Viridos, Chapter 9

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  1. Chapter 9


    Fear is inside us all.
    More instinct than emotion, it binds us to fate, and to security within ourselves.
    Fear shackles the heart and taints the mind, dancing at the edge of every soul.
    Fear is our only recourse
    It is inside us all...

    The darkness had a heartbeat. It danced across his vision and left an eerie tingle with every passing movement. False figures and fictitious horrors crept on the edge of his vision. Eyesight was no help in this nightmare prison, this labyrinth of horrors where those who fought against Viridosian cultures were sent to rot. It was but a crutch, impairing those who leaned upon it, making them ripe for the picking by those who did not. The man knew this, he had known this for longer than any mortal man should have had too. For five years Gidian Ross had crept through these halls, hoping that he would eventually find the light at the end of this god forsaken tunnel.

    Gidian had been a fearless man, or so he had thought; memories made within the back alleys and black markets of Hosia, memories he had thought would never seem so far away, flooded his mind. So many crimes commited, so many lives taken. Only one had ever been proven, but that had been enough, enough for them to stick him in this unholy sanctuary for as long as it took for some vile beast to swallow him up.

    Sweat crawled down his cheek, the cold sting pierced the veil of his idle thoughts. Standing up, he darted about his surroundings with his senses, relying more on sound than vision. Gidian cursed his luck for being born with such a foolish reliance on light, if only fate had birthed him as a sightless fae, or some other strange woodland creature that never would have gotten caught up in this mess in the first place. For a moment the man contemplated what it would have been like to live life as a bat. It may have been a fleeting thought, but it had granted him a moment of intrigue, which was a welcome escape from the horrors experienced within this prison regularly.

    Gidian then returned to his corner and laid upon the cold stone walls of his prison. He would need rest if he had any wishes of surviving any longer in this place, so despite his fears Gidian relaxed his body and let his mind slumber.
    Heartbeats danced off the walls, guiding the way for the miniscule creature as she darted about the haunted corridors of her misbegotten home. Before long she happened upon the source of her guiding 'light', a middle aged man sat slouched against an inconspicuous corner of the Labyrinth walls, resting peacefully in the darkness of her beloved Shartan. If it had been possible, the creature would have dawned a curious expression as she peered in at the slumbering figure, but it had not been and so her thoughts on the scenario were forcibly internalized.

    The Micro-Fae known as Oaksbane shuffled closer to the hapless wanderer of this desolate hall, slowly losing sight of her surroundings. She became lost in the rhythmic beat of his heart. Each thump sent a wave of awareness through her body, drawing her ever closer each time. The fae was mere moments from colliding with the sleeping figure's face before it happened.

    A sudden, deafening screech stampeded throughout the hall, jolting Gidian into wakefulness. Immediately coming face to face with a horror that pierced his very soul.


    The creature sat within inches of his face, empty sockets where eyes should have been stared blankly into his heart, paralyzing him with a fear so powerful it caused his entire body to shiver uncontrollably.
    The fear.
    Can you feel it flow through you?

    The moment he had spent looking into the creature's empty soul had felt like an age, and the horror that took its place after it danced away from him more than easily sent him running in the direction it had gone. Blackened tendrils slithered out of the darkness grasping at every orifice of the confined labyrinth hall. A thick steam billowed from what he assumed was the creatures maw as it crept forward in search of its hapless prey.
    The Fae sped through the darkness, only briefly acknowledging the screams of horror as the beast devoured the man she had stopped to admire. The creature had been following her scent ever since their initial run in several hours ago. A small piece of her conscience recognized that she had played a part in the mans' fate, even if she held no qualms in her heart with using him to slow the creature down. If she was lucky that meal would be enough to satisfy it...

    That thought was more then enough to quicken her pace as she zipped through the darkness of her Shartan's chaotic halls.​
    #1 Ner0, May 7, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2015
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  2. The nightmare city rose above them. Tattersal looked behind. All in all, maybe two hundred. The forest-kin shuffled in their bark and shansheng armour. Usually quieter than a church mouse, their armour plates grated on each other. Feet loudly ground the moss and squelched in the dark mud that oozed from the rivers flowing out of the city. The thousands of tributaries that flowed from Edelon, the canals, bridges, and gondolas, all the sounds of river life, were gone. The city was being re-imagined from the inside out, with sharp corners and flowing, unnecessary protrusions.

    In front stood blasphemous creatures, infected kin whose aux had dissolved, and their crux melted down and reshaped in the form of the moirgut: black, scaly things, with red glowing eyes. They stood shoulder to shoulder, end to end, and formed an unreacting barrier at the city limits. Tattersal snapped a finger in their direction, and a twisted spear of bark and metal flew from his ranks, whistling into one of their bodies.

    They did not react to his approach. They only knew how to eat aux. But something, in the center of the city, took notice of them, and beckoned their approach.


    "Comrades ..

    There is no need for a speech, is there?

    Comrades .. my brothers under Ilium.

    I would rather fight alongside you than an army of thousands.

    We have unfeeling foes, but we can remind them

    of the day when the desert rats fled from our shores

    with our names on their lips.

    Comrades, what wait behinds death?




    The moirgut bent, called by an unsatiable lust. Smoke and magic condensed their forms into that of nightmare dogs, three and four and six legged creatures that wore their bones as skin, whose hearts raced in their heads, and inverted muscles pulled and squirted inside their bones. They looked like a symbolic inversion of the aux-crux duality, and in this form they bore down upon Tattersal's Last Band.
    #2 unanun, May 9, 2015
    Last edited: May 9, 2015
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  3. Somewhere between Edolon and Riven
    Finally home…

    Stopping just a moment to look to the shop that belonged to him and his caretakers, he filled with this soothing relief. He could return to do what he is best known for; gardening and medicine. Tattersal had what he needed from Modakra, maybe even a little more, though it mattered little. There had been an initial hesitation from Modakra concerning his continued aid to the cause of the nation… His involvement had deepened, considering the presence of the prophet and the divine syllable that he now knew. Would it come back to bite him in the ass? Did he need to be sure everything was finished before even being able to live a normal life? It all came down to he wouldn’t be able to take much more… He wasn’t a warrior or a soldier, he wasn’t someone who took lives or fought off monstrosities. He was but a gardener and an apothecary.

    His arrival was made alone as he denied the offer of the General for the escort back home. After hearing what was to come next, he would need all his forces he could get. Fortunately enough, he didn’t live too far between both Riven and Edolon. His smile grew a little, becoming genuine. He could finally relax a little and enjoy his work. He came to the door, trying to pull it open… Only to have it locked. It was mid-day, so it was supposed to be open for the public, which went on their merry way on the streets. He gave a curious glance behind him, catching something off. People were avoiding the place. Why was that?

    One person from the crowd, once noticing that the owner had come back, rushed to Modakra’s side. He seemed panicked, worried of something. The young forest-folk reached for the his sleeve, trying to pull him away from the shop.

    Modakra! Please… get away from that place!” Shocked by the statement and near tone of terror, Modakra pulled his arm away, though now showed concern as to what was making him act out like so.

    What is wrong, Tirk?”

    Your caretakers fell sick when you left… And once they recovered… They started acting weird… They haven’t opened the door since then.

    What? Falling sick, recovering and changing? He turned his body to the door, not able to make sense of what this all was. His expression darkened a moment as he then started knocking on the door… Tirk quickly walked away, members of the public distancing themselves from it even more. There came no answer… He knocked harder, this time, sternly speaking up. “Kagar! Asina! Open the door!” This time, an audible ‘click’ came and then the door slowly opened, revealing the young human woman. Her expression was cold and nearly lifeless, though she seemed to be in perfect health. She moved away from the doorway, letting the owner walk in. Another shock; the place was filthy. The glass of many flasks and vials lay broken and shattered on the wooden floor, its content either rotting away or sticking onto the surface. The pungent smell of decaying flesh and dried blood lingered in the air. It was all alarming to Modakra who walked forward, stepping into the shards of glass.

    What have you done?!” He exclaimed in horror and surprise, turning just in time to see Kagar closing the door and locking it… He, as Asina, looked cold and lifeless, yet their condition looked fine. Both the caretakers were side to side with bloody gardening tools at hand. “What are y-“ They savagely charged in his direction, tools raised to fall upon the Modakra. The steel of those improvised weapons were pushed away with a single, fluid strike from Modakra, then stepped forward and jamming both his hands into Kagar’s chest. It sent him tumbling to the ground, though he frantically tried to get right back to his feet.

