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  1. The air was motionless and deprived of all moisture. Greedy clouds full of storm and turbulence mocked life below with hopes of rain that would never fall. The land's surface so dead, so unforgivingly desolate, it may as well be stone. With nothing but distance in all directions, The only anchor to reality, the gates to Inns'th, slowly fading from view. From this point forward, nothing would truly be certain to the naked eye. But this is what the group of soldiers signed up for. To delve further into the depths of Yhimi, to the depths of the unknown. Mercenaries, adventurers, desperate men in need of work. No one really talks about why they are here, why they are doing this. It is an unspoken rule to never question a man's past. And so here this group hired by the Order of the White Hand, to scout out the terrain, obtain samples, specimen. Routine for the veteran workers. Not so much for those who were new. It was apparent in their eyes: Fear, trepidations, regret. Questioning if everything they did was worth the life they live now. That perhaps whatever punishment that were to fall upon them would be better than what they've signed up for here. But it's too late to make that choice now. This is the closest to hell on earth anyone could ever experience, and there's no turning back now. Once you're here, you're here to stay. It makes you wonder, why anyone would go through such lengths to be here without a knife to their throat. He held himself, broken in spirit and nearly in body, staring blankly at his feet as he trudged on sluggishly with the others. Already fatigued and they've barely made a dent in their journey, it was clear to the party, that this desperate young man would not return. Inns'th is no longer in vision, and their journey is just beginning. He would not come back, in fact, he already knew. Better for the party, he supposed. Easier to split the reward. His shaggy black hair clung to the sweat on his skin, greasy and unkept. His tan cloth shirt was drenched from collar to chest in sweat, and so too clung uncomfortably to his body. His leather armor did little to protect him from the harsh environment and even lesser extent to any dangers they may come across. Perhaps this would be his last redeeming quality? Giving the party a better chance of survival without him. Of course this was cognitive dissonance talking. This quest was never meant to be accomplished by him. This was a suicide attempt by a man who is too afraid to do the deed himself. It's sad, and unfortunate, but ultimately his choice. Pallavi could appreciate the ability to choose. She offered a swig of water to the man, her sleeve sliding back slightly revealing her olive skin. He refuses silently as she knew he would. The illusion of choice was always fascinating to her. She wondered what it would be like to not know for once, what will happen next. What the most "fortunate" path for one to be. To be sure with nearly 100% certainty what direction Time would flow. He made a cognitive decision to end it all here, and he believes that to be his choice, but many things took place for him to come to this conclusion- to be painted into this corner of futility. There are several vortices where he makes penance, and lives a new life. Travels to Genesaris after saving enough money, and work as the apprentice of a seamstress where he would meet the man of his dreams. He would design their suits and get married once he established his own place of work. Adopt and teach his child everything he wished he were taught in their age. In their teens this child would die after becoming a witness to a crime, wrong place wrong time. The man would fall into a deep depression and result in alcoholism to cope, a habit he holds to this day. The relationship with his husband further deteriorates, and one night, after a particularly volatile argument, His husband, pursued the man in secret to discover his activities at a local brothel. They promptly separate and the man dies of kidney failure 2 years later. This was the 'best case scenario' for the man, post his crimes that lead him to Inns'th in the first place. 'Best case scenario'. She wondered what the man's husband would be doing right now. Unfortunately, she cannot scry a man she has never met, though she supposes she could find the seamstress' establishment based off this man's course in future to a degree. Though the further into offshoot timelines she may scry the less accurate the space in which it inhabits and her own mind begins to fill in the blanks. It becomes more of wishful thinking, fanfiction even, than an accurate prediction. The stronger the stream, the more likely, and it was very unlikely the man would take the course of action that would change his life around to something more redeemable. A life where he could, for a time, find happiness again. This was Pallavi's best case scenario in a way- being here. Impersonating a young man in order to survive and stay hidden. Hiding her talents as a Seer. There were no other possible outcomes according to her visions, that would result in her survival. She did not have a death wish, but she understood the suffering here, was not nearly as bad as it would have been had she stayed where she was after what she did. Ending it all with the man seemed appealing, but she knew there was more to her story. Or, she at least, hoped there was. That somehow her future was not as defined as this mans. Suicide just didn't feel like a just outcome for her. "You mind?" a man beside her beckoned to her water pouch. "If you're still offering." It was Ashe. A man who's presence does not completely make her uncomfortable. He knows her as Pierce, and knows nothing about who she really is. Still he is the most trustworthy person out of the men she usually interacts with. Mostly because he too is an outcast. He's about 5'8, Dark skinned with jet black dreads that reach his shoulders. He wears leather armor, fitted loosely around his lean figure, signifying they were given by the White lotus and also auburn boots that belonged to him apparently. He used to be a Bard in his past, traveling the world, aking music, but that's as far as he is willing to divulge and she prefers not to scry as to loose her first impression on him. That impression being he is actually a nice person. "Yeah, sure." She hands the pouch to the man who took a similar swig and returns it. "Thanks". Scruff looking men looked wearily at the two, who seem to be the oddest of the bunch. Two of the most recluse, non-verbal members of the party. And seemingly the weakest. And yet they've survived this far. Questions would surely be made, but before this the leader of the party interrupts the integrity of the silent dialogue. He abruptly stops in front of the party, indicating they stop as well. Both hands are used to hoist the metal helmet off his head, his dirty blond locks unfolding into a mess of sweat clumps over his forehead before slicking it back with his hand. "We'll take a short break here. This will be the last one until nightfall, so make it count."
  2. The Old Bullard tavern was bustling at this time of the night. It was popular with travellers and merchants passing through the vast expenses of the Eastern Grasslands. Keen green eyes watched the patrons of the tavern come and go. The rough and tough behaviour of other races was always fresh to Dawen. Born and raised in the elven city of Fah'lan, Dawen had been brought up in the elegant ways of the elves. Or, her guardians had tried to. She was always an exception to the rule: Stubborn, unable to follow rules, always yearning for freedom. And it was in her blood. For she was the child of an elf maiden and a demon. Few knew of her parentage. From a very young age, Dawen had learnt to use magic to conceal her demonic features. And hid it well she did; otherwise the whole of Fah'lan would be after her life. Like what they did to her father. The unsavory part of Dawen disliked order and law, but unfortunately, that was exactly what Fah'lan was built on. That was the reason why she relished every chance to leave her homeland and experience the world outside. She was free. Dawen's wandering gaze travelled to a man downing mugs of beer. He was supposed to be her bodyguard. Someone she had hired to protect her from harm on her journey to the Cold South. His demand for payment was simple enough; full sponsorship of beers on the journey. And more importantly, he didn't ask questions. She had understood the moment their gazes met for the first time, that he was the same as she, both tainted by demon blood. Loud laughter and giggles came from a nearby table. Dawen sighed. There was that other man who was travelling with them for who-knows-what reason. She certainly did not hire him, but here he was, as clingy as a tick. She had to admit that he did not look half-bad though, and his skills in charming gullible young barmaids had earned them a drink or two for free, which had given her substantial savings on the other man's payment fee. The tavern was clean enough, and Dawen was looking forward to resting well tonight.
  3. The sun had begun to rise over the trees in the forest where Yuyi Ren had decided to gather what students he could to lay the foundations of Tiandi Wushu. He had first arrived a week ago, and for the first few days it seemed as though no one would be coming. But then on the fourth day a man had shown up seeking out the tutelage of the Wandering Dragon, as some had come to call him. Ren had greeted the man warmly, invited him to share a modest dinner with him, and then helped him set up his own gear in the camp. As the days had passed, five more had arrived, and he had welcomed them in the same fashion. Until now he had not spoken of martial arts other than to confirm that he was the man they all were seeking. Now, as the sun rose on the eighth day, he gathered the would-be students in a clearing. While he had hoped to draw in more than six people, Ren was still greatly pleased by the turn out. From this seed he would grow the Tiandi Wushu into a force of both learning and aid for the people of Valucre. Assuming of course that the six before him proved themselves worthy of his teaching. Not that he felt that he was in any way above them; he just wanted to make sure they had what it took to stick with the training that would become a part of their lives. So as they gathered before him, he smiled warmly and bowed. "Greetings. My name is Yuyi Ren, Shangdi of the Tiandi Wushu school of martial arts. You have all come to learn under me, and I am eager to teach you. First however, I would know the people who are to be my students. Each of you please tell us your name, and perhaps a little bit about yourselves." @dvsn @Twitterpated @Grim Wolf @Diremast @Laughingmad
  4. "Thanks for coming with me Sensei, you have no idea what it means to me." To Jinsoku it didn't matter that he had to lace the request with tempting treasures such a cavern filled with a plethora of magic weapons. Such was enough to lure Jinsoku by any normal means, though in this case his feelings of necessary presence were actually along the lines of penance and retribution. Rumor from treasure hunters and warriors alike had it that the old Lanternway was haunted, the cavern of blades infested, both tainted by the Whispernight Scourge. The hellish flames of Whispernight tempered these lands, and unfortunately took a strong hold onto. After his debacle with the scourge ending in failure, Jinsoku felt that this would be the least he could do to reassure himself of his honor. He'd visit the Cavern of Blades, and he'd slaughter all the creatures of the dark he reasonably could before hopefully finding and making off with at least one new weapon or artifact. Donning lighter armor favoring leather with some steel, Jinsoku was equipped with his usual Microcomposite spear to his lower back, fully retracted and hosted in a horizontal fashion. To his upper back with its handle protruding beyond the right shoulder was the long curve blade, a Zanbato. The large blade was a more recent purchase for an even larger job. Carrying it on his back was no big deal in comparison to the sort of weight had had lifted training with Master James himself. In terms of combat use, it wasn't hard to compensate for its unwieldy nature. When one accepted that the blade was best for crushing as opposed to cutting, slashing, or stabbing, it became that much more useful in the right hands. Especially for an occasion as special as this one. "Perhaps this is a safe enough mission with us both in company to allow some of the greenhorns a chance at some real action. In as controlled a scenario as we could possibly hope for? Jinsoku might not have been knighted yet, but James often afforded him the courtesy and respect of having some say so as long as he was in his right mind. Likewise he had helped first hand in training the lower ranks when he wasn't on some sort of mission or deployment. This experience was invaluable and could be more dangerous than anticipated. Though Jinsoku was so certain that having him and James together would be more than enough to complete the task as designated. Any extra hands would practically be overkill, probably. Regardless, this had to be done, and Jinsoku wouldn't rest comfortably until he managed to get through the final stage of grief. Acceptance. @Fierach
  5. Welcome to the Squeeze ME! Lemonade Stand! Where the drinks are almost as sour as the puss on the girl’s face at the counter. Like most things in the gutter, it's all about funds. Funds for food, funds for drugs, funds for guns, funds for skin, funds for travel, funds for funs. Where this stand stands, is currently in the realm of unconventional. Here we have the antagonist, literally biting at every customer who walks up. For example… “What are you selling here, young lady?” Low lids exuberate the fickle light of annoyance placed tenuously on the girls facade. “Lemonade, the sign says ‘Lemonade’ you muck.” Albeit taken aback the man just nods in confusion at the girls temperament, but is not deterred. Delicate fingers take on separate duties, one hand holding down a lemon while the other uses a plasma scalpel to slice quickly through it. A few squeezes into a metal pitcher and the process is repeated several times, all the while the possible customer watches. “You're pretty quick with a blade, but I guess that's not so unusual around these parts.” Of course he is referencing the dung heap that is Lessertown. Children younger than her apparent self, need multiple weaponry skills in order to survive. Lest they be eaten up by the waves of despair they trudge through. “Where did you get it? Is your mother a doctor, you seem well dressed for the underground.” Eventually the focus she was placing on making lemon juice for the lemonade she needs to mix while ignoring his idiocy, comes undone. “Oh this old thing? There is a doctor that comes around every once in awhile, or at least she used to. I really liked it, and she said I could have it if I did some wetwork for her. All I earned was a headache for my troubles, so I stole it from her before she left.” Long flat auburn tendrils twist against the pivot of her neck, “Hey Pork-Butt, I need more lemons.” “I see, well what about your outfit? It's very cute…” “You're one of those types, aren't you? You know, the kind that likes the young ones.” Her view of him doesn't alter in the slightest while her head remains turned; as she awaits the arrival of a small rotund little creature. Smooth pink skin, splotched with a dash of pepper like color. Though its eyes are red as blood with tiny black pupils, they elicit a severe expression of disgust. A basket tied to its back allows it to carry the lemons requested of it. “Let's go, I don't have all day.” “You're a bit snappy for such a small thing. I don't really like fighters, but you'll do-" The rest of his sentence goes unfinished. The luminescent blue tint of the scalpel in her hand being pressed dangerously close to the sweet spot at the base of his jawline, shuts him up rather nicely. It isn't the quarrel that catches attention since situations like this happen every few seconds here. However, the hungry eyes of onlookers in need of seeing fresh carnage does. The unfortunate man becomes a means to an end in this way. His body would be dismantled before it ever hit the ground. Damn vultures, that's all they are, waiting to take whatever he has that can be used for their own personal purposes. Almost anything will sell at these depths of Cosanastre. “Here's a lemon for your troubles.” one half of the citrus endeavor is snatched up and squeezed straight up into his face, dousing his eyes. Let the masses have him, he gave us what we needed. So do your part. Wiping her juiced hand on the pale blue alice-in-wonderland type frill of a skirt that offsets the tightly stretched shirt adorning her torso that screams ‘SQUEEZE ME!’, she adjusts the lemon decorated headband-most unamusedly-atop her head before proceeding. “Now that we have your attention fine people, please come take a gander and enjoy the sugar that fills our lemonade and sweetens our lives, enter the almighty Hal and his blades of fury…” Morbidly monotone statements are followed by the lackluster clap of her dainty hands as she steps carefully aside from the counter to let he who does greatness, take the stage. @TheWilySpookster @paradigm @Chappu
