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Samø last won the day on April 6 2019

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About Samø

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  1. Samø

    Casus Belli

    Legionaries had made landfall with the sun to their backs. Sunlight reflecting against the surface of polished lorica, white steel painted red by the light of volcanic heat. Cleated caligae dug into crumbling pumice and rock. Screaming geysers and howling ash-winds had greeted the Legion, and they returned it in kind. The rattle of cingulum as legionaries made their march, the roar of war-horns and the beat of drums. Their path to Westmarch hadn't been met with opposition, but it still hadn't been bloodless. For every ten paces taken, two lessons had been nailed to crosses. Traitors. Noviria had hardly been short of those. By the time the murk of Westmarch had engulfed them, a screaming trail had been left in their wake. They made their camp amidst flowing veins of magma and towers of basalt. Trenches carved into the gray earth. Spiked walls raised. Centurions barked orders given a thousand times, and the legionaries obeyed in kind. A castra created in less than a day. Civilisation so stark a contrast amidst ichorous earth and the bellowing subterranean rot. Defiant order amidst the chaos of geographic change and upheaval. The veil of mist that blanketed Westmarch was hardly an issue; their Legate commanded it's element like the primordial gods once worshipped in ancient Thraece. Those Legionaires that passed him were irreverent, grunting an 'ave' or hailing him as Chimaera. It was what he preferred. What the legionaries preferred. Their Legate had inherited command through right of skill, not blood. As much as a god he might have appeared, he was one of them. Not their lord, their Legate. Still. There was an inhumanity about him. Even beneath the steel-wrought sneer of his galea, there was something else. "YOU DIDN'T BID FAREWELL TO YOUR SIBLINGS." A voice called, dredged from the black of his mind. Willbreaker. Wielding him had never been an easy thing. Marrow was insidious, plotting. His sister had told him as much. Wielding the deathblade was akin to holding a sword by it's blade. Willbreaker was madness. Pandemonium. Instinct, rage and hate cast into a weapon. Seeped it's want for slaughter deep into him. Stained his mind with a blood-lust that surpassed anything he had ever felt before. Lanius revelled in it now. Away from the eyes of his sisters, the Chimaera of Thraece was unbound. Free. "I left them before. Three years ago." Lanius said. Those years were a blur. Empty. Devoid of purpose. "Never again." "YOU'LL FORGET THE WORRIES OF FAMILIAL TIES SOON. THERE IS ONLY US, CHIMAERA." The blade wasn't wrong. Life had become little more than a fugue, where clarity could only be found snuffing the life from his enemies. Taking Noviria had almost ended him. Let Willbreaker fully take control. The Oathblade had never tried to hide as much; it wanted him to be them. I to become we. But he couldn't. He had Adrya and he had Ophelia. He belonged to his family, the blade couldn't have him. Not yet, at least. A brush of fur broke him from the stupor of thought. The drone of purring. Lanius inclined his head to see the perpetrator of his disturbance. He'd taken the kitten from some passing locals, traded him for three apples. All fur and burns. Misral hadn't been kind to her. Missing an eye and a tail. A little wretch who wouldn't have had a chance of surviving on his own. It'd been love at first sight. With a grunt, Lanius scooped the creature into his hand. It bit into his finger and began to chew. The little cat hated mostly everything, and was afraid of absolutely nothing. So naturally, he'd named it Adrya. "WHEN DO WE CONSUME IT?" That voice dripped with a malignant hunger. "Eat shit, blade." Lanius hissed. "FINE. FINE. IT WAS MERELY A SUGGESTION. YOU DON'T EAT, YOU DON'T SLEEP. I GROW WORRIED, HOST." "Worry about killing my enemies." Lanius shrugged, rubbing the cat's head with his thumb. "OF COURSE. I THINK ABOUT LITTLE ELSE." "It's a wonder you think at all." The Legate smirked. "FUCK YOU." Willbreaker snapped back, instantly. Egon had been the only thing visible when they'd arrived. Jutting through the white fog, towering above the wasteland it had wrought. But now, the castra cut through the haze. Lanius wanted as much. Let his enemies see where they were. A Red Legion does not hide. A proclamation of their coming. A challenge to their enemies.
