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Found 18 results

  1. Waves lapped at the side of the ship, always reminding Sarah Bouchard of their journey. They were going to some city on the coast, looking for more work, more opportunities for them to win fame. Right now Sarah didn't want fame, or gold, all she wanted was one thing, and one thing only. Blood. Light from the Moon shined down upon her, high atop the midnight sky. Nausea was hitting her hard, a symptom of her hunger, her need for the scarlet lifeblood of those around her, but she had to fight it, she had to keep it at bay. "I won't let this beat me." She whispered into the nothing, leaning against the railing of the ship they were on. "I control my own destiny." Sweat trailed down from her pierced eyebrows, past the studs in her lips, and off of her chin. She had to do something, she had to find some kind of relief to this madness.
  2. "Have you decided on a name yet, Your Highness?" Sabine sat on a stone bench, her armor glinting in the light. It was one of the rare times she was at ease. There was a tenderness in her voice, for she was a loyal Knight and Imperator to Princess Raveena. Raveena walked casually, swathed in pale silks that draped her pregnant belly agreeably. She looked right at home in the Imperial Gardens of Umbra, the way the sun shone through the leaves, the gentle sway of the flowers--this seemed to echo in the very way Raveena moved. Sabine watched her Queen carefully, though the grin never left her. Motherhood suited her just fine, she decided. She wanted to think it was strange, knowing that Raveena had ascended to a higher state of being and yet--this avatar--whatever one would call it--seemed to human and sweet. "Everett," Raveena replied with laughter and smiles in her voices, "My brave little prince. My wild beast." She paused long enough to cradle a drooping flower between her palms. She whispered lilting, encouraging words in a language Sabine did not pretend to understand--it certainly wasn't any Vaa'denian she had picked up. While Raveena was a Terran citizen, her origins were from a whole other somewhere else entirely. Sabine felt very plain and boring by comparison. She missed Efrideet--and had hardly given up on her quest for vengeance. Raveena needed her now more than ever with Efrideet dead and Rowan in a coma. Prince Grant was still lamenting his failures in the wake of Hyperion's destruction. "Your son will be well loved, Your Highness. A new Imperial heir gives the people hope that--." She paused abruptly. She knew better than to speak his name. The Moon God had been cast out for killing his brother. Angry that his siblings turned on him, he was set to destroy the Hyperian Empire no matter the cost. Sabine thought back to Rowan's catatonic state and the demonic creatures from his world that attacked them. The God himself attempted to smite Rowan but Raveena had chosen to accept her mantle as Goddess of the Red Plane to even the playing field. Now an all out war between the gods and their champions was set to begin. The fate of the empire rest on who would come out as the victor. "I know," Raveena replied softly, sadly. The sun god--foolish oaf he could be, had done many great and terrible things to her through the course of her life. And yet...yet, she missed him. "He will carry and unfortunate burden. Be brave, my heart." She cradled her pregnant belly and began another circuit around the cut out. Just out of view, a retinue of the Daughters of Thaus and the Enforcers patrolled and waited patiently. Their life was to their ruler. Sabine rose to join Raveena, who casually opted to take to the main path again. Raveena tried to walk side by side with the Lady, but Sabine--by her own virtue--always remained flanked out of respect to Raveena's station in Umbra and beyond. "I'd like a hatchery," Raveena spoke suddenly, her attention admiring the flora. She would stop sometimes and read the signs, cross to the other side. She would tend to the dying or dead with encouraging words, and praise the living. "Pardon, Your Highess?" Sabine was startled by the sudden thought. "A hatchery? Here?" "In Hyperion. I will draw up the plans for it. I'll be damned if the South is going to wipe out one of Genesaris' oldest creatures. Oh?" She paused--though this was not to admire any plant or flower. Sabine recognized the look that Raveena sensed something. The Chimera gene was still strong in her, and she perhaps could smell something--maybe even see or feel something that the Lady Knight could not. "We are not alone." Raveena turned to glance at Sabine serenely, "This requires strict decorum. Five paces behind me, do not look nor acknowledge them unless you are given permission to." She returned her to leisurely stroll through the gardens, and Sabine grinned wolfishly before falling in line and assuming the part of of armed escort. "At once Your Highness." The Emperor's Paramour was here. @The Hummingbird
  3. Vdara Kingdom Marketplace NorthEastern Genesaris 597, Modern Era Despite telling herself that she wouldn't, the Runesmith was looking through crossbow bolts, again. The quiver on her back was empty, shamefully so, and sat in stark contrast to the heavy black-metal gunbow strapped to her back. The bolts on show weren't all that varied: you had your wooden bolts, of course, but also ones made of bronze, aluminum and even a handful of glass bolts, too. They were expensive, though, and well out of Priscilla's price range. This was why she'd been so averse to coming to this particular stand. She couldn't afford quality goods, and ought to have browsed cheaper stalls closer to the entrance of the market. But those stalls didn't have the specialized bolts the gunbow needed to fire, further adding to her dilemma. Thankfully, she didn't have to worry about wasting the vendor's time, as they were busy with another customer. This allowed her to walk away quickly, without making things awkward. She headed back the way she came. The sun was out, and it bathed the streets--and herself--in light. Vdara was every bit as beautiful as she remembered from her previous visits, but now she was returning not in trumph, but in disgrace. The familiar minishop she was so used to riding with had been gone for months now, and now, only the comforting weight of the crossbow on her back, and the knife strapped to her chest felt familiar. She was nigh unrecognizable, she realized upon passing a tall mirror on sale. Her natural hair color, that soft, cocoa-brown, was looking much healthier than when she'd started travelling to Vdara in the first place, and clothed in the thick, comfortable pirate's jacket and heavy boots she'd looted from the crash of Gehenna, she looked stronger than before, even. She didn't look the same as the woman who regularly visited Vdara and the Merchant's Guild, though. Her purple hair, and trim, effeminate appearance were gone, or at least hidden. Maybe that had something to do with why she was denied the majority of her insurance? Whether it did or not, Priscilla walked out of the Merchant's Guild less than wealthy. Worse still, nearly eighty percent of her gains were immediately handed over to the people involved in saving her. With what she had left, she'd been able to put some money into a hotel, buy some clean clothes and...that was it, really. She wasn't going to stop, though. If anything, the attempts on her life, over and over, had toughened her, and taught her a thing or two about how to stay alive, when people and animals and the environment itself desired otherwise. So, while she'd been resting in the tavern she'd holed up in, she'd come up with the idea of doing it again. Not the almost getting killed, part. The part where she didn't die while fighting things. Contract work wasn't unfamiliar anywhere within Genesaris, and loads of people made their living off of it. So, Priscilla reasoned, she could find a contract or three, and make enough money to recover her business. She passed beneath a bridge--or what it a road?--and focused on the tavern where she'd rested last night. The tavern was a classic, after all. She'd look for some hired help within, and get started before noon. She stepped inside, burying the quiet buzz of passing conversation for the louder clamor for the people within the bar, the bright sunlight for the dim candlelight of the tavern's interior, and the smell of fresh air for booze and sweat. She cringed, a bit, but pressed on, and found a spot at an empty table. And then, Priscilla waited, and watched. She didn't really know exactly who to look for, but she was confident they'd become obvious, in time.
