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Aleksei

[GS] Ophiuchus.

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・・・】 God: Ophiuchus
・・・】 God Slayer: @Csl
・・・】 OOC: Thread


From the skies fall meteors, tearing through the surrounding jungle and dispersing any civilians near by. Lighting strikes in various areas, causing small fires and thunder rolls, shaking the ground and cracking it here and there. Ophiuchus has hidden himself somewhere within the jungle, mourning his strength and dying in rage.  

   
         
     

 

Edited by Aleksei

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“You can call me Arende,” said the woman.

There’s something not quite right with the pair she’d adopted, their supernatural aura of vitality aside. She held them by their wrists, one clasped in each hand, weightless, as she flew.

The girl mourned the death of another. The boy was broken. Arende was certain they had interesting pasts. She'd come across them at quite a scene-- a young lady and a child, sitting at the corpse of a seraph. What a sight it had been, their battle, one so bright that it had snagged her attention, delaying her on her errand.

“What're your names?”

“I am Samael,” said the boy. The girl did not respond, and so the boy continued with his introduction. “She is Ephah.”

“Well,” Arende said lightly, “It’s a pleasure meeting you both. Rather awful circumstances, these are-” a meteor collided with a mountain in the background, sending a up mushroom cloud of dust “-but I’m fortunate to come across you two. I’ve killed many a god back in the day, but this is a new iteration of myself. I’d love to have your help”

art by karime

Edited by Csl

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Samael nodded quietly. “It’s—also a pleasure.” He looked rather ill. Arende pursed her lips, and made a note to give him some tea to calm his stomach. It wouldn’t do to have the child become airsick.

She turned to her other hand, and the woman hanging from her wrist. “Not a talkative one, are you, Ephah?”

“You know, I’m not quite sure I trust you,” said Ephah, her eyebrows furrowed as she gazed up at the other woman, if it even was a woman to begin with. Arende’s voice was feminine, that much was certain, though the ridiculously wide-brimmed hat left her face a featureless shadow.

“Distrust is a perfectly reasonable thing to have,” Arende chirped, “Seeing I’m holding you both several hundred feet off the ground, and we’re travelling at a quarter of the speed of a Renovatian airship. “Would you like me to set you down somewhere?”

The raven-haired woman was silent for a moment, seemingly lost in thought, before she shook her head with resolute determination. “I’d rather stay with the boy.”

 

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SAMAEL

“Very well,” Arende says cheerily. Her flight slows down, and the trio begin to descend. “The more, the merrier. What say you, Samael?” 

He is not so far gone that he would refuse an offer from a being he supposes is more powerful than he is. “Please lead the way,” Samael replies.

They made their landing a few ways away from a quaint village, its surrounding area visibly pockmarked by jagged chunks of rock and stone. There is no time for their gazes to wander about, as the tall figure escorts them towards a small hut.

“Before we begin,” Arende said, “You need some tea, dear boy.” She reaches into the folds of her cloak and produces a clay teapot. A blur of motion and she is gone, cloak fluttering behind her. 

In the sudden silence that befalls them, Samael and Ephah share a tense look.

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SAMAEL

Arende returns with a handful of tea leaves and three clay teacups bobbing in the air behind her. “One of the things I adore about Renovatio is the plant diversity.” She seats herself on the grass in a graceful motion, one that almost seems fitting for a queen, if Samael were to think on the matter a little more deeply. 

“I’m sorry, but, um,” the boy intervenes meekly, “where are we again?”

“Nehalen, Avylon,” Arende says, and it’s strange; they must’ve flown for a fair amount of time, and yet they are still in the region? In the span of the few minutes it takes for Samael to ponder upon the question, the teapot is somehow steaming. She pours cups for them three, sips, then points to the north.

“We are going to fight that.”

As if on cue, a meteor tears through the air. With his nerves still frazzled from the fight with Vitalia, Samael jolts a foot off his seat. Ephah, to no one’s surprise, does not even flinch.

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Arende blew gently on her teacup. “I’m doing a favor for a friend. She needs help kicking out certain unwanted guests, which also happen to be gods. Ophiuchus is one of those. I’ve chosen to deal with him because he’s particularly difficult to kill, apparently being, among other things, omniscient.