    What is happening to you two?” He said quietly as Asina tried again, only this time, took a hold of her arm and twisted it to pin her down. Why were they acting out like that?! This wasn’t them, it couldn’t be them. Asina scrabbled to get herself free, seemingly not caring for the possible injuries that might follow from her actions. Then… He remembered what he found, the little pieces of information on the aux-eaters. He wished it wasn’t true, he dearly hoped that it couldn’t be it. There was only one way to truly find out…


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  4. The Grasp of Darkness


    At times she heard it, far above the darkness of the labyrinth core. It echoed throughout some of the halls she wandered, breaking the welcome silence with the intrusive tendrils of incantation. The maze was aroused by their soft call, shifting at their whim, displacing any and all within the corridors of this inescapable prison. They spoke in the old language, the language of the forest mother. Their words soothed their kind, and stilled all others, trapping them in an inescapable limbo of nightmares and specters.

    This world of limbo was ruled by but a single being, known by most as 'The Apex', it lumbered through out the Shartans hall's with an endless hunger. It had been a man once, one of strength and valor, a man worth the respect of other forest kin. The labyrinth had shaped it in its image and stolen its reason with the soft whispers of madness. Nothing seemed able to sway the beast from the path it had been set upon. The lust for hunger was too strong.
    The beast who was once man swirled its head, a poison hung upon the air and it recoiled. They were near, the horrors of the prison, the wardens that made the fear of darkness real for the inhabitant's of this place. it could feel the presence that slithered ever closer to it. A dark legend of this horrific mazes bowels was hunting, hunting for something other than itself.
    The beast almost missed another creature, a small figure that sped past it in a rush of anxiety and immediately connected was made. its instinct told it who was prey and who was predator, and so, the beast gave chase.
    The Goliath had spotted her as she had rushed past. Oaksbane cursed her haste, if only she could have afforded to slow her pace. Now both tentacle creature and this beast were after her. She ducked down another hall, gaining speed as she did so, weaving in and out of corridor after corridor. The fae sped throughout the tunnels, her heart raced, giving her sight of the endless halls. Despite her efforts, she could not lose them. The Goliath stormed behind her, following what little scent she left and the other creature followed closely behind it, slowly gaining ground on the both of them.

    The legend of The Creeping Death was more than real now, and the fear that had been so well described in its tale was beyond anything she could have imagined. Sweat trickled across her body, her chest heaved. She was growing tired.

    This couldn't go on forever...

    The Creeping death would find her, it would catch her, it always caught its prey...

    #4 Ner0, May 20, 2015
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
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  5. To kill an aux-eater was not difficult. Tattersal's last band formed a ring around him as he sang. Those aux-eaters that could hear his divine syllables fell from the crux that they were perched on, and were easily crushed underfoot. The old general had an almost lyrical voice, trained in a bygone era when knowing Ilium's song was the only true test of faith. It was hard to tell if her songs still echoed except in the whimsical corridors of the Shartan, and the Cinnabar Clad that jealously guarded the verses did not say much, even to their acolytes.

    The Clad were the ones that ornamented the sacred city Edelon. Once, the rivers carved their own pathways. The Clad fashioned geometric troughs of stone and guided the rivers. They claimed that the entire structure of Edelon served to keep Ilium's words reverberating throughout the forest. With the Jade Prophet missing, it was hard to verify that claim.

    Could Om the Invader's betrayal have spanned centuries? Did he construct the city to damp Her word, to cut them off from the forest and Kairos, to force the Clad to contemplate her infinite circular song in the square rooms? Perhaps he was diluting their connection to Ilium in preparation for the final betrayal.

    The city rose above them now, a forest of black thorns and black ooze. It fed on the poison that was deeply injected at the time of the Cataclysm.

    "!" Naya had picked up a discarded moirgut, and recoiled in shock when it shot barbs through her hand. The bug passed through her hand harmlessly, and a Lieutenant stabbed it with his spear.

    "Don't waste time contemplating them."

    "But ..."

    "Don't ask why they move only on aux."

    "They ..."

    "Just kill them as you are able."

    For the brief time that Naya held them, she could tell. Among the Clad, she was the mechanically gifted, the one bright with the hammer and the anvil. While the others learned their treesong, she sang the sharp din of metal, the chorus of the golden steel, was entranced by the sparks that flew from the bellows of the forge.

    And as she held onto the aux-eater, she could feel them. Over a million, million gears, swimming microscopically in her hand, a line that segmented in so many places that it became a curve, a square polished so finely that it became a circle. The moirgut had structure, mechanical structure, it was some sort of machine built from an innumerable amount of gears.

    She was interrupted from her reverie, a butterfly cut down in front of her face by a whistling spearhead.

    "Courage, acolyte." Tattersal nudged her forward with the butt of his spear. "Don't freeze in front of them." One of the aux-eaters lunged at him, and the Green General spun with it, sticking the creature into the ground.

    The aux-eater squiggled and died, and the forest-kin reinverted, screaming and gurgling sap as the bone exoskeleton folded itself back into its body, and the bark on the inside popped out, slick with oil.

    "Many more of our kin will die today, likely in agony. If you cannot slice the moirgut off in one stroke, you should pierce the heartwood in your second."

    Tattersal wrenched the spear from the dead forest-kin and stepped forward, warbling the divine syllable.
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  6. A crow cawed in the empty forest outside of the Shartan. its black eyes scanned the area for had been days since it found a worm to eat. The crow preened itself for a while, cleaning it's feathers in an attempt to keep itself busy...being hungry was frustrating after all. A shadow passed by it's face and the crow quickly looked must have been the wind the crow thought. Another shadow passed by right outside of it's vision and the crow began to panic, it went to call out to all other crows in the area to signal danger but was quickly captured. Its beak was held shut by the hand of a forest kin, the crow saw that this one had been hurt many times. The antlers of the kin were shattered to pieces, leaving broken shafts where a once proud ornament once was.

    The forest kin placed a finger over his lips and the crow knew it meant no harm but was asking for silence. The crow tilted it's head in understanding and when it was released flew away quietly. Looking back the crow watched and realized it wasn't the only forest kin traveling, there were quite a few darting in and out of the trees. Sliding under bushes and over branches without so much as stirring a single leaf.

    Ash looked up and watched the crow he had grabbed fly away, thanking Ilium that the creature had not called out as it left. The undertaker darted through a few more bushes before he stopped to look around. As was the kin way there was very little evidence that the kins were passing through. Even those of Equine nature had a way of passing through the woods without causing a stir, and with the battle raging on elsewhere this was the best time to sneak in.

    The undertaker saw an entrance to the vile prison in front of him, a breach in the otherwise sealed wall of foliage...another kin must have used it to get in before him. Ash made the decision that it was his best chance of passing through, he lifted his gaze and surveyed the area. The distraction must have been working since the undertaker saw no movement of any type, still he felt an uneasiness in his body.

    The undertaker's heart glowed for a moment, it was faint but Ash felt what Cora was trying to tell him. She wanted him to be safe, he covered his chest with his hand and nodded.

    The undertaker readied himself to run, his eyes scanning the area for a moment before he broke out into a full on sprint. It was at that moment the undertaker regretted his decision. The forest erupted as several Aux eaters came out to consume the undertaker. His hoofed feet changed direction and he darted to his left, but he was cut off by more Aux eaters, the undertaker had counted five before he turned around to see a six blocking his path. As growled his frustrations under his breath, ready to claw his way into an honorable grave before the Aux in front of him shot released a metal point from its chest.

    Ash readied to deal with the weapon before he realized that the aux was shaking in pain as the metal point suddenly vanished. The monster fell to the ground and behind it stood a hidden face he hadn't seen in a while.

    "Kindly one!" he gasped in shock before he watched her nod and vanish from his vision. She danced around the Aux eaters, dispatching them with little effort...she even seemed to be singing as she did it...Wait. Ash listened more closely and recognized a few of the hidden words of Ilium.

    She gracefully landed in front of him after the deed was done, cleaning her blade off with the end of her tattered garment. She saw his realization but her mask expressed no emotion for him to read. "I have no time to explain, we need to get inside the Shartan Undertaker." She grabbed his hand and they began to run for the entrance. Ash glimpsed the bodies of a few dead kin as they made it past the opening...must have been those who came before him.

