The Sword Seekers

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    Seeker. Listen.

    All she sees is darkness, but she listens to this disembodied voice as commanded.

    They are not lost. They are not defeated. And They are returning.

    They. Who's They?

    Mesym is in danger.

    Some part of her realizes this is a dream, but the rest of her unconscious is enraptured by this mysterious void. It draws her in, invites her. The voice itself is feminine, but not dainty; instead, it is deep, solemn, booming as though the speaker were sitting in an empty church. It's familiar, and yet unrecognizable.

    You must protect it.

    She's confused, now. The dreamland suddenly is shattered, and the heavy weight of gravity settles against her chest. Winds whip against her face, cold and violent, and yet she still feels the burn of flames on her heels, heat pressing against her backside as though she lay inside the hearth. Her head pounds, her blood races, her heart hammers against her chest. She can't breathe. I must protect it. I must protect it.

    You are Strigine. It is your duty.

    She opens her eyes, and can make out shadows, and then tall trees, thick pine, the floor coated in needles. Needles that are now in flames, even as snow falls from the reddened sky above. The snow is gray, and melts into the smoke that pollutes the air, choking her. Before her is one tree with a particularly massive trunk, a gaping hole in it's center, just about her height. Inside is a sword, shining brilliant silver against the light of the flames, the dark and misty colored jewels in the hilt glimmering. It, too, speaks to her. Find me. Wield me.

    The world is enveloped by a snowy white owl, and then it all returns to black.

    Talindra woke with a start, the hammock she lay in swinging precariously as she jolted upright. Her eyes were blinded; bright light filtered through the colorful fabric of the walls and through the slitted opening, offering little in the way of shade. Over night, the tent had practically become a furnace, though the warmth had little to do with the cold sweat she had awoken in. For a few moments, she simply sat there, blinking the white spots from her vision and calming her racing heart. Then with clammy hands she pushed the mussed hair from her face over her shoulder, and tied it back as her bare feet touched over the woven floor mats and found their way into sandals. Judging by the light outside and the temperature, she had slept through to the afternoon. The other hammocks were empty of occupants. She doubted anybody would say it to her outright, but her absence had likely been noted, and her lack of participation in the preparation of the day's events would only be seen as lazy, crazy dream or not.

    With that in mind, she dressed quickly, hoping the rigors of her morning routine would shake her from the lingering feeling of dread that coursed through her veins like a poison. She wanted to believe that it had all been a dream, just a dream, but she had never experienced anything like it before. But, she could put it from her mind, at least until the end of the festival, and then she could ask some of the others for their thoughts before she decided to act on premonitions. She was already late: nobody would thank her for interrupting with her babble of nightmares.

    It was the twenty first year of Mesym's thirteenth era, an unnervingly ominous number. Even better, it was the sixth day of the year proper: there were twenty one Ancient gods, and are six in the Pantheon... and there exist Thirteen Makers. Though, not many believed in the true existence of the latter. For most, thirteen was simply a numerical symbol of unlucky circumstances. But for Tali and her people, thirteen meant so much more. This day had been long awaited. It had been decided years ago that they would hold the festival on this day, to be coupled with the arrival of the blue moon and the Communion. So many of her people had longed to live to this day, to see the Communion in it's glory. For it was on this day that they would meet with the Makers, and would finally receive validation for their fervent beliefs and reward for their devotion and labor.

    Tali's people, the Alrumite, were the only on Mesym who truly believed in the Makers. The Ancients had been long since defeated, but their creators still existed, biding their time and watching the world with a keen eye. All they ever desired was that the world was cared and loved for, and all they've ever seen is its abuse. The Alrumite believed that should Mesym ever come to a certain point of disrepair, the Makers would sweep down from their celestial homes and punish man and elves both as equals for the abuse on the land, and would wipe out both races so that the earth could recover and flourish once more. This festival was their final attempt at proving their dedication, and at swaying the people of the world to their cause. If they could just spread their message a little bit further, perhaps the Makers would be pleased, and their first meeting would go pleasantly.

    They feared how the Makers would react otherwise.

    Regardless, it meant that the day's proceedings must go well--exceptionally--at all costs.

    She dressed quickly in the yellow blouse and pants laid out across her dressing chest, and emerged from the tent into the daylight. The sun beat down unwaveringly, the heat almost visible in the air. What a day, she thought, for a populated festival. Will anybody even come in with such high temperatures? They had set up camp right outside of Namasar, a large city in the outskirts of Brundanya, and had spent the year spreading the word of the event. Free food. Fireworks. Games, dancing, music. Everything that allured the common people to a party. Except, of course, the suppressing heat.

    It seemed, though, that people hadn't been deterred. Their residence tents had been set up a fair distance from the festival itself, but even from there she could see the crowds, their forms blocking the green grass from view. She could smell food--her stomach growled, reminding her that she hadn't eaten in a day--and hear the raucous noise of gatherings and the melodious music. A band of nymphs had come from the nearby river to play, their sweet voices blending into their harps and flutes in the closest display of perfection she'd ever seen. The color of the tents and flags popped against the blue sky.

    She had best get working. Mere hours stood between this festival, and the supposed end of the world.
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  2. The Festival

    Celesar Youcet disliked the plains of Brundanya. Though she had not been through them in all of her thirty four years, and had only occupied them for more than three days and nights, they bothered her nonetheless. In lapses of teaching and chatter between Celesar and her apprentices, the woman had attempted to fathom a reason as to why the vast emptiness of the plains prickled the back of her mind. Even the heat in the height of summer, unpleasant was it was, tinged with a healthy dose of added humidity, was not terribly different from her native deserts. The grasslands were as open as the desert. Everything from the sun up above, blazing down against her skin, to the gentle occasional gusts of wind were the same. Her deliberations had led her to no conclusion, but they bothered her still.

    She could, however, conclude that Brundanya would be pleasant if perhaps the air was a tad cooler. Sweat had been plastered across Celesar's forehear ever since they had crossed the border into the kingdom, and her delicate purple silk - usually light and free-flowing - sagged and hung heavy to her skin. In Thonosea, all one needed to avoid the heat was a fan and shade. Here, with the very air ripe with water, there was no respite. Celesar had attempted to chill the air around her using magic, but the strain proved too much to maintain over the course of an entire day. If her students were bothered by it, they made no note of it.

