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Everything posted by King

  1. 05/26/20 Canon update. Everything Is Permitted (Aphelion): The covert-ops group Aphelion begins operations to destabilize Joran City.
  2. King

    Genesaris AMA.

    No, I don't think it will (though that may not always be the case). There was an exceedingly large amount of unused lore/areas in Genesaris when The Hummingbird first used the Whispernight for that purpose. It was sort of a one-off deal. Since then, members have been pretty solid about not creating things and leaving them to die. Activity is steady and while there are some areas that could use a tune-up/update, lore-wise, it's nowhere near the level that would require than kind of response. For now and the foreseeable future, the Whispernight will function as a plot element to breed more stories and interactions between players. There was a member that actually planned to set out on a grand adventure to stop the Whispernight a while ago, but he ended up leaving the forum. Maybe someone else will pick up where that player left off and finish the good fight? 😉
  3. Genesar Saltwater Mackerel Type » Fish Temperament » Benign Sapience » Low Size » 0.5 - 2 ft Weight » 4 - 5 lbs Habitat » Saltwater Location » Southeastern Ocean of Genesaris Special Abilities » None A delicious specimen of a fish, the Genesar Saltwater Mackerel is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It can be found commonly at a depth of between 8 ft to 20 ft in saltwater. The flesh of the mackerel spoils very quickly, so it is advised that the fish be refrigerated if it is to be kept for a duration greater than twenty four hours. Credit to Phoebe.
  4. King

    Genesaris AMA.

    I'll be sure to add it to the bestiary list tonight. Yes, it will. It typically happens during the Fall, closer to Halloween.
  5. Rune sees his partner, his friend, struggling with the protector. She drives her daggers deeper, and yet they prove useless. More energy pours out from the wound, filling the air, and yet his grip does not wane. The ceiling comes down upon them, crushing the earth beneath their feet, slamming into the protector. But it’s the assassin’s quick magic, calling the wind to his aid once again, that saves Sybil from certain death. With a flick of his wrist, the wind churns beneath her, spiraling up into a canopy above her head. It shatters the stones that touch it into fragments, earthen tears that pelt and hammer against the protector’s stone-like plates. With the ceiling gone, the sky peering down at them, Rune tugs his hand back. The wind responds, lifting and jerking Sybil away. It places her down several meters away, her weapons tugged free from the creature’s joints as well. “The spell is almost complete,” Rune says to Sybil. “His weapon.” He can’t see the spell circle unfolding, but he feels it. Feels it growing in power, ready to detonate. But the protector has grown tired of their antics, and with an inhuman roar, it summons more energy from within its. The coils lash and slice through the air, devastate the walls and rubble surrounding it. It leaps into the air, no longer boxed in by the tomb’s roof, soaring at least a hundred feet above them. The mace in its hand is enveloped in a devilish aura of purple-red flames, which it intends to bring down on them like divine judgment. The first target? The old man’s wounded daughter. It falls like a comet, streaking across the sky, as the protector seeks to crush her with a mighty blow.
  6. Irritation bloomed across the young lord’s face at his beloved’s confession, though it was a brief affair, vanishing as quickly as an explosion. Leaving? Why then had they elected her brother, the king, to serve as their monarch in the first place? The decision to abscond from the shores of their changing island could not have been a recent one, let alone impulsive. This conclusion was something the elven king, even if only in his heart of hearts, must have known for quite some time. The other nobles houses, they’d made a fool of themselves agreeing to the ascension of this man—and now, whether politely or otherwise, Lyrei’s brother would be rubbing their noses in it. “My love.” Alexandros kept her hands hidden safely in the valley of his own, lifted them to his lips and kissed them. He kissed each knuckle, softly, reverently, and then brushed his cheeks across their smooth backs. When he was finished, he pulled her closer to his chest, and wrapped her in the strength and warmth of a man in love. “I do not seek your hand for your family’s name or its worth. The only name of house Mythal that I care about is yours, Lyrei.” He spoke the woods in the ocean of her golden hair, his chin posed gently atop the crown of her head. “I will have you as my wife, no matter if you are the richest woman in all Ursa Madeum or the poorest.” And yet, despite the sincerity of his confession, Alexandros’ mind—cursed with strategy and cunning—could not help but ponder. What would become of the lands belonging to house Mythal once they’d abandoned them? Should they not, by default, be inherited by his wife to be? They were Lyrei’s by her very birthright, a notion that Alexandros was not so quickly to dismiss. While not worth being considered a priority (yet), it presented an opportunity for the newly betrothed that, as the lord of House Kholin, he could not bring himself to ignore. They would speak to Milorian together, after his joys of the evening and stupor of celebration had waned, after the king had made his grim announcement, and after he’d secured Lyrei as his wife. He would wed her the moment they returned Skyfall. “Come,” he said, uncoiling his arms from around her and stealing her delicate hand once again. “We’ve a long journey ahead of us, my love.” In all his eagerness, however, the lord did not wish to appear unkind. At the door of the study, he half-turned to face her, his eyes soft, his smile softer. “I promise, you will see your family again before they depart. I am not so lost in our love that I would dare risk that. Once we’ve returned home and we’ve been wed, I will send a raven to Milorian bearing invitation.” Alexandros hardly recognized the voice coming from his lips, calm and yet commanding, unburdened by the nerves she often set ablaze inside him. He felt like a new man. They left as swiftly as he’d arrived, slipping away from the party without incident. And in the carriage, he read to her as they rode—of the story they were writing together.
