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Samø

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Samø last won the day on April 6

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  1. Oil on water, distorting and warping in shape. Her eyes, her mark. There had been no reckoning before she had received the flecks of pitiless black that swam against the pool of her sclera, pupils and iris. Nothing. No telling - even when she had stumbled upon the horrific likeness of the Prophet and garbed herself in the raiment of Apocryphal Tides, for weeks and weeks, she had remained unchanged in all but the physical. But eyes that once were closed and opened to never be the same again. With them, came the visions. Or so she found solace in calling them. Omens. Fate. An inevitable play that all she could do was watch unfold, see the final vestiges of the world erode as more and more of the brackish drown grew and grew. That fragment of pearl told her more than she wanted to know. Fall sang with it in unison. The song made her bones itch, her throat close over. All of it, every cadence and octave the dark relics produced in their twisted, morbid choir made her head swim. Such sensations grew more intense, the longer she strayed from the embrace of the sea. Day after day, with each rise and fall of the sun, the sea pressed more of its claws into her being, her soul. Binding her. Slake found herself wishing it was the copious amounts of ingested tonic that brought about the queer feeling, but the woman could hardly lie to herself. Echoing cries of the Widow's yearning call reached her ears as well. The ship felt it too. They didn't belong here, their place was the sea. 'Paler than you?' Slake raised an eyebrow, a faint smirk revealing the tip of a silver tooth. She didn't try and hide the duplicity of her unease in her voice. 'Ach, if I took up grave-digging, maybe.' A pinch on one of M'yrs cheek was enough to make her somewhat senate again. 'Listen, pet. You're not fighting this and that's the problem. All the dread, uncertainty. Fear. You need to fight it, otherwise what's the point?' A cough and another grin. 'Lets just hope your capacity for that is better than your knife-skills, aye?' Without warning, Slake rose with the creaking groan of the stool she sat on. A quick look at the face of the bartender and she spoke again. 'I'd pay you for the drink, luv but that would require having money.' An overenthusiastic bow was all she could really afford to give the man. 'Savvy?' Not belying her stature, Slake waded through the crowd of shifting and moving patrons with a skill and grace inherent to her elven nature. She shot one last glance to M'yr before she departed. 'Chin up, poppet. It's only the end of the world, after all.' And with that, Slake left.
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  3. There was scant alleviation from the deluge of visions that churned about in her mind. His presence seemed to make it worse. A conduit, a marker of madness, causing the world around him to shift and change as he walked. The planks trod beneath his feet came alive with crawling crustaceans, splitting apart and allowing them to scuttle into the blue-green, corrupted light of the bar. Darker, larger things stirred beneath the impenetrable black between the creaking boards. Glancing to and fro, hungry eyes looking for carrion. Their excitable scanning was brought low by the realisation that the world was not yet drowned. But it would come, in their half-feral, glassy eyes she recognised that. Flotsam-flesh will linger and they will feed. It is as the great serpent has promised them. The inevitability brought a shudder coursing down Slake's spine. And then a hand, clasped itself upon hers. A touch that brought with it some modicum of clarity. Though M'yrs wrappings were gone, and his wounds were shaped into the pitted circles of raised flesh bought by the grasp of a kraken's tentacles, it becalmed her. Bodyheat seared away the cold of the perceived depths, the crushing pressure of it all. A bemused cock of a brow and black-flecked eyes bore into him as he jerked backwards. 'Red as rage, poppet.' She chuckled at his changing complexion. 'Surprised you can, what with the lack of blood.' Behind her, a table grew legs and claws and scuttled off. Leaning forwards and resting her chin upon a splayed hand, she clicked the roof of her mouth against her tongue. In the distance, something called back to the sound - high pitched and droning, the call of a whale. 'Maybe some lady citrus will do you better, luv.' Slake chided, pressing herself over the counter and procuring a bottle of orange juice from beneath. She poured it into a glass and after some deliberation, added a swill of her rum to the concoction as well. A flick of her fingers slid the glass over to the grovelling mass of gauze and despair that was M'yr. 'Look, poppet. One has to face their demons every time they roll out of bed, see?' A ragged, heavy sigh escaped her lips. 'Yours just happen to be the prophet of a very damp apocalypse, savvy?' She scrunched the tufts of thick, dark brown hair on his head between her fingers. 'Stop melting your head.' The tapping of glass brought her attentions to the widow flanking the exit of the bar. A hooded, slouched figure tapped a clawed, moulded finger against the pane. One of the Widow's deckhands. Eyes like saucers, unblinking and luminous with yellow light stared to her. The Widow was restless. She was growing hungry.
  4. 'Those at the rear bellowed; forwards!' 'And those at the front screamed; back!' - Testimonies from the Siege of Noviria; 'the monster of Arcos' 'Our enemies are countless. Carrion, they would make us. They are killers and reavers, without mercy.' 'You will be worse.' - A father's words CHIMAERA Name: Lanius of Thraece Monikers/Titles: Chimaera Race: Human [Allegedly] Age: Born 572 WTA; 24 Birthplace: Noviria Occupation: Errant IN VERMILION CLAD Height: 7'1", 213cm Weight: 300lbs, 135kg Personality: "Militat omnis amans." Many a frustrated pedagogue could attest to Lanius' sharp wit and sharper tongue. Even as a stripling, his capacity to find personal weakness and bring it to light was staggering. Taciturn, yet deliberate in every word spoken. This brought him a great deal of popularity among the courtroom aristocracy of Ursa Madeum. Noble-folk would flock to the great house of Arcos to speak to the boy and then find themselves regretting it the moment his phlegmatic perceptions were voiced. Lanius does not coddle, nor does he waste words. If there is one trait that is both his strength and flaw, it is his honesty. Lying seems pointless to the man, when truth is simpler. Quicker. This bluntness extended to anyone and everyone; even the Tyrant King was susceptible to the naysaying and harsh words of Lanius. But there is a consistency in him. Lanius holds no biases; he adheres to logic and eschews passion as the men of Arcos have done for centuries before. Be it a king or a peasant, his tone and manner are ironclad. To say the man is without fault would be wrong. Debauchery and violence; Lanius voraciously seeks out both. Men and women, drink and flesh. A calling towards the dance of blades, the spilling of blood; he practices all with an unending thirst. Encouraged in the latter by his father, Lanius became an infamous warrior, vaunted for his skill and feared for his ferocity. Physical description: Marred. Whomever Lanius' mother was, she left little of herself in her child; Lanius possesses those austere, well-crafted features of his father. It was as though he was cast from granite, weathered yet nonetheless as stoic as stone itself. Yet the craftsman who made him seems dissatisfied with his work and the myriad of ruin and scarred flesh that traces along the side of his face in sporadic, winding patterns of ugly, pale skin. Lanius wears his fate upon his face and makes little attempt to hide it. Hideous, yet ferocious - those comely, handsome features of his Arcos lineage are destroyed by the life he pursues. Only his eyes show some semblance of youth. Beautiful and sad like that of his mothers, they are of a pale green. A shock of red-brown, thick hair crowns his head though Lanius often keeps his shaved short and eschews any kind of facial hair longer than a dark auburn stubble. Even before taking Willbreaker and binding it to him, it would have been difficult to truly believe that Lanius was human. As a boy of twelve, he towered over the praetors of his father's domus. By his eighteenth year, even Dridak had to crane his neck when addressing him. Coils of interlocking, taut musculature shift and churn beneath the veil of his flesh. His feats of endurance and strength were otherworldly. Drasir ink-wrights have covered the vast canvas of his body in a myriad of apocryphal images; likenesses of iconoclasts, foreboding constellations and of dark beasts and the men slaying them, painted onto his body by needle. 