“Erm, who is Ophiuchus?” Samael tilted his head to the side in abject confusion. “I’ve—we’ve—never heard of him?”

“The Thirteenth Zodiac, the Serpent Bearer, the Many-Faced,” Amusement shone in Arende’s eyes, at what seemed to be an inside joke. “He’s a seraph like- well, like your Vita, I suppose. I say like in that they’re as alike as a cat and a lion are.”

“Oh.” The boy turned to look at his companion, and Ephah responded to the wordless plea for her opinion with a casual shrug of her shoulders.

“Don’t worry, I’m sure he’s weakened by the veil,” Arende finished her tea, placed it on the mat, and steepled her fingers. Her eyes shone with anticipation. “Now, tell me what you two can do, then we can get to the exciting bit of planning how to fight him.”

Edited by Csl

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At the question posed to them, Ephah’s expression did not change one bit. “I can manipulate blood. Heal wounds, coagulate veins, enhance vitality, the like.”

Samael stumbled through his own response. “I—it’s complicated, but, well—I can use Vita’s powers now. I can control water and earth, and maybe spring; I’m not sure. I can heal things like Ephah now.” He looked down, scuffed his toe against the dirt. “I can Shatter living things too,” he mumbled.

Arende tapped her chin. “Good, good. I can... fly. And hold things well. My normal reach is ten feet. I can strain myself to extend my grasp, but at the cost of limiting my power by the same proportion later. Inversely, I can limit my reach at the present, at the advantage of doubling my range in the future. And a few more other than that, but that’s the gist of it.”

She cocked her head, fixing her gaslamp eyes on the boy. “What about Shattering? Can you elaborate?”

Edited by Csl

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SAMAEL

The boy twiddles his thumbs together as he speaks. “I, um, don’t really know how to explain it well. It’s like—I enter the Other Place,” he pauses for a moment as if at war with himself; does he tell a mysterious stranger about the Mirror Realm? He taps his fingers together, continues. “It’s like I see the world in mirrors. Everything splinters out, and—and—something,” Samael’s voice fails him then and there, trailing off into awkward silence.

Arende’s gaze softens. “Give me your hand. I’ll take a peek in your head, if you don’t mind. I need to know every angle of attack possible for us.” She extends her own in the space between them, nimble fingers gloved in black. In the background, Ephah watches hawk-eyed at the exchange unfolding before her wary eyes.

At the shared touch, Samael suddenly feels her presence in his mind. He feels her rifle through his memories a bit, her touch gentle, murmuring disapprovingly as she passes through his time in the Cult of Power, a bit of recognition as she sees Lilith, a beam of interest when she goes back as far as the mountains of Taen and the day he had been discovered by his Commander, and then—that impenetrable wall shielding the rest of his past from even his own ability to peruse it.

She withdraws from his mind, but holds on to his hand for a moment longer. For a fleeting moment, Samael thinks he sees what appears to be pity on the face of the being that is Arende. 

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SAMAEL

As suddenly as it had disappeared for the brief moment they shared, the gleam in her eye returns. “Excellent, excellent,” Arende rubs her hands together, grinning. “Your power’s a unique one, boy. Paired with Vita’s essence, I’m certain you’ll be able to break Ophiuchus.” 

Ephah’s eyebrow climbs to her hairline at the scene before her. “What exactly is it that you plan for us to do in this elaborate scheme to kill this god of yours?”

“If he has blood, you steal it,” Arende says matter-of-factly. “If he doesn’t, keep him from taking ours. I’ve only recently acquired blood. I’m not too keen on losing it.”

As if it had been startled out of her, Ephah snorts, a grin breaking out on her lips as she regards the other entity with a look of mock consternation. “You’re amusing. I enjoy this.” She drums her fingers against the table as her gaze pivots back and forth between Arende and Samael. “Perhaps I could make myself useful in other matters, such as helping to evacuate the innocents in the area. What interests me, rather, is what you intend for Samael to do. He is under my care, and I’d be damned if your plan would cause him undue harm.” Something in her face cracks at that juncture. “We’ve only just recently lost one of our own. Can you ensure our continued survival in this endeavor?” 

