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  1. #21
    The Province of Taroc, On the coast of the Ocean of Liaradon


    Attachment 2248


    A Spirit, Silvyan al'Vatar



    Her eyes close under the touch to her cheek. Softly she tilts her head to meet his caress. She opened her eyes to look at him from where he held her. When his hand went to take hers, her fingers slid into his palm and held him. The crimson presence of his mind is met with her golden, mental embrace. He would feel it as he looked into her eyes. A familiarity. A warmth, like a summer wind were blowing and wrapping itself around him. But it went deeper and it went without words. Her eyes had begun to tear as she looked at him.

    When his attention was taken from her, she looked down and inhaled deeply, though, as she currently was, such a thing was extraneous. She knows what he will see in his holograms. it is the same Nightmare she's lived over and over and over again. While the First were out galavanting, in hiding, in exile, elsewhere removed, she was preparing herself to re-live the second act of her own personal hell.

    ~We have~ she said painfully, quietly. ~On Ardea.~

    He would not remember. Not completely. Again, she took in an unnecessary breath. Then she stood. Silvyan walked to the edge of the lighthouse, where the railing of the upper tier dropped off into air and then rock and water far, far below. She walked around to the opposite side of the lighthouse and looked out far, far as her eyes could see across the land. Her hands gripped the railing tightly.

    ~We can do it again.~ There was something in her voice as she spoke and looked far away where her eyes could not possibly see. ~It is different... This time.~

    And there was that edge of pain in her voice again. She could not prepare herself this time. She was afraid. She did not want to leave. Something was keeping her tied down here. He would feel it, unless he'd severed their connection after he searched her. Even so, he would see it. She would not hide anything from him anymore.

    ~I was going to be a grandmother.~ she said quietly. ~My daughter, she is called Nalia on this world... She is expecting. Her time is soon.~

    She looked desperately at the stretched of hilly land between where her sight ended and something precious lay. Unable to bear it, she looked down, away. If they were reborn, she would not know them. But by hiding, it would give them a chance to survive. So long as there was light, there was hope, but unlike all the universes before this, she would not be there, within Cao, to help her. Her daughter would be on her own. And Silvyan al'Vatar, the Angel of Life, was afraid for her.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 10-21-2017 at 09:54 PM.
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  2. #22
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Alain LeCavalier & Olivia Kuhrson



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


    Nightmares in the hands of Darmon. The very notion sends a chill through Olivia and Alain. They had seen Darmon's wrath during the Great War. Each has seen glimpses of what the Nightmare beasts can do. To imagine a reanimated Darmon without any ties to the laws and nature of mankind commanding such dark forces brings many untold horrors to their minds.

    Olivia looks to Nalia, seeking to assess how much this news is hurting her friend. This is all Nalia has ever feared. Everything she has sacrificed and suffered to prevent. Yet, Darmon's High Priests have made it possible without Nalia being aware of it, or capable of stopping it.

    Alain is lost to himself. He's plotting, strategizing. There's a battle to be fought. He knew he would have to fight Darmon, now he knows he must destroy Darmon. There is no other option. This dark power under Darmon's control will doom their world. The undead fiend will spread that darkness to every part of their planet, then infect all worlds beyond. This isn't about vengeance, it's armageddon.

    Soon, Alain returns his attention to the exchange between Pasce and Nalia, then between Pasce and Eri. Alain bows to the departing prince.


    "I will do everything in my power to protect her," he swears to Eri.

    Alain finally looks to Nalia as she speaks desperately to them.


    "No," he tells her. There's a force to his voice. A tone he's never taken with Nalia before. Not a voice of cruelty or need, but one that is speaking as a leader and as a father wanting to only protect his family. "If you go to him, you will give Darmon what he wants. And that won't stop him. Your death won't satisfy him, or the dark creatures that he now houses. You know better than anyone that nothing will satisfy them. They'll devour our entire world, spread out to the cosmos, and snuff out every light in the heavens... And still they will hunger for more."

    Alain approaches Nalia. His expression and tone softens. He's pleading with her. "Please, protect our child. If I know you are doing that, I will have the strength to do what needs to be done."

    His mind shows Nalia something she had once showed to him. A small island where the statue of a man stands a lonely vigil. There's a twisted rod held out in his hand. A rod that when it is pulled apart from the statue will open a portal to a void. There is no escape from this void. No souls to be harmed there. Only exile and emptiness.

    "I once promised I would do what I needed to do," he whispers to Nalia. "Now it is Darmon that must be cast away, and that will make my vow infinitely easier to fulfill."

    He offers her an attempt at a smile, as if this wasn't a death sentence. As if facing Darmon and trying to lure him to the statue and the rod isn't beyond his ability to do. This is the confident Alain LeCavalier that can save Taroc from annihilation, win an unwinnable war, and forge peace where only chaos should ever reign. This is the Alain LeCavalier of the stories that the too proud people of Taroc love to tell whenever the courage and strength of their province is ever questioned.

    Alain takes hold of Nalia's hands.


    "Tell me our little one will be safe, and I will do what is needed."

