Mythopoeia: RP of gods and nations (game thread, closed)

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Qartoq, Manor of the Dead

"Indeed." Qartoq appeared, and placed herself behind Cawles. The other ones of this race had gone outside after her display of power, perhaps out of fear again. One was all she'd need after that though. "I know much about death, but without more worshippers I fear there's a limit to what I can teach you now."

She put one of her hands on Cawles shoulder. "Perhaps there's a limit to what you'd actually want to know too so early." She laughed coldly, then removed the hand again, and walked around the room in thought.

Qartoq pondered what knowledge to grant them. That it would be the first, made it almost certain that it would develop them along a certain line. "However, I know of something that'd be useful, subtle and a good area to start my teaching."

She got rid off everything on the dining hall table, only to summon an amount of different ingredients that weren't difficult to get a hold of normally. "You must have weapons, but of course these can fail you or prove inefficient at times. I'll teach you a lethal, and tasteless poison. A simple alchemy potion. However, simply wounding the enemy would prove deadly. Since it's tasteless and takes a while to take effect, it'd work when poisoning food."

Qartoq summoned her power to teach the Krakaris in the valley how to do it themselves. She hoped they'd prove quick to learn. "If this order were to spread the worship of me, as well as fear, then I'd be able to focus my powers for the benefit of the Krakaris while growing stronger." She stated, just a simple suggestion.

Highcrag-The Bare Road

"I seek to pay homage to your nations prowess, and form a pact between warriors. Will you let me pass?"

The two guard looked at one another and began to speak in their vernacular, shaking the ground around them as they spoke. Finally, they uttered something akin to a guttural laugh before speaking to the envoy again. "Stay. We bring you the little one." The guards then retreated back into the tunnel, leaving the diplomat and her escorts outside.

Eventually, Lew'pan arrived, swinging over his knuckled to quicken his pace. "Mighty huntress, hello!" The stunted Luug emerged from the tunnel and bowed to the envoy in respect. "I am Lew'pan, speaker for the Deep Tribes to those not of our mountains. The guards have told me you wish to form a pact...please, follow me...." Lew'pan beckoned for Shiva and her entourage to follow him, eventually, after taking a route that showed little of the Luug's capital, they all reached the Glittering Hall.

"Now, let us discuss the 'pact' you offer. Does this have terms? Or is this more of a agreement of friendship?"



Golden Settlement

Jugaan had felt mocked in her discussion with the Pactforger, the 'god' brushing off its failure while attempting to goad Jugaan into furthering their relationship. However, there was no point in arguing with a supposed deity, so Jugaan decided to simply see for herself how her expedition had faired. She hoped that in her investigation she would find that Cyth'raul had not truly guided the Tribe, so she would not have to hold up her end of the agreement.

By the time she arrived, Jugaan found that the settlement had started to come together. The rough structure of the core chambers were being more clearly defined, and several Luug had been sacrificed to create a new spawning pool. "Chieftain!" Jugaan's inspection was interrupted by the leader of the expedition, a stout Luug by the name of Wos, who carried an iron spear emblazoned with traces of gold from Jugaan's own mines as a symbol of his authority. When he appeared before Jugaan, he gently placed it on the ground before her. "Golden One, I hope this place is to your liking."

Jugaan nodded with a hint of grace. "It is, I'm surprised you've done so well, with the stories I've heard in Highcrag."

Wos slowly nodded as he got back up from his subordinate kneel. "We were faced with difficulties, this much is true. However, I did not wish to bring the same shame upon you, as the Iron Tribe had to Os'lan. Especially when we were chosen for this task." Wos gestured to the mark on his shoulder, which appeared to have faded to the point where it could barely be seen. "However, the blessing that was promised turned to more of a curse. When we broke the seals that the Iron Tribe had erected, the cave maggots swarmed us. As I watched good comrades die, I listened for the guiding words to would give us triumph...but I heard only...noise. Like a quake with no purpose or reason, we all felt it, but no one could understand what it meant. Chaos followed, and we were only able to stem the tide when my spear was able to strike into the heart of the mass and take down the queen."

"A lucky strike then, hmmm?" Jugaan rubbed some loose dust from her chin, but blinked in surprise when Wos shook his head.

"Not at all. I've fought maggot incursions when we have deepened the mines several times before, Golden One, I know how the mass moves depending on the distance to the queen. Once she was dead, the rest scattered, for the most part. However, while we were making room, were did find something interesting. If you would..." Wos beckoned for Jugaan to follow as he cautiously picked up his iron spear.

Soon, Wos led Jugaan to a large pit, separated from the rest of the settlement. In the pit, there was a mass of writhing maggots, all of them looking like they were freshly hatched. "There was a fresh clutch the queen laid before we killed her. Usually, they die without a queen to care for them, but we discovered something when a pack of rations fell into the clutch...watch." Wos pulled a tuft of moss and smeared it against the edge of the pit. Almost immediately, a group of maggots covered the moss-covered rocks, swiftly devouring it and the ground underneath. "If properly trained, these thing could cut through rock faster than our claws, not to mention their secretions made more more...sturdy caves."

