroaching darkness. It was there that she saw a faint glimmer of light. The source of the voice that she had heard earlier. The goddess paused for a moment and then some. Was it for the best to leave everything behind? Perhaps not everything. Returning to the various rooms of the palace, the goddess retrieved something that seemed small and insignificant, but the ring that they tucked away meant much to them. That, however, was a mystery for another time.

Returning to the balcony with her keepsake in hand, the goddess turned to look longingly at what once was her realm one last time before she turned her attention towards the small glimmer of light hanging in the middle of a vast sea of darkness. Perhaps it was for the best to try and begin anew. Reaching towards the light, the goddess allowed herself to be pulled toward it. Casting a look back at her realm for just a moment, she watched as it began to rapidly crumble away without her presence. She had but a moment to reconsider, but in the end decided that it was best to let go.

Closing her eyes as she was pulled into the new reality, the goddess felt her form begin to morph and change as she was touched by the raw cosmic energy that dwelt in the space between realities. This caused her no small amount of disdain, as the goddess was quite happy with her form. Focusing upon how she viewed herself within her mind's eye, the goddess shunted away the meddling energy and recomposed herself as she was.

Feeling the firmness of ground beneath her feet, the goddess opened her eyes to the sight of a barren continent. Behind her was an ocean, deathly still and seemingly devoid of life. Before her was a barren landscape. Raw, untamed, and untouched. A blank canvas to call her own, then. Looking down at herself, the goddess noted that she was seemingly much bigger than she originally was, though otherwise things remained the same. It would have to be lived with. She was at least glad to see the proper red and gold color returned to her cloak.

Turning towards the water, the goddess reached for her broken sword and began to slowly draw it. As she did, a brilliant light began to emanate from the scabbard and what was broken was made whole again, although it was now considerably massive to match her enlarged stature. Holding the blade aloft for a few moments, the goddess studied it before nodding in satisfaction. Approaching the rough beach, the goddess gently raised her blade aloft before bringing the edge down harshly into the water. The result of this was a massive wave of water throwing itself into the air as the sea parted before her will. Following this, the goddess raised the point of her sword towards the now exposed sea floor and issued a simple verbal command. ”Rise.”

Soon afterward the ground began to shake and a bridge began to come forth, pulled straight from the bedrock of the world. The stone gleamed white in color, polished smooth by the will of the goddess. As the bridge was formed, the goddess began to slowly walk across it, sword still held forward as she commanded the fortress into existence. Once she was far away enough from the shore, the goddess stopped and pointed her sword straight down. Grasping the hilt with both hands, she brought the tip of her sword skyward and willed the grandest portion of her city into place.

With an earthquake-like rumble, a huge fortress erupted from the sea floor. It was made of the same gleaming white stone that the bridge was constructed from, and it too was polished smooth. Immense and powerful walls rose into place, followed by buildings of various types and forms. Finally, a grand tower rose into place in the middle of the Fortress-City, and the goddess released her will upon the water. Once the water had finished rushing back into place, another wall was willed into being, one capable of being opened and closed. It swallowed a portion of the sea, and the stone once more warped to make way for a set of docks that could hold large and mighty ships as needed. Holes to allow for the passage of water in and out of the captured sea were formed, and with the last touches in place the Fortress-City was complete.

But for all its might and all its majesty the city was empty. That wouldn’t do at all. Walking through the city and making sure that everything was in place, the goddess climbed to the top of the central tower. Looking towards the horizon, the goddess blinked a few times. For a time, she thought about the failures of her previous plans. But now many of the things that were the end goals of her previous ideas were now already complete. But there was still one that had yet to be finished. A goal that had been so long in the making that in the end it had never come to fruition. The creation of her people: The Virtus Elves.

Holding her sword aloft once more, the goddess brought her scabbard to its point and focused for just a moment. Gripping the scabbard tightly, she rammed the sword home into it, deliberately dragging the edge of her sword against the inner wall of the scabbard. This sent a shower of sparks down onto the city and into the wind, free to drift away wherever they would be taken. Hundreds if not thousands of sparks landed upon the city, and from each one of them came an elf. Each of them was fair and beautiful, and they came into being as if they had always existed.