    Three weeks prior, news of the Communion carried its way over the narrow seas of Mesym and to Celesar's home of Al-Abihij. Though not a devotee of any particular god or goddess herself, preferring to keep her faith in what she could touch and feel, Celesar felt the inclination to attend. She had attended the ceremony once as a young girl with her mother, when she had felt obliged to humor her mother's strange beliefs. Now a woman grown, the notion of attending with a new perspective intrigued her enough to make the trek across sand and dirt well beyond her zone of comfort.

    She had also brought along three young - if perhaps agitating in their own regard - mages in the making.

    Ardwund and Cyna had gone along without too much complaint, particularly after Celesar had mentioned that they still owed her the respect of another year to truly complete their training. Only Eyja had seemed, if anything else, interested enough to give her more than grumbled complaints and a bland 'I suppose so'. Celesar also suspected that of her three students, if she said 'Jump' (Ardwund would question the worth of jumping to studying magic, Cyna would outright refuse) Eyja would be the only one ask 'how high?'

    Up ahead Celesar could spot the rough outline of houses upon the horizon. That would make some rational sense - the guide she had questioned upon their last stop had informed her that yes, she was on the correct path, and that Namasar should be within half a week's ride if she followed the flowing river that followed the road. The mage tugged at the fitting of her right sleeve and nudged her horse forward, urging the beast to move faster. It snorted and flicked its ears as if to protest the request. Cautiously, Celesar reached out into the air around her, grabbing at the humidity, condensing it into a ball of water about the width of her thumb. She cooled it and flicked at her her horse's head, smirking as it splashed out with a satisfying plink. The horse snorted again and Celesar's smirk morphed into a smile as the animal took the hint and turned its trot into a canter.

    What use is reigns? I have spurs all my own, she reflected ruefully.

    After arriving in Namasar, alongside several other travelers - a mixture of locals, pilgrims, and attendees - Celesar had momentarily stopped to ask for directions, fill her water skin alongside her pupils, and set back out to the indicated path.

    "Can't miss it," the man had grumbled in response. "Could see it from the bloody coast in Thonosea."

    Celesar had appreciated the attempt at a hyperbole, but she certainly could not even see the jagged island her people referred to as 'Lion's Tooth' from Al-Abihij, let alone all the way down the ocean to Brundanya. She had tossed the man a coin for the advice and set back to the path. By the time her group reached the festival grounds, the sun hung heavy in the sky above.

    The half-nymph was unsure what to make of the grand show the Alrumite had established upon arriving. It felt...smaller. Less impressive than her memories as a child would lead her to believe. Though she had been little over nine at the time, could that really turn giant marquises into common merchant tents? Casting the thought aside, she pressed on. A stableboy offered to relieve her and her students of their mounts, and there they were, in the heart of it. All around them rang the sweet tones of ceremony - chatter, music, and merchants shouting off their wares. The air was heavy with the scent of roasting meat, the air covered in a thin layer of smoke from cookfires, adding their own earthen smell to the mix. Celesar took in a deep breath of the air: it was not often she could take in anything more than salt water and sand.

    Celesar reached into the pouch she wore around her waist, hidden from pickpockets in the folds of her silk gown, and withdrew several coins. She called up her pupils, handing them each an equal share of the coin in turn.

    "You've had enough of my fussing and teaching for three weeks," she stated. "I won't bother you all with learning about the ceremony - if that is how you wish to-"

    "No," Cyna interjected.

    "If that is how you wish to," the older woman continued, narrowing her eyes at Cyna. "Spend your time, do so. Still, enjoy yourselves as much as you can - remember you'll have three more weeks of my fussing to endure when the festival is over."

    Celesar added one of her rare chuckles, eyes twinkling with amusement.

    "Now go on - if you have need of me, I have no doubt in your ability to find me when it is most inconvenient."

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  3. Town Square

    Nerinphe had heard about the festival some time ago. Some traveling merchants had mentioned it would be significant in some way or another and that fact it was so far away from her normal paths she walked was reason enough for her to be interested. They claimed it would be a once in a lifetime event, and who wouldn't be swayed by the promise of free food and good music? Still Nerinphe wasn't going to attend until she learned that Ashur had already left for Brundanya. Her only reservation was that she had no one to enjoy the festival with and the young fool was bound to get himself into trouble if she wasn't there to watch his back. Nerinphe was accustomed to setting broken bones and sewing up the wounds of poor farmers and peasants, Ashur was the only one who actually paid her for work. How could she let her best client die in some far away land?

    Now with the midday sun beating down on her and the crowd of people around her forcing her to move along her at their own pace Neri couldn't help but curse Ashur's name and her own foolishness for ever coming here. The heat was oppressive made worse by the street filled with people, ready to burst at the seams. She had reached the outskirts of the city this morning stowing her cloak away, afraid she would melt underneath the fabric, before proceeding toward the most crowded area of the town. She had not realized how hard it was going to be to find her friend. He was already hard to catch especially when he was applying his trade. Adding that to the impossibility of seeing through a crowd where only the children were shorter than her and the odd looks she has gotten for her bright blue hair tightly braided back and damp with sweat made for a miserable couple of hours.

    With her stomach making threats and the heat becoming overwhelming for Nerinphe, she had decided to retreat and revise her plan. Taking a few minutes to find some food she made her way to a quieter part of the city finding sanctuary underneath an ancient tree not to far from the town square. As she unstrapped her sword from her back and set it aside with her pack she couldn't help but be soothed by the quiet music drifting to her on the wind. It made the meal all the more enjoyable as she thought of another way to find her friend. It wasn’t like she could ask around without possibly getting him in trouble, but maybe she didn’t have to find him at all.

