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Vagrant

In search of a shadow.

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Morgana..
 
Now this is a town I could get used to..
 
The heat was sweltering. Hot winds blowing from the deep desert, mingled with the flow of the Ranthus provided a rather uncomfortably humid atmosphere for the day. With a snuff, the coyote cleared a bit of blown sand from an open nostril. To be honest, the coyote wasn't very fond of the humidity. He always sweated too much and it made his fur damp and heavy. The creature much preferred a dry heat or even the chill of deep cold over this.  It was the only negative remark he could manage for the city itself.. At least for now.
 
As for the positives? Oh, there were many. Not often could the coyote wander a civilized place without hiding himself with some glamour of illusion or transformation. Usually the canid was forced to lurk about in the dark of night, hiding in the shadows like some leper while he went about his business. If not in the shadows, the coyote was bound to moving among the crowded throng of people, slithering between moving bodies like a snake whilst under the cover of some glamour just in case someone decided to look down. But here it was different. Here there was no hiding, no illusions. The coyote padded down the street without worry and abandoning the notion that he should remain forever in the darkness. While he was young to this place, he was not young to the type of people that populated it. This was a place of tolerance.. not just for different species but for outlooks, different creeds. Here, merfolk and human walked alongside dragonkin and vampire alike. There was no prejudice based on whether a creature breathed fire or drank blood. Creatures who in other parts of the world were reviled and hunted walked down the street like any ordinary citizen. And that was the beauty of it.. they were ordinary citizens.
And so the coyote moved onward, seemingly without a care in the world.
 
His journey was not terribly long, coming from a place somewhere to the south from across the sea. The name of the place wasn't important. In fact he couldn't recall its name at all. All that was important now was the mission. The coyote had goals, some of them with far-reaching implications and this was where they began, or rather; did begin. Something was already in motion and there was a person the coyote wanted to find. 
 
The Enshaeden.
 
Along busy streets, the coyote maneuvered until reaching the northern wall. It was noon now, the sun burning high in the sky. The coyote glanced up to the infernal thing high above, glaring at it nearly as hard as it glared down to him. Up a set of flagstone stairs he went until coming, finally, to his destination. The Wall of Heroes. He leaned back on his haunches, taking a seat on the hot stones, and began to peruse the engraved names, looking for one in particular.
 
"Look momma, a puppy!" the words barely reached the back of the coyote's mind before a small hand was tugging at his right ear. With eyes wide, the coyote's head pulled downwards at an angle, gripped tight by the scruff of his ear whilst another hand patted its back just before a small human head nuzzled gently into the back of his neck. "What a good puppy." the child of no more than five muttered into the coyote's thick white fur. Only seconds later, the girl was pulled away by her mother, who immediately apologized. "I'm sorry, she doesn't quite know the difference between an animal and something.." She stopped speaking suddenly as if her breath were suddenly pulled away from her. Like a statue, she remained still, staring. Staring into the vermilion depths of the coyote's eyes that burned like flames. Without another word, she turned and lead her child away from the wall while the little girl protested that they had just arrived.
 
That was oddly enjoyable..
 
Turning back to the wall, the coyote quickly found what the name he was searching for; Eodoxus Banafield - Unraveled the mystery behind the Black Shadow... And so he became the Enshaeden. And now he has gone. I wonder.. When those who look upon the histories and see the deeds done by the man who became Enshaeden, will they allow for the moniker of "Hero" to remain next to his name? Or will the sins he is destined to commit force them to destroy a part of their fabled Wall? The coyote grinned, splitting that grotesque thing resembling a mouth even wider than usual. He was upon his feet then, walking with speed. He knew then that Eodoxus had already left the city, perhaps even that very day. Maybe they had even passed one another in the street and not even realized it. You will be found, Enshaeden.. So very soon.. Without a pause or stop, the coyote left and was free of the city and once again on the road in search of his quarry.
 
Such a pity to have to leave so soon.. I rather enjoyed this place. It could have been very... interesting.
 
************
 
The eyes.. the eyes.. THE eyes.. I could not speak anymore. I could not think or even breathe. I lead Allya away from the Wall of Heroes. They told me to, so I had to. They told me to take her to the window. They told me to throw her to the street below. They told me that even though her soft scratches brought them pleasure, this would bring them even more pleasure.. And so I did. And now I join my broken daughter on the street below. The woman laid down the pen on the parchment next to her bed, moved to the window, and jumped. 

