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[GS] Taurus

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・・・】 God: Taurus
・・・】 God Slayer: @ticklefarte
・・・】 OOC: Thread


Balls of fire are thrown about, catching the village on fire and all within it. He yells during his rampage, cracking the earth and shaking the air; all the while the flames rage forth, causing the surrounding forests to catch on fire. 

   
         
     

 

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That night, the stars gave way to another show of radiance. Cloaked by smoky clouds, they kept their light to themselves and, in their stead, flames rocketed down to greet the ground. In this journey, the fiery stones didn't care for human concepts. Community, shelter, safety, life? These machinations tore like paper against blade, indefensible as they were.  So, as expected, the tiny village fell to the fit of the angry god. Home after home was crushed and burst aflame. The denizens could only scream in the face of their fate. Would they be saved? 

Unlikely. 

Atop a rise overlooking the damned population, stood a man. His boots crunched in the loose dirt and gravel as he approached the edge of his precipice, longcoat flapping in the hot wind that buffeted from the god. A small smile was on his face, but it was almost imperceptible. On the ground behind him lay a collection of symbols, carved into the ground meticulously despite the current scenario. He'd been working for quite some time, through the cries of this beast, through the combustion of the nature below, and through the destruction of the town. Dutiful and diligent, he was. Unfortunately, not very selfless when it came to strangers. 

Now, he stood with hands in his pocket, glasses glinting in the red glow of his quarry. The titan stood tall, well over the man's current position. Ancient armor covered his body, and dark metal boots crushed the ground below. From this crushed earth, he crouched to pick up his ammunition. Large fistfuls of stone and trees, superheated and thrown in a cascade to shower unlucky targets. The smoke that billowed from his body filled the air, and his own crimson light helped paint a dire scene. Still, he wasn't what he'd been before. He was vulnerable and upset. This carnage was the result of a tantrum, and in the roars of deep fury could be heard a true and honest pain. With every throw he grew smaller. He grew weaker.

In a grand display, the man's half smile stretched into a broad grin. He outstretched his arms toward the mighty god.

"Taurus!" he bellowed. His voice boomed across the expanse, reaching his new friend. The beast turned to him and was no doubt confused at the sight of a human standing at a cliff's edge in this chaos. The wind swayed and raced, howling in his ears. Lightning arced from on high, the resounding thunder laced with malice ."

I believe your time has come!"

Omar Nextwin didn't even flinch as the next bout of stones came racing toward him. They were stars, indeed, burning bright with a fervent hunger. He was very hungry, too. 

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In the village below families fled for their lives. Taurus had voiced his displeasure. It didn't matter why. It didn't matter that they had been innocent in this. Proximity was the deciding factor when it came to falling gods, and these people were just too close. 

And so they ran, a sea of bodies surging toward something that resembled protection. When a stone crashed into the crowd, those surrounding the victims could only move on. Tears flowed freely, either from the heat and smoke or from the ache in their souls. The goal right now was survival, but if they succeeded could they even live on? How many had they lost? Fathers, mothers, lovers gone to the flames and savagery. Newly made orphans staggered alongside neighbors, rivals carried each other through the disaster, and strangers comforted strangers. There was a beauty here, if one was able to see it. Community. Connection.  

The local consciousness of these villagers could only push their loss to the background. Where were they going? The river! 

And so, it was decided. The river. It cut through the forest, and would be a safe refuge until this was over. The trees overhead would catch the meteors and, if they didn't, the water would put out the people who burned. As the collective moved, it slowly dawned on them that they were leaving their homes behind. 

I was born here. 

I married her here. 

I gave birth to him here. 

Gods, why? 

And their pain forced them to look back once more. The town they had built, now shattered and aflame. The fire licked and ate the foundation for their memories, eager to feed on more than just wood. There, the doctor's home whooshed with sweltering heat as a new bout of rocks rocketed into it. And here, the town hall gave way to the massive tree that slammed into its roof. More flames. More destruction. 

BoOoOoOOOM!

The sound washed over the forest, forcing the villagers to turn away from their village and toward the cliff face. Taurus loomed there, cutting a distinct and awful image in the sky as he faced... a man? A bright flash of orange light clashed with a hail of meteors, disintegrating the onslaught. When the light faded, a grand symbol could be seen as an afterimage floating in the air. Taurus bellowed his awful call, and the man shouted back. His words were hard to hear, but the effect was obvious. 

