Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by The Philosoraptor, Jan 18, 2014.

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  1. It burned, the weight of the world. How mortals survived, how they could bear the limitations of solid forms, the Darkness could never know. He'd had the throne (a massive block of asymmetrical, jagged obsidian) constructed to bear his burden, and now it had become a symbol of his power. Oh, the beings on this wretched mistake of life that would slaughter their kin for the sake of a chance to sit where Xanethus sat. To hold the power he held. But they never could. "Vizier..." The voice was a rasp and a boom at the same time. The hunched, horned form next to him practically jumped out of his seat. "Y-yes my lord?" The skeleton lifted a hand. "They've sent their Avatar."

    "M-m-my master? Already?" The skeletal form shifted, its head cocked to the side. "Need I repeat myself, Vizier? Do you call me a liar?"

    "N-n-n-no, your...." The body raised a hand, leaving the demon with his mouth hanging open. "Do not stutter, Vizier. I cannot stand stuttering." The Vizier gulped and continued. "Yes, Majesty. I could not possibly consider you a liar. But, I merely wonder. Why send their Avatar now, and not before, when you were at your weakest?" The skeleton leaped out of his seat, kicking the demon to the floor, and lowering the blade of his massive scythe to his throat. "YOU DARE CALL ME WEAK!? WRETCHED CHILD!" He promptly beheaded the demon, who dissolved into a viscous, black fluid. Standing, Xanethus turned to the court of demons, undead, and general monsters, now leaning on his scythe like a cane. "It has come to my attention that my Vizier has recently joined the dead. I am in need of a replacement." The beings in the room cringed. The fourteenth this month. Xanethus scanned the crowd with his hollow sockets. "You. Elfling. Your name?"
  2. Whim stared blankly into the distance, conversing with his second self on the topic of zombie noodles, when his attention was drawn to the death of the vizier. Looking around himself, Whim smirked inwardly at the weak around him, and recoiled mentally at the strong. His attention was drawn to the dark-lord's call, elfling? The dark-lord and just called for the name of an elfling, and he was one of the very few elf-bloods to be amongst the forces now gathered. "I call myself Whim", he boldly stated, betrayed by the pitch his voice produced as he finished. Hoping the man, or being, on the throne either didn't notice or didn't care, he stood, doing his best to meet the skeleton's gaze. Surrendering almost immediately after he began his attempt, Whim could feel his second self laughing at his failure, "sir" Whim referred back to the dark-lord, and immediately wondered if it was appropriate. He decided simply to gaze indirectly at the dark-throne until he had a response. Whim knew not to anger those better than himself, and he was fairly certain he hadn't; at least he wouldn't die.
  3. Draco stood beside his lords throne, hands holding both blades tightly. The Elvish man was foolish enough to not address Lord Xanethus first, and instead said "I call myself Whim.....Sir" It was a foolish mistake, Draco and Ignis made before. Ignis's voice growled out "Such a foolish being, he will make an excellent snack." Draco nodded and said "In due time Ignis, this world will be a perfect snack." Taking a step out of the shadows, Draco spoke into the mind of his lord "An Elfling, Lord Xanethus? That would make a much better dessert than a Vizier." Ignis chimned in "When may we hunt lord?"
  4. Anettia was silent as she bent down on the top of the mountain as her golden eyes continued to watch the man who struggled to walk on the other side of the mountain. In her peripheral vision she could see shadows lerking around and knew that she had forgotten to block her spiritual gift, she may be an assassin but that didn't mean she wanted to see the dead souls of her victims. The man was sweating like crazy as he climbed like crazy, 3 other men with swords followed a bit ahead of him. They were meant to protect the man, named Victor, from anyone who tried to harm him or any monsters that came across his path. Truthfully, the only reason he was still alive was because Anettia was having fun stalking her prey. She had been following him since they had left Lagati and entered the mountain area.
    His struggle seemed to please her a bit so she just let a sigh escape her lips as she took her knife out of its sheath around her waist, Anettia scraped it across the floor while her eyes stayed on the four men who believed they were safe. They had no clue how wrong they were. The wind blew her long chocolate brown hair around her face but she didn't move a muscle to shoo it out of her way. Sure, if she used her looks to distract the men her job would be quick but that wasn't as fun as watching her prey struggle from a distance.

