[PDQ] The Grand Mythos Game Thread

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M'endaxius - 26/30 AP, 2/2 MP

The sigh spanned almost an eternity and the god awoke to the dawn of another new Age. It stirred. Time had gone quickly, too quickly and thick smog lay like a blanket in the sky. The machinations of mortals had changed the face of the planet. Though, they would not see the horror that the Elysian Field hid from mortal sight. Nevertheless, the god chose to change its surroundings to that of Eld, eager to see how the forsaken race was faring. In an instant, M'endar warped its way to someplace near the grand city of Ayamine. Ironically, nature had taken over since the Treemother had left. Vines wrapped themselves around the pillars of the temples, and small scavengers roamed the streets in search of food. The city wars still stood strong, though all kinds of creepers and roosting birds had made their home there. However, the amphitheatre and arena were not neglected. The ring of clashing swords echoed through the city and the amphitheatre rang with song . Partly thanks to be nightchildren that made their home in the former. As for the latter, the Ekiruru were always fond of battle, and derived some pleasure from the act. They even had a word for it:

Schadenfreude.

Nevertheless, progress had not abandoned the Ekiruru. Complex devices whirred as the wind blowed. Ekiruru walked the streets with an air of contentment. Though on inspection, the wooden bodies of the Ekiruru that wandered the streets had hollow gaps in their bodies. One here had a eye missing, while another had a huge hole in their heart. M'endar smiled. At least they had some notion of happiness here. But, as for the rest... The smiles were hollow. The nightchildren cowered underground, disturbed by the constant din of battle. The battle-born were keen on losing themselves in the rush of battle. The wildings sang strange, sorrowful songs. Some even were still praying for the Treemother to return. M'endar continued onward into the heart of Ayamine, into the throne room. Invisible to the mortals that stood there, it looked on. The lone priestess of Eldarwen barked orders to clear the graffiti off the walls. However, some of the mocking words were carved into the ancient stone. One such word particularly irked her, as she stood against all possible meanings of it. It was there, now, carved in the dome of the temple:

Götterdämmerung.

Tired of the hollow city, M'endar wandered onto the beaten path which was surrounded by trees. In that moment, an invitation fell from the sky, almost like a petal from a cherry blossom. M'endar caught it as it was floating in the air. A quick inspection revealed that it was an invitation to Petal's and Roe's wedding. It smiled. The young god was probably the last person the Deceiver would think of when it came to commitment. Even so, the child god had joined the alliance and had proven to be a decent ally. Maybe Roe was finally growing up? With these thoughts, M'endar wandered into the deep forest that covered Eld and found a small group of wildings chanting, no, singing a song. M'endar took a seat and watched. This particular group of wildings seem to still believe that Eldarwen would be coming back, and were begging her to return. M'endar sighed. The Valassi here were content, their holes filled with incorporeal bliss. Though, the person had to give consent and most of this proud warrior race were keen on standing on their own two feet. Nevertheless, M'endar would bring change, with that song playing in the distance, all the while.

The Storyteller

Stifling a yawn, the Storyteller continued his tale wearily.

"Upon the planet Ilea Daare forged a mysterious and powerful item as a present for Roe and Petal's upcoming wedding, at the same time his demigod Frikk inspired a large group of mortals with his flute.

Meanwhile on Eld, M'endar successfully altered the brain chemistry of the Ekiruru to imbue them with a deep longing to search for their lost queen Eldarwen."

"Wait," a young boy piped up, "Whatever happened to the revolution that the humans were having? You never told us the end of that story,"

"You're right," the Storyteller replied with a nod, "I quite forgot about it. Well, I'll explain presently..."

Northern Snow

Five hundred years since the fiery conclusion of the revolution that ended the Empire and humanity had reached yet greater heights. From the ashes of the old regime a new federation of Rowan and Changelings was formed that along with the Ekiruru, Kinderven and other scattered peoples who lived on the eastern hemisphere of Evalon. This young nation was known by most as the Republic, stretching from southern shores of Olegard to the north of Almia where it bordered with what remained of the Dwarven Kingdom and the Lainir Empire. As with the past age, the moon of Oculus Pets remained also within it's territory.

Technology was also advancing dramatically: beast-driven carriages, dragons and velocifies were all being overtaken by new cars and aeroplanes which were usually faster and only needed fuel when actually in use. Electricity now powered a multitude of devices and with radios and newspapers booming, the mass-media was experiencing a new golden age. The people of the Republic took full advantage of this media to scrutinise their president and other elected leaders closer than they had ever had since the birth of democratic rule at the fall of Empire.

Still, even in this modern age not everything had changed. In one of the more southern cities of Chama stood a stone temple, dating all the way back to the Third Age. There a student by the name of Northern Snow stood at a podium and preached for his final exam to join the priesthood. Not much more than twenty five, slender and with a soft gentle voice, few would have guessed the young recruit was the grandson of the famous explorer Northern Wind, the first human to map every Stryfe land and live to tell the tale.

Book of Rowan: Latter Day Revelations:
--

The trio of watching priests discussed briefly among themselves and then gave Snow an approving nod. He stepped forward and then repeated the vow he had memorised off by heart.

"I, Northern Snow, solemnly swear to abide by the priestly and Kaitist creed of the Lord Roe and Lady Petal, to serve and protect all innocents under my care and to honour the Rowan people and human race."

"Excellent," the central priest replied and reached forward to shake Snow's hand, "Welcome to the Orchid Missionary Order of the Kaitist Priesthood. Any idea where you'll request to be assigned?"

"I've always wanted to be a teacher," Snow smiled, "I'm hoping to apply to go to the Kinderven city on Coelus."

Roe and Petal

Today was the day. Roe could scarcely believe that after two and half thousand years since he had agreed to his friend's impromptu proposal, they would finally be bound as one. Of course the young god hadn't been born yesterday and he knew that when mortal grown-ups got married they acted in ways both he and Petal had agreed were weird and kind of yucky, but they didn't have to do anything like that. If he was honest he didn't care hugely about the wedding but it seemed like a fun game and it would make Petal happy so he was ready to go along with it. Besides, it wasn't like he was going to marry anyone else soon so it might as well be with his best friend, he would have suggested they officially become brother and sister but since he didn't have parents that wouldn't make much sense anyway.

He snapped out of his somewhat garbled thoughts as he bounded up to the Entertainment Hall, where Petal was standing precariously on a step-ladder hanging out white flowers along the sides. Tables and tables of all kinds of food and drink were lined up inside the hall, with also a space for dancing and a podium at the head of the hall where the ceremony itself could take place.

"Are you almost done Pets? They'll be here any minute!" Roe called up as he glanced at a clock on one side of the hall.

"Already? You'll have to finish this Roe, I need to put on my dress and you aren't allowed to see until the wedding begins, remember?"

"Sure..." the young god muttered and his fiancée disappeared off towards their house. He sat down on a table and picked up a iced bun, chewing lazily on it as he waited for the guests to arrive.

Ven - 8 AP

A flash of iron and fire briefly flitted into existence, smack dab in the middle of the Entertainment Hall. Though it vanished as swiftly as it had come, the light left three things behind: The scent of burning ozone, a few puffs of smoke rising from the scorch marks that now marred the once-stainless floor, and a rather tall Mizzen, humanoid in shape and number of limbs.

Sighing internally, Ven swept his gaze around the freshly decorated chamber, the sound of clanking, whirring gears accompanying the motion. The machine'd be lying if he said this was where he wanted to be at the moment; he didn't understand why Rowan bothered to submit themselves to rituals like this, never mind why actual gods would choose to do so. And there were so many projects and issues to keep tabs on, calculations to run and threats to circumvent; why did he have to waste his precious time at a meaningless little event like this?

Because getting on a god's bad side, especially one with a child's temperament, is never a good idea.

Surprisingly enough, it looked like the synthetic was the first guest to arrive. Ven was more than a little surprised by this turn of events. He had tried to show up as close to the event time as possible, but apparently everyone else had decided to try and cut it even closer. An odd choice, considering that some of them would probably have more of an attachment to this ceremony then he would, but hardly one he could blame them for.

As soon as his eyes spotted Roe sitting by his lonesome, Ven raised one of his mismatched arms, the thicker right one, in greeting. "Roe. How's it going?"

Zareth 30 ,2

Flight only had one thing left to do, then she could do whatever she wanted. She could go back to her nest, find a mate, make some chicks of her own. Someone to carry on her line. The attitudes of the gods had rubbed off on Flight in her time with them and the phoenix had long ago set her sights on becoming ruler and god of all birds. It seemed like it would be very easy to her. then she could take her pick of mates... she could have ALL the mates.

"I'll take that." Said Zareth, appearing out of nowhere and plucking the envelope from her beak. With a deft hand he held up the collection of letters and willed them to burn, catching the ring he'd placed in the centre fall from the ashes and into his open palm. "Looks like I'll still have time for that afterall."

In a burst of feathers he and Flight appeared outside the entertainment hall. Zareth pushed his way through the grand set of doors, Flight perched on his shoulder, and surveyed the scene. The child gods had made a nice set up, the hall was all very festive and welcoming, more so than usual anyway. Carnivox had made his own way there and was already helping himself to the array of treats that had been left out. Flight took off, making a straight line for Petal. Maybe she's feeling the need for some female company.

Zareth fidgeted with the ring hidden in his tunic and made himself comfortable, what was the usual etiquette for a child wedding?

M'endaxius - 24/30 AP, 2/2 MP

M'endar chuckled then teleported to the wedding, dressed in an embroidered robe and mask. The same as the as the ones it had worn to the previous party eons age. It stopped and saw both Lleu and Zs'Wua in the distance. This party would prove to be quite the distraction. Especially with those two next to each other. One a schemer and thinker, the other was more of a doer. The Lady had arrived in an elegant black dress, in stark contrast to Lleu's attire - a single pair of trousers. Unfortunately, there was no way that the best of the Performers could came here. This realm was beyond mortals' reach. But was it? The power of a god could change all that. Not to mention that it would suffice as a wedding gift.

Cassiel

Winter had dawned upon Coelus as it did every year. Coelus may have once been pure diamond, now covered in a lush tropical forest, but that didn't mean winter was an impossibility. It was on this cold winter day, that Cassiel was working to prepare for the wedding of the first god he had truly met. His old friend, Roe. The gift he had in mind was pretty easy, it wouldn't be material as Roe only cared so much about such things. He was going to give the two a new look at the universe, let them go down and travel for a while.

As Cassiel prepared himself to teleport to the wedding, a prayer came to him. It was rare he recieved them, even with the Vigil in full swing, most weren't the praying type. Zabekiel however, was making one of his very rare requests. Cassiel figured he might as well answer it quickly before going off to visit Roe and Petal. Cassiel honed in on Zabekiel and found himself inside a very private looking room. This was unlike what Zabekiel had been living in for a while. Cassiel wasn't in the throne room, that much he knew.

"Zabekiel, you called upon me? What is the matter?"

