Roe - Interage
On the northern coast of Olegard lay a port city that saw ships from across Evalon docking at it's shores on their way to lands further east or west. The port's central location and it's tolerant Rowan authorities meant it had a booming population of Kinderven who managed to beg and scavenge a reasonable lifestyle from their more civilised hosts. At night they would gather in vacated premises and share tales, whilst keeping a watch for any overconfident law enforcers or strange adults.
One night as the days were getting longer and autumn setting in, there were five Kinderven sheltering under an abandoned ship, huddled around a small fire. Four of them, two boys and two girls, were listening enraptured to the fifth who was excitedly telling a story to his peers. He was dressed in a heavy coat several sizes too large and held a unlit pipe.
"Then, you have to climb all the way up the freezing mountain and guess what you find?" he asked with a grin.
"Where's the mountain?" one of girls asked. The child sighed.
"I've already told you, it's the tallest one in Almia, you know the place over the sea. Now, guess what's up there?"
"No, guess again!"
"They aren't real,"
"I don't know, tell us!"
"Fine," the storyteller child replied, "there's an entrance to a cave right at the top of the mountain. Inside there's a thousand tunnels going in every direction and high bridges and holes so deep they don't have a bottom, you just fall for ever and ever. Even if you don't get lost, the tunnels are stalked a big red dragon with huge teeth and claws that could rip your head off in one bite and it can smell kids from miles away."
He grinned his peer's shocked faces and adjusting his pipe, continued.
"If you get the right route though and don't get eaten by the dragon, you finally get to the end of the tunnels where there's a big swirling hole in the wall called a portal. On the other side there's a crazy world which is the Broken Heavens where lots of monsters and bad creatures live. They have even longer and sharper teeth than the dragon and they are ten times meaner. Some people say though that if you go really far into the Broken Heavens you'll get the best reward in the whole universe, but you have to be good to find it, if you are a bad person then you get stuck there forever!"
Three of the children gazed upon the storyteller child with admiring expressions but one of the boys didn't look quite so convinced.
"I bet you're lying," he said sceptically, "How would you even know all this?"
The child gave his doubter an angry stare and stood up abruptly.
"How do I know?" You want to know how I know?" he yelled, throwing his coat and pipe to the ground.
A blinding light filled the abandoned ship and the children covered their eyes desperately to protect themselves. When the glare finally passed they saw in the place of the storyteller child stood a shining fox, both regal and furious at the same time.
"I made the portal!" the fox cried with a deafening shout and then leapt over their heads and in a moment had vanished into the darkness of the night. It took several minutes for the four Kinderven to recover and once they did there was only one thing about the experience they sure about: they wouldn't be getting any sleep that night.
Dåre - Interage
The planet Dåre had created was not the largest one out there, in terms of size. However, it wasn't quite alike the other planets, as it appeared to be an endless ochean of small islands and isles. That was not all the planet hid, but for now, he would leave it be, as it didn't look as if it was ready to be explored yet. He gave it the name of "Ilea". As he looked at it from the sky, he saw that it did not have any creatures, only some kinds of plants and external things. Thus, he created animals to live there, letting his madness have its free run, creating every single creature he could think of. Well, that would fit, somehow he figured the man-eating pony would not have too much to eat without some actual men.
The islands were now filled by life, but because of the amount of creatures, it took many, many years. When he was done, he found a comfortable place, at the top of the closest island, and fell asleep on the carpet for more than a hundred years.
Auctor's speech was met only with more shouts and jeers. The Ekiruru, so upset over the lose of their Goddess, wanted nothing to do with unity or order. They yelled swears and threw stones at her, until one spoke up. For a moment Auctor thought it was support for her cause, but her hopes were shattered when she heard the Erikuru's words.
"KILL HER!!! KILL THE HEATHEN BITCH!!!"
As one, the horde rushed forward with a defiant battle cry. Many were pushed or thrown into the lake in the confusion, but many more got over the bridge to attack the palace guard. It was only a matter of time before they would be overwhelmed. "This unit will assist the guards while others arrive." said the synthetic to her right, then jumped of the balcony to join the fray. "Come with me, my Lady." barked the other synthetic, and lead Auctor back into the palace. It pushed her into the castle armory and went to bar the main entrance. Auctor looked around at the many weapons around her. She had had this room installed only because her advisers at troubled her for it, and had never actually expected to use it, certainly not against her own people.
The synthetic returned and blocked the double doors to the armory, then faced Auctor. "The guards are dead." it reported. "The rebels will breach the doors within minutes." The synthetic walked over to one of the weapon racks and grabbed a spear, which it then trust into Auctor's hands. "Be prepared to defend yourself."
It was at that point that the full weight of the situation crashed down on Auctor. Her beloved city was burning, her people were dying, her family was already dead, and she would soon follow suit. She collapsed against the far wall of the armory and started shivering from a non-existent cold. "There's only one being who can save us." she said through stammering lips, and reached out with her mind. "My Lord, Pentar." she said out loud, not bothering to hide her thoughts. "My city and people are dying, and I admit I am powerless to stop it." She heard banging on the door, but continued her prayer. "The order of Minas Kei has dissolved, and my own people threaten my life." She realized she was crying, but didn't care. "Please, help us. Deliver us from chaos!"
There was a brief moment of where the only sound was the banging on the door, and Auctor feared the God of Order had abandoned her. But, in answer to her prayer, a great storm gathered above the city. Many of the rebellious Ekiruru could have sworn they saw the figure of Pentar in the clouds. Suddenly, bolts of lightning arced down from the clouds and into the Ekiruru's ranks. It was as if heaven itself was waging war on them, for the lightning only hit the horde outside the palace. By morning of the next day, they had broken and fled to other parts of the city. Among the many lightning charred bodies, Auctor found a single scroll, on which was written only two words: You're Welcome.
Cassiel sat alone. The other gods...he had no idea what to do with them! They weren't going to be peaceful, any arangement met would last less than an age. It wasn't even funny. Cassiel had to take his mind off of it, in fact, what was it Roe was doing now? Something powerful...the portal! It was where the Seven came, almost entirely uncharted and highly dangerous...and now it had two openings. Right into the mortal world. Where things could come out.
"This...could be bad."
Cassiel raced down to Evalon and teleported to where the portal is. The dragon guarding it looked like it was about to strike, but Cassiel revealed part of his true form at it and the beast relented. He figured it was time to get a few answers. The humans didn't know, the Girigori didn't know, the gods themselves had no idea what was in this thing. He wanted to know now, and he had the tools. Perhaps the place was possible to redeem? To save even!
Cassiel took out stardust and aimed it at the portal, making a large ball of flames and enchanting it to scout the plane out for him. It ended up growing and growing in mass until it finally exploded, whisps flying about the Broken Heavens, taking note. They wouldn't last forever but Cassiel delved in to his mind to figure out what they were seeing. Hope had to be there, redemption.
As Cassiel dove into the depths of his mind, a white noise began coating him. Screams of lament, death and horror all pervaded in his mind. Visions came and went of terrible creatures, they seemed vaguely familiar but terrible at the same time. And...there were several planets! Creatures of all sizes but twisted and evil in their own ways. He couldn't make out what they were. This world had no court it seemed, but something was controlling it. Masters of certain areas of every planet, some tyrannical and others destructive.
A dark voice unlike anything Cassiel had heard before blasted its way in his head. It said so many things at once that Cassiel could hardly make out what it was saying, only two words came out. "YOUR FUTURE". He fought it with all his might. He wouldn't let it overcome him, he would never show weakness to it! He would see what it was hiding and he would fight it if need be! All of the realm came into his mind at once.