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Arende raised an eyebrow. "Of course," she said, as if Ephah had asked whether the sky was blue.

"It may be redundant, but I can heal as well. My Reach is precise; I can hold anything from bones to individual drops of blood. And I can shield him from the meteors, when it comes down to it." She shrugged. "You've swallowed Vita's power, haven't you?"

Samael nodded wordlessly.

“You’ve nothing to worry about, then!” Arende said brightly. She reached forward, took hold of the teapot, and refilled her cup. She took a long drink, then daintily lowered the cup.

“I have the inklings of a plan already, but I believe our little party needs just one more member.” She nodded towards her companions. “You two may be tired from your previous endeavor; feel free to rest. Meanwhile, I-” she said, settling herself comfortably against the bamboo wall, “-am going to take a nap.”

The being drew her hat down over her face, folding her hands over her stomach, and was silent.

Once again, the boy and the woman shared a look, one that spoke volumes of the sudden uncertainty behind their choice to take up the dark figure’s offer.

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art by: shen he - artstation

 

 RAINE: ENTER.

 

 

Another dream meant another palace to explore.

She often thought of it like that, a grand expanse created purely by one’s visage, a world fueled by someone’s own memories. To her, there was an indescribable emotion behind traversing the landscape of someone else’s head. In a way, she thought it mystical, perhaps even delightful. Delightful, most probably, because Raine is quite fond of fantasy. To explore a place that doesn’t even existhow truly wonderful that is. 

This dream reminded her of the sheen of a pearl. Carved with white rocks and powdered in white sand, tranquil with blue tidepools and faded with pink colors. She stood there then, on the water, a beautiful apparition glancing upwards at the pastel blue sky. Her shoulders were draped with a long flowing robe as white as the sands; a blinding light standing upon a massive tidepool. 

Then, something peculiar: a glass sheet, a mirror, rises from the water and takes its place before her. Upon a closer look, it would seem that in this dream, she appears translucent. Her hair, white and glowing, is faded from their ends as if a stream constantly run through them. Her eyes were pupiless, but somehow, she was able to see. A mystical crescent is placed on her forehead, a recognition of some sorts, a reminder of her role as conductor.

Raine smiled at her reflection. It’s eyes, now a featureless black. It stared upon her in curiosity, and she reached to touch it.

“Hello,” she said, her voice a disembodied lullaby, “can you see me?”  

“Hello,” the reflection echoed, in a voice that was most assuredly not her own. It reached out as well; where their hands meet is not glass, but skin. Its fingers twined around hers, wrapping around her wrist. “Mind if I borrow you for a bit?”

That question didn't seem to bother her at all. Raine laughed. "Sure."  
 

 

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The reflection smiled.

Raine found herself falling forward, hurtling into another realm. The mirror of her dream-world was darker, somehow; its iridescence remains, yet as the opalescent hues on an oil slick, the scattered-color lens flares cast by a hundred alien moons.

“Ah, perfect. An illusionist, aren’t you?” said the stranger’s voice.

A monstrous, many-eyed being stood before her, a hand tapping its chin. A nebula of shadows flickered behind it: hands upon hands upon hands, running through its hair, clasping each other, reaching out, drawing back, clenching and unclenching, twisting on their wrists.

Raine harmlessly laughed.  “I wouldn’t say illusionist.”

“What would you say then?” asked the being. It tilted its head; its eyes blinked in synchronicity. “You can call me Arende,” it added. Arende reached a hand forward for her to shake. “And you, madam?”

Another laugh, more harmless than the last. “Arende, is it,” she grinned, “I go by the name Raine.” 

“A fitting name, indeed, indeed,” Arende whispered, it's—hervoice a chorus. “For when your namesake falls from the heavens, come petrichor. Comes memories, comes melancholy, comes dreams. Are you a dreamwalker, then?”

Raine held Arende’s hands, and watched them absorb her light. “Hmmm. Try to guess.”

“Oneirokinetic? Somnipath?”

Raine laughed again. A big smile stretched her cheeks, and she spun Arende around with her. She whispered then, “A dream witch.”
 

