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Mr Stark I don't feel so good [Relic Quest]

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Image result for ghostship fantasy artA handful of weeks had passed since Samson delivered the Mori armband to Ankou and Lilith broke Samael, turning the young boy from something with potential to something dangerous. With her goals more than accomplished in Terrenus, Lilith put the continent behind her. Perhaps to return one day, perhaps not. The winds of power would take her wherever they beckoned.

In those weeks various rumors had spread through the Cult of Power's Genesaris branch like a hungry fire, deftly alerting Lilith to the discovery of a Genesar Cornerstone. To her knowledge, as well as those of the Lunar Daughters' swirling in her thoughts, the Cornerstones had been lost for ages. 

Not that Lilith was particularly interested in most of the Cornerstones- they held abilities far removed from her own, even those that came close being not necessarily worth the effort with Terrenus held similar artifact but were much closer. 

That, however, all changed when whispers of the Soul Cornerstone reached her ears. After generations the stone was once again said to have appeared, this time in the Bloodstone Marshes. The Soul Stone not only aligned with her personal capabilities, but would prove a powerful addition to Zengi's gauntlet. Together the two would prove to be a power beyond anything Valucre has seen too date.

Displaying a lazy grin, Lilith knocked against the side of her Ghostship and a landing board expanded out of seeming nothingness. With the soft clatter of her boots on the solidifying ghost wood, the powerful Terrenus necromancer disembarked onto the northern coastal of Genesaris. Though she hadn't particularly forced any of the Paragons to accompany her, those that had would be following her exit so that the Ghostship could vanish once again. Patiently waiting for Lilith's summoning. 

Glancing down at the three figures who awaited her, Lilith gave a rare faint smile in their direction. One Paragon, Mercury, one servant of Ankou, Samson, and a new member, Cerin. The new member, though Lilith thought of her already as a Paragon, had yet to undergo the initiation and was not marked. That would swiftly be changed. 

"Hiya, Commander," Mercury shrieked, rushing to Lilith. The little vampire tried to bow but her momentum carried her forward despite the attempt, rolling her straight into Lilith's legs. 

"Hello Mercury," the red-eyed Commander drawled. "I see you are still... you." The vampire gave a giggle as she straightened back up and went to go hug, or try to hug, Ankou. In the meanwhile Lilith turned to Cerin. "Mercury has spoken very highly of you in her letters, Cerin. What do you hope to gain from joining us?"

 

@AngryCacti @danzilla3 @vielle @Thotification @Chappu @King @Tyler @Veloci-Rapture

Edited by Ataraxy

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The weeks since Samson had recovered Mori for Ankou had passed by in a flash as the necromancer sequestered himself in his quarters to research the artifact. So far he had managed to open gateways to five of the twenty planes whose names were inscribed on the band. For the moment however, he had stopped visiting new worlds, deciding to first master the object more thoroughly before exploring any further. To this end, he had decided that first he would learn to better use the band in the plane he inhabited. Immediately he had found his abilities much easier to use than when he had been peering into other realms. To open a portal somewhere, he needed only to hold an image of the location in his mind, and the portal would open there.

So far he hadn't really tried to channel dimensional energy through the band just yet, though he knew that such a thing was possible. Attempting to control energies of such magnitude was dangerous, and he wanted to research the subject more before he gave it a try. But while he hadn't directly channeled the energy, he had reached out to it, just to confirm it was there. He had not been disappointed, and the potential energy had been immense. Once he had mastered it, he would be a force of nature.

Now however, he stood on the deck of the ship while Lilith welcomed the others aboard. He and Samson traded a nod before he felt the small frame of the vampire known as Mercury wrap her arms around his waist. While this habit used to annoy him, he had come to accept it, and simply patted her on the head.

 

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As the ghost ship touched down and the sound of boots upon a gangplank led several presences to the earth, Cerin clutched tight to Hades’ leash. The skeletal dog was napping (or performing the nearest approximation to sleep that an undead could do) by her bare feet. To say that she was nervous about this meeting would be a grand understatement. However much Lilith had heard about her, Cerin had heard double about the commander from Mercury. Even Mercury’s shenanigans, normally enough to crack a smile from the elf’s normally passive facade, didn’t alleviate the apprehension.