With a flash, the flames died and Cassiel ejected himself from his own mind. The voice died and Cassiel teleported as far from that place as possible, white as a sheet. What...what was that? How would he ever explain what he saw? It was terrible.
"Creator help us..."
Grix whisked away his new mate and their offspring to the cold reaches of Salustis, deep in the core of a mountain. By the time of the next age, these skies would be filled with his children. He smiled and laid down for a long rest.
Once Aen had hidden away the weapon and spread rumors of it's existence, the god returned to Evalon. He realized that it would not be fair to give so willingly to another race and ignore his own. He thought what would be best to give to his people, and suddenly it struck him. A twin of sorts to what he had just crafted, something that would connect their people across the cosmos. He reached into the earth and pulled out a shard of obsidian, then cut at it into a fine knife. When he was finished, he spilled a single drop of blood onto it, shaping it into a single rune, mimicking the one he'd done before. Then he reached across the universe with his power and tied the strings of fate attached to the weapons together. Hopefully this would lead to a powerful new bond, and not more war.
The Storyteller yawned as he moved onto the next part of the story, the children as attentive as ever.
"Thus it was a thousand years before the next age would begin. Many of the gods busied themselves in this time, for instance Nivix created a whole new planet known as the World without a Name with few lifeforms and many earthquakes. He was not the only god to create something of great consequence, for reasons we'll come to later young Roe summoned a second portal to the underworld upon Evalon, however being deep inside a mountain and guarded by an angry young dragon, reaching it would not be trivial for mere mortals. Realising that Roe had done this, Cassiel took the opportunity to scry the Broken Heaven's beyond the portal and was shocked to the core by what he saw.
On the young planet of Ilea Daare created a whole of variety of non-sentient species to it's inhabit it's seas and lands, each more bizarre than the last. On Evalon meanwhile Aen forged a new weapon to serve the Changelings and Pentar lead the Reclaimation of Minas Kei by Auctor and her loyalists, leading to a new regime of order and prosperity.
From the Hallowed Court Vantric created the Mindstorm, a moving mist of psychic energy that would reveal the secrets of those caught in the storm. Melanthios teleported his enormous library of the gods to the core of Salustutis.
Not every god was so lucky however, M'endar tried to enchant the Floating Continent of Ys so it was supported by mist, however the wounds from the previous age were still fresh and the mist evaporated in a moment."
"What about Zareth, what did he do?" a child asked.
"Absolutely nothing, he must have been sleeping!" the Storyteller laughed and then with a sip of his pipe contined the tale.
"And so began the Fourth Age. This was a time when great machines were built not by gods but mortals, when nations were shook by the blows between tyrants and their peoples and the gods tried their best to hold to the truce agreed at the end of the last age. How would all this unfold? Well..."
Nivix - 30, 2
The wind was hot. Uncomfortably warm and entirely devoid of moisture, it blew across the landscape like a minor wraith from Heck, annoying without being particularly dangerous. Still, it was to be expected. Everything, even the air, was hot in the middle of a desert.
The zephyr made its way across the vast plain, flying over dunes of sand and whatever plants were stubborn enough to cling to life in such a hostile environment. It soared underneath great stone overhangs, howled through vast, yawning canyons, and tore across the surface of half a dozen plateaus and mesas, its ethereal fingers grasping at grains of sand and scraggly bushes alike.
It was enough to wake Nivix up from his slumber.
Grumbling as he pushed himself up to a sitting position, the deity scowled at nothing in particular. Ergh, his head... You'd think being immortal, not to mention nigh-omnipotent, would keep you from having to worry about little things like dehydration.
Smacking his bone dry lips together, the god willed a canteen, full to the brim with crystal-clear water, into existence. A few gulps of the ice cold liquid proved to be enough to staunch his thirst, and Nivix sent the now half-empty container back to the oblivion it had come from. With a grunt, the madman rose to his feet, feeling slightly refreshed a bit more awake. Turning his gaze skyward, Nivix stared up at the brilliant ball of fire hanging overhead, trying to judge just how long he had overslept. One, maybe two decades?
Sighing, the god lifted his arms upward, stretching them to their full extent in an attempt to work out all the kinks and aches that had built up during his nap; his legs and neck soon received the same treatment, filling the air with the sounds of cracking knuckles and popping joints.
"Ahhh, that's better."
It was only halfway through his warm-ups that Nivix felt the power: His power, recharged and filled back up to a full 100%. Enough raw energy to destroy the entire solar system, tucked inside his relatively tiny frame.
Needless to say, it felt absolutely exhilarating.
"Ahahahaha!" he shouted, spreading his arms wide and allowing a burst of power to fill the air around him. "It's good to be alive, isn't it?!"
It looked like he had woken up just in time. His timing, normally off by at least a couple years, had decided to wake him up today, the day that whatever cosmic force reigned over existence decided to check off another Age. He was rejuvenated, stuffed full of life and energy! He felt like he could do anything he wanted to!
He felt like it was finally time to fulfill an old promise.
Gathering his strength, Nivix leaped up. Hurtling a solid five hundred meters into the air, the god finally landed on top of one of the desert's plateaus, crashing onto its smooth surface with all the subtlety and grace of a ton of bricks. Bracing his legs and feet against the ground, he took in a deep breath.
And then he roared.
"MELANTHIOOOOOOOOOOOOOS! COME ON, LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!"
The mother and child
"I don't know what I'm going do do about this." Rouf said, slamming the shutters of his house shut and locking out the weather.
"Well you knew the risks when you took her to bed." The midwife cooed at him while she washed her rags.
Rouf grumbled to himself. He'd heard the rumors that Arya was wrong in someway, that she hadn't taken to the things omen normally did. He didn't know anything about that but it quickly made itself plain. Countless tries and only three of them stuck and then they came out dead! It took them long enough but one of his Stryfelings came out of her breathing... breathing badly... and it was all scrawny and pale. With this luck then he wouldn't even be able to get some one new, they'd think she spread it to him.
"Fellow will probably survive a few nights." The old crone said. "Keep him in milk and furs and maybe he'll manage to get fully grown." She turned to face the flustered father. "But he wont be much, little thing like that will have to fight to last his first winter. Really it be best to take him out to the woods." She punctuated that last point with a sagely nod.
"I'm not leaving it for the foxes!" Rouf protested. Something didn't sit well with him about abandoning the little thing in the woods. "No, I'll make it quick, kinder that way. I'll take it to the point outside the hold. Sure no one wants to see that."
All the while Arya was listening behind the locked door and she heard every word.
She slinked over to her new born and wrapped another layer of furs around his little shivering form. She never let anyone else see her mourn the others. They were always so cold and clammy, everything about them had felt off but she had held them all the same after the others had left her alone, before they took them away. She had promised herself that she wouldn't get her hopes up, that she wouldn't get attached. But holding him now, having his little eyes looking up at her. She had fought too hard to have him, to bring this little life into the world.
"I wont let them take you." Arya whispered to her newborn. "You'll see, you'll be stronger than all of them."
Still a part of her was so tired, felt so weak, even she couldn't fully believe it. She slumped down into the bed and held him closer. A silent tear rolled down her cheek.
Prayers are strange things, most think that the gods only listen to those that crowd into temples and chant out pre-written scripture. They never think that a pure thought or action could get their attention. In that moment Arya silently pleaded for any spirit for help. The wild spirits, her house spirit, anyone who would listen. In its own way, this spoke to one divine being above the others.
Melanthios 27AP, 1MP
Melanthios teleported himself to the imperial palace. He saw the generals and advisors walking out of the throne room, all of them on their way to fulfill their orders. He walked into the room, his dark aura hidden within his black robe. Maeglin turned around, his mouth opened wide and it soon turned into a bright smile. "Father you are back." He said walking towards him, Melanthios nodded and hugged his son tightly.
