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  1. 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.
  2. Players: @Aleksei @Alexei @danzilla3 @Garion @Grizzly @Grubbistch @EpicRome23 @Maverick Posting Time: 3/days - absolutely no exceptions.
  3. 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.
  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. 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.
  6. Alexei

    Shrine City

    Regent: Neronius, Kaiser of the Cold South Contact: Alexei Current Aid: Shrine City is the strong Capital of the Imperial South, and the place where the seed of the Corvinite Cult was planted. The people here are hardy, strong, and incredibly pragmatic despite their xenophobia, traits that have, in fact, kept them alive after the devastating invasion of the Great North then the trials and tribulations of constant non-human incursions during Corvinus’ rule. Shrine City currently has a population of approximately 1,550,000. GEOGRAPHY Topography Shrine City is built with the great cluster of mountains at its South, and access to rivers to its North. This has allowed the city both access to vast stores of precious metals and minerals, and great fertile valleys during the planting season. These factors have made the city not only self-sufficient but the center of the region. Under Corvinus and now his son, Neronius, this influence has only increased, and this is now true to the greater Imperium. Without Shrine City’s protection of these factors, much of the Cold South would starve. This has made sure the other cities remain compliant. The city itself has natural protection. To its rear, a vast cluster of mountains protect it, for an army would surely die to attempt to cross them. Especially when they would only find themselves before the great white wall of the outer ring. To its front is the fertile river valley. The soil is tilled deep during the spring and summer months, and due to the rain can often become deep mud traps for an advancing army. Forcing them to wade through it before reaching the front of the city. With its wall to intimidate an already exhausted invading force. In the winter it is far more treacherous. The cold is biting and with the lack of trees, as they have been cleared for farmland, the wind can kill an unwary man in a moment. Blizzards can come without warning, and fog can shroud the view. This makes the footing treacherous, and those unwary crossing the frozen rivers can find themselves drowning beneath the ice. While these factors might not destroy an army on their own, they will affect morale. Shrine City soldiers are well versed in surviving these times, often using them to hit the foe with unconventional war tactics. Attacking in the whiteout of a blizzard, striking from the dense fog, and then disappearing just as quickly as they came. It makes the city a nightmare to siege and a jewel to defend. Cityscape Shrine City—seat of the Kaiser—is a swell of curves and high walls and enormous, tapered spires. Most of the buildings are built from white kadium reinforced concrete, color accentuates the city in statues if gold, silver, and onyx, as well as Imperial Banners. The center of Shrine City has been built not only to represent the strong faith of the people, but also their will to survive and succeed. High walls of Kadium reinforced concrete, pure as the snow, surround each ring of the city, extending over 30 feet into the air, and 30 feet beneath the soil. Built into the walls are the barracks for active duty Legionnaires, where their power armor and weapons can be maintained and stored. These walls are not only thick enough to withstand prolonged abuse from conventional siege weapons but also the more metaphysically inclined. The buildings in each ring reach higher the more one draws closer to the center. A testament to mankind's struggle to rise. Ravenscar palace, the First Temple and largest structure in all of Shrine City, is located at the center of this great and holy city. Birthplace of the Corvinite Faith, it is one of the holiest and most sacred of locations to the faith, and likewise the only temple to Corvinus’ name in all of Shrine City. Ravenscar dominates the entirety of the centermost district, with all other structures of the area either built into it or under its imposing arches. In spite of its archaic appearance, beautiful though it may be, Shrine City is the result of ingenious human engineering. That the majority homes support features such as central heat and insulation and indoor plumbing, is credited to the work of the city’s people and its unique non-magic technology. However, this is not to say that the latter has not accentuated the residents’ manner of living, assisting in things such as transportation, communication, and entertainment. Climate Situated between the rivers and valleys and valleys to its northeast and west and the Dragonfall Mountains to its south, Shrine City has been known to experience a variety of climates. Only one word can describe the nature of the Cold South. Unforgiving. Winters are harsh and deadly to the unprepared, fraught with the danger of deathly cold, hunting beasts shrouded in fog or hidden in snowstorms, and recently non-humans. Springs are rainy, and chilled, summers less so but one will never find the warmth expected farther north. Fall us bitter cold and short-lived, a quick death heralding winter’s deathly grip. Magestorms are not incredibly common but can be quite powerful. Recently Shrine City has survived many magestorms, this is attributed to the construction of the Corvinite Obelisk. The city is now shrouded in the God Emperor's influence, a testament to his people that they are always under his protection. Flora and Fauna As a city of Genesaris, common flora and fauna can be found in abundance around the city and its territories. These listed below are merely a few that are exclusive to Shrine City and its immediate demesne. Ravenwing (Flower): A small, black flower with wing-shaped petals. They grow abundantly throughout the city, and a rumored to be a gift from the Empress Leoa to her Emperor Corvinus in the early years of their rule. They are known to break away from their stems and fly in the breeze during the spring. Wintersbreath Roses (Flower): These strange, unique flowers can be found growing along the city’s outermost wall. Their name is derived from their ice-like petals, which appear to shimmer like freshly fallen snow in full bloom. Frost Sprites (Elemental): Otherwise known as “frost spirits,” these small, floating elementals have the appearance of a swirling snowstorm. These particular sprites tend to gather in valleys along the Cold South, subject to frequent blizzards, feeding off the latent energies. Frost sprites are rather vicious creatures, drawn to the biological warmth of living creatures, and have been known to attack large groups traveling to and from Shrine City. Southern Trout (Fish): Colloquially known as the “Crystal Trout,” these deceptively crystalline fish inhabit the rivers of Shrine City. Known for their hearty size and crystalline scales, the southern trout is known to reach weights over eighty pounds (when fully matured). These fish are greatly sought after for their flavor and above all their scales. White Wolves (Animal): These pale, heavily-muscled, wolves are found exclusively in the Cold South. Used in the Ritual of Struggle, it is said that Shriners send out those on the cusp of manhood to hunt these great beasts with the more archaic rifles of the past. Only upon successfully killing one or surviving the three week period in the wild are the boys then considered men upon their arrival. Those who return with the body of a wolf are hailed as heroes, and feast upon its flesh. These wolves are known for their large size, great strength, and intelligence. They are a deadly opponent for any human or non-human, even more so in the winter months. DEMOGRAPHICS Culture Shrine City is a bastion for those of mankind who seek unity, spiritual evolution, and enlightenment. This evolution, or enlightenment, generally takes shape in conforming to the faith of the Corvinite (the only religion legally practiced within the borders of Shrine City). Humans are the only inhabitants of this city, having been the majority and since the so-called “Xenophobic” decree, make up one of the only recognized species allowed to be in the city (Elves and Dwarves are allowed but segregated). What numbers had been lost due to the decree were replaced, and even increased by the influx of Renovatian and Alterian immigrants. Alternatively, life in Shrine City is not one of placid utopian dreams. As it is written among the Corvinite’s holy tomes, “only the strong survive the winter cold”; the citizenry of Shrine City stand firmly on the principle that the strong are forged upon the crucible of struggle and the weak broken. They believe that true strength can never be given, but instead, it must be taken -- earned through blood and sweat, yours of your enemy's. It has created a people who, while they consider each other an extended family, have no tolerance for those who do not pull their own weight and burden others. A harsh people, but a people who can survive. And since they pride themselves as the moral vanguard of the Imperium, the people of Shrine City adopt seemingly totalitarian measures to ensure their moral code remains untarnished. Crime of any form is harshly punished; there are no misdemeanors within the city. This seeming cruelty is countered by a thorough justice system, one that incorporates fair and just consideration of all the circumstances involved. Economy Shrine City as with the rest of the Imperial South, is not known for trading with the neighboring regions. Largely independent its wealth is gained through the tribute of the various cities