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The Hound

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About The Hound

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    Patron Saint of Corrupted Youth

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  1. 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
  2. Doth have exactly 777 community reputation -- you must preserve this luck my friend.

  3. Greets :)

    Welcome to Val. If you’ve got any questions ask.
  4. Hard as Stone and Cold as Ice

    “You know, lad. You’re not bad company. Silent. A good listener. It’s just a pity that things had to end this way.” The raven-haired man whispered, sparing a glance toward his silent ‘partner’. Fair-skinned and blonde the man had boasted about how fair a shot he was, and had been more than interested upon given an opportunity (and gold) with which he could prove himself. The contract was simple: Single target, unsuspecting, and full of pride. Allowing himself a chuckle, Rowan looked at the twin bullet wounds that had extinguished the spark of the young man’s life. As a general rule, Rowan Knight was entirely against leaving bodies: Bodies led to questions. They led to evidence. And they created an entire host of problems he did not have the inclination to deal with… But for once, the body was a part of his plan. Since coming to Valucre, the wetworks asset had made a small fortune taking different contracts. He was no stranger to infiltration, information gathering, torture, kidnapping, and even the occasional assassination. This, however, was a bloody first. Rowan Knight, former MI6 agent, wetworks specialist, and hired bodyguard had been hired to shoot the woman he had just began to suspect he loved and the fanger she was encountering as per the bloody fanger’s husband. All because her husband loved her. It was like the stories his wi-- Taking a grip of the side of his head, Rowan’s orange eyes winced as the little whisper of a memory escaped him once more. Lately, these little fragmentary passages seemed to come to him, tickling the edges of his mind but never remaining long enough for him to truly process what they meant. Ever since the Himmelfestung Affair and his subsequent actions, Rowan had found himself getting more and more of these flashes… He was not even safe in the few fleeting moments where he could sleep. Dreams had began to plague him, dreams he could hardly remember nor had cared to attempt. Dreams of a human Rowan Knight. Shaking his head and sighing to himself, Rowan pushed the troublesome thoughts of the past and decided to place emphasis on the troublesome tasks of the present. He watched as the little raven-haired woman walked through the gardens, face lit up with relaxed happiness after last’ night’s events. For a moment, Rowan leaned against the parapets of stone and could not help but smile to himself as the heart he had once sworn did not exist jumped as she sashayed her way into the little private area. She had been so shocked the night before when he took her hand into the crook of his arm and accompanied her to meet the Lord and Lady of the house. She hadn’t said it, but the look of incredulity in her face told him that she had expected him to leave. Not to act as her official escort. Not for him to smile and nod politely as they shook hands with Corvinus and Leoa. And certainly not for him to escort her back to her chambers and hold her while they both fell into the comforting lull of slumber. Slipping out of the bed they had shared early in the morning, Rowan had found himself amused with thoughts of leaving her vexed with how he had managed to leave the room so quietly. Casting a longing look toward the kettle, Rowan could not resist brewing them both a fresh pot of tea as he internally chided the lot of Valucretins and their inability to brew a proper cuppa. He readied himself to leave, Rowan stopped himself and scribbled her a note assuring that he would in fact return, but he had meetings with Corvinus and a certain set of affairs to take care of. Successfully he had established his own alibi and set himself to meet with his partner in crime, Efrideet, to make sure that the final details of their plan had been properly put in motion. As it turned out, a good murder attempt required three things: Preparation, location, and causation. Pulling off a successful murder was easy. Pulling off a successful failed murder attempt in which the would-be assassin would be killed and neither you nor the others involved would be suspected? A rather different endeavor. Sparing another glance at the body beside him, Rowan took a deep breath and ridded himself of his thoughts and emotions as his target and the collateral damage took place of the two women he had been watching. Bringing out the gun his accomplice had pilfered from a Kadian soldier, Rowan adjusted the scope and took aim. Ba-dum. He felt his heart beating and time slowing down as he took aim at the psion. That was the primary threat, and perhaps the only current foil to his plan. Ba-dum. Ba-dum. “Sorry, Raveena.” He muttered in a monotone voice to himself no one in particular as his finger found the trigger, squeezing once and feeling the light recoil of the rifle’s butt against his shoulder even as he squeezed the triggered once more. Turning his attention away from the collateral damage, the man moved the rifle toward the primary target as he cogitated his options even as the bullets impacted against his lady love’s left shoulder. That left him with the biggest issue of them all: How to properly execute his assignment. The difficulty with this was the restrictions he had been placed with. Fatally wound her, but not so fatally that she could not come back. That had left him with the obvious choice: A gut shot, which was not viable due to the growing child and the condition that the man who hired him had made that the child be unscathed. With that in mind, the chimera brought up the muzzle of the rifle and took a deep breath as he aimed toward the side of her neck before squeezing the trigger and repeating the process as he aimed at Gabriela’s thigh, hoping to nick the femoral artery. Setting the rifle upon the nearby tripod, the assassin hefted his ‘silent partner’ over his shoulder, placing his hand over the trigger and arranging his body so that it looked as if he were still attempting to take shots. He heard the commotion below as people began to make their ways into the garden, climbing his way down the walls directly behind them. He dropped to the ground and shook his head, his facial expression a mix of anger and grief that was only partially feigned as he pushed his way through to Raveena. Pale faced displaying horror, Rowan pulled up his sleeves as he appeared to check her wounds before placing his right wrist inches from it and pushing his webbing into a makeshift compress to try and stop the bleeding. “Efrideet, find the killer!” The other one, not me. Rowan said quietly as he lifted Raveena in his arms as if she weighed nothing. He began to stalk his way out of the the garden, taking a moment to look over his shoulder at the pregnant, bleeding figure, blinking, and staring at his friend once more. “I have to make sure Raveena is okay.” Since I already bloody hurt her.
  5. roboblu's AFV