Zabekiel had a look of sadness upon him. One of frustration, one of malcontent and one of disappointment. He said simply. "There is a problem with the Girigori. We are being attacked upon multiple fronts and we can not do anything about it. Seith's old ways...they are ripping us to pieces Cassiel. The Girigori can't undo them, they are too rooted in our history, but you, you have the power to do it. To save the Girigori! Please, I don't often ask for help, but this, this is important."

Cassiel was put back a bit. Of all the requests he could have gotten, changing the fabric of the Girigori was a tall order. Still, Seith's ways were outdated in the current world. It would help make the world better he figured if the Girigori were free to do as they wished. Cassiel sighed and said "Sounds fair, what do you think I should replace them with?"

Zabekiel thought about this for a second and said "An unwavering kindness to fellow Girigori no matter what." Zabekiel figured what else would come from it. The truth of Girigori superiority wuld spread through his planet, everyone would realise it. Those allied with the Girigori were on their level, but those outside of the Empire were adorable warring insects to be tamed and brought in. At least, that's what Zabekiel figured.

Cassiel nodded and raised Stardust. He imagined the current doctrines and burned them, inspiring the law, writer to take the initiative and boldly write new laws to replace them. Soon, he brought them to the council and Cassiel made them optimistic for the new future. That all Girigori would embrace these new laws, for a better tomorrow. That done, Cassiel nodded his head and said "Do well for the Girigori Zabekiel, they deserve it. I trust you." The god of warriors then flashed out to Roe's wedding.

Zabekiel was happy to hear that his god had the same unwavering faith that he put into him. Cassiel's dream of a united world, then of all races united would come true. It was only a matter of time now. "I won't disappoint you, god."

Dåre 25, 1
Frikk 5

The gift had turned out well, fortunately. Nothing worse than giving away a bad gift, after all. Especially not in a wedding, from what he just made up in his own mind. However, Dåre came to realize that it had taken longer than he had expected to get it done, and that it was about time he got ready for the wedding.

Dåre checked the position of the sun in the sky... well, that was pointless. Not easy to see the location of the sun under

Still, he could feel that time was running out, in more than one way. Sure, he could be a bit late for the wedding, fashionable late, make a whole deal of it, but he'd rather not. As a matter of fact, being late was probably rude, and he didn't want to be rude when it came to an occasion like this. It didn't do anything apart from making people annoyed either way, from his experience.

Dåre changed his attire, he chose to wear a suit with a top-hat, with a nice pink and light blue theme. He had a blue bow-tie, and small hearts several places on his suit, as well as one on his hat. This was something suiting a wedding, there was no doubt about that! He placed the gift under his hat, wanting to still keep it a bit of a secret.

With a pleased smile, he went to find Frikk. The bird was at the top of one of the nearby mountains, nearby being quite far, actually. Of course, he could always teleport or something boring like that, but he summoned the carpet and took a seat, before going at a reasonable speed towards this mountain.

Passing over various kinds of natural wonders and lands, the mortals he passed looked at Dåre with awe and respect. He smiled, and bowed deeply, still standing on the carpet, something that seemed to surprise them. Enjoying the attention, he made the carpet do a loop, still standing on it and laughing, his trick one easily done by a god. They were amazed! How fabulously wonderful! Doing small tricks, and making up puzzles only a madman could answer, he forgot what he was about to do.

However, after a while, the demigod appeared, and teleported him to the location of the wedding, somehow being the more sensible of them. Frikk had teleported them a bit away from the party, so he had to walk or teleport, the bird having left the carpet back there. He entered the hall of entertainment, it looking almost as dashing as he did, albeit he could think of a few ways to make more colorful. Frikk seemed to take the sight in as well, running around.

Dåre smiled when he saw Roe and a few other gods and demigods, he wasn't the first person to arrive, but certainly far from the last person to arrive. Petal didn't seem to be around, at least, none of these looked like a petal, so she was probably getting ready. Dåre bowed down, holding his hat in his hand. On his head, a small controller with only a red button could be seen, albeit what it was for was nothing but another part of the surprise.

"My deepest and sincerest congratulations, to you, Roe! This must be the merriest day I'll ever live through!" He then put the hat back on, and looked towards the others. "And greeting to you, fellow guests!"

Frikk made a motion, and a sound, showing how happy he was as well, and saying hello. His feathers seemed beautiful and shiny. So the demigod had made an effort to look good as well. Dåre conjured up a heart made of... Well, colors, one that would stay on Frikk's feathers until he made it disappear. Now they were both ready for a party!

Aen 30/30 2/2

"A wedding? Really? Maybe I should have taught the boy that settling down was something you did after you became a hero!" Aen laughed at his own joke, though those gathered around him didn't seem to find the humor. "How could I have become surrounded by such serious companions?" he wondered aloud, though with a smile on his face. "Ah well, so be it. Now, I won't make any of you come to this wedding, except for you Sollus, though you're all welcome to come. So?" Ren barely made a notion of her not going before returning to her business being a statue, and Grix snorted.

'Perhaps I will fit into wherever they have the after party, but a dragon is no creature for a wedding.' Aen had to nod in agreement to that, so look to the last of his remaining demi-gods.

"Aleis?" The assassin turned her head away.

"I'm not so sure they want someone like me spoiling their party."

"Oh hush, you look fine. You're going to leave me with a gauntlet as my date to a wedding? Besides, you're more experienced at parties than I am. You've infiltrated your fair share, and don't act like you haven't." She sighed in defeat.

"Alright, alright. I get your point. Get changed into something more suitable and we'll go."

"... changed? I was just going to go like this..." Aleis only sighed and shook her head.

Aen ended up wearing more decorate clothes and armor, brighter and a tad more elaborate, as well as a silken cape. Judgement was strapped to his back underneath it, though his bastard was left at home. The blood flowing through Sollus gleamed white, matching with it's host. Aleis herself wore a dress of white, and her spider legs were adorned with silvery chains. They entered the Hall through the path between it and the Battlegrounds. Aen made a note of who had come, and was pleasantly surprised to see almost everyone, even Zareth, who he'd thought for sure that Death wouldn't be attending. Nivix, of course, was nowhere to be found, but there hadn't been a trace of him for almost an era, and it seemed Ven had taken up his mantle. Not in the same way that Cassiel had, but close enough. Still, he thought it best if he made sure the god was alright after all this was over. Finally, he made his way to the happy couple.

"Roe! Petal! It's good to see you! Thank you for inviting us."

The Storyteller

The Storyteller smiled at the dozing children around him, it would be soon time to finish for tonight. He sensed it wasn't quite the time though and so continued his tale.

"Not long into the Fifth Age, it came to pass that two gods would alter their patron races. On the request of Zabekiel, Cassiel changed the attributes of the Grigori race so that instead of being unable to start a war, they would instead possess a weakness to gold and a general inexperience with combat. The angels would also finally be able to leave Coelus, but their previous fear of the universe outside would be replaced by a terrible superiority complex. Similarly, a new testament was given to the Dues Filli by Melanthios which changed his race to make them more organised and minimize their sinful attributes.

Meanwhile, up in the Hallowed Court M'endar teleported fifty performers to appear in the wedding of Roe and his young friend Petal, whilst almost all of the other gods arrived at the same time for the ceremony. It was sure to be a memorable day for all involved."

Roe - 30, 2

Once Petal left the hall, Roe climbed onto one of the pews that had been set out for the ceremony and sat on the back, swinging his legs and looking up at the ceiling. Presently Ven materialised out of thin air and chunked up to the young god, raising his thicker right arm in greeting.

"Roe. How's it going?"

"Hey Mr Robo," Roe replied, "Where's Nivix? I don't think I've seen him for over a thousand years."

Before Ven could answer though, Zareth strode in with his bird friend perched on his shoulder and sat down silently. Flight then flew off out of the door as M'endar entered wearing a colourful embroidered robe and mask along with his two demigods. Just behind the trio walked Cassiel, tall and proud as always.

"Hello Zareth, M'endar and Cassiel!" Roe yelled and waved his arms to greet them, noticing Dåre enter the hall as he did so.

"Hey Daare, over here!" he called excitedly. The mad god approached and bowed down, holding his hat in his hand. On his exposed head, Roe spotted a red button on a small controller.

"My deepest and sincerest congratulations, to you, Roe! This must be the merriest day I'll ever live through! And greeting to you, fellow guests!"

"What is that?" Roe asked but before he could get an answer, Melanthios suddenly materialised in front of the young boy with his three of his children.

"Hello Roe my brother, allow me to congratulate you and your bride as well on this magical day."

Melanthios stretched out his hand to shake Roe's hand, which the child god returned formally, while peering excitedly at the present which Heron was placing on a table at the side of the hall. He tugged at Melanthios robe.

"What is it?" he asked curiously but before he was answered, he was interrupted yet again.

"Roe! Petal! It's good to see you! Thank you for inviting us."

Roe turned round to see Aen, he squeaked and ran up to the fellow god to give him a warm hug.

"I haven't seen you for ages Aen! Petal's getting dressed in our house, she says you aren't meant to see the wedding dress beforehand because that's bad luck. Did you bring me a present too?"

Dåre 25,1

Frikk 5

"What is that?"

"That... is a secret!" The god of madness smirked. "For later, of course. I can't give a gift for two to one. Nor a gift for one to two, but since this is a gift for two, that's not a problem. Or is it a gift for one?" Dåre wasn't sure. "Both?" He then shook his head. "Either way, it will have to wait, okay? However..."

Dåre whistled. Frikk had walked around, looking at the other demigods and at the gods. There was even another bird there, a demigod. He had greeted it, before running back to Dåre. Dåre lifted the demigod up, and Frikk didn't struggle much. Almost not at all, actually!

"Hey, Roe, do you want to pet Frikk?"

Roe 30, 2

"Okay..." Roe replied slowly to Daare's explanation, feeling as if he knew less now than before he asked. Before he say anything though the mad god had already jumped onto the next conversation topic.

"Hey, Roe, do you want to pet Frikk?"

"Sure," the young god replied happily and stretched out his hand to the bird, running his fingers gently through it's feathers. "He's very soft, a bit like my fur when I'm a fox," he said, before adding, "Do you like my suit and hat? Petal made them for me,"

Roe spun in a circle to show off all the sides of his black suit and trousers, not unlike the one's well-off humans on Evalon wore to formal occasions. He finished with a small bow, taking off his top hat theatrically.

Ven - 8 AP

"Where's Nivix? I don't think I've seen him for over a thousand years."

There were times when the Mizzen truly regretted his face's inability to express emotion, like surprise, joy, or annoyance.

Especially annoyance.

Still, it could be worse. At least he had his voice.

Unleashing a mental sigh for all to hear, Ven irritably dragged an open hand across his motionless visage. "Last I checked," he began, barely managing to keep his words level and free of venom, "he was still residing on Salustutis. Just like he has been for the past few centuries."

The Mizzen had stopped trying to figure out Nivix's motives for staying in one spot for so long. Just because he was the creation of the god didn't mean he had any particular insight into his thoughts, after all. It wasn't like the madman's absence bothered him, after all; Ven had learned long ago how to be self-sufficient.