  6. Players: @Alexei @Aleksei Posting Time: 3/days - absolutely no exceptions.
  7. It was only a few years ago, yet it feels like it has been many. The world of Pacterrah used to be well organized. With great kingdoms and great people, anyone was welcomed. These kingdoms would usually remain allied, but every now and again a war would occur. People were happy, kingdoms were strong, and the grass was very green. Oh yes, other than the few large kingdoms, this world was filled with lovely patches of scenery. Some of them were even inhabited by those who loved the world past the extent of most. But then he came... He came out of no where, just arrived. He seemed to just be a mild annoyance at first, but this was his plan. He planned to be sent straight to the royals of the kingdoms, so he could destroy them all. He twisted people's words against them, shattered their will and with it came the order. He left no homes for those who wished to hide. He burned everything he saw, to make way for his own personal towers. In just three weeks everyone knew A'rrazaah's name. He had destroyed the kingdoms and left nothing but villages spread across the world. He burned the forests, erected volcanoes, and made sure the grass would never be green again. Within just four and a half weeks, the sky was clouded by dark, blood red clouds. His next step he took? Well, he made sure the demons across the multiverse that were loyal to him were here too. They make sure no one rebels. The people still alive were made slaves. No one had any hope, but everyone wanted it to end. Everything, was under A'rrazah's control... or so he thought. Deep within the old mines, a small and secret kingdom has formed. This kingdom is filled with fighters who managed to escape A'rrazaah's apocalypse, but they still need more. For years, they have been studying the demons across the world. They studied their patterns and when they were not around certain villages. Today, they make history.
  8. Nature possessed a mixture of quite and chaos. The flora and fauna shifting and swaying for balance between vast worlds of green, and ever growing colonies of predators chasing the prey in the never ending cycle Gaia has blessed upon with this world. Terrenus possessed it's own natural chaos that was set apart from the rest of the world. It's mixtures of cultures, technologies, beliefs, and desires splitting apart the natural order just the same. This rift reaching a boiling point when the civil war broke out; It's borders becoming blurred and it's power diverging. This attracted many things, both good and evil...Dr. Marigold Orion Ravenspire being one of them. He didn't believe in good or evil, cause and effects that continue to roll over each other through the eons. progress being lost, being made, and being forgotten altogether. This is the kind of thinking that marred his supposedly 'mad'; He found it infuriating that believing the world should be free from religious ties or bound in such inconsequential moral conflicts was considering stark raving mad. His mind continued to swim with this acrid thoughts as he stood amidst the trees. A breeze picking up from the south, and blowing through his features; causing his hair to whip in the wind and his lab coat to do the same. "It's strange that we of sentience are the anomoly" He muttered "Nature itself possesses no good or evil...simply survival and the continuation of the cycle. Birds who cannot fly when pushed out of their nests will die, and defenseless eggs a mother spent gestating being eaten by a roving snake...a cruel mistress indeed, and yet the world believes such fairy tales like the righteous versus the vindictive still exists" He said in a mutter, snickering at the thought before pushing up his glasses with a single finger "But I digress. This is the perfect location to set up. It took me longer than I would have liked, but it's all worth it in this moment" he said, a smile creeping along his face as his eyes glinted with that manic thirst for progress. He put his index and his thumb against his lips and belted out a shrill whistle that echoed through the clearing he stood in for what seemed like miles...a mechanical reverberation soon calling back as his greatest creation bolted through the forest like a brisk wind of steel, stopping before it's master with only the sound of it's shifting parts. "I will have to work on your reaction time Xerxes" He muttered idly with a purse of his lips "Report" He commanded before his glasses instantly lit up with the same shed of dull red the mechanical dogs eyes were. His glasses now showing him the last minute of Xerxes' recon around the surrounding forest. Heat signatures and biological scanners only picking up lower lifeforms, but nothing of worry. His glasses flickering back to their clear sheen. "Xerxes, 25 by 25 square mile perimeter 3 inches deep marked with me acting as the center, uproot trees if necessary" He once again commanded as he did the mental math in his head easily enough before standing in the middle of what would soon be his claim of land. The doctor snapping his fingers; Xerxes eyes flashing a obedient green before immediately getting to work on his orders. His tail straighting out like a straight razor before lowering down to the ground as though it were a till. A laser beaming from his snout and making a perfect line forward before dashing forward without a slight deviation in his movement. The work of a machine without human error. Xerxes bounding through the clearing, carving a deep groove into the ground behind him before stopping immediately and without any further shifts in forward momentum. A single groove 25 miles long, made in under a minute. Marigold couldn't help but grin. He had started working on Xerxes since he was six, and didn't stop a single day since then...He had come such a long way, and it was the closest thing the doctor had to a bond. Xerxes, shifting his legs and lowering his tail once more before starting again, bolting across the ground. It took only 10 minutes to finish the work, due to a few trees that had to be uprooted. The loyal creation's eyes blinking green indicating it's task had been accomplished before standing at Marigold's side. A large outline now dug out in the ground, marking Marigold's future in Terranus. "Now for the real work to begin" He said with clasped hands Marigold had manufactured a portable cargo container that Xerxes had been pulling as they had been exploring all across the world, every important schematic and priceless project he had poured his hardwork into residing within that, although he still felt remiss about having to leave his old lab behind. He may have stripped it down to it's barest components, but it still was a very effecient workspace. He would have to make this one even more effecient. The largest issue currently was that he didn't have any building supplies as he would have had to bring 33 or so carts to fit all the supplies he had amassed in his time, resorting to stashing it in the vault deep within his old lab, at least he knew it would be safe from looters. He brought out everything from the container and laid it out before the perimeter, having Xerxes carry the heavier items before laying out a schematic for the plot of land, mapping it out to a tee; Both the doctor and his loyal companian getting to work on starting what was to be a new future for them. Marigold started embedding 4 cylindrical poles at each corner of the perimeter. These poles 15 feet tall, 4 feet in diameter. These taking quite awhile to install as he made sure that their bases were solid and without any weak points such as screws or joints. He would be sure to mold concrete around the base to secure it further. Each of these tall cylinders have a half inch thick slit from top to bottom pointed in the direction of each groove in the ground. Well that was the first layer of defenses taken care of. The doctor continuing to contemplate over his designs as he looked over the large expanse of land. It wasn't as big as he'd like it to be, but he could make the most out of the space he had currently. "the possabilites are quite literally endless" He said with a bark of laughter. He had everything planned out now, all he needed was further supplies, This of which coming from one of his few allies. Nines. He found her rather charming, and despite his ill disposition towards most people simply because he loathed everyone to a certain extent. She was an exception in that regard. They had met quite some time ago. Marigold interested in purchasing Patian Crystals to further his research; He wasn't the only one however as bandits immediately tried to attack them, unfortunately for them...Xerxes possessed an acute emergence residuum within his main processor that could detect the threat levels of others toward his master and within a few moments of them launching their attack. He left them in pieces...not before getting a few solid hits on both of them however as Xerxes was forced to wait outside the tavern they were staying in. Marigold quick to act as he pulled several syringes and a medical kit from his lab coat and immediately treated both of them. What was once grievous wounds to the guts soon became wounds that would heal over time granted they took it easy for the time being. It was from those moments that a thin and rickety friendship and alliance formed between them. Nines had unofficially offered him to join an organization she called the triumvirate. He had always considered himself neutral, never caring to get involved in pious, holier-than-though groups, but the more she talked about their motives and goals...the more interested he became. It would give him powerful allies, and allow him to further his research with the backing of these other members while they didn't pay his immoral views of science and experimentation no mind. It still wasn't official, but with the ideas that he had brewing currently...he had a feeling it would be soon. Marigold giving her a tracking device that was capable of tracking Xerxes in case he was ever kidnapped, taken, or his processor stolen. Nines would find him at the perimeter he had been working on the better part of the day. His form crouched as he overlooked his schematics. He was a tall individual, but was quite thin. It seemed like a stiff breeze could knock him over. From her advantage all she could see is his steely mauve hair pulled in a loose ponytail with a single plum ribbon keeping it all together, his red lab coat a stark shift in the otherwise greens and browns of the surrounding forest. The sounds of muttering heard in his direction as he contemplated over the sizable project he had decided to take on. Xerxes whipping his head toward her form with a dangerous glow of his eyes before recognizing the tracker on her form and his aggressive behavior turning passive. He turned around, his deep purple eyes catching her gaze, and he gave her an ominous smile; rising from his crouched position and dusted himself off as he faced her. "Excellent, you've arrived. that boasts good news I hope. I have a plethora of plans that require the materials we talked about prior" He said. It was hard to gauge his tones and expression as it seemed he was both condescending, intrigued, and stoic all at once. His eyes betraying all of this as they swirled, and flared with a manic activity. It was like he was the living embodiment of a dam with an ocean of madness and experimentation held back by the thinnest walls. "I assume this group of yours is on their mission yes? An important one from the minute details you told me" He said, two rows of glossy white teeth exposed as he grinned "The project I have planned will interest all parties involved. I assure you this. The Ravenspire will be a laboratory fit for one of a scientific thirst such as I, and it's walls can easily hide that which does not want to be seen" He said with a glint in his eye. @The Alexandrian
  9. (Part of Phase 2 of the Terran Civil War. Thread for establishment of the Terra War Cult) Some flee from battle, other politics, and yet some are displaced for less than savory reasons. Some of them are new pilgrims, while others have been on the run, looking for sanctuary, for years. However, no matter the reason as to why they abandoned their homes, they eventually all end up disenfranchised. Living on the fringes of society has a way of degrading esteem and worth and creates vulnerable populations. And while unity in pain can bring people together to topple regimes, it can just as often create imploding cesspools of crime. Trilith looks down upon the valley, from atop a cliff, and absorbs the totality of the refugee camp. In a lot of ways, it isn’t too different from the makeshift town she grew up in. Unpracticed earthbenders had shaped the land into haphazard homes in the form of dirt domes. Puffs of smoke escape from holes in the top, while people come and go from doorways concealed by curtains. Dotted throughout the shanties are tents, made from blankets, canvas, rugs, and possibly even a few sails. All in all, the situation doesn’t look terrible, but there are obvious areas to improve. From her vantage point the two biggest concerns are the lack of proper defense, only a mound of rock a few feet high marks the perimeter, and the lack of proper sanitation. Shall trenches run from each abode and collect at a single junction that feeds a large trench that eventually discharges into a burning pit a few dozen meters from the encampment. “I wonder, haven or cesspool?” The answer didn’t matter, because regardless of what awaited her, her course of action would not change. Taking a step over the edge she nearly goes parallel as she glissades to the bottom of the valley. Vibrant red hair flutters about like wild flames caught in an updraft. From a distance she must have looked an awful lot like a torch sliding down the cliff. Reaching the bottom, she presses off of the rock wall and leaps to a nearby boulder. Her toes touch it for the briefest second before she jumps from it to another and then the ground. As she comes to a stand her hair rides the momentum of her descent and flutters down past her shoulders, only to get caught dancing in front of her chest. “Brothers and sisters!” The call is made as she begins the final portion of her trek to the camp.
