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  1. #11
    ((Continued from here.))

    The Province of Taroc, On the coast of the Ocean of Liaradon


    Attachment 1938


    A Spirit, Silvyan al'Vatar



    ~You sounded mortal. It suits you.~

    It brought a smile to her face to say that. But then it comes back. The Godly bravado. Her faced changed. The light seemed to still. The Spirit of the Golden Healer listened to his story. Then she turned away. The cliffs were windy, but they took no part in her long, sun-kissed hair or her white robes with the golden hems.

    ~It seems we are trapped, both of us, on paths from which there is little deviation.~

    She looked out over the vast ocean. Listened to the sound of the water fighting against the tall, rocky cliffs.

    ~There are things that even we Gods cannot control. The Universes are bigger than we are. Perhaps it is not us who toy with it, but we are toys made with its energy.~

    It was the first time in their conversation she directly aligned herself with what he knew of her. There was a distant sureness in her voice. her back was to him, unless he made it a point to see her face.

    ~I am tired of playing.~

    A hint of anger. Much defeat. Silvyan looked out over the ocean. The seemingly endless expanse of it. She was still tethered here, to this world. He was not. He was free to go or stay.

    ~What will you do now, Xalidus?~

    She only ever called him by his First name. It was the one of all his names that was most dear to her.
    *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)

  2. #12
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    ((Continuing from here.))


    Verona Aliester



    Above Faraking Island: The Heli'Dom infirmary


    One of the scribe imps lifts up the note pad it and its twin had been doodling on. The two imps grin as they display that they had drawn two slumbering stick figures. One crudely drawn figure has horns. The other drools in her sleep.

    When Arion snatches the pad from them, the two imps hop off of the table and scamper off to find some fresh ink to feed on.

    Then Arion wakes Verona. The woman is startled back into the waking world, as if an existence beyond sleep has taken her by surprise. She is swift to sit up, and she stares the entirety of her confusion at Arion. Verona sweeps a stay lock of hair out of her face, and wipes a sleeve over her lower lip, as she tries to recall where she is and what is happening.

    Gradually, Verona recalls Arion's injuries and Doraen working to heal him. She looks Arion over, from his once shattered hands on up to his still cracked horn. At the very least he's up and on his feet. That's something that Verona allows herself to smile about for brief moment.

    Verona now realizes there is a crumpled sheet of paper in one of her hands. She had unknowingly crushed the folded page while waking up. She unfolds the paper. Verona quickly reads over the note:
    "Arion will be called in for a council meeting. I had to leave on an important mission. If you don't hear from me in a day, please take care of my cat, Edgar. He's the least fussy creature I have ever met. You'll like him.

    "Be well, my friend.

    "Doraen"

    Verona folds the paper back up, pondering its contents. Doraen is as baffling in text as he is in person. She looks up to Arion, seeking answers. Her gaze then drifts towards the rest of the infirmary, hoping to see Doraen here.

    That's when she sees the pair of seers on the far end of the chamber. Recognition is immediate. Verona has had dealings with the astronomers of Taroc. Though she has never personally met Islene, Verona is aware of her, and knows that this is the powerful reader of hidden stars lying on the bed.

    It's the sight of Zinna that pulls Verona out of the bed.

    She rushes halfway across the room, wanting to go to the ancient woman's side, but she stops a handful of paces away. Verona is trying to piece this together. Zinna is hurt? How badly? Verona looks around the infirmary. What would be important enough to take Doraen away from his grandmother's side? Verona recalls meeting the elderly seer almost two decades ago. An ancient woman that was all smiles, her small wrinkled hands always knitting some endless blanket. She offered a young Verona cookies and guidance. Zinna set Verona down her path. The old woman has advised thousands of Taroc people over the decades. Always with warmth, compassion, patience, and a sweet freshly baked treat within easy reach.


    "How did this happen?" Verona demands. She's talking more to the room, the world, than to Arion. "Who did this?"

    Verona sifts through all she knows. Jinai? Did that Da'Jinn witch try to strike down Taroc's greatest seer? Or Maginus? During the Great War, Maginus had a price on Zinna's head. Every time Maginus soldiers marched upon Zinna's little house the dwelling would vanish. Yet, any of Taroc that would approach would be welcomed by the light of a lamp, the warmth of the hearth, and a freshly prepared meal. Zinna saved and guided hundreds during the War. Has Maginus renewed its desire to end this pillar of Taroc?

