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  1. #91

    Eleri, Amani & Boy

    NoTown, in the South-East of the Province of Astral

    After an extremely silent afternoon, Eleri was sitting at the table feeding her youngest kid, when she saw Amani take the trail with food to the basement as he did every single night. It was dinner time. She looked as the door closed behind him. In a way she wanted her son to make eye contact with her, but that never happened. He was still angry at her and that wasn’t about to change anytime soon.

    Eleri put the spoon into the soup and then back into her youngest child’s mouth. The kid shook his head and the liquid fell all over his clothes. There was little Eleri could have done to prevent the mess. There were no napkins around, no water, not even a piece of fabric to pretend there was some kind of hygiene going on. She took a deep breath as she realized they were sinking to the point of no return.

    “Boy, you need to be careful”, she said pretending to be the calm and patient mother she never was.

    The kid gurgled in response without a care in the world. He just stared at his winged dog that was having fun with a piece of wood.

    “Just finish the soup and I will let you have fun with your dog.”

    Eleri was trying her best to make the kid have his meal, but either the food tasted as bad as it looked or the child just wasn’t hungry at all.

    “Boy, seriously, there’s not much left of me. Just be a dear and eat this. I’m so tired and you’re just so exhausting--”

    Not that the kid would understand. He never did. And that was his blessing.

    Eleri sank the spoon in the soup once again and then moved it closer to the child. She was about to try again when she laid her eyes on the door leading to the basement. How long had it been since Amani told her that he wanted to take care of his grandmother? He never complained, never said it was tiring, or that he wanted to do something else. Every day, Amani went to the basement, three times a day, fed his grandmother, cleaned her up and returned as if it was a task so simple that it didn’t need to be mentioned. And if he ever said a thing, it was because he was worried about her.

    In a way, Eleri wondered why Amani loved Sadira so much. And as much as she didn’t want to, it upset her.

    Amani came out of the dark door and closed it behind his back. His eyes finally met his mother’s, but they didn’t speak of love, just the opposite.

    Eleri knew all too well she had to tell him all the truths she kept on hiding. Tell him about the curse, about Nalia and why they left Maginus. There was so much to face and she didn’t seem to find the right time to face him like the adult he was becoming. It was so much easier to see him as a child that was never going to grow up--

    Realizing that Eleri’s spoon was frozen in mid-air, Amani stood still as well staring at her, not even blinking. He wasn’t dumb, he knew she had something to say. But then again, this was not the time, and she moved the spoon forward just for Boy to throw it away.

    Eleri looked at the spoon on the floor and not even the thought of picking it up passed her mind. If her life depended on kneeling and getting that spoon, she would be already dead--

    Amani moved closer to them, picked the spoon from the floor and put it on the table. Then walked away. He had nothing to say. And apparently, neither did his mother.

  2. #92
    The Guild of Enchantry: Below the White Palace, the Entrance to the Caverns

    Evalynn Agravaine of Maginus, Shalla of Tuah and Laelis of Lymes

    They ran. Laelis lead them with their light. They all carried their own light as they tore through the city. Shalla kept a hand in Evalynn's, but all around her she could see it, a dark tide, an absence of light and hope. It surrounded Capios. It smothered it. They were all going to be lost soon. She'd lost track of the stars behind the clouds, the moon in the west. There was only darkness. Evalynn's aura shone a brilliant violet and white before her and beyond her, Laelis channeled her light and so her aura was the purest white. The dragon-fellow was an enigma of color and dark, a shadow one moment and a burst or molten color the second. There were blurs of colors as they ran. Other people running, hiding, fighting. Snowflakes of light moved around the city. Laelis's light seeds. Tiny starlights of hope with healing and a message in case they had not heard. When they touched Nightmares, they would explode and ruin them. If they touched the infected, they would be healed and any of Capios who touched the white seedings would see an image they would all know: The Caverns.

    Nalia had trained them well for this. Each had their own skills to be put to use, so long as they did not let their fear override them. They had trained for this as the worst possible scenario. Worse than Darmon attacking. He could be stopped. These dark creatures... It was about stalling and survival.

    So long as there was light, there was hope.

    Shalla did not need to see to know where they were going. She knew this city. She could feel Evalynn. So long as she had her Sister, she would be fine.

    There were hints in the shadows, of dark ichors waiting to infect. The eerie feeling of being watched with a promise of torturous death. They could feel them on the edge of their consciousness. They sought to promote fear. As they ran, Shalla strung arrows from her enchanted quiver. Flames of dreamlight flickered along its shaft as she strung the arrows and let them fly. Howls and screams rose up from the dark shapes that grew from the Nightmare ichor. They wound up a path of stone that bled into the woods and became crumbled and lost to overgrowth and time. Nalia had wanted this left this way, to hide the safe passage from the Ailes from the outside world. The forests in the valleys below the White Palace grew thick and dense, so dense it was said that one could jump from the palace and land safely on the canopy treetops. The light of the city faded and it was only their light that carried their vision forward. Then the stone returned, cobbles and bits appearing in the ground, and then a lightly assembled path. At last, the stairs that lead up to pillars and scrollwork doors carved right into the cliffside. There were four sisters on guard there. They saw Laelis and saluted Enchantry's Head Healer. Out of breath, Laelis saluted back. The massive doors were already opened under Fateema's order.

    "Light the way. Prepare for arrivals" she said. The Guardians, clothed in enchanted emerald and gold armor, saluted once more and departed. As they disappeared into the forest, the trees along the path Laelis, Shalla, Evalynn and Vucan had come began to glow. Trees on either side became illumined with beautiful crystalline light. Whoever made it to the forest would have a light-protected path to the Caverns and to safety.

    Even at their distance from the city proper, there were sounds of the earth bursting forth as Laelis' and the other light seedlings rooted in the earth and exploded upward. There were eerily refreshing pockets of white brightness among the dim inside of the dome. The sound of Nightmares screeching out of existence began to rise up all around Enchantry.

    For a moment, there was a pinch more hope than darkness.

    But then the entirety of the island trembled. Evalynn's hand clamped down on Shalla's and all three Sisters steadied themselves by widening their stance. There was a deathly silence before a sound of cracking high overhead. As if the sky itself were breaking apart, the sound reverberated throughout the island. Then came a great sound and tremors as the pieces of the dome that kept the dark at bay began to impact the city. The light crackling of the massive shards made their hair raise on end and the sound of buildings being destroyed and women screaming filled the air. The three women looked upward in horror. All around them, their world was falling apart.