"Indeed, this is quite the find." Jugaan closed her eyes and let a smile show for a quick moment before looking back t Wos. "You may explore this to your fullest extent." With that, Jugaan left, planning to contact friendly Cheiftains in an attempt to procure maggot queens to try and domesticate.



Bronzed Settlement

Meanwhile, they Stone Tribe, in agreement with the Bronze Tribe, set up improving the outpost the tribe had set up beyond the mountains. In exploring, the Stone Tribe discovered new ways to support structures not carved out of the walls of caves, with nature being the buttress. In practice, the Stone Tribe hoped they could employ these techniques in the open world and in large cave chambers, allowing settlements to be more fortified against collapse.



Highcrag

At the same time, the Moss Tribe worked to replace the old crop of foodstuffs that were now obsolete. With the room now being spent on the more efficient crop, the old crops would be stored away in the holds of the capital.

Lot-Vos

Jashiki's display was one of marvel, and as the god gave a sight to enjoy celebration erupted. Sloops were dragged from the docks to engage in races, as cogs began ship duels and arenas and at the end of the day, the plans and beginnings of the brand new ship were brought out. Though only a frame of wood at the moment, the ship enticed many of the more mechanically minded and enchanted the new shipwrights.

Upon cleaning up after the great celebrations, the work began again. With the new plans instilled into Ber-Sam, and the shipwrights of the gods working faster than any Ray-Das had ever seen, ships were produced. The researchers began working on brand new ships to help siege cities and land troops. Prehaps some kind of shielded boat just for landing troops to storm the city.

The other research was pooled into research into better mining techniques and ways to bring more of the metal out of the ground. The Ray-Das were still working hard to drag out metal for the mines, but the lack of any sort of carrying or rolling device was tiring the workers faster than anything else. A solution will soon be found.

Grand Ajivha: The Artisan Ward
Indraj-Alika, Apprentice Smith

There was a rhythm to the smithy one only had to listen. The clang on hammer against steel, the scrape of tools forming it, the satisfying sigh as it was cooled. The rhythm was what Indraj lived for, something so perfect he would happily spend his days fetching water for his master and keeping the furnaces hot. The pay was meagre, the work hard, but it was worth it for the rhythm.

It was the end of the day, his master had left for the local spirit-house to drink away the days profit, leaving Indraj alone to clean up the shop. After dealing with the store front he wandered into the workshop; his master had an order to finish for the next day so the room was a mess, shards of metal and failed swords dotted around causing numerous tripping hazards. In the corner stood the fifty blades, as requested by the Palace for delivery in the morning.

'My boy! This order will put us up there' his master had said, breath reeking of spirits 'Just think, swords for the Vazin himself, oh the honour'

Indraj very much doubted the Vazin would be wielding the weapons, from the looks of it they were just side-arms for a few guards if their spears broke. Nevertheless his master was going on about the order as if it were a gift from the gods themselves. Personally Indraj didn't see what all the fuss was about, the steel was poor and the design lacking, his master was nothing special. The only reason this shop was in such a high profile district was thanks to a generous inheritance. Still, Indraj was thankful to his master. The man gave him a place to sleep and enough money so he could go and see his friends. It was a dull life but at least he had purpose, and Ari.

Ari was his blade, the one he actually forged himself. On average his master would finish a sword in a week or two, maybe a month if he was putting in the effort, no way near the amount one should spend on a blade. Ari was different, Indraj had been working on her for the past year, scrutinising every feature. She had been forged and reforged so many times there was little semblance of her original form, yet she was still Ari. A few months ago he was happy with the blade and had moved on to decoration; almost every coin he earned when to Ari from the stones on her hilt to the binding of her sheath. And she was almost finished.

Taking the beloved sword in his hand Indraj set to work.

Prince Maximus, Nova Verde, Isle of Maia

"What are you doing?" Maximus asked his brother, who was sitting cross-legged in the middle of the palace gardens in his finest ceremonial robes. Around the Emperor and his sibling a group of robed elderly men were standing in a circle, singing hymns and chants in old Auroran, occasionally throwing handfuls of blossom into the breeze.

"We've been so unlucky lately, the priests say there are most likely malevolent spirits hanging around, feeding off negative thoughts," Kaius shrugged, "They're asking the Father drive away all demons and bless us with fortune. Might as well give it a go, it does feel the dice of fate have been loaded against us these last few months." He gave a furtive glance around, as if some higher power could be listening at that very moment.

All

The nights grew longer and the days shorter, it began to snow where it could and even where it couldn't the weather grew harsher and travel became difficult. Winter, the harsher of the seasons, was now upon the world. There was still good news though, throughout the lands nations counted their wealth and rejoiced at the prosperity the last season had brought them.