    Verona takes a step closer to Zinna, but eventually turns herself away from the ancient woman. She turns and faces Arion.


    "What have I missed?" she asks Arion. There's regret in her eyes. Verona shouldn't have slept. She selfishly took a moment to rest, and Taroc has suffered during her absence. For all she knows their entire world is burning all around them. All because of something as trivial as sleep.

  3. #13
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Branwen


    They had grown quiet, her adoptive people. The looks on their faces, many of them slightly confused and unsure of what Branwen spoke of. Her eyes took on that faint glow of orange as she looked out into her fellow tribesmen and women, as Udaya’s voice drifted softly on the wind to her ears.

    They did not know.

    They were blind.

    There was a void in them, each and every one and it was riddled with the same sickness that pervaded this planet. And that sickness bound their knowledge, their sight, but kept them innocent at the same time. Softly the glow faded as Udaya’s words were planted in the back of her mind. What could she possibly do to help, when she was an alien to this world and did not know about its beginnings?

    As Branwen pondered this thought, Zarena stepped forward. Zareb’s sister, Branwen remembered Mindoka speaking fondly of his previous Second as she was being taught their ways. Tragedy had made her current position possible, it was not something that Branwen would have wanted, but they were events that unfolded before her arrival.

    Branwen listened to Zarena's words, further confirmation of what Uday had spoken and what she had seen and felt within the planet as a whole. Zarena's questions struck her to the core of her heart, particularly that of Mindoka but she would not show it. Once again, Udaya's words so softly spoken reach
    Branwen's ears before she addresses her people.

    "My sister of the Maloto Tribe, Dream Speaker to her people, and my brothers and sisters of all tribes, the news is grave, but not without hope. As we speak Master Alain of Taroc is working with the Prince and Princess to free Mindoka, and to restore the lineage of the gods. Our duty my tribesmen and women
    is to remain true, to be steadfast and ready."

    Branwen's eyes sweep across her people and out of the corner of her eye she sees what Udaya has etched in the dirt with her stick. There is a brief chill that runs up her spine, as a flash of orange touches the color of her eyes. An eerie feeling as if she should know this symbol creeps into her mind.

    Branwen had not missed the woman of Taroc that stood amongst them. It was not uncommon to see their Taroc brothers and sisters here within the land, but as of late, the number had increased greatly due to the treachery of Astral and Da'Jinn.

    Commander Colina Weir, that was her name, Branwen remembered as she listened to the woman speak of what news Taroc carried. The woman looked warn, tired and sore a memory that was fresh in the mind and body of many lately. It was not difficult for Branwen to feel empathy toward the other woman, and she wondered how her new friend
    Merelin and the others were faring at this moment.

    "Commander Colina Weir of Taroc, sister if I may? The road ahead of us will likely not allow any rest, let me refresh your bodies reserves."

    Branwen's eyes began to glow a soft hue of blue and when she saw no objection from the Commander, she pulled from the waters around the camp to help refresh their Taroc sister and ally. Attuned to the elements, Branwen could see where the bodies energy fluctuated with injury and fatigue. The waters swirled and danced around the Commander until avaporous cloud seemed to enter into thebody of the tired Taroc Commander. The effect would be two-fold, a warmth that both eased the aches and pains of muscles and joints, followed by the crisp coolness that would ease the pain from bruising and give the Commander a feeling of being refreshed and energized.

    "Sister of Taroc, your presence here speaks morethan any lack of current information. And as such, your brothers and sisters of Shamaa stand with Taroc in whatever may come. May the gods bless this alliance and give us strength in what lies ahead."

    Branwen looked out amongst her people, her eyes resting on Zarena and then Corlina.

    "Commander Corlina of Taroc, if there is time after all words have been spoken, my hut is yours. Please if you find the time, take rest, and eat."

    Branwen's eyes went back to her people, her mind, tugging at her in different directions. When her people had all spoken their peace, she, Zarena and the Commander would be able to speak with Udaya, for the moment however, Branwen
    gave her people room to ask questions.

    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

  4. #14
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Pictorou



    Astral: A Luxurious Mansion...