No, what bothered him was the fact that the other gods still saw him as little more than Nivix's messenger.

But there would be time to worry about that later.

"Zareth, Melanthios," the Mizzen continued, turning to face the gods in question. "I don't suppose he's been bothering either of you lately? I can't imagine he's an easy tenant to keep around."

Cassiel saw Roe, excited as ever, along with all the others. He hadn't spoken to any of them in a long time, too focused on the Girigori and the portal. Everyone seemed happy, it was a good time, not like the third age. Born in blood, raised in joy, Cassiel could deal with that, he supposed. He walked up to Roe and patted the child god on the back.

"Good to see you again Roe! It seems this celebration shall be a success. Don't worry, I have a gift for you too. But that can wait until after the festivities. Congratulations on the marriage."

Cassiel, more than the other gods, actually understood marriage inside and out. His first few weeks in life had been as a mortal, unaware of his own powers. Living with the Rowan had given him a deeper understanding and affection for mortals than creating them ever could, at least so he thought anyway. He wanted to share that with Roe.

Roe

Roe nodded in reply to Ven, he'd never been that close to Nivix anyway, and then spun around again to face Cassiel excitedly when he felt a hand on his back.

"Good to see you again Roe! It seems this celebration shall be a success. Don't worry, I have a gift for you too. But that can wait until after the festivities. Congratulations on the marriage."

"Thanks Cassiel," Roe beamed, "I hope it's something fun, I still have that sword you gave me, except I changed it so now it can become anything I want it to,"

He clicked his fingers and a small pistol appeared in his hand, he swung it around his forefinger and it promptly became a shining blue sword. The small god then lunged playfully at thin air with the sword.

"Die, die!" he chanted at no-one in particular.

M'endaxius - 24/30 AP, 2/2 MP

M'endar smiled behind the mask as the Performers arrived and began to set up a stage. The Deceiver walked towards the divine crowd currently making meaningless small talk with Roe and said, "I believe these Verr will bring about the perfect end to this delightful occasion." The god stopped as it inspected the others, "Then again it will probably take them until the end to finish preparations unfortunately. Short notice and all that. My apologies." M'endar thought on the implications of this marriage. Roe was clearly settling down, both in mind and in actuality. But could the Child of Chaos keep that up? Petal was clearly a calming influence on that child. Yes... She was the key. Soon a loud noise cut through the masked god's thoughts. It turned around and saw that Lleu was clearly not a calming influence on Zs'Wua and vice versa. The sooner the two were seperated, the better.

Lleu, Zs'Wua'Itzala - 8, 8

"It seems you don't know what a formal event entails." Zs'Wua sneered, commenting on Lleu's current attire.

Lleu scowled, the skin around his nose crinkling, "I'm not gonna dress up for a kid's tea party."

Zs'Wua sighed, "There are others around here. It would do for you to present yourself well."

"Ha!" Lleu quickly replied, "They don't give a damn, I don't give a damn and I don't see why you should."

"Just... Shush." Zs'Wua responded, dismissing the pawn. She walked away and whispered, "That item is wasted on you."

Lleu rose to the bait, "Please. Me and the Armour have gotten quite... acquainted."

Then, suddenly the clink of moving metal plates could be heard as Lleu's hand formed a fist. It was now encased in a dark gauntlet with curved claws of steel. It was the same for the Killer's body. The Armour of Hatred became his carapace. A carapace of darkness, each of the many spikes singing of malice and pain. Lleu's chest still lay bare for all to see, perhaps a reflection of the owner. Zs'Wua lay silent and smiled as she noticed her brother's transformation. Not at all suitable for the wedding but this was proof that he could be easily manipulated. She walked on to the assortment of refreshments and took a nibble. Just a ploy to observe the rest of the divine persons and to gather her thoughts. Who should she play with next? Lleu was a nice toy, but he was proving a bit erratic. Especially after he had spent years in the wilds of Evalon. Nevertheless, she walked back to Lleu.

"Do you wish to start a war?" She mused.

Lleu laughed again, "It's not worth squashin' this kid's cake."

"Why are you even here then?" Zs'Wua asked.

"Because I thought it would be nice." Lleu hissed.

Now it was her turn to laugh, "A little defensive there?"

Lleu immediately took to the buffet, but not before a little stinger. "Go wiggle your way into someone else's mind, Miss. Blob."

M'endaxius - 24/30 AP, 2/2 MP

M'endar let out a sigh. Maybe this was not going to be as interesting as it had hoped. Everyone was just being so... predictable and paying compliments and the like to Roe. At least its own demigods had chose to stay away from each other at last. But M'endar could see that Lleu was coming along nicely. Though his first efforts as a demigod of anarchy had been lackluster to say the least. Regardless, it was good to see friendly faces again. Zareth, Melanthios, but still Vantric was missing... It would have to investigate into that matter. Nevertheless, it was somehow restricting, with all of the others around. Aen - nothing but a mass of contradictions. Interesting sure, but puzzling as well. And Cassiel - the angel that stank of Seith. It would not do well to discuss plans and the like here. And it would be inappropriate as well. Vantric, while not the most trustworthy of allies, would have interesting things to say. But that was then and this was now. Now was the time to relax.

Zareth 30 , 2

Well this was awkward, he hadn't even brought a gift. What kind of gift could death bring that woudn't crash the mood at a wedding? If either of them had any pets I could bring it back to life... no it's too cliched. Still he cold have made more of an effort. His clothes rippled around him and Zareth's cape and tunic became a contemporary suit and tie, complete with waistcoat. Zareth patted his jacket pocket, making sure the ring was safely stowed away inside.

The rest of the invitees were arriving in force looked like it was time to stop being antisocial and join the festivities. The machine had warped in from the ether, it was a strange creature, despite the fact that its face was incapable of moving Zareth couldn't help but feel like there was an eye stress twitching or a vein throbing away beneath the surface. Ven, that was it's name, wasn't it?

"Zareth, Melanthios," the Mizzen continued, turning to face the gods in question. "I don't suppose he's been bothering either of you lately? I can't imagine he's an easy tenant to keep around." It said.

"The Stryfe have more legends and myths than I can count, if Nivix is the cause of any of them then he's lost in pile. I imagine you must be worried about him, most people don't take well to losing their arms, I can only imagine how Nivix would take it. I'll keep an eye out for him though."

Zareth helped himself to a drink from the buffet, it turned out to be pop. He shouldn't have been suprised, given the host. Now it was time to get mingling! First on the list had to be M'endar, it had been far too long since the two of them had spoken.

"You scrubbed up nicely, sibling." Zareth had to remind himself to try and avoid gender specific pronouns, those were a delicate matter in this case. "And these must be your agents I've heard so little about." He said motioning to the squabbling Lleu and Zs'Wua with his cup. "They seem like a colourful pairing."

Carnivox, 8

Now this party was getting started! The drink was flowing and the fights were starting! This was Car's kind of shindig. He'd wolfed down a table worth of food and had to go mark some territory behind one of the statues that littered the court, by the tim he got back someone had armoured up and was stepping up for a brawl. And one of them was almost wearing as little clothing as he was, but Car was still the winner with just a loincloth and the strap that held his quiver and a range of lighter trofies.

Then he saw Aen, that was more like it! If anybody could start some fun it was the dragon maker. "AEN! How's it goin'?" He called, strutting over to him and his companion in white. Wait, he recognised those legs! "I know you! Your that girl who blanked me at the canyon city, you didn't even stick around to see the big fight... it was great."

Flight, 8

The Petal thing was just playing with rags, nonsense. Other god things were stood around feding or making territory noises at each other, they were stubborn like that. There was that sound though, was that a male? Another like her?

She flew down from her perching point in the rafters of the entertainment hall and flew over to Frik, tweeting a greeting. This was a rare thing for her, this one could be a worthy mate, someone to roost by her side when she took her place as ruler of bird kind.

M'endaxius - 24/30 AP, 2/2 MP

Thoughts of Vantric soon dissipated as Zareth arrived. 'The original Triumvirate...' It thought as memories washed up on the its mental shore. Memories of that conversation that occurred in this very hall. 'The future has indeed turned out to the interesting, brother.' It mused inwardly. Outwardly, M'endar greeted the death god with a friendly pat on the shoulder. At least that what was the others did to show that they were welcome. Now for the greeting. A remark on the length of time that had passed would not do. They were gods, time was not a factor for them. Ah... In a flash the Deceiver came up with the perfect reply.

"You scrubbed up nicely, sibling." Zareth said, "And these must be your agents I've heard so little about." He said motioning to the squabbling Lleu and Zs'Wua with his cup. "They seem like a colourful pairing."

"It was only a matter of dusting these old clothes," M'endar began, "As for those two, they have been engrossed in their old affairs... Some of which being arguing with each other it seems." A sigh punctuated a break between the words, "However enough about them. Here is a wedding fit for a god... or five. I think it apt that we meet again here, don't you think?"

Ven - 8 AP

"The Stryfe have more legends and myths than I can count, if Nivix is the cause of any of them then he's lost in pile. I imagine you must be worried about him, most people don't take well to losing their arms, I can only imagine how Nivix would take it. I'll keep an eye out for him though."

Ven let loose a brief chuckle. "Eh, there's no need for that. If he's so intent on losing himself in the ice, then let him. Might as well enjoy the peace and quiet while he's gone."

Bored, the Mizzen found himself a seat at one of the numerous empty tables scattered throughout the room. With a snap of his fingers, he summoned a few dozen scraps of paper, treaties and documents that he had to review. It wasn't like he was going to get any socializing in, so why not get some work done?

Roe

Roe glanced at the clock on the wall and let out a gasp, it was almost time. He hopped onto one of the tables without food and jumped up and down nosily to get the other god's attention.

"Please go to your seats, because it's about to start!" he yelled eagerly at his fellow gods. With some murmuring the deities found their way to the rows of benches that had been set out at the back of the hall. Roe leapt down and ran up to the podium where Zareth was already waiting, ready to fulfil a offer he'd made one and half thousand years ago. Roe shuffled his tie nervously, now all he could do was wait.

Petal

Back in the house, Petal twirled in front of a mirror, admiring her new dress from every angle. It was white and frilly, reaching so far down that the hem dragged along the ground, and had the necessary gaps in the back to fit her wings through. Nearby sat loyal Woof and besides him on the bed, a small porcelain doll.

"How do I look Dee-Dee?" the young demigod asked the doll as she turned and scooped it up in her arms.

"You look lovely Petal, just like a beautiful lady," she muttered to herself, shaking the doll's head to imitate speaking.

"Thank you Dee-Dee!" she beamed, "Now be good while I'm away." She gently placed the toy back down on the bed and stroked Woof's head. "Let's go boy,"

Roe and Petal

The silence of the Entertainment Hall was suddenly broken by chords of slow organ music emanating from somewhere above the guests. At the same time M'endar's dancers seemed to materialise from the edges of the hall and began to dance in synchrony as the doors swung open. A small figure dressed all in white landed at the entrance and tucking in her wings, stepped in.