that make up the Empire. This is done in in exchange for food, materials, and the continued aid of the empire. Since Nero’s taking of the throne, there has been a shift of a more active economy within the Cold South and the greater Imperium. Much to Union City’s chagrin, the Cold South maintains an isolationist economic policy. Major Companies and Institutions Corvus, Academy of War: Second only to Ravenspire in Kadia, this is where much of the education of the Southern Empire’s citizens take place. Raising up the youth in a strict scholastic and martial regimen. It is famed for its high achievement, even outside the Imperium, and stands as a testament that the Southerners are not some primitive minded society. Veche, Soulseeker Academy: A branch of the Eichmann academy, the youth showing potential enough are taught and trained to be the greatest warriors of the Imperium. Soulseekers. Focusing more on theology and war, it produces some of the most stalwart and unshakable Soulseekers to serve the God Emperor’s will. Eichmann Industries (Branch): The main supplier of weapons, transportation, and infrastructure in the Cold South and the greater Imperium. Created and overseen by Deiter, the Crown Prince, this company provides the non-magical technology which brings power, purifies water, and defends the vast cities, Shrine City is no exception. PARKS AND RECREATION Landmarks and Monuments Crucible Arena: A large, arena located in the first. Fully equipped, with reinforced rooms and a slew of both real and practice weaponry, it is a place where individuals can come to practice their martial skills. The Lion’s Square Garden: The largest inner-city greenhouse garden in all of Shrine City, this beautiful stretch of vibrant emerald grass is teeming with enormous clusters of flowers: roses, lilies, lilacs, lotus, and everything in between. The park also houses a large playground. Ravenscar: The palatial fortress of the Kaiser, Ravenscar derives its name as the birthplace of the Imperial Faith. The palace has since then become a place of great pilgrimage for all the religiously devout, as a Corvinite’s greatest honor is to behold the origin of their faith and mighty deity. Ravenscar is the largest structure in all of Shrine City, a mountain of walls and spires and towers of white reaching deep into the sky above, and bathing the city below in its shadow. GOVERNMENT · · Primacy The Imperial South is overseen by the Kaiser or KaiserinEmperor or Empress, who hold absolute authority over the matters of state. Though this position is inherited amongst the bloodline of the founding family, is is very much a position still earned. While this position has the final say, they must still gather a council of all city state representatives to change laws. The Kurfürst or KurfürstinPrince or Princess-Elector is a position second only to the Emperor and Empress, similar to that of a Regent in other countries and empires. Their duty is to oversee the Empire should the Emperor be away from administrative duties. The power of their office is limited only to enforcing the laws and seeing that the administrative machine of the Empire continues to run smoothly. Markgräf or MarkgräfinMargrave or Margravine are the heads of each City StateProvince of the Imperial South, Shrine City is exempt as the seat of the Kaiser. They are granted a degree of sovereignty to rule over their people as they deem fit, so long as they pay tithes to the Empire. Should they not pay their tithes, are suspected of heresy, or rule in a manner harmful to the people, they will answer to the Emperor. They form members of the Imperial Senate during the removal, drafting, or implementation of laws. Landgraf or Landgräfin are below the Markgräf and the Markgräfin. They rule over certain areas within a City State, which are usually smaller cities or large towns. Their degree of autonomy is controlled by their superiors. · ·National Security While the ReichsheerArmy of the Holy Southern Empire is an omnipresent force within the Empire, acting as both a police force and military; it is the UntersuchungInquisition that oversees matters of National Security alongside the Kaiser and Kurfürst of the Imperial South. When decisions need to be made or discussed they will convene a SitzungCourt or Gathering to find solutions for problems known or unknown. The Reichsheer ultimately answer to the various Gräfs of the cities in which they are stationed, the Kaiser’s authority is ultimately absolute. The ReichsritterImperial Knights faction is a group of Knights made up entirely of Soulseekers, warriors who have resonated deeply with the Authority, the essence of the God and the culmination of Mankind’s will. The order answered directly to the Untersuchung and the Kaiser. Their main objective is the protection of the Emperor, by choosing an Inquisitor and a Soulseeker from their number. Their orders’ secondary function is the rooting out of heresy and the purging of heretics, heathens, and Dämonen. Flag: Military Extended Information The Fist of the Emperor (Imperial Legion): The military forces of Shrine, known as the Fist of the Emperor, or the Fist, make up one of the smallest percentages of the Imperial Legion (the combined forces of all the Corvinite Imperium and its domains). The Fist is responsible for handling all matters of Shrine City, namely defending the Temple Square and its surrounding areas should they ever fall under attack. Because of this, their various divisions -- such as the Southern Wolves, or TEMPLAR Knights of the Raven -- are often considered the Legion's elite forces. They are stationed in every ring of the city, their barracks built into the massive walls, and by the great gates. During times of invasion, they become a gauntlet to fight through. Highly knowledgeable of the city and Urban warfare they are a force to be reckoned with. Every citizen is a member of the military, having access to a polybolos rifle, and a suit of power armor only their biometrics can access, making up both active and reserve forces. — 1,550,000 Imperial Military Forces (Legionnaires, TEMPLAR, Inquisitors), total. EDUCATION Under the God Emperor’s rule, education throughout all of Shrine City – and to a greater extent, the Imperium itself – has flourished to an all-time high. Shrine City hosts two of the most prestigious postgraduate institutions in all Genesaris: Corvus, Academy of War, and Veche, Soulseeker Academy. TRANSPORTATION Boat: Great waterways wind their way through the city, crafted by channeling the hidden mountain streams to provide a source of clean water to the people, and advanced technology maintains it. Specialized boats carry many citizens and tourists throughout the city. Automobile: Paved roads, highways, and bridges provide quick routes through the city. Vehicles of steels and fusion batteries drive seamlessly through the city and are usually the general means of travel for the citizenry. A system of different colored lights and signs help to keep traffic smooth. Walk: Sidewalks, walkways, and small bridges are also built to accommodate those who prefer to travel on foot. Signs and lights help protect and direct pedestrians. NOTABLE RESIDENTS Neronius C. Melisende: Kaiser of the Cold South, and one of the many sons of God Emperor Corvinus and God Empress Leoa. He is a man of great passion, unwavering fortitude, and intellect. It is said he is akin to a war god, and perhaps even the greatest representation of the Cold South and its people. HISTORY A list is currently being compiled, all threads, however, are to be considered cannon(Especially done by Aleksei or myself) unless otherwise stated.
  7. It had been a while since the teenager had settled in. Her sights were not only set on conquest of the remains of Palgard, but on other things far greater. On her spare time the engineer turned over rumors, manuscripts and other information from various sources. It was mostly technical information and reports on prospective enemy forces and the success or failure of a given operation, but other mysterious goodies were peppered throughout. Most of this allegedly extraneous information was simply passed over, but there was one item that gave a chill to her nerves. There was a log of a ship that came into the industry controlled port, but a physical description of the individual who allegedly departed the craft was missing. Taking up a techno-magical tablet she browsed through the surveillance footage to the given log time. No person was seen departing the ship for the entirety of its visit. Was there an intrusion into the surveillance network or what other trickery could potentially be at play? Sanu knew a few things about sailing craft and potential mysteries they could bring, but so unfortunately he was on an extended vacation. This anomaly would need to be investigated, but another just as important event would occur first. What could that possibly be? A lunch meeting of course! The Direktor had eyes and ears all over the city. The surveillance which not limited to the industrial district found an individual of interest. A particular blue haired mercenary whom she'd briefly met before. Curiosity bade discovering what the individual was up to. Caerula would receive an invitation to meet with the General'ny Direktor in a private upper floor of the Zephyrus tower. Should Cae accept and approach the tower at the appointed time she would be met with an armored and armed escort consisting of firearm equipped soldiers. Soon taken off the path of the regularly traveled lower levels a lift would take her up and up and up. Once they departed the lift the lead soldier would direct Cae to a door which slid open upon approach. Hana could be seen sitting at a table with two settings of food and an empty chair across from her. "Welcome back. Things have changed a bit since we last met."