    Pictorou steps away from the last canvas. He looks upon his creation. He turns around and stares at all of his creations. Thirteen paintings. All depicting a different scene or element of the horrors he witnessed beneath the Hold of Maginus. Every detail has been captured in every stroke of these paintings.

    The Voice had said painting would take these visions out of Pictorou's tortured mind. It was right, but it failed to tell him this exorcism would also require Pictorou to dwell entirely upon the things he painted. His entire universe became these terrible moments. Every part of his soul and body needed to embrace it all. Whatever piece of the man that had cried earlier was smothered to death by the avalanche of traumatic scenes forever playing out within the artist and on his canvases.

    Pictorou studies his creations. They're perfection. He can't remember the last time he's felt this way about one of his paintings. Let alone thirteen in a row. All painted in a frantic maniacal need to create absolute, vile horror. It's beautiful.

    A crack of thunder awakens Pictorou from his admiration of his own work. He looks out window and sees there is a storm raging outside.

    It's night. The whole day seems to have slipped away from him. Some spark of memory drifts through his mind. He takes hold of that spark and sinks savage teeth into it.


    "The servants should have been here long ago," Pictorou's voice drifts out.

    "Don't worry about them," the voice assures him.

    "If they see these paintings they will worry," Pictorou replies. "They might seek to call someone to put a stop to my new work."

    "Don't worry about the servants," the voice assures him.

    "Why not?"

    "What do you think you made these paintings with?"

    Pictorou looks down at the mostly emptied buckets of paint. He doesn't remember where they came from. The servants should have been here hours ago. Where did those buckets come from?

    Pictorou reaches into one of the buckets. From the tan, fleshy paint he pulls out the tacky necklace that Loretta, his cook, always wore.

    Pictorou tosses the trinket away, it lands on the floor as a splash of cheap silver paint. Pictorou laughs. It's a savage laugh that tears its way free from his slender frame. His maddened eyes blaze wide open as he drinks in his thirteen masterpieces. He has splashes of paint on him, his clothes, the floor, and every brush he used. It's all so beautiful.

    Pictorou laughs and celebrates his rebirth, and a new age for his artwork. It's all the first step towards his masterpiece.

  5. #15
    ((Continued from here.))


    Above Faraking Island: The Heli'Dom Infirmary





    Arion, Second of Taroc


    Arion steps back as Verona wakes up and does his best to offer her ones of his impish smiles. He ends up pursing his lips into a thin line to keep from laughing at the bit of drool on her chin. He inhales deeply and waits for her long train of thought to catch up with her. When she looked at him, he willingly displayed his hands for her to see. His smile melted into something more genuine when she saw his hands, but when she reached his horns-

    Arion stood on his feet and took a step away from her bed. He turned to face the two captured Seers and contemplated what to do with them. Theyw ere enemies to the Guild Master of Taroc, the Keeper of Clow, and indirectly to Taroc. They truly felt they had Taroc's best interests at heart, but so did Darmon when he invaded Taroc during the Great War. He caught verona when she looked his way and turned partway to her. Again, he waited when he saw the recognition of the others cross her face.

    "I's bad, V'rona." he said gently, not too far behind her. He had stepped forward as she made her way across the room. His crimson eyes were gentle as he looked down at her. In his hands were two of Doraen's notes.

    "Don' regre' doin' yourself a service" he said again, still gently. "You needed i'. We needed i'. Even if we were awake... We could not 'ave seen this comin'."

    Arion held out his hand and offered Verona Doraen's notes.

  6. #16
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Qwaring


    The Province of Taroc... On the coast of the Ocean of Liaradon...

    Xalidus gestures to the projected hologram of the globe, and a multitude of small holographic screens blossom forth from the globe. The screens and globe glow with crimson light. Every screen displays a unique stream of data, informing the Secundae of hundreds of different events and current states of forces on the planet. His scarlet eyes glow as he drinks in the information.

    His expression lights up, like a child looking at a toy box filled with blocks that they can use to build anything their imagination will allow. Xalidus is seeing hundreds of disparate elements, and his mind is inventing new ways of combining them into new and improved systems.


    "I will do what I always do," Xalidus whispers. "I will fix what is broken. Until I ascend, I will focus on the small scale. A planet, desperately in need of a greater power."

    He tears his gaze away from the massive amounts of information, and looks to Silvyan.