'Chimaera of Thraece' INCONTINENS Abilities: Enhanced physicality: Lanius' bonding to the blade Willbreaker has enhanced his already considerable physical might. Capable of peeling a knights armour open with his bare hands, the Oathblade's powers have made him ferocious. An average human seems to move as though wading through a slow molasses; his reflexes, speed and dexterity are beyond the ken of their ilk. Skills: Swordsmanship: Painters have their brush, a craftsman his chisel. For Lanius, his calling has always lied with the sword and to this end he has pursued and perfected it. The moniker of 'monster of Arcos' was easily earned by him, from tournaments to battlefields countless foes have tasted the bite of his blade and been found wanting. Wrestling: With fists like hammers, trained blows strike against his foes, though where once a well-landed caestus-clad punch would have debilitated an opponent, his enhanced strength often means whatever organ he punches is sundered and rent. Grapples and pins when used in conjunction with his blade is Lanius' favourite method of fighting, a style he has honed through years of vigorous application. Statecraft: The running, maintaining and controlling of towns, holdings and properties of a ruler. Though not of noble birth, he was expected nonetheless to be responsible for a number of his father's duties and carried them out with a natural skill and efficiency. Many are fond of remarking that Lanius 'is the best king to never wear a crown'. Military Strategy: Arcos is famous for her Red Legion, who conquer and control with a ruthless, unerring efficiency. As a son of the Dominus, it was expected that Lanius might serve and rise through the ranks when he came of age. As Legatus Primus of the Red Legion, he was deferred to in matters relating to tactics and stratagem as he possessed his father's keen military mind. Animal handling: Passionate towards the treatment and training of animals. Breeding coursers and destriers, bloodhounds and pole-cats, animals are a great interest for him. In particular, he is fond of birds - namely songbirds. He has also raised some of the finest raptors in Ursa Madeum, according to many falconers. Botany: An avid practitioner of horticulture, from vineyards to hanging gardens Lanius is a fanatical green-thumb. Flaws: Precognition: Half-dreams, visions of prophesy or the insight brought by an Oracle's blood. Lanius' ability to see into the future is spastic and untrained; a broken storm of images and possibilities. The advent of a prophesy does not conclude it is to happen - many times these insights are nothing more than a haze of possibility, of chance. These episodes bring about a great deal of pain to him and cripple him whilst they occur. WILLBREAKER An oathblade. Not an easy thing to wield. It calls itself Willbreaker. Abyssal-forged. Primordial. Unslaked. A sword should hardly be a complicated matter. The hand that wields, controls. Even the venerable Oathblades are bound by this law of steel; those souls who bind themselves to them are their masters, granting them their gifts, their power. Willbreaker does not house a great power, it imprisons it. It stirs, shifting and plotting. To the wielder, it whispers dark promises of ascension. Of conquest and adoration and immortality; the host will be rewarded, should it fulfil the designs of their blade. Of late, Willbreaker promises Lanius the one thing he strives for, vengeance. The wrongs against his family will be righted, brought to bear and then washed away amidst a tide of vitae. All it asks in return is release. Through a murky haze of half-remembered memories, the spirit that possesses Willbreaker longs for its mind to be restored. With Lanius, the creature calls out for him to scour the land in search of every hexer, witch and pellar for some manner of truth, a cure or a reason for its current predicament. In his dreams, Lanius has saw this come to be and the world bleeds for it. As a weapon, Willbreaker grants its wielder enhancements beyond the limitations of their physical form. Enhanced speed, strength, dexterity and endurance are all boons brought on by wielding an Oathblade. Dominion over water and ice and the ability to alter the form of it at will is conferred onto the blade's master as well. Its shape is that of the weapons used by the ancient Sea-lords of Vanora. The blade flickers and dances as though the surface allows one to peer into the essence of a raging storm. Amidst the churning waves and break, one can see something else as well. VENI Garbed in his father's toga, Lanius came to the house of Arcos without explanation or warning. Only the rain heralded his arrival, a silent babe who slept soundly in the arms of his father; Dridak. Supposedly the man had doubted the child had even been his, until when reaching down into his cot, the baby bit down on his finger. A bastard, though Dridak would not tolerate the word be used in his presence. The boy was accepted into the family without complaint or grievance, save for a slightly upset wife. It was his half-sister Adrya, who gave the boy the title Chimaera for his chimeric blood and viciousness which he possessed even as a child. The boy was most certainly difficult throughout his youth. But not in an overtly malicious manner. He simply sought to rebel, to find fault in everything and to make his own decisions. Dridak obsessed over turning the boy into the apotheosis of a warrior, to which Lanius thrived. Lanius saw many suitors despite his low birth, though he showed very little interest in them, beyond the immediately physical, which resulted in plenty of altercations with enraged fathers. Promised to Queen Decamron as a personal, sworn guard which never came to pass, following her disappearance and eventual claiming of the throne by the Tyrant King. With Dridak's death at the hands of Crowley, Marrow and Willbreaker were delivered to House Arcos as a show of good faith and reward for their service to Gillick during his reign. Supposedly, Adrya had Lanius keep vigil over her bedchambers whilst she met with the Tyrant King, for fear that he would voice is vitriolic distaste for the man to his face. Nonetheless, Gillick insisted that Willbreaker go to Lanius, who found his bloody reputation commendable. Taen's invasion of Thraece, breaking through the skein of the blood-barrier that followed months after led their path to Noviria. Lanius, without a word retrieved Willbreaker and demanded his sister flee their domus to ensure that the Arcos name would not fade with her death. Standing before the locked door of his childhood home's entrance and waited. Three times, the warriors of Taen charged. Three times, they were repelled. Rumour persists that with the Red Legion slaughtered and Noviria all but taken, Lanius went half-mad, slaughtering his way through the rank and file of the invaders and fleeing. As of late, Lanius finds himself wandering the wilds of Thraece in search of vengeance. To right the wrongs against his father and ensure that House Arcos once again rules. VIDI List of in-progress or completed roleplays: None! [yet] VICI Goals: Find his half-sister, Adrya Arcos Restore House Arcos Avenge his father by killing Walter Crowley Prevent the release of Willbreaker Own a vineyard, make his own vintage Adopt a cute dog. Or two.
  5. 'Now,' Slake half-sighed, half-laughed and washed away the sound with a hard swig of dark rum. 'Not to be one to comment on one's hobbies, dear - but knife-fighting flotsam ranks up there as the least...' A cocked brow and glance looked at the patchwork of fabric that covered his weeping wounds. The blood reeked of brine. '... Rewarding, we'll say.' Where once the bar she rested her shoulder on had been made of timber, glistening with varnish it had become a shell. Transformed, in the blink of an eye into a conch whose surface was made from a series of interlocking coils and spirals. It would have been beautiful, were it not for the sound coming out of it. Half-whispered eldritch truths emanated from every hole in the calcified surface of their 'table', the words envenomed with dread and horror. All manner of prophesies and omens called out from it, in languages she understood and those she did not. An angered slamming of a basalt-clad fist halted the terrible calls, at least for a few precious moments. 'Me? Not fond of festivals?' Her words dripped sarcasm and the look of indignation cast onto her features was overplayed. 'A burning socialite I am. Only time I walk is to find another shindig to join!' A cough. Something foul-tasting lingered in her mouth. Of salt and blood. Slake shrugged those massive shoulders of hers, not entirely sure how to answer the question. 'The Widow brought me here. She insisted, we'll say.'