Petal walked daintily down the middle of the hall, a bouquet of pink flowers in her arms and Woof following meekily behind, the great white dog holding the hem of her dress just above the floor. She grinned at Roe and he stuck out his tongue briefly in reply. She stopped next to him, taking his hand and then the pair turned expectedly to Zareth.

Ven - 8AP

"Please go to your seats, because it's about to start!"

With a slight sigh and a snap of his fingers, Ven banished his documents back to whence they had come from. Continuing his work in the middle of the ceremony would have incredibly, indescribably rude; even Nivix would've been able to grasp a concept like that.

The Mizzen made his way over to the array of pews, spread out in a square with a long, empty aisle running straight down the middle. There were far more seats then there were gods to fill them, of course, and the synthetic didn't doubt that there was enough room for the entire cast of Verr performers as well.

After a quick moment of thought, Ven settled down into an empty pew, about halfway down the right side of the aisle. Close enough so that he could see the entirety of the ceremony, far enough away that hopefully he'd have some space to himself.

Zareth

"I can certainly think of worse places." Replied to M'endar, takig a moment to muse on the possible worse places... sometimes he hated his imaination.

Soon enough Roe called out for everyone to take their places and Zareth was bustled over to a podium, where he was apparently supposed to give the ceremony. It was a new experience, yes, but he'd been around long enough to hear the gist of what priests are supposed to say, granted he might have to imrovise a little bit. He stepped up to the podium and clared his throat.

How were these things supposed to start now?...

"Dearly beloved. We are gatered here today, in the sight of gods and... and Verr, to join these two in wedded harmony." Strong Start. "And to celebrate the love they share. Honestly, what the two of you have boggles the mind. Two people who couldn't have been more different and yet, you found each other, across space and time. Even death itself couldn't seperate you. What you have here is the stuff of legends. Somthing that each of us can only aspire to." Little bit of lovey, now onto the offical stuff. Zareth straightened and held himself more formally. "Roe, Petal. Do you promise to love, to hold, to support and strengthen each other, be it in sickness or health, poverty or wealth, peace or war from today until... death may part you?" Should have left that part out.

Zabekiel

A crowd stood outside of Zabekiel's office. All waiting for him to come out, to meet the newly elected Army chair. A position he had made for himself in order to better command his new armies. It's what his father wanted, he thought. He had also done away with those damned laws of exile, if only father could see him now. If only.

Zabekiel could still think back to his days before all of this. Researcher extraordinaire, came up with the cure for the Kinderven virus and managed to find an effective way to contain them too. Such dangerous work for such tiny creatures. Zabekiel had nothing but bile for them, disgusting animals.

"I asked you to hand it over."

It was a small Girigori female, at least, that's what the records said. The Kinderven had no name thousands of years ago. They were just Girigori, the sinister truth wasn't known.

"If you don't hand it over, I will bring the guards in. I just want to look at your keepsake is all."

Female was hesitant. Refused to cooperate. Interesting jewelry in left hand, won't part with it. Something wrong with bite, both scientists that tried to grab it were...incapacitated, medical staff baffled.

Primitave doctoring at the time failed to realize that the bite existed only to kill. Any adult bitten by the plague died in days, the first real graveyard for Girigori had been made that day, a stain on Coelus's wondrous history and yet, they tolerated the creatures. No longer Girigori, but still one of them, that's what they said anyway.

"Testing resilience to pain. Subject has withstood burning, electrical shocks, impalement, decapitation, severing of limbs and any other form of harm we could think of. The only way to harm what I am calling "Kinderven", seems to be related to their keepsake. It's difficult to identify, but they are highly protective of it. Keeping it from them weakens the subject, destruction terminates it. Useful information, will continue tests."

Screams could be heard from outside the labs during those days. The Kinderven had continuously broken out of their city Quadringa, Girigori were still dying. An answer was needed, but never really found. Controlling them was impossible, children were mischevious on their own, but these were simply malicious. Zabekiel had used any and all test subjects he could round up, usually those who ventured out of Quadringa without acutally harming anyone. Those that did, were always put to death on the spot.

Despite this, and his good intentions, Zabekiel had never felt bad for the beasts. His cold resentment for them had started long before he had begun his experiments.

"They are animalistic in nature." Zabekiel said calmly, pointing to an engraving he had made. "They refuse to adhere to any rules, purposefully cause damage to property and kill at will. They are no different from a wild monster on Evalon."

Nobody had believed him for the longest time, it was too bad he was in charge now. With this, his first step taken care of, Zabekiel could now bring justice to that forsaken land, make it something worth having. Remove the plague that had taken so many loved ones. Cut it at the source. Zabekiel turned around and began walking out the door and up several flights of diamond stairs. Quite a beautiful sight, Girigori everywhere pitching in along with Clankers to make a wonderful world. Several armed guards waited at the top end, tonight, the leader of peace would be an angel of death. He made a signal to the guards and the top of the palace retracted inside, allowing the light of the stars to reach him inside. Zabekiel looked at the star, Niv, smiled and began flapping his wings. "Shall we, gentlemen?"
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Zabekiel and a small group of Girigori exploded out of the Office of Lawbringing and headed straight for their destination of choice, Quadringa. That stain on the garden of Coelus was to be finally removed. He had done it, the ancient and decrepit laws in his way were finally dead and soon, the Kinderven would join those damned scross ashes. They refused to unite, refused to make the world better and instead poisoned and murdered anyone they saw. Zabekiel despised the Kinderven more than he had despised anything before. He would sooner have a city of rats.

A few days later, Zabekiel and his guardsmen touched the ground at Quadringa. The city had been prepared for him as requested earlier and a few Kinderven with Rowan Missionaries stood before his party. Zabekiel spoke first in an authoritative voice. "I have prepared a neutral grounds in which we may discuss current matters. If you will come with my group, you will find it suitable."

The area was actually quite neutral. Zabekiel didn't need this to be a slaughter. The men near him didn't know it yet, but some of them would certainly be sacrificed for this misison. Their blood writing the end of the Kinderven.

Northern Snow stepped forward, Vanette's hand in his. She might look, and act, like a six year old human child most of the time but she wasn't stupid, she knew what the failure of these negotiations might mean. Her hand trembled in the young priest's grip and he squeezed it reassuringly before turning his gaze to Zabekiel.

"You requested an audience?" he inquired to the Grigori, fumbling at his glasses as he did so. He had expected to deal with unruly Kinderven when he agreed to come to Coelus but never this sort of negotiation.

Zabekiel looked squarely at Northern Snow, small Kinderven filth in hand. The Rowan had come here for such a long time, but not for the Girigori, not for any practical purpose, but instead to worship these...things. What fools their god had made them into. They would probably fight with the Kinderven if it came to that. Zabekiel anticipated that much.

"Yes. I did. I feel that there are issues that have long been unsolved and I wish to recitify this as soon as possible. The meeting house is on the border of Quadringa. Please, follow me and my guards." Zabekiel knew the route would mean cutting through much of the city, the humans couldn't fly, but with so many guards it was unlikely the Kinderven would launch a surprise attack, and even if they did, Zabekiel had taken on much worse in his time on Evalon. He kind of missed those days.

Snow nodded and walked with Zabekiel through the streets to the meeting house, Vanette skipping alongside the pair and the guards and other city delegates following warily behind. The streets themselves were covered in waste, half-eaten food and broken toys. The cries and laughter of children at play could be heard in the distance but the only ones who could be seen stood uneasily and stared at the delegation as they passed, whispers of the massed army near the borders already spreading among them.

The priest felt apphrensive about his Grigori counterpart but at-least felt he could keep the leader distracted if he needed to. Educating Kinderven wasn't like teaching regular children after-all, the young immortals had no parents or authorities to make them attend classes and so every lesson had to be fun or interesting enough that the Kinderven wouldn't get bored and not bother attending the next day. Keeping attention was a skill he had quickly learned on the job much faster than his many years at missionary school and it looked like it might come in handy now.

Rubbish. Trash everywhere in the city the Girigori gifted them and the best the Kinderven could do is to ruin it? Zabekiel felt nothing but cold intention as he led the group of fourteen walking to an unowned house. Unlike most of Coelus now, the rising jungle had consumed a great deal of the area around it. No creatures roamed yet, but Zabekiel had a feeling he would need to tame the ever growing grass just as with the rest of his planet.

The diamond frame was mostly immune to the effects of these trees and Zabekiel shook off some loose grass as he opened the door into the surprisingly brightly lit room. "I have this place for when more...private meetings need to take place. In such a transparent world, it's only the untamed jungle that can resist such prying eyes as a curious Girigori." Several chairs were spread out around a circular table. Zabekiel sat down and seven chairs remained. The guards motioned for the Kinderven and missionaries to sit in them.

Snow and the other delegates took their seats gratefully, Vanette snuggling herself up in the priest's lap. Her affection was not unusual, she was one of his most regular pupils and particularly desperate for attention, it often seemed the Kinderven who had been turned with they were younger were not entirely able to shake off their desire for a parental figure, even many years after their real parent's had passed on to the next world. The little girl stared unblinkingly at Zabekiel from the safety of Snow's knee.

A much older missionary, at-least fifty if not more, rose from his seat to speak directly to the Grigori leader.

"Why is it you have come here today? We have all noticed the regiments you have stationed outside the Children's Republic, surely you do not believe our little charges present your people a threat?"

Zabekiel looked the Missionary straight in the face. He could not lie, it was impossible for him. Seith made that possible and it was one of the few things he felt Seith truly did right. The god had removed all sidestepping from conversations and everything was direct, to the point. Zabekiel said in a more somber tone "Do the Kinderven and Rowan have aspirations? Hopes for a better and brighter tomorrow? One in which all can and will live and be happy? That is mine."

"Who doesn't?" the old missionary replied in an equally somber tone. "True peace among the all races and worlds is a noble goal but futile until the Lord Roe returns to Evalon to claim his rightful place as ruler of all peoples. Until that day however, we must make the best we can ourselves. What is it you wish to speak with us about on this particular day, Zabekiel?"

That question. The man was simple, devoted to his god of the immature and short-sighted. Still, the question was there, Zabekiel could only side step so much. "I can not lie, you know this as much as I, so I will make my intentions clear. Your city of Quadringa is to join Coelus. You will follow our laws and join us as one in our first step to uniting the universe as the new God of Enlightenment Cassiel intends."

A gasp arose from the Quadringa side of the table as the Grigori leader explained his intentions. Vanette frowned and pointed a stubby finger accusingly at Zabekiel.

"That's not fair, we don't want be to a part of your fucking country or have your stupid fucking rules!" she cried and stuck her tongue out for good measure. She looked like she was about to continue but was silenced by a hand from Snow.

"Excuse my young friend's language," the priest added hastily, "though it demonstrates the problem with your proposal most clearly. The Children's Republic of Quadringa has been an independent state for the last five hundred years and it's Kinderven are accustomed to it's ways, frankly most of them would fight rather than see the city annexed. You could propose your idea a thousand times and I guarantee every time they would refuse."

