Where Lies and Truth mingle

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  1. Embers floated upon the stale air. Pitch clustered where the light couldn't grasp. Nothing but the void of silence entered between them all. The bodies that had been picked out among the rest to do what was needed. To react for their benefit. Return them all back into the sun and the top of the airways.

    It had been like waking up from a dreamless dream. Eyes popped open, her body covered beneath a sheen of dust and cavern moss. Tender and stiff in all her joints, wings massed open and wide beneath her. Feathers of stark white so dirty that you couldn't see the imprinted marking of jeweled blue on each individual feather. And all she could see was umbra. It was suffocating, threatening to rip her breath from her lungs as she struggled to find the power behind her voice to belt out the scream in hopes that this world had been nothing more than a nightmare.

    Alas that wasn't where it was meant to be.

    Their rule had crumbled eons ago. The creatures of flight had fallen from their roosts beside the drop of their ruling king; the Spectre Dragon Mar'luin.

    No matter how she tried, her memory couldn't pull back to remember what happened before the hibernation took over. And even more so she didn't understand why her race had been buried beneath the soil of the earth. Even Mar'luin couldn't explain everything, missing pieces to his own soul but felt the fiery anger that had been struck into his scales from those who had taken glee in making the harpies fall. The shifters...

    Scratching against the soil that was falling inwards, the three of them all looked to the other as best as they could in the dark. Each nodding and holding their breaths - none loving the dark and each waiting for one or the other to crack in frantic fear about being plunged in the dark.

    She was near that line. Wanting to scream and wallow, clawing at the earth until it fell in on her or she broke through.

    A light filter of misty light floated away from her eyes like her brethren. Each of them possessing a talent of magic that fueled the glowing of their irises. She was watching the one digging upwards at the dirt, chewing on her thumb talon with nervous anxiety. How she wanted to feel the sun on her body again. She didn't care about how she did it.

    She needed it.

    The ground shifted as the digging harpy jumped back flaring out his great wings to knock the embers that were coming from the single low lantern from the other's hands and snuffed out the light. A squeak echoed out of her, daring to jump forward to start screaming but stopped. Stopped with the few with her to look at the shifting dirt falling.

    Hands lifted up to cover her eyes from the shot of light breaking through to hit them all in a warming bath of sunlight. And that was all it took!

    In an jolt of running, the three of them scattered to push through the hole and wiggle up to the surface. The two men with her took to the air first expanding their great spans with a hoot and a holler, she crawled out last and stood on the earth with a deep breath, hungry.

    There was still sun! There was still life up here.... like Mar'luin said.

    Now... now was the time to invoke the truth.

    Pale eyes moved upwards before she sprung up into the air to dust off the white plumage with a strong gust, revealing the detailing of the blue lines of arcane marking on each feather with great intricate detail. Her attention was caught by that of her kin, each waiting for her before they shot off in hurried flight towards the looming city. They had a mission to do and they could easily do that once they hid along the roof tops of the monsters that trapped them.
  2. "Roman?"

    The city was barren of life. Once great ivory towers, glistening a pristine white in the sun were shattered, broken. Gaping holes and blackened scars littered the buildings, the enormous walls that had once been Aladura's pride now lay crumbling. Homes were ransacked, wooden doors and beams cracked, splintered. Tapestries of scarlet and gold shredded. Years of history plundered as if it meant nothing.


    The city wasn't empty, though. No, its inhabitants were still here. Their bodies filled the streets and the buildings, bloodied and mutilated they lay where they'd been cut down or burned or struck. Dead. Man, woman, child. Every life snuffed out.

    And yet, somewhere, within the silence, a wail was let loose...


    The Shifter jerked at the hand that descended on his shoulder, sucking in a breath that wanted to release in a scream. It was a sound he caught in his throat, listening to the sound his heart pounding his ears instead until it started to regulate again and he was able to focus. Upon doing so, his gray eyes were caught up in the concern of a green pair. Anali raised a brow questioningly and Roman shook his head, clearing his throat roughly in denial before he'd even spoken.

    "I'm fine."

    "These spells are getting worse, Roman. Perhaps it is time to tell Father of them."

    The male pushed away from the wall of the rampart they stood upon, overlooking the city that in reality was breathtaking. Made of ivory and alabaster, it gleamed like an ocean pearl in the midday sun and its banners - a tiger on a background of scarlet and gold - caught in the warm wind. Noises from the lower levels of the tiered capital floated up to those of the higher class and Roman tried to let the familiar sounds and sights, scents rid him of the horror he'd seen only a moment before.

    "No. He does not need to know."

    Anali followed him as he moved from the wall, picking up her red skirts as she went, trotting to keep up with his longer strides. "Roman, be reasonable. There might be a Magi who can help or-"

    "I said no, Anali!"

    Roman did not usually snap so easily at his cousin, but they'd had this conversation often and always it ended the same way; with Roman winning and Anali vowing to keep quiet. She was nothing if not loyal. Now she glared at him, both frightened, but also angry as he'd turned very suddenly toward her, but she kept quiet, jaw working. Roman sighed, pushing the shorter strands of his hair away from his eyes, remaining silent in a tense moment before speaking again.