Then Lilith was before her. Talking to her. "Mercury has spoken very highly of you in her letters, Cerin. What do you hope to gain from joining us?" [Lilith] 

“Knowledge, mostly,” the young necromancer said. She kept her head high, seeming to look back at the commander. “And if knowing is power then I hope to gain power as well. There are things I cannot learn by myself.” And protection, she added silently as third. “If-“ she hesitated only for a second- “If you’ll have me.” There was a sense of familiarity in this meeting for Cerin as she recognized the power of someone like herself, but in a way that a mongrel recognizes the power of a wolf.

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“Knowledge, mostly. And if knowing is power then I hope to gain power as well. There are things I cannot learn by myself. If-If you’ll have me.” [Cerin]

Apprentices and protegees were for mortals and those of weak minds, so Cerin's words didn't strike that cord with Lilith. And unlike some in the world, the younger necromancers timidness and humility did not work to endear herself. A slight tilt of the head was all Lilith gave in response to the qualification. Thinking. Analyzing the young girl; seeing if Mercury's stories were full of embellishment or true to the word. 

Despite Cerin being blinded of sight the feeling of being watched would still be felt under Lilith's commanding scrutiny. When the Commander looked at another her eyes bypassed the meat suit, the facade of appearances, they wore in favor of the soul within. Life and death, the trade to most necromancers, were play things to Lilith. It was the soul that mattered to her. The soul which gave power both within a being and outside of the being. 

"If I would not have you," she started slowly, "you would not be here." Behind Lilith the little vampire giggled, one hand still clutching absently to Ankou's cloak. The Commander wasn't one for feelings or emotions in abundance, so that was about as good a recruitment quote as anyone could get. "Take my hand, young necromancer." A single hand was extended toward Cerin. "And you will gain power beyond what you could have imagined. With that power will come a greater access to knowledge. The world's secrets will fall before you with loose lips. But beware. All power comes at a cost. The Lunar Mark you will receive is not so easily cast away."

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THE PRETTY PARAGONImage result for mysterious heroine x


As the first ghost ship touched the sandy shore, there came a second. This new ghost ship was quite similar to the first one but possibly different too. Within it was a pack of figures, all dressed in varying long coats. These figures are one and all soldiers, warriors supposedly devoted to the necromancer Lilith. For what reasons have this vile party appeared right here and right now? What reason do they have to infect such precious, pristine and virgin land with their vile and perverse presence? Whatever the reason is, one thing is clear, they are all on shore leave as one by one the passengers all jumped out either through the port or starboard side of the ship, their boots landing quite haphazardly against the sandy beach with nary a concern for whatever island life that may have stepped on.

Within such a party was a little girl, her body hidden underneath that long hooded coat of hers. Her leap down was quite graceful, her landing rather succinct. One could say she was the epitome of childish beauty, of that edgy, forbidden allure that was supposedly reserved for those young in both mind, body and soul. Her tiny boots half sunk into the sandy beach as she joined her group in trudging towards the denizens of the other ship, towards the woman called Lilith, the woman the group called their "Commander."

The girl had called herself the Pretty Paragon, one that fits the enchanting glamour of her youthful visage. Yes, she was pretty but so too was the price of her head. But she was not one to care for such trivialities. She had always directed her concern elsewhere, towards the whims and desires of her new master, her "Commander." Finally, her steps had led her to her final goal, in front of her esteemed Commander. She nodded then to acknowledge the presence of other beings but her eyes were fixated on that solitary figure of her Commander. So she spoke then, the words gushing out of her mouth with reckless abandon.

"Commander, fancy meeting you here. Khakina, the Pretty Paragon, at your service."

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There was a moment of silence after Lilith finished speaking where Cerin neither moved nor spoke. She simply stared back at the commander, thinking.

Her nervousness faded, for it had been the fear of the future that now stood, unflinching, before her. Instead, a cold resolve built in her chest. Deep down, she had known what her answer would be long before this meeting. It is said that history repeats itself and Cerin was a living testimony. No matter what she did, the necromancer would always find herself beneath the hand of others, working for a cause she did not believe in in exchange for some small power. She knew that by accepting, she would be thrust back into the cycle of allegiance. She also knew that if she declined, the world may not give her another chance so readily.  

Cerin spoke slowly, choosing her words carefully. “I served under a mark for most of my life,” she said, “and it promised a beautiful lie of power without a cost. When it cast me out, it branded me for the world to see.” She reached out and took Lilith’s proffered hand. Her grip was dry and firm and when she spoke next there was iron conviction in her voice. “For what you are offering,” she said, “I should hope this mark proves stronger.”

Distantly, she was aware of more people embarking from the ship. As one came over to greet the commander, the young necromancer broke the moment with a nod and retreated back a step to allow formalities to be exchanged.