    "Laelis"Shalla called distantly. She stared out and upward, past the trees.

    Laelia and Evalynn looked to the blind sister with wide, fearful eyes. Shalla breathed deeply as if whatever she could see beyond the trees haunted her unnatural sight.

    "They're coming."

    Laelis looked from the trees to Shalla, then to Evalynn.

    "Evalynn" she said and then looked at her. "Take Shalla within to the waters. They do not like Maginus magik, I am afraid. Shalla is of Tuah. They will know her."

    Evalynn's brow furrowed.

    ~Where are you going, Laelis?~

    "Vucan and I will gather the others and lead them to you."

    Evalynn opened her mouth to protest, though such an action was not needed, but Laelis stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Evalynn. Shalla did not seem to notice how the impact of it jarred Evalynn, who still held her hand. Her eyes were upward.

    "Go" she said in a voice that threatened to reveal her fear. "We need to get as many people out of here as we can. Remember what Nalia said."

    Laelis stepped back and nodded to Vucan. Then she and the humanoid dragon would disappear into the woods. As they ran, Laelis glanced at the dragon-featured man.

    "They will come for me because I bear the light. I will be among the first of my Sisters to die."

    Nalia had discussed this with her and all the light bearers individually.

    "I need you to help me guide the others to the Caverns. As soon as I fall, return to the entrance and make sure Shalla, Evalynn and all those inside stay safe."


    The Guild of Enchantry: The Island of Capios, The White Palace

    Fateema of Ordh'u, Merriam of Clow

    "What happened?" Fateema's voice was raised well beyond her normal volume in surprise and horror as she gripped the battle table with the city laid out before them. Merriam's projection flipped to show the dome. Warning areas flashed red.

    "The dome is collapsing!" Merriam struggled to maintain the map as her eyes glanced outside. the world rained green energy and shards of fused, crackling dome. "Fateema! The City!"

    Shards fell down into the heart of the city. Scrollwork lines of emerald moved from Fateema's throat to her mouth.

    "Sisters! Destroy the shards! Break them! Reduce the damage to the City!"

    Fateema left the rotunda and went to a balcony. Whether or not this stood within Vucan's protective dome she did not know. She did not care. The cold wind and snow that fell without the dome to shield them tugged at her shawl. The scrollwork lines withdrew into the cut of emerald at her throat. Fateema lifted both her hands and closed her eyes. There was a rumble down by the sea and in the hills as earthen and water Jinn rose to massive, towering heights with a deafening roar. They moved slowly for they were giants, but when they swung their massive limbs, they shattered the falling pieces of the dome. Some were deflected out to sea where they sank as far as the shallows or depths would allow. Fateema strained and gritted her teeth as she struggled to channel the massive summons. Then Merriam's hands were upon her shoulders. The older Taroc woman closed her eyes and fed power into Fateema. Raw, untapped energy. Fateema's Summoned elementals surged to life and continued to deflect and shatter pieces of the dome as they fell.


    The Island of Capios: In the Heart of the City, by the White Pillars

    Dyani of the Border Forests The Dire Wolves of the Ailes

    Above them, the dome cracked, liquified and fell. Behind the catastrophic damage there was only darkness.

    "No!" Dyani screamed and thrust her hand upward. Blue light erupted from her hand as her Animal Spirit burst forth. It swept with a cry upward and around them. Blue light trailed behimd it as it wove a protective, Spiritual dome over the first pillar. All around, Animal Spirits bound and wove domes to protect the pillars and the groups of Sister's around them. They were kindred of Old Magik, especially those sent forth by the Sisters that hailed from Tuah, Ardhin and the forests of Shamaa. When the Spiritual domes and the fragments from above collided, the damaged magik shattered into thousands of falling bits of white starlight. Pieces out of reach continued to collide with the city, small fragments that were all but impossible to catch. Smoke rose up from the city. Fire and destruction.

    There is a moment of hesitation as the dome crumbled and completely collapsed. A dust rose and was swept away on the cold ocean air. Snow fell.

    All around the city, the Dire Wolves began to howl. Their cries echoed in a way that made the earth tremble. They called to something, for someone or something that none of them could know or understand.

    There was a baited moment when the land and the dark above waited. Then, in silence that erupted into a great discord of desire, lust, greed, hunger and death, the Nightmares came down upon the city of Capios and all within.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 11-24-2017 at 05:22 AM.
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  4. #93
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Alain LeCavalier

    One time, during the Great War, Alain and Lydmila found themselves caught in a trap. They stumbled over a few miles of cursed land. The dirt kept pushed up shapeless, shambling beasts to slay them. The two had to take refuge on the top of a ruined windmill. There they stayed for several days, waiting for reinforcements to arrive so a mystic could dispel this trap.

    Days spent crouching on the roof of the skeleton of a windmill. They were back to back the entire time. Each aiming their sniper rifles out over the miles of dead, cursed fields. They had turned their coats backwards and buttoned them together, so they could share their body heat on those cold winter days. Every time the cursed land would vomit up a beast, one of the pair would take aim and end the monster with an elemental bullet. Every hour or so would birth a beast or two. Every time Alain or Lydmila would divine the beasts appearance and one of them would slay it.

    To pass the time Lydmila would sing every hymn she knew. Alain told every dirty joke Harbin ever uttered. The old man seemed to know every dirty joke. Despite her better sense, Lydmila was unable to restrain herself from laughing at a few. Occasionally, Clow chimes in and tells them both some story of ancient Taroc.

    On one of the nights while they waited for a monster's birth, between hymns and jokes, Lydmila said,
    "You need to do something about that fear. The fear of death."

    "I'm not afraid," Alain lied. They both knew he was lying. They both knew they knew. The two had been telepathically connected for so long, in order to allow them to pool their divinations and coordinate their actions. Caught in his lie, Alain asked, "How are you always so calm?"

    "I don't fear death, because I've seen it," Lydmila states. She then senses movement and so she whispers, "Ten o'clock."

    Alain aims in the direction Lydmila indicates, sees a beast rising from the soil, and he fires his rifle. The beast is obliterated by a burst of elemental lava. Alain then asks, "You've seen your own death?"

