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The Architect

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Everything posted by The Architect

  1. Nette. I am so, so sorry that that assclown did this to you, but so proud that you got away. Anything I can do, I will make damn sure will be done.
  2. No matter how many things I quote, my love for you remains unexplained by words due to the fact that it is so infinite it threatens to eat the world.
  3. I had photos with the most beautiful woman in the world, and now I cannot wait till I have her here with me as my own forevermore. @Deus Ex Aizen you are the love of my life.
  4. [ PSA: This is Deus Ex Aizen ] I saw I was tagged a zillion times. I'll review everything after I get home tomorrow.
  5. Not in his current form, m'man. ANd there were no witnesses, so.
  6. Yeah, something you'd know OOC. Not IC man. Therefore that's something HE'D point out you don't know for a fact otherwise it'd be metagaming.
  7. “Actually, Grant… I do believe that making those threats is a job that falls upon me, son.” An accented voice stated, cutting through the silence hung stagnant in the air, much like a pall of dark smoke after a raging fire. Making his way through the crowd, Rowan Knight revealed himself, drink in hand and wearing a decidedly unimpressed look on his face that seemed to contrast with the dull burning in his orange eyes. For the ensuing festivities, the assassin had chosen what his beloved had begun to call his uniform: An impeccably tailored charcoal-colored suit, complete with a striped black and white tie, and a matching ribbon that bound his hair in a neat ponytail. As he moved from the crowd that had gathered to watch the second-bit spectacle, the tall man’s steps were accentuated by the tap-tap of his ornate black and silver walking stick, which served to conceal a small blade. As per usual he wore a carefully neutral facial expression, which only helped accentuate his high cheekbones and overall vulpine features that were almost entirely unmarred, save for a long cut that stretched from above his right eye all the way to the middle of his cheek. As per his lover’s request, he had forsaken the veritable arsenal that he usually carried… Or at least most of it. “My love. I am sorry that I have kept you waiting.” He said quietly as he leaned forward and placed a chaste kiss upon her forehead before taking a long pull of whiskey from his cup. Setting himself to purpose once more, Rowan stepped toward his son until he stood shoulder to shoulder with him. “Son. Unless you seek to look as much a bloody fool as this knife-eared ponce, I would recommend that you learn to rein in our temper. It is the… Knight-ly thing to do.” Rowan said quietly as the corner of his lip tilted up ever so slightly as he moved forward, letting his cane fall to the floor as he came face to face with the elf. “Lothlorian, was it?” Rowan said a bit more loudly in a honeyed tone that seemed rather out of place coming from his lips. “I’m sorry, I do have a hard time keeping track of what my wife, the Empress Raveena keeps around as the help. But I digress. That was a rather inspired tirade, albeit lacking the grace that you slants seem to pride yourselves in. Now, I generally would balk at going on a long, tawdry tirade as you have done so amidst a coronation… But I suppose that since you seem intent on spreading around half-truths and insulting my wife, I must correct you. I understand, however, that you aim to cut at her with the keenness of your blade-like wit… It is only a pity that you seem to have forgotten to hone the edge.” The man took another pull from his cup, eyeing the elf for a moment before he deliberately tossed the remaining contents of his glass at his face. “There. I do believe that’ll help you cool down as I educate you in these subjects you seem so remiss on.” Rowan said crisply, handing his glass to his son as he began to circle around the elf. “First things first, I find it interesting that an incestuous little house of pissant elves deem themselves well-versed in the subject of justice. Your retainers seem… Not entirely willing to serve you… Further displayed with your little fiasco with the parade floats. I do believe that slavery isn’t seen as a just thing, but this may be a key difference in our cultures. Additionally, I would pay special care when you decide to bandy about accusations of murder without a single shred of proof. Empress Raveena’s regent is a single man, and I’d find it rather unlikely that a single human could best such vast numbers. I guess this speaks of your rather sordid imagination.” Rowan tapped his lips gently with one hand as he spoke, stopping once more before the elf as he feigned thoughtfulness. “I am sincerely sorry that your mother has vanished, but with a spoiled, slow-witted son for a progeny I can decidedly and emphatically understand why she would do so willingly.” Turning his eyes toward Grant, Rowan offered a small wink before shaking his head. “As for the Queen, I offer three things: Firstly, my Queen Aurora, I would offer congratulations on the day of your coronation. Secondly I would like to apologize for this rather dark debacle and the scene that this manchild has caused, seeing as only one of us is gentleman enough to do so. And lastly, a word of advice… I would disregard anything that this raucous child has spilled from his lips. Even covered in gold, gilded shit is still shit at its’ core.” Turning toward the man once more, Rowan flashed his teeth in the rictus of a smile. “I did tell my son that making threats is my job. Not only as Emperor Consort, but also as Raveena’s lover, so…” With the blink of an eye, Rowan stood within a hair’s breadth from the elf, face contorted in an alien fury as he raised the back of his hand near the side of the elf’s face. “The only member she takes between her legs is mine, not that a worm like you has any business commenting on business of his betters. You speak of justice and it not existing, and in truth… You’re correct. I could kill you here, where you stand, and largely escape anything akin to retribution. But the truth is? I am a man, Lothlorian, and the back of his hand is the only way a real man would consider hitting a quivering quim of a woman like you. So for the festivities’ sake, I shall hold back. Once. Spread false words about my beloved again, and I will tear you apart limb from limb, and then I will proceed to do the same to the rest of your inbred lot. Good day.” Rowan said, promptly spinning and eyeing Raveena with a smile as he moved to stand with his family.