From one moment of deafening silence to a city that was filled to the brim with activity, the goddess lowered her sword and bound the scabbard to her side, as it was meant to be. Looking down at her people, she could not help but cry softly. Tears of joy and fulfillment at plans long overdue finally coming to completion. Perhaps this new start was just what she had needed. But as soon as her small celebration ended, a realization set in: With this new start it was inevitable that new responsibilities and conflicts would come to her gates. And with this inevitability came the thought that it was entirely possible that she would not be around to manage every aspect of her people’s lives. Nor did she really want to, for that would take freedom away from her people.

It was best to warn them, then. Descending from her tower, the goddess called out throughout the city, summoning the populace in order to explain her hopes for their future. Once all were gathered, the goddess explained that while she would do everything she could to protect and lead them, she could not be present all the time. Thus she explained that it was their charge to be ready to defend themselves and their city as often as they could. A wave of silent agreement spread through the crowd, but then a question came forward. One of genuine curiosity: The elves instinctively recognize her as their creator, but who was she?

The goddess blinked, realizing that she had yet to introduce herself at all. Embarrassed that her manners had faded so harshly, the goddess placed a hand across her chest and bowed deeply before speaking. ”My apologies to you all. It has been so long that I have forgotten my manners. I am Celestine, goddess of war. You are my people, the Virtus Elves. And this city is Earthwall. It is your fortress and your home. I will shelter and lead all of you as best I can…” It was here that, upon standing up, Celestine’s eye traced across someone towards the back of the crowd that had gathered. As she finished her sentence, she began to walk forward. ”But I cannot do so alone. Nor do I wish to have a hand in each of your individual lives, for this would most likely stifle your ability to function without me. So to this end I will work to gather those who have the greatest potential for leadership. These people will become your leaders, and in so doing I hope to create a chain that will bring all of your collective concerns to the people who can, and will, act in your best interest, even if I should not be here.”

And it was here that Celestine stopped, standing before someone who to most was yet another elf. But to Celestine’s eyes she saw the potential for greatness. Placing a hand upon their shoulder Celestine asked their name and was given Navari Sathia. Nodding, Celestine spoke softly to them, illustrating the role that they were being offered: Championship. The removal of mortal limits and the ability to rise and meet any challenge that would come to face them. At first there was hesitance, but then came acceptance.

Thus did Celestine draw her sword once more, and instructed the elf to kneel. Following this, she carefully tapped each of their shoulders, and announced that they had been knighted with the title of Ser, and they were now the champion of the city, second only to herself in authority. Offering the elf a hand, Celestine spoke softly once more. ”Come. There is much that I will tell you.”


Having taken a look at things, the GM's have decided that you're accepted! Please shift your character over to the CS tab.
To transplant this over from the other thread.

Since we're already posting CS's, here's Celestine, goddess of war.

Here I am and here I will say that I will once more join Divinus.
And Then There Was Silence

Looking down across the bridge of The Divine Palace, Ruina blinked slowly. The planet teemed with demons. Small pockets of resistance could be seen here and there, but ultimately the battle for Galbar had by and large been lost. Not that they didn’t fight, but simply through the fact that for each demon they had put down, two more had taken their place. The simply endless numbers had taxed what resources they had and, in the end, retreat was the only option that ensured survival.

The Galbar had been ravaged by the presence of outsiders, insidious and vile as they tainted each land that they came across in their search of Aspect-Shards to steal and the prison of their monstrous master. Orsus was entrapped by the weavings of a terrible arachnid that unleashed its hungering spawn upon the life there. The Tree of Harmony was poisoned, transforming mana into a deadly plague that eroded all it touched. The seas became toxic sludge and the earth disgorged its filth; mangled corpses and nightmarish monstrosities. More fiends fell from the sky, and the influx of demons spread farther across the Galbar.

Unfortunately, their retreat hadn’t stopped until they left the planet entirely. Now trapped in the one place that could not yet be reached, there was only one strategy left that made sense: Wipe the board clean. To achieve this Ruina had been storing up energy. She would need every ounce of strength for what was asked of her.