    "Sir Victor, perhaps we should stay here and rest? We've been traveling all night and day, we're tired," One of the mercenaries Victor had hired spoke and for a moment it looked like Victor wanted to argue about stopping but he was definitely tired himself. He's probably use to the rich and luxarious way of life, Anettia knew that he was trying to escape Taman since Anettia had taken it upon herself to scare him half to death one night. Oh, it was a funny sight when he had peed himself at the sight of her when she appeared in his garden at night.
    "Alright, I'm getting quite bored... time to end this," Anettia sighed before she tucked the knife back into the sheath, closing her eyes she concentrated on her current form before letting it fly away. Her body shaped seemed to change as white ears grew from her head, it only took moments before she had turned into a large white tiger who eyes the color of pure gold. Her clothes and weapons had disappeared like they usually did when Anettia turned into her true form. It was time for her prey to die.
    With that one thought Anettia bolted forward but she didn't use her full speed, her large paws were silent as they pushed toward the men with an ill-fate. Once she reached them she hid didn't bother to hide but instead walked over to them with a feeling of danger and elegance to her.
    "She's here!" Victor screamed in fear, his eyes were wide while he shook in fear. A truly amusing sight that Anettia had gotten use to seeing. It would end here, it was to bad that 3 men just had to get involved with Victor.
  5. A winged horse, white as a baby's first tooth, with a mane and tail the color of freshly-tilled earth, landed gently a stone's throw from the southern outskirts of Madhan. Its rider dismounted and spoke in a low yet obviously-female voice.
    "See to your needs, Noelle, as I see to mine. You will know when to rise, and may we meet again when the sun has turned." She touched the pegasus softly in its muzzle, then turned toward the city as the animal rose. In a few minutes, she had reached the inn.

    "Ah, Isabel," said the inkeeper with a pleasant smile, "back from your travels I see. What'll you be having this morning?"
    "Food and water," Isabel said simply.
    "Right. Well, we have some nice pork roast from last night. I could heat that up for you-" He paused. "Remind me again which day of the week you don't eat red meat."
    Isabel gave the innkeeper an odd look. "I never eat red meat," she said, "that is what the wolves and carrion feed on."
    "Oh, no, I meant- nevermind. Would you like some pork?" he finished. She nodded.

    Isabel sat at a small table at the side of the room to eat her meal. She was tired. She and Noelle had flown most of the night, since Noelle had rested the day before while Isabel fought. "Fought undying flames and the ghosts of squirrels," Isabel muttered quietly as she slowly shook her head.
  6. For the last three years, Bjorn had placated himself as he did now in the Madhan inn. No battles to fight, except the war on his sobriety. It was the same sad picture: a proud, powerful barbarian who had lived to see an impressive age now wasting away in the taverns of the world, consuming mead and meat for lack of anything better to do.

    Most of the less salty patrons kept their distance, leaving him and some of the surrounding tables alone to avoid the slim possibility of losing a limb. However, dogged adventurers and youthful, wonder-eyed curs gathered around him to listen to his stories and keep his tankard flowing faster than he can leave it dry.

    One of the boys, who worked as a waiter for the owner, leaned over with his arms on the table. His eyes were wide as he listened raptly to the snow-haired man from the mountains, then quickly urged him on. "And then what happened, Mister?"

    Bjorn's teeth tore away at the leg of mutton in his hand, gnashing and swallowing with the least bit of manners. He dropped it on his plate with a clang and wiped away at his beard, then chased it down with drink. When he had a free breath, he'd answer. "After I spent the better half of the day cutting down his men, the general himself called an end to the fighting. He said he was sick of watching his men die like calfs ripe for the slaughter. Then he issued me a direct challenge, to settle things one on one."

    There was a twinkling in the aged barbarian's eyes, as if he were remembering each event perfectly in his mind and it brought a sort of... strange glee to him. "So I accepted. After I gave him an hour to rest and prepare, we met in the middle between the two armies. They formed an impenetrable circle. It was obvious, only one man was leaving it alive."