  8. Ladies and gents, it is I. Your Houndsome bastard.
  9. I am not retiring, for the record.
  10. Time, the wizard pondered to himself, was a funny concept. To some people, a lifetime passed in the blink of an eye. To some unfortunate people, life ended even before they got to blink their eyes. Time was the great equalizer; Whether one was born with a silver spoon up their rear or poor and fighting for scraps, time was the only thing that did not discriminate. Strong and weak, good and evil, big and small… Time forgot no one, and time passed in the same agonizingly steady pace for all. Rubbing the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger Leandros sighed deeply and allowed himself to reflect on the neckbreak speed with which his life had changed as he took a long gulp of his coffee and shuffled uneasily through the piles of paperwork. All in all, any observer would have remarked that the changes to his life had been largely positive. Six months ago, Leandros Kostikos had been a nigh on vagrant wizard who picked up any and every case he could as a private detective in order to stave off the never-ending line of debt collectors that seemed to follow him around with the rage of a spurned lover. He had his dinghy office in Hell’s Gate, his small apartment in the very same building, and his collection of vaguely threatening letters warning him that people would come and collect the money that was due. He would take a meal where he could find it, And then… He got hired to be someone’s private protector, had his debts paid… And never even got to do the job he was hired for. Instead, the wizard was thrust into a world of politics that moved so swiftly he thought he could file a medical suit against Red due to the crick she had left on his neck with the speed she had made his head spin. Leandros Kostikos, post his employment with the Queen, was no longer a wizard private detective. He was a wizard architect. He was a wizard babysitter (babysitting a bunch of baby wizards that had a penchant to blow things up more than he ever did.) He was a wizard paper-pusher. A wizard soldier. And not the least of all… He was someone’s boyfriend… And soon to be a father. How the hell was he going to fit all of that in a business card?! For a moment, his thoughts veered toward the raven-haired woman whose chamber he shared, and a fleeting.rare (nowadays) smile washed the vaguely distressed features away from his face. Lyra had become the one ray of sunshine in the never-ending cloudy days in which he had found himself. Recently he had overheard the whispers of his men in the Iron Legion, claiming that his eyes had all the nurturing comfort of a dental drill. And just like that, the wizard caught a glimpse of himself in the ornately polished mirror in his office at the school and shock washed over himself. He could hardly recognize the stranger that stared at him with hardened lavender eyes. Once described as all long limbs and borderline malnutrition, he was faced with a man who was made of lean muscle and a hard, lined face. His once lustrous shoulder-length black hair now bore tinges of gray that seemed to even streak the beard he had now taken to sporting. Gone were the comfortable jeans and faded out t-shirts. Instead, he wore tight-fighting, steel padded pants and the standard opaque armor of the Iron Legion, adorned with the shroud of the Grey Warden. The man who stared back at him was a stranger (albeit a very handsome, Leandros-like stranger.) And he wasn’t sure he liked him. Lost once more in a cloud of thoughts that more or less centered around the question of who he was, the wizard eyed the one drawer he kept locked. Almost impulsively, he brushed his fingers against the steel contraption and felt the familiar thrum of power that came along with his particular wardings. With a whisper of power and a couple of words, the wizard coaxed the drawer open and pulled out three objects. The first item was a well-worn photograph, taken at an old bar he was sure he still owed money at, that depicted the night of debauchery that had taken place after he had solved his first case. There was Lee, much younger and rosy cheeked from cheer and inebriation. There was Tetsuya, his mentor who had easily been thrice his age and trapped in the body of an eight year old boy scowling at the raucous bunch. Xieronis, his former lover and sometimes partner in crime slapping him on the shoulder… And then there was Thorn, the usually muted druid that stuck as far as possible from the spotlight, sporting an unusual expression of cheer as he embraced the wizard. From what he remembered of the morning after, the hangover had been absolutely horrendous, and the little money he had made on the case had mysteriously disappeared along with (most of) his bar tab. All in all, it had been one of the happiest moments of his life. Setting the picture back down with what could almost be described as reverence, Leandros turned his eyes toward the second object: It was a simple, cheap business card with his name embossed in navy blue along with the title of “Wizard P.I.” Sighing to himself moodily, he tossed card back into the drawer and once again wondered how he’d fit the never-ending string of titles that came along with his employment into a business card. The truth was, Leandros was not happy about his current situation (save for the woman he had somehow found and managed to knock up, and the frightening yet exciting prospect of fatherhood.) He had been used to nights of little sleep and stress, but this… This wasn’t what he wanted. The only thing he was sure of was that he had no idea what to do next… Which brought his eyes to the third object. Taking a hold of the thick, steel chain, the wizard brushed his thumb at the roughly hewn stone pendant he had carved so many years ago. Once again, a faint smile appeared on his lips as he thought of his pendant’s twin, wondering if the Druid had discarded it or if he had kept it. To his surprise, he felt the faint spark of power that had once lit the runic carvings alongside the stone. It was muted, almost gone… But his work had been good, and although