    Finally a smiled slowly formed on her face, the first since she came to this gods forsaken festival. If she could find some spectacle, a contest of strength or skill with the blade perhaps, she could join the event and the boy would most certainly find her. She hadn’t had a good test of her skills in months and this would be the perfect time to get some practice in. Winning some sort of prize wouldn't be too bad either. With that thought in her mind, Nerinphe finished her meal and gathered her things. A almost unnoticeable skip in step as she made her way back to the crowds.
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  4. Ashur | The FestivalTowards the central area of the festival, the crowds of people seemed to get more and more lively. Music played loudly throughout the area for the large groups of dancers seemed to form, spectators laughing and cheering them on as they ate and drank. Amongst the crowd of onlookers, Ashur stood quietly, watching the dancers with an amused look on his face. He wasn’t wearing his usual clothing in order to blend in with the crowds of people in broad daylight; instead he had acquired some attire looking to be a bit more elven to wear during the day. His usual black leather armor being replaced by a silk, expensive looking white tunic, a dark brown fitted leather vest with elaborate patterns carved into it, brown trousers, which looked to have a bit of a grayish tint to them, and fitted leather boots. He felt a bit uncomfortable without his black cloaks, currently using a dark, forest green hooded cloak as a substitute, but with the sun being as hot as it was at the moment, he knew wearing black leather would be even more uncomfortable.

    Ashur had arrived in Brundanya a few days prior in order to find a decent place to store his equipment and look out for any particularly interesting people to target. He had looted a few places during the nights prior to the festival, using a large portion of the money he had gotten to buy the outfit he was currently wearing. Despite the large crowds, a thief in black would stand out due to all the bright colors, so he would have to work at night. He still wanted to enjoy the festival though, their were plenty of opportunities to pick-pocket people as they were distracted or those who had a bit too much to drink, but he had to do everything with caution.

    As the dancers continued, Ashur glanced to the Orin man standing next to him. The elf had been keeping an eye on him for a while, taking note of the large amount of ale he had been drinking since he had arrived. He was just now beginning to sway, his eyes becoming low and hazy, he would be out cold in a few seconds. Just as predicted, the heavy set man stumbled over. As he did, Ashur swiftly reached out and grabbed the bag of coins that was loosely dangling from his belt, allowing the weight of the man to break the string holding it there. Ashur slipped the coin into a small pouch on the back of his belt and jumped back in surprise, acting startled that the man had fallen over. The people around laughed as some came to help the man to a place he could rest. Ashur then took this opportunity to move further into the crowd, soon vanishing from the place he had been originally standing.

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  5. Elysia Wick

    Elysia woke with a start, her heart slamming against her chest and sweat making her shirt stick to her body. The sheepskin blanket over her suddenly felt too hot and itchy. The room was dark, spare for the beams of sunlight spearing its way passed the opening the curtains, dust motes floating freely in the open air. She had not made it into town until late in the night, so she had just rented an Inn to stay at. The room suddenly felt much smaller than it was. There was something else to that dream. It flitted just beyond her thoughts, tempting her with its knowledge but robbing her of exactly what it was.

    However, today was not the day to be miserable thinking about something that more than likely had little meaning behind it. There was a Festival today in the center of the town. Even now she could hear the melodious sounds of Nymphs along with the sweet tunes of flutes and harps. There was the savory smell of various cooking meats and spices that made her mouth water, and the chatter of people already starting to gather. It definitely was not the day to worry about some dream that probably meant she needed to stop drinking so much before she went to sleep.

    Throughout getting ready, the dream stayed dormant in the back of her head, surfacing whenever she paused for a moment. Maybe she could go to those silly, not-so-cheap dream readers that were scattered throughout the streets. No, that was even more ridiculous. She hardly had the money to spare as it was. What she needed was to stop focusing on something that was pointless.

    Determined to forget about the images that haunted her all morning, she dressed herself in light, flexible clothing that would help with walking. A plain white dressed made from sheepskin, finished with furred moccasins that hugged her feet rather comfortably. However, Elysia regretted her choice the moment she stepped out from the Inn. The heat was almost unbearable. The dress was a favorable choice, but the fur surrounding her feet only made them sweat. She wondered why people were dressed even more heavily than her, with the sun beating down on their heads. Luckly there was enough cover to stay in the shade as she enjoyed the day, looking at the number of vendors selling everything from meat to wind chimes to weapons. There was talk of this legendary festival all around the country, and she'd be dead if she missed out on such a wonderous occasion.

    Tightening her bag around her shoulder more securely to ward off any wandering hands, she started to pick her way through the crowd, keeping her eyes either on the ground or on the tables of the vendors who were selling their wares. She hated eye contact. It left that awkward space open for even more awkward conversation, and that was something she desperately wanted to avoid. Elysia wasn't capable at all at holding a decent conversation, especially when she was distracted by that stupid dream. It lingered at the edges of her mind, coming to play whenever she saw a sword, even when she passed by a tent that held a number of caged owls. What did the owl even mean? She knew the animal was a symbol of Wisdom, but what wisdom could she offer? She was so young and inexperienced. She could hardly help herself, how awas she supposed to help anything other than that? It was so pointless. Once again, she pushed the thoughts as far away from her train of thought as possible, and focused solely on the Festival.
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  6. Entering Brundanya, Eyja felt as though she should feel some sort of camaraderie towards the country and her people, but found herself feeling nothing. They had often come to Thuaris' aid, but the result of their assistance often made her homeland look weak. They were, of course: they could hardly defend themselves, and had little power to speak of besides their Circles, whom were still outnumbered by the Orin. But Brundanya made them look even more pathetic and helpless, like a mewling kitten, blind and wobbling on it's legs. It was a strong statement, considering Brundanya's own lack of strength in the world. Even the hippies of the world were mightier than the elves, who had been stripped of almost everything they'd ever laid claim to.

    These thoughts she tried to push from her mind as they arrived at the festival. It wouldn't do to spend the remainder of her time in Brundanya brooding and miserable. Celesar was sure to pick up on it, and perhaps question her for her behavior. She also had to at least try to put up good appearances, if not for herself, but for the sake of her people. Looking weak was better than looking dead: Thuaris was still thriving--as much as it could, choked as it was by nature and by hostile human influence--and was anything but dead, even if little more than a young, helpless pup. Brundanya had been their savior often. She wouldn't repay the favor with the disrespect of this festival.