    Good luck, Blu. We will miss you, and I hope we get to see each other again!
  6. Hey! (A rather simplistic thread title)

    Hey, as a non native speaker myself I’m glad to help.
  7. Hey! (A rather simplistic thread title)

    You're welcome! If you've got any questions, concerns, comments please feel free to send a message! Happy to help fellow writers!
  8. Your article about Nymphs is good.

    1. Naralia

      Naralia

      Thanks! I wasn't sure I did it right so I'm glad for the feedback.

    2. The Hound

      The Hound

      It looks good in my opinion.

  9. Valucre Discord downsize

    Thanks for sharing this, ‘Los. It’ll help me with organizing the Nymeria chat better
  10. Valucre Discord downsize

    Hey, it’s not like Valchat aggregated at lot of needless stress, work, and bullshit to you guys or anything. Oh. Fu— (Excuse me, gotta keep with the filter) Fluffernutter. Wait. It did! :o Ah well! If y’all think this is the right move, it probably is.
  11. What's going on with Red..

    Not good with words. But here for you.
  12. Nymerian Mage Corps

    The Mage Corps. Composed of the best and brightest magic users in Nymeria, as well as their research assistants, The Mage Corps. is the military’s third and smallest division. It’s main purpose is to serve as a supplementary force to the Land Invasion League and the Deepwatch, providing powerful support through their varied magic techniques. Despite officially being a part of the military, the Mage Corps. devotes the majority of it’s time to research and experimentation, to an incredible and possibly irresponsible degree. On one hand, the near constant time spent advancing magical, and to a degree, scientific progress has led to an unprecedented amount of innovation in a relatively short time span. On the other hand, the Corps. has become infamous for its attempts to spare as few of it’s members for use by the League or Deepwatch as possible, notably utilizing “lotteries” or “battle royales” to decide which Regiments are to be sent while the rest continue their work. Not only that, the Mage Corps. Is single-handedly responsible for the most accidental injuries of young Nymerians in the city’s entire history, due to it’s tendency to bribe students at the Academic Triumvirate with promises of acceptance into its halls once they turn of age. In spite of the reasonable derision felt by the Corps. on account of their less than responsible actions, there is no denying that the positive aspects outweigh the negative ones, providing a steady stream of arcane invention that keeps Nymeria’s power on the rise. The Hierarchy The Mage Corps. operates in a manner almost completely divorced from the rest of Nymeria’s other major institutions, to the chagrin of those who prefer uniformity and professionalism. While still retaining the basic loyalty to the King of the Deep and the King in the Waves that other groups do, the Mage Corps. utilizes a command structure they refer to as an, “Advantageous Anarcho-Democracy”. At it’s core, the Mage Corps. operates as a democracy, with the Mage General acting as the commander-in-chief, the Lord Magus acting as the Mage General’s second, with multiple officers operating below the Magus. Where it differs is in how one is elected into power. The Mage Corps. encourages change and diversity, and as a result, no position barring that of the Mage General’s is safe from being usurped. With the only rules being a guaranteed week long grace period in office, an agreement that politics come second to study, and no enacting grievous bodily harm upon each other, government within the Corps. is wild free-for-all where even the most cruel and cunning would-be-leaders are just as vulnerable as everybody else. From the outside, this makes the Corps. look like a den of chaos and insanity. And it is. But like many of the Mage Corps.’ quirks, they somehow make it work to their advantage. Mage General The leader of the Mage Corps., and the only individual safe from the ever-shifting nature of the other positions. The Mage General generally acts as more of a supervisor than anything, making sure the Corps. stays productive through it’s constant power plays, and stepping in whenever things get out of hand. Lord Magus Second to the Mage General. They serve as a more traditional leader, making decisions on funding, research focus, military duty, and others while the Mage General monitors them, intervening only when the Magus’ actions are in need of approval or dismissal. Officer High-ranking members of the Mage Corps. Officers are the leaders of the five departments of the Corps. They control the actions of their respective departments while vying for the favor/position of the Lord