(It is now winter, military actions are now more difficult and seasonal wealth income occurs)

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Gangari

Gangari's blessing settled comfortably into the minds of those he touched, growing subtly but quickly over the next few nights. The change was astonishing, the craftsmen found their skills rapidly improving and their ingenuity alongside them, those few who had heard the rumors of the white demon felt fear and awe, knowing it must have been his blessing that so empowered them, but the others simply credited fortune's favor. Whatever they considered responsible their works were soon in great demand, and a few might even find themselves employed by scholars at the palace aiding in the creation of new works to better the nation.

(Sammah now gets a bonus to researching things involving things produced by solitary craftsmen)

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Jashiki

The island rose fast out of the ocean, molten earth pulled from below and quickly sculpted by his and Cyth'Raul's hand into the shape he desired. Too quickly perhaps, the island itself was formed almost to his vision but the waves the sudden upheaval produced moved too quickly for him to halt them. The waves struck powerfully along coasts the world over, causing a great loss of life and property in any settled lands they touched. The god's action had proved one of creation and destruction both, and his island soon became a place men wished to avoid, few finding themselves able to reach it, as if they were being guided away.

(nations with coastal territory lose 1 population and 1 wealth as a result of the destruction caused by the tsunami, I will add the island to the map later (though don't expect it to be as large as it was in Booksv2's picture))
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Qartoq

A cold understanding of the poison crept into Cawles mind, some effort on their part would need to be expended to ensure a useful quantity of it existed to aid them, but the knowledge of how to create it was rooted in Cawles mind, and more than knowledge of its power. Here was a thing that could slay a king, and none would be the wiser. Further proof of the goddess's power had not been required, but this was more than that, proof that the goddess held power and subtlety, a dangerous combination.

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Lysei

The firey demon that had plagued the nobles seemed to have vanished, though no one knew if he had gone into hiding or followed in the footsteps of the old gods. His weaver and orb at least remained, and the weaver continued his mission of burning vengeance regardless of if the god himself still lived.

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Sammah

The settlers were now prepared and determined, fear of the consequences of failure emboldened them and the reports of the scouts guided them. The new settlement grew quickly this time and while many considered it an affront to the glory of Grand Ajivha they couldn't deny the benefits of this new settlement and trade quickly grew.

Meanwhile back in the heart of the country greater changes were occurring, the worship of a god was a strange thing to the people of Sammah Ajivha Tahna, but they could not deny the existence or benevolence of this Zuci-Gangari, and small shrines began to appear throughout the nation, a few growing into larger temples often serving as marketplaces as well.

Deeper still in the capitol itself scholars were presented with a device of great wonder, and endless supply of water was an immense boon in the desert, and their excitement quickly led to the design of a new irrigation system for the fields surrounding the city. It would still need to be built but there was little doubt it would be a wonderful boon to their fields. Even so the onset of winter brought for other concerns for food, and a small stockpile was created to help ensure the nations continued prosperity.

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Rok'lo Sha

The new ships were fast and good for long voyages, with these sailing around the world to the nations on the far side was no longer an immense challenge. Though many were destroyed alongside the simple settlements of the Yish'tai enough endured the waves and were built afterwards that they formed a respectable fleet of trade vessels.

Briln once more found himself confounded by the metal, perhaps the rocks he was using simply lacked a sufficient quantity of it for his works, or perhaps he was simply unlucky. Regardless he had only met with more failure, accentuated by the horrible tragedies to the west, news of the great waves did little to aid his concentration.

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Raptor States

The settlers left once more for the south, and this time the winds were in their favor. The new settlement grew quickly and soon proved profitable, some even heralded the new goddess Qartoq as responsible for its success, her worship having rapidly spread through the nation following the divine storm. Some groups took to her following more fanatically than others, even decreeing the sketches and records of the first meeting with the goddess as holy texts, others still pushed for the lands surrounding the manor of the goddess to be settled and made a holy land for the Krakaris.

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Deep Tribes

The maggots proved as untrainable as they were voracious, and many of them escaped their confinement only increasing the difficulties of those attempting to tame them. If such a thing was possible it would take more effort and likely more frustration to find the key to controlling the writhing beasts. Fortunately the bronze and stone tribes made successes enough to offset such a disappointment, as they quickly developed and demonstrated skillful techniques for constructing buildings that would stand free of cave walls. It would be costly to ensure the techniques could be employed by future settlers, but well worth it.

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Ray-Das

The fearsome waves turned any attention from the development of new ships, too many of the old had to be salvaged and rebuilt not to mention the many that had to be buried and the homes that needed to be built anew. The tragedy was such that even the news of the newly developed carts did little to raise spirits. Many began to wonder if their new god had betrayed them, after all was he not the master of the waves?

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Aurora

Perhaps the 'dice of fate' were swayed by the chanting, for inspiration soon struck. New tax laws and the like were written up, though it would require some expenditure to ensure they were implemented properly there was little doubt that they would benefit the nation's economy, something that was greatly desired in the wake of the horrible tragedy of the waves. Yet even the waves seemed to bring new ideas, new techniques for navigating the wide ocean were also written up, though they too would need to be implemented before benefit could be seen from them.