    "At least tell me your name Kindly one, you saved my life after all," he said loud enough for her to hear as they both vanished into the foliage of the cursed place.

    "Kindly one is fine Undertaker. Let us be known by what we do. Ilium needs us for our skills, not our lives." There was a pause and the hidden face looked a the floor for a moment.

    "Besides...I may be the only one left. I'm not sure anymore."
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  7. [​IMG]

    Madness Rears
    It happened in an instant. The writhing mass that was the Moirgut clasped onto the Beast-man and tackled him to the ground. For a moment the two monstrous beings wrestled in a bid for dominance. Limbs from both of the creatures flexed and stretched, attempting desperately to put the other out of commission.

    A scream of inhuman pain raced throughout the tight halls of the Shartan as Grimagar clasped down on the unholy beast with his maw. Sweat flew, and the creature reared back, recoiling from the pain of the savage attack. The beast man spat out the rotten flesh of the creature in disgust before leaping at it with the power in his mighty legs. His hands clasped around what he guessed to be its throat. The power of Grimagar's upper body was enough to lift the creature and pin it against the wall. It writhed in his grasp, attempting to break free from his iron grip.

    The creatures claws slashed at Grimagar's back, cleaving flesh from bone. The pain loosened his hold on the beast, and it leapt back on top of him, regaining the advantage it had lost.

    Its Ugly Head

    Deafening roars and inhuman screeches bounced throughout the Shartan as the two beasts dueled. The small fae found herself completely immobilized by the overwhelming sound of their battle. She fell to the floor. The walls beated like drums in her ears, waves of pictures made from sound overlapped and consumed her only sense, repeating themselves seven times in her head. The small creature slowly lifted herself into a crawl position, desperately scrambling away from the two monsters.

    Fear overcame her as she imagined being crushed by the weight of one of the creatures. Despite this Alisah found it impossible to move faster than a snails pace. Her entire body recoiled from the force of the sound behind. The pictures slowly faded as consciousness began to abandon her. The Fae's ear began to bleed as she slumped to floor, losing all will to continue forward.

    The darkness was almost as welcomed as the silence that came with it..

    And Kills

    The Moigrut lay slumped at the feet of Grimagar, mighty slash wounds along his back and chest poured blood onto the rotting floor. Debris lay scattered about the area around him. The mighty beast man let loose a deafening roar, pronouncing his victory before lumbering away from the scene, leaving a trail of blood in his wake.

    Them Dead
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  8. [​IMG]

    Consciousness returned in flashes. The soft echo's of crumbling walls and cultist chants awoke the battered fae. As blood began to flow normally once more, movement became steadily easier. She rose, taking time to allow the disorientation to calm itself before moving to quickly.

    Blood was everywhere, it dripped from the carcass of the beast that had once hunted her, pooling onto the floor and covering the wall. The reckless battle had left everything in disarray. The wall had been partly broken and debris lay everywhere. It was a mess.

    A trail of dried blood wandered off into the darkness, Alisah knew what lay at the end of it. She had heard the legends. Grimagar, The Beast Man, Cannibal, Monster. Fear gripped the small Fae woman. That thing had slain the un-slayable. Grimagar was a true monster. It had torn the Creeping Death to ribbons and walked off without remorse.

    It was then that a strange thought crossed the little creatures mind. What if he had saved her? What if..
    It made no sense, Grimagar was a creature of instinct and violence. It hunt and it fed, nothing less, nothing more. Why would it do this, for her.

    The thought refused to let up, the possibility that Grimagar was capable of protecting the helpless, the hunted, it drove her to do the unthinkable. Alisah took to the air and followed the trail, using the beating of her wings as a guiding light.
    Several hours of slow travel passed before she came across anything. It was a soft sound, still quite distant from her, but it was there. The soft beating of a sleeping heart bounced off the walls of the prison. Had it not been for her curse, The Fae would not have even noticed it. A short and mischievous laugh lit the room. Her Aux was guiding the way.

    With the laughter came the image, Grimagar lay unconscious against the wall of the room. A pool of dried blood had gathered at his waist. It was unbelievable, but somehow he still lived. The bleeding had been stopped. A discarded cloak had been used as a bandage, protecting the wound and allowing it to heal. Alisah was amazed, Grimagar, the beast man of the Shartan, was somehow capable of this? Properly closing and bandaging such a large wound with nothing but a spare cloth? The thought was madness, but the proof was in front of her.

    It was then that she became curious. This man, made out to be a beast, had not only saved her and single-handedly slain a Shartani horror, but had assured his own survival with limited resources and extreme ingenuity. Alisah would assure that this struggle was not in vain. The man needed heat, and food. She would bring him both, as thanks, and as a means to answer her questions..​
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  9. The trio, Ash, Amaltas, and the Undertaker, moved into Edelon. The main gates were flung wide open although the canals were a putrid, dry mess. Past them countless Corrupted Ones surged, each with a small centipede wrestling with aux in various stages of submission or death. They were like salmon, leaping up against the stream. In the background, the Lost Band desperately fought, dancing their dirge of death.

    Some prisons were dark, to crush the spirit and hope. They were designed to be dank, sunken deep in the earth where no light reached. The Kaustrian torture masters knew their craft well, and confined their wards until they lost their sense of self.

    The Cinnabar Clad drew upon something else. The entrance to the Shartan was well lit, so that the sentenced could gaze to the ends of the corridor ring and see that it vanished into almost, but not quite, infinity. A timeless prison filled with emptiness. The concentric labyrinth was not very large, but the soothsayer's magic stretched the distances between its inhabitants. Where the Kaustrians crushed the psyche with brute force, the soothsayers eroded it with pure scale.
    "Courage, Undertaker." The Kindly One peaked into the entrance, a glowworm torched held him in her hand. "We will quickly find what you seek." Despite her words her arms trembled as she leaned past the arch and peered into the Shartan. A dry, musty wind rose to meet her.

    The Undertaker stepped past her, and they both turned to look at Amaltas. The Unicorn was frozen at the threshold, his ears flattened against his skull. He raised his paws several times but was unable to cross.

    "Come on!" Ash grabbed the Unicorn by the mane, but as he pulled Amaltas into the Shartan the subtle magics undid the horse's glamour, peeling away the layers and exposing the skeletal form underneath, the horn looking like some vegetation with roots that extended all throughout the body.

    The great Unicorn shook its thick neck and threw Ash against the opposite wall. And as the skeletons of giants looked down upon him, the outer ring rotated ... and imprisoned the two inside.​
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  10. A Lady of the Avian

    "We will have to hire more guards for such a heavily loaded transport, Damari. And no I will not let myself be convinced otherwise, I wish to return to the place of my origins." The Lady crossed her arms on her chest, her left hand still holding an opened letter. "But my'lady, it is a ruined city, there is no gold to be gained there." replied Damari with his face slackened; his brow furrowed - eyes darting about in concern as if he is foreseeing the ruin of the Lady. "It is exacly for that reason that I must return, Damari. It is a place of oppurtunity and since the merchants are gone I must look for oppurtunities elsewhere. Increase the guard of the transport by fourty men. It's arrival must be ensured at any cost, for my plans to work." The Lady Ironheart paused for a moment. "I also would like for you to send for Knight Captain Lathan. I have a task for him." Damari nodded and left the Ladies office.
    The office was neatly decorated, a red carpet with a golden colored square woven around the edges. The ladies desk, made of the most expensive wood that one could imagine. Bookshelves filled with many expensive looking books covered the outer walls of the room, a single window decoarated the northern wall, a narrow vitrine stood bellow the window.

    She sat down on the armchair that sat behind the desk, made of the same wood that the desk was made of. She put the letter onto the desk to read it once more, the letter claiming that the eastern Empire, New Kaustir seem to have some sort of Air Ships in their invasion of Pegulis.
    I do not think that it is advisable to watch Pegulis burn only to wait for Kaustir's Armies to come here.

    The departure of the merchants and the impassable shores make it difficult to make an income, she heavily relied on the trade, sure, she held the entire savings that the Ironheart Dynasty gathered over the last century in her hands, but even then... "The trade must flow", The Lady quietly said to herself.