  6. Through the metallic cacophony of bustling machinery, hissing of fuel-lines and the thunderous rise and fall of pistons, a deep baritone broke through the haze of it all. Digitigrade limbs, powered by whirring motors and the screech of rising and falling hydraulics sounded hard and loud against the storm of noise that drowned out anything else. Cottonmouth. Her likeness inspired thoughts of a seraph; an steel-wrought angel. To the technophile, she was a myriad of abnormalities and deliberations that made her... distinct. Layers of reactive mythril plating formed her shape, vaguely humanoid, yet something more. A number of twitching, almost-nervous peripheral cameras twisted and shifted their bulks as the faint clicking of their lens absorbed the wave of information and fed it into the AI, the consciousness of the OAM. Vents placed across the lower of the machines back, her legs and arms roared as they idled, heating themselves in preparation for her hunt. A single glowing strobe inset into the featureless face of the OAM constituted an eye and the orange-red light that bled from it cast itself on the two forms of Rose and Echo. In an instant, Cottonmouth stopped with a violent lurch. 「Designations: ROSE and ECHO.」The war-machine's voice was sweet, a high-pitched hum that made it sound like she was singing. A sharp contrast to the thing's appearance. With some deliberation the OAM outstretched its hand, paused for a moment and then gave a jerky, awkward approximation of a wave with her hand. 「Hello. I hope you are faring well.」 Held tentatively in the other hand was Bandit. Or rather, he stood atop the flat of the OAM's outstretched palm like a podium. Clad in a carbon-weave G-suit, the ports and nerve-studs that littered his bodies pressed through holes in the raiment. Funny little buggers. Bandit was oft fond of calling them. The heavy-handed approach in which they had been surgically attached had brought about success; most of the GEN-1 interfacing trials had been. But half-healed nerves were hardly a passing change to one's body. On occasion they itched, or stung. And as the pilot grew older, his body was wracked with the sensation of emptiness that being attached to his mech could only sate more and more. 'Girls.' Bandit nodded. Like Rose, his helmet was clipped onto his belt. A gloved fist tapped itself against the outer-hull of Cottonmouth's cockpit. 'Gregarious for an aerial vortex, isn't she?' Those broad shoulders fell when he saw Echo get slapped in the face by the mooring frame of a cable. Some semblance of familiarity and pity, cut itself across his face. With a grunt, Bandit jumped down from his perch atop his mech's claw and landed beside them. Cursing his old-bones, he nonetheless made his way over to where Echo had been fretting. 'Bastards, aren't they?' he asked Echo, shooting her a glance. Wrapping a single hand around the clasp of one of the coils, he twisted it to the side - as Echo had done. 'Got a kink at the end of the threading-' Bandit half-grunted. '-it'll bite you if you don't...' He pulled the thing slightly downwards. With a hiss of decompression, the thing fell free. 'Pull 'em towards your feet, love and they come out a dream.' The pilot walked back to his Ogre and jumped back onto the splayed hand of it, with assistance from the jets positioned at the bottom of his back. 'You seen long-shanks about?' Bandit asked Rose.
  7. Drip, drip, drip. The baritone echo that sounded as each pearlescent droplet of vitae dripped from the gaping wounds of M'yr. An essence of change, of transformation. Mellifluous song; the beginnings of the Tide, poured from the rent flesh of the Serpent's augur. As terrible as the sound was to hear, Slake could do nothing but listen intently. A haze overcame her, as each mutable droplet of blood fell onto the waterlogged planks below. The timber began to change, shift and take on the likeness of the seabed; jutting slabs of volcanic stone and formative mounds of barnacles, mussels and clams. She could hear Fall sing in tandem with pale-blood, the lingering pitch of his blade's chime mixing with the otherworldly tune to form a choir that sang of the inevitability of the world. Of Taen, Ursa Madeum and Terrenus, consumed by the ceaseless waves of the apocryphal tides. Yet, some compulsion brought her to her feet. A defiance, an ever-present sense of rebellion. Against the alabaster surface of her eyes, flecks of black danced and shifted like oil against water. Closing them brought an ending to the ghastly song and some sense of clarity awoke inside of her again, just in time for ragged M'yr to make his approach towards her and the bartender. 'Knives are bad for you, you know.' Slake chided, clicking her tongue against the roof of her mouth. Some semblance of concern showed itself in her voice, though it was scant and well hidden. 'How does the saying go? Two men get into a knife-fight, the loser dies on the cobbles the winner in the infirmary.' A quick glance brought those eyes, spotted with deep black onto the pulsating 'face' of the barkeep. 'A glass of 'cure' for my mate, please.' With a gesture towards the glass of strong, dark liquor behind him showed him exactly what that 'cure' was. Slake brought her attentions back to M'yr. Her gauntlet-clad hand slid out the stool beside her and gave the crown of it a derisive pat, just for good measure. 'I trust you can manage the climb?' A cocked eyebrow and a glance to the chair ended her jab. 'Honestly, poppet; you bleeding and me drunk is usually how we end things, not start them.'
  8. SAURUS INDEX I. BIOLOGY/ECOLOGY. IA. OVERVIEW IB. INNATE TRAITS IC. SPAWNING ID. CASTES II. CULTURE III. ORIGINS VI. CODEX SHEET I. COLD BLOODED IA. OVERVIEW The Saurus are beings shrouded in mysticism and conjecute; among academics, there are those that believe they are not a race - but a collection of intelligent, bipedal reptillian beastmen inhabiting Taen's deserts and jungles. In some way, this thought holds merit. A great dichotomy exists between the cadres of beasts that constitute the Saurus race as a whole, such creatures come in many varying shapes, sizes and temperments. As a whole, the Saurus are a collection of bipedal reptilian Yet they are all of a singular, shared biological origin. From the smallest of Quetzlings, to the largest of the Huitzigors, they are beings one in the same. Of this race, there are two staple castes; the most common and prevelant of their engimatic species. Quetzlings the skitterish, dimunitive stratum of Saurus bred for their intelligence and dexterity. Small and agile, they are the in largest number of the Saurian population. Among their rank and file, Quetzlings hold the greatest level of political and economic authority of the Saurus race. From priests to craftsmen, scouts to skirmishers, Quetzlings are responsible for the running of the Lizardmen's empire as a whole; without them, their society would fall apart. Huitzigors are the monstrous, hulking warrior-caste of the Saurus race. Predatory savagery perfected, they are without weakness. Or mercy. Half-feral berserkers, theirs is a purer, simpler purpose compared to that of their cousins. Standing at eight foot on average, their dense forms are packed with coils of rippling musculature beneath a coat of interlocking armoured scales. Other variations do exist; namely a more feral, animalistic breed of Saurus. These beasts come in a motley collection of appearances and purposes. Some brutes are clad in layers of thick scales, used as beasts of burden to pull great blocks of granite in the construction of their Temple-Cities, others are voracious carnivores, used in war as mounts or unleashed on enemies to wreak havoc and destruction. IB. INNATE TRAITS Bipedal, reptillian humanoids - though greatly mutable in presence and personality, all of their kind share similar, innate biological quirks signature to their species. The most evident is their ectothermy. Reliant on the heat of the sun to regulate their bodyheat and metabolisms, Saurus possess an inherent adversion towards colder climates. Resulting of their cold-blooded nature, the Lizardfolk can appear to be sluggish or lax when deprived of external warmth. It's quite the spectacle, to see a horde of Saurus sunbathing and catching the rays of early morn. Many an explorer has noted that Saurus are remarkably fond of endothermic races, namely humans, for their ability to control their own bodyheat; countless pioneers have been subject to hours of smothering by packs of heat-greedy Huitzigors in what can only be described as cuddling. They maintain a remarkable amount of control over their metabolisms as well. A Saurian can subsist for several months without a meal - survivg off their fat reserves and tissue. However, they are naturally voracious and gluttonous as a race and eat whenever the opportunity to do so presents itself. Saurian senses are exceptionally keen. Eyesight is more refined on the Quetzlings than on Huitzigors. What their sharp, perceptive eyes may miss their ability to see sensitive pores along their snouts allow them to detect trace thermal radiance on their prey. A long, forked tongue will flick and taste minute chemicals in the air or on surfaces. A Huitzigor hunting party can track a bleeding creature for several miles with pinpoint accuracy. With a naturally affinity for the aquatic, Saurians make for skilled inhabitants of any body of water. Quetzlings are much more agile when in the water, their webbed feet and long tails propelling them through streams, lagoons and rivers in a blur. Huitzigors, however are slow and deliberate as they wade through the deeps. They prefer a sedentary approach, laying submerged under the water for hours with nothing more than their snouts breaking through to the