"I am finally back son, I am sorry about leaving like that.. my wound was just too..." Maeglin released the hug and stepped back. "No it's okay Father, I understand." Melanthios placed his hand on Meaglins shoulder and smiled. "I am happy to hear that my son. And I see that you have grown up to be a man, of which a father can be proud." Maeglin smiled brightly, happy that his father was finally back.
"We will talk more later son, for now just keep my reappearance a secret. I do not want my enemies to know I am back." Maeglin nodded, he understood why. "I won't tell anyone Father, you have my word." Melanthios smiled as he took his hand away, "I will be back soon. And Maeglin, I am proud of you." He then turned around and faded. Maeglin was left alone in his throne room, he took a seat on his throne still unable to fully grasp what just happened.
Melanthios appeared in front of Akladai, who was busy reading a book in his library. "Ah Father are you finally done healing?" Melanthios nodded. "You have done a good job with Maeglin, he has grown up to be a worthy son." Akladai stood up and smirked. "Isn't that what you asked me to do Father? Though next time, please give me something to lessen the pain. It was quite intense, I shouldn't have underestimated him like that."
Melanthios nodded, "I will be sure to give you something next time. And what has Valerie been doing for all these age?" Akladai stood up and walked over to Melanthios. "She has continued her studies under Zareth, though I am sure she would be ecstatic to hear of your return. But anyway what is the plan now Father? Crush everyone, wait?" Melanthios seemed to think. "Right know we need to build up our forces, there is no need to fight anyone just yet." Akladai shook his head. "What about.." "MELANTHIOOOOOOOOOOOOOS! COME ON, LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!"
Akladai pointed up at the sky and said. "What about him?" Melanthios smiled. "He can't fight what he can't find now can he?" He focused and called his objects of power to him, he then grabbed them both and teleported. He hadn't started this new age to fight such uninteresting people, all he cared about now where his allies. "Come to me magic, it has been too long since I cast a spell". An confident smile formed on his face, but he didn't want to risk anyone interfering with him.
The only thing he could think of was asking his allies for help. "Greetings friends and allies, it has been a while and I apologize for vanishing so suddenly. I am afraid I had underestimated my wounds, and spend the last 1000 years recovering. I know I have no right to ask this off you, but I humbly request your help with creating a shield around Salustutis. I simply wish to defend my planet from outside attacks, and ensure that my race is safe. " He smiled, he was sure at least one of his allies would help.
He then focused and the magic began to gather around him. The magic began to spread out, and it began to move around the worlds. Slowly forming into a massive shield, one which only Maeglin and himself could control. His wisdom reacted with his magic, which began to spin together with the power of the orb. He focused all of the power around him, he couldn't fail. He wouldn't allow his first action to be a failure, it just couldn't happen!
Nivix - 30, 2
The madman stood atop his perch, eagerly awaiting an answer. An answer that wasn't going to come, it would seem. Seconds turned into minutes, which in turn became hours, and still Melanthios remained silent. Why, if Nivix didn't know better, he would have sworn that his old partner was ignoring him!
But no, that couldn't be it, now could it? He and the mage had agreed to this fight years ago; there was no way Melanthios would go back on his word, was there? Nah, couldn't be. He was probably just held up by boring business, or he'd lost track of the time, or something along those lines. Yeah, that was it. That had to be it.
Convinced of his reasoning, Nivix allowed himself to finally sit down, to wait in a more comfortable position. Just in time for his mind to begin tingling.
He could feel Melanthios' power wafting through the cosmos, recharged and ready to do... something to do with Salustutis, apparently. Nivix didn't care enough to work out exactly what was going on. It was apparent that the mage was ignoring him! The nerve!
"I thought we had a deal," the chemister growled to the deserted landscape. "I thought that you at least had the guts to face me, but no. Apparently even that was expecting too much of you, coward, liar, thief."
So be it. If the Melanthios refused to come to him, then the madman would have to go to the fool.
A crackle of electricity filled the air, and Nivix vanished.
Nivix irritably paced along in front of the throne, heedless of the Deus Filli guards that were mustering all around him. It hadn't exactly been difficult to find the chief palace on Salustutis; you just couldn't hide a building with that many spires, arches, buttresses, and gold-leaf, after all. Locating Melanthios, on the other hand... Yeah, that was proving to be a bit of a challenge. The bastard had apparently seen fit to vacate his royal housing, and had been smart enough to not leave behind any trace of where he'd gone.
"Stand down, invader, or die!"
Tilting his head, Nivix appraised the (Judging by his ornate armor, high-ranking) guard that stood before him, the one with a grimace on his face and a spear clutched in both hands. The soldier certainly seemed brave enough, he supposed, but he apparently wasn't smart enough to recognize when he was horrifically outclassed. "Yeah, no, not going to do that," Nivix replied, resuming his pacing. He had better things to do then explain his purpose to a mere lackey.
Said lackey apparently didn't take too well to being ignored. Raising a hand, he gestured to the contingent of soldiers behind him. "Take him down!"
Nivix's musings were interrupted as seventeen spears, a dozen arrows, and four magical blasts tore through his body. His flesh was skewered, flayed, torn open, one of his eyes was reduced to a smear of jelly on the ground, and a good gallon of his golden blood splattered to the ground.
"Oi," the madman began, turning to stare at the soldiers, an annoyed glint in his remaining eye, "that was rude. Jeez, so much for hospitality. Brats these days..."
With a flick of his iron hand, Nivix reduced the various weapons impaling him to little more than molten slag. "Now shove off before I do the same to you."
Already healing his injuries, the chemister stalked across the room and plopped himself down into the, admittedly quite impressive, throne. Ignoring the bloodstains he was spreading across the great chair, the god bent his head forward in thought, trying to scope out his next move. He needed to get Melanthios' attention, to draw him out... but how?
...Damn, he really was an idiot sometimes, wasn't he?
Hey, coward. You really need to hire some new guards; these punks didn't even offer to take my coat before sticking a dozen spears in me.
Anyway, feel free to ignore me all you want. But I'm going to track you down, and I'm going to drag you, kicking and screaming if that's how you want to do it, back to our arena. And until I do, I'm going to be sitting here, bleeding all over your precious little throne. Got it?
Melanthios 27AP, 1MP
Hey, coward. You really need to hire some new guards; these punks didn't even offer to take my coat before sticking a dozen spears in me. Anyway, feel free to ignore me all you want. But I'm going to track you down, and I'm going to drag you, kicking and screaming if that's how you want to do it, back to our arena. And until I do, I'm going to be sitting here, bleeding all over your precious little throne. Got it?
Melanthios face would have twisted in anger, had he not let such emotions behind him a long time ago. The ant comes to play. How uninteresting, still i have to make him face me without damaging this world. Melanthios focused his magic and spoke to Nivix. "You want to fight me right? Well then why don't you, come here instead of attacking innocent mortals. Like I said before I will face you, these are merely preparations for the fight. Of course if you do not want to fight, then by all means continue on your little power trip. If you do want to face me, meet me on the highest mountain top you can find. And if you could stop breaking my shield, I would be happy to oblige your request for a fight." Melanthios looked up at the sky, everything was much clearer from this mountain top.
Roe - 30, 2 and Petal - 7
"I still don't understand why you made another portal. What if monsters come out again?"
Petal fixed her gaze on Roe defiantly and she put her arms around a large white dog which sat next to her, cradling one of it's paws. The young god sighed.
"I made it differently this time so no monsters will be able to find it unless they're really lucky. I've told you why I made it too, it's so mortal heroes get to have an adventure and they get the best reward if they win."
"I've forgotten what the reward is," Petal replied sulkily. Roe looked around furtively as if there might be someone watching and then whispered in his friend's ear. Her eyes widened.