    "The general wasted his time on pointless posturing, giving mocking speeches. But I knew by the end, my blades would taste his royal blood. And it did. After a grueling battle that clashed into the night, he'd grown tired stumbling around in all the armor that he wore. He made a fatal swing that left him open, and off his head came, rolling along til it touched the feet of his men in a spout of crimson rain that stained the earth."

    Bjorn was grinning ear to ear. One of the adventurers, another young whelp, chimed in to express his ignorance. "Yeah, right. I never heard of this battle. You're probably just some wishful old fool looking to impress some drunken lot at every inn you go to!"

    The expression on the barbarian quickly changed. Although his mood had been uplifted from its typical cynicism partly due to the mead, his powerful anger was still there. And it flared, as did the fire in his eyes. Bjorn stood suddenly, and his hand flew out to grab at the front of the transgressor's tunic. "I've spilled more blood, drank more mead, and screwed more women than the moons you've lived to see, boy. Don't ever doubt me!"

    Without warning, he slammed him down into the table, sending everyone's tankards flying, then dragged him along its surface before flinging him into another row of patrons, their table, their mead. The noise was loud indeed, leaving nothing but a heap of bodies and broken wood. That was all anyone else needed to start a fight, and it seemed the old inn devolved into a brawl.
    #6 Insidious Joe, Jan 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
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  7. He was absolutely pathetic. Trying hard to look as strong as he could, his familiar sniggering behind him, and practically shitting itself when Xanethus turned his gaze towards it. But then, they all looked pathetic. This.... Whim, less so than others. "You shall have no name in my presence. You shall be nothing more or less than my Vizier. My children will answer to you, and you will answer to me. Any power you have may be overridden by mine. That is all." With some effort, Xanethus lowered himself into his chair. "All of you. Dismissed. Except you, Draco and Ignis. And you. Vizier." He glanced at the cadaver to his left. "And take the corpse with you." A fat imp bounced up to the chair and bowed, waiting for permission to step forward. It was granted, and the imp proceeded to tear into the body, folded wings shuddering with delight. He reached out to Draco and Ignis's shared mind. The elfling will suffice. We shall test him.

    "Vizier. Draco. Follow me." Xanethus rose, indifferent to whether they did or not. His scythe clicked on the floor as he walked, raising his glowing hourglass as a lamp. His single glowing light wandered through the ever-twisting tunnel systems of the black mountains. After about an hour of walking agony, Xanethus halted. In front of a massive cavern, lit up by the massive fires of gargantuan forges and the sparks of mining picks slamming into veins of various ores, from iron and coal, to gold and silver. The cavern seemed to ooze with an army of miners, mostly the dark elves of the local underground. Giant, four-winged demons armored in spiky, black plate patrolled the area, ensuring that quotas were met and no miners slacked off. Any who did were immediately thrown into the fires of the nearest forge. Steel swords, shields, and armor were loaded off into carts and rolled away to various sister caverns containing multiple barracks and training centers. Xanethus continued moving after the horde looked up to see their audience, immediately saluting him, roaring out the motto of his followers: "DEATH IS ETERNITY! ETERNITY IS DEATH! HAIL THE SUPREME DARKNESS!" A few were run over by carts or struck by a stray pickaxe in the brief chaos. Always more where those came from. Xanethus made his way along a ledge to the nearest barracks, stroking the head of a three-headed hellhound (massive canines whose fur doubled as projectile quills, had long rows of pointed and poisoned fangs, talons sharp as razors, and eyes that could have killed without the rest) who happened to trot up to its master. A new noise, that of sword striking sword, spear smashing spear, and shield slamming against shield reached his ears. Formations of demons moved across the cavern, from a phalanx to a boar's snout designed to break a shield wall. Comprising the army was a vast variety of beings, from a skeleton cavalry regiment, to a massive corps of demonic skirmishers [that particular group was comprised of a special breed of demons, designed to be swift with clawed hooves (the main body of the foot being a cloven hoof, with three killing claws protruding from the sides and rear of the main foot to act as extra support and also as a method to kill) and small wings to allow for sudden boosts of speed and to suddenly change direction. They had incredibly dense muscles, were prone to be born with magical capability, and were equipped with the best armor and weaponry possible to be the best at their job, that being to harass and gravelly weaken the enemy before the two main forces struck each other. They were not trained to fight in formation, but to break those of their enemies]. They greeted Xanethus in the same way as the miners, until he dismissed them with his hand. They returned to their mock fighting. "So. They dare send their Avatar, eh? He knows he is too weak to fight me himself. He'll seek to gather an army of his own."He cocked his head to his left. "Vizier. You shall lead my vanguard against the kingdom of Siman. You will coerce the king to support my cause. One way or the other." He nodded towards his right. "Draco. Ignis. You shall hunt the Avatar himself." Yes. They would all fall beneath him. "Death is Eternity." His legions responded. "ETERNITY IS DEATH! HAIL THE SUPREME DARKNESS! XANETHUS! XANETHUS!" Their cries echoed through the tunnels, and were responded to by others. Oh, yes. It would all be his. Soon.
    #7 The Philosoraptor, Jan 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  8. Daciana padded quickly through the forest in her wolf form, her head low to the ground and her tail swaying behind her. She had a long day ahead of her, as just a day ago a young girl from Ndani had come to ask her for aid. At first Daciana had refused, she didn't want to leave her cottage in the ruins of her old community, but the child's pleas kept digging at her. Daciana saw the faces of her old friends on the child's face and finally after a few minutes of glowering and grumbling, she agreed to help the child.

