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  1. #981
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
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    The Province of Taroc... On the coast of the Ocean of Liaradon...

    "How could anyone forget the Silent Angel," Xalidus replies with a tired smile. His eyes shine with a soft red glow, as he looks upon a friend he feels he hasn't seen in ages.

    His gaze gradually drifts away from the spirit. There's so much to piece together. He's of two minds. Minds of two gods. No, a god and now a godling. These two halves are working to assemble themselves into something better than they were before. Combine the best elements, scrap the useless. This will take time. For now there is a lot to figure out.

    Xalidus rises from the ground. It takes him a moment to get his footing. Different body, and a different universe.

    "Another universe?" Xalidus mutters as he looks around him. "Such a shame, I had just gotten the hang of the last one."

    He gazes upward, looking past the ceiling, and trying to sense what is beyond this planet.

    "Is this one of your worlds, Sil?" Xalidus half asks, half thinks aloud. "I don't sense the Matrix data network. Is there even a Matrix Quadrant here?"

    He raises a hand out to the empty air. Circuits of red light glow beneath the flesh of this raised hand. A red tinted hologram projects out from his palm. It is a globe, the world of Emporium. Soon the moons of this world are added to the projection.

    "The other me- I- He tried to destroy this Emporium. To feed on its power. I apologize. He was such a child. Unfamiliar with our ways. He didn't know the delicate balance our kind must maintain as we shepherd our universe."

    He now turns his attention fully to Sil. It's as if he's discovered her anew.

    "Are they here? In this universe? On this world?"

    One of the Qwarings recognizes Sil as part of an equation. Though she is invaluable on her own, she can only be fully expressed when she is with those that complete this equation. Her Neo, and their children. They are as much a part of her soul as anything she projects in this spectral state.

  2. #982
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Alain LeCavalier & Olivia Kuhrson

    The City of Mararat in Da'Jinn To the Far East of Rekōdo: Jinai's Fallen Palace...

    Olivia takes her black bag off of her shoulder and begins reaching inside. During the height of the Great War, Olivia's word was enough to ensure the validity of the intelligence she offered to Taroc. Now, in this new age, proof is needed before action can be taken. Olivia knew she would have to prove what she saw with another's eyes, and heard with another's ears.

    This is why she took those eyes and ears.

    Olivia pulls a small, dark leather pouch out of the bag. The pouch has been stitched shut, with the harvested eyes and ears stuffed inside. Along with the body parts there are various herbs and powders kept inside the pouch, all components of a spell.

    Olivia holds this pouch in the palm of her hand.

    "Maginus' recent assault on Capios was overseen by a group of Maginus High Priests," Olivia begins explaining. "I was able to observe these priests when Caldus arrived to meet with them."

    Olivia holds her other hand over the pouch. The inside of the pouch glows, and a moment witnessed by the eyes and ears held within the pouch is projected into the space in front of Olivia.

    Quote Originally Posted by SilntAngl5 View Post
    "I am neither a Priest or in the might of the Maginus military. I am not the chosen of Arxus... Not yet."

    Finally, Caldur gestured to Darmon's prized staff, the one carved of the most hated creature in Maginus, with eyes that matched the now most hated woman in Maginus. The emerald eyes of the ashen, lacquered staff gleamed as they looked at Richard Agravaine, as if they could peer beyond his skin and flesh and bone and into the falsehood of his Soul.

    "How can you speak of-"

    "That of which I speak if information that was shared with me by our Master."

    His crisp voice was accented in the way of Isolert. The inflections of the tongue were not as of the northern mountainous folk, or by the sea and rivers where they bordered Taroc. They denied whatever influence being by their borders had on their tongue. the Priest who'd spoken out fell silent under the harsh, directness of Caldur's voice.

    "I am the Acting Guild Master of Maginus, appointed by Darmon of Maginus himself before the eternal dark took him. This staff is the proof of my claim and is only to be in my possession until our Master makes his great return."
    The projection then fades, and Olivia tosses the pouch to Alain. The Guild Master catches it and looks to Pasce.

    "Darmon would never give up his position as Guild Master," Alain tells the princess. "Even if he was dying, he would hold onto every iota of power he could, and drag it into hell with him. This Caldus is lying."

    Olivia can't help but smile at Alain's observation. Nalia had made the same observation back on the Raven's Triumph. The necromancer nods to Alain and continues, "Possession of Darmon's staff proves that Caldur was with Darmon after his confrontation with Nalia, but before the High Priests could get to Darmon. The priests would have taken the staff to keep it safe for the next Guild Master.

    "If Darmon was alive when his priests found him, they would have used their dark rites to keep him alive. So he was clearly dead when they found him. Darmon was alive during his confrontation with Nalia and Kali, but dead when his priests found him. This means he was either killed by Nalia or Caldur."

    Olivia looks to Nalia, and gestures to her friend, as if inviting her to show off a trick to an audience. "Please, Nalia, show them the power you used to defeat Darmon during your confrontation with him. Show them why it's impossible for you to have been the one to kill him."

    It is at this point that Olivia hopes her friend has enough control and strength to demonstrate the white light for those in the chamber.

  3. #983
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Doctor Doraen, the Personal Physician of the Guild Master of Taroc

    Above Faraking Island: The Heli'Dom infirmary

    While Arion and Verona get some well earned sleep, much happens in the Heli'Dom infirmary. Neither of the sleeping pair would have been aware of it, as Doraen had adjusted the mystical flame of the healing candles so that it would promote a deeper rest. The doctor thought the two deserved some undisturbed sleep.

    Whenever either of them wakes up the tale of what happened while they slept would gradually becomes apparent. The tale is told in the state of the infirmary and the many helpful notes Doraen left for them.

