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King last won the day on February 24

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  1. It was only by the gift of the lightning in his blood that Paris’ eyes kept up with the she-wolf’s movements, blindingly fast and wickedly lethal. It was as fine a dance as any the crown prince had seen in his life, beginning and ending so quickly, not even her victim’s bodies had realized they’d been rent asunder. They came undone at the seams in a disgustingly glorious mess, blood and gore spilling out across the ground in tides, turning it muddy. More interesting, however, were the micro-transformations the woman had undergone in so short a time. Paris’ eyes drank in her claws, her fangs, her feral eyes and smiled appreciatively. She’s beginning to understand her role, he thought, relaxing more comfortably in his saddle. What I’m truly purchasing from her. The crown prince’s jade eyes lifted, flicking his gaze across the way. It landed on the chieftain, eyes wide, body tense with the realization that neither he nor his men could truly contend with the deceptively small, fragile, sword-carrying woman. “A true ruler’s power does not come from their own hand, Bojack, but from the hands they command. You see now what kind of brutality I could have unleashed on you and your tribe, Bojack, had that been my desire. What manner of death and butchery would have met your women, your children. And yet,” he continued, raising a gloved hand with dramatic purpose, “I speak of deals and negotiations to be made. Things that would, both immediately and overtime, improve the quality of life for you and yours.” Gently urging his steed forward, Paris closed the distance between him and the chieftain. He circled around the remains piled high at the center of the walkway, though his eyes did adjust so that he could appreciate the vulgarity of it more closely, before returning to the mountainous man. “You spat in my face mere moments ago, and I would like to think that I have gracefully wiped it away. There needn’t be any further violence between us. Those men, they looked well-versed in killing, and I would have liked to have had their skills and knowledge for our forces. You’ve robbed us of that talent, all for your pride, Bojack. But, I trust that my she-wolf’s display has made you more open to reconsider your, mm, previous stance?” The chieftain’s gaze flicked to Okina, then back to Paris. The grip on his axe was white-knuckle tight, as if he might shatter the notched wood to splinters. Perhaps, if Paris had given him another moment to consider his options, to let the devil of pride whisper in his ear, Bojack would have swung his mighty axe at the prince. But Paris could see that possibility glowing in the man’s eyes, true as an oracle divined the future, and raised his gloved hand once more and snapped his fingers to draw the she-wolf’s attention. “Okina,” he called out softly, lovingly. “If the chieftain does not kneel in the next ten seconds, I want you to bring me the heart of every child in this village. Even the newborns. But use your claws, she-wolf. Not your blades.” There was an emptiness in his voice, bitter and cold as the frigid winds of a desolate tundra. “No, wait,” Bojack snapped. “Wait!” The chieftain lowered his axe and slammed it into the earth. And then slowly, heavily, brought himself down to one knee. Those that surrounded him gawked, for they had witnessed the unthinkable, but they too fell, one by one, then in scores, until every soul in the village bowed before their crown prince. “You’ve done the right thing,” Paris said as he spurred his steed, driving her forward toward the chieftain’s long, wide house. “You just can't see it from down there.”
  2. Sometime later. . . The scarce, delightful days Kalmuli and Gareth shared had become more commonplace following their bonding in the gardens, stretching into weeks, albeit busy and tense with preparations for the coming ‘storm’. Reports from the imperial crisis halls had indicated predictably unnatural readings in the ambient magical levels throughout the Dominion, and the usually swelling in coastal leylines that always preceded the Whispernight’s arrival. It would be coming any day now, blocking out the sun with its terrible clouds of black and gray, rotting the earth, raising the dead, filling days and nights with terror and misery. Standing on one of the many balconies of the estate, this one just above the primary entrance, Gareth found himself pondering the powers that be as he studied the defenses of their ruins-turned-city, their progress, but more cynically, how much there still was to do. His legion had worked themselves ragged this last month, building barracks, spellforges, and high, strong walls that would turn away both beast and undead. They had woven powerful runes into the brickwork, worked it deep into the foundations, and inscribed them on nearly every piece of equipment that would see combat. And yet, it never seemed enough. More walls to be built. More soldiers to be trained and equipped. More wards, more runes, and more sorcery. The air of Altus Arcanium was thick with the taste of industry, hot steel and fresh magic. It reminded Gareth of muddy battlefields just beyond the trenches, where the northern warcamps-- more cities unto themselves --fed and outfitted thousands. It reminded him of home. “It’s coming along well, I think,” he said, standing a little straighter, his shoulders a bit squarer, as he felt Kalmuli’s presence draw near. It was one of the many, subtle changes that had introduced itself to his life. He could feel when she was nearby, long before he heard, saw, or even smelled her. Gareth wasn’t sure when the change had occurred, but he took no issue with it. “There’s still more to do, but I suspect they’ll have all the measures in place before It arrives.” I hope, he confessed more privately. Glancing to his right, Gareth smiled at the woman, so heavy with pregnancy it seemed their son, too, would arrive at any moment. He forewent the usual pleasure of reaching out and rubbing her bulging stomach, cupping the underside in his palm as if to carry its way, before thumbing near the navel in that slow, gentle manner he knew made her ears flicker with delight. For now, she would need to make do with a smile. “Let’s just pray you don’t give birth to the boy while we have those monstrosities bearing down on us, yeah?” Perhaps during the ‘eye’, after the initial assaults had fallen quiet. Yes, that would be fine. “What does your healer say?”
  3. King