surface. As well as this, the Lizardfolk have a startling ability to dredge up mounds of dirt and bury themselves in an instant. A lost limb or grevious wound doesn't immediately spell the end for one of the reptillians. With the shedding of their skin, rejuvenation comes to them. The first molt may only seal the wound shut, the second and the lost flesh may show the beginnings of its regeneration. After weeks of constant molting, a lost hand or leg will grow back. Albeit smaller and requiring time to grow again. IC. SPAWNING Beings forged from the shifting skein of magic of Taen's loci - Wyldlight. Their metamorphisis is dictated by the cycles of the realm's Suns and Moon, their bodies moulded like clay by the Arch-Priest Quetzlings who oversee the sacred spawning rite within their towering pyramids. Forged from biomancy, changed and mutated at the whims of the celestial bodies that loom overheard, the winds of the Loci that permiate their lands are guided and manipulated by the esoteric rituals of their clerics. In these cauldrons, cast from marble, a clutch is placed into the bubbling, viscous reservoir and fretted over by the Priest's attendants. Saurus females of every caste are invariably larger and much more tempermental than their male counterparts. When a female is ready to breed, the strongest of their race is elected to fertilize the clutch, to ensure the strongest of the race's genepool sires the next generation. Though the selection of the apex of their race is a twofold deliberation; females during their mating-rut become extremely aggressive, and it isn't unheard of for a bachelor to be wounded or killed during the ritual. Afterwards, the male plays no part further, as they make for poor parents. Aspect of the Sun - From which, the warrior castes are created. Biomagic is weaved into hymns and chants whilst a great portal carved into the chamber's ceiling allows daggers of celestial light to shine down upon the calcified shapes of the eggs. They swell and grow to an immense size and before long, a Huitzigor will rupture from the pool, roaring defiance to the world they have been brought into. The warrior-brood is quickly skirted off, as to prevent him to consuming any of his kindred whilst they lay dormant and awaiting their own emergence. Huitzigors are not the only cadre spawned during this cycle. The Sun shapes their forms into beings created for battle and the more feral predatory kith of the Saurians are spawned during this time as well. Aspect of the Moon - During the waning of the Sun and the slow arc of the Moon across the twilight skies, Quetzlings are birthed in great number. The shape of the moon will dictate the exact subspecies of Quetzling that will be born to the world. A crescent brings about a crested Quetzling, whilst a full, gibbous moon will see the spawning of the more common of their kindred. Great, hulking herbivores are created under the moon as well- living battering rams which their cousins quickly put to use. Aspect of the Eclipse - The Eclipse is met with celebration from their species, as it brings with it the creation of another wave of females. During the event, their temples are closely guarded and any outsiders are cast out without explanation. It is rare for more than a handfull of females to be born, however and so each one is a carefully guarded, prized resource by the males. ID. CASTES Queztlings "We're being watched. Watched as we fall to fever and the predators of this land. Glowing eyes cutting through the ocean of green around us. They've been stalking us since we arrived, speaking in their strange, chirped language. It sounds like laughter." 'Extract from failed expedition journal of Quadrant IV, Taen Book of Beasts, Chapter VII; Saurians' Hidden by the veil of the jungle, masked by the sands of the Sierra Ossa badlands, the Quetzlings stalk. Dexterous, agile and cunning they glide through the lands they inhabit without presence or detection. Their chirps and whistles call out to one another. Telling their comrades of prey and intruders. Quetzlings are the minds and spirit of Saurian society. Intelligent compared to their larger cousins, their responsibilities lie in the administration, construction, guidance and planning of their civilization. Social creatures, they are seldom seen alone and prefer the security offered by numbers. Exceptionally organised, they are perfect for the day-to-day running of the great, sprawling Temple-Cities they inhabit. Their communication is a series of subtle hue changes of their hides or a chorus of high-pitched trills and warbles. Without the presence of these creatures, Saurian society as a whole would collapse instantly. They are the craftsmen and priests that keep their species alive. Standing slighly below human height, they do not cast an imposing figure. Nontheless Quetzlings can be formidable foes when corneres or compelled to fight. Skirmishes and ambushers, they litter foes they have stalked with darts and bolas before closing in with spears and javelins. Their skin is fully capable of changing colour to match their environment, making them exceptionally difficult to see. With the Huitzigors they share a special bond; their larger kin find it easy to listen to the commands of their smaller kith and in return the Warrior-Caste recieve food, weapons and scratches for their efforts. A noted quirk of Quetzlings if their complete infatuation with the whistling of other races. Should one find themselves before a group of Quetzlings, whistling will usually be the best way to make a good first impression with them; and the sight of a dozen little Lizardmen bobbing their heads in delight is quite the sight. Crested Quetzlings are much rarer and intelligent than their more common brothers. They fill the ranks of the holy priesthood as leadership and diplomatic roles within their culture, as well as being the only members of their race capable of practising magic. Huitzigors "Rest easy, men! Do not think to run from these simple beasts. Their vision is poor, based on tracking the swift movements of their prey like most cold-blooded predators!" 'Supposed final words of Terran explorer Havri Gostlant, WTA 590' Three meters of hulking, inhuman musculature marches to the leather wardrums of his host. The warrior-breed, shaped by the Arch-Priests to be the personification of primal ferocity. Beyond conflict, their lives have no greater purpose; the rank and file of the Huitzigors are driven by their desire to fight and serve their kingdom to such a degree that they lack a sense of individuality. Without weakness or thoughts of retreat. Driven by predatory instinct and rage, the sight of a charging wall of muscle-bound giant reptiles is enough to make most forces route almost immediately. Huitzigors grow quickly, when pulled from their birthing pool. Then, they are picked by a prospecting pack of their brothers to be raised among their rank, trained in perfecting the art of war and battle. Hardly wanting in this aspect, a warrior will become proficient in the use of Macuahuitl, spear, shield and maul. Though the Quetzlings who command these warriors are hardly afraid to use them, peace (as adverse to the concept as Huitzigors are) must find some other purpose during times of relative tranquility. Many assist their smaller brothers in the construction of their settlements, whilst others put their great strength to use farming or as mercenaries for the various factions of Taen. For this they're well liked, seeing as they don't ask for much beyond food in regards to payment for their services. Though undeniably terrifying to look upon, Huitzigors are surprisingly calm and gregarious to strangers. Mostly because very few things can actively be percieved as a threat by the big brutes. They are rather fond of the body-heat that warm-bloods produce and will pin any unfortunate into a strange sort of embrace to get as much of it as they can. Despite their supposed lack of intelligence, the beasts are surprisingly witty; one wouldn't be incorrect in calling them laconic in manner and humour. The constitution of a Huiztigor is startling. A number of redundant organs, backed by an extreme pain threshold and wrapped in a layer of thick, hardened scales means that their kind are exceptionally hard to fell. Venom is produced by a gland located in their cheeks, which is paralytic and perfect for capturing prisoners for sacrifice or later consumption. Should a Huitzigor survive many battles and be allowed to grow to his full size, he will take on the role of a leader for his brothers. These larger Huitzigors are quite intelligent, compared to their kin and can convey complex thoughts and strategies, as well as learn and understand the myriad of languages outsiders speak. II. CULTURE "We were delivered to the peak of their tallest structure, a vast pyramid that stood in the center of the commune, and within waited a menagerie of the Reptiles. Unlike the tall, broad warrior-lizards that had felled my best men within seconds, these were small, diminutive creatures - reptilian humanoids with large, flared crests atop their heads. I had seen some scampering along our column and within the city, but the ones before me were certainly their elders - each was adorned with grim fetishes and trinkets, sharpened volcanic glass and engraved gold necklaces to mark their status. They conversed in clicks and chittering noises, the flaring of their crests implying a level of depth to their communication, but it was incomprehensible nonetheless. Though I know not of their deliberations, it was the dead of night when they finally deigned to see us. My clothing and stature had understandably presented me as the leader, and one of the hulking warrior-beasts brought me forth to the elders, who surveyed me with keen interest - chirping and chittering amongst themselves as I awaited a grim fate." 