    The festival itself, and the group running the whole endeavor, were of particular interest to her. The Alrumite they were called, as she had learned from Celesar, and they believed in the existence of a further tier of the gods, the 'Makers' so they had been appropriately named, that laid their ruling fists over the maintenance of the lands. With the state of the world as it was, ruins still smoking and forests dying faster than the earth could be renewed, it was no wonder that the Alrumite were anxious. But their group was still relatively reserved from the world, which had never been kind to their preachers and spokespeople. Nobody wanted to hear news of another set of rampaging, angry gods that could destroy cities with a single blow. It was unwelcome, even if it could potentially be true. Mesym had had enough of tall tales. But the Alrumite were still trying, it seemed, to singlehandedly change the world.

    How quaint.

    With lips set in a firm line, she followed Celesar into the festival grounds, taking in what she saw around her. It was of a decent size, though hardly compared to the celebrations held back home. She could respect the care that had been put into it, though. Nymphs and dryads danced and sung, played instruments crafted from Mesym's secret treasures, and served foods, all incredibly alluring and attentive to their guests. There were games, and prizes for those who won, and colorful flags and tents popped up to offer some sort of shade from the overbearing sun. It smelled good, better than some of the lands they had crossed to get here, and she could feel gentle pangs in her stomach in longing. Sweets follows by savory dishes of roasted meats lined the dirt trodden paths of the grounds, all seemingly calling her name. She glanced at them briefly, only her eyes betraying her interest.

    It was then that Celesar stopped them, pressing a few coins into each eager apprentice's palm. She looked at the glinting surface of the coins before closing her fingers around them, noting that Cyna and Ardwund had already scattered into the crowd by the time she had made her decision on what to do. Typically, she would stay by Celesar's side. But the festival drew her in. With a nod of thanks to the elder mage, she ducked into the crowd herself, her feet carrying her towards the carts.

    Before long, she was wandering the grounds with a kabob of sorts in one hand, roasted vegetables and meat coated in an aromatic sauce, and a sticky bun in the other, wrapped in paper to keep her fingers clean of the melted sugar and syrup. Oh, it had been a long time since she'd indulged like this. She would surely regret it come morning, but for now...

    She was taking a bite from the sticky bun as her shoulder hit that of another. He was a dark man, with ashen skin and hair the color of the night, and as she examined his features, it became apparent quickly that he was an elf, perhaps half, and tall like she. "Apologies," she said, ducking her head politely. "I was not watching my footing."
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  7. Calen winced slightly as he applied the healing salve to the cut underneath his eye, pressing the damn paste like substance into the cut, grunting as the pain grew. It was a good thing he always kept a mortar and pestle on him for situations like this. It was never difficult for him to find the right plants for this recipe and with a bit of water from his pouch there it was. Granted, he wasn't entirely sober so this actually took longer than it usually did. It was a necessity though. It wasn't every day he got into a fight.

    This was in the middle of a clearing set up for the festival. Makeshift tables and wooden barrels for seats had been set up all around the area surrounded by all manner of stands and stalls offering food and drink enough to feed an arm while a large band of musicians played nonstop and only seemed to get louder as the crowd got less sober. He meandered down the area, taking a look at the various stalls and sampling all the food. Who knew when he'd next get a chance to try all of this exotic foreign food. Next was the beer. One cup became two, then a sudden drinking game made it three, four, and five. He joined the dancing as the music became more erratic and intense, partnering with a pretty Elf with short black hair and bright green eyes at some point.

    So it went on without end until he could barely stand and had to sit down. The Pretty Elf left after a prompt kiss and some drunken giggling, leaving him leaning on the table, his legs stretched out, thoroughly buzzed, stuffed, and tired out. He closed his eyes for a few moments to stop the spinning feeling in his head for a few minutes. He felt a bump and heard a yelp as someone tripped over his outstretched legs. He leaned back up and looked over at the man who had fallen over him, standing up carefully.

    "Sorry." Calen said very slightly slurring the r-sound, leaning down to help the man. His hand was promptly slapped away as the man stood up, clearly upset.
    "Are you daft!?" he yelled staggering forward and jabbing a finger in his chest, obviously tanked himself. "You spilled my ale!"

    The man was clearly wealthy from the look of him. Blond hair recently washed, complexion entirely devoid of scars which told Calen he hadn't worked a day in his life, and that particular way the wealthy could turn their nose up and look down on others, even those who were a couple inches taller than him. He wore fine functional silks, with boots that would probably cost about as much as the feet they are attached too, a saber hung at his side, with a unique silver and emerald colored guard. His cloak was similarly silver and emerald with a sigil of an armored bear on it, with a dark wet patch where some of the beer had soaked in when he had tripped. No doubt an Orin noble house. The man was too old to be a squire as he was more Calen's age, yet he didn't come off as a knight. He very well may have been a full blooded noble. The attitude was there.

    Calen's face hardened, any concern he may have felt for the man immediately gone. "That isn't my problem. You should watch where you're going." He retorted. The man shoved the mug into his chest and pointed at one of the far off stalls. "Fetch me some more Ale to makeup spilling mine." he ordered.
    Calen slammed the mug back his chest in return, practically punching him and knocking the wind of him momentarily.

    "Its not like you have to pay for it!" Calen said, raising his voice over the roar of the crowd, causing some heads to turn. "Fucking get it yourself."
    The noble got in Calen's face then, a dangerous look in his eye. "How dare you speak to me that way. Do you know who I am?" He asked, in a fashion that suggested it wasn't a rhetorical question.

    "No, and I don't rightly care to know." Calen answered, walking away angrily. However, the noble followed him.
    "DO NOT walk away. I did not permit you to leave." Slamming a hand on Calen's shoulder and turning him around.

    Calen promptly punched the pompous man in the nose, causing him to back peddle and almost fall on his ass. The crowd in their immediate area went quiet as all eyes turned on the two. The musicians in the distance still played to their hearts content. The noble held his nose in pain leaning back as a little bit of blood dripped from it. Calen snorted contemptuously, satisfied. The left hook caught him by surprise, and the crowd roared in glee. Men hooted and hollered in their drunken stupor. Calen and the noble launched into a grapple.