Zabekiel took a harsh look at Vanette. Scum was showing her true colors now. She was no better than the rest, the one who had been skipping a second ago, just a raging beat like the rest. Zabekiel had never intended to let anyone out of this room. They would all be dead soon.

"Be that as it may, you are on the planet of Coelus, our attempts to work with your kind have only led to countless deaths. Scum like that thing need to be controlled. I know from personal experience. If you resist and attack us, you will be treated the same as the Kinderven we captured and put in our labs for testing. Instead of citizens, you will be treated like the animals you are."

"Vanette is not a thing, she's a person as much as you and I, if not more!" Snow rumbled back in anger, "Your people have almost an entire planet to yourselves, what need do you have for one small city? All the Kinderven want is a place they can live and play without adults interfering with their lives. What you are proposing will lead to nothing less than war and a bloody one at that!"

Zabekiel shook his head and kept calm. "Human, you don't know this place very well. The Kinderven have been attempting to venture out of Quadringa since the start of this. Every time one slips by people get hurt. I have seen children forcefully turned into one of them. I have seen families ripped to shreds, destroyed by their own children. The tolerance we have shown them is over. You have two options."

Zabekiel's guards began shifting towards the door, still poised at the Kinderven. It was clear they didn't intend to let anyone leave.

"Oh yeah?" a Kinderven boy who appeared about ten to Snow's left piped up, "None of us want to be controlled or anything, tell us what your "options" are!"

Zabekiel began preparing himself for a battle. His father had spoken of the hundreds he had been through, this would be one of Zabekiel's first. He began charging up a beam attack to buy him some distance if need be, though he figured his altered blood would make the Kinderven bite near useless.

"You can join my empire and live under constant supervision, or I will turn your city into ash."

The Kinderven boy glanced briefly at his compatriots and then turned to face Zabekiel, his face resolved.

"We'll never join your shitty empire, that's our final answer!" he half-yelled at the Grigori and bared his sharpened teeth with an animalistic glint in his eyes.

Zabekiel cracked a smile and said simply. "Then you will all die here."

The boy howled not unlike a wild animal and threw himself at Zabekiel, his teeth full extended and hair-on-end.

With that, Zabekiel's traps was complete. The Kinderven had fallen for it and the Emperor of the Girigori's guards began moving in on the Kinderven. Zabekiel however, allowed the Kinderven to sink his teeth into his left arm. The Vigil strain had a fun effect of cancelling out the Kinderven's bite. Zabekiel didn't even feel anything.

"It doesn't work on me, beast." Zabekiel then raised his right arm and blasted the Kinderven with the beam he had been charging. The child cascaded straight into the wall and Zabekiel grabbed the poor thing by the throat, searching for its keepsake.

The other three Kinderven leapt at Zabekiel from behind, sinking their teeth into his arm, leg and backside respectively. Snow jumped up and held Vanette tightly as she screamed before taking his elder missionary by the hand.

"We've got to leave and warn the others!" he shouted and stumbled towards the exit whilst carrying his small friend and dragging his elder behind him.

One of the guards stood by the door and raised a sword and shield combination made of light magic as the rest began rushing at the wild Kinderven. Zabekiel paid no mind to the others as he reached into the bot's pocket and discovered a small keepsake. A wooden doll. Zabekiel channeled a small amount of magic in his hands and the doll soon found itself on fire. Zabekiel tossed it to the other side of the room and the Girigori behind him grabbed the Kinderven covering him. By then, his arm had already healed any damage done by the boy.

Snow and his two companions barrelled into the guard standing by the door and all four tumbled out of the makeshift negotiating house. Back inside, the young Kinderven whose doll was burnt cried and looked up tearfully at Zabekiel.

"That was my little sister's," he choked before falling lifeless onto the floor.

Zabekiel tossed the broken body of the child on the floor and moved on to the rest who had by now bitten two of the guards. One of the guards had already managed to grab a keepsake and destroy it as well, leaving two kinderven and four standing Girigori inside the house. Zabekiel saw the open door and smiled, a prepared Kinderven would fight out in the open. More Girigori would die, but it would be easier to wipe each one off the face of Coelus. Zabekiel forged a sword and impaled one of the struggling Kinderven on it, ordering the guard fighting it to go help out his allies.

While this happened, the Girigori by the door found himself overwhelmed by the Kinderven and Missionaries. He created light barriers around the exposed sections of his body and hoped the trio would try to run.

Back outside, Snow hugged tightly onto Vanette as the four rolled across the ground, the sound of a beam breaking the muffled shouts. The Grigori soldier snarled and tried to grab the child but the priest managed to score a hit square in his face and the angel crumpled. He looked over at the elder missionary and saw a great wound spreading across the old man's body, now he knew what the beam had been aimed at. He picked the little Kinderven and ran down the empty streets towards the missionary headquarters, not daring to look behind him.

"Must... warn... the others," he breathed.

The Child screamed in surprise as Zabekiel's energy sword pierced her through the back. She tried to squirm out but it was no use, Zabekiel grabbed a necklace from her and crushed it in his fist. She fell down, clumped with the others. All said, there were three dead Girigori, and four dead Kinderven laid across the cabin. Zabekiel's wounds were already healing as he walked out to find a knocked out Girigori next to a dead missionary. "Good, you didn't kill them all. Pick him up, we are going to erradicate every last Kinderven." Zabekiel flapped his wings a few times and flew off into the distance to make a speech.

His engineers had invented a radio device capable of transmitting their leader's or anyone else's voice across the entirety of Coelus. It was even rumored that such a device could easily be used to communicate in between planets and send messages in mere moments when fully implemented. Zabekiel had a very specific message however, meant only for his generals. He landed outside of Quadringa and a radioman came rushing over.

"Send this message to channel zero." Zabekiel started. "Kill every Kinderven and anyone protecting them. It's war."

Snow burst into the missionary headquarters breathing heavily, the other priests looked up at him in alarm. He placed Vanette onto the ground gently and then recounted to them everything that had happened in the house.

"I thought as much, those armies weren't placed just outside our walls for nothing," one sighed.

"Let's be honest, what are our odds," another shrugged, "we've got one city of poorly-armed kids versus a planet of well-armed violent angels,"

"We can't give up hope!" Snow retorted angrily, "the Lord Roe will provide and could yet decide to spare this place from the dictator's wrath. I've been here barely more than three months and even I can tell that the Kinderven will never surrender their republic,"

"That's true," the first missionary replied, "you know they've been preparing for hours, I think most of them twigged a while back it would come to this soon or later."

Suddenly a great crash came from outside, Vanette screamed and threw herself around Snow's leg, the other missionaries dashed to the window to get a better look.

"Child of Chaos! They're already breaking down the front walls!"

Zabekiel was hovering over Quadringa, alone. The two standing guards had taken the one that was knocked out to a healer. Zabekiel had other plans. The story of Lennonous made one thing clear, the ability to use light magic to enhance sound. Zabekiel used this to shout to the whole city.

"Denizens of Quadringa, this is your Emperor, Zabekiel. Your constant resistance and refusal to abide by the laws set by our first god Seith and the true god Cassiel have led to this. Surrender and you may be spared, but know that we are leveling your city. You scum deserve every bit of this."

The gates that had for so long kept the Girigori out of Quadringa came crashing down and hundreds of Mizzen led the charge from the front, forming ranks while Girigori led from behind with Light barriers. Archer magi circled over head and were firing light arrows upon any and all Kinderven and Missionaries alike. This wasn't a war, it was a slaughter. Unorganized groups of Kinderven would come rushing at Girigori, but most would end in a flurry of arrows nailing them to the ground as a Girigori burned the keepsake.

One of the soldiers had a look of pity on him. He hadn't seen combat before now and this felt wrong. The Kinderven were mere children, even if they were animalistic. This just seemed to go against everything he stood for. Still, Zabekiel promised peace, and if the Kinderven were an obstacle, they had to be removed right? It was all for the better.

Zabekiel himself landed inside the city, this time with about fifty Girigori behind him, taking down any and all Kinderven in their sights. There was a specific one Zabekiel was after. The one who had caused so much pain, to those who loved her, treated her well. It was about time she came to justice.

"This is happening so fast!" one of the oldest missionaries cried, "quick, Wind and Rock, prepare as many starwhales to leave the city as fast as you can. Rifle, where is our weapons supply again?"

"Under the stairs sir," the young priest replied, "it's not much though, mainly defensive arms for dealing with Kinderven riots. Never thought they'd have to be used for something like this..."

"Neither did I," the old man admitted before turning to Snow, "Your class may be looking for you, think you can bring them to a starwhale?"

"If the Lord Roe permits, I'll try my best," Snow replied anxiously. The elderly priest smiled and handed him a pistol, "take this, it's a slaughter out there," Snow took the weapon and then made his way out, taking Vanette's hand as she ran to catch him up. He didn't bother trying to dissuade her, he'd known the child long enough to know she'd follow him to Evermoor and back, even if it meant hiding from him most of the way. That one trip he'd had to take out of Quadringa... he shook his head at the terrible things that happened that day.

Out in the city it was pure carnage. It seemed mostly older children had found arms: knives and smuggled guns mainly, and were fighting the invaders desperately from the city walls and houses, the pair ran past a screaming Grigori lying on the ground with a broken wing as a gang of Kinderven set upon him, their teeth cleaving through his flesh like knives through hot butter.

Zabekiel knew the house, it was small, insular and hidden from most of the city as he knew it would be. The one inside, his sister. She was the monster that did it all, they had everything and she threw it away. Forced him to run, brought all of this upon all of these people. He had to thank her for showing him who these creatures truly were. That day...

"COME OUT YOU BITCH!" Zabekiel uncharacteristically shouted. He wasn't calm anymore, he wasnt' collected. Thousands of years of hatred welled up was finally coming out. It was time to end all of it, the first step to peace for the universe, it would end in the removal of the Kinderven!

A singular Kinderven came out of the house. She was small like any other, only five when she turned. She still held the same teddy bear Zabekiel had given her so many years ago. "Brother, I asked you to come with me! We could have been friends forever and instead you did all of this. Why?"

"You killed our parents."

"They tried to kil me!"

"You are lying!"

Zabekiel charged at his sister and impaled her on an energy sword, just like with some of the others. "They never would have! You keep lying to me! That's all you are good for!" Zabekiel ripped the teddy bear from his sister's hands and she had a terrified look on her face now.

"Zabs, please! I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorr-"

Zabekiel fired a small beam at the stuffed bear, it was now alight. It wouldn't be long now. Tears began streaming down his face. "Just, be quiet, monster."

Snow breathed heavily as he finally made his way up the steps to the school, stumbling past the sign with "for Kinderven aged from five to nine" written messily in Rowan runes. Vanette clung onto his back as she had the entire journey, barely speaking a word. He burst into the main hall to find ten small children huddled in a corner together, staring up in fright at him as he strode over.

"You recognize me, don't you?" he chided them gently and sat down next to them

"Yeah, it's Mr Northern!" one of the smallest girls cried.

