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While celebration was not a foreign concept to this rapidly expanding nation, this particular night there of was special beyond compare to any other that came before it. There was a lot of public recognition to be had, in accounts to their past, present, and future as a clan. As a nation. As the winds of change ushered in the shifting of seasons, they too inspired the Dynasty to its affect. Crowds both native and foreign gathered through open invitation to come and recognize the myriad of good fortune recently bestowed upon them, as well as the bad that kept the balance. Thus was the nature of duality. Without discriminating between the two, the citizens and visitors alike joined the Emperor in celebrating all of their changes, and thus far unhindered success. While the public continued to see a strong and ambitious Emperor, he himself felt more and more at war with himself. Though even he was unwilling to forgo tonight's celebration over all. For he had plenty to be proud of, a lot to be thankful for. The various foods being prepared created a smell unusual to even Jigoku on a normal day. Men and women drank, talked, laughed, and danced together, and children played in the streets. Some where in lurid costumes and or body paints, some with firecrackers and others with intricate flags and paper lanterns. While there was no specific portion of the city off limits, the majority of the crowds seemed to pack themselves about the expanse market, the infamous Black Dragon Tavern, the alluring Red Light District, and the large and popular town square. The Tengu Knights stood about the Emperor's pagoda, where he currently sat upon his throne within, with two children in his lap. A small and beautiful girl cradled in his Draconic arm, and a smaller, younger boy cradled upon his more delicate human arm. Despite the warm flame his children lit within him, the Emperor found himself with his natural default of an expressionless face featuring narrowed eyes. Or was this simply so well practiced it felt natural? The return of the Emperor's first born was perhaps a strong enough antidote for the tragedy surrounding the fresh life of his heir. Especially considering Celine too was still safe, and healthy. The current fate of Kadia was something of misfortune, though whatever may come of it, he was certain it would have Corvinus rolling in his grave. He wasn't sure where the man went, or if he was already dead, either way he wished he was the one to make it so. Though perhaps Koji could find some solace in the fact that he was gone and his legacy was so abruptly plunged into turmoil of any degree. Briefly he considered that one of his Kunoichi was still in the company of Kadia and it's rising Emperor when things went dark. He could only hope for her survival and return in the future. For now though, Koji too would find means to celebrate in this fact, that there was a chance Kadia and the Imperial South no longer held the means necessary to oppose them directly. Perhaps without Corvinus they didn't even carry the desire as a nation. Either way, none of his concerns were great enough to deter him from hosting an event that was open to the public near and far, on the brink of war at that.
A handful of weeks had passed since Samson delivered the Mori armband to Ankou and Lilith broke Samael, turning the young boy from something with potential to something dangerous. With her goals more than accomplished in Terrenus, Lilith put the continent behind her. Perhaps to return one day, perhaps not. The winds of power would take her wherever they beckoned. In those weeks various rumors had spread through the Cult of Power's Genesaris branch like a hungry fire, deftly alerting Lilith to the discovery of a Genesar Cornerstone. To her knowledge, as well as those of the Lunar Daughters' swirling in her thoughts, the Cornerstones had been lost for ages. Not that Lilith was particularly interested in most of the Cornerstones- they held abilities far removed from her own, even those that came close being not necessarily worth the effort with Terrenus held similar artifact but were much closer. That, however, all changed when whispers of the Soul Cornerstone reached her ears. After generations the stone was once again said to have appeared, this time in the Bloodstone Marshes. The Soul Stone not only aligned with her personal capabilities, but would prove a powerful addition to Zengi's gauntlet. Together the two would prove to be a power beyond anything Valucre has seen too date. Displaying a lazy grin, Lilith knocked against the side of her Ghostship and a landing board expanded out of seeming nothingness. With the soft clatter of her boots on the solidifying ghost wood, the powerful Terrenus necromancer disembarked onto the northern coastal of Genesaris. Though she hadn't particularly forced any of the Paragons to accompany her, those that had would be following her exit so that the Ghostship could vanish once again. Patiently waiting for Lilith's summoning. Glancing down at the three figures who awaited her, Lilith gave a rare faint smile in their direction. One Paragon, Mercury, one servant of Ankou, Samson, and a new member, Cerin. The new member, though Lilith thought of her already as a Paragon, had yet to undergo the initiation and was not marked. That would swiftly be changed. "Hiya, Commander," Mercury shrieked, rushing to Lilith. The little vampire tried to bow but her momentum carried her forward despite the attempt, rolling her straight into Lilith's legs. "Hello Mercury," the red-eyed Commander drawled. "I see you are still... you." The vampire gave a giggle as she straightened back up and went to go hug, or try to hug, Ankou. In the meanwhile Lilith turned to Cerin. "Mercury has spoken very highly of you in her letters, Cerin. What do you hope to gain from joining us?" @AngryCacti @danzilla3 @vielle @Thotification @Chappu @King @Tyler @Veloci-Rapture