  8. It was all too familiar. The atmosphere of the tavern. The rough and worn appearance of tables and other furniture, the smell of the abundance of alcohol and the welcoming embrace of a comfortable chair. At least now it was since she made the place a haven before. It wasn't protection from a threat or danger of physical means. It was something far beyond the girl's understanding. She'd come so close to finding her way. So close, and yet in the end reality somehow opened and swallowed everything whole. She yearned for a new life, but every opportunity wrenched from her grasp before she was able to recognize the circumstances. She was back. Back to the only stability she knew short of setting herself back even further. May would soon contemplate her next move, but now wasn't the time for that yet. After passing out multiple times in the past from over-consumption of alcohol the teenager had taught herself to monitor her intake. Through experience she'd find the effect she desired without going overboard and putting herself under. Though now wasn't just time for drinking. A meal would be coming soon, and after that she'd take a gander at the job board. There had to be things to do that would merit from her skills outside the realm of being a total mercenary and assassin, and she'd find them.
  9. Sikko walked into Blairville with an empty backpack and stomach. The city was no different from when he left it two years before. Even the old Sticks shop was still in the same place. “I’ll take two twangy lamb sticks.” He said to the man at the booth. He wiped his hands on his meat stained apron, writing down his order with a pen. “Anything else?” Nope, that’s it.” Sitting down in a nearby chair, he moved around, trying to get comfortable. Its metal flowers were beaten out of shape by years of use, making it an uncomfortable seat; but he smiled despite it. The sharp smells of meat and musk, held low by the smoke that was in the air, made his eyes water and smile widen. The sharp smells of meat and musk collided and were held low by the smoke that rose from the various fires in the market. Sikko was excited to be back, not just to visit the place he spent his teen years, but to ask his former teacher, Sanso Tson, to accompany him to Shannee Glacier. Of course there was the possibility of getting a no, but he’d work on the technicalities when they came. “Two twangy lamb sticks.” The man’s voice rang out, making Sikko stand. “Thanks.” Dropping two ounces of copper he walked through the busy market place. Biting down on a piece of lamb he sighed as rosemary pervaded his nose with each exhale. The lemon splashed, causing a zesty tingle to linger on his lips. Blairville was the only place to get food like this! An old habit overtook him as he weaved through the crowd, stopping and watching people and their interactions with one another. When he had first arrived in Blairville, Sanso would send him out on quick errands, and a lot of times he’d end up stay out a lot longer, watching and following various people. Some would call it stalking, but for a shy young teen it was more an adventure than anything else. Tossing his eaten lamb into a nearby waste bin, he started to eat on the other as the sounds of the marketplace faded behind him. The noontide sun beat down upon the city; sweeping gusts of wind regulated the heat to a cool, tropical temperature. Plants, flowers, trees and other foliage grew seemingly intertwined with the city. It wasn’t uncommon to see a root in the floor of your home or vines scaling up your walls, it was just a part of the harmony the people had with nature. It wasn’t a far distance to Sanso’s home, it sat on the edge of the river that winded through the city and Sikko would only have to go a mile or so downstream to reach it. Reaching a bridge, he went around and into the slope that led to the river. Rocks and mud caught into the soles of his boots, causing him to slip more than walk down to it. Upon arriving at the river, he held out his hands, freezing a small section of it into thick ice. Sitting on it, he broke it free of the bank the current whisking him down stream. Sailing down the river on a piece of ice didn’t warrant him any shocked glances or strange looks; just the occasional kid running along the bank trying to catch him, or Hello’s from people walking along the bridges overhead. He never felt his introverted side come out while he was here and it was a welcome change for his usual quiet, observing self. Passing under a tree, its thick branches and broad leaves casting a giant shadow over the river, he stood. Everyone called it the Giant’s Tree, one of the biggest in Blairville and also a personal land mark to Sikko. Steering his raft to the bank he jump off, landing with a soft ‘thud’ on the muddy bank. Sanso’s house was only a little ways away; he could even here the gentle ‘plinkle’ of chimes marking the entrance to his garden. He hesitated, what if he didn’t want to see him or something? Stop, He told himself. Sanso welcomes complete strangers into his home, why wouldn’t he accept you? With a mental shrug he walked on.
  10. Silence. Like the neverending sound ripped away from a voice that needed to speak. Silence that came made the fear all the more powerful as it came to be. It was here, standing in the rain did the first seed stand. Looking over the plans he had written in an old scratched up notebook. If he was to succeed in gaining Athentha to his own goals he needed to do something drastic. It seemed that he had called the seeds here. The dying organization he was trying to build would be destroyed in time. But as he looked over at Vanilla, he had an idea. People knew the legend of the beast and the organization of the blood red moon children. It was here that he formed a plan. He would need to sacrifice the second seed and combine her with the princess. Without another word, he looked at Vanilla again. He had kept her safe during all this time, and she was the only one he could stand. But his feelings for the half breed seemed to now run his brain, trying to self destruct everything he worked for. Taking a step as the rain continued to get heavier he would come here, to the princess's home city and lure her here. The first seed sat down on the bench now as he placed the notebook into his bag. Vanilla taking her seat beside him. It wasn't a secret she held a torch for the first seed. But she would never be able to be with him. Not the way the second seed wanted it. The two remained in silence. Garnet's eerie golden yellow eyes traced every figure that walked by. No elves, just demons. He smiled to himself, if he could harness the half breed then the land could become his, and he could make it good. Create something different from what Rin wanted to do at least. The elders are onto us aren't they? They have acquired knights and soldiers to keep tabs on us. Garnet, why are we the enemy? What did we do to deserve such hatred? We exist Vanilla. That is all. They think we are helping the monster to acquire her land back. And we are somewhat. Let them gather whoever they want. If my plan succeeds, it will be futile. You shouldn't worry yourself to death about these things. You should think of the future. Of course Vanilla didn't know she wouldn't see the future as she was now. That Garnet planned to fuse her with the half breed. He didn't care about the elders. They could do what they wanted and everything would work out in the end. Yet, in the end things wouldn't be the same. Athentha was on the brink of being destroyed. The war would come, but he would have a weapon at least. But he was wrong. Garnet was not prepared for what happened, he would never be. And so they sat there in the rain watching the people come and go. The inn wasn't open yet so they couldn't get a room to take a nap in. It would be open in an hour before the mid-afternoon sun would appear in the sky.