    "We are necessary mechanisms of the universe," he tells her, as he finally processes her earlier observation of the universe playing with them as they would seek to toy with it. "Qwaring is not entirely a name. It is a role. A function of every universe. It is the one being in a universe that can see the pattern of things, and use the spark of creation to give shape to that order."

    He gestures to the globe and screen

    "This world is unbalanced. Its people are on the verge of war. The dimensional scaffolding has been warped, so that creatures from other levels of reality could run rampant on a city. The barriers between our universe and the other realms has become thin and brittle. Nightmares have breaches and infected- "

    There's a pause and a shudder. His features tense and try to work through something that can't be reconciled.

    "Nightmares- Something- I remember? Nightma- I- "

    Flashes of unending torment at the hands of shapeless fiends. Of his only refuge from a cosmos in constant need of repair, being twisted up into a place of true torment. Suffering an eternity of anguish. Pain.

    Then salvation. Freedom from the Nightmares. But the damage was done. He who would fix the universe was himself broken. Those that saved him brought back an old love he had thought long since gone. Jelena. Beautiful, kind, wonderful Jelena. Her love was enough to return him to limited functionality. He wasn't repaired, but they could get some use out of him. The woman- She- Their child!

    Xalidus looks to Sil, as he experiences the joy of learning he will be a father. He and Jelena were going to have a child. Did they? He tears through his memories. What happened? Where's Jelena? Where's their child?

    Rage overtakes the godling. He staggers away from Sil. He's ripping his mind apart, looking for information he needs more than a drowning man needs air. The pain earned through ages of torture washes through him. The desperate need to be with Jelena, to once more have hope and love to fix his own broken soul returns. Where is she?!

    She was there... Then... She... Why can't he find the memories?! Why?!?

    His mind is fighting him. Both minds. They warn him that the truth will destroy him. He fights against them. Madness has claimed him.

    Xalidus forces his way through the nose, pain, and chaos. Through everything. And he- He drops to his knees. Anger abandons his features. Horror and anguish overtakes him. His red eyes dim and tear up.

    There was no child. There was no Jelena. Those that rescued Qwaring from his endless torture had created an illusion of Jelena. She was a figment, meant to help salvage a broken god.

    It was with this truth that the Qwaring of that older universe had once reached inside of himself, and unraveled his physical structure. In that lost, doomed universe he evaporated into nothing, and unleashed the full power of the spark of creation. In its red power half a universe was consumed and burned away.

    Here, now this conjoined Secundae looks down upon himself. He's crying. He wants to undo himself, to end this pain, to discard what can never be fixed.


    "What have you done to me?" he finally whispers to Sil. He looks to her. "You put this in my mind. All of this. You've curse me with the tragedies and madness of a dead god. Why would you be so cruel?"



    ((We never did RP what happened with the Nightmare Future version of Qwaring and Jelena. I'm guessing him learning the truth, killing himself, and blowing up half the universe is about how well it would have gone.))

    ((Not many happy endings in that SL.))

  7. #17
    ((Continued from here.))


    Southern Rekōdo in the Shamaa Province: Siochana... The Capital City




    Zarena of the Maloto Tribe, a Dream Speaker





    Udaya of Shamaa


    A frown marred Zarena's beautiful features as she listened to the Taroc ambassador's words. Her blue eyes gazed sharply, like a falcon, at Colina.

    "Perhaps something similar blinds Shamaa as we look for answers. I fear we do not have time to wait for things to calm. The world does not feel calm."

    There was a murmur of agreement from those behind and around her. There was an edginess in the air, a trembling in the earth. Even here, in the sanctity of their gathering space, unease was felt and shared by all. The murmur changed to something a bit stronger when Branwen hoped for a blessing upon their alliance with Taroc. Their brother-province to the west was well respected by all Shamaa. Their closeness had been forged in blood and desperate times. The Master of Taroc was a welcome presence among them as was any he sent in Taroc's name. The Commander was not given a second thought as she joined the ranks of the various tribes present.

    "And what of the betrayers: Jinai of Da'Jinn and Herotus of Astral? What fate is theirs?"

    Zarena spoke equivalently to Branwen and Colina. Branwen had been present with Alain of Taroc in the land of the Da'Jinn and the other was his ambassador. His word when he could not speak them.

    "Will the High Council of Rekōdo have two new Guild Masters at their table?"