'Survivor's testimonial of the Quadrant IV Expedition, WTA 598' Saurian culture is ill understood to this day, the only glimpses of the day-to-day life of the reptiles coming from traumatized survivors, expeditions and convoys that had been unlucky enough to intercede on the path of a Huitzigor hunting party. Those who encounter the Saurians usually do not live to tell the tale, though in rare occasions they have taken prisoners - escorting them through the deeps of the jungle for days until they finally arrive at their communes. Even rarer still is the return of said prisoners, deposited on well-known roads and paths; Battered, malnourished, but generally alive - and oddly enough, adorned with trinkets and fetishes, as if they were an honored guest. The most well known aspect of the reptiles' culture is their worship, which is centered around the Twins - The Sun, and the Moon. The Sun embodies the 'strength' and 'warmth' of the Saurian (the word sharing the same meanings), and is correlates to the birth or 'spawning' of the more aggressive forms common to the Saurian - Huitzigors, and their carnivorous, feral counterparts are those marked by The Sun. At midday, or Sun's Apex, is when the Saurian favor combat - marching out to hunt or defend, considering themselves blessed and imbued by the Sun's vigor, a fact which isn't far from the truth. The Sun's brother, The Moon, is viewed in a subservient position between the Twins, giving counsel to his brother's temper, and keeping watch over the world as it rests. Though less aggressive, The Moon embodies the intelligence and cunning of the numerically greater Quetzlings - aspects of an elusive predator and a patient hunter - One who masters themselves before the hunt. Rare as it may be, Huitzigors take to worshipping the Moon as well as the Sun - times when the brothers are both seen in the sky are considered to be favorable - the watch and protection of both their deities emboldening both Quetzling and Huitzigor alike. The social Hierarchy of the Saurian is simple, largely predetermined by birth, with the race divided into two social strata - Rulers and Followers. The Rulers of the lizardmen are beings quite simply 'born' into their position - a rare spawning, for instance, might produce a single viable egg out of dozens, the lone survivor baring distinctive markings and physical differences from their lesser kin. Whether it be a Quetzling or Huitzigor, those born from such spawnings are considered to be marked for greatness, and as they mature, the aptitude and position they take is quickly determined. Crested Quetzlings, for instance, can often produce a rare spawning marked by a comet across the night sky - a clutch of dozens being reduced to one, or even two to three eggs - the already distinctive leaders of their kindred being born as priests - treated with reverence at the very moment of their birth, and jealously guarded from outsiders, these Priests act as the leaders of the Saurian as a whole. In contrast, a Ruler among the aggressive, bestial Huitzigors will produce an individual who will distinctly take 'command' of the brothers he spawned alongside, growing in height, stature, and displaying an intellect far beyond that the average Huitzigor possesses. What determines the birth of ruling individuals is largely unknown, though some scholars suggest that it is an artificial process, rather than an arbitrary occurrence of nature - the Saurian have never seemed to want for leadership, and yet never possess too many rulers. Saurian economy is a simple matter of give-and-take - Quetzling artisans produce goods, such as masonry, weaponry, tablets for record-keeping - and in return, gain services and supplies needed to continue their work - continued protection, a guaranteed share of food from the hunters, and any materials or ingredients that a Saurian cohort might come across. Money is a new concept to Quetzlings, with gold coins pilfered from warm-blooded interlopers often being melted down into larger, engraved tablets - used to represent a debt that cannot be paid in full immediately, and as such, a sort of 'record' of the transaction, detailing the worth and requisites for its completion. Relations with the other sentient races inhabiting Taen are tenuous, the average encounter one might have with the reptiles would be from a distance - stalked by a Quetzling patrol as the individual in question skirts cold-blooded territory, or the unfortunate encounter with a hunting pack of Huitzigors and their feral kith. Given their language, a combination of clicks, whistles, and body language (depending on the species), communication with the Saurian has been next to impossible; Only the Mork'Outh have successfully engaged in conversation with Saurian, and even then, such conversation is terse and often hostile in nature. What has been shared from the Mork'Outh is largely transcribed here, the Lizardmen having a grudging acceptance for the natives' dominion over the realm - conflict has been incredibly rare, only represented by a mutual conflict of interests, as the Saurian are often stubborn in nature, and incredibly unyielding in their approach. Humans and other warm-bloods are viewed with a detached sort of curiosity - they are equally as intriguing as they are delicious, and the occasional happening upon a group of warm-bloods is usually taken with fervor - for either food, or to sate the curiosities of their Priest-rulers. The Mork'Outh attest that the only species that has met the full ire of the Saurian are the Xer'Orians themselves, the genocidal xenoforms often coming to blows with Saurian war-parties, fighting with a determination that is not seen in any other of their activites. Huitzigors battle the Innumerable Soldier-forms of the Xer'Orian, displaying a single-minded purpose to kill that rivals their enemies'. It has been known for a hunting party to divert at the first sign of a Xer'Orian incursion or raid, abandoning all but the most sacred of duties to counter the hated foe - fighting to the last in either victory or defeat. III. ORIGINS Since the worldrifts carried the first Xel'Orians to Taen, the Mork'Outh have said that the Saurians 'followed soon after', through another rift leading to another time, and the hostilities between the two races became readily apparent. Though the Xel'Orians are naturally xenocidal, the Saurus, displaying some level of basic intellect, had reacted to their presence as if they had encountered a hated foe - the intensity and vigor of their skirmishes implying some depth, a shared history of bloodshed, perhaps. Terran scholars have wondered if the appearance of the Saurians into Taen was a mere coincidence - as far as coincidences go in this dimensionally unstable realm - or if they were interlopers themselves, coming to seek the presence of the Hive and root it out. Whatever the case, they were clearly unsuccessful - The Xel'Orian presence in Taen is quite strong, and though the Saurians engage them at every possible turn, it is clear they are fighting a Pyrrhic war. Their actions are blind, impulsive - the Quetzling priests rule based on prophecy and prediction, but even they alone cannot direct the whole of the race into unity, further cementing the radical theory that the Saurians are not a race, but a weapon, fighting a war they already lost. IV. CODEX SHEET The Saurus The Saurus are an aloof, mysterious race of reptilian huamnoids who physiology and culture are defined and shaped by the cyclical states of Taen's celestial bodies. Though undeniably predatory in nature, the Saurus are largely disinterested in the lives of other races, testimonials of Saurus War-Hosts defending villages and towns from aggressors and invaders have made them a welcome, albeit feared, part of Taen. Physiology A Saurus' physical attributes are divined by the positions of the sun and moon and shaped by the otherworldly magics of the Wildlight. These shapes and sizes range from dimunitive, tiny lizard-folk to towering carnivores barely possessing sentience. Society Saurus society operates as a theocracy, where the governing conclave is comprised of the race's ruling priesthood. Central to their society is the reverence and worship of the Sun and Moon. The dichotomy of the race's biological makeup results in a caste system, wherein members of the Saurus are bred for a specific purpose. The most abundant of these beings are the Quetzlings; who do everything from ruling to farming. Hulking, musclebound killing machines known as Huitzigors are solely bred for war, though in times of peace they are known to take up other professions. Culture & Technology Saurus technology is primitive, yet effective. The signature of their settlements are their temple-cities, with their floating altars. Enhanced by magic, Huitzigor warriors typically wield heavy weapons forged from bronze. As a species, they are remarkably adept at astrology and astronomy. To call the Saurus aloof would be an understatement; they view the other prospective races of their newfound home with a general disinterest. Though a certain curiousity may overtake them from time to time. It is well documented of Saurus brutally slaughtering interlopers and invaders to their lands, and decidedly less known of their general acceptance and even protection of those who seek guidance through the territories they own. Territory Their territory comprises of both Quadrant I and Quadrant IV, though in the latter their numbers are more abundant. A preference for warmer climates means that the beasts rarely, if ever venture outside of these lands. Only during times of war will a Saurus be seen outside of their desert and jungle homes.