    On Arion's chest lies a folded paper. The first note. On the page it reads:

    "Arion. I have mended the bones of your hands and some other breaks. You're not up to full strength yet, but you should not worry about falling to pieces. I am sorry that there is nothing I can currently do about that horn of yours. If we all survive the coming days, I will seek out a remedy. I will travel as far as needed, and dig as deep as I must. I will find a way to help you, my boy. This I swear.


    P.S. I apologize for leaving things in the infirmary in an odd state. I assure you there's good reasons for it all.

    On a table beside Arion's bed sits a bottle with a swirling, almost vaporous liquid of glowing gold. The note attached to the bottle reads:
    "Drink this potion when needed. It will help with any pain or weakness. I hope you like lemon flavored potions, because this almost tastes like one."

    Sitting beside the bottle are a trio the scribe imps that aid Alain in his studies of the heavens. While the Guild Master focuses all of his attention on the stars, these miniature monkey-like creatures use the quills on their long tails to scribble down the notes that he dictates to them. Typically these magically manifested creatures live in the main observatory, but they were brought here to help Dorae write his many notes. Currently the trio of imps are using their tails to draw stick figures onto Verona's pad of paper.

    On the opposite side of Arion is another medical bed. On this bed Verona is sound asleep. In this peaceful state she appears absolutely calm, and immune to the stress and many disasters that has consumed all of their lives for so very long. In one of her half opened hands rests a folded up piece of paper, another note.

    Several yards beyond Verona, on the far side of the chamber, are the other occupants of the infirmary. They lie on infirmary beds. Both are unconscious. Both strapped down to the beds with Maginus made agony manacles, which are only used to secure dangerous and powerful enemies.

    On one bed is the ancient woman known as Grammy Zinna. She's easy to recognize by any that has lived in Taroc for any considerable length of time. She is a legendary seer of this age. She has been a guiding force for the province for longer than any can remember. She is also said to be Doraen's grandmother.

    On the bed beside Zinna is Islene, Mistress of the Nine Hidden stars, and one of Taroc's best star gazers. She wears robes that are like those worn by the star readers of Taroc, except her clothes have the masterful tailoring of one that has great wealth and privilege.

    Both of these women appear very pale and sick or injured in some way. Zinna has several Maginus styled blood orbs hovering over her. These orbs are connected to Zinna through tubes, and the blood contained in the orbs flows into the pale, shackled woman.

    There is a note sitting on a chair near these two unconscious women. It reads:

    "Islene brought my Grammy here to me. She teleported in blind. She thought I was still in Capios. I doubt Islene would have come if she knew where I really was.

    Zinna was dying. I think she reached out with her sight, looking for a vision, and something reached back at her. I don't know how, but this something tried to transform her into paint. Her lungs, stomach, veins, and heart were full of it. Some of her organs were partially melted into paint. I sense that only her powerful will kept her from melting away entirely.

    Islene brought her to me, so I could save her.

    Zinna will live. I cleaned out as much of the paint as I could. I'm replacing her lost blood, and I replaced her damaged organs. Thankfully I always travel with a spare heart, and Islene provided the other organs.

    Islene will probably live too. While I worked on Zinna I could sense the guilt on Islene. She's not good at hiding her aura. Must be terrible at poker. I knew she had been up to no good, and being here in the Heli'Dom with you and Verona was making her act paranoid. I could tell she had done you two wrong. She also kept asking about Ryth. She's afraid of him.

    I sedated her. While I worked on doing what I needed to do to save Zinna, I interrogated Islene's slumbering mind. She and Zinna are with this Circle nonsense you all have been getting in trouble with. She told me all about their little club, and even shared a list of members.

    She also said Zinna had put a trap in Astral for LeCavalier. It's a prophesied trap. Events set up perfectly so that the moment he sets foot in Astral the trap will spring and destroy him. In my opinion, as LeCavalier's personal physician, I have concluded that this trap would be bad for his health, so I have taken it upon myself to disarm the trap. I'm going to Astral. Ryth will already be there, I've foreseen that. We'll take care of this trap.

    Don't let LeCavalier go to Astral for a day or so. Don't tell him there's a trap there. He seems to love walking into traps, which is probably why my hair went grey so soon after I became his doctor. And don't you get any ideas about coming to Astral either. You're LeCavalier's Second. To the forces of fate and prophecy that makes you close enough to him to destroy you too.

    Please don't treat Zinna too poorly. I know she's wronged us all, but she's still my grandmother.

    Ryth and I will fix this mess in Astral. You should get ready for your council meeting in Rekōdo. I had some of your better looking outfits brought in, it's all sitting by the door.

    Did I mention in one of my other notes that you have a council meeting? Sorry, in the middle of a lung transplant as I dictate this. A little distracted. Yeah, a message was sent, there's going to be a meeting. The prince will send out word when it's time.

    Good luck with the meeting. I know you'll make us all proud.

    P.S. I also got a message about Darmon being brought back as an undead, revenge-fueled monster who will begin hunting for Nalia. Not sure what that's about. LeCavalier sent word that he's going to try to handle that. I should probably get another spare heart and maybe a few other organs, just in case they're needed. Don't worry, LeCavalier will send word to us when he needs our help. Right now you should focus on going to that meeting and making sure there's not another Great War. We can't fight an undead Darmon and a whole other war at the same time.

    Attached to the note is a list of the members of the Circle.

  4. #984
    Windf'rte in The Province of Maginus... The Temple of Souls

    Sacha, The Shepherd of Souls and Nitya of Sahil, a servant to the Temple

    He was grateful to be alone. As much as he enjoyed the companionship in priesthood of Aramil of Sahil, Sacha also favored the silence after he left. It was the nature of their brotherhood in robes: Aramil talked, at length, and Sacha mostly listened. When a ribbing was deserved, Sacha opened up his typical lack of dialogue to several sentences. perhaps even a question. You never knew what you would or could get with him. Unless, that is, it came to his all-important task.

