Archon - Swansdale
Archon smiled as he met the Automaton's hand and gave it a gentle shake. "Well met, my great creation." The god's white teeth seemed to positively gleam with his pride. "Tell me, what is your purpose?"
The bronze man looked up at his creator, his lower jaw silently moving up and down as it quickly learned the art of speaking. Then, a voice could be heard, one that sounded like a group of chimes mixing their sounds to be heard as a language. "To travel across this world and assist its peoples in whatever task they ask of me, while also extolling your virtues, Creator."
"Excellent!" Archon almost jumped with glee seeing his work succeed, but he suppressed the urge. Instead, he placed his have over the Automaton's crystal, causing it to glow brightly. "Now, listen well, for you shall stand apart from your future brothers. You shall stay in this workshop and be with me, completing whatever task I give you to the best of your ability." Archon paused for a moment, feeling a stirring of sentimentality as he looked upon what most would consider a 'son'. "Also, you shall identify yourself with the name...'Proto'. Understand?" Archon removed his hand from Proto's crystal.
The Automaton, now named Proto, nodded. "I understand, I am Proto, and I am at your service, Creator." Proto took a moment to look around the room, acclimating himself with what would probably be his workplace. "What will you have me do?"
Archon nodded as he waved his hand towards the ceiling, recalling the arms to continue their work with building more Automatons. "For now, oversee the work on your siblings, have them begin their trek across the Heartlands once you confirm they're in working order."
Proto nodded as he turned to watch the arms build the second of his new 'race', his eyes staring intently as each piece was put in its place. "By your command."
Another smile of approval came from Archon as he beckoned Rickon, who had been standing off to the side in stunned silence, to follow. "Now, Rickon, I want you to learn something that will help Swansdale grow at a brisk pace when my new followers arrive." Leading the boy out of the workshop, to the town's quarry, Archon taught the boy the qualities of a certain rock in the quarry, limestone, and how it could be used in a certain concoction to create a liquid that dried to form a considerably solid material.
"If you mix it with just water, it won't take, but a special brew of other local materials can make it just a durable as the jagged stones we use today, but with the benefit of being easier to handle. With this, a house can be built in a matter of days, not weeks, with much less manpower being spent on the project." Archon paused as he finished stirring his sample, standing up to look at what Rickon had done in his pot. Hopefully, if the lesson had stuck, a thick-greyish substance should be forming.
Yua - The Azure Abyss
They mocked her with hisses, as the merfolk circled about her. Even the seaweed seem menacing to the young girl. She cried as one of the menacing merfolk got close and stroked her neck with a bone dagger. Yua had to think quickly - what would Daddy do in such a situation. Yua was old enough to understand that Daddy ruled with fear while Mommy ruled with love. Both had been displaced from their thrones by the sea, and now the race of the sea was trying to make her submit. She had do so once, but not again. Not ever again. They had made her conjure a storm, what would be next? Yua shuddered the more... darker answers her mind conjured up. To think that a sweet little girl capable of such thoughts...
It wouldn't do for Daddy's little girl to be beaten by group of fishy bullies. Ever since she had encountered them, she had just wanted them to go away. That same phrase bounced around in her head, 'Go away, go away, go away, go away.' Of course, she had been told to curl up and to close her eyes to make the monsters go away. But that wouldn't do. This time, she imagined that she was the monster, like when Daddy got angry. She remembered the way he seemed to turn into someone else, into Evil Daddy, when he shouted and kicked and lashed out at whoever was present at the time. s"Go away!" Yua roared to the circle of merfolk. Her scream showed that she was scared, however, it would bring fear to them as well.
It took Vul almost the entire night to realize some of the problems the walls could pose. In the meantime, he rested, thought about a couple of things, and occationally complained angrily to himself. When he complained, the volcano complained alongside him, for the villagers it probably had sounded like it was close to eruption. Vul didn't care, he just kept to himself.
After all, that was all he had done since he had become a god, sans the whole killing a bunch of people and then being celebrated. Also, the event earlier that day, obviously. Right now, he was half-way sleeping, content for the moment.
However, one part of Vul still remembered having been the son of a fisher, and that part informed the rest of the his mind of the fact that people needed access to the sea in order to fish.
Right. Wouldn't want them bitching.
Vul wasn't honestly sure about if he cared or not. He really didn't want to leave the lava, it was awesome right now, just lying there lazily. However, he thought about it, and realized that he didn't need to leave the volcano to fix it. He didn't want to tear the whole wall down, it seemed like it could be useful for other waves. So, what to do? He especially didn't want to have to help them over each morning.
Can't just someone do it for me?
Or... something. Vul grinned. Of course, a god could make creatures, right? He thought he could. So, he could just make some creatures to get those foolish mortals over the wall. The wall was tall, so it needed to be something big, and with the ability to jump or climb. Or fly. He thought about it, large, yet not too large, creatures would work well. They would be of the volcano, however, a normal mortal should be able to ride them. And have a lot of scales, and teeth, just to make them cool. Oh, and breathing fire!
These are turning out to be cool!
They would have to help the mortals, feel a need to do so, but only in the morning and in the evening. The rest of the day and night, they could live close to the volcano.
He was actually sort of excited about these creatures, as he shaped them. Scales, like lizards, teeth like sharks, and wings like bats. All of them would be large enough to take one or two mortals, and they would have a dark red color. Finally, he had made the first one out of lava, it was life-like, although still lava at the moment. He was about to change that, make the lava into flesh and bones, and give it life.
Quas - Asterbroke
Quas nodded to the injured man and set out following the directions of the man with the pickaxe. He ran as swiftly as he could across the city his many legs clicking rapidly against the ground, he could already smell some trace of the gases leaking from the mine that the humans must have run afoul of, it would be a wonder if any of them survived.
He knew things died, it was how life adapted and changed, but there were no traits selected by a random cave in, many of these men likely had families already even. He pushed aside any thought of making an example that he might not always save them and quickened his pace, plucking a branch from a bush as he ran past it and began to work his power upon it.
He knew he might still fail but he would at least try, and perhaps leave something to aid the men if another such disaster might occur. He grabbed at some flecks of rock from the walls as he entered the cave and added them to his creation, hoping it would hold together.
He worked his power on it and envisioned the creature he wished to create, tall and thin but strong, many arms to move debris each tipped with hard retractable claws to dig away rubble and pull free those it found. Thin and wiry so that it could slip more easily through the narrower passages, it would be blind though instead finding its way with many other senses detecting heat and vibrations, and with instincts driving it to aid the men and to help it to sense where to dig. Quas could only hope that it would work better than his last creation had.
Raetic - Northlands
"Hehehehe... Not bad. Not bad at all."
A content smile slowly spread across Raetic's face as he reclined against one of the monolithic stones, his belly full of food and drink and his head buzzing with just a bit too much alcohol. Though his divine body wouldn't suffer any negative effects from the booze or gorging, it sure as hell could experience the pleasurable bits of eating and drinking.
The festival had been good and fun, with plenty of cheer to go around and a seemingly unlimited supply of ale. Sure, the barrels might've run low once or twice, but the resident deity had noticed before the situation got too dire. Naturally, he had drunk more than his fair share, and had even picked up a drinking song or two along the way. Even if he had been woken up earlier than he would've liked, it had been a fun day.
"Well," the god muttered, shoving himself to his feet, "guess there's really only one thing to do now."
It didn't take too long for him to spot the old lady. Even in a large crowd like this one, her distinctive presence stood out well enough, and Raetic didn't waste much time meandering over towards her. "Hey," he began, waving at her, "what's up?"
Falling down into a sitting position, Raetic glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. "Yeah, I think you've had enough time to think about that stuff with the horn earlier. I hereby give you permission to talk again, yadda yadda yadda..." Cutting off, the god simply stared out at the scenery for a bit. Then:
"Hey, tell me a story."
Odanda - Harrowgate
The Whisperer would not cease in her machinations.
The whispers were manic, the First Dreamer yearned for more absinthe just to down out the noise, or at least to bring his mind into a different state. "They are here! Do they think the feast is for them? Foolish, so foolish. There is no such thing as a free lunch. They will earn it by sweat and toil."
"Yes... My lady, with your power... you can make do whatever you want." The timid prophet replied.