    "I am sorry for speaking harshly with you. But please, Anali, don't-"

    "You know I won't, Roman." His cousin shook her head, disapproving. "But you should say something." That was the last she had to say on the matter before she slipped around him and went on her way, leaving the male to turn and place his elbows on the wall, face in his hands as he groaned.
  3. Her talons scraped roughly on the rounded roof top, the soft crumbs of marble being chipped away inside of the talon; her body drew thin against the cold stone. Not that she felt it, her body was easily chillier than that. She was cold blooded, literally and being lost underground was dangerous for numerous reasons.

    Long almost off white hair slipped down before her face as she felt his hands grasp around her shoulder, and his opalescent green eyes shimmering in the light of the sun. He looked over her tucked in wings, preening softly as he studied before looking at her. Even in the years herself and Yulin were still close. Both missing great pieces of their memory but remained close together like birds of a feather. Neither were from the same clutch as eggs but both formed a sibling like bond as they grew.

    The other harpy that was accompanying them flew on ahead to get on top of the unmanned turret tower before looking around. They all knew what they here for. But the sun and the warmth was a great distraction that had each of them wanting nothing more than to sprawl on the roofs and bathed. His hooked ears rose up as he pulled loose a single feather, twirling it between his fingers and offered it to her that had the much smaller female shaking her head. In turn Yulin looked at it again before tucking it into his shirt pocket with a light tap. Their feathers were like gold and treasured. One often kept theirs to build their nests later on for their younglings or offered them in ritual for courtship. Yulin kept hers for bonds, symbolized by a brotherly care.

    Talon's racked through her crown softly before he crouched down beside her, tilting his head softly left and right with his large eyes on her. A soft warble coming from his throat in question that had her responding accordingly. But it all was short lived once he jumped off the side of the building to glide across the currents and to where the other harpy was. They were building a small perimeter around the entrance of the palace. She had to be the one who broke in and rendered the heir useless to be transported far outside the city and towards the north where some -hopefully- of the other's of her race had gained access to the lands above.

    Her body pressed close to the roof again, slithering her lithe figure over before following suit of Yulin to soar upon the winds. Though she went further than either of them, eyes constantly moving to suck in her wings and dive bomb silently down into the courtyard that was to either side of the rampart. She had seen a few of the shifters above and moving around, but that was not her focus. She was to engage the heir.

    At the last moment, her wings opened wide to cast down a massive shadow over the rampart to bestow wonder. Gather interest of course. Making those below curious to what was happening.

    And just like that, her body pulled tight again dropping like a knife towards the ground at an alarming speed that would have crushed her into the soil. But this wasn't her first time manoeuvring around. No, she was used to this rush. Barrel rolling tight, snapping open the wings to soar upwards towards the wall of the rampart; talons crushed into the flagstone and her body went almost flat against it. Barely out of sight but close enough to the side that she could see what was happening above her head. All she needed was someone to come close to the wall and look over. Then she could strike.
  4. It wasn't the noises, the murmuring of the crowd that made him look up. It was the shadow, the cold sensation that rippled down his spine that brought his attention to the sky and Roman just barely caught sight of the creature that had cast the darkness in the first place before it disappeared over the rampart.

    Roman's first inclination was to rush forward like others were to look over the wall and try to catch sight of the creature that had gone out of sight, but he stilled the urge with an iron will born of years of having to temper his first instincts. The Shifter made himself think first, going on the limited information he'd already gathered. The first and foremost point that came to him was that the creature had been big. That shadow had extended far out to either side of him, a great wingspan. So it was no Shifter. They couldn't take half-forms and none of their flight-forms were that big.

    It wasn't a simple bird, either. Nor even one of the drakes to the South for they were far bigger and their smaller young did not travel. It was the wrong season for their migration anyway. No, this was something he'd not seen before - had barely seen anyway - and that meant caution would be best. So it was with caution and unhurried steps that Roman approached the section of wall the creature had disappeared over. He was alone on this part of the rampart and the Shifter slowly drew a long-dagger bringing it parallel to the ground and in front of his face as he slowly looked over the wall, making sure his balance was perfect, stable.

    If something wanted to burst up from the wall, it would be met with biting steel and a quick withdrawal from Roman. He'd dealt with more than one assassination attempt in his life....though, none of them had ever come from the air. THAT was different.

    And what he found when he looked over the rampart was different, too, for gray eyes met ones of the palest blue and the deepest sapphire both. For one moment, a frozen second in time, Roman stared at the creature he'd found - female, his mind registered - something unlike anything he'd ever seen - but that wasn't true, was it? - and then a survival instinct kicked in and he immediately jerked back.

    The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, the same chill creeping up his back, prompting him to turn only partway to see two more of the creatures approaching from behind.

    Well. This just got interesting.
  5. Hooked tight on the stone wall, eyes drawn in anticipated watch waiting on pins and needles to be seen by that of the lone being on the top. Legs drew up into her chest as she hung there, talons pulling pieces of the stone apart forcing her to shift her position lest she wanted to actually fall from her perch.

    As if her features had been cut from the quartz of stone itself, unmoved once the man looked over to instantly met her gaze; the woman remained still as the dead. Eyes moving little bits studying the man with the deepest of curiosities that didn't play across her face. Ears caught the sound of faint fluttering though she was caught off guard when he went jerking back. She had expected him to try and lure her up or try to knock her down somehow. There had been no thought that he would move back and it had already been too late for Yulin and the other to stop their descent.

    Distraction registered across her face, scurrying in hurried warning up the wall caring little whether others seen her or not; a strong stroke of her wings forced her upwards to perch on the ledge of the wall. Crouched with her hands stabilizing her upon the roost, Yulin had landed on the ground towards the man's right and the other male harpy to his left. Making the only escape over the other side of the rampart that was surely too far for the man to survive through.