"It's not bad I suppose..."
Roe nodded with a grin and then glanced out of the window, his face suddenly changing to a rare concerned expression.
"There's something bad happening in the Empire, I've got to take a look. Later Pets."
He gave her a quick hug and then ran out of the front door, leaving it wide open. Petal watched him leave and was about to turn back to the injured dog when she heard a distant voice whisper to her from far below in the mortal realms. Like most of the gods she received countless prayers every day, far more than any one being could answer, but this one seemed different somehow. The young demigod could feel it's power even through thousands of miles of empty void. Intrigued, she stepped out of the house and descended towards Salustutis, following the prayer to it's source.
Presently Petal came to a small hut amongst the frozen wastes, half-buried in snow. Through the walls she saw a ragged woman clutching a sickly baby, the other room two other Strye were talking in low voices. She felt deeply sorry for the poor little thing, she remembered only too well what the Wan tribe had done to weak infants two millennia ago.
"I'll help," Petal whispered to the baby and she began to chant under her breath. The house started to rumble and suddenly it's cupboards burst open: mountains of food, drink and toys pouring out from every orifice. The little demigod giggled and then hurriedly stopped when she heard screams coming from inside. She peered in again and was relieved to see that none of the four Styfe were injured, only in a state of shock having found themselves literally up to their necks in new possessions. Petal smiled and then summoned a white flower with her hand, letting it drop onto the mother's head as a final gesture.
Nivix - 30, 2
He had to wait a surprisingly short time before getting a reply.
You want to fight me right? Well then why don't you you come here instead of attacking innocent mortals. Like I said before I will face you, these are merely preparations for the fight. Of course if you do not want to fight, then by all means continue on your little power trip. If you do want to face me, meet me on the highest mountain top you can find. And if you could stop breaking my shield, I would be happy to oblige your request for a fight.
"Ah, there we go!"
Rising back to his feet, Nivix waved at the company of guardsmen clustering before the throne and pointing their weapons and spells at his grinning visage. "Sorry to bother you; just needed a quick word with your boss. I'll be off then."
As he charged another teleport spell, the god offered the soldiers one parting word of advice. "Oh, you might want to cover your eyes for this next bit. Trust me, being blind can really suck."
Nivix had never really realized just how many mountains were on Salustutis. There were a fair few that could be said to be the highest, depending on if you were judging them on their elevation, their actual height, or the structures built on top of them, and it took the madman a few minutes to find the one Melanthios and his kin were stationed on. Still, he found it in the end, and alighted on the mountaintop with his characteristic grin.
"Ah, there you are! Heh, was wondering where you had run off to."
M'endaxius - 26/30 AP, 2/2 MP
After a thousand years, there was a crack to be seen in the obsidian cocoon. This crack expanded and heavy breathing could be heard. Shards exploded as an inhuman cry roared. It was a cry for freedom, freedom from this shell that was more of a restriction than anything else. To just lie there for decades as other made their moves, M'endar hated that. It struggled out of the shell and slumped into the floor, reforming as it did so. It stretched, almost like a newborn baby. Though its birth was eons ago, this was its rebirth. Its awakening. M'endar burst out of the chambers in an instant and turned to the Proteans that stood their vigil over the place, then to Ys in the distance. The dream had not been made a reality after all, but something else loomed over the horizon. Whispers, thunder, a storm of secrets. Well, it would match that at a later date. After all, a mortal in the eye of that storm would fall victim to it. And M'endar had a fondness for mortals, in its own way.
It padded the Protean on the back, and turned to the sight of Evalon in the distance. M'endar then asked the Proteans one simple question, "Are you happy?"
An awakening was expected but this? The guards were surprised that the Deceiver itself was addressing simple servants and they all answered without a hint of hesitantion, "Yes."
M'endar inspected them and itself. The wounds had gone, it was whole. But there was a hollow ring to their answer. "Lies!" It hissed, then calmed down, "But we can change that. Do you wish to be happy?"
The Protean mumbled to themselves for a bit, unsure of their patron god's motives and finally replied. Nevertheless, with more conviction this time, "Yes."
M'endar smiled, all was going well. With a more curious tone it asked the Proteans another question. "What is it that you hate? What is it that is making you unhappy?"
The guards answered in turn, "Uncertainty." one said.
Another said, "Fear."
"The storms in the last Age and the one over in the horizon." The elder one said.
Next was the youngest. It bowed its head in shame and said, "My low station."
It went on and on until the last one had said its grievances. M'endar replied, "Everlasting life and happiness are yours if you wish it. Though the process is painful and your survival is not guaranteed... Step up if you agree to this."
All stepped up to the rejuvenated god and the god began to weave its arms about. The Verr screamed out in pain, for once the Deceiver hadn't sugarcoated the situation. They could feel themselves, parts of themselves, being ripped out but a feeling of bliss accompanied the pain, drowning it out. It was a chaotic struggle between pleasure and pain. Some doubted their god as they could feel their very essence being corrupted, but the euphoria overcame the doubt. Everything was okay, they knew that now. Their god would protect them, nurture them and look after them and look after them as long as they walked with the Deceiver. M'endar smiled at the sight of the smiles on the dissolved faces. The next ones would not have to go through the same experience, thankfully, but it would be a similar experience. One of having all your pains and fears being ripped out, only leaving happiness in its wake.
It left them in a cocoon made of darkness and left a message to the changed ones, "Go spread and share your happiness with others, that is my only request."
Then there was the matter of Melanthios's request, "Greetings friends and allies, it has been a while and I apologize for vanishing so suddenly. I am afraid I had underestimated my wounds, and spend the last 1000 years recovering. I know I have no right to ask this off you, but I humbly request your help with creating a shield around Salustutis. I simply wish to defend my planet from outside attacks, and ensure that my race is safe."
It simply answered by sending an orb filled with chaotic power to the planet, hopefully that was where Melanthios was at the moment. He would know what to do with it. There was no doubt about that.
Melanthios 27 AP, 1 MP
Melanthios felt the hindrance in his shield stop, he even felt M'endar helping him. He was fairly certain the shield would be made, unless someone else interfered. "Ah, there you are! Heh, was wondering where you had run off to."He stood up from his sitting position and looked at him. He took off his robe and revealed a new appearance, along with a new face. "Greetings Nivix, I hadn't fled or anything. I was just busy preparing everything for our fight, now if you will join me I have found an excellent spot for us to fight."
Melanthios teleported himself to the uninhabited and smallest continent on Salustutis. It was a giant desert, only used to test the newest weapons of the Dues Filli on. He looked at the two giants, which had been prepared for him and Nivix. "Children, I am back and happy to hear that all of you are fine. I however have a favor to ask... Nivix wants to fight alone.. But he has killed our people, and desecrated the throne without a reason. It is time we show him, just why family always wins. I ask you all to come to me, completely invisible when I call. I will call soon, until then prepare yourself." Melanthios turned to Nivix. "As promised, something to spice up our fight. What do you think?" He smiled, he had became much better in faking emotions.
Maeglin 8 AP
"And this is why we hate these gods! This is why our books tell of awful different gods, because these people abuse their power! They use it to oppress and kill us whenever they want, this is why we reject so many gods! Father Melanthios was the one who made us, and the one who had been protecting us for so long!" The crowd in front of Maeglin were all shouting and yelling for more. He grinned to himself, that dumb Nivix had no idea how much he had actually helped them. He turned around and walked back inside, he grabbed Amour and sat down on the throne. He began playing music, the beautiful melodies began to fill the room.