Magus. The Mages The bulk of the Mage Corps. Nymeria’s most talented magic-users are assigned a meaningless Regiment upon joining the Corps., immediately afterwards seeking out the department that best suits their area of expertise. Research Assistants The new arrivals. Every mage has to have one. While they’re too busy crafting new spells or testing devices on unassuming Triumvirate students, the trusty Research Assistants are the ones who perform all the leg work. They record all the data, gather the materials, clean up afterwards, and overall carry out every menial task that the Mages would rather not. Every mage has one. Every mage once was one. Does this mean they get any degree of respect? Not at all. Rumor has it that the Research Assistants have their own miniature governing body, but no former Assistant has ever admitted to such a thing. Whether this is due to ignorance or embarrassment is unclear. The Departments The Mage Corps. is divided into five departments, each dedicated to a specific area of research. The Department of Biomagic The D.B.M. focuses its research on the melding of Nymerian Bioscience and it’s multiple different disciplines of magic, dabbling in the creation of stranger and more powerful creatures. The Department of Arcane-Tecture The D.A.T. focuses its research on the infusing of magic and construction, producing buildings and structures capable of all manner of reality-bending feats. The Department of Artificing The D.A.A. focuses its research on the storing and augmenting of magic through the use of artifacts. The Department of Arcane Combat The D.A.C. focuses its research on the melding of magic and martial arts, whether armed or unarmed. The Department of Metamagical Study The D.M.S. is the most straightforward of the departments, focused on researching magic in it’s pure form, creating new spells and rituals for the different magical disciplines. The Student Interns of the Mage Corps. As any hands-on form of researcher would surely tell those around him despite no one having asked, it is imperative that those in their field have access to living and breathing test subjects to truly understand how their creations would work on the general public. As practically no hands-on form of researcher outside of Nymeria would ever speak aloud lest they have their right to practice revoked, or be murdered by the nearest lynch mob, the easiest and most cost-efficient way to get these test subjects is by bribing children who don’t know any better. Hence the Mage Corps.’ internship program. In exchange for near guaranteed admission when they become of age, students at the Academic Triumvirate spend their evenings as the glorified test dummies for an entire division of ethics-light mages. Precautions are of course put in place. Interns always wear helmets and padding, and are generally kept away from anything that could potentially kill or cripple them. To the Corps.’ credit, there has never been a death of a child in their care since the beginning of the program. There have however been thousands upon thousands of injuries, earning the Mage Corps. campus the nickname of “Childhood’s End”. It is even argued whether there is any educational value to the internship whatsoever. Many former interns went on to become great influencers within the Corps., while also being responsible for some of it’s most famous mistakes and controversies. In the end, the internship program is an institution that has and will surely continue to stand strong. Unlike all the interns who have suffered broken legs. The Research Assistants of the Mage Corps. Every mage was once a Research Assistant. Every Research Assistant will one day become a mage. One would think that this collective experience would breed at the very least a minimal degree of respect for the Assistants. Such an assumption would be wildly incorrect. For somewhat inexplicable reasons, Assistants who have after their two year residency ascended to becoming true mages in all circumstances find themselves either dismissive of or completely oblivious to what they experienced during those years of their lives. And oh, what an experience it is. The official duties of The Mage Corps.’ Research Assistants is to act as an personal aide and scribe for the mage or mages they are assigned to, recording data, providing materials for experiments, and other similar actions. In reality, though, an Assistant’s job is to bend to every whim of the mages while hoping that there isn’t a short supply of interns when they inevitably make someone mad. Research Assistants are the unappreciated backbone that keeps The Mage Corps. Functioning. With the mages so hyperfocused on their own work, it is up to the Assistants to cook meals, clean the building, serve as liaisons between the Corps. and the rest of Nymeria’s military branches whenever the current leadership is too engrossed with internal politics or research, and every other imaginable task under the sun, all while risking hazing and intern substitution whenever they’re not doing anything specifically to the benefit of the mages’ experiments. Though proof is scarce, it is widely believed that the Research Assistants have formed a semi-covert shadow government within the deeper levels of the Corps in an attempt to better coordinate their ranks to keep everything stable. Draft-Dodging of The Mage Corps. Despite popular opinion, The Mage Corps. is a legitimate branch of the Nymerian Military, one whose purpose is to provide it’s powerful spellcasters to the regiments of the Land Invasion League and the Deepwatch whenever they require extra firepower. Alas, this official purpose has long since been thrown to the wayside, with the members and leadership of the Mage Corps. more interested in furthering arcane discovery than wasting their time laying waste to Nymeria’s enemies. Of course, in the end the choice is not theirs to make, and to refuse to honor the wishes of their Kings and his generals would be treasonous. So, to remedy this situation as best as they could, it was decided that when required, they would of course spare some of their ranks. What was interesting was how they decided which regiments would be unlucky enough to be sent off. The most common ways were to have a lottery, where each regiment had their number placed in a bowl, and whichever number was drawn went to war, or to have the regiments nominate a champion to fight against each other, with the losers being sent to war. The method itself was always bound to change, but the basis in luck or skill would be consistent. In the past the Corps. has held quiz bowls, races, tug-o-wars-, eating contests, and more. In the end, though, the losers always honor their commitment, while the winners laugh at the poor suckers who have to leave all their work behind. By: @TheWilySpookster
  13. Sleep had never come easy to the King on the Waves, but surrounded by the familiar scents of the Head Healer’s hut and comforted by the warm, ever-present memories of his time spent with Juni the man found himself finally answering sleep’s seductive calls. It had been rumored for years that after the death of his wife, the King on the Waves had never quite found himself sleeping soundly… But the few who knew him well would’ve been able to amend the statement so it accurately fit the man. After the death of his wife Rxychra’s heart had shattered, and for a while sleep never came. Erratic, impulsive, and taciturn, the Black King had become a maddened blade for a while. And it was only with his family at his side, and Juni’s constant ministrations that he had found himself once more. Unwilling to leave his side throughout the months of his rehabilitation and keeping a watchful eye over his mental health Juni was the one constant presence in his life after the death of his wife, filling the void she had left to the best of her abilities. In many ways, it was her presence that had restored him from the madness that came from losing his mate. She became his sheath. Losing grip of himself in the sweetness of slumber, Rxychra found himself far away from his current reality and drawn back into the deepest parts of his mind. No matter how many years had passed, in his dreams Rxychra could still hear her voice and feel her touch. He could still taste the strawberry-and-honey flavor of her lips, and feel the weight of her head resting on his chest as they slept soundly beneath the sunlight. With her laughter as the soundtrack of his dreams, Rxychra’s memories of the perfect afternoons he had spent beneath sunlight with his beloved Queen played in his mind as a small patch of sunlight that warded off the torrential rain that surrounded the two. In these dreams, Rxychra felt whole. He felt strong, confident, and happy. Almost as if the events that had left to the sinking of Nymerius never happened. But even now, Rxychra was aware of what was dream and what was reality… Because all dreams came to an end. Twitching in annoyance, Rxychra fought his way out of what felt like the drunken stupor of sleep as he felt something tug at a wayward strand of his hair… Which was swiftly followed by a caressing of his nose, nimble fingers against the curve of his lips as soft as a lover’s caress, and a poke to his chin. Quelling the annoyance that had nearly roused from his sleep, the king attempted to relax once more as he felt a hand twirl the same strand of hair that had been tugged at earlier. For a moment, he felt