    "Kick that Orin pig's ass!" One Elf had screamed from the side.

    Calen spit blood in the noble's face, earning a headbutt from the noble and falling to a knee. Then he drove his fist into the nobles chin, then they went back into a grapple, trading blows to the stomach and chest. The noble gave Calen another hook, the ring on his finger slicing him under the eye as the punch connected. Calen got behind the man and pushed his arms under the man's and over his neck, slamming his head into the table then throwing him across the ground. The roar of the crowd hadn't once dissipated as the fight had gone on. But went into a hush as the the sound of unsheathing metal was heard.

    Calen put a hand forward defensively, staggering back from pain and drunkenness. The noble, his face bloody and in his own drunken rage staggered forward with his saber pointed at Calen. Looking around, Calen took a full mug off a table at the protest of its drinker and threw it in the noble's face, which deterred him as he tried to wipe it away. Calen waved his hand, and suddenly the liquid flash froze on his face, causing the noble to yelp and back away, dropping his saber now to scrap away the ice that had accumulated on his face and hair. Calen slammed his foot into the noble's stomach, kicking him several more times, finishing by slamming his foot down on the side of noble's face.

    It was done, and the crowd was wild as they cheered Calen and continued to drink. Soon they had lost all interest in the two and went about their celebrating. The noble groaned in pain, and Calen looked around the area. No one appeared to be with the noble at the moment and he picked up the saber and inspected it.

    A man who had watched the incident came up and slapped Calen on the back. "Whatta prick." the man said laughing, "bringing a sword to fist fight." He eyed the sword in Calen's hand.

    "That's a lovely weapon there." he remarked, "Sure would be a shame if that Orin lost it."

    Calen considered it for a moment, and nodded to the man. "Well if its going to be lost to anyone..." he replied. If he didn't take the sword off the noble's hands, someone else would.

    He retrieved the sheath from the now unconscious noble's belt and sheathed the blade, then pushed passed the crowd and out of the clearing back to his camp.

    A couple hours later he had a fire going and sat on the ground after gathering the necessary herbs to make his salve.

    Once he had applied it to all cuts and bruises on his face, he set down the mortar and put his hand on his face, concentrating. A minute or so passed and when he was finished he peeled the now dry paste off his eye and spit out what he had put in his mouth. He inspected his face and noted the swelling had gone down significantly, the bruising mitigated and the cut now scabbed and reduced in size. He could hardly feel the cut in his cheek anymore.

    The festival was already showing to be a good time.
    #7 PersonaWolf, May 18, 2016
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
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  8. "The clouds are moving oddly today" Amaranthe thought as the hey wagon carried her on towards her destination. "Are they trying to escape? Or are they just needed elsewhere today?" She tilted her head slightly to the side as she though she saw a strange shape in the cloud. Reminded her of a bunny. She never figured out how bunnies made their way to the skies, though the cloud did make them quite fluf-- "We're almost there, Ma'am." said the driver, ruining Amaranthe train of thought. "Alright, thanks!" she called back, before lifting up her legs and arms into a long stretch of her muscles, her metal armour making their presence known around her body.

    "Thank whoever for this breeze" Amaranthe thought as she raised herself upwards on the hey pile on the wagon, taking a few moments to judge the best way to slide down, without causing any of the mans hard work to fall on the dirt road... It was then that she noticed all the looks she was getting from fellow road travelers, a knight-looking lady sitting on a pile of grass does sound quite unladylike. Which, just made her giggle softly, and return the odd stares with a smile, before she gently jumped off the the wagon, aiding her very slightly with her air magic to keep most of the hey on the wagon.

    However, landing on your two feet after a restful nap in the gentle sun might have been an ambitious goal, she realized as she reached the dirt road, and quickly fell backwards. But, manages to catch herself on the wagon! Which just so happened to be quite-so ignorant of Amaranthe current blight and continues to move forward, causing the eventual fall of the great knight in shining hey-armour, and the birth of hey-and-mud knight, as she falls back-first into a pool of left-over mud water on the road.

    And There, she lay for a few seconds. "Well, this is off to a great start..."
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  9. Eyja​

    Overall, Eyja found the festival... intriguing. She couldn't quite say it was going well--the world had not united in the opinion of racial equality the way the Alrumite seemed to have believed it did, and fights broke out between the festival-goers with some frequency. Elves and men from the Orin walked away towards the medical tent with bleeding lips, bruised ribs and some even with broken bones and dislocated shoulders. There was only so much the Alrumite people and their dryad companions could do to keep the conflict at bay. But yet, the festival seemed to be having some sort of success. It grew rather packed for its size, and kept its visitors entertained... At least, it kept Eyja occupied enough. Amused by her sweets and the singing nymphs and the dancing groups, she continued to pace until she came across a stage.

    The stage itself was just a wooden platform, raised a few inches above the rest of the standing crowd. A woman, with cropped brown hair and a short height, stood on the makeshift stage and was speaking to the audience in a loud, clear voice. She was passionate, whoever she was; Eyja could tell that simply by hearing the carry of her tone, although from where she stood she couldn't make out any words. The woman gestured with her hands towards the sky and the earth repeatedly, often touching her chest, right before her heart, and then the crown of her head. It reminded Eyja of a preacher back at home, who signed with the elfen holy symbols during his sermons.

    With that, Eyja decided to investigate further. The crowd itself wasn't dense, and she pushed through it with ease towards the front, where she could hear the woman much clearer. She was speaking of the Makers, and of 'Their Will'. No wonder her audience was scarce.

    "... and with the coming of the new enlightened era, we must continue to support Mesym in its healing. It still bears the scars of our war with the Gods, and it is our responsibility, as the people who walk this earth, to heal those scars and tend to Mesym's needs. We are Her family, Her children and friends, and we are all that She has got..."

    Interesting, Eyja thought, but not quite as much as the magicians that had begun to perform several tents over. She had never been one for religion, and this preacher-girl, despite her vigor, was hardly more captivating than the priests back home. She was turning to leave when her ears popped as a sonic boom sounded over the festival grounds. She flinched, clapping her hands over her ears, but not before she heard a high pitched scream. From where she stood, nothing seemed wrong. The people were startled, but the preacher-girl continued speaking calmly, and so did the performers. But she continued to search the horizon until she noticed a small plume of smoke, no bigger than that of a mere campfire, from further inside the grounds.