    Genesaris AMA.

    I suspect there a many druid covens throughout the land. One of my characters, Gareth, actually comes from a line of druids. There aren't any official tribes that I can point you to in the lore, but you're more than welcome to create your own!
  4. King

    Genesaris AMA.

    You’re more than welcome to. Drop me a PM on the forum and let me know what you’re thinking.
  5. King

    Genesaris AMA.

    It is both known (by some) and rumored. Known by certain individuals in the government-- typically those closely involved with the organizations charged with seizing these individuals. Rumored amongst the general population, ranging all the way from being slightly accurate to wild conspiracy theories. Older children that have been orphaned are, are you suspected, subjected to a very thorough military indoctrination process and essentially brainwashed into the perfect soldier. Those with exceptional abilities either physical or magical often go on to recruited into a number of domestic and foreign black ops programs. Children that are born handicapped undergo a similar evaluation process, with those deemed too unfit being selected for ritual sacrifice/and or experimentation. TL;DR - you assumptions were correct.
  6. Eliza just crawled for the first time and I'm so thankful I wasn't at work when it happened. 😭😭

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Raptor


      That's too cute.

    3. danzilla3


      Very happy for you!

    4. Eternity


      That is so exciting! The best thing is watching your own children grow and learn.

  7. “A good time would be a rather strong way of phrasing it,” Rafael replied, a teasingly devious grin visible only by the soft, dim light of one of the library’s many self-contained lanterns. “I did run into an old friend of mine a little bit after you and Zenahriel departed. We hadn’t talked in a while, the fault of which, I confess to you, is entirely mine, and so it was. . . well, it was delightful to see her.” The emperor’s face softened with nostalgia as he thought of days and nights long-since past, the pain, the pleasure, the joys, triumphs, and failures that had unfolded over the course of years. It had been good to see Her, though. “We managed to say a great deal, a great deal that should have been said years ago, and so it was nice to move on from that chapter in the long, winding story that is our relationship.” Pausing a moment, Rafael rapped his fingernails against the fine wooden table, quick and rhythmic, clickity-clat, then smiled. “Of course, there’s the matter of my favorite mage making her appearance. I’ll admit, I was. . . mm, well, speculative of your attendance.” He raised his had before she might take offense or think it a statement on his, or that of his wishes’, importance to her. “I’d hoped that you wouldn’t be in the middle of one of your grand adventures, or perhaps knee-deep in research. I would have understood, naturally. It’s not as if this is the only time we will, can, or should see each other. But, it brings me no small amount of joy to see you so beautifully dressed.” After a while longer of comfortable silence, Rafael rounded the table to stand more closely beside her, extended a pale hand toward the girl, still coddling the great tome that had, since his arrival, been forced to share her attention. “Come,” he said to her, the softness of his voice unable to mask the authority of his demand. Even with one so dear to his heart, it was not in him to make a request. “Let me look at you more closely and admire more appropriately what you’ve become for this evening, now that we’re alone.” It was the first time in all his memories that could recall describing a situation with the mage and such. Even this far from the celebration halls, the music seeped through the heavy tile floors, the stone walls, from the page of every book and the spine of every tome. It was soft and gentle, barely a whisper on a breeze, but it resonated in him called to her. Rafael smiled.
  8. There is a new Mortal Kombat movie coming out in April. My body is ready.

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Eternity


      I too wait to see this. 

    3. elixir


      I'm going to assume you're just going to watch it for the KABLAM! ZLONK! THWACK! because from a screenwriter's unpopular point of view, it looks like SPLAT - as most game movies are.

    4. King


      Your assumption is correct, @elixir.