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For the moment Lilith ignored Khakina, her eyes trained still to Cerin's. The Pretty Paragon would wait her turn and Lilith would speak to her when ready. As Cerin pulled away, attempting to dislodge her hand from Lilith's grip and retreat back politely, Lilith's hands tightened. Hard. 

She grasped the younger necromancer's hand until it the girl's finger bones might have snapped. And then it happened. 

The Lunar Mark transferred from progenitor to progeny. The surge of power which flowed through Lilith and into Cerin through their connected hands was similar process to the other paragon's, except for that Cerin was both young and had great affinity for the necromantic arts. So the enormous power that was flooded into a Paragon might overwhelm her should her will quiver.

And then the energy would nestle into Cerin's everything, her blood, DNA, mind; everything. And finally there would be another power that bloomed. Except this was not a foreign or strange power. It was Cerin's own. The power and the mark bestowed upon her by Lilith did not give her power, but unlocked a deep potential within. What Cerin would gain or where the Mark would be placed, Lilith did not know or care. But it was guaranteed to be something grand. 

Once it was over Lilith released Cerin's hand and shot a faintly amused look in Khakina's direction. The woman's naming choice was very much like her old Mistress'. 

With a spin on her heal she faced her Paragons, those just walking off the Ghostships or already on the sand, "Be prepared. We head for the Bloodstone Marsh. Mercury here," Lilith gestured toward the little vampire and her giant grin, "will be acting as our liason with the Cult's Genesaris branch should anything be required. Take what you will, but the Soul Stone is mine. Let's go."

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Ankou watched the creation of the newest Paragon with a great sense of pride in Lilith, as he always did. While it was never spoken of, everyone in the Cult knew that the pair had a relationship that was more akin to a grandfather and granddaughter than that of a leader and her subordinate. Part of this was no doubt due to the fact that Lilith was only marginally more powerful than him, but there was more to it then that. When he had first met the young woman he had sensed great potential within her, and had felt an unfamiliar desire to nurture that potential as best he could. Strangely, this role of mentor seemed to have spread to the inner circle of the Cult at large, as seen with Mercury. It was a strange feeling... though not an unpleasant one. 

He stepped forward to speak to Lilith, "Say the word, and I will open a portal to the Marsh."

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Samael is running late, but then there is nothing notable he had missed.

He steps forward onto the deck of the ghost ship, materializing as if from thin air, and watches impassively at the events unraveling before him, blissfully ignoring the other members of the Cult aside from his Commander and her right hand man.

Mercury is as mercurial, as unpredictable as her mineral counterpart; he wishes nothing to do with her for too long. The same goes for the Pretty Paragon Khakina, and despite his faint recollections on questing with her through the mountains of Taen, he is not quite as accommodating towards her as he had been to the Mistress.

As he observes the proceedings, a new Paragon is born on the shores of Genesaris, and he nods faintly towards the necromancer, a skeletal dog resting at her feet in great abandon.

"Be prepared. We head for the Bloodstone Marsh. Mercury here will be acting as our liason with the Cult's Genesaris branch should anything be required. Take what you will, but the Soul Stone is mine. Let's go."

Samael simply gazes forward, almost vacantly with no visible response to the command, but his presence speaks volumes all the same. He needs not confirm it with his Commander; she knows he follows her wherever she goes.

"Say the word, and I will open a portal to the Marsh."

Hidden in the slight shadows of the mast, the boy watches Ankou and waits for further instruction.

Edited by vielle

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Power surged through the necromancer’s body. Her blood became molten electricity that raced through her veins in tempo with the wild drumming of her heart. It was unlike anything she had felt before. Energy coursed through her, slipping into the marrow of her being. It coated her bones in a foreign influence and swirled through her head, threatening to rise and swallow her mind in the tide. It wormed its way into her soul and when Cerin was on the brink of wavering, of crying out, of breaking free and abandoning this venture, it unlocked something and the tide receded as her own power bloomed. 

It was over as soon as it started and Lilith released Cerin’s hand. The younger necromancer swayed in place, head spinning. She was light yet heavy, weak and yet more powerful than she had ever been. The back of her neck felt raw and burnt and she gingerly reached up to feel beneath her tangled mess of hair. To her surprise, her fingers traced a crescent moon of raised scar-like skin, small enough to fit beneath her palm, that sat at the nape of her neck. 