    It erupted suddenly, the small plume of smoke exploding into a column of thick flames. More voices joined the screaming, and the festivities halted as all eyes turned to face the tents that were now ablaze in the not too far distance.

    The woman had stopped preaching, her attention captured. Her eyes were wide, and Eyja noticed her hands were trembling over her chest. Then, her head tilted to the sky--Eyja's gaze followed, just then noticing the dark red clouds that were converging above the grounds. Slowly moving closer and closer towards them--sinking down to the earth itself--it began to cast a dark shadow, like an eclipse, over the people and tents. The mass was made of clouds, but looked solid, tangible, and were even to those of the poorest eyesight alight with yellow and red flames.

    "A'yun nigitame," The preacher's whispered voice was audible over the relative silence. The festival seemed to be frozen in waiting.

    She whipped her head around, eyes crazy, and yelled as the clouds descended: "RUN!"

    Eyja ran.


    Talindra was disappointed.

    The festival had a great turnout thus far, but it seemed that their greatest playing card--free food and drinks--was playing against them. Nobody was here, really, to hear what the Alrumite had to say. They simply wanted the entertainment. Once their guests had discovered how apparently uninteresting their message was, their attentions were lost entirely. She was fighting hard for the ears of her audience. But there were only so many ways to spin the story of her people. As their eyes began to wander, she sighed inwardly and began to project her voice as far as possible, hoping to lure in the folks walking by. A few did, and for a moment she felt hope, but that vision shattered when the fires began.

    First came the sound. She didn't know what it was, or how to place it, but it was loud, and made her ears ring. To her credit, Tali only paused momentarily before barreling on with her memorized speech, still fighting to reign in control over the situation, her face a composed mask. But then the putrid smell of smoke and ash reached her, and she hesitated, looking over her shoulder only to see her festival burning. Pillars of gray came from where their tents and stands had been, and people, elf and man alike, were running, screaming, from the site. Those nearby her stage seemed to be frozen in shock.

    The Makers. She thought. It's too soon!

    Flakes of ash were falling from the sky, and she turned her gaze upwards. The blue sky had turned red, a furious bright red, and the clouds were clumped together, converging on one point and forming one dense mass. Flames were coming from the clouds themselves, raining ash on the grounds and blocking out the sun. It was their form that stopped her heart and stole her breath. She recognized it from a book she had once read. A very old book.

    "A'yun nigitame..." She breathed. Fist of the Gods.

    It wasn't the Makers.


    She had hardly spoken the word when she was practically blown from the stage, the force from the crash of fire and rock into the center of the festival shaking the earth and her bones. Debris was everywhere--smoke clouded her vision. All she could see was red. Red flames. Red smoke. Red air, air filled with screams and cries of pain. The stage was in splinters, and she was covered in dirt, her entire body numb, ice cold. Her breath came out in soft clouds, her teeth chattering. For a few minutes, she lay there on the ground, her head spinning. What happened?

    She stumbled to her feet and squinted her eyes to see through the smoke, wrapping her arms around herself as though to protect from the sudden cold. It was impossible to see anything more than two feet in front of her, but it was enough to jar her from her shock. Her audience now lay in the dirt, eyes unseeing, covered in sticky blood. Dead. A few moaned and strained to raise to their feet, but she knew there was nothing she could do to help, and instead turned away and ran.

    As she ran, the air slowly began to clear, the smoke and fire pulling back into the sky as the clouds receded. They, whichever god it was, would continue to pummel the land until everybody was dead and everything was destroyed. That was how it had been done during and before the great war, where entire cities were crushed into dust within minutes. Tali was lucky to still be alive. But she knew she had mere moments before the next strike would come, this one more devastating and fatal than before. She had to get out.

    And get out she did. She ran without thinking, her feet guiding her towards safety. A arc of burned grass surrounded the edges of the festival grounds, and beyond that, everything was green and blue and perfect. Tali cleared it just as another crash resonated from behind; she continued to run with her eyes closed, not willing to face the horror.

    This wasn't supposed to happen. This wasn't supposed to happen!

    It happened.



    Eyja ran through the survivors, a relatively thin throng compared to those she had seen in the festival proper, shouting the name of her mentor and her peers. "Cyna!"

    She paused in her tracks, wiping the dirt from her brow and clearing her eyes. Her fingers came away tinged with blood. She wiped them against her blouse, and then placed her hand over her eyes, peering through the crowd. Everybody was covered in dust and dirt and blood like she, impossible to distinguish from one another. Or perhaps she couldn't spot the apprentices and her mentor because they hadn't made it. But she would continue searching, and rejoined the throng of survivors in their name calling.