    At that thought, the man who was called the Shepherd of Souls looked down into the smoky blue water. His dangerous, observing blue eyes looked troubled. The Spirit World had been thrown into chaos since the Princess disappeared at her coronation. His job had become considerably more dangerous. Danger never bothered him, though. There was a smell coming his way. A smell of warm honey and raisins and butter. He heard the sound of the platter being set gently on the stone in its usual spot. Just near the top stair, but out of the way of his coming and going. She was silent, as servants in Maginus were honed to be, some beaten to be. She was not one of them. He forbade such practices within the sacred temple walls. Things changed after he came to the Temple of Souls.

    Still, she was silent, but not gone. He knew the difference. It used to be his job to appear to be gone when he was not.

    He inhaled and took a deep breath, but before he could step into the pool, she spoke.

    "Be careful" she whispered quietly. There was a want to say more on in her voice, but she knew better. She knew the sound of it in her voice would be enough.

    Sacha hesitated.

    "It is not my job to be careful."

    Then the Shepherd of Souls entered the sacred waters and ruptured the membrane between their world and the Realm of Spirits.
    *The Golden Goddess|The Goddess of All Motherless Secundae*
    *Dexter to the Core|Council of Guidance|Matriarch of Poetry*
    -Official #2 fan of Greg Land|#1 fan of Reesha Teramu & Nevole|#3 fan of Gareth|#4 fan of Arwyn
    1656OF56**Beeber Heads Unite!**4270

    \"You know me: everything detailed and long, blah blah blah.\" (Brath OOC)

  5. #985
    The City of Mararat in Da'Jinn To the Far East of Rekōdo: Jinai’s Fallen Palace

    Attachment 1638

    Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo, Prince Eri, his guards Ganard of House Fallandor and Merelin of House Diorna, and Nalia of Enchantry

    Nalia's eyes missed little. It was why she noticed the bag one of the Prince's guards was holding. Her eyes were on the white bag. She'd seen a bag like that before.

    The Princess almost stood abruptly, but contained herself. It was the odd, knee-jerk reaction of the Spirit of Maginus when he saw the bag Olivia took from her pouch. Arxus about leaped from her psyche when he saw the stitched shut bag. Pasce felt like a child was pressing its desperate face against her psychic window.

    ~Well what do we have here?~ he mused with a purr in his voice that was dangerously intrigued. If he could salivate, some of his own mucous might have dripped down his chin. The woman's magik looked Maginus. He'd been trapped in the Princess so long and in this awful sandy hell for so long that anything Maginus, even a woman, a traitor or spy or whatever this woman was, was a welcome sight for him. When the contents of the bag- sensory organs,
    no doubt- projected their stored contents, Arxus's face dropped. He backed away from Pasce's psychic barrier.
    Someone, one of his own Maginus, betrayed Maginus and claimed something that was not his to claim.

    ~Not chosen by me... yet? His arrogance is appalling. He must really be from Taroc.~

    An audible sigh came from Clow's general direction. Arxus looked in his direction to make a follow-up comment that would get the old ghosts' figurative blood boiling, when he saw it. He turned back to the projection slowly, mouth ajar. he was once again at the forefront of Pasce's psyche, but he did not touch it.
    He did not touch her. The emerald eyes of the ashen, lacquered staff looked at whoever had specifically stood in this man's presence. It looked through that long gone person at him. The Dragon Staff. He and Darmon had stolen that together. Arxus felt the intensity of the Staff's gaze as if it were a living, breathing ugly scaled thing that he and Darmon and so many others before had fought and survived and abhorred.

    ~He is not such thing!~ Arxus yelled so violently that it made J'Adonai jump from the midst of his reading. All the Spirits started in his direction.

    ~He is right~ Arxus admitted, still yelling. ~Clow's blighted Vessel is right.~

    Arxus swore vehemently, something he had not done in their presence since being trapped here. The entirety fo Pasce's mind seemed to come to a standstill.


    Arxus whipped around and pointed a painfully direct finger at Capria. Before he's found her in his bearings, the Forgotten had moved to shield her, just lightly, with the presence of hiss word arm. Arxus was undeterred.

    ~No... I will never, ever in the eternity of my existence in this world admit this again, so do not stop me before I regain my sense!~

    Unnecessarily, but an ancient reaction to expelling so many choice words, Arxus inhaled deeply. He looked at his fellow Spirits and turned the directness of his finger back out of Pasce's mind to the replay they'd all been shown.

    ~None of you understand. None of you know what that staff is. What is it capable of. Darmon only ever scratched the surface of its power- by our choice, I will add. We were biding our time, testing its power.~

    Clow opened his mouth and was in the middle of lifting his hands up in complaint when Arxus raised his own to stop him.

    ~Shut it, Clow.~ he snapped. His finger was still pointed behind him. It shook in aggravation.

    ~That staff~ he seethed ~is an ancient treasure. It is a prison containing a power older and more vast that any of you can ever imagine. It can end us. All of us. This world. Everything. We sit on a ticking time bomb and that- ~

    Arxus jutted his pointed finger out behind him again at where the image of Darmon's Dragon Staff had been.

    ~- is the trigger!~

    The Spirits looked at Arxus, dumbfounded.

    ~Arxus... That sounds completely made up.~

    Arxus's jaw dropped and his pointing finger drooped down lifelessly to his side. it balled into a rage-filled fist. His face reddened as if he were going to explode in such drastic fashion as his words had painted.

    ~You insolent harpie. You- ~

    It was with an odd swallowing of anger that Arxus gulped down whatever verbal daggers he'd readied to sail in Capria's direction.