Throughout the forest, runes carved into the dirt glowed violet. From this light emerged various automatons, their bodies gleaming with brass and bronze. They numbered ten in total and as they moved they hissed with the steam that pushed through their limbs. Their eyes glowed with new life, as each construction was linked to the caster's will. One such humanoid automaton pushed through the foliage and revealed himself to the villagers. It was huge, equipped with large arms and a barrel wide chest. On its face were eyes and a crudely drawn on smile.

They turned to look at the ten foot creation, their expressions numbed by shock. A voice emerged from the automaton's head, though a working mouth wasn't visible. 

steam_robot_advance_by_yuchenghong-d6786

"chzzz. Hello there," a man's voice said. "It looks like Heriel found you. That's good-- ah he's throwing more. Stand by." 

The villagers stood in confusion, but there was no ignoring the fact that Taurus was no longer attacking them. That didn't mean he wouldn't return to finish the job however. Escape was still paramount. Another explosion occurred at the cliff, shaking the air itself. Lightning flashed in that direction.

"chzzz. Not much time," the voice huffed. "I'm not sure this next rune will do much. Ah, please follow Heriel. Give him your children, and tell him where to go. I'm buying you time, so move quickly." He paused, his heavy breathing still coming through. "You can trust me. I'm sorry that I couldn't come sooner but I needed time. That won't do much for the people that have already perished, however." Another pause. 

"I'm hoping I can atone by helping you. Now go." 

And so they went. Children rode Heriel, but they weren't as excited as kids should be when presented with a large toy. They couldn't be. Behind them their village raged and in front of them the forest was eagerly burning in contest. Still they pushed forward, though very few of them understood why they bothered. Who were they to resist the will of a god?

Humans. They were humans. In some ways, it was in their very nature to resist. 

Edited by ticklefarte
added picture.

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Perhaps the man was not as selfish as imagined. Omar clenched his jaw, staring at the crimson glare of the titan that stood before him with cool green eyes. In the back of his mind he could feel connections being established. Like strings leading to a puppet master they attached themselves to him, ten in total. 

Ten? No, that was wrong. He'd carved a dozen summoning runes in the forest. He was missing two automatons? He cast his eyes to the blazing trees and realized that it was entirely possible that Taurus had disturbed his runes in his rampage. He'd been too slow. 

"Mortal," boomed the angry god, calling Omar's attention. He looked up. Above Taurus was a swirl of clouds, crackling and snapping with red lightning that arced down into the forest in random intervals. "What is happening to me?" 

A question... that was unexpected. Omar grimaced and lowered his stylus in hesitation. He'd been weaving another fire rune but it probably wasn't going to counter the balls of fire very well this time around. So he answered. 

"I think you know," Omar shouted into the winds. "I think you know what the Kommandant is doing. I think you know what I'm here to finish." 

A roar was supplied in response, the mighty god's mouth opening to unleash that awful sound. His face contorted in true anger, and from the depths of the being's throat emerged bright flames as if from a dragon. Omar cursed and dove backward, abandoning his inscription. The rune he'd finished in the dirt behind him now glowed brightly, waiting for activation, but Omar needed a better moment. 

As he hit the ground heat rolled over him and singed hairs on his head. He cried out in pain and turned over to put out any flames that might have been started on his coat. Gods that had not felt good. Omar squinted toward the sky, his eyes struggling to fully open against the strength of the fire. He groaned and slapped one hand against the ground to steady himself as he pushed himself to his feet. A glance to the cliff's edge showed Taurus looming even closer, his red eyes boring into Omar with hate. He was still so large. 

Behind the god, a figure was rising into the air. Shaped like a large dragonfly, its wings glinted in the lightning overhead as it pushed higher and higher still. Ah, there was good news, after all. He'd been worried that his ride out of here had been left behind. Luckily, it seemed that Portis had been one of the ten to get through. Omar let a small smile push through as he regarded the titan once again. The god had one hand open, and in the center of that massive palm swirled an inferno. Omar widened his eyes at the display, knowing that if he wasn't smart he'd taste more heat. 

Steampunk-dragonfly.-Paper-coffee-gel-pen-colored-pencils.-Coffee-improvisations-by-Maria-Skorodumova.jpg

Closer, please. 

Taurus frowned in contempt as he approached the rise. The ground shook with every step, flames whooshing into life as his feet introduced heat to untouched trees. There was something primal in the way he regarded Omar. This was a primordial entity, linked to something off-world. Something other. He could definitely help with understanding the runes. He just needed to be subdued. 

