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Vansin last won the day on May 13 2018

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  1. Constans looked up, watching the trail of dust float down to the floor from the intruders' footsteps. He was delighted to find his happy home so alive with action. There were moments, and they were becoming more frequent, when he really ought to have been more concerned about what was going on around him. Yes, there were hunters here. Yes, he was probably going to have to punch one. But there was a tug in the back of his mind that he was starting to get familiar with and it told him things would end up wherever he wanted them to. Like that day when Coth had been on fire, when he had looked upon his burning civilization in the strange green light of the rising sun and saw in the unreal symmetry of that altered existence a future which was specifically in his control. He felt like God. He felt like God. But he wasn't God. And the puzzle of that duality was far more stressful than the idea of a few men coming into his basement to try something so frivolous as hurting his new friend. That, anyone hurting Xildara, was simply not going to happen. He felt it. Like the feeling of an open palm about to hold something lovely to touch. Like a parted pair of lips just before the breath of speech escapes. If that didn't make any sense, it was because there wasn't a sense made to sense it. What part of his mind was it that could so deftly hang from the precipice of possibility and decision, free-falling forever between them, looking in both directions at once? Constans looked back at the Gorgon with pursed lips. "I don't think you're ever going to have to run from this place." how annoying it must be, he thought, to be afraid next to a man who could feel the future. "Sorry, uh. I mean. Let's deal with this here." he said with a sympathetic smile, clearly for her benefit. The massive serpent around the fire raised its head and flared its green hood. Constans met its gaze and their eyes lit like signal fires passing a warning to one another. Constans blinked in surprise and suddenly he was knee-deep in a sea of green fire. Xildara, the basement, the bread. They were gone. The snake was still there though. It raised itself up higher, laying its head on his shoulder. Constans wrapped his hands over it, hugging the friend who shared his soul. He was warm, comfortable. His muscles twitched gently in this unfeeling paradise, as they might when he was dreaming of himself doing something active. Which was sort of what was happening. As far as Xiladara could see, Constans and his serpent locked eyes and then the father of Coth looked toward the stairway that descended down into his basement. "This won't take a minute." a voice said out of Constans' mouth. It was his. Almost. His eyes weren't glowing anymore. They were shining. Whatever side of the room he looked at lit like daylight, if daylight were green. Stranger still, wherever this light fell took on the strangest aspect. Hard angles bent. Smooth surfaces looked jagged. Did things look the same reflected in that otherworldly light? Or did they look like strange facsimiles of themselves from a dimension in which the rules of realty were a step out of line? And the shadows! The shadows were deeper than seemed possible, each a bottomless hole of black contrasted to the green shades which colored everything around them. The first hunter descended into the light and Constans snapped to attention. "Hey, welcome! Okay bye!" With a savage gesture, Constans' arm thrust up like an uppercut. But he was ten feet away from the man. Yet as his fingers curled together, lines of green-hot fire wrapped around the hunter's limbs. The man's arms and legs sliced off easily, flipping lifelessly to the floor, but his torso hurtled back up the staircase. Other men cried in shock. One of them tumbled, falling down the stairs and into Constans' and Xildara's view. A different man. The smile on Constans' face was triumphant. "You like hunting monsters? Fun, right?" the otherworldy Constans-voice taunted. He walked up to the man, leaned over and picked him up by the throat like a doll. The man was bathed in the green light, and the horror on his face looked all the more obscene in the strange distortion. "Congratulations. You found one." The man's body began to shake, he tried to scream but from his throat only fire escaped. His eyes burst like grapes, and fire flowed from them too. It was all green. His skin flapped like a sail caught in the wind as God's fire shuddered through him. When Constans dropped the body, looking down at it like a toy he was sad to discard, there was little more than a stinking pile of human skin left. An arrow flew down the staircase. The arrow head and shaft caught Constans in the cheek. His face spun from the blow. He looked down in surprise but soon delighted in licking the bloody arrow head inside his mouth. Fire caught up and down the arrow shaft and in a moment the entire arrow was gone, burned through completely. Constans stormed up the stairs and grabbed another hunter, the admirable fellow who managed to fire off his bow. A moment later, Constans was dragging him by the back of the neck like a puppy back to the basement. His eyes were on the man, blasting green light. Clearly the light distorted the hunters' senses, for the man was following after Constans like a drunk. Yet when Constans eyes, and their green light, fell upon Xildara she would feel only the slightest unease. Surely, everything the light touched looked strange. Shapes seemed to look wrong, angles were impossible to comprehend, yet the grace of Constans' smile seemed to protect her from the worst of it. He held the hunter before her, like a cat with a prize mouse. "This one is yours. Do what you were born to do. Feel the rage inside you. And you-" he said, cranking the man's neck until his face was aimed at her face, "Look at her. Pay attention."