A motion behind her drew her attention, and Ruina turned to face Calamitas. For all the power that she had been given, and all the demons her spear had split, not even she had made a dent. Even after thousands of kills. Calamitas regarded Ruina silently, and Ruina spoke softly, unsure of who or what might be listening. ”The time has come. You have been given all of the tools needed to execute our plan. Go. When I join you, Galbar shall be no more.”

Calamitas nodded before turning away. With several strong flaps of her wings, she ascended upward, and soon a more divine aspect took over her flight as she headed towards the inky blackness of space. Ruina watched as she left, making sure that nothing was following. Once several minutes had passed and Ruina was sure there was no pursuit, she turned towards the doors to the throne room of The Divine Palace. It was time.

Walking softly, Ruina entered the throne room. It was there that she saw Homura and the still-imprisoned Monarch of All. Stepping forward, Ruina announced herself. ”I believe it is time, Homura. Are you prepared?”

“No, but we do not possess enough time for me to properly prepare. I believe we have enough strength at our disposal to prevent our enemies from claiming all of our world though. I shall summon my champions now.” Homura answered, shifting her gaze from the fallen Monarch of All to Ruina, concealing the eye that held the sealed Elder Brother behind a black ribbon.

There was a pulse of celestial power, as three portals opened and connected to various locations scattered across the cosmos. The risks were mitigated, considering that the majority of the portals reached realms or sanctuaries away from the threat of the demons, yet there was still ever the danger of an outsider or intruder slithering through undetected. Homura glanced at Ruina with a subtle hint of apprehension, warning her to be ready for whatever stepped through.

Through the smallest portal came a very small figure, adorned in an ornate attire and with many aspects of her appearance resembling Homura. She was not alive however, but a lingering remnant of Voi’s creation: A soul that had come from the afterlife.

Emerging from the other two larger portals were figures much more identical in features akin to Homura; the same face and regalia, with one even wielding a spear similar in design to Daybringer. The nearly indistinguishable duo each wielded divine power, though they both lacked Aspect-Shards that granted them the strength of deity with greater command of the cosmos.

With the arrival of the three, the portals were closed behind them.

The smaller champion refrained from speaking, merely observing her new surroundings with evident awe, but the other twin simulacrums of the red goddess moved closer to each other and wore guarded looks as they stared at both Ruina and Homura. The two demigoddesses each wielded artifacts that were incredibly powerful considering their lesser might, and their cautious demeanor was swiftly becoming more hostile.

“We will fight you, if we must. Let us leave. Let us end this, and there will be no need for bloodshed.” The demigoddess wielding the silver spear stated in a voice exactly like the voice of her maker, and it was as though Homura were merely talking to herself in front of a mirror.

“It’s a… pleasure to see you again, Mother.” The soul of the small champion said hesitantly, as she slowly strode forward and bowed respectfully to both the red goddess and Ruina in an attempt to undo the aggressive atmosphere coming from the other two that were summoned. “Your grace.” She added, with evident reverence to the Goddess of Destruction.

“You have yet to be introduced to each other. Sister, these are my champions; Desire and Harmony - two that have ascended and attained the power of the Divine, though it seems they intend to use it against me. The small one is Pride; my sixth champion and the Keeper of Keltra.” Homura announced, and her words were accompanied by the roar of flames within the brazier that held the Phoenix. Rivers of pearlescent fire surged forth above where the Monarch of All lay, and coalesced into the colossal six-winged spirit.

“I was wondering when I would see you again, little one.” Charis sang as she interrupted, the chorus of otherworldly voices that was her song echoed faintly, before there was the sudden sound of something shattering originating from the chthonic spirit, and then the Phoenix was standing among them clad in a vaguely human visage that she had conjured for herself.

Ruina looked first to the twins that appeared, and frowned slightly as they both proclaimed hostility. Speaking aloud herself, she did her best to quell their bloodlust. ”There will be no fighting, at least if all goes well. Today is different. You will both see, in time.” Ruina then looked to the smaller of the three new arrivals and gave a slight bow in return. It was good to see that even in less-optimal times manners had not died out. That would make things a bit more palatable. Speaking again, she offered a small greeting in return. ”Greetings to you as well. It would be better if we had met under nicer circumstances, but at least we had the opportunity to meet.”