"Children, I am back and happy to hear that all of you are fine...I will call soon, until then prepare yourself." Maeglin stood up smiling, he was getting his revenge on Nivix without him knowing? He laughed loudly, and headed towards his private studies. He practiced his special tune one more time. He turned invisible and waited while practicing, Nivix would fall and he would be one of the people responsible. His father sure did make things more interesting, it had been a bit boring without him.
Akladai 8 AP
Akladai was walking in the library, he noticed a few new books. It appeared that even in his weakened state, Melanthios had not stopped writing his books. He glanced through a few, there were about quite interesting things. He placed the books back and took a eat on one of the chairs... I wonder where she is... Did I make the right decision in not helping her?...Then again nothing I can do now. "Children, I am back and happy to hear that all of you are fine...I will call soon, until then prepare yourself." Fighting Nivix? Well that would be fun, he had wanted to give that fool a beating for a while now.
Valerie 8 AP
Valerie was judging another soul, it had been one of the duties which she now shared with Akladai. A mental message suddenly entered her mind. "Children, I am back and happy to hear that all of you are fine...I will call soon, until then prepare yourself." He was alive? Her uncle was still alive! Tears began running down her face, she had been living in tension for the last 1000 years. "Uncle..." Her tears of joy began to stain the book she was holding about the newest souls. She placed the book on the table and stood up, she was smiling brightly. "I will not fail you uncle, and defeating Nivix will be fun."
Zareth 30 , 2
Minas Kei seemed to be doing well, Zareth thought to himself as he lounged on one of the palace spires. Granted it had taken the cleaners a while to remove all the lightning scorches but the city got back to its old colorful self.
Zareth grimaced and blinked hard, driving the noise out. He took on one of his usual bird forms and fluttered down to street level. Pentar had done a good job, the Ekiruru inhabitants seemed to be thriving under this new way of life, now that they were off Eldarwen's leash.
oooohrgensgdg dzfghr bdh
"Oh shut up." Bird Zareth grumbled. He scanned the bustling market streets, street side churches and shrines had started springing up all over the place. He wondered if the Stryfe would ever make organised religion, the story stones were nice and they showed a good knack for masonry. The carvings were always charming. True a group of mortals had made him a villain (AGAIN!) but at least he was an interesting one this time.
hnienz nzdijgn gzgn gzgn gziunzdgzo
He ruffled his feathers in irritation. No, he wouldn't do it, not this time. He wouldn't rise to it. He flew down the street, taking in the sights and indulging in his architecture hobby. All the others had such nice temples and buildings of worship, why didn't he have that? The best Zareth ever got on Evalon was a wayside shrine or a token charm in an undertakers. He really had let his presence slip and after so much hard work. And he'd come a long way since being portrayed as a spider under a leaf. Then he remembered the mosaics in the temple of life and death on Eld. Now that was fancy, he really had to go back there at some point.
But Minas Kei was a city of trade, full of countless cultures.
dnsujfn hfuiaetosnb nguah
"Oh damn stupid-" Then he noticed the Rowan child staring at the grumbling, cussing crow. "What?" He squawked, before flying off.
There were people of almost every race and creed in this city. He could find people to inspire and 'guide' into making him an official church. Maybe he'd get priests. "Maybe Mel can help me find them some fancy robes!" He flapped his little wings excitedly.
It took a few days but he found the right candidates. After some ethereal whispers and a few 'dream transplants' the seeds of inspiration. After practicing on a few locals he went about finding a few traveling merchants who would take their god given mission to their home countries. Dwarfs, Lanir, Rowan and even a few Verr he found performing on the street.
"I hope someone puts stained glass in one of them."
OooOOooh spirit bring fourth-
"Oh that is it! They've been at this off and on for nearly a week!"
And in a howling whirl of dark mist and fury Zareth flung himself towards the source of this nuisance. He appeared in a dimly lit cave, in front of a scraggly dressed Stryfe. In his anger he led out a burst of power and the the wind flicked up and the cave walls cracked... and the unfortunate Stryfe withered and aged to death within a second, leaving only a pile of dust and a terrified looking spirit behind.
It stared at Zareth in fear and after a brief moment of confusion Zareth calmed down and took a deep breath. He looked back at the quivering ghost. "I regret nothing." he said flatly. The spirit's ethereal knees phased through each other. "Go on! Off with you!" He shouted, waving it off.
The cave was filled with charms and twisted writings. Along with bits of corpses. "Brilliant." Zareth sighed. "Death Callers, I thought they wiped you lot out."
Unfortunately it seemed that the necromancers in the ice had survived their persecution and were looking to make a comeback. "The Kalds had better watch out." He said to the cave in general. "And I better get Erik back on the project, I didn't put up with this background noise when the Filli got into it, I wont do it now."
Nivix- 30, 2
"Greetings Nivix, I hadn't fled or anything. I was just busy preparing everything for our fight, now if you will join me I have found an excellent spot for us to fight."
"You found a spot?" the madman asked. "Wait a... I spent the past thousand years building an entire world so we could fight!"
Grumbling, Nivix followed Melanthios through the aether. There was no way in hell this new spot could possibly compare to his new planet.
"As promised, something to spice up our fight. What do you think?"
Still, he had to give the bastard points for style. No doubt about that.
"Eh, not bad, I suppose." Nivix idly examined the titanic machines, noting their impressive stature and strength, as well as few flaws in their design. "Could've built better ones myself, naturally.
"But anyway," he continued, tearing open a rift between Salustutis and his latest project, "come on, let's go. I'm not letting all of my hard work go to waste just because you want to fight here at home; bring along your toys if you want, but let's get going, alright?"
As he began to walk into the portal, the chemister paused, a half-forgotten thought striking him. "Oh, and I guess we should also discuss rules of engagement, shouldn't we? How do you want to do this; one on one, or with back-up? Items or no? Tap-outs allowed?"
Cassiel was floating in the darkest reaches of space, he had been for quite some time now, almost 1000 years. The visions he had seen were haunting him still. The future apparently was bleak to say the least. He shook his head, he would have to fight it. The other gods would have to unite against...whatever it was. The first one to come in his mind was Roe. Perhaps the child knew more about the portal. Anything would be helpful. Cassiel flew towards Evalon at breakneck speed. Roe naturally would be there and he could feel the presense of his fellow god. The angel stopped just in front of the god of childhood, bringing a hurricane with him. "Roe! Stop! This is urgent, we need to talk immediately!"
"Huh?" Roe was standing on a high building, staring down at tiny shapes moving across the courtyard below. He turned with surprise to see Cassiel behind him. "What is it?" he asked in alarm.
Cassiel was out of breath now, he was speaking between deep sighs. "I...looked in the portal. Scanned the whole thing...what I saw...You need to tell me everything I know about it right now. The fate of the universe is at stake here."
Roe looked quizzicality at Cassiel and wracked his brains for all that he knew about the portal.
"Eh... there's one in the garden in Hallowed Court and one in a tall mountain on Evalon," the young god recounted, "They are quite big and sometimes monsters come out of them. Ailish was a monster too and that made me sad."
"Roe. I think something is controlling it, I don't know what, but it talked to me. It might want to kill us. I don't know what that realm is, but we might need to go there at some point soon. I don't want to go alone, are you in?"
Roe gulped and unconsciously reached for the pistol stowed in his belt. He looked up at Cassiel.
"Will there be monsters in there?" he asked.
Cassiel put his arm on Roe's shoulder. "I won't lie, if we go in there the two of us, we would probably die. That's why I want to bring Aen and possibly Nivix. Can you think of anyone else?"
Roe thought for a moment and then suddenly nodded eagerly. "I know, I know! Melanthios and Daare are planning to go there too sometime, could they come with us?"
