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Akako Akari

Hanami - Flower Festival [OPEN]

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Xartia stood upon the roof of the nearly completed structure that would be his Academy. Dressed in a distinguished and unique cornflower blue yukata. He was festive in attendance down to the traditional geta that supported his feet. White tabi socks to match the white haori beneath the larger robe like garment. In this right hand he held an extended paper fan in which he consistently treated himself to a perfect breeze. That was, until he was able to note that Akako had made herself exceptionally public as of now. He lapped the paper fan shut and folded his arms over his chest and his mind began to wander. What started of thoughts of Akako herself lead to thoughts of Red and of Caelum. These lead to though of Koji and Kimi as they were called now. And of course things wouldn't be complete is he didn't think of his distant love, his dearest Luna. His endeavors in Nvengaria. The alternative of leaving it all behind and returning to the truest reality her has ever known. Right now he wasn't certain of what he desired, or perhaps he had been through so much in what was two years for most and yet approximately 830 for him...perhaps he simply desired nothing else out of this life. He had already cleared the limits of roughly ten of these lifetimes, what more could this one afford him in particular other than the mortal stigmas associated such mundane existence. Yet, what was a man without ambition. For now, he would have to remain here to discover if he still held flames of vigor within his belly, or if he was simply beyond the life he had left behind prior and as a result would just retire back from the Godhood he so easily shelved in hopes of protecting not only Akako, but perhaps existence itself as he once had. Even if he usually only ever claimed to be a petty Adventurer. 

Pushing such deep thoughts to the recesses of the back of his mind, Xartia cleared his surface thoughts with a deep breath. Sighing lightly, he drank in the environment. From his view he could see many of the citizens of Caelum in celebration of the season, festival, and the return of the Yokai Queen alike. A warm smile found his lips as he related to them wholly, a glimpse of the humanity he once thrived for. Smells assaulted him even at his current position over the city. The fragrances of several foods, as well as actual fires in general in preparation for some of the nights festivities. As he recalled from one of the memories of his Avatar's memories, Akako was quite fond of dancing around fire. Perhaps he would remember to experience such a thing for himself in order to discover what all the excitement was about. For now though, he would have to settle for keeping the other collected and assimilated memories close to mind. With those at his advantage, it wouldn't be so hard to begin integrating with the community. To allow all to acclimate to all once more, even if the majority of the group had no idea what the all the details were surrounding the situation, and thus were oblivious to the fact that Xartia did indeed seem a bit different. His people saw noticed this by far, and yet none questioned it. The air he carried about him, the soft glow of his skin...Not a single question, no inquiry as to why.

"..."

Without further adieu, the Cambion vanished from the rooftop he stood upon and appeared before the buildings main entrance on the ground level. There was no indication of transition. It was as if he had been standing there the whole time. Without much more hesitation, he dedicated to motion towards the Daiyokai whom was already busy greeting their visitors from both near and far. As he traversed the city streets he felt weary. Things had been exceptionally calm and quiet since Akako's return. Certainly word of her survival would reach Koji and his Empire. He could only expect that receipt of such news would infuriate the young conquering couple and undoubtedly earn some sort of visit from them for sake of repeat offenses. While he hoped that the Carmine would deliver on their word of smiting the threat, he couldn't rest easy until such a day came. Lest the day came first where he himself must act. After all this time, and after all the boy had done, could Xartia finally bring himself to do what needed to be done if the opportunity arose? He often asked himself this, and to this day he still had no answer. Only time would tell the tale of fate. Such a simple and silly thing to be subjected to in this realm. Fate.

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Helianthus was so captivated by the subtle bodily movements of the two, that she almost did not notice when they took notice of her.

“Alors rejoignez-nous.“ The woman said. Helianthus felt her breath catch in her throat. She had not heard her native language spoken by another in thousands of years. It was, perhaps, a somewhat foreign accent, but she understood the meaning.

When the elf-man responded by turning and extending a warm welcome of his own, Terianthus sighed loudly. He had little patience for other men in Helianthus’ life, but he was a spirit, and he could not provide for her needs and desires. Right now, she desired greatly to be close to that golden elf.

Helianthus was not a timid woman by nature, but these otherworldly figure seemed to bring out her inner child. She stayed in the tree, frozen with uncertainty.

Terianthus sighed again. You may as well go down and meet them. He said. He often urged her to make new acquaintances. Despite his jealousy toward other men, he always placed her wellbeing first. His love for her was absolute.

Helianthus finally snapped out of her trance, and smiled shyly at the duo. She released her grip on the branch above her, and fell back in a flip that was so easy, it was almost lazy. She landed on her bare feet, not making the slightest sound, and walked toward the elf-man and the woman with the beautiful tails. Her eyes lingered on the tails for a moment, and she wondered what it would feel like to run her fingers through that fur. She was not quite that brash.