  10. “You three, go with them—Edwin, stop playing around we’ve got work to do!” Vera scowled. The willowy woman was flustered. The rousing speech from Raveena had fired her up, and she was ready to collect her group and begin as soon as possible. Power-walking for her own group’s set up, “MESSEEENNIIIAAA~!” She called in a sing-song voice, a broad smile on her face. “ALRIGHT, LISTEN UP!” Spinning on her heel, traces of an electrical discharge sparked in the air, “We’ve got a city to build! You all are with me, I am Senior Lieutenant Vera Dafina with the Enforcers. My job is paperwork, with a side of information extraction.” There was a wicked gleam in her blue eyes, a slow grin to match it, “So you best be on your behavior. The foci around here is a little wonky and I can never be too sure if I adjusted the amperage when I shock people. It might tingle, it might kill you. Don’t piss me off and we won’t have problems. I don’t work for you, you work for me—so if there’s trouble, I’ll handle it. I’m a big girl.” With a wink, she came to sit on the edge of her desk and gestured to the map. “Behold, Messenia. Technology powerhouse of the Terran East. Or so is her Majesty’s goal. We’re gonna get some power running through these parts by the end of construction. We’re here to build the armory, the forge, our very own Hyperion Enforcer headquarters, aannd we’ll need to set up the perimeter to the city.” Each point of her finger was a spot on the map. She encircled the entire map to show the Enforcer perimeter of security to be established. “Here’s the kicker. We’re the only district who won’t be assigned a platoon of Enforcers to assist us. They’re spread thin as is, but not to worry—that doesn’t mean we don’t have assistance! I have a nifty little gadget to help us, as well as the keys to the Bedlam Ridge, which is the transport airship. It’s a lot sleeker and mobile than the Laureline, so I expect we’ll have a better time of getting our haul up the mountain. SO!” Vera hopped off the table and began to roll up the map, “Let’s grab our cache, climb this mountain and get to work!” @Aves @Pseudonym @Grim Wolf
  11. The Ironstride was on the move, “MY ENFORCERS, WITH ME. I NEED EVERYONE IN THE LACONIA DISTRICT, THIS WAY!” So much activity, so much movement. Everyone was breaking off into their teams. It was infectious, the energy. She was certain that were Kirena present, she would be sitting on her plump little arse, smiling prettily as they worked. Work was never meant to be easy, and Sabine sorely missed her Efrideet. Still, the job had to be done. Without skipping a beat, Sabine turned on her heel. She was tall, imposing, and fierce with brilliant, honey-brown eyes that were gold in the light. She was had the natural tan of the light-skinned Velhatien, with all the poise and authority of Patian nobility. Clutched in her right hand were the blueprints for the city. “I am Sabine Fenvaris. You will hear my delinquent Enforcers refer to me as the Ironstride. Lady Sabine will work just fine!” She spoke with severity, for Sabine was a no-nonsense woman when it came to her job. “You all have the sublime pleasure of establishing the Laconia District. You are the heart and soul of the city, breathing life into the economy that will bring success to the city. Our road is a long one, and it won’t be easy. Let us work hard. We will be working on the Market, sowing the fields for the Imperial Gardens, and assisting business owners in establishing their businesses.” Sabine whipped around, her back to her crowd again as they made their way towards the opening. A deafening shriek pierced the air overhead, the already high winds picking up as a lethal swirl of red and black shot over their heads, ascending gracefully in the sky. Sabine grinned half-heartedly, “Show off,” She muttered to herself, before pitching her voice overhead again. “Our job is simple. We build, we defend. We have thirty-two enforcers and a very lethal Wyvern at our beck and call. Preta will keep a watchful eye over us—he is trained for combat and defense by Lord Rowan himself.” Sabine glanced over her shoulder, “Hurt the Wyvern, and I shoot you. Understood? Good, let’s get moving!” @Pseudonym @Aves @Grim Wolf @Eternity
  12. Johari sighed heavily. He had been assigned to Kastoria—and it was not that he didn’t appreciate it. In fact, he was quite thrilled. Son of a merchant, and now he was assisting in so many great adventures. The burly, dark-skinned man stood patiently, stalwart and immobile. He was a giant of a man, but gentle at heart. He simply wished Vera had been assigned with him. Most Enforcers traveled in two. She was a part of his team, there was no reason he couldn’t have her working with him. She knew his brain quite well, and could anticipate how to direct the great hoard of people who were not only his Enforcers, but citizens they were sworn to protect. “KASTORIA! OVER HERE! KASTORIA!” The baritone of his voice rang out, and he remained standing at attention. The morning was young, but he knew it’d be a hot day. Set up before him, a table and the Kastoria district’s blueprint. He patiently waited for the rest of his group to arrive, before he began, “I am Captain Johari Ponsky of the newly established Hyperion Enforcers. Today, I will be leading the excursion in laying the foundation for the Kastoria District of the city. We are responsible for all the educational institutes, including the library and guilds. Our job is to safely haul our cache up the mountain, begin the groundwork and begin the construction for the Academy, the Bravot Library and the Pavilion. There are thirty-two other Enforcers assisting with security and assistance. Don’t hesitate to boss my people around, but don’t go overboard.” He glanced up at the sky, “We have a young Wyvern who is trained to carry supplies and people as necessary. Watch yourselves around this one, he’s not the most graceful of creatures in his youth, but he tries. No harm is to come to this creature, he is the queen’s personal mount and companion, do I make myself clear?” He nodded curtly, clapping his large black hands and rubbing them together. “Let’s move out, then!” @Pseudonym @Grim Wolf
  13. @Alexei @King The shattering of the vase made everyone pause, a speck of surprise and fear painting their delicate features as they searched for the culprit that's disrupted their coveted silence. Some wondered why such heavy hands were allowed inside the glass garden; others ignored the intrusion and continued to prune their designated areas with grace and dignity. It wasn't until the blood curdling scream did everyone become alert and distracted from their duties. Leoa looks at the blurred image of beautifully crafted clay scattered around her, like stars dotting a nights sky, she the moon they dance and twinkle at. She smelled the blood and her brows wrinkled together in confusion because the scent, fire and brimstone, sunshine and flowers, it belonged to her. For what reason, though? She had just placed the vase on the shelf, the flowers inside it dead and needing replaced. Then someone screamed, why? Was someone hurt and she just wasn't aware of it? From her position all she could see was the shattered vase, the divots in the polished floor of her indoor garden, and strands of golden hair tangled and matted in redness. A piercing pain shot through her core, causing her to curl on her side and vomit from the sensation, spoiling the clippings on the floor and further damaging her once sweet-smelling hair. Gentle hands lifted her head, where it found solace in a warm lap now stained from the blood pouring from her nose and mouth. Somewhere in the back of her mind she heard someone yelling orders, though the voice was strange, as if they were all speaking under water. It confused her, and she tried to lift herself up to see what was wrong, but was quickly snuffed when another pain crippled her. Corvinus was called for, she knows because she heard someone mention his name. They didn't hear her say no, something about him visiting Ravenspire due to some business out in the Old World. If they call him now, that is hours of his day he'll never get back and they all know better than to disturb him. Earlier in the day he had been uneasy, being spoiled by not only Leoa, but his newborn son; leaving had been difficult for him, and repeatedly he promised to be back early. Hopefully his promise is broken. Something popped in her chest, forcing a gush of blood to fly from her parted lips. The pain felt warm and languid, causing her to relax against it instead of fighting it. She felt her body convulse as the hurt took over her veins and nerves; she tasted the mixture of vomit and blood on her tongue, it's burn insignificant; she heard her sobs and tasted her tears. Pain is a long time friend, but never a welcomed one. For once in her long life she is giving into it, the fight leaving her body like everything else. It was an expected unexpected visit. There is no forgetting who you really are, no matter how hard you've tried to evade time and it's contingent. While never honestly being against who she is, Leoa has never acknowledged her bearings, allowing herself to become complacent in Corvin's shadow. He's said often enough that his life is what it is because of her, but he forgets that who she is, what she has become, is because of him. Now she must depart from his shadow and take her place in the light of day - without him. It is just something that has to be done, neither one of them could have hoped to fight against fate and win such a battle. He was calling her home. He has waited long enough and now it's time that she become what he has always molded her to be. More people shuffled into the garden, most not knowing what to do with the Empress struggling to breath, bleeding from her eyes and nose and mouth and ears. The sight was horrible. Others knelt at her side, waiting for medical personnel to arrive and do their job. Leoa knew it would be no use, but she would not deny them their hopes and wishes, especially because only two of her children resided in the castle and only one would understand. Cornelius was called and a nurse was left with Connor, who was just weeks old - still sweet, fresh, and precious. The Lion hopes Connor will be loved unconditionally and he will not notice the absence of his mother. No painful wound hurt her as much as the idea of leaving behind her children and her husband.