    There was a groan from Udaya. Something that sounded wounded. The elderly Shamaa woman hopped up from where she'd sat and adjusted her top hat. She stepped forward and squinted into the smoke of the large bonfire. Her eyes became even more slitted than normal as her sharp focus was brought to the flames. Zarena took notice of Udaya and stopped speaking to observe her, but she refrained form turning to follow the old woman's gaze. Udaya frowned deeply.

    "Dats bad right dere, dat is. Dem are not welcome here. Dis is not deir home, it is not. Dey were supposed to be hidden away..." Udaya squinted more deeply into the curling smoke. Then she stopped and her brow furrowed. "Well, of course I know dat de light came back. Dis is the time dat dey have a better chance dan any other. Yes, I know dey are not se ones dat gave her de paint inside."

    Udaya gave her hat a little shove. It remained eerily steadfast upon her long, graying braid. Only the top of it drooped slightly.

    "Dey better not mess up dat weddin. I planned on going to dat for a long- Now who would not invite old Udaya to deir wedding?! Dat's crazy talk. Of course I am going. We not be gettin' into dis again!"

    The Shamaa knew to take bits and pieces from what Udaya said. her parables and riddles were often unsolvable, but the ones that were became prized nuggets of information. Despite her odd ramblings to whatever spiritual portion of herself had detached and lived beneath her worn top hat, she was considered wisest among them.

    "Wise Udaya" The Dreamspeaker's voice seemed to snatch the woman from whatever had caught her attention. Udaya blinked her squinted eyes and looked at Zarena. She grinned a nearly toothless grin and elbowed Branwen's leg excitedly. "What did you see in the fire?"

    Sometimes asking Udaya a question about what she said had its hazards.

    "Dat one is a good girl right dere. Tough like de stem to a Tiarnan Rose, but a good girl to have at your table when de talk of war comes."

    Udaya's eyes were drawn to the smoke again. The old woman visibly shivered and shook her head.

    "We do not speak of what we saw in de fire. De man of darkness comes back to de land we forgot. He brings foul tings wid him dere. He waits for her-" Udaya points a finger at Colina. "And de man waits for him. Traps. Dere be traps everywhere for dose two. Traps in de west and traps in de east..."

    Udaya wished she brought her stick with her. Instead, she crouches down short distance she has to the ground and draws in the dirt before her with a crooked finger. Her long braid swings over her shoulder and plays with the dirt.

    "... And now in de north and south but dose are not ripe yet. So many want for demselves, but only de one can have her. Yes, only he can. He already sprung de east and it is gone. Now de west calls for dem both."

    A crude map is drawn before Branwen. One she will easily recognize as a drawing of Rekōdo. Symbols are drawn, one in each of the compass directions Udaya has named. They are the symbols of the provinces, but not all. Astral in the southeast, and Capios smashed together in a tangled, but discernible mess with the symbol of Maginus, large enough to be a sun blotting out the symbol of the all-women's guild. If Taroc were present, the Maginus symbol has swallowed it. The north has a symbol that is not of Rekōdo at all. Something far older, not that they would know it. It was foreign. Da'Jinn had been smudged out by the end of Udaya's braid as she reached over her drawing to add the odd, foreign symbol. There was another spot where her braid as smudged to the south of Shamaa and Astral. It was oddly the only other place her braid had managed to dapple into her art.

  8. #18
    The Province of Taroc, On the coast of the Ocean of Liaradon


    Attachment 1938


    A Spirit, Silvyan al'Vatar



    His methods were so mechanical and technological. They were an odd pairing, these two forgotten deities. Sil's golden-hazel eyes beheld the many holograms. They bathed her face in a gentle, crimson light. There is something sad in her gaze as he spoke of fixing what was broken here. Of the need for a higher power.

    He did not understand.

    She knew of her role, her function, in this and all universes. She created. She was creation. She was light. She was birth and beginning, forever stuck in a paradox from which she could not escape. She relived the same beautiful dream and the same horrible nightmare over and over and over again. In every universe, she tried to escape her fate. In every universe before this, she failed.

    When he spoke of Nightmares breaching this world, her face changed. Then, when he began to remember, it changed again.