Light was cast upon the downtrodden, a bonfire had been erected for the Birth of Father Matthaius. A great wooden sculpture had been made of the first Emperor of these lands and was just now being burned into their memories once again. It was a moment of solace for the slaves of Mistress Nelind, commander of a thousand slaves as she would often boast. It was common for her to light up the spirits of her slaves with such a spectacle, she could never make it to court, as she was far too busy managing the affairs of her seafood enterprise, but it would be improper for her to simply let the day pass.

"Madam," her butler began, "I am happy to report all festivities are going well." Nelind chuckled a bit and replied in a cavalier manner "Marvelous! It's always good to see the boys and gals with their heads held up high. Tell me, how has the Mobius Transport Company responded to our offer?" The butler looked saddened at that question and responded with a hint of anger. "Mobius refuses to deal with us. According to them, and pardon me for repeating it, our company is an abomination and is unreliable...due to you." Nelind burst out with laughter at hearing what the Mobius company thought of her, almost spilling her drink. "Ah, how inconvenient. Start attempting to find another company then, perhaps we will simply need to prop up and annex a smaller one?" Nelind's eyes got fiery as she cursed out "I will see them lose everything for their insolence."

After sitting in silence for a while, Nelind took another sip of her drink and asked "Has the heretic been dealt with? I can't have him ruining our celebration, and think of what might happen if he were to get out! Please tell me he has been restrained at the least."

"But of course, my liege."

The heretic they spoke of, was a slave that ran by the name of Vallous. His gifted name was Elismire, but he had abandoned his Mistress' gift for a name he claimed to have been given by a god. This god, was one of flames he claimed, with a grand vision that would rock the nation to its very core. Or so he claimed, anyway. Currently, he was preoccupied with the chains he had been locked in with. His Mistress would not tolerate such heresy in her borders. Imagine, if the Emperor were to come and hear of such tragic ideas. It would be simply abhorrent. At least, that was what she claimed. Vallous, however, was not as distant from the situation.

In fact, Vallous was working on a way out, for almost like magic, his chains had disappeared. In his possession, were keys to his cell and a means to escape. Lysei was not yet ready to abandon his prophet to the outside world, and would keep a spare eye open on him. Emperor Kaius would have to eventually stand in for him, but not yet.

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Come the next morning, Mistress Nelind was met with her butler sporting a ghastly look, refusing to meet eyes with her. He spoke plainly and without grace. "Elismire has left the compound. I don't know how. The guards all claim to have been given orders to stand at the same spot at one particular time, but I had never issued such a command, and not a soul I spoke to had either. It's devilry my lady. This Vallous has to be a sorcerer of some kind, or-"

Nelind slapped her butler with an unfounded brutality, sending him to the floor and yelled to every last person in the compound. "Get to work! Stop slacking! I will not allow this operation to fail, get to work!" Vallous was beyond her reach at this point, and drawing a scene around his disappearance would only spark problems for her. She would take this failing out upon the slaves, and simply report Vallous as executed.

Ber-Sam, The Bay

Ber-Sam stood tall on the ships that sailed out from the Ray-Das lands. After the display and ensuring waves, Ber-Sam had acted fast, demanding that all fighters board the main fleet moared in the sea, leaving the shipwrights behind to salvage the wrecked and ruined. She began a speech about how this was Jas-Hiki's test, and they were going to show him just how tough the Ray-Das are! The ship's bells rung out as they sailed towards the land of the bird people, squads of soldiers drilling below decks or taking shots at targets above. They sailed for a military action that would hopefully revive the shocked spirit of her people and finally get some blood spilt.

As they landed on the coast, the soldiers rushed out to secure the land as many others landed, whilst others scouted ahead in animal form. A few remained behind on ships, mainly sailors, to ensure that as soon as the Ray-Das returned with their loot they could be out and back home.

Ber-Sam nodded to the Captain of the mercenaries she had brought with her. Two companies, marching past. They were human, but good fighters. The Ray-Das had used them before in many a raid, to distract and hold key points whilst the Ray-Das broke the walls of a city. After everyone was assembled, they began the fast march towards the land of the bird people, ready to raid and loot.

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Back home, miners began dragging out massive loads of materials with the new minecarts, easing pressure on the miners who had to do it by hand before. They hoped that soon, more wealth would rush forth from the mines with the new loads of materials. Perhaps, now they had such easy access to large amounts of resources, they could turn from weapons and begin reinforcing key points of their cities with the metals and rocks.