  14. 1678AY, 4 February Celestial Arc, Lower Hub of Glacial Reed Glacial Reed, Talia Sunday. 7:45A.M It all begins with a map. A road down the cobblestone street into a island that didn't dive too much of the outer workings of the other islands. Talia, the third biggest island sat between Athentha and Lyonesse. You always had to travel across it to enter either island. Yet, it remain deep of lore and history holdimg the biggest library out of any island. It held many important facts and hidden gems/secrets of the lands. Along with the complete history of Athentha, its rise and downfall of a once proud land. Many would trodded through Talia without even noticing its beauty. Tall structured buildimgs coexisting among tents, huts and even tree made buildings. The streets though cobblestone veered off onto dirt, pebble and even grass paths. Yet, if you wanted to learn anything you came here. Came to Talia to learn about Athentha to Allia. Humans coexisted with every other creature here. But it also held such treasures. Grand expeditions came here to find its lost artifacts and gems. Weapons and rings crafted from the old families. Families born when the island was first formed. Crevices and caves unexplored, not yet sought after. Though holding many things, you should proceed with caution. Talia remains neutral but heavily guarded, afraid of attacks from the Princess. So, should you come to Talia, keep ypur wits about, stay sharp and don't accept anything free. The rewards however are sweet.
  15. Near the ocean, there’s a spire. You can’t miss it. It’s grand and taller than any building I ever saw, and they say it has all sorts of stuff in it. You can learn anythin’ there. So, such a thing truly exists. A low whistle of appreciation is given as the cloak clad woman stares up at the Spire in what can only be awe. To imagine that human invention…or was it human? The bits of information picked up to this point had potentially pointed otherwise. It was neither here nor there, this …Lore-Spire was the best hope for finding the answers to the problems that plagued the figure. Emerald iris dart about, looking for her over excited partner…whoooooo seems to have vanished. Sighing, the woman raises a hand to pinch the bridge of her nose. Well, Barric would catch up later, she was certain, and she doubted that the young man would be difficult to find. Drawing down the hood over her visage presented her emerald skin to the onlookers, and flower filled hair tumbled from its holding place. The thick drops of rain splattered across the petals, dislodging a few as they tumbled to the ground. The day is overcast with rain, and the scent of the nearby ocean filters in on the breeze. The Dryad hesitates, before moving inside of the infernal tower. What secrets of this world could be kept here? She wonders, but turns her attention to seeking. Tucking a stray strand of dark brown hair behind an elongated ear, Dhizzandra turns her attention to the rows of lore and puffs out her cheeks. “Well, maybe I have my work cut out for me.” She offers, bare feet carrying her towards the nearest row. “Might as well as start at the beginning.” The strange ambiance of the atmosphere does not deter the woman, and it is not long before a few vines creep from her person to pull books from other shelves, presenting no less than six books about her person as she flips through the pages indiscriminately. Peering through each one, they are meticulously replaced when she finishes, frowning at the strange technology she sees floating about. Ah, well, technology was never a strong suit….But perhaps if it will aid her in returning home…
  16. In the slums of the city, tucked away in the alleys, two windows are alight with a soft and faint orange glow. A wooden door, that doesn’t quite fit, leaks warmth from the gaps along the frame. From outside the chatter of merriment spills into the streets, filling an otherwise glum world with the briefest hint of happiness. Although the grime built up on the windows keeps the casually traveler from peering in, the distinct aroma of baked bread, roasted meats, and grilled vegetables saturates the air. All of the clues hint at a celebration, a party, or some other kind of revelry for a select group… and for the most part this is true. For those that are indoctrinated to look, just barely visible on the worn wood door, an etching of a sword bisecting a scale is their invitation. In passing this group has met many, in song their tale has been told, and of those who have become acquainted a select few have been called. Some of these invitations were in person, others came in dreams, and still yet a few were delivered upon wings. On this dreary and moonless night, when fog and rain harass the streets, a select few heed the call to greatness and venture forth to this very door. Crossing the threshold, weaving through the crowds, and moving past an old oak bar, a curtain with a familiar emblem conceals the portal to the back room. It is here that a small group sits and waits at a large round table with near thirty seats. Candles in the middle and torches along the wall fill the room with a magic suppressing haze. On the East side of the table sits the interviewer, her brown hair in a bun. A set of rimless glasses rest on her slightly upturned nose, the chain of which runs down pronounced cheek bones. Her garb, of brown leather pants and tan cotton blouse, are oddly plain when compared to the gem encrusted platinum bracelet and necklaces. On the West side of the table is the handler, before him a map of Last Chance lays. His bare arms are massive, and his broad chest nearly pops the buttons on the black leather vest. His hair, not that there is much to speak of, is dotted with specks of white, black, and grey and is complemented by a similarly shaded stubble that barely hides the scars on his face. Off in a corner, surrounded by torch smoke, a set of flaming irides patiently hover. Beneath a flaring mane, stoic features assess the recruits as they trickle in. Although his arms are crossed and he stands off from the rest of the group, and by all accounts gives the appearance of judgment, the truth is he’s just tired from his travels. It is here that those blessed by the vision for a better tomorrow begin their journey.
  17. February 13th – Day one. Breaking news! This just in! Panic spreads across Kalos as the Champions body is found on the dock in Cyllage City! – Gym leaders and the Kalos Elite are looking into the matter as we speak! Memorials are being held all through the region, we urge you to take part and to keep an eye out! February 26 – Day 14. Memorials are still going strong, but there’s no word on catching the killer just yet. There were no clues left at the crime scene. In other news, strict curfews are being placed in towns until this mystery is solved. We’re also seeing an increase in protests and riots from the organization PETPIKA – the Pokemon rights activists. More on this to come. March 10 – Day 24. The Kalos Elite have put together an elite police force to take to the streets. With the dangers of the riots – I’m sure we all remember the bombing at Couriway Town just a week ago – the PETPIKA has taken responsibility for the terrorist action. We’d like to remind everyone at this time that it’s for your safety to comply with these officers. They’re here for your safety, until we can get to the bottom of these new tragedies. March 23 – 36 days after the Death of the Champion. The stale stench of cigarettes and roasting coffee filled her lungs with each passing breath, the dull thrum of conversation pressing in on the patrons. It was a comfortable place, despite the recent ongoings. Inside the café it was easy to forget the outside world, the travesties that had been undertaken recently – the murder of the Champion of the Kalos region, the panic that followed when the death had been swift and faceless. Riots filled their streets often, people protesting for the rights of pokemon, using the chaos to their advantage. Every day was a new tragedy, a new blockade and more hushed whispers. The presence of a hastily scrapped together militia seemed to pop up overnight, curfews blocking people in their homes and leaving them huddled in the dark in fear. The day, however, was theirs. They crawled from their protective little holes and lived as though nothing had changed. They got up, went to work or school, they conducted their battles and fed their vices. Like now, as Jazmine watched them scurry in and out for their caffeinated beverages and their silly little pastries. Though the woman supposed she could not judge too harshly, for she had thrown away comfort in favor of this. This life full of mundane little miracles and ridiculously gleeful moments – better than being cooped up in a manner playing princess any day. Though some eccentricities should be allowed to flourish, like the gorgeous lace up leather stilettos that reached her knee. They were coupled with a pair of tucked in slacks of grey pinstripe, and an equally gorgeous ruffled blouse that was shadowed by blonde curls. Hazel eyes meant to beguile, crinkled in mirth as another sip of her coffee was made. The shadow of a large Arcanine and its handler passed by the glass, and a gentle sigh punctuated their exit. Umbreon sat at her side, alert and ready as the woman stood, moving for the door. No easy mark was going to show themselves in a coffee shop, no, they would be elsewhere. So she freed herself of the confines of the shop, Umbreon chirping as fresh air filled their lungs. “Aaaah, that’s the smell of potential.” Jazmine grinned – a toothy, feral sort of look as heels tapped against the concrete. Lumiose city was the jewel of the Kalos region, the tall spire in the middle giving hope and light to all the huddled masses. The bright, clean streets were a stark contrast to the mood and trash lined streets she remembered the night before. The gym leaders had massed together to disperse it, and cleaned the streets…a sense of normalcy was what they needed, it seemed. A sneeze erupts an otherwise uneventful walk, and a laugh follows. “Well, bless you then.” Jazmine offers to the Umbreon as she seeks out the casino. “Alright, love. You have to go back into your ball for a while.” She kneels down, presenting the scratched and worn pokeball. A small protest is given, but the swirling red beams of light are more than enough for the ball to be tucked back into her jacket as her stride continues. As the woman strides along, she expertly withdraws wallets and money. She’s careful about her marks on this, however, not wanting to draw too much attention, or carry so much that it is noticed. Three wallets are lifted as a merry hum permeated her vocal cords, fingers grasping the money and discarding the rest of the contents. “Mmm, a few dollars at least. Perhaps enough for a new outfit.” A pleased smile curls painted lips.
