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Dolor Aeternum

Reviving the Promise [Sky's Great Ravine Airship]

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Oh he had grown to truly enjoy this sensation. The feel of the wind carrying a light and salty mist on to his face and through his nostrils. The calm and yet sometimes fierce undulation the waves caused his ghost ship as he maneuvered across the seas. To think this could have never been possible were it not for Blob Boss who gifted him with the black oozy gift that helped him gain this property that was his…all his. Sure there were some specters here and there manning the ship that didn’t let him truly enjoy it on his own most times but this ship was his pride now and one he had no qualms using to help his family. When Blob Boss let him know that they would be going off on a journey to...as he put it…’ensure their progression of power’, Xavier jumped at the chance to help. He would take him wherever he needed to go whenever he needed to go.

 

The ship neared a nearly barren shore drained of most life and nearly untrekked were it not for those brave souls who wanted to benefit from the horrors that Whispernight and the magestorms of old had caused. Hidden deep within a cove, this place was merely a whisper told between seafarers that somehow managed to reach Xavier’s ear as he docked after one of his many journeys. He wanted to tell Blob Boss about it sooner but the thought of aimlessly searching for it while his boss’s creepy red eyes glared at him in disgust warranted that he research further so it took a few weeks of asking the more sinister areas along those maritime destinations, strong arming truth from pirate and peddler alike before he finally had a good bearing on where this place might be. Even then it took them nearly an hour once they reached the general area to truly find it as the waters were truly unforgiving in this area.

 

Death seemed to have conquered much of what lay before them though there was a hum of power that lingered in the air mixed with the beautiful sea that promoted excitement to those who could sense such things. It had been ages since so many of this makeshift family’s members had worked together but it was about time they could feel the promise they had felt that fateful day in Patia again.

@jaistlyn @Tyler @Fierach @sorainvoked @PandaHat

@King

Edited by Dolor Aeternum

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It was as if they were sailing from the land of the living to the land of the dead, judging by the scenery around them. It didn’t help that there were literal ghosts on the ship. Lunara stood on the lowest sail of the ship’s masts, looking at the crew floating about their tasks.

“I hope we won’t turn into ghosts too if we stay here for too long?” the faerie commented to anyone nearby who cared to listen. Even until now, she wasn’t sure the lumbering orc could be trusted. In particular, his intelligence was in doubt. She could deal with people looking at her in hunger, but the look in Xavier’s eyes always showed more than that. Awe, and a thirst that went beyond satisfying a physical need. A deep seated desire to overtake her. Overtake her in.. what? Agony’s favour? She couldn’t understand his infatuation with the emotionless, dense blob.

A whiff of magic, like a faint sign of life in this land of decay, drifted on the wind. Lunara perked up. “Unbelievable, we could be on to something,” she said.  What looked to be a rocky outcropping in the distance turned out to be a high cliff obscured by haze. There was what seemed to be an opening of a cavern not far from the shore, but there was no way of knowing whether it went through all the way to the interior end of this place.

“Well, we have two options,” Lunara said, holding up two fingers. “One, we go through the cave, without knowing where it leads. Two, we have Rodan give you all wings. Just like what he did to the Black Queen.”

Edited by jaistlyn

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It was good to be out and about again. Rodan had lived most of his life on the road, traveling all around the massive continent of Terrenus, and seeing as many new sights as he could take in. The past few months at the Weland farm had been relaxing, in a sense, but an artist like himself should never be wasted on trivial tasks such as cataloging inventories. Still, someone had to ensure that the Patia base was properly evacuated and emptied of valuables, those valuables being moved to a storage facility Rodan fabricated himself a fair distance away from the Weland hideout, for the purpose of holding everything there in case a vengeful Roen (or someone else) managed to track the goods down. Whatever had been salvaged could be cycled back into use over time, but only after Abbadon could be assured that nobody was coming after them. Considering how quickly Roen and Raphael had tracked down the kidnappers during the Anima Imperium escapade, it was worth the effort to take a few precautions to avoid compromising the farmstead base.

But those issues were no longer a major concern, now. Indeed, the current expedition was now the center of the Mutator's attention. Not knowing what they might encounter, the cloaked triumvir had brought with him two minions, one who stood behind him on his right, the other on his left. The being on the right was another of his mutants, though a much different one from the bone-armored hulks that comprised of his so-called "Boneguard". He had started that way, but Rodan had quickly learned that Diego Navarone was not suited to be just another armored goon. The man had to bear witness to one of the most gruesome murders during the infamous "Red Festival", during which the newly-minted Legion of Doom brutalized the populace of Tormo. The man had been forced to watch as a pathetic little imp dismembered a girl and a boy, force-feeding them one-another's severed limbs one-by-one, until both were a pair of bloated stubs. The only mercy was when the cretin finally severed their heads, but that gave Diego no peace. That boy was his only son.