    Olivia, reading the man's tone, expression, and posture better than most can read a novel, steps off to the side of the chamber. She is casting her thoughts to Captain Gold-Eye, who has not yet left the lake. The crew of the Raven's Triumph have slipped out through a hole in the belly of the undead pirate ship, and have swam into the submerged portions of the palace. In the water filled halls and chambers they find whatever valuables their greedy undead hands can carry off. They were brought here for a noble purpose, but while they're here they're still pirates.

    Olivia reaches out to the pirate captain and informs him of what is happening. He quickly pledges his ship and crew to the fight. The dead don't dream, and so they will have some immunity to the forces of Nightmares. True, the Nightmares can still tear the zombies and skeletons to pieces or burn them with their acidic darkness, but the undead crew of the Triumph will still have a better chance against the beasts than the living. Besides, the dragon skull capped inferno cannons would love to take aim on the Guild Master of Maginus. Darmon has slain untold numbers of dragonkind. The beasts that haunt those cannons want nothing more than to burn that horrible creature of Maginus.

    Olivia slips away from the mind of Captain Gold-Eye, the ghost will need to assemble his crew and prepare to accompany LeCavalier into battle.

    The Necromancer then plucks her Guild Badge from her pocket. She holds the item and focuses on it. A mystical signal is sent forth. A signal that will only be heard by a few. It will be heard by the living members of Alain's elite squad that fought alongside the Guild Master in the Great War. Olivia knows she can't accompany Alain on this mission. Her place is with Pasce and Nalia. Instead, she sends a summons to those that will need to stand with Alain. Those who have, at many points during the War, sworn themselves to the defense of Taroc and the destruction of Darmon.

  3. #23
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Verona Aliester



    Above Faraking Island: The Heli'Dom infirmary


    Verona takes the offered notes. She reads through them, like a starving person devouring a feast. Her reading slows, as she finds she must take time to properly digest all that Doraen has to say.

    Islene had brought a dying Zinna here to the Heli'Dom infirmary, to seek out Doctor Doraen's aid. Islene had not expected to arrive at the Heli'Dom, since she thought Doraen was still in Enchantry. Doraen worked to save Zinna's life.

    It seems Zinna had sought to use her prophetic power to capture a vision, but her power was instead intercepted by something that tried to kill her. This mysterious something had tried to convert her body into paint. The ancient seer managed to break contact with this attacker, but much of her internal biology had been badly damaged and partly converted.

    As Doraen struggled to save Zinna, he realized that Islene was hiding something, he could sense the guilt and sin on the astronomer. He somehow captured and sedated her. Then while transplanting some of her organs to replace Zinna's damaged organs, Doraen interrogated Islene. He learned much from the astronomer during the surgery/interrogation.

    Islene and Zinna are a part of the secret group known as the Circle. A collection of Taroc's mightiest seers and mystics that has recently conspired to overthrow Alain and take control of Taroc. In recent weeks the Circle has tried multiple times to steal a dangerous artifact, attack Alain's trusted allies, and turn the Taroc Regents Council against Alain. They had even managed to turn Sebastian Aether, Verona's former lover and current forerunner for the next Guild Master, into their top agent and enemy of Alain. Verona looks over the list of Circle members that Doraen had gathered from Islene.

    Verona recovers her pencil from a pocket and starts scribbling notes on the list of names. Her hand moves the pencil without her focusing on it, as her prophetic power of automatic writing takes over. She labels these treasonous people. Zinna is their leader. Islene ties them into the star reading part of Taroc's society. Queran, the blind seer, is infinitely loyal to Zinna and has pledged his power to aiding her in eliminating all threats to Taroc. Barram a powerful sorcerer, who is using the Circle to gain more power. And finally the Five Sisters of Miriam, they only recently joined the Circle in order to help protect Clow, and have been too chaotic to truly aid the group.

    Once she is done writing, Verona reads over what she has written, and then passes the page back to Arion. Then she reads the rest of what Doraen has left to them.

    The doctor could not stay to care for his many patients. Zinna and Islene are both stable enough to be left to rest and recover. From Islene, Doraen learned of a trap that the Circle had set up to destroy Alain. The trap is an artificial destiny that Zinna had orchestrated for Alain. The moment the Guild Master sets foot in Astral he will be locked into this created destiny, and will be unable to escape his foretold death. Doraen went to Astral to meet up with Ryth, and together they will seek to disarm this trap and save Alain from it.

    This is the mission Doraen mentioned in his letter to Verona. It's why he has left his cat to Verona, just in case he does not survive this mission.

    Verona starts to worry about Doraen and Ryth, wanting to know if they still live. If they had succeeded, or if there is still a trap waiting to claim the life of their Guild Master.

    Then Verona's reading takes her to the post script where Doraen mentions that Darmon has been returned to life and is going to seek out vengeance. Doraen also mentions that Alain will seek to fight and stop this undead monster.

    Verona looks up at Arion. Her expression is that of the starving person that has eaten too much and will soon expel it all in violent retching misery. She silently hands the notes back to him. Verona, still somewhat shellshocked by it all, seeks out the several suits that have been laid out on a nearby chair. She then returns her gaze to Arion.