Cassiel thought for a moment, Melanthios wasn't trustworthy, but the portal would be a bad place to betray each other. "I don't know much about Daare, but I don't have a problem with him coming. Melanthios though...if Aen and Nivix wouldn't try to get him killed I don't see a problem with it."
"Melanthios and Aen are friends now after the meeting," Roe said happily, "it sound fun even if it might be a bit scary. When are we going?"
"Once everyone is ready. It might not be for another age but I don't want to wait too much longer than that. If we don't get the jump on whatever lives there, it might get the jump on us." It was as he said that, that Cassiel heard an ear piercing howl from Nivix.
"MELANTHIOOOOOOOOOOOOOS! COME ON, LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!"
Cassiel shook his head, Nivix was going ahead with this anyway. He sighed and figured he should watch to ensure both come out of this alive.
"I am going to watch Nivix. Mind helping?"
Cassiel used the same method as with his portal scanning ball, only this time, he wasn't hoping he was sure he wouldn't like what he would see.
"Okay," Roe replied with a sigh, "I'm going to stay here though, I've got something to do,"
"Fair enough, one of them might die though. If you need help, don't hesitate to ask."
The young god raised a hand and added his chaos to the spying orb, setting it alight. He gave Cassiel a grin.
"It's much better now!"
Cassiel looked at his giant fireball and laughed. "Crazy sprites might end up actually setting things on fire at this rate! Thanks, I will try to make sure they both come out of this in one piece."
Roe had no idea what Cassiel was talking about but he didn't have time to find out more, a carriage surrounded by guards had just pulled into the courtyard, it seemed like what he had been waiting for had arrived.
"Bye!" Roe waved to his fellow god and then placing Skye back in his belt, focused his mind on the task ahead.
Cassiel decided that he would allow a few other gods to watch it, in order to ensure he had backup if anyone did something off.
"Hey guys, in case you wanted to watch the battle, I scryed them. It should be interesting."
In front of Zareth, Aen, and Pentar appeared a glowing ball of magma. If they touched it, they would see everything the sprites saw.
"MELANTHIOOOOOOOOOOOOOS! COME ON, LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!"
It was this that suddenly woke Dåre up, startling him enough to fall off the blanket, and into the ocean. He remembered falling asleep on the mountain, why was he suddenly in over the ocean? The warm sea water woke him up, just in time for him to avoid being eaten by some sort of sea-creature, dark red in color, and with a horn on it's nose. He simply smiled to it, and it suddenly acted tame. It knew it's creator when it recognized him, it seemed. The blanket got down so he could ride it, and he jumped on top of it.
He then remembered the message he had heard, no doubt it was Nivix. Dåre wasn't sure what to do, Melanthios had agreed to the battle, right? However, Melanthios suddenly sent out a message himself.
"Greetings friends and allies, it has been a while and I apologize for vanishing so suddenly. I am afraid I had underestimated my wounds, and spend the last 1000 years recovering. I know I have no right to ask this off you, but I humbly request your help with creating a shield around Salustutis. I simply wish to defend my planet from outside attacks, and ensure that my race is safe. "
Dåre wasn't sure what to do, matters like honor and the likes didn't matter much to him, but he wanted to aid Melanthios. However, he didn't think there was anything he could do. He knew he could strengthen the shield with madness, but it was risky, and not worth it if Melanthios would get help from his allies. Hopefully Melanthios wouldn't be mad at him for not helping. Especially not since Melanthios had aided him several times already.
He decided not to think about it, although the thought would just join all the other ones, creating a numbing feeling in his mind.
Dåre went up with the carpet, and beheld all the small islands. The sound, sight, and smell of all the different creatures made him want to explore what he had created even more, what would he find? He might have been the creator of them, but that didn't mean he knew what they were. Every single island was filled with life and adventure.
It was at one of these isles he started his journey, a journey by ship, the young god being accompanied by nothing but his magic carpet. His They were many, but none was large enough to be referred to as mainland. On these islands, there would be all kinds of creations, trees filled with delicious but fairly deadly fruits, capable of stunning a mortal with a single mouthful, and small plants with flowers dancing around like small fairies. There were large, rabbit like creatures with wool instead of fur, and smaller, imp-like creatures that preferred the black and blue fishes that swam close to shores in the south of the planet.
On each island he stopped, eating and resting, before continuing. It was one of the warmer planets, but there were still some isles that had tall mountains, and snow. On every of them, one could see both the signs of madness and beauty, hand in hand, woven into the planet of isles. However, even if he could see all this, interact with all these different creatures, drink from the orange fruits on the trees, grab himself a brand new hat... something lacked.
It took more than a month, every day an exciting adventure, till he was done. "Is there nothing more I can explore?" He looked at the ocean, something still bugged him. This wasn't all, no, not at all. Was there something more? There had to be, he could sense it. Dåre grabbed the carpet, and went out, looking over the ocean.
He had ignored one area, as there were no islands around it. There, in what seemed to be the middle of no where, a hole, not too large, nor to small was. From high above, it wasn't noticeable because of angle, but he could see it now. "What is this?" he asked himself. "Has to be something amazing and intriguing," he answered to this question, and used the carpet to dive into it.
Roe - 29, 2
The Empire of Humanity had come a long way since the unification of the Kingdom of Chama with first the smaller Rowan states and later the Changeling clans. By the beginning of the Fourth Age it's territory consisted of Olegard, middle and southern Almia, the Maroe Archipelago and the moon Oculus Pets. Rowan and Changeling lived equally side by side, ruled by a joint monarch whose family consisted of both races. Technology had leapt and bound since the last age and factories were becoming an increasingly common sight among the more traditional human blacksmiths and artisans. The swords of the Empire's guard had recently become replaced by new pistols and muskets to combat bandits with smuggled firearms from the Dues Filli and Mizzen.
Not all was well in the growing Empire though. Over the last few generations the power of the throne had increased dramatically, decisions that would have once come from the domain authorities now were reserved for ministers residing in the capital city of Manor. Work was scarce and hungry people had little sympathy for the tales of plenty and indulgence that emerged from the Royal Court. Tensions were particularly high in Lupine and Northern Chama, where a significant number of Ekiruru slaves lived. Originally refugees from the civil wars of Minas Kei, many of the richer Rowan had not missed an opportunity to gain access to cheaper workforce, despite the condemnations of many priests and Changelings. Grudgingly though the institution became widely accepted, even if a few lone dissenting voices stood up for the Ekiruru's rights. Rebel groups came and went but none had much success, not until the Fellowship that is.
Mocking voices hounded Golden Orchid as she was lead up the prison stairs, their venom as clear as the spit that dripped across her torn clothing.
"Radical... traitor... degenerate... plant fag..."
The young Rowan woman was thrown roughly into her cell and the door slammed behind her. She quivered in a heap on the ground, unable to think of anything-else but the judgement that had just been passed.
Tomorrow... I will be executed. At-least I will be reunited with you at last, Marina.
She reached out a hand and could almost feel Marina's smooth green skin, soft lips and full breasts against the stone walls. She supposed Ekiruru must go to Evermoor too.
"Not if I can help it!" a voice chimed from above. She looked up to see a grinning young boy standing in front of her.
"Who... are you?" she mumbled dumbly.
"Don't you recognise me?" the child exclaimed indignantly and stepped closer. She looked over him again, taking in his long messy hair, colourful clothing and the white flower pinned to his shirt.
"It's you... Lord," she breathed in amazement, "Am I dead?"
"Not yet," Roe replied cheerfully, "but you will be soon. Unless you accept my present that is,"
"You'll help me?" Orchid whispered, a tear rolling down her cheek, "Why?" The young god shrugged.
"You're a nice lady," he said, "I don't like the people who run this Empire anymore, they're too mean and they don't care about anyone-else. I think you could stop them."