  2. Constans smiled proudly. "You're incredibly sweet to say so Demi. I hope you'll forgive me if I do ask anyway. Every time." he said with good humor. One of the heaviest burdens of leadership was resisting the urge to thoughtlessly accept the fealty people offered. When the day came when Constans had to command rather than request, he hoped someone would have the good sense to slap him. After all, what was he? A man. God's man yes, but not God himself. "The other person is an elf named Tirkas. He's a swordsman of considerable skill and a very useful person to take with you through the wild lands. Once he arrives I'll ask you to head out as soon as you're both ready." Constans took another drink of water and nodded to the work she'd been doing when he'd entered. It was clearly something complex. "What is that?" he asked, nodding at it. (Enter: @Spooky Mittens !)
  3. Constans looked up at the library around them with a nostalgic smile. Why did he live here? He lived here for the solitude. For the quiet and the darkness. For the old books of his forebears and the single little window which let in the morning light. How many times had the boy Constans been woken up by that light to find himself drooling over a half-read book? How many times had he come running crying into the dark recesses of this little basement when the older priests had scolded him? How many daydreams had he dreamed between the rows of forgotten men's memoirs? Why did he live here? It was home. "I don't know. It's sort of cozy in here, don't you think?" he said, grinning. "Though I suppose a ghoul might enjoy it too. It's certainly something of a crypt. There are more dead men buried here than you could imagine." he said, nodding his head toward the many old books. "As to your question, I both was and am the priest here. Once, this was a holy house of Gaia Earthmother. Now it belongs to a new God, not of the earth but of the fire in the sky and in free men's hearts. That devastation you saw up there was his doing, and mine." But she had not come for a sermon, and so he spared her his. Instead, he smiled at her joke. For a moment, her irreverent humor reminded him of another woman in Coth who was unafraid to tease a prophet. If this gorgon woman were anything like his beloved Ioreth, then she and Constans would be fast friends. "You know, I should collect donations!" he realized in feigned shock. In fact, Cothites donated to him almost incessantly. The strongest foals were gifted to him, the fattest vegetables, the choicest meats, fine clothes, shoes, gold and rare stones, the prayers of thousands. He accepted them all, but never took them. Well, sometimes the meats and vegetables. A man had to eat. "And what of you, Xildara?" he said, looking keenly at his new guest. She had such foreign beauty. He had to restrain himself from curling his finger under the chins of her serpents and cooing at them. After all, they were her hair. He didn't know for sure, but he expected such a thing might be considered rude. "What brings you to my ruined doorstep?"