    Hissing ensued quickly from Yulin, his hand producing the small sword that had been attached to his side. Arching around to bare in front of his body in protection, flaring wide his wings as the other followed suit. It was nothing more than a tactic to reduce the area of escape between them. She kept hers tucked tight against her body, remaining where she had been watching like a hawk though evident worry was placed upon her brow.

    "Mar'luin requests your presence, thief." the one she didn't overly know proclaimed loudly. "Dead or alive." That wasn't true of course, they needed him alive but the man didn't need to know that.

    An exchange of looks between Yulin and her, he dove hard in towards the man with a loud bark of a yell; blade up and ready to tear through flesh if need be. They simply had to bring him down, bound him tight with ropes and drag him away. Nothing more seemed needed. Certainly the harpies were enough to overcome one simple man.
  6. He didn't make any sudden or quick movements. That was a sure-fire way to elicit reaction in an opponent or an animal...and at this point, Roman wasn't sure which one he was looking at. They looked like Shifter, but they weren't. It was clear they were not with their scaling and feathers, wings and talons, things that Shifters only had in full-form. Could they be a species from over the great waters? Some type of hybrid? But if a hybrid, of what?

    Roman's mind raced through the possibilities even as he kept his eyes on the three with careful attention, taking into account their movements, the key points of tension in their bodies, the ways they shifted and which hand went to their weapons. All told him things about them. And answered his question about their intelligence. Weapons meant forges, forges meant tools, purpose, thought. The Shifter knew they were conscious, civilized beings even before one spoke, male.

    Roman's brow rose in both puzzlement and question he knew wouldn't be answered. Mainly because he wouldn't ask it. First rule: don't speak to your killers. It just gives them more leverage and distracts you.

    Still, he could not help but wonder what in Aladura a 'Mar'luin' was. He felt he should know, as if he'd heard the name or perhaps read about it somewhere, but for the life of him, Roman couldn't pinpoint it. And he certainly didn't know what the title 'thief' was for. Did they think him someone else? Again, he wasn't going to ask. Chances were that they wouldn't believe his denials anyway. They seemed to have their minds made up as they attempted to box him in and Roman started turning his quick thinking to his options.

    There was always the rampart. His gray eyes stole just the smallest flicker to said escape route - whether his would-be assassins realized it was an option or not didn't matter - but upon realizing where he was upon the wall, he knew he didn't have enough of a drop to accomplish what he wanted. If he shifted while falling, first off, he'd be vulnerable to these winged-creatures and second, he would barely make the shift before he hit the next level of the city. He wasn't willing to risk that unless he absolutely had to. No, the rampart was out.

    As was shifting here and now. It would take too long and these creatures were fast - strong too, it looked like. He wouldn't stand a chance that way. No, the only option appeared to be a good old-fashioned fight, though, how fair it was with their wings Roman didn't know and knew he didn't get a choice in such odds.

    He didn't get much of a choice in anything these days.

    That thought was his last truly detailed one as one of the creatures charged him with a shout and years of training had Roman reacting like it was a second instinct, meeting the blade with the dagger currently in his hand, expertly twisting the sword away from his body and twisting to lash out with his foot toward the second attacker. He hit that male square in the chest, sending him sprawling back and Roman ducked a swipe by a wing, either intentional or not by said creature with the wing. Adrenaline surged through his system, enhancing reflexes that were already impossibly fast and somehow Roman was able to get outside the wall of wings around him and draw his sword, a beautiful piece of steel that rippled like water in the light, the ruby in the hilt catching the sunlight and making the thing appear to glow.

    Roman steadied himself and took a high-guard, looking the three creatures - who appeared almost startled - over....and he waited. He wouldn't run, wouldn't give them the opportunity to come at him from behind if he could help it and he wouldn't wait for them to strike again another day. This would be decided now.
  7. Surprise echoed through them all at the sheer skill and strength of this being. How he parried and drove through their attacks with precise timing. Yulin squawked lowly in his throat, a motion to fan further apart and try to swarm in all around, the female was easily the weakest of the bunch. Skilled in close range combat of course, but she was young and timid by nature. If she could avoid getting in the fray, she would.

    Yulin was the largest of the three and the seasoned veteran, the other was the middle grounds and hot headed. That was already proven when they had advanced and he went in for another attack. His talons flashing throwing aside his weapon as if his own hands would prove the greater weapon.

    It was there that the smaller female darted in as if to stop the carnage from happening, only having the male turn around on her and snap viciously towards her. Catching an arm that forced the young harpy back, blood dribbling in response to his disdain for being stopped.

    Yulin remained poised when the female came back, crouching low to the ground looking to the gouge upon herself before lifting her chin upwards in sorrowful question. There was no blame in her eyes but pain lingered.

    "Monster born under the sun. Creatures who steal what was not theirs rightfully!" he proclaimed in a fit of hatred, untamed and wild from the shades of being trapped underground playing over his strained features. "Blood to pay for crimes! Yours will pay."

    "Enough!" Yulin bellowed, dashing forward in a powerful play, sweeping around the opposite side of the man knowing that he male harpy had made a stupid mistake in charging. The man had proved dangerous and the young one had used that knowledge in the wrong turn. He was rash and frantic to end something far too quickly and it would end terribly. Even Yulin knew there was no stopping what would happen and he made very little effort to stop it. His focus was on subduing the man. Nothing more.