    The Lady got up from her chair and walked towards the vitrine, opening it and taking a glass and an already opened bottle of wine out from it. She placed the glass ontop of the vitrine filled the glass up 'half.
    She returned the bottle to the vitrine and closed it, stepping forward to the window, taking the glas into her hand in the process.

    We certainly need the other Avian if Kaustir manages to get past Pegulis, even more so to go against those flying ships. One must wonder if the rumors are indeed correct that it was Kaustir whom stole the Alate... It would certainly explain the ships.

    *knock, knock*

    "Come in." Replied the Lady and turned towards the door on the other side of the room. The door opened and a human stepped inside, he wore a heavy armor, at his chest silk swadded around the chest armour, the silk showed the emblem of the Ironheart family, a golden heart on red silk. "You asked for me, my'lady?" "I have, dear Knight Captain Lathan, close the door." And so he did before stepping closer to the center of the room "So what is it Miss Ironheart, got a secret doing to accomplish?" "Not directly Knight Captain, rather a geopolitical expedition. The Trade must flow for gold to come and a nation to flourish." The Lady stepped to one of the bookshelves on the eastern wall. She looked through the books, one by one... until she found what she was looking for and pulled it out. She returned to her desk and placed it there. "I know it is a small book, but it explains the theories that the author had about resources that could exist in swamps, investigate until you searched up the entire swamp. If you have done that, do it a second and third time. I will ready a whole chest of gold for this, Knight Captain. You have been loyal to my house for as long as I have known you. I will trust that you will make good use of the gold in this expedition."
    Lathan's mouth opened slightly and then formed to a smile at the trust given to him but then at a thought of realization his smile disappeared as his expression grew more serious. "If you entrust the gold to me without checking on the finances, does that mean you are planning to depart with the transport, my'lady?" "I indeed wish to return to Aviary, Knight Captain. I wish to use the oppurtunity for political reasons." The Lady sipped from her glas of wine finally. "If you require assistance with the finances, Damari will be very suitable to help you as he did with me previously, Knight Captain. You may leave if you do not have anything for me." Lathan looked for a moment at the Lady with concern. "There is, my'lady. The four other knights of the house, I want them to accompany you, they are loyal men and will gladly give their life for you, unlike some of these mercenaries." "Granted, Captain. Is there anything else?" "No there is not, my'lady." "Dont forget the book, captain." "Right, my'lady." The Knight approached the desk and grabbed the book, turned around and left the office.

    What a small loyal group my father formed... Knights of the Ironheart House...
    #10 White, Jun 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
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  11. [Subject to changes Sunday, 5th of July]
    [Enjoy the long read <3]

    "Still things to finish before I depart." The Lady quietly said to herself, moved around the desk towards the chaor, opened the upper drawer of the right side of the desk, took a piece of paper, her family's sigil, red candle , ink and a feather for writing from the drawer and placed them on the desk, the paper right infront of her chair, the ink and the feather to her left and the red candle plus sigil to her right. She sat down, with her left she took the feather, tipped it into the ink and cautiosly, to not spill the ink accidantly, to write.

    Honored Ambriel of House Jainthe,

    unfortunately I am not interested in marriage and therefore must reject your proposal.
    I am aware of the current state of Aviary and shall soon be returning to our birthplace.
    Furtheremore I believe to have discovered there where our Alate has been taken and
    shall request the aid of the Avian of Aviary to reclaim it. The Details I will share after
    my arrival.

    Your old friend,
    Amelia Ironheart

    Amelia moved the letter further up to let the ink dry. She knew she was going to arrive only shortly after the letter did. The Messanger with his horse is going to be certain to catch up with them.
    Once more she sipped the feather into the ink and placed the tip of the feather on the next page of paper.

    Our most holy, most loved and treasured Prophet,

    I, a loyal Avian of Viridos, request permission to send out a Batallion of mercenaries to
    aid Pegulis in their defense against Kaustir. They have stolen our treasured Alate and
    threaten to bring war upon us, given the oppurtunity. Therefore I must request to aid
    Pegulis for that the warmonger will never reach Viridos.

    Your loyal subject,
    Amelia Ironheart

    I hope this is not insulting, never been much into the culture of the capital. The other letter should be dry now...
    Amelia moved the letter for the spirital Leader away to let it dry as well, then took the ink, feather and paper and placed them back into the upper drawer in a neatly order. She moved the letter for her old friend and suitor infront of herself. I need to ignite the candle. She took one of the red candle, stood up and left her office. "Irin!", Amelia shouted and soon after a door could be heard to open from the western corridor and a young female Avian soon after turned around the corner. She curtsied, smiling to Amelia. "I need you to bring me something to lit the candle for sealing purposes Irin. I will be waiting in my officer" With that, she returned to her office, not looking back to Irin.

    Back in the office, she walked to the western bookshelf, pulled a book she knew too well from the shelf, returned to her desk and placed it there. She opened the first page. Hidden on the first page were neatly folded letter, nobody would notice they were there if they did not know what to look for.
    She took the upper most letter and read it.

    Examination of the Titans on the Shores
    By our agreement, I took a look onto the Titans that block the sea route to Viridos. They are firm and it would be very difficult to remove them, it would not be impossible though. They consist of ancient wood, it would take a lot of axes to cut through one of them, but wood is also burnable. This specific type of wood is difficult to ignite due to it's bark. Not impossible, just difficult.

    She placed it next to the book and returned her gaze to the next one.

    Update on our Situation in Kaustir
    As ordered we have acquired a few bigger ships, moved them to the designated location and equipped the ships and ourselves with the provided equipment. We have also received your four orders and will follow them.

    *knock, knock*

    "Just a moment", Amelia said loudly, placed the letter back into the book and the book back into the shelf. "Come in."
    The Office door opened and in came Irin with a burning white candle on a plate. "I have it, Amelia." "Thank you Irin, please place it on my desk and stay. Got something I want to talk to you about." A smile formed on Amelia's lips. Irin placed the candle on the desk and Amelia ignited the dark red candle with it, turned it upside down onto the first letter on the bottom right area and waited for the candle to drip onto the designated spot on the paper. Just when there was enough, she placed the candle onto the plate, took the sigil and placed it onto the hot wax. She waited for a few seconds for it to cool, took the sigil away and finished the Seal, that would confirm its integrity. She repeated the same for the other letter, just that this time she held the bottommost part of the candle to not burn herself on the hot wax that would naturally run down now. She folded both letter and once more applied the wax, this time to seal the letter from people this letter was not meant to be for.

    She then turned to Irin. "I allways envied your black hair, you know that?" Irin looked a bit suprised. "No, your hair is very fine, the white is pure and they perfectly suit your eye color." A sigh escaped Amelia's lips. "I guess nobody can ever be happy with oneself." "It would seem so", replied Irin. "I will prepare a sack of gold for you. You must leave Hosia, I believe that war is coming and if it is not coming, I want to bring it to them, Kaustir. They must pay dearly for taking the Alate and endagering our birthplace. The Alate is our people's birthright and I will never forgive the Empire for this offense. I have already laid out plans for Hosia and Aviary. These two places will be on the frontier if worst happens and I do not want you to suffer under this." Amelia decidingly said. Irin just smiled and then replied with a small giggle. "I have been with you since we noth were chilren, you are like a sister to me. Did you really believe I would just flee deeper into the land and watch? Even if you force me to take the gold, I will follow you to Aviary."
    Amelia's face did not show any emotion, neither suprise nor that she might have expected this. "Very well. We are about to leave, the fourty additional mercenaries should have been hired and should be waiting now. I just need to send these two letters away. I already prepared a letter with my plans for each, Damari and the Knight Captain. Our Treasurer will also know what to do in my absence. He is an odd fellow. I think my father mindcontrolled him somehow. You would assume that specifically the treasurer are quite corrupt, though he is not. Either way, let us be on our way."
    Amelia grabbed both letter and followed Irin after her, out of the office.
    Both walked downstairs to a cupboard decorating the western wall of the entrance. She placed both of the letter there as usuall. Damari would hire the messanger when he saw them.

    The Transport was pretty big. Eight wagons protected by a hundred and twenty men, plus the four Knighs, Amelia and Irin. Amelia lead Irin to the fith wagon and asked her to sit up, she herself following right after and shortly after the four knights positioned themself on their horses around that specific wagon. It would be a five days journey to Aviary.