    ~No? Fine. Fine, Capria. It's all made up. Let's pretend that I want to get out of this hellish prison with all of you. I do want that, remember? Well now I don't.~

    He gestured with his whole hand this time at the long-gone image behind him, as if using his whole hand would make them liken to everything he was going to say. Clow and J'Adonai raised their eyebrows for two very different reasons.

    ~I would rather spend an eternity within our pretty pretty Princess's lifeless corpse or in wherever we'll go when our Bonds and Oaths do wear away than with that man, stuck in that staff doing his bidding and feeding its power!~

    He waited for one of them to speak, but he grew tired of his wait time before either of them could get a chance to muster up words.

    ~Jinai tried to steal us all and failed. We're stuck here because of this one's bloodline, and she can only contain us for a little while before we all kill her. That staff is more powerful than this Princess with all of us in her head and if she dies and we leave her, Caldur, Son of Eirik of Isolert will snatch us all up for himself with that staff!~

    Alain, when he looked to Pasce, would see her pallor had gotten pale. Her hands on the tome had clenched into fists and the note she had kept so dearly in her lap. Eri looked to Pasce for her consent for Nalia to use her power. His eyebrows furrowed and he took a step up the stairs.

    "Highness-" he stopped when she raised her wrapped palm. They would all see a stain of blood where she has used the High Chronicler's note to cut her palm and read from the book using Maginus magik. She had been trained in all forms of magik from each province. What she did required little skill on her part. The Spirits in her head had aided her with what she needed to do. Pasce's eyes looked to Nalia. Nalia glance to Olivia, unsure. Her power had only worked if there was a need.

    Alain had said the Princess was dying. Nalia took a step forward. She held the tin box she carried tightly to her sternum and gestured cautiously with the other hand toward the Princess.

    "May I approach you, Highness?"

    Pasce nodded her consent. Nalia bowed her head lightly to Pasce and ascended the stairs. Eri watched Nalia go with careful restraint. Nalia reached the top stair and carefully placed the tin box on the marbled ground. She knelt before the Princess and held out her hand.

    "Your hand is injured. May I see it?"

    Pasce looked at Nalia's extended hand and then past her down to Alain LeCavalier. There was a tiny tug at the corner of her mouth, but her lips remained rigid in their trained neutrality. Nalia's emerald eyes looked down at the crinkled note in the Princess's other hand. Something was written there. Old runes. In blood. Her eyes flew back up to the Princess as she extended her hand and placed it palm up within Nalia's palm. Nalia's second hand came up and eclipsed the princesses so that her hand rested between both her own. Light began to glow from beneath her closed eyelashes and in the space between her palms. Nalia's breathing quickened as her light poured into the open wound of the Princess's hand. Nalia's brow furrowed and her head bowed lightly as she strove to complete the simple task set before her, but something else was there. Something different than a simply injury. Something vast and grave. Nalia inhaled suddenly, a sharp, shuddering breath as she was drawn-no, pulled- with a force greater than anything she'd ever felt into the Princess's aura. her presence of being was all Nalia could see, alls he could hear. The brightness of her radiant aura was infinitely brighter than Emporium's sun and that was surrounded by the whiteness of her healing. Nalia shielded herself, but she could not deny the need for her white light, the desperate call for her power emitted by her Soul. It drew her white light from her and into depths and crevasses, places she never herself would have known to explore or go. She felt herself being drawn so deep that the light of her presence was becoming one with her. She felt them all, for just a moment together. She, the Spirits, the Princess. There was so much power and so much need. The aura was cracked, riddled with stress fractures like a porcelain vase under internal strain. Her white power washed into those cracks to seal and salve them. To strengthen what was threatened with being broken beyond repair. Nalia felt the strain of the Princess's true need and that she did not have it in her to give. She felt herself becoming undone, lost. She felt the stitches of her own being aching with the desire to come undone at the magnitude of-

    Nalia ripped her hands from Pasce with such force that she almost fell backward down the stairs. The Prince had mounted the stairs in two strides to come to Pasce's aide, but found himself with having caught the Guild Mistress of Enchantry in his arms instead. He gripped her shoulders and her head lulled back into his chest. For just a moment, she was not with them. Her eyes opened and slowly gained sense of where she was. The Prince guided her unsteadily to her feet. Nalia bowed her head to Eri in thanks and he held her hand for as far as her shaking descent down the stairs would allow her. He looked at Pasce briefly to assess her and then back to Alain as his arm reached its limit and had to let Nalia go. The last of the stairs was met with a stumble from the usually graceful Nalia. Whether it was to Alain or Olivia that came to her, Nalia reached out a hand and came to her knees in their presence. She just wanted to be away from her, from the Princess, so she could steady herself and find herself. She felt as if she'd just washed ashore from being shipwrecked in the Emerald Sea.

    Eri went the rest of the very short distance up the stairs to Pasce and touched her hand gently. Pasce's pale face held much color and she gripped her brother's hand breathlessly, as if she'd just gone running.

    "I'm alright" she whispered breathlessly to him. Pasce closed her eyes a moment and then looked down the stairs to the shaken state of Nalia al'Vatar.

    "Forgive me, highness" she offered, shaken. "I was already exhausted form my flight in self exile."

    The Princess regarded Nalia a moment. The woman's sacrifice had bought her something of which there was never enough: time. Even if only a fraction more.

    "I was unaware you had talents in the White Power, Lady Nalia" she managed with a strong, stable voice. She breathed deeply, as if drinking in gulps of the healing power she'd been given.

    "Forgive my interference, Majesty" One of the Prince's personal guard, a woman no older than he with a long, rich braid of brown hair and large brown eyes, spoke and stepped forward. Alain would know it, but it would become more noticeable now that she stepped out from Ganard's shadow. The outside of her hood was of the Prince's royal blue, but the inner lining of her hood was of white and the triad-ringed brooch of the White Towers of Dayena held it clasped at her shoulder. Merelin looked at the Princess who nodded her head.