The elf-man was speaking, discussing the hate of some other land that Helian had never heard of, Terrenus, and apparently asking to use the woman’s ports. Helian knew nothing of such matters, and cared little for politics. She had noticed his expressions of love toward all elf-kind. Considering the look he had given after saying that, she supposed that meant her as well. Perhaps he would allow her to stay close to him for a time. She stepped close to the elf-man, and reached out a tentative hand. “Captivant” She said, as she extended her seemingly delicate fingers to touch his skin. Her fingers lingered within an inch of his glorious skin, but she did not dare to touch him. She feared that he might be an elven god, and that touching him might be some sort of blasphemy. She was, physically, capable of grace and strength far beyond what her elven heritage granted her, thanks to Terianthus, but she sensed powerful magic in this golden elf. 

He is an elf, Helianthus. He’s just an elf. Terianthus insisted.

“Quiet.” She said without looking back. “He’s a god.”

She stood next to the elf-man, as he had asked, and looked between the two, wondering why they had bothered to take an interest in her. “Qui suis je pour toi?”

The common language, Helian. Terianthus insisted.

“Who am I to you, golden god?” She asked the elf-man.

 

@Grubbistch @Akako Akari

Edited by Radioactive

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It was there; a tinge of cold—a pallid finger of fear that trailed down the perfect center of her spine. Raveena twirled on her heel, that brief spell of terror evaporating as she laughed in genuine glee, “Grant! You made it!” She cooed and flung her arms around the sharply dressed man, who was clearly much taller than she. Raveena realized all too soon that he was one of the three-odd extra guards of her security detail.

Cupping his cheeks, she pulled him down to her height and delicately kissed his forehead. It was a motherly affair, and though these two bore no resemblance, Grant was as much her son as her own flesh and blood. The shocking revelation that Rowan had a son in the world had been heavy news, but Raveena had taken it in stride and treated him as kindly and sweetly as if he were her own. She gripped his chin and studied his features, rubbing her thumb along the smudge of his forehead she had adorned when she pecked him, “You look tired, my sweet. Did you not rest?” She looped an arm around and leaned into his taller frame, content to have family near.

“How was your mission? I want to know all the details!”

It was a familiar pattern, him escorting her near and far. She had insisted that Grant refer to her as mother, for some day she would become just that. The timing was never right, but she knew that Rowan was more than ready. His blood flowed through her veins, and he had taken the Oath as her Gatekeeper. He quite literally lived for her, now. It was a peaceful thing, to have a family, small as it were.

“And don’t make fun of my love for celebrations.” She pouted softly. They walked and talked, arm in arm. He—as most did—towered over the petite young woman. And subtly—as it often did when the sense of danger slowly took over—her content nature ebbed away. It happened in a way where Raveena did not quite realize her discomfort until later.  That cold, pallid finger of fear teased the nape of her neck, the skin prickling. She spoke amicably with Grant, even as she was warned by her own senses. It was a teasing, a taunting—a reminder that those who did not pay attention would find themselves in a situation they ought to have avoided if they had simply paid attention. But she was enjoying herself, well protected that she was, and Grant was good company. What could she possibly have to fear?

If she had known that day, that a sense of Deja-vu would play out once more in Port Caelum, she would have stayed home…

@danzilla3

@Bardic Knowledge

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The Hanami Flower Festival.

 

It was a brilliant maneuver for the newly living Yokai Queen, one that pushed favor in her direction towards the state of Caelum within the Carmine Empire. Beyond it simply being a good political move, it was beautifully orchestrated and seemed to have caught the attention of many important figureheads along with sightseers. Akako had done wonders in regards to the decorations, the air had a fresh feel, thick with different aromas from the large variety of flowers on display. She couldn’t have felt more proud of the woman, coming back from a disaster just as strong as before, not afraid to announce her presence to the kingdoms with her head held high. Just as Xartia had his own worries about the dangers of Koji and Kimi with Akako being alive once more, Red had just as many if not more worry wading through her thoughts.

 

Although she had told Akako she would be here, Red didn’t have intentions of staying for very long, wanting to get a good look around at the success of the Festival before retreating back to Terrenus where she belonged. Wearing a simple red and white traditional kimono, it loosely fit around her figure while a darker red cloak draped over her shoulders with the cowl placed over her head, shadowing a portion of her pale skin. The woman hadn’t wandered very far within the courtyard, staying near one of the exits with her back leaning against fencing that partially surrounded the courtyard. Her hands loosely clasped low in her front, relaxed in posture while simply letting her gaze wander while the courtyard filled with festival goers.