    She lowered herself down in submission, letting the blood run down as she watched moving her feet back with childish brimming fear starting to crest on her features.
  8. So they were more animalistic than they looked - the discarded weapon proved as much, as did the way the male lashed out at the female when interrupted. They behaved much like Shifters in full-form. Interesting, though, he could not condone the needless violence against the female, especially when it was clear she'd not meant harm.

    But this wasn't his family unit, nor his people and at least one out of the three creatures here wanted to spill his blood. Hell, the rash male was saying as much and Roman's hands tightened on his sword, his body crouching just a bit further in readiness for any move made against him. But more than the young male, he watched the older one for it was the larger of the two that seemed to be smarter, calmer, more tactical. He would be the opponent to defeat.

    The younger one was already dead.

    The thought was cold and hard, but not arrogant or satisfying. It simply was a fact that Roman could recognize long before it came to pass. No, he would have much preferred these creatures, whatever they were, had stayed with their own kind, in their own lands and left him alone entirely. He didn't want to kill them, but they'd made their own choice coming here to kill him. Or at least one of them had.

    So when the larger male swept around to his side, Roman didn't turn his head immediately, instead keeping his focus on the younger male who once again had charged forward. Talons were no match for a sword and Roman, much as he didn't like it, used that to his advantage, dodging the attack - which took him further away from the older male sweeping around him - and he brought his sword up and swinging around with a precise skill that had the sharp steel biting into a wing, sending a howl of pain into the air.

    It would attract guards. Good.

    It didn't last long, though, before Roman's dagger slit the creature's throat and he rolled away from the body, coming up again to meet the attack of the older male.
    #8 Kaisaan, Apr 8, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
  9. Compassion riddled across her eyes watching as the nameless harpy male was rendered useless in an efficient manner. With tact and excellence that belied the other male's brash nature. It had come down to Yulin now and neither of them could expend the minutes more than they were. The loud cry was their downfall. It would alert others and then they would be lost.

    Tightening his grip on the short sword, Yulin threw a look back to her - his lips moving softly to utter the words of ancient dialect. A brief glint of light flashed behind the larger male and he surged fluidly forward; the great wings had suddenly disappeared from sight. As if they had never existed.

    It made him lighter on his feet not to have the outstretched feathers out and about, giving him the appearance of an elf rather than the avian creature they were though it wasn't enough from close range to say he was one of the high born creatures. Bringing around his sword to clash into that of the man's with a hard vibrating clash; a sneer touched the handsome features of the harpies. "Eryn." he spoke her name so casually, as if it was uttered in a conversation light and mirthful rather than in battle.

    Her ears lifted as, Yulin dipped his sword down towards the ground to guide the man's along with. Yulin's body shifting his weight around to pivot on his right foot, swinging his arm wide to slam his elbow into the back of the man's neck. That was her cue to come.

    Scratching hurriedly to the flagstone, scrambling to come in low, she bared no weapon at this time. She was meant to sweep out his legs in hopes that Yulin could land a hard blow to the man's head. Taking him into the state of unconsciousness.

    Putting his left foot between the man's feet to keep him off balanced; a hand let go of his own sword to grab a hold of the man's wrist and snapped it forward to loosen his own grip on that of the marvelous looking sword. Eryn looked up, shifting her position to put her hip to the stone. Using the momentum to slide across like she was running for home base in baseball, she slipped between the two males and hooked her hands around the man's ankles. Hoping her momentum would at least make him stumble. Yulin just needed one good strike to the head and they could be out of here in a moment's notice.
  10. The wings were gone. Not shifted, not hidden. Just gone and for a fraction of a moment, Roman was taken off-guard. It proved to be his first mistake as the male creature attacked and there the Shifter discovered his second mistake. This one was a great deal stronger than the other male had been, but it was what the other did with that strength that really proved to be the chink in Roman's defense because the dark-haired Shifter had been fighting for his life.

    But these two were not trying to take his life.

    The realization came about suddenly as he was struck, the pain making his vision flare for a moment before his body steadied again. It wasn't the blow that brought him to a slightly dazed state. It was the fact that they didn't want to kill him that brought with it a confusion and curiosity that Roman failed to catch, making him look up into the eyes of the other male and completely missing the move the female made.

    His grip didn't loosen on his blade, despite the grip on his wrist, but his feet did stumble and Roman uttered a hissed curse, the first words from him, as he lurched forward. He'd just managed to leave a deep slash to the male creature's leg - if he was going down, he was going to make them regret it - just before the blow to his head had him seeing spots dancing before his eyes at the strength behind the hit. He vaguely heard metal clatter to the stone below him and then he felt his body collide with said stone as well.

    The world rushed in a buzz in his ears and for a moment, he struggled again to rise, the voices of tutors and trainers, his uncle bellowing in his head to get up, that being defeated like this was a disgrace on his family, his people. He was weak, they said. Too curious, too unfocused, too unlike his father.

    For a moment, those voices made him fight to keep the darkness at bay and his gray eyes blazed with a fierce determination, anger...and then another blow connected and the world went blessedly dark.
  11. Pain exploded in the gash on his leg, blood flowing freely down to begin to puddle at his feet. Anguish touched her, ready to pounce forward to Yulin but resisted in pure amazement. Even as he grunted and made a face of agony on his features, Yulin continued on. Refusing to holler out or give in to the man. No, he struck our again once their target was down on the flagstone. Making certain he was out so not to cause them incredible grief.