Cawles Strix, The Raptor States, The Strix Estate

It was the first time she was home in many days and even then, she didn't allow herself a second to waste. With the new knowledge that Qartoq gave her, she began working on the poisons herself. She converted her spacious room into a sort of Alchemy room and brought ingredients from wherever she could find them. Cawles worked on creating the recipe over and over again until she could make one with her eyes closed. The knowledge excited her but also quieted her. The knowledge was dangerous as it was subtle, just as the Krakaris were famed to be. Deep in her mind, Cawles felt like Qartoq was meant for the Krakaris as the Goddess matched everything that the Krakaris held dear. She knew of others that expressed the same interest but as soon as she thought of that, there was a commotion at the gates.

The guards held them off but they clamored for her. She could hear the Krakaris call out for her name as she was the one that bestowed knowledge to her. She was the one that the Goddess spoke to and favored. Even for that Cawles owed the Goddess and now the Krakaris wanted her. Cawles went to her balcony and even in the snowfall, she saw them. Cawles heard the words "Prophet" among the chatter. The number of people were large and with her parents and elders away she had to attend to them.

"Guards, let them in." Cawles shakily spoke out. She knew had to lead one day and be the matriarch of the family but this was nearly overwhelming. The Krakaris filed into the spacious yard in front of her. They stepped around her family's fanciful statues and gardens but as the numbers grew, the Krakaris took to standing on the walls and statues to look at their prophet. Even when they were getting settled, all eyes were on her.

"It is true. I have spoke to our new death.... our new wings above and she has granted me knowledge but she asks one thing for all of you." Cawles shouted. "She demands prayer and worship. For those who are dead and dying, all she requires is a token, an offering of wealth."

"But why? Why has only now did she reveal herself?" One Krakaris spoke out among the crowd. The others nodded and looked at her with questioning looks. Cawles was a bit taken back but she had to relent.

"As is death, Qartoq is mysterious but you all have seen her power and what she is capable of. She offers us powers beyond our understanding but like with our own families, such things are not given for free. But is bread free? Is clothing free? To Qartoq, everything has a price and in exchange of our own monetary wealth she shall give us knowledge which is more powerful than simple gold." The Krakaris nodded and took in Cawles' words as if it were Qartoq speaking herself. She could feel some semblance of power run through her. These Krakaris would listen to her in the same way they would listen to an elder and it felt good. But in the crowd she saw the colors of a distinctive family. The red of the Oscens shone through even with the steady snowfall. She wondered what they wanted but she pushed that thought aside as she continued.

"From this day onward, we must organize ourselves into an order and dedicate ourselves to Qartoq for she has the power to give us knowledge! So my fellow Krakaris, I say to you to pray for Qartoq for she is ours and we are hers. We are the feathers on her wings as she flies. We are the claws in her talons as she swipes. We are her eyes as she hunts. For she is ours and we are hers that we may fly into a new age with the knowledge she gives us. Any price we must pay for this Goddess. For she is ours!" Cawles yelled and the crowd responded, "We are hers!"

After her speech, she noticed some of the Krakaris writing down what she had said. She felt tired after it all but incredibly satisfied. The crowd dispersed except for the Oscens who went to her door. The guards let them in but several others followed the Oscens who seemed like members of the crowd she had earlier. When she finally got close she recognized the face of Yoren and his cousin Dehl.

"Pleasure it is to have you." Cawles said with her voice slightly drained from her speech. She bowed to them and the two of them bowed right back to her.

"No, the pleasure was all ours." Dehl said with a hint of flirtation which Cawles respectfully ignored.

"A good speech." Yoren concisely said.

"Might I ask why you are here?" Cawles finally said after a moment of awkward silence.

"I was wondering when you'd ask." Dehl mentioned. "I believe you know of our beloved Gora. Even though he is old and cranky we still obey him for he is the one of the reasons that our family is so... "

"Lucky to be where we are." Yoren shot Dehl a look before he continued. "But he wasn't the sole reason why our family has become so successful as you may well know." Yoren motioned to the Krakaris behind him. They looked so unassuming at first to Cawles until it struck her.

"Your tradesmen..." Cawles whispered. "They shouldn't-"

"No worries, Cawles." Dehl said. "They will disappear as soon as our little meeting is complete and it was they that wanted to see you."

"It is true." One of them spoke out but she wasn't sure who. They all seemed so alike and it was hard to tell them apart now that she was looking at them. Their feathers were a dull brown and their stature was poor. "We heard you spoke to our new wings above. A Goddess of Death has much knowledge to give. Even for us tradesmen, we do not know everything there is." They took a knee in front of her as the Oscens stepped aside. "It would be an honor if you give us what she taught you. In exchange we will be part of your new order. We will be Qartoq's wings, your eyes and your talons."

Cawles looked to each one but they all seemed like they were talking but without definite source of who exactly was doing the talking. They all seemed to be talking at once but she considered the offer before responding.

"I will teach you what I can." Cawles finally said but then she looked to the Oscens. "Then are you here to join as well?"

"Do we look like followers to you?" Yoren asked. "These are our tradesmen and even if they are yours, they are blood-bound to serve us but now they serve you in a way. Here is our deal, little one. We give you tradesmen to your order and you teach them what Qartoq teaches you. They are part of your order, Qartoq and yourself get your prayers. If we don't need them at the moment then you can turn their skills to whoever you want but they are still ours."