The simulacrum called Desire that currently did not wield a weapon pointed at her maker simply let out a sigh. One of her eyes was noticeably a different color, an emerald green instead of ruby red, and she chose to shrug. “A family reunion, great. We’re not coming back though. That’s not what we desire any longer.”

“Let it be known; we are not your enemies, but we have forsaken you just as you have forsaken us and the Galbar.” The one called Harmony added, without lowering her spear.

Homura sheathed Daybringer within her palm, and then let her hands fall to her sides as she stood exposed. “I mean neither of you harm, but I require your power to protect what remains of our world.”

“You did not protect us when we needed you before… many times… Why should we aid you?” Harmony asked with her bitterness hidden beneath the impassive mask that Homura so commonly employed. It was difficult to discern how obstinate she would be.

“I have done what I must to ensure the survival of as many that could be saved. You do not comprehend the threat of annihilation yet, despite the gift of divinity.” Homura rebuked, as the subtle hints of her anger were felt as a wave of restless heat spread through the throneroom.

“Allow me to make amends for the times I was absent…” She intoned afterwards.

Homura raised a hand wrapped in ribbons, and gestured towards Pride, as divine ichor poured forth from her bleeding palm and washed over the spectral champion. The ethereal essence that was Pride’s soul was once more enveloped in a body, restoring her to what she had been before her demise.

Neither Homura nor the two demigoddesses that opposed her spoke, as Pride expressed both relief and joy upon being given her life back; she breathed in the balmy breeze that passed through the divine palace, and felt the warmth upon her skin. Pride closed her eyes, and smiled slightly as she murmured reluctantly. “I forgive you a little, I suppose. Only a little…”

“You’re going to bribe us?” Desire asked with a hint of ire, that quickly became amusement, which was not a sentiment shared by Harmony.

“If you wish for our cooperation, then do not treat us like children. Explain why we should assist you, and what our assistance will entail.” The second demigoddess demanded.

“To stray from the Sacred Path would lead to our annihilation. You must aid us because there is no other alternative. I would give you greater power, and together we could create a renewed world removed from the danger of demons and despair.” Homura answered, as she began to walk towards Desire and Harmony.

“Stay where you are! Do not come near us, lest we strike you down!” Harmony shouted, and the enigmatic mask she wore was shattered, but Homura did not cease coming closer and closer as she spoke.

“You will not strike me.” Homura proclaimed, as she brushed aside the sharp point of the silver spear and stood before the two demigoddesses. With an unseen yet overwhelmingly potent force, she brought both Desire and Harmony into her arms and embraced them. Neither of them could fight back or resist. Desire only let out a laugh as she joined her sister in uncontrolled tears as they were held against their will, the latter dropping her useless weapon to the floor.

“I am your mother, and you are my daughters.” The words were quiet, though possessive of a firm resonance that enveloped the three of them. Pride demurely glanced towards Charis and Ruina, before rushing to join her mother and sisters, wrapping her arms around Homura’s waist from behind. The strange family exuded a paradoxical aura of love and hatred, as pain and relief melded together.

“Monster… someday we will be free of you…” Harmony whispered with defiance, despite the docile state of submitting she still struggled against.

“Hmm… perhaps.” Homura mused, stroking the heads of both Desire and Harmony with the shadow of a smile.

“How irksome.” Pride muttered joyfully, and ever ironically, content as she was not alone.

They remained entwined in each other's grasp for a time, until Homura described how the Galbar must be sundered to prevent the demons from tainting it further. She did not promise solace or salvation, only an opportunity to begin anew. A chance to create a better world.

“Return to me, and let us be reborn. From great Destruction comes new Creation.” Homura affirmed, stepping back and shifting her one-eyed gaze to Ruina as she awaited an answer from her children.

“As you have said; there is no alternative.” Harmony relented and agreed, aware that Desire and Pride had already decided to align with their manipulative mother.

“Then let us begin.”

It was here that Ruina spoke up to explain what would be done in the coming hours. ”As goddess of destruction, the cleansing of Galbar’s surface falls to me. I have been storing up energy, but it is nowhere near enough. What is going to be requested of everyone here today is that you will all funnel your combined energy through me, and with it I will be able to essentially revert Galbar to its original and unmodified state. Think of it like what a river will do to a rock submerged within it over time, except the time is going to be much shorter than that when water does the work. When I am finished, Galbar will be as a blank sphere once more. With hope, nothing will survive.”