On the outskirts of Strider City, a lone woman leaned casually against the frame of a wooden post. The odd thing was, however, that the wooden post belonged some feet away as it had previously been used to hold up the Traveler Restaurant's rafters. Now it was instead being used as a makeshift spear, a broken branch so often used to stick a pig. Except what it poked out of wasn't a stick. It was a man. A drunk man at that. The sight of his belt buckle being undone and pants unzipped as if he'd been sure of his score tonight was in stark contrast to the pure terror that filled his eyes and contorted his expression. The wooden post was gutting him. Stabbed in his midsection, just to the right of his spine. Lilith had half a mind to kill the man right there. There was just something about drunk men and their consistent inability to determine whether or not she'd be an easy target that never failed to annoy her. Any dimwit with have a brain could feel the intense power that rolled off her, power that originated from each of the three continents in mass quantities. But not drunken men. Or drunken women for that matter, though Lilith found herself in situations like these with women much less. There was just something about the fact that they were male and drunk and in the middle of no where that incentive them to try forcing their will on her. On Her. It was so ridiculous it was nearly funny. She almost laughed. Almost. And, yet, she resisted the urge. Not out of kindness or pity for the mortal insect that had stirred her wrath, but because she'd recruited a healer for today. She doubted the healer had any intention in becoming one of her Paragons, but something had told her a healer would come in handy during this trip. With the Soul Stone Lilith could do much and control life in general, but healing others had always been a skill that alluded her. Especially in physical wounds. She tended to do more harm than anything else, even when she bothered to try doing otherwise. Lilith didn't spare another look at the stabbed man nor did she care to watch the life drain from his eyes; there was no pleasure in killing him. It had simply been something necessary. Obstacles needed to be removed. With a small tuck, she pulled back a few loose strands of light brown hair behind an ear and walked into restaurant. @Song Sprite
ON THE ACQUISITION OF HIGH ATLAS █▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒█ ◆◈◆ █▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒█ A PRICE ON IMMORTALITY █▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒█ ◆◈◆ █▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒█ SULLIVAN CIAR OHDRAN A bead of sweat rolled down his temple as his host turned away and sauntered to the other end of the ornately decorated room. The walls were dressed with a regal crimson, floral design. The floors were a dark hardwood, smooth and with a beautiful sheen. The velvet chairs, the golden candelabras — everything spoke of this man's wealth. Not wanting to show Sullivan his seeming unease, Russell quickly wiped away the perspiration, fearing in the back of his mind how his host would react. Even with back turned, the man's reputation gave him an aura of intimidation which cloaked his every action. The occasional sound of the crackling wood in the fireplace was the only noise the trader could latch onto in the otherwise silent room. Even though he had just entered moments ago, for Russell, it seemed as if hours had passed. The air itself felt heavy, not from the humidity, but from the sheer presence of the man. “Would you like wine, or water?” Sullivan asked in a polite, formal tone, shattering the suffocating silence. The man had stopped in front of the fireplace, his tall silhouette now eclipsing the only source of light in the room. “Wine please,” the trader said in a hoarse voice, throat dry from a day’s worth of travel. While he was not necessarily one to drink, it would be rude to not accept his host’s good grace. Perhaps this trip would be easier than he thought. Sullivan came back to his desk, a golden pitcher embossed with flowers in his left hand and a large wine glass in his right. This was the first time since entering that the trader had the opportunity to get a good look at the man who he had traveled so far to talk to. Russell's host was old as evident by the short dark hair with flecks of gray, yet his eyes still blazed with youthful ardor. His suit was a fine, silky satin, so soft that it looked almost sinful to wear. As Sullivan placed the glass on the oak tabletop and began to pour, Russell’s eyes couldn’t help but dart down to the man's cuffs. To his surprise, his host’s hands were weathered and battered. Numerous, jagged scars circled and around the man's knuckles, spider-webbing across and along the backs of his hands. Russell couldn't fathom how a man who was well-off and had more money than most to have such injuries. It was a jarring. “You’re curious, are you not?” the man replied with a knowing grin, not even needing to look up to see Russell gawking at him. “About my hands?” “No, no, I would never ask about something so perso-“ “You don’t need to lie,” Sullivan cut in, halting the pouring of wine. Putting the pitcher down, he turned towards the trader, steel gray eyes piercing through the man’s forced propriety. “You know, I just can’t stand it when people don’t speak what’s on their mind.” Taking a seat on the other side of the table, Sullivan learned forward and folded his hands on his desk, maintaining a hawklike gaze at Russell. The trader was petrified. “They say you can learn a lot about a man just by looking at his hands,” he continued. “They say a you can tell a butcher from a baker, a mason from a chemist, a man from a woman — and, it’s true. Looking at your hands, I say... that you are a man who is just about to get married.” “H-how could you tell?” the trader stammered, shocked at the insight. “Clearly by your engagement ring,” Sullivan laughed, a deep, resonant laugh. Still, his eyes were not fully shut, and Sullivan noted Russell wringing his hands before placing right hand over left. “Now,” he said in a more sober tone, “How would you say I got these scars on my hands?” The trader pondered, as if carefully considering what words would come next, and answered, “Would it be that you obtained them sometime during University?” “No,” Sullivan flatly stated as he slumped back into his chair. “Getting these many scars in University is the mark of a man whose bad at his trade, and I assure you that I am a master of trade.” “My apologies, sir. I did not mean it,” Russell sheepishly whispered, eyes looking down at his hands. Sullivan gave the trader an extended period of silence just so the man would have a few moments to realize the gravity of his comment. Did the trader even know who he was talking to? “Don’t worry,” he reassured the trader, voice slow, punctuated, with notes of disdain. “It will take many years until you reach my age, and when you do, I am sure that you will be much better at reading people’s hands. As for your first lesson on the subject, let me tell you about my hands.” “You see, as a boy, I always got into trouble. Whether it was with the other kids, or with an adult, I always got into fights. And you know what these scars tell you?” Russell dared not answer again. “They tell you that I never lost a fight.” Sweeping his short peppered hair to the right, he made a gesture towards the cup of wine. “Now, have a drink, and let’s talk about business.”