  2. "C-Can I help either of you?" A passing storeworker asked. Trying his very best to hide fear behind a veil of stoic professionalism. "No, dear. No one can." Thelema answered for the both of them. With a sigh of relief, the worker quickly left. "Why did you do that?! Maybe he could have given me some advice!" "You're an idiot." Thel smirked. "Oh if only. Stupidity would make me oblivious enough to where I wouldn't need to worry about this." "So your problem is that a girl's been touching you and you're afraid of what, having a testosterone induced stroke?" "I'm going to shove this ingot up your ass." Wy' snapped, rather defensively. "If that's your endgame, you should have just asked, dear." "... N- Look. Two years is a long time. Cass just up and left and now she's back. And I can't shake the feeling that she's gonna go poof again. I lost my friend and girlfriend when she went gestalt. I'm not going through that shit again." "Nobodies going anywhere, dear. For all your faults you've a remarkable talent for finding people. And trouble." "I don't want to have to find her again. That's not the point." "You need," Thelema placed her hands on his shoulders, craned her neck and looked into his eyes. Blue on amber. Smouldering madness of two very different kinds. "To let off some steam. Wanna rob this place?" "Ishmael told us to behave." "And when have you ever been in the habit of listening to what you're told?" Thelema grinned. "Good point." Wy' grinned back.
  3. For being his best friend, Ishmael still didn't understand the fundamental laws by which Wyatt operated. One of these being, if told to do something, do the exact opposite of it, for spite. So he'd done just that, disappearing and leaving nothing but an empty cart in his wake. "I'll go find him." Thelema sighed, blowing a tuft of silvery hair from her eyes for added effect. "Make sure he doesn't break anything. Or anyone." Another law by which Wyatt always abided by was to always shatter expectations. Thelema had darted off into the maze of isles and the commerce they held, expecting to find Wyatt. He found her, rounding a corner and grabbing her so she wouldn't collide into him. "Easy." He chided. "Nothing ever is with you." There was a pause. Then, laughter. For all the misgivings they might have had for one-another, they could say at the very least; they found eachother amusing. "Take it you found what you wanted?" Wy' affirmed her perception by rustling the box of tools he clutched in metal fingers. In the other, more original hand he held an ingot of mithril. "So you can practice your alchemy on something besides my arm." "I like your arm, though." Thel pouted. "That makes one of us." "Look, I can give it another try but," Thelema grinded her teeth at the thought of the coming confession. "It's Cass' work. I don't understand it. You said she stopped the growth, so why are you still sour?" "Oh, you know," Wy' gave a few cautionary glances behind himself before continuing. "It's not like my very, very attractive ex has been latched to my arm for the past day. What would I have to be sour about? Nothing. Sour? Confused is the word I'd use." Another few glances. Thelema had seen Wyatt disarm countless jury-rigged explosives and stare down mob-bosses. This being the straw that broke the mammoths back brought her no small amount of joy. "Why isn't this mental breakdown being directed at, say, Ishmael? Surely he's the one you should be dithering on to-" "Don't you get me fucking started on Ish." Thel jumped as Wy pressed a silver finger against her nose. "He'd tell me to propose. You know what he said to me when I first met Cass?" "Something about money?" Thel laughed, her voice dripping mirth. "'Seduce her'" Wy' did his very best Ishmael impersonation. It was actually rather good.
  4. “Don’t worry, soap’s on the list,” said Ishmael, choosing to ignore the comb comment for the moment. Do I need to switch my hair care routine? There would be time to consider that later, when they had the funds for luxury expenses. “We may need a washing machine, though.” That had slipped his mind. “Washing machine’s doable. I can hook the pump up to the rain-water tank on the airship. And make sure it’s not pre-built, I want something to do whilst we’re flying.” Cassandra pressed a hand to her chest. “Aww, you’re going to be building something again. I missed watching you tinker around,” Then there was a pause. Amber eyes twitched ever so slightly and he shot a glance at Cassandra. “And my jacket isn’t machine washable. Don’t even think about trying that.” Ishmael looked at them for a long moment. “Actually. You three come with me first. We’ll pass those places across the street after we get what we need.” So they went -- Ishmael at the lead, carrying his briefcase in one hand and neatly-penned grocery list in the other. The convenience store had carts, thankfully -- Ish gave Wyatt the task of pushing it, then began going through his list.