"That's right Megana," Snow replied with a smile to reassure them, "where's Mr Mechanical? Wasn't he on duty this morning,"

"He was," a slightly older boy replied, "he ran away an hour ago though,"

"Oh, that's not very nice is it?" the missionary replied with a groan, cursing the cowardliness of his co-worker, "Are you the only kids left in the school?"

Nods came from everywhere at once.

"Are you here to save us?" the small girl asked curiously.

"Of course!" Snow replied and glanced over his shoulder, time was running out. "Come on, follow me and I'll find us a starwhale in no time." He helped the children to their feet and then with Vanette in hand as always, strode back towards the exit.

"Oh..." he replied softly as he peered out of the window. The line of Grigori troops had advanced very quickly, they were already far past the closest starwhale landing and were not far from the steps leading up to the school. In the distance a pod of starwhales floated almost serenely above the carnage in the city below, most out of reach of the Grigori and their allies' bows by now but one that had clearly been struck was spiraling downwards instead of upwards, it's numerous riders crying out faintly as the whale finally crashed heavily into a house.

"We might have a problem..." Snow muttered to himself.

Zabekiel was holding the lifeless corpse of his long lost sister. Her struggle over, the curse lifted. But despite this, Zabekiel didn't feel as if a hole had been filled, rather, it was even more empty now. What once was now shall never be. It was gone, everyone was gone now. "Burn it. Burn the whole city, I want none of if left standing YOU HEAR ME!?"

The Girigori with him nodded and soon the order spread through the whole city. Zabekiel flew back and watched as Girigori teamed up in teams of five to begin firing massive death rays everywhere. Buildings came crashing down on broken bodies and living Kinderven alike, diamond on diamond, all the foilage which had now been running rampant in Quadringa was now ablaze, the Mizzen and Ekiruru forces which had invaded now retreated and the Girigori were switching off to fire rounds at buildings.

What few starwhales had taken flight were also being taken down. Huge holes were punched right through the beasts as they lost a hold on life and the carnage consumed Kinderven fell down, soldiers waiting to smash anything they held. It was a gruesome sight, even for Zabekiel. He remembered how it all started. The first time he had seen a Kinderven aside from his sister, the scientists were experimenting on them, running tests. It was through this that they discovered a minor treatment to the bite, how to kill a Kinderven and how to weaponize them. Zabekiel had heard the pleas of the scientists, that if he were to attack, saving a few for experimental plague monsters against their enemies, but even Zabekiel was better than that.

A few starwhales exited the planet. Zabekiel figured that would happen and watched silently as it flew to Evalon. Retaliation would follow soon. That much was obvious. The Girigori were going to war.
Snow gazed at lines of Grigori marching up the steps to the school for a moment before leaping into action. He slammed the door shut and dragged the nearest table under the door handle to hold it fast.

"Kids, pull down the shutters and close the other classroom doors!" he yelled. They scrambled to it and within seconds the room was plunged into darkness. Snow fumbled his way across to a display where the flag of the Children's Republic hung, he pulled the banner unceremoniously off the wall and then crawled under a table where the Kinderven had gathered.

"Mr Northern, are we going to die?" Vanette asked in a quiet voice as she shuffled her way into his lap. He couldn't help notice her underclothes distinctly damp, not that it mattered now.

"I don't know," Snow admitted, "All we have left now is faith in the Lord Roe, and perhaps the mercy of the angels,"

"I'm scared!" another Kinderven girl cried. Snow frowned and then taking the flag, wrapped it around the huddled children to form a tent. He'd been hoping to fly the rattle and candy stick one more time but this would be a better use.

"It'll be fine," he reassured them gently, listening to the banging on the classroom door with one ear "I'll tell you all a story, while we're waiting for the starwhales to come pick us up. Now, let me see... once upon a time there was a young god by the name of Roe and he had a good friend who was not a god or even a demigod, but a mere mortal... does anyone here know her name?"

"Petal?" a Kinderven asked hesitantly.

"Yes, that's right," Snow smiled as the banging grew louder and then suddenly stopped, "well one day Roe was feeling down, so he went to visit Petal at her home in Manor village, and..."

No-one who was huddled under the flag tent felt the blast that ripped through the classroom until the second it hit them and by that time, there was not much left of the priest, his pupils or their trinkets except scattered pieces of flesh and red fabric.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fire. Cleansing fire, burning away a terrible legacy of pain and suffering that only perpetuated itself through Girigori memories. Zabekiel didn't care about those lost in the battle, though the number reached a few hundred. Some had died horribly, worse than any Girigori before. "War. An essential horror done only in the case of righteous dedication." Zabekiel nodded at his own assessment and thought that perhaps Cassiel had caused the losses to teach him a valuable lesson.

Quadringa's flames kept burning, screaming stopped, only the comforting sound of burning remained. Burning everything. Burning away the past, the present and leaving only his glorious future ahead. Cassiel's dream, his dream, was now one step closer. Zabekiel would have to deal with retaliation at some point, but human resistance was laughable at best. His will would conquer them and then unite everyone! Emperor of the Universe, Zabekiel. Nice ring to it.

Roe and Petal

Roe reached forward and took Petal's palm in his, admiring the endless depths of love in her one wide brown eye and her innocent adoring smile.

"I do," he said quietly.

Petal smiled silently back at Roe, unlike any of her tribe or even her own family he'd always had time to play with her, nurse her when she was sick, rescue her from danger and look past her missing eye.

"I do," she replied and the pair looked up again expectantly as one at Zareth.

"I now declare you man and wife, you may kiss the bride," he said solemnly with a wave of his arms.

Roe leaned forward and gently placed his lips on Petal's, who did likewise, before leaping back suddenly in alarm.

"Ewwh! You just put your tongue in my mouth!" he exclaimed.

"It's what you're meant to do, I even practised with Woof!" she beamed brightly.

"What?" Roe started but decided he didn't want to know. Luckily at that moment Zareth saved the day.

"Come now, let the party begin!" he called to the congregation. The gods stood up from their seats and began to mingle again, Petal came over to take Roe's hand and rested her head on his shoulder. They stood together for a few seconds until Roe broke the grip with a shout.

"Come on, let's dance," the young god yelled and pulling his new bride behind him ran out into the centre of the hall.

President Hardy

From his presidential palace in the centre of Manor, Hardy Sharulk stared glumly out of his front window at the raging protesters outside his front gate. In all his five years of office he'd never seen a crowd so numerous, or so angry. He'd expected an outcry when the news of the genocide on Coelus arrived along with a small group of Kinderven refugees but nothing this large. The protesters seemed to be mainly older Rowan and Kinderven, though with the odd Changeling and Ekiruru mixed in too.

"Holy war now!" screamed one sign, "Behead the child killers!" shouted another in blood red writing, "When even angels commit unspeakable acts, the end times are near," quoted a third from a well known passage of the book of Rowan.

"Religious nutcases," the President muttered under his breath but unfortunately, the religious nutcases formed an indispensable part of his electorate which he couldn't afford to lose with an election just next year. He swivelled his chair to face his advisers who were waiting patiently in the background.

"Well, what are our options? Is a war even feasible?" he asked.

"Um, sir," one began, "Possible... certainly. Desirable... not really. Our forces are mainly geared toward defending Republic territory at the moment, we don't have the capacity to carry most of our heavy guns, armoured vehicles and tanks, bombers... all our large equipment basically, across space. Given what little we know about their world, victory would be uncertain and loss would damage public opinion even further."

"Hm, you make a good point," the President mused, "Anyone got any other ideas?"

"I have one," another advisor spoke up and placed a sheet of notes in front of the leader. He studied the sheet for a few moments and nodded approvingly.

"This is good, how many Grigori even live within our borders?"

"Excluding Kinderven Grigori, very few, almost certainly less than a thousand. In-fact, I imagine many of them have already fled the country, if the rage outside our window is anything to go by."

Grigori Exclusion Act (2506)

i) All individuals of the Grigori race, with the exception of those blessed with the Kinderven strain, are hereby banned from the sovereign lands, territorial waters and space of the Republic and any citizenship status of such individuals is from the signing of this act null and void.

ii) Any individual found in contravention of section i) shall be deported for a first offence with no other factors, or if a second offence or a first offence committed in tandem with another crime, shall be executed by firing squad as mandated under the Death Penalty Act (2467), unless commuted to deportation by a court.

iii) It is offence for a citizen of the Republic to trade with any individual in contravention of section i) anywhere in the universe, with the penalty for doing so ranging between five and twenty years imprisonment.

iv) It is offence for a citizen of the Republic share classified or sensitive information with any individual in contravention of section i) anywhere in the universe, with the penalty for doing so ranging between twenty five years imprisonment and death by firing squad.

v) The Modern Defence Act (2502) is amended to invest a sum to be determined each annum to research and test anti-Grigori weaponry and inter-planetary tactics.

Girigori

"Interesting. The monkeys decided to ban us from being in their borders. Figures, they worshipped those animals anyway."

Zabekiel was sitting in his office, smirking at the Girigori Exclusion Act his secretary had brought him. The Girigori that he had brought back from Evalon spoke of the human's war-fighting capabilities, but also of their weaknesses. A dependence on food and supplies, a general inability to travel, a lack of allies. They were of the lesser races and not much to consider. The Ekiruru in his employ told Zabekiel of the first war between gods, where Olek the Mad invaded and a small number of Ekiruru demolished the human's entire army. Now was a different time of course, but Zabekiel had contingencies.

"Tell the Mizzen, that the weapons they spent all this time developing are finally going to be employed."

"Another war, sir?"

"Possibly."

"I will bring in the Mizzen, sir."

"Good."

A singular Mizzen came walking up the stairs and into Zabekiel's office. The other races on Coelus couldn't fly for obvious reasons, but by now every single city and most homes were made to accommodate this. This particular Mizzen was the head of the advanced weapons department, long ignored by the Girigori, finally revitalized by Zabekiel for defensive and offensive purposes. "You called, sir?"

"I wanted to tell you that as of immediately, I am assigning a large group of clankers to allow mass production of every weapon you have designed."

"You are aware then, of the resources required for such a thing. We would have to-"

"I already have a plan for that. Use what you have for now, you won't run out."

"Alright then...as for continued research?"

"Double it."

The Mizzen's eyes gleamed, this was going to be an exciting time after all. "Yes, right away then!"

Zabekiel watched the Mizzen run out of the room, excitement barely contained. If there was one race with more of an appetite for research than the Girigori or Deus Filli, it was the Mizzen. Zabekiel pondered his usage of certain war materials, most weren't ethical by any means, but the Mizzen were known for their ability in efficency, not in moral subjection. A war with the Rowan would be best be avoided, but Zabekiel would do what he had to. For now, he needed resources, and his scouts had told him long ago of a perfect location. Eld. Zabekiel pushed a small button near him and said "Inform the Ekiruru scouts that they will be in for a job soon. Also, gather as many clankers as you can, it's time to solve this lack of materials situation." Only so many things could be made with diamond after all.

--------------------------------------------------------------

"Are we sure we want to use these?"

"No."

"Then why are we gathering them?"

"In case we have to."

"Humans..."

"Humans."