"Indeed," Odanda said with a hint of pride, "Now then; let the preparations for the vile feast begin. Bakers! You arrived covered in flour with tired eyes. You will become even more tired and flour will cover you head from toe. You have the ingredients, now prepare pastries and cakes laced with the likes of Burda Mold and Bluecap!"
All the while, she was accosted by images of cupcakes and pies.
Mhioden - Silverdock
Her failure had become her success. Swarms of people gathered spreading her whispers of a boy-king who had come to claim the throne. Who had come to end the republic. Who had come to set things right. They expected so much of the boy, too much, but the boy had an advantage, the boy had a god on his side. Mhioden swooped down to where the revolutionists were discussing their plans and listened whilst she picked at the scraps of food left out. They were clumsy, ill-thought and hastily cobbled together, the news had spread and they were searching for the little page.
However, those who might want to keep the status-quo would also be searching for the magpie's puppet and they would greet him just as happily as the dissenters, but not for the right reasons.
The bird-god needed to find the boy-king, yet she needn't do it herself; many eyes were worth more than one, even a god's.
She stopped pecking at a scrap of meat that had been casually thrown away and flew to all the revolutionary groups she could find, telling all of the location where they could find their king and to keep it a secret.
Frostcliff - Mining Town
Try as it might, Syv was having no success in finding anything on this continent that had similar powers as it. Was this a sign that it was the only god among mortals? It highly doubted this, knowing that it was most likely its fairly insubstantial power. A being forged in the discord on the multiverse and it couldn't even get an inkling of what sorts of powers resided in this existence - how pathetic! The only upside to its failure was that night had descended upon the mining town. Its henchmen were done with their assigned tasks and Syv was now waiting in anticipation for the finale. Hopefully the dwarves would have a decent sense of humour, otherwise they would have one spooked into them.
Back where Syv had first met his initial follower, a dwarf was lazily patrolling the streets. Though they rarely saw any sort of thieves, monsters or other perils that a militiaman would be required to combat in these parts of Frostcliff, it was better to be safe than sorry. Besides, an easy job with good pay was hard to come by in these times. The guard yawned, knowing it was going to be a long night shift if he was already feeling exhausted. Maybe he shouldn't have spent so much time in the inn with those buxom beauties serving that delicious pale a-
Suddenly the guard was flailing about, having trouble keeping his feet. It seemed as though he had stepped on a fairly rounded pebble in his inattention and was now fighting to stay afoot. His torch swung about dangerously, eventually slipping from his grip and rolling to a nearby crate. The guard regained his footing quickly after and hastily rushed over to stop any sort of fire from starting. Unfortunately, something caught unusually quickly with a sizzling crack yet the dwarf couldn't find it for the life of him. The crate was filled with tiny tubes with cones on their ends, wrapped in paper that was bright and colourful. Perhaps these were decorations? As the dwarf leaned in to inspect them further whatever was hissing stopped and the rockets took off across the city, screaming as they went. Each landed in another crate, strategically placed across the town and lit the other rockets as they landed. As each container filled with these deadly fire crackers fizzled to the end of their wicks, they shot up into the sky with an ear-splitting screech before exploding into fantastic sparkles of colour.
The sky was alight with bright burning explosions. It was hauntingly beautiful; the reflections of the sparkles bouncing off the water to create a glow below the ship. Syv's followers amassed against the railings of the boats, oooohs and ahhhhs being thrown out with wild abandon. They were enthralled with the display, nudging, pointing and murmuring amongst themselves with childish delight. All the while, the tiny god simply had a large grin on its face, its eyes shining bright with reflections of the scene before it. It was too wonderful to keep to itself; it wanted to share this majesty with anything and everything it could. Focusing its eyes squarely on the lit up sky, Syv began to twist the aether to send a direct vision of what he was seeing to any who would want to enjoy it. Besides, maybe the pint sized god could determine who was actually out there if they latched onto its magnificent display.
Archon - Swansdale
Rickon followed the god's instructions to the letter, at least until he knocked over his pot. What was up with his friend, anyway? Creating strange things and giving strange instructions? He frowned and gave a sigh, showing his confusion. "I don't think this is working..." He said sheepishly, "Or I just don't understand this. Sorry."
Yua - The Azure Abyss
The merfolk laughed at the girl and her monster impression, bubbles escaped their mouths and rose up to the surface. Some of them found the whole thing quite cute, but were otherwise unimpressed with the display. They hissed in a chorus, telling the girl of the terms of the agreement - use her power to help them, or be tortured for eternity.
Vul - Tirias
The lizard-shaped lava failed to come alive and sank back into the volcano. Meanwhile, the islanders opened up their stores of smoked fish and checked on their few crops - the only food they had since access to the sea had been lost. Some hotshots attempted to climb the great wall of rock, hammering pegs into it.
Quas - Asterbroke
The collection of dirt, rock and leaves settled into the shape that Quas desired and came to life. The creature scuttled away, using its many arms to dig. It followed the scent of the trapped people as it tunnelled and eventually found the cornered miners. They didn't know what the thing was, but it had left a way out. They didn't complain, and took it.
Raetic - Northlands
The old woman was glad to see that the god had loosened up a bit and gave in to his request. She announced to the tribe it was story time. The ones who hadn't collapsed sat around the fire that had been made when evening fell on the Northlands. The old woman then told a tale of how the great stone calendar was made.
Odanda - Harrowgate
The bakers still slept, despite the divine command. Odanda had failed to make them do what she wanted them to do, but she was too distracted by the images of baked good that floated through the collective unconscious of the baker group to care. Meanwhile, Lord Swalsby and the rest of the authorities pondered on who or what the lone temple in the marshes were for.
Mhioden - Silverdock
Ikey and company were soon surround by others who wanted a return to a noble monarchy was better than the current corrupt council. "We were brought here by She of Dark Wings," One old man whispered, after checking that it was safe to talk. He continued, "In my day, a king ruled justly and fairly, this council has failed to do ever since it was created. Let them fall!"
Syv - Frostcliff
It was a perfect end to the festival. The whole village looked up to the night sky in awe, clearly impressed by the display. Other gods in Oriscos felt what only be described as a ping - a notification that there was a message of sorts if they wished to read it. Images of the marvellous show awaited their attention, it was only a matter of who would choose to view them or not.
Archon - Swansdale
Archon masked his disappointment that the lesson did not sink into little Rickon's head. It did slow his plans, for the technology he tried to teach would've helped the town grow a thousand-fold. However, it didn't impede his progress, much. "That's fine, we can try this lesson again later." As the god willed away the components he used in the experiment, he could feel...something. Like a whisper he had to strain to hear, when he did, flashes could be seen of a far-away land. "Ah..." Archon smiled, seeing that he was not the only one at work on this world. "Rickon, let's head back to the workshop, there's something I think you should see."
The boy nodded and followed the god, starting their short hike back to Archon's home in the center of town. On the way, Automatons could be seen, some venturing past the two and leaving Swansdale, while others took up tasks requested of them within the town itself.
Moving past one, Archon and Rickon entered the workshop, seeing Proto talking to a few recently-constructed Automatons. "Proto..." Archon raised an eyebrow at the robot as he approached. "What are you doing? Why are these Automatons still here?"
Proto turned and bowed his head to his Creator, the other Automatons following suit. "I am following your instructions, Creator." Proto gestured to a table between the robots, where several maps of the Heartlands lay. "I am directing 'my siblings' to the various towns established in the region, to better spread your message and our services."
Archon pointed Rickon to a station higher up the tower, wordlessly telling the boy he would follow when his conversation was done. "I told you to oversee their construction and dispatch them if they held to standards, not plan out where they should go." Archon did not let his confusion mix with his stern tone.
Proto nodded, gesturing to the workshop's arms, again at work on another Automaton. "Your orders were to: 'Have them begin their trek across the Heartlands once you confirm they're in working order'. To best accomplish this, a direction should be given, otherwise they would just wander aimlessly until they found someone to provide orders. Logic dictates that this would be the nearest town from Sawnsdale: Gooseberg. This cycle would repeat and proof of your deeds would travel far behind your messengers."