"Our Gora proposed this idea after he heard what happened in the manor. It is a good deal and it took quite a bit to convince our Yoren over here." Dehl motioned to his cousin who in turn scowled at him.

"I hope you know that we take betrayal in our family very seriously." Yoren said to Cawles as he looked back to her. "Breaking deals is also incredibly heinous in our family as well."

"I do hope you understand." Dehl said.

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Hall of Raptors

Word of the success of the settlement drew relived sighs and comforted feelings. Soon the new settlement would bring much needed food and wealth to their people but there were other matters to be discussed in the Hall. The spread of Qartoq has resulted in a religious fervor unlike anything they haven't seen before. The Krakaris were clamoring to worship this new Goddess of Death. They relented so the elders decided to construct a shrine for the new death. It was a modest one befitting the bringer of death and the Krakaris seek prayer often.

"It seems your granddaughter is drawing quite a bit of attention." Gora said to Jaherys. Ever since her granddaughter Cawles had returned from her trip to Qartoq's mansion, the Krakaris looked to her to find out what the Goddess had said since it was her that the Goddess only shared knowledge with.

"She brings the word of Qartoq. I'm sure the masses would be clamoring at your door if she had spoke to you." Jaherys responded back. "She brings much pride to our family. Soon people will seek knowledge that we will so gladly give out."

"Knowledge won't buy you a house, I can tell you that much." Gora responded before he finally let Aerya talk.

"Anyway, with the new winter upon us we must be ever vigilant. We must make sure our soldiers are ever keen and ready to deploy at a moment's notice. Farko, your household guard contains the most experience of warriors. They would be better suited to their own, elite unit would they not?"

"Aye, I agree with you. Forming a unit will allow us to use them more independently than most soldiers and they would strike fear in the hearts of our enemies. Once I'm done trained them, Qartoq will pride them in their dealings with death. The Sacred Band of Kraai will be their name and death will follow." Farko said with excitement. He loved combat much more than the normal Krakaris and even past his prime, he considers the thought to be irresistible. The families behind Farko agreed, seeking to add glory to their families.

"And impressive warriors will need impressive arms." Gora offered. "I'll assist you in researching better weaponry for not only your men but all of our men as well but such an act might be costly."

"What are you proposing I give you in return?" Farko asked.

"Not from you dear Farko." Gora smiled and look to Aerya. "I think its time we visited our friends down south are doing. It has been awhile since we caught up with the Sammah Ajihva-Tahna. A diplomat for some new toys. That is all I ask."

"More schemes I take it?" Aerya hissed but she knew that Gora had his ways. As much as she detested the Krakar and his methods, he had a way of getting things done. There wouldn't be another one like him in a thousand years and he knew that all too well.

"Of course not." Gora shrugged. "We are on trading terms with them and it is only fitting that we keep up with the contract. A contract is an important thing to keep track of. We've one with the Deep Tribes already but I wonder who did that."

"Fine then. Send your diplomat but anything you do to them in their city is on your head." Aerya threatened.

"What happened to community?" Gora tilted his head to the side, shrugging off the taunt as he would a snowflake.

Grand Ajivha: The Artisan Ward
Indraj-Alika, Apprentice Smith

A kick to the shins and Indraj awoke. He had spent the night at work on Ari, delicately inlaying his name on her hilt, after finishing he had fallen asleep at the bench. His master saw it fit to wake him.

'Get up boy. The Vazin's men will be collectin' the swords soon, we cant have yah sleeping around the shop. Make yourself decent and go fetch me some supplies from that merchant down the way'

A grunt of acknowledgement and Indraj rose from his less than comfortable resting place and stumbled over to a bucket in the rooms corner. A splash of water to the face and he was ready for his morning chores.

The merchant down the way had an unhelpful habit of chatting ones ear off, it wasn't until an hour later that Indraj returned to the store, greeted by a exuberant master.

'You just missed 'em! Five men all dressed in armour and the like, carried off the swords all by themselves.'

The smile of his face was clearly the result of the coins now bulging in his pocket. Then, something caught Indraj's eye, a single blade left standing against the wall.

'Master, did you oversee the transport yourself?'

A look of confusion came to the man's face.

'No, I left with the commander to sort out finance. Why?'

A point was enough. In another situation the shade of red on his master's face would have been entertaining.

'No! That's impossible! The men said, fifty blade. They counted them!'

'Then why is there one le...'

He hadn't put Ari away. The sword had been left in his hand all night, right next to the Vazin's swords.
A quick search of the room proved his fear, Ari was gone.

Two Weeks Later

Indraj turned into the street of the forge. For once he'd decided to sleep at home, his mother had scolded him for spending to much time at work. Not much had come from losing Ari's, after failing to catch the guards up Indraj had put in an application to speak to someone at the palace, naturally he had received no response. It had reached the point of resigned sadness, there was nothing to be done so he may as well get on with it, no one was going to speak to him. With that in mind he was surprised at the armed escort in front of his workplace.