    "What is it that you need anyway?" She had asked, although in hindsight she should have asked first before agreeing to help.

    "My families crops are being ravaged by wild boars. Every time we till our soil, plant our seeds and watch the crops grow, we are forced to watch a stampeded of boar destroy everything." The child said solemly.

    Daciana had groaned inwardly then. She hated boars. They were rude, irritating and hard to negotiate with. But she had already agreed to help.

    "Return to your family, I will follow your trail tomorrow." The woman stated and the child smiled happily and even dared to give the magician a hug. Daciana had stiffened at that. She hadn't been embraced for years.

    Now she was more than halfway to Cheneo as she lived on the outskirts of Makali, so it hadn't taken that long. However when she breached the end of the forest, she was forced to regain her human form and travel in that fashion. If she had been an elder she would have simply shifted from one animal form to another more suitable one, but as she hadn't recieved all of her training, she need to rest.

    So began her long trek to Cheneo, where she would stop at a tavern or something of the like for food and water, and then continue on her journey.
  9. Whim sighed heavily. He hated these gatherings and was terrible at speaking to superiors; he had gotten too used to the squabble of peasants he pushed around back in Siman. His spirits rose a little as he recalled their screams; he missed those days. Stepping forward to follow the dark-lord, he took note of the master's description of his new occupation, and apparently his new name, as well as the favor Draco and Ignis seemed to have with Xanethus. He wasn't sure whether he was allowed to tell Draco what to do, so he decided he wouldn't. As he followed into the mines, his second-self laughed mutely at the way the miners toiled, and gazed jealously at the hellhound's obedience to Xanethus. "If I was able to act without this proxy", the ghast thought to itself, "that pile of marrow wouldn't be pushing me around". Whim got nervous whenever thoughts like this, thoughts suggesting his master's weakness, flowed around in his head, but unless Xanethus could read minds inter-planarly, and he hadn't displayed this ability yet, he wouldn't know. This realization calmed him down just enough to properly enjoy the spectacle of the unique breed of demons they were now passing.

