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  1. It was a rather calm evening. The last highlights of the sun's rays slowly creeped towards the horizon, signaling that the end of yet another calm day was near. It wasn't often that Mladris was able to take on the full beauty that the Cold Mountains had to offer her and she wasn't the only one. The snow lay undisturbed for the most part, covering the trees and the ground. Deer and other local fauna were out and about. The few trails in the snow made that apparent but they did not bother the dragon. They bore her no ill will unlike other creatures, humans were her main problem but she could handle them. She had observed none in weeks, not since she flew down to the ocean and came upon a rather curious band of individuals. One was a young woman, there was something unusual about her that she couldn't quite put a talon on. Definitely magic oriented. Then again, there are still quite a few creatures/beings that she was unfamiliar with. With a rumble, the dragon shifted from stomach up onto all fours and then began to move to the mouth of her cave. The sky was streaked with orange, yellow, red, and a hint of blue as the sun's retreat began to close to an end. The moon was beginning to make a appearance and it was full this night. "Hmm...a perfect time for a flight." She said to herself as she stretched her wings, flapping them a few times to get rid of the stiffness and then with one powerful stroke, she was in the air. Thud. Thud. Thud. The downward stroke of her wings caused the trees to sway back and forth as well as shaking the snow off of them. She maintained her current altitude above the treelike, just enough room for her wings to not skim the trees.
  2. When he wasn't needed by his oldest and dearest friend, Samson slept inside the coffin that held his body. Sometimes he would dream of his homeland, a cold, bleak place, where only the worthy could survive, let alone thrive. In his youth, he would often roam the mountains, imagining himself on adventures in some far off land. Eventually he had gone on such adventures, but on lonely nights his thoughts would turn back to the home he had left behind. Sadly, he had never managed to return before his untimely death, but Ankou had sworn to him that one day he would bring him back; that he would lay eyes on his home once more. Now, it seemed, was the day that promise was kept. He emerged from his coffin to a landscape of snow and ice that immediately filled his heart with nostalgic joy. As a reanimated warrior, he was able to feel the cold wind that swept the rocky cliff he stood on clean, but it didn't bother him. Taking a few steps forward he realized that he was overlooking the High Lords Labyrinth, the mountain range where it was said that the High Lords dwelt. As a child his mother had always cautioned him against going inside, lest he incur the wrath of those supreme beings. "Is it everything you remember?" Samson turned around to see Ankou Lethe, his oldest friend, standing before him in spectral form; looking as he was the day they had first met. His youthful appearance was a marked change from the old man he was used to seeing. He walked up to the phantom and grinned. "It is that and more. You look well my friend." A rare smile graced the lich's face, "A very recent turn of events. But that is irrelevant for now. I'm afraid I have not sent you home just for a homecoming." "There's nobody left for a reunion," the swordsman replied, tone slightly sad, "And I figured as much. How may I serve you brother?" "It has been brought to my attention that there is an artifact of some power down in the High Lords Labyrinth. It is called Mori, an armband that allows travel between different planes of existence. I would like you to retrieve it for me. Sadly, I do not know where in the Labyrinth the armband is located, so you will have to search for it. Can you do this for me?" Samson nodded, "Consider it done." "Excellent. You will be accompanied by the person who guided your coffin to this place. Contact me should the need arise. Good luck." The Specter disappeared, and Samson waited for the companion Ankou had spoken of to appear. @Ataraxy
  3. It had been some time since the Emperor Koji and his Concubine visited the infamous Sakura Onsen Sento. During their visit, Koji made moves in the realm of business and secured a deal with their gracious host of the house, the alluring Gwen. Despite her willingness to do direct business with him and cater to his high end clientele, she wished to remain secluded within the comfort of the Cold Mountains right here in the Arcane East. He respected her decision, regardless of her business operating within presumably enemy territory. It was as much a benefit to doing business the way he proposed as it was a risk. Though it would not deter the ambitious Emperor from embracing her little home away from home. Unfortunately, Koji himself was incapable of providing the delicate magics necessary to secure a line of travel to the bathhouse from either of his claimed territories within the Midlands of Genesaris, and Oo'Xora of Renovatio respectively. Thus he charged one of his gifted cronies to complete his bidding for him. First came prepping of the doors within his home regions. The first being positioned within the depths of Jigoku's Red Light District, hidden in plain sight so that only those seeking it found it. Then of course