  5. Cassandra was watching the blacksmith’s shop with a strange look in her eyes. Food, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, mouthwash, floss... Ishmael’s gaze settled on Cass and Thelema. “Ah. Girls, do you need…” Ish paused, choosing his words carefully. “Sanitary products?” “It’s cool. I think I’ve stopped aging? A lot of body functions? I don’t think I even need to eat. There was a couple of months I didn’t really do anything.” Cassandra looked to Thelema. “How ‘bout you Thel?” “I’m still skin, blood and bone, despite my best efforts.” Thel sighed. “So yes, I’m going to need hygiene products. And you two are too.” She shot a gaunt finger in the direction of Ishmael and Wyatt. “Wy’ smells like an engine and I’m sick of plucking your hairs out of my clothes.” Now she was pointing directly at Ish’. “So you go get some deodorant and a comb.” “And we’re just going to glance over the fact that Cass doesn’t need to eat anymore?” Wy’ asked. “Yes, we are.” Thel casually responded. “That’s your problem to sort out, not mine or Ishmael’s.” “I still get hungry,” Cass interjected, a tad defensively. “I’m not that inhuman… or-- oh, forget it. And engine’s not a bad smell.” She paused. “Wait, how are you getting Ish’s hair on your clothes?”
  6. “That’s true!” Ishmael chirped, appearing beside them. “Shall we move on?” He consulted his list. “We still need food and toiletries.” He shepherded the trio further into the market. Here, a row of apothecaries and potion shops stood beside a structure that was a cross between a scrapyard and a machining shop. In front of it stood a two-storey building piled with packaged goods from across the continent. Incandescent lights shone from wide glass windows that covered nearly the whole structure’s walls. Thank Gaia, a grocery store. Blairville’s open-air market style was quaint, but it was a relief seeing something more familiar. In front of the entrance were several fruit and vegetable stalls, and beside that a barbershop. Everything they needed all in one place. Ish pulled up his jacket sleeve, snatching a look at his watch. Just about time; it was doubtful Thelema’s memory-affecting spell would wear off, but Inn staff might wonder where their wealthy customer’s vehicle had gone. “Last stop for the market,” Ishmael announced with obvious relief. He gestured to the stalls-- the vials and bottles glinting in the windows, the rows of dangerous tools hanging from a wall, the shower of sparks from a blacksmith welding some armor. “Alright. Get whatever else you may need. I’ll be across the street.”
  7. Then those elven features creased into an abstract expression of contempt and disgust. “The locals enjoy their meddling, though. The big lizards and the tree-folk. Not fond of progress.” “And-- wait.” Cassandra turned to Wy. “How did Ish find you?” With milk tea acquired, Cassandra seemed to have made it her mission to catch up on how her friends had been. With her, this meant filling every gap between now and when they’d last met. “Followed the bodies, I imagine.” Thel commented, taking a sip of her milk tea. It was delicious. But she’d never permit anyone else knowing she thought that. Wyatt shot Thelema a glare. She wasn’t wrong. Oh, she definitely wasn’t wrong, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world had to hear it. “I work for his dad, sometimes. You know… er…” Wy’ looked into the pale, empty eyes. Had he ever told her he was a murderer-for-hire? He wasn’t sure. He was less sure about wanting her to know that. “... Waste disposal...?” “Smooth.” Thel snorted. “So,” Wy shrugged. “It was never a matter of how he’d find me, only when and why. Couldn’t hide from him even if I’d wanted to.”