 

Only the few that could sense her presence would know of her arrival, and that was such the intention the Scarlet Queen had wanted, otherwise comfortable staying out of sight for the time, or preferably until she decided it was time for her exit. Red had been hesitant at first about leaving Patia and Terrenus, her current condition warranting more worry within her already overactive imagination, with such this being her first true outing surrounded by so many people in several months. With the way the kimono loosely fit around her figure and the cloak layered above, it would take a trained eye to notice the small swell of her stomach.

 

Lady Akako was the only one in attendance that was aware prior to the Festival, and Red had intentions of keeping her visit short to avoid any others pointing it out. Her eyes caught the back of Xartia’s head as he approached Akako, lingering as she fought the temptation of reaching out to him before tearing her gaze away and not allowing herself any more thought on the matter. As cautious as she felt, Red was constantly searching the surrounding area for disturbances. Unnoticeable waves of her Sight rolled from her center, scanning signatures and activity as if she were no more than security hired for the event.

 

Red found her lips curling at the corners as she lingered on Raveena and her company, such a familiar face not seen in such a long time, although scarred with unpleasant memories that threatened to resurface and aid in the bubbling anxiety pushing against her chest. Again the woman had to tear her eyes away from the other as she had to do with the Cambion, choosing instead to focus on the rest of the people walking around, enjoying vendors and the smells and sights. Joyful, heartfelt joy was nearly tangible within the air, quite the shift in dynamics for the Port from the last time she had been here. She was going to stay put and enjoy the sights and smells for awhile longer, unmoving like a statue and out of sight from immediate view.

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Persephone would have liked to be fully immersed in the festival, however, there was a slight itch under her skin. A tickle at her back and continuous flashes of pink and purple at the corner of her eye. Someone was following her, whom she did not know. Stretching out her arms and giggling quietly, she rejoiced inactivity.

 

She did not fear being followed, to Persephone it would be a delightful game, let’s play she thought quietly. Her head turned slightly to the side, anyone looking at her would catch the soft and wicked smile, the glint of the sun on her lips and razor-like fangs. How delicious, Persephone loved games of all kind.

 

Following these amusing thoughts, Persephone walked slow and steady, admiring the festival in all its glory till she found something else to capture her attention. A flash of red and the smell of cranberries permeated her nose. Breathing deeply her stomach did a small flip, reminding her to eat properly.

 

Upon reaching the stall, decorated with small tables and a long bar at the front upon to reach one's drinks, the drink turned out to be Hibiscus tea. Persephone was momentarily disappointed with the beautiful crimson liquid that was not the delectable plasma that she sustained herself with. Instead, when she had ordered, she received a glass cup filled with steaming dark magenta liquid.

 

She had risen the glass to her lips, the liquid almost touching her tongue when she remembered her follower. Smiling, she ordered a second glass of the tea, receiving a strange look from the vendor who complied and then placed it at the very edge of the bar on the other side as an invitation to her new friend. To know their identity so soon would have been a disappointment Persephone thought, they might wish to try this strange blood coloured but not real blood looking tea.

 

Following this rather dramatic play, she settled herself at the other end of the bar and drank the steaming liquid with relish. The heat scalded her tongue wonderfully and the flavour was quite sharp and tangy, giving Persephone small shivers. It was so different to the raindrop cake, enjoying the sourness she refused as a sweetener and slipped it away rapidly.

 

During her zesty drink, another idea came to mind to intrigue her follower. Standing and pushing away her empty glass, she called for a piece of paper and a writing utensil. In flowing script, she wrote a small riddle onto the page and then passed it to the vendor, a small cold coin slipping alongside the note and the request to pass it to her friend if they should accept the drink. Should they come to accept Persephone’s invitation and drink the tea, the vendor would hand them the note upon which was written –

 

Hello, would you like to play a game?

I climbed a cherry tree, where I found cherries. I didn't pick cherries, nor did I leave cherries. How did I achieve this?

-       P

 

(If they should not accept the tea or the note with the riddle, the vendor would remove the tea and return the note.)

Laughing to herself softly, she ordered another cup and settled back down to drink it, this time cold to see the variation in flavour. As it turned out, Persephone preferred the tea hot overall. She wondered if her new friend would like the tea as well.

@Bardic Knowledge

Edited by Abigail666

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   “It has come to my attention that it seems I have been had, however, where malice meets malice chaos may soon rain.”

   Souji caught a glimpse of a smile that differed from his. This smile wasn’t one hidden in confusion, or to hide one’s intentions. It showed a form of emotion, though, when his eyes caught glimpse of the deadly tools of her race he could not help but allow his smile to vanish. In this, did two things. One, if she caught a glimpse of his eyes she would see a projected murderous intent. It was not a skill one could learn willy-nilly, it was the look of someone who had killed scores of individuals in hardened combat.  The second would be an attempt to scare individuals he did not want to deal with away, though, to a supernatural being it probably wouldn’t affect them.