    Meanwhile, somewhere on the Kaustir Shoreline, a proclaimed Admiral read his four orders once more
    1. Patrol the viridos shoreline, outside the Titans.
    2. Destroy any Kaustir military vessel approaching the Titans
    3. You will gain provisions there where my messanger met you
    4. If Kaustir does not show up in 60 days, ignite the oil onto the Titans and open a way for Trade to flow.

    And at the same time, two important personalities of the Ironheart Family found their orders in their rooms in the Ironheart estate.
    The Knight Captain found his letter on his bed in the now empty chamber of the Ironheart Knights.
    1. Look for a so called iron in the swamp. You will find the details in the book.
    2. Protect my estate and Hosia, for there are not many other left that will.
    3. Create an army under my banner, for we cannot rely forever on mercenaries.

    And just as much, Damari found his on his desk in his room.
    1. Purchase all large naval vessels and refit them for military purposes. Have them not flag any flag until we received official permission by our most holy spiritual Leader.
    2. Relay all messages to my family's estate in Aviary.
    3. Assist the Knight Captain
    4. Provide provisions at the location we designated to met the now Admiral.
    5. Hire a couple of spies. I wish to keep an eye on the Kaustir Fleet of Airships and be informed of their every move.

    Miss Ironheart predicted that all of this is going to cost the entirity of her familie's wealth and it's success would heavily depent on her success in Aviary...
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  12. Love and Bloodshed

    The light dimmed and the Shartan blackened. Night fall always came fast, and the little natural light that did reach the bottom of this wretched pit was replaced by pitch black darkness. The woman hated the darkness, it brought terrible things. It brought murderers, and it brought monsters, and it brought..

    She shook the thoughts from her head. Fear was not helpful, in fact it was detrimental. Surviving was the only thing she needed to worry about. For three months the woman had managed. Just another day she told herself. One more nightfall until they came and rescued her, one more daylight until they realized she had been framed. She hadn't killed them, it was impossible, all she could remember was red and then...

    Flashbacks of the event screeched past her mind's eye. Blood was everywhere, bodies were tossed like pillows, their insides strewn haphazardly about the room. She had been their, in the center of it all, drowning in a sea of red; but it hadn't been her. That was impossible. She was peaceful, loving, simple. Yes, just a simple wife, that was all she was, that was all she ever had been. The terrors of the Shartan weren't for her, they were for criminals, for the insane, for the worst of the -

    Her head shot up at the sound, it was a woosh, she had heard a woosh. It was so quick, so sudden, and then gone, but it was their, and it belonged to something. Wooshes always belonged to something here. Same with growls, and screeches, and whimpers. The whimpers mostly belonged to her though; she was -

    Again!? 'What could that have been?' She desperatley searched for an answer, it was pitch black, nothing was making a sound. Except.. It was then that she noticed that she had been muttering. 'You are going insane.' The woman told herself. 'There was no woosh.' 'Wooshes don't just happen' -

    That had been a flutter, in fact, it still was a flutter, off to her right. The woman followed. As she got up, the pain in her left leg reminded her. She had sprained her ankle a few Day light's ago. The pain was stiff and strong, and she knew that running wasn't an option. Limping was however, and that flutter wasn't to far away. She decided to investigate.

    Despite her efforts, the fluttering remained just out of reach. Ten whole minutes past, and the Woman's ankle had long since began screaming its protests against the extended walking. She began contemplating turning back, but then it happened. She turned a corner and Llght shafted downwards as the tunnel opened up, it was dim, but offered visibility. A feint figure floated on the other side of a thin rock bridge.

    It was small and beckoned her too follow. The woman just barely couldn't make out the facial features. Her curiosity intensified once more and she decided to ignore the pain. The bridge was thing, and covered in moss, making traversing it much more difficult than the woman had predicted. Halfway across she lost her footing, but managed to grasp a nearby vine to keep balance. For that moment her focus shifted to the opening in the tunnel. The woman had never seen a part of the Shartan like this. A beautiful waterfall cascaded downward to rock, creating a beautiful pool of water in the distance. A small stream trickled down, passing below the bridge and disappearing into the darkness behind.

    It was strange, this cave seemed natural, in fact, it seemed as thought she had passed through a break in the labyrinth wall earlier. Almost as if... That was it! Today was the day! This forest kin must be the one sent to rescue her! Freedom from the Shartan was literally steps away. She could taste the fresh air! The vine flew from her hand, as she dashed across the bridge to the her savior. Tears streamed down her face. The pain in her ankle had entirely disappeared, almost as if-

    A feeling like fire shot through her leg as a light snap sounded out. She fell face first on the rock, breaking her nose. The woman laughed. She began to drag herself across the damp floor. Blood gushed from her face, leaving a trail behind her. Slowly the room beyond the thresh hold became visible. It was a small cave, closed off on all sides but the one she had entered from. The creature that had led her here floated above her. The woman was gripped with fear as she realize two very important things.

    She wasn't getting out.

    That creature had no face.

    Empty sockets stared into her soul as she felt and immense pressure come down on her head and then...


    The snap of bone and the slurping of blood rang out as Grimagar consumed his most recent meal. This was easy. The skittish residents of thee Shartan were always so curious, and so easy to find. They would have died anyways, at least this way they were helping her. If Alisah could have smiled, she would have. This Grimagar was definitely a beast, but he had just enough man left to help her. She would find a way out of this Labyrinth, and Grimagar would be coming out with her.

    Then she would have her revenge..​
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  13. The Aviary


    The little sparrow avian was still puffing from her long flight when she was shepherded into the audience room of Tallius Longfeather, head of the Longfeather family and the high counselor on the Aviary. The little thing was shivering from exhaustion and anxiety, and it seemed she was about to swoon when the golden eyes of the orange and blue winged Tallius turned to look at her.

    The Avian stood, stepping down from the high chair on which he had been seated, and kneeled down before the girl, who couldn’t be more than half his height.

    “Who are you?” he asked softly.

    When the little bird didn’t respond the guard that had escorted her in, a strong, white-winged avian, answered for her. “This is Lillia. She was one of those who left for Aldus when the Alate was stolen by a Kaustirian agent.”

    For a moment Tallius’ eyes went hard at the memory of this betrayal, but his face softened before he turned back to Lillia. “Welcome home once more, Lillia. What brings you back to our cliffs?”

    Once again the guard answered. “She said she has a letter from Nuria, which she was instructed to give to none but you.”

    “Is that so?” Tallius asked, voice cool and calculating. It softened when he turned back to Lillia. “May I have it?” The sparrow nodded her head, reaching into a small pack strapped to her waist to pull out a short scroll and proffer it to the high counselor. As soon as he took it she bowed and hurried out of the room. Tallius was just as glad to see her go.

    He had been quite disappointed when work of Nuria and the other avian’s departure had reached his ears, but they had been too busy rebuilding to pursue the matter at the time. Perhaps this letter would shed some light on the matter.

    And shed light it did. Perhaps he had been too quick to judge the woman for her departure. Maybe this would be good after all.
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  14. A small journey
    The Transport moved... as slow as it always has and therefore it was just as expected. "It has been a very long time since we left Aviary, hasn't it been?" Amelia started, looking to Irin. "It has been my'lady. We weren't there when Aviary fell and I do hope the rest of your family is well." "They sent a letter after Aviary fell, requesting gold to rebuild the house and of course, what they would not mention, to spread their influence over Aviary... but I could never find the time to take a proper look at it. It was because when Tattseral begun to blockade our trade and I ended up being too busy to keep the flow of gold going. They are unlikely to be pleased to see me but they will have no choice but to welcome me." Irin simply nodded knowingly. She had been with Amelia as far as she can remember and she knows the reasons to why she would have to be welcomed.

    Amelia's heart ached a bit on the thought of facing her family. Her uncle was one of the council's member and she did not want to have him as one of her enemies, her father used to tell her stories of her ancestors, how their bloodline tracked back more than two hundred years ago and that an Ironheart must always marry a member of a bloodline that tracks just as far back, otherwise it would be an insult to her family, her entire line. "We do not want to see you ever again if you marry somebody unworthy", he then added, words that she can still remember as clearly as on the moment they were spoken.