With the plan laid out, Ruina folded her arms and waited to see the reactions from all that were presently gathered.

“The taint has seeped beneath the surface, sister. The core must be destroyed entirely, or else the insidious demons shall take shelter in the depths once again. The origin must be sundered.” Homura impassively remarked, while the others were still processing what they had been told. There was a shifting of worried looks, careful consideration, and somber acceptance of what must be done among the trinity that had chosen to aid in the destruction of the Galbar.

“I have watched and prayed as you began your quest to collect those that could protect themselves across the Galbar. You have rescued so many more mortals, but now we must swiftly retreat and finally conclude this cosmic conflict.” The words from their stoic mother eased a little of the regret and stress exuding from Harmony and Desire, but mere words would not be enough until their task was complete.

“We are ready.” Harmony said, as she and the other two champions of Homura stepped forward and showed their resolve. “Our strength is yours.” The trio proceeded to proclaim, before the influx of their remaining power was halted by their mother when she raised a hand.

“Your mortal halves cannot channel the amount of energy we need. I shall bestow upon you Aspect-Shards, granting you complete status as a deity. Accept these!” Homura declared as she reached within herself and retrieved the shards of War and Protection which she offered to the two demigoddesses.

Desire claimed War, as Harmony received Protection, and upon touching the sacred crystals of the cosmos they were cleansed of their mortality. The two shards sank into their flesh which was no longer merely a molded mingling of primordial materials, but a manifestation of their minds that would allow them to appear before the mortals that could not comprehend the true shapes of the Divine.

Homura remained silent as she observed the two goddesses that were familiarizing themselves with their attained aspects and abilities, until her gaze shifted to Pride who stood alone as a mortal amidst multiple deities. The childlike champion stayed quiet, content with her current position and power, but faltered when her mother approached her. “Your time will come, daughter. I have a separate task for you and Charis…”

Once more, Homura reached within herself and retrieved two of her Aspect-Shards; her Souls and Stars, before bestowing them upon Pride and her Phoenix. The two shards were kept within the brazier that Charis commonly resided inside, as Homura softly added after assigning the two of them an arduous quest. “Stride ever onward upon the Sacred Path.”

Pride simply smiled when she and Charis departed the palace to complete their task, as Homura returned to where she had stood before and addressed all that had been gathered and remained. The one-eyed goddess looked at each of the other deities, before setting her sight upon Ruina. “We would now forge you an artifact that should possess enough strength for you to succeed in sundering all that has been created and all that has been corrupted.” Homura tilted her head with a hint of concern hidden behind curiosity. “As Aethel once said, the power you will wield shall be overwhelming - Are you prepared?”

Ruina stood silently as the shards were handed out. She recalled the time she had watched Ea Nebel take hers, and pondered on where she might’ve gone. Regardless, that was something that couldn’t be dwelled overly on right now. As she was told that she would hold power overwhelming, Ruina nodded before speaking up. ”I am as ready as I shall ever be.”

Taking a moment to stretch and roll her shoulders, Ruina waited to see what would come.

Homura arranged the other two goddesses, asking for all of them to stand in a specific formation as she summoned the shard of Symmetry and manifested a myriad of mirrors between all of them. The red goddess and her simulacrums vanished, however their presence could be sensed just beyond the mirrors that suddenly all shattered and revealed three exact reflections of Ruina herself staring back at her and each other.

“The aspect of Destruction, empowered fourfold.” The Ruina where Homura had stood said as she held her hands outwards, close to each other and palms upraised. The reflected shard of Destruction that she possessed began to stir as it poured immense power into the center of their formation, which slowly coalesced into a vague and shimmering shape. The third and fourth Ruina joined in the ritual, providing more and more of their own strength into what was burgeoning before them. The sacred weapon that would obliterate the Galbar and all those that would taint it. All that remained was the true goddess of Destruction’s contribution and command of it.