    "I suppose we should get you ready for your meeting," Verona distantly mutters. Her mind is fighting, trying to force its way through the chaos, emotion, and confusion. Trying to plot out what needs to be done. Who needs to be contacted. What plans need to be set into motion.

    This is all a bit much to face a few minutes after waking up. All without a shower or a cup of coffee.

  4. #24
    The City of Mararat in Da'Jinn To the Far East of Rekōdo: Jinai’s Fallen Palace

    Attachment 2249


    Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo and Nalia of Enchantry



    When Eri left, the Princess sat back slowly in her thrown chair. She closed her eyes again and allowed a moment of fatigue to show. She had been bought time, but she felt it ticking within her like a bomb. She can feel the hands winding down, clicking closer to their end when all her time will stop and she will cease.

    Then Arxus will get his wish. The Spirits will be free. The Princess's ale eyes lift to regard the Agent of Taroc that had addressed her earlier. Olivia was her name. The Master of Taroc had called her 'O.K.' Pasce exhaled softly and closed her eyes again. She felt herself being moved, pushed down a path for which she was unsure she was ready. It was the same with her Dream, finding Emit, running down a path as she was being pushed forward against her will. Within her head, the Spirits had gone quiet and she felt their silence like a gaping pit in front of her. her toes were dangling over the edge-

    Nalia's breathing was bordering on lost control. She's not looking at anyone. She's thinking. Plotting. Trying to come up with a way she could possibly set this right. She would go to Capios. Her Sisters were there. Kali was there. The Archive of Totems was there, in the catacombs beneath the white palace. She knew each and every one kept there. She racked her mind for something. Anything-

    Nalia jumped. She had not meant to, but she was lost within her desperately-made plans and his voice- he had startled her. Not an easy feat for anyone. The force of his voice was taken-in, registered, weighed. Nalia's lips parted and then the weight of his voice washed away anything she could ever say to him. She tensed as he came closer to her. She was afraid, if she stepped back, she would fall down. She was afraid, if he came forward, it would be the last time he ever came to her. She was shaking, her hands were horribly. He would see that as he came to her.

    Her eyes close and she lowered her head when his visions came to her. She knew that statue. She had unearthed it herself and nearly died trying to decipher its power. She could not recall if she'd ever told him that. It was not important now. She knew what he was going to do. She knew it had to be done. Nalia felt as if her heart were collapsing in her chest. When he spoke to her again, took her shaking hands in his, she finally looked up at him. he was trying to smile and reassure them both against what they both knew.

    "But you'll die."

    Her voice was weakness before him. Her words came out in a broken, tear-filled whisper.


    ~THEIR WHAT!?~

    Arxus's voice was a shrill yell within the Princess's mind. Clow did not look at Arxus. He still stared out at the runes, fading now, within the Princess's mind. Only a single section of the vast tome remained bright and glowing in the colors of Da'Jinn. Capria and her lover wheeled on Clow.

    ~Your Vessel and Enchantry's are with child, Clow? A child!?~

    ~Have you forgotten, brother? Everything that's happened... All we went through because of our love- ~

    ~Because of a child, Clow.~

    He turned to face them. The desperation in their voices called to him. Capria's eyes were incredulous.

    ~And she knew, didn't she? Because the Book has her memories in it. She saw everything... Clow... Why? How could you let them do this?~

    ~They are destined to be together. It is not something I could have fought.~ he said sternly in defense of himself and Alain. ~It is written in the stars for them. This is their fate.~

    ~A repeat of what happened to Capria? To me? To our people? Are you mad, brother?~

    ~It will not happen to them as it did to you both.~

    Pasce's tired voice echoed within her mindscape to each of them.

    ~Emporium seeks to balance itself from the mistakes of the past. If fate brought them together and they are destined to bring forth this child into the world, then I will not allow the same mistake to be made. I have given them my word that upon my return to the throne, I will abolish the law that forbids such unions.~


    ~But... but- ~

    ~But what, Arxus of Maginus? The people of Old Magik are bonded in unity in the same manner as the Master of Enchantry and Taroc. A magik older and more attuned to Emporium than any of our modern magik could possibly hope to be. I cannot deny them what Emporium gives them. To deny them that would be to deny Emporium itself and I cannot do such a thing, for Rekōdo's sake.~

    Arxus fell silent. They all fell silent.


    ~Thank you, Princess~ Capria whispered so gently, her lover reached for her and took her into his arms. He bent and placed a kiss upon her brow. He embraced her and, for the first time since they'd all come together, offered his lover a small smile.

    ~It is a beginning, Capria.~

    Capria looked to her lover and smiled.

    Outwardly, the Princess made a small smile, but it soon faded when she looked upon the star-crossed lovers below. Nalia was looking up at Alain. There were tears stinging her eyes.

    "You'll die" she whispered again. Her hands held his so tightly it would hurt him if he wasn't who he was. "You promised we would be together if I came to Da'Jinn."