    Xanethus began speaking, perhaps thinking out loud, until he began giving orders. The king of Siman? Whim grinned visibly at his task. When it came to running an economy, Siman had one of the best. But the king was no military genius, he couldn't even save a couple dozen villages from one man. Back to Siman, and with a vanguard? Entirely unnecessary... though they could help storm a keep. Siman did have a grand army, even if they didn't know how to use it, but the king's treasurer was corrupt, and he had the king's ear. Going alone might make the job easier, but he wasn't about to question his orders; he was the newly-appointed vizier only because the dark-lord had just publicly killed his predecessor for implying his master was less than he was. No, he would take the vanguard, if only to follow orders. Whim bowed slightly and spoke softly. "It will be done, my lord".
    #9 SquishyMath, Jan 19, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2014
  10. Anettia had returned to Lagati in her human form with a long black cloak hiding her, the only thing you could see from the hood over her head was the long brown hair the she didn't bother to tie up. Walking down a path she avoided touching the people that passed by her as they went on with whatever it was they were doing. Anettia stood still for a moment as she closed her eyes and listened to the sounds around her, searching for a certain voice that owed her the other half of her money for killing Victor. She heard him whispering and without hesitation she opened her eyes and walk toward a dark alley that he occupied with someone who had nothing to do with her.
    It was obvious the man noticed her when she was a few feet away from him and his associate, for a moment he looked a bit scared but then he remembered he had been the one to hire her. Obviously his courage had grown while Anettia had left, the man turned his head away from her and continued to talk to the other guy who leaned against the wall.
    "Tell your friend to leave," Anettia spoke up in a tone that was strong and unwavering, in the dark alley her gold eyes glowed and sent a chill down the man's back but he didn't move.

    "We're speaking, woman... wait for a moment," He replied to her with a hiss, Anettia narrowed her eyes before she walked over to him and grabbed his shoulder. With a quick shove he slammed into the other side of the wall while Anettia looked at his friend who was now stiff and scared, she could smell it on him.
    "Leave. Now," In that quick second he scurried away from the alley and tried to get as far away Anettia as possible, with that she turned around and starred at the other man who had hired her. Her emotionless face couldn't be seen in the dark but it was clear that she wasn't one to play around with, she wanted her money and she wanted it now.
    "I would like to remind you that I am not afraid to put you on the brink of death, give me my money now or pay for the consequences," Anettia's voice was cold and her words weren't at all kind. Without hesitation the man grabbed a brown leather bag and handed it to her, with a shake she could hear the clear sound of real gold coins hitting each other; turning around she left the scared man alone. Even though most people would check inside of the bag to see if it was actually real money, Anettia would be able to find him if he had tried to trick her... she always found her prey no matter how hard they tried to hide from her. Fixing her hood once more she exited the alley and began to blend in with the crowd of people passing by. Time to look for her next job.
  11. The inn suddenly errupted behind Isabel. She grimaced. This was not known to be one of the rowdier taverns, and she had hoped to eat her meal in peace. Normally Isabel would simply walk away when a pointless fight broke out, letting the drunkards deal with the consequences of their behavior. But Isabel was hungry and in no mood to be forced from her table.

    A thrown chair crashed into the back of Isabel's. She slowly stood, leaning on the table with her left hand and turning her right to the ruckus behind her. "Malacia tacitus," Isabel announced in a commanding voice. Most of the brawlers paused, seeming unsure of why they were hitting each other instead of getting another mug of mead. Then one was punched again, and another crashed into, and they began to remember.

    Isabel turned and stepped into the middle of the scene, planting her feet. A man was shoved into her and fell to the floor, rubbing the shoulder that had hit her armor. "What they really need in here is metal furniture," Isabel thought as she viewed the destruction around her. "Subluceo," Isabel said simply, and her armor began to glow faintly. The tumult lessened as those still rowdy noticed the large shiny object in their midst.

    "Hey, lady," an unkept man began, "would you-"
    Isabel turned toward the speaker, but her eyes stopped before reaching him. There was a flicker of recognition, and then-
    "Bjorn?" Isabel asked, her voice betraying a hint of surprise.
  12. The ensueing chaos had given the old barbarian much pleasure, and he wasted no time in doling out his share of the fighting. However, it seemed to end almost as easily as it had begun, and he had heard his name being called.

    The adventurer that he had used as a catalyst to start the bar battle was in his grasp again, and he paused right before he ended up striking the lad once more in the face. Instead, he dropped the cur on their back and turned to whomever addressed him.

    Bjorn's eyes did not betray emotion, acting as if coming across Isabel were something to be expected. "It's the battle maiden." He'd answer gruffly. His mind looked back to when they'd first met, several moons ago, and was silently pleased to find that she looked no worse for wear with all her limbs intact.