    The sound was sickening enough. The impact harder than the first, making her flinch into her own skin. She was still too young for this. Too naive.

    A huff expanded past his lips, ducking slightly, as the wings of great size fizzled back into existence. His pale green eyes were on her the moment after he slung the man over his shoulder like a hunted deer. "They come," his voice rumbled softly in his chest. Wings gave. A powerful stroke, forcing himself and the new weight from the rampart. "Eryn come." he coaxed her gently. Knowing that she was feeling empathy for the man, tempted to forget their mission in hopes to stave off death. But that was not an option.

    Her chin dipped, looking to her own wound to wince at the torn state as Yulin rose quickly up to the sky. Hurried feet were coming quick, metal armor clinking against itself as loud cries of protest announced themselves firstly. That was all the incentive she need to take a much more wobbly flight. Being injured made it difficult but not impossible.

    Already Yulin was far ahead, escaping the city line out into the dry wasteland to the south. Her gaining sluggish acceleration, listening to the distant sound of a bell chiming from the church. They succeeded but not without being grossly overwhelmed by the man.


    Hands were clasped tightly in iron, feet the same to prevent there hostage his escape. Yulin had been pulled aside, down into the gulley of the massive cavern mouth to speak with the Spectre Dragon, leaving her crouched and on guard with the man.

    Other's were curious of course, inching closer to get a good look at the Prince of thieves. But she did not allow. Hissing and growling, flaring up her feathers to be as large as possible -she usually succeeded- other times she was simple scoffed at. Didn't matter. Until Yulin came back, she was to stay alert. Stay guarded.

    A single healer had checked over their hostage, making certain that his head hadn't succumbed to deep damage but left her alone. Her wound would heal on its natural course but it was her pentence for getting involved where she shouldn't have.

    So she say on the cold ground. Raptor eyes watching all as she curled her wings tightly around her chilling body. She wanted the sun not the cold shade of the cavern. But she not permitted to unless with another. So she waited, shivering every so often as eventually her movements would become sluggish.
  12. Sounds came through first; hissing and growling that made him wonder if he'd fallen asleep - unconscious? - in full-form and his kin were trying to wake him with one of the more primitive languages of their kind. He quickly dismissed that, though, even half-conscious, as nonsense for these noises made little sense to him and they sounded not like any creature he recognized. But they did sound vaguely familiar and such was what prompted him to wake further despite the pain.

    And oh, how his heard hurt!

    His skull seemed to want to split in two, pounding with each beat of his heart, but it let him know that his heartbeat was steady, calm. At least there was that and Roman was determined to keep it that way as he worked past the deep, sharp ache in his head - he was rather used to that, actually - to what was beyond it.

    Gray eyes opened slowly, consciously so as they prepared for light, but it was the opposite that greeted him. The Shifter blinked, keeping his gaze fixed ahead as his pupils rapidly expanded, different sensors in his eyes reacting, giving him a sight that was not quite as clear as daylight vision, but very close even so.

    Then he started to look around.

    Roman's wrists flexed in his irons, testing them, but not focusing on them. Not worried. He was a Shifter. He had forms much smaller than this, forms that could easily slip out of things his wrists and ankles could not. The question would be when to use such forms. He wasn't worried about being shackled. Being caged in a smaller form was what he had to worry about.

    He wouldn't put it past these creatures to know how to do that once they realized how he could escape them. At this point, though, he studied them and where he was. A cavern. Underground. That would explain why their existence had not been noted by his kin. It did not tell him where he was, though, nor why these creatures of the air, who should have been living at the highest of heights, had chosen to make their home in the earth. Such a thing puzzled him, brow furrowing and his head tilting of its own accord, silently curious, but remaining just that; silent. Regardless of who they were or how they'd come to be, they'd still captured him.

    They were still the enemy and had made themselves such by default of their actions.

    But how curious he was about them and his sharp gray eyes studied each one as he could, but none more than the smaller female who remained close even when others skittered back, speaking amongst themselves in a dialect he could not understand. She was still injured and it didn't seem as if the wound have been taken care of, but that was none of his concern. How her people handled each other was not for him to guess at or judge. He was already learning, though.

    They were cold-blooded. Having been in close proximity to that large male had told him that. The grip on his wrist had been like ice, even with the warmth of the sun, and the female right now was shivering, some grace of her movements lost even as she sat. Sluggish. He could use that, eventually. For now....it just made him wonder all the more WHY they were underground.

    By all logic, it didn't make sense that they should be.
  13. Ears prickled giving awareness to her focused sensing, tensing her body tighter that consciously drew her gaze backwards. Sure enough, the man was awake. Enough so that Eryn flipped herself around, moving back a bit and shuffled herself to sit closer to her wings. The knotted ears of length drew downwards instead of pinning to her skull in warning. No, much like before the girl turned far more docile. Skittish even knowing that this male had killed one of her own and injured another. She had no desire to stir his wrath, even in shackles.

    Eyes drew away but watchful, keeping others away still. She was an enigma sort of creature.

    Loud hissing echoed through the cavern, numerous bodies ruffling at the sound. Some took to flight, roosting up in the cavern walls, out of sight from those on the ground as some simple scurried off to hide in there poor nests. The ground shook under the weight of the mighty beast, Yulin appearing first from the deepest stretch of mouth, swooping around to touch the ground closest to her. A taloned hand dropping to her head stroking thoughtfully as his eyes pinned to the man. But nothing was said.