    That was unfair. She knew it was. Her hands, squeezing his, were growing numb. She let them go. She was still shaking, but placed one hand where their child was hidden. She inhaled and when she exhaled, the veil of her illusion vanished. The Princess stood slowly from her throne at the sight of the pregnant Guild Mistress. Nalia looked up at Alain and took one of his hands in hers. She placed his atop the incredible roundness of her womb and rested her cold hand atop his. Their child moved within her and he would feel it roll and kick beneath his hand. The other hand gently went behind Alain's head and drew his forehead to hers. He would know this old, old greeting. It was also a good-bye. Something meant for a very long good-bye. Nalia's eyes closed. her hand slid from behind Alain's head to his cheek.

    "You will always be with me and I with you."

    She breathed deeply and sought to restore calm within herself. The only thing she could not reign in was her voice. It sounded like broken pottery. Something strong now shattered, broken.

    "With everything that I am, I will protect little Harbin" she said quietly to him. "I will keep little Olivia safe."

    Nalia broke their touch so she could look up at Alain.

    "I thought that you should know what I'd picked since-" She could not speak of it, of him dying. She had to remain hopeful that somehow he would pull out one of those LeCavalier miracles she'd heard about from the tales of the Great War told to her by so many. Nalia lifted herself up on tiptoe and kissed Alain softly upon the lips.

    "I love you, Alain" she whispered again, with words meant only for him. She reached up from their child to touch the lock of hair in his pocket. "Remember the way home. Find a way to come back to me."
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 10-22-2017 at 07:18 PM.

  5. #25
    Above Faraking Island: The Heli'Dom Infirmary





    Arion, Second of Taroc



    Arion's gentle, crimson eyes watch Verona as she reads Doraen's note. His gaze it watchful but worried. His brow arched at the organization of the Circle's hierarchy. His mouth pursed into a thin line.

    "This is a pow'rful lis' of people, V'rona. Some of Taroc's fines'."

    Arion looked over the list again. Then he looked at Verona. His expression changed. He dropped her pad and the notes gently on a nightstand beside Zinna's bed and wrapped his long arms about her. He pulled Verona to his lithe, lanky form in a warm embrace. For a moment, he rested his chin upon the top of her head. He closed his eyes, listened in vain to clearly hear her Soulsong, and the opened the when he could not.

    "I see your face, V'rona, daughter of Marko. I see your face and I know you are strugglin' wi' this. All of i'."

    Arion re-adjusted how he held her, so that she had the ability to move as she needed. Gently Arion began to sway. He listed to the right and then tapped that foot on the ground, then to the left and tapped that foot. It provided him with a gentle tempo, a soft beat. he closed his eyes again and recited something from far away. Distantly he heard sounds native only to his land. Of the drumming of feet on the ground, of hands as they slapped chests, of voices chanting and jeering together.

    "Wha' is righ' is always righ'. Be true to yourself, my sist'r. My concerns 'ave been raised abou' you, so pay attention."

    He opened his eyes and stepped back so that he could look down at Verona. He held her almost at arm's length and moved her with him as he stepped to the beat he made.

    "Wha' is this problem you are carryin'? 'ow long 'ave you been carryin' i' for?" he asked her, his voice hammering out leading syllables with each beat of his feet upon the ground. Arion put a finger to Verona's chest and tapped her gently with the beat.

    "Sis'r although i' may be difficult for you, and i' seems to be unyielding, no ma'er 'ow you reflec' on i' the answer to th' problem is 'ere insi'e you."

    Arion pulled her closer, still dancing out the rhythm with his swaying and footwork. His lips softly find her forehead and then he brings his forehead to hers.

    "You've go' this, an' I'm 'ere for you. We'll work this ou' together, love."

    He took his forehead form hers and offered her a wolfie smile before returning to business.

    "Le's star' wi' the big problem agains Taroc: Those involved in the Circle will nee' to be captured. Tha' migh' be easier said than done. Who do we 'ave tha' we can trus' to round 'em all up?"

    He looked at Doraen's notes lying on the nightstand.

    "We canno' tell Alain to avoi' Astral or e'll go there because he can' 'elp 'imself. But we nee' to fin' ou' if Doraen an' Ryth 'ave broken Alain's false des'iny. Can they be contacted a' all wi'ou' puttin' them all in danger?"

    Arion frowned at the next thing.

    "Alain will go to Darmon. 'e's a direc' threat and mos' likely goin' after Nalia. Do we know where she is yet? Wha' is Darmon's curren' location? We nee' to make sure Alain doesn' go an' ge' 'imself killed."

    Arion then looked at the suits laid out for him. He made a face of disguist.

    "I'm not mean' for suits, V'rona. Can' I jus' go in wha' I'm already wearin'?"

    He looked down at the tattered remains of his shirt, which was mostly scorched from his battle with the Jinn and Efreet. His military coat was hanging on the back of a chair and it was not much better. Arion looked at his clothing, then back at Verona. her offered her another wolfish smile.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 10-25-2017 at 08:51 PM.

  6. #26
    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 massive lamp at the center of this chamber. It's the light that shines out at the coast to signal and warn. When he converted his prison into this lighthouse, Xalidus had collected all of the mystical wards and traps into this lamp. He assembled these works of sorcery into a system that will continually break down and renew the swirling and light and symbols. The magical energy that was meant to hold him will burn for ages, shining a brilliant light out into the world.