    "Highness, I trained in the White Towers. The White Light of Healing cannot be used to kill. It goes against its nature. Any who have a talent for Healing and take a life lose their ability to channel that power forever."

    Merelin looked down to Nalia now. She watched the woman's eyes close, her labored breathing, how drained she was.

    "By the Teachings of the White Towers, Nalia al'Vatar could not possibly have claimed the life of the Guild Master of Maginus. She could not have taken a life."

    The last part was left hanging in the air as the Protector of the Prince looked with something of an apology upon the Guild Mistress of Enchantry. Within the Princess's head, Clow smiled. Arxus's mouth hung open. he swore audibly again with such an oath that those not smiling by the news collectively looked at him.

    Merelin's eyes looked to whomever assisted Nalia.

    "She will need to rest" Merelin of Diorna said. "The Lady Nalia is a Wildling and she is lucky to be alive after her display of power in Arx. She will need to undergo proper training in the Towers in order to control her power. When she is able, I will draw her papers of recommendation for training myself as a witness of her power."

    ~Well, Capria~ Arxus crooned smoothly at her. ~it looks like you're out of luck. She belongs with Dayena after all.~

    "This still leaves us with the problem of Caldur Eirikson-" said the Princess from her throne. She had set the ancient tome aside and sat on the edge of her chair. her eyes moved directly to Alain LeCavalier with emphasis. "- and the Staff he wields."
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 10-06-2017 at 11:55 PM.

  6. #986
    The Province of Taroc, On the coast of the Ocean of Liaradon: A Hidden Prison

    Attachment 1938

    A Spirit, Silvyan al'Vatar

    His smile is graciously returned with one of his own. There is relief within her gentle hazel eyes. When he rises, so does she. The corporeal misty light shifts around her, fracturing and redirecting the angles at which her light shone brightest. Oddly, or perhaps not, none would ever shine so that it irritated or bothered him. It was always around her, shining just so, a hint of it at just the right angle. When he spoke of a last Universe, she looked up at him and something in her face changed.

    ~The last was riddled with darkness. It is best not to dwell on what is past.~

    He asked her if this was one of her creations. She hesitated, as if unsure. Or unsure of how to answer. She still did not entirely seem herself. There were lines of age at the corners of her mouth, hints of age-lines near her mouth. Reminders of where she was in life on this world before her energy was released from life. She looked older than he. Silvyan looked distant a moment, as if trying to recall something far off and out of reach.

    ~It is~ she said finally. ~It was meant to be a haven. Another chance. If there is a Matrix Quadrant...~

    If there was. Slowly, the Angelic Spirit shook her head.

    ~No. There is no place like that here. Everything is different this time.~

    Her hazel eyes caught the red glow of his projection. For a moment, her eyes were a mixture of light and dark-colored light. She looked solemnly upon the projection he made, something she knew without scrutiny to be a perfect replication of what was made. When he spoke of trying to destroy this world, she looked up from the projection to him.

    ~He is forgiven. He is always forgiven.~

    She offered him a small smile, a memory of something he knew so well. It faded at his last question. She looked away from him, finally. Turned away.

    ~Yes and no.~ She took a moment. She needed a moment. ~My youngest is here on Emporium. The others... They are gone from me.~

    He would know the outcome of her equation. It seemed to be one that continually haunted her no matter how many variables or changes she made with each attempt to fashion a place, a world, a universe where such would not be. It was the tragedy that drove her. Every new Creation used a spark of the essence of them she knew, the remainder of what she had of them. Every new creation saw her humbled, brought low as a mortal, that she might have a chance, one chance to have an eternity with the one who completed her equation. That their life might not be tragedy. That her youngest might know something other than darkness.

    ~This is not the ending I seek, but it is better than the last.~

    Another reference to the Universe before this. She seemed to be working through something as she turned to him and said that. The light shifted all around her in, mimicking what she felt.

    ~You are here- ~ she struggled for the right words. ~- That changes things.~

    There was a hint of hope in her voice, but it was almost lost among whatever heartache was the result of the subtraction of elements from her equation.

    ~Why did you try to destroy Emporium? Who trapped you here? How? You said there was a barrier around... around Elysia?~

  7. #987
    The Guild of Enchantry: The Island of Capios, The White Palace

    Fateema of Ordh'u, Merriam of Clow

    Dyani of the Border Forests, Laelis of Lymes

    Evalynn Agravaine of Maginus, Shalla of Tuah and the Dire Wolves of the Ailes

    "It is not selfish. It is natural."

    The eye-rolling dripped from Dyani's voice. It was one of her many qualms with their current situation. One that put her in the pro-Nalia corner. She, and many of the Shamaa of Tuah and of the Forests, those who felt inclined to the old ways and old magik, felt the magikal laws that forbade a Guild Master from committing themselves to another romantically was like asking someone to use only one arm for the entirety of their life. Love was what caused Liar'Adon to make the stars and the heavens, the world as they knew it for Deanna, his Favored, his Chosen. If they denied a single person, by law, of this very fundamental part of their world, they were asking them to limit themselves to what they could do without that part of themselves. So thought the more traditional Shamaa. Their own Master, though, had not taken a mate since before he was chosen as Vessel by Siochana. He remained true to her and to Shamaa to prove that restraint was possible.

    But there were laws in place with the idea to protect Rekōdo. Nalia and the Master of Taroc broke those laws knowing there were dire consequences for it. They put everyone under their charge in danger. All of Taroc. All of Enchantry. Quieting was the punishment, though none had ever dared to attempt anything like this, and there was no history of any Guild Master being foolish enough to get themselves Quieted over it. Still- and Dyani was conflicted on this- what they had done was what Liar'Adon was assumed to have done with his heart after he made the stars for her. Creation was made after them. The prince and princess were of their lineage, a result of their procreation, so it was said. Why was this denied?