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Sniffing the trails air, the lad smirked as he slowly resumed his dealing with the herbs inside of the small shrub. Having gotten off the trail a few miles from the city, Eodoxus had chosen to sleep within the forest to once more adjust himself to the wildlife. Taking in the scenes and scents he truly enjoyed nature more than any hotel room a city could offer. There was something about the world that called him forth into the void of pure bliss. Wrapping the damp herb in some cloth he slipped it into the top pocket of his cloak before patting it softly for safety. Rubbing his hands off on a cloth he cleaned the dirt from his nails, slowly making his way back to the road e could not help but feel there was something coming.

 

The sensation unsettled him deep at the core of his soul. 'I dislike this feeling...' He thought as his eyes fell back on the road towards the city. Almost as if he were expecting someone to pop up at any moment..

 

Yet they did not for the time being. It would surely be a while he thought. At this point he had best prolong this dreadful feeling and make his way further from the city itself. Gripping he cloak he quickly adjusted his back pack and adjusted the sitting of the cloak before starting off once more at a brisk pace. Keeping a few walnuts in his left hand he crunched them together to amused himself along the way.

 

Few people passed him by on the way out. A merchant and his family slowly rolled passed on a wagon filled with sales supplies and several children. From the age of four to six and one teen who appeared to be about the age of 15. A small smile crossed the Enshaeden's face as he waved to them gently sending them on their way with semi good wishes. Wrinkling his nose he itched his forehead before reaching a split in the path. Would he turn towards to the Modern cities of Terranus or would he go down.. To the Renovatio home lands. A conflict of interests and style was at hand here. Go modern and deal with the possibilities or guns or go down and still deal with technology and futuristic things but welcome all the land had to offer..

 

Itching his chin slowly the young man nodded his head slowly as he made his way to the lands of Renovatio without hesitation He had a feeling there would be some interesting things to write about there as an Annalist.

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Away from the city. Down the road. The coyote was on his way, searching for the one that destiny had supposedly placed before him. As he reached the treeline, the gaunt creature ducked into the underbrush and moved parallel to the road for a time. Before long, a young man, perhaps the age of seventeen lightly stepped from wooded seclusion and back onto the road heading away from Morgana; the coyote cloaked in glamour once again. While in the city, it was fine to move around as himself.. It was something he had wanted, planned for even. You see, rumor is a powerful thing. A reputation was something even more powerful and it was a certain reputation that the coyote would begin to cultivate here on Osiria. One that invoked fear and hesitation. One that made even the vampires and dragonkin and every manner of creature in Morgana cautious to walk the streets at night. How many people would kill themselves in some gruesome manner before his presence wore away? Not even the coyote knew. The weak of mind were indeed just that.
 
The boy pulled an apple from a pocket attached to his rucksack and took a large, juicy bite. He walked with a hop in his step and a smile on his face; a smile that mirrored the coyote's. If one were to look closely enough, you could see the hidden glint of mischief in his eyes. 
 
It wasn't long before he came upon a traveling merchant, stocked to the eyes with both supplies and children.
 
"Ho! Greetings, merchant! What sort of wares are for sale his fine day!" the boy exclaimed, walking briskly up to the donkey-drawn wagon.
 
"Mostly carved items from wood and stone for sale up in Morgana. I have little to offer travelers in way of food and that sort of thing I'm afraid."
 
"Oh, that's alright! Would it be a terrible trouble for me to browse but for a moment? I'm heading home and the distance is long. I could perhaps use a distraction!"
 
The wagoner seemed to debate internally for a moment.
 
"Did I mention I have a lot of gold?" The boy grinned upwards at the man while walking next to the still-moving wagon.
 
That seemed to spur the wagoner's interest enough that the wagon came to a halt. 
 
"Alright, but only for a few minutes. I am needing to be into Morgana by nightfall. The name's Amalio. Amalio Gerrant." The older man stepped gingerly down from his perch and extended his hand to shake. The boy took it firmly into his.
 
"I am called Red." he responded, "Because of my eyes."
 