Two Girigori were organizing a large selection of weaponry designed to counter organic life-forms. Mizzen weren't counted as the hope would be to make trades and concessions with any opposed to the Empire's plan. After all, even though the Mizzen were a minority on Coelus, they were still a very deep and engrained part of society and treated as equals. Many did not wish to harm another Mizzen, and the Girigori could relate. Still, what those machines could produce, was terrifying.

Nerve gas, armor penetrating bullets, rapid fire long range machine guns, cannons designed to fire out large concentrated blasts of arcing electricity, destroying anything at least a mile ahead of it. Two thousand years of development finally paid off. Flying Girigori could take advantage of small personal rail guns that automatically targeted anything with a heartbeat at a selected range. Research in how Girigori light magic works allowed for neural implants, which decrease the energy required for magic use, allowing for a singular Girigori to unleash a devastating beam attack on his own. And if all of that failed, the Mizzen had developed City Destroyers. Bombs capable of consuming entire cities in an instant. Not that the Girigori didn't have a hand in any of it, in fact many scientists were Girigori, working side by side with Mizzen.

Ekiruru troops were made into mid-range, though not front line attackers. Complementing Girigori support and Mizzen durability in warfare, Ekiruru could also serve in surprise ambushes that even the best trained soldiers could never detect. It seemed as if Zabekiel had a solution to any problem faced by him. In fact, this was true. Unlike the Deus Filli and their aversion to any collaboration, or the constant warring on Evalon, Coelus had been quiet for thousands of years, advancing and moving extraordinarily rapidly, anything from a cure for the Kinderven virus, as long as it was applied quickly, to the use of diamonds in conducting signals. It had all been invented faster, and sooner than other planets.

Even then, the goal for war was never established. Most Girigori still detested the concept of it, the Kinderven displayed as an exception, a nessecary war to purify and preserve Coelus. The Empire would unite the universe, not destroy it. Bring light to the lesser races and allow them to join it. Zabekiel had made that promise all those centuries ago and still lived to make that possible. With the finalization of non-starwhale dependent travel, Girigori could finally travel anywhere they needed to in the universe. It was simple utilization of starwhale mechanics translated into a massively producable machine. Zabekiel had even mentioned the possibility of outfitting these machines with weapons if need be.

"Damned humans."

In the hall of the archon

"This is a big project you're suggesting." The archon leaned over the maps presented to her, clicking her tongue in thought.

"But you know it's worth the effort." Said the stryfe in front of her. His name was Vorgen Bright-Snow and he was... strange, for a stryfe. His ambition was commendable but he was a wandering soul. Most of his people were happy to stay where they knew, only travelling as far as the next hold, the stryfe were a sort to lay down their roots deep. But not Bright-Snow, he had explored all of the lands called Volk and had even tried to lead an expadition across the raging seas. It had ended horribly, killing most of his crew and earning him a great gash over his chest but hey, no one else had had the guts to try. While most stryfe boys his age developed passions for swords and mountain climbing, Bright-Snow was studying cartography.

He had brought with him maps of every charted planet in the galaxy with the alien names translated into stryfen runes. He'd presented all of them to the archon, the samll table in front of her chair was littered with maps and diagrams, the one on top was titled EVALON in large letters.

"But we know of Evalon." The archon's brows furrowed. "Known about them since the days of Grimnir, we already have trade outposts and whale lanes set up to get to them."

"No, Ma'am. We know of the Rowan, we know Changlelings, we know of small outlying areas. Grimnir only scratched the surface. I'm talking about setting up real settlements, launching real expoditions, actually DISCOVERING Evalon. There is still so much we don't know. You must have heard the stories of the tiny bearded folk, the spike armed things with dark skin."

"Get to the point Bright-Snow." The archon sighed.

"And the metal people, beings of true technology. So far we've just been exchanging trinkets and idle goods, maybe we get a tractor or some fire arms, but nothing that changes anything. We need to keep trading beause all the equipment they give us can't stand up to the cold, it all frosts over and freezes solid. These metal men could change everything!"

"You would bring monsters to our shores?!" An advisor cried in disbelief and the the others quickly joined in, adding their voices in outrage. the archon quickly silenced them with a glare and a slash of her hand. None of them wanted to get on her bad side and with good reason. Kaldra "The sword breaker" was the first female kald and now she had risen to archon. One didn't break into that kind of boys club without some serious skill and clout.

Bright-Snow straightened himself, his ears twitching a little in frustration. He cleared his throat and began again. "We are alone in the universe. There are demons beyond the water with dark magics and fires that could consume Volk, there are races that were ancient when the stryfe were finally old. As much as we may not like to admit it, we are at the bottom of the pile. It's time to end this isolation, my archon. How else are we to take our rightful palce in the world?"

The hall fell silent. None of the attending stryfe seemed to know what to say to any of this. Archon Keldra glared in thought until she finally broke the silence. "What would you need?"

* * * * *

The weeks had flown by, Bright-Snow had been a blur of motion making sure all the reperations were in order. The archon's vision had exceeded far beyond his expectations. In the end she hadn't been happy with just Evalon, she had given him - and his apprentices - the materials and man power to launch several expeditions. Bright would still lead the largest outing to Evalon, his mission: to set up an emmbassy (as the Rowan called it), establish secure trade relations with as many local spiecies as possible and make contact with the metal beings of legend, the ones called Mizzen.

His acolytes were to split up and move by wooly Whale to explore and make contact with other worlds. One would take three whales of men and supplies and head to the diamond world of Coelus, the smallest expedition would make their way to Eld.

Bright pulled his cloak around him and braced himself for the journey that was to come. Today was the day, his heart was racing and his right leg was shaking wildly, an unconious habit he had when he got excited. And this was the most excited he'd been in years. No stryfe had ever attempted something this grand since Grimnir and the unity wars. Word had already spread, this latest adventure was the talk of all the holds and Bright had been buried in an avalanche of voulenteers. Countless young stryfe, eager to see adventure and bring home riches from unseen lands.

Whatever happened, people would be talking about this for years. "We can't fail. I wont fail." Bright muttered to himself and strode towards his whale as it's riders preped it for take off.

So it was that a great fleet of whales took flight from Volk, spreading out among the stars. Stryfe set foot on worlds that had never heard or seen of them in the name of exploration and adventure. And they brought their culture and spirits with them.

Things would go very differently for each expedition but there was one common act they each shared. On the first night each one set down and set up camp, their captains gave out the food rations and a little extra drink and each ordered a great fire pit be made for their people to gather round for warmth. Into the fire were thrown offerings to the great spirits as songs were sung and stories told. Each of them, so far from home, clutched any tokens they might have and prayed tht the spirits would see them safe.

In the northern fields of Evalon, on the edge of what the Rowan called the Borderlands, Bright-Snow waited axiously for the messangers he'd sent out to return. If they were succesful then they would com back with local officals and he could discuss his palns for the future with the natives on peacful terms. Alone in the dark he whispered to Yorvengand and hoped that luck was on his side.

Roe and Petal

Roe took Petal by the hand and eagerly spun her around, her veil and fancy shoes soon lost to the dance floor. Arms, legs and hair went everywhere but of course neither dancer cared. Suddenly Roe stopped dead and Petal halted too, looking at him anxiously.

"What's the matter Roe?" she asked.

"We forgot the presents!" the young god yelled and bolted towards the table where the gifts were stacked, dragging his poor bride along behind him and almost knocking Daare off his seat.

President Hardy

Human heavy artillery stood side-by-side with Mizzen guards as the convey made it's way through the center of Minas Kei towards the great steel gates. President Hardy barely glanced up from his newspaper as with a creak the reinforced and magically charmed barriers opened and the line of cars drove slowly into the giant shimmering portal that would take them to another world. White light filled the presidential car for an instance and then suddenly they were driving through an overgrown ruin and out into the great forested city of Ayamine. The car slowed to halt in front of a congregation of Ekiruru, and Hardy gingerly climbed out, it was only his third time on an alien world.

"Welcome to our world President Hardy Sharulk, I am Princess Eleora, Paramount Chief of Ayamine," A towering Ekiruru came forward, she was close to a metre taller than him and skin the colour of newly-formed leaves. She wore almost nothing except loose braids of flowers around her head and waist.

"Your Highness, it is an honour," the President replied formally and he bowed, trying hard not to stare too much.

"Come, we have much to discuss," she said briskly and beckoned for him to follow to her private chambers.

For the next hour, the topics of discussion ranged from sovereignty, to defence, to trade, to the Republic embassy. Given the significant Ekiruru minority living in the Republic, good relations with Eld was a fact of life and a very useful asset. Eventually, the topic of conversation turned to religion.

"We await the return of our one true divine Queen, Eldarwen, with much longing," Eleora said mystically, "Until then, the Hunter and the Sky Children shall watch over our world."

"The Sky Children are the Lord Roe and Lady Petal right?" Hardy inquired.

"I believe that is what your people call the two divine sisters, here do these seem familiar?"

She glided over a bookshelf and found an old tome, bringing it back and cracking it open at an illustration page. The President glanced down at the abstract drawing, despite the left figure being green and androgynous their grin was unmistakeable. The figure on the right had one eye, wings and was more feminine in appearance, even with the green skin there no need to guess who she was. He noted with a raised eyebrow that despite their different body shapes, both gods appeared to be anatomically female. As he studied the illustration, Eleora continued to drone on.

"...the Sky Children gave us the gift of love, with the Everchildren to remind us of that gift every day,"

"Everchildren? Oh right, you mean Kinderven..." Hardy muttered, "Say, did you hear about what happened to them on Coelus?"

"No, our people have very little contact with that planet..."

"The Grigori butchered a city full of Kind... eh, 'Everchildren', thousands of them just like that," he clicked his fingers to emphasise the swiftness of the attack.

"Canopy above... why would they do such a thing?" the Princess asked in a horrified tone.

"Between you and me, the angels may look pretty but there's something inside them that's just missing... I don't trust them an inch. The only upside is that they are completely unable to lie, for whatever reason."

"I see President Hardy, I will remember that if I ever encounter one,"

Ven - 8AP

"We forgot the presents!"

Had he possessed the ability to, the Mizzen likely would've chuckled as he watched the children gleefully scurry over to the pile of ornately wrapped boxes in the corner. The god and demigod's enthusiasm was truly infectious, and Ven smiled inwardly as Roe excitedly tore the wrapping off of a brand new, remotely controlled airplane. Had he been one to brag, the synthetic might have pointed out that the toy had a nearly unlimited range, could fly as well in a vacuum as it could in air, and even featured an array of harmless weapons and accessories.

Apparently if he ever got tired of being the divine ruler of the Mizzen empire, he could always get a back-up job as a toy maker.

Content to simply hang back, Ven quietly observed as Roe and Petal oohed and aahed at the rest of the wedding presents. Sure, he could be doing more productive things, but what was wrong with taking a bit of a break every now and then? This was supposed to be a celebration, after all; he might as well try to enjoy him-

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Gah!

Unable to resist, Ven pressed a hand against his forehead as he staggered backwards. The mental assault had torn right through his unprepared thoughts like some kind of battering ram, and he could feel data being leeched from his mind. What the... Was this a Mizzen?