  4. “So what do you plan on doing with her?” A brow rose at the question that one of her subordinates allowed his curiosity to form. Luz was tired of attempting diplomacy, of caring for anyone outside of Illyrian interests. As she walked beside the hovering mechanism that now encased what she considered her burden, eyes bore hard into the form of the draconic girl that had allowed herself to lose control and nearly killed that other gangly man. She would never understand how whatever deities or forces out there thought to create such volatile power and allow someone as hotheaded and immature to wield it. Tapping the top of the metallic, portable containment unit that housed Arashi she sighed audibly. “She must be contained for our safety as much as her own though I could care less about the latter.” It would have been at least an hour since she had left her Light to endure this task and she already felt herself feel a longing to return to his side. The thought alone brought the slightest tinge of red onto her cheeks before she drowned it all with a sense of duty and irritation that she could not have the luxuries she desired. Having descended down a circular platform that hummed slightly and glowed just as brightly as the spire above them, they descended for quite a while into a subterranean facility that the Scientific Division reserved for experimentation that was far too dangerous to be seen. Magical wards coated this area with their protective magic meant more to contain than to protect from outside influence. If Arashi still held enough energy to keep herself alert and awake she would feel an overbearing sense of pressure that would make her feel sluggish and disrupt the balance of energy around her. This sensation was not reserved only for her, however, as it was clear that Luz and everyone else initiated every step and every action in reserved fashion so as not to expend too much energy. That feeling would soon subside once they entered a large chamber at the end of an long hallway. Large transparent doors infused with energy slid open to allow them all entry. In the center of the circular room was a device that seemed tethered by tubing and fixed into the floor beneath them. A planar surface marked the top of the device made of a material that seemed to move fluidly as if it could be manipulated. “Place her there and make sure she is well contained.” One of her subordinates gladly obliged, the young girl activating the opening mechanism for the metallic containment unit to attempt to manipulate Arashi to stand and lead her toward the device that now began to tilt into a vertical position in preparation. The sound of whirring and a distinct hum of energy could be heard all around them now. Luz motioned for a few other men to help the young girl, fully expecting Arashi to be resistant as was clear by her next words. “Comply dragon girl or I will be forced to make you more malleable to make sure you don’t attempt to kill anyone else.” Moving some stray silver hair from her face she crossed her arms and seemed ready to react forcefully should her subordinates be unable to lead her newest burden to her rightful place. @Flame Hero: Endeavor
  5. A groan escaped Samuel a he became aware. Opening his eyes, he could see a peron on the floor, speckled with the green and yellow light that filtered through the trees above. Sitting up, he nearly blacked out at the pain that flooded his temples. Where an I he thought How did I get- A faint memory whisked in front of his mind and he reached out, only grasping the edges before it was whisked away in a flurry of pain. Obviously his mind didn't have the capacity to think about that right now. Standing up, slowly as to not irritate his brain further, he walked and grasp the trunk of a tree. It's rough, lichen laden bark was unfamiliar to him; being from a large city hadn't given him the privileges of nature; but the earthy smell emanating from it comforted him, reminding him that he was alive and indeed in the real world. Sliding down, he wriggled over the roots, trying to find a comfortable seat among them. He was surprised to see how dirty he was; his peach jacket and black pants hadn't held up too well to whatever handling that had brought him to this place; however he didn't mind, at least whoever had brought him here hadn't killed him. Upon habit, he slid his hands into his pockets, the warmth of his thighs heating his hands. It was colder than he like, 65 degrees at the most, and the heat was welcome. Flipping his hands over to warm the other side, he felt a paper in his right pocket, and upon pulling it out, blackout again. It all came back to him when he read the slip: Phase One Initiated: The Camp Subject: Telekinetic @AngryCacti
  6. “Hurry up Matti, you don’t want to be late!” Her mother called out to her from the kitchen, where she finished putting together a special breakfast for her going away to boarding school. She still could not fathom how her parents found the money to get her into a proper school, but they did and now she was going away. Standing in front of the mirror, she did all she could to control her unruly hair and made sure her blouse remained free of wrinkles and her knee length skirt smooth. She felt nervous, nervous about leaving and about having to meet new people and make new friends. Her mother assured her that everything would go well, but she still felt a little scared. After one more glance in the mirror and yet another fruitless attempt to tame her wild hair, Matti slowly trudges from her room to the kitchen, where her mother stands over the stove, warming a pot of porridge seasoned with real shredded fruit—a rare treat for their home. To say they were poor would be to gloss over their state of affairs with a generic paintbrush, missing the finer details that made up the picture of their home life. Both her parents worked more than twelve hours a day, six days a week, making a pittance at some factory in the middle of the district. This left her and her brother on their own, with her responsible for seeing him to and from school and keeping him out of trouble. Now that he was nine, her parents said he ought to be able to handle watching out for himself while they gave her the “opportunity of a lifetime”.   “There she is. My, you look lovely. I’m sure you’ll fit right in.” Her mother’s smile is drawn and obviously forced, just the hint of sadness blended in. Her stepfather sat at the table, waiting for breakfast while he oiled his tools he used at work. He spoke little as is and even less so toward Matti, he and she never forming much of a relationship at all. Not to say that they fought or felt mutual dislike or anything of that nature, but rather they simply existed near each other without taking interest in getting more familiar than they were. Matti stayed quiet out of shyness and the hope of going unnoticed, he remained so out of what seemed a disinterest in most everyday interactions. He spoke somewhat with her brother, his actual son, but even then, their interactions were far less than what tended to be “normal”.   Her stepfather looks up from his work and glances at her appraisingly, looking at her for a second or two longer than he normally bothered, although he still failed to make eye contact and ended in the same bored way he had any other time he acknowledged her existence. It surprised Matti that a man so indifferent to her took strides with her that they afford her a better opportunity than most other children in the slums ever had. Though Mezthaluen mandated that all children be given some education, the schools in their area hardly resembled schools at all, filled with up to fifty kids in each classroom and short of supplies or motivated educators- it was a small wonder that any of them ever learned anything at all.   “Moooom, I’m hungry!”   Her brother came in just after her; he still dressed in his undershirt and a pair of shorts, hair in a bigger mess than hers and sleepiness still in his eyes. He stumbles into the room and sits at the table, getting not so much as a glance from the man who headed their home, he reserving his words for when he thought it pertinent to speak. Matti sat in the seat beside the boy, smoothing down his tousled hair with her left hand while her mother dished up bowls of the steaming food. Though porridge itself become a regular staple in their morning meals, the smell of spiced apples and plums made the dish seem entirely new and exotic, a mouthwatering delight she might not see again for years. “Leave my hair alone Matti, I gotta eat!”   Her mother no sooner put a bowl in front of him before he swatted away her attempts to smooth out his mess he called hair, finding herself still trying to take care of her younger brother despite leaving in the next hour or so. Withdrawing her hand slowly, she realizes just how much she would miss taking care of him, even if he could be a real pain sometimes. Though he often teased her and seemed to go out of his way to give her trouble, he still relied on her and made her feel important. For all his complaints, he even occasionally thanked her for her help and on one occasion admitted his appreciation. She wondered how he really felt about her leaving- well, at least how he might feel after he eats, since that boy never thought of much else when food was on his mind. “Be nice to your sister Thumos, she’s leaving today, remember?” Her mother chides the boy gently, seeming to use her trip as leverage to get the boy to act a little more cordially in their final morning as a complete family. Thumos does not respond with words, but instead glances up quickly before shoveling food back into his mouth like it were going to disappear any moment now. Matti chose to relish the meal instead, eating in slow measured bites. It allowed her to enjoy it more while avoiding upsetting her already mercurial stomach. Her nervousness seemed more like “butterflies in the tummy”, but instead like a swarm of hornets had built a nest somewhere in there, if only they had the room. Matti was decently tall for her age, but she never seemed to fill in, always slightly built and waifish. Her mother used to joke that a strong wind might someday take her away.   It takes an extra effort, but she does eat the entirety of her bowl, leaving nothing for her vulture of a brother lingering nearby, hoping to get leftovers. Thumos sighs in disappointment when she hands the empty bowl over to her mother to go wash. Her stepfather finished his food at some point as well, but like with everything he did, he completed the meal silently. Matti assumed he would remain silent the rest of their brief time together, but he surprised her when he spoke.   “Mind yourself and do what you’re told. Things will be better that way.” Matti glances up surprised at the man she barely knew, the statement amongst the longest he ever said to her. In doing so, she missed the nearly alarmed expression her mother made, one that disappeared as Matti gave an earnest response in her quiet way. “Yes sir. I’ll mind.” This seems to satisfy him enough, the man only maintaining eye contact for a few more seconds before excusing himself from the table, leaving for his and her mother’s room, likely getting whatever else he needed for work. Matti too gets up from the table, making sure once again that her clothes looked neat and proper, taking to heart what she once heard from a teacher at school.   First impressions mean most in this world.   She certainly did not want to give her new schoolmates and teachers the impression that she was some poor kid who planned to squander her rare opportunity. Her conscientiousness seemed to please her mother, so Matti assumed she did the right thing in making sure she came off as a proper young woman. Her carefulness nearly went all for naught when her brother, still wearing nearly a fourth of his breakfast, attempts to lunge at her with his arms held wide. She just barely manages to get out of the way.   “Thumos, you’re filthy!” “But I want a hug Matti. Are you sure you gotta go? School is sooo boring anyway. Who’s going to take me to go play while you’re gone?”   Matti could not help but smile, the feeling of being appreciated- and wanted- something she only got in the smallest doses.   “Oh, you’ll be fine, you and your friends are plenty good at keeping busy. I’m going to go learn about the important things, and then someday I’ll open up a real shop and take all of you away from here.” Thumos smiles at this. “Really? I want to see the business district! Some say they sell fresh food right on the streets, right in the open. How crazy is that?” Matti smiles and nods, but just before she answers, she catches a glimpse of her mother, looking sadder than before, the woman turning away just before tears rolled onto her cheeks. Matti waves of her brother and walks over to her mother, giving her a tight hug. “Don’t worry mom, I’ll visit as soon as I can.” Her mother, looking off into the distance, does not answer for a long moment. Finally, in a voice of resignation, she says, “I’m sure you will. I’m sure you will.” Before anything else can be said, a sharp knock comes from the front door. 
