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Found 29 results

  1. OOC Services opened at the First Temple at dawn, a couple of hours before the first Symposium began. Cardinal Wolda's sermon was brief and somber, speaking to the cycle of the Triad and how the Wyrm's entropy was necessary but transient, always superseded by renewal and order. After, she instructed the clergy to prepare grief counseling services. No paved roads lead to the Temple, only paths worn by travel and natural passages. Priests were stationed at waypoints to guide travelers through the hills, past prismatic wildflower fields and towering old growth, and to the Symposium: a depression in the ground outside the Temple that formed an open amphitheater under ample cloud cover. Several Peacekeepers were present as guards. A terrace on the Temple roof overlooked the forum, seating: Wolda, Odette, General Brown, and a robed man wearing a featureless white mask. Today's guests were free to seat themselves on the raised stone rows of the amphitheater. Attendants were available to fetch refreshments, or to take lunch orders for the noon break. The Symposium started at 8:30 AM sharp, marked by the deep ring of a bell. A red-haired, red-eyed man dressed in a white button-up shirt tucked into black dress pants and a scarlet tie with a white scorpion design stepped into the center of the amphitheater. A full clipboard, quill, inkwell and a baton floated at his sides. "Hello!" he waved and smiled. "I'm Noel Trasimene, and I'll lead our conversation today. Let's start with introductions: tell me about your fine selves, and what brought you here today. What is it that you want to save the world, your kin, or yourself from? To keep it orderly, whoever has the baton has the floor." Noel looked at the first guest and the baton hovered forth.
  2. supernal

    The Silver Screen

    The Preamble The Silver Spoons were once a small traveling theater troupe. They made their coin touring the Terran Wilds, spreading the joys of the acted and written word to anyone interested – so long as that interest came in the way of coin that is. A lizard's gotta eat. After settling a while in Ignatz and renting a venue so they could disseminate culture to more people for more coin, the Silver Spoons are nearly disbanded when the troupe is rocked by scandal. Murders seem to have followed the Silver Spoons through their last three stops into Ignatz, and it is soon uncovered that one among their number is a killer. The killer is identified and thrust out of the group and delivered to law enforcement, but not before rumors abound. Wally almost had a heart attack at the thought that they would default on their loan and end up penniless and this would be the end of them . . . but it was just the beginning. Spectacle attracts attention, and murder is among the most attractive. It draws more people than the venue can support and launches the Silver Spoons into the public awareness. This marks the beginning of the most lucrative phase of the Silver Spoons's life cycle. Wally takes their money, pays off the loan, gets another, larger loan and immediately invests it in giving the Silver Spoons a permanent home. With this money he builds the Silver Screen, and thus our story begins with its unveiling. The Venue The Silver Screen is both a studio and production company. It boasts several high-end, purpose-built stages, in addition to office space, warehouses for equipment storage, housing for full time employees, a photography lab, two mills for on-site construction, and a private gym. Full time employees have been living either on-site in trailers and temp-housing, or throughout the city in hostels and low-end hotels. The Scene Characters will begin together in a bus driving west to east (towards Odette's Library) which will deposit them all on Gardenview Way. This gives them all access to the studio via the backlot, and a number of handmade signs with arrows and text indicating THIS WAY FOR FUN direct the group into the first sound stage, which has been outfitted with banners, festooned with ribbons, and filled with cheap plastic folding tables decorated with catered food. OOC
  3. Out of all the cities, one of the most beautiful and most peaceful looking would always have to be the city of Ignatz. Of course, that did not mean it was some utopian paradise. Murders were still done, crime was still present, and human nature was as chaotic as ever. But for Kobayashi, it only made sense to come here. After all, when one was on the run from a group of people who wanted to capture and either experiment or eliminate you, you had no option but to keep running and hiding. That was just the truth of it all. And so, he had now made his way to Ignatz. He was currently making his way towards the Hidden Nook, an inn famous for being undetected. They did not hold digital records, and their security system was old school, though still effective. It was off the grid, hence the name Hidden Nook, and word of it was only spread through Word of Mouth to people who believe they would be a good fit for it. Kobayashi heard it from someone he had made contact with, Lu Ru. But right now, he was a little pre-occupied. Perhaps someone else might take interest in the boy with the orange hooded vest, looking a bit off, but he hoped they wouldn't. It might complicate things, given that he had noticed he was being followed. By mercenaries, not info brokers nor police nor anyone else. They were disguised, but their footwear gave them away, and Kobayashi could sense antagonism headed towards him. Unless that was his paranoia affecting his psionic senses, but he was pretty sure he sensed antagonism coming from their direction. Plus, Kobayashi was going out of the way to take a route that was outright unneccessary, making it much longer then it needed to be. And they were still following him, although they looked inconspicuous. So he picked up the pace a little, and hoped to evade those people while trying to appear as if he has not been found out. @Metty
  4. King