Archon followed Proto's logic as the robot spoke and found it sound, though the god did not think he designed the Automatons to be able to achieve such a high level of problem solving. At the moment, he was flustered, and he couldn't really slow Proto down given that the Automatons were the best hope of gaining more followers. So, Archon simply nodded. "Very well, you may continue your work." After receiving another nod and bow from Proto, Archon went upstairs to meet with Rickon.
The station the boy waited at was one Archon had thought of when he was mortal, but lacked the know-how to get it functional. Luckily, he had no such limitation as a god. The station was basically made up of two things, a mirror and a magnifying glass attached in such a way that it could be held in place. However, this was only what the objects appeared to be, not their true function. Archon demonstrated by sitting in a chair and attaching the magnifying glass to his forehead. Then, he looked at the mirror. "Back at the quarry, I received a....message, from what I believe is another god. I think I should share what I saw."
Once he finished speaking, Archon closed his eyes, and a light shot out from the magnifying glass towards the mirror. The light seemed to project an image, casting a scene of explosions in the night sky onto the surprisingly non-reflective surface. "Wow..." Rickon was awestruck, both by the device and the scene it displayed. "...it's...beautiful."
Archon suppressed the urge to nod as to not disrupt the projection. "Yes, this world is apparently dealing with the affairs of more gods than I...I do wish I could-hey!" Suddenly struck with inspiration, Archon jumped from his seat, breaking the device's connection and cutting the fireworks display short.
The god ran over to a workstation and summoned arms to aid him in the construction of a new robotic creature. Eventually, the new creation came to resemble a large raven. "With this, I can see beyond the Heartlands, in far away places without relying on others to show me their work." Archon smiled as he placed a glowing hand on the metallic birds chest. "You will be much simpler than my Automatons, my dear, but your mission shall be just as grand."
The First Dreamer was drinking. He was about as happy as one could be whilst intentionally slaughtering as many brain cells as possible, but then, the First Dreamer did not drink to be happy. The others were bothering him. He did his best to ignore them, but they persisted, all night long, crying and begging and poking and prying, and one of them even had the sheer gall to grab his bottle. The First Dreamer stood to give him a piece of his mind, but found that what he had thought was the floor was, in point of fact, the ceiling. He fell. The horde of dreamers hurried to his side, pulling at the prophet's clothes, all anxiously cooing and awing. Once he was adequately steadied, they repeated the questions they had been asking all night.
"Where is our Lady?" "Where have the whispers gone?" "Why was she not with me while I slept? "Where is she, o Prophet?"
Once the questions had penetrated the fog, the First Dreamer smirked. "I'll te yoush 'erre she is," he slurred, emboldened by the alcohol pulsing through his veins. "'ees shul... shaa... SHULKING, sheesh shulkin away in 'er liffle hidey-widey-hole. Had shome big plansh, but theys all gone topshy, sho she's 'avin a liffle shu... Sulk, 'avin a sulk, and leefin me," And at this he groped for his bottle and took a long, contented swig, "In peash."
And then the First Dreamer, Prophet of the Whisperer, was violently sick all over the temple floor.
His body was wracked with seizures and fits, blood vessels swelled and burst, his heart stuttered and shrieked, his bones groaned and burned, his skin became a nest of angry red welts, and worst of all was the sick itself, bubbling up his throat like a wave of acid, pouring out for half a minute at a time so he could never breath, and it was pulling straight from his brain, scouring the gray pathways for deviant chemicals and sending them out in the wave, with all the food and waste and blood. His legs gave way beneath him, and he fell.
It was only then, as the First Dreamer lay twitching and sobbing in a pool of his own blood and sick, that the whispers started.
"Let that be a lesson to you. All you are is a vessel for my designs, a bag of meat for me to manipulate and inhabit, and if I so choose, I may purge that vessel of things I find undesirable. If this purge causes my vessel pain, so be it. If carrying out my wishes causes my vessel pain, so be it. If my vessel must be broken and burned and cut and even killed to further my wishes, then so be it." The whisper became a hiss. "You seem to be under the assumption that this body is yours to abuse. Once, perhaps, it was, but since you have failed me so many times, you have lost that privilege. You are mine. Now tell them to sleep. I have plans." The First Dreamer choked out the order, and the dreamers quickly obeyed. Tucked away in her little corner of the collective unconscious, Odanda felt strong, untroubled by thoughts of pastries. She began to whisper her plans.
"Lord Swalsby is troubled. I have listened to his dreams, and I know this to be true. He is considering taking actions against me, against us, but he wavers. I will not allow him to waver. He must act." Odanda felt confusion wash through their dreams. Excellent. "You will go out, my dreamers, and you will force his hand. You will rob and loot and riot, anything to bring him down on my temple. He will come with guards, I know, bristling with swords and bows. They will break through the doors, shouting and waving their weapons. But they will find us ready. We will lie in wait, with snares and nets and traps, and grab them from behind, Swalsby and the captain of the guard and his soldiers. And once they are in our grasp we'll stuff the fat fuck and his dogs so full of burda and bluecap they won't be able to think. And then we will shut the doors behind us, and I swear to you, when we open them again, Swalsby and his dogs will be dreamers just like you are. So go to the city and make merry, dreamers! Burn the walls and kill the children! Cause me some TROUBLE!" And the dreamers cheered.
The great creation of his had failed to come to life, annoyingly enough. Vul growled to himself, but shaped another one. So, a whole race of the creatures was too much for him to handle? How about just a single one? He made it similar to the one before, gave it a set of great horns as well, curved, and made it large enough for him and for one more person. He had to give it a set of large wings, larger than the former, to make sure it could fly pretty far without it being dangerous. Vul made sure to make it lava-proof, in case that had been the thing that didn't work before, and he made sure it would listen to him, and him only. After all, if he could only make one, that had to be his. And if anyone dared touch it... they would face the consequences of their stupidity on their own, he wouldn't help them.
He'd deal with the wall later. It was easy enough to make a tunnel for the people who needed to fish, or even just a damn ladder. Why couldn't those fools just do it themselves?!
After all, he was busy creating, and being a god. Mortals were useless, he had realized. He was sure he would like his own creation a lot more than those guys either way. This one had to work, else he would get pissed.
Quas - Asterbroke
Quas helped guide the miners out of the tunnel as his creation went to work freeing them, he doubted there was enough of the salve he had created earlier to be applied to all of their injuries, but hopefully they would all survive. He supposed he could always create more, but there were better options to consider. However part way through this train of thought he was interrupted by a sensation in his mind, an awareness of some event.
Curious he expanded his consciousness to explore the sensation, and found an image waiting for him, a vision of some spectacular festival and of fire thrown in the sky as art, entertainment, thrown by a power not unlike his own. His heart swelled, he did indeed have equals it seemed, or at least one who shared a power like his. He knew he had to find them whoever they were, but how? He wasn't sure what to say to the people of the city either, though perhaps they knew of this festival? If nothing else he could try to leave them with a parting gift before setting out in search of the other god.
He returned to helping the injured miners out of the tunnel and made his way back to the center of the city where many he had inspired waited for him. The people could care for their injured now, most likely they had dealt with this sort of accident before and had some idea how to help the injured. He turned to the first of his followers, his prophet, and he spoke.
"Care for them, with luck they will survive this, I have left a creation in the mines that will help should such an accident occurs again though you will need to feed it," he began, he paused regretfully for a second then continued "I am afraid I have received a vision, and I must pursue it, tell me do you know of any who hold a great festival at this time?"
He glanced at another of his followers and asked them "Could you fetch me a map if you have one? It would make my journey quicker so that I could return to you sooner."
As he waited for their responses he focused back to the image he had been sent, and put together a reply "Beautiful, I thank you for that display, I would very much like to meet you! Where are you?" He sent the message, hoping that the fellow god responded quickly.
Raetic - Northlands
"...with heavy hearts that the tribes entombed Ecgtheow here. Even when he had parted from this world, he still held his sword with the strength of a hundred men, so Chrysaor was buried with him. To this day, the blade has slept, and it will continue to do so until its bearer lives again.
"Unwilling to let their proud defender fade into forgotten legend, the tribes of old constructed this as his gravestone, using magyks and skills long since lost to us. In remembrance of Ecgtheow's birth, we gather here to celebrate the summer solstice, and in remembrance of his death we come to mark the winter solstice as well. And we will continue to do so, until the sky itself is torn asunder and the earth is drowned in water. Until the heroes of yore rise once more."