  7. King

    The Usurper

    Rafael sat waiting on his throne for the knight’s return, unworried, unburdened, and confident that his little impostor had, at the very least, gathered some idea of the manners her lord expected of her. This delicious treatment she basked in, including the power she’d taken to wielding so violently and without thought, it was but a glimpse of the emperor’s generosity. She had taken to becoming that which he desired, and for that, he’d gifted her these things and more than she knew. But Rafael’s bounty was an impossibly thin blade, as likely to cut its wielder as it was one’s enemy, and Dollya knew better than most the bottomless depths of his depraved cruelty, which lie just on the other end of its edge. She would enjoy the luxurious of being his empress so long as she behaved as such—and the moment she thought herself more, or behaved any less, she would find herself shouldering the fullest weight of his displeasure. The knight returned, the platter still in his armored hands, Redrick’s head atop it, though Rafael noted the eyes he’d so carefully posed were missing. At the young man’s explanation, the emperor could not help the low, dark chuckle that slid from his lips. It reminded him of the young woman he’d met that day in the rain as he stood in the sepulcher, mourning the death of his cousin who, unsurprisingly, was very much alive. Dollya had proven herself fond of the dramatic, as he closed his eyes, he could picture her, with perfect clarity, crushing each eye with her perfect teeth, letting the goo splash down her chin, her neck; hear it as she chewed and swallowed. It must have been a sight, if his imagination was even a fraction of what the knight had witnessed. “The empress wishes to have the jailor’s head preserved, my lord,” the knight explained, a tremble to his voice. He’d realized, only just before entering the throne room, what the woman’s intention had been. Had it been his scent, his voice? True, he’d paid several times to deal in the pleasure of punishing her, but he was but one of many—a legion, if rumors were true. How could she have remembered his face, of all the ones she’d seen? “She would see it put on a spike in her garden. This, she says, would please her greatly.” The tremble grew in his voice, irritating his emperor as it interrupted his typically smooth, pleasing baritone. “And?” The knight swallowed. “You would make me repeat myself?” The knight shook his bowing head, terror gripping him. “She says that it saddens her to think of him suffering alone. It is her desire that he accompanied by his friends—the good men that bought his product; product that was never his to sell.” Rafael frowned, lightly scratching his beard. “I see. Being one yourself, I trust you know many of the others that gave their coin to merchant there?” The knight nodded. “And just how many of the palace guards purchased his wares?” “At least a dozen,” the knight replied shakily. “Perhaps two? Red—the jailor was quite specific about which guards he would or wouldn’t allow.” “Oh?” “He grew worried of your displeasure, my lord.” The knight dared look upon his emperor, surprised to find him lounging, unmoved by his confession. “There are many in your guard that would take offense to such a proposition. They might have killed him. She is yours, after all.” Good men, Rafael thought. Loyal, obedient. Shifting on his throne, Rafael leaned forward, eying the knight. “Two dozen, you say?” “Yes, my Lord.” “An acceptable loss.” # There came another rapping on the bathing chamber door sometime later, this one softer, more timid than the heavy gauntlet that had asked entry earlier. The voice was as feminine as it was exotic, revealed to be one of her red-dressed maidens. The woman was young in age, perhaps only just entering her second decade, with large, ocean blue eyes, rich blond hair, and full red lips. The crimson silk and lace agreed with her beauty and small stature, hugged her body tightly and yet did not inhibit her movements, which were refined and graceful. It was clear she had practiced for many years, perhaps all her life, to be of use to the empress. “My Empress,” the woman said, bowing her golden head deeply. “I bring word from the Lord Father. He would have you know that your dear jailor will spend his time in the garden surrounded by many of his friends from the palace guard; twenty four, sent by the emperor’s own hand.” It was not beyond the girl, the message she delivered, but violence was as much a part of the vampyric court as diplomacy. These men, they had wronged the empress some way or another (and not being a child anymore, she had a strong inclination as to how), and thus had earned their fate. “They are being prepared now, and should be ready for your viewing by nightfall.” The young maiden waited a beat, then added. “It is also the emperor’s desire that you retire to the imperial bedchambers when you’ve finished with your bath. He will be waiting for you.” Still bowed, the maiden slid back out the room and closed the door, leaving the great usurper alone with her bath, her power, and the taste of Redrick's eyes on her lips.