    The Devil You Know

    Quinton stood in silence as he admired the painting at the heart of his gallery. While not a relic of pre-historic Terrenus – a time when magic was young, wild, and rampant – or a treasure from a long-lost kingdom, it was indisputably his favorite piece. Enclosed in a display of reinforced glass nearly one foot thick, the painting, which stood nearly thrice Quinton’s height and twice his girth, depicted Odin Haze’s triumphant victory over the tyrannical Witch King. The Saint King, bloodied and beaten, stood above his hated enemy with a fist reared back, enveloped in the blinding light of his pure spirit. The Witch King, defiant to the bitter end, stood rising to meet him, his dreadful blade of malice and cruelty gripped tight in his gauntleted hands. It was a clash of light and dark, good and evil, in the purest sense of the trope. But as a man that walked both paths, one foot in the light, the other in shadow, Quinton liked to believe there was more to it. While the Witch King had been one of the cruelest rulers to ever plague Terrenus, there were some that believed his reign true, and Odin the usurper. By the same token, there were those poor souls crushed beneath the heel of a ruthless master that saw Odin as a hero, a savior. It was the subjectivity that Quinton admired, for Odin had used that to found an empire that has since survived the Witch King’s rule, and the Witch King, likewise, to revitalize his cult and ensure his immortality. As a man that walked both these paths, Quinton couldn’t help but be inspired by the two forces. Different at a first glance, yet so startlingly similar once the labels have been peeled away. “Mr. Swan,” a voice called from behind him. He didn’t bother turning around; the silence was acknowledgment enough. “Your guests will be arriving shortly.” “And there were no issues?” “No, sir,” the woman replies. “They’ve all confirmed their presence.” “Excellent, excellent.” “Shall I send them here?” “No, have them sent to the lounge when they arrive. And make sure--" “The staff is bringing the refreshments up now,” she interrupted. “I decided to use the Muhirian spread. It’s received the best reviews in recent months, and I’m sure they’ll enjoy it.” Quinton half-glanced back over his shoulder at her, smirking. “What would I do without you, Odette?” “Probably find a far more qualified secretary, sir.” Quinton’s eyes smoldered as he looked her over. “Never.” Odette smiled thankfully, nodded, and went on her way. Turning his attention back to the painting, aptly named The Fall, Quinton breathed deep. How would the world see him, he wondered. Would they see another Odin Haze, lifting an entire people from the filth and muck with his efforts? Or, would they see another Zengi, a malicious fiend determined to bend and break the world to his whim? How would the world remember Quinton Swan? As a bright light, or an impenetrable darkness? As a wonderful friend or horrible foe? As one of the world's greatest heroes or one of its worst villains? As he looked from Odin's furious determination to Zengi's, Quinton decided that either would be fine, so long as he was remembered.
  5. It moved about as it pleased from place to place, in a rather ghostly manner, hovering above and around all that inhabits of Terrenus. It filled and overcame those who were open minded and made available, as if that of an eerie ghost or spirit possessing and jumping into the soul of another being. It was often colorless, yet contained every color known to man, as well as that which is not. Mysterious and fully alive, it was far beyond the imagination of most; almost a riddle. Many had seen it symbolized in many forms, as though floating and flowing freely and fantastically through the air, showing a dazzling array of beauty and peace. Sebastian was at a point in his life where he couldn't be more content with his faith in Gaianism.It was indeed extravagant, exceedingly excellent, and awe-inspiring to see everyday as he resided in traveled across the lands of this continent. Years later it was amazing-truly, still breathtaking- and able to withstand any amount of evil he had ever endured across the lands of Terrenus. Holy and divine, this unmassed blessing had a power like no other and now he had the wisdom to use it. Those who knew it, knew it well. Those who don’t…why, they haven’t a clue. The flowing power felt within was extremely holy and pure; no words could accurately describe its loveliness but that of indescribable. So holy and so pure, it was that some could not bear to look upon it; from the moment he first saw it, the priest realized just how perfect it really was. Many people in the cities at times would often shun away and hide in shame and bitter resentment from disgust of their iniquity. So strong it was that Sebastian felt forced into immediate humbleness and submission when amidst its presence. If it could be tasted it, they would know. I cannot imagine the immense flavorful abundance that would flow from just a drop or molecule touching the tip of a human tongue. Oh, the healing that would follow! When the priest had first tasted it, it was an occurrence like no other; the sweetness would surpassed any fine-grained beer or chocolate, the indulgence almost too much for the simplistic mind he had back then. However sweet it was, the taste for a time had also been utterly bitter. As pleasant as it had been to chew on it, the undeniable urge to spit it out in disgust arose several times in the beginning of his priesthood. For a time not only was captivating, but also exceedingly convicting. There had been times around him around that felt dragging, nagging, compelling compulsion to act upon a sightly deed of preliminary prevalence. So great was the power it possessed, and so great was the resulting motivation,conviction, and fear whereof. “So misunderstood, yet so needed is this extraterrestrial and supernatural presence.” The words were but a whisper under his breath, but soon the voice spoke to his colleagues gathered around him. “Many of us haven’t a clue what it really is. For those that know what seems to be a lot about it, it is actually so very little; the concrete steel obstacle of transgression keeping us away from incomparable glory and love from Gaia. Even so, has only been scratched and slightly indented. I have made it a relationship of a best friend; so close as to be mistaken for what identity is really being presented.”
  6. An urban ranger had gone beyond Ignatz's perimeter, and in the savage Wilds had come across a city-shaped trap whose bait was the lives and free will of a people. The ranger discovered the cause for their enslavement was an ethereal entity; she trapped it in a host and brought the host back to Ignatz for further study. The hope was that Empire could find a way to free those left behind. Ecks was on the team responsible for that study. They were finalizing containment procedures when the creature proved opportunistic, and took advantage of an analyst whose karmic balance must have had a deficit. In that host the entity proves formidable and makes its escape into greater Ignatz. OOC
  7. supernal