    The rest of the patrons seemed to reluctantly go back to how things were before, uprighting the tables and chairs that hadn't been smashed and going back to meals and drink. Bjorn cut a path to the familiar paladin, standing before her as he idly scratched his beard.

    Before he could strike up conversation, however, the inn keeper was shouting and showing his dismay at the destruction of property. They would sidle up to the barbarian, glowering up into his face. "Out, you behemoth! Leave before I call the guards!" He'd jab his finger into Bjorn's chest to punctuate his anger.

    However, Bjorn wasn't pleased by the yelling in his ear and the unwanted physical contact. He would give the inn keeper a strong glare before turning away and moving to leave. "Looks like we'll have to catch up elsewhere."
    #12 Insidious Joe, Jan 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
  13. Satisfied that the tasks he'd set forward were to be carried out, Xanethus continued on the path alone. It stretched for what seemed like miles until he reached a small cavity, jagged and unused. "Knew I should have had this dug closer to the throne...." His mutterings and scythe clacking against the solid stone were the only sounds echoing through the tunnel as he walked through. Eventually, the tunnel opened up into a much better built cavern, sporting smooth walls carved from the dark and layered sedimentary rock. Dotting the floor was a multitude of various torture devices (a rack, an iron coffin set up against a dark furnace, an iron maiden, and a device reminiscent of a corkscrew that Xanethus himself wasn't quite sure of its purpose). He passed by all of them (though casting a longing glance towards the long table of bladed devices set up on the east wall) straight to the four leaning spikes of black diamond encompassed by a massive pentacle. At the dead center of the pentacle (also the center of the room itself) was a deep hole, in which he planted his scythe, chanting in a language forgotten to men. Deep violet energy shot from the blade to each of the spikes, which projected directly above the scythe and down to Xanethus. "Yesssssss. YESSSSSSSS." He felt the weight of mortality lift, his wings spread, and the world fall into his waiting grasp. Only here could he feel the pleasure of his true form without the destruction of everything he had built. His gaze spread to the shaman in the outskirts of the forests of Kijani, the barabarian meeting the light-bringer in the city of Madhan, the shifter taking payment for her death-dealing, and his own servants leaving the black mountains. Oh, this would be fun.
  14. Isabel turned back to her meal, but saw what was left of it was already on the floor. She sighed. Isabel could not expect the innkeeper to provide another since he had lost more than she had in the past few minutes, and her purse was too tight to pay for another. Noelle would not be expecting their rondevous yet...

    Isabel looked toward the mercenary who was leaving, then began to follow. When she reached the threshhold, an uneasieness spread over her. Something was off. Isabel looked about herself suspiciously, but saw nothing to raise concern. She easily caught up with Bjorn.

    "The innkeeper behaved as though you were the cause of the brawl," Isabel began, "I hope it is not so. I took you for a warrior rather than a drunkard." The uneasy feeling swept back across Isabel, and she paused. Something in the air? No, the weather was fair. The paladin looked back at Bjorn, but he seemed not to have noticed.
  15. (OOC: AAB & I used PMs to simulate IC dialogue to avoid spamming the thread with several posts at once. I'm including it all here.)

    Bjorn too had felt the unease, and inside his head he remarked about how there was an evil in the wind. However ominous, he tore away from his thoughts to face the battle maiden after a steady walk down a cobbled pathway.

    "I was. Admittedly, times have been slow. Entertainment befitting of a warrior has been few and far between these last few years," He would answer her but seemed to have not suffered any injury to his pride.

    "And I do not suffer personal insult by younglings too fresh-faced to remember the battles of old."

    It seemed the barbarian felt he was utterfly justified in his reasoning for starting the brawl.

    Bjorn would begin to speak again before the maiden could interrupt, likely along the lines of how it was not honorable or some spiel. "It seems the winds have seen fit to deliver you unharmed since last we saw eachother."

    Isabel nodded in acceptance. Pride had made many a man act poorly.
    "It is not the winds so much as she who rides them," Isabel responded. "You have not met Noelle, my steed, for she was reluctant to travel to the land of ice. As far as being unharmed-," Isabel smiled slightly, "I am Isabel the Invincible. But tell me, have you been to the southwest plains of late?"