  7. Juliana Shale was dressed in what had to be the finest clothes she'd ever worn in her life. The dress itself was worth more than she'd made on her last three jobs combined, and the jewels (assuming they were the real thing) would probably fetch enough to live comfortably on for quite a while. It was a testament to her reputation that her employers trusted her not to take off with the valuables, and a testament to the generosity of their payday that she never even considered doing so. In her opulent attire, she blended right in with the society types milling about the inn foyer. She sipped wine from a crystal goblet and watched the parade of nobles. A woman with a pinched face and elaborate hair caught her eye and smiled. Juliana smiled back, thinking about the disgust that woman would feel toward her if she knew what she really was: a poor merchant's kid turned highway bandit turned high-priced expert thief. Juliana scanned the foyer. Not a face in the crowd she didn't recognize...except one. She caught it in a flash, then it disappeared into the crowd: a pale, thin face, a child's face. "You're not supposed to be here," she said under her breath. She set her goblet down on the pedestal of a marble statue and headed for where she'd last seen the stranger.
  8. Players: @Aleksei @Alexei @danzilla3 @Garion @Grizzly @Grubbistch @EpicRome23 @Maverick Posting Time: 3/days - absolutely no exceptions.
  9. [continued from As The Crow Flies ...] Long hours passed in the trek through the Forest of Ellwood, the Umbral entourage creeping along slowly, as the shadows of trees extended long beyond them. Rou even chanced to yawn, a good time or thrice, and though tire tugged ceaselessly at her eyes, she did not dare to sleep. The soldiers of Fowler's company did the same, knowing that their captain would have some indelicate words and choice punishment for them if they'd become lax in their duty. When the forest opened, thinning into extinction, the palpable sensation across the party was relief. "Pennants, men," Fowler commanded as their steeds stepped through the last of the thicket, half the riders circling around to the last wagon, doled out flags by the rider, on long pole masts that they carried like lances as they returned to formation. The graying naval captain, looking back over his shoulder, could still be heard definitively even through his mask he had yet to remove. "Banners, up." A great rush saw them all flap to attention in concert, deep cardinal-red fields adorned by the thorny black emblem of their master, insignia of the Carmine Emperor. Onward they proceeded like an official procession, not soon to be reminded of their messy conduct within the forest. Rou peered over Zenahriel's shoulder with curiosity, some resemblance of the tall towers seeming familiar. A party what felt like eons ago, she remembered, a party in celebration of the queen and her victory in Ellwood, Rou had confronted the Black Queen about her poor taste, given the stench of dead men had not yet left the room. Considering the conditions upon which she left, she whispered dryly to her confidante, "Of all the places I expected to be welcomed, I certainly wouldn't have thought here." As the guards drew closer, Rou didn't shrink from their arrival, but made no spectacle of herself, either. Best not to be turned away at the door, regardless of company. Fowler did all the talking, as chief officer among them. "Emissaries of the Carmine Dominion to audience with the Queen," he told them curtly, sitting up straight as he tightened the reigns on his horse, who adjusted at his master's command, "They will see her immediately. Please notify Her Grace of their arrival." Perhaps he'd done this often before, as Rou had no reason to think about prior, as she'd noticed that he'd ordered, rather than asked. To some degree of surprise, one of the Orisian soldiers bowed, before quickly running off to relay his message, while the other stayed and guided them to the courtyards at a brisk, walking pace. As they trotted beneath the first set of parapets, belaying the more intimate vision of the great Orisian palace, the men of the Umbral company relaxed with a palpable air of safety, peeling their masks from their faces and indulging in unstifled breaths. The dreaded forest was long behind them... but for Rou, she was creeping into the Lion's Den. Centrally placed within the pristine marble fortress, the caravan slowed to a halt, and Rou knew that they were not long from the throne room. As chanced a glance upward, the black sky of night was starting to streak with fair purple, their pace having devoured most of the night, and the Queen's time for audience was growing short. Time was of the essence, and no one could know that her heart was tying a vice around her throat. Steadying herself with an uncommonly chaste and pragmatic hand on Zenahriel's thigh, she won her leg from the other side of the horse, and then disembarked his saddle with a hop. The remainder of the party followed suit. Unraveling the many windings of scarves from around her neck, Rou dropped the pile on one of the wagons, and brushed the clinging dust and dirt of the forest off of herself. The spores were too few to taint in an environment of open air, however, scrubbing the forest from their skin and clothes would leave a greater satisfaction, if not peace of mind for risk of infection. Most of their clothes were dappled in green, effects of their endured time within the forest, looking as if stained-- Rou most of all, for her slip from the horse. But as she divested herself of unnecessary trappings-- her mask, her jacket, her belt and frog with the steel saber tucked away, it was as if she had peeled off a disguise-- she'd noticed as several eyes seemed to zero in on her. It was to be expected, to think she would go unrecognized was folly. Rou, with her jet black hair and olive skin now borne to the fading moonlight, eyes that shone like molten gold and deep, dusky maquillage that would make penitents blush, looked like no Orisian, nor any of the Carmine Dominion. As diverse as they may be, Rou was foreign, the Emperor's so-called Desert Bloom, thorns and all. Some recalled her for her brief time and spectacle in Orisia, others by reputation alone. Regardless, she could feel the hair standing on the back of her neck, and reminded herself to remain firm, her lips pressed into a thin line. By now, they could not remove her, as they had recognized Zenahriel, as well. Drawing in a deep, calming breath, Rou rejoined her companion with a leading hand. "The hour is upon us," she idled briefly in attention, though it seemed more to prepare herself, rather than him, fastening herself to the task with a projected sigh. "I need you now the most, my friend... I am left in your capable hands." The procession was making it's way towards the door, and with half a smile, Rou and Zenahriel would join them. The ingress was opened wide, like the maw of a great beast, intimidating and beautiful. Even in the dark cast of night, the bright white marble seemed nearly blinding by comparison, for the humans among them still found their eyes stressed from their travels through the forest. Adjusting took a few fair moments, but the path to the dais took longer-- Captain Fowler leading next to the Orisian soldiers, followed by the pair of An'She and trailed by their company. They did not look harrowed as if from battle, however disheveled and tired was an accurate depiction. Zenahriel shone out among them, as time nor wear could not diminish him, and he stood nearly a head taller than all else. As her eye trailed up the dais to its paramount, Rou expected to find a lion sitting atop its peak, though perched on the throne seemed arguably more a gazelle. Regal, indeed; beauty, unquestionable; but tooth, claw, and