using the door would prove night impossible without the opposing end allowing passage at that given time for whatever party was granted access. The other was placed creatively in the Oo'Xora prefecture, within the hustle and bustle of the market yet fashioned just like the one before it. With those locals prepped without bridging to one another, they were enchanted for their intended purpose. The last act itself being the completion of the enchanting of the designated door that would receive the guests he contributed to her establishment. While he had simply left his Wizard to complete this task in his home regions, the Emperor thought it wise to accompany him directly to finish the job if for no other reasons than say wishing to see Gwen again for himself and familiarity. Upon the familiar stoop of the bathhouse, a tear in the fabric of reality appeared from literal nothingness. As it parted into a wide birth, a smoky black haze bled from it in likeliness to an octopus masking it's escape in the depths of the ocean. From within the pierced veil, a pair of men escaped the shadows they previously traversed. The familiar presence was garbed simply in white robes as opposed to the illustrious garbs of the Imperial Robes had had been growing more and more accustomed to these days, the other shrouded in a black hooded cloak. Ominously the paused just after leaving the veil, in which it assuredly shut beyond them prior to them pressing on into the establishment. Without awaiting a host or hostess this time around, Koji's companion on this trip moved to open the door for his Lord, shutting it behind him without a single order needing to be uttered. Within the warmth of the bathhouse once again, that foreign sensation reached out to grip him once more, attempted to persuade him that a single night's stay on his own wouldn't hurt. Though the simple truth was that he hardly had the time these days to enjoy such pleasantries. @Eternity
  4. It had felt like years since he had been to that secluded bathhouse in the Cold Mountains, though it had only been some months truthfully. Even still, it felt somewhat comforting to return to this place of rest, even if he had already undergone a drastic transformation to his own countenance. Will she remember him perhaps? No...but he will make her remember, that was a promise. This time Orion, now transformed into the indomitable tyrant known as Feurerkönig, did not travel alone. On this day he brought with him a small force of Kriegssoldats, Kriegsskanones, and two scores of Schlackenmonsters, many of them larger than an average man. With them at his back, the proprietor will have no choice but to give him what he desired, or else face annihilation. Violence was always the fastest way to get these fleshlings to see reason, and if they still refused, at least they could die in an entertaining manner. Though it was a cold day, none of the creatures of war and slaughter could feel it. All those made of the demonic War Metal were ablaze, including Feurerkönig, who burned brightest of all. He dreamed of a glorious time when all of these lands were scorched paradises, barren wastelands incapable of supporting life ever again. Such a wonderful vision of paradise could only be accomplished through constant work and the will to exterminate all life on this planet. Even better will be when he has a bride to witness all of this for herself, to see how correct he was to pursue this dream. Heavy footfalls proceeded the metallic monarch of fire as he sauntered his way to the main entrance. Instead of setting foot upon the stairs, which would have likely given out or be set ablaze, he conjured forth one of his weapons from the great ether. Materializing in his hands was a mighty war hammer of pure black War Metal. Thick, heavy, and burning with the same hatred as it's master, this tool of war was ready to bash in the skulls of all who opposed Feurerkönig. Setting the head of the hammer towards the stony ground, he would begin banging upon it. Slowly, harshly, unmercifully, bringing the weapon down with great force, picking it up again, then slamming it down once more. On this day, the man known as Orion did not exist anymore, nor did his guardian and slave Feurer Krieger. What stood there now was a monster of fire, steel and hatred. Standing there was a creature over eight feet tall, Germanic plate armor with chains, spikes and fire covering its entire being. No longer bound in flesh and blood, he was a monster who had simple desires, one of them being a woman named Arya, who held him when he was scared, and told him everything was going to be okay. It was only right to repay her for the kindness she showed to him. @Eternity
  5. The mountains were a familiar place for James, having grown up in such a relatively inhospitable area. The scenery around him reminded him of the Myrama mountains in the winter, splendid in their cold purity. As a being intrinsically tied to flame, it was hard for him to feel the chill, but he did here, and James welcomed it. He would come across a magnificent waterfall, still cascading water despite its icy surroundings. It was a gorgeous sight, secluded and looking untouched by the presence of mortal beings thus far. Well there was only one thing for a man like him to do here. The daemonslayer stripped down to his under garb, placing his wargear, weapons, and assorted clothing nearby and stretched his muscles. Time to train.