    It changed because she knew his fate in that universe, in that place of no hope and darkness. She knew his fate in all the universes before, just as she knew hers and of every things she created. There were times when those fates changed, nudged a different way by the happenstance of the universe. She was looking for the right universe, the right one. For herself. For her children. For him.

    Silvyan knelt before Qwaring and gently cupped his face in her hands.

    ~She is still here.~

    Her voice is a soft whisper, a terribly ache. Her semi-mortal eyes search his dimmed crimson irises. Light continued to move, her robes on ethereal winds. Her hair, changing, shifting to her current braid, the long and golden, to winged by white light, to mists encroaching all around them, to hair cropped short and back again to the present. Her eyes remained locked onto him and, for a split second, there was a hint of gray in her golden eyes.

    ~Do you not see her?~

    In a universe ravaged with Nightmares, the first thing to be destroyed was the Light. The only thing that could harm them, defeat them. In the presence of too much light, darkness cannot exist. It fails. They came for her, as it had in every other universe and she hid a piece of herself every time within the strongest, safest place she knew existed. They could not see her right under their own noses, but they were becoming smarter. They searched for her and hers in all universes. With light extinguished completely, darkness would reign forever.

    He was rescued, yes. Salvaged, yes. Eluded, but only to give him hope. If there was light within one thing, then darkness could not be complete. They knew where she was, so she was hid within an illusion. Not even Cao knew what she had given Xalidus when she crafted Jelena for him after his rescue, his beacon of light in a fatal, unforgiving universe. Because he and she were the last light of the universe. He was creation and order and where things were created, light was made. A spark.

    But they won. They destroyed the vessel where she'd been hidden, the daughter that crafted her greatest illusion. one so potent and powerful, so crafted with love and hope. When that backbone was destroyed, that needled that had stitched the illusion together, she was gone from him. But enough of her remained to begin a new universe, to give them all another chance. She used the last of herself to create, just as he used the last of himself to destroy.

    ~We are a curse, yes. I am your curse.~

    Her featherlight touch upon his face was warm, achingly gentle as she ruined a tear upon his cheek with her thumb.

    ~If they know we are here, they will come for us again.~

    Again.

    Her voice is left hanging, as if teetering on the fatal edge of the cliffs behind them. There was a sea battering these cliffs. It was so beautiful, and so destructive. Farther out upon this sea, they were gathering. When night fell, they would begin to feast upon a city not far from here. They would know them for what they were if they were not careful. The dark would come to devour the light and this universe, like so many others, would be lost.




    ((No, we never did... Something I've always regretted. I am going to take a big liberty here, so pelase let me know if it doesn't work and I will edit it away... but, maybe he did not know the whole truth. Maybe it isn't about Sil trying to find Neo and live a happily ever after with him and their children after all.))

  9. #19
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Commander Colina Weir



    Southern Rekōdo in the Shamaa Province: Siochana... The Capital City


    Colina bows her head in polite respect as Branwen pours restorative energies into her tired frame.

    "Thank you, Second Branwen," Colina says. She takes a moment and tailors the words of gratitude that are appropriate for the offering of such a gift. "You are a credit to the generosity of the Shamaa people."

    Branwen's work erases days of endless work and little rest. The aches and fatigue of the journey, the hours of reading over reports, the constant work to ensure both Shamaa and Taroc are ready for any and all threats. It is all seen as if from across the distance of a restful sleep. The Taroc soldier only has a grateful smile to offer in exchange for her renewed vitality.

    The Taroc soldier then turns her attention to Zarena. The Dreamspeaker's focus on the larger matters earns Colina's respect. Direct and to the point is something Colina has always strived to be as an advisor. In Taroc military it is easy to get distracted by visions, prophesies, and interpretations or pet-theories about visions and prophesies. Strategy meetings can easily devolve into debates over the exact wording of ancient tomes. That is unless those in the meeting have the focus to stay direct and to the point.

    Then there is Udaya, who soon speaks up. She's exactly what Taroc has sought to keep out of their own military meetings. The bringer of visions that can only communicate what they see in riddles. The involvement of such enigmatic bringers of difficult to understand truths has been reduced to almost nothing in the military planning in Taroc. Colina ponders the presence of Udaya.

    Quickly, the soldier pushes aside her doubts and judgments. Once again she must remind herself that this is Shamaa. Life here is different. Warfare, magic, culture, and even seers of truths aren't as they are in Taroc. Even after all of these years serving as strategic liaison in Shamaa, there is still so much to learn of how things work here. What might not work in Taroc can work perfectly well in this land.