    "So it is love, Kali? Not a fling?"

    There was an odd tone to Laelis's voice. Whimsical, almost daydreaming.

    "How long has this affair been going on?"

    Merriam's tone was a stark contrast to her Sister's. Darker. Resentful. She was not sure which would be worse: a bastard child born of a mistake, a fling, or one born of a long-held, forbidden relationship. Somewhere, outside, Dyani rolled her eyes and made a noise of annoyance. She leaned her head back and closed her eyes, trying to find some sort of quiet with the cacophony of opinions in her head.

    ~I do not think that matters at the moment, Sister.~ Evalynn's young features looked sternly, but with a hint of pity to Merriam, who- with every right- should be taking this harder than any of them.
    ~Let that be a question we ask Nalia when she returns here again.~

    "Will she?"

    The sharpness of Shalla's tone caused Evalynn to wince. She said nothing. Shalla looked at Kali, but the tilt of her head was slightly down, as if the sight of Kali hurt her cloth-covered vision. Her lips pursed, but she nodded her head once in agreement with Kali.

    "We are not men" Fateema said patiently "But the provinces outside the result of Nalia and Alain's Union will not feel so passively about this law as we do. Maginus is already on edge. This will set them over."

    "Astral will have one more thing to hold against Nalia- even if she was not the one to slay her family and the Golden Healer."

    Merriam and Fateema were both silent. Their guilds were involved in other things that put them in danger. Word had not yet reached Enchantry of the Princess's return, the Prince's impending arrival in Rekōdo City, and the ultimatum for Da'Jinn and it's new Regent under its occupation.

    "It did not used to be for women only, this place."

    Merriam's voice was quiet as it often was when she reflected history.

    "We will never abandon Enchantry" Fateema said quietly. She moved her shape, almond-shaped eyes to Merriam. "This is our home. What we think Nalia and the Master of Taroc can be left to our own individuality. We are all different, were birthed from different provinces and will have differing opinions on the matter."

    Merriam's brown eyes were hard as she locked eyes with Fateema.

    "We will not abandon Enchantry."

    Fateema repeated her words with conviction. Evalynn stepped forward and then so did Shalla. Evalynn's arm looped around Shalla's. Shalla regarded her, with the same downward-looking observation. Something silent and private was exchanged between them. Laelis stepped forward with her chin lifted in the haughty, proud way of Astral. Fateema kept Merriam's eyes captive with her own. Merriam finally nodded. Her fists were clenched at her sides.

    There was just one voice missing. Something rose up from the courtyard. A howling of many Wolves.

    They would not see it, but Dyani had stood on the courtyard wall where she sat. She stood up and stared upward into the sky.

    "Dragon. Return to Kali" Dyani said over her shoulder. She would not take her eyes from the sky. The howling of the Wolves grew louder and echoed across the island. "Tell her something comes."

  8. #988
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
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    Alain LeCavalier & Olivia Kuhrson

    The City of Mararat in Da'Jinn To the Far East of Rekōdo: Jinai's Fallen Palace...

    It is Alain that is by Nalia's side. Half a second after Eri reached her. The Guild Master offers his love any amount of support that she might need. His features show hints of the worry he feels for Nalia. She's exhausted. She's without her magic and carrying their child, the strain of either is enough to make Alain worry about her.

    Alain guides Nalia to an overly cushioned chair. He aids Nalia in sitting down on it.

    Olivia takes another step forward. She is over two yards away from the prince and princess now. The undead woman never thought she would ever stand this close to royalty. There's a sense of accomplishment in being here. Accomplishment that feeds her duty to Taroc and Rekōdo.

    "That staff?" Olivia ponders. She rolls the notion of that staff around in her mind. The staff seems to have become a symbol of the role of Guild Master of Maginus. Olivia can't recall it in Maginus history. As far as she can remember only Darmon has carried that staff. Yet, it is being given such value.

    When she met Caldur, Olivia didn't give much thought to the staff. She knew it was Darmon's and trusted in the value Caldur and the priests gave to it. Honestly, Olivia was far more concerned with fulfilling her mission without invoking the wrath of the dark priests. Now, however, she doesn't know what to make of it.

    Darmon carried a dragon staff? Isn't that like LeCavalier having a staff with Darmon's head carved on it?

    "What is that staff?" Olivia asks as she looks at Pasce, though she isn't asking the princess. Pasce houses the ancestral spirits. Olivia is asking the one spirit that would know. "It's not Maginus. Not old Maginus, anyway. There are no traditions for it."

    Olivia tries to run a mental inventory of the weapons and relics that Darmon has used.

    Across the room, Alain falls silent as he also runs through the same information. This is how it was in the War. Alain or one of his elite squad began a thought and the others would complete it. In many ways they were as one. Even now, such moments can still shine through the decades that separates them from the conflicts that brought them together.

    Eventually, anger overtakes Alain's features. He turns to look to Pasce.

    "What did Darmon steal from the dragons?" Alain demands of Arxus.

    Olivia turns to look at LeCavalier. Her expression suddenly matches his own as she works her way to the same conclusion he has. Nalia had told Olivia that Darmon had stolen something from the Dragons, which is why they took the Book of Memories.

    If this staff is equal to the book, then it might be mighty enough to be seen as a symbol of the Guild Master's authority and power. It also makes Caldur dangerous.

  9. #989
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
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    Gustella, Eliona & Commander Filip Ryth

    The Province of Astral, Dayena City, The Nomisma Tavern...