  18. That had probably not gone over as well as he would have hoped. Not that he could have expected anything in the first place, however. Tenkai had been so out of the loop that he hadn’t even realized General Kanzaki had perished in the first place, let alone reborn as not so quite the same person. Of course, this had been nothing like the kind of rebirth that Buddhists were acquainted with. This was something else entirely, and Tenkai felt if he had tried to trouble himself over the details and intricacies of Raveena, her people, OXY and all of her past history, his head would likely explode. It was useless and detrimental for him to fixate on a past that had no bearing on his present. He’d save that for when the time called for it. For now it was just better to accept the situation as is. Raveena was essentially a new individual, and Tenkai would have to simply work from there. James, on the other hand, seemed more or less the same as always, and was far more informed on the situation. His help would be invaluable in whatever situation he got himself involved in with Raveena’s kingdom in the future. With their mention of Koji, the son of Xartia Pendragon, Tenkai imagined that time wasn’t too terribly far away. But for now, Tenkai had found himself in Kadia, originally for the sole purpose of reconnecting with the General and get some grasp of the situation in these lands. Having achieved this, he now found himself with a new point of interest: Kadia itself. In spite of his disagreements with Raveena, Tenkai was not at all ignorant of her words. Regardless of how their unusually strict laws seemed to someone like him, Kadia was a prospering empire with people who seemed to want for little. As far as Tenkai could tell, no citizen of the empire was prevented from leaving the city, or the empire itself for that matter. The people did not seem to suffer. Far from it, even. It would seem that for all the liberties sacrificed, they were done so willingly due to the reverence they held for their Emperor. As far as they were concerned, he was a living god and, given the nature of this land, he may as well be one. The land that had made Tenkai into who he was, now so very far away, had its own unfortunate history with living god-emperors and what came from that devotion. It was perhaps this memory of history that continued to give the monk pause in spite of his peaceful surroundings. No peace this complete and perfect ever came without a price, often a terrible one at that. Tenkai couldn’t help but wonder what the nature of the Emperor of Kadia was. In the midst of thought, Tenkai had managed to finish his wrapped sandwich, waltzing over to a nearby receptacle—or at least something he hoped was a receptacle—to discard the wrapper. No more than just a few feet away was an Imperial Legionnaire. Tenkai recognizes him as such based on his previous encounter with them upon entering the city. The monk figured he was either standing guard or surveying the area if only for one strange detail: he was looking at Tenkai. Staring, even, from the corner of his eyes. It was subtle, barely visible due to the helmet shadowing his eyes, but Tenkai wasn’t so easily fooled. After all these years of dealing with the awkward stares of passers by, he knew when there were a pair of eyes set upon him. Tenkai tried not to make it awkward. Besides, there could be a perfectly good reason for the guard’s behavior. Tenkai was a foreigner, and a rather oddly dressed one at that. It was reasonable for guards to look at him strangely. In an effort to ease the situation, Tenkai nodded and tipped his hand to his head in a half-salute-half-wave kind of fashion. Just enough to show due respect without being excessive to the degree of coming off as mockery. The guard didn’t move an inch in response. Tenkai continued on his way, turning his eyes away from the guard as he past. Somehow, the monk had a feeling those eyes were still following him. That would have been the end of it, of course, had Tenkai not turned the corner and saw not one, but two legionnaires, just like the first one, staring right at him as he passed by. These two made no effort to hide their gaze—their heads were trained right on him as he passed. The monk wasted no time. He nodded his head and moved swiftly on his way without engaging any more than he needed to. That’s strange, he thought. There’s certainly a lot more of them around than there were before. The more Tenkai progressed through Ravenspire, the more the same thing occurred. It was no surprise to him that there were guards everywhere throughout the city, but he seemed to keep finding them in places that were a bit too convenient for them to run into him. The general air about them was most unwelcoming, far more than Tenkai had experienced when he first came to Kadia. It was only after walking another block or so that it all began to make sense. That one right there, he thought, peering at a legionnaire from the corner of his eye. It’s a subtle difference, but I’m positive! That’s the same one I saw earlier staring at me with the sidelong glance! That must be why I keep running into them!, he continued, his pace increasing steadily. They’re not just watching me—they’re following me! Indeed, they had been following him, and they had been very good at covering their tracks. It took Tenkai much longer than it usually did to tell someone was tailing him, shadowing his movements so carefully that they could keep an eye on him without actually looking like they were following him. Either this was standard training for a Legionnaire, or these were no ordinary Legionnaires. Tenkai kept his movements from looking too frantic. If he did, it would tip them off that he was aware of being followed, and their strategy would change. For all he knew, it was already too late. These men didn’t just seem to be tailing him. They were were predicting his movements, cutting him off as they came around every corner he sought to turn towards in order to lose his tail. Just how many of them did they have following him? By the time he reached the bridge, Tenkai could find out. There were about six more of them standing around the bridge, loose enough for citizens to pass but still allowing them to close ranks as Tenkai approached. The others that had followed Tenkai were standing not too far behind, covering all areas for escape. There had to be about a dozen of them, no weapons drawn, no action to be openly interpreted as hostile. They simply stood there, surrounding him as a matter of intimidation. But why would they do this? Tenkai had not committed any crime. He was quite critical of Kadia’s codex, sure, but that wasn’t against the law as far as he could see, and there’s no way they would’ve known that unless they had been tipped off. The only ones who could have done that were James and Raveena, and that was highly improbable. In spite of her being a different person now, Tenkai felt he could trust her that much. These days, that was a lot coming from Tenkai. “Is there a problem, gentlemen?” Tenkai asked, his tone of voice neutral as his eye scanned over them. It was useless for him to try and use his other eye, as it was still acting strangely. The monk’s simple question, met only with silence. At least, not until another man stepped forward. He seemed like part of the Kadian Legion from the outset, but his armor was different than that of the other Legionnaires. Tenkai figured he was their captain, but it was also possible he was someone else entirely. Who was he? For that matter, who were they? Were they really Legionnaires? “That’s exactly what we’ve come here to find out,” said the armored man in charge, slowly approaching Tenkai. “All mankind is welcome in Kadia, and you appear to be human, but your manner of dress smacks of foreign religion. State your business.” Tenkai was taken aback. It didn’t seem like they were aware of what he had spoken of to James and Raveena. Instead, they were more concerned with the fact that Tenkai’s robes clearly resembled that of a holy man. In particular, a holy man of a faith not native to Kadia, or even this world for that matter. “I am visiting a friend,” said the monk, finding no need or want to lie but no desire to give any more detail than that. “I travel a lot, you see.” “Yes, travel,” replied the “captain”, “We are aware of the ‘travels’ your kind are known for, spreading their word and proselytizing the peoples of sovereign nations with words of ‘hope’ and ‘peace’” “I do no such thing,” Tenkai said, the neutral tone now permeated with a twinge of irritation. “I only help those that suffer.” “Then no one has need of you here. If anything causes them to suffer, it is the intellectual laziness inspired by blind faith. Know that Kadia follows the Corvinite Ecclesiarchy and the Emperor’s secular truth. None shall be found wanting.” Tenkai quirked a one-eyed brow at that statement. “Corvinite Ecclesiarchy, you say? Strange...,” he said, rubbing his chin. “For all your disapproval, that sounds an awful lot like religion to me.” “You’ll watch that snide tongue of yours, foreign priest. Your ‘freedom’ of speech is worth nothing compared to the Empire’s sovereignty.” “It was merely an observation.” “Even an observation that insults the Corvinite Truth cannot be tolerated.” The Legionnaires and their leader stepped closer. Tenkai had no idea whether they would strike at him or not, though he felt that if the situation had elevated that far they would already have their weapons drawn. They were merely increasing the pressure. “I meant absolutely no insult.” Tenkai kept himself perfectly calm, making not a single sudden movement. “Your intentions mean even less to us than your ideology,” said the leader. “If your business in Kadia is concluded, then we shall see you to the gate.” The legionnaires began to close in on Tenkai. It was likely that they intended to escort him to the gates of Ravenspire, if not the nearest port, and send him on his way out of Kadia. At least, that’s what he could only hope they intended to do with him. They made no move to attack or manhandle him, but at this distance Tenkai could feel it as clear as the day itself. They were absolutely itching for a reason to pummel him into the dirt, practically daring him to disobey. What better way to make an example than to have him, a monk from a foreign land, causing trouble with the Kadian Legion when nothing was expected of him but his obedience. The fact that Tenkai was carrying a sword likely made matters worse. It didn’t seem like they had cared about that fact either way, but they would without a doubt use it against him. Simply uncovering the weapon would probably be enough justification for them to execute him without question. Bloodshed was the last thing Tenkai wanted right now, and he would rather acquiesce and depart from Kadia than cause an international fiasco. But how could he be sure that was all they would do? If he cooperated, they could easily lead him somewhere more restricted and out of public view, strip him of his armaments and then...well...at that point, it would be over if they wished him to disappear. The Legionnaires were uncomfortably close. A cold, armored hand reached out to firmly grasp his shoulder and move him along... @Narcissa
  19. The wind blew the blond strands into her face, as Malia plucked them from her vision. She was excited about this trip, never having left Elendaron before. She was under no illusions, knowing the journey would be dangerous and stressful. The alliance she was to keep with the leader of Athentha, Rin, was an important one for the skies of her land to be worry free from attack. Elendaron had a tenuous agreement with Athentha at the moment, one she wanted to keep. It was more of a "you don't attack me, and I won't attack you" sort of agreement, but it had worked swimmingly so far. She had brought some gifts to make things run more smoothly, and she hoped that Rin liked them. The turmoil that was going through Athentha was very public, but it had always seemed to have some sort of war going on. Rin seemed to be the strongest competitor for the leadership role, and if she were to be taken over by the elders then Malia would be making this same agreement with them. It mattered not who she made the peace with. Pushing all thoughts of political issues aside, Malia let the thrill of leaving her kingdom enter her once more. She would have been terrified of this adventure a couple of years ago. That was before she had been trained to defend herself, and before she'd found out that she had a strong ability that could be very useful in battle. She found out at her eighteenth birthday party, and she'd trained a bit with this new skill since then. She wasn't a pro at it, and there was some doubt as to the long term effects, but she felt more confident and safe now than she'd ever felt before. There was nothing that made you more ready for anything than to know that you could take care of yourself in any situation. Now she could just enjoy this trip, where she had a break from her training and a chance to test her skills. Athentha was a dangerous place, full of powerful creatures and a curse on the land. Skacharm had given Malia a magical antidote before she'd even thought to take the journey. And just in case, he'd given her more doses to take along on the trip. He hadn't visited Athentha in a while, and didn't know if the curse had strengthened. He was sorely angry that he couldn't come along, but Elendaron needed him there. And she'd given him a long speech about how he needed to start trusting her to do what she was meant to do on her own... be a leader in her kingdom. She was glad that he'd listened to her. Just thinking of Skacharm seemed to bring him into existence, as she felt a pulsing vibration in the pocket of her dress. She reached inside to pull forth a crystal, one he'd insisted she take with her to be able to communicate with him through long distances. He didn't want to take any chances with her safety. If he felt she wasn't safe, he could teleport using strong magics to wherever she was. He wouldn't be much use after that, more than likely drained of magic and energy, but he insisted on knowing what was going on anyway. It had been over two hours since she'd last spoken to him, and he was probably chomping at the bit to find out if she'd somehow gotten herself into trouble. "Yes, Skacharm, everything is alright," she spoke to the crystal in an exasperated tone. The guard close to her could hear her embarrassing conversation, and she didn't like that they knew that she was treated like a child by Skacharm. She felt it undermined her, and that they would have trouble giving her respect. It was an issue she'd taken up with Skacharm on more than one occasion. "Do you see the island yet?" His voice was amused, and she was sure that he could hear her irritation. "Just through the clouds." Her irritation was forgotten as she could see the beauty of the island before her. "Oh my! It's lovely. It's hard to imagine the stories you've told of all the dangers when you look at the place from this distance." "Don't let it's beauty fool you. It may be beautiful, but it is still deadly dangerous. Use caution. The same goes with its leader, Rin. She is just as deadly as she is beautiful." Malia knew that for Skacharm this was the ultimate compliment. She grinned, though he couldn't see it. "I will." She shook the crystal, making it drop connection without saying goodbye. This was her little way of showing her displeasure with Skacharm for constantly bugging her. She didn't want to be bothered right now, not with political talk. She just wanted to soak in the beauty before her, and bring herself to a calmness inside for whatever may come her way.