    The Purple Axe

    Location Textile Road, just off the Garment district Description The Purple Axe is a large two story timber and brick building with a large cellar, a hearth, and a common room on the second floor. It is exceptionally clean, and well lit by a few magical torches. Accommodations consist of a single room with wooden cots. Innkeeper Letthem: Half-orc with an aristocratic background, Letthem comes from a world of refined tastes and social isolation and has traded it for a world of basic fare and companionship Menu Food Apple stuffed mushroom: 1 copper Beer roasted pork knuckle: 4 copper Breaded chicken breast: 4 copper Cornish hen with olive salad: 8 copper Ground Mimic burger: 11 silver (high price due to risk) Drink Water: free Hot tea: 1 tin Rotgut vodka: 1 copper Rum: 3 copper Biazo volcanic wine: 2 silver Floorplan Key Thin Rectangle on a wall: door “S” on a wall: secret door Large Rectangle: table Large Thin Rectangle: bar Rectangle with a “T” or “S” or both: table or shelve or table & shelves. Circle: bar stool or chair 4/5 Circle: chair next to/under table Small filled Rectangle in a larger rectangle: fireplace/hearth Dashed Line: railing Many thin lines getting smaller: stairs Filled Circle: toilet/privvy Filled Triangle: wash basin
  8. First Lieutenant Bernidad “Steel” Herman had always been a role model to Anouk. He was one of Ignatz’ most accomplished soldiers, despite his relatively low rank. He had been offered promotion on several occasions, but had turned it down, saying that he preferred to be in the muck with his troops, rather than dealing with red tape and diplomacy. He had single-handedly saved the lives of multiple visiting dignitaries from assassination attempts, and fought in more battles than most could remember. He was, perhaps, one of the most skilled rangers that had ever lived. He was dangerous on any terrain, but in the forest, he was a predator and everyone else was just prey.
  9. Anouk sat on the edge a second story balcony, studying the map given to her by her superior. A small town, twenty miles outside the city limits, was apparently demonstrating a suspicious level of peace and civility. Ronda’s Lot was the name of the town. It was very small, less than two hundred residents, and not terribly significant in the scheme of things, which is probably why they assigned exactly one new recruit to scout the town and report back. At first, she had been a little disappointed with her first assignment. She was hoping for something a little more exciting than “observe and report”. Her spirits were lifted when her commander finished the brief with instructions to “handle the situation” if it was “within her ability to do so”. As if there was any chance that she was going to come back and report to her command that she couldn’t handle the problem alone. She’d fight a whole army of frost giants if that’s what it took. Her eyes wandered to the heartwood bow in her lap. It was her pride and joy already. Her injured left eye had prevented her from being the best marksman during her training, but she was certainly capable and easily considered an expert at archery now. She may not have been the best shot in her unit, but her strengths were in other areas. No one in her basic or advanced training could keep up with her in the city, or among the rooftops. They had even nicknamed her the “Ally cat” for her uncanny ability to move around and over the buildings
  10. The history of Ignatz was far more telling than his own. Over the dangerous years Gaius had studied the sword, the stars, and the lands of Valucre from the confines of his great grandfather's library. Updated annually it contained the lore of the world and indexed Ignatz particularly well as the birthplace of Odin Haze, the legend of whom Terrenus could be considered built upon. For years he studied his fellow man from continents away, dedicating himself to the history of the world to better understand man's motivation for their entrenched virtues. Yet by merely imagining the storm that hid the citadel from the darkened sky of which the contract he'd pledged had been forged, a shiver ran not just down his spine, but into his heart. The evils he faced in Renovatio were perilous but nothing enough to send the fear of death into his chest like a emblazoned dagger of mystery. The royal armor folded against itself loudly in the solitary inn room as he removed the vambraces, pauldrons, plate mail, and all other manner of protection that would leave him otherwise exposed. “I do not understand...” he condemned himself, having placed his armor on a iron rack in the corner of the room. All that could be seen were his pitch black slacks and the scars of his childhood which numbered in the dozens throughout, everywhere from his upper neck to his toes were covered in the exchanges of his grandiose adventures. “Everything that has happened in Terrenus and with the time that has passed...the Citadel remains...” the scholar wondered, his left hand rising to stroke his chin thoughtfully. Though foolhardy at times, he never approached a contract or task of any sort without objectively analyzing his task. Doing so would only cost him death, this much Labeo and the other Bravada had taught him, even in the err of their ways. His mind briefly returned to his homeland. “With Exus Prime gone and my father dead...” Focus, or soon you will join them. “Never,” he retorted to himself bluntly, throwing himself across his wool bed. What had possessed him to leave Hyperion before the aforementioned time of commencement? His lust for adventure was the prime candidate for his foolish behavior but there was something deeper calling to him in Terrenus. Even as a beloved Enforcer of which he swore his fealty to the sword unofficially, there were things outside of Hyperion that he knew required his immediate attention. He couldn't quite explain it, but perhaps the citadel hanging in the chaotic skies would provide him some insight when he approached the very next day. “Perhaps the truth of who I am is here...” Somewhere in a world far away he could hear Labeo swearing his name. Chuckling, his consciousness crumbled away and left the world wondering if he truly intended to take on such a dangerous feat in his first tenure on the continent. Only time would tell.
  11. This is a Tavern of Legend quest for @Obe. This is a level 0; Canon World quest, as such it requires 5 posts total. As this is a canon board, each post requires 120 words per post- that is why the total post requirement is lower than other level 0 quests. This particular quest is a brief one that requires stealth and perhaps some trickery. You are tasked with painting rude messages on the walls of the capital, managing to do so without getting caught- perhaps part of the thread might entail a distraction of sorts. Though only 5 posts are required, members are always encouraged to go above and beyond. ;) Ignatz, like most places, is a quiet locale once the sun goes down, most people retiring to their homes with sleep on their mind. Those few who remain awake at such hours rarely venture from their homes, leaving the streets relatively empty. The capital building is nearby, but surely there are guards- so how does one sneak about and vandalize a capital building? Post written by @Acies ab Vesania.
  12. deadcasketburied

    Valentina's journal.