As the reflections each contributed their power, Ruina began to feel more and more disconnected from herself. She was still in control, but now it was almost as if she was looking down at herself rather than through her own eyes. Once all of the donated power was in place Ruina turned and began to carefully walk towards the main gate of the palace. Each step left behind a cracked outline of where Ruina’s foot had been, and Ruina herself took a moment to pause. Was she walking too hard? Or was her ability to destroy so profound and incontestable that even something wrought by The Monarch of All was merely dust to her? Still, she needed to see this through.

Making her way to the main gate, Ruina tried to push it open carefully. The wood cracked and splintered at her touch, and the gates were flung open with far more force than Ruina intended. But now she looked down upon Galbar, and slowly raised a hand. As her hand stretched outward, she felt her finger tug against what felt like a film overlaid across her vision. As she saw this film wrinkle slightly at her touch, she saw the warping of space and time around the crease. It was then that she understood. Even the fabric of reality was at her command.

Smoothing out the wrinkle her touch had made to restore things to what they were, Ruina reached out carefully for Galbar. As her hand eclipsed her view of it, a massive shadow overtook the planet. Then Ruina closed her hand. The response was immediate as dust began to spray from between her fingers. When Ruina released her hand, Galbar was cracked and broken, but still recognizable.

Then she brought her hands together, eclipsing the planet in shadow once more. With a thought, a bright red light began to filter through her fingers, and a deafening sound echoed throughout the universe as the once crown jewel of the cosmos ceased to be. But Ruina’s work was not finished. Batting aside the small dust that remained, Ruina turned her attention to the now orphaned moon. It too was crushed and destroyed in much the same way, and it was here that Ruina’s work was done.

But with such devastation finished, Ruina felt the channeled power begin to wane. She had little time left, and there was yet one more thing that she wished to do. Turning now, she looked through the mirrors of herself and at the deities behind them. Stepping forward, she approached the ragged frame of Homura and leaned down.

Planting a platonic kiss upon Homura’s forehead, Ruina unmade her worn and broken form for a brief moment before recomposing it by erasing her non-existence. There Homura would stand, untainted by the actions of containing the brother to The Monarch. Yet for all of Ruina’s efforts, Homura’s eye was still black.

It was here that Ruina felt the last of the power diminish, and now things seemed to shake and reverberate as Ruina began to look through her own eyes again. Blinking as she felt normal once more. She spoke softly. ”It is done. Galbar and its moon are no more. And Homura, I have done what I could to ease your suffering. You are not free of your destiny, but at least you will be able to meet it on your own terms.”

“Patience is ever a virtue, and I appreciate your kind generosity, sister. Yet… there remains only one thing left, and I ask for your aid again.” Homura replied, before gesturing to the incapacitated Monarch of All as she further explained. “He must be imprisoned akin to His ill-brother, until we bring balance back to the world. Our combined power should hopefully contain Him long enough while we work towards this equilibrium.”

Ruina nodded, feeling slightly groggy as normality was restored for her. Raising a hand, she spoke gently in order to try and hide it. ”Very well. Lead the way, I will do what I am able.”

“We shall forge a Locus with our remaining power and Daybringer as a machina. It will be weaker than the cage that holds His brother, but since He is still impaled by Warbreaker, He should not be capable of freeing Himself.” Homura said, as she began directing her celestial spear while it extended forth and intertwined itself repeatedly around the Monarch of All.

Harmony began entrapping the dethroned King in Heaven with her silver spear as well, weaving around the golden sections of Daybring and melding into a singular shifting spear of shimmering white metal. Desire retrieved a large red sword from her palm, and momentarily considered her involvement before joining as her blade surged forward like a sea of rubies splashed against the developing cage, slowly seeping into sections of it which became more reinforced. Unlike Harmony’s artifact which was consumed by the process, Desire’s weapon was returned to her and shrank back into her palm when she was finished. Both goddesses had expended the last of their strength and stepped back afterwards.

It was then that Ruina stepped forward. Placing a hand upon the developing cage she allowed some of her own power to flow into it, causing it to hum as it took on a deep red hue and began to have small arcs of electricity flow across its surface. Nodding to herself, Ruina stepped back before speaking. ”I believe it is finished. And I would caution against touching it.”