   “I think she likes being followed, let us continue this game.”

   She moved and Souji followed now comfortable enough to expose his presence since stealth was no longer a piece on the chess board.

   When she came to her next stop Souji watched her body language. He watched as she drank and when the playing card for him to approach was set, he surely followed taking up his assigned seat in front of the glass before motioning to the stall vendor to bring him sugar. A lot of sugar. When the vendor returned with cubes, each time Souji would send him back for more. About fifteen of them would do.

   “Now bring us the games.”

   Souji slowly added one cube at a time to the mixture, stirring it until it was dissolved. The excessive sugar caused the tea to become thick near the bottom like a syrup. He would continue this until the entire drink was that of a syrup sugary like mess before unfolding the note before him.  After looking at what was written, Souji gave the woman a sidelong glance, so that she could catch the full purple pupil-less orbs.

   “I want more.”

   Souji took a long drink from his glass, enough to empty it halfway. Purposefully he would wait a moment, finish the drink, then slam the porcelain glass upside down on the table causing it to shatter. The splinters tore into his delicate palm just deep enough to cause a stream of silvery blood to spill about the remains of the cup and the countertop.

   “The game begins!”

   Souji turned to the woman and gave her a hollowed smile making sure to handle the note so that it was spotted in his blood before scrawling an answer on the back with his finger.

   “There are two cherries.”

   This was where he would move his first piece after watching her play her portions on the board beautifully. The fae stood, walked directly over to the other player and put the note before her. As he did he turned to leave not before placing his hand on her shoulder tightly, being sure to squeeze out enough of his silvery blood onto her as possible. When he removed his hand from her, she would notice that the scent of the blood was vastly different, as well as its composition. Was it her turn to follow him? It was time to leave, and so he began to move to the exit.

Yes, he did enjoy his tea, but only because there was a game involved.

 

@Abigail666

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Persephone’s teeth almost hurt at the sight of the mountain of white crystals piling up upon the bar, to say she was not seething with curiosity would have been a blatant lie. She kept her eyes on his motions, pupils following the mixing with rapped attention as the note was gradually unpeeled. Her eyes moved from the note to gauge his reaction, sweeping over his face and looking back in the eyes without pupils. Definitely not a human.

 

Her mind was thrown back to the homicidal expression that had been captured in his face earlier when the façade had fallen, it was frozen now in her mind. Her face remained soft, a small curve to her lips as she returned his gaze. Almost a smirk, a most interesting opponent indeed. When he moved to drink, Persephone returned to admiring her surrounding, her nails lightly tapping a beat into the varnished wood beneath her cup.

 

The tinkling sound of breaking glass catch her by surprise, but it was nothing in comparison to the rest of the sight of fresh, following blood. Persephone’s body, so languid and soft went arched and tense, her eyes widening with the pupils contracting rapidly to form small pinpricks.

 

Her breathing intensified as she inhaled the scent of the blood, different and far more complex than what she had thought would run in this creature’s veins. She cast a glance to the spill, marvelling in its shimmering under the sun as her opponent made his move. She returned the smile with ease, more amusement filling its shape.

 

Then she returned her gaze to the table, watching the note be placed but remained motionless under his touch. The scent of blood was intoxicating, potent as if she had breathed in the scent of a flower from the bud itself. When he removed his hand, her form came to life. One hand moved to collect the note and the other to press two fingers against the stain on her shoulder.

 

Upon pulling her fingers away, she rubbed them together, seeing how the blood moved and felt upon her skin. Strange, most strange indeed. Not another vampire, most certainly supernatural. Fae? How very unusual. Persephone didn’t think she had ever played against a fae before. Casting a long look at his figure as he moved, she retrieved the note, beaming as she read his answer and slipping inside her sleeve. She let her hands fall together in a slow and gentle clap as she slid from her place and moved to follow him.

 

As she walked behind him, she wrote another riddle on the back –

 

I can follow you for thousands of miles and not miss home. I do not fear cold or fire, and I desire neither food nor drink. But I disappear when the sun sets behind the western mountains. Who am I?

-       P

 

She folded the paper into a small square and picked a small blossom as it fell from the air, tucking it inside the note, watching for the best moment to move her own piece across the board in their delightful game. What could he teach her?

@Bardic Knowledge

Edited by Abigail666

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"Iselda, are you positive that it's a good idea to act so...so..." the wizard couldn't quite find the right words to describe his cohorts behavior. Mischievous perhaps, even foolhardy, but it didn't quite capture the satyr like nature of the elf. He was an easy going person when he was calm, but whenever he got into a festive mood...