the power battery that had linked the two stones was almost empty he was fairly certain that he could reactive his enchantments. Without a second thought, the wizard slipped the stone around his neck and closed his eyes, shutting the world around him out as he felt his magic within himself. “Vocis, Vociferes, Vocare. Vocis, Vociferes, Vocare.” He chanted under his breath, releasing the energy from inside of himself into the pendant. For a moment, an emerald glow shrouded his being as the magic was shaped into words, funneling itself into the stone. When he had made the set, he had made sure that he could remotely recharge the communication spells so that he and Thorn could find themselves once again. He had not made the stones for single use, as he had let his comrade believe… In fact, once upon a time he had a dream that they’d be partnering much more than once every odd decade. “Come on, Flowerpatch. Tell me you’re a sentimental old fool like I am and you kept trinkets.” He whispered into the stone, lavender eyes glimmering with a hint of their old impertinence. As he began to shape his thoughts, the wizard was abruptly brought out of his reverie as a sound akin to a cannonball permeated the quietude of his office, starling him straight out of his chair and onto the floor, followed by the familiar motor-mouth of the man he had hired to conduct research for him. “Damn it Issac, what do doctors have against the polite practice of knocking!” He admonished him without heat, forgetting that he had left the enchantments of the stone running. “Didn’t you read the sign posted outside?! Never interrupt a wizard while he’s wizarding! I could’ve been polishing my staff for all you kno-- WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT ACID EATING THROUGH THE FLOORS OF MY SCHOOL? And I thought I had a monopoly in causing public destruction.” The wizard berated him, lavender eyes alight with glee at the bantering about to ensue, bringing himself back up to his feet as he glared daggers at the doctor. “What brings you here to my lair?” Lair. So much more wizardly than paper-pushing jail cell. @carrionjackal @Grim Wolf @danzilla3
  11. “I would thank you all to not touch Raveena, take your nice dress, and quite presently bugger. Bloody. Off.” A sharply accented voice seemed to cut through the tumultuous reverie that seemed to follow the newly minted Queen around like a besotted teenager. For a moment, the voice seemed to hang about them, disembodied… Until a tall, vaguely familiar figure with an carefully composed expression and piercing orange eyes that seemed to hide some hint of emotion as his eyes focused on Raveena, right hand gripped by his left behind his back as he stepped closer to the group. “Except for you, Grant. You needn’t bugger the fuck off. Although I’d recommend you learn to keep your hands to yourself and not let some clumsy soldier of Emperor Crossdress cut it off. Or do you go by Empress when dressing and acting like a wanker?” Rowan Knight had arrived. And yet… It had not been the same Rowan Knight that the newly minted Queen had known. Usually known for his immaculate choice of suit, and his well-kept ponytail, the chimera had chosen to embrace the role that had been thrust upon him when he realized he had fallen in love with the maddening, inconceivably naive woman he had been chosen to guard. No, he found that he could no longer only be that man and care for her in the way she needed. In many ways, by coming out to the party in the manner he had chosen, he was making a declaration: In the past, Rowan Knight had worn the stoles of bodyguard, assassin for hire, spy, and every shade of morally ambiguous character imaginable. Tonight, however, he wore the garments of the Alethean Queen’s Consort. Clad in a knee-length dark blue overcoat that had been embroidered with the Queen’s sigil in silver, Rowan had discarded his traditional suits for the night in favor of the traditional Matreyan ack’aan… Although he had not entirely foregone habits past. Tightly clad around his chest was his custom made Kevlar vest, nearly invisible beneath the heavy layers of cloth in his coat. Wearing a white leather belt that matched the same white tone of his pants, the chimera had taken full advantage of the ack’aan’s length, concealing a holster and a bevy of his usual weapons around his waist, including an array of firearms and explosives. But the biggest change, however, had not come from the change of outfit: It had come from the fact that his hair-- the shoulder-length ponytail he had worn for years-- was gone, cut down to a modestly mid-length style that had been combed to the side, emphasizing his wolfish features and the sharp angles of his cheeks. Brushing past Koji, the man made no attempt to move out of the way as he walked toward Raveena, throwing his shoulder against the Emperor’s own, eyes never wavering from the woman he had once called his paycheck and now had the fortune to call the other half of his heart. Bowing his head ever so slightly toward her while completely ignoring the others save for a brief tug of his lips and nod toward Grant, Rowan halfway bowed toward Raveena, unwinding his arms from around his back to place his hands at either side of her waist. “Grieevos daa zaii'ya." He said softly, allowing a small but honest smile to play on his lips before he pulled her body to his and brushed her lips with his own, orange eyes never once leaving the verdant pools that had burned his soul so. Ten seconds passed. Twenty. Thirty… And yet Rowan could not seem to find it within himself to give a damn as to what manners required of him. Finally pulling back from her and looping one arm around her, the chimera flashed a wolfish grin toward Grant and reached one hand to rest on his shoulder. “We shall debrief on this situation later, young Knight.” Rowan said quietly, surprising himself as he realized that part of his annoyance had not only been at Raveena being placed in danger, but rather at the fact that his young protege had found himself hurt. “Kodi, wasn’t it? You have a penchant for choosing the nicest dresses.” Rowan said nonchalantly, shifting