“Further tampering will have to wait as we are all too weak to handle any potential consequences. You have my gratitude. All of you.” Homura said, turning to face each of the deities and offering a respectful bow to them. The fatigue she felt could be heard in her voice, still imbued with divine authority, but tired after all that had been done and undone. She addressed Harmony and Desire with a content sigh. “We shall speak later. Return to Skydancer and speak with your sisters. We have gained a respite for now, so enjoy it.”

“We will talk later then?” Harmony repeated with hesitation and evident uncertainty, but composed herself quickly. Desire smiled slightly, and nudged Harmony from behind. The goddess of Protection nodded at her mother, before she and her sister departed for the ark that still soared outside the Divine Palace, leaving Homura and Ruina alone.

“I imagine you shall follow your daughter now. This is farewell then?” The red goddess asked, glancing at Ruina with an enigmatic expression.

Ruina nodded before looking upwards towards the infinite darkness of space for a few moments. Once she had looked back down, she spoke again. ”Yes. I have given her the tools needed to craft a sanctuary outside of perception where I will reside to watch over things. It is not death in a sense, but I will be very hard to reach. So. Yes. This is goodbye. I am sorry if you wished for me to stay, but… You’ve seen what I am capable of if given the opportunity, and I would want to spare whatever new generation of deities comes around from having to witness it should someone revoke mastery of myself from me.”

After a few moments pause Ruina would raise her arms slightly before speaking again. ”I will, however, give you a farewell hug if you wish.”

“I am told it is tradition, hence Honor requires such.” Homura moved to embrace Ruina, and further mentioned, with her incoming words causing the ethereal emerald to glitter as it visibly appeared before concealing itself. “I shall contact you through the star-stones if I have need, and you can contact me through the same method in emergencies, or if you simply wish to return. You will ever be welcome here, sister.”

Ruina nodded softly as she knelt down to properly hug Homura. Her tail even wrapped around the much smaller goddess to enhance the effect. She was silent for a few moments before nodding slightly, but even then she had less fortunate news to share as she leaned back to place her hands on the goddess’s shoulders. ”I am afraid that even that will prove difficult. If you wanted to make the connection, I would have to leave my sanctuary. But fear not, for I will always be watchful.”

Reaching for seemingly nothing, Ruina grasped the circlet that she had been given so long ago. Holding it gently, she spoke again. ”I have taken the time to slowly work His power out of it and replace it with my own, and in so doing I have increased where I am capable of seeing. Thus, what I wish to see, I will. Even when I am hidden away. I will keep tabs on you, and will intervene in the event that things seem dire.”

Releasing the circlet, Ruina would return her hand to Homura’s shoulder before speaking once more. ”So… I will be very difficult to reach. With this in mind, do you want anything else from me before I depart?”

Homura held her gaze, and answered slowly. “I would want you to remain here, but I do not wish to impose myself upon you… so there is no more that I could ask of you. I suppose, pray that we find peace and prosperity, wherever we go… until our paths cross again.”

Ruina nodded a few times before standing up, her tail unfurling from Homura. Speaking softly, she offered an assurance to the goddess. ”Fear not, for I will be watchful. Farewell, and good luck.” With that Ruina’s wings appeared, and she too left. Following the same path that Calamitas had taken earlier Ruina made her way towards the building sanctuary outside of even divine perception, and after a while neither she nor Calamitas could be found.

The red goddess stood alone now.

The pantheon had dwindled to so few still remaining alive after the apocalypse, with a handful among the Divine choosing to leave the Galbar and reside within realms of their creation where outsiders would not hunt them, while others had simply perished during the season of strife either murdered by the many monsters and traitorous siblings or slain by the taint spread by the Stigma. Homura let the silence in the heavenly palace linger as she pondered the troubles abundantly found in the past, and the troubles that would definitely be found in the future, for she sought the wisdom that would be required to proceed farther along the Sacred Path with its many arduous trials and tribulations. Homura sighed to herself.

This ending was just a new beginning as well. The beginning of another life filled with sorrow and joy, both beautiful and brutal in its wondrous way - another story to be told. Time passed, and the Eternal Cycle would continue its journey of endless death and rebirth, and only the secrets discovered in the unknown awaited with an answer that could truly conclude the return of repeating iterations.

Homura began her walk to Skydancer where she intended to speak with her daughters. After all that had happened, she did not wish to be alone anymore.

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