  11. King


    True to his nature – a man that did as he pleased, when he pleased, with little regard to the feelings of others – and habit, Rafael stood in Gabriella’s bedchamber. No longer theirs, as it had been for so brief a time, but hers once more. Little had changed in the few weeks since his departure from Orisia, and he found that comforting. The clean, sterile whites still dominated the furnishings and tapestries, catching the light of the day or the soft rays of the moonlight spilling in through the window. Philippe’s cradle stood nearby, just within arm’s reach of the bed (as both he and Gabriela desired), white as well, though devoid of the child’s joy-invoking presence at the present moment. That night, it was raining, as it often seemed to do when the emperor decided to visit his beloved cousin. La’Ruta was becoming increasingly familiar with the elder vampyre, and the island’s soul seemed to ebb and flow to his temperament. Whereas Gabriela saw it better to distance herself from the land, Rafael had not been so lenient and gladly inserted himself into the void left behind by Malice’s prompt withdrawal. Dark La’Ruta was still recovering from the vast pit the Warlord had bored into its heart, but Rafael was doing well to fill it, albeit slowly. “I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you about Philippe’s condition,” Rafael said softly, not bothering to glance back over his shoulder. Gabriela was there in the doorway, he knew – he’d felt her approach from long before she’d even entered the corridor. “Believe me when I say it was not out of cruelty or any sense of leverage. There are times you try to shoulder too much – we all do. I didn’t want you to panic or to worry needlessly.” There was a simplistic sincerity to his words, lacking the undercurrent of sarcasm of knowing that usually took root when he addressed the younger vampyre. With a heavy sigh, one that shook his shoulders visibly, Rafael lowered his head. “No matter my intentions, I recognize I was wrong, and that through my actions I put Philippe in danger. For that, I truly am sorry, Gabriela.” Surely, she knew that he would never knowingly do such a thing, that he loved the child just as much – if not more – than he loved her. It had been a painful revelation to learn she’d become with child by the devil, all those months ago, and yet he’d found beauty in the process. Though their relationship had dissolved, their marriage fraud and in shambles, Philippe would always be his son. Turning away from the window, disenchanted with the wet stream of while marble institutions and the dark, blurry garden unfurling at the south end of the castle, Rafael beheld his dear cousin for the first time since their rendezvous in Terrenus. Like his mood, the elder’s attire was dull and dark, a two-piece ensemble of tunic and trousers that fit loosely, cascading down his muscled frame rather than gripping it. Gabriela, of course, was a vision. Even amongst their people, the Black Queen was known for her ethereal beauty. Like Rafael, and those Tenebre had chosen as his esteemed favorites long before either of the two cousins had been born, the Dark Father had taken his time crafting them in the wombs of their parents, blessed them with exceptional gifts that made even their exotic species seem mundane and common in comparison. T’was why, amongst all their relatives, Rafael and Gabriela looked most alike – spitting images of the perfection Tenebre had first envisioned when he gave birth to the vampyres. Their children, he realized as he looked her over, longing and regret both present in his vexed gaze, would have been flawless. The perfect vampyre, he lamented, before casting his sight elsewhere. She’ll not pity you, he told himself. She’ll not understand nor care to. Save your pitiful sentiment for when you’ve returned home, Rafael lectured, steeling his resolve, and hardening his expression. This is what she wanted, was it not? Rafael remembered the pained look in her eyes when she married him that day, once again, to save her child’s life. Not out of love, out of desire, or any proper reason a man and woman should wed. He remembered all too well how deep her regret sank, how desperately she wished it had been Roen to propose, to marry her and save their child’s life. He remembered, at that moment, how many times she’d told him there was nothing they wouldn’t do for each other – that they were meant to be, destiny, and that nothing he could do would ever get between them. Roen had stabbed her, humiliated her, discarded her like she was trash, ignored their child until the very last second of his birth (feigning ignorance and immobility as his excuse) – and yet Gabriela had loved him through it all, sworn by his name. Now he was here, Orisia, Philippe, and Gabriela secured firmly in his grasp. Gabriela was with her most beloved, the father of her son, and at long last, Orisia would know peace. So, why then, did she not look pleased? Why did he not look upon the face of a woman finally content with her life, satisfied to have defied fate and forge her destiny? Why did Rafael look upon his reflection when he looked into her smoldering golden eyes; his frown as he favored her full, pouting lips; the unsettled cut of his jaw when he looked at her rounded one? Was she so impossible to please that even as life became her oyster, and she found herself in the company of those she desired most, that she was made to be miserable and melancholic? “I’ve ensured Philippe’s essence will meld seamlessly from now on,” Rafael said, breaking the cold silence between them. “Still, I will monitor the situation closely. If ever he has another episode, I will be there to rectify it immediately. It will take some time, but eventually, with age, his body will naturally come to control the power inside him.” What a long, strange journey it had been.
  12. Davorin

    Faith is fragile.

    He was awake by dawn with a small cluster of armed servants, practicing his swordsmanship in the courtyard. He never slept long these days, and even less so whenever he was about to accomplish stratagem with those whom served under him - which was to say, too often. Before his current undead state, his peers always cautioned that he would tire his body, and in a way at that time he knew that the manic energy that seized him at these junctures was not wholly healthy. But he'd never been able to stop himself all the same, and presently that was no longer an issue to him. The vitality and clarity of mind he received from swordplay was far more attractive than lazing in bed. He liked to keep strong and ready, able to defend himself; he thought poorly of most rulers who would waste away simply because they could. With a particularly rapid series of lunges and parries, he was able to disarm his last sparring opponent, and concluded the practice with satisfaction. A servant offered a towel, and he retreated back to his manor. It was as if only an old clock kept time in a house that appeared no longer alive. Rarely did sunlight dance through the dirty windows. Cobwebs would suggest that any occupants were dead or gone. Dust lay on the floor, a dreary carpet on a sagging floor. A crumbling piece of cloth fluttered through the air, much like a bird trapped in a cage. Yet it was still very much occupied as a breath of wind caused a door to move and open on its rusty hinges. As the door closed, he made way for a room where he often spent time in the early hours of the day. The selection here was a little more limited than the palace library proper: a quiet place for a chess match, and consultation with another vampire. At times a companion, and in some moments even an adviser, with a clear distinction of being one of the very few people that he trusted, and was now the closest thing he had to a friend. It wasn’t the boyish type of friendship formed and persisted years later like most people, rather it was their shared intellect and common interests. It did help that the younger vampire was patient and yielding, whereas Davorin was decisive and aggressive. It was a good balance, but even then he couldn’t help but recognize the boy’s potential to be even stronger than him one day. It didn’t concern him much, however, as he would be long gone from these lands by the time that day came. Quickly the two fell into conversation about the events of recent days as the chessboard was put together. It was only after these topics had been exhausted that the younger vampire companion ventured into another territory. "So what was she like, then, this new servant?” "Hmm?" said Davorin idly, studying his chess pieces. "I've already told you about her." "You told me that she wasn’t abducted, but you’ve said nothing of the woman herself," said his friend. Davorin glanced sideways at him, the analytical look in his eyes belied by a smile that threatened to break. "She must be beautiful," he would continue, as if to decipher a confirmation or denial. "Or special in some way." Davorin was silent long enough to instill discomfort, but he finally offered a short laugh. "I should have expected you to meddle in my affairs. I suppose you disapprove?" He took out a bishop with his queen, laying the piece aside. "Her peace of mind is meaningless to me," he retorted, indifferent. "I have what I want." For a while neither of them said anything, but they resumed their game. This continued in uninterrupted silence, until - "Your principles aren't distasteful to me,” the younger grinned as he toyed with a pawn, then shifting it forward.
  13. @Twitterpated @Chappu @Etched in Stone Seo planted her hands against her hips whilst admiring the tavern in it's obviously withering age. Here she had planted the seeds of her future, and it's here her memories are woven into the boards of the floor and the sake cups soaking in the sink. Scattered at her bare feet are the remnants of a past that has dripped by her sluggishly; dirt, leaves, the coming of autumn were distinctive in their color and make. I bet your name is ... A patron stepping onto the porch of the tavern broke her chain of thought, forcing her back to the realms of reality. The memory found her often, especially when she is caught admiring her little humble beginnings. There hadn't been enough time to thank him and he has never returned since then, leaving her to often thank the memory of the man who could see without seeing. Perhaps one day he will find himself at his table, asking for the Firelord Sake (they haven't served it since that day), asking her to join him for a drink. “They’re ready.” The small woman nodded and waved away the waitress, who was more than happy to mold into the shadows. Today is supposed to be auspicious - she will be the judge of that. Gathering her courage, she stepped back into the quiet tavern that is dimly light due to the fading candles stuck in various corners. Tables lined with various colorful pillows are all polished till they nearly gleam in the flickering candle light; only four customers occupied the establishment, along with a small scattering of waitresses and waiters. It was quiet, comfortable, and a perfect day for talks and negotiations. The dark haired woman sat at the table set further to the back of the tavern, giving them some semblance of privacy that had been asked for. Sitting directly in front of her is a woman wearing a iron mask and next to her is another woman who appeared far too lush to be inside such a dark tavern. Neither of them spoke, not that they had to, Seo is not involved in their business and is just here to ensure all goes smoothly - whatever that all is. Simply providing them a place to discuss things and stuff, she remains on the outside of their dark world. They remind her of the groups of men and women who often occupy the tables for gambling and drinking. All of them are usually deep into conversation about something or another that involves killing something, someone, or taking something from someone. She assumes these two women are here for something akin to that, and their company will be the one providing the tinder to their needed fire. Hopefully - and one can only hope - she will not be caught between blows.