    "Yes," Lydmila tries to answer simply, but she can sense more questions bubbling up from the man. She knows exactly what everyone always asks. "I'm surrounded by those I love. I've lived longer than I should. And I'm helping you in some way. I die... then you die soon after."

    "Does that mean I live longer than I should too?"


    "And so you're not afraid?"


    "Considering I only have three bullets left, we're probably going to die here. No matter what visions you've seen."

    "Hmmn, I ran out of bullets three hours ago."

    Alain laughs. It's an honest laugh. He's not worried. Not afraid. Very soon the beasts will emerge from the soil and swarm upon them, and they will both likely die. However, Lydmila is certain they won't. Somehow this cures Alain of any fear he may have had. True, her vision might just be one possible future, and is not an unchanging destiny, but her certainty gives Alain hope. Hope makes him fearless.

    "Did I ever tell you the one about the temple priestess, the baker, Astral showgirl, and the dragon?" Alain asks with a grin.

    Lydmila chuckles, as she mutters the punch line he told her yesterday, "That's no tail."

    Despite herself, Lydmila laughs. Alain soon joins her. She elbows the man in the ribs for cursing her with such dirty jokes. "I look forward to your death, LeCavalier. Then I won't need to hear any more of these awful jokes of yours."

    Alain laughs even harder. Their laughter echoes out over the accursed lands, even as Alain fires off one of his last three bullets and slays another beast..

    The Seas South of Capios...

    Alain flies directly into Darmon's trap. The cube of dark Nightmare material swallows him up. If Alain still had his combat sense this trap would have been predicted and avoided. Without his fabled power, Alain knows he will fall for other such attacks. He will suffer in this battle in ways he never has before.

    This is the end, and Alain is at peace with that.

    The dust within the cube is powdered nausea that freezes and scalds all it touches. Alain knows what to expect now. Over the decades he has read everything he could find on the subject of Nightmare infection. This dust will corrupt all it touches. It will get inside of everything, right down to the cells, and bend it in horrible ways.

    Alain hopes his superhuman stamina and mental defenses will buy him the time needed to escape this trap and end this battle. He holds his breath, knowing this will only grant him a few minutes of partial protection. Alain aims his pistol at the Nightmare wall that separates him from Darmon, and fires. His elemental bullets strikes the cube with a bolt of lightning. The cube ripples and bubbles where the lightning burned it.

    Alain's military coat, an artifact stolen from a Maginus warlord during the Great War, begins to shudder as it suffers the initial effects of the Nightmare dust. The coat is a mystical link to an armory of weapons stored in a fold of reality. The mystical coat writhes like someone suffering the agonies of a sudden fever. Swords and bullets vomit out of the back of the coat and clatter onto the floor of the cube.

    "You should have killed that girl the moment you saw her," Harbin's voice echoes in Alain's ears. No! Not Harbin! It's the Nightmares. Harbin would never kill a child.

    "If I had killed you I could have saved Taroc."

    Alain ignores the voice. It's not Harbin! Alain aims his gun once again. His eyes burn. Every bit of skin is freezing. The coat is whining as half a suit of armor clatters out of it. Alain fires another bolt of lightning. The wall bubbles and boils, but does not break.

    "You held me back. You were an anchor chained to my neck. If not for you I could have destroyed the corruption in Taroc. I would have prevented the Great War. All of those poor people died because I let you live."

    It's too early to use the sword in Alain's hand. The sword that is charged with dream energy. He wants to save it. To use it at the perfect moment. However, as blood runs out of his eyes and ears, Alain knows he lacks the combat sense needed to tell him when that perfect moment is.

    He raises the sword and slashes down at the burned wall. The wall trembles and the cube wails in pain as the azure energy of the blade hurts the Nightmare matter of the cube. The trap is wounded and in pain, but not damaged enough for an escape. Alain slashes at the wall again and again. Each time the attack inflicts more damage, but it's not enough.

    Alain stabs the sword into the wall of the cube. He uses his titanic strength to try to use the sword to pry apart this stab wound into an opening he can escape through. Under this intense strain the blade of the sword starts to crack. From these cracks blue mists seeps out from the weapon. The dream energy inside of the sword is leaking out. This released energy starts to rot away at the Nightmare cube, but it also reduces the power of the blade.

    Escape means sacrificing his best weapon against the Nightmares. Staying means certain death.

    Alain pushes on the sword with all of his strength. The blade finally snaps in half, letting out a burst of dream mist, but also tearing open a hole in the Nightmare wall. Alain's form shimmers and vanishes. The hole isn't large enough to climb through, but big enough to allow him to teleport out of this trap.

    Alain appears directly behind Darmon. The Alain that appears outside of the cube is different than the one that flew into it. He's paler. His features glistens with feverish sweat. Blood trails runs from his eyes, ears, and nose. His hair, skin, and clothes are covered in a grey powdered corruption.

    Alain slashes out with his half sword. His target is the bicep. He tries to slice off Darmon's arm.

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  6. #94
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Lieutenant Lydmila Pavlich, Eliona, Commander Filip Ryth & Doctor Doraen

    Alain's Secret Fortress, The Seas South of Capios...

    Eliona never imagined it would be like this. The Nightmares Darmon sends at them is a river of dark, hissing, and screeching things flowing at them. Eliona is trembling. Words can't describe the scope of the unholy things that are flooding the world in front of them.

    There's a hand on her shoulder. It startles her, Eliona turns to see Doraen has his hand on her shoulder.

    "Remember the plan and you'll do fine," he tells her with more confidence than he should have. She can see it in the doctor's eyes, he's terrified too, but the he's doing all he can to reassure her. Even now, his one concern is for helping others. Eliona can't help but feel better about that. As if no matter how insane and terrible things get, there are some things that will never change. That feeling is a bit of solid ground for her to hold on to.

    She turns and looks back at the darkness. The flood of Nightmares flows towards them and impacts a previously unseen barrier. This wall is a bubble made up entirely of small, palm sized glyphs of red and golden light. These glyphs have been woven together like a chainmail sphere.

    For the past twenty years, a woman named Kathy has worked in the fortress. Her job has been to determine the identities of every visitor to this place. Every day she would take her lunch break here on this roof. She would eat her food and draw out a glyph. It was her hobby. During the Great War it had been her specialty, but now she made them simply because it relaxes her. It's something no one ever knew. Something she never spoke of. Every day for twenty years. By the end of her lunch, the finished glyph would float up and join all of the others.