    His gesture opens the glass housing of the lamp, exposing the swirling, shining light. The magical core of the lamp hums with arcane potential. To this godling of gadgets this isn't magic, its shaped Universal Energy. It's a construct of science expressed as a technology shaped by thoughts and ideas.


    "What if we left part of ourselves here, inside of the lamp," Xalidus offers. "A backup of our minds. Compressed into something so small that the Nightmares won't detect it."

    He pauses, and runs the mental calculations.

    "If the Nightmares are not stopped, they will detect this light and snuff it out. This will free the backups and restore us, so that we might flee this world. If they are stopped, this light will live on, growing stronger, and in time it will eventually call to us.

    "We could then return here and reclaim what we lost."

    He gazes at the holographic globe and multiple data-screens. He allows himself to show a hint of uncertainty.

    "There are too many unaccounted variables. I can't be certain this will all play out as planned. However, it's the best of limited options."

    Xalidus finally dismisses the globe and the screens. He's seen enough information. He turns his scarlet gaze to Silvyan. It's her world, her existence, her decision.

  7. #27
    Between Windf'rte and Capios... Waiting


    Attachment 2244

    Darmon, The Returned


    Sound was dampened in the thick, falling snow. Even the sounds of the sea upon the shore of Capios and a bit more distantly on the cliffs of Windf'rte behind him seemed muddled and dulled. He reveled in the silence. He knew it would make the laughter that crept like oil from between his lips all the more profound. It would reach Kali, all of the women of Enchantry, in an eerily amplified sort of way, as if the air around him held no qualms with the re-animated Guild Master. Or it feared him. In its fear, the air let him have his voice in exchange for every other sound it captured in the snow. His laughter deepened as he watch little green cloak begin to scurry in haste and panic beneath the protective green dome before him. The dome would fall. They all would become fuel for the tide of darkness to come.

    Darmon allowed his laughter to take reign of his body. He lifted his throat and threw back his head as he laughed. It echoed and swept through the hills of Capios, through the white city and the white palace on the hill. It would find Kali and Dyani easily, as if was meant for the Second of the Guild.

    "You make yourself look like them. It is a waste of what little beauty you had"

    His laughter had died down with his words. It was sucked unmercifully back into the void of the snowy air. His glowing, violet eyes looked down at Kali. His voice pierced the protection of the dome as if it were paper and struck at the heart of who she was. He rotated his neck and it crackled like a log upon a blazing hearth. Then he left the hoard of Nightmares behind him and floated eerily forward toward the dome. He stopped just shy of it and looked down through its emerald sheen directly at Kali.

    "Where is she?"

    Behind Darmon, the Nightmares began to jitter. Their language slithered through the air in a cacophony of jeers and howls, of nails scraping chalkboards and metal scratching metal. It was a quiet dim of noise that made the spine shiver and the snow dulled it only so much.

    "Where issss Nalia?"

    The hiss in Darmon's rasping, undead voice made the Nightmares spasm with delight The blackness of their numbers blotted out the clouds like a frothing, boiling fog of tar. They pressed eerily closer the more Darmon spoke. Their eagerness hung in the air and poisoned it with the oppressing weight of dread and fear.

    "Naaaliaaaa" Darmon called again. Her name fell into the deep, rasping cackle of a man gone mad, someone not quite human anymore. The depths of his throat were illumined with violet light and as he laughed Nightmare ichor began to drip from his eyes and mouth. It ran like tears of tar down his face and dripped onto the emerald dome. The dome shivered and sent out rippling shockwaves as the Nightmare matter touched it. The sound of burning flared into existence as the dark matter flared into a pulse of white light that scorched the foreign substance from the dome. The Nightmare let out a horrific cry of rage. Nalia had prepared for this. The magiks that were woven into the strong, defensive shield of the dome had been infused with the White Light of Healing. It both blighted out the Nightmares and healed the dome's energies at the same time. The cry of the Nightmares lifted into the air and rattled the thick, snow-filled clouds. The clouds shuddered at the sound and the beautiful, soft, white flakes became heavy drops of Nightmare ichor. It rained down upon the dome, causing each droplet to flare into horrid death. The Nightmares felt each and every burnt droplet of themselves and it only fueled their desire to annihilate everything to do with Nalia al'Vatar.

    The dome became a firework display of white light and evaporating, hot darkness. Amid the deafening sounds, the Nightmare began to chant and jeer, each calling out in their own horrid way, with their own maddening sound.

    Nalia Nalia Nalia Nalia...

  8. #28
    ((Continued from here.))


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





    Fateema of Ordh'u, Merriam of Clow



    Dyani of the Border Forests, Laelis of Lymes



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


    "It speaks" Dyani said to Kali as she spit over the wall where she stood. her stance widened and she shifted back and forth on the balls of her feet. She had pulled her long, fighting knives free from theirs hilts and held them aloft before her at the ready. The look in her sharp, blue eyes was feral as Darmon laughed. When the Nightmares began to speak in dis-harmonic chorus, her eyes went wide and she looked quickly like a hawk studying potential prey or threat.