  14. -Lilium-


    It is an expressionless void that blemishes the facets of a genuinely soft face. Cold, hard, and set in emptiness as dark eyes view the crystalline word of advanced constructs and brilliant illumination through glass. The rolling vehicles increasing speed causes them to melt into refractive streams of radiant color against the night, which forces her to avert her eyes. Turbulence is the thunderous force behind her silent constitution, as a plague of memories and old emotions threatens to falter her rigid form. Ages… It had been so long. Time had gone by so fervently, forever burying the footsteps she'd once tread in the kingdom of Shrine City. It was with bitter perturbation that she acquiesced to return as an Ambassador of Umbra, scouting an alliance she has no hand in. For the girl who had once made her appearance here, fell into the shadow of the woman who now encroaches upon it. And to think it originally began with her father, as most stories start with an inheritance of sorts, all on a foundation laid by simple infatuation with her soon to be host’s sibling. Lady Darim, oh how she had once deeply missed the trappings of such a friendship. But days, then months, then years drew onward to cut a jagged rift of time between them. The tides had shifted and left her wanting something she now believes nonexistent, though she had purposefully sheared through those fraying threads. In order to carve out an eventuality that cannot be deterred. Her father’s death smiting any chances of personal connection thereafter. His loss...a powerful turn of page in her story. Nara deigns not to partake in the last leg of her journey. The start having been so much more pleasant than the tension she now feels welling within.Had she been hiding from the world all in order to keep from allowing one presence to quake her newfound path? This she cannot yet answer. An inkling of regret still holds fast to the unsteady thumping beneath her breast. Sudden stops at checkpoints mark their arrival, unsettling the the still form resting in the rear seat. Their admittance leads the vehicle into a slow curving stop and colors her sullen. In the end there is little to do but slide out of the open door and nod in polite gratitude to the one who had permitted her exit. Daunting is the task of refraining the want to turn back. Absolution from hesitation is born through focus made on pulling long fabrics around her frigid stature and fixing a long wooden handle to her hip. Hung now from her shoulders, the cloak hood is pulled over her poised head in order to shroud her face. The exposure of her eyes liable to suck the soul from any daring to catch a detailed glimpse of her turmoil. Every step closer to the massive doorway is a pain that prickles at her chest. As turbid as the freshly winded feeling may be, she continues onward. Carrying herself through the opened threshold. Guidance to the throne room is done succinctly with the announcement of her arrival before it. Those faces nearby, distorted by her inability to allow adaptation of any and all light not gracing the statuesque lines of her host’s face. “The Huntsman of Umbra.” A nickname from an elder tale. Of a man wielding an ax against forces of Darkness in order to save what little there is in the way of Light. A title somewhat unfitting for comparison between her small lithe stature against that of the ruler. A carefully weighed bow of the head and shoulders moves her a fraction forward in step, “Your Highness.” @Alexei
  15. Evelyn had never come across a creature quite like this one. Still, there were enough characteristics shared between this creature and others like it, others which Evelyn had encountered, to allow the Handyman operative to draw a few inferences. Evelyn's first speculation was that the creature currently accosting it and its host was juvenile. Which meant its strength was still growing and its mind still developing. By contrast, though much smaller and with many fewer limbs, Evelyn's host was quite impressive. Although sterile due to its hybrid nature, this host had his mother's robust musculature and his father's lean endurance. To that Evelyn brought to bear several decades worth of combat experienced, and managed to keep them both alive by centimeters at a time. The battle was slow and hard won. Wild swings through the strong arm of its host as they wove through a forest saw a battle axe striking trees more often than the creature. The attacks appeared as reckless as the path they tread seemed meaningless, but a longer view of this conflict saw Evelyn lead host and creature alike in a long, loping circle. When they came back to the point they started at, much more strategic swings bade thick branches and small trees fall on the creature. It was harmed, distracted, and pinned. The goal was not to kill it, but to injure it sufficiently. A well-placed crack across the exoskeleton covering its head revealed the complex cluster of nerves it coveted and protected. Evelyn left its tired, injured host and slithered into the massive arachnid's brain. This brain was aberrant, compared to the usual fare that Evelyn had come across in Terrenus, and so it took it considerably longer to learn and control. Minutes, rather than the seconds it had grown accustomed to. It took Evelyn even longer to solve the puzzle of the rest of its anatomy, at least enough to speak. Unlike the humanoid anatomy, which used vibrations through cords in the throat to articulate speech, this creature used tymbals peppered through its body. Evelyn had to physically manipulate the tymbals with odd contortions so as to produce sound. Minutes clicked away as Evelyn slowly figured out how to form the sounds into the vowels and consonants of Terric. Now Evelyn turned the Teletype's broad, many-eyed face down to look at its previous host. He was exhausted and bleeding, though stable. "I apologize that I could not fully minimize the damage to your person. You have served me well as a host. Per our arrangement, I have managed to stimulate neuronal growth in your brain. Thank you for the Ride." The host nodded. It reached up with a bloody hand to touch the tip of its one remaining tusk. The tip was flat now, chipped in the fight. He leaned back and looked up at the daytime sky. "It's nice that I can focus more intensely, for longer periods of time. Words I didn't even know I knew are coming to me. Memories too. But I've started thinking about what it means to be me. Like who I am, and where I belong, and what it even means to belong, and why I even want to. It's making me kind of sad to be honest." "Such is life for a thinking being. At any rate further unfortunate news. I cannot leave this host to treat your wounds or dull your pain. It's extremely aggressive. I must press on but I will seek and find help for you." Evelyn found a small tribe a full day later. Knowing how they were likely to react to the looming presence of a twelve-foot spider, it opted to leave a note with directions to its original host and promised payment upon retrieval. That was the best that Evelyn could do for the moment. Then there was nothing to do but press on. It was only hours away from Bi'le'ah now, and this host was even better equipped than the prior one to deal with the madness of those ruins.