the sleep tug at the edges of his consciousness once more, urging him to relax as the sweet susurrus of slumber seduced him once more… And then he felt something drop right atop of him, wrapping its’ arms around his neck. Instantly Rxychra’s eyes snapped open, an alarmed expression playing on his usually serene face even as his body, honed by years of conflict, sprung to action. Tensing, the Nymerian’s hand went for one of the knives he kept at his side as he was met by… Hugs, kisses, and adoration. For a moment, Rxychra was intensely confused as he shook the last kernels of sleep from his eyes and saw… Juni. His Juni. Wrapping his arms around her waist, the King did something that had been hardly heard in years: He laughed as he pulled her into a tight embrace, crushing her chest against his before touching his forehead to hers and pressing a gentle kiss against her lips. “Hello, Juni.” He said quietly in his deep, melodious voice as his body relaxed against hers and he got his first good look at her after a long, long time. Rubbing his hands against her arms, the king offered her a small but sincere smile that touched even his usual cold silver eyes. Gently putting some distance between their bodies, the king sat her in his lap and looked her up and down. A decade had passed, but not a lot seemed to change with Juni. Not the way her eyes looked at him, nor the way she fit in his arms, or her scent. Distractedly Rxychra’s fingers traced the lattice-like framework of tattoos that decorated her left arm, especially meaningful for the reason she had placed them there. “I am h-” "Shcxay!" Snapping his head up at the name of his nephew, the King eyes widened slightly as he realized that their intimate moment was being watched by one of his nephews. Shcxay. Xaprychor’s son, and a promising youth on his own was nothing like the Black King remembered him. Gifted in magic and physical combat alike, the young man’s Land Invasion Legion outfit had been changed by the silvery armor of the Nymerian Mage Corps, further adorned by what appeared to be the official symbols of the Grand Inquisitor. Gone was the look of boyhood and ambition that had been Shcxay’s standard, replaced by the serious eyes of a man who knew duty, strength, and pain. Feeling the same smile he had flashed Juni tug its’ way back on his lips as pride swelled in his chest… Only to be replaced by a swelling rage that ached to claw its’ way out of his chest as the smiled died away in his face, replaced by the blank mask the Black King had been known for as he placed Juni gently on the floor beside himself. Pushing himself to his feet, Rxychra walked toward his nephew, raising a hand to brush the boy’s cheek gently before kissing his forehead. “Shcxay. My nephew.” Rxychra said quietly, his silver eyes darkened by the anger that prefaced his serene expression as the water around the king began to heat up, causing the man’s hair to billow behind him. “Tell me who did this to you. Tell me, and I shall slay them where they stand. I shall rip them apart with my own hands, I swear it on Myra.” Rxychra said, breath deepening before he pulled his nephew into a gentle hug for a moment before yet another arrival rocked his train of thought. "Surely as all waves return to the seas from which they came, our King in the Waves has returned. Hail, and welcome home! Turning his head toward the new arrival, the man fought the anger that had been building in his chest, sparing a glance at Juni as he attempted to temper the indignation he had begun to feel within on his nephew’s behalf. Focusing on the voice that had called out to him, rousing the man beneath the beast once more as his brother’s other bastard came clear in his view. Urukehu did not look like a son of Xaprychor. Taller than the average Nymerian and boasting of bright red hair and turquoise eyes, there was something about him that seemed… Certain. About everything he did. Or so was the memory of his nephew from so long ago. Standing before him, there was something that appeared solid in the young man’s eyes now. Adult. Flashing the young man a smile, Rxychra nodded toward him and moved his right arm from hugging Shcxay to patting the other young man’s shoulder. “Always so formal, Urukehu.” Rxychra chided him with no real heat, separating himself from his nephews and flashing them both a smile before heading back toward Juni and sitting himself beside her. Wrapping his left arm around her, he pulled his closest friend back toward him and felt her presence quell the rage within him. Closing his eyes, Rxychra took a deep breath. And another. And one more. Like so many years ago, when the loss of his wife had cut him deep in his soul, Juni’s presence provided him