  6. Sakura Onsen Sento The Sakura Sento was a beautifully built building of bamboo and stone, a building kept to the ancient look of those others that had come before it. Outside was a beautifully marbled jade path that led to the massive sliding doors that opened up to a jade marbled counter where two women of asian descent sat waiting to greet their customers. The inside walls were decorated soft pinks of the sakura tree, and dark maghoney browns. Vases of cherry blossoms and lilies decorated small tables that were placed throughout the many halls that led to each individual bathrooms. Pull strings in each room would be used to order the salts and flowers that would soak in the hot onsen waters, while the attendants laid out the finest of bathrobes and towels for each guest. The layout and decor was of the best taste, even little gold could be spotted in the very fine lines of the flowers themselves on the walls. Eternity had finally found something she wanted to give to everyone, and it was the seduction of the hot springs mixed with the temptations of the salts and flower petals with oils. There would be attendants for each customer’s taste, men and women who aimed to please those who would so graciously give up their coin for such luxuries. The men and women would dress in black and soft pink robes, their hair would be neatly braided or up in buns. Each would be pleasing to the eye, many of them having been taught how to maintain their appearance when working for Lady Sithis. It was finally opening day of the grand hot spring bath house, the attendants were ready for what would be brought throughout the day. Customers of every status would begin to pour in through the doors, each paying for their bath room. The rooms would range from many sizes depending on what would be paid up front, and others of lower born would share a community bath at a more affordable rate. While the attendants of the bath house ran back and forth prepping each room to the specifications of each customer, life in the Sakura came to life.
  7. As he spun the newly fitted ring around his finger, Benjamin Shawcross still couldn't quite believe the turn of events that had had led to him standing in the snow outside an inn at the foot of the tallest peak in the Cold Mountains. Just three weeks ago he had been approached by a man representing the emergent Datsuzoku Dynasty and offered a position on a team of elite warriors in service to the Emperor alone. It was the kind of thing that only happened in books and movies, but the metal band was proof that it had indeed happened to him. For the first time in his life, he felt like he was a part of something bigger than himself, and he had to admit that he quite liked the feeling. Though he had yet to even meet the Emperor in person, he felt an immense sense of gratitude toward him, and wanted to do something to express that gratitude. That was the reason he now stood in the gently falling snow. Well, that wasn't entirely true. He had set out on his current path not too long before he had been contacted by the Dynasty; hired by some collector to investigate rumors of a powerful artifact being worshiped by some cult in the Cold Mountains. At the time his intention had been to find out if the trinket was real, and then bring it back to his employer. That plan had changed when he had been made a member of the Omagatoki. Now he intended to take the artifact and offer it to the Emperor as a sign of his devotion. Hopefully the man would allow him to keep the artifact, as he understood it was supposed to be quite powerful. The cult had proven hard to track down, but Benjamin had eventually come across a family whose youngest son had been taken in by the cult. According to his parents he had been recruited at the inn where he now stood. Sure enough, Ben had found the shady looking bastard, and watched him sell his schtick to an unsuspecting patron after slipping the barmaid a little something to place her attention elsewhere. As the recruiter had taken the mark back to his booth in the back, Ben had clocked at least three men watching the guys back. Now he was debating whether to barge in and start a fight, or wait for the guy to come out on his own and ambush him. He just needed a few more minutes to think.