his gaze from Grant and into the emperor before nodding with mock courtesy. Sparing a glance to Raveena as she commanded the swordsman to raise his arm, Rowan snorted softly and shook his head as he briefly felt his more animalistic urges compel him to rip it off and to protect the offspring. “First things first, I’ll thank you to keep your hands off of her Majesty unless you’ve been invited to touch her. And second…” Rowan leaned forward, orange eyes positively glowing with animalistic fury as he flashed his teeth at the man in the rictus of a smile. “If you or pet sword ever deign to raise a hand toward Raveena or my subordinate, I do believe I will be --in this particular order-- feeding him his sword after I remove your entrails with my bare hands.” Turning his eyes toward Raveena, Rowan pulled her body against his and began to dance to the soft music that played in the background. Casting a glance at Grant, the chimera tilted his lip upward toward Grant as he nodded to have him move off with them. “I do believe we’ll find you a Mrs. Grant yet, young Knight… But the bird in the dress may be a wee bit much for you to handle at your current skill level.” @Deus Ex Aizen @danzilla3 @Twitterpated @Etched in Stone
  12. The Architect

    The Mountaintop

    Rubbing his face, Reinhard sighed tiredly as he felt the coarse beard that had grown in his face during his period of convalescence. Beneath the beard, the man could feel the wrinkles that now lined his face and he wondered for the first time what sort of sight he must be presenting himself as. Once upon a time, Catching his reflection in the transparent window pane, Reinhard found himself surprised at how… Old he looked. He remembered the man he had been. He remembered the fierce, sharp lines his face once had. The unwieldy, unmanageable mane of red hair that had once adorned his now bald pate. Where scars and a comfortable layer of padding had been in his gut, he once had hard muscle and clear definition. But time passed, and he had grown old. In his wrinkles, he saw the tapestry of his lifetime written in his skin. In his scars, the old knight saw reminders of victories and failures… Lessons. The old man eyed his metal hand for a moment, and sighed deeply as he forced himself to look at the young man before him once more as he spoke of the nature of his god. For nearly his whole life, he had found solace in the White God. After a youth of purposeless wandering, he had found solace in the pristine cloak of religion. His whole life, he had thrown himself arduously into his belief. He had missed namedays, laughter, and time with his family. Forsaken it all in the name of duty. Given the chance to redo his life? He’d have done no differently, but… Could it be that perhaps his duty was not done? That there was still a way he could serve? Sighing to himself, Reinhard forced his rust-colored eyes to meet the whorling pools of darkness that laid before him. “Don’t you think I wish I could live longer, Athyon?” The man rasped tiredly, sighing once more as he leaned against the cold stone walls of his infirmary. “Don’t you think I wish I could live long enough to right my wrongs? To fix all that I’ve left broken? Athyon, I am not a man. I am a knight. That is who I am, throughout. That’s all I have ever been or wanted to be. Men bend and break. Men allow their failures to weight them down and stop them. I do not have that luxury, young man… But what I do have, is a short amount of life left I’d like to do something right. Not because I wish to prostate myself in a cross for the God, but because the people in the world still need me… And I am not sure how much I can give them, or how long I will be alive in order to give them what I do have.” Lifting his head, the old warrior looked toward Athyon’s direction-- looked through Athyon-- as he saw the years of his youth. When he was younger, the Dragon of Patia had been another man altogether: He had never looked death in the eye and saw the possibility of it catching up with him. To the young, death often seemed like an abstract concept; death had been his enemy, something that try as it might he would always defy. In his youth, he had often proclaimed that the thread of his life had been made of steel. But now… Now that he felt a cold, creeping weight in his limbs he had not known. Now that he felt wounds he hadn’t even thought of in years... Now he knew a truth that once eluded him. Death wasn’t an enemy; Rather, death was an old friend, a lover whose shoulder you brushed but were not so eager to brush up against once more. And the thread of his life? It wasn’t made out of steel. It was a thread of gossamer. Shaking his head, the old warrior looked at his current self-- Really looked. The years had passed, and in the fervent urging of the White God what had he done? He had saved a great many deal of people-- But in the end, he had lost the people he had loved. He had served a man whom he had long known to be a vile, despicable creature-- And he had slaughtered his enemies without questioning. Like a good soldier… In his zealotry, he had lost his love, his family. In victory, he had failed much. Could it be that he had exchanged one drug for another, as he allowed the religious fervor to overtake his once drug addled heart. Reinhard had been a good soldier. But it was time for Reinhard Paendrag to be a good man. “I have… Weaved a tapestry of failures with my life. In the blind pursuit of a God that granted me power but not the wisdom to temper it with, I have served monsters and I have killed hundreds to protect thousands.” With rust colored eyes focused on Athyon, Reinhard pushed himself to his feet once more and began to walk, extending his hand toward the Imperator. Although clearly pained and tired, there was something else that had been growing behind the old man’s eyes: Determination. “I do not know how much of my candle yet burns, young man. I do not know how many times I will yet evade death. But if you insist there’s another path to walk, I will try to see it through your eyes. So help me see, Athyon. What lays beyond the White God? What do I have left?”