"Why don't you just assassinate them or make them give up their power?" the woman asked, "You are a god after-all, Lord," she added hastily. Roe stuck out his tongue.
"It wouldn't work, someone-else bad would just take over. People need to learn how to rule themselves without me or Petal having to help all the time,"
"What are you going to do then?"
A minute later, a guard's shout was heard from the isolated wing of the prison. Reinforcements barged up the stairs and into the corridor, to find themselves confronted with an empty cell. The call went out to search every nook and cranny of the area for the missing rebel but in the alarm of the moment no-one noticed a small golden cat squeeze out from the bars of a nearby cell and dash away across the courtyard to it's freedom.
"I won't fail you Lord!" Orchid muttered as she sped across the gravel on her new paws.
"Gods are very powerful beings." The Storyteller said, setting his pipe aside and warming his hands by the fire as the wind picked up, "But that does not mean they cannot also be very foolish beings as well. Nivix began the Fourth Age with fire. He believed that Melanthios had betrayed a deal to battle that they had made in the previous age. To that end, he traveled to Salustutis in search of the god of magic. Unfortunately, he found Melanthios. The pair teleported to the Battlegrounds and the fight began, though Melanthios was not alone, and nor were they unwatched.
"Cassiel met with Roe on Evalon to tell him of fears that had festered within him since he scried the world beyond the portal. Their discussion was cut short, however, when both gods heard of Nivix's call to Melanthios for battle. Fearing the worst, Cassiel used his powers to discover what was going on." The Storyteller paused for a moment to take a puff of his pipe.
One of the younger girls stood up, taking advantage of the opportunity, "What did he find?" She asked.
"Hmm?" The Storyteller took his pipe out of his mouth.
"Cassiel. On the other side of the portal. What did he find?"
He stared at the fire for a few moments, watching the flames rise and fall in the wind. "Some things," He began in a low voice, "Are best left unsaid in this tale. It was terrible, that is all you need to know."
The Storyteller coughed a bit before he spoke once more, "Anyway, Melanthios, for his part, attempted to keep Salustutis safe from its enemies, and so created a shield around the planet, similar to the one Eldarwen had made so many years before. His allies, M'endar and Vantric also helped erect the shield, making it powerful and keeping the planet obscured to others attempting to look upon it.
"M'endar was also busy itself. The Deceiver sought to help its people, and so created the Valassi. They were an immortal strain, focused on relieving the ill emotions that those infected with their immortality possessed.
"On Evalon, Zareth sought to increase his worship. He blessed some small number of mortals to become his disciples and to spread word of his teachings. It was the beginning of the death church, though at the time it was looked on as ill by most. Daare began exploring his new world more deeply. Literally. He found a hole in the world and his sense of wonder overtook him. He delved into it, hoping to find what lay at the bottom.
"Not all actions of the age were so grand. The child-god Petal descended to Salustutis, to the Stryfe lands, after hearing a prayer one of their people sent to her. The young goddess blessed a sickly child, and provided him all the comforts that she thought the boy would need to have a happy life. Roe got up to some mischief of his own, transforming a woman into a cat.
"Zareth finally began utilizing the spirit of Venator that he collected in the last age. He gave it to Aen and they shared a very tender moment with each other, and then, to commemorate their relationship, they crafted an item. A gauntlet for Aen, one that hid his greatest secret, and his greatest weakness. Only Zareth knew what Aen hid beneath the gauntlet, it was a secret he swore to keep always. Aen trusted Zareth because he felt a special bond, a certain...connection with him that he lacked in the others."
"What do you mean 'special bond'?" One of the youngest children asked.
"They were...very close friends, little one." The Storyteller replied, quickly reaching for his pipe.
The older children snickered, "Yeah, 'close friends'." One boy remarked.
"Very close friends indeed." Another said.
"That's enough!" The Storyteller snapped, "Or do you want me to stop the story right now?"
There was a general grumbling, but the children quieted down.
"Thank you. Now then, events truly began to pick up after that..."
The Lady of Minas Kei stood in the city square, her arms crossed, with an audience of Ekiruru at her back. The bright desert sunlight reflected majestically off her ornate armor and spear. It was a fine day, the sun shone bright and it was neither too hot nor too cold. It was not the type of day one associates with an execution.
In front of Auctor and the gathered crowd was a wooden gallows, on which stood a lone Ekiruru in plain black. The rabble of the crowd died out as another black garbed Ekiruru lead a cuffed and hooded figure up the stairs to the gallows. As the prisoner neared the rope, the hood was cast aside to reveal a beaten and bruised Ekiruru with a brutal scar on the side of her face. Despite the painful injuries, Auctor could still see the flaming spirit of rebellion in her eyes. It was a sight she'd seen, and vanquished, many time over the last thousand years.
Auctor's Chancellor, Ulana, stepped forward. She was dressed in blood red robes and held a scroll. She unrolled the scroll and, after clearing her throat, read it's contents. "Evantar of Gorwik." she said loudly. "You have been accused and found guilty of torture, unjust slaughter, and treason against the city of Minas Kei." The crowd shouted and booed at the prisoner as the rope was tightened around her neck. "Therefore, this city and her people have sentenced you to death by hanging. Have you any final words?"
The crowd silenced in anticipation. "I have only one thing to say." said the prisoner. "You may laugh and yell and jeer at me. You may beat and torture me. But I am the real victory here. I and my comrades have thrown off the cloak of lies that the Mourning Poet has covered us with. Today I die knowing that the One True Goddess Eldarwen will carry my spirit to salvation, and that you, the non-believers, shall be punished." The prisoner faced Auctor for the first time that day. "Soon, Eldarwen will return, and she will kill you."
And as the trap door dropped, as the rope tightened, as the prisoner choked and died from her own weight, those bloodshot eye stay locked on Auctor.
Later that same day.
Auctor, now dressed in more comfortable attire, sat down in the seat of her study with a sigh of relief. So often was she either planning or fighting that she rarely had time to simply relax. But the Reclamation was drawing to a close now, soon the city would once again be fully unified. Evantar had been one of the last leaders of the anarchists, and her death today represented yet another leap forward in the war. But yet, he final words still lingered in Auctor's mind. Was it possible that her beloved mother was still alive in some way?
Don't be stupid. she thought to herself, annoyed at her own insolence. She's gone, and she's been gone for centuries. You sound like one of those damn radicals. Auctor wished she had something to throw.
Reminding herself that she was in charge of a city, she tried to focus on more important matters. If the war was coming to a close, then the Minas would finally have the opportunity of open up diplomatic relations with the other civilizations of Evalon. For so long, trade and politics had been deterred by the conflict, but now Minas Kei would be able to open itself to the outside world once more. She had a secretary gather 30 of her courtiers, people she knew would were charismatic and wise, the perfect diplomats. "Ladies, I have a very important task you." she said, addressing the group. "This city will soon be opening it's doors to trade and diplomacy. I need you to spread the word. Seal deals, make allies, do whatever you can to increase our influence on Evalon." With that, the diplomats left to complete their mission.
The Eva'li Collective
The Verr were thriving in these conditions. With the age of industry, pollution has become rampant and soon the ruined lands were abandoned, only to be taken up by the few Verr that remain on Evalon. These became their birthing grounds. In slime and smoke, they replicated at an astonishing rate. Nearly all born took up the Path of the Phalanx. They had always been here, ever since the First Makings and even when offered a new land of their own, they had refused. This was their land. But now, and over thousands of years they had been pushed to the edges, near the dreaded waters of the planet. But now was the time for change. Newly formed Phantoms arose and took the forms of other races and spread out, some even going across the sea in trade boats to the lands in the south. Prayers when up to the Deceiver and the Lady. They would not share the terrible fate of the Ekiruru.