    [Disclaimer]: These are journal entries for a character mainly involved in a D&D campaign set in Terrenus. I am mainly using this format to develop/explore her feelings, thoughts, and experiences as she grows and eventually journeys throughout the continent. Entries are likely to skip around in time as needed. *** After an exhausting day, fifteen-year-old Valentina Nexula had been ordered straight to bed as soon as she and her father arrived at their main residence, the details of what transpired that day already echoing down the halls of the massive three-story home and straight into the ears of the overly protective Max, majordomo to the Nexulas and an additional father-figure in the young girl’s life. The butler had seen the girl to bed, tucked her in, and promised to hear every detail of her adventure come morning, though he neglected to mention he planned to admonish her foolish behavior and see to it that she never put herself in such a dangerous situation ever again. After a couple of minutes in darkness and silence, Valentina rolled over and reached for the string of her bedside lamp, a gentle pull enough to bring light into the room. She could barely keep her eyes open, but the desire to record her extraordinary day overrode her need for sleep and had her reaching for her journal and pen, always within reach (you never knew when an idea was going to hit you, her father said, it was necessary to always have paper and pen ready). She propped herself up some using a fluffy pillow, selected a new page and quickly began to write all of her thoughts down… Entry #125: Today was something else. I can hardly believe half of what happened, and I’m almost sure come tomorrow morning I’ll wake up and think it all a dream. As planned, Dad and I came to Ignatz early morning, heading straight to the temple with his new invention and because I am not old enough yet, I wasn’t allowed to head in to the negotiation room with any of them. Dad did ask me to try and see if I could help around the temple, which I took as an opportunity to look around, and as luck would have it I came across the most strangest looking of boys. His name is Duncan, he has silvery skin, strange powers and I already decided we’ll be married once we both are old enough, but that’s getting ahead. After doing some minor work at the temple and having a brief and slightly unpleasant encounter with Duncan’s stuffy guardian, I convinced Duncan to show me around city, as it had been so long and I really don’t know the place at all. It was then I spotted some strange looking men near Matilda, which did not vibe well with me. We got closer, and sure enough, some shifty person came OUT of Matilda! I was certain it was one of the crystals that powered her, one of Dad’s oldest and most guarded of technologies. I urged Duncan to help me follow them, because I was sure they had stolen something and we absolutely could not let them get ahead. We tracked one of the shifty guys into one of the shops, where an equally shifty vendor tried to steer us away from what we were looking for. Then, another guy showed up and threatened us! Duncan, in probably what made him start to fall for him, tried to protect me! I didn’t think of it at the time, I was too scared, but that was the most romantic thing he could’ve done. Well, I thought we were goners for sure, but then Duncan emitted this light and from his back two ethereal wings appeared briefly, enough to scare the two assailants away. Duncan fell unconscious, and I feared the worst had happened. Luckily, he came back, a little confused but well enough for us to continue pursuing them because well of course we had to! Thinking back, that probably was not a wise idea. I ought to work on being a bit more cautious. The other dude was kind of fat, so he didn’t get away very far and we managed to find him in one dark and smelly alleyway. His companion was there, and they were talking about some sort of business deal. I decided that we ought to take them by surprise, with Duncan flashing the sword he picked up from the shop and me with the gun that Dad kept stashed away and I took without permission. But we underestimated them, and before I knew it, there was a knife to my throat and Duncan was bleeding. I was sure we were dead for sure, and I just felt so bad for having dragged Duncan along. And then, out of nowhere, another shadow appeared, dressed as a skeleton no less, and took care of the two bandits threatening us. He returned Matilda’s crystal to me, and like that, he was gone. It all happened so fast, I was just so shaken by all of it, I had to rest while Duncan retrieved my gun for me. He came back out looking a little pale, but I suppose it is to be expected. We were luckily found by some temple guards and brought back safely. Dad and I had a little talk, and he agreed to let me keep the gun, even mentioned we could upgrade it together so that is something I’m really looking forward to! Duncan and I got to talk, and he agreed to stay in contact with me while I traveled and he continues to study. Though I honestly think he would make a better warrior than scholar, but maybe he’ll figure that out on his own. Out of the two of us, I think I might be the smarter one. But I am the daughter of a genius after all. In any case, I plan to marry him once we are of age, which gives him a couple of years to realize he wants to marry me as well. I don’t think I’ll have trouble convincing Dad or Max, but that’s another problem for another day.
  13. There is not many times a master in a profession becomes famous. Many pass on traditions and teachings to their young apprentices, who master the discipline, and take apprentices under their wing. The act being a selfless but self preserving one. Many must pass down their talents to not be forgotten. Too many times a professional must go unnoticed, but not unimportant. Fergus Sith realized this, and, at achieving mastery, immediately went for an apprentice to teach. Many were tempted, but unmoved by the idea to devote one's entire life to the art he taught, and so decline him they did. Hope was not to be lost, of course. Fergus, in his imposing armor, would intrigue many, and the power his teachings held would persuade, he would hope. Still, it was a fearsome idea, the art he taught, and still, the man was turned away, and he tinkered and smelted parts for the villagers' tools. It would be ten years of monotony until a baby was left on his doorstep. A note was left, saying 'Please, make him worth something. His name is Souliver.' The uncanny situation, and queer name gave Master Sith a grave feeling. At the next morn, he immediately attempted to dispose of the child, entering the village church and offering him up for the priest to raise. Turned away, as the priest was far too old to be in the child's life, even if he accepted. (True, as the priest would die of age a mere month later.) The convent, where the young sisters could raise the boy. But, none were too interested in the concept, and the mother of the group stated 'The girls here would all try to be his favorite maternal figure, and that's one way to ruin a boy's head.' Fergus Sith kept the child, and asked around the tavern for fatherhood tips, visited the salon to hire sitters for when Fergus had to train. The boy, when he became physically capable, immediately underwent minor training, and schooling in the subject. The boy looked at his studies with ambition, and revered his master as a demigod handing down power that he alone deserved once Fergus finally passed. And the idea of having no more to learn because of Fergus's passing unnerved him. He demanded to learn all he could, even at such a young age. His studies kept the comely boy from interacting with others, and all he really did was work. Tirelessly memorizing fundamentals and rules. The laws that governed the possible and the right, as well as how to realign any wrongs and mishaps, that, despite Fergus's cool dismissal and assurance he was not a failure, Souliver insisted incessantly, that he was an idiot for doing a thing wrong, where Fergus had flawlessly executed. The gauntlet was the first piece Souliver had assembled, and the first Carving was shocking, the reaction to the pain, a stoic frown and hum in the boy's throat, threw Fergus off, as 'When I first did that all I did was yell and holler. But, we're same in the regard that despite pain, we both went all the way in our task. You should be proud! Not even my master, nor my master's master could stomach that kind of hurt.' Souliver, would not forget these kindnesses, and the compliments. The art of Cryst Carving was all his. And he was meant to shoulder the burden of all its knowledge. And a burden the knowledge was. The excursions into the wilderness Fergus went on alone, and the ominous way he spoke when he returned from the dark of the night. Souliver was not to know where Fergus went. Fergus had planned on living much longer, but the choice to take a chance and try carving a crystal into the head had gone wrong, horribly. It was more of a lobotomy than an enlightening process, and there fell Fergus, face up, fractals of blue, in a hole between the eyes. The realization and overthinking was too much for Souliver, who stood in front of the shack, shouting; "He's hurt! He's hurt, by Gaia!" It took the doctor, the baker he trusted, and several other people feeling for a pulse that was not there to convince Souliver that Fergus was dead. The funeral was closed casket, held in Ignatz, as Fergus was a religious man, and only Souliver and the priest, who had arrived a month after him, attended.
  14. Wilhelm

    Drifting Out To Sea

    Continued From Here The air was nearly smoldering, as a drop of sweat dripped across and down a silvery forehead. Duncan twisted and turned in discomfort amidst the spring heat. With winter's recent passing he had gotten used to leaving his singular window shut, trapping the heat of the new season in his room. Spring had returned again with all of its beauty, and all of its creatures as birds could once again be heard chirping outside the window in a small garden. The rhythm of the birds was matched as the sound of an alarm began ringing, the beginning of a new day. Duncan ungracefully reached with his hand, haphazardly flopping it as he attempted to turn the alarm off with one eye barely open. With the alarm silenced, he hopped to his feet stretching every limb in his body. Continuing his morning routine he bathed himself, his body sticky from the copious sweat from the night before, and proceeding to dress in his casual clothing underneath elegant temple attire. Reaching for his reading material he rushed out the door, hoping to stop and get breakfast before meeting up with Adrien for another lesson. It had been 4 years since the incident with the thieves, of which rightfully he was not found guilty. Much to his dismay the guard were unable to learn the whereabouts of this "skeleton killer" responsible, and no reports of such a man were had since. Every now and then it would worry him, the creepy smile showing itself, promising to collect on its service in saving his life. In this time he had become much more serious in his study from a combination of near death experience, meeting expectations to both Valentina and Adrien, and acceptance of his origins. He knew the aging man that was his mentor was not infallible, but put trust in the man seeing as he dedicated such a large part of his life to Duncan. Grabbing a bagel for the morning he continued down the temple halls. Approaching the room he was to go to as always the door was slightly ajar, upon which he gently pushed it open to not let the sound ring through the mostly empty and quiet halls. There sitting behind a small well crafted desk was Adrien. Sipping from his coffee, a developing habit of his as he became older and older, he peered up at the young man as he placed the cup down. "Good morning, Duncan. I received a message last night from the Academy.", handing an already opened letter to Duncan.
  15. Traxien Cion

    have you ever seen the rain?