    The Nightmares beat on the twenty years of lunchtime glyphs. Like a river running into a great bolder, the flood of darkness flows around it. They surround the barrier, like a coating of oil. The world beyond the chains of glowing glyphs grows entirely dark. The Nightmares scream in a chorus of rage and inhuman hunger.

    With his rifle emptied, Ryth drops the weapon and draws two pistols. He begins firing these guns at the mass of Nightmares. He's shouting an endless stream of curses that would make the filthiest of sailors sound like a delicate schoolgirl in comparison. At some point Ryth learned how to swear in every language known to man. His pistol fire hits the sea of dark Nightmares and burst out with elemental fury. He hits them with lightning, fire, lava, starlight, cyclones, ice, and everything else in his elemental arsenal.

    Dorean has peaked out from the pillar he hides behind and has begun firing his pistol. While Ryth is unloading pistols full of bullets towards the Nightmares of the north, Doraen is attacking the east. As he surgically cuts into the ocean of darkness with bolts of lightning, he is also studying the barrier of glyphs. He can see they're cracking.

    Lydmila fires out in every direction. She can see them all. Every single Nightmare that swarms around them. She's spent a lifetime being able to see the truth beyond darkness, and so everything about these beasts is presented to her gift of mystical sight. She's able to predict which one of these beasts is going to be the first to breach Kathy's barrier, and so she aims at that one and slays it. Lydmila then seeks out the next that will be first. She slays every first. Every one. Until she can see fate catching up to her clever plan. She sees there are two firsts. Lydmila fires on one, and then turns around to kill the other. Though, the other managed to create a large crack in the barrier before it was destroyed.

    Lydmila predicts six firsts now. More cracks. She turns around and around, firing, killing, reloading, firing, killing, reloading. Eventually, fate has had enough of this stubborn seer, and populates the darkness entirely with firsts.

    The entire barrier shatters. Twenty years of lunch breaks breaks into fading embers. The darkness floods in like an ocean of oil filling in a popped bubble. Dozens of rune-lined circles of red, gold, blue, violet, and green light up all around them. Some of these circles are on the floor, some on the pillars and archways, others float in the air. They face up, out, sideways, and diagonal. It's like several dozen rings of glowing arcane light, linked together into a tangled mess all around the architecture on the roof. Each circle seems to do something different. Some burn the Nightmares. Others repel them. A few trap them. Some banish them back to their realm. It's a tangled maze of different defenses and outcomes that the Nightmares throw themselves into, and seek to crush beneath their full weight and corruptive touch.

    All the while, the trio of Taroc soldiers continue to fire into the darkness. Doraen and Lydmila only seem to pause to reload their beloved weapons. Ryth drops the guns the moment they run out of ammo, and draws other weapons. Ryth is now wielding his shotgun. He unleashes blast after blast of starlight into the tangle of circles and the Darkness that tries to beat their way through.

    Eliona can hear something inside of the chorus of hisses, screams and howls. Something that's more frightening than the horrid sounds of the Nightmares. She can hear magical circles snapping and breaking. She draws her sword and holds it with trembling hands. She remembers the plan, and tries to wrap her panicking heart in whatever certainty this plan can offer her.

    Lydmilla and Ryth abandon their chosen posts and move further towards the center of the pillars and archways on the roof. They're much closer to Doraen and Eliona now. They all continue to fire upon the violent sea of darkness and screams.

    Eventually, one of the cracking circles fails, and it shatters. One lost circle opens a hole in their mystical defenses. A hole that a column of Nightmares floods through, like an ocean of oil flooding into breach in a boat's hull.

    That's when Eliona's sword begins to glow with the white light of life. She remembers the plan.

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  8. #95
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Olivia Kuhrson & Verona Aliester

    Above Faraking Island: The Heli'Dom...

    Olivia reaches out with her telepathy, and sends commands to the scribing imps that are hiding behind Alain's desk. The imps do as they were created to do, and begin to write up a document that Olivia is ordering them to make. With that task begun, Olivia looks to watch Nalia use her light once again. There's a bit of sadness haunting the necromancer's expression. Every use of that light drains much of Nalia's strength. She's not sure if Nalia can keep performing these acts of healing.

    The teacup and saucer clatter in Verona's hands as she watches Nalia summon the white light to heal Arion. She always believed Nalia had no ability to heal. Either Nalia had been born without it, or she lost it when she- she- Verona realizes that Nalia possessing the white light means she didn't kill her family.

    When Verona was young she believed Alain's every insistence that Nalia did not do what so many accused her of. Then as Verona grew older, and she came into more and more contact with the wider Rekōdo society, it became harder to fully dismiss the stories of Nalia's crimes.

    Now, on the cusp of a conflict that just might destroy their world, Verona knows the truth. She now understands that she owes Alain and Nalia for ever doubting them. She especially owes Nalia for restoring Arion's cracked horn.

    Verona kneels down beside Nalia's chair. She takes one of Nalia's hands into her own grasp and whispers to the woman,
    "Thank you."

    Once Pasce begins drinking the tea, Olivia moves on. She returns to her bag, picking it up from the table. The necromancer continues walking around the room. She seems to be concentrating on something unseen in the chamber. Eventually, Olivia seems to approve of one specific spot on the floor.

    "Clear this spot, and bring me a wooden chair," Olivia tells the Heli'Dom. immediately the rug resting on that indicated spot rolls itself up and slides aside. A wooden chair departs the table and slides over to Olivia's chosen area.

    Olivia sets her bag down on the chair and begins recovering more arcane supplies from it. Soon she is using blood from a Maginus blood sphere to draw a triangle on the wooden floor. The triangle is almost two yards wide, with the chair standing in the middle of it. At each corner of the triangle Olivia places a human skull. The three skulls face away from the chair, and have silver glyphs on their foreheads. Olivia pulls out a large pouch of ashes from her bag. She sprinkles the ashes into a circle around the chair, and within the confines of the triangle. These ashes are the remains of cremated Maginus warlocks. Olivia then piles random assortments of animal bones in the middle of the three lines that makes up the triangle of blood.

    With the floor properly prepared, Olivia takes out her lucky knife and begins carving runes onto the chair. A lamp near her flickers as the Heli'Dom worries over its damaged chair. Olivia notices the flickering light.