    The blasts of light high above made her eyes narrow. All the Enchantresses would feel the ruptures on the surface of the dome like pulses of an extra heartbeat. All their cuts of emerald were of the seven, large stones on pillars throughout the city that powered the might and strength of the dome. It only took a handful of sisters, two at each pillar, to power the protective barrier that arched over their city. They were all united, all bonded in Sisterhood and by the pieces of emerald they wore. Even Nalia, wherever she was, would feel the distant drumming upon the shield that she had created.

    "They are abominations, Kali" Dyani said with a mixture of disgust and something akin to anguish. "They must be purged from our land before they infect it like poison."

    All around the two Sisters, the Dire Wolves of the Ailes had come together in a giant, black mass with the Alpha at their head. He sniffed the air and snuffed the foul stench of Nightmares out of his strong nose. A silent communicate was sent throughout the group. The pack behind the Alpha crouched low with their hair raised and began to growl.


    -+-


    Before Kali had finished giving her orders, Merriam had procured the map of the island once more. She moved her glowing fingertips and the island zoomed in to a view of the city. At once, green points of light began to manifest upon the map. Brighter for the Enchantresses, lighter for the Novices. Civilians who lived on the shores for trade were the colors of the provinces from whence they hailed. Many had evacuated the island when word of Darmon of Maginus's murder circulated within Capios. The Head Architect of Enchantry and the Head Healer of Enchantry took up positions on either side of Merriam. Points of emerald were touched by all the women and Kali's message was related verbatim to every Enchantress, who would then relay it to her Novice. Fateema touched the seven pillars that rose up form the hillside of Capios. At her signal, several spots lit up on the pillar, and each spot was touched by an available Enchantress to add extra power to the domed shield. All around the city, the Enchantresses donned their emerald and gold armor and grabbed spears and bows tipped with Dragon glass.

    In blindness, Shalla looked at Evalynn. Evalynn gave her Sister's arm a squeeze. The sound of Darmon's voice caused a stillness to take over Capios. Deafened by the thick, falling snow, the eerie quiet that descended upon the city was debilitating. A thin layer of panic was felt beneath the odd calm. Evalynn began to tremble lightly and Shalla reached out and took Evalynn's hand to steady her. She knew her Sister could hear the Man of Maginus differently than anyone not born of that land could and Evalynn thankfully shielded her from it. But something caught Shalla's eyes, something that made her turn and let go of Evalynn's hand and arm altogether. It drew her to the window and when she looked out and up at the sky above, Shalla let out a soft gasp.

    ~Shalla?~ Evalynn brow furrowed. Shalla did not answer her. Her hands gripped the stone of the window ledge tightly. Her knuckles were white.

    ~Shalla?~ she repeated again.

    "I can see them" Shalla whispered, and caught the attention of all her resent sisters. None of them questioned her recent blinding as a contradiction to her statement. There was a lengthy pause from the Shamaa Sister as her cloth-covered eyes adjusted to the spectral light she saw, or the dense lack thereof. Every drop of Nightmare ichor upon the shield caused a flare of pure white, and then a dimness of smokey ash as the shield was momentarily weakened and then reenergized by the white light infused into the dome's magik. It was like a blackhole had opened itself up and surrounded the island. The presence of everything natural and good and light was blotted out by the Nightmare presence, like an anti-sun, gobbling up everything and leaving no hope. Just a heavy, sinking nothingness. A dread.

    "Creators have mercy..." Shalla uttered to them all. She shook her head mutely before speaking again. "There are so many."

    Another pause. Evalynn was breathing heavily against the things she heard amid her dark magik.

    "Fateema... we should prepare the Caverns."

    Merriam and Laelis looked at Fateema. The Head Architect watched Shalla stare blindly out the window. The enchanted scroll that floated before Fateema began to scribble hastily in shaking script.

    ~A Dire Wolf was lost in our flight from the Ailes to Capios. Shalla was going to die. Her eyes are those of the passed Dire Wolf. She can see spectral images and Spiritual energies. Souls or a lack thereof. She sees what I hear... They are a hoard. Innumerable and without satisfaction. We will be overrun if we cannot cut off their flow.~

    Fateema regarded Evalynn's thoughts and then looked at the Maginus Sister. Her eyes were bleak. The Head Architect looked to Merriam and Laelis and nodded.

  9. #29
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Alain LeCavalier & Olivia Kuhrson



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

    It stings to be called out on his failure to secure a permanent reunion for them. Alain knew he didn't have the power to keep them together in a world that seems designed to pull them apart. His promise was made entirely of hope.

    "Our stars make fools of us all," Alain recites an old Taroc saying. He's often said it to her, it's a middle ground between the apologies she always insists he doesn't owe her and not saying anything at all. The saying is in reference to the idea that no matter how perfectly a life is lived fate will find a way to mess it all up.

    When she takes him by the hand, his hand and arm move easily. He has the strength to snap swords and peel open a knights armor, but her touch is enough to move him with almost no effort. He rests his hand onto her womb. He grins as he feels their child moving. Alain places his forehead to Nalia's, and his eyes close.

    This is all he's ever wanted from his life. This moment. He never sought out power, glory, fortune, or a legend. All of those things were forced upon him. Every one of them cut him off from the possibility of ever reaching this moment. Somehow he is here. Despite the machinations of others or the cruel whims of fate, he gets to enjoy this one perfect moment.