    An old man and a fifteen year old girl coast along the finely crafted stone roadway. Many pass by in rotating gyrospheres and offer odd looks to the pair who are traveling on a long, winding machine that is driven by dozens of thin, jabbing legs and which fills the air with the aromatic scent of industrial lubricant. The reliable old machine, which he always refers to as Matilda, is one of Vass's earliest inventions. It uses charged elemental gems to power alpha configuration stirling engines in each segment, affording it unrivaled versatility and power, or at least it was unrivaled. He sold the technology that powers Matilda to the Terrans, who made good work of improving his design, for a hefty sum, which was impossible to turn down after the tragedy. He could focus on his work, instead. And focus, he did. Within twelve short years, Vass became the single largest supplier of intellectual property and weapons in the entire western half of Terrenus; in fact, that's why he's heading to the city. Attached to the back of Matilda, who measures precisely forty-five feet long, is a large freight container on wheels. It contains a prototype of a new armored exoskeleton codenamed Titan 3. As they approach, the city's reach grows in waves of increasing frequency. It's been a long trip, and the forgotten scents and sights of Ignatz usher forth a flood of memories. Some of them are good. "Valentina, my dear," he starts, turning his weathered face toward his daughter and apprentice, "have you noticed any patterns in the frequency of towns and industrialization in a ring around the city? Of course you have. It's a lot like the double slit experiment. As you get move closer, the frequency of the scattering pattern increases. Now, that's the relationship between distance from the screen and the distance between peaks?" He doesn't wait for an answer, and instead goes back to driving the machine forward. He does, however, hand her the book she's been studying: The Foundations of Optics written by himself, of course. As he does, Matilda lurches with a loud CREAAAAAAAAK and comes to a skidding halt, throwing the book from his hand and onto the ground at Valentina's feet. He rotates out of his seat with surprising dexterity and crawls along the top of Matilda, paying careful attention to not fall while he navigates the gaps between segments. After careful inspection of segment six, which is smoking, he shouts back to Valentina, "It looks like the flywheel has seized up. Bring my tool set and lots of VN-29! We'll have you fix it," he says while positioning himself to sit cross legged and armed in the adjacent segment, looking carefully over the open maintenance hatch of unit six, which is releasing a respectable amount of smoke into the vicinity.
  16. supernal

    Heavy is the head

    There was a certain level of prestige thrust upon the Silver Spoons of late. This came about as a result of an unwanted murder taking place during the peak of a successful after-party celebrating the still-more successful debut of their brand new play – Black Heats: A Bitter Tale of Love and Hate. This newly earned cachet of theirs was sticky. It held fast to the Spoons as they boarded the train after loading their set and equipment in the Rail's underbelly, and lingered meanwhile the Rail cut its precise path across the eastern face of Terrenus, whisking them towards the Gaian mecca of Ignatz. Truth be told, things weren't as bad as they could have been. This was thanks primarily to Zen's virtuosity with regards to Spinning and Doctoring, and secondarily to Wally's stoic, unsettling, and unrelentingly 'Other' personality and mannerism. In fact aside from the initial interrogation by law enforcement, virtually no reporters sought Wally out for a one-on-one exclusive. He might have felt hurt if he wasn't so relieved. To that end Zen also took special pains to make sure every actor and stagehand had been prepped on how to deal with the media. It was a lot of 'no comment', otherwise terse answers taken from prepared speeches, punctuated by the handing off of a contact card with Zen's information on it. After that the only step was for them to 'get the hell out'. As they stopped at the occasional minor town and picked up new passengers, Wally's keen predatory overheard more and more conversations that had to do with 'that unfortunate incident in Dougton'. Wally was not much of a fan of it at first but soon enough he found that the notoriety was not entirely unwelcome. They were soon getting ahead of the rumors. There was no indication that the Spoons were involved, nothing like the Dougtonite rumors which said that the play had been so beautiful it drove a customer to murderous madness; a backhanded compliment if Wally ever had heard one. But now it seemed to be accepted wisdom that the Spoons were just 'kind of around' the murder, and not in any way related to it. The flames of fame had kept burning for them. Fifteen minutes turned into half an hour and showed no signs of guttering, not yet. When they arrived in Ignatz, Wally was already thinking about the best way to build on this prestige. The moment their set pieces were out of the Rail and on their way to storage, Wally cut his actors loose to prowl around the city with instructions to meet at the Purple Axe when twilight descended on them. Wally was off to Fega Mamous's local office where he hoped, after a little name-dropping and one or two calls, to leverage their fame into a temporary staging area where they could setup for their show in Ignatz. On loan. To be paid off with the proceeds of their show. He planned ot keep them in Igntaz for two weeks, the longest venue the Spoons had ever played in a single area. OOC thread: http://www.valucre.com/topic/27321-traveling-thespians-ooc/?page=1
  17. Location: Ignatz Terrenus. Party Member(s): Doge, Addy, Fragile (Late Add On.) Some say that there is no such thing as paradise on this planet. A place run by various species that have an affinity to war on a global scale, at the simple inkling of a thought. Lands were plagued with visionaries who sought domination, and others who simple sought the tides of change. Dominic Ku'Zar on the other hand, was a man who wanted an empire. It had been said that there was a place that had befallen some entrapment that kept them at eternal peace. For a fact the lad knew this to be the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. Where these people monks? Nay, from those who had traveled to the reaches of Ignatz it's people were simple villagers. Hume if he might have guessed it, a species known to have practiced war since before the civil era's ever graced their simple minds. "These Prehistoric species know nothing more than their impulses of greed like myself." He said out loud in the conclusion of his thoughts. He had spent many hours in Oo'Xora pacing the floors of his old home. Now he was about in the lands of Terrenus, making his way through the beaten trade paths of merchants and cattle farmers. On either side the woods lined like a picket fence, allowing only small glimpses into the space beyond its front. Ahead of him was another town that was just out of reach of the near by village. It's life force was abundant, some might have said it was swelling and nearly ready to burst. With no neighbors to really trade with the main city and this side piece were thick as thieves. Thanks to the said spell at hand, their partner village was out of the loop on reality itself. It's people had been said never to leave its gates, and those who went in hardly made it out again. Those who did so, had posted the request for aid. The request had gone as far as Tellus Mater in hopes to find a group of people willing enough to break this illusion. An thus here the Squire was, sauntering down the street in order to fulfill another mission in the name of the Zodiac Knights. He needed to stretch his legs after the intense assignment with the Emissary herself. With the Heaven and Earth Alliance formed there was no doubt he'd be called back soon. Thus he had to make the most of his free time without fail. Upon his shoulder a puffy Moogle kicked its stumpy legs with glee. Nibbling on what appeared to be a single bread morsel, the creature was always eating. Birthed of unknown origins and found in an undisclosed location, Dominic alone solely understood Robin's need for nourishment. Strolling into the town the man gazed around here and there while walking up to the notification board. The tab for the village next door was still in place, and that interested the man deeply. Looking around he slowly took out a marker before writing a note to those who dared to read and join him in this quest at hand. 'To those who are wiling to join me in this Quest, meet me at the in and request the barkeeper to bring you to Dominic Ku' Zar. I will be waiting here for a few hours before heading out. This notice will be taken down once I embark. ~Dominic Ku-Zar, Squire of Zodiac Knights.' Once the side note was put into place, Dominic put away the marker and made his way to the Inn. Ordering a room for three he sauntered up the steps with the warning left to the barkeep. The woman would point anyone in the right direction should they ask to speak to the Squire about the quest at hand. Pressing his way into the well furnished room he placed Legion down upon the desk and sat back in the chair. Moogle floated out and around to inspect the room, before placing himself upon the window ledge to look out at the people below. "Now we wait."
  18. Robbie Rotten