  20. Tabidachi - Starting On a Journey The journey had not been a long nor treacherous one, though it had not been short nor without necessary effort. As such, Chijono Heika and his assembly of approximately 100 men and women had made steady progress on their journey here. Stopping to rest or even to camp only when necessary. While Koji himself was not in need of such things as rest on a human standard, likewise those in his company of undead populace, he was not so cruel as to abuse his people. After all, what would be the point of marching so many to an easy grave prematurely? Dressed in simple, yet traditional purple robing accented and embroidered with silver and a bit of black and donning the Emperor's Crown complete with a hair pin not only to affix it properly, but to host it in place. The rest of his silky black curtain of hair left to naturally cascade to about his shoulder blades. The bulk of his assembled forces were dressed much more appropriately for conflict however, clad in plate armor of black, reminiscent of another time, another place. Though specific location of such varied, the golden kamon was certain to be displayed upon every single uniformed soldier affiliated to the Dynasty. Kokuryu No Kibo, The Black Dragon Scale, an obvious and direct homage paid to the Emperor himself. Naturally, as a strong and proper sovereign, he leads the militant force directly. Despite past luxuries he found himself without steed this day. While his followers would surely feel humbled that he would traverse the lands on his own two feet as they were expected, surely this was not his reasoning behind such a mundane travelling option. The most accurate reasoning would fail to be pondered or realized as they seemed to be nearing their destination, the ruins of Kaurilia. With a simple raising on his right (Draconic) hand, he erected two ebony scaled fingers, signaling his army to be vigilant and weary. With no visuals of the Dragon rumored to be haunting the region, surely some of those in attendance wondered if such a wretched, undead creature was still present itself or not. Though even from this distance, Koji found himself with a grin breaking the form of his previous and usual emotionless expression. For he could feel the mighty beast without mistake. Local plant life no matter how cluttered or sparse found itself swaying naturally in the passing gusts of wind that caressed the traveling party. All seemed quiet compared to the whispered expectations of rumor perpetuated back closer to their home. Too quiet in fact. Fortunately, the men and women of the Datsuzoku brand had been well trained and prepared for a large multitude of conflict, ranging from the prowess needed to slay the likes of common man and of great terrors alike. Though if Koji had it his way, there wouldn't be much conflict to be found between his forces and the nature of these ruins. As the rumor implied, "Defeat the Undead Dragon and claim the spoils of the ruins for one's self", Koji was certain that they would have to do something to ensure the acquisition of anything they could recover from the ruins. However, these spoils were the least of his interest. It was not that he was uninterested in the rumored treasures to be found here, though he was much more interested in the wretched Undead Dragon mentioned to be lingering here. He wished not to slay the dragon, but to dominate it, and to claim it as his own. The likes of such a majestic and lurid creature would prove to be an invaluable asset to not only him, but to the entire Empire itself. While his knowledge of Exalta Prisms was limited, he was certain that they held great power. Not only were there weapons made of such a variety to be found, but even the dragon itself was mentioned to maintain its animation by feeding from the power of an entire prism! With his hand lowered once more, and each hand depositing itself in the opposing sleeve of his robe, Koji found himself suddenly taken aback as he would flawlessly notice the back in formation, as if he had eyes in the back of his head. The trees surrounding them, nearly all of them in fact, had begun to acquire an unnatural sway that simply could not be attributed to the passing winds. It seemed that not unlike the Jubokko living scattered through the forestry of Jigoku Country itself, these trees had grown animated with life of their own even. Whether they had naturally mutated into awry things, or they harbored spirits that superimposed their existences, these living trees had already began to assault the traveling party once they found themselves surrounded. Koji stopped, and knowing his back was watched in tandem with his own preternatural senses, he would keep his scarlet eyes viewing his most direct front, as well as his peripheral vision. Still with his hands concealed, he stood calm and ready, his grin failing and returning his face to that solemn, emotionless mug complete with narrowed visage that could only be described as a cold smoldering gaze. His reptilian pupils slightly dilated, growing sharper and thinner as his men reacted accordingly. It took a man being snatched up by a tree to warrant this reaction from the party, and in unison, as if a single force, the allies of the seized man fought to free and retain him. Those too far to help the one focused on the trees nearest them. "Focus on our defenses, we press onward to Kaurilia!" He exclaimed as he would begin to move forth once more. Bladed weapons would hardly prove suitable to fight the likes of solid trees, those of a more mundane variety anyway. The Emperor understood most of those in attendance weren't fortunate as he was with his myriad of gifts and abilities that complimented his prowess in almost any and every situation that he could be thrown against. He was from a plane apart from this one, one much harsher than this one in fact. It was in his home plane that he was groomed into part of the monster he was today. Thanks to the Yokai Queen herself however, Koji had been unbound, and evolved into the perfect monster that now lead a legion of his own military. An apex predator in man's clothing. When the inevitable happened and the Heika found himself targeted by one of these trees himself, it took little effort for his lips to part which revealed tiny tongues of flame licking between his fanged teeth. His jaws snapped open a moment later, ushering forth a torrential gout of flame that shrouded the parts of the tree within range. The tree recoiled and began to dance chaotically as the fire spread upon it without regard. The Dragon Fire imparted upon it worked to shroud it as he ate away at the tree's layers and so desperately worked towards its core. 'I suppose they aren't much like the Jubokko after all...Their roots remain planted, even though their ambush has turned into a formidable skirmish.' @danzilla3
  21. “How do the winds fare?” “The wind is persistent, my Lady. It stormed three days past.” “Can we manage it?” “Just so, your Majesty. It will not be easy.” “We cannot delay any more than we have. How is their morale?” “As high as the sun, your Majesty.” Raveena canted her head up, her neck craning and straining to take in the monumental hunk of mountain peaks they stood at the base of. At its zenith, one had a full survey of the land. Were it a less cloudy day, the Dead Peaks themselves could be seen. She had come here many times, scouting for the appropriate location and this—she decided—this was it. They would adapt, with the ocean to the east, the mega cities to the west. The protection of the mountains stretching north, and the gracious abundance of the Great Barren Pines to the south. There was protection from the Haunted Glenn and the Forgotten Woods, which Raveena had traveled through before. It was not easy, but she had made it—barely so. The Laureline was docked in a cleared space, the cargo airship nestled comfortably between the breach of the forest and the mountain base. It had taken days of scouting, surveying, leveling, and path-clearing to create the journey upwards. Raveena herself had led an expedition a week prior to flesh out the plateau of a foundation that would become their new home. The Laureline was far too bulky and heavy to work around, and so they docked at the Thesdan’s base and would make the journey up. She wore what the rest of her militant forces wore: the black bodysuit that was trademark of the Enforcers, though it was devoid of a ranking patch today. The next several weeks would require all hands, regardless of their rank. From across the ocean and above their hands, the Kingdom of Alethea answered the call to assist its sister-territory in its conception. Already a steady stream of Hume and Xenanthros were filing out to stretch their legs from the journey. Overhead the Bedlam Ridge hovered and made it to its own landing clearing, far smaller, sleeker in design and built to transport large groups of people over Cargo. The Carmine Empire graciously outfitted the Laureline with its brand of magitech equipment designed for construction, and a gracious supply of materials from lumber to pipes from the largest plank to the smallest bolt. Raveena peered down at a clipboard, a sheaf of papers stacked and clipped. Schematics, logistics, charts and tables. It had all been written in practically another language, for she was an organized creature of habit. Crowds were gathering, mortal and immortal alike, human and creature. Such comradery the likes she had never seen before. In all, she had amassed the assistance of 1,000 willing individuals, who stood crowded, their murmurs a dull roar. It was only when she was certain most everyone was present, she held up a hand, and silence descended. There was a pause. "You do not yet know me, yet I know every one of you. I know your faces, the faces of your kin and loved ones.” She leveled a severe gaze on the crowd, her voice articulated clearly across the area. Matreyan, Terran, Renovatian, Genesarian. They were united under her cause. “I have dreamt of them for many generations past. My very existence jeopardized your ancestors.” Here, there was another pause as she considered her words, struggling to contain the proud, vibrant emotions she wished to convey to them, “I was sent away into hiding and kidnapped in the very same night. I was raised by outsiders, none the wiser that I had failed my people. That I was not there when they needed me as our country descended into madness and political turmoil!” There was a murmur within the crowd, as some of the eldest generations of the Matreyan people nodded in assent. They too, remembered. “You were enslaved! They say the circumstance of my birth was the wager of the Sun God. That the reign of darkness that destroyed our home was long past!” Raveena passionately slapped a hand against her chest, over her heart. She was animated, vivacious and ready. With her energy, so too did it resonate through the throngs of volunteers and citizens. They clapped and cheered, rallying on, consuming the pep of her rally. “I am not here to make excuses for the past. I am not here for your pity or forgiveness! You challenged me to prove my worth--I am here to be the leader our people needed then and need now! I am here to bring the full might of the Empire down upon those who oppressed you and drove you to the brink of extinction. I am your liberator, your leader! This is our home, now--our legacy! You will take back what is yours!” Raveena watched their enthusiasm spread like wildfire, and when she felt her people were rallied and ready, she raised a hand to signal a silence once more, her own tone calm. She was flushed and smiling, her chin lifting proudly as her gaze swept over the crowd. “Our sun sets to rise again.” There was an infectious roar, now—an electric current that struck them in a frenzy, breathing life into their hopes, their dreams and their ambitions! She heard it now, the chanting of their new home’s name. Their raised fists demanding to break away and begin to build their new future. Hyperion! Hyperion! Hyperion! Hyperion! -- And so it began. For so long, Raveena had lost sleep over this moment. Her Captains called out to those who had petitioned to volunteer in each designated district. She herself was flipping through pages on her clipboard. “LISTEN UP!” She bellowed over the crowd. “ARCADIA! You are with me!” She gestured and waved to those who turned their heads, recognizing the head district by name. She had rolled out a large map, a blueprint of the District they were to be working on. “This district is the epicenter of the others. This,” She jabbed a finger at the very middle of the city’s blueprints, “Is the jewel of the city. With Imports from Alethea in Renovatio and assistance from the Arcane East, this will be the political powerhouse of the Terran East. The path is wet and muddy, the winds are still high. Our focus is the Iron Stronghold, the Hall of Sigils and the Atrium of Lights. These buildings will take the longest to complete.” She glanced up at each of their faces before standing upright from leaning over the map. “We have the Laureline at our disposal, and thirty-three Enforcers to assist in security and building. Be careful, though. Those of you who are magi, the genius foci here is unstable. Psions, be mindful.” The chuckle she earned from the pun, garnered them a smile in return. “We need to work on setting the foundation, the plumbing, and begin construction. This is our home now, let’s get to it.” And with that, they set off. @Grim Wolf @Pseudonym @Alexei @danzilla3