The man hesitated for a second, looking into Red's eyes only to discover it was an appropriate name; they were a deep, dull crimson that reminded him of blood.
 
"Well then, Red." He said, turning to his cart and flipping the canvas cover away while his children jumped off the back of the wagon. "Here is what I have to offer. My family and I, we are wood carvers. By trade, I am a luthier and I'm teaching my children my craft."
 
Amalio pulled a key ring from a belt pouch and deftly flicked open three padlocks before flipping a switch and pulling free a very interestingly and intuitively made set of drawers filled with glass cases. Red's eyes widened as Amalio revealed to him his mastercraft. Before him were a set of the most beautifully crafted violins he had ever seen. One in particular stood out. It was, of course, a deep-red, carved from a rich mahogany. 
 
"I want this one." Red stated immediately, pointing to the violin in question.
 
"Ahh. I'm afraid that one is not for sale. That is a special order from an important dignitary in Morgana. Besides, it was crafted mostly for show. Mahogany isn't a wonderful wood to make violins from, they never sound quite right. And the crafting is difficult."
 
"I'll double it. Whatever price you are asking him for, I'll double it." Red turned to the luthier, the fires of inspiration burning in his eyes.
 
"I just.. I can'.."
 
"Triple it, then."
 
Amalio was taken aback. "That's.. that's an absurd amount of money.. Fifteen thousand gold pieces."
 
Red quickly yanked his rucksack off and opened it. He rifled around for a moment, digging through what seemed to be in a tightly-packed traveling arrangement. Within a few moments he pulled out three gems, each as wide as a golden coin. One was a clear, bright emerald. The other two were brilliant blue-white diamonds. "This should cover it, no?" he said, dropping the gems into the merchant's hand while he stood, mouth agape.
 
Without a word, Amalio began to inspect the gems, finding each of them to be genuine. Red continued to admire the violin from behind it's glass case while Amalio's daughter came up next to him. While the rest of the children had been busy playing and fighting with one-another, she had been watching Red with interest. It did not go unnoticed. She was pretty, for being all of sixteen years old. Flashing her a sideways grin and a wink (which caused her to blush furiously), Red turned back to Amalio. "Well? What do you think?"
 
"I think, Sir Red, that you have yourself a deal." Red's face brightened considerably, his smile wider than it had likely ever been. Amalio shook Red's hand once again, and opened the glass case holding the wonderful violin and bow. "It comes with a complimentary case. You have paid far too much for this so it is my pleasure." Amalio placed the violin and bow into it's new case and handed it to Red.
 
"Thank you kindly, sir. I appreciate you conceding to not only a traveler on the road, but a complete stranger as well. This violin will be cared for to the utmost." Red replied, patting the case gently. "By the way.. I'm looking for a friend of mine who may have come down the road recently.. He's about this tall," Red held his hand out, slightly higher than his own head. "Brown hair and wears a quite unique, black cloak.."
 
"Oh yes!" The merchant's daughter immediately spoke up, jumping at the opportunity to speak to Red. "I saw him not more than a few hours ago! He was heading that way!" She pointed down the road away from Morgana and to the south.
 
"Wonderful.." Red, the coyote, turned from the merchant and his family as they began to repack their wagon. He had guessed at a height and hair color.. If they had been different she'd have certainly corrected him.. for it was the cloak that mattered. The coyote was on the right trail.. It would only be a matter of time now. The glamoured image of Red lightly skipped down the road while the nose of the coyote was in the dirt, sniffing, searching. Those enhanced senses found something then, something that was out of place.. Walnuts.. Fresh walnuts.. 
 
The coyote grinned.
Edited by Vagrant

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The road was wide and the people fewer still on this route than that leading up to Terrenus. It was soothing really but he still could not shake the felling of being followed at a large distance. Ever since he got the cloak and visited Morgana's statue he had an odd sense that something was going to happen. Be it to him for his interaction or for the cloak which he would not give up so easily. Death had nearly consumed him in the process of getting all the information he needed to attain this cloak. 'No way in Hell..' He spat mentally as he pulled on the hood and exited off the path and into the darkness of the woods. Allowing the cloak and normal shadows to take over for the most part.