Finally finished, the old woman sat back, taking a sip of watered-down ale to wet her lips. Nearly an hour of uninterrupted speech had left her pretty darn thirsty, it would seem. As she did so, excited mutterings wafted through the gathered crowds of children, and adults with nothing better to do, around her, as the audience discussed their favorite parts of the tale and debated which of the Fourteen were the strongest or most courageous. A few small scuffles broke out between some particular verbose kids, but no one paid them too much mind. Kids would be kids and all that.
Raetic, for his part, didn't involve himself much in the discussion. No, he was content to simply lay back and recall the old lady's words, to imagine what events must have inspired such ancient tales. But as his mind began to wander, so to did the strange lettering that covered his body. The myriad symbols inked onto his skin began to flow and shift, moving like dancers to a silent beat, until they had arranged themselves into some new, equally mysterious pattern.
For the most part, the god's body was still coated in absolute gibberish. There was one exception, however: The upper-left corner of his chest seemed to have some semblance of order to it, with lines of text standing out from the nonsensical mess that surrounded it. To anyone who had just been listening to the old woman, the words would have seemed quite familiar.
"Not bad," the deity commented, half to himself and half to nobody in particular. "Not bad at all. I like it."
Pushing himself to his feet, Raetic made his way over to the elder, a half-smile dancing across his lips. "Good story, good delivery. Made for a pretty good show, I have to admit. And," he continued, extending one of his hands towards the woman, "a good show deserves a good reward."
Briefly, Raetic placed his hand against her forehead, applying just enough pressure to move the old woman back a bit. Then he pulled back. Well, most of him did.
For a few seconds, a bright teal symbol, the rune for "Respect", blazed brightly on the elder's brow. However, its light quickly faded, leaving only the faintest of outlines upon her skin.
"You should keep telling stories, lady," the god commented as he began to pace back to his spot, ready to recline once more on the ground. "Seriously, you've got a real tal- ...Eh?"
Stopping mid-sentence, the deity pressed a hand against his brow, scrunching his eyes shut in concentration. "What the..."
A stream of strange, unfamiliar images flashed through Raetic's mind. Flashes of bright colors, arranged in various shapes, stretched across the sky. The harsh scent of gunpowder filled his noise, and the sound of nonexistent explosions numbed his ears and other senses.
Apparently, somebody was trying to get in touch with him.
Turning around, the god offered a brief grin to the old woman and his fellow audience members. "Excuse me for a minute," he intoned, "some unexpected business just came up."
With a single standing leap, Raetic hurled himself back up to his earlier perch, and settled down on the top of the monolithic rock. Keeping his hand pressed against his brow, he traced the images back to their origin through the aether, searching until he found the entity that had sent them. Then, with a half-smile crossing his face, he spoke: "Hey, that was a pretty nice show, I have to admit.
"Wanna hear a story?"
Yua - The Azure Abyss
The little girl gave in to the sinister serpentine smiles. Her limbs went limp, and the sparkle left her eyes, she was but a sad doll. No, a pitiful puppet, which only existed to be manipulated by others. Of course, she could have chosen to fight on, but it was pointless. The more Yua struggled, the more entangled she got, and the more the merfolk laughed. They knew she was firmly in their hands, after all, she did not truly understand her powers. Just what they wanted, no, just what they prayed for. Yua's little heart slowed down and she began to think. What to do? What to do? Her mind wandered aimlessly, trying to find the answer.
Then Yua remembered what Daddy had taught her about bullies: "Go after the ringleader and give 'im a piece of ya mind." He had slurred those words to her after she told him about the mean band of brothers who always tormented Yua whenever they saw her. Surely, since the merfolk were acting similarly, they were bullies as well? However, Yua wasn't particular sure that they would simply tell her. Meanies like that always ignored what people said back to them and their remarks. She had to do it herself. 'Just like hide 'n' seek!' Yua thought with a giggle, 'One, two, miss-a-few, ninety-nine, one hundred! I'm gonna find you, Mr. Ringleader~!'
Mhioden - Silverdock
Mhioden's little uprising was working, it had gained the momentum it need and caused quite the furore amongst the privileged merchant princes who had held on to power through fear and corruption, having lost both of those qualities the citizens they ruled over had already been lost and had gone in search of the king it had lost, who would rule with justice and mercy. The naivete these rebellious souls had was quite amusing to the magpie, after all, they seemed to have forgotten the reason they deposed their long dead and lost monarchy.
Once the boy-king was crowned history would repeat itself, however, this time instead of shambling mortal guards the king would have a god of secrets to keep intrigues against him at bay, and in return Mhioden would be blessed with followers.
"We were brought here by She of Dark Wings," One old man whispered, after checking that it was safe to talk. He continued, "In my day, a king ruled justly and fairly, this council has failed to do ever since it was created. Let them fall!"
It seemed she already had, few they were, but more then single follower she had before. Not only would they support her little puppet king they would also follow her, they had already given her quite a pleasing name, now the only nudge they would need to be true disciples was a show of power.
She circled above the clearing they had gathered in. Soon the coup would commenced and those puffed up princes would be no more. Mhioden landed on the shoulder of the page and whispered in his ear. "Go on then, address your people."
Frostcliff - Mining Town
The splendor of Syv's little stunt continued on as it reveled in its own influence over the world. This entire town now belonged to it, without question. At least, that's what the god believed up until it began to get information streaming back through the aether. Other powerful beings - other gods, it seemed - were enthralled by the fiery display Syv had constructed for the mining town carved into the face of the Frostcliffs. The prospect of meeting new entities on the level of it power was exhilarating. It was even more exciting to think what trickery it could perform on them. Its greatest and most amusing challenge was outside of this hellish snowscape, it seemed.
It had gotten responses from two of the entities floating through the aether and could barely pinpoint a third who had shown interest in its actions. One seemed very eager to meet it while the other had a common goal to itself - trying to stave off boredom. There was mischief to be had here, the god was certain of it. It just needed to position this properly...
Syv quickly turned to the leader of the children, still mesmorized by the colourful display in the sky. The god's smile curled into the most sinister of grins as it glided across the ground towards its target. The boy almost didn't notice his patron as it approached but quickly change his attention towards the deity once he noticed.
"Enjoying the show?" the god squeaked, obviously filled with delight at the rapture it was causing with its prank.
"Yes, of course! It's so pretty. Like the sky is on fire..." the boy responded with a dreamy tone.
"Fire works." The god nodded in affirmation after a small pause, like the word gave it much more pleasure than it had expected. "I need ya to tell everyone about me. Everyone needs to start tellin' the world that the Eternal Smile is here to stay!"
The boy nodded slowly, as if slowly coming to the realization of a complicated concept. "Yes, of course. I was gonna do that anyway. You are far too magnificent for only our tiny town to know about you."
"Good. I'll leave ya to it."
The god seemed pleased, his smile widening just slightly. It was short lived, however, as the eternal being melted into the deck, transforming into a shadow across the ground. It raced off, speeding across every surface in town as it twisted and turned, dancing across any surface that would accept it. In its wake it left a myriad of graffiti of a single symbol, a half moon shaped like half a mask to the left of another half moon hanging across it like a smile. The marks were left in a royal purple, barely visible in the dark but they would be extremely apparent when daylight arose. This town belonged to it and it would make sure everyone knew it.
In minutes the town had been completely covered in the markings, branding as the town that the great and powerful deity Syv had appeared in. Now all the scoundrel god needed to do was invite its guests to the perfect meeting place. When it had been watching the world from within the eternal chaos, it had viewed a wondrous mountain within the Sunderspire that would be the ideal place to meet. Syv sent out instructions to the two that had responded to its display, trying to convey its eagerness to see them. To Raetic it sent an invitation to tell a story to the greatest of audiences and to Quas the invitation to see Syv for itself -- both set to meet within a week's time. Atop the world the gods would meet and upon Skyjagg Peak the gods would meet their fate...