'Indraj-Alika?'

The commander spoke; the bored gruff voice of a man who'd spent far too long as a city guard.
No use in lying.

'Yes sir.. Um... whats this is about?'

'Nothing bad, you are simply requested at the palace'

Despite his weary tone the man was suitably polite. Indraj's master, currently storming out of the workshop, was not.

'By the gods what did you do boy!? Is it theft? Have you stolen from me? I'll have your head if you've stolen from me!'

His face had taken that shade of red again, a good sign it was time to leave. Besides, the guards were his superior, they had given him a Job.

'Please, lead the way.'

The 'please' was slightly more stressed than normal.

Despite a retentively calm exterior Indrajs mind was going a mile a minutes. It was a long walk to the palace, plenty of time to run over every possibility. He decided he had either misfiled his Application Of Conference or the guards had discovered his master committed him from the yearly tax records. It wasn't until he found himself in the Chamber of the Vazin that he changed his mind.

Around the room sat around thirty people; scholars, craftsmen, beggars, every group in the city had a representation, a cross section of the populous. All were visibly tense, even those familiar with courtly life had never expected a personal call from the Vazin. The less fortunate were terrified, a few even eyeing the exits in hope of a daring escape. The only calm face was that of the man himself, their host for the day. The most powerful man in Ajivha-Tahna sat on the rooms only chair, calmly surveyed the group, blue eyes piercing each one in turn. When he saw Indraj he nodded and gestured the lad to sit. Then, he spoke, his voice clear and authoritative.

'Now that everyone is here we can begin. You have been called here because you are exceptional, each in your own way. I have been given a task, a choice if you will. However even I am not certain as to what I am choosing, at least not the specifics. So now, we wait. '

Several minutes passed in silence. Eventually a few in the crowd began to whisper to their neighbour, some nervously laughing as if they had been the butt of a joke. More time passed, all the wile the Vazin sat with a knowing look upon his face. In the end it was Indraj who spoke, he wasn't sure why

'My lord, forgive me for asking but; what are we waiting for?'

For the first time the Vazin smiled.

'My boy, we are waiting for a god.'

Jashiki, OileŠn Uisce, 15/15 AP

After the island was created from the waters and the molten rock from under the earths crust Jashiki stays on the island surveying his new area. Having felt the waves move out from where the island had come up from the ocean floor. Standing on the beach closest to the Ray-Das and looking out towards where they are he can hear many people praying out loud and to themselves for victory and glory in upcoming battles.

Staying still Jashiki shakes his head as he looks over the destruction that had resulted from his islands birth. Hundreds dead from drowning and battering when the wave hit them, as well as buildings and ships destroyed. Looking over all the destruction Jashiki is a little sad that so much had happened because an island he had helped form and thought up had been created. As he starts to turn away to shape some more parts of the island he is stopped by a clear loud cry out for help in his name, it making his stop in his tracks and turn back to the south. Staying still for only a second longer Jashiki moves through space till he is standing above the place where the prayer was coming from.
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Ker-Hai, Middle of the ocean.

Slowly waking up Ker-Hai at first doesn't remember where he is, the bobbing up and down and the coldness and wet over his whole body slowing down his mind as he tries to push himself up and look around. Finally pushing himself up and looking around all he can see is water and ship wreckage, one of the sides of the ship under him. Struggling to sit up and shaking uncontrollable he looks closer and can see some of his family members and some of the ships crew also clinging to the same piece of the wreckage and several others also floating nearby. Many of them still unconscious some are sitting up awake and trying to take care of those they can, almost 40 people still alive from the ships that had been out. Dragging himself over to his wife and pulling her into his lap he holds her as he thinks back over what had been happening, rubbing her sides and trying to warm her.

Holding his wife as he went over what had happened Ker-Hai then jerks straight and starts looking around wildly in search for his children. Twisting about harder as he at first cant find them waking his wife, her eyes opening and looking up at him before understanding what had happened herself. She shot up and looked around just as they both heard some yelling from behind them, both their children hanging onto some part of the mast and waving at them. Ker-Hai and his wife hug each other as they cry, happy they are alive and terrified about what they can do in this situation.

Ker-Hai look down at his wife and says softly to her. "Dear, i fear the sun and exposure will finish what the wave started." Holding her close to him as he looks out over the combined wreckage and the dozens of people still alive he laments what he knows is going to happen. His wife's eyes focused on their children she starts to sob against Ker-Hai's chest as she knows he is right, no one knowing where they are or even that they need rescuing. As she clings to him and sobs he looks out over the water and he is hit with a thought, just a few weeks ago they had a huge festival and at that he had seen something impossible. A god... A god could help them, the god they had celebrated just weeks before was a god of the water. While the wave had been of the water maybe he would be willing to help them. Looking over his family and the other stranded people he thought to himself I will try, for my family and the rest of us i will try to get this god to help us.