    In his many years, Bjorn had heard the story of winged mounts that bore riders great distances, but none he'd seen with his own eye. This would surely be an interesting sight to witness.

    "The plains of Siman? I have not traveled that way for many moons. I only just now came from Elurra. However, I have intended to walk that path again."

    "I have just come from the plains," explained Isabel, "and there is trouble there. Unnatural forms moving about, enchantments of a most distateful kind. Burning and freezing in an irregular pattern. I did not know what to make of it." She paused. "Perhaps I should travel to Dadka. The king should know of this if he is not already aware. But first I must return home." "Home" she called it, but the word was for the benefit of those they were passing on the street.

    Furrowed were the barbarian's brows as he listened to Isabel's words. "That is strange. It sounds as if something is stirring... But those are just tales. I would walk the plains and see this for myself, and perhaps we'll meet again in Dadka."

    Bjorn made no effort to make way for others on the street as they walked, instead forcing those not with carts to make wide berth of the large man.

    "There will be work found after all. In odd times, a swordarm is valuable to those who feel threatened."

    Isabel looked to the sky. It was nearing noon, and Noelle would be returning for her.
    "Then I will see you in Dadka," Isabel replied, and held out her palm in farewell.

    Bjorn would return the gesture before breaking away from the maiden. He had no more cause to remain here in Madhan, and so he would make for the countryside at a leisurely pace after checking and restocking much needed provisions.

    It would would be several days' travel to Dadka for the barbarian by foot, an impressive feat even for those on horseback. It was a testimony to his strength and stamina. Still, he was in no hurry, preferring to investigate the claims that Isabel had made during their talk.
    #15 Insidious Joe, Jan 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
  16. Ahhh. Bjorn Helmcleave. Well-famed for his feats in combat. And well known for his willingness to betray his allies in the face of double the pay. He would do. The treasuries had grown for years now, and Xanethus had no need for gold, silver, or gems. Except for this exact cause. As for the paladin, she'd be dealt with soon. The Vizier, Whim, was on his way to Dadka himself. And the Skirmishers were well disguised as human sellswords. They would travel by a very fine breed of Feldrakes (two legs, four talons per foot, massive wings that folded very tightly, massive spines that could expand or flatten at will, poison saliva that could ignite when mixed with a certain chemical held in the roof of their mouths. Extremely fast fliers in the air, and less so running on land. Commonly used as mounts for his army, though not Xanethus personally), rivals of these Pegasi used by the paladins, and rapidly reproduce. When this Isabel the Invincible (whoever she was) arrived at the capital, she would be faced with spears and blades, not open arms and a warm bed. This amused him. Xanethus gazed back into the globe he held.
  17. After taking leave of Bjorn, Isabel headed for the western edge of the city. Once she was several ogre-paces out, a white figure came from the sky, growing larger until it landed beside Isabel and whinnied.

    Isabel rubbed Noelle's muzzle, then mounted the pegasus. "We now return," Isabel said, "I hope you are well. I for one am still in need of rest. Please do not let me fall."
    Isabel pulled a long scarf from a saddlebag and leaned forward as she passed the end under Noelle. Isabel secured her legs to the animal, then leaned forward and said, "Let us go."

    Noelle stretched her wings and rose, leaving Madhan and the grasslands behind as she flew North toward Elurra's mountains. Isabel passed into a shallow sleep.
  18. Whim found the legion he was to command, and he was impressed with how easily they could be mistaken for hired help, "Our master gives us a task", Whim addressed his entourage. The entourage of a visiting dignitary, sneaking in wouldn't be as difficult as he was expecting. While counting heads, it occurred to whim that there were probably a few hundred here, enough to complete the task, but nowhere near the full power of Xanethus's army, that would be superfluous. Whim didn't have any problem with superfluous, and this was more than enough to complete the quest. Everyone was ready, the trek will now begin.