    Large stones fell from the roof, crashing upon the floor as another growl erupted through the cavern. Harpies of all sorts squawked in response.

    Soon large opal eyes appeared from where Yulin came, a long shimmering body entirely transparent came through engulfing the entirity of the cavern mouth. Small specks of lights orbited the dragons horn riddled head, as a large third eye opened in the middle of his head, blood red, and stared hard at the man captured.

    "Shifter.... Born of blood that has stolen my scales and doomed my people to darkness." His voice rang like chimes through the space of emptiness. "Time has awakened us again and now we come for rightful vengeance. Your blood will serve as example. By death or by betrayal." he did little to explain, rather he watched to see the mans reaction.

    Eryn dropped one submissive, shuttering again that had Yulin nudging down with her to engulf her close to him, himself shivering as well bit held face about it better than she.
  14. The commotion alerted Roman to something changing long before the earth rumbled, but when it did, memory stirred. Earth-shakes. The lower town had been riddled with them, he'd felt one himself, much like...this. The realization made the Shifter pay far more attention to what was happening and his eyes flickered from the roof where the rocks were breaking loose to the walls and tunnels themselves where the creatures had disappeared to.

    And then came the being they'd made room for.

    Despite himself, despite all training or experience, Roman stared. He could not help it. Oh, he'd seen drakes before, but they were smaller cousins of the great dragons and he'd read enough legends - despite the deep disapproval of his tutors and Uncle so that he often did it in secret - to know that the creature he looked upon now was a dragon. A very strange, translucent dragon who seemed to have little substance in some ways and yet the power to shake the earth in others, but a dragon nonetheless. A dragon he felt he should know the name of, odd as that seemed and Roman swallowed hard to hear it speak, completely lost as to most of the context, but awed by the presence of the being anyway.

    But staring wasn't going to get him anywhere, nor was giving in to the fear that whispered at the back of his mind and remaining silent was becoming less and less of an option. Words would have to be said carefully, though. These creatures seemed to hold a grudge against his kin - he realized it wasn't just him anymore - that he did not understand, but it would be best not to trample on that if he could help it. The dragon had spoken of death - that didn't surprise him - but he'd also mentioned betrayal and that implied living. Even if he had no intention of doing what they wanted, living was much preferable to dying.

    Especially when he was so very curious. Answers weren't going to come in death.

    "My Lord, you speak of things stolen from you and acts wrongly committed against your people, and I have not the wisdom to deny it for I know nothing of what you say. Perhaps that will not save me my fate, but should not even a dead man know the reason he must die?" Roman's words were steady, calm and he held the dragon's three eyes not with arrogance, but with true question.
  15. After the msn spoke, silence ensued.The sound of dripping water farther down a length of a passage the only noise to be heard as all held there breaths with wonder. Mar'luin was thinking deeply on his own words in answer.

    Darting an eye sidelong to the man and back up to Yulin, Eryn waited with bated breath.

    A rumbling echoed in a sigh from the Dragon Lord, the large blood eye narrowing on the smaller creature. " It does not surprise me that one born of noble blood is kept in the dark. Secrets are between two beings not three or more. But you would have learnt either way once you took the crown." the spectre shifted his presence, cranning his neck to look around at his race of believers. "Theses beings are very distant relatives of you shifters. Born for air and mountains. I once ruled over your race as well, but greed ran deep in the noble blood. Stealing my scales. These Harpies, these stoneclaws rose in spite to take back what belongs to me from your ancestors. Alas they could not as my scales had been used to empower your race beyond their strengths. They were knocked from the skies, tossed into the pits beneath your city as a sign that myself and they were buried beneath a stronger race. You hold the same blood. I have risen after thousands of slumbering years having rebuilt my strength enough to pronounce my return, but I must have my scales back. You boy, are noble. You will succeed the throne and return my scales back. All things have a price, and it has come time tree shifters pay there's. An entire race built themselves upon another, innocents live in ignorant bliss because they believe what there rulers say. You have limited choices boy. I will make an example of you whether that is renting your head from your body to send back as a prize for your uncle, or you will return to your city with one of ours in illusionary looks to find my scales and betray your blood. Either way, your city will know the truth. By destruction or by betrayal."
  16. Roman hadn't expected his question to be met in such a way, as if they were astounded he'd spoken at all. It certainly stirred his interest in these strangely beautiful creatures, but he kept his focus where it was needed; on the towering Spectre before him. The dragon was speaking of a time long past, something Roman had never heard of, had never read, had never seen depicted and he listened with a rapt attention his tutors would have been envious for.

    Relatives and a common ruler?

    The Shifter kept his expression very neutral, not wanting to give offense or bring about a negative reaction in any way, but he certainly mulled that one over even as he kept listening, attention divided but not suffering for it.

    Relatives would explain their half-form appearance well enough. Harpies. He knew that word, didn't he? He'd heard it in....a child's book. His mother had read it to him when he was young. But the Harpies in such tales were cruel and vicious, savage creatures with hideous appearances. Looking over them again out of the corner of his eye, Roman could see how some might find them alarming. Hissing, growling, squawking, they certainly sounded savage at times. And their talons and scales, great stone-colored wings with swirling designs were intimidating, but they certainly were not ugly, monstrous creatures like those presented in the story. But maybe that had been done on purpose, by those who wanted Shifters to forget, to pass down legends that got warped intentionally, to eventually stop telling the stories altogether, to think of them as nothing more than fanciful tales to scare children at night and entertain people during the coldest months of winter.