    Amelia closed her eyes, she felt pain in her heart. Why could she not marry whomever she damned wanted? was she not free to choose, was her heart not free to love? was she not free to think and act however she wanted? She wondered how it would have been to be born into poverty, how would that have gone? would she then habe been free? She was uncertain.
    She remembered the mudbreed that she seen in her early childhood. Avian with wings so small that she always had to giggle. Was that mean to them? Were they happy? They were shunned by her friends, they were rejected by their society. They could not even get some of the simplest jobs in her family. My Chamberlain has always done a great job, so did the Knight Captain and they are both human, so why could they not be as well just as capable for great deeds, given the chance?
    "Is everything alright, my'lady?"
    The question made Amelia open her eyes and drew her away from her thoughts.
    "I am sorry Irin, I was just thinking about my family. But let us not dwell on the past, could you fly ahead and inform Mister Longfeather, the High Counselor, of my arrival tomorrow? You should arrive by today's evening when we make camp, we will then arrive midday tomorrow when we continue in the morning, you may tell him half." She empathized the word 'half' with a tone as firm as it was gentle.
    "Of course my'lady." Irin stood up and her wings spread across the cart. She curtsied once quickly and took off.
    Amelia looked after her as she disappeared on the horizon, a lot of work was needed to be done and it was primarely up to her to get this done.

    The Fleet
    "Give the Command to move the fleet!" Yelled the Admiral and a sailor behind him moved a red flag up. The Ships formed neatly into a order, each ship being vaguely a hundred metres apart, just as the Admiral ordered to earlier, before they refitted their ships and equipment.

    The remaining ships that still were docked, made haste and pulled up the anker, and each of the captains gave the order to hoise and release the sails. It would take a while before they would reach the Titans and it would be a big undertaking for them to complete.

    He stepped down into his own quarter, the quarter only carriyng an into the ground nailed table, a bed and everything he would need to fullfill his plans.
    He looked onto the map that was spanned over the table with a few nails... "It will take three days to travel up and down the Titan's with good wind... but if there was a storm.... yeah four hundred metres should be more than sufficent. We could also, yes that would be great. Maybe... oh and the patrol, we have 24 ships..."

    "I want you to locate where the Alate is located, mister Wellig", Damari, the house's Chamberlain spoke to a hooded man. "Half the payment has already been delivered to your desired location." The hooded man simply nodded, turned and left the backroom of the Ironheart Estate in Hosia. The Chamberlain grew tired of these conversations, he was really happy that this was the last shaddy person that needed to hire. "Spies", he cursed out. Four spies in total, one for their military camp, one for their naval logistics and one to get an idea of their armies logistics. All to cover the questions, where would they gain provisions, would it be possible to stop the provisions? could they ambush the caravans and if they could stop the trade entirely.
    This last one was the most important one though, that one was meant to locate the Alate, that which he remembers Amelia calling 'the birthright of all Avian'. Mister Wellig was the expesive type, but he always got results.
    No matter the results in the end, he knew that they all would have to abandon Hosia eventually. Hosia was dying. He noticed the spread of the forest. "We should exploit the land as much as we can while we can." He concluded and then stepped out of the backroom and found himself in the entrance lobby a corridor later. "The messanger are here", bowed a servant as he saw the Chamberlain approaching. "Great, send them to me." The Servant nodded and left. A short time later he returned with a human and an avian.

    He looked towards the human and stepped to the cupboard on the western wall. "This letter must be sent to Tattseral immediately, rest as little as possible, the sooner it reaches him, the better." He passed one of the letter to the Human. He then turned to the Avian and gave him the other letter. "This must reach Mister Ambriel of House Jainthe in Aviary... though I want to tell you to let yourself as much time as you need, to be more specific, take as much time up as possible, rest up in one of our guestrooms for a day, enjoy a massage by one of the servants, dinner with the Knight Captain and myself and then slowly get going." Knowingly the Avian nodded. It was not the first time that he was asked of this by the Ironheart family, the 'delayed arrival', they called it.

    The Chamberlain walked out into the streets of Hosia and left the residence of the Ironheart Family, the Knight Captain had been up early, the chamberlain remembered. Posters now decorate every few streets now. Recruitment Poster to be more specific, once for the expedition into the swamp, faefolk was specifically ask for and there were poster for recruitment of soldiers. "Soldiers" the chamberlain said. "Where are we headed, my'lady?" The thought that they would want to field a private army seemed so absurd to the chamberlain, he only ever knew the Lady as a very peaceloving figure, she even rejected the very idea of following the other houses out of Hosia when the blockade got worse and spoke against rebelling, even when the Titans begun block the shoreline. "It must be the Alate", the chamberlain quietly concluded. He knew how much that thing meant to the Avian, his lady was an Avian, so she must desire it returned just as much, right?
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  15. Shallow depths of the Shartan

    "Now what?"

    Ash and Lapin stood side by side, frozen since the Shartan's door ring had rotated and locked them inside. Perhaps, they were hoping, if they stayed in the same place the rings would rotate once again and reveal an opening for them to step back out.

    Ash did not reply, running his hands up and down over his chest, where Cora glowed faintly with a nervous fright. To their left and right skeletons rose into the foggy ceiling. They were robed in a stretched leather, their skin wrapped tightly around their dessicated frames. They were Ilium's first disciplines, mummified by the Shartan and preserved here for all time.

    "We will have to move." The satyr shuffled his feet, gouging large chunks of nervous dirt, and set off down the first ring, a path so large it seemed to stretch out straight into the horizon ahead and behind.

    "Move where?" The Kindly One skittered to keep up with his trot.

    "It doesn't matter. Predators will find their food soon enough."

    They walked at an even pace, following the mausoleum of skeletons. In the Kindly One's hands a bracelet of ten beads clicked, the tenth textured to mark a full rotation. Her lantern aux gained more powers in the mystical Shartan, its light banishing shadows and revealing potholes in their path. They were walking the interstice.

    "Six thousand steps, Undertaker." She terminated her steps with crisp discipline. "Let us rest and assess the situation." They made no fires but chewed some heavy cakes, taken from the Cinnabar's store houses.

    "We have walked the length of a horizon." The Kindly One raised a hand to shield her eyes and squinted into the distance. "Yet nothing is changing."

    For the past hour, Ash had followed the flitting shadow in the corner of his eye. Now his chewing slowed as he watched it disappear behind the bones on the wall, in and out of the eye sockets, snaking up the spine. His grip tightened around the shaft of his spear.

    The Kindly One moved the first of them both, but a third party struck before that. The moirgut was pinned beneath ashen, mutated claws, then snapped in half by dry jaws. Ash and the Kindly One exchanged gazes with the dog-beetle as it slowly finished eating the moirgut, then scampered up the wall in to the second ring of the Shartan and disappeared.
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  16. Home
    It had been years since Amelia left the Aviary and joined her father in Hosia. His goal? Gold and teaching their only child about the ways of gold.

    He had been successfully with that, she thought. It was also then when she got to meet their house's Chamberlain and the Knight Captain. Both of them would prove a very big help for years to come, especially for the time after her father passed away.

    The last time she had seen the Aviary, it had also still been flying. When the caravan finally broke through the trees, revealing the banded colors of the canyon-like Prisma Strata. The general shape of the Aviary was still there, even though it had been partially ruined by the crash and subsequently rebuilt, but now it was tied to the ground by a series of hand-like pillars that had emerged from the ground.

    Getting the caravan up would be a tricky effort as there was no ramp up to the actual city. Everything would have to be flown. But flown it was, with the help of several of the natives who were happy to be paid for their services.

    Amelia and the caravan made their way to the place of her birth, there where her family originated from, the house she spend her childhood in. It was a marvelous mansion, a nicely planted garden, red roof, statues of famous Avians glamorizing the path to the main entrance of the house. The door, made of stone, could probably withstand a siege if needed... for a short time at least, until everyone important had the time to flee.

    The knights went ahead, opening the fence's gate for the caravan to pass through. The stone door of the mansion opened and before anyone stepped into sight, an unwelcome yelling approached them. "Who dares to enter this house's property without an invitation?" shouted the voice.

    "That would be me, uncle," replied Amelia as an older, white haired man stepped from the entrance into sight.

    His eyes widened "What are you doing here?" he asked with surprise.

    "I guess we could say that I have returned home, uncle. I am here to rebuild our home and to reclaim our birthright, the Alate."

    "Did you not received our letter?"