 

He wanted distance from the road so that he could if possible see the danger coming to him without a problem. Then he could evaluate and proceed with caution. Withdrawing from his cloak a dune blade he dropped the walnuts. Or rather tossed them away to throw the fresh scent else where. Crouching low he skirted this way and that to remain unseen as he moved in dead silence not even a twig was heard snapping under foot.

 

The hunter was active the Annalist was asleep this switch in mindset was a great help to the man as he moved while keeping an eye behind him for any possible movement. Though over time as he waited and the distance closed, he began to ponder if he were over exaggerating his irritation.

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The forest was dark and loomed with shadows that taunted the imagination despite the shining sun above. Only  a few hundred feet ahead of, and to Eodoxus' left, a sudden commotion broke out, echoing through the thick trees and deep underbrush.
 
"Help!"
 
"Please help!"
 
He yelled, squirming atop a rather large boulder. Pocked with the marks of age and weather, pebbles and rocks broke free and fell to the ground below as the boy desperately tried to keep from falling. His leather boots scraped against the rock's ancient surface even as gravity pulled him towards a certain doom. Only inches below the distraught boy lunged a creature with razor fangs and claws of steel; a wolf larger than any he'd ever seen. It jumped and clawed viciously at the rock, its jaws snapping menacingly between gutteral barks and growls. The wolf had black fur, deep and rich, streaked with gray and white around the ears and head and leapt with the agility and tenacity of a hunter hungry for its prey. This boy was about to become lunch.
 
Pure terror erupted from the boy's lips as he swung a recently purchased violin case at the nightmare below him, missing poorly and nearly overbalancing himself right off the rock and into the wolf's jaws.
 
"Someone please! I don't want to die here!" He screamed, hopefully loud enough for Eodoxus to hear him.. The boy with red eyes was going to need a hero.

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As Eodoxus crept along in silence he swiftly adjusted his standing as the yell broke out. Was this it? Was this the trouble he was to be wary of? How could it be?! He gritted his teeth roughly before sprinting over branches and through bushes keeping his cloak tightly wrapped around his figure. As he slowly reached the clearing he took a few steps back to not expose himself. 'A boy?! This far in the wilderness?' He thought to himself in confusion. Gripping both blades he quickly swapped the side he was holding to hold the tip s of both blades. With practiced accuracy and speed he sent the blades hurling at the beast of hunger. Having set one to use the butt end for a brutal force smack and the other to engrave its dark self into the side but slide free should it be jostled. He had no intention  of killing the creature unless it gave him no choice.

 

Withdrawing two more daggers he waited for the wolfs reactions while keeping quiet in the darkness. Moving to his right he slipped behind a tree and around to get another angle on the wolf. Making sure he was not exactly in the same spot as before. Confusion and mystery would be his works and safety his aim if his first two blows were true to the throw.

 

'Hold on small boy.. I will rescue you.' He thought with confidence and a purely evil expression upon his face.

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With sweat beading from his brow and panic weaving through his voice, the boy screamed and cried tears of someone who knew he was about to die. His strength, whatever he had left, was starting to fail and he could feel himself slipping. Slipping down to the horrific jaws of certain death. The wolf's spittle flew as he howled in delight, salivating at the meal to come.
 
Then he arrived.
 
Eodoxus' blades hit true, exactly where as they were aimed and intended. The wolf yelped in pain before turning to the direction of its attacker, surprise and rage on its face. There was no one there, as Eo had just hidden behind a tree. The pain however, was real. The blood that dripped from the wolf's flank was real. At least it looked real. It bolted into the forest while Eodoxus' blade fell free.  As soon as the wolf disappeared into the deep brush, Red fell from the rock and straight onto his bottom, his gear crashing to the ground beside him. Cupping his face in his hands, they boy began to sob.
 
Beneath his curled digits and through the tiny space between his fingers and through the fake tears that he sold oh-so-perfectly, Red gazed outwards into the forest in the direction where the thrown knives had come from, just waiting for his savior to reveal himself. Is this the one that will serve as the catalyst to my goals? Will he be the one who will stalk the shadows of this realm and be the conduit and the affront to all the Gods? Will he prove to be the Enshaeden?
 