  9. Eyes, whose likeness brought forth thoughts of the chill of winter; chips of dirty ice that darted back and forth between the conclave of individuals that sat around the bar. A look to Quake, then to Echo and finally to Rose. An experiment in OAM interfacing tech gone wrong, plant-bait and a girl with what seemed to be more knuckles than braincells. Bemusement and amusement mixed as one, and the weathered OAM pilot let out a hiss that could have been a snarl of dissatisfaction, or mirth. 'Crikey.' Bandit grunted, shifting his considerable bulk backwards on his chair, still reeling from the spectacle of the posse he found himself in. He was sure kingdoms had been conquered with much, much less. A calloused hand slapped itself hard against the table, breaking the awkward, pregnant silence that had befallen the table. The tell-tale, rattling chime of metal against wood came from the band of metal wrapped around his ring finger. A deep, consuming topor of thought overcame him. Evidently, he was weighing up his options. All he could think of was flipping the table, maybe knocking someone out and leaving. Not before paying for his last few rounds, of course. But. Bandit's sense of morals and convicti0ns were decidedly askew. He valued one thing; coin. With it, brought a certain level of sanctity even the mercenary respected. Terrenus had paid him a hefty sum as a deposit for his information and services. Not one to spurn the opportunity of a payday, or a general excuse to cause mayhem, he finally brought his broad, stooping shoulders down and sighed his acceptance of the circumstances. 'Ah-ah.' Gheist feigned indignation. He even guffawed for effect. 'Lily, lily, lily.' The pilot continued on, shaking his head. 'Didn't mummy or daddy teach you bloody manners? You start asking favours with a please and end them with a thank you.' A cough. A pause. Another swig of whiskey and Bandit finally relented, stooping his shoulders. 'So, mate of mine - asks me to twist the arm of some bloke, owes my mate money. Arms dealer, you see. Never run up a tab on a man who sells microwave guns, see? Bad for ones health.' A finger slammed down on the surface of the counter. 'Anyways, I'm sure you're all familiar with the foreplay. Jump-cables attached to an exalta core. Enthusiastic application to one tight-fisted unfortunates fleshy bits, etcetera. Starts singin' like a bloody choir-boy.' Talk of torture and debt-collection evidently made the OAM pilot thirsty, considering the rate at which he was downing glasses of fungal-liquor. 'So, light-bulb tells us about this group of eugenics-enthusiasts. Real tough-as-an-aul-boot sort. Even got their hands on Ogres.' He cupped his stubble-ridden chin as he spoke. 'Said their name was-' Bandit pressed his hand over his mouth and began to scream into it, before his faked cries of pain became a low, ragged laughter. 'Apotheosis.' A sharp, knowing smile cut its way across Gheists' face. 'And they've set up shop somewhere in the Shawnee.'
  10. 'Well-' The Acolyte mused, smacking her black-painted lips. '-when lacking ears to clip, one has tae improvise, no?' Slake responded to the barman's jab with one of her own. Two sharp, armourclad fingers jabbed themselves into the flesh of his withing, pulsating mollusc that constituted his face. As quickly as that hand had surged as nothing more than a blur towards the mound of viscous, slimey meat it retracted - Slake whiping away the evidence of the assault on the underside of her chair. It wasn't particularly hard, but it got enough of her message through to him. His words seemed to summon some ominous, echoing sound from beyond the confines of the tavern. The cracking chirps and tunes of distant whales; and she saw shadowed things shifting beyond the windows of the building, stalking. Their choir sounded like a choir, a song singing the augury of the world to her. An endless torrent. The deep, all-consuming apocryphal deluge of the End. A song that grew louder and louder with each passing moment, filling her ears with its ceaseless baritone. Slake found herself, with lack of any means to abate or end it, whistled along to the tune - she could do nothing, so her defiance kept her mind from slipping into the throes of madness that beckoned to her with every passing moment. Reprieve came. The song drew quiet; but its presence was still there. Those things beyond the skein were patient. They could wait. With a cough and a smile, Slake brought her attentions back to her compatriot. 'What is it with cults and parties, luv?' She lurched those pauldron-wreathed shoulders of hers into some approximation of a shrug. 'Hand out painted seashells and mackerel bites and tell the good yolk of Taen about how they're all going to drown?' Slake bit the air between the two of them and smiled. 'Honestly, that man has no sense of tone.'
  11. Pale light flickered over the sun-kissed features of Slake, shadowing her features; shading the contours of her cheekbones. Like the breaking waves of the sea, cast from shadow and dark, they coiled and writhed against her face. Yet the gloom did nothing to hide that smile. A killer's smile. The wide, peeling grin of a madwoman, reaching ear to pierced ear. A stream of brackish saltwater poured from what little space her teeth provided; droplets of blue-grey spatter dripped onto the counter beneath her, soaking the counter. With every pitter-patter that fell, the sound of it grew and grew. Until the sound became the vibrato of a coiling capstam. Things churned within the bar, awoken by the noise produced. Gilled, scaled things with teeth and glowing, glassy eyes. The sound drew them in, the cascading fall of the water became the cacophonic roar of a storm. Clawed hands reached out with a want to grab her, to drag her away. Her armoured fist slammed down onto the countertop, and the creeping shadows abated. Gone. As quickly as they had been summoned. And never once, had Slake's rictus grin left her face. 'Ah-ah, pet.' The Acolyte bit back, wagging a finger. 'If that's your manner of flirting, you're far too sober and I'm nowhere near soused up enough for it.' Her next words were heralded by a cocked eyebrow. 'See me after I've had my due reckoning with this bottle, and we'll see.' And ended her sentence by taking a greedy swig of the aforementioned liquor. His introspection was devoured by piercing, black-dotted eyes that bore into his changed likeness as he spoke. It was startling, how casual she was about his visage. As though she had a habitude towards it; dealing with men warped by something beyond her baser comprehensions. Slake slightly nodded her head as he spoke, listening. With a cough and a shift to rest her bulk on her elbow against the bar, she spoke. 'Mate of mine was a shipwright.' the Aboleth-Eater began, her eyes drifting as she became lost in thought. 'Took a bad injury a few years ago. Piece of hull fell on his left arm and it got cut off by the sawbones. Told me how he'd lie asleep at night, in his sheets an' how he felt left hand's fingertips brushing against the canvas.' Another draught of rum and she continued. 'Called it phantom pain, or sommet like 'at? Never quite got over it. Maybe what's left of you that ain't scungili is trying to feel for what was but ain't there, poppet.' Most of the warmth of her voice was lost in that thick, sea-dog accent of hers. But some of it remained, faint embers of kindness that she seemed unfamiliar with conveying. An armoured hand gave the bartender's own a light pat. 'Quit bein' such a girl's blouse, will you? Doing nothing for my humours, you glaikit.' Slake seemed dumbfounded at that. She turned around, scanning the tavern. Feigning confusion, she cocked her head. 'No band to herald his entrance? Hardly like him. We talking about the same M'yr?'
  12. Slake's entrance was sounded with the rattling of the fishbone pendants that bedecked her curiass, and that sing-song chime of her seashell spurs of her sabatons. She moved with a long, drunken gait. It could have been dismissed as a simple overindulgance of Lady-Liquor, too much of the sun's kiss or a sea dog's legs. Her startling appearance, for once, hardly gave her any attention; most of the patrons were either far too inebriated or used to strange-looking folk to be truely startled by her. Which was, in its own way, disappointing to her. Less so the appearance of the establishment. Trench-rot, she called it. The likeness of the tavern was weathered, rotten by the tides that had consumed it. Barnacles, limpits and oysters clung to support-posts and tables. Eels and fish swam between the shifting patrons like they were nothing more than spires of stone at the ocean's floor. More frightening still was the visage of most of the bar's residents. A man with the glowing proboscus of an angler fish, and the face to match here. A man bloated and fetid like a corpse cast into the black depths. And still they drank and sang merrily, unaware of the horror that had consumed them. Or so the Acolyte saw. Hardly a comparison of the fate that awaited them all; as the Coiled Beast had warned her. Even still, the End-Tides were impossible for her mind to truely fathom, and so her limited mortal mind did its best to approximate, to fantasize. 'Great costume!' A drunken woman said, her form's shape comprised of hundreds of knotting tentacles. 'Hardly as good as yours, luv.' Slake slyly responded, giving the bewildered woman a wink and stumbling past her. Such sights assailed her mind. Of course, she endured it as she had done for so long, with a hungry smile and- as a waitress passed, Slake nabbed the bottle of blackstrap rum she carried on a platter and replaced it with a mound of copper coins in a movement so smooth it couldn't have been anything other than second-nature. Slake popped the cork of the bottle with her mouth and spat it out, replacing it with a hefy swig of bitter drink. - an enthusiatic partaking of alcohol. The Acolyte seemed hardly phased by the bartender as she approached that counter, glistening with the viscous goo that ebbed from the gaping, slithering mass of flesh that approximated the man's face. 'Scungili!' Slake called to the man as she approached, laughing at her own, dark joke, knowing full well she was the only one that got it. 'What a brute you are! Not even an 'allo for me?' An armoured hand slapped itself down on the counter as she hefted her bulk onto a barstool. 'You kiss your mother with that mouth?' The mention of M'yr brought a loud, resonating sigh of dissatisfaction from Slake's maw, the Acolyte throwing herself back as she did so. 'M'yr bloody M'yr. What doesn't make that one miserable, hm?' Half-distracted, the Aboleth Eater touched the throbbing, pulsating mass of coiling flesh on the countertop with her finger. A shudder of disgust wracked her form as she did so, Slake quickly pulling her hand backwards, splaying her fingertips to examine the sheen of glue-like fluid that clung to her hand. She wiped the mess on the back of a passing bar-patron's back, and returned her gaze back to her fellow Acolyte. 'Sorry, just...' A cock of the head and she bit her lower lip, scanning the horrific visage of the bartender's face. 'What do I look at when I'm speaking to you?' Another laugh. 'Widow's a possessive aul girl. Can't go much of anywhere without her. Like a big baby, she is. Just with rigging and sails.' A cough, and she soothed her parched throat with another deluge of rum. 'If M'yrs got his knickers bunched over me, he should come and say it himself, no? A girl gets so lonely.'