  8. Silence would have fallen between the two, were it not for the rhythmic pitter-patter of claws tapping against painted glass. Painted beneath the table was a rendition of Ursa Madeum itself, wrought in sepia tones depicting land. Territories in red, green and blue; for Arcos, Svanhild and Corinth's influences respectfully. Lupercarl's digits tapped against Mistral, whether it was intent or irony was unknown. The chairs that surrounded the table were humble things, devoid of any real ornamentation beyond the symbols of the great Houses of Ursa Madeum carved into their splats. Well, save for Mythal's. Dreaded dog had taken the Dread Wolf and smashed it against a wall when he had heard his reason for ruling a kingdom had been because the king had been plucked away by corsairs. Lupercarl had almost reduced Svanhild's chair (and most likely, relations with them) to splinters as well. Lupine ears flicked. Eyes like chips of ice darted to the door that flanked Crowley. A few seconds later, a servant tentatively wandered in. Clutched in their hands was a bowl of soup, the smell told him it was Telonian and Angler shrimp. It wasn't for him. Lupercarl didn't eat during the day and when he did, he liked his meat much, much fresher than that. With a respectful bow of the head, the servant placed the food on the table and left. Tried their very best to not meet the gaze of either of the room's inhabitants and risk either of them striking him with conversation or a weapon. Lupercarl glanced at Crowley, then at the food. "Stop looking so fucking grim and eat." He grunted. "You're naught but skin and bone. I'm not want to kill you by breathing too hard in your direction." Talk had done little to distract from the glint that had smouldered in the devil's eyes as he had talked of Dridak. Of the Oathsworn and of Misral. Guilt. Nobody knew that look better than Gillick's dog. Those broad shoulders sagged. Lupercarl wasn't a creature prone to emotion. One would have had an easier time making a blind man appreciate a sunset than have the shifter talk about feeling. Yet it was an inevitability. Crowley deserved something from him. Though Lupercarl would have preferred being murdered to the alternative, it had to be done. "It wasn't your fault." Lupercarl sighed. Winced as though the words tasted as foul as the felt. "The cull. That wasn't you, Walter. I murdered those people. Not Damien. Not you. Me. All of them, their blood is on my hands. You don't blame the dagger, you blame the hand that wields it." The point of a digit raked itself against his temple. "I'm not apologising for what I've done. I'm well beyond that now." His voice was like cracking ice, devoid of any emotion even now. Cold. "... But you should have killed Damien years before. The break was too many years too late." Damien. Tyrant King. His friend. Lupercarl could feel a person lie. A shift in scent. The fluttering of an increased heartbeat. Eyes darting back and forth. Every time Damien had spoke of unity, of protecting Ursa Madeum and ensuring peace for his 'people', he'd never lied. Believed himself just. Even to the end, when he was more madness than man. And when the Tyrant King had asked him to drown the islands in blood, Lupercarl hadn't hesitated. Couldn't. As children, Damien had befriended him. Others had thrown stones or spat at him as he passed. Cruel, as children could be. Damien had been the only person who had ever treated him like a human. For that, Lupercarl owed him everything. Gave him a kingdom and slaughtered thousands so he could keep it. "You had the right idea. I'll not fault you for trying." Invisible hooks on strings pulled at the corners of his mouth, made him grin. "Next time, though, do instead of try." "Ursa Madeum can't have another Tyrant King, Walt. It needs the Oathsworn again. Not as bodyguards. Not beholden to any one man. They need to be a promise and a threat to the next fool to sit on the throne." "Two more things, dear." Two fingers shot up to indicate as much in a crude gesture directed at Crowley. "Damien had pups. Pups who inherited his powers. And some might believe, his right to the throne." He paused to sup on his tea. "I know of one." He lied. "Siegfried. Apple didn't fall far from the fucking branch with that one. There's more, I don't doubt that. I could track them down, but I've a kingdom to run." "Do you still know those Howlers? Put them on their scents. Bring them to me alive. They do that, I'll give them a writ of marque, kiss, or whatever they fancy." Finally, he rose. Taut musculature coiled and shifted beneath scarred flesh as he moved. "And one more thing. That effeminate statue with Sunscar, I'm going to need to borrow them. They're crucial to something. And so are you." "We're going to have a little chat with Dridak's kids."
  9. I'm confused with what you mean by this. You said that Harrkonen went into hiding shortly after the Tyrant King seized power, and that they're vying to be restored to their former glory since he's dead and gone. Could you give some ideas of what they were like before they went into hiding? How rich were they? How good was it to live under their rule, etc? As said before, it's a bit barebones and would really benefit from some more information! The concept sounds interesting enough, though. Excited to see what you do with them. If you have any questions, dm me on val or discord and I'll get back to ya!
  10. Thud! M'yr was many things, none of them a murderer. And though Slake had to applaud the Cult-Leader and would-be burglar for his 'enthusiasm' for his first bludgeoning, she still winced at the spectacle of it all. Not out of remorse or guilt, Slake barely knew what those words meant. More the languished observations of seeing someone do something completely wrong. That, and she knew M'yr wouldn't have taken killing the guard very well. Still, he hadn't asked anyone to do it for him. Never would have. It wasn't in his nature to impose hardship on anyone but himself. Watched as that mask shook in his hands as he plucked it from the hands of the guard, made his way deeper into the labyrinth of bookshelves and tomes. There was no turning back now. Not since they'd discovered the Great Serpent and certainly not now. Eyes flecked black with corruption glanced over the prone, groaning form of the watchman. Slake gave him an inquisitive poke with the tip of her sabaton. Grinned with it elicited some writhing response in the poor dreg. Having a man choke on his own tongue would weigh heavily on M'yrs conscience, so Slake turned him over with her foot and onto his back. "Be a pig's foot in the morning, poppet." She consoled the man, before traipsing ever-further down into the depths of the library. The tools of academia were wasted on her. Slake was a girl that learned with her hands. Through doing. A lifetime aboard pirate and smuggling ships hadn't given her the luxury of pursuing the finer nuances of literature. Still, she could read. Barely. And with each step taken deeper into the library, the words etched into the spines of the books that flanked her grew more and more esoteric. Made her mind throb with an unwanted familiarity. Down a staircase and the strobe of sensation became a migraine. She heard the break of waves around her. Inlaid with cries of someone beneath. Something. "This is why I avoid libraries." Slake grunted.