 

 

Edited by SweetCyanide

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The being that called herself Arende mirrored her smile with one that is strikingly human. “You are...” half of Arende’s eyes closed, the eyelids a translucent gold, “... near me. Are you looking for employment, Raine? My waking self sleeps in Avylon, and I am off to kill a god when we rejoin.”

"You're close, then, if you are in Avylon," Raine muttered, "but I'm surprised you would ask someone who you've just met, to help in killing... erm, one of my gods." 

Her warm smile had faded. Her white eyes now saddened, and her joyful voice reduced to melancholy. "It's a pity," She said, as she took Arende's hands and spun her in an otherwise slow dance in the black space between them and the moons before them. "They're hurt, and we can do nothing but take them out of their misery."  

Raine shook her head. “Ah, I'm a bit.. conflicted, right nowI'm sorry.”

Arende sighed. The witch stopped in their weightless dance and glanced up, at Arende. “Unfortunately," she said, "that is what I would ask you to do, should you agree to join me.” The being was silent for a moment. Something like mist drew across its visage; after a moment, a more human figure stood before Raineits face hidden in shadow from a wide-brimmed hat, its sheer cape rolling in a nonexistent wind.

“I am doing a favor for a friend, one who has decided the age of gods is over,” Arende said.

"The Kommandant?"

“Your gods have grown mad, refusing to go into eternal night, to a world where they could rest. They rage. They are tearing your land apart.”

The woman turned.

Behind her, a scene bloomed into existencethe pockmarked mountaintops of Avylon, valleys and villages torn asunder by the unrelenting hail of meteors.

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“Mm. I know.”

There was an amicable tone to it. “AndI’ve felt it. Their pain," she struck her heart, "I feel it."

Raine took the being's hand, making Arende turn to look at her as she encased her hand between her faded palms. “I—" she hesitated, "I don't really agree with Primera, to execute the gods of our land. Usually I'm—an optimist, I think, but..." The witch took one hand to push the brim of Arende's hat to meet with her eyes. "They might really be hopeless."

Raine huffed. The two stood there, in Arende's dream of space and stars and moons which she had never seen before. She interlaced her fingers with Arende's and brought them up higher, suddenly determined, having finally made a choice.

"Will you have me, then? As part of your group?"

“That’s why I asked,” Arende grinned.

Raine, flustered, began to stutter. “Um. Yes. I—I suppose that’s true, but, you know...”

Arende reached out to affectionately ruffle her white-voidish hair—it was a notable contrast between them—light and darkness. A location, tied with a bundle of knowledge, dropped into the dream-witch’s mind. “You’ll find us here, and that’s all the information you’ll need about Ophiuchus.”

The being patted her hand. “I’ll see you.”

Raine smiled. “Don't make me regret this, now.”
 

 

Edited by SweetCyanide

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A yawn interrupted the thoughtful silence simmering between Samael and Ephah. Arende stretched her hands over her head, pulling the brim of her hat up. “I’ve found us an ally,” she announced.

There was a dragon against the sun. One with a slender serpentine body, whose ruffled mane could be seen blowing through the air draft in the sky. It descended rapidly, almost dangerously, as if the beast intended to open its jaws and swallow their hut whole. Farmers stopped their harvest to stare upon the sight not in fear, but in familiarity. Children jumped and pointed, mothers stopped and looked.

Elitanin, as many called, halted his descent and blew a strong wind that uprooted grass and bent small trees. He coiled his body in a spiral, levitated from the ground, and aimed his horns downward in a formal fashion. He huffed through his nose in a snarl as he studied these people with draconic eyes.

Soon enough, the dragon’s rider dismounted and landed feet-first onto the dirt. Instead of an armored warrior as many would expect, the rider befit a physique that of a fragile girl.

Her face was hidden by a hood, her body cloaked by a white robe. As she approached the group, her silver hand ran along her dragon’s scales and mane, all the way up to his armored cheek. The beast closed its eyes and pressed into her touch - and began to fade - starting from his tail, and concluded on the very tip of his snout. The dragon disappeared, and a small, iridescent orb took its place. It circled the hooded girl, and transformed into a smaller version of the dragon a few seconds ago.

Elitanin perched on her shoulder as the woman continued to move forward, taking in the sight of the three at the wooden hut. She fiddled with her hands and pressed her lips into a firm line.

Edited by Csl

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