    Ryth impacts Gustella. They tumble and roll, knocking over several tables and chairs. The man draws his storm pistol and rolls onto his feet. He gives one concerned glance to Gustella, who is only begining to cough and gasp after the man knocked the wind out of her. For the moment she's safe enough.

    Ryth immediately assesses the beast closest to himself, the one that leaped in through the window. This cat-like monster is trembling. Parts of it are blurred, as if being seen through waves of intense heat. The monster also makes a sound very much like gravel rolling around inside of a tin bucket.

    "What's happening to it?" Gustella gasps and weezes.

    "It's hurt, these things don't see glass, it didn't know going for you was going to get it cut," Ryth reports as he seeks out Eliona. He sees her on the floor backing away from a second creature that's stalking towards her from the smashed open kitchen door.

    Ryth raises his pistol and aims at the beast moving towards Eliona. He pulls back the weapon's hammer, and squeezes the trigger. A bolt of steaming blue bursts forth from the gun. This bright bolt strikes the cat-like monster in its side. The bolt busts and half of the beast is covered in a thick layer of jagged ice. An instant later the beast is gone from reality, as if it had never been.

    "Oh, Liar'Adaon!" Gustella cries out as she pulls on Ryth's coat and pushes the man onto the floor. Ryth growls at her a moment before the injured beast, the one that had leaped in through the window, leaps past her. The beast moves through where Ryth had been before the girl shoved him out of the way. As the monster leaps by her, Gustella is pulled along in its wake. Unseen forces have tethered Gustella to the monster. Her mouth opens in panic and terror, but she makes no sound. The cat-like beast leaps and hops around the inside of the tavern. It has learned there is something about this place that it can't see, but which can hurt it, and so it is uncertain how to escape with its captured prey.

    Ryth aims his pistol, trying to line up a shot. Unfortunately, he knows that any elemental attack on the monster might hit the girl. She could lose a limb or even her life to a freezing attack. He tries to weigh which fate is worse, hurt or killed by friendly fire, or being devoured by this beast. Ryth pulls back on the hammer of the weapon, and-

    Six silver coins zip through the air and fly through the crystal head of the beast. The sphere-shaped head shatters into a cloud of fluid that immediately fades into nothing. The body of the beast convulses and collapses onto the floor. Gustella is released by the unseen forces that held her. She falls down and rolls away from the dead monster. She is once again heard as she pants fearful breaths and tries to crawl away from the slain monstrosity. The headless beast trembles for a few seconds before its body begins to bubble and evaporate.

    The six coins that had slain the beast fly back towards the kitchen door, where they land onto the waiting hand of Maurice. The tavern owner limps in from the kitchen. Maurice had discovered the beast that had devoured his waitress. The creature tried to devour him, but Maurice used his mystical link with coins to turn his days tips into deadly projectiles. Now, he holds a hand against his right side, as blood stains that side of his torn tunic. The beast had wounded Maurice before he had chased it out of the kitchen.

    Maurice gives a nod and a smile to Ryth. He fought alongside a genuine hero of the Great War. This will be a story he would tell to customers for decades to come.

    Maurice then collapses face down onto the floor.

    Ryth rushes towards the fallen bar tender and checks on him. The soldier finds no hint of a pulse. Desperate to save this man, Ryth looks to the two women of Astral. Eliona had moved over to where Gustella kneels. Gustella is still trembling and recovering from being captured by one of the beasts. Eliona is talking softly to her sister, and checking to make sure the younger woman is unhurt.

    Gustella notices Ryth kneeling beside Maurice. She rushes over to the two men, pulling Eliona along by the hand.

    "Eliona, you have to heal him," Gustella pleads to her sister.

    Eliona stares down at the bloodied man. There's a fear in her eyes. A fear that Gustella hasn't seen since their father died.

    "I can't," Eliona whispers.

    Gustella is about to angrily demand that Eliona do something for this poor man, but Ryth mutters to her,
    "Don't bother. He's gone."

    Ryth rises from Maurice's body. He pulls a table cloth off of an overturned table, and drapes it over the corpse. Ryth had known Maurice's parents. Back during the War, Maurice's mother was a Taroc soldier, his father was an Astral refugee. The mother passed on a few years back. The father is an agent for Gladiators. Ryth will need to tell the man what happened to his son. Maurice died a hero. Ryth doesn't know if that's a comfort to the people of Astral, but Ryth will do it all the same. He owes this bar tender that much.

  10. #990
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Gustella, Eliona & Commander Filip Ryth

    The Province of Astral, Dayena City, The Nomisma Tavern...

    "You're the High Guardian of the Guild Master of Taroc, aren't you?" Gustella asks, finally recognizing Ryth. Seeing him slumped over a bar did not jog her memory, but seeing him now with a gun in his hand reminds her of the images she has seen of the War heroes of Taroc.

    Ryth looks over the two women. He instantly classifies them as civilians. He can hear the sound of battle and death in the city outside. There's fighting that needs to be done. Monsters to slay. He can't allow these two civilians to slow him down.

    "Go home," Ryth orders the two civilians, as he opens the chamber of his storm pistol and begins reloading the weapon. "Lock your doors and windows, and stay put."

    "Yes, wonderful suggestion," Eliona agrees with him, while taking hold of Gustella's arm. She tries to lead her sister out of here, but Gustella doesn't budge.

    "I think the Grimals followed me," Gustella confesses to the soldier.

    Ryth's full attention locks onto her.
    "What did you say?"

    "They killed my friends in Rekōdo, and now they're here," she continues.

    "That's nonsense," Eliona admonishes her sister's suggestion. "We need to go home and- "

    "Shut up," Ryth growls at Eliona, before returning his attention to Gustella. "You said Grimal, why? Where did you hear that name?"

    "That's what these things are called, right?" Gustella mutters. "An old Taroc woman told me about them. She saved my life."