Still marveling, the new paragon coaxed her skeletal dog to its feet and wrapped the leash around her hand. There would be time to explore her new power later. The conversation had moved to the topic of departure and it seemed the general group, which grew larger by the minute, was ready to go. 

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Splash!!


Even as others arrived by Ghostship the lone Paragon child arrived by means of his own devices. Being one of the last to arrive obviously he had slept far too long when the departure was called by Lilith. THankful he knew where to find her even if he wasn't right next to her. Moments after the ships had made their cozy departure, the waves of the oceans began to swell and churn as if a storm were coming to swallow the beach. The moisture in the air increased as the weather itself slowly became cloudy and windy. The sand upon the beach whipped about forming into faint cyclones with no power to them. Waves receded before coming together in a large bowl shape over the surface; it was almost as if something were trying to break through to the current world itself. After a few heartbeats, the water exploded as a large Leviathan came from the water throwing someone into the sky. Water rained down as if a monsoon had just landed upon the shores. The dragon roared at Caim before curling in on itself and diving back into the ocean. 

Down Caim fell before flipping forward landing like a superhero. The sand beneath him erupted slightly upward as he held his Fangblade in the left hand. The right hand held a half-eaten sammich which he continued to eat silently. He was clad in the Black Cartel jacket he had first obtained when becoming a Paragon his only taxing request from Lilith. Grunts and slight moans left his small figure as he had foodgasms for days. From beneath the hood, his rainbow optics looked directly at Lilith before he spoke with his mouth full. "Sorre-- Munch munch  I'm lat--Mmmpph ." A satisfied burp left the boys lips as he smiled at the group. "Who are we killing and how many? Is Samael here?! There Ankou the cheeky man." Laughing lightly Caim was ignorant to the fact that not only did he make it rain on all of them but he was also late on top of it. 

@vielle @Ataraxy

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It was dark. Cold. Claustrophobic. Without dying, without knowing whether this was still life or indeed had become death, he awaited the time he might shed these chains and this Terror; Sephys awaited the time he might shed Kasyrga for a powerful mantle anew. Immutable as he had always been, he dreamt he would be, and when the Terror left he was free.

Sephys Isigdril, the Terror of Kasyrga of Shawnee and the veritable blue Valucre centuries ago, was free with the shedding of his mutated son. Poor Henry, now the true "Terror." Sephys took responsibility for the giant horned beast that now roamed Shawnee and had once terrorized a kingdom at his hand. It was, afterall, his son. Henry, once a great general of king Sephys, was experimented on for the purposes of becoming a great weapon of war. Instead, he had become a warped mountainous creature with no will to fight— no will to survive at all.

Dredge's assaults on a harbor in Shawnee had awoken and risen the Terror, who was once chained to Sephys and his castle and plunged into the depths of the ocean. The Terror absconded into Shawnee, Sephys' chains broken, the terrible king came forth to wrought terror on Valucre once more... Only to find that it had changed entirely. Who roamed these lands now were men and beasts and all between with power ranging from infantile to immortal in degrees of awesomeness. So it was that Sephys decided he must collect all his great wares of war with which to wield warily with whorling... you get it.

Now, Sephys roamed the countrysides in search of his various swords and shields and whores and what have you. Now, much to his dismay most of the whores had died after 297 years— what bitches!, the giant knight thought, trudging through swampy waters. Bugs didn't even register him as a source of blood— fish didn't even swim away from his glomping steel glompers in the swamp. 

There was a ship some ways off. There were always ships some ways off, thought the stircrazy tyrant fresh out of centuries-old hybernation. Ripples of marsh water 'V'ed away from him, rolling toward the discussing party. Sephys' utterly insane musings through the maw of his helmet would be at first more and more audible, then less and less audible as he trudged right past them. He was rotating his hands before him, looking at this gnarled stick protruding from the ground and that tuft of bushes that looked like it may conceal something from him.

"Always ne'erdowells, never my damned polearm. It was right here, no over there. Is it this? No. This? Curse you to the chamber pots, Gaia!"

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Lilith nodded toward Ankou with a quick jerk of her head, "Open it. Try to pinpoint the Marsh's center when you do." She might have an eternity to live and scour for the Soul Stone, but the quicker she was able to obtain it the better. Less challengers to get in her way. The occasional foe tended to prove as some form of entertainment, the Mistress people a prime example of that upon their first meeting, but when the opponents started to stack up against her the amusing aspect of it was swift to drain away and became a persistent annoyance. Much like the Terran Peacekeepers. 