ferocity remained to be seen. In her natural element, surrounded by friends and peers without subterfuge, she looked positively peaceful, if not retaining that slightly forlorn cast behind her eyes. While Rou's anger was fire and destruction, she reminded herself that it was the predator you did not see coming that was more a threat than the ones that did. Very little reason had these two great women found to be in the same place, though they each remained a constant menace to the other-- Rou was hardly one to balk, brazen and arrogant as she was. Diplomacy may have seemed an easy charade for Rou to slip into, though it defied the reputation of her nature. She was determined for this to go well-- and for that, she would require rest, and privacy. Too many onlookers were eager to discern the reason of a formal party of the Carmine Dominion. Fowler stopped at the foot of the dais, pounding his fist at his heart in military salute, before managing a rigid bow, nearly to the waist. He made grand introductions, though Rou had seemed deaf to his words. With a step closer to Zenahriel, she kept her gaze ahead, not tearing from the Black Queen, but lowered her voice to a whisper. "Do not make mention that I am to be Empress," she warned privately, for he had already accustomed himself to the habit. Her eyes trailed warily to him, a subtle, firm plea, imploring him to heed her request, offering a plausible reasoning for his comfort, "I would not have us meet on unequal footing." Fowler's introductions concluded with a gruff cough, stealing Rou's attention back. As he sidled out of the way, there was nothing standing between Rou and Gabriela Du'Grace, now. In those few moments, Rou's gaze hardened, as even now she felt her blood start to boil. For all that she'd suffered, the Black Queen had earned her place in blame, and upon such close proximity in any other circumstance, Rou might've closed the distance between them with her hands wringing about Gabriela's iridescent neck. Burying the hatchet was notably difficult... particularly when it wasn't buried in the back of her skull. @The Hummingbird @Pasion Pasiva
  10. The Vagrant Queen, flagship of The Forgotten Fleet. It’s massive size and frame appeared on the horizon in the waters outside of Port Caelum, and aboard it was the one and only Dredge. The Nightmare King and Dark Lord of Legion. He who had brought ruin and death to countless lives. But today wasn’t about ruin and destruction, quite the opposite really. Since the battle of Last Chance, Dredge had time to think while sailing the seas. It wasn’t brought on by losing a battle, Dredge had lost battles in the past. His thoughts were that of his people for once, not the selfishness and desire to conquer, not the need to bend the dark races of the world to his service and throw their lives away as if they were nothing. For this first time in forever, he found himself giving a damn about the goblins, trolls, and orcs he took in. He cared for their well-being and today would prove it. Living out at sea was not sustainable for them. They needed land, resources, and the ability to live peacefully. Or at least as relatively peacefully as a nation of monsters and beasts could. From the beach anyone staring could see the blackened leathery wings of a massive beast open up. Letting loose a deep and sharp ear piercing scream, the monster took flight and made its way to the sands outside the port. Riding atop a truly gargantuan bull wyvern was the dark overlord, he had finally arrived to get the measure of Akako. His emissaries had given their reports of the woman, his walk about her town during the festival gave him some insight on the woman and how she ruled, now it was time to see if all of what he heard lived up to the real deal. Quickly locating where the lone Queen of Port Caelum stood, the Wyvern made haste to approach. Another ear piercing shriek filled the skies above and descending from the air the wyvern bared its gleaming rows of fangs at the Queen. Lowering it’s long head and neck, the beast went silent as the loud thump of metal hitting sand sounded off at his side. Standing there in all his unholy glory was Dredge. Blackened war torn armor covered his body from head to toe. At his back was a jagged blade formed of bone from what one could only imagine to be a true horror. With every step the man took power and darkness radiated off of him in spades, a true dark lord to command the forces of evil. But what caused chills to roll down the spines of men were his eyes, two burning red points that shined brightly through a Stygian abyss of blackness that shrouded all other features of his face that the faceplate did not. Those eyes reduced even the bravest of men to nothing. So what would the dark lord do now that he was face to face with the true Queen of Yokai? Simple. He turned around, looked to his wyvern and spoke. ”Whose a good boy, Jeremy?!Whose a good boy?! You’re a good boy! Yes you are! Yes you are!” lovingly petting the wyvern, the beast returned the favor by nuzzling into his master and extending its slimy disgusting tongue to lick the helmet of his blackened armor. ”You want a treat?! Yeah you do!” letting down one of the large leather sacks attached to the wyvern, Dredge reached in and pulled from it the entire severed leg of a goblin who most likely died in an industrial accident. Taking the limb and throwing it into the air the wyvern flew up and caught it in its mouth only to devour it whole. From there the Wyvern would fly back to the ship and remain until the meeting was over. Turning to face Akako, Dredge smiled a wicked toothy grin beneath his helmet before his next move. Which was of course this. ”Hey, I’m Dredge. It’s so nice to meet you. My people call me the Nightmare King, Lord of Fire and Ash, Slayer of Men, and Dark Lord of Legion. But you can just call me Dredge. Easier that way.” Dredge said in a very casual and friendly tone. ”So let’s get these negotiations started! Again super nice to meet you.” With the snap of his fingers the man transitioned into full on finger guns before giving a slight bow at the waist and moved to rustle through the leather sack he dropped from the wyvern. @Akako Akari
  11. Dauner stood on the hill taking one last glimpse of his village as he was about to walk into the outer world on his first ever adventure. Dauner was born in a tiny village north of Yh’mi in Terenus where he had lived his entire life. He had always dreamt of going out of his village and living epic adventures like most of the adventurers that had been through his village had. Each time they came, they told tales of their adventures. How they discovered new places, explored dungeons and fought monsters. Each tale he heard just kept increasing his desire to taste that same adventure. Simply killing the little monsters that bred by his village wasn’t enough. He wanted to meet new races, to fight tougher monsters and to see the world as broad as it was. For this reason, he had made up his mind to leave his village as soon as he turned 17. After an eternity of waiting, the time had finally come to say goodbye the only world he’d known his whole life. He turned and walked away with the village settling behind the hills which now stood between them. He had a backpack with his food and water with him. He was well prepared for what awaited. The first place he had in mind was the mysterious land of Yh’mi. He had heard from one of the adventurers who had been there and lived to tell the tale, that there was a precious mineral there known as Ercaniron ore. He wanted to use this mineral to make an even stronger and heavier sword than the presently had. It took him 4 days to get to the entrance to Yh’mi. “The town of inns’th. My first adventure awaits” he said to himself putting on a beaming grin.