    Heading out from his master's fortress under the guise of a foreign lord, Whim grimaced at the realization that he would have to go through Istina. He never knew where the allegiances there would lye, or how many there were. Built on the borders of Siman and Taman, it was never a place one could find what he was looking for. That would be the bulk of his journey too, and the city he should restock supplies at. It was only a day or two of travel from there to Dadka, and five days from the Fortress of Darkness to Istina. Well, at least they were moving, and he could already see the sun's glint on the river. The king of Siman would have a guest of honor within the week, so-long as the "bodyguards" kept in check.
  19. Draco nodded slightly and followed his lords wishes, leaving the cavern, Draco paused, letting Ignis take over.

    Ignis stretched his legs, and checked his claws on a boulder, which was cut into pieces with his extremely sharp claws. Smelling the air, Ignis thought "Say Draco, ready to hunt down the Avatar?" Draco grunted his approval, thinking of streategies to use against their foe. Looking for a soft spot in the ground, Ignis attacked the spot, using his teeth and legs to dig quickly through the ground....

    Hours Later:

    Ignis crawled out of the ground, in a plains area. He sniffed the air, and smelt the direction the Avatar was. Running full speed in silence, the two only got closer and closer to their prey. ​
  20. The night was charged with energy. Something loomed just over the horizon, a cataclysm, a turn of the stone calendars of yore. A new world, perhaps. Perhaps just the old one reborn again, in the endless cycle of death and life that all of creation fell into.
    Heady thoughts, for a dove perched in the rafters of an old cathedral. The dove did not know why he thought these thoughts. Until perhaps an hour ago, he had thought of nothing but seeds and sky and warm places to sleep for years. Had he not always been a dove? Had he not always flown across skies and shat on statues? It was an unfamiliar concept, being human. Yet it was so intimately familiar. A thousand faces passed through his mind, of people he - the man, not the bird - had met over the years. A young knight teetering between light and dark. A king choosing who his daughter must wed. A child, eyes bright with fever. An Elven priestess missing both legs. A woman of soil and stone, with ancient eyes and a voice like a mountain. He named her mother, and knelt in her presence.
    The dove died. Heart still and frozen in his breast, he shed his mortal form and let it plummet to the stone floor of the church below with a sickening crunch of bones. To someone with The Sight, the figure of a phoenix wreathed in fire might have risen from the still body, crooning sadly for a moment before it froze, in obeisance or terror. Another spirit climbed up through the Earth. A woman, but a great and terrible one. She was life, but also death. The world incarnate, in all its majesty and all its cruelty. She was not kind, but she was not a tyrant. She existed, a power above those like her and removed from those on her own level.
    She spoke in a language that was not a language. Her words were ideas, heavy as only ideas can be, that rumbled and cracked with the might of geotectonics. And the phoenix bowed his head, submitting to her will, but his talons tightened and eyes closed in anger, not respect.
    The crumpled form of the dove exploded, before its various chunks reformed, combining with stray bits of stone on the floor and even the floor itself, until a man stood before the altar. Or, at least, the body of a man. Hair of brass and copper and bronze flowed around a strong but peaceful face, while lifeless brown eyes judged the world sightlessly.
    With a scream, the phoenix jumped into the man's chest just as the World Mother dissipated back into the ground.

    He came to life and fell to his knees, wobbly on two legs again. It always took a while to get used to a new body. Matthias had done this a thousand times before and would do so a thousand times again, but he doubted it would ever feel natural. Gods, this new body was odd. Humans were the worst when it came to re-learning the basics. Coordination, walking, focusing, all of the colors- it was too much. He stumbled to the door of the church, feeling sick, and retched onto the muddy streets.
    "Oi!" a blind beggar protested, stepping away. "Ya near got me, ya great lump. Watch where yer aimin', fer the folk that can't."
    Spiteful, Matthias seized the beggar's shoulders and kissed both of her eyes without bothering to wipe his lips. "Won't happen again," he promised before stumbling out into the world, wondering where he was meant to be this time... and where he could find some clothes at this time of night?
    The beggar wiped her eyes, spitting foul curses, until she lifted her hands away and, for the first time in near twenty years, was greeted by the sights of the world. "Hey- hey you! Wha- where'd he go?"
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