  13. True to form, the adage still held: Men plan, and God laughs. Moving through the crowds quietly, the Rowan struggled to keep himself even as thoughts furiously churned within his mind. Things were never simple when it came to his charge, it seemed. Not her plans, not her goals, not her ambitions. Months of careful planning, infiltration, and political manipulation had gone to waste because of one singular factor: Raveena’s need to play the bloody martyr. Even as he moved through the crowds, his ears were assailed by the cries of the crowd, the sharp cracking of the whip, the soft sounds of her cries. But all of this he could tune out. He had seen worse. He had done worse. What he couldn’t ignore, however, was the sickly-sweet scent of blood. Her blood. Almost contemptuously, he dodged and danced through the barrage of arcane and mundane warriors. Eyes facing forward, he felt the thrill of battle call to him-- And he ignored it completely. With a serpentine movement, the assassin dodged one of the beast’s clumsy attempts at a physical blow, swiftly striking at the beast’s throat with the barrel of his gun, and squeezing the trigger as it made contact with its’ chin. Warm blood splattered on his face, and the man barely noticed. Taking off in a sprint, the man moved through the crowd, not paying any mind to the blows that came his way as he danced death’s dance, not discriminating against those who stood in his way as he carved his crimson path toward his charge. For years, Rowan had lived under a simple creed: Control the beast within, or become no better than the animals he had dispatched. Like a dying man clinging to his last breath, he had held onto the singular shred of humanity that had kept him from losing control over his baser impulses. He had build up delusions of a code. Of civility. But today… Today, he didn’t care for any of it. Discarding the cape he had chosen to conceal his identity as he ran, a few things became readily apparent for those who knew the chimera. First, he had foregone his usual attire. In place of the immaculate suits he had prided himself on was an outfit made entirely of matted leather with heavy plating on his legs, chest, and arms. Subtlety was an assassin’s game… But he wasn’t going to be subtle. Strapped across his chest and arms were a plethora of firearms and ammunitions, grenades and knives. A single word decorated his left breastplate, naming the nightmare he had chosen to become once more: Preta. Every weapon had a purpose, and he knew all of them in his head and how to properly utilize them. But at the moment… At the moment, the second thing also became apparent: He no longer cared. Gun after gun, round after round, he emptied his ammunition at every available target.Friend, foe, innocent, guilty… It no longer mattered to the chimera. He dropped his guns as they emptied, forgotten and far from his mind. He could almost feel her. He tasted her blood in his mouth, almost felt her pain. The world disappeared from around him as the scent of gardenias, once a comfort that bespoke of her presence became cloying, maddening as it was tainted by the sharp scent of her suffering. Rowan was a man of control. A man who did nothing deliberately, and who weighed the consequences of his actions. For years, he had fought to choose man over beast. He had fought to keep the foreign presences in his mind at bay, and had even achieved a measure of peace and control over his emotions. Truth be told, Rowan hardly felt. As a rule, assassins did not form bonds. Wet works agents were trained to be able to fake emotion passably, but instructed that feeling was a failure. It took away from the control necessary to do their jobs. And as he approached his target, Rowan Knight felt something he could not control. Anger. Primal, burning anger that radiated from his chest and stopped him short. Orange eyes widened as the creature boasted of having killed her. Dead. She was dead. She. Was. Dead. Gripping his hands tightly, the chimera felt the shock take him. He fell to one knee as the noise inside of his head became deafening. He felt the insect DNA inside of him scream, aching to tear the beast limb from limb. And that’s when anger shifted to something far, far more sinister. A black hatred burned in his chest. She was dead. Raveena was dead. He felt tears, warm and wet fall from his eyes even as a bubbling, rasping laughter ripped itself from his throat. Carelessly, the man ripped his body armor off, revealing a lean but muscular chest as he forced himself to his feet, slouching as his orange eyes fixed themselves to the beast’s arm. His Raveena was dead…. And all of the bloody cunts that had helped cause her death were going to follow her. It was a conscious decision that led him to unleash all that he had been holding back. In a brief moment of clarity, he understood the chittering of the DNA inside of him. He welcomed their rage. He welcomed their strength. He welcomed the madness that numbed away the heart-wrenching grief her death had brought him-- He would have time to grieve later, after he killed every one of them. He felt the DNA take over his body, covering his torso in the black, chitinous carapace that served as his armor even as his mouth split open, revealing a second row of teeth as two insect-like mandible appeared on the side of his mouth. Dimly, he felt his skin split open as his wings appeared and two sets of spider-like limbs tore their way through his pants at his waist. Lazily, he lifted his fingertips toward the beast’s arms and he felt the stingers that grew beneath his fingers fire at it, piercing its’ skin. A slow, maniacal smile spread on his lips as he let out a deafening, chittering roar that seemed to stun the battlefield into a halt. In that moment, the beast that had been known as Rowan Knight leapt at the executioner, gripping his arm with the crushing strength he had once so hard to control. He felt the bones snap beneath his fingers, and with a jerking motion and a spray of hot, fetid blood, he ripped the creature’s arm off and tossed it to the side. Using his free hand to jerk the creature’s head back, Rowan let out yet another chittering cry as he opened his jaws and sunk his teeth against the creature’s neck. He felt its’ life-blood in his lips, dirty, foreign, and