 

"Please Leselidas, just have some fun! We've done our part, now lets just relax and enjoy ourselves." He took a large gulp of wine, smiling as his cheeks turned red and the sound of merriment grew greater with every moment. With Iselda paying for everyone to drink and eat, more people were coming to be part of the celebration. People of all races and classes were able to take part in the jubilation. Cakes were devoured en masse while the tea and liquor flowed freely.

 

All the while the other members of the elven diplomatic group were starting to loosen up themselves, though they kept mostly to their own group. There weren't many elves in Port Caelum, yet the ones that were there seemed to be drawn to the people of House Aetherion. Using the party as their means of connecting with the others, the diplomats were able to.begin conversing with their fellow long eared brethren, looking to find a few converts for their religion. "At least we won't have to explain to Lothlorian why our gold reserves are so depleted..."

 

Being in the center of attention suited Iselda well, he thought as he mingled and danced between the revelers. Kisses were shared, more than a little grabbing, but it was all done in good fun, with Iselda just sober enough not to let it get too out of hand. Lothlorian made it his only condition that his second in command wasn't to cut back completely while they were here at Port Caelum. Something about public indecency and sending the wrong message by starting an orgy within the city streets. He never was a proponent for having much fun, but he complied to his lover's wishes and did his best not to get a little too drunk.

 

"Did he just kiss that hairy man?" The female acrobat asked in disgust, finding his actions more than a little repulsive. "You can't win the hearts and minds of people by being a degenerate, Iselda!"

 

"Oh really?" He asked, looking to the growing crowd. "How does everyone feel about House Aetherion?" Applause rang out from the people, clapping and hollering their praise at such a generous elf. "Well then, who here isn't afraid to get a little degenerate, Hmm?" They laughed in response, finding the proposition humorous in nature. As the parents and children filtered themselves out from the group, Iselda began consuming even more of the sweet wine he held in his perfect golden hand.

 

________________________________

 

Lothlorian looked to the little elf girl, sensing there was something more to her than met the eye. Sometimes the greatest of treasures were right under your nose, and the elven leader was almost sure this one was a greater prize than he could imagine. 

 

"What are you to me?" 

 

Taking her hand in his, he felt just how soft yet strong, the power hidden deep inside of it. Looking into those eyes of hers, he could see she had more inside of her than a simple savage look. She had seen more, more than Lothlorian could possibly know, perhaps more than anyone else he had known. With a smile, he spoke to her again, this time using high elvish to speak with her, as it was as close to the strange dialect she used before.

 

"Eloine nos'saranos mollnal Valucre errasola begolin."

 

(In you, there is hope for a better future for Valucre.)

 

Lothlorian had a way with words, especially when it came to his own people. For too long the elves have been scattered, isolated and fractured. Change was on the horizon, and in that change, would come the new golden age of the elves. Valucre would finally know order as it did thousands of years ago, in the mythic ages of its past when true leaders were in control, and the rabble knew their place.

 

@Radioactive

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He had to admit, this festival looked like fun. If he were here for any other reason, he’d probably join the party and have a few drinks with those golden-skinned elves. He hated elves, more than he hated humans, but at least those particular elves knew how to party.

Ninelives, as his friends called him, strolled casually past the celebration and debauchery. His loose- fitting cloak concealing the armor and blades beneath. He knew where he was heading, but he occasionally idled around a vendor, or pretended to consider his next destination. Viper, his partner in crime, had already located their target, the fox-queen, Akako. Viper was poised nearby, awaiting the right moment to strike.

Ninelives made his way closer to the garden, where the target stood with two elves. He reached into his cloak and grasped the blade, watching and waiting.

///////////////////

Viper had made her way within twenty feet of the target, and she was confident that she had not been detected. The light breeze was taking her scent in another direction, and she hadn’t made a sound as she slowly crawled through the flowerbeds and shrubbery.

She carefully withdrew her poisonous blade. She did not have to kill the fox-demon, she only had to cut her. The poison on the blade would temporarily paralyze the target, then Ninelives would do the rest.

Viper smiled and licked her lips. This was the first step in cleansing Genesaris in glorious chaos. She awaited the signal from Ninelives.

 

Edited by Radioactive

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E5T310x.jpgPolitics. Blah blah blah. Every single day, all she heard was more and more political talk. She was sick of it. In all honesty, why should she care? It's not like her father even let her participate in the empire's administration. It was all studying and politics and etiquette and more politics and history and studying and then, guess what? Even more politics. For once in her life, Teresa was thrilled to be away from her father. She knew that the people thought he was a good king, but as a father he was rather lack luster. Good rulers made bad parents. It was basically a law of nature. Anyone who thought otherwise had obviously never had a ruler for a parent. 