Archon - Swansdale
The metal bird stood lifeless in the workshop, completely assembled but lacking the vital spark of life. However, to Rickton's surprise, a wing suddenly twitched. Slowly, but surely, the creature came to life. Gears whirred as it moved its head for the first time and pecked at the ground as if it was a real raven.
Odanda - Harrowgate
Her followers took up pitchforks and torches, ready for a revolution. Some might say they were a courageous bunch as their opponents - the city guards - had swords to cut down any who opposed their employers and shields to block the rebel's blows. Others looked at the bloodshed and thought the strange cult foolish and just a side-effect of the various substances in the mire.
Vul - Tirias
The lava sculpture roared. It seemed to burn even brighter as the creation process went on, flames danced across the body of lava, creating lines that appeared to the regular semicircles. The space inside the lines cooled and harden into scales. It continued until completion, while elsewhere, the islanders thought on the problems the wall brought.
Quas - Asterbroke
The miners nodded as they saw the trapped ones pour out of the mine. The man with the pickaxe took it upon himself to answer the god's question ans scratched his head as he did so, "Well, if I remember rightly, 'em dwarves up in Frostcliff 'ave a celebration of sorts right about now. Map's up that tower there, where the overseer is."
Raetic - Northlands
Her forehead itched, the old woman wonderd what the god had done to her. But. the strange itching sensation faded, as did the rune. Regardless, she took the compliment humbly, "I simply told it as my elders did before me but -" Suddenly the god seemed to be affected by something and turned away. The old women then tried to trace out the "Respect" rune just to pass the time.
Yua - The Azure Abyss
It seemed that the ringleader was out of reach. The little girl simply assumed that there was nothing to hide in the deep blue sea, however, with its vastness, there was myriad hiding spots. Nevertheless, the merfolk were puzzled by the sudden change in behaviour - weren't the scare tactics working?
Mhioden - Silverdock
When he had asked for the secrets of power, he hadn't expected this. Seeing as he had been ensnared in her schemes, he had little choice but to go along. The page climbed onto a crate and begin his speech, stuttering slightly, "F-f-fellows! I thank you for your support, a-a-and... together we will crush the council's grip on Silverdock! Let us be called the Returners, for that is what shall do!"
Syv - The Winding Road
It would take some time for the shadow to cross the great distance between Frostcliff and the Sunderspire Mountains. In the meantime, it found itself on a trade route that connected the Heartlands with the dwarves. It was a road that had been simply pounded into the ground by horse's hooves. Nearby, a gleeman could be seen walking with a small dog in tow.
Archon - Swansdale
"Ah! Perfect!" Archon petted the mechanical raven's head, admiring his own craftsmanship. "Now let's see here, if I connected the intangible projector correctly..." Archon gently manipulated the bird's head with one hand as he twisted a small dial on his goggle with the other. To an outside observer, the goggle appeared to light up when the god succeeded in whatever he was trying to do. "...perfect!"
Through the goggle, Archon was able to see everything the bird saw. Though even the god was a bit disoriented looking at himself through the perspective of the bird, so he turned the screen off for now. "Now, to find what other divine beings have been born here...I guess the place from the vision is a good place to start."
"Is that...really wise?" Archon's dialogue with himself was interrupted by Rickon, who stood nearby with his eyes transfixed on the bird.
"What do you mean?"
"Well...would you like it if someone spied on what you're doing here?" Rickon gestured around, specifically leaving his hand to linger on the group of Automatons on the bottom floor.
Archon shrugged. "I wouldn't mind, the spread of ideas is what speeds progress. Someone might see what I'm doing and do something like it in a way I've haven't imagined...yet." A moment of silence hung in the air as Rickon just kept gesturing to all the gizmos and magical devices around the workshop. "But...I see your point. Perhaps just a simple scouting mission then? To just discover what other gods may be on Oriscos, but not to really watch what they're doing?"
Rickon lifted his hands in exasperation, knowing that was as best as he was going to get. "Fine." The boy sat on the floor by the railing and yawned. "You're the god and all that."
Archon shrugged again as he had his new pet sit itself on his shoulder as the god moved towards a window. "Okay, my eye in the sky..." Archon paused mid-step, hand outstretched towards the window latch. "I guess I should give you a name before sending you off...how about Hawke? If you would forgive me for the irony." Archon chuckled as his own joke as Hawke simply gave a low screech in response. "I'll take that as a yes!" The god smiled as he made finished his journey to the window.
"Now, Hawke, I want you to go north, to Frostcliff. Fly over the region and stay vigilant in your search for more beings like myself. If you do find one, keep your distance, I'd rather not lose you on your maiden voyage!" Archon opened the window and flung his arm into the open air, giving Hawke a lift as the shiny bird flew into the sky. Archon watched the bird fly off until it disappeared into the darkness. "Wait...it's night?! When did that happen?!" Archon looked over at Rickon, expecting an answer, only to find the boy had fallen asleep with his face pressed against the railing. "I guess I must have lost rack of time in all my work...poor lad must have only been kept up by the thrill of watching me work." With Archon's ego inflated, the god picked up the boy and carried him downstairs, handing him off to a Automaton on its way out. "Take this boy to his home at plot 24 of the Swansdale sector, then continue your primary function.
"Yes, Creator." The Automaton bowed and took the boy from Archon, carrying him out the door. As Archon watched them leave, the god pondered the consequence of his power. Time had flown by, and he didn't even notice until his faithful sidekick had succumbed to exhaustion. Did he even need to sleep? The god felt no tiredness, nor hunger or thirst. Could it been that one day he would emerge from his workshop to find the world dead and empty? No, Archon may lack the power to halt time's flow, but he could at least carry some along for the ride.
So, dashing back upstairs to a more private workstation, Archon summoned pieces of raw material and mechanical arms to aid him in the construction of a new device. Tinkering, testing, and redesigning filled the hours that followed, until the time finally came to test the final prototype. "The core is unstable, a price to pay for its energy output..." Archon paused for a moment and moved away from his workstation, deciding to give the Automatons below advance warning. "I'm about to test an unstable device up here, and it could go very wrong! So...uh, be prepared!"
After seeing affirmative nods that the Automatons would at least not be taken by surprise, Archon returned to his bench and flipped the switch on his new "Youth-Sustaining Harness". Hopefully, it wasn't about to blow up in his face.
Quas - Asterbroke
Quas nodded and thanked the miner before scurrying off to find the map, he read it quickly setting it into his memory and then turned back to the people who he had first found, who he had first befriended. It would pain him some to leave them so soon after meeting, but he knew that he had to meet this fellow god.
He turned to them to say his goodbyes "I will return, but for now I must leave, there are other gods in this land and I must meet with them," he said "I cannot say how long I will be gone for, but rest assured I will return, until then please don't forget about me, and tell those that will listen about me."
He waited to allow them to say their own goodbyes before he turned and left, moving swiftly along the road towards Frostcliff. He wondered what it would be like to finally meet one of his peers, maybe more than one if any others among them had seen the vision.
Raetic - Northlands
Raetic received the mysterious invitation, and briefly considered it. The chance to tell a story to a vast audience, none of whom had probably heard it? For any bard or minstrel, such a chance probably only came once in a lifetime.
Unfortunately, he was neither of those.
"Eh, no thanks," the god replied, sending the message back to whatever mysterious voice had sent it to him in the first place. "Public speaking isn't really my thing."
With the solstice festival finally over, there was little point in the tribesmen hanging around the monolithic calendar any longer. They would soon have to return to their homes and villages, would have to return to their ordinary, day-to-day lives.
But as they packed up their supplies and gear and prepared to travel back to their home, the caravan now had one more passenger hitching a ride. One who was slightly more than an average human.
The Winding Road
Syv was off to the races, speeding through the mountains and steppes that separated the Frostcliffs from the Heartlands. Eventually it happened upon a winding trade route that had been constructed centuries before to connect the two provinces by land. The god was pleased to finally have some direction and used the route to navigate the perilous path into the Heartland instead of relying on its own memory; that seemed like a bad idea considering how distracted it could get. So the deity snaked along the road, following its metaphorical yellow brick road to its destiny.