  22. [x] It starts in the country. The cities don't feel it at first. For them nothing changes. But in the towns and hamlets all across the countryside, the absence of royal monster hunters, of road patrols, of knights and armies and adventurers makes for a foul omen of things to come. Father Constans of Church-on-The-Hill was seeing some of it already and he'd been locked up in his prayer room ever since, burning his diviner's incense and pleading for guidance from mother Gaia. Gaia was, as usual, busy. Oh, the magic flowed freely enough, Constans could re-arrange the stone furniture any time he liked, but no one was home up there...or down there, or wherever Gaia lived. That was the problem: Gaia and her ritualized religion were so steeped in metaphor they had become unreachable. Whatever the lesson of her religion was, and Constans was sure it was good, it had been lost in a thousand generations of retelling and abstraction. Now the religion had fallen so low that it- that they- Bandits. Without royal swords on the roads around Blairville only rich protected convoys could travel freely. Everyone else was penned into their thorps and towns. It was exactly what the thieves and pillagers wanted. They descended from their hill hideouts, packs of hungry wolves with steel claws. Every day you'd wake up to find someone you know gone. Their home ransacked, their bodies vanished. Strange, to take the bodies? Constans had thought so. But no, the bandits were no fools, taking care not to offend the goddess on their sick sprees. After they ransacked the noble estates they paid a visit to Church-on-The-Hill to donate valuables (sculptures and statuettes and paintings which had no market in those dark days) and oh, of course, to dump the bodies for mass buriel. And that's how he found her. She was the first child. A dark haired girl of no more than ten years. She ought to have been swollen liken the rest, but somehow she wasn't. She looked more asleep then dead, but she was dead. Constans had touched her cheek and in that moment had realized that this was the end. Of him and his way of life. Whether he lived or died, the world as he knew it was ending. Something worse was coming. So he prayed. He burned the grey incense in his golden censer and knelt before his shrine and essentially just talked until he ran out of breath. To whom? He wasn't thinking that far ahead. And he wished he'd never thought about that girl again. It had been weeks ago, but the smell of all those bodies alongside her-- having to stand next to them as you tossed each into a pit one by one. It was so bad he felt it in his nose again. Almost like he was there again. In fact, exactly like he was there again. He curled his nose in horror and looked down at his golden censer- A strange light was growing inside it, and the smoke burning from it was green! It flashed poisonously and Constans dropped it. The gold clattered against the floor, sending green sparks into the air and releasing the green flames which had lurked therein-- The fires shot up impossibly fast. They clawed at the tapestries like real hands and crawled spiderlike up the walls. Constans watched in horror as he was instantly surrounded. The stench of death was overwhelming. He vomited. He felt the burning heat around him. It tortured his skin, but it did not touch him. Looking up, he found himself in a vortex of green fire. The roof blew off the stone building of the church in a cataclysmic display and Constans saw the night sky. Hypnotized, he witnessed terrible visions. He reckoned it lasted for hours. It did last for hours. Six. Long enough for everyone within twenty-something miles to ride out and look upon the swirling column of liquid green fire that had obliterated the Gaian church. When it ended and a half-lucid Constans had, shockingly, come stumbling out of it, he'd been met with a throng of peasants, laborers and even a single straggling knight staring at him, dumbfounded. It was the stuff religious revivals were made out of, and true to form the assembled folk bowed low to this hermit priest and praised Gaia. But he stopped them. Remembering what he had experienced like a fading dream, he called out: "Not Gaia! Call that name no longer! Our mother god gave us life and has let us free as all mothers must! The god of this age is born from a fire!" He cried, and when he threw up his hands in praise the once-geomancer threw up green flames with them. His eyes burned with similar color ever after- "Fire from another world, power to protect ourselves!" " The god in the green fire!" "The god of the Foreign Flame!" "Protect us!" That's how it began, born from sorrow and fear. Where else could it go from there, but down?
  23. "Hmmm...Article II, Crossing Precinct, Code 1.1. Only individuals under gainful employment of the Capital Ring may enter the district," said the monk, quietly reading aloud. "Well, I sure hope this isn't heading there. I don't believe I'm considered 'gainfully employed'." Tenkai didn't expect the trip to be this long. Of course, he should have expected as much given that he was traveling from one end of the island to the other. Taking a transport obviously cut the travel time by a wide margin, but it was still going to be an hour or two. Luckily, he had been provided with some particularly peculiar reading material. When Tenkai first arrived at the port city of Parime, the first thing he ran into was a military checkpoint. Not an unexpected thing to find at first blush, but Tenkai could tell by their manner of action they were in no mood to be trifled with. Not that Tenkai intended to give them any difficulty in the first place, but he was far more careful to avoid any misunderstanding. "Article IV, Code 1.1, Upon your arrival to the city, you are to divulge the full extent of your abilities to the proper authorities. Well, check that off the list." Tenkai wasn't exactly sure how to describe the "extent" of his abilities to the authorities. It actually seemed like an incredibly strange request to make in the first place. Did they want a full list of techniques and spells and what have you? Probably not, or at least that's not what Tenkai had given them. He told them he was a monk, a practitioner of spiritual arts and exorcism, proficient in utilizing his own spirit energy. They seemed to regard that as being a "psyker", which was a modern designation for the term "psychic" that Tenkai had actually heard used in places outside of Kadia. Yes, being a spirit sensitive human was indeed one form of psychic power, in a sense. Tenkai couldn't exactly use telekinesis or read people's minds or any of the other abilities commonly associated with psychic power, but communing with spirits and controlling one's own spirit energy was tied to a similar discipline. It also made Tenkai sensitive to many of the same things psychics could sense, so he could at least be considered psychic in that regard. As for his other abilities, that was a bit more difficult to describe. He called himself a "swordsman and martial artist", which caused the seasoned military men to quirk a brow at the oddly dressed traveler. At least that was how the monk remembered it. Tenkai didn't particularly look like much, and what he did look like was some sort of holy man. He couldn't be sure whether that was what made them wary of him or the fact that they didn't seem to believe him when he said he was a swordsman. Of course, that was when Tenkai showed them his sword, the yōtō Muramasa (妖刀[村正]; Cursed Sword [Muramasa]). Neither of the guards seemed very impressed by its appearance, and when he mentioned that it was a cursed sword, they merely laughed at him. It seemed that in these parts, weapons that were "cursed" or "magic" were a bit more visually impressive from the outset, and with their rather high tech looking close combat weaponry, Tenkai's blade looked like some flimsy pieced of steel with a single edge and a guard too small for their tastes. The only other thing he could mention, in all honesty, was his eye. Or rather, what was now in place of the eye that used to rest within his right socket. He told them it allowed him to see and interact with spirits, which was true enough, though that was probably the simplest way of putting it. By then they had grown tired of Tenkai and, judging by his demeanor, deemed him non-threatening. They recorded the information and set the monk on his way with a warning to keep his "sword" under wraps, though they weren't entirely convinced he could do anything with such a simple looking weapon. Nothing else about Tenkai seemed threatening enough to be forbidden, though the monk had yet to find out the real reason why they weren't worried. "Strange that they would do that, but I guess it's a matter of security," Tenkai mused to himself as he pondered the memory, flipping a few pages back in the booklet he was reading. It was given to him by the very same military officers, said to be a brief primer on Kadia's Imperial codex. They recommended that he study it and stay in line, lest he get a rude awakening. How thoughtful, Tenkai had thought of the gesture. "Let's see here...Civil Services, Code 1.1 'One man from every family must attend Academy and spend a bare minimum of five years in service to the Imperial Legion'," he continued, rubbing his chin in thought. "Mandatory military service? Hmm..." ------------------------------------------------------------------------- It wouldn't be too long until the transport arrived at his destination: Ravenspire. Truth be told, Tenkai wasn't entirely sure why they'd give a name ending in "spire" to a city. The name itself evoked a feeling of some massive, towering castle scraping the sky. Of course, as he looked to the city itself, the name began to make more sense. The massive Corvinite Obelisks didn't seem to be the same kind of spires Tenkai was more accustomed to ascending like some sort of tower, but they were still spires in a sense. The black metal gave off a strange, golden glow that, oddly enough, seemed a bit unsettling to Tenkai. He could tell that the pulse was more than just some natural resonance. It was some sort of field of influence that washed over the city itself like some sort of psychic territory. Except...this wasn't a "psychic" territory at all. It was most certainly some sort of force of will, but it wasn't a psychic emission. If anything, it seemed to dampen the psychic resonance of his surroundings, making his Soul Sight somewhat fuzzy. Tenkai didn't understand it completely at first, wondering if he was just having a bit of a headache for a moment. Yet even when he did have a headache, his eye didn't react in the way that it did. Even Muramasa seemed a bit perturbed by the surroundings. Was this field of influence that of Kadia's so named "God Emperor" that he kept hearing about on his trip here? And why was Tenkai here, sailing all the way to Alterion on Tellus Mater, and then to Kadia of all places, specifically to reach Ravenspire? He had heard that the city was a giant university campus, but it wasn't higher learning that drew him here. After all, there were other places that could catch his interest more on Kadia than Ravenspire. No, there was good reason for him to be here. There was a familiar face or two he was still trying to look for, and he had heard through the proverbial grapevine that he would find them here. Quite a long way to go just to catch up, but as far as Tenkai was concerned, it was worth it. "Code 1.2...Every female citizen must bear at least one child by their thirtieth year? Why, that's--! But what--!?" Tenkai kept himself from making an outburst as he departed the transport, slowly walking down the bridge connecting the concentric rings of Ravenspire together. He remembered how wary the military personnel had been with him at the checkpoint. It was likely that they didn't take too kindly to outsiders passing judgement on their way of life. Such was the nature of a strict, authoritarian culture. The more and more Tenkai read of it, the more uncomfortable he began to grow. By now, he couldn't decide whether it was what was written in the codex or the emanations from the obelisks that caused his unease. Of course, he would try and drown it out by getting himself something to eat. He was a bit peckish by now, and there seemed to be plenty of little shops and stalls along the way. So he decided to get himself a little something-something as he went. One of the stalls had some rather tasty-looking foodstuffs made of thinly sliced meat stuffed into a rolled up flatbread with cream sauce. It reminded him of a similar street food that he remembered from his home many worlds away, causing him to wonder whether cultural similarities among human races popped up like this in other worlds. Unlike some monks, Tenkai was not a vegetarian, though it was always a fuzzy issue with him to begin with. Some schools of Buddhism carried the stipulation that a monk could not eat any meat that was killed on their behalf. Others, much like the Japanese tradition he was a part of, de-emphasized vegetarianism, as humans were already so sinful that abstaining from the consumption of meat was not enough to ensure happier rebirth. Even so, Tenkai did not eat meat very often, and relied on his spiritual practices to overcome the negative karma of consuming meat. It wouldn't matter much for him in the end, anyway. He was a very unorthodox kind of monk, and with the many regrettable things he had to do in his life, the "negative karma" from eating meat was just a drop in the bucket. Of course, there was also no reason not to treat himself a bit while traveling after several long months of nothing but small rations of rice and dried soybeans. "1.3-A," he said, continuing to read as he ate his wrapped sandwich, "'Items found to be cheap, or faulty, shall be refunded at triple their original cost.' That sounds awfully in the eye of the beholder, no?" It was a good thing he didn't want to return that sandwich. Well, not that he could, really. @Deus Ex Aizen @Fierach