  11. Warm light spears through the stained-glass panes. Rays of red, green and yellow descend upon him. Shadow his features; but that silhouette was as unmistakable as the scent that belonged to it. From the silence that had followed, those doors had opened with the deafening crack of a banshee's wail. Now there was an emptiness between them. A heavy quiet. Burdened with the tension. The hush of a stalked herd, moments before the wolf-pack made their pounce. Who was who remained unclear. That had always been the case with the two of them. Gillick had done his best to keep his dog and his devil separated from one another. One spar turned bloody and almost losing two of his favourite monsters to one another had seen to that. Lupercarl had been different then. He'd changed, or so he continued to tell himself, as his fangs and claws itched with the want of the hunt, night after night. Crowley had changed too. More physically than him. Drained. The Oathsworn had been in his prime when they'd culled the islands. Always been whip thin, but where that had been from rigorous training now it seemed to be a negligence of personal care. Both were tall. Towered over the servants. Or would have, if any of them had been want to pass (and get) between the two. Their eyes were the same, too. Bore cold gazes into one another. In the dog smouldered a barely constrained hunger, the burning look one saw floating amidst the shadows cast by a treeline. Crowley's saw more than they should have. Weakness. Every idle movement Lupercarl made was analysed and taken into account. A swordman's stare. Lupercarl wasn't sure he could kill him, if Crowley decided to indulge in personal justice. An Oathblade was a terrible thing to be struck by. Believe him on that. Perhaps the Shifter could rip out his throat or heart. Even then, Crowley was fast. Slippery. And above it all, Lupercarl wasn't even sure he'd stop him. Crowley deserved as much. Half of Ursa Madeum deserved to stick their knives into the Great Dog of Gillick's heart. But they'd have to wait on that. He had a kingdom to rule. A throne to fill. "Are you wearing perfume?" His voice was smooth as black silk. Polite, but envenomed with just enough sarcasm. Lupine eyes darted back and forth as the spectral rendition of a wolf shifted across Crowley. Orenmir. Fangs glinted as scarred lips peeled back into a snarl. Or a smile. The two were very much interchangeable when it came to Lupercarl. "Like fucking warpaint." Those broad shoulders shrugged. His voice had been rendered hoarse by years of roaring countless orders across countless battlefields. A nostril flared. Lupercarl's head cocked as he read Crowley's smell. The bitter scent of coffee, the piquancy of the outdoors. Something else, too. Perfume. Floral. Expensive. Feminine. Not his. Crowley had made him wait. Avoided the confrontation. Lupercarl hadn't minded the Oathsworn's trepidation. At least he had, for the first fifteen minutes. Where the servant's footfalls sounded like wardrums throughout the castle, Crowley's were more subtle. A deliberation on the Oathblade's part. Made sneaking up on Elven villages and Shifter communities much easier. Or it would have, if Lupercarl hadn't sounded warhorns before. Most had run. He'd preferred that. Nothing had brought the beast he had been greater pleasure than the chase itself. Those stragglers that had remained had been Crowley's duty. Ideology had spurred Gillick forward with the genocide. He had a reason for it, which made his crime understandable but unforgiveable. Lupercarl had been worse. Kill for the sake of it. It had just been sport. His ears went flat against his head at the recollection of it. What he had been. What he had made Crowley and the Oathsworn be. There was never thought of apology in his mind. Or forgiveness. He had long past both concepts. Still, Crowley deserved something from him. "What are you waiting for, a kiss?" He grunted. With a jerk of his head, Lupercarl turned his back to the devil and made his way down a corridor. "Move your arse. If you're going to kill me, we can do it over tea." Painting, edifices and ornaments passed them as they walked. Pots whose inlaid beauty far outshone the flowers they housed. Or so most believed. Burned clay. That's all Lupercarl saw. Colours on canvas, as he passed a painting depicting the late Emperor Titus. He didn't belong here. Too clean. Too comfortable. And what was worse, the cooks still refused to serve him raw Cerda liver for dinner. "Last time we were both in Andelusia, I was starting a war. Now I'm trying to stop one." Lupercarl snorted. "And you. You tried to stop a war by snipping Damien's head from his shoulders. Now Dridak's brood only went and started another one. For a man sworn to protect Ursa Madeum, you're not very good at it." "You'll find life is full of these little jokes." The council-room was to their right. Hidden behind a door of varnished greywood. Inside was a modest affair. Grey stone and very little distractions. Only a painted glass table stood out. Upon a raised dais at which a dozen chairs surrounded it. Atop the table was a pot of very extravagant smelling tea. "So, dear." Lupercarl signed through his sarcasm, feigning aching joints as he sat himself upon one of the chairs. It was covered in shed fur and scratch marks. "I've been hearing word you're to go to Misral. How do you plan on fucking that up?"