  8. 05/17/20 Canon update. A Glorious Stand (Glorious Beginnings Continuation): The forces of the Bastion as well as some hired mercenaries face off against the Fishmongers, a deadly pirate crew. An ambush at the coastal town of Marrow leads the resistance forces to a decisive victory over the mercenaries, resulting in the destruction of one major pirate vessel and the capture of two. The fourth was taken by one of the mercenaries who made away with her loot before the battle had fully concluded. The death of the Fishmonger's leader, the Crimson Wake, will lead to a decline in pirate attacks by this group. Relevant Threads: A Glorious Beginning, A Glorious Revival, and A Glorious Re-commission. Forces Marshaled: 22,000.
  9. King

    The Usurper

    Redrick Mancel had been a jailor of the emperor’s employ for nearly five years. He’d lived a humble and obscure life for most his years, marrying well-within his class to a woman that gave him three daughters and two sons, and wanted for nothing, for his was an honest living that paid quite well. While there was no abundance of crime in the Red City or its intermediate domain, there were those that believed themselves above the table, and it fell to Redrick and his ilk to remind them of their folly. He’d never become a master of punishment like some of the other jailors, as he found no pleasure in his duties-- it was a simple matter of retribution, and so he strived to maintain a swift, efficient, and principle execution of his tasks. It was this single-minded dedication that caught the emperor’s eye, for he needed a man that could remain focused on his task no matter how difficult it became, no matter how tempting it might be to stray from the path. Who better than a man that, before then, had resisted the dark temptation of power? Who better to guard the disgraced princess, to see her for what she truly was (whatever the emperor desired her to be in that moment), than a man that could stay his hand of unnecessary bloodshed? That level of focus, the emperor wished many of his soldiers possessed. Redrick, of course, took the position without question. And for the many weeks she’d been held captive, he did well to remember what she was-- an object, devoid of thought and meaning. She was to be used in every way imaginable, punished in the cruelest of ways, and for a time, Redrick did well in his task. But then, as the weeks became months, and those months became a year and more, he saw her less as an object and more as his own. His, to use and punish as he saw fit-- not the emperor’s. It was at that moment his life had been forfeit, though he wasn’t aware. It was the wish of the empress, but the will of the emperor, that saw the imperial guard dragging Redrick into the grand throne room by his arms. He’d resisted initially, but they’d beat him savagely, and now he hung limp and soundless, barely clinging to life, between their armored bodies. They threw him at the base of the mighty dais upon which the emperor’s throne was placed, and Rafael, unsurprised and unmoved, sat in silent expectation. The jailor would beg for his life just as they all did, speak of his family and question how they would provide for themselves without his income. Redrick was not the first servant to be put to the sword, nor would he be the last, but Rafael had become somewhat fond of the exchanges he shared with the condemned. “Lord Father—” “After all you’ve done to her, you should have known she would jump at the chance to have her revenge.” The emperor’s fondness for the game of cat and mouse did not show in the flatness of his tone, cold and unchanging as tempered steel. “No matter what she was, she is your empress now. You’ve brought this on yourself, dear Redrick.” “But my family!” He cried out. Rafael dismissed his worry with a lazy flip of the wrist. “They will be taken care of. I’ve ensured that a considerable sum of the profit you turned peddling her flesh will be deposited into your family coffers. Recompense for your… unfortunate accident while in my employ. Now,” he said, looking to the guard on the jailor’s left, “hurry on then. Best not to keep the empress waiting.” “Lord Father,” Redrick yelped. “Please, I ask that it be quick.” Rafael grazed the man’s pathetic expression with empty, indifferent eyes. “You offended your empress, dear Redrick. It will be slow and agonizing.” Then he lifted his chin, nodding to the guard. There was a long slither, and great cluster of light as the knight drew his sword. He took Redrick’s head slowly, sawing from the side, working it deeper with each passing. The jailor screamed a deep, visceral scream of pure agony until his vocal chords had been severed, and then, with a wet plop, his head fell from his shoulders and splashed in a deep puddle of blood. “See that it is delivered to the empress on a platter.” The knight knelt and plucked the head from the floor by the its grayed hair. “Take out the eyes, before you do.” The knight nodded. “And the rest?” “Feed it to the hounds.” “Your will,” the two knights said in unison. It was less than a half-hour later that the doors to the empress' bathing chambers rattled with rapping of an armored hand upon its face. They waited until their presence was acknowledged, and dared not enter until Dollya had beckoned them to. It was the knight who had served as Redrick's executioner, and in his hands he carried an ornate platter of fine silver. Atop the blanket of leafy greens that garnished its boundaries sat the man's head just as she'd requested, mouth agape in a muted scream, the pained expression of Redrick's demise frozen in time. There were but two bloodied sockets where earthy brown eyes had once been, now settled on the side of his head, faced away from the empress. "A gift," the knight intoned as he lowered to one knee at the edge of her bath. "The jailor's death was neither swift nor pleasant, for his transgression against the empress. The Lord Father hopes that you will see this act as a token of his sincerity, empress, in what he wishes from you." Though he'd been instructed in the specifics of what to say, the emptiness of the knight's voice alluded to his ignorance of their Lord Father's meaning. "How shall I reply, empress?"