    Deciding not to take too much time trying to decipher this unreadable old woman, Colina focuses on carrying her weight in this meeting, and offering what she can.


    "Word from Master LeCavalier is that an interim leader of Da'Jinn has been chosen by the princess," Colina reports on what she had absorbed from the reports projected through her guild badge. "This leader will keep order in the east until a new Guild Master can be chosen.

    "As for Astral; the agreement was for Herotus to face Taroc justice, and Adaya to face Shamaa justice. However, Adaya has died. She took her own life after helping to free the princess.

    "I have been authorized to amend the previous agreement, and offer a joint effort to get justice for both Taroc and Shamaa. When Herotus is freed from his current imprisonment, our two provinces, in accordance with Rekōdo laws, can work together to make him pay for his crimes.

    "Once Herotus is punished, a new Guild Master will need to be chosen."

    Colina glances down at Udaya's dirt drawings. She doesn't like the prominence of the Maginus symbol. Having the sign of Maginus reaching into what should be Taroc incites a flash of anger in the commander. Colina would die before seeing such a change made in reality. She knows thousands of other soldiers who would pay the very same price for the same cause.

    But this isn't Taroc. This is Shamaa. Udaya and her ramblings and her dirt-map are not Colina's to dismiss. Udaya is of Shamaa, and she is Branwen's advisor. Colina takes in a calming breath and waits for the leaders of Shamaa to make of Udaya's words and drawings what they need to make of them.

  10. #20
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    The Province of Taroc... On the coast of the Ocean of Liaradon...


    Silence.

    There's too much to say and ask. To ponder and understand. Yet, nothing comes out. There are too many thoughts. Too many emotions.

    Is this a trick? Another illusion? Is she really Jelena? Was she always Jelena? Which Jelena? The woman he once knew and loved so many universes ago? The illusion cast to repair him? A dream he programmed for himself?

    It's a thousand riddles tangled together. The Qwaring in him hates riddles. Xalidus needs this solved. He needs answers.

    He closes his eyes, and reaches a hand up to caress the spirit's cheek. He cradles her features. His other hand takes hold of one of her hands. His mind stretches out to hers. There is no science to any of this, only instincts. A need to find the truth. To find Jelena.

    His eyes open. She's there. Somewhere, in some way. He can sense it.

    Xalidus doesn't know if this is the true version of his love. But he does have some understanding of the Angel of Life. Her nature, and her power. She is there for every soul that is born. Her light shines upon them all, leaving an eternal imprint. And each soul in turn leaves an imprint on her. That is enough. Some part of Jelena is there.

    He is certain this is the Jelena that guided him out of his madness in the Nightmare infested universe. Together they fought to safeguard the last refuges of life and sanity in a dying cosmos. And now they're together again. Or are they?

    Xalidus looks away from her, and casts his attention towards the holographic globe and screens that hovers over them. He can see the data on the Nightmares Sil warns him about. They are an infestation moving greasily across this world.

    The Qwaring that was would destroy this world. Burn up the entirety of the magical energy stored within this planet in one cataclysmic supernova of cosmic power. That might be enough to wipe out the dark beasts, and cauterize the portal they have escaped through.

    Xalidus reminds himself that Cao is on this world. Somewhere. He can't kill her. He can't rob Sil of the last of her family.

    He ponders the idea of fighting the Nightmares. Facing them head on like the god he once was. Smiting them with elemental lightning, machines of destruction, and clever methods of annihilation. He has to remind himself that he is no longer that god. He is a Secundae. Creating a single lighthouse had nearly burned him out. Mortals had managed to trick and overpower him. Fighting is not an option.

    Xalidus thinks about running away from this world, but he doesn't know the state of the universe. There is no refuge for him. No other planet he knows will be safe. He hasn't encountered any other First out in the cosmos. What if something is out there killing them all off? What if they're all hiding somewhere for a very good reason? Travelling out into the cosmos could bring him to some greater danger.


    "We need to hide ourselves," he whispers, as if something might hear him if he spoke too loud. "We can use our power together. Rewrite ourselves into the reality of this world, and become beings those beasts can't detect. I think we've done something like this before."

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