  16. @Wade @SweetCyanide @Zashiii @Cheezeegriff It was never a good sign when one needed a password to enter a party. Cora groaned as Teddy attempted to scrap together yet another password, having failed the previous four tries. Judging by the banter he had been exchanging with the doorman, it didn't seem like they needed a password, but Teddy just wouldn't quit. It didn't help that the doorman had been giving him constant shit for it, goading her friend into trying again and again. God damn. Cora fidgeted with her coat, pulling it more tightly around her torso, and glanced around the alley they were standing in. It was around eight pm, and the last traces of sunlight were slipping beneath the horizon. Brilliant splashes of red, orange, and pink on Casper's white walls were being replaced with a cool lavender, turning the alley into a dark, cold place. For the upteenth time that day, she questioned her decision to accompany Teddy to this stupid party. Didn't help that I was drunk when I agreed to go, that sneaky bastard. Regardless, the sailor had done what he'd told her. After taking a brief nap (which had only lasted a few hours longer than expected), she had gone out to a local dress shop, snatched something off of the first rack she saw, and marched back home to throw it on. Hands possessed by the devil, she had done something nice to her hair. Cora didn't own any makeup, but she washed her face. It was more effort than any person deserved, much less Teddy, but for some reason, she ended up outside her shack at half-past-seven, watching, waiting. For some reason, and despite her best efforts, she gave a damn. As Teddy sputtered out another password, the streetlights beyond the alley flickered on with a mechanical bzzzzzt. Sensitive to the light, Cora shifted uncomfortably in her coat, turning back to watch her friend struggle with the doorman. While she didn't experience hangovers in the same way a normal person would, sound and light sensitivity were a standard. Maybe I shouldn't have had that seventh whiskey after all. Fuck. To everyone's surprise, the next combination of random words ended up being correct, and they were ushered through the random door in the wall and into a long, descending stairwell. As she was burdened by unreasonable shoes, Cora begrudgingly took her friend's arm. "You really need to write these things down," she grumbled, her words echoing through the stairwell. Slowly, they descended. It was a few minutes before they reached the bottom landing, where another doorman was waiting. Thankfully, there was no password at this door, though both guests were patted down for weapons. Once this had been done, they were politely ushered into the party. The pair entered a surprisingly spacious room carved out of stone, stalactites dripping from the ceiling and often bonding with stalagmites rising from the floor. Although the space was somewhat dim, an elegant chandelier hung from the ceiling in the center of the room, sending warm light into the darkness. Tiny fairy lights were also strung around the cavern, illuminating areas beyond the chandelier's reach. A bar was tucked into one corner, and it seemed to be popular tonight. Many people were chatting at standing tables around the room, while others were sitting at booths and tables around the perimeter. Guests of every shape, size, and color were present, many of them gruesomely scarred or missing eyes, ears, arms, etc. ... It was ... Cora's eyes were wide as she took in the details, and in her daze she allowed Teddy to guide her through the crowd. The fact that she was surrounded by killers was of little consequence. Unlike up above, everyone here belonged to one central group: outcasts. The sailor passed a naga laughing hysterically at her companion's bad joke, and, even though she hadn't heard the punchline, Cora smiled a little. It had been years since she'd felt a sense of community, even if she didn't belong to it. The air felt warm and light in her lungs. Teddy stopped, and his guest bumped into his arm with an 'oof.' They had paused at coat check, where a little attendant barely taller than the counter held out an impatient arm for her jacket. Cora froze, her hands gripping the material of her coat possessively. In her haste to pick something out at the dress shop, she had taken ... well, it was a little more revealing than she had intended. Cora wasn't shy by any means -after all, she had served as a courtesan for a time during her teens- but wearing so little clothing put her at a tactical disadvantage. She didn't like feeling exposed, and her survival magic insisted that she keep an extra layer of fabric between her core and any unfriendly daggers. Despite the warnings, Cora slipped off her coat and handed it to the waiting attendant. She didn't want to stand out. She was wearing a floor-length silver dress that shimmered like water in the dim cavern light (she swore it had looked much more grey in the harsh shop lighting). The thin, silky material hugged her lean figure in a way that gave the illusion of curves, though Cora was too thin and too poor to have any extra fat on her chest or hips. Her back was exposed to the world, and the sheer muscle rippled almost as much as the dress when she moved; she was, first and foremost, a fighter. The warm, hazy lighting caught her curls and brought out the chestnut, making her skin seem a warmer tone than usual. While Cora wasn't always a conventional beauty, she did radiate something special tonight. Presenting herself in such a way was oddly embarrassing; it vexed her. Should've kept the stupid jacket on. For some reason she reaaaally didn't want to look at Teddy, so Cora took a big breath, held it, and immediately started for the bar.
  17. It was always a special occasion when foreign wolves crossed paths with each other. Especially in the case of one rogue wolf just so happening to cross roads with an Alpha. While Jinsoku was certainly no wolf directly, he had the blessing/curse of housing a unique variety of one with in him. Possessing a stray Raiju, a Yokai, within his body. In all his travels, only once prior to coming to Valucre had he had the pleasure of crossing paths with specifically another wolf spirit. Mitsuke Darez of Hell's Stride, the son of Dzaek Darez, otherwise known as the former Champion of Hell's Stride. The White Wolf. While this newer acquaintance was not the same as the old one prescribed, the two had one thing in common. They were both half wolf spirits, albeit, different types. Likewise, Jinsoku shared this factor, yet in his own more unique way. While he was not born a half spirit such as those he compared to himself, his soul was permanently intertwined with the spirit within. Even in this case, he wasn't half wolf spirit. Rather her was all man, meshed with all spirit. Still as Mitsuki had taught him, this by no means gave him an automatic advantage of any sort, and neither did just his martial prowess. Despite the outcome and spared aftermath of the fight with Mitsuki, Jinsoku was ever confident and ready to side with his Raiju and issue challenge to the mentioned newer acquaintance. Kenshi Momoku. Donning his personalized suit of armor mostly leather with some steel plating, Jinsoku appeared today armed with his usual micro-composite spear suspended horizontally across his lower back. Along side his traditional armament was his more recently acquired Nagamaki. While it was no special enchanted weapon, it was a well made weapon. Full tang, battle ready. In addition to the traditional single edge of the blade, roughly a foot length of the back of the blade harbored a false edge, just as razor sharp actual designated edge. The sword was equipped upon his back. The extremely long handle compared to a katana was something not far off from the make of an odachi. This curved sword was more precisely completed to be used in familiar manner to the likes of spear form. It was the best candidate for expanding weapon skills. Though perhaps a planned event such as today's was a poor choice to getting acclimated to a new weapon. Fortunately, he had managed to get some semblance of practice out of it. Though he was far from mastering the blade, especially compared to Master James, and presumably the same notion went for him comparing himself against Kenshi. Back when they met, the wolf spirits clashed with one another for a brief moment. This lead to some exchange of words between the corresponding men, though even sense that day, the Raiju had been eager to test the Hanyo it happened across. Likewise, Jinsoku was certain prior, yet a witness still to the prowess Kenshi had to offer. He was eager himself even without the spirits involved to crave a healthy spar against the man. And so they arranged such. They were to meet here in the vast stretch of rolling plains where the Midlands met with the territory known as the Southern Swell. It seemed to be a fine day they had selected. With the harsh winter mostly past them and the first signs of the spring season beginning to appear, Jinsoku sat out in the open at about high noon. Patiently, he awaited his scheduled opponent by way of mediation. 'Whatever happens, it can't be worse than fighting a guy that turns into a big ass wolf that winds up biting off your arm right?' The Raiju growled mildly in response to his thoughts, though Jin would be lying if he said he perfectly understood that last response. Despite their time together, he still hadn't quite learned to discern between the Raiju's severity, and it's sarcasm. @Etched in Stone
  18. After the ruins a fire still burns. @Mag Mina reborn There was nothing beneath her as she fell, the world looked like hell fire as a burning sensation fired through her limbs and loins. An not for the proper reason oh no; the reoccurring nightmare of the draconian's foolish fire chased her nightly. Mina however would not let this shake her training; she focused herself deeply and directed the emotion else where. A gentle shift in the course of the speedy airship brought her to her senses allowing her optics to illuminate in the darkness. Mana weaved itself across her body like a cocoon of safety. With a gentle exhale the kunoichi rose from the sheets allowing the woven threads to break. The raw energy poured out across the room before flowing back into her pores with ease. Her bronzed skin glistened with sweat against the lights which illuminated the floor as she stepped out of bed. It was time for a shower no doubt the trip was about to begin and she could not afford to be walking the planes of dream land. Or perhaps was she exploring the lines of technology that now surrounded them. Ever since her incident with the cur she had gone in to reclusive training to improve herself. The forge was a dream to come true and like herself the rest of the Empire would benefit from its works. Reaching up she pushed back her long strands of hair with her bandaged left hand. She still had not cut her hair but it did not matter at this point. The once pigment-less strands were dyed black while her once pale optics held an iris unlike before. Contacts which she would use to disguise herself during the future missions. Stepping one foot in front of the other she moved to her own personal bathroom with ease. The wound she had sustained had healed marvelously and of course she practiced to not only return to normal but improve her abilities. Never again would she be made of fool of by a cur child with emotional issues. Keeping the lights off she was comfortable in the darkness as a bare hand turned the nozzle for cold water to wash over her skin. The sensation sent a vibration through her body as she woke up even further her hair standing on end. Mina placed her face beneath the flood then her hair next and began to wash herself hair first body next giving the shampoo time to sink in. The feeling of being clean was something the woman cherished above all else; how could one possibly know this? To start she enjoyed clean places and her clothing was always as white as her hair, unfortunately it would not be so this time. Once her shower was concluded she exited the stain glass cube and stepped out into a towel. Drying herself she then wrapped her hair allowing the remaining dye that did not stick to flush itself out. Opening the closet the woman was not herself anymore; or rather one could say she had changed immensely since her time in recovery. Reaching into the thicket of clothing options the woman chose a black chain fish net body suit. Wearing nothing beneath it she pulled her hair back and up into a pony tail. When she slipped the suit on it hugged her hips and chest tightly before she pulled on a set of thigh high boots designed to look like thigh high socks. A smile cross her lush lips as she looked in the mirror lightly, there was no helping the scar that marred her bronzed face from the public. Looking around she scoped out her backpack and a small box she had brought along with herself. Walking over to the box Mina pulled out a second binding wrap to place around her right hand that matched the one on the left. She would not be calling Bane on this trip, his duty was to guard the treasures of Koji and execute all who bothered the harem. The Arch Elemental would do exactly as instructed for his will was now Mina's own. Keeping the binding firm her expression turned from a gentle smirk to one of slight insanity. A gentle giggle left her throat as she bit her bottom lip gently. The next toy she picked up was a small magic tech orb that began to float beside her. Mina had wasted no time in picking up materials from Samul the tiefling to use for her benefit. Chuckling the toy had a few tricks up its sleeve which she would enjoy using while within the lands of Alterion. Grabbing her backpack the pack was not something so simple either. As she slipped it on the top opened and a flood of shadowed hands popped out looking to grab and stock the nearest thing. The bag was bottomless and allowed for her to store virtually anything at the time. Quick and effective for their current mission at hand. Grabbing her cloak she slipped it around her body and smirked once more, her ample body was no longer clear for all the view. She appeared to have no weapons but that was another trait she had picked up as well. Something to be shown off at a later point. Once she had checked herself and things, Mina hung the towel up lightly and closed the box. Exiting her room her feet made no sound as she strolled down the hall into the main bridge. Looking left and right no doubt she'd find Dove possibly in the divers seat, she was not one who liked her toys on auto pilot. This current shuttle was going to get a remodel once they found items to outfit a better and faster ship that would be the lead for all of their missions and adventures. "So.. Dove.. How long till we are ready to dock?" Her voice remained lush and vibrant with life however her eyes screamed death for all who dared oppose them in the future adventures.