    "I'll buy you new chairs," she assures the building. "If the world doesn't end tonight, I'll call my carpenter in the morning. He'll make the finest chairs you've ever seen. He'll even use that Shamaa wood you like."

    The light stops flickering, and a few of the floorboards squeak with delight. New furniture is always appreciated. Especially when they're made of Shamaa wood. Controlling furniture made from the trees of Shamaa has always felt better to the Heli'Dom, as if such trees grew to welcome the influence of creatures like this mystical structure.

    Plus, after the Great War, Olivia was the one that stepped forward and decorated the entirety of the Heli'Dom. During the war the Heli'Dom's furnishings had been severely neglected, and so Olivia sought to restore it to its full majesty. She did so before Alain could be allowed to decide how to decorate the Heli'Dom, which everyone seems to say was a very good thing. The Heli'Dom has heard the horror stories of what Alain did to his fortress, and is eternally grateful Olivia saved him from such a fate.

    Within minutes Olivia has made a complex pattern of necromantic runes onto the chair. The color of the marked chair seems to fade into a dark grey. Some of its shine gives way to a dull roughness of ancient, dead wood.

    She tears a page from one of her ancient arcane books. The page contains the spell that will need to be performed. Pasce will not know the spell, and so Olivia will need to sacrifice this page to infuse the necessary magic into the princess. Olivia holds the page up against the back of the chair, and uses one of her lucky knives to pin it into place on the back of the wooden chair. When they perform the ritual, that page will rot away.

    Once these final preparations are made, Olivia steps back from the chair and triangle. She picks up her bag and returns to the table where the dark bottle was set down. The same spells that prevents Maginus from detecting the dark soul contained in the bottle, will also mute this fiendish soul's song. Arion shouldn't be able to hear its true nature. Olivia ponders if he should be allowed to hear it, or what she will have to do with this soul.

    She picks up the soul bottle, and watches the others in the room, trying to decide how things must play out.

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  10. #96


    NoTown, in the South-East of the Province of Astral

    She had been kept under the home of her family for several years, now. Tied down to her bed, she never saw the light, nor felt the wind touch her skin again. Was that big the crime she could have committed to be treated like this? By her own kin? Asking her would be pointless since she stopped talking the same day she was secluded under her house, which wasn’t precisely this one. When her own mother passed away, Sadira knew it was about time to take her place, and that's when they lived at Maginus--

    Eleri often spoke of the curse that affected this family, but little details were given away. Probably Sadira knew so much more about it, or at least used to know. But at this point, it was a half hidden secret that only gave them more grief than anything else. Amani didn’t know, Boy definitely had no clue, Pol seemed a bit detached, knowing some and not asking for the most part. Eleri was the one keeping all of the secrets and, in spite of all the guilt they gave her, she wasn’t giving them away. At least not to Amani who wanted so badly to know the truth behind the imprisonment of his beloved grandmother.

    Sadira was no longer the woman she used to be. Definitely all of the strength she had when she commanded her old household and took care of Amani was long gone. At this point she was simply devoid of love and hate. Without the experience of pain or joy, you could barely tell she was alive. But the soft breath coming in and out of her decaying body was still giving away that she was alive. But for how long--? No one knew for sure. And if she ever did, it was so buried inside, that no one would know.

    But this wasn’t a regular day. Not for Sadira and definitely not for Emporium. This day all hell broke loose, and even if Sadira was physically far from the critical areas, it was as if a thousand battles were being fought inside of her.

    The darkness, the restraint, the lack of contact with the world outside were the means to keep Sadira’s curse contained. But those weren’t the only ways to do it. In addition, the family had been using these blue salts with her meals that kept her sedated and alienated from the world around her. Those same salts that Amani purposely skipped this last dinner. Amani had no clue of what he was doing or of the consequences he was about to unleash, but he didn’t want to be a part of this anymore. If the kid had been brave or way too stupid and weak, would be something to define a little later--

    Sadira’s eyes had lost her inner light years ago, but something was changing in her. The fire burning inside seemed to be alive once again and you could see it in her eyes. If this was related with the troubles of Emporium, it was beyond our knowledge, but that light within her was alive and her eyes were moving on their own for the first time in such a long time. Her face transformed, overwhelmed with all the emotions that were eating her alive. She was feeling again and that was terrifying. She tried to cover her face but her arms were strongly tied down to the sides of the bed. She struggled, but she didn’t have the strength needed.

    And that’s when she screamed!

  11. #97
    Between Windf'rte and Capios... Waiting


    Darmon, The Returned

    It was snowing and they were high in the mountains. They were right on the border, where Maginus met the Unsettled Lands, where the Great Swells met the Dragon Range, where New Magik met Old. it was nauseating, being up by the border for so long. Maginus soldiers stationed here lived within the warded Lesser Holds and rotated shifts. They were medallions of crystalized blood, compressed and pounded into discs beneath the weight of the mountains. It was a mixture of sacrifice and dragon's blood. Just a drop of the latter, for such ichor was incredibly potent. It was the medallion, a mixture of Old Magik and new that kept them sane, but breaks were still needed. Medallions wore out. Soldiers grew tired. For such things, he cared not. It was the job of lesser men to make sure such needs were met. But he'd brought her here, on the Hold that was the farthest east Maginus could go. They stood on a parapet and overlooked the Sea of Serpens. They stood in silence overlooking the great, dark sea that was rumored to teem with long, dark shapes, that was said to harbor eerie, inhuman sounds in the middle of the night. He watched her with his cold, blue eyes. She was just a child, then, new to him in so many ways. They'd not yet established the true nature of their relationship yet.

    Then he brought her down to the largest island of the Hydrus.

    "This island used to crawl with them, long before you or even I were born" he'd told her as they stood upon the cold, wet sand. She said nothing. Her dark curls blew in the cold wind. They were dotted with beads of snow. Her eyes looked out at the water. She wore a cloak around her petite frame. It was red. Taroc red with an outline of gold.

    "All out of your pretty green?" he'd said between gritted teeth.

    He wanted to burn that cloak. It had taken him everything he had to not tear it from her the second she appeared in the main hall at Arx. He'd needed her in a good mood, workable, agreeable if it were within. She'd said nothing at first. She was silent, as she usually was, when she arrived. No hint at all if his comment had put a dent in her armor. She'd spoken, finally, upon the parapet in the Eastern-most Lesser Hold. She was looking out at the Sea far, far below.