  10. Sinjari is not the only one who has lost an arm. Rune’s remains attached to his body, but it is a broken, mangled thing, all blood, tenderized meat, and splintered bone. It hangs lifelessly at his side, little more than dead weight. The pain coursing through his body is the only thing that tells him he’s alive, half-buried in rubble and dust in a long-forgotten chamber. He hears the battle raging on the other side of the wall, sees light and feels power rippling through the air. “Bring down the ceiling,” he hears a voice call out in the thick of the battle. It’s the old man. It cost him his arm and all the reagents left in his purse, but there is a spell on the creature’s mace now. But it needs time to achieve its true potency and take effect—assuming the protector does not notice it and shatter it to pieces. Using what strength remains in his body, Rune manages to shove and writhe his way out from his coffin of debris. There’s no time to catch his breath, no time to enjoy the first breath of air not heavy with dust. He rushes to the opening caused by his ejection from the battle, leaning against the uneven stones. With no means of casting raw magic, Rune returns to his roots. The tunnel is flooded with a sudden wind, spiraling around him. The protector half-turns, visibly surprised that Rune has survived his attack. It is a mistake the creature does not intend to make again. The protector prepares to attack, but Sybil’s daggers strike true, sinking into the wrist and elbow. But there is no blood, only more of that purple-red energy, and the armored hand does not weaken. The old man’s quarterstaff is but a nuisance. But they’ve provided their wounded companion with the time he needed. Rune lifts his hand and directs the gale toward the ceiling. Like a fang, it gouges and bores through the stone, bringing enormous segments toppling down throughout the hall. A large chunk, perhaps the largest, is heading straight for the old man, Sybil, and their foe.
  11. 05/09/2020 Canon update. Mykur: The Thorn Imperium: Cain, the Dead Mistress, Shikai, and the pirate captain Black Neon infiltrate an auction under the impression they will find the legendary Genesaris blade Mykur there. Instead they are led by a rich cyborg named Keli back to his estate. There Keli attacks the group with the sword, but using their wits and strength the group overpowers Keli and makes their way back toward the auction house to pillage it. As it turns out, Keli is a cyborg mechanic who has created thousands of images of himself. This swarm bursts from the Keli estate in pursuit of the group, summoning a huge police response from Joran City. Able to deflect the authorities on the Keli horde, Shikai makes off with Mykur, becoming second in command of the Black Fleet and the Dead makes off with a heavy payload from the auction house. Shikai and the Mistress are promoted to Generals in the Dead.