  19. To arrive unharried upon the roads to Ashville is no longer considered a feat. In the days gone by, these roadways are barren, empty, devoid of civilians and villains both. As the darkness made manifest within the once opulent and proud city grew in vigor, so too did the desire to avoid the area. Now, even guardsmen along these roads are a rarity, the few one might encounter posted further and further from the city, almost desperately attempting to escape the daunting, cumbersome dread that hangs low upon those well-kept streets and proud buildings. With the guardsmen gone, all is not left to ruin because in short order any highwaymen or bandits along these roads are gone as well, having fled to routes more profitable and less laden down with uncertainty. In this theme, perhaps reaching the city alone requires a certain lack of self; why else would anyone try to draw close? In the bitter, empty winds that sweep through the trees and low hills of the countryside, the answer is carried, in the form of a contract. The contract, in no short terms, calls for help. It promises no grand payment, no grand renown. It doesn't even promise safe passage thereto and back. It's hardly a contract, but rather a plea for help, hammered without pattern to walls and trees, tossed to the wind and the sides of the road. With such lack of ceremony, surely there can be no doubting the sincerity of this grave call to action. The only matter of concern now, is the who. Who will be beckoned, but such impromptu summons? Moreover, when the work begins, who will hold fast? Who will falter? For the striking well-off city that it was, with the colors and fine architecture that imbibed the streets and surroundings with life, Ashville was decidedly more grey than the norm. Between bleak lights piercing the ever darkening evening skies and the sheer lack of activity, it looked surreal, having the streets and shops to oneself. At least, that's what Aygis first noticed upon her arrival. The kobold mage hadn't really expected to see any of her kind within the city, but she had expected to see more than the minor handful of passerby she'd encountered wandering about. From her experience, the magus didn't know what to think; cities weren't designed this way. They were dense, urban areas full of life and contact with others. To be so pointedly vacant, to the point of near emptiness, spoke volumes about the situation in Ashville. That was, of course, why she'd arrived in the town to begin with. Aygis pulled her cerulean cloak about her, though the night was rather mild. It was a reflex, mostly; an attempt to keep her beastkin physique to a minimum, lest she be called out for her differences. Not that it mattered; given the current affair she found herself in, it was doubtful that anyone would be worried about a kobold wandering about on her lonesome. She hoped she wouldn't remain alone for much longer. There were posters everywhere, she found, and given that she had picked one up, it was only to be expected that more characters of some kind would stumble across a few as well. It was only a matter of waiting, then. Aygis propped herself up on a nearby bench and stood watch, waiting to see what would happen.
  20. Looking back on it, he should have known it was too good to be true. When Zoran and his people had arrived in Taen to find that the much talked about city of Lunaris had been devastated by some kind of natural disaster/monster attack, he had briefly fallen into despair. Outcasts from all over Terrenus, they had used up all their collective resources to come to Taen for the promise of a new life, only to find that life had been ended before it even began. For a while the group had lived among the refugees, helping to rebuild the city in exchange for food and shelter. Zoran had spent much of that time numbing his pain with alcohol and starting the occasional drunken brawl. But as fate would have it, it was through his drunken idiocy that he had found their salvation. He had just been thrown out of the second bar that night, and the rain was pouring from the sky. Feeling the urge to pass out, and not wanting to catch a cold in the rain, he had decided to bunk for the night in a partially demolished building that was intact enough to mostly keep the rain out. As he looked for a comfortable spot to lay down, a book on a shelf had caught his eye. The cover was made of some kind of beautiful hardwood, and had what looked like actual gemstones embedded in all four corners of the cover on both sides. Though it was written in a language he didn't understand, the book contained plenty of illustrations to keep him reading. Portraits of important people, drawings of sweeping landscapes from snowy mountains to sprawling plains, and drawings of artifacts like rings, and swords, and crowns. Towards the end he came upon a passage that appeared to depict a great underground city that seemed to have already disappeared by the time the book was written. But unlike the other locations depicted in the book, this one had a map. Stunned, he had pulled out the map of Taen he had acquired before the journey, and compared it to the one in the book. The maps matched up perfectly, and Zoran suddenly knew what he had to do. The next morning he went back to his group and showed them the book, suggesting that they search for the lost city. Many had been skeptical, but he had won most of them over when he pointed out that Lunaris was in no shape to welcome newcomers, and they had no place to return to. Taking a chance on this city was their best shot at starting the new lives they had come to Taen seeking. And so they had set out from Lunaris, braving the wilderness of the Jungle Quadrant as they headed for their destination. Despite several attacks by strange charred looking creatures and other wildlife, they had made it to the designated area without losing anyone. It had taken them most of a day to find the entrance to the city, a large gate located between the Jungle, Swamp, and Mountain quadrants. They had been unable to open the gate, and so they had busted it down. Past the gate, the found themselves in a tunnel that, after quite a bit of walking, led them to the city. Zoran had gazed upon the sprawling stone buildings and bridges over flowing water in awe. But he'd had little time to bask in the glory of the city, as the job of clearing the city still lay ahead. Once they had determined that the city seemed empty, they set up camp in the town square. Many of his people had wanted to claim buildings for themselves, but Zoran had insisted they stay together until they had explored all of the city to make sure it was safe. The next day they ventured into the other half of the city, moving all the way to the other end of the city, and another gate. Opening the new gate to see what was on the other side had seemed like the natural thing to do. But it had almost been their undoing. Because waiting for them on the other side of the gate were the creatures the locals had called the Xer. There had to have been thousands of them in the canyon they found themselves in. The creatures had been on them in an instant, and they had lost ten men as the Xer pushed them back into the tunnel. It looked like they would be overwhelmed, but Zoran had rallied the remaining fighters, and pushed the Xer back long enough to close and lock the gate. It had been three days since then, and the gates still held fast, but everyone knew it was only a matter of time before the Xer broke through. The survivors now prepared themselves for battle, but Zoran knew they needed more help. He had sent messengers to Lunaris and Oakwood to recruit anyone daft enough to offer their aid. Now as he waited outside the broken gates they had come in through, Zoran heard people approaching. He stood up from where he was leaning and moved out to greet them. "Welcome to Totenburg. My name is Zoran Markovic. Who are you?"