Omar pushed a command toward Portis and the automaton flew closer to the rise, out of the radius that Taurus' heat could affected. The only fear now was that a stray arc of lightning would strike the steam-powered dragonfly, but Omar had faith. He slid his stylus into his jacket pocket and looked up as Taurus got as close as he could to the cliff face. He outstretched his hands once again, painfully aware of the god fueled fire that Taurus was about to spill onto him. 

"It's time for you to go, Taurus," Omar whispered. He closed his eyes.

He brought his hands together and clapped hard, sending the order for the rune behind him to activate. An intense bright light flashed behind him, blinding the god as he stared directly at it. The titan stumbled backward in confusion and Omar sprinted toward the cliff's edge, trusting his boots to get him there. As they slammed against the ground he began to wonder if he'd chosen the right direction or-- 

Suddenly the ground wasn't there. Omar tripped right off the rise and entered a free fall, wind racing and the heat buffeting off Taurus' body. It was so close to him and the power radiating from it truly felt ancient. He struggled to breathe as air was snatched from his lungs, his sense of position thoroughly disrupted without sight. He needed to wait.

Eventually, he opened his eyes to see the rock face speeding past him and the trees below quickly approaching. He cursed and looked up in time to catch Portis zooming toward him, its metal legs now a symbol of salvation. Faster...!

There. It matched his speed and grew close enough for him to fling a flailing hand and grab a leg tightly. A moment later, they were off, soaring up and away from the cliff as Taurus cried out in agony from the blinding light that Omar had just given him. While Omar caught his breath, he sent a mental command to the rest of the automatons. Eight of them were currently waiting for his order. 

So, he gave it.

Converge, now. 

Edited by ticklefarte
added pic

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The forest buzzed with activity. One could claim it was excitement, but to the wildlife that called these trees home it was a nightmare. Smoke clogged their lungs, fire seared their skin, and chaos reigned supreme. 

Through it all, the machines surged forward on one man's will. His order. His Command. His direction guided them through burning foliage, past dying elk, and toward the mad god Taurus. 

Converge, he'd said. And so they did. 

Eight automatons against a god. 

Edited by ticklefarte

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Gods, the impact was...terrifying. 

Branches whipped and snapped against his body as he entered the burning forest. His hold on Portis' leg threatened to slip free, but he held tightly out of fear and used one arm to shield his face, covering his eyes. The dragonfly buzzed above him, slowing its descent as the canopy of the trees grew too close to its wings. Omar huffed, peeking from behind his coat sleeve. The scent of smoke filled his lungs immediately, eliciting a ragged cough from his lungs. On his right was a thick branch, and a glance downward told him that letting go of Portis would lead to a harmful fall. Actually, the array of tree limbs on the way down could maybe break his fall, but would almost definitely leave him broken in the process. Lovely. 

 "Can't go lower?" Omar grunted. He didn't get a response. In truth, he didn't expect one. Instead, he stretched his free arm toward the nearby branch, fingers grazing the rough bark before finding a firm hold. His body swayed as he moved, but soon he steadied. After a moment's hesitation Omar looked up at the underbelly of his automaton, set his jaw, and let go. 

His heart fell at the sudden drop, but his grasp on the tree was tight enough to support him. He swung his other arm up at the branch, and secured himself. With his glasses loose on his face, he began the slow descent down the tree, checking frequently to see if the forest floor was aflame yet. Was he imagining the heat? Forest fires could spread with ease, right? He wondered how the villagers were making out. In the distance, Taurus bellowed his angry song. Lightning flashed above, signaling a very bleak future for this area in the coming hours.

 

Edited by ticklefarte

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A boot touched the next branch under him, then slipped. Omar cursed as his grip was lost, then cried out when he couldn't find placement for his footing. Suddenly he was falling through the air, arms flailing for some salvation. Air rushed past his ears as he began a pale reenactment of his fall from the cliff. No! Gods not like this! His body collided with wayward branches, snapping them with ease. He grunted with each crash.

On instinct his mind felt outward for a nearby automaton, but in an instant his hopes were dashed. Nothing in the area but Portis, and the dragonfly certainly couldn't reach past the treetop. His sense of direction fell apart, then thud! 

Air whooshed out of his lungs and pain slowly filled his body. His head began to ring in time with the throbbing pain.

"Ohhhh," Omar groaned, his face scrunching from the agony. He coughed as smoke washed over him, then opened eyes that he hadn't even realized were shut. He'd twisted and turned in the air, and was now on his back, slowly adjusting. His right side was aching, but he didn't think it was broken. Healing rune, later. I...need to get up. 