    "It was a gift" she'd said quietly in a manner that was one of her more respectable traits. Most children were noisy. Obnoxious. "From Master Alain."

    He'd decided then exactly what he was going to do. So he brought her here to the island. He took her from the sea and since his back was to it, he did not see the scaled spine of something as it breeched the water's surface. She did. She paused at seeing it over her shoulder and looked to the air above her. The clouds were low, the higher mountaintops were all but invisible. It was snowing. She turned and followed after him.


    The Returned not-man smiled when Alain flew right into his trap. It was as he thought: No Clow. Now powers. It was how he had been when he was alive. How Arxus and no powers. Alain's fabled Combat Sense could not save him now. It was almost too easy. So it was with curiosity that he watched the poisoned man try and break through the Nightmare barrier. He watched his enchanted coats- another thing stolen from Maginus- spew forth its contents like an alcoholic vomiting up his last liquid meal. His glowing, violet and black eyes look to the collection of small armory upon the floor of the cube. His eyes then snapped up to Alain as the Nightmares within him whispered to him. It was like an echo on the wind, the faint sound of a boat's horn out at sea as it passed by a lighthouse. Distant, but he understood the sounds.

    He smells Alain's blood. It is a smell he remembered and revered from the Great War. The blood of LeCavalier was a prized thing among the Wizards, Dragon Knights and soldiers of Maginus then. He hungers for it, for more of it in a way far greater than any of them could hope to understand now.

    He was taken from his reverie by a sudden screeching in his head. Darmon's violet eyes went wide and his hands went to his head. Not his ears, but to his skull. His mouth is agape with the pain of the Nightmares that's being channeled through his Soul. His threw his head back and then hunched forward with each successive blow to the trap's walls. It is the Nightmares that scream to him that his attacker was behind. Darmon wheeled around to face his greatest foe-


    -but it was too late. Her severed arm fell down to the bottom of the cube with a sickening thud. Alain's very pregnant lover sank to her knees, holding the bloodied stump where her arm once was. Her ichor leaked everywhere, and from the walls of the cube, Nightmare tongue lapped at it and grabbed for her. They pulled her down and held her fast and burned her wound with their hellish tongues. The bulk of their child arched upward as she screamed and writhed in their grasp. There was a soft pop and a wetness that seeped into her clothes. Her eyes opened and looked down to their child. A Nightmare curious stopped to sniff at the odd, clear liquid before its maw opened wide in a needled grin. One of its taloned fingers came up and raked down Nalia's midsection. Her screams lifted high into their air and faded only to be eclipsed by the wails of his newborn child, held within the massive palm of the Nightmare talon. Fluids of birth made its skin shine as it wailed with clenched fists, a hearty cry of a healthy child. The Nightmare holding the child looked at it strangely and then opened it maw. it's shadow eclipsed the child and-

    - she was outside the cube with him. For the longest moment, the small, lightly-freckled girl looked at the sickly Guild Master. There was an almost sad look to her very large emerald eyes. She was dressed differently than he would remember and there was something more to her gaze, something powerful, something he would not quite be able to put his fingertip on it, but it would almost be as if she were watching him from a distance far, far away to protect herself.

    "You're going to get us all killed, Alain, just like last time" the little girl said. "You can't do anything right, can you?"

    At that, she looked down for a moment, as if his disappointing sight were too much for the little girl.

    "Do you really think this will save us?" the Nalia he would know as his lover whispered. One of her hands comes up to wipe the blood from his eyes with her thumb. Her emerald eyes glistened with tears as she sought to find the light of Alain's eyes with her own. Her touch would feel real, her scent as he always remembered. "Just come home to us, please? Please?"

    She was was beautiful, even so late in pregnancy. Their child was between them, awaiting the time of its birth. Nalia's voice faded to an ache of a whisper at the last. Her hand smoothed his cheek. She felt cool. She looked so real.

  12. #98
    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom

    Attachment 2270

    Arion, Acting Guild Master of Taroc, Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo and Nalia of Enchantry

    He hugged her. The Acting Guild Master had knelt before her again and this time, he hugged the very pregnant lover of his Master. His embrace was infinitely gentle and considerate of her condition and extremely powerful in the same action.

    "Thank you" he breathed into her hair near her ear. "I am indebted to you forever and, I promise you, I will never forget this."

    He pulled back from her and placed his lips upon her forehead. Nalia closed her eyes and they remained closed for a long time after Arion's lips left her and the tall Second stood up. When she opened them and looked up at Arion, she smiled softly and very tiredly. She was startled when Verona took her hand. Her emerald eyes regard Verona warily until she spoke. Then they softened and, once again, she smiled. Her breathing was slow and even. The child within rose and fell with each of her breaths. She squeezed Verona's hand. Nalia's smile faded.

    "I am sorry, Verona" she whispered. Her emerald eyes looked down to the child she carried before looking back up to the Advisor to the Master of Taroc. "I know this must not have bene easy for you- for any of you. I am so sorry for what grief this may have caused you."

    Nalia glanced up at Arion, hoping he'd heard her, but his crimson were were locked on Olivia. Now he could hear her Soul Song clearly and he stepped forward toward what she was doing slowly, watchfully. His face becomes unreadably hard as she procures Maginus trinkets for her craft. He stopped approaching her and went still as he watched her. The Heli'Dom's response to Olivia carving into its chair made Arion wince. He could hear something about the turret that no others could.

    In the background, the Princess's Soul Song and the Song of all the combined Spirits blared as the chair's beautiful wood faded to a gray lifelessness. Arion tilted his head slightly to the side as he listened to Pasce and continued to watch Olivia work. He began to understand a little of what was going to take place. At least why it was going to take place. The Princess was dying.

    He turned then, briefly and only for a second to look from Olivia's mechanisms to Verona by Nalia's side. He sent to her a single, mental sentence and had turned back around before it reached her.

    ~She's dyin', V'rona.~

    Verona knew of this O.K. from the Great War. She seemed to trust whatever foul Maginus hoodoo she was working here. Alain trusted her or she would have no ability to access the beloved Heli'Dom. Nalia trusted her with her terrible secret and the Princess...

    When Olivia turned to return to the table, she would feel the intensity of Arion's oddly crimson eyes upon her, watching her every move. He had no idea what's in the bottles or the bag. he has no idea what is going on, but it looked grim and ghastly. This beloved space suddenly felt very foreign to him.