stricken by suffering and he felt a measure of… Happiness. Gripping its’ head tightly, Rowan willed his spider limbs to sink into the creature’s chest. He felt the squelching meat part for him, and with a simultaneous motion of limbs, he tore the creature into three parts: His torso, neatly sheared into two… And its’ head, still attached to the spine. With surprising gentleness, he laid the head of her assailant by Raveena’s corpse and turned around. “For you, my love.” He said quietly, his voice clear and human for a moment as Rowan turned himself around and wove a netting of webbing around her body in order to obscure it from view. The tumultuous sound of battle called to him once more. Turning his back toward her, Rowan allowed the beast within him to take rein once more. Without vacillation, the man jumped into the fray once more, punctuating the night with the cries of humans and beasts alike. Raveena was dead. And there were a lot more who were going to join her. @danzilla3 @Deus Ex Aizen
  14. The Architect

    The Mountaintop

    For a moment, the old man wondered at the source of the voice that had addressed him even as his eyes adjusted to the artful umbrage that the lonesome candle provided in his rather generous confines. For all the years that the old man had carried his name, he had never once questioned what it might have meant. Dimly, the old man’s memories of a day so very long ago where he had been baptized under the Church of the White God’s light and had for the first time been given a name. A bitter chuckle escaped his lips as the man lauded him with praise, only serving to remind him of the dark blot of failures his life had been thus far. Shaking his head gently Reinhard attempted to clear his throat again as he swung his feet over the edge of the bed, feeling his bare soles meet the familiar feeling of cold stone. With a gasp, the man placed some of his weight against his legs and pushed himself into a tentative standing position…. Only to find himself sinking heavily once more against the bed with a grunt. “I wouldn’t know what Reinhard derives from, my lo-- Athyon.” Reinhard corrected himself, forcing himself to his feet once more with a gasp. He knew the weakness that beset his body, a bittersweet mix of the ravages of time, the collection of scars and wounds that peppered his body both old and new, and the curse that had beset him for the past few years and even now ate at his insides, hastening the inevitable truth that all men in time faced. Setting all of it aside with a contemptuous brush from his mind, the old knight gingerly took a shaking step forward, following by yet another, and another still. He had always found comfort in pacing when he spoke. “Reinhard was the name assigned to me by the Church of the White God after they took me in, branding me a new man and washing away the seventeen years I had spent as a street urchin. Paendrag did not come until much, much later when I was already a soldier. You see, a dragon and its’ servants had been terrorizing the town I was guarding… And they kidnapped my wife in order to lure me into a trap.” Turning his back toward the curious young man before him as if to hide the flash of pain that clouded his features as he lost himself into his past, Reinhard managed to keep his deep voice devoid of emotion as the secrets he had carried so long ripped themselves out of his chest. Gripping the stump from which his metallic hand attached to his wrist, the man continued his story even as the runes in the rough metallic began to bathe the room with their warm white light. “And lure me they did. I fought desperately through its’ lair… Only to be greeted by the unseeing blue eyes of the head of the woman I once loved. In a pique of youthful fervor, I jumped at the dragon. It bit off my hand, and I cut off its’ head.” He said in clipped tones, unable to keep the age-old rage from his tone as he recalled his battle with the Adversary. “From his body, I fashioned my armor and hammer, and from that day forth they legitimized me as a noble and called me Paendrag, which was both a title and a jest. He who is pained by dragons, and he who slew the dragon. It was the first time I was awarded for the tapestry of failures set in my path.” For a moment silence stretched as the man forced to take one step after the other and mulled the decisions that had brought him to his current predicament. He had given Patia over sixty years of his life. Sixty years of missing his family, of bloodshed, and of watching men he trained and worked with die before his eyes. Sixty years of serving the mad, cruel Black King in the name of duty and honor… Only to find that the Devil knew little of that when faced with love. Flashing a toothy smile as his rust colored eyes sought out the enshrouded figure, Reinhard shook his head. “I am neither of inhuman will or strength. I am a vessel of the White God, and I am living on borrowed time.” He said quietly, placing his metal hand over his heart. “I have been cursed, and in truth I should have died a while back. All of my organs are failing, and I knew I was not long for this world. After failing Lady Gabriela, for whose protection I indeed left that Devil’s service, I was a man without purpose… Until I had heard of the event you all have called Whispernight. I am seventy-seven years old, Athyon. I have known nothing but a life of blood and failure.” He said raggedly, returning to his cot and sinking heavily against the soft plumage of his covers as he leaned forward and rested his forehead against the palm of his remaining hand. “I am no hero. But great men are forged in fire, and it is the privilege of lesser men like me to light the flame.” He said softly, eyes bright with unshed tears as a ragged breath ripped his way out of his chest. “For the last few months, I have traveled from town to town, and I have vanquished as much of the plague that beset these lands as I could as I searched for an honorable death. I do not know how much time I have left-- Most men aren’t afforded that luxury. But so long as I draw breath, I will fight to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I have not led a worthwhile life. I have not been a good man. But I will end my life doing something worthwhile as soon as you give me leave.”