The ground shook as Taurus finally made contact with whatever automata had found him, but they were meant to be distractions. He needed to get to work. 

Slowly, Omar pushed himself up. A bleary glaze swept over the surrounding foliage, then settled on a branch at his feet. He bent and picked up, wiping his face of dirt as he did. The forest around him was fine, but the smoke was traveling fast. Soon the flames would follow. With determination, he clutched his side, brandished the long branch, and stumbled into the foliage. There were two automatons to summon. One would be his saving grace. 

Edited by ticklefarte

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And as the man named Omar Nextwin began to scratch a large symbol into the earth, Portis flew off. The dragonfly flapped its shiny wings with great speed, cutting through the air at an impressive pace. On its back, a sigil radiated brightly through the steam that blew over its back. This sigil represented its creator. It represented the man's grand intent.

Portis shot through the sky toward the titan named Taurus as he clutched his face with blackened hands that dripped with lava. At his feet lay acircle of fallen trees and crushed rubble. On top of these, the first three automatons arrived to challenge the angry god. Two were copies of each other, tall with long arms that dragged on the ground as they moved. They traveled on thick wheels, and traveled in a circle around Taurus' feet. As they did this, they whipped their long arms at his legs, bright metal flashing and biting into the flesh of the god. 

He reacted poorly to this, but his attention split between the two. With each footfall, they managed to dodge being crushed, returning to expend more of the god's energy.

"I will destroy you," he spat with awful venom. His hands left his face, then thrust into the cliff face. Rocks crumbled around his fists, and the stones glowed orange as he heated them. The rock face began to melt, magma pouring down to fall on the automatons. It traveled too slowly, however, and they managed to avoid the downpour. As Taurus did this, his body shrank. It was a noticeable change, but his body was still giant. It was still horrifying. 

The third automaton was a stout thing, best described as a cannon on legs. The creation bounded from the magma rain and settled a few ways away from the target site. From there, it kneeled, aimed, and fired a bright green blast at the god's head. 

  

Edited by ticklefarte

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The sound was concussive, a resounding whoomph! that blew over the forest and caused bones to shake. Taurus's head snapped to the side as the emerald spear collided with his face, exploded, and faded into nothing. For an instant, the lightning stopped. Taurus' influence ceased and even the forest fires lost their edge as the god stumbled for a few heartbeats, hot ichor pouring down the side of his face. His hands left the cliffside, waving around to find balance and orientation. They'd caught him off guard, it seemed. 

 The cannon lowered, steam hissing as it began to recharge. Its legs carried it into the woods for safety, just as more automatons emerged. Five more, the late arrivals all doing their part to weaken the god. A spider shaped automata shot out of the forest canopy, it's legs trailing after it, body spinning, then reorienting so the legs were eight shining prongs that sank into the charred back of the wounded god. 

They were too slow. Just as quickly as Taurus had been silenced, he returned with a terrible roar. Flames brightened with new fervor, eagerly chewing into whatever fuel was close by. Lightning cracked down into the earth, crimson and deadly. Portis barely avoided an arc of electricity, its ascent dying as it sensed the coming danger.

The god slammed his foot down and blew the surrounding automata back with a billow of hot air. He reached an arm back, closing his thick fingers around the spider that was attempting to ascend his body. With zero effort, the god launched the automata out and away, soaring as if it had its own wings. Abruptly, a flash of lightning intercepted the spider's path and sent it crashing into the forest. With that solved, Taurus was freed to focus on the remaining constructions. He wiped blood from his face, glowering at the creations that scrambled below. 

"I meant," he rumbled, "what I said."

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Posted (edited)

"In the space between fear and courage lies our goal. 

To create in spite of pain. 

To destroy in spite of joy. 

Enter that world. It's yours by right.

Use it.

Protect it.

Make it real.

Make it iron. 

Omar.

Karis. 

Eventually, it will get too heavy.

All of it. 

Will you look to each other, when that day comes?

Oh well.

I leave the rest to you."

- Frayer Nextwin

Edited by ticklefarte

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His stick scratched into the ground, carving its long and sinuous path as he strained to push it. She would help him. She had to help him. She had a brain for this kind of thing. Cool and analytical like his, but far better at the bigger things than he was. He'd never live it down, but he didn't care. There were lives at stake, and Omar was starting to feel a bit nervous. 