"Princess? We've arrived," Machiavelli said, turning his silver eyes toward her. Even though he was old and worn, making him angry was always waaaay at the bottom of her to do list. The old man was strong as all hell. And kinda scary. Even if he was ancient. The large airship landed safely, a soft thud echoing as it touched down. "I believe the festival has already begun."

"We're late! But I even hurried." Teresa frowned, looking to the mirror for the billionth time since leaving home to make sure her dress and hair were in place. "We'll have to be quick and find Lady Akako quickly then. As dad said," the princess deepened her voice in a bad imitation of her father, "Teresa, you must be on your best behavior. Try not to anger the rulers there. Blah blah blah Scarlet Region is a better friend than enemy blah blah blah politics." Her mocking got a couple chuckles from the peanut gallery of guards, but Machiavelli just rolled his eyes. Apparently the captain of the guard had gotten used to her shenanigans. Guess it was time to kick it up a notch. 

"It's not just the Scarlet Region, princess." The captain of the guard stood and tapped the airship driver's shoulder, indicating for him to let down the hatch. "We're now also in the Carmine Empire."

"Wow. The Carmine Empire. How scary."

"Princess..."

"Yeah, yeah. I already said I'd behave, okay? Stop being a dad." Teresa shot to her feet as the hatch opened and revealed the bright sun of a beautiful day. "Hmmm... I wonder if Genesaris has better food than at home."

"Depends on if you enjoy shitty food or not," one of the guards answered, achieving laughter from his comrades. But a quick glare from Machiavelli quickly shut him down.

"Now is not the time to display your bias against Genesaris. We are here to protect the princess. To continue to insult the hosts of the festival, whose invitations the princess accepted, is a mockery to her highness." Machiavelli's sharp eyes drove daggers into his men. "Do not talk unless requested by the princess."

"Oh come on. Lighten up," Teresa grumbled, tucking away a strand of dirty blonde hair behind an ear. "It's a festival. No one is going to attack me. There's no better way to make peace than through having some fun!" To that, her captain said nothing and Teresa sighed. Men. If they couldn't act mysterious and puff out their chests with too much testosterone, they'd probably be lying down picking their nose. Honestly. 

Initially she'd wanted to wear a really pretty baby blue dress. It had been tight, accentuating her curves, and stopped right above her knees. But nooooooooooooooooo. That was "inappropriate" for a princess to wear, especially at what was basically a social gala. Sometimes she could swear her dad wanted her to just wear a blanket outside. Instead Teresa wore an elegant emerald dress that widened at the bottom so as to seemingly cascade as she walked. Ugh. Green. Who wore green? Why had her dad chosen green to decorate the empire's flag. Couldn't have been, like, blue? Or pink? Or even purple? She could do purple. But green. UGH.

The soft clop of her heels while she walked was drowned by the hard thump of her guards' military grade boots following from right behind. Teresa had only taken a couple steps before she stopped, her face beet red, turned around, and gave a great big angry huff. 

"For Gaia's sake, can you all PLEASE just walk further behind me? GAIA! No one's going to attack me okay. I'm sixteen. You don't have to walk on my heels." The guards nodded and Machiavelli bowed, but they did not distance themselves. Not even an inch. Probably her father's orders. "I hope lady Akako isn't too hard to find." She hadn't been away from Taen or Ursa Madeum in quite a while, much less out of Terrenus. Once she found the regent and talked nice for a bit, she could go enjoy the festival for real. Maybe even ditch the guards for a while. Oh and find Queen Yusuke if she was there. If she even could. 

 

Edited by Ataraxy

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               “And so, the mouse chases the cat. Amusing. Vampires generally lose logic when they become hungry, so let us make her hungry.”

Souji made sure that the distance she was following was just far enough to keep in barely in sight, his wounded hand was squeezed tight, allowing droplets of his silvery blood to leave a cookie trail to his location. A left, then a right. A crowded street was where he would do his work. His right hand fell to the hilt of Chiame and withdrew it in scabbard a centimeter further up his belt. He turned it sideways, so that the blade would face outwards and kicked the guard open with his thumb exposing a small amount of the rainbow looking blade.

            “Here kitty, kitty.”

            The fae let loose a wild giggle and began to bump into random people. As he bumped them Chiame took a tiny portion of skin away from the exposed flesh. Not more than a papercut on any exposed skin. He aimed mostly at dangling hands, as nicked fingers would bleed the most.

“Get hungry.”

One, two, three! More than the eye could see tiny little paper cuts blotting a trail of madness down the packed festival streets. How many of these people could she pass before she started killing them? How many before she had to eat?

Souji giggled again when he felt the path was tempting enough and placed his sword back in its normal position. When he had enough the creature bound atop a wooden fence beam and looked back for his fellow player.  Once he was able to locate her, his eyes fell upon the thicket of blossoming trees on the other side of the fence.