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  10. Elysia Wick

    For the most part, Elysia enjoyed the festival. There was music, and the atmosphere was light and joyful. Nymphs and Dryads sang in perfect harmony here and there, the sizzle and crackle of cooking meats wafted their way to her nose, which in turn made her mouth water. The day was hot, but the numerous tents and vendors offered plenty of shade that made the heat almost tolerable. It didn't help that she was hardly dressed for the occasion.
    During the Festival, there were many mishaps and collisions. Many of the people were in the spirit of things, but then there were those individuals who celebrated rather too joyously. Their feet could hardly walk a straight line, and their eyes seemed to focus on everything but what they wanted to look at directly. At one point. Elysia was tossed around in a foolhardy crowd that was shouting and gathering around two men who were throwing punches. All it took was the sound of bones hitting the ground to make Elysia's stomach turn. Taking herself away from such a situation, she tried to focus on everything but what just happened in front of her.
    Elysia, for the most part, was uninterested in the bobbles and trinkets that lined the streets. It wasn't like she had the money to spend in the first place, but they were all novelty items that she couldn't care for. She did not have a stable home or source of money, so buying something so miniscule was not part of her agenda. In this time, money had to be spent wisely, especially a Mage on the run. Running from what, she didn't know.
    There were all sorts of characters at this Festival. From warriors carrying heavy looking swords, to older women and gentleman accompanying smaller ones who stood wide-eyed at the tents, looking at blown glass sculptures or gawking at dream catchers that floated in the breeze. Other than a few clouds that dotted the otherwise blue sky, the day was all but perfect for something like this. What could go wrong, yes?
    As Elysia walked, something caught her eye. A surprisingly large crowd gathered around a raised stage that adorned a women with a powerful voice. From her place in the crowd, the words were lost to her ears, but judging by the inquisitive looks in the audience, what she was saying caught their attention. Her body language spoke volumes in itself and kept Elysia's feet rooted to the ground.
    However, as she watched, something obviously caught the woman's attention, stopping to look up at the seemingly blue sky. One by one, faces turned upward, as did Elysia's. To her own dismay, a collection of crimson clouds had gathered over the Festival. Almost immediately, screams echoed through the crowd, eventually growing in volume until the surrounding area was crying out in fear. In a panic, Elysia turned her head back to the woman on stage, who was staring in pure horror at the sight in the sky. The birds had stopped singing, as did the choirs around the festival. All was replaced by the horrible screaming of terrified padestrains.
    What sounded eerily like thunder rolled through the blood-red clouds, and that was when everything fell apart. The crowd exploded in a myriad of screams and shouts, breaking apart as people fled for their lives. Elysia was thrown to her feet by some unknown force, ash and fire hitting and stinging her cheeks and bare arms. Heat licked its way across the cobblestone and the surrounding buildings. A stampede of feet whirred around her head, and Elysia felt her ankles grow sore as feet trampled their way across her bones in an attempt to flee the Armageddon.
    Once she managed to her feet again, her breath was gone and her eyes were clouded with dirt and grit. What was one a peaceful and wondrous celebration, was now reduced to nothing more but a pile of flaming debris. Seeing no use in anything else here, she turned on her heel and began to flee in the direction opposite of the fire-clouds. Never in history had she ever heard of something like this happening, and for a split second, feared it had something to do with the crazy dream she had the night prior to the End of The World. Her lungs burned as she ran, partly from excursion, and partly from the smoke filling her lungs. She pumped her arms, trying to get anywhere but here, but the ground had cracked and became uneven, and the older folks could not deal with such a terrain, therefore becoming roadblocks to the more agile ones.
    Elysia had been too distracted to notice where she was going, and collided with some innocent bystander who was more than likely also seeking safety. Her bones jarred and her teeth knocked together painfully, and once again Elysia was on the ground. Through the haze in her eyes, she saw it was a woman. Her skin glittered despite all of the debris that littered her skin, and her gorgeous blue hair still shone bright amidst the ash and smoke. No doubt she was a Nymph, her cloak all but torn to tatters. Her eyes were wild as well, wide and cautious. Probably angry as well, seeing as she was clumsy enough to run straight into her.
    "D-Damn.. I'm sorry. Are you okay?"

  11. Calen

    What the hell..? thought Calen, as he stood silent in observation of the red clouds and the horror unfolding before him. His breath caught in his throat when they came down, and screaming of hundreds filled the air. He drank from his water skin and picked up the saber and attached the items to his belt, leaving his camp and heading to the center of the disaster.

    Navigating against the crowd was nearly impossible, almost like a stampede. When unable to move forward any longer or even being pushed back by the crowd, Calen stamped his foot into the ground. The earth suddenly became immensely disturbed and began to churn in a circular pattern with a diameter no bigger than a wagon wheel.

    It was enough however, the terrified people were far more scared of the immediate threat in front of them and scrambled to the side. Calen will the churning forward and it moved with good speed, like a giant mole burrowing forward. forcing a path through the crowd, and allowing Calen to effectively sprint through them. Some lost their footing under the churning and fell to the ground, but that small harm was a sacrifice to get to the heart of the matter at hand.

    He willed the magic away when the people became thin enough to move through without. Eventually as he approached the stage area the there were more dead than living in the vicinity. He stopped on the edge of the clearing, the clouds dangerously close and almost over head. The way they moved was mesmerizing with such intent and with what Calen could almost swear was malice. He forced himself to look away from the clouds and too the ground.

    So many dead. Some had been blown back by the shock wave and died on impact with shops, and wagons, while others were impaled on crude by sharp sections of wood and metal. Others lie broken across the clearing, their bodies twisted in ways unnatural and fatal. No one had been spared. Not even children. This kind of death was utterly indiscriminate. As for those who were at the epicenter of the strike, or blast, whatever it was, was indescribable and stomach churning.

    Calen dashed back and forth between 'hopeful' looking bodies on the outer edge. Checking for a pulse and other vitals that he could. He had passed two women earlier who collided with each other, but other than that they were alright and Calen paid them no mind.

    A single child, an Elven boy locked in his dead father's arms. Who no doubt took the worst of the shock wave. Unconscious, but alive. He couldn't have been any older than ten years Calen had to pry the boy from his father's still warm dead hands. He held the boy tightly as he went to take him a much safer distance when another body stirred in front of him.

    This time a fully grown male Elf. Calen set the boy down gently and exampled the other Elf He was in bad shape, a broken rib or two, and a dislocated arm. Much better off than most of the people here. Still Calen had no idea if there was fatal internal damage, and he contemplated leaving the Elf to ensure the boy's survival.

    Examining him however, Calen noticed the pendant he was wearing. Bearing the sigil of the Thuarisan royal family. He knew immediately that princess Eyja was here, and that this man was part of her entourage. Calen looked the many bodies that littered the stage, praying that she wasn't among the dead. Even darker days loom for Thuaris if the princess is gone.

    Another impact, maybe a few hundred yards to Calen's left, struck with horrendous force. Partially hidden by the cloud form, Calen watched as everything nearby was obliterated in the strike. The shock wave came, giving no time for him to even register the horror he had just witnessed. He dove over the body's of the two living Elves and willed for a wall. Masses of loose earth came together and rose over them, packing together as densely as possible and hardening. The shock wave hit as it happened, blowing away the unprotected dead, an even huge chunks of wood and iron were flying. The still forming wall held for the worst of it, cracking audibly at the impact, before the aftermath of the initial blast tore it apart. The lowest section of it survived however, having formed sooner and closer to the ground.