He could feel their deaths. His automatons. Taurus was running rampant, fueled with the rage that came from fear. His strength, while waning, was persistent. The machines were going to fail without a push. 

The symbol in the dirt glowed brightly as he sealed the defining circle. Omar stared at it for a moment, then sighed, snapping his fingers to let his Command be known. 

Overhead a shower of rocks soared with great speed. He ducked to avoid impact, but they didn't get past the treetops. Lovely. He cast his gaze toward the rune, frowning as a shape began to form. She was slender, wearing a nightgown and glasses. Her eyes found his, but there was little joy there. 

"Ah, Lyen," he said warmly. "How are you, hon?" 

His wife simply glared. 

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Lyen was a stern looking woman. Pretty, yes, but with the emotional bearing of an old schoolteacher. Omar had grown fond of that quality, and often wondered if there was some unresolved kink that had drawn him to her. Explore that later. Focus now. Gods I'm hopeless.

Indeed, she maintained her grim demeanor even now, as the earth shook and trees trembled. Her arms were crossed, lips pressed into a thin line as her violet gaze pierced a hole in him. He'd pissed Taurus off, and had now angered her. Naturally, he was more concerned about the latter. "I need your help," he continued slowly, offering a weak grin. 

"Wait," she interrupted, "where are you right now?"

Omar winced and looked away. It wasn't going to be an answer she'd like. Before leaving Mageside, he'd made the executive decision to only tell Karis about his plans. The Nextwins weren't exactly in the godslaying business, and if he'd made the choice public there would be pushback. Sure, his position as the head of the family was secure, but that could always change, as politics were any leader's enemy. I couldn't pass up the opportunity. And these people needed the help, clearly. 

"Renovatio."

"WHY?

He cast his gaze to the sky. The clouds had begun to circle each other, glowing internally from bands of lightning that Taurus would unleash soon enough. He puffed his cheeks and adjusted his glasses. "A mad god. The Kommandant created a large amount of them, and I'm afraid they need to be put down."

Lyen furrowed her brow and tried to look around. She couldn't, as she already knew. The rune only opened a channel between the two of them. "Gods, is this about your damned obsession, O?" 

He tried not sound incredulous when he fired back. "No, it's about getting rid of a very big and very strong threat! If I get something out of it, that's a win for us all. Now I need advice."

A boom echoed through the forest. Omar whirled to face the direction of the cliffs, reaching out to his automatons as he did so. He cursed at the result. Too many nodes in the network. They're hitting him, but he's fighting back. Fuck fuck fuck

Edited by ticklefarte

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Posted (edited)

Sighing, Omar closed his eyes and sent out his Command. His will would be known: a blanketing call for retreat for all automatons in the area, save Heriel. It was tasked with leading the villagers to safety, whatever that entailed. Omar would check in on him soon. 

"What do I do, Lyen? The god is getting weaker, but I don't have the power to kill him outright yet." He coughed as smoke puffed in his face, flapping his arms to clear the air. "If the damn summoning runes hadn't been ruined, maybe things would be different. I'm at an impasse. Do I summon the Colossal?" 

He purposefully didn't look at his wife. He didn't want to see her pity right now. 

"And WHERE did you go, caster?" Taurus boomed. Omar glared in the god's general direction. He had a witty retort, but now wasn't the time for such games. "Your toys are running away- you pathetic ANT."

Lyen wouldn't be able to hear it, but she could see that Omar was looking elsewhere. "Omar," she began. He clenched his jaw, waiting for her to say it. "You know you need to leave."

Shaking his head, he finally looked at her. Ah, there it was. Pity. "He's a threat," he replied calmly. "People with die, hon."

"So will you." She was getting angry now. Bad sign, but he understood. "Pomin needs a father. I won't let your sister get her reckless spirt into him."

"She's not too bad," he said wistfully. In the back of his mind, something was forming. Not a plan, but the seed of one. "But you're right. Half-right, anyway. This isn't over."

"O-" She was cutoff. Partly because Taurus began his mournful howl again, and partly because Omar ran his stick through the rune, severing the link. He sighed again, thinking. 

Edited by ticklefarte

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Posted (edited)

"Ant...mortal...caster...all the same." Taurus rumbled to himself"Insignificant. All of you--this needs to stop--weak--where is the Kommandant--and so very finite."

Omar could hear it all as he snuck out of the forest. The scattered thoughts translated to scattered lightning that struck the ground and echoed with a thunderous refrain. He stumbled northward, away from the inferno that the god had begun to unleash on the forest. The heat rolled through the trees, igniting their leaves and scorching the earth. Omar barely carved a rune in the air before the wave of flames found him.