After he was first rescued, Diego was lost, a broken man without a family, without a home, without a purpose. But Rodan showed him, and the others rescued with him, a purpose that they could strive for, and a new "family" they could call their own. Of the four that came out of Tormo, Diego was the one who committed himself most wholly to the cause. As with every member of Abbadon, there was a personal motivation, in Diego's case, to hunt down and destroy every last member of the Legion, and anyone else who enabled them. He wanted vengeance for his family, his son, his whole town, and ironically, he was willing commit whatever atrocity was asked of him in order to accomplish that goal. So when Rodan tested the man's loyalty, he found it stronger than any underling he had yet encountered.

As a reward for his continual displays of commitment, Rodan allowed Diego a chance to differentiate himself from the rest of the Boneguard, an offer which was readily accepted. When asked how he wished his power to manifest, Diego wished he could be as a holy angel, a brilliant being of light whose justice was swift and whose blade was merciless. Rodan was quite happy for a chance to create something new. Thus, Diego was mostly restored to his normal human appearance, but younger and stronger than before. With the DNA of a vampire infused into his being, he could now move at superhuman speeds and regenerate wounds rapidly, though this still came at the cost of needing to feed on blood from time to time. But this was not all, for Rodan had crafted a pair of mighty wings on the man's back, wings which could fold up much like proper angels could, though Rodan had to approximate the design. He had still yet to physically contact an angel, and thus, could not copy their biology directly. He heard there were a few of them ruling over the Veluriyam Empire, in Southwestern Terrenus, but getting his hands on one would be near impossible, given they were the imperial family. Not that it wouldn't be an interesting endeavor to attempt to kidnap the princess there, but after the last kidnapping of royalty went...

In any case, Diego's wings were hardly angel wings, being more bat-like than bird like. This allowed them to regenerate far more effectively, even if they were less aesthetically pleasing. But there was one more mutation that Rodan elected to add to the faux-angel: bioluminescence, something Rodan had studied on the trips between Terrenus and Orisia. Rather than creating a single organ, Rodan spent many long hours experimenting on how to make this ability apply to Diego's entire body. At last, he found a solution... blood. Yes, at his conscious command, Diego could literally light up his entire bloodstream, illuminating himself from the inside and projecting a brilliant bluish-white light all around his body. It was a clever way to ensure the light was distributed across his entire being, or at least, Rodan thought it was clever. It was also why the wings were fleshy rather than feathery, since having blood flow through them allowed them to light-up as well. And so was born the False Angel.

But opposite Diego was an example of the contrast of power. For every being it freed, it oppressed another. Such was the case for Kaya Lingxi, an eighteen-year-old farmgirl whose family and home had been forcefully taken-over by Rodan and his Abbadon lackeys over a year ago. The forces of power did not bring freedom for the Lingxi family, though admittedly they were well-protected now that the centaurs of the Scudder Clan had been converted into enforcers, instead of raiders. Even so, the family was no longer permitted outside contact, and they now worked entirely for the benefit of the Abbandon Triumvirate. Kaya was the eldest daughter of the eldest son, almost old enough to move to the inner city to seek a spouse, though she never got that chance. Even if she were deprived of that opportunity, she was grateful that most of her family was alive and safe, though she mourned her murdered grandparents. Abbadon was not so crude as to commit wanton murder, at least not unless necessary, but she soon discovered that Rodan was a type of horror that not even the centaurs could match. The first sample of his power came the day they were rescued, but that was only the beginning. Failures or disobedience were often met with physical transformation, mostly into farm animals, but there a couple cases that went even further. Kaya endured the abuses around her, until that fateful night when her little brother, her most beloved family member, tried to run away. She had often urged him never to risk it, fearing the retaliation he'd endure if he were caught, but he finally acted. 

She cried the night he tried to run, but she cried even more the next day, when he was drug back to the farmstead, having been unable to reach town before Rodan's mutants caught him. The Mutator made an example of the boy, in a fashion so typical of his reputation. The poor lad was transformed into an apple tree, still vaguely in the shape of a human, and with pair of sad eyes that stared out at a world that he could no longer interact with. Kaya begged Rodan for mercy, not expecting it from the man. But he surprised her, swearing he would restore her brother if she served him. She loathed the idea of taking orders from the Mutator, but what choice did she have? She could not bear to see her brother trapped in his own body as he was. Thus she swore to serve him, for the sake of her brother, but did not know what form that service would take. She was not a fighter, nor a mage, nor a strategist or healer. She was a farmer's daughter, a maiden whose life had been spent tending animals or churning butter. All he told her was that, when he needed her, he would call upon her to serve him in whatever capacity he needed, big or small. Ominous...

But he hadn't needed her then, and she went about her regular chores and duties without interruption for half a month. Then came this expedition, and Rodan saw fit invoke her vow. Hence, she was here, standing on the deck of the ghostly vessel, surrounded by beings who were no longer human, or were never human in the first place. She felt so alone, so out of place. Her long, black, wavy hair flowed in the ocean breeze, as she stood beside her master and his other minion...

"I hope we won’t turn into ghosts too if we stay here for too long?" the pixie commented.