    "I did."

    "Then why are you late?"

    "Because our dear Tattseral decided to blockade our trade"

    "That old oak is back? That's why I told your father he never should have left in the first place."

    "He is dead, uncle."

    There was a moment of silence. "I know. Madan told me years ago."

    "If you knew, why have you never written to me? But... no. I am not here to argue with you about what sould have happened. May I be welcomed home or not, uncle?"

    "Yes, Amelia. You are welcomed home."

    "Good, then let us head inside, we can talk about the details there."

    (((Thanks to @Peregrine with helping me, especially with the speech for the uncle)))
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  17. Family
    The caravan guards began setting camp in the mansion's garden. Her uncle glanced glaringly with a disapproving sigh towards them before he returned it to the mansion and made his way back there.
    Amelia followed him, the big house not leaving her sight. This is the place of her childhood, the place of her origin, the place that she had once known as home and she wondered...

    The both of them passed through the entrance. Her eyes moved to look at the painted walls and the neatly decorated portraits of her familie's ancestoy. Only a couple of cracks showed on the walls, things that could be quickly repaired.. Beginning with the first to the last. With sadness, she noticed that her father's portrait was not present.

    "We will meet in the old office in thirty minutes. Your room is still the same," her uncle said without turning his gaze to her.

    "I will take a look. I am quite curious to see if anything has changed actually."

    "You will see for yourself," the uncle replied, before he disappeared upstairs.

    A smile formed on Amelia's face and she quickly stepped past the corner to the second half of the mansion, until she found that one door. Her hand was shaking as she carefully touched the doorknob to her old room.
    She opened the door and disdain crept onto her expression. The room was a ruin, the ceiling collapsed into the room. Her thoughts turned, like a storm, to her uncle and a dark look spread over her face.
    A ruined room for a Lady that had long left. A deep breath left her lips, calming her down.

    He must want to tell me that I must earn my place here, because I left with my father all those years ago.

    No point remaining here. Time to head to the office, she concluded her thoughts, closed the door, and turned to make her way towards the place she was told to meet him.

    The image of the ruined room did not leave her mind. Even if a thought to distract her was found, it just lead back to the room over and over again.

    She found herself in front of the room in which she would meet her uncle, the room that her parents once used as their own working place. She remembered hearing them argue about her father's plans to leave Aviary. Her mother did not approve of course, the Avians are isolationist afterall.

    She knocked and a female voice replied "come in." Amelia opened the door and stepped in. Her eyes turned to the person seated on the chair behind the desk. An older woman sat there, her hair as white as snow and her eyes red, just like Amelia's.

    "M...Mother," Amelia stumbled, her eyes and mouth wide open. "You were reported dead...," Amelia whispered.

    "Who told this daughter of mine that I was dead? It does not matter. Where have you been Amelia? There is work to be done here. My brother said you are here with gold? We will make use of it to repair the mansion, including your room." Amelia's mother empasized the last two words.

    The suprise disappeared from Amelia's face upon hearing this and her thoughts returned to her goals. "Where is my uncle?"

    "He will be here momentarily."

    "I will not speak until he has arrived then."

    "Do as you please, just do not assume that it is welcomed."

    Amelia turned her gaze left, away from her mother. She forgot how strict and controlling she was... thinking back, it seemed like her father and mother were like the sun and the moon, two opposites. She remembered her father as a very patient and loving man, while her mother was always looking to expand the Ironheart's influence with an iron fist.

    The door opened and her uncle stepped into the silent filled room.
    "I see you two have already spoken. But we should focus on the most important thing. Amelia, why have you returned? You mentioned the Alate?"

    "Indeed I have, uncle. I received a report from one of my.... friends, that Kaustir wields a fleet of flying ships in their invasion of Pelugis. As you know they are not very talented when it comes to magic, they should lack other means of achieving such a task. So..."

    "you think that they are using the Alate to keep the ships afloat," concluded her uncle. "What about rebuilding Aviary? You mentioned this as well."

    "This is also indeed true. I wish to rebuild Aviary. I believe that we should prepare for the worst. Of all large cities in Viridos, Aviary should be the only one that will be the most stable in due time. I will also require the Avian's aid if I wish to take on a fleet of flying ships."

    "You are hiding things. I have been watching you," her mother spoke after a moment of silence. "Tell us everything Amelia."

    "As you command mother," Amelia replied with a sarcastic tone. "I believe that Viridos should prepare for war. Kaustir remains a threat to us and we will need Pegulis to keep them off our lands. Naturally, I wish to aid them. I have sent a letter to our most holy prophet requesting permission to send mercenaries to their aid. Before I have received permission, it would be treason to act."

    "What about the fleet that you equipped with Kaustir flags and armament, Amelia. Tell us about that," her mother inquired.

    A sigh left Amelia and she continued: "Fine. I have prepared a fleet if permisson is not given... then Kaustir will simply happen to declare war onto Viridos. I have tasked my staff in Hosia to prepare.... and speaking of Hosia, the people of Hosia will one day move to Aviary. The poisonous enviroment has been slowly swallowing the city."

    "I see. I will speak with your uncle about this. Earlier a familiar face arrived, Irin. She said that the high counselor is expecting you. I hope to understand that you will show the required respect towards him, child?"

    Amelia just shook her head and turned to leave the room.

    "You have se a lot of things in motion, I hope you know what you are doing," a motherly concerned voice sounded from behind Amelia.

    Without a reply Amelia left, first the room and then the mansion.

    (Thanks to @Mglo for proofreading and helping me fix stuff ^^)
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  18. A Glimpse of My Heart

    It had started as curiosity, or at least, that is what she had told herself. The tiny fae gazed with wonder at the creature. Over the past few days it, or maybe he, had begun to associate her with a steady supply of sustenance. The beast within the man kept her alive and the man within the beast did not wish to kill, or so it seemed.

    Grimagar's eyes were human, but everything else had degraded to that of a monster, a cannibal. It would have made sense. Had he been in the maze for his entire life but his legend was new. There was no way that he could have fallen this far in such short a time. There had to be some other factor, some sort of unknown element causing this breakdown in his humanity.

    That was of course, assuming he wasn't this way to begin with. Perhaps Grimagar truly was a monster, through and through. She had considered this many times in the few days she had been with him, but something kept her from being able to believe it. A thousand questions raced through her head, and there was only one way to answer them.

    She would have to speak.

    Alisah could feel her aux shudder as she considered the option. Using the advent had always put an extra strain on her aux, a strain that seemed different from when she had seen others perform the ability. Regaining her speech would be easy, it was the after effects that would be difficult. Sometimes she even felt it, the weariness, the loss of her true sight. Alisah debated it for many hours.

    The tiny fae crouched in the corner, watching the beast as he slumbered peacefully. Each meal she had provided for him had been picked clean, even the bone marrow had been sucked from the corpses. Nothing was wasted. Perhaps this had been some ingrained instinct of his lost personality, if such a personality ever existed. With each passing minute more question piled up, Alisah finally caved, curiosity always got the better of her.

    The fae cursed herself.

    It had been so long, it took all of her concentration to focus on it. The laughter. It was distant at first, barely even audible, even with her extended hearing. Slowly it grew, louder and louder until it was a deafening cackle. Still Alisah pushed further. It overwhelmed the tiny fae. Her entire body shuddered at the force of the sound. She took it into her core and accepted the pain. Instantly it became pleasure as a cool rush ran through her body. From head to toe Alisah felt it as the seems began to crack and break, and then, for the first time in fourteen years, Alisah took a breath.

    It was deep and painful, as though she had just emerged from the water of an ocean moments before drowning, and then again and again. She gasped for air. Her lungs re awoken to this long forgotten life. Usually she transmitted air through slits in the side of her neck directly to her lungs, but it was just enough for her to live. The sudden rush was almost overwhelming. Now that she was feeling it memories of the experience began to return. It had always been overwhelming...

    Before long words began to step ever so carefully from her lips, pausing at the doorstep as her muscles moved around them. Forming and shaping them as they had so long ago, but with the finesse of a armless juggler.

    "A-a-uu--- I" She began, stumbling over the sounds. "I re-m-mbr" Slowly she began to gain confidence "I remember this." Finally it came to her, smooth like running water as she worked each muscle with a new found confidence. "The feeling of speech.. It is.. Nice."