  12. “I believe it is time we visit those chapters.” Alexandros blinked, still lost in the haze of her antics, bolder and more daring than any woman of noble birth had the right to be. The world had melted away from the moment their dance began, yet he could feel envious eyes on him, hungry and eager to see how he might respond. How many suitors had there been, he wondered; how many scores of men vying for the princess’ hand in marriage, only to be hamstringed before the chase ever began. Donning his colors had been enough to dissuade only the weakest of pursues; dancing with him, the few of such pack whose resolve had weakened; but it was the kiss to his fingers, and then that of his sigil, that had broken them all. She held him captive with her inviting gaze, and for a long moment after her command, Alexandros remained frozen in time. Their romance had been a hot and quick affair, blooming from the blood he’d spilled on the steps of the gathering hall, nurtured by her caring hands. But never in his wildest dreams had he imagined she would accept, least of all in so grand a fashion. He needn’t brandish some band of gold where her lips had touched. He would respond in kind. Taking her by the hand, newly-ungloved fingers weaving between her own, Alexandros led her away from the heart of the dance which, once again underway with renewed vigor. There was no sense of urgency in his steps, no boyish giddiness lilting his pace. He moved with purpose, yes, but it was controlled and measured. For so many months, she had inspired within him a youthful joy that was without end. Young though he was, she made him feel younger still. But in that moment, something had changed. It was a man that led her by the hand now, that guided her through halls of her family’s domain as though it where his own. They stalked the halls barred from the guests, slipped past guards as they occupied themselves with discussions not meant to be heard by those foreign to royal family’s court. The music followed on their heels, quieter after he closed the heavy oak door behind them. The locks echoed loudly as they tumbled into place. Alexandros had never realized how petite the princess was until he took her in his arms and set her on the edge of the large desk helming the north of the room. Her dress, soft as a dove’s feather, felt thin as paper in his grasp as it rose, revealing her thighs, pale as moonlight. He loved her to the rhythm of several songs, the sound of their pleasure masked by strings and bass and the tapping of shoes and the jolly of the guests in attendance. Books clattered to the ground as their intimate dance unfolded, and yet still they did not stop. Paper, once stacked in neat, orderly piles across the desk, scattered against their limbs. When they were finished at last, Alexandros remained fixed between her thighs, his sweated brow pressed into the nape of her neck as he panted against her skin. “Leave this place with me, tonight,” he said to her, their lovemaking not moments behind them, the high still rolling through his veins. “Return to Skyfall and take your place as Lady of my house.” Peeling his face away from the hot flesh of her chest, he looked down at her, a lion above his lioness. “Your brother has neither the right nor reason to keep you from me any longer.” She had accepted his proposal, taken his love. “You are my treasure now, Lady, and I would have you beside me always.” Leaning down, letting his lips linger over her own, Alexandros whispered words long-since known, yet never spoken. “I love you.”
  13. It almost seemed blasphemous to Alexandros, that he should be allowed to stand so high while his beloved Lyrei, goddess of beauty, love, and desire, was made to sit low beneath him. He did well not to look down the slope of his nose at her, but rather, dip his chin so that she might look fully into the depths of his hazel eyes, and stare upon what bits of face were not hidden by the proud lion’s mask he wore. “Indeed, my Lady,” he said in eager agreement, “It would bring me no greater joy than to rectify this mistake.” Oh, the feelings she inspired in him—he may have done something utterly foolish, played the role of a jester, if only to see her smile. “Before we tend to our studies, I believe you owe me a dance, my lord.” Lyrei offered the elder twin her hand, and without thought, he took it. Gloved fingers rolled over the softness of her palm, her knuckles, traced the lengths of her long, slender fingers. He’d fallen in love with her hands over the weeks they’d spent together; the way they moved when flicking the page of a book, careful and purposeful, or the way they swam through his silvery hair, or across his dark, chiseled chin, her touch soft as moonlight. How often he dreamed of those touches when she was away from him. Easing her from her seat, Alexandros led her away from the table and guests that had served as a poor substitute for his company. They would not dance in the corner of the room, hidden on the shores where eyes might not witness. She was too beautiful, too ethereal, for that. Instead, he led her to the heart of the room, where the ocean’s fury was greatest, the dance at its thickest. But in his mind’s eye, there was only her. He could feel the rhythm of the music throbbing in his veins, weaving in and around and through him, but all he could hear was Lyrei’s breathing. He held her close as he set their bodies into motion, elegant and practiced. They moved as one, an extension of the music itself, for dance had been one of the elder twin’s greatest pleasures as a youth. “I come to this masquerade with intention, Lyrei,” he confessed as they danced, the softness of his words lost in the thrum of the music and laughter that surrounded them. “Intentions for you, and I do not believe I can leave this place without reciprocation.” They had drawn this out for months now, sneaking about like little thieves, their budding love a stolen treasure. But he was the lord of Skyfall now—and she deserved better. “I would have you as my lady,” he said, his eyes serious and heavy behind his mask. “To take your place beside me, at my throne and in my bed.” Alexandros pulled her closer. “Would you do me that honor?”