  9. It wasn’t until after the Lagrimosan excitement had dulled, becoming little more than a footnote in an otherwise splendid night, more hands had been shaken, accomplishments acknowledged, titles spoken, and propositions considered, that Rafael found the time to slip away. Though his appreciation for these archaic celebrations still remained as strong as ever, for theirs was a culture worth preserving (albeit modified), his interest in the affairs was another matter entirely. As with most fortunate enough to reach his age, blood had become more of an indulgence than necessity. He drank more for the taste, to satisfy the habit, and in some small ways for the intimacy of it all, than any true sense of necessity. And so, his presence at the gatherings more carnivorous became ephemeral at best, appearing and disappearing at a whim, like a phantom in the twilight of sunrise. At the current moment, he’d fled to the imperial library where his dear friend had been deposited by the High Lord, left to comb its many shelves, pocketing any secrets that dared reveal themselves to her. But even in the privacy of these closed-off chambers, Rafael was a quiet man, his steps rarely heard, his presence only felt when he willed it to be. He’d been standing behind Shanna for nearly a quarter-hour, watching her read, devouring the knowledge of the tome splayed open across her lap. He watched how she shifted, how she leaned, how she twirled an errant lock of hair into a thick curl that bounced once it slid free of her finger. “It seems you took my recommendation to heart,” Rafael finally said, the gentle touch of his hand on her shoulder a soft punctuation to the sultry roll of his tone. “I hope you’ve found the book enlightening so far.” He let his hand linger for a moment, smiling down at her, before circling to Shanna’s right. That same hand came to rest on the edge of the table, supporting his weight as he leaned, casting his gaze across the page. Much of the Book of Insight, he’d penned himself, though equally has much had been written by members of the council, the upper echelon of his fanatical congregation. Within those pages, the truth danced hand in hand with the wild fantasies of those desperate for something to believe in, becoming folklore, legend, and myth. It required a keen eye to discern which was which, and many, despite their best efforts, proved utterly incapable. Looking at her now, he wondered how Shanna would fare navigating the maze of its content. “You’ve been up here for a while,” he noted calmly, blue eyes throwing his gaze to the narrow window across the way. The Blood Moon had waned, its color drained and all but depleted. “Enjoying yourself?”
  10. Like most heathen leaders, Bojack was a man that had earned his rank of chieftain through honorable combat. He was taller than most in attendance, easily seen as he made his way from the largest hut near the heart of the village. He’d covered himself in the furs and hides of beasts, protecting himself with sturdy leather armor, with the little bit of plate reserved for his vambraces, greaves, pauldrons, and helm. Over his left shoulder, he’d slung dreadful, single-facing war axe, its edge slick and freshly whetted. The crowd parted around him like river on a stone, until he came to stood at the very lip of his people. The chieftain eyed the woman on her horse, the stench of blood thick about her. Flicking his gaze over her shoulder, he settled a curious gaze on Paris. “And who are you?” he asked, speaking the savage tongue. “The ruler of these lands you pillage,” Paris replied in kind. He’d taken up studying the various tribes that occupied his vast territory as something of a hobby, despite his professor’s stout belief it would never be of any use to him. The men and women that speak this language would sooner rip out your heart than converse with you, my lord. Perhaps they had underestimated the wildling’s civility? Bojack scoffed. “And what do you want, lordling?” “To strike a deal,” Paris replied, a genuine smile lifting his lips. “I’d intended on slaughtering the lot of you, but. . . it seems you all breed rather unique specimen.” There weren’t many men with the size that Bojack possessed, and he suspected fewer with the pension for violence. “An alliance between our peoples could be the beginning of something grand. Cease your terrorizing, and I will see to it that you and your people are well-taken care of. Weapons, armor, food. . . the lot of it yours.” Tilting his head, Bojack used smooth top of his axe to scratch his chin. “And in return?” “You and your warriors help me convince the other tribes to the same. There are at least a dozen out here, and all of you compete for resources,” Paris noted casually, eying the many faces in the crowd. The sickly, the hungry, the weathered and tired. “Kill those that do not bend the knee.” Bojack was quiet for a moment. Paris saw his eyes through the visor of his helmet, moving, pacing as he mulled the offer over. “And if I refuse?” “We will exterminate you like a pack of vermin, sparing not even your children.” The chieftain laughed, the sound loud and booming like thunder. “You speak boldly for a man standing in a wolves den, lordling.” Then he nodded to a handful of men at his left, five in total, all armed to the teeth. The group approached slowly, chuckling as they readied their weapons for what they no doubt believed to be an easy kill. Paris didn’t blink. “Handle them, she-wolf,” he said in the common tongue of the land. “And make a show of it, will you? I want their chieftain to understand the gravity of this situation.”