    "These aren't Grimal," Ryth says as he holsters his pistol. "These things don't have a name. Grimal is the name of the only mystic that knew how to summon these beasts."

    "Wonderful, 'Stella we need to go," Eliona insists.

    "Is Grimal the one that's summoning them now?" Gustella asks Ryth. She's both ignoring her sister and trying to piece together what's happening.

    "Impossible, he's dead," Ryth shakes his head.

    "Are you sure?" Gustella asks.

    "Yeah, I would know. I'm the one that broke his neck."

    Both sisters look at Ryth.

    "It was back in the War," he begins, as he suddenly realizes that these women probably aren't used to others casually talking about killing others. "Grimal discovered these monsters, and figured out a way to summon them. He started using them to attack Maginus bases. That was fine for a while, but then he started using his monsters to attack towns Maginus occupied. He was killing Taroc people. LeCavalier couldn't have that so he sent me and a squad to put a stop to it. We put a stop to it."

    Gustella falls silent as she tries to fathom why the old woman had lied to her. Who could possibly be summoning these beasts? Why use them to attack Rekōdo and Dayena?

    "This is a Taroc problem," Eliona snaps at Ryth. "If you're such a big shot soldier, call more of your soldiers. Clean up your mess. Get your monsters out of my city!"

    "Listen you, %(^@#!" Ryth snarls right back at her. He storms up to Eliona, glaring down at her. He's a freight train of rage barreling down upon her, but the woman stands her ground. She doesn't move. She simply locks eyes with this wrathful being, as he yells at her. "This is someone getting even with Astral! You murder our people and #*(%ing expect to get away with it?! Do you really think all of us are as concerned with justice as LeCavalier? Not all of us are, lady. Some of us want good old fashion revenge."

    "This isn't revenge, it's the murder of innocent civilians that played no part in the deaths of your people," Eliona calmly replies.

    Ryth's glare softens a bit as he looks into Eliona's eyes. He sees an unmovable calm there. Control. Ryth has bullied and intimidated the mightiest warriors of every province, to defy his wrath takes a will and a courage that Ryth would have never guessed that this woman could possess. He's not sure if he hates her or is starting to like her.

    "Maybe you should call in reinforcements," Gustella suggests, in an effort to break up this silent staring contest that has overtaken Ryth and Eliona. "People are dying out there."

    Ryth turns and looks at the younger sister.

    "We can't call for help," Ryth explains. "The beasts, Grimals I guess we could call them, when they enter our reality they punch holes in the magical field. These holes jam up most communication, portals, and teleportation's. That's why your magic mirror wasn't working."

    "If they're all over the city, no one can call for help," Gustella deduces with some fear in her tone.

    "Yeah, no one outside of the city knows about what's happening," Ryth replies. "My guess is that it will be a few hours before news spreads. Hours more before help can get organized and sent in."

    "These monsters will have the whole day to kill?" Eliona whispers. She can't imagine the damage these fiends will be able to do in that time.

    "Nah, I'll rally the troops and fight them," Ryth offers. His tone isn't as confident as he would like it to be. "I'll save everyone I can."

    "Or we could go to the Taroc embassy," Gustella suggests. Eliona flashes her sister a look of desperation to abandon this idea. Eliona opens her mouth to protest her sister getting involved with Ryth's battle, but Gustella holds up a hand to silence her.

    "The embassy? Listen, kid, I don't- " Ryth begins to shoot down the nonsensical suggestion, but Gustella raises her other hand to silence him.

    "The mystics stationed there might be able to give us more information on what's going on, and who summoned the Grimal," Gustella tells him. "If we find out who brought them here, we might be able to figure out how to send them away."

    Ryth stares at the girl. He's dumbfounded. That's actually a brilliant plan. Ryth was just going to go out into the city and kill anything that had a crystal ball for a head, but killing the bastard that's behind all of this would end this disaster all the sooner.

    He looks to Eliona, who appears just as surprised at the idea as he is. Eliona can see the value in her sisters idea. She's not sure when, but at some point Gustella has grown up to be a very clever woman. An icy touch of sadness reaches her core as Eliona realizes how much of her sister's life she has missed since she's given herself over to a life of drink and mindless pleasures.

    "Sure, let's go to the embassy," Ryth tells the women.

    "'Let's'?" Eliona asks. "As it 'let us'? All three of 'us'?"

    "Yeah," Ryth replies. "Somehow you're both tangled up in this mess. These monsters were in Rekōdo when she was there, now they're here. I don't think that's a coincidence."

    "No," Eliona fearfully mutters. "She can't go with you."

    "Relax, I'll do everything I can to protect the both of you," Ryth tries to sound confident. He reaches into his coat and recovers a hatchet he somehow had stashed away in the garment. The weapon is made entirely out of pristine steel, gleaming under the tavern lights. He offers the weapon to Gustella, who eagerly takes the hatchet from Ryth. The old soldier concentrates on the weapon for a moment, and the blade of the hatchet glows a soft bluish-white. Steam rises from the weapon and Gustella can feel a chill emanating from the blade. "If I can't protect you, use this on the beasts. That hatchet has an elemental charge. I made it so it will emit cold. These Grimal things don't like the cold."

    "What is wrong with you?" Eliona exclaims. "What kind of person walks around with an axe in their coat?!"

    "Relax, it's a hatchet, not an axe," Ryth corrects her. Eliona glares back at this brutish man.

    Ryth leads the way out of the front door. Gustella follows after him, taking her sisters hand and pulling the reluctant Eliona along with her. They emerge out into the cold rain. There's the sound of genuine thunder, and the firing of Taroc storm rifles. The weapons fire sounds distant, as if the fighting has moved on to some other parts of the city. Ryth draws his pistol and scans the immediate area. Once he is certain the street is clear of enemies he leads the way towards the Taroc embassy.

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