  14. There was a time when Aristotle would have taken her invitation without thought, knowing there to be no greater comfort than his lover’s embrace. But that early morning, he stood there watching as she retreated to the sofa, depositing the spear elsewhere in an effort to make room. He turned away from her, only by way of a half-pivot, and once more gazed out upon the vista laid at their feet. Fatherhood had changed him in more ways than one, and for the first time in his life, Aristotle could feel his age. It was most prominent in the light dusting beginning to show at his temples, and in the white that would salt his beard whenever he could be bothered to let it grow. Slow though his people were to age, they were not immortal. It was only a matter of time—much longer than, say, his beloved wife—before he would too would greet death. But with his blood flowing in Amya’s veins, he would have more years with her, to watch her live and grow, to see the woman she would become, long after her mother was gone. They would reminisce together, he told himself, and speak fondly of Phoebe. Of her strength, her valor, of her unwavering loyalty and unbroken determination. “Aristotle…” Her voice pulled him from his thoughts and visions of the future, blinked away and lost in the night. It was easy to become lost in what his golden eye showed, for dragon’s magic was powerful even for a supreme sorcerer. Turning back to face her, he smiled halfheartedly, nodded, and then crossed the room. Aristotle sank into the comfort of the chair’s sleekness, the same chair they’d sat upon when her pregnancy was first discovered, and just as he had then, sank into them warm embrace of her arms, back to chest, set between her parted legs. Lulling his head to the side, he kissed the corner of her lips in request, and when she obliged, he kissed her more fully, never tiring of her taste or touch. “There’s only one thing we can do,” Aristotle said as he turned his gaze aside, again peering through the lightless windows. He’d taken to stroking her knee in a slow, pensive rhythm, and had she been able to see his expression, she would have looked upon a grim, brooding man. “We kill them,” he said flatly. They’d been foolish enough to goad the lions from their den with dire threats and vicious promises, and now, they would face the indiscriminate slaughter they had wrought. “Every last one of them. Their friends, their families, their business associates—we leave nothing, and no one, behind.” Aristotle once told Phoebe he would walk across the planes of hell to reach her. But for Amya, he would become the devil himself.
  15. 05/03/2020 Lore change. Included a section for hunters in the Bounty Hunting System thread.
  16. It had never been difficult to tell when Gabriela was being sincere. Masterful though she’d become at concealing her emotions, numbing them with ice and willful neglect, there were things she could never hope to change about herself, no matter how desperate she’d become to do so. The truth of her words was in the way she cupped her hands over her heart, neither strained nor aloof; in the darkening of her eyes, once bright and golden, but now a rich and settled amber; in the way her mouth pursed and formed each word spilling out from her lips. It was in the way she stood, in the way she regarded him, and that sincerity had made all the trials worth it. And though she owed him no explanation, for it was not his place, Marcellus looked forward to her reasoning for these events. It was not his place to so brazenly demean her choices, but that did not mean he was honorbound to agree with them. Hopefully, he thought, she would provide the much-need clarity to their situation. “I must return and continue to mingle with my guests. My work isn’t done, though some sort of upheaval appeared to be taking place. I charge you to guard my life, Marcellus. Once I step out again -- yes, Roen mentioned something in the air…” Marcellus nodded. “I understand.” “I suspect I will not be myself once we cross the threshold, and I will require you to maintain some distance so as to not completely confirm the fact that the Black Queen’s human doppelganger has a clear connection to vampyres. My face alone is my greatest hindrance now, but being seen with you will bring everything to the ground. Go, you leave first...I’ll clean up and follow shortly.” Though he’d been born with the natural skill set to excel in such tactics, covert operations were not matters Marcellus had often burdened himself with. He was a warrior, a man meant to be seen bedecked in his heavy plate, shield and sword in hand; feared by his enemies and beloved by his companions. And yet, he had prided himself on his ability to adapt. This was nothing more than another battle to be fought in the queen’s name. The field had changed, the combatants different, but his goal remained constant and true. He would become whatever she needed, do whatever was necessary, to ensure her safety. “I will do my best to stay filtered in the crowd,” he finally replied. “I’ve not spoken to anyone else here, spare for the woman that I sent to grab your attention. I’m not sure how many are aware of what I am. They seem to be rather busy… trying to figure out what their dancing partners are.” As the drugs had begun filtering through the building’s infrastructure, Marcellus had seen more than a few pairs becoming hungrier in their dancing, more daring with where their hands wandered. “I don’t suspect many were paying attention to us. Whatever disturbance took places was, perhaps, a blessing.” All the same, it was wise to depart separately. “I suggest that, after you leave here, you not look for me.” It would be poor fortune for her searching to draw the attention of those around her. “I will be there, as you’ve commanded. Close but unseen. Should anything happen, know you are protected.” With a nod of acknowledgement, the knight turned and made his way to the door. The locks sounded louder as they slid out of place, and when he cracked the door from its threshold, the noise sliced into the stillness of the bathroom with renewed vigor. Glancing back at her from over his shoulder, Marcellus smiled. “Be safe, my queen.” Opening the door further, the mountain of a man slid out of the restroom, back into the fray of party goers. The door swung closed behind him, and once again, Gabriela was alone.