  12. They'd dressed him. Tight-fitting linens and expertly wrought silks. Stuff a man-of-the-fields could spend a lifetime working for and never afford. Opulence garbed him with an itch. Those fabrics clung to and made his flesh crawl. Though he dare not scratch. Not with his claws. He'd tried that before. Cut through the silks like a blade through butter. So he stood, amidst the beauty and testament to civilisation, Titus' sanctum. Created from the smouldering ruins of what had been his best friend's castle. Smaller. A show of humility, carved up from stone and timber whilst the rest of the country had burned in the chaos of war. Statues to the fallen lined the hallway where he stood. Carved grey eyes held vigil over him. He saw nothing in those faces. No recognition. Perhaps a few of them were dead by his hands. There was no way to be sure. Too many faces to remember in that regard. Granite tiles laid the path before him. Glimmering against the warm light produced by sconce-mounted torches and lanterns. So very beautiful. A testament to the skill of the men and women who had created it. Civilisation and peace displayed through an artisan's craft. Lupercarl hated it. The isolation of the Glaivespines had spoiled him. Brought him true tranquillity. Silence. He hadn't slept since he'd arrived. Kept awake to the rancour of servant's breaths and the buzzing of their heartbeats. A sound that made his teeth itch with instinct. Hunger. Suppressed as it was. Denied. He was a different dog now. Muzzled. Even still, old habits tended to die down very slowly. And these lords and aristocrats were so very, very plump. Perhaps that was why they'd kept him so well fed. Damien had been hard-pressed to keep staff in his castle, with how much Lupercarl had enjoyed the chase before a meal. Better some roasted venison than themselves. And the smells of it all, that was the wors- Achoo! Lupercarl growled. Wiped his nose with a napkin. Davidus had insisted he'd be perfumed until he couldn't smell anything beyond lavender and sandalwood. Smelling like a kennel might... 'offend' those with more delicate senses, Lup, or something in that vain. Davidus had been trying his very best to acclimate him back to high court. Arriving to Andelusia wearing nothing but rags, lice and the blood of his last feast hadn't engendered the scribe to the idea of him ruling. Not that grooming him had been an easy feat, two coiffures bore the teeth marks to prove that. Beard shaved, nails trimmed. Both had grown back, much to Lupercarl's amusement. There was little else for him to do, beyond think and wait. Both things he wasn't overly fond of doing. The foyer was very much the same affair as the rest of the castle; pretty as a picture. Wasted on him. The 'Great Dog of Gillick' stood so stark against it. Like a dressed wound in his elaborate attire. The savage cut through his features, broke the fragile deception Davidus had tried to impose on him. Just human. Barely. Eyes cold as winter's snows. Teeth like knives, their tips jutting from his lips. All of it framed on vulpine features. A hound bayed. Lupercarl's ears shot up. The bloodhounds had finally caught a whiff of that scent. Recollection was shattered to the spectacle of half a dozen beagles bounding down the hallway towards him. The hounds were part of a sute used for hunting. Kept in the castle's kennels. Lupercarl had seen many horrors during his days, but caged dogs were not one he'd permit in his presence. So the dogs were allowed to roam free around the castle, causing havoc as they saw fit. Talking to canids was a peculiar thing. Where Wolves spoke in half-lies and thinly-veiled threats, dogs were idiots. Understanding them came as easily to him as breathing, but answering six howling foxhounds wasn't exactly an easy task. "Who'issit?" "Did ya smell 'em too?" "Whass'er name?" "Do they have food?" "Are they friend?" "Do they have another friend?" "Oh they better have a ball!" "Ball?" "BALL!?" "BALL!" They were silenced by a clawed hand clasping itself around the snout of their pack's leader. Wagging tails went still. "If you keep being so loud, I'm going to eat you." Lupercarl growled. A servant had passed them. Saw a man barking at a group of dogs and quickly started walking the other