There was no reaction from Diego, whose eyes remained fixed forward, but Kaya turned to look at her, though she didn't speak. She just wondered how something so small, so beautiful, could wind up a part of something so sinister and ugly.

"I do not believe it works that way, Lunara." Rodan chuckled, "But who am I to say?

No long after that, they came across a stark cliff-face, prompting the faerie to speak again.

"Well, we have two options. One, we go through the cave, without knowing where it leads. Two, we have Rodan give you all wings. Just like what he did to the Black Queen."

"Easily done." Rodan replied, turning back to face the whole crew, a smirk forming on his face, "Even easier if I skip the swan part."

For whatever reason, the Mutator seemed in jovial spirits this day.

Edited by Tyler

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I. Will pass on that”. Mori chipped in, deliberately enunciating her words, giving Rodan a friendly smile, before returning to her duties.

The short-haired Asian woman was the odd one out on the ship, one of the only humans in the Triumvirate, and the only one in any real sort of power or position. Even the truth of that was beginning to change however. Mori’s past was beginning to catch up with her, but it was not visible yet. Not quite. It would not be evident for a long while longer with her choice of outfits, suits that fitted her entire form comfortably, snug in a few places. Eventually the hacker would have to face her pursuer, but not yet.

For now, she contented herself with multitasking. Thin wires ran from a device on her arm to a console of the vessel, the technomancer’s diligent watch ensuring their ship ran at whole efficiency the whole way. On another arm, she parsed data and pic-captures taken from outside the vessel. She had engineered a small drone filled with sensors to flit outside the hull, and gather information. None of which made any sense to her, as the magic in the reason seemed overpowering to the delicate instruments on the drone, but that couldn’t be helped.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained” Mori voiced. “I’d like to take my chances with the cavern. Or we can send through a scout, and I’ll send my drone in with”.

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And on the ship that day, so near, yet so far was a true angel. One who worked for a Herald of War. Oh, and Kallias was there, too. Decimus stood next to Kallias, tall and regal. In fact, the angel was about six inches taller than Kallias with a crown of maddening red hair and fierce golden eyes. The glow he emitted was dim. In fact, it was nothing short of a miracle that he did not get caught carrying the light weight fae through Terrenus towards Weland Gorge. With his arms folded across his chest, he appeared to be disappointed to be stuck on this boat of misfits. 

Kallias was different. Compared to the angel, he just looked even more like a faerie than before. Though he was quite a bit larger. His wing was still on the mend, but his bruises, cuts, and even burns from prison were healed minus a small marking that was left upon him in a spot that will not be revealed. The brine filled air was inhaled deeply like something he had longed for. He just was thankful that he no longer was being forced for answers that he was unwilling to give. That loyalty to the people he worked with won Decimus over. 

The angel hadn't managed to exactly look pleased with his new company. However, there was one member of the boat that he stared at in a mixture of abject horror and fascination. Diego caught his ire first. Then Decimus had moved from to disgust. Then Decimus moved from disgust to fascination. 

Kallias had ignored Decimus for the moment. "Cousin, perhaps the ones with wings that work can scout the cave and the whole area before we make a decision. As far as I know, we don't need to rush brashly into uncertainty. For all we know, this cave is some shitty tunnel. Decimus here..." He nodded to the angel. "Well, he can pass along the visions of what he sees to one of us so we know without even having to move. I have been working with him to develop his abilities. He was already strong, but there were some tweaks."

Decimus was good at toying with his victims before removing their beating hearts from their bodies. Now he was more effective at manipulating emotions. "Whatever it takes to make this a success." Ah, the one thing Angel's lacked was freewill. They were willing to do most things that a leader type would tell them. 

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"Wings? No thanks," replied Cerebri in a low voice before returning to his wood carving. He had hardly the time to spend on this particular one, seeing as how he was often on a job. The wood carving was that of an elf he had recently met, and one that, for some reason, occupied some real estate in his head. He thought of her often, but never longingly. It came more as a flash-and-go sort of thought, though it came often; far too often. As he continued to scrape off shavings that would represent her hair, he meticulously carved it as he remembered it; soft, wavy and luscious. Suddenly catching himself in the act of staring too long at the wooden figure, he placed the carving back into his pocket and moved to the port of the ghost ship.

It was an amazing thing, this ghostly ship. He had never seen anything of the like, instead being constantly surrounded by magitech. It being run by ghosts was something even more interesting, but he was not here to admire things. He was here to establish inroads into an area of land he had not visited in a long while, and one of the first things on his agenda was to gather information on the place. Walking up to the fae, the same one he had been contacted by in a previous adventure, he made his presence known to her before asking if she had any contacts in Terrenus that he could speak to. He had some people already in mind to talk to, should they still be alive, but still, having one more to talk to would definitely improve prospects; cast a wider net and all that. 

Spotting the cave the fae had talked about, he felt something familiar about it. Perhaps it was something similar to a cave he had visited as a younger man, or maybe... "I pick the cave," he growled, before heading off to prepare his arms for a potential fight.

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