    Opening her eyes slowly, Elenwen thought for a moment that she must still be asleep. She couldn't see anything except a drab brown! After blinking a few times she realized that she was not looking at the backs of her eyelids but actually at a smooth earthen ceiling, so uniform that it was impossible for her to tell where it ended and where the open air separating her from it began. She tried to look around but found that she could not move her head at all, nor any of her limbs, or anything at all for that matter. Though she could not see it from her field of view, which was pointed directly upwards and forced to stay there, her body had been fully encased in the same smooth dirt that made up the walls of the room, packed so tight that it was a solid substance barely distinguishable from rock or stone. The only movement afforded to Elenwen was that of her facial muscles; flicking her eyes around revealed nothing but the same brown in all directions that she could see. Reaching out to her tome and attempting to summon her magic, the witch found that this too had been robbed of her. Her tome did not appear, she felt no familiar rush of energies through her consciousness. They took her book! First they took her arm, then they took her ability to harm herself, so that she could not bang her head to knock herself out or amuse herself with attempts at suicide, and now they even took away her magic! How rude! Elenwen had never been subjected to such poor hospitality. These Gaians were truly low, cruel beings, not even worthy of the suffering she had inflicted on them. She was locked in a state of near total sensory deprivation, with only her face left uncovered so that she could breathe, and completely helpless to manipulate her surroundings or even her own body. Elenwen suspected that she might be naked underneath the earthen tomb, she felt cool and somewhat numb, as if the material of her casket were pressed tight against her skin, but it was hard to tell for sure. This was not fun at all! "Helloooooo! Anybody home?! It's very mean to leave a lady waiting!" she called out to her empty cell.
  19. Nidelia Sponze

    The Aftermath of the ToL Incident

    Nidelia appeared in the middle of Ignatz, slightly disoriented at first, but quickly got her bearings in her home city. She looked around for Payne and Mei-lan, ignoring the hustle and bustle around her. She made sure to plan out the fastest path to the nearest inn and breathed in deeply so as to keep herself calm and centered to avoid panicking. The city was bustling with everyone making way to work or elsewhere, making it hard to keep track of anyone who teleported in, plus, those that did would like be greeted by being bumped into by the people mulling about. @Ehallia @Anomander @BadPunzLord @Gummy @Kyrie Muguette @PlutoniumKills @ShizNor @danzilla3
  20. supernal