  24. The Cambion found himself unexpectedly busy this particular day. It would seem he had forgotten about a meeting he had previously arranged for the Society of Arcanists, in regards to his upcoming announcement of opening a new academy for the magically inclined and interested. Sponsorship was a hard thing to accommodate for just about any business venture. Symbiosis was a must, for if all involved parties didn't feel that they were properly protected and compensated in their relationships, it would surely lead to a collapse of said relationships. It would seem that they were close to agreements in their negotiations, though it would seem that the society wasn't yet sold on Xartia's intended methods of teaching. They feared that he offered to lax of a curriculum them to back and be responsible for. They feared not only misuse/misconduct, or lack of responsibility, but also just even the general odds of a mishaps that could lead to spell work going awry and wrecking havoc in any given area of populace. Though the Cambion wouldn't let up, counter arguing vigorously with the preposterous idea that those whom sought to do harm where of greater concern than the ignorant. Which brought him to the point of those educated through his academy being made something more than just a petty dabbler, one whom would be lost from ignorance and ushered into the realm of the knowing and the wise. There was still a chance that someone would be perfected through his academy that would abuse their knowledge, though he was certain that such a thing would be less of a threat than doing nothing. He wagered that for every bad egg, he would have hundreds of good ones that would likely be willing to over compensate the bad one into expulsion. Likewise, just as Xartia was a demon capable of giving others prowess in the arcana, he too could take such powers away. Once more unable to reach an agreement, the council set a date for the next and hopefully last meeting. Silently, he watched them all leave what would eventually be the board room of the academy. From the looks of it, building had proceeded and was making good head way. By his calculations, the structure was 65% complete. Enough to organize meeting in and tour, but no where near enough to deliver the final idea in justice. Not yet at least. As he often did these days, he found himself dressed in some sort of formal, business attire. He wore a vantablack suit that was trademarked on it's various tags with his personal brance, The Wiseman. Beneath the jack he wore a brown button up shirt that was tucked neatly into the waist of his pants, a goldenrod tie twisted into the perfect Windsor knot found itself adjusted for no reason at all as the Cambion cleared his threat. Falling back into his seat, he would give a flick of the wrist, abusing his flawless trait of sleight of hand in order to mysteriously produce an odd looking tin cigarette holder of some sort. Opening the tin, the contents within were revealed as the perfectly rolled, filter-less cigarettes that were easily more than simple tobacco. Any familiar to the scent of such would unmistakably pick up on the purple hued, dried and ground contents mixed into the mixed cancer stick. With a reassuring drag, it seemed to light its opposing end of it's own accord. The pale blue smoke that streamed from the cherry matched that which he slowly exhaled, filling the atmosphere with the aroma of burning tobacco and wolfsbane. His exhale came in the form of a sigh as he could hear and feel someone approaching the empty room with only a table and several chairs. When the door opened, his emerald eyes would already be starring, as if having been looking at the person beyond them the entire time. It would seem that Captain Rebecca herself had made it a point to come see him so abruptly after his meeting. Naturally, he prepared himself to here some news he wouldn't wish to, such as another case of destruction in a warehouse, or perhaps another cargo ship found itself lost to pirates. "My Lord, it would seem you have an unexpected visitor. She says her visit is important, and though we know not of her, she claims that her company would be most welcomed by you. She claims to have history with you, though she won't disclose what exactly that might be." "Did you manage to get her name? Any other useful information before I decide how to respond to this...stranger?" "She is perhaps a bit shorter than you, she's also quite beautiful. Her features seem elven, but if I had to guess there's more to her than that. Long silky black hair, big blue eyes...I believe she said her name was Ania." His eyes grew unexpectedly wide in that moment, though he quickly fixed his face and came to stand to fast. Coincidentally he swallowed a bit of smoke and as a result began to cough as he waved any excess from his face. Still he would continue to finish the special cigarette, it was important to do so if he wished to remain in control of this wretched curse he inquired from that damned Mercenary he had the pleasure of "helping" in the Cold South.Walking around the table, he would bring his left hand to lay upon Captain Becky's shoulder before he gave it a slight, reassuring squeeze. "Thank you for coming to get me personally Captain, you did at least allow her into the Port yes?" "Indeed we did Lord, she even made it a point to request an escort to accompany her to your estate." "Wonderful. Return to work now Captain, I'll go to my unexpected guest immediately. In fact, make sure my assistants double check my calendar and cancel the rest of my afternoon. If this woman truly is the Ania I know, I'm certain I'll at least need the afternoon. Surely we have a lot to catch up on." Just like that, the Captain nodded and went back to work. Xartia would take the option of actually walking from the incomplete academy, to his estate. He didn't dread getting back and dealing with an old face, though he had to ponder ahead of time what she could possibly want, the condition she would be in even, as well as the nature of her visit. What would he even say to her? What could he say to her? Did she potentially hold a grudge on him for so mysteriously vanishing from her company after she stood there and watched his kingdom fall with him? Despite his longer walk, the Cambion still had ultimately no idea how to approach this situation, nor any clear assumptions on how Ania might approach it herself. Though as he breached the gates to his estate and approached the front door, the clearing image of her figure would reveal itself to him. He found his palms beginning to sweat a bit, his mouth drying as well. His heart rate increased ever so slightly, and his stomach began to turn in knots comparable to the feeling of bees swarming and stinging it from the inside out. Still, he would control his outward appearance, and push a soft smirk onto his face while trying to actually calm himself. Clearing his throat before swallowing hard, he had no doubt she would come to face him just as he would begin speaking. "What a wonderful surprise...Tell me dear, what brings you all the way out here to see someone like me?" Call it mocking, call it humility, either way he had no shame it seemed. Honestly he wasn't quite sure how she was able to track him down, though his rising reputation no doubt played a roll. Perhaps she just happened to come to Valucre, in which she found out he was there after arriving. If she had went out of her way however, there was no doubt that between her mixed lineage, there was certainly divination available to her than not even he was capable of. Still, for her to come and find him after the way he left things, it had to be important. Truly. @brokendolleyes
  25. With the Carmine Empire's acquisition of the Great North, it didn't take long before the Arcane East was buzzing with new rumors of Whispernight remnants located to the North. While not surprise, Xartia certainly wasn't aware of any details. In fact, out of what he was aware of, he was certain of a few other locations that felt attractive enough through rumor to brave. To risk his well being for the sake of material objects. Though it was hardly about the money was the good part. Xartia having lived his life as a royal was lost to the value of riches, instead he found his riches in knowledge, in living and in happiness. Though when rumors started flying of things such as text of black magics and exalta prisms among other monetary gain to be had. Though it seemed that most that had attempt so far proved no match for the presence of numerous liches and hags. The few survivors no doubt were the one's to be thanked for spreading the word so easily. And of course, thanks to the public's general lack of opinion in regards to magic because of it's proposed dangers, most simply couldn't handle such nasty, vile creatures such as these. Especially considering the undead variety. Still, Xartia was more than willing to brave the task. Not only was he optimistic about about his personal odds in dealing with the rumored dangers, but he was not alone. And if he was certain of anything about his company, it was that they were just as capable as himself. The muted hum of the magitech engine adjusted ever so slightly to compensate for the change in speed and trajectory. The crew found itself descending upon the remnants of what was formerly a glorious and beautiful piece of architecture and hub of business. This was the popular Port City, or rather what was left of it. Little did Xartia know that months ago during the tragedy of Whispernight, his very own son was the one directly responsible for the demise of this town among several others. He'd be even more perturbed if he knew that the boy's mother, Luna had appeared her to try and stop him. Without any other knowledge to make him think or feel a certain way, he remained clear of mind and intent. Bringing the airship to land upon a broken bridge that seemed incredibly vacant and with a higher parking location. The landing gear would be activated as the him continued to dwindle until it found it's lowest idle point. Shutting off the engine, Xartia applied the parking mechanism and gladly removed himself from the captain's seat. Without much hesitation, he would move about the cabin and ultimately make a final trip to his quarters. Before dedicating to this task, he wanted to be completely sure he was prepared for the undoubtedly hard fight that he was soon to endure. Upon first glance, naturally he appeared to be properly dressed for this occasion. Most notably to his side would be his trusted sword, Seiðmaðr. Not unlike the make of a spatha, this viking style, one handed sword was easily a marvel to look at. For now it's only striking feature would appear to be a crescent shaped, polished gemstone pommel of Tiger's Eye. His gloved olive toned hands made quick work of placing his once more longer hair into a comfortable and convenient ponytail. Thanks to his sword, he chose to forsake a bunch of accompanying jewelry. Seiðmaðr was more than enough for him to handle himself, with it he needed nothing else, and yet without he needed so much to compensate. Having re-evaluated the cost of using this magic, living weapon, Xartia had made it a point to carry the weapon less. His usage and reliance of it had been greatly reduced. Though in cases such as these, it was a calculated hypothesis to say that it was necessary. With a final check in the mirror, he admired his olive complexion silently for a moment, followed by his vibrant emerald eyes. With a wink to himself he turned on his heals and headed back towards the bridge in order to prepare to for his departure from the vessel. While they weren't close to the dangers that lurked, Xartia was certain that they weren't very far off. After escaping the vessel, the Cambion paced to the end of the broken bridge he had parked upon. Coming to stand ominously over the broken Port City, and it's equally disturbed ocean side view. He almost felt ashamed to say he hadn't had the pleasure to see it in it's former glory. Though he would fail to beat himself up over it. He simply observed the area with his heightened senses, like wise he felt through the Great Aether in order to map what wasn't otherwise immediately available to his senses. Already he could feel the murky, tainted aether surrounding the area that would no doubt lead them to their potentially desirable loot. It sufficed to say that he was feeling a bit impatient, though he would refuse to be reckless of rash on such a delicate quest. Going it alone when he didn't have to would likely be one of the biggest mistakes he could ever make. His hand went from resting on the pommel of his sword, to crossing arms with the other over his chest. He began to tap his foot a bit impatiently as he continued to survey the environment. @Voldemort @Akako Akari @Pseudonym
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