No, no, this signal was far too powerful to be a single Mizzen. And it didn't make sense for them to be acting like this; why would they be draining information from the hive-mind?

"I don't... What?"

Ignoring the strange looks he was getting from the other guests, Ven focused on the signal, latching onto it and picking it of information. Wait... it wasn't a single signal at all, but a collection of hundreds of them, all doing the same thing at once. It didn't make sense. What the hell could have possible forced Mizzen to behave like this?

And why were the signals originating from Salustutis of all places?

"I- I'm sorry," Ven distractedly muttered, standing up and marching away from the party. "Something strange... I have to go. Roe, Petal, sorry, congrats."

Not bothering to wait for a response, the demigod summoned his power and vanished in a flash of fire and steel.


He reappeared halfway across the solar system, materializing upon Salustutis' surface. Sal, the city afforded to the small colony of Mizzen that lived there, stretched around him on all sides, its various buildings and labs reeking of heat and chemicals. The demigod's finely tuned senses swept the area, detecting the signs of experimentation and study that defined any Mizzen settlement. It seemed like the city was doing just fine; there were no signs of rampant destruction or mayhem, no hint of enemy attack. On the surface, there didn't appear to be anything wrong.

Besides the silence.

That horrible, maddening silence.

This was Sal, there was no doubt about that. So why couldn't he hear any of its inhabitants? Why couldn't he detect their thoughts, why couldn't he feel their minds. There was no way they had all just decided to get up leave all at once; something was going on. And, as horror began to race through his thoughts, Ven resolved to find out exactly what it was.

Spreading out his mental senses, the demigod blinked throughout the city. There had to be life somewhere. There just had to be.

Wait, there! Half a mile outside of Sal, a large cluster of movement! Judging by the size and speed, it had to be a group of Mizzen; maybe he could finally get some answers.

Flashing into existence just in front of the parade, Ven turned to address them. "Right, what's going on then?" he asked, shooting off his questions at a rapid fire rate. "Did you lot just reach out to the rest of us? How did you do it, and why? There's no way you could've done it with conventional technology, not unless you managed to develop machinery beyond what even I managed to come up with, so what happened, eh?"

The demigod waited to receive an answer. When a few milliseconds of silence passed by, he began to worry.

"Hello?" he said, trying to reestablish contact. "Can you hear me?"

The crowd of Mizzen remained silent. They either would not, or could not, answer, it seemed.

"Hey!" Stepping forward, the demigod roughly shoved one of the ones at the front of the crowd, hoping to elicit some kind of a response. "Answer me!"

Other than simply shoving past him like he wasn't even there, the Mizzen didn't acknowledge Ven.

Worry filling his thoughts, the immortal machine tried to force his way into the mortal's thoughts, only to find that he could not. It was like the Mizzen had sealed itself away, like it had simply cut itself off from the hive-mind.

It was like it was dead to the world.

For a moment, Ven could only stand there, staring blankly at the group of Mizzen that pushed past him as they abandoned their homes and work. His thoughts stood still as he watched his kin march away from their lives. He couldn't hear them. And they couldn't hear him.

...

"Who did this?" he asked no one in particular, his question floating lifelessly through the air.

"Who did this!?" he asked, his shout echoing around the empty city.

"WHO DID THIS!!!!" he roared, pouring enough power and rage into his voice to send it hurtling to the edges of reality.

M'endaxius - 24/30 AP, 2/2 MP

The Whispering Wyrm sat there contently and watched as the newlyweds descended into the gift, knowing that there was plenty of time for plans to be enacted. It closed and opened its eye. Melanthios and his crowd had disappeared. How rude. It looked over to where the squabbling Lleu and Zs'Wua were sitting. Lleu had finally given in to the formally of the occasion and was wearing something on the border between casual and formal. He was still scowling though. The Lady, rather than continuing the fight, was silent. An elegant air surrounded her. The god smiled. Maybe the two had reached a compromise of sorts. Still, even from where M'endar sat, one could see the atmosphere over there was very different to the one of celebration. Still, for what it was worth, it would stay here to the end of the celebration.

Lleu - 8/8 AP

The wedding was done. The kids got their party, and their ring and their dresses. Now all they had to do was play a bit of husband and wife. And that could be left to be left to the bedroom at least. He shifted in his chair. Where would they honeymoon, anyway? A giant playpen? 'Heh. And next I'll be wearin' a clown's outfit or sumthin.' So much for a good time. This was all ceremony and no celebration. Thoughts of couples and bonds only made him think of Blodeu. Now she was a descendant of Ti'amat herself. Sleek, dark wings that blocked out Niv, and a good partner. Now dead, thanks to Gronw and his ilk. He still missed her. Just her presence would be enough. That day she died, Lleu had become truly alone.

Zs'Wua'Itzala - 8/8 AP

Her eye was not on the newlywed couple. But on the other gods. Roe was a child through and through. To try and reason with him would be folly. Petal's sweetness made the jaded Verr gag. She was hoping to chat with Melanthios, but he had excused himself from the rest of the celebrations. She was tempted to do the same. However, it would be entertaining at least to talk with Aen after all these years. But then again, it seemed most here were here to honour an invitation more than anything. Still, both Roe and Petal seemed to happy. And she got to see Death act as a priest. The concept of marriage was still strange to Zs'Wua. Her race had no need for it. She could see the emotional reasons. But to her, it was far from practical.

The Ys'i Collective - 384,400 tdr'ils from Eld

The mass of floating rock hovered in the in-between regions, hovering in middle of the planetary trio of Eld, Coelus and Salustutis. The occasional starwhale could be seen docking into port. Sf'Orz'An smiled. Even now, the information still flowed. But the tales were so disappointing. Just more and more fancy clubs. That was all the other races were making. On the other hand, Ys had become a very... interesting place to say the least. Everything pulsed or hissed. Tendrils were wrapped around steam exhaust pipes. And that wasn't the only thing. Overpopulation was inevitable, even with the restrictive One-In-Four Law. Nevertheless the solution was simple. Not only simple, but beautifully simple. The change was quick and efficient. One could say that they were born to do this...

Ven - 5 AP


Ven stared blankly at the wall in front of him. He had never expected anything like this to happen, ever. To think that someone could actually bring themselves to break a mortal's soul like that... It was horrible.

He had passed off the stricken Mizzen to Lyn and the Blitzers, hoping that they could find some way to repair their Sparks, but things didn't look good. It would be months, or even years, before they made any progress. Years before he could save the ones he was supposed to protect... What kind of a god was he, if he couldn't even protect his kin?

...Still. If he couldn't protect them, then the least he could do was see that they got justice.

Melanthios 18AP, 2MP

Melanthios looked at Akladai, and his eyes betrayed his disappointment. "Why couldn't you just, leave them alone?" He then glared at Heron, and threw him the robe and orb. "The orb holds plans on my newest idea, go get Valerie and get to work." He order looking furious, Heron nodded not wanting to anger his father. He glanced down at Akladai, and shook his head before teleporting. Melanthios then lifted up Akladai, and cast all the seal spells known to man. "I will keep an personal eye on you, until we get to court where you will be punished... Still I won't let them kill you, or permanently weaken you. That is if you stay still, and don't resist." Akladai seemed shocked, he then slowly nodded and looked down at the ground. "Good." Melanthios said as he teleported away taking Akladai with him.

Heron 4AP

Both Heron and Valerie appeared above the palace of the Lainir. "Well this looks nice?" Heron said looking around, it looked like your typical empire like race. Valerie stretched out her hand, and began to look at their spirits. "These people suffer.. They live their lives feeling empty, and fighting each other... Uncle was right, we need to give them a new purpose." Heron nodded as he flew closer to the palace, and looked at both the items he was holding. "I should be able to change the dwarfs..How about you change the Lainir niece?" He asked looking back at Valerie, she nodded as she looked at their 'leader'. "I should be able to manipulate the magic inside them... Its vile right now, but with a bit of effort I could turn that around." She said as she flew into the palace. Heron instead flew upwards, he began charging one of his strongest spells.

He then slammed his hands together, and a strange vibration was send from his hands across the planet. This strange vibration would alter the brains of the dwarfs, as well as make them hear him for a short moment. "Greetings all of you, mighty dwarfs! You were once one of the mightiest races in the entire universe. But now you bow to the Lainir, and begrudgingly call them master....But it doesn't have to be this way any longer, Melanthios shows you a new way! One of peace, freedom and safety. He has ensured that for all of you there are homes, waiting for you on Salustutis! There you will be able to life your lives free, among a race which is far above any other. You will be allowed to join the Dues Filli, who will show you the way to a better tomorrow!" And with that done, Heron smiled satisfied. Dwarfs were already reacting to the message, they would soon either leave this planet or completely ignore this message. He closed his eyes, and teleported the items of power to Valerie. She would need them, just as he had needed them.

Valerie 4AP

Valerie flew through the halls of the castle for a while, it seemed that the Lainir were untrustworthy and prone to backstab each other. She would need to fix these errors in their race, though she had to leave their magic vulnerability. She could use those to influence them quite easily, the palace slowly grew less stable as the dwarfs reacted to the message. Suddenly the robe appeared around her, and the orb appeared inside her left hand. It was finally time to act, she thought as she flew upwards to get a better sight of the Lainir. She then closed her eyes, and used the wires of the robe to connect to the orb. She would use it as a medium, and with it alter the Lainir forever. She began creating a new way of life, something all of them would follow if it went successfully. She finally opened her eyes after a few minutes, and activated the orb by pressing a button. A strange purple light emitted from it, and then send a shock wave across the planet. The Lainir all seemed to stop with what they were doing, and all turned to the sky. Valerie smiled as she teleported the items back to her father, if the spell was a success soon they would all leave this planet. If not... they would probably be less then pleased, with the Dues Filli.

The Storyteller

The Storyteller yawned and rested his feet up on an overturned log by the fire, keeping them warm even as the sun set, as he continued the tale.

"As the wedding continued merrily in the Hallowed Court, the humans and Grigori seemingly inched closer and closer to open warfare and tense secret meetings between national leaders were abound. Still, the gods were largely blissfully unaware of all this,"

"Wait, did the gods really do nothing while they were at the wedding?" a child asked sceptically.

"Well, not nothing," the Storyteller replied, "While many gods were fully engaged by the proceedings, the tribe of Melanthios were busy as ever. Maeglin inspired about five hundred Striga to forgive and welcome the Stryfe, and Akladai inspired a similar number of Mizzen to break with their hivemind, travel towards the Dues Filli capital and offer their services to it's engineers. Before they could manage this however, the Mizzen were angrily teleported away by Ven, who subsequently demanded justice. At the same time, Melanthios used one of the domains he had collected in the Fourth Age from Nivix to create a new item of great power: the Alterator.

Meanwhile, on Evalon a great change was coming to the Lainir and Dwarven people, both of whom had been apparently abandoned by their patron gods. Heron changed the Dwarves and Valerie converted the Lainir so that both races would become subservient to the Dues Filli people and would in time make their way to Salustutis."

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