    The Storage Movement

    Layout TSM is a squat, square building occupying approximately half a city block (50,000 square feet). It is constructed of layered concrete and metal which completely block electromagnetic radiation, and covered with obscure, hidden symbols which prevent remote divination and applied prophecy. There is one accessible door which leads into a foyer. The foyer is empty save for a massive desk behind which sits a receptionist, and rows of chairs for guests. With the proper authorization, one can move from the public room into the annals of TSM. TSM's interior begins with an avenue suspended hundreds of feet in the air and cast into pitch black darkness. The darkness is interrupted by pinpoints of which, when close enough to any source, reveal themselves as massive crystals the size of a man or larger. This avenue feeds into dozens of corridors and rooms. Purpose TSM's purpose is to collect and digitize information on art, literature, science, magic and other topics of knowledge into a central repository and make this information available to the public at low or no cost. TSM occasionally gives tours of their facilities to enlighten the public on such topics as information density and optical character recognition. TSM is scanning and uploading information to this day as more and more cultures and histories outside of the Terrenus mainstream come to light. History The TSM began as a regular library; collecting and collating knowledge was almost a matter of habit for a librarian's daughter, as Odette was. The TSM was made up of thousands upon thousands of stacks of parchment, scrolls, books, and reams of paper stacked in piles and stuck in shelves. The knowledge here spanned dozens of different languages and hundreds of topics. Odette's intent from the very beginning was to make this knowledge publicly accessible but the central location, in the back of her estate no less, made it difficult for security reasons to open it to the public all the time, and in general was visited only by Ignatz natives. Upon her coronation as regent of Ignatz, Odette was taken for a tour of a branch office of Central, belonging to the Terrenus government. There Odette was introduced to the concept of digitizing information and storing large amounts of it on crystal arrays. She immediately saw the benefits of easily accessible information and began construction of the TSM crystal arrays on the following day. During the Terrenus World Fair, Odette introduced something called 'the Crook' (like a shepherd's crook). It is referred to as an 'application' that can 'establish a common transmission protocol'. Essentially the Crook adds an additional, wireless interface to any standard crystal computing device, allowing any devices with Crooks on them to communicate with one another. Odette made the Crook publicly available at the same time that she announced that most of the TSM was publicly accessible. Anyone, anywhere, at any time can now connect to Ignatz's TSM and download or upload useful information. Security TSM security is provided in part by Odette's local guard and in part by the Terrenus military after Odette convinced officials that TSM was a landmark structure of cultural and historical significance. Authorization protocols for confidential access involve access codes and biometrics, there are military grade encryption algorithms applied to sensitive information, the metal used in the building prevents electromagnetic radiation preventing any information leaking through EM which is minimal as information is processed via optics, anti-divination symbols are used throughout the entire building, and automated sentries are deployed at night. New Technologies Blockchain: This is a logical rather than material technology, which improves operations and processes of current technology without introducing new infrastructure. Blockchain is the result of a collaboration between the Monroe Foundation and Odette's TSM. Blockchain is, at its core, database technology, which means it concerns itself with the acquisition, storage, and dissemination of information. Blockchain deviates from traditional databases in the following manner: The information is holographic; every bit and byte of the database is replicated to every federated node. This means that every partner of a specific blockchain database has a copy of the entire database, eliminating single sources of failure in the event of an attack or disruption The information is encrypted at rest and in-transit as a function of design. Complex commercial-grade PECS algorithms are used for this The information is immutable and verifiable. Blockchain stores its complete history; not only data, but all changes to its data as well Although blockchain finds a great deal of use in many industries, from drug trials to financial transactions to educational records, the industry that will see the most benefit are manufacturing and supply-chain-related industries. In terms of tracking, industries leveraging blockchain are able to pinpoint the origin of any parcel in seconds rather than days changelog 2018-08-14: Added new technologies and blockchain
  21. Grand, but not garish. Wealthy, but not boorish. Classy, but not arrogant. These were the words that came to my mind as I slowly meandered into Hazeby's Auction House. Clearly, everything that adorned the walls and graced the banisters was expensive, and most people would expect it to be exquisitely so, but only a select class of citizens would be able to understand exactly how expensive they were. It's a bit like how anyone can to go a dressage show and see that the horses are pretty and well-trained, but only people who have dipped their toes into that world have a true comprehension of the skill and power they're witnessing. Everyone else just makes starry-eyed assumptions. I was making no starry-eyed assumptions - if I set my mind to it, I could probably tell you down to the last piece of tin how much those gilded gargoyles standing guard over the entrance were worth....what with them being relics from the first age, before Ignatz was even a flat place on the road....as one example. But I wasn't there to be a tourist. I appreciated, quietly and subtly, in passing, the display of power and wealth that the building put before me, gave it a gentlemanly nod, and continued about my business. For isn't that the paradox? Those who are most able to grasp the grandeur are the ones who are the least likely to indulge in the luxury of stopping to admire it? I stopped only when I reached the reception area, to pick up my badge and bidding card. My name may not have been at the very top of the list, or even necessarily on the first page, but the important thing was that letters put together in a unique pattern on a piece of paper to symbolize the sounds which, when spoken aloud at a certain tempo and a certain emphasis, cast the magical spell called 'Power Word: My Name'. 'Power Word: My Name' lets me into exclusive auctions. And it doesn't matter which page of the guest list those letters are on. There was a time not too long ago when 'Power Word: My Name' did very little at all. Perhaps it could be said that the purpose of such a spell at that time was to begin the process of polymorphing my foes into owls, for whenever I invoked it, my victims would be compelled to chant "Who? Who? Who?". My badge, clipped to my suit jacket, read "Shoyn Fergessen". That first name is pronounced the same as "Shane". I chose it for myself, when I chose to remake myself, and it amuses me for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which being it has a meaning in another, archaic and almost dead, language, which if translated would cause my name badge to declare: "I've forgotten". Once past reception, I was in a grand hallway, done beautifully in golds, silks, and jewel tones, but not in such a way as it hurt my eyes to look too long at any one piece. The hallway led to The Wheel, the center of the building where the auction was soon to begin. A raised dias stood at the very hub of the Wheel, and rooms that were merely implied by the structure's absurdly open plan rather than directly stated, radiated off the edge at equal intervals, as if The Wheel's spokes continued beyond the rim for some number of meters. It was in these rooms, misnomer as that term may be, that the most prestigious lots were on display. Security was tight, but invisible. The guards, obviously well-trained as judged by their body awareness and how hard it was to spot the magic-tech firearms up their sleeves and strapped to their thighs, were dressed as guests and caterers, servants and princes, anything but guards. Assisting the living sentinels were unliving ones - not Mechanicals, they would be too frightening, while at the same time, admit too much fear - but mechanisms. I could see, when I looked up, places where cage bars could fall from the ceiling, cordoning off certain rooms or locking down the entire place. I saw remote viewing totems, which allowed more guards somewhere that was not here to observe me, yet I had no way to observe them, no way to know if they were actually paying attention to me specifically. And I saw alarms. Many, many, many alarms. More alarms than guards. More alarms that bars. More alarms, perhaps, than gold. I always appreciate a challenge. I suspect others do to. Which was why I was there. Not only to make my move on some fine antiques, but also to see who was here to test their mettle, law against lawless. I was here to see how far they got. How hard they tried. Of if any even tried at all, which would tell me just as much as any of the other scenarios. I walked to my seat, middle of the back row on the northern hemisphere of The Wheel, and observed. I love to people-watch. Who would catch my eye today?
  22. Lord Satin

    The Ignatz Incident

    Ignatz; a city so lively, bustling with the chirping of birds and lowly chatter, soon to be consumed by fear. The sun shone bright, not a cloud in sight. The city folk went about their business, casually strolling through the cobbled streets, enjoying the light of day, paying little attention to the group of oddly clothed men in their midst. Their attire was rough and faces masked, yet they walked by unnoticed. The citizens had not the slightest suspicion. Not a sliver of doubt, utterly ignorant of the group's foul intent. So kind and tolerant they were, and yet their virtuous nature brought forth their doom... The party drew near, their target in sight. Confidently approaching the First Temple, the man at their head let out an audible grunt as he promptly waved his gloved hand to the site. Four figures detached from the troop, dashing towards the far left of the massive structure. The other three continued on towards the stairs leading upward. Upon reaching their destination, the leader crouched down behind a fern, frantically emptying his bag, its contents falling loudly into the grass. Among them was a bizarrely shaped weapon. It gave the impression of a rifle, though it functioned in a way like no other rifle could. A complex design, capable of felling a knight clad in steel armor. Though for all its complexity, it remained inefficient, with expensive upkeep demanding rare materials. Checking his wristwatch, the outlaw grew more anxious by the minute. The infiltrator would've ideally finished his simple, though admittedly dangerous task. He shook his head in disappointment, outfitting himself in clothing black as night itself. Upon his chest lay inscriptions; glyphs tasked with protecting him from murderous spells and curses. After all, these were no ordinary monks. Taking hold of the metal grip, he grabbed a compact weapon from the container, rifle swaying from side to side on his back. The doors broke open, a small, nervous man sprinting out as swiftly as he could manage. He wore the clothes of a Terran soldier, bearing the distinct sigil. "I'm sorry boss. I didn't mean to take so long." He caught his breath before continuing on. "So what now? Meet you at the safehouse?" The criminal nodded in response, his follower ready to find his way out of the city, when he turned around to face his leader. "By the way, why'd you ask me to wear th--" Gunshots echoed through the area. Multiple projectiles shot through the fiend, penetrating his flesh and bones. The body fell lifeless to the ground, wounds severe. The murderer glanced at his companions, pointing towards the door. The time had come. He reached into the depths of his pockets, grasping what looked to be a remote detonator in his hand. A thunderous explosion resonated through the streets. He walked forth into the burning interior. Shots could be heard. One, two. Another dozen rang out, and the shrieks and screams of dying men filled the air around them. The weapon glowed a hue of green as the gunman fired relentlessly and without pause, not a drop of mercy in his soul... And so it began, with death, with chaos, with anarchy...
  23. supernal