  21. @Alexei Darim tore ferociously at the flowers and their surrounding weeds, not at all minding the dirt underneath her fingernails or the little scratches against the bend of her fingers. The coldness from her annoyance numbed her down to her very bones, making her relentless in her attack against the weed infested garden. Just above her dark head she heard little birds sing their early morning song, a beautiful tune that would put anyone that wasn't Darim in a lighter mood. Her sleep had been too disturbed and her emotions far too turbulent for her to relax. The anger she felt boiling in her chest is new to her and to the people that are closest to the Princess; they found her to be aloof, burning with a madness that you only see in her twin, Nero. The last few days have been a struggle for herself and for her contingent of ladies in waiting, all of which she had excused earlier. While she is aware of her current hatefulness, she hasn't been able to put it aside for a later time. Acknowledging such, she had dismissed her ladies so they no longer have to be at the end of her meanness, and had excused herself from her duties for the rest of her time in Kadia. Blowing at a loose strand of black hair out of her face, Darm leaned back against her haunches with a deep frown marring her sweet face. The fabric of her peach skirt had been tucked and moved off to the side, while the sleeves of her white chiffon shirt had been rolled up to her elbows; it's clear that she hadn't planned on pulling weeds. Her attire had been simple and subdued for the day, showing she had no intentions leaving the castle. Upstairs, in her room, various dresses, gowns, skirts, and other expensive pieces of clothing populated her bed and chairs; jewelry, crowns, shoes, and such were packed in cases for the long, tedious journey back home. Desmond had watched his sister go to war against the weeds. He hadn't meant to lurk in the shadows, but the sight of her angrily going all out against her victims, brows pressed together, lips twisted in a frown, he couldn't bring himself to ruin the sight. The early morning sunlight bounced off the black-blue curls knotted against her nap, and the simple diadem she wore made her look like a pagan goddess in the flesh. He could see why Caelius was smitten with her - him and about half the Kadian Empire. She was a small woman with lush curves, large blue eyes that were welcoming, and a mouth ready to smile, Darim is a prized jewel. Being so is why her brothers coveted her, protected her often, especially Nero who is her twin. The man alone would move mountains for his sibling. "Darim love, please give those weeds some reprieve." He pulled himself out of the shadows to approach her, offering her his hand which she accepted. His presence seemed to sooth the hotness in her veins, making her a bit more agreeable. Hands together he guided her to a stone bench, where he would wait for her to spread her skirts and sit delicately down. How so much anger and confusion can be inside such a small sprite, he will never know and he does not envy Caelius for his eventual meeting with her. She won't be pleased with him, more so than she is now. Setting his cane aside, he sat next to his sister and grabbed her hands in his, forcing her to turn and look at him. He has never been in a position where he's liked someone as much as she likes Cae, and by the looks of her he's absolutely happy he may never have this kind of sickness. She cared, but she must know there are secrets and those secrets are making it extremely difficult for her to understand. "I know you're mad at Caelius, and I'm not going to tell you that you shouldn't be." Was she mad at Caelius? At this point she's not exactly sure if she's mad at him or ... just mad at him, but she is most certainly annoyed. When Desmond held her hands,she clenched her fingers into angry fists that said so much more than what words could ever do. "But there are things you need to understand about him, things that Nero and I can only explain." She looked at him angrily, her spite and annoyance now switched to her siblings. Secrets, it's always with the secrets and how tired of them she is. Cae can trust her, that she has made obvious, or so she has thought. While she is but a small woman with power held only in her crown, she has strength to carry any burden, especially those that plague someone pressed to her heart. "He's a nasty man ..." "How painful was it to say that?" Desmond brushed her cheek with his fingers, his thumb resting on the crest below her eye. Darim is not spiteful, he doubts she knows how to be, so to hear her speak ill of Caelius made her words more fake than they originally would have been. It's obvious she worries about him, that her words only come from her own hurt and anger about a situation she doesn't know about. She looked at him with an apology in her blue eyes, deep and bright with the confusion she has soaked in. "I know you didn't mean it," he wiped away the tear that threatened to fall, "you're just mad at him and you're allowed that."
  22. Hush, now. It is nighttime, and the town is lost in sleep, wandering the roads of a thousand dreams. If you listen closely, you can hear them- deep snores, soft breaths, dying wheezes, no two quite the same. Signatures, carved in the silence. Here and there you may also catch scribbles, such as the pop and crackle of a fire in the hearth or the scritching and scurrying of hungry rats or the faint murmur of conversation between those few nocturnal dwellers who don't know the meaning of bedtime. And footsteps! Let's not forget the footsteps. There's an artistry to them, a rhythm, such that each soft pad against the earth (heel-toe, heel-toe) fits neatly into the tapestry of the night's sounds, a cleanly drawn line amidst the scrawls emanating elsewhere. The wind picks up, and hums in tune. It's curious, excited. After all, these are no ordinary footsteps! This is the sound of a force of nature, beginning to move. A blue cloak floats down the road, carried by a pair of small feet that stride without the slightest deviation to the threshold of civilization. First it's the shadows of houses and taller buildings that fall behind her, then the long rows of crops rustling faintly in the wind, and finally the last fence marking the border. After that, nothing but barren road, thin grasses and scattered weeds. Then the shadows of the first trees. They fall over the lady in blue, enveloping her swallowing her whole. She does not hesitate, only striding onward, onward, onward into the dark of the wilderness, until she passes out of sight and is lost to the world. Forever.
  23. How long had it been since the Malaysia had been abducted? A week? 2 weeks? A month? 3 months? There was no grasp of time where she had been kept. It was dark and damp, and she was only fed the blood of an infant once a day. In the beginning, she had refused to feed as they walked through the door with a crying baby in their arms. She had told them that she would rather starve than harm an innocent child. Yet as the days dragged out and the punishment continued, they attempted to bleed out the vampiric angel time and time again, and eventually her innate instinct to survive forced her to feed. It was unfortunate, because since she had been captured her heightened senses were thrown off. Little did she know that her food was being laced with a type of poison, one that would dull her thinking and cause her mind to be susceptible to certain.. influences. Due to her age, her strength and bloodline, they chose this route. They knew it would be more difficult to take advantage of the Queen. Whereas the Princess was so young and had little to offer aside from torturing her parents with a potential loss of a loved one, the Imperial Goddess provided so much more to work with. Disoriented from the lack of sustenance and a constant strain of physical and mental abuse, the once strong willed Malaysia was weakened. There was not a whole lot that she could do, all she wanted was to go home and be in the arms of her husband. She wanted to kiss the forehead of her daughter and embrace her son in a hug, knowing that they were safe. Her yearning to kill and murder each and every one of these beings had fled, not due to lack of trying but more less, the lack of opportunity. Yet every time she rebelled, she was met with a sharply toned whip lash. Blood poured down her porcelain cheeks and gaping wounds down her back where her wings would be. She had not attempted to leave them out, for fear of someone trying to hack them off. That is a pain she did not wish to go through a second time. Her wounds would heal daily, and each day they would drag her out of her cell only to do it all over again. Then came the magic; it was the dark kind. The kind that threatened Anastasia’s very existence before she was born. They waited a full month before they started their preparation. They knew full well that the Underworld was not able to suppress her powers, she was much too strong for that. They had plans for Malaysia, the Queen of Vdara. How horrible would it be for the good King to come and rescue his wife, only to see her join the side of the enemy he was looking to defeat? With the return of Anastasia, it was only a matter of time before Ayden had found their lair. They had little time to play with, and as one of Xildar’s henchman walked up to Malaysia as she was strapped down to her chair, with a fencing sword in his left hand he lightly bent down to one knee while placing the other under her chin, lifting her face so that he may see those beautiful blue eyes. As blood poured from her gaping mouth, she slowly looked up to him through her disgustingly matted hair. “My Queen, are you ready?” @Ayden @Alukai
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