    Alain's eyes open when he hears the names. He exhales a single laugh. His expression radiates nothing but joy.


    "Thank you for being all I ever wanted, and all I will ever need," he softly tells her. He meets her lips and returns her kiss.

    When their lips part, he can only nod to her final words to him. He doesn't want to leave this moment. It isn't enough. It can never be enough. But people are dying. Alain needs to end Darmon and the Nightmares once and for all. Again glory and legend is being forced upon him, and this moment is being pulled away.

    He slips away from Nalia, before the temptation to stay with her becomes too much for even him to resist.

    Alain approaches Olivia. The Necromancer had been looking away from Alain and Nalia. She could not bear to see what might be their last moment together. Instead, Olivia was focused entirely on trying to find some escape for Alain. Some secret weapon or brilliant strategy that would save him.

    Olivia turns to look at Alain, and her azure eyes convey the tragedy of having no solution for him. He gives his old friend a warm, thankful smile before wrapping his arms around her and hugging her. When they first met, Olivia saw Alain as an instrument to help her gain revenge, and Alain thought he would have to someday kill this possible Maginus agent. Now they embrace as the greatest of friends.

    Alain whispers something to Olivia. She nods to him.


    "Farewell, LeCavalier," Olivia tells him as their hug ends. "I'll talk to you later."

    Alain pauses a moment, unsure of what exactly Olivia means. He wasn't there when Olivia and Nalia discussed how the necromancer deals with losing others. He only knows there's not enough time to ask, and so Alain moves on to Pasce.

    Alain approaches the throne, and kneels before Pasce.


    "It has been an honor serving you," he solemnly tells her. "You have faced many impossible situations with courage, wisdom, strength, and compassion. Heron would have been proud."

    As Alain rises from his kneeling, he pauses in thought, and then continues speaking. This time he talks at Pasce, but not to her.

    "Clow, I wish things had been different," he tells his former guide. Clow had been tricked into dooming Alain's family. Alain can never forgive the spirit for that. This has always been a source of animosity between the man and spirit. Had things been different, they could have been the greatest of friends. "For an old ghost, you were sometimes useful."

    Alain briefly flashes a sly smile. That's possibly the closest thing to a compliment that Alain has ever conveyed to Clow. If things had been different, Alain would have said something more heartfelt and thankful. Alain is aware that Clow will understand that this is the best Alain can do for his spirit-mentor.


    ((I'll have Alain leave in my next post, so this way Pasce will get a chance to respond to him.))

  10. #30
    ((Continued from here.))


    Rekōdo City: In the Dungeon of the Grand Palace


    Prince Eri, Acting Ruler of Rekōdo and Emit, High Chronicler of Rekōdo


    It was dim in the room where they kept him. There was little light now, rarely any light except when the sun managed to get through the tall, thin window high above on the wall where he sat. He sat with his back to the wall. His arms were crossed atop his raised knees and his head was down with his chin almost touching his chest. It was cloudy outside. Cold crept in with the bluster of a northwestern wind through the window above him. An occasional flake of snow fluttered through with the wind and fell down into the sand and stone at his feet. Just a few flakes. There would be more snow to the north in the Great Swells and hill sides of Maginus. He did not care about snow. He was staring down into the sand and thinking about a book he'd sent to the Princess of Rekōdo.

    He was thinking of more than that. He was thinking about the beginning of all of this, about the choice he'd made to follow a Princess who had asked him to act on blind faith. She had asked him to kidnap the Guild Masters of their land. They had never gotten to complete that part of her plan. He'd run with her, carried her across the city. They were taken to Da'Jinn. He had been tortured. the flesh had been skinned from his fingertips up his arm-

    Emit winced, a reflexive twitch in response to the memory of torture. He pulled his dress coat further over his frame. His breath was coming out in clouds of white. It was cold within the cell. Since his capture at the Central Library, he'd thought of nothing but the beginning. Of the faith he'd put into helping someone he was obligated, by law, to assist, but someone who had begged him out of need. He remembered the first night he saw her, the look in her eyes when she finally came out from where she'd been standing and watching him. He'd known someone was there. He just did not know it was her.

    There was no magik here, in his cell. Wards as ancient and old and strong as the beginning of this palace had been placed to strip the occupant of any magik within them. As soon as he had walked through the opened door, which had been like walking through a wall of cold gelatin, he felt his magik being peeled away. Stripped from him with every step inside he took. When he stumbled forward into his holding cell, the door was closed behind him. The thick, oaken door that barred him here held the imprint of his magik, like a stencil of himself, upon the outside of the door. If he tried to escape, to leave, he would be magikless forever- a fate all of their land considered worse than death. His magik would remain trapped in the door until unhinged and burned as firewood. Then everything of him would have been lost forever.

    None of the doors on the holding cells had locks.

    He knew this would be his fate. He knew the second she walked into the light of the closed Library in the early hours of the morning that his end was coming and it was coming fast. It is a thing left out of heroic stories: the plight of the sidekick. The suffering, the torture, how little a role they do play except to lift up those above them. Silently. Sacrificially.