    Squeezing a stone

    OOC thread Regarding her location, Kasia could be absolutely sure of one thing – it was underground. The room they contained her in itself contained no furnishings. No doors or windows. Though Spartan it was at least appreciable in size, comparable to a master bedroom. The only opening, through which either guards or provisions entered, was fashioned on the spot by vigilant geomancers on the other side of a daunting wall, and collapsed the moment their utility was served. Patrick Flanagan enters through one such transient opening, stepping into the room and standing opposite of Kasia of the Sissoneth. Patrick wore the habit of his faith, identifying himself at a glance as not just one of the Gaian faith, but as one of the pious, one of those charged with holding the lantern aloft and keeping the darkness at bay. Other than his simple robe, Patrick wore no markings or signifiers. Nothing about him would identify him as a High Inquisitor. Nothing other than the fact that he was here, now, standing in a room across from her. "Before you try and get smart with me I want to level the field. I know you're a shapeshifter. We got samples off the robe, and a team of Academy necromancers sorting through the data now. Don't worry, they'll figure you out. But until then just know I know something about you. So I want to tell you something about me. We're in a room of what's classed as 'highly mutable' earth. That means that while we're in here you can consider me a sort of shapeshifter too, but the shapes I shift are the ones around you and I'm pretty good at it." Patrick took out a knife in one hand, its gleaming point the emphatic punctuation to his final sentence. In the other he took out a block of wood. With smooth, machine-like motions Patrick touched the blade of the knife to the bottom of the block, jerked his hand away from his body, flicking a spiral shaving to the ground. "I'll start off by telling you why I'm not angry." Since the moment he stepped into the room, Patrick trained his eyes on Kasia and never once removed them. Since that same moment he had also never once emoted. Patrick's face embodied nirvanic stillness, offered absolutely no information other than that he was skilled enough to offer no information. Meanwhile his eyes scoured every inch of Kasia, passionless and critical, assessing her not even as an Other or Lesser entity, but as data. To him, Kasia's every response and motion was a Chernoff face, multivariate datasets from which his expert mind could extract meaning and significance. "My father grew up in a time when Desolators kidnapped children from their houses and returned them skin-free." He watched her. "Odin stopped all that. I'm not going to stand here and tell you that violence never solved anything. Violence has solved at least as much as its started and that's saying more than most. "So I can get an ideological difference, one that you wouldn't mind killing for." He watched her. Patrick had read the reports, over and over again. He knew that 'Patia' had been mentioned by at least one of the terrorists. The same people that had marched a contingent of soldiers over open-face ground were the same people that had secreted into Terrenus's mecca and planted an explosive in the temple? Perhaps. And they might even take credit for it. A half dozen other parties already had. But Patrick doubted. "I don't get the explosion, though. I don't think that a rational person would blow something up, killing who knows how many, endangering who knows how many more, without either being off their rocker or having what they think to be a pretty good reason all in all." Patrick was halfway done with his little statue now. It was a model of the women before him, done up with rugged features, but recognizable even from a distance. "So why? Here's your chance. Spread your message. What's the purpose? What does blowing up the First Temple solve, destroy, or create, that couldn't be done any other way? Who knows, maybe you can make a convert out of me." He watched her.
  24. CrimsonDevil9663

    A Magical Disturbance

    Yesterday, a strange man came to the local pub. Since, there has been a small magical disturbance in the local area. Will you investigate?
  25. Artifact Sighting Wispy smoke traveled heavenward off the cheap cigarillo that was hanging loosely from Zha Qiang's plum colored lips. He had neglected the stinking stick from the start by retreating into his thoughts as he awaited his entourage, only occasionally, and with a languid, unconcerned motion, did he direct his hand up to it and then hold it away from his body, flicking it so as to cause an avalanche of ash to fall to the ground. In his color-shifting, enchanted robe, he was dressed as any Gaian priest might be, except that his stature and diminutive height suggested he was no more than a junior apprentice of the church. Few would take him at his word for being a Diocese, and a senior one at that, a sixty-seven year old man trapped in the juvenile body of a child, dead of fever and then resurrected improperly. The nature of his existence had left him with curious standing in the world, but the unhealthy, off-gray pallor of his skin and the occasional stiffness of his limbs had not been enough to deter him from his faith and devotion to the Goddess, to Life and to the Church. That brought him here, thirty miles outside of Ignatz, at the city's historic cemetery now closed off from the public. A string of disappearances, vandalism and outright blasphemy had started four weeks ago today, and two weeks ago, the culprit had revealed themselves to be the wielder of an artifact of immense power. The priests tasked with maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery were justifiably unnerved by the events. Not Zha though. He was mad—furious, even. This cemetery was under his management, not directly, as he worked in the city proper, but all of this would eventually find its way back to him, to his desk and to his record, and he would not stand for it a second more no matter the urging of the Archbishop. He clicked his tongue. He had to veer his mind away from those thoughts for a moment, ever conscious of the effect his condition had on the surrounding environment, sapping Qi from the land to fan the flames of the necromantic energy that animated his body and tied his soul to it. Speaking strictly biologically, Zha had no need to breath, as it was unnecessary, but the exercise was therapeutic and helped him focus. Once he was calm he allowed his nebulous thoughts to once again waft over to the subject of the cemetery. In Gaianism, a cemetery was not just plots of land to inter the dead, but a place to honor and remember them. The faithful had a number of options available to them posthumously in how their bodies would be cared for, and although the majority sought cremation, it was not uncommon for them to specify that their ash be compressed geomantically into precious gems or returned to the earth as sustenance for a specific tree, which would be cared for by the priests as part of their daily duties. Some even chose to be interred within the great tomb. Zha fought again against the emotional outrage. All of that was under attack! They had lost so many of the trees already, and the sickness in them still festered, infected the healthy faster than they could combat it; the gems had been turned to dust, or cracked beyond conventional repair; and the stone guardians, vessels for the souls of the truly devout, had been smashed or, in one known case, subverted and used against the priests. Zha did not even want to know what was being done inside of the tomb, which none of his priests had managed to penetrate, as they were turned back each time by the rogue Guardian and spectral assailants, ghosts that did not belong in the cemetery in the first place, transplanted from elsewhere. He closed his eyes as he plucked the cigarillo from his lips and tossed it onto the ground, and then willed the earth to swallow it, tucking the thin tube away and out of sight. His entourage was not an escort from the church, nor were they strictly military or city guardsmen. Zha Qiang was using his personal wealth to fund this, because when they got him into the tomb and to the bastard responsible, he planned to do to him what he had done to the cemetery. So he did something he shouldn't have. He advertised what was causing the problem through unofficial channels, and he didn't regret it, either. They could fight one another for the thing for all he cared, so long as they got him to within strangling distance.