  15. There were some things about the world of the land-dwellers that could not be explained through lessons. There was the song of the birds; There was the taste of freshly cooked meat, and the warmth that a fire provided during the cold, lonely nights; there was the scent of wild flowers, fragrant and seductive, tickling one’s nostrils ever so lightly; And there was the arrogance of the land-dwellers, who thought themselves entitled to the world around them and never took a moment to value how easy their existence was… But most of all, the King on the Waves thought as he looked up, there was the Sun. How could the sun be explained to those who had lived a lifetime without it? How could books explain the gentle, lover-like caress of sunlight, or how life for the land-dwellers was ruled by the Sun’s rise and fall? But most of all... How many generations had paid for his father’s mistake and had never known the warmth of the sun, or held their loved ones under a tree as they basked in the sweet comfort of sunlight. Without thinking, Rxychra wrapped his fingers around the delicate golden necklace he always worn around his neck and sighed as memories of his lost love flooded him. He had been alive for nearly four centuries, but there were certain memories that stood out more than others. Memories of her. He had long accepted that he had to live on for his people. Long accepted that the weight of his mantle meant that he had to put aside the grief that always darkened a part of his heart. But… It had been in one of those warm, sunny days that he had asked Myra to marry him. Not for the first time the man began to question his actions, but banished the thoughts from his mind with a steely resolve. Today was a day for celebration. After ten years of watching the land-dwellers, it was time to come home. Rxychra Alrandwe di Firdana, the King on the Waves, was finally returning to his people after a decade and he could feel the warring emotions rising in his chest as the thoughts of his subjects, friends, and family flooded his mind. Closing his eyes the man felt the salt-scented breeze as it caressed his skin, embracing him as if to welcome him home. He felt a small, muted smile play on his lips as he opened his silver eyes and gazed at the blue horizon before him. It had taken no small amount of coaxing for the merchant vessel to deviate from its’ route, but in the end Rxychra had gotten his way. The King liked to think it was his charm that had led them to change their hearts, but… But he had glimpsed himself in a mirror before. Standing at 7’0” and heavily built with muscle, Rxychra had garnered his fair share of looks in his travels. Whether it had been because of his odd, silver eyes, or the multitude of blue hues in his hair, or the countless scars on his bared chest and arms, men and women had looked at him often enough in suspicion, curiosity, and even desire. Clad in simple black pants mostly covered by the heavy mithril, steel, and electrum net that was always in his person, the man had elected to forego shoes and shirts, bearing most of his torso saved for that which was covered by the hand-wrought leather pauldron he wore over his left arm and the thick matching leather glove, while his right arm and shoulder emitted a constant seafoam green light of its’ own as the tattooed design seemed to ebb and flow with the ocean’s tides. Sitting in taverns at night, he had heard more than one hushed inquiries as to who and what the man actually was. Ironically enough, the most outlandish humor was the closest to being true: According to one drunken, filthy man, he was a traveling runaway slave who had killed his master and now sought his place in the world. Normally, Rxychra would’ve taken note of the man and imparted choice words upon him… But his story had been so near accuracy that he found himself laughing instead. There were a couple of things to be said about the soft, craven minds of the land-dwellers: As idiotic as they were, their tales were quite creative… And they made fine, fine ale. It seemed that no matter where his feet had taken him in his travels, those two statements were held as truth. He had seen much of what humanity had to offer in his travels, and it left a sour taste in his mouth. It seemed that since the demise of his empire, humanity had sunk as far as the Nymerians had. Devoid of honor, loyalty, and courage, the dregs that lived in the world above thrived on backstabbing, plotting, and deceiving one another. Cooperation was nearly inexistent as they attempted to get ahead of one another, unless it served their own purposes. Ruled by their currency, people’s days seemed to rise and fall in search of more coin… And their rulers. Their Kings. The filth that saw themselves as fit to rule over others had enraged him more than anything else. Weak, arrogant, and unable to look after themselves, they placed their needs ahead of those whom they ruled over… And after observing blood being spilled over and over again over petty squabbles, Rxychra had come to a conclusion: If humanity’s avarice was a symptom, those who ruled over the weak cattle that roamed the lands were the source of the disease. And that left Nymeria’s purpose clear. Broken out of his mental reverie by the cries of the sailors below Rxychra began the descent from his perch at the mast, attempting to find the source of the threat. He watched the sailors scramble around him, seeking their harpoons and mumbling incoherently about a beast tailing their ship. Arching an eyebrow, Rxychra wrapped his gloved fingers around the vajra that hung beneath his net and began to head toward the back of the ship, where the sailors readied themselves to fight the ‘beast’. For a moment, he felt himself slipping back into the old warrior mindset… Until he spotted the “imminent threat” that had the entire ship in such a commotion, and he found himself smiling once again as he slipped his vajra back into place. Rising from beneath the waves was a familiar fin pierced by a golden ring. Belatedly, he watched as one of the men pointed his harpoon toward the approaching figure, and he sprung forward, grabbing the sharpened tip with his gloved hand and throwing his elbow back toward the man’s face, hearing a satisfying crunch upon impact. “Cease. The shark will do you no harm, boy.” Rxychra said quietly, silver eyes challenging them to do otherwise as he moved to stand between the creature and the harpoons. Nodding toward one of the sailors that he had come to trade stories with, Rxychra reached for the bag of golden coins he had kept beneath the net and tossed it to him. “Fetch my effects. I fear we will be parting now.” Moments later the man returned with a large pack, approaching Rxychra carefully and handing them off without looking him in the eye. Snorting quietly to himself, the man placed his belongings against his back and stood atop of the edge of the ship. Nodding toward the sailors, the King on the Waves jumped into the water, satisfied by the sheer amount of gasping sounds he left in his wake as he swam toward the hulking figure they had been so alarmed about. Reaching with his right hand, the man felt the rough skin of the shark’s nose beneath his palm and touched his forehead to his affectionately. “Hello, old friend.” Rxychra said gently as he pressed his lips to the shark’s forehead, feeling the vibrations coming from his old companion Pyxiz. Through their bond, he could hear his companion’s excitement at their reunion and found himself equally pleased. After a moment, the King moved to the side as he felt the shark submerge once more and position himself beneath the king. Holding fast against the shark with his legs, and wrapping his right hand against its’ dorsal fin, Rxychra was pulled under as the shark began to dart forward… And he realized how much he had missed