  12. "I'm ready." She spoke--to herself, or to her father remained unclear. A dossier of information--of schematics, or plans and hopes and dreams--they were all neatly collected and organized--as was her way. She slid it across the little cafe table of the veranda they sat at. The Yor estate had become something of a retreat. The months went by and the wives became plumper with their pregnancies. Kirena showed far more these days than Raveena did. It was endearing and hard to believe all at once. Umbra was special like that. "The water first. The supplies, next--including their biggest export. Banks and businesses. All of it is there from start to finish. No one has laid eyes on these but you." It was her first move as a ruler--a usurper of the divine. That is what the fae whispered in their chilling voices. Usurper Usurper... "Nymeria has given their aid through Kyros' regency. Honestly, I wish they would integrate themselves into the Empire already. Queen Rahab still pushes for it, but the Diarchy rule is old and solid." Raveena sighed softly and poked idly at the small garden salad she was presented with. She did not have Rowan's photosynthesis-like ability, nor Rafael's own means of sustenance. Divine Being that she had become, she was still stuck with eating a salad. She wasn't ungrateful, she simply wondered what her kind should rely on more. Or did they? Was she unique in that regard? "I need to know how prepared I should be to be rejected by the North with my proposal moving forward. I have my secondary plans in place, but you taught me that a siege takes time and careful consideration." She paused long enough to sip water from a crystal goblet and sighed thoughtfully. "I want to do this right. I'm ready for this. Seeing Hyperion in ruin...it woke something up. I can feel it--I can feel that divine power flowing through my veins now. I feel--stronger. I feel more confident, as if I've been waiting for this. Like a sign I'm doing what I am meant to." She looked at her father and studied his features with a deep measure of gratitude. "Thank you for all that you've imparted on me. I'm ready," She nodded, before looking out at the gardens, "I wish to rule--firmly, fairly, wisely. But first I must play the game, and I cannot always play fairly to win." @King
  13. @King She left with no other reason than she wished to go. Kadia has finally exchanged hands, leaving the throne and all its lovely ornaments to her youngest siblings - Connor. There was no reason for her to be against this, not when they had fought beasts and their ilk together, shed blood together, nearly died together, and have given their youthful years to the warp that had almost destroyed Kadia. Through all those moments of near-deaths and near failures, Connor showed that he was the hateful mix of their mother and father, bearing the pride of their mother and the coldness of their father regally. So naturally, the throne belongs to him. And it should have bothered her. There is a strangeness surrounding her sibling, something she can't exactly put her finger on, but it was enough to make the young lady relinquish her titles to find a life outside the Empire. It bothered her, yet it did not. Failsafes are in place for a reason, mother and father have made it clear they'll be watching from a distance and will step in when necessary. Olympia knows her home will be in good hands, no matter her feelings towards Connor, who has earned his strangeness. Aside from her parents, she understands that Cornelius is also watching with Lyonene right at his side. Kadia is safe - for now. With that for now in mind, she escaped into the night, never to return. Freedom is a strange burden. The event in Kadia did more than just age her a handful of years; it made her a little less wary of strangers and the world they inhabit. Her childishness is still worn in her manner of speech: the abundance of each word, the misuse of her excitement, the tone of curiosity. Sheltered for most her life, she can't help but look at the world with wide-eyed wonder, even though she has told herself to play cautious and coy. Weary, sure. Careless? Absolutely. It's the freedom flowing through her veins that's making her appreciate the world around her a tad more. It has also made her remember. Sitting beneath a withering, cold tree, she stares fondly at a rose. Its stem is being spun between gloves fingers, while dark eyes admire the loveliness of the gift that had been given to her some time ago. Rafael, his name echoes through her mind with immense fondness attached to it. If she were home and the devout knew of her like for the man considered less than human, they'd have her stripped and flogged, maybe even brainwashed. Out in the wilderness, she is free to think of Rafael and enjoy the memories brought on by merely whispering his name to herself. He had created a new world for a young girl hiding behind her father's legs. He had spoken to her sweetly, given her a gift, and promised her a dance under the moonlight. It was in that moment she had broken her religious fanaticism towards her father's belief; there was no way she could be faithful to his cause when Rafael had shown her in a few gestures that the world is painted using many different strokes. Then, just like now, she whispered his name to the stars and spoke to him as if he had always been there. The conversations vary, and the chosen piece for tonight are the fears. Sleep is difficult due to the memories of the warp and what she had gone through; the inability to accept such a weakness that she would struggle with such a trivial matter. He wouldn't judge, she is sure of this, which is why she speaks to the air around her as if it were him with ease and comfort.