  13. Hells Gate, Knackered Nautilus, New 'friends', "Aint my birthday." A voice like cracking stones sounded out amidst the bassy strobe of the electronic tune whose resonance cascaded in the background. "So what are you two then?" Rose saw a flash of alabaster as a pair of thin lips peeled back, making weathered features crease. Practiced. It could hardly be called a warm gesture. What little of an accent that could be pried from the deep baritone of the towering man's inflection and intonation - working-distract, Blairville. Even with years spent away from the megacity, that accent clung to his voice with an unwavering conviction. It was almost charming, a sharp contrast to that smile and the man it belonged to. A screech of grinding wood, a brown blur and before either Echo or Lily could object, he was sitting opposite of them both; chair backwards facing with crossed, muscular arms resting on the crown of the seat's top rail. The leather, padded jacket that had been hanging by the crook of his tattooed fingers - the sort that rail-bikers used on the now-defunct mag-rails, was placed on the table with a soft thump. The flesh of his arms were a mess of ganger tattoos; markings of the darker, less-glamorous underside of Blairville's working-class culture. That one on the side of his neck; the snarling, fanged face of a Terrenus Ogre , whose likeness had inspired the moniker of the unit that Rose called herself a part of, stood out among them all. Most of them were destroyed by the patchwork of interfacing studs and ports that littered his flesh. Passé, how a pilot got intimate with his OAM before the advent of the synthweave bonding suits. Bandit. A silver coin pressed between his fore and middle fingers was tapped against the surface of the table, attracting the attentions of a passing server. 'Three glasses of the meanest whiskey you've got, love.' Bandit told the woman. 'And keep 'em coming.' She took the coin and walked off. Piercing eyes shot between his fellow pilot and the unwilling herbiculturialist. One calloused finger pointed towards Echo. 'You, I don't know.' Those eyes locked onto Rose. He'd heard of her, most OAM pilots, present or former, had. Words from a sour F.I.S.T operator, or rather, the black eye and split lip he'd been toting when he was told of a 'hard girl with harder fists' and he'd got a gist of who exactly Rose was. But Bandit would play his games - he liked to keep his lists up to date. 'You, I do. You've the reins on that train-of-pain, Loco Motive.' He paused, letting the server who had procured three glasses cast from glistening quartz filled with straight whiskey set them onto the table before each of them. Bandit's glass went up and came down empty. A satisfied hiss escaped his lips as he tapped the surface of the counter with his glass. 'Tough stuff, you are. A real killer, I bet.' Sarcasm dripped off those words like a venom. Leaning forwards, the grizzled pilot let off a ragged, saw-like laugh. 'Alright then, lets get down to brass tacks.' Another glass of liquor appeared before him by the hand of a waitress. Bandit thanked her with a faint smile and waited until she left. 'Before the homonculi waddles or rolls his way in, yeah?' The contents of another glass disappeared down his gullet. 'So, a little birdie comes and tells me that two OAM folks are in need of some help. And I saunter my way in, seeing the two of you ordering nachos, you know what I think?' Bandit leaned himself forward ever so slightly, and whispered. 'Someone's trying to fuck me. And I don't take to that very kindly.' Cocking his head, Bandit laughed. 'You're enough.' He said, looking at Rose. 'A one-woman hurricane of destruction. You've got a mech and the attitude to use it. So why would auld Terrenus need not one, not two-' Three fingers splayed out from his hand. 'Three OAMs? What country pissed them off enough to warrant that, huh?' Gheist relaxed, letting his bulk move backwards.
  14. Acturion The eighteenth-thousandth year before the Tidebreak. The Widow sleeps, aching from her long voyage beyond the skein. Her rent and misused silhouette could have been likened to the shattered, decaying fingers of a great, submerged giant - lost beneath the breaking waves. The Captain of the onerous, foreboding vessel had seen fit to dock her along the myriad of planks rendered ragged by the constant assault of the crashing tides. A pier, the optimistic sailing-souls of Acturion called it. The Widow's chainlink anchor, made from the interlocking vertabrae of a Sea Dragon, moored her in place. Her colossal form ebbed and bobbed against the rise and fall of the ocean, as though the ship itself was malcontent with its lethargy. Azure-hued sails, her signature were furled and clamped to their posts by a criss-crossing pattern of thick, knotted ropes. How many men had fallen to their knees, and prayed when those sails had loomed over the morning tides? 'A prayer is a prayer, I think. All men pray to the Serpent when they see my ship.' Slake had so callously explained the phenomina to one of the aspiring cultists who had passed her the night before, when she had arrived and begun to dock her vessel. She'd hardly explained it with a tentative tone as well - and as such, even the hardened locals of the pier - they had decided to keep their distance from then on. An old ship from Ursa Madeum, binding itself within the technologically advanced realm of Acturion? It reeked of showmanship; of a ploy to lure more naive souls into the festivities. Yet still the locals could have sworn they heard the aching cries of whalesongs eminating from the ship; with the shadowed outline of some figure rising and lowering their hands to orchestrate the eerie cacophony's tone and volume like an orchestral choir. Others swore off going near it for the unbearable stench of rotten sargassum. Save for the curious soul of a boy, who leaned over the opened contents of one of the shifted cargo boxes the strange-looking crew had dropped off earlier in the morning. The first box had contained oranges, and though the boy was sure he was breaking some kind of rule, looking through someone's belongings, he didn't take one. This new box, the one he was l0oking into now, was a bit... different. Seashells and fishbones, and he'd seen plenty of those before. But these ones were scrimshawed and bedecked with strange patterns, words and shapes that made his head ache and his stomach feel ill. He moved from that one, growing to fear the contents and moved to a third box, ready to pilfer it and- A rusted, blue-hued sabaton coated with oxide slammed down with a resonant thump that made him yelp and jump backwards. An armourclad figure, drenched in seawater with a helm shaped like an octopus under her arm stared at him, with a grin toothy grin that showed one too many silver teeth and exuded all the assurance of a rusty blade at the base of the neck. 'Allo, poppet.' Slake grumbled, her words almost lost amidst her thick accent. 'Scuttlebutt tells me you're one peepin'-tomcat.' Some breathless, broken noise escaped the boys mouth as he tried to come up with some excuse. 'Ha! Quit the nerves, luv.' The Captain assured the boy, hefting him up onto his legs by a firm pull of his wrist. 'I don't bite much.' She bit the air, which made the boy smile somewhat. Suddenly, the box pinned down beneath her armoured foot violently shook. 'Things in here do. Stranger bits than fruit and seashells in here? Best not to look, les' something look back.' She winked, and the boys smile quickly vanished. He wasn't quite sure if she'd made the box do that with her foot or not. 'Lax, pet.' Slake finally let her fleeting conscience get the better of her, and gave the boy a coin gelded in copper. 'Quit this' lookin' where you shouldn't be and go buy somethin' to eat now.' Another wink from those black-flecked eyes. 'Savvy?' Scuttling off, Slake rose, giving the box she had stood upon an affirmative kick before looking upwards towards the concentrated aura of the festival. Throbbing amber light bled through the sky, a warm incalescence that drowned out the dreary gray the fat-with-rain clouds produced. A noiseless exhalation of hot air escaped her flaring nostrils. 'Bit jovial... for a doomsday cult, aren't we now?' She spoke aloud, seemingly waiting for a question. With a off-balance, seemingly-drunken gait, the Aboleth Eater made her way towards the festival at Acturion.