the ocean. He felt the air in his lungs replaced by the water, the saltiness of the ocean around him and for the first time in ten years he felt himself again. Being connected to his domain once again felt like a second breath of life. Exhaustion he had become accustomed to, years of aches and pains that had riddled him, and the disquieted palpitations of unease his heart had felt from being separated from the ocean seemed to be washed away by the currents even as his eyes readjusted themselves to the darkness beneath the waves. He was almost home… And with home there came a host of people he had not seen for nearly a decade. He was sure of what awaited him when he reached the city, because of the reaction he had received from his brother upon sending word of his return: In true Nymerian form, his family sent word of a Festival that was to take place with his arrival. Which worried him. Immensely. It had been a long time since Rxychra had seen those who he called family in either blood or at heart… And he had hoped for a more private affair, despite the traditions of his people. He had always found joy in the… Primal aspects of Nymerian parties, but after a decade above land the only balm he sought for his tired soul was the company of those who had fueled the spark in his soul that kept him walking forward. There were his siblings, with whom he had corresponded with most often. There was his son, who despite his racial differences had turned out to be more Nymerian than many people he had met. There was the albino beauty that headed the Meraki Clan, and with whom he had found he shared a bond of interest in the arts. There were his soldiers of the Land Invasion Legion… And then there was Juni. Juni, who had cared for him when he was wounded. Juni, who had stood by his side as a friend when he needed, a confidant when his burdens got too heavy to bear alone. Juni… Who had presented him to his mate. With the ghost of the crooked smile that was a constant companion to his features and a small, mischievous glint in his eyes, Rxychra gently tugged at Pyxiz’s fin, directing him to change its’ course toward away from the main citadel and toward the peripheries of the city. It had been years since he had last laid eyes in the city, but he recognized it like the back of his hand. Ten years might have been a long time while traveling amidst the land-dwellers… But for his people, ten years were almost the blink of an eye. For all the time that had passed since he was gone, it seemed that aside from a few minute differences in landscape and the ever-growing addition of more lodgings. In the back of his mind, the King noted all of that as the warring feelings of nervousness and excitement overtook him once more. The Faliga still stood where it once had been, a majestic collection of large tents that had housed the Healers away from the city’s busy throng for centuries while they trained. After training was complete, he had learned, they were free to find other lodging as they saw fit… But Juni had never left. Dedicated to her craft, and one of the youngest Nymerians to have become head Healer at that, she had always resided in the same spacious, abnormally colorful tent. Pushing himself off of Pyxiz, the king placed a hand against the animal’s head and nodded toward him. “I’ll see you at home, old friend. Go let my siblings know that their wayward king is back.” He muttered quietly as he shouldered his pack once more and began to swim toward the collection of tents. Without looking back, he felt the shark poke its’ nose against his right arm again with something of a concerned expression on its’ face. Chuckling quietly, the king turned around and touched his forehead against his old companion’s. “No, Pyxiz… I won’t be gone for long again. I promise. Go on, now.” Appeased, the shark pulled its’ head away from the King on the Waves and began to make its’ way toward the capital. For a moment, Rxychra smiled after Pyxiz and remembered a time long ago where the shark had been gifted to him by his son. Not longer than his forearm, the shark had taken to following him around no matter where he went. In many ways, Pyxiz was as much his son as Q’myha’myha… With the only difference being that he had gotten to actually raise this one. Throughout his travels and his battles, he had never been parted from the shark for so long, and his reluctance to leave was almost endearing. Watching the familiar figure fade as it approached the old alabaster Wall of the Ancients, Rxychra turned back toward the collection of tents and resumed his swimming. Landing at the edge of the precipice that house the collection of tents where the Healers resided, Rxychra began to quietly make his ways through the tents. It had been far too long since he had even written to Juni, so he was unsure of what would be waiting for him in her tent. Had she found a mate? Had she grown to resent him for being gone for so long? Lost in his thoughts, he was surprised when his feet had taken him exactly where he had meant to go. Hesitantly, the man pulled back the curtained entrance to his old friend’s abode and stepped through. It took him a moment for his eyes to adapt to the change in lighting, but it seemed like some things remained the same no matter how much time had passed. Brightly colored and spacious, Juni’s tent was a true testament to the woman’s personality: Vibrant, full of life, and extremely welcoming. He brushed his hand against the soft, crimson satin walls of the tent, decorated by neat embroideries and lined with her sparse belongings. He felt no small amount of joy in seeing the gifts he had sent her over the years displayed on the far wall from him. Quietly, he made his way toward the wall of gifts he had given her, brushing the first totem he had ever carved reverently with his fingers. He shook his head in disbelief at the fact she had kept it for so long… Hearing a rustling from his right side, Rxychra spun around in search of the intruder only to be faced by the sleeping form of his friend. He felt a smile tug at the corner of his lips as his friend twisted in her bed, turning from the wall and facing him as she slept. For a moment Rxychra was hesitant to move, afraid of waking her. So he settled for looking her over. Light skinned and boasting of delicate, well-hewn features Juni was a sight to behold even by Nymerian standards. With hair as dark as her skin was fair, the healer was commonly sought after by hopeful suitors. Built tiny and oftentimes underestimated, Rxychra had watched a fair share of people attempt to take advantage over her, only to be utterly shamed when they realized they had bitten off more than they could chew. There were not enough words to describe what she meant to him, however. She had been his rock, his healer, his friend, and for a brief period of time she had almost become the one whom he had chosen. But it had not been meant to be. For a moment, Rxychra was conflicted in between waking her up or not… But in the end, he knew how tiring her job was. He knew how much of herself she put into it every single day. With his decision made, the man shrugged off his backpack and placed it gently on the floor beside him before sitting down and sighing. It had not hit him until then, but after nearly twenty-four hours of traveling he found that weariness had finally found him. Tilting his head toward his friend’s sleeping frame, Rxychra watched her for several hours before his own eyes became progressively heavier. Dimly, he remembered with no small amount of amusement that the last time he had managed to get a good night’s sleep wasn’t much different than this. Finally losing the ability to rationalize, the King on the Waves slipped into a deep, relaxed sleep with one final thought. He was home at last.
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