  11. Alistair Trezzin wasn’t a name that graced streets of Umbra frequently, but when it did, it was done with purpose. The freelance artificer was one of Aristotle’s more enjoyable personas, and coincidentally, one of his more exceptionally profitable. These realms rooted in the old and mystical ways of the world favored magic above all else, and those savvy enough in the occult often found themselves poised to reap gluttonous benefits. Surprisingly, his extended time in Sanctuary had not dimmed his glowing reputation amongst the umbral court-- and on the eve of the blood moon, an invitation found its way into his hands. Aristotle had arrived later than most guests in attendance, in similar contrast to the status quo, notably dressed down. His deep black suit, while exceptionally tailored, lacked the luster of fine silk or garish adornments, and instead presented itself in a dull, simple manner. The mask he wore paid homage to phantoms bound to operas, obscuring only his right side, and on his left hand, a ring around his marriage finger, but also quarter-glove secured to his hand, providing the two prosthetic fingers-- the fore and middle --he’d need to properly nurse the stem of a wine glass. In the thick of the crowd, Aristotle was all but invisible-- far less appealing than many of the others already consumed by the heat, passion, and music swelling in great abundance. That made it easier to maneuver undetected, avoiding handshakes, hails, and smiles that could lure one into hours of conversation. He hadn’t attended on a mission, per say, but he had done so with purpose. That purpose took shape in the form of Her-- beauty atop of belonging and power, wrapped in a fine boned black and crimson dress. She’d bound her long, dark, beautiful hair up and off her pale neck, entwined with golden snakes that weaved through honey highlights, tying back the darkness of her tresses in an upswept twist. Her décolleté matched the elegant raindrops falling from her lobes, and the ruby-laden promise wrapped around Her marriage finger-- a striking complement to the band around his own, marking them as a pair. She was a vision in crimson and at Her back, He was shadow. “It’s a rare sight, seeing you blush.” It was a light touch along the small of her back, lighter than a safecracker’s, that punctuated the statement. The words dripped into her ear, hushed and lovely, each syllable nearly a kiss against her skin. “It would seem my timing is as impeccable as ever.” Two colored eyes, one bright and gold as the sun, the other dark, deep as the earth, searched the faces across from Her. “Mademoiselle Brouchard,” said, dipping his chin in honor. “What a privilege to finally meet you.” Then, after a beat as to not intermingle attention given, he addressed the other. “And you are, miss?” @Jotnotes @Noko @Lucinda Valentine
  12. Paris frowned from his position, unable to see through the thick brush Okina disappeared into. While not a woman of imposing size (at least when wrapped in the flesh of her human half), it was impressive that she moved so quietly. A phantom in broad daylight, the crown prince hadn’t the slightest clue she’d found her mark until the barbarian loosed a furious cry. When that sound, all thunder and fury, turned into a wet choke, Paris knew the she-wolf’s bloody work was finished. More impressive than her stealth, he supposed, was her talent with a blade and the effectiveness with which she completed her task. The last of the man’s blood was trickling from the end of her sword when she returned to the group, a thin mist of red coloring one side of her face. Paris took a moment to silently appraise the woman, noting how proper and right she looked when dressed in the gore of her enemies. More than a warrior, than a mercenary, she was a killer-- born to destroy and end life. How fortunate for me that I should have such a fiend bound to me with coin, he thought. I will be sure to take full advantage of her talents once I’ve ascended to the throne. When Okina was saddled once more, the troupe continued with their journey. The river they followed was a winding thing, with more twists and turns than knot. Every so often, they happened by another well-placed guard, and time after time, Okina would bring them to a halt, slide from her saddle, and slaughter her prey before they’d even realized what happened. Each time she returned, it was with a parting gift from her dearly departed foe – more splatters of blood on her armor, or a deeper shade of red in her hair and face. It never seemed to bother her, Paris noticed, and in fact, she appeared to relish the momento of each life she claimed. He’d need to ask her about that. After a while, their path led them to the promised encampment. The clearing opened in a wide in the forestry, and from the edges to its center, the earth rose in a high hill. The homes were simple but sturdy in make, fashioned from thick beams of wood, slathered in clay, with thatched or wooden roofs. Dozens of well-armed men and women patrolled the area, while others tended to chores, and lawless children played about. Paris suspected a great deal of the materials they’d acquired for their village had come from their successful pillaging in the area. “Remember, I would like to do this as cleanly as possible,” Paris said to the troupe, urging his mount forward in a light trot. “But, if they prove to be unreasonable, we will leave no survivors.” Their approach drew the attention of a patrol on the main path leading to the village, their alarm clear on their painted faces. While one blew a horn, the others readied their shields and weapons, taking defensive positions. More were come, while others-- those incapable of battle --disappeared into their homes. Paris brought his troupe to a halt some ten yards from the initial patrol, visibly relaxed, unbothered by the increasing numbers favoring their potential enemies. With a smile, he shouted a single word-- a name: “Bojack!”
  13. Kids grow up so fast. 😭😭

    1. Kalmuli


      They go from being cute and snuggly and then crawling up the walls real quick

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