Shortly after its decision to keep within view of the road, it spotted a man and his dog happily strolling along. He wore the clothes of a gleeman, a troubadour to be exact, curiously traveling away from Frostcliff and its festival. The god paid him no mind, keeping its focus on its true objective. The Sunderspire Mountains were a good ways away and it would be a good deal of traveling to get there, let alone within the time frame it had given itself. No, Syv was determined to meet these other gods and there was absolutely, positively, beyond the shadow of a doubt no way it was going to-
Syv blinked and came back to reality. The dog of the troubadour was crying in pain with the God's amorphous shadows gripping onto the poor thing's tail. Like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar, Syv's eyes widened as the performer stared at it in disbelief.
Quick as a bunny, the god let go of the dog's tail and with a flourish of its cloak tossed a shower of gold pieces. The coins were minted with his own face, the soon to be trademark grin gleaming as bright as ever in golf leaf. Even if the coins weren't a valid currency, the gold they could potentially be melted into would fetch a high price. With the deed done, Syv cowarded away into his shadow form and zipped off towards his true destination.
Yua - The Azure Abyss
Yet another failure, but at least the merfolk seemed to be puzzled by her calmness. With that, she swim as fast as she could, away from them. Sure, it was only a matter of time until they caught up, however, Yua had another trick up her sleeve, so to speak. She had simply been wasting time with the merfolk, and they didn't seem friendly. So, the answer was simple: why not make her own friends? They wouldn't be all nasty and slimy, but beautiful and graceful like the mermaids in fairy tales.
And her parents had yelled at her for doing the same back when they were alive. Silly adults! Didn't they see that dreaming up friends was the obvious answer to a lack of friends? It was a pity that they were dead, could she? No, best to concentrate on one thing at a time. Then it dawned on her that the evil merfolk would, without a doubt, kill the mermaids. Well, she would kill them first. 'Kill! Kill! Kill!' She laughed with glee, 'Talk about obvious answers, that's the most obvious one of all! '
Mhioden - Silverdock
"F-f-fellows! I thank you for your support, a-a-and... together we will crush the council's grip on Silverdock! Let us be called the Returners, for that is what shall do!" The stuttering page had done tremendously well in his first speech. He had roused his (her) followers and had quieted the fears and doubts of any naysayers that might have been withen the fray.
"Good," She whispered, "But there may be some princes who will bend the knee, they will be a valuable asset in the future, their connections to merchants outside Silverdock will be important, else the city will crumble before your rise complete. Order you're followers to locate them, I will also try and find where they might be hiding. Their secrets will become mine and their locations will no longer be hidden be from me."
A vision suddenly appeared to her, a picture of bright lights and celebrations. That would be hers once her coup was complete, but for now she did not have the time to join in that other god's festivities. The thought of other gods intrigued Mhioden, so she was not the only immortal on this plain, but would they try to sabotage her plans? The magpie could not allow that.
She sent a message in response, of her boy-king's success, a crown sitting upon his head blessed by the bird-god.
"First Dreamer... I'm sorry."
The First Dreamer shook. The temple was silent. A few dreamers attended the wounds of their peers, but the rest either mourned or slept. The First Dreamer, in the absence of drink, had been skulking and thinking angry thoughts at Odanda.
"I've got nothing to say to... Did you just apologize?"
The First Dreamer heard the Whisperer sigh. "Yes, I apologized. I was wrong. I put my followers in danger, and they suffered for it, with nothing to show for their sacrifice." Her voice took on a shaky quality in his mind. "I felt them die, Dreamer. It was like losing a piece of my mind. So I'm apologizing. I did everyone wrong, you most of all. You've been loyal, obedient, and necessary. An equal."
"Um... Yes, good, right."
"And as an equal, I need you to help me. I need you to gather up the dreamers, make yourself look respectable, and turn yourself in to Swalsby."
"My Lady... If I might, as an equal, speak frankly, your plans don't have a great record of turning out the way you want them to."
"I don't have a plan. I have no idea what he'll do. All I know is that it'll get me another chance to convert him, and if worst comes to worst, well, public executions always make large crowds." Her voice softened. "Please. I'm putting myself into as much danger as you are. I need this."
The First Dreamer knew he couldn't turn her down. So he gathered up the functioning dreamers, made them wash and dress, and marched them out the door. Within the hour, the First Dreamer and his followers found themselves in the throne room, surrounded by guards and facing a very confused Lord Swalsby. The First Dreamer took a breath, and, with the Whisperer feeding him words, rose to speak.
"My Lord, you know me in many ways. A petitioner, a rioter, a fellow connoisseur. I come here to confess our crimes, but also to tell you what they are in service of. I am a servant of a greater being, a goddess of dreams and thought. I am her prophet, sent to spread her word, and all we have ever done has been to accomplish those goals. So while we throw ourselves upon your mercy, but we hope you will welcome hers."
"Really," Swalsby said incredulously, "That's your story. You are a prophet. In service of... What was it? A goddess of dreams and thought?"
"I know you don't believe it," the First Dreamer said, "but it is the truth. Open your mind to her, and you will understand."
And at that moment, Odanda reached out, praying, though she did not know to who, that Swalsby would fall to her.
Vul - Tirias
The dragon dissolved back into the lava with one last roar, and its master followed it into the deep, subterranean currents underneath the earth. As a result of that, the volcano rumbled, worrying the islanders. Little cracks appeared in the great wall, but nothing more. In desperation, some of them picked at the cracks. However, the wall was just too strong.
Archon - Swansdale
In contrast to the deity's explosive start, as power started to flow through the YSH, the only sound that could be heard from it was a low hum. At least for the moment, everything was in equilibrium - the unstable core made stable by forces that kept the power contained. Though, one crack, and the equilibrium would collapse...
Quas - The Grey Trail
Various cries of goodbye followed Quas's exit. Though, something intrigued the miners - other gods? It was said that the people of the mountains revered the earth and that the people of a distant island worshiped a volcano spirit out of fear, but surely that was just superstition? Regardless of their thoughts, Quas soon found himself on to the road to the Heartlands, and beyond that, Frostcliff.
Raetic - Northlands
The ride was a bumpy one, not to mention the fact that every woman, child and old-timer had been crammed into the wagon Raetic was in. The men, naturally, rode on horseback or if they were getting on in years, drove the wagons seated with whip in hand. A village could be seen in the distance, and it wouldn't be very long 'til they arrived.
Syv - The Winding Road
The gleeman dived as pieces of gold hit the ground. He couldn't believe his luck, but with a bite of a coin, he could believe that the coins were made out of pure gold. Greedily, the gleeman stuffed them into his bag, only pausing to give his dog a pat on the head. Syv, of course, was far away from that and from cold Frostcliff - the Heartlands lay before him.
Yua - The Cerulean Crevice
With an almighty bang, the demi-goddess of destruction expelled her adversities from the sea. However, there was unforeseen consequences, the explosion caused an earthquake and Tirias disapeared off the map. Yua was pushed even deeper underwater, to a place where dark things lived. That didn't matter anyway, as Yua had destroyed herself with such an action.
Mhioden - Silverdock
Another vision came to the magpie, one of the six merchant princes and their locations: Agostino was counting his coin, Ambrogio was feasting on honeyed treats, Antonello was admiring roses in his vast garden, Aureliano was reading a book to his young son, Baldassare was overlooking the dock workers, and Gaspere was there with his twin.
Odanda - Harrowgate
"The Lady speaks!" Swalsby whispered as he dropped the glass of sherry he was holding as he realised the truth, "Forgive me, as... madmen and the like seem to be the norm for our little province of Mortmire, as are unfounded rumors." Swalsby waited for a servant to clear up the mess before he continued, "However, in light of the evidence, I welcome Odanda to Harrowgate and to my heart."
Archon - Swansdale
The god smiled at the sight of another successful invention, and then quickly spent the rest of the night quickly churning out more copies of the device. By the time Rickon returned to the workshop, Archon had several stacks of the YSH surrounding him. "Woah, and these are?"