“I wonder if the cat will chase the mouse into its hole.”

Down the hill and into the trees. It felt but like a step for him. Each tree was given an otherworldly bloody handprint. As his trial ended, she would find him sitting with his back against the largest tree sitting cross-legged waiting for her. Through his games, he would be sure to smell heavily of blood. 

“I saw the depths of your delight, now let us see the depths of your madness. What does a creature of primal behavior look like when you poke at it with a very large stick? Will she go so far as to try and eat me? Oh! OH! Please try and eat me. If you dare to take a taste, you will find I am sweet. You will want another taste and another, and you shall never truly know what it means to be free from addiction. You will beg and plea for more it is almost the perfect kind of torture and it was as if nature designed this torture just for you. There is a reason we of the fae are immune to the bite.”

Souji chuckled under his breath at his thoughts. Amusement was something that he could feel.

 

@Abigail666

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Akako understood what the elven lord was explaining deeply. Yokai weren’t a well-loved people. They were demons, subjected to purification and hatred by ignorant humans. Though, unlike Lothlorian, Akako had no misconception that her kind was the ultimate being. As old as she was, she had been humbled many times. Several millennia gave her knowledge that was rare. Each race had its weakness whether they wanted to admit it or not. Despite being subjected to hatred from humans, the kitsune didn’t loathe their existence either.

The demoness hummed in agreement and snapped open her fan which she tapped on her lips thoughtfully. “Well, as you can see, my port does not discriminate…” She interjected as an afterthought. The demoness was distracted however by the shift in his scent. Pepper spiked his bright aroma as anger laced through his blood and ignited hormones which changed his scent. It was a subtle thing, but Akako wouldn’t miss that hint of spice. Her nose twitched slightly as it burned her senses lightly.

“You can be sure that I will offer sanctuary to any of your people within my port. While I do not control what happens across the Scarlet Region, I control what happens here.” They would need to hold a meeting with all figureheads in the Scarlet Region to iron out a true alliance; however, Akako was ready and willing to offer her support. It was like yesterday, she could remember shackles that had her arms spread eagle and her ankles chained to the floor. Mages chanted around her nude form that was covered in blood. How many sacrifices had been made to summon her and they were so disappointed that she was the result.  Demons and yokai were constantly poked and prodded by humans. They called them monsters, but how true was that?

Akako turned her gaze to the apparition that kept the ancient elf company. “Just an elf, indeed…” The fox-goddess laughed then before looking to Lothlorian then back to the spirit. “In our world, he is a God in his own right. Those in positions of political power are in some cases. Loved by his people… influencing those enough to practically worship him.” There was amusement in Akako’s eyes. Surely they would all be stunned that Akako could not only see Terianthus, but hear him. Unless Helian knew what Akako was exactly, she wouldn’t understand why.

The kitsune was a Daiyokai, a Great Spirit or demon depending on who you were talking to. Most knew what Akako was by the rumors that had spread. She was the Queen of Yokai. The underworld of things that went bump in the night knew her name and sought her out for refuge or to request favors. It was undeniably useful to the Scarlet Queen, however, that wasn’t why Akako was brought into the position of power. Red trusted Akako above most others and valued Akako’s added knowledge.

Like a beacon in the dark, a lighthouse in a storm, Akako felt Red’s presence amongst her people. Hopefully, the Scarlet Queen would come to greet the Daiyokai, but Akako wouldn’t hold her breath. Red knew that Akako would be busy and Red would avoid the limelight on this particular day.

Aiyoku stepped out of the garden area, however, remained in the estate. Her lips parted, her forked tongue tasting the air. Closing her mouth, the serpent’s white brows furrowed. There was a hint of bitterness in the air. Vanishing in a wisp of white smoke, the serpent took her smaller form which was inconspicuous. The white snake trod through the grass heading the same direction as the wind.

Another pulse of her yoki and the demon familiar shifted back into her humanoid form. Her light violet eyes scanned the area, seeing the yellows and oranges that signified body heat. She parted her lips once again and tasted the air and hissed in annoyance. As many canine yokai there were in the estate, someone with poison was in the vicinity. Stupid fucking dogs. Looking in the direction of where Akako would be, Aiyoku realized that Akako wouldn’t scent the poison until it was too late. Shit!

 

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Grant was still not used to being fawned over the way his mother did when she greeted him after a long absence. In fact, he wasn't used to anyone making any kind of fuss about his presence at all. Until recently he always went out of his way to never be seen; to arrive and depart with no fanfare. Assassins weren't meant to be in the spotlight after all; it made it rather hard to effectively do the job. But while his job description had only marginally changed from assassin to spy; he was now a well known part of the royal family, his comings and goings the subject of whispers and gossip. Most baffling to him was the speculation on his dating life; as he couldn't understand why anyone would possibly care about that besides those directly involved.