way. "Buh- but... stranger comin'. We wanna let you know!" One of them whined. "Nobody gonna get by us!" Another said. "Yes. You're keeping the castle safe." He removed his hand from their leader's snout. Gave him a scratch behind the ear. "Good dogs." "Mmm..." The hound mumbled, leg stamping against the floor as he was subjected to the scratches. "I think I love you." "Uh-huh. Go." They did as they were bid and reluctantly they left. Lupercarl turned his nose to the air and caught wind of it again. An old scent. He'd never forgotten it. Too much blood dripped from the memory of it to ever do that. The smell of a Demon. Crowley. A pang of guilt went through his heart. Lupercarl had done his very best to avoid the creature he'd been before. Now he was here, among the ashes of Damien's rule. So Crowley had to come. Lupercarl had ordered as much. Crowley deserved as much. First of the Oathsworn, some boy plucked from the fighting-pits who had become so much more. Swore himself to protect Ursa Madeum, and at Lupercarl's behest, almost destroyed it. Where Lupercarl had killed for killing's sake, Crowley had been forced by his vow. Drowned Orenmir on innocent blood because duty had compelled him to do so. Every life had withered the man. Crumbled some part of him. Damien had seen as much and revelled in it. Nothing brought the Tyrant King as much pleasure as forcing the good to do bad. Using his power for nothing else than the sake of it. The break had been an inevitability. Lupercarl had known as much. You can only kick a dog so many times before it bites back. Crowley could kill him. He'd have every right to. And Lupercarl would have been sorrily tempted to let him. The Oathsworn deserved as much. But Lupercarl had made a promise of his own. War had come again. Fate demanded another slew of death and pestilence. Lupercarl was going to stop it. Save the islands he'd nearly brought to ruin. Save his children. After, Crowley could have whatever he wanted from him. The door knocked. Lupercarl wrapped calloused fingers around the ring of the castle's door. Threw it open with contemptuous ease. Dog met Devil, to the melody of howls of hounds and a passing spring breeze.
  13. Lunch. He was going to have lunch. And give her his keys. The CCD. His puppet master wanted the combination to the safe, too. No, no. He’d just open it for her. Pilfer his most valuable possessions and hand them to her. Why wouldn’t he? Did just that. Took out several bars of precious metals. Contact numbers. Index forums. His favourite watch. Put them into a file. Nice and neat. Just as she’d want them to be. Food would wait. She wouldn’t. Psychic fingers dug into the meat of his mind and compelled him forwards. Dragged his feet as he moved down to the foyer. Murmured something to a security guard. “Thank you, dear.” Thelema told the dreg as he approached. Handed her everything he had. The keys. CCD. His most treasured belongings. “Best get back to work now.” She cooed. “And to forget all about this.” With a click of her fingers, his mind went blank. She was gone.
  14. Rhesvan Olett is lost in thought. Loses himself in memory and contemplation. Images and sounds that come to his mind are half-formed. Lost in brown shades of paramnesia that wash over recollection like ink across a scroll. He was sure his name was Rhesvan Olett. How could it be anything else? For thirty years he’d been known as nothing else. Olett. No. That doesn’t sound right. Not at all. I’m someone else. Am I? Another string is plucked. Invisible psionic chords that wrap around grey matter and pull. What am I doing? Rhesvan sat in his office, staring at sheet upon sheet of paper. Read words that made no sense. Nothing made sense. Signatures belonging to people he swore he’d never met. Deals made. Deadlines to be fulfilled. When did he make these? Glazed eyes swept across the office. Saw nothing familiar. Lunch.
  15. Athnolcithandriss (the mayor of Kuiperal and a mouthful) is a 50ft long giant slug that communicates to people by telepathy and speaks in augurs. If there's more of whatever the heck she is, I wanna see one of them being a fry cook in the Tavern of Legend, flipping dozens of burgers with spatulas held in spindly tentacles and feelers
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