    "I may be oversteppin' my boun's" he said very carefully as he looked directly at Olivia."but being a Guild Master is new to me, so I'm boun' to mess a few things up as I go... bu' surely no' as many as Alain."

    A minor joke. He inhaled deeply and pushed the Princess and Olivia's Soul Song to the front of his mind so he could hear them both and study them.

    "This looks rather grim, an' as th' Actin' Guild Master of Taroc, I need to know wha's going to 'appen 'ere he hesitated and looked at the Princess "an' if i' will be enough to save 'er.

    Nalia looked up from her chair and sat a bit straighter. Her emerald eyes held Arion in their sight carefully. Her hands, on the arm of the chair and the plate of her teacup, were knuckle-white. The Princess's pale, green eyes were locked with Arion's, but they were calm, if not tired.

    "Tha's wha's 'appenin'... isn't i'?" he said, speaking to Olivia while beholding the dying Princess. "I's too much for 'er, all those Spirits inside 'er. I can 'ear it... An' you're pullin' some Maginus magik ou' of tha' bag and try to save 'er?"

    Pasce's slow, deep inhale seemed to confirm Arion's statement for him. He turned from her to look back at Olivia. He took a step closer to her. Nalia made as if she were going to rise from her chair.

    "I need t' know what you are" he said to Olivia. "Everyone 'ere trus's you or you wouldn' be 'ere. I trus' everyone 'ere wi' my life, an' in ligh' of wha' needs to be don 'ere, I will defer to their judgemen'."

    He took another step closer to Olivia. His hands splayed open, palms out for her to see, a very foreign gesture, but one used equivocally among the Shamaa and Da'Jinn. The Da'Jinn held their palms upward. He held his out before him, almost like a child showing they'd no forbidden sweets in their hands. One hand lifted and from it swirled crimson light. It sparkled and floated into a sphere of rotating light. It pulsed lightly with the rhythm and tempo. He held it out to her with an up-turned palm.

    Arion offered the sound of Olivia's Soul Song to her.

    "Bu' I need to understan' wha' I am 'earin'. Please."

  13. #99
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Olivia Kuhrson & Verona Aliester

    Above Faraking Island: The Heli'Dom...

    When Arion telepathically speaks to her, Verona glances at Pasce.

    ~I know,~ Verona replies to Arion. She then turns her attention towards Olivia and the markings of ash and blood that she's made onto the floor. Verona recalls calling on Oliver's help with an exorcism. It was twelve years ago. A Taroc mystic had looked too far into the other realms and was possessed by a spirit or creature. Seeing Oliver/Olivia's work unsettles Verona. It chills her. However, she trusts Olivia. The necromancer was a friend of Verona's father. A friend of Alain, Ryth, and Doraen. She's family. Like an aunt, or sometimes uncle, that isn't around very much but will always be there when they're needed.

    Verona watches Arion approach Olivia. Alain had sought to keep Arion away from her. Alain always thought relying on an undead necromancer was a necessary evil. However, if Arion was to represent the future he would need to kept clean of the necessary evils Alain had to use in the Great War. Alain wanted Arion to be a better Guild Master than he was.

    Verona again telepathically speaks to Arion,
    ~Alain once told me: 'If you keep getting beaten up in the day, learn to fight in the dark. Or get a friend that can fight in the dark.' It made no sense, not until I found out about Olivia. She's our friend that can fight in the dark.~

    "I should apologize," Olivia tells Arion. "I'm usually more subtle than this. If this were a perfect situation, I could do what needs to be done, and almost everyone in this room wouldn't even know I had been here."

    Olivia shrugs. "We don't have time for that."

    With unnatural speed she reaches out to Arion and strokes her thumb over his cheek. She leaves a streak of crimson on his flesh. As she had been talking, Olivia had punctured her thumb, and now Arion has a smudge of her blood on him. Through that bit of blood, Olivia opens a connection to the man.

    Arion can hears the soul song of others, Olivia's blood magic shows him the life that has shaped that music into the strange song he hears in her.

    Bits and pieces of a life plays out for Arion. A girl being raised by a powerful and wealthy Maginus family. A bleak existence of oppression and participation in blood rituals. An existence that was destined to conclude with her being traded away as a bride to the son of another prominent Maginus family.

    This destiny was avoided when the warriors of the LeCavalier clan arrived. They sought aid in dispelling a curse that had been cast on a prisoner they were transporting back to Taroc. The Maginus family was going to betray and kill the LeCavaliers. The girl had quickly developed a friendship with the youngest of the warriors, a teen named Harbin, and she decided to help the men of Taroc escape. The LeCavaliers offered to take the girl with them, freeing her from her miserable existence in Maginus.

    The men of the family gave chase. The pursuit lead both parties out to sea aboard ships. The LeCavaliers tried to lose the family among the Aile Bones. A terrible storm struck them all. The girl washed ashore on the northern coast of Taroc. She believed all of the others had died in the storm. Unknown to her, Harbin had survived and went on to play his own part in history.

    The girl made her way to a small village. There she found work in a tavern. In this village she made a small, lonely life for herself, as she worked to hide her heritage from the Taroc people. She only wanted to live free from Maginus.

    Years pass. A harvest festival attracts the woman's interest. Song and dance brings her together with a man. They immediately fall in love. A love that will outlive them both. The dance is followed by a courtship, and eventually marriage. They make a home and happy life with one another. A life that is soon cut very short.

    The Great War begins. Maginus rains down fire and darkness upon the town. The house collapses upon the woman and her beloved husband. He dies instantly. She is condemned to a slow death, pinned beneath wreckage, and looking upon the corpse of her love. Her rage grows mightier than the power of life itself. She uses her own blood and dying body as a sacrifice in a powerful ritual. During her years spent contributing to the dark magics of her family she learned a great deal. She learned enough to break her soul free of her dying body, and to animate and inhabit the body of her dead husband.

    She joins with the band of refugees and soldiers that have gathered around their new and very young Guild Master, Alain LeCavalier. She offers her expertise in dark magic and unique methods of gathering information. She has the power to inhabit the recently dead, granting her the ability to become any slain Maginus soldier. In these stolen forms she can move behind enemy lines and gathering vital information for the forces of Taroc.