Once Raveena was done with her display of motherly affection, the two of them walked arm in arm through the streets, making pleasant conversation as they went. As they walked though, Grant could sense his mothers growing anxiety, though he could not fathom its cause. Still, he respected her instincts, and he started to scan the environment for any possible threats. None were forthcoming, but he couldn't help but feel that something was wrong now; something that he could not understand. At the thought of danger his thought process changed from son to Knight, and he gently stopped his mother and looked at her.

"Mother," he said quietly, "Perhaps it would be best if we went back to the ship. Something isn't right."

@Deus Ex Aizen

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"Hm? Aah. I'm sure it's simply my anxiety over crowds. As someone with abilities that can be triggered through touch, it can be nerve-wrecking. Old habits die hard, and my anxiety has followed me into this life as well." It was common knowledge, the Queen's Empathy. Only recently in Avalyon did she discover it was not truly Empathy--not as Psions thought it to be, as her abilities when in contact with humans and creatures paled in comparison to the full might of her gift with Dragons and their kin. To Raveena, it were as though she had been on the wrong frequency of a radio station.

With people, she could only glean their emotions and on the occasion--their memories. With Dragonkin, a whole picture was painted. Their thoughts, their feelings, their memories. Their sensations became her own, their eyes became her eyes. Their language, her language. It had been a cautionary brush with her nephew that had revealed such a marvel, and Raveena had since kept the result of their encounter to herself to research it further.

It was not a lie, however. Crowds did leave the woman feeling less than well, for fear of being sucked into an Empathetic Stasis that she may struggle to disengage herself from. She saw it like a muscle. If she practiced it more, she could master it better. The mind was a dangerous thing, and emotions were more dangerous, still. Raveena gently patted Grant's up and smiled at him.

From the day she had met him, he had been kind to her, ultimately not knowing that the man who had hired him to keep an eye on her during Himmeslfestung's rebellion had been his own father. He supported her through the elections, and assisted Rowan by joining the Web. He was so much like Rowan that she sufficed to believe that she had a glimpse into who Preta was before he had become a self-proclaimed monster.

Who was Raveena to judge? In her past life she had been a martyr, a living weapon with a death wish. She, in her own right, had been a monster--a shell of a woman who had been robbed of happiness, from the loss of her family, the destruction of her home in Predator's Keep, down to her death and reincarnation. She had been given a second chance, but had been robbed of memories she would never recall. She had been told her story hundreds of times, hundreds of ways. Did it really matter in the big scheme of things?

She lived now. She loved, deeply. She ruled firmly but fairly. She had a wonderful man who came into her life as someone she wanted nothing to do with, but had gotten to known, grown to love, and could not imagine a future without. She had a loving son who, despite not being her flesh and blood, deserved to be loved and cared for as a mother would. It would never ceased to move her, the way they came into her life, expecting to make a paycheck off of her, and instead gaining much more than they thought they were worthy of. But Raveena knew--they were worthy of much more.

"You know," She began to tease, "This is just another occasion for us to find a leading lady for you, my sweet. You may not be my first born, but you are a member of the Imperial Family. I had to fight for my council to accept Rowan as a legitimate suitor. His blood runs in my veins now, as my blood runs through his. To question his legitimacy, is to challenge my sovereignty."

She winked at him and grinned, "They did not."

"And while my first born son may never take the throne, I want you to know that I don't expect you to. What I do, I was born to do. I was destined to do. It's in my blood. While I don't want to shelter you from the royal lifestyle I now live. When I invoke the Imperial Call and legitimize myself as Empress, I need you to understand that I don't want you to marry for politics, or because it's expected of you as a member of two Imperial families.

I want you to find a woman--or man, or cat, elf, undead--whoever it is you choose to love. Do it because you sincerely love that person."

She took a moment to admire flowers. At the sweeping petals that cascaded to the ground like snow. Of blossoms that would swivel their heads towards her--recognizing her for the Elementalist by blood that she were. Most things that occurred in nature were drawn to her--and she to them. She speculated this was why it was easy and natural to connect with La'Ruta in Orisia.

"Our lives are transient, like flowers. There's too much to experience and enjoy in our mortal lives to waste it on the facade of political relationships." She rest her head on Grant's arm and sighed happily, "You know, there's talk that I allowed myself to be adopted by Rafael for political gain. So few who know me well, or at all. Rafael is the only father figure I can remember. I remember my mother and my father, but as a child who lost them too soon. It's why I place great value on family relationships and romantic ones."

She pulled away from Grant, her expression serious as she eyed him warily, "Do promise me that if you ever feel pressured socially, you will tell me, won't you?"

@danzilla3

@Bardic Knowledge

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