"If I did what I think I did, they should make whomever wears them immortal." Archon mentioned their extraordinary ability as if reciting some boring fact off-hand, as his attention was drawn to his goggle. At the moment he was replaying an event Hawke had captured on its way to Frostcliff, the scene of a shadow grasping a dog. "Interesting..." Archon rotated the lens of the goggle to cycle through several filters, finally settling on one that showed a brilliant aura surrounding the supposed shadow. "That's it! That power, that thing's like me!" The god jumped from his seat and practically danced around the floor. "There are more like me, what wonders become possible, it boggles the mind. Oh how I wish I put something in that bird that made it remotely controllable!" Archon sighed as he returned to the desk where Hawke was born, a small red button now sitting on the corner of it. "Guess I'll just have to settle for this..." With a deft jab, Archon pressed the button.
The sound of rummaging almost drew Archon's attention, but soon realized it was just Rickon. "What does that button do?"
"Tell Hawke to come back, so I can give him new orders." Archon hummed a little tune to himself as he saw Hawke turning back towards the workshop when it received the signal. "I do hope that thing doesn't go to far. Oh, maybe he's coming-Rickon! What did you do!?" The god gasped as he saw Rickon approach, wearing a Youth Sustaining Harness (tm).
"What? You said this thing makes you immortal right? I thought you wouldn't mind if I took one. I mean, you have so many. But, if you want it back..." Rickon moved to remove the harness, but Archon grabbed his hands before he could.
"No! Rickon, the harness is unstable! It sustains you indefinitely, yes, but you won't age and can't take it off or you'll die!" Archon let go of the boy's hands as he staggered backward, into the railing.
"What...you mean, I'm stuck being a kid forever?!" Rickon started to hyperventilate, collapsing against the side of railing.
"Rickon...I-" Archon was about to try and comfort the boy, but a shouting from the bottom floor grabbed his attention.
"Great Archon! Where are you?!" The sound of many footsteps echoed up the tower, as the god descended to find several villagers and Automatons entering, most carrying what closely resembled corpses. "Mighty Archon, bandits attacked several farms to the west!" An elderly woman leading the group approached Archon, deeply bowing as she spoke. "My son and his family, along with our neighbors were killed in the attack. Please Archon, can you do anything for them!"
"Creator..." Proto approached from behind Archon, pointing to a couple of Automatons carrying a few of their lifeless brothers with them. "...it appears as if some Automatons were rendered inoperable by these 'bandits' as well."
"Yes...they were helping tend the to the crops when the bandits arrived. We asked them protect us. They tried...but they were too slow and stiff to fight men on horseback. Though, they did buy those of us too weak to fight back time to hide."
"Creator, is it not in your power to restore their function?" Proto's head cocked to its side as Archon turned to face the Automaton in confusion. However, before the god could question why should he bring repair the Automatons, the old woman burst back into hysterics.
"Oh, can you, great Archon?! Please, I am nothing without my family, I am too old to support myself, and my grandchildren were in their prime! Please give them back to me!" The woman broke down into sobbing, with the rest of the mob continuing their own pleading to bring their loved ones back to life.
Archon, flustered after being assailed from all sides, riased one hand and shouted to the ceiling. "SILENCE!" The mob soon quieted and at last the god could think again. With the knowledge of the YSH still fresh in his mind, Archon did believe he could bring these recently dead back to life. However, after seeing Rickon's reaction, should he?
Apparently seeing their god simply ponder their plight did not appease the crowd, as they began their ranting anew. Claiming of falsehood were the most shouted at the god, and Archon couldn't help but feel the sting of their harsh words. "Bring all the dead in here!" Archon finally bellowed, moved back towards the higher tiers of the workshop. "I will do what I can to restore them!"
A collection of praise and thanks filled the room as Archon ascended, only to come back down with a collection of spare cores from his YSH project. Using both the mechanical arms of the workshop and the Automatons in the room for assistance, Archon worked to install these cores into the dead. With a few adjustments, the god hoped that the cores would renew the bodies and bring them back to life, without bestowing immortality upon them. At the same time, Archon helped Proto repair the Automatons that had followed their orders to the death.
Raetic - Northlands
It had taken a while to get to the village, but Raetic hadn't particularly minded. The wagon may have been cramped, but it had been easy enough to catch a nap every now and then, and the kids weren't that annoying. Whiny, smelly, and too curious for their own good, maybe, but not something worth getting angry over.
Still, it was with no small amount of relief that the god finally leaped out of the wagon and took a good, hard look at his destination. Taking the opportunity to stretch his disused muscles, Raetic eyed the village with a somewhat critical gaze. After hearing some of the old lady's stories, his expectations for the place might have been a bit... high.
A far cry from either disappointing or impressive, the village floated somewhere in the middle. Judging by the herds and bushels of hay and other crops, it wasn't in any danger of starving away, but aside from a few aged statues there were no signs of heroes or warriors of legend. It was just a collection of buildings, neither lost in squalor nor held aloft in greatness.
"Eh," the deity muttered, idly waving a hand, "it'll do."
His mind made up, Raetic began to slowly make his way around the town, lightly dragging his feet through the dirt as he walked. The purpose of his journey was two-fold: it gave him a good look at the entireity of the village's small circumference, and afforded him the opportunity to trace a series of runes and symbols into the ground around it.
And when he had completed the circuit, coming back to the still unloading wagons and crowd of curious onlookers, the god simply stamped on his finished array once, twice, three times. The runes that now encircled the village glowed emerald for a brief instant, and Raetic allowed a slight smile to waltz across his face.
Out of the freezing tundra and into the sunny plains; it wasn't the most colourful metaphor but it was certainly the most accurate. Syv had finally made its way into the Heartlands and for miles on end it could only see fields of golden wheat and the greenest of grasses. As the deity streaked through the farms and fields it was in awe of the stark contrast it presented to Frostcliff so quickly. The sun never seemed to touch any of the towns twisted around the large spires and mountainous terrain the snowcaps provided and its warmth was welcoming to the trickster. As if its dead set attitude had been a block of ice, it quickly melted away at the first rays kissing its amorphous form. Syv quickly reformed itself lying down, staring up at the sky in childish wonderment as it spread its cloaked body out wide. It wanted to catch as much glorious warmth as it could while it had time.
Maybe a little pit stop wouldn't be so bad...
For the first time in a long while, Odanda was happy. Sure, she hadn't, from a purely mathematical standpoint, accomplished much of anything, but now, for the first time, she had options! So many, many options! Through the First Dreamer's eyes, she looked around the throne room, at the faces of the courtiers, all so very shocked and confused. Well, she'd show them. "Instruct Swalsby to have them leave," she whispered. "I need to speak with him in private. The First Dreamer spoke, and Lord Swalsby hurriedly ordered his council out. Once they were all gone, the First Dreamer spoke again.
"Our Lady would ask two things of you, my Lord. As you might know, our current quarters are... Lacking. A temple worthy of the Lady's grandeur would be more impressive, no? More inductive to new followers. And thus she would ask that of you. A haven for dreamers, such as you and I. Her next request is much simpler. She would ask that you gather the townsfolk for her, so that she might speak to them. The Lady would ask these things of you, and many more in future, and in return, she grants you the promise of an empire, dominion over all of her worshipers, and the most beautiful dreams you have ever known. Does that sound fair to you?" The Lord simply nodded, and told them to go to the square in an hour. The townsfolk would be there. The First Dreamer bowed graciously, and swept out the door, his congregation in tow. As he left, he heard a whisper. "Nicely delivered." He nodded his thanks and kept on his way.
The Lord delivered on his promise. Within the hour, a throng of hundreds was milling restlessly about in the square, wondering what Swalsby had brought them there for. The dreamers took their place in front of the crowd, and the First Dreamer stepped onto a hastily erected podium, listened to Odanda whisper, and began to speak. He preached for hours and hours, extolling the Lady's virtues and apologizing profusely for the events of two weeks ago. When the command to end the speech came, the First Dreamer was confused. As the crowd began to disappear, he said, "My Lady... You forgot to, er, convert them. I thought that was the point of this."
"I was desperate before," she replied. "Now, I can wait until they sleep, when I will be stronger. I was only ensuring that enough of them would think of me as they slept before ending the speech. Action will come later. The seed has been planted."
That night, in the den in the swamps, Odanda reached out. That night, in the houses of the city, hundreds of people had the same dream, of a beautiful woman with a thousand arms, whispering beautiful temptations.