"Khaki, Caim, Samael. The three of you will take the vanguard. Ankou and I be directly behind tracing the Soul Stone's location. Cerin, you will be helping us with the tracking since I'm interested in seeing if your necromantic abilities extend beyond pure summoning or rituals. Mercury will be at your side-" Lilith cast the little vampire a cold glare but Mercury just gave a little giggle, "quietly." It wasn't necessarily that Lilith doubted the new Paragon's abilities so much as she'd long learned the consequences of not assigning Mercury a specific task. And since the vampire had seemed to grow quite close to the young necromancer, it was another annoyance off her hands. "Venus was sent ahead so she should already have arrived at the Marsh, scouting." 

Once Ankou used the Mori armband to open up an entrance that would no doubt lead to another dimension and then bend into the Bloodstone Marsh, another nod from Lilith would then prompt the Paragons to walk through it. The Commander didn't particularly care about the order so long as none of them dawdled behind and wasted her time. The moment that the Paragons crossed through the portal and entered the Bloodstone Marsh, they would be immediately assaulted by a small horde of extremely aggressive Swamp Beasts

"Always ne'erdowells, never my damned polearm. It was right here, no over there. Is it this? No. This? Curse you to the chamber pots, Gaia!" [Sephys]

Lilith, having not yet crossed the portals, had stayed behind for a moment. Her eyes long since wondering off to land on some new being clad in a deep black. His curse of Gaia indicating Terran origins, though the rambling hinted at an age she'd recently related to Ankou. Since she hadn't walked through the Portals yet, Lilith didn't have to turn around to know that Ankou had not crossed either. "Ankou, open up a second portal for it." Then she paused and released a surge of power that would no doubt crash roughly into the grumbling entity. When Ankou would not doubt open up the portal directly in front of the armored clad creatures, Lilith would blast it with another wave of power. Not enough to kill it but enough to leave it no option but to go tumbling through the portal. "Don't resist, Terran." She snarled the command. "Just fall." 

And then she herself jumped through the inter-dimensional portals and in the Bloodstone Marsh. Never knew when some extra fodder could come in handy. 

Edited by Ataraxy

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Ankou nodded at Lilith's command and clasped his hands together as he prepared to open a portal to the marsh. Opening portals was not hard if he simply wanted to move to someplace within line of sight, or if he didn't care about the precise location of the landing zone. Creating a portal at a precise point however required immense mental focus, and meant that he had to constantly keep the location in his thoughts. The jade armband began to glow with brilliant light, text in an ancient script flaring to life as its power was called upon. Finally the lich reached out with his right arm, and what appeared to be a black hole the size of a fist appeared in front of the group. Opening his hand caused the portal to widen, until it was easily three meters across. 

"The portal should put you within five miles of the stone. Tread carefully."

Once the vanguard had gone through, he closed the portal just in time to hear the swearing of a new arrival. When Lilith once again asked him to open a portal, he was able to do it instantly this time, having locked in on the location. Once she had pushed the strange man through the portal, he followed behind before closing the interdimensional rift.

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Samael does not flinch as the other young male Paragon emerges out of the ocean, his entrance heralding the arrival of water sprinkling upon the group like rain, The only outward reaction to the sudden phenomenon is a brief tightening of the child’s lips: in faint distaste or distress, one can only wonder.

"Who are we killing and how many? Is Samael here?! There Ankou the cheeky man."

At the mention of his name, Samael shifts his gaze in Caim’s direction, gives him a nod of recognition and nothing further. Business is business, and standing here on the cusp of retrieving a powerful artifact in the name of the Commander is quite the serious venture.

"Khaki, Caim, Samael. The three of you will take the vanguard."

He stops listening after those words; he needs only know his own role and nothing more. Samael steps forth towards the aforementioned two and waits for anything else to be said. The Commander finishes delegating to her Paragons, and the boy watches as Ankou clasps his hands, summons a portal to the Bloodstone Marsh with the use of that shimmering armband.

"The portal should put you within five miles of the stone. Tread carefully."

Samael nods wordlessly, turns his eyes to the inter-dimensional gateway. With no other words to spare, he moves to cross over the threshold—

—and straight into a clearing of twisted tree roots and muddy swamp floor, surrounded by what seems to be a horde of monsters that roar violently at the sight of the young boy. Glowing eyes track him as the nearest moss-covered creature takes a swipe at him with gnarled treebark fingers. Samael dances away from the assault, awaits the others to appear near him as they enter the portal themselves.

 

@Chappu @Thotification @Ataraxy

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