  4. "I am ready." It was so much easier to fight than to talk for Viscerex. It was easier, even, to fight than to think. Leave the puzzling over Ioreth's apology for later. Leave the worry over the children for after. There were men here, men come to kill them whose fate Viscerex cared nothing for except that it end. Here. Now. Viscerex caught a sword, pulled down a shield with his axe and headbutted a man. After he threw that man across the room at two other men, he kicked another out through the door and into the hall, then stabbed another in the throat. The last man he kicked, and then in a fit of passion he hurled the previously stabbed, now dying man out the window. Outside, the peasants gasped to see the bleeding body hit the cobbled street. The man writhed on the ground and grasped at his bleeding neck. A woman began to cry. A child threw a rock at him. Back in Ioreth's room Viscerex was putting a man's face through the wall, into the adjacent suite where an old man and a pretty male prostitute sat, one atop the other, both staring. Viscerex stepped back and kicked the rest of the man's body through the wall, ignored the screams, spun, caught an axe shaft and threw an elbow, then collapsed a man's head with his fist. He watched for a moment as Ioreth battled. She was a natural, and the bloodlust in her eyes was exactly the same kind he wanted to see looking up at him from the forest floor one day. He felt for her in his loins then, a powerful need. It was a good battle-thought, and it could not become real if she died here. So he took one man's sword and ran his fellow through with it, then grabbed both men's necks and tossed one after the other out the window. They landed on or near their dead comrade and nursed their broken bones and stab wounds. A child threw rocks at them as well. The last three warriors Viscerex killed with utmost brutality. Whether with knife or broken wood from the now obliterated beds, he painted the walls with their blood and gouged their eyes with his thumbs. The barbarian ended the battle with a finger still hooked in the skull of a man. He was shirtless, bathed in blood, and panting. Blood slipped off of his helmet, whose iron face seemed to care not at all. "What was this, lady?" he asked. Now, the questions and thoughts were returning. Like the world was catching up with him again, having just sat back and watched the carnage, his worries and his fears came thundering back. Why had these men attacked this room? Who did these bodies belong to? He squatted down next to the one with most of its head intact and tilted the chin toward him. These would not be the fathers of the boys he'd harassed. Those boys wore fine clothes like merchant's children. These men were scum. They were no one. "Do you know these men?"
  5. Constans ate and left the woman to her work. Even without his help, the fires in her smithy were flecked with green whenever she toiled. He watched in awe. It was not the first time he had noticed the fires of God in her forge. She was blessed, like he, with the color of destiny. Constans had long since learned to trust its familiar glow. "I will take that drink, Demi." he answered, ignoring her apology. As she fetched a drink, he held his hands before him and imagined his oily fingers smearing over her tankard or goblet. He looked around himself and spied a rag that, if anything, was even more filthy than his hands. He wiped his fingers with it and discovered that it cleaned well. "Friction." he said to himself. And again when she returned: "Friction, lady. Cleanliness is about friction. Do you see this rag? Oily, greasy, blackened, charred. And yet if I rub my skin with it, I come away clean." he said, holding his hand up for his own inspection and hers. His fingers were dry of oil and, indeed, relatively clean. "So too does a land require occasional friction. It requires good men and strong women to scour it clean, else the filth at its edges with creep further in toward its core and disease will take root." She offered him a drink, and he took it. Before he thought to drink, he raised it up to her. "You have helped clean the land around Coth before, Demi. And I thank you for it. I must ask you to do it again." he said flatly, "I have had nightly dreams of the restless dead and of monsters. There are dark shapes rising in the wilderness. Why? For what purpose? And why do I dream of them marching under a flag?" These were the questions which had plagued him for three nights now. Three nights he hadn't slept-- or he had slept, but had gotten no rest, because God refused to be ignored. "These are questions which cannot be answered from Coth. I need strong warriors and scouts to settle the questions which plague my dreams. I need you, and I need one other, to ride out and see if it is true: if some evil is rising in the countryside. Are you able to do this thing?" It was, as it always was, a request. Constans had on him the face of a man truly entreating for aid. Command was not his way. The dignity of all men required that he only ever lead the willing and the able.