  14. Somnolent Nova @vielle Andromeda. Her name echoed within the cosmos’ immensity – it thundered at first before drowning into minuscule whispers. She was drifting, nude and seemingly vulnerable whilst the swell of galaxies carried her with ease. Even though the stars melodically voiced her name, there was something different amongst them. They were weak, starved from the essence that only Bolmjir could provide and with that sudden realization, the stars were not calling out to her out of recognition but of torment. Her stars cried out in agony, the name which she bore laced with distress amidst their broken symphonies. Andromeda had betrayed them, crossed them with her own personal vendetta. A consequence that she should have known right from the start. Being the embodiment of the cosmos herself, it was not long before she, too, felt the anguish it carried. Her chest ached and flooded with grief as she allowed the infinity to carry her, listening with a broken heart of the weeps ringing within her soul. Stars reached out to her with pleading gravities, trying their best to grasp onto any light she may hold; yet, even her own illumination grew dimmer with each and passing second. Andromeda could not move nor speak any apologies, and though her eyes were wide open, all she saw was nothing as she was soon consumed by a black hole. There was silence. How long had she been drifting? To mortals secured on their planet, it may have been simply months, probably a few years. However, for her where time was presently nonexistent, it felt like an eternity and perhaps it was – a punishment fit for a traitor of the heavens. Andromeda had been transported into the outer system beyond her will, plucked swiftly from the embrace of one she loved. Does he remember her after all this time? Or, has she been erased from history forever, only to be another tragedy written in Evalise’s grand tome? What of her proclaimed father and sister in Mageside? Was everything she had done and felt for naught? It would certainly appear that way. “Look at this pathetic nymph, brothers,” A female voice resonated in the gravitational field after a long moment. “Seems to me as though heaven Herself has turned its back on this one if it has led this traitor to our midst.” The Ultima. “Bolmjir’s eldest daughter. The one who brought shame and humility to us all,” A male’s voice this time, wails of the dead entwined with each syllable uttered. “What did you hope to achieve, little one? Your hands are stained with disloyalty and for what? To avenge that wretch’s death? You sicken me.” Andromeda knew that she should have felt fear but there was nothing. Not even a tear. “It’s a pity that we cannot crush you into the stardust you merely are, Phaerl,” Another male’s voice, gruff and evidently older. “Yet, unlike you, we will always remain loyal to Bolmjir and honour his dying wish. Your expiration has not come but we shall make sure that every moment of your life is filled with throes.” The voices agreed in unison. “She is weak, Enir. Let her be with the rest of the weaklings on that planet she has come to care for so much. We’ll be watching you, nymph.” In an abrupt moment, Andromeda was thrust out of the black hole with great force that caused her to faint instantaneously. And, whilst she accelerated back through the universes’ cries and woes, she began to cry as well in her unconscious state. She no longer drifted. Now, she was falling. -- Lush grass tickled the side of her face, kissing lightly at the tear stains that left trails down her almost translucent skin. Andromeda, still nude and vulnerable, laid in the middle of green grasslands, away from any means of nearby civilizations. She stirred, her eyes opening narrowly as she slowly came to her senses and slowly brought herself up. Well, she nearly brought herself up but with little prevail as exhaustion coursed throughout her body. Her limbs trembled, violet hair cascading over her face whilst she tried to take a gander at her surroundings; only to fall back onto the bed of grass with a tired exhale. Normally, it would have been easier for Andromeda to teleport somewhere else, somewhere safe. However, with the incredible exhaustion came with the price that whatever power she once had was now stripped away. Alone, powerless, cold – this was her predicament, presently. Channelling her sisters for aid would fail, asking the cosmoses for energy even more so. What’s worse was that she could not recall this area, the memory of it hazy as if it was all new and foreign. Was she anywhere or nowhere at all? After a long while of laying down, trying to piece together everything that had transpired with little to no victory, Andromeda tried to sit up again with irritated breaths until she finally stood. One thing that she could remember vividly was Mageside: Aignéis’ face and her father’s smile. That is where she had to go, that is where she was meant to be. Covering her nudity with delicate hands, she stumbled almost absentmindedly towards the direction where she felt home was.
  15. It was a strange vehicle. Completely unlike the traditional cars that she found on the mainland of Geneseris and in the more technologically advanced countries of Terrenus. It was elegant, almost like some miniature airship -- aerodynamic -- and almost completely silent, save for a seductive purr that hummed along. This is where she had been led, and this is where she sat to wait, with the doors closed and locked until such a time as when Marigold decided to appear. She was seated near one of the exits, peering out a window at the quiet but animated street. There were people moving about, they were still talking about the announcement, they seemed jittery and exuberant, even with the recent events that had brought them here. But then again, there was much to be thrilled about. These new lands would afford them a lush greenery that they had, perhaps, never known. There were glorious flowers blooming along their sidewalks, trees were settling in comfortably with their thick and twisting vines. All of Illyria appeared something of a strange dream, a mixture between elegant technology and savage beauty. But it was simply too much for Gabriela. She could not be as glad as they were, not with the steep price that had bought this strange combination. Even if it was Raylon and his people, so many had died for this to happen. Shifting uncomfortably, she adjusted her dress and leaned back with her hands neatly folded upon her lap. Her mind was racing, as was her heart. She never expected to see the doctor again -- hell, she never expected to see any of the people from that awful night ever again. It had all started to feel like a bad dream, like some ugly memory that was more fiction than fact. But seeing Marigold was all the shock her system needed to remember how she had nearly lost her life, and how she had nearly lost her son. Now, while she waited, she found herself teetering between relief that Marigold had made it out alive -- unhurt by his own people or any of hers. But there was also rage. She felt it hot and white. He was a part of it, even if he had changed his mind halfway through. He had been a part of the horrors.
  16. Light filtered through drawn curtains, glimpses of the first rays of sun blinking into the room. It was still early in the morning; the sun only just rising to peek shyly over the horizon. The sky was dusted in bright pink and orange hues which colored the room respectively. It was not yet bright enough outside for most people to be awake. The port city was quiet except for fishers that were already on the water. Within the Regent's estate, all was quiet. Not a soul had risen yet; even the servants were still sound asleep. Across the bed of the Regent's room was a mound of white fur that rustled as what lay beneath stirred from slumber. It was warm, comfortably so. Humming softly, the vixen slowly lifted her lashes before closing them again, not yet ready to wake up. Her cheek nuzzled against the warmth that was beneath her face. Hints of a smile curled her lips as she shifted, her thigh rising a bit as she clung to whatever she was clinging to. Finally, her lashes lifted again, golden orbs blinking away sleep as she tried to recall where she was. She was mostly buried beneath her nine tails, only her nose and eyes visible from beneath the mountain of fur. Shifting again, Akako slowly began to remember the night before and how she and the Cambion had stayed up until odd hours discussing his son and what he had done with the Port that she would be assuming responsibility for. The daiyokai then realized that her warm pillow was rising an falling and it had a heartbeat. Breath caught in her throat and her nose twitched as she identified who she was with, already knowing who it was. There was a small part of her that hoped that maybe she'd summoned someone in the middle of the night after Xartia left. It would be less complicated if that were the case. Once she realized that Xartia was who she'd conveniently cozied up to, blessedly with both of them fully dressed, she took stock of how they were positioned. Her head was on his chest, his hand on her shoulder, holding her to him. His hand furthest from her was draped over the wrist of her left which gripped at his dress shirt (probably the reason he didn't leave). Her leg was most concerning. Her thigh was on his thighs; her foot hooked around one of his legs. Their position, if anyone were to see, was far more intimate than strictly necessary. Confusing the pair for lovers or more would be easy. Akako gently removed her leg from Xartia's body before releasing his shirt from her left hand and trying to slip it out from beneath his hand. While she began unraveling herself from the Cambion, Akako's mind wandered. She could remember the last time she had been in a bed with a man without becoming intimate. It had been eons ago when Snake was alive. Her lips turned down as she recalled how that entire thing fell apart. It was best to keep distance, especially with Xartia leaving to raise his and Red's son in Predator's Keep.