  17. King

    This promise

    For the first time since his disgrace, Cornelius awoke to the sound of his name being spoken by lips other than the ghost of his mother. Eyes still closed, he reached out and found Lyonene’s body, warm to the touch, soft and supple. He squeezed her arm to make sure she was real, traced his fingers up and over her shoulders. He caressed her neck, fondled her small, firm breasts, and then coiled his arm around her and pulled her close to his chest. “Just a moment longer,” he pleaded sleepily, turning his head away from the winter sunlight pouring in through their window. “I do not wish to leave this bed of ours.” She indulged him because she loved him, and he loved her all the more for it. It was but a few moments later that he could bring himself to open his eyes and look upon her, the blurred lines of light and dark settling in to become her eyes, her lips, her chin and cheeks. A waterfall of deep golden hair poured down from her head, splashing against her shoulders and running down the cliff of her back. They had done the unthinkable, he realized as he followed her spine with his thumb, gently stroke the curve of it—broken a tradition both great and terrible in its tenure over their homeland. It didn’t matter, he told himself. Nothing mattered now that she was in his arms. “We can visit the town I spoke of after breakfast,” he said. “It was almost time to resupply, anyway.” While he’d made a habit of waiting until his reserves were all but diminished, now, he would be thinking for two. The harshness of his existence would be dulled, lessened by her presence, and there was a piece of him—not so small, either—that welcomed such a change. Craning his neck, he kissed her collar, then scaled the column of her neck until he found her lips. “And as we go about our day, you can tell me what has become of our family.”
  18. 05/02/2020 Canon update. Resources, Renewable Energy, and Precious Metals: Athena Romanov demonstrates and discusses the anti-magic stone known as Glasium Madrite and the A-01 Atmospheric Battery with Vito, the leader of a mysterious organization, and Khan, the spokesperson of the People's Republic of Bulgaria. The three parties come to an agreement and negotiation out a contracts for access and manufacturing rights.
  19. 05/02/2020 Administrative update. The Ceyana sub-board has been renamed Illyria.
  20. They think the creature slow, sluggish because of its hulking armor and the steady pace it’s chosen. It is a grave underestimation that will cost them dearly. Sybil is quick on her feet, a natural killer honed by years of work. The other two are just as fast, and had it been an ordinary man or beast hiding behind the dense stone plates, they would have overwhelmed him effortlessly. But the energy coiling off his frame is but the excess he cannot contain, so great and terrible it has become visible to their mortal eyes. The man-creature is no expert of battle, but it has fought enough—evidenced by the piles of bones slumped at the foot of walls, piled high before others—to know openings when it sees them. In their haste, they’ve left one party member open: Rune. In a single heartbeat, the slowness that has dominated the man-creature’s gait vanishes. It bypasses the womens’ flank by charging, lowering its shoulder directly into the quarterstaff, and like and unstoppable object, turning it aside before slamming into Sinjari like a rolling boulder and throwing him off just as easily. In the next heartbeat, as energy bursts from behind him, weaken the floors, shuddering through the walls and causing the roof to quake, it closes the distance between itself and Rune. The mace is swinging before Rune can conjure a proper defense; dust flies from his hand and wind forces itself between them. But it shatters against the assault, dampening the blow only a little. It catches his defending arm, crushing it into his side as it lifts him from his seat. He soars into the wall, bursting through, vanishing in a cloud of dust and crumbling debris. Not losing its momentum, the creature finishes its spin and brings the mace crashing down into the floor. From its end, purple-red energy slices across the floor, tearing the stone asunder as three pillars race toward the those still standing.