 Taurus was losing his grip. He was unraveling, and would take the entire world with him if he could. What to do...what to do? Clearly something needed to change in his strategy, but he couldn't sort that out here. Not now. 

"SHOW YOURSELF." The roar was edged with panic. Omar flinched, but didn't stop. He was meeting Heriel outside of the forest. Portis was flitting around the god, but its wings couldn't handle the temperatures and it would need to retreat with the others soon. He cursed and looked around, trying to make sense of the forest without sunlight to guide him. 

The ground shook. The hair on his neck stood at attention and he froze when he realized that Taurus was roaming. Where? Gods, where does he think he's going?

The footfalls were getting quieter as Taurus seemed to be southbound. Omar wracked his brain for Avylon's geography, but he truly couldn't recall if there were any townships down there. His room was in a town up north from this forest, large enough to accommodate the villagers. They just needed to get there. 

Coughing, he continued forward. It would be maybe half an hour before he met up with the refugees. The children were atop his automaton, clinging on for dear life. They all looked so tired. 

"Hello," he greeted wearily, "I'm Omar Nextwin,  Heriel's creator. Come this way, we need to hurry. Taurus isn't himself right now."

"What's happened?" an older woman asked, clearly confused. If he had to guess, she was likely the matron of this village.

He looked at her as he walked past, setting a hand on Heriel. "Politics, milady. Let's move." 

Edited by ticklefarte

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He could feel them as he walked. His automatons. Some had found hiding spots in the forest or surrounding plain. Those, he left dormant, knowing that he'd call on them again when he returned. 

Others...well with those he could feel the connection waning. In the vast network of his summonings, branches were what bound him to the constructs. Thanks to Taurus, a lot of those branches were falling off. He would have to rebuild after this. Maybe get Pomin to help. I need to teach that kid something. Anything. He'd been a poor father as of late. Karis could pick up the slack, he hoped. The boy needed exposure to his Nextwin side if he wanted to succeed. Ah, back to the task at hand.

In the distance Taurus raged, and in his fury the concussive result of a celestial meeting the earth swept over the province. He wondered idly if the Avylon authorities were concerned. Wondered if the Kommandant would step in or leave it all to him. Could he he handle it? No time for doubt. 

His vision was getting blurry. He blinked and rubbed his face to try to wipe away the fatigue, but struggled. In his arms was a young boy that he'd taken hold of to relieve the parents of the load. It was the least he could do. 

Looking up, Omar saw the lights of the town. The nightlife here was active enough, meaning the village people would get some help. He assumed they knew each other, whether through trade or some other connection. Regardless, they would no longer be his responsibility. "Almost done," he muttered. 

"Why is Taurus so mad?" someone asked. Omar glanced at him, then back to the town, sighing. 

"Why is anyone mad?" he replied swiftly. "In the end, the reason doesn't do much to help us. Still, if you must have an answer for your prayers tonight, know this: Taurus is upset because something was taken from him. I imagine that he wants it back. No matter the cost."

The town welcomed them easily enough. Omar left the group quietly. In fact, later, if anyone tried to recall, they'd find that the kind man with glasses and the strange Genesari accent who'd been their sherpa had been nowhere in sight upon arrival. 

Moving hastily, Omar flipped the collar of his long coat up to hide his face as he made his way toward the inn. He needed to review the texts he had on Taurus' abilities. They were vague and nondescript but also the best he had. The innkeeper looked at him oddly as he opened the door. Omar stared back at him, green eyes narrowing as he tried to get a read on him. "And how are we doing tonight, Mr. Usu?" he asked, slowing his stride. "Did you hear the noise to the south? Very concerning, hm?"

Usu shrugged and wiped down his bar. "Nehalen is a place of strange happenings. You get used to it, Nextwin." 

Omar nodded and made his way to the stairs. Soon the stories would circulate in the town. There would be tales of the mad god and his destructive wandering, and these tales would create a panic that he didn't want to deal with. He ran a hand through his hair, then recoiled when he felt the soot. He must've smelled like an ash pit. 

Rounding the corner, he strode to his door and pulled a key out of his pocket. 

What? 

The key moved without resistance. The door was unlocked? Why? Omar quickly brandished his stylus, ready to carve a rune in the air to subdue some enterprising thief. He didn't have any valuables on him, but all of his money was in the room. He slowly opened the door and flipped on a light. 

"Who the hell are you?"

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