  8. Valor, honor, duty and determination. These are the qualities of a dwarf, these are the qualities that build nations, and these are the qualities that will forge a name for General Firebrew. Without them Tazarek would be nothing, HE would be nothing. Just a shell of a dwarf stumbling through life with nothing to live for. Now in this age of discovery and growth for his people, he would blaze a trail straight for Genesaris. In the three pronged plan for the continuation of Dwarven power throughout Valucre, Firebrew was sent across the ocean to colonize a chunk of the continent to the far east. With him was a combined force of over two thousand dwarves carried over by two merchant class airships. Doing this has caused a strain upon the economy of the dwarven city, but if anyone could bear that burden, it was the dwarves. Once a new city had been founded, they would be all the stronger for it in the end. The location had been chosen after many other factors had been taken in. Ultimately it was the secluded nature of the Great Mountain Range which drew the attention of the dwarves. Founding cities in foreign land could be dangerous, so the possibility of being able to hide oneself was invaluable to the higher command. Of course, there was no guarantee that there wouldn't be any kind of nasty surprise waiting for them when they got there. At the command bridge of the airship he had chosen, General Firebrew, had been informed land was sighted. This was good, he thought to himself as he was worried there would have been more turbulent weather keeping them from their goal. Now they would be able to reach land in a matter of hours, and begin the colonization process
  9. Shanna’s excitement bubbled and then settled on their trek. Jaro would likely find that her exuberance came in waves – sometimes greater than others, but he would find the pacing much better suited for his own leisurely stroll. Despite that, it took only three days for them to cross over to the top of the Cold Mountains. They had crossed near The Red Tower, and run along the flatlands near the mountains in an effort to cut down their travel time – it had worked spectacularly. Brutus rolled ahead of them, pleased as his tongue lolled from his mouth as the scent of everything was taken into his nose. He sniffed and yipped as he took off after some small creature that sped through the underbrush. Shanna smiled warmly at that, before she looked excitedly on the entrance to the Enclave as it approached on them. The land near it seemed to darken a bit, the evil of the people that had taken residence seeped into the stones. Though it was darker and foreboding, Shanna found it alluring. The knowledge and magics that were stored within, surely were of some sort of mystery. No one before had ever plundered the depths of the Enclave and she was excited to count herself and her companion among the first. Her traipsing, prancing figure was more than happy to continue on, humming lightly to herself even as the darkening storm overhead loomed. Shanna paused, before gasping as she turned to Jaro, giving a frantic wave as she urged him to move a bit faster. “Come on, we’re almost there!” She offers, the light of a torch signaling their arrival to the Enclave that would – with hope – provide them with some clues on their adventures. Brutus balked a bit, arriving at Shanna’s side as his nose curled upward a bit, teeth baring. The Hellhound growled, looking displeased at the thought of entering. He was not eager to disobey his witch, however, feeling it was safer for them to stick together. The torch in front of them flickered before a voice boomed from it as it turned an interesting shade of blue. “Who goes there!?” The voice echoed, and Shanna gasped, peeking at the flame curiously before clapping her hands. “Hi! I’m Shanna!”
  10. Writing as Akni Otria At first, Akni simply wanted to challenge herself and tackle her fears. She wanted to become stronger, better, honoring the draconian blood flowing through her veins. As a dragon of heat and flames, she was naturally weak to the cold, something she ought to fix. As such, going through a gauntlet by hiking the Cold Mountains region of Genesaris seemed like a good idea... until now. "Ha... fuh..." Lacking oxygen, shivering, and rather lost. The sheer cold seeped through her winter clothes, biting her skin, shortening her breaths into painful gasps. She winced as mists covered her goggles, ears hearing nothing but the blowing winds. Her lips slightly ajar as she hissed yet another curse. The redhead grunted as she stubbornly continued, the elements merciless against her petite frame. Even taking a single step forward was a struggle on its own. The draconian prided herself on her agility and acrobatic abilities, but here, she was reduced to a crawl. No matter how hot her flames burned, they couldn't melt a whole mountain... Well, Arkanist would say otherwise but the redhead wouldn't let that narcissistic dragon bitch take control. If she must conquer this self-imposed challenge, she must do it as herself, as Akni, not through some artifact. Speaking about that, she still needed to remove the white choker from her neck. Her efforts so far proved fruitless but who knows, maybe this trip would do the trick. Thus, the fiery redhead moved on, one heavy step at a time, the blood of the dragon refusing to give in under the frost. Not even a blizzard would extinguish her resolve! Still, a cup of hot chocolate would be welcomed right now... @Letherius
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