Mhioden - Silverdock
Wrought into the magpie's mind were images of the princes and their locations: the gluttonous Ambrogio, the greedy Agostino, the vain Antonello, the benevolent Aureliano, the stern Baldassare and the rueful Gaspere. Each on an enemy that needed to be conquered, each one an ally to be used; out of the six who would rise up and who would fall? Flying away on her dark wings, Mhioden visited each of the hexad, whispering to them, that they should seek out the unworldly black and white bird, else something unfortunate might befall them. A rhyme was left on their lips, slipping out in mutterings and murmurs, finding it's way into the story Aureliano was telling his child.
Archon - Swansdale
Archon and Proto got to work as the cores worked their magic on the dead bodies. However, the cores did not work as intended. Only some small mercy - probably a result of the adjustments - saved Swandale from being blasted off the map. Popping sounds and rumbling could be heard as the cores exploded, and sent the body parts of both human and Automaton corpses flying everywhere.
Quas - The Gray Trail
The path of a god, especially of one such as Quas, was a lonely one. In spite of Quas's desire for companionship, he found none during his travels. Farmers looked on in fear as they spotted the giant centipede, thinking that a giant pest had come to gobble up all their previous crops. But they sighed in relief as the figure faded from sight, and Quas disappeared from the world of Oriscos.
Raetic - Northlands
The tribespeople looked on as Raetic scribbled his runes in the ground, puzzled. The fact that the runes themselves gave a brief emerald glow puzzled them even more. Nevertheless, when a kid accidentally knocked some snow - from a missed snowball - into the god's runes, he found they were just as easy to mess with as any other mark in the ground.
Syv - The Heartlands
As Syv soaked itself in the sun's warmth, the god found that new-found power circulated throughout its body alongside the heat. But the god's relaxation was interrupted by a messenger called Smythe. He reigned in his nag so that he wouldn't trample the poor thing and poked it with his riding crop, unsure whether it would be suitable to tell it of the newly arisen Archon.
Odanda - Harrowgate
The sleepers gave in to temptation. They reached out to the woman with a thousand arms, and each was in the palm of her many hands. It felt good, almost like being cradled in their mother's arms, and the whispers spoke of wonderful things - how could they resist? Odanda found herself invigorated by the influx of new followers and that her arms could reach even further...
Mhioden - Silverdock
Aureliano stumbled as strangely familar words found their way into his mouth, Agostino broke out into laughter, Ambrogio attended to the birdhouse in his garden, Antonello carefully snipped an exquisite specimen and held the rose to his nose, Baldassare and Gaspere both nodded to each other and left the docks, giving the dock workers a break. All took up Mhioden's invitation.
Ahlgren - Sunderspire Mountains
By the source of the largest of the Three Sisters, the feathery god stirred. Apart from the signs of the start of summer, Queenqelle looked its normal self. Near the base of a small mountain, the sheltered spot presented the gentle, graceful side of nature to its visitors. Yet, that wouldn't last. A cacophony of hooves and horns woke up every creature in the vicinity. They would come soon...
Theodrid - Riverlands
The group of would-be exorcists gasped in surprise as both allies and enemies alike exploded, covering the mansion walls, and the people unfortunate to be there, in blood. The lordling's minions laughed as they witnessed the rebirth of their master while the adventurers readied their weapons. Both parties were unsure whether they would be alive after the bloody birth of the new deity...
Archon - Swansdale
"OH MY GOD!" The old woman almost exploded herself at the sight of her son and relatives blow apart from the inside. Similar responses came from the rest of the mob as body parts started to rain down from on high.
After all the pieces hit the ground, there was silence, as Archon couldn't even bear to turn and see the horror he knew was on the townspeoples' faces. Finally, the silence was broken, by the old woman no less, with a loud cry. "Cheat! Charlatan! Look what you've done, look!"
Steeling himself, Archon finally turned to see a human arm forced into his face. "See what you have done, so-called-god! My family is now in so many pieces I can't even recognize them! You said you would bring them back from death, and now I can't even give them a proper burial!" The woman continued her cries of hatred between heavy sobs, weakening her frail body so much that her son's arm dropped to the floor. The rest of the mob followed suit, claiming themselves foolish to believe Archon's promises. The god, in utter humility, simply stood and let them have at him.
Their cries only stopped when Proto and his fellow Automatons ushered the group outside. Though, some of the robots simply stood in silence, cataloging where all the pieces of their former brothers had fallen. Once the mob was outside, though now banging on the workshop doors, Proto approached his creator. "What will you do now?"
"I...don't know..." Archon looked at the pieces that littered the floor, and then to Rickon, who appeared to still be in shock. "How...how could it have gone so wrong?"
"The power cores, while weakened by your work, were still too unstable. The jolt of awakening was too-"
"That's...not what I meant. All my work, my promises of a greater tomorrow...they seem undone by this." Archon fell to his knees and began to absentmindedly gather the pieces of dead farmers. "I can feel their faith leave me, sapping me of my strength. Their words are poisoning the well of my power, and...they're absolutely right to do so."
Proto knelt down and assisted Archon in his task. "Your power still remains, could you not simply rally the people back to your side with a grand gesture, or....delete this memory from their consciousness?"
Archon paused in the middle of grabbing a foot. He held that pose for a moment, considering if he could build a device to pull people to his cause, to make them believe him, rather than hoping their faith would come after seeing some miracle. "No..." Archon shook the mad invention from his mind. "...I may now fear that these other beings are growing stronger, while I am left to deal with just this small town, but I won't force conversion."
"Then what will you do?" Archon looked over to see that Proto had actually completed putting an individual person together, though the pieces were still separated.
"Wha-how did you do that?!"
"There are minute differences in how the humans broke apart, and not all distinguishing features have been destroyed." Proto gestured to the other Automatons, who had also started to reunited the peoples' pieces into a recognizable form.
"That's amazing!" Archon, now seemingly pulled out of his depression, start to scurry around the workshop, looking for something. Proto soon followed, casually looking over Archon's shoulder.
"What are you doing, creator?"
"I'm going to put all these humpty dumpties back together again!" Archon finally pulled out what he was apparently looking for from a drawer, a spool of sparkling thread. "Ah, here it is! Let's see if I can't still show these people I'm worthy of worship!" Scurrying back downstairs, Archon worked to stitch each person back together again using the special thread.
The thread's power became clear after the god was done with the first person, as it actually appeared to mend flesh and bone, bringing the pieces back into a complete corpse! Once the bodies were sewn back together, Archon worked to make more cores, this time focusing on modifying their power production.
Eventually, the scene turned into a familiar one, with even the blown-apart Automatons repaired to a complete, thought lifeless, state. Archon, along with the Automatons who helped him, moved to a safe distance. "Creator, will the cores be sufficient to restore their function at such a weakened state?"
Archon shrugged as a finger lingered over the button to remotely start-up the implanted cores. "It should, either these people wake up from death, or they don't, but at least they shouldn't explode. I've put everything I could into the new designs for these cores." After one good look to make sure the nothing would get too damaged in case of another (however unlikely) explosion, Archon pressed the button.
Ahlgren - Sunderspire Mountains
The god grinned wide in the dark, looking far into the distance. Oh so many folk, and he didn't recognize a single face. How arrogant to assume one can simply enter the same forest as one so great, and take his pets and scenery! He'dd merely kill them with a pack of wolves. Or perhaps a bear.
But people had other uses. He was a god now, after all.
The Sprite walked on the air, practically skipping with a trail of green dust following after him as he approached the hunters. They noticed him despite their many horses and horns, as they should have. A smirk replaced his malicious grin as he cleared his throat, looking down on their pathetic, mortal crew.
"Good morrow, heathens!" he began, giving a wide wave of his hand, looking down on the hairless mongrels. "You seem to be lost, or perhaps you simply don't know... regardless of your mental state, I give you lot ONE chance here; the deal of a lifetime!"
The sprite dropped down, landing on the head of a horse as light as a feather. His eyes seemed to glow with wrath as he stated clearly,
"Bend knee or bleed in my forest."
There was blessed silence for a moment, whether that was shock or indignation didn't matter much to him. Perhaps he should have a show of his divinity? Ahlgren was always a fan of shows of force! A malicious glint in his eye made it apparent he wasn't joking, and he tried his best to hide his hands as he brought a tree to life. A simple ent could do much to this lowly group...