    If this was truly the doing of his family line, they'd done their work well and Roman listened to the rest of what the dragon had to say in contemplative silence, keeping to such quiet even when the Spectre was done. Wisdom came with knowing when to speak and knowing what to say when one spoke, to not speak with haste or first thoughts, to weigh words and take different paths in a theoretical conversation. And to do such things quickly and efficiently. Finally, though, Roman did speak, his gray eyes never leaving the dragon's own. A ruler never looked down when speaking, never flinched from a confrontation or diplomatic negotiation. They were to remain calm, level-headed and aware of the authority they held, no matter where they were. Roman, though....Roman knew never to sound overly prideful or arrogant either for he had seen both his father and his uncle fail in such arenas when they otherwise might have won their case.

    "I have not fought in wars. I do not even have a hundred years of wisdom to draw on, but I do know that nothing good has ever come from enacting vengeance much as it might be desired." And how he knew the fiery burn for vengeance. He only had to think of the face of his mother to know it, but right now, such was not the topic.

    Focus, Roman.

    "I speak for the sake of my people, yes, that I will not deny, but also for the sake of your own, for logic's sake. You, Dragon Lord, have said yourself that there are innocent lives among the Shifters that know nothing of their dark history, the crimes of their ancestors and yet you would make them suffer for treacherous acts they did not commit? Where is justice in that? How does that make you and your people any better than my ancestors who wrongfully rose up against you?" He knew that line of thinking was needed, but a dangerous slope to walk on, especially since he was not free, but prisoner. So the Shifter moved on, not giving a retreat to the subject but rather giving it room to breathe, to linger in the minds of those it needed to but not pressured to grow before its time.

    "You speak of choices as if there are only these two available to our races when in truth, there are far more. You acknowledge that it is unlikely I knew of the transgressions committed against you and your people, and indeed I did not, and yet you seem very sure of the action I might take if I were to know the truth and remain free to make a choice." Now gray eyes did look around before coming back to the dragon, truly thinking on what actions he might have taken had he known this. It became apparent to Roman after only a moment, though, that he would not have been able to make a choice, not based on what his Uncle would have told him for there were two sides to every story and he would not have known the Harpies' side, the dragon's side....but now the same dilemma was true. He'd heard the side of the persecuted, but not the side of the supposed persecutors. Still, the proof of the Harpies' deprived lifestyle was all around him and if nothing else, he knew he would have helped them in that regard. No flying creature deserved to be placed in the ground, in a cage.

    "You speak of my place on the throne as if I am still to have it. If such were true, how can you be sure I would not choose to welcome your people, to help them, to give them a place beside my own? To aid in restoring your rule? You would judge me only on what people before me have done, ancestors I held no counsel with, held no allegiance to. That is not a fair judgement at all."

    Roman sighed, knowing his time was drawing closed. Whatever decision that was to be made about him would come soon, but he'd gotten to speak and that was more than he'd expected before a death sentence. His gray eyes showed no fear when he looked back up into the blood-red eye of the dragon lord above him. "If it is vengeance you must have, then kill me. I am the last of my line. My Uncle, the King, will give you little fight and my cousin's blood will count for nothing among the people. The Clan of the Tiger, the House of StarShade will end with me and your blood-debt will be satisfied, for I will not betray my people who's only crime is their lineage, a history they are blind to."
  17. As he spoke of innocents and how his people would be slain under the other’s made the harpies hiss and growl. It seemed to provoke the spectre dragon as well, though he let the man speak his will as he sought.

    How could he speak of his those that were innocent without considering all the innocents that had been harmed from his own bloodline. A look around proved there were children, young and old all around that had no choice either in their fate. The fate that had locked them down beneath the soil with the ruler that they had sought to protect. But he didn’t bother to say any of that.

    No he would let the cries of protest and hatred of those up in the loft of the cavern say their peace.

    Only once the man had finished did Mar’luin lift his chin upwards, looking down upon the man. “As you wish then.” There was little to say in the ways. He did not want to wait for another to take the throne, only to be poisoned by his little council that would try to implore all that was said here as false tales. As ways that the harpies were saying were lies and that their realm was the truth. There were so many ways the truth would be altered when the boy took the throne. To say they would have been welcomed would have been folly. Especially considering his uncle could have opened his arms no more than he. The lines of ruling was tainted and Mar’luin wouldn’t hold his breath to believe this prince wouldn’t be in time. “Yulin, it is your honor of taking his head. Then the city will fall. He casts his fate.

    The great lizard spectre turned around, as Yulin rose up away from the small female. Her eyes were wide, frightful even, looking between the spectre dragon and her kin. Dry wringing her hands nervously as the sound of metal came out from the scabbard, the blade posed to strike; the young harpy jumped up.

    Excuse me-“ softer than a leaf floating on a summer breeze, her tone was hardly intimidating. Rather it was childishly weak and scarce even in the presence of echoes. Though the spectre paused to look back.

    Eryn… you speak up for this cretin?” he knew her better than she knew herself. Timidly wrapping her wings around her frame, picking at a long secondary feather; Yulin raised a brow at her.