    And yet he could not sit here and wallow in the destiny fate had handed him because he remembered the sounds he heard while being tortured. It was not the running water that he remembered best. Not the grunts of the Second of Da'Jinn as he sliced and skewered him, as he peeled his flesh from his bone and muscles or the sounds of his own pain leaving his mouth. Those were all a backdrop for the sound that haunted him the most.

    The heavy sound of the door being opened jarred him. Light snow covered the sand and stone before him. The snow was light enough to flutter and swirl away as the Prince of Rekōdo entered. Emit stared up at him in a moment of incredulity before getting up stiffly and coming to his knees before royalty. His back hunched in the sudden coldness from the window. Snow fell on either side of him and landed in his hair. Emit's mind worked frantically. If the Prince was here, where was the Princess?

    "Have they treated you well?"

    It was an odd question, considering where he was and why he was here.

    "As well as is deserved, Majesty, for one who abducted the Princess and put Rekōdo into an unstable state."

    The Prince fell silent a moment. The door was left open. He knew his two guards would be there. they were always with or near the Prince. Emit swallowed, still bowed over. He felt utter cold creeping down his neck and in the places on his back where his clothes had been ripped or burnt away. He had battled The Guardians in the second most sacred sanctum of the Library. Emit shivered.

    "Did the Princess receive the Da'Jinn tome?"

    "She did and thanks you for your sacrifice."

    Emit laughed, a short hurtful sound. He shook his head, to clear the laugh from the air around him.

    "I hope it will be helpful for her and for the Masters of Shamaa and Astral."

    The Prince said nothing. Emit's breath came in fast plumes of white. Emit dared to look up at the Prince and found him staring down at him from the steps leading down into his cell. He waited and when the Prince said nothing in objection, Emit straightened his back. His breath, shooting from his mouth as white clouds belayed his pain.

    "What will become of me? Am I to be Quieted?"

    The Prince's lips pursed.

    "No" he said carefully. "The Princess requested that I not allow that to happen."

    Emit watched the Prince carefully. He and his sister shared similar mannerisms.

    "You disagree with her decision."

    The Prince's lips pursed again. His stern eyes bore holes into Emit's unwavering blues.

    "It is her wish."

    "Not yours." Emit tried to offer the Prince a smile, but it failed him. "I am not a threat to your sister, Majesty."

    "You were following her orders."

    "No" the High Chronicler said. "I aided her when she asked for help. She did not order me."

    "You were obliged by the Oath you took upon ascending to your position."

    "Yes" he said distantly as he looked down to the sand. It was mixed with snow now.
    "but she asked regardless of my obligation. It was unnecessary for her to ask."

    The Prince fell silent.

    "She is fond of you."

    The High Chronicler looked up at the Prince. He was not sure how to take what he said. For a long moment, they were silent together in the cold and snow of the prison.

    "What will become of me? You had not answered."

    The Prince smiled then, a short-lived thing of one man's wits being matched by another's.

    "You do not miss much, man of books." the Prince said. His smile faded. "I am afraid you must remain here."

    The High Chronicler stood. There was movement in the shadows outside the cell and a slight motion from the Prince's hand. The movement ceased.

    "You have fulfilled your purpose for my sister, but you cannot be freed yet."

    Eri looked around the cell.

    "You will be released from this place, but you cannot leave until I speak to Rekōdo of your innocence. Your position will be yours upon your release. For now, you will remain here."

    "I can be of better use to the Princess outside this cell."

    The Prince fell silent a moment.

    "You agreed to kidnap Guild Masters. You spirited the Princess away from me when I could have kept her from harm. It is my Oath, High Chronicler, not yours. You only managed to get the heir to Rekōdo captured by traitors. Your actions could have thrown the entirety of our world into war."

    The High Chronicler took a step forward and the Prince's guards were there.

    "I had no wish for any of that to happen. I only-"

    "You protected my sister as best you could, when she asked it of you" said the Prince.
    "but you are not capable of protecting her as I can."

    The High Chronicler's mouth opened and closed.

    "She said you are among her most loyal and that you should not suffer for that. I made an Oath to the Princess, and I do not break my oaths."

    The Prince turned and walked back out the door. His guards looked to the high Chronicler to assess his threat-level. The man passed through the door before the woman. The latter hesitated just a moment and half-turned, but then she too left and the door was closed behind him. There was a pulse from the door as it shut that swept through the room. The opened window became sealed with a stained glass window of the infinite diamond symbol in multi-colored panes. The room instantly warmed and a desk, a deep shaded rug and writing table appeared along with a shelf of unlabeled books appeared. Candelabras like the walls and turned the cold, unloving cell into a homey nook.

    There was still sand in the room, though it was contained neatly into an hour glass upon the desk. Emit walked silently over to it. It was turned over and the grains of sand fell orderly and neatly into a growing pile at the bottom. Emit stared at the falling grains of sand. The sound of water flowing grew in his ears, of a man grunting with sick joy and effort as he flayed him under the sweet-scented water. He screamed. He remembered the agonizing feeling of his flesh being pulled from his body, but the haunting sound of the Princess screaming his name was the haunting solo in the symphony of his tragic memory.

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