  15. "The tide is coming, he is hungry. The tide is coming, he is hungry. The tide is coming, he is hungr-" 'Scrawlings found etched into the flotsam remains of the Amber Clad.' "Strange things lie, where the sun does shy, Where those gibbous rays go to die, Deep, deep in the timeless sea, The Great Serpent lives and dies in his sunken keep," 'Final Ode of Poet Ghrant Handr. Lost to the Wetlands.' SLAKE NAME: Slake MONIKER/TITLE/ALIAS: Aboleth Eater AGE: Twenty-six GENDER: Female RACE: High Elf BIRTHPLACE: Ursa Madeum ABOLETH EATER HEIGHT: 6'8", 203cm WEIGHT: 180lbs, 81kg PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: PERSONALITY: Changed. Pretty, once at least. But changed. A pallid hue has overcome her complexion, making her appear sickly and near the point of death. A myriad of branching, black veins can be see sporadically branching out across her flesh. The darkest parts of her bodies are her tattoos; countless, stereotypical seafarer's marks. A chain here, a compass there. An anchor or two. The most eye-catching of these is undoubtably the blue-eyes octopus etched onto the front of her throat, whose coiling arms move down onto her chest and spread out across her neck. Muscular, even by non-Elven standards. 'Every finger's a fishhook, mate.' is a commonly used to explain this way, though its hardly difficult to understand why she is built as she is; not only for the countless hours spent clambering rigging, but also the lifestyle of hunting down and slaughtering countless deep-sea monstrosities. Shifting, ebbing flecks of black litter her eyes, as black as the bottom of the ocean. They grow larger and larger with each passing day, a 'blessing' from her newfound, divine prophet. "Savvy?" For someone spiralling down the throes of madness, Slake is surprisingly sanguine. Outgoing, some would even call her. Or they would, if they weren't busy trying to find where their purses went. Quick of tongue, with even quicker fingers. Slake seems to cling to her cutthroat lifestyle as something of a comfort, as though it keeps her from fully delving into the insanity that plagues her mind. Shes even lucid, at certain points. Well, by the standards of an Acolyte, anyways. Indeed the seafaring Elf has a love for all manners of debauchery and hedonism, to the point where one would be hardly pressed to have to call her voracious. Drinking, flesh and coin - those are the things she had sought out before finding the Coiled Beast and those are the things she stubbornly clings to wihin her mind, for fear of losing it. In regards to her newfound religious 'purpose', Slake seems... vengeful. She'd never allow her world to be consumed by the brackish floods prophesized by the Sea Dragon and she'd do everything she can to stop it. Even if that means creating a new sea to sail, on the blood of those who try and stop her. GIFTS OF THE COILED BEAST EQUIPMENT: Guise of Apocryphal Tides - Trawled plate from the deeps, marred with coral, growth and refuse from countless years spent below. Or so, it would have you believe. The suit is not metal; its origins lie in the Wildlight of Taen - the guise is chitin, keratin and bone, where some of it may be the sewn together dregs of a whale carcass, the pauldrons, greaves and gauntlers may be the shells of living crustaceons, who bind themselves to the wearers shoulders, legs and arms with sturdy, grasping appendages. The helm is the calcified remains of an octopus, whose eyes glow with a deathly, green aura. It was Slake who veiled the raimant with a cloak of shedding skin from the Coiled Beast, and shrouded herself in madness. 'Guise of Apocryphal Tides.' Fall - Whalefall, as most sailors call it, where the fetid remains of a great mammal are cast down to the dark fathoms of the Sea. When the final movements of its cascading bulk find rest on the cold floor of the ocean, a feast begins. Sharks, crustaceons, eels and worse still flock to their carrion and gorge themselves on rotten blubber for years. Such is the spectacle for those who sail across the coast of Ursa Madeum - a great whaling rush had brought countless of those giants to their graves below, their forms rendered down to naught but bone by voracious scavengers. In one of these graveyards lies a blade forged from cooled ichorous earth, housed in a crossguard carved from whale bone. 'Fall' those fledgling Acolytes of the Coiled Beast had called it - sings to them, calls for them to wrench it free from its housing within a dias of volcanic rock. Countless have tried. Countless have died. Except for Slake. Now the Black Widow's Captain wields Fall, the oily, black surface of its blade greedily lapping up any blood given to it, singing whalesongs and abating the madness growing in its wielder. A shattered, rent tabard made from the interlocking coins of countless civilizations, towns and cities explored or reaved. When Slake gazed upon the terrible, unknowable form of the Great Serpent, the faces and likenesses on the coins began to weep. VILETIDE'S BLESSING Many believe the closer one is to their prophet, the closer they are to understanding their nature - and imparting themselves with some shred of that divinity. In a sense, those Acolytes who truly gaze upon that Eldritch, incomprehensible form of the coiled beast are blessed in their madness. Yet their dark deity imparts other wonders onto them, be it terrible visions, conjurations or minions. THE VILETIDE: Enclosing Waves - Though a minor hallucination, Slake often sees a growing tide behind herself and others. More concerning to her, is how it has been growing closer and closer throughout the months since she encountered the Coiled Serpent. Something lurks within the tide, waiting. Black spot - A crawling, shifting mound of raised, black flesh. Does little, beyond inspire a growing paranoia. Manifests when deep at Sea - and seems to attract the attentions of the more insidious denizens of the deep. Perhaps it is simply the gibbering, loud throes of sadness and rage it forces in those afflicted that draws the interest of Merfolk and Krakens, or perhaps they truly are cursed. Slake can transfer it, most commonly by a handshake. Siren's call - The Great Serpent calls out for her, in the distance. Resting in the eviscerated remains of some old, broken Sea God from eons past. A beautiful song, begging for her to run from the Rising Tides - it lulls her into a topor, a lethargy. Yet her mind screams at her to stop, to get as far from that yearning, dark prophet as possible. Slake has never gone close enough to the creature to touch it. PERPETUATING SHANTY: It has been many, many years since the crew of the Constellation of the Black Widow could truly call themselves human, or living. The Serpent has seen fit to bless Slake with the ability to give those flotsam corpses dredged up from the bottoms of the abyss some twisted mockery of life. Those returned are little more than bloated corpses, their bodies and physiques warped and corrupted by the sea. Their change may start with nothing more than a sprouting strand of seaweed or coral on a bodypart, yet the oldest and most vaunted of her crew are barely recognisable as beings that once walked upon the surface; their likenesses closer to the denizens of the deep they had been wrenched from. These wretched beings are risen up by Slake singing an evil song, which the crew have dubbed the 'Perpetuating Shanty'. CONSTELLATION OF THE BLACK WIDOW 'The Widow.' The sister-ship of Amber Clad, the Constellation of the Black Widow is a Cargo/Galleon hybrid - and was heralded as an apotheosis of its predecessor's strengths. The capacity and durability of a Cargo-vessel, combined with the generalist reliability of a Galleon. She and her crew were the first to respond to the disappearance of the Amber Clad, sailing out boldly to find their comrades, and return. In a way, they were successful. She had gone far on that voyage, father than any mortal mind could comprehend. And though she returned, she brought something back with her. Haunted, many were quick to call her. But there was nothing dead about her; she was alive. Spiteful, jealous and cunning. The Widow both loves and hates her crew; plots their end and keeps them from it. This may manifest in something as simple as the flickering and dying of a watchman's lantern, to something as severe as rigging flying out and choking the life out of a deckhand. Only Slake is feared by her. Only Slake can control the ship.
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