My hero...
Edited by Vagrant

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With the solid thud of his blades and the yelp of his enemy, Eodoxus quickly pivoted around the tree just in time to see the wolf depart and his blades drop free of its body. A slight sigh of relief left his cracked lips while he slowly approached the crying boy who sat upon the blood crusted earth. Retrieving his blades first he cleaned them on his second cloak before kneeling before the coyote bound by the illusion of it being a boy.

 

"Are you alright? I am sorry I could not come sooner.." He said in a solid and apologetic tone of voice. Reaching out a hand he slowly sat it on the boys shoulder to try and bring him into a realm of comfort and security. His eyes glimmered beneath his hood and his teeth glinted in the semi light being white against the shadows of his hood. 'Thank goodness he held on.. He would have been finished in a moments notice...' Eo thought to himself as he let his mental and physical guard down while around the child. How harmful could a child actually be?!

 

"Are you hurt anywhere at all? Look me in the face lemme get a look at you." He said slowly tugging his hood down all the way he exposed his head to the boy to bring forth another comfort sign for help. He hoped the boy would let him look him over for injury and such. This would make his soul rest at ease for the most part.

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From beneath small boyish hands, sniffles emanated, followed an audible swallow as Red tried to sooth his scream-torn throat. He rubbed fake tears into long sleeves and bounded to his feet with a renewed enthusiasm. The 'wolf' had been chased away by this newcomer, Red's hero. "I think I'm okay now!" A long grin etched across his face as he took in fully the visage of the man who'd come to his rescue. The man with the striking black cloak stood before him a youth himself; not much older than Red appeared to be. Could this really be the one from the prophecy? Red's head crooked to the side slightly, the liquid crimson of his irises seeming to flow about their stark black pupils like cooling lava. Could this child really be the Enshaeden? The coyote was starting to have his doubts.
 
It was possible then that Eodoxus might start to notice things, things that the coyote had intentionally left from his glamour of illusion. The panic in the boy's face was altogether gone; as if he'd never been in trouble from the start. No streaks of tears, no tension, just a boy standing in the woods. The sounds of the forest were normal as well; too normal. Far too much so for there to have just been a wildlife attack. Birds that would have normally been chased away by the noise chirped nearby and the brush and trees were wholly undisturbed aside from where Eodoxus had come from. And there was a notable lack of blood that would certainly been spilled by Eo's knife as it seemed to slice the wolf's flank before it was driven away. All these things, this ruse was put together for one moment--this moment. And now, just a boy stood before him, a boy who seemed too eager to help the helpless. One far too innocent to be man the coyote had been searching for. 
 
'Never trust the one that seems most trustworthy.' Wise words. It was a quote told to him by his father.. Or maybe he had read it in a book.. Ahh, it didn't matter. Either way, they were words to live by in the place he'd come from. But who here is the trustworthy one? The boy's grin seemed to grow even wider. If the coyote was going to determine if Eo was indeed the Enshaeden, he was going to need to test him. And school was already in session.. whether Eodoxus knew it or not.
 
"Hey! Thanks for the help! Hey can I ask you a question?"
 
The coyote didn't pause nor wait for him to respond, as per his habit.
 
"What's your favorite color?"
 
...what?

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As the boy seemed to straighten himself out the small notes of the past event were slowly lacking in result. Further to account for the lack of paw prints in the soft brush beneath his feet, Eo was somewhat skeptical about what had happened and what he had done. The thing was real surely it was.. Wasn't it? Furrowing his brows the shift of emotion from scared to completely interested shocked the man as he gazed into the crimson eyes before him. 'There is something off about this.. Boy if he really is a boy..' He thought to himself slowly standing up while keeping his eyes upon the males frame and his hands in his cloak. The air around him seemed to twist as if there were some guard of magic. However there was no magic that Eodoxus knew by heart or mind that made him shudder and slip further into his cloak.

 

"You are mighty welcome!" His voice remained strong and a kind smile crossed his lips while his eyes betrayed nothing short of confusion. Just as he had thought of turning away the boy had asked him a most curious question. While he had questions of his own he would ponder them over while evaluating his weapons and the scene around him.

 

"My favorite color you say? Black would be the first.. Crimson the second... There's nothing like soothing darkness to go hand in hand with the blood of the enemy.." Grinning deviously he chuckled at his own thought process and how it amused him so. If there was school he was having fun with it already.

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