    Calen's heart was pounding, now understanding the full extent of the power that has been unleashed on the people here. That wall had taken a significant chunk of his power and he was beginning to feel magic fatigue. They needed to leave now. The clouds were rising again.

    He did not have the strength to carry both Elves at the same time. But he would beable to pull them. He quickly pulled together two broken pieces wood about the length of walking sticks, and scavenged as much rope as he could easily take within a mere minute, and finally took a large torn piece one of what was formally one of the many tents and tied it all together, with a deftness that could only be achieved with years of experience.

    The clouds had fully risen and were now drifting in his general direction.

    Quickly Calen dragged the two elves on the sled and picked up the ends of the wood. This is where magic came in handy. He generated another disturbance in the earth, similar to the one he had made earlier, except with this one rolling in a forward motion instead of a circular motion.

    Calen began to walk with relative ease, pulling the sled behind him while pushing it forward with magic. It took a lot of power to move that quickly, the magic fatigue now quickly setting into Calen's body, every single part of him was tired on both a physical level and a mental one.

    He could see more people in the distance, some still crying and screaming, others pointing at the clouds in terror, while others attempted to tend to the dead.

    The clouds loomed dangerously overhead, the malice in them utterly apparent now. He walked faster, putting even more power into his will, as his body began to feel numb everywhere, including in his own mind. Forward. Forward. Forward.

    It wasn't enough.

    Another impact. Closer than before, but not close enough. At least, so Calen thought, before his ear drums burst from the shock wave, and everything went black.

    #11 PersonaWolf, Jun 3, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  12. The End of the World

    Erard Helman could be called a man of the faith - the order that had raised him had certainly believed in the gods, proclaiming it to be one portion of a man's life that could explain away the unexplained. It calmed his nerves before battle. It provided a greater power to dedicate himself to. It set a strict code of conduct to abide by. All Erard had seen of the supposed gods, in any form, was the order and structure they could give humanity.

    Now he was watching them tear apart the world.

    Berating himself for leaving his shield and armor back in town, Erard proceeded as cautiously as he could trapped within a herd of frightened, raving festival attendees. His right hand was clutched around his knife's handle, the skin around his knuckles stretching through white with the strain, his left held a fine silk gown to his face to help fight off the cloying smoke. Still, he spluttered and couched, his eyes burned, and already the scent of burning flesh curled his nostrils in disgust.

    "My child!" A woman shrieked behind him. "Where is my child?!"

    "Oh gods, oh gods, it's happening... Why? Why?!" Came another cry.

    As Erard clambered through the remains of a jewelry stand, he stumbled over a prone form and fell flat on his face, grunting in pain. Adrenaline pumping through his veins, the warrior quickly leaped to his feet and wheeled about to examine the limp figure. A boy, no older than fourteen, lay there, his clothes mostly burned away or else seared into his skin, which was charred and blackened. His left arm, likewise charred, shone through to the bone. Erard felt a wave of nausea sprout through him as sudden as the very hellstorm he found himself trapped in. Removing the gown from his face, the man hunched over and wretched, attempting to rid his mind of the image of the dead boy. Recovering from his bout of vomiting, Erard straightened himself, wheezed, and readjusted the gown across his face, his throat raw, the taste of bile upon his lips.

    Erard managed his way another twenty feet before a woman behind him howled in anguish: the boy's mother. He didn't need to look back to know the lamentations of the dead. Tossing the noise aside, he continued, drudging through ash that came to his ankle, shoving and forcing his way through this crowd or there, avoiding the falling flames where he could, treading on those he couldn't The pain of the newly-obtained burns on his feet was was distant as was his fear: everything except the will to survive faded away.


    Erard, caught in his trance, paid no heed to the call.


    Again, Erard marched on.

    Suddenly, pain, not the searing sensation of falling flames, whipped across the back of his neck. Snarling, dagger brandished in front of him, Erard wheeled about to find a disheveled, ash-coated woman staring at him with a crazed look. Her purple gown had been mostly burned away, leaving her in a plain, padded undergown that had burned away to the knees. Her hair that remained was covered in a thick layer of ash, bald patches gleaming through the dense grey overcoat. Erard noted the aggravated, sleek red of burns where hair might once have been.

    "Out of my way," he growled, moving to shove the woman aside.

    Only, his hand was pushed back by.... By the wind? The woman's eyes met his, two brilliant blue eyes standing out in stark contrast from the dull, ashen world around them. The wind strengthened its push on him and forced him back, struggling to maintain balance.

    "Do not touch me!" she snapped sudden as a storm. "I am looking for my apprentices - have you..." She choked back a sob. "Have you seen a girl? Elf girl, dressed in yellow, maybe two others with her. I told them to go off and..."

    She paused.

    "This is my fault all my- Hey!"

    Erard had no time for the woman's sorry play. In a sudden burst of energy, he lunged forward and grabbed the woman by the arm, dragging her along with him as he pressed onward. The crowds, and the angry red sky above, were thining out now. Only a few more feet.

    "Let go of me this instant! I'll....I'll..."

    "You're no good to any of those 'lil magi brats if you get yourself killed," Erard bellowed, attempting to make himself heard over the clamor.

    That shut her up. Erard bounded through another collapsed tent and nearly fell over his own feet as he came screeching to a halt. As if a switch had been flipped, the world went from doom-and-gloom to quaint, green pastures. He cast a look behind him to see the ruination of mankind continue, then glanced back ahead. Peace. Back again. Chaos. Not giving the oddity a second through, he stumbled into the safety of the green grass ahead and collapsed to the ground, huffing and coughing, finally pulling the gown from his face.

    "Celesar! Cyna!" a girl shouted. "Anyone?!"

    With just enough energy left in him to care about whether the woman had made it, Erard peeled open one dust-aggravated eye and watched as the tattered woman embraced a young, elf girl in bright yellow.

    "Look at that," he wheezed silently to himself. "You're a real fuckin' hero..."

    Only, it didn't feel that way.

    It didn't feel that way at all.

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