    She's using Alain as an instrument of her vengeance. He's using her as another weapon in his growing arsenal. Months into their alliance they both come to realize their partnership cannot survive through mutual manipulation alone. Alain confronts her in much the same way as Arion confronts her now. In that moment, she sees so much of Harbin in the young LeCavalier.

    Taroc would not be the pawn of a vengeful necromancer. If she wanted to hurt or destroy Maginus, it would have to be beside Taroc and under Alain's command. She pierced her thumb, and smeared her blood onto Alain's cheek. Through this blood she shared her life with the Guild Master.

    Alain smiled and said,
    "Do you expect me to believe that fantasy? Am I to believe Harbin was ever a young man? Everyone knows he was born old and stubborn. Him telling tall tales sounds true enough, though."

    They laughed. She realized it was the first time she had laughed since her husband had died. They made their bargain that day. She would be Alain's agent. His spy and expert in the dark arts. He would utilize her skills to defeat Maginus. And possibly, someday, they would destroy Maginus. They would do this together.

    In time, their goals changed. Annihilating an entire province was too costly of a proposal. Now that the Taroc people were no longer pawns to use, they became her friends. Her family. Destroying Maginus would cost her the lives of too many of her new family. Eventually, she settled for wanting to protect Taroc.

    In time the body of her lost husband becomes to battle weary and damaged to carry her soul any further. Another form is taken. Her husbands body is finally given a Taroc funeral. The soul no longer feels obligated to any one body, and begins collecting shells to inhabit. They are like outfits chosen to serve specific purposes.

    Now, here she is. The past twenty years is missing from what she has shown Arion. He will only get a sense of Alain and Verona sending her out into the dark corners of Taroc society, there she could help ensure there aren't worse horrors hiding in the shadows.

    "The plan is to use a spell to induce a deep death-like state in Pasce," Olivia begins explaining to Arion. "I'll send her soul into the Realm of the Dead. We'll send her deep enough that the magic binding the spirits to her will believe she's actually dead, and the spirits and power will be released from her. Once they're gone, I'll pull her soul back.

    "It's dangerous, I won't lie about that. I'll call on some genuinely dark power to accomplish this, but even then I can't guarantee her survival. Unfortunately, this is her only chance. Those spirits need to be set free."

  14. #100
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Branwen locked eyes with Zarena, her face portraying her respect for the other Shamaa woman as she exited their council. Her mind once again shifted toward the task ahead, she had less than an hour to finish preparations with the other leaders and prepare herself for departure. But her mind was brought back to the meeting as the acting first of Taroc bid his farewell and she returned it with blessings and a prayer of success to Arion as he left.

    Before the hologram closed Branwen was Enchanted by the dire wolf’s howl, to her it was a call to battle and as Udaya began to speak, she almost missed the elder’s words. Looking down at her dress, she was reminded she had other matters to attend to before leaving. She bowed respectfully to Udaya, as their elder departed, her words she knew would be lost to her as she prattled on, but it was none of her concern and Branwen had little time to ponder anything that Udaya might be saying.

    She turned to Commander Weir, a fine example of Taroc’s soldier’s as she watched the spirit of the dog beside her straighten as ifsensing the need to move on. Branwen smiled at the Commander.

    “You honor Shamaa, Commander Weir. Thank you.”

    “I will see you in the clearing within the hour.”

    Branwen then turned toward the remaining leaders of each tribe and quickly covered the remaining details of the impending war. She would not have to say much, each leader, warrior, man, woman, child, and elder would know their part and would do their best to protect each other, their land and Rekōdo. With liaisons from Taroc, they would have communication that would help them better handle the oncoming darkness, should their frontal assault fail.

    Branwen did not have time to worry about that as she concluded their council with words of wisdom, encouragement and prayer. She turned from their group and ran to her abode, where she quickly removed the ceremonial dress for one much more appropriate for battle. Grateful that the Shamaa people were modest, but were not ashamed of the showing of skin or nudity, as she donned the near sheer blue shift.

    Her movements were quick, well-practiced, like breathing as she fastened her studded bracers, secured the gorget around her neck and laced her sandals. Her colors were the colors of Shamaa, worn proudly about her frame, her studded bracers holding stones of the earth whose energy offered protection, strength and spirit. Her gorget held four large stones, each one represented the elements.

    Normally, Branwen favoredher staff, but she would need the sword as well she feared as she secured it to the leather scabbard at her back. Her thoughts drifted to Kali, as their medicine woman entered and prepared to mark her face with war paint. She had not felt Kali for hours, had it been on purpose, or had Kali’s link to her been severed somehow, as their mothers had. It was a fleeting thought, she would find out soon enough.

    Her thoughts returned to her final preparation, the paint that would adorn her face. Each tribe used the paints for different reasons, using different colors to signify certain meanings, shapes and designs to represent or send messages. These things were thought to bring a spiritual power and it was one that Branwen believed in. As the elements adorned or gorget, the medicine woman sat her down and instructed Branwen to close her eyes. She concentrated on the medicine woman’s words, as she blessed Branwen and empowered the paint with her spiritual words.

    Branwen felt each light stroke, the way the texture prickled her skin empowered with the supernatural strength of each word and blessing the medicine woman spoke. The woman was old inappearance, but you would not know by the way she spoke or moved. She was as a young woman, full of life, giving that to the one whose face she now painted. Soon the strokes of color left her face and adorned the bare spots on each sideof her arm and with a final word from the medicine woman, Branwen opened her eyes.

    The medicine woman painted a thick solid black line from temple to temple, covering both eyes along the bridge of the nose just below the eyes. Above the eyes between the eye brows, the line rose to form a triangle, the apex going to just below the hairline. She painted Branwen’s bottom lip in blue with a single red stripe dividing the lip and a thin red line ran flush to the solid black line under the eyes from temple to temple. Along her bare shoulders on each side, Branwen’s animal spirits adorned her skin in blue. As a final touch, she added two raven’s feathers to Branwen’s braided hair. Now that she had the medicine woman’s blessings, she was ready to go.

    Branwen bowed in respect to one of their holy women and took up her staff and headed to the clearing just outside of camp. With Commander Weir’s coordinates, she opened a portal made of water for Zarena’s people and the warriors that would be accompanying them to walk through. It was time.
    Peace is a lie
    There is only passion
    Through passion I gain strength
    Through strength I gain power
    Through power I gain victory
    Through victory my chains are broken
    The Force shall set me free

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