  21. That's already in the works, friend.
  22. Perhaps it was the slap (and indeed, it had provided a much-needed shock to his senses), or maybe it was, indeed, the ventilated air which seemed purged of all the aromas and intoxication flooding the remainder of the establishment, but Marcellus, too, felt much more like himself. The panic and fear was beginning to wane, bleeding from his system like a sweat, and in its place remained the fearless, unbroken, unwavering loyalty that had been instilled within him centuries ago. He could steel feel the warmth of her palm against the cold, chiseled stone of his cheek, and it was a burning reminder of the shame he’d nearly brought upon himself—his entire lineage. Indeed, it did not matter what she had become. Gabriela was his queen, now and forever, such was the oath he’d taken. It had been a hectic time since her latest disappearance, and while all appeared calm on the Orisian surface, turmoil brewed under the surface. Factions were forming, many vying to produce a substitute for the reckless queen. None could hope to oppose the emperor—they could only join him, and providing an empress, one that would be honored to bear heirs for the Lord Father, to stand by his side, was as good a plan as any. Shadowy cabals had been erected in the unseen places of the court, whispers of assassins flitted through the air. Gabriela’s life was in danger, whether she knew it or not. The darkness was coming, slow and steady, to swallow her whole. But Marcellus was there. He’d failed her far too many times in this decade alone, from the Devil’s violence to the Emperor’s oppression. All these crimes she’d laid at his feet, there was no denying, and though unwilling, he was undoubtedly an accomplice for his weakness. Never again, he promised himself. Even if it meant giving his life to ensure it. More than her blade, he was her shield—the wall upon which the Darkness would break. And so as she extended her hand out to him, small and more fragile than it had ever been, he did not hesitate. “Forgive me,” he asked solemnly, falling down to one knee and lowering his head it resolute fealty. He took Gabriela’s palm in his own and gingerly, lovingly, though in no way sensually, kissed the back of her hand. “Never again shall I forget my place, or yours, my queen. Relinquishing his grip, he formed a fist over his heart. “Your will, my hands.” The knight awaited permission before standing, and when given, he retreated several steps from her space. Standing at parade rest, he spoke. “There is a foreign substance in your veins, my queen. I believe it may be the cause of this… mood you find yourself in.” While doubtful she was unaware, he found it necessary to alert her all the same. “Fortunately, it seems a temporary thing. It weakens as we speak.” There would still be bursts of it here and there, like the last crackles of a hearth’s flame as it smoldered, but the clear air had worked wonders to the immediate intensity. “Shall we remain in here, or would you prefer to return to the party?”
  23. Closing the door and locking it, Marcellus felt as though he’d sealed them off in another world entirely. The thumping and crying of the music waned, muffled by the soundproofed walls and frame. The lights, once flashing and blinking chaotically, remained settled and even. A soft, pale white washed over the room in stark contrast to the wild colors just beyond the bathroom’s threshold. For the first time since stepping in to this hellish nightmare, the knight felt somewhat in control—of the situation, of himself, and that was something he could use. But first, there were things that needed to be said; things that needed to be said. Turning away from the door with slow, dreadful purpose, Marcellus faced Irene. “I’m sorry.” In spite of his horror at what she’d done, his disgust at what she’d become, the woman standing before him was his queen. He’d taken an oath, sworn upon the blood of their forefathers, to protect her. He’d failed at that. “No matter what you’ve become, you are my queen, and it is not my place to speak to you in so foul a manner.” To defile that would make him no better than the moping devil, skulking about the party, or the vicious emperor that awaited her on the Orisian shores. “Truly, I am sorry.” Irene’s giggling did not deter him, nor enrage him as it might have in the thick of the party. Old though he was (and still quite young compared to the elders of their court, and younger still than the emperor), Marcellus was not immune to the weaknesses of their race. So many stimulating sensations at once could be overpowering to a vampyre, heightened as their senses were, and in the heat of the moment, it could be the grain of rice that tipped the balance of the scale. Here, in the sordid sanctuary of the club’s bathroom, there was far less edge to his demeanor and more breadth. That is not to say the situation was any less infuriating. “I’m not sure how this happened, my queen, but we must rectify it. The council can never know what you’ve become. It is as I said – they will kill us both.” This went beyond her fondness for humanity and her utter disgust with her husband and their “traditions.” This was treason of the highest order, a betrayal of their very species, and likewise, the greatest threat one might ever see come to fruition. It unfolded a new, forbidden possibility of extinction. What if they could turn all of them human? Few in numbers as they were, they would be slaughtered by any that dared challenge them. “And there is only so much I can pro—” Another muffled, childish giggle. Stepping forward, though not daring to lay a hand on her again, Marcellus frowned. He studied his queen in her new body, distractingly beautiful and tempting, for she was prey now, and he’d not had a proper meal since arriving in this light-forsaken land. He could hear the strong, lively thump of her heat behind her small, supple breasts, and see that fresh blood pumping through her veins. It was almost enough to make him salivate. “This is no laughing matter,” he said, the strain and gravel in his voice a testament to his rising hunger. “Our lives are in jeopardy.” Marcellus stepped closer to her, towering over the small woman, when he noticed something else filtering through her system—foreign, unnatural. It was almost a soft blue in color, and felt strongly of the laughter and bliss spilling from her lips. Had she been drugged? It might explain her questionable demeanor, he reasoned, for the excitement and euphoric happiness she exhibited seemed almost out of her control. “But for now,” he purred instinctively, sighing with expectation. “I think I know how to help you. How to bring your mind back to your body, along with your senses.” There was nowhere for her to go, and even if she’d denied him, Irene was mortal now. Weak, feeble, and fragile. All the same, he asked her permission, if only for the respect her still harbored for her. “Will you please let me help you, my queen?”
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