Zs'Wua'Itzala - 7/8 AP
She had fun with the Shadowshrieks, but now was time for a different target. She had heard the prayer and smiled. The Humans will know of her, no, they would remember her for centuries. She swapped the wilds for the City of Manor. The so-called Holy City of the Rowan. Through the crowd of Changeling and Rowan people, she wandered towards the palace, but the guards at the gate barred the way. She then shifted into ethereal form and entered the palace freely. There was the throne, the seat of government for this race. She would teach them about giving meaning to simple unliving, unfeeling objects. And there was the king, in his majesty, surely such a crowd rested uneasily on his head. Well, it soon would be. She began chanting a spell, out of sight and out of mind of the palace guards in the room. The chanting was almost complete, all Zs'Wua had to do was say the final words.
"Let all reigns thereafter be but a shadow of this one."
They had taken his name from him! And not only that! They had taken all his rights, right to a name, right to bear arms, right to a spouse and more. He looked at the scar, the only thing that remained of his Guildmark. They had taken that from him as well. Well, they had goaded him into attacking another after the Guildhouse had faded away. It was clearly a plot against him. What was his name again? Not like it mattered in the wilderness. 'Tumultus'? No, that was not him now. Now he was a traitor, somebody possessed by an evil spirit or whatever they cooked up back there. At least he now was free from them. Free to wander around, but everywhere he just saw more of the order that consumed the land. Ekiruru bound by low wages and hate, Verr pushed to the edge by the neglect of the other races, including his own. He grabbed a small rock and decided to take his frustration on a nearby stray young Sharluk.
"It's all so... GODDAMN USELESS."
M'endaxius - 23/30 AP, 1/2 MP
A voice screamed through the cosmos, and it reached the ears of the Deceiver, it smiled again. How wrong he was. With a simple sweep of the arms, it teleported itself to Evalon, to where the call came from. From the looks of it, the cave had been used as a base for something or someone and track marks of a small animal could be seen. It walked around, puzzled that it couldn't find the source of the call. Then it all became clear, the young Changeling was sulking behind a rock, his hand clutching another small rock. No, he wasn't sulking, he was seething with rage. M'endar could easily see his woes, as it had gone through a period of powerlessness in the last Age. The Changeling looked up to see a hooded figure blocking out the sun. Thoughts of the other gods ran through his head. He looked at his elongated arms and understood. So, this was the one that created the Versipellis Clan...
"Another agent is about to be born, please lead me your strength, brothers..."
Nivix - 30, 2
The madman fell back to the ground with a thunderous crash, his feet digging a pair of craters into the already ruined Battlegrounds. Gasping for air, the god staggered back a few steps, barely managing to stay upright. It was hard enough to keep his balance when he was missing his arms, but the blood pouring from the gaping hole in his chest certainly wasn't making things any easier. Add in the fact that he couldn't see worth a damn, and that that last exchange had left his ears ringing... Damn, he had to finish this fight now.
Panting, Nivix forced himself to stand tall. Melanthios had to be hurting as well; if he could just get one last good shot in on the mage, then maybe he could bring everything to an end.
Melanthios' warcry cut through the madman's thoughts. There, at the opposite end of the Arena! That was where he was lurking! All Nivix had to do was cross the battlefield, and he could break the bastard's skull in two! All he had to do was-
The pitch-black blast fully engulfed Nivix, swallowing the god and everything around him. The ground beneath his feet, the wall behind him, the clouds of dust that filled the air, nothing could escape the attack. It was an all consuming shred of oblivion, a hint at the darkness that always lurked on the edges of the light. It was destruction and erasure, pure and simple.
Had they been fighting anywhere else, Nivix would have had his life suddenly cut short.
As it was, when the energy finally dissipated, the madman was still standing there. Though his mouth hung open, as though it were stuck in some howl of pain, no words escaped his lips. His unseeing eyes were wide open, staring at a section of wall just to Melanthios' right. His chest, stained golden by his divine blood, had stopped moving. If not for the ichor, sweat, and tears that gently pattered to the ground, one could have mistaken Nivix's body for a simple statue, albeit an expertly carved one.
Then he started screaming.
There were no words that could describe the agony flooding through his ruined form, no way to summarize the absolute suffering that his body was going through. A sane being, whether mortal or divine, would have instinctively sealed off their higher thought processes in an attempt to escape the pain; Nivix had no such luxury. He fell to his knees, his spine bending back at an impossible angle, his face shouting towards the heavens overhead.
As suddenly as it had begun, Nivix's roar stopped, and his head flopped forward lifelessly. Only the shuddering motions of his chest and the tears running down his cheeks indicated that the god was still alive. "I... No. No. Not again.
"Why did it happen again?"
It wasn't clear if the madman's mutterings were directed at Melanthios or were simply inane ramblings. "Why can't I do anything? Why am I so... so... weak?"
Nivix shivered. Three streams of golden energy began to pour from the back of his head, twisting and spiraling together into a single glowing orb. The glimmering sphere, pulsing and shining with all kinds of bizarre, unstable, chaotic energies, floated into the air, stopping only when it reached the center of the Battlegrounds.
There was nothing else keeping him here. With one last, mournful wail, the madman summoned an array of power, and vanished into the aether.
Ven - 5
The Mizzen stared down at the unexpected gift laying on the table before him. He hadn't expected Nivix to ever abandon his arm, at least not willingly. Still, there was no accounting for the bizarre ways the chemister's mind worked; he probably had his own reasons for giving up the limb just before his little fight.
And besides, the synthetic mused, this gave him a golden opportunity.
It had been just over a thousand years since he'd ascended from an immortal to a god, and he'd spent his time well. Studying, experimenting, testing, discovering the limits and boundaries of his new abilities. On the surface, his work had an innocent enough appearance; no one would question a Mizzen, especially one with as many responsibilities as Ven, working on various nonsensical projects.
However, those close to Ven, and smart/sane enough to keep track of his many activities and rulings, might have noticed a somewhat... sinister pattern to his activities. His new interest in plants and biological and mechanical hybrids. The increase in time he spent conversing with crazed Mizzen. The way he had vehemently refused to have any dealings with Minas Kai.
But if anyone had ever seen anything, they didn't bring it up. And now, with a bit more power on his side, Ven was finally ready to act.
It was rare to see a Mizzen in Minas Kai. It was even rarer to see a live one. So when rumors of several of the mechanical beings, all with startling similar appearances, popping up around the city began to circulate, of course the populace was confused.
However, talk of a mystery Mizzen was soon overshadowed by something else: a plague had fallen over the city. A plague that only seemed to affect the synthetic Ekiruru, regardless of their mortality.
Vantric: 30, 2
The shield around Salustutis was complete. Good, Vantric nodded. Now then, on to more important things. Such as Nivix. Just as his game with Aen had finished, the mad scientist had shouted through the heavens about fighting Melanthios. He should probably check on his ally, make certain that Nivix hadn't completely disintegrated him.
Vantric summoned forth his powers and focused, sensing Melanthios's position in the universe. He teleported to one of the polar regions on Salustutis, emerging on a snowy landscape. To his surprise, Melanthios was not alone, Zareth and Aen were there as well. Curious. It was even more curious that they weren't trying to kill each other. "Greetings Melanthios, Zareth, Aen." Vantric said, approaching the gods. He conjured himself a thicker coat to shut out the cold, "This place is absolutely frigid. What are you doing here?"
Shortly after his arrival on Salustutis, Vantric heard a voice in his mind. "Another agent is about to be born, please lead me your strength, brothers..." M'endar. Another new agent? Perhaps something useful. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Of course, M'endar. Vantric sent a message in reply, along with some of his power, I never forget my allies.