solace. “You should know better than to refer to me as King in private. Here, I am your uncle, Rxychra.” Sharing a glance with Juni, the man offered her a small mischievous smile as he lifted the woman and sat her atop of his shoulder, wrapping an arm around her legs and slinging his pack over his shoulder as he stood. Moving as if the Healer weighed no more than his pack, the Black King looked at his nephews and rushed out of the tent, sparing them both a glance over his shoulder. “Schxay, Urukehu. Let’s go back to the Throne of the Oceans… I’ve a feeling that if we keep our lot waiting, they will get a tad bit cranky with me. Juni can tend to you when we’re in the Keep once more.” He called from over his shoulder, flashing his nephews a toothy grin as he began to swim toward the alabaster walls of the inner city. Nymeria, in its’ days in the land, had been a sight to behold. Built by his ancestors from a small gathering of tents into heavily fortified city, surrounded by the marble-like fortifications of the Wall of the Ancients. Raised by his ancestors, and built upon the bones of fallen Nymerian Soldiers, the wall served as a final resting place for those who once served and pledged their souls to serve one final time. Increasing his speed as he swam toward the city, the King put distance between his relations and himself, halting a couple feet from the citadel’s entrance. “Juni… I am glad I got to see you alone. If only for a few moments. It has been much too long…” Rxychra said quietly, turning his silver eyes toward the woman sitting on his shoulders and offering her a small smile as he looked upon his kingdom and felt uncharacteristically… Nervous about entering. With a deep breath, Rxychra looked back toward the gate and forced his face to become neutral once more, as had become expected from the man both feared and revered as the Black King of Nymerius. “It has been ten years since I had gotten a night of peace… But with you at my side once more, I feel almost at peace my dear friend.” He forced the words out in a strangled whisper as he approached the citadel’s gates. “Who goes there!” A thunderous voice called out to him as he approached the old gate of Firdana. Raising his free hand, Rxychra’s eyes sought out the man atop of the wall and stared at him. For a moment, everything stood still as suspicion, followed by surprise, fear, and finally excitement flashed through the soldier’s face as he finally recognized the King on the Waves. In hushed tones, he heard the soldier whisper words of excitement amongst his peers, who began to glance at him from atop the wall. Swiftly, he heard the chains pull at the entrance gates allowing Rxychra and his companion entrance to the inner sanctum of the citadel. Without delay, the Nymerian stepped through his beloved city’s gate and was bombarded by a wave of emotion he had not expected. Nostalgia burned bright in his chest as he looked around at the city he had grown up in. Fierce pride, so strong that it threatened to tear through his chest flooded his being as he saw rows upon rows of men and women whom he had trained with, fought beside, and shed enemy blood with met him at the entrance, pounding their various weapons against the ground and crying out to their King who had returned to them once more… And as ever, words failed him. Raising his free hand Rxychra met their cries with a bestial roar of his own, expressing his pride and joy at having returned to them once more. One by one, the soldiers of the Deepwatch dropped to one knee as their King approached them. “Sons and daughters of Nymeria… Brothers and sisters. I am home.” Rxychra called out to them, the end of his phrase lost in the maelstrom of voices that greeted him as he addressed his soldiers. Raising his hand once more, the king bade them to quiet down as he walked forward. “I am back. Spread the word, and let us rejoice in a way that none but us Nymerians know how to!” He called out to them, motioning for them to stand as he clapped a few soldiers on the shoulders as he made his way through the gathering crowd. Sparing a glance at the shimmering blue building before him, Rxychra forgot about propriety as he began to swim forward once more. Swiftly, the faces of those he had left behind in doing his duty played through his mind. Xaprychor, Rahab, Kharibdys, Urukehu, Schxay, Eilwen, N’ataeya, Q’myha’myha, Ultix, Ulrix, Urzix, and his Juni… They all had awaited his return. And at last… At last… Rxychra Alrandwe di Firdana, the Black King, The King on the Waves… Rxychra, the broken man who had left them. He was home. And he would keep his family waiting no more. @Aleksei@TheWilySpookster@Al Sa-her
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