  17. Clink It pealed across the comfortable, bland, and quiet restaurant, loud and distinct. A summoning bell for the nervous waitress, the sound of ice on glass. She didn't like those eyes, yellow like a wolf's and just as predatory as they followed her shuffled approach. This customer's expression was neutral, framed by the inky curtain that was her hair, giving away neither joy nor displeasure. Something about that gaze made the waitress feel like she was being judged, compared to something lowly and small, like a worm turning through dirt. Her hands did their best to remain steady, but the shaking clipboard they grasped juxtaposed her forced smile. "Yes, ma'am... er, I mean, my lady?" She corrected herself. She'd been instructed to address the small woman with no less of a formality by the 'lady' herself. She had a terrible feeling about what was to come. The poor table waiter had no idea how right she was. "Your best." A pause. Illisandra's eyes went half lidded, looking up at the meek server girl with the slightest hint of disdain in the curve of her lips. "I instructed you to bring me your best drink. I will say it once more, and only once more. Bring me your best drink," her voice, noble, commanding, and saturated with dissatisfaction, was low, almost a whisper. The hand which held the glass of iced rum, soft and adorned with amethyst painted nails, lazily tossed the drink. The sound of shattering glass was sharp, punctuated by a glare just as sharp that bored into the waitress' eyes. "Y-y-y..." the yammering of a dog that knew only how to whimper, and not properly obey. It was offensive to her ears. "Go!" she barked, no longer willing to suffer the noise. The waitress turned and ran, not wanting to be stared at like that anymore. She'd brought their most expensive rum... now what was she to do? Illisandra tapped the table top with a series of clicks, growing impatient. Her food was late, and her drink was unsatisfactory. An urge to kick her footstool, the orc slave she had on hands and knees beneath the table and thankfully out of her sight, gripped her. However, the noblewoman of house Ravenstone resisted the temptation. It would hike her scant black sundress up and give the cretins that worked here a view of something they simply weren't worthy of beholding. The contact she was to meet in this town had better be worth the peasant's treatment she'd endured thus far, or she would make sure to turn the place into an economical ghost town in the coming months... @King
  18. It was becoming more and more common that she would find her shadow as the only consistent companion in her life. It was purposeful; though it didn't make it any less painful. Humans craved and needed companionship, touch, and love. In this, she was no different from them. It was deplorable, burdensome, and entirely unacceptable. After all these years, she'd hoped to turn it off entirely. While she had come close, she still had urges and moments where those longings haunted her like an unyielding phantom, an emotional poltergeist that tormented her. She was immortal, once called a Queen in rumor and reputation only. Whispers of the Queen of Yokai had since quieted with her frequent disappearances. The longer she lingered here, the more ties she made, the more relationships she built only to tear apart. It was a predetermined cycle that despite others' efforts, remained. As a series came full circle, the demoness would return to the void. In her seclusion, she precariously rebuilt the wall, the defenses she guarded so carefully. Over the last few years, she was absent more often than not. Lately, Akako had made many appearances throughout a few weeks to visit acquaintances despite her reluctance. Favors had been called in, and she found herself involved in foolishness, though, it did help the time pass. She justified returning because her impassive nature was intact and her ironclad walls were in place. There had been a slight misstep, but Akako had swiftly corrected the error and felt confident enough to wander Arcane East after her brief visit to Terrenus. It seemed like no matter where she went, it was unbearably cold. Drifts of snow fell in hypnotic swirls that the daiyokai watched with mild interest. Everything else was quiet. Rarely did she pass any other travelers, likely because of the mage-storms. Though, Akako didn't seem to care either way. Perhaps to onlookers, it was reckless, but the demoness could and would slip beyond the veil to avoid the worst of it if it came down to it. She always seemed to have a contingency plan, or she didn't honestly care. If she were meant to die, then she would and hopefully if she did again, no one would be so foolish to bring her back. Several millennia was enough. Her travels were aimless, passing Umbra, hugging the mountain line as she went. There were no used roads here. However, there were small settlements here and there that she didn't pause to explore. Smoke from fires warming homes drifted up to the heavens and served as an implicit warning that the houses weren't vacant. Her true nature was hidden behind a glamour as it usually was. The curtain of her black hair fell down her back and spilled over her shoulders offering a bit of additional warmth. She was dressed in a traditional winter hikizuri kimono, her hands hidden within the sleeves. The top layer was a crisp white with golden cranes suspended in flight stitched into the fabric in an intricate scene. The layer beneath was a bright red that only showed at the vixen's neckline and each time she stepped. The obiage was a deep violet fabric that a golden obi was layered on top. It was fastened tight around Akako's waist. Even with as many layers as she wore, the demoness was cold, her fingers chilled beneath the fabric of her kimono sleeves. Memories of heat surfaced to her mind, and she craved it despite herself. It was easy to justify. It was a recent memory and pleasant. With a huff of amusement, Akako looked back to the sky again as if to dare it to open up.
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