    Milord, if I may…” pale blues glanced at the man. He dipped his head as Eryn looked upwards around the large cavern before drawing a slow breath. “Spilling his blood would mean little. It would provoke the others into senseless carnage and we would be further buried in dirt.” She straightened herself up as she could but remained wrapped up, “If we must, keep him alive and keep him here. I will… I will go into the city and look for the scales.

    “Eryn are you nuts!” Yulin finally spoke up raising his voice, as she shook her head.

    Shedding blood is not our way brother.” She murmured, side looking away. “I’d rather risk myself than kill someone who is innocent.
  18. As you wish then.

    And like that, his fate had been decided.

    Surprisingly, Roman didn't feel fear. To die was not the worst thing in the world. The dead did not feel pain, they did not suffer, they did not see those they loved slain before their eyes, nor did they carry the weight of that grief, the weight of a kingdom and a people, of lives and decisions. Death would bring relief. His death would not bring disgrace. He'd made his choice and it had been for his people, to honor them even if he could not save them. He would die knowing he'd been loyal as their Prince even if he'd not been able to be their King or salvation.

    It was enough.

    He felt pity, though. Sorrow for those around him for the path they were to take would find them no peace. They would find war and death, they would find a world that would turn against them. There would be no rest for those who took vengeance. No more peace than for those who committed treachery.

    Roman could not say he'd not tried, though.

    The ringing of the blade being drawn made him sigh, the sound lost in the scraping of the metal and the Shifter refused to watch the sword itself, keeping his gray eyes on his executioner, Yulin. If the Harpy was to kill him, he could look him in the eye when he did it and see that Roman had no regrets, no fear, that he was just as loyal to his people as the Harpy was to the dragon and his own kin. He could see the other male raise the blade to strike and he braced himself for the impact before a voice, quiet as a whisper, interrupted the process.

    Roman looked over to the female Harpy along with the others and he gave her no expression, either of hope or even interest, as she spoke, merely listening. Wondering. She was defending him. Why? The Shifter tried to see some motivation in the action, but unless this was a great ruse to somehow make him change his mind, he didn't see what her angle might be. That didn't mean she didn't have one, but she could also be just as innocent in her desire as she appeared. There was little way for him to tell right now. But he could respect her words at least, whether she meant them or not, for they showed wisdom, a thoughtful mind that had seen more paths and possibilities than merely the one she was being fed to take. Only the dragon's decision would decide whether her bravery and logic had been for something or for naught.

    The Shifter remained quiet. He'd said what he'd wanted to say and he wouldn't plead for his life, try to convince any of them to do anything. If they were going to kill him then fine, be done with it. And if they kept him alive...well, plans would be made then.
  19. Pure of fate as you ever were,” Mar’luin mused with a fatherly chuckle accompanying his tone. The comment had the girl fidgeting in her own skin but it wasn’t a terrible statement. It held merit and it did dote well on her. “Though your heart bleeds for others so easily, it is hard to know when and where your truth lies.

    Yulin dropped his sword to his side considering the girl before looking to the great lord. Silence seemed to stretch between them before the sound of the sword was sliding back into the scabbard. Whatever bargain had been reached was done without a word. “We will discuss your travels later Eryn,” Mar’luin spoke, his voice traveling further down the tunnel.

    Grimacing slightly to the young girl, Yulin made no comment to her about his displeasure. But it was clear. Only he turned to look at the man and nodded his head. It would seem his life had been spared and now would rest in a cage. “Rise,” he asked softly enough, green eyes moving to hold the gray with strength.

    Once the prince rose up, Yulin took a hold of his shackles and began to lead him further into the cave passing by that of Eryn who was curiously yet meekly watching them. “She risks all for more.” Yulin muttered namely to himself, “It will be only met with death.” The male harpy was clearly bothered by the notion of the younger female going into the city, but the choice had been made. He could not sway it another way, even if he didn’t like it.

    Clearing his throat, he lead the prince down to his new tight cell.
  20. Roman hadn't been scared, but all the same, there was a measure of relief that went through him when the blade dropped and he released a slow, easing breath, listening to the dragon with contemplative eyes. It was almost alarming how fast opinion could change in this place and for a moment, the Shifter had to wonder if it had been not greed entirely that had made his people turn against this Dragon Lord. A fickle nature could lose allegiance just surely as greed on another's part could.

    But that wasn't for him to judge just yet, nor guess at. He didn't have the facts needed to do so, didn't know enough about the situation to weigh the possibilities, but it was definitely something to keep in mind.

    And Roman knew he'd have a great deal to think about as he was worked his way to his feet and was escorted down a tunnel toward where he would now be kept. His gray eyes caught the pale-sapphire hues of the female Harpy called Eryn and Roman gave her the smallest of smiles and a dip of his head, the first kind of respect he'd shown to anyone here. Titles could pass easily from his lips, but the true nature of respect lay in actions by Roman's way of thinking.

    He followed Yulin without protest and moved into the cell without a word, looking around at the thing and immediately taking note that he bars were too narrow for his hawk form - not that he'd use it underground anyway - but his secondary small-form... The Shifter didn't let the smile in his mind show on his face, nor in his eyes and instead he sat with a sigh, shackles clanking as he pressed his back against a wall and finally brought his hands up to his head, rubbing at his temples.

    Sky almighty, that Harpy had a good arm on him. Roman's head was killing him.

    But he was alive. He was alive and he knew the plans of these new enemies - some of them at least - and he knew more information than he'd known was possible to hide. He could work with this.
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