  6. "No I'm not afraid. You're not a monster." Constans said, shaking his head with a smile. "And anyone who ever told you that you are is mistaken." Constans decided to take the pressure off her and withdrew. He lifted the heavy green snake from his shoulders and put it down on his writing desk, where it yawned and watched him with a tilt of its head. Crossing the room, Constans then stood over the fire pit curling his fingers and gesturing at the flames to rise. Obediently they did as he asked, and soon enough his little pit-fire had turned into a full and warm blaze of rich green flames. He placed a kettle over the fire and decided he had given the snake-haired woman enough time. "It may surprise you that I'm so unconcerned with how you look, but I have a special gift for seeing to the heart of a person. These eyes," he said, pointing to his face whereupon his two eyes burned as brightly as the fire beside him, "they saw right away what kind of soul you have. You're not a monster, because in your heart you don't want to hurt anyone. That's unlike any monster I've ever seen." he said. He raised his brow in thought. "Actually, it's unlike quite a few humans I've seen too." he realized. "It seems like you've met some of those monstrous humans, hm?" as he spoke, his massive cobra slithered from the desk to the ground. It slowly wound its way over to the fire pit and circled its lengthy body around the green flames. Constans watched it from the corner of his eyes, smirking as the great beast rolled its entire long body over all at once to expose its belly to the heat of the fire. "As you can see," Constans said, shaking his head at the lazy snake, "This place is safe. If you need somewhere to hide you can stay in this library as long as you need. No one enters it without my permission. Would you like some bread with that apple?" Anticipating a "yes" Constans turned, took a chunk of grain bread from the second shelf of his writing table, and ripped off a piece for Xildara. He offered it with a smile. Once her nerves calmed, he expected that she would become pretty hungry. She didn't look like someone who got offered food very often. "The tea will be ready in a minute. So, if you want to talk about what brought you here, you can while we wait. Oh, and if you don't already: know that you are in the town of Coth, the new capital of a hopefully better world than the one you left." He leaned on the table with one hand, the other on his hip as he waited for the newcomer to speak. He had to find a way to keep his mouth closed or else she'd realize how excited he was to know her.
  7. Some people get three “hello”s on their intro thread. You get a deep debate on the artificial nature of our administrative overlord. Welcome to Valucre. How did you find us?
  8. Welcome! Take a look at Coth HERE Send me a message if you have any questions!
  9. It was an especially beautiful day in Coth. On such magnificent days Constans could not help but think of God, of the world God wanted him to create where all days could be as serene as this one, where all places could be as filled with peace as Coth. It was a monumental undertaking, to change the world in such a way. Yet looking up at the bright sun and how it spilled its warm light with such favor upon the sleepy civilization which had risen on Coth's idyllic hill, Constans believed it could be done. Yet if Coth was to thrive, he thought as he walked out of his ruined church this morning, it would have to thrive upon the hard work and effort and, yes, blood of loyal Cothites. The realm that needed to be fashioned required hard fighting. War had never been Constans' strong suit, but it was necessary. Coth's peace could not only be spread through forgiveness and love. There were vile monsters out in the world: undead and the necromancers who propagated them, foul races with false dark gods who could never be brought into the light, god-pretenders who saw themselves as higher than any other divinity-- these people could be forgiven for their errors, but they could not be spared God's wrath. Constans hated it, personally, but it was not his will that led Coth. It was God's. God wished for him to dispatch those foul hearts which would never turn toward his green light, and so that was what Constans would do. Or, at least, that is what he would ask others to do. Others who could accomplish it. For while Constans had God's fire at his disposal, his heart was always bent towards peace. He needed fighters to do God's work. He needed warriors. "Father!" a child said as Constans walked, his hands clasped behind him, through the streets of his town. He smiled and yelled back at the child in greeting. it was not long before that child, and a few others, were trailing the Prophet of Coth on his sojourn down the hill. "Father!" a woman called, and he stopped to talk to her and to kiss the forehead of her child. The child's eyes were bright green like the mother's, like Constans', like almost everyone's in Coth. She too followed the Prophet as he walked on. "Father!" the butchers called and "Father!" yelled the seamstresses and shoemakers. "Father!" cried the soldiers and "Father!" the farmers. He stopped to speak to them all. They told him that the recent rains had been a blessing to the crops, that the meat of the cows was especially well marbled since he had prayed over the sows, that the elves