    Grimagar's head rose lazily at the sound. He had lived in danger for a long time, and slept lightly, as they all did.

    "Y- you are Grimagar yes?" The creature cocked his head at her, sound meant food to him, or so she had determined, and yet he was hesitant. "I am Alisah. I wish to- to speak with you, Grimagar." Her voice was beautiful, it had been so long since she had heard it. The sound surprised the small fae. It was so soft, so.. calming. Like the voice of a siren, well tuned and practiced.

    Grimagar did not speak, he simply watched the fae with curiosity. He could tell something had changed. She was speaking, which was new for him, and she had a mouth. She had not had a mouth before.

    Alisah took his demeanor of interest as a notion to go on. "I want to know Grimagar.. are you.. a monster?"

    Grimagar showed no sign of a response, and Alisah felt the power of her advent disappearing, she had not used it in a long time and it seemed her time limit had been shortened by a bit due to that lack of practice. As the laughter returned Alisah mood shifted, Grimagar had returned to his sleep and showed no sign of intelligent response. Perhaps he was just a monster...


    Grimagar tossed in his sleep. It roared. His lost self, oppressed by the power within him.

    It called to him.


    It screamed at him

    "You are no a monster Grimagar! Wake up! For the love of god wake up!"

    #18 Ner0, Aug 7, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
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  19. Outside of Edelon The golden steel saber swerved through the air to Naya’s song. Her body twirled round the same spot as if the tip of her foot were chained to it. She was constantly in motion, arms and legs swerving, sometimes smooth and sometimes sharp, but always passionate. There were patterns, sequences of steps that moved her as if she were a mere leaf dancing to the tune of the wind. But her pattern was so easily broken. Her young mind, despite its experience in battle, faltered at the sight as she surveyed her surroundings. The sight, the sound, the feel of death, they all creeped into her and her leg moved back when it should have moved forward.

    As her leg landed, she slipped on a maimed cranium and crashed sideways to the ground. Her hair coiled upwards, repulsed by the polluted earth. Living husks of flesh closed in on her as she struggled to regain her breath.

    The chaos had driven her too far away from the others to think of help. The Kindly One clenched her jaw and crawled away seeking for better ground. Clumps of congealed sap wormed through her fingers and intestines coiled round her knees.Someone near her screamed, desperate, primal. The guttural sound of their cry was silenced by their own blood as it was forced out of them. Naya shivered and her eyes watered. She felt fear.

    Something pulled her up by the hair, and her stomach knotted. Something was yanking Naya by her aux. She swung and a disembodied hand was sent flying.

    “Kindly One!”

    Naya turned. She raised her arm to signal for him to stop, but the man was already sliding down. On foot and knee he fought, yelling the syllable over and over. Come. Come. Come! He swung his spear in long arcs, using the flat of the point like a shovel to swat the condensing centipedes out of the air. It was the only way to avoid dying - by calling it wholesale upon himself.

    He stuttered only once. Soon he was buried underneath the moirgut, and he tried to scream as they swarmed his aux. Naya opened her mouth, but horror glued her throat shut. Her hair shrank into her scalp, and she half-crawled half-scrambled away. She pulled herself along the ground, cringing when feet splashed mud into her face, curling up and crying out when another Lieutenant fell with the aux-eaters swarming in and out of his eye sockets.

    She reached Tattersal just as another body slammed her down, teeth latching onto the top layer of her shansheng armor. Naya gripped her blade but her saber was too long to maneuver while flat on the ground.

    "How many?!" she grunted, "how many nearby?!"

    "Too many, Kin-"

    She heard a wet thud. One more elbow to the face and the biting head snapped off her armor. Naya pushed. A bloody white thing, broken bone, pierced her attacker. Its eye fell down hitting her cheek, still tethered to its socket.

    "Hurry." Tattersal dragged her from under the dying flesh. Together they struggled off the churned patch of ground. "This way!"

    Naya followed him, her feet heavy as she helped him clear the path along the way. He kept glancing to the same direction every now and again. Edelon. She understood. As she swung her blade to flick the excess blood off, she couldn’t help but feel the same way.

    Major credit to @unanun who polished this into something good! Also @E.T. for giving me some much needed umph! as I tackled this thing!
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  20. Horror's of the Mind
    Travel was pointless. The constant shifting of the Labyrinth played with them, rendering the two traveler's utterly lost. So they had made camp, Ashe and the Kindly One. The Forest Kin absently hoped that a wall would pull away and reveal a familiar corridor, or that their goal would simply stumble upon them as they huddled in the darkness.

    The maze had changed since his time as one of its jailors, and his memories of it had faded much further from clarity than he had hoped upon embarked on this quest. For an age they sat in silence, reeling at every mouse's squeak, and striking at every flash of movement. The pale light of the distant sun barely reached them, offering just enough illumination to give the shadows room to wiggle and cause paranoia.

    By his count it had been a full day since either of them had said a word. It was maddening. The worst part was the Kindly One. She did not seem the least bit bothered by it. The only damn thing she ever did was count those damned rations and watch the shadows obediently. It was creepy. Ashe went to open his mouth "I-" A half of syllable came out before it happened.

    Suddenly the Kindly One stood, raising a hand of warning to him as she peered into the shadows. A light fluttering of wings caught his eye as he followed her gaze..

    Curiosity Kills..

    Together they roamed the silent halls of the Labyrinth, as veterans of this horrific place both were ready for sudden cacophony. The denizens of the Shartan were killers, viscous and unrelenting. They would stalk for hours waiting for a lapse in their prey's concentration, waiting for a moment to strike.

    Grimagar had become able to hunt on his own, however he had still not regained his full strength. Despite her best efforts to convince herself otherwise, Alisah found herself continuing to follow the man. She was confident that he would not turn on her, and prepared for it if he did. Perhaps she would follow him for a while, just to be certain that his blood lust was incurable. Speaking with him again would be pointless, and might even turn him on her, so she simply watched and followed.

    She questioned her intentions as time dragged on. Maybe it was the added benefit of his strength that kept her there, at his side. As long as he stood between her and danger, safety was almost guaranteed, not that she had ever wanted for such a thing. Being small and silent had perks, not being noticed was the most beneficial of them in this dank and unforgiving hell.


    Dampened sunlight peered through cracks in the decaying stone halls. The most surprising fact of the Shartan had always been it's diversity. As the familiar chanting of Cinnabar Priesthood echoed through the halls, Alisah's delicate hearing made out the contours of the tight space. Grimagar's foot falls and deep grunts outlined his hulking form as uncomfortably squeezed through the hallway, his head almost touching the roof.

    Alisah became aware of other sounds as they echoed towards her, winding through the gloomy corridors like trapped souls. Each new arrival glinted new information for her about the most recent shift in the stonework. A beast that gasped vile breaths and scraped absurdly long claws across the stone floor roamed aimlessly in the darkness far to their left. It seemed that it was unable to sense them and Alisah was thankful for this.

    A group of fearful prisoners huddled against each other in the opposite direction, whispering soft lies to each other in order to calm the tension. The whispers were indecipherable to her, but the sound still supplied her with information. Five of them sat together, one sharpened a knife against a small stone that had been smoothed by the practice, while a near dead member of the party gasped in pain as she clenched a recently infected leg injury. This did not interest her.

    Such things came to her in waves as her senses reached for them like a biological radar, tracking potential threats. A nervous flutter hit her wings as they approached the room of a particular set of camped out prisoners. Grimagar did not notice them, these two were very good at keeping quiet. The beast trundled onward oblivious as they came ever closer to the room in which the two other humans hid. Suddenly, Grimagar veered left, avoiding the two souls entirely.
    'Lucky for them.' The tiny fae thought to herself.

    Something triggered Alisah's curiosity, perhaps it was the proximity of the two, perhaps it was their skill in remaining unseen, either way she chose not to follow Grimagar for a small moment in order to investigate the camp. Alisah hovered just inches outside of what she believed was the arc of light in the room ahead. She stepped to the ground momentarily as she crept towards the arced opening. They were extremely silent, almost completely. Just a few more feet and she would be close enough to make out the facial features. Just one more ste-


    The sudden noise startled Alisah, she instinctively took off and fluttered after Grimagar. They had noticed her, she had heard them notice her.

    'Please,' She prayed. 'Please, choose to turn the other way..'
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