had brought fine animal skins back from the wilds and that the people loved the new opera singers who visited Coth, and the new library the elf Ioreth was raising. A bard picked up her flute and trilled a marching tune as Constans walked down the paths between the homesteads with his growing train of people. A walk of five minutes took Constans over an hour to make, but by the time he arrived at the blacksmith's home and workshop he knew all about what sort of day Coth was having. True to his first impression, it was a good one. "You will all forgive me, but I must leave you. Many of you have heard of the blacksmith who lives in this home. It is said her fires are touched by God." he said, standing and raising his hand and addressing the crowd in front of Demi's house. "Today, I must confer with her in private. You may not know, but she has more than once ventured outside of Coth for your benefit. She is an example to all of us, and I hope you will all favor her with your patronage. Now, you must disperse and do your parts to keep our happy home safe." And with that gentle command the people who had followed him down the hill said their goodbyes. Some kissed his hands, while others bowed before walking back up to their homes and shops and their play. He watched them go, holding his hands clasped together, smiling until his eyes crinkled with joy. When the were all out of sight, Constans listened for a moment for the sounds of the blacksmith's hammer. When he heard them, he walked around to her shed and, knowing she would never hear his knocks on the door, let himself in. For a shed, it was spacious. It had to be: the fires would burn down a smaller space. Yet they were contained in a great stonework oven, and beside that open and blenching cauldron of fire stood the one-armed woman, her work clamped in an iron press as she slammed her hammer down upon her newest strange piece of metal. Constans didn't speak, but when she noticed him he bowed his head toward her metal and signaled for her to keep working. He moved beside her and watched her hammer for a moment, noting the fading red metal of her project. It was beginning to cool, and so Constans held his hand over it, opening his fingers wide and inhaling. He exhaled sharply, and from his palm blasted a small flamethrower gout of green-hot fire. His eyes began to shine light down over the work as his fire bathed over the metal, licking her hammer and hand harmlessly whenever she let a blow fall. God's fire spared the innocent, always, but it had no such mercy for the metal, which it melted down until it was as orange as the sun and as pliable as clay. When he was satisfied, Constans closed his fist and withdrew his hand. He walked over to the center of the room, allowing her time to use the gift he had given her. He grabbed an oil-stained knife and sliced himself off a piece of roast pig from the second, smaller fire pit. He held it gingerly in his fingers, taking small bites of the delicious meat, and found a table to sit on while Demi finished her work. @ViverFever
  10. Beautiful. Perhaps no one had ever looked upon this fearful child-woman and thought that before, but Constans' expressive eyes drank in her dangerous figure with wonderment. His lips parted into an unconscious smile and he bounced from her full lips and teeth, to her serpent hair, to her pleasing figure, to her sinister eyes and realized that despite her appearance and all the evil stories it elicited in his memory, he was still a flesh and blood man and not turned to stone. Perhaps Medusa were not all as vile as the bestiaries foretold. "You don't have to leave." he said. His voice was so soft and tender that it was barely loud enough for her to hear. That she feared him was no surprise. What common man could look at such a woman and be generous? But he was the Prophet of the serpent of fire, and anyone who feared as much as this poor creature feared was certainly one of God's children. He took her hand with all the care in the world and placed the apple in her palm. "You don't have to go anywhere." he said, and stood up. He stepped back from her and watched her watching him, and winked. He extended his arms out to his sides and pinched the tips of his pointer fingers and thumbs together, making an "O" between them on each hand. He began to weave them in their air around each other making a huge circle in the air until, all of a sudden, something miraculous began to appear. From the "O" in each hand, the serpentine body of a vividly green snake began to trail out. From one hand sprouted the cobra head, from the other the pointed tip of a tail. Constans spun his hands for a long time, for the snake was massive and thick. By the end of his conjuring, a serpent over ten feet long had appeared and crawled over his shoulders, wrapping itself around his neck like some elaborate and immense scarf. The snake beheld Xildara and flicked its tongue in her direction. "I am a friend to serpents of all sorts. As are you, I think." Constans said by way of a thesis to his summoning trick. He extended his hand toward her and the green snake wound its way down to Xiladra, poking its head curiously at her hair-serpents, flicking its tongue as it tried to get the measure of them. "Will you stand? Will you eat? Do you have a thirst? I can make us tea and we can know one another, if you wish it." @Inked_Fox
  11. Lying in bed, Viscerex watched Mythandriel's back rise and fall in time with her deep breaths and, past her, saw her elder cousin Ioreth stir. Ioreth sat up and turned back to him, perplexity written in shadows across her face. He narrowed his eyes so that she would not see, and through his lashes watched her linger and then leave. He had spent too long with her not to sense the confusion inside her. He bit his lip and waited. Upon hearing the front door close softly behind Ioreth, Viscerex closed his eyes and thought back to the feeling of holding her in his arms. His heart swelled. She, so little, like a child in his arms. He felt the impression of her head against his chest again and remembered how warm he grew at her touch. If God was love, as the priest so often said, then he had been so full of God in that moment. For once, he had felt a sense of contentment, of deep quietude in his soul. She had leaned on him, and only now did he realize how heavily his heart had leaned on her in these past months. He realized who had given him the little hope he used to carry on living after God had chastened him. And now, that hope was growing. And the shape it was taking would forever be called Ioreth. A while later, Viscerex sat up. He put his hands on his knees and looked over the bedroom with all of its oddities and all of its natural splendor. He could have been content here in her sanctum, but not without her. He looked back to the sleeping elf-child and raised his hands to his helmet, unclasping its locks and parting it from his head. He set it down beside himself and twisted over Mythandriel for long enough to place a soft kiss on her brow. He had her to thank for all this, in a fashion. It was good that she had not died. He remembered her familiar weight on his back as he slogged through the knee-high snows. How he would panic in the moments where she took too long to catch her next breath. He remembered watching he be cut upon, and the fury it had raised inside him him. He wanted to protect her from danger, even though the world was danger. He touched her sweaty hair, stroking it behind her ear so it would not tickle her face. Then, he put his helmet back on and left her there to sleep undisturbed. Soon he too left Ioreth's home to strike out into the wilderness. He needed to sleep under the stars. He needed to hunt again, to feed his Ioreth and his Mythadnriel.
  12. I was just talking to @Spooky Mittens about why HoH failed on Gaia and he very accurately noted that these three-on-three team brawls are such a logistical nightmare that expecting even one 8 person fight to actually write to completion is almost impossible. HoH's biggest problem is always a petering out of participation. And it would be no different here. I agree with Supernal that if such a thing were done here (not that we particularly need it here, since its nothing revolutionary rules-wise, and more just one Gaian clique's past-its-prime social event) it should be really, really scaled back in scope. At that point, just go find a handful of fighters and organize them into a bracket for fun. Which, I think, people do here already occasionally.
  13. We're extremely excited to have you writing in Coth! There are a ton of great settings on here for you to explore as well, so don't be shy about trying them out if you like them! Looking forward to writing with you!
  14. "Ioreth?" a voice called out in the darkness. Before Xildara saw Constans, she saw his eyes. They burned like two green stars blinking between the bookshelves, sailing through the darkness of night together in search of answers. They were wide and inquisitive; warm, not hot. When the man who possessed them emerged from the shadows, his vivid eyes found themselves falling Xildara with surprise. This figure huddled in his library, whoever she was, was not Ioreth. Studying the woman's body language, Constans chocked expression softened and he lowered himself at once to a crouch. For a priest, he had been given the gift of a powerful frame and a donation of strength and dexterity by God. When you stood him next to a warrior of Coth, he compared well. He hoped that by crouching he might pose a less intimidating figure to whomever it was lurking in his makeshift quarters. ""Hello there." he said cautiously. His face crinkled into a wide and forgiving smile. He was a comely man, all agreed, with a shadow of hair over his formerly shaved head, big ears, an aquiline nose and full lips. He had a face made for smiles. "I'm Constans. This is my home. Please don't be afraid." His smile faded somewhat the more he observed this newcomer, however. Something strange was going on under her hood and from his perspective it didn't look entirely natural. He saw something writhing around her head, and the hissing sounds were unmistakable. His eyes narrowed. "Forgive me, but are you well? Take down your hood and let me look upon you." While he didn't understand what he would see when she did so, he spared a moment to look down by her feet. He saw that she had dropped an apple. He plucked it off the floor in two fingers and looked back toward the mysterious visitor. Deciding to trust rather than suspect, the Prophet reached out and offered his new guest the apple. After dusting it off a bit, of course. "Is this yours?" @Inked_Fox
  15. Welcome! 

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