Closing his eyes and bowing his head Ker-Hai had no way of knowing what to do, worried he will offend the god he is trying to ask for help. Jas-Hiki, help us. Please save us from the ocean. Praying as hard as he can over and over, holding his wife and surrounded by other survivors.

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Jashiki, above the wreckage.

Looking down at them all bobbing about on pieces of the ships that had broken up when the wave he had caused hit them Jashiki stares at the one praying to him, the depth and ferocity of this one man praying surprising him. His feelings for his family and the wish to protect and save everyone there with him making him show another side of himself. Smiling slowly Jashiki drops to the water in the middle of all the wreckage and stop the the waves moving, everything still as the people gape at him. Looking at Ker-Hai and slowly walking across the water till he is standing at the edge of the wreckage he look down at this man holding his wife. Pausing and letting silence stretch out for several minutes Jashiki finally opens his mouth and says softly to all those around.
"I have heard your prayer, and am here to help you Ker-Hai. You, and all those here with you." Looking around at the rest of the people floating in the ocean Jashiki freezes the water several feet down and slowly lifts it, lifting the wreckage and people out of the water so they are floating on a flat iceberg. Standing there casually he turns back to Ker-Hai and looks down at him, now standing to look up at him and in front of his wife. Smiling slowly as he looks down at Ker-Hai he decides there to do more than just help these people. Staying where he is he softly says to the people starting to slowly walk over closer to Jashiki and Ker-Hai. "The strength of your prayers and the feeling for these here with you drew me here. I will help you, but you will not be able to go back to the nation you are all from. For good or ill you have all lived through some of the worst the waters can take you through, so i will take you to a new island and let you live there."

Many of the people surrounding Jashiki just gaped in wonderment at what was going on, the events pushing them to their mental limits. But Ker-Hai was still able to think, and he is the one who spoke up for everyone else. "My lord, where will we go? You say an island but All the islands large enough to let people live on already have people on them. We do not wish to displace others in a search for a home."

Smiling softly and setting his clawed hand on Ker-Hai's head Jashiki nods."i know you don't want to push others from a home they have lived in. Where i want to take you is a new island void of inhabitants so far, its not far away from everything else but will not be visited a lot."
Looking over them all and nodding once Jashiki smiles and steps back from Ker-Hai. "This iceberg will get you to the island in less than a day, it is empty of predators and should be a safe place for you all to live." Looking at all of them again he starts moving the iceberg in the direction of the island, heading towards where the reefs don't cover. Turning over one of the larger unbroken pieces of ship side he sets his hands on the sides and slowly bend it, the wood doing the impossible and bending without breaking till its a giant bowl. Pulling enough water from the sea to fill it he gets rid of the salt and sets the clean fresh water in the now giant bowl and steps away, going to another broken piece of siding he flattens it out and dozens and dozens of loafs of bread appear on it. Looking them all over he waves his hands at the food and water. "Till you get there and maybe even then." Looking at Ker-Hai he nods at him slightly."You are the reason i found you all, so you are now in charge. Lead them to prosperity and remember who brought you where you are going."

Disappearing from the group of people Jashiki knows they will at least get to the island, after that they will have to survive by their own powers. Watching them for several hours as they make their slow way across the ocean on the iceberg he smiles slightly and turns to leave, going to where he can feel many others praying for victory and glory. Moving through space to above them he watch's the Ray-Das being led by Ber-Sam to attack another nation, or at least the edges of it. Watching them he can feel dozens and hundreds of them talking about his test and how they will prove they are the best. Watching them as they march he stays out of sight and above them. Keeping an eye on all of them and listening to anyone saying his name.

Vallous, somewhere on the Isle of Pesh

In the north of Pesh, a group of farmers and village folk had gathered around a ragged bearded man preaching from a rock. Travelling mystics and wise folk weren't a rare sight but this one had a gift with words, the ever-growing crowd hanging onto his every sentence and phrase. He had finished telling a story about a boy and a flying whale and moved on to taking questions from the crowd.

"I say to you!" the old man's voice wavered shrilly and he waved his hands wildly as he spoke, "Lysei walks among us mortals this very day and with him he brings the sword of justice. All who do not repent and turn their backs on the ways of corruption are destined to be burned by his righteous anger!"

"And just who is this Lysei?" A voice came from the crowd, who parted to reveal a well-built man in his thirties, wearing the robes of the priesthood. He had a smug expression on his face. "Correct me if I'm wrong, wise man, but I believe the Imperial Law says that all true justice derives from our Father, Matthias."

"That is... correct," Vallous replied slowly, choosing his words carefully, "Lysei is the one and same as our dear Father Matthias, both hands of the same divine being. I ask of you, when our Father freed the first Aurorans from enslavement under Turok, who was the noble then? The Father is angry at the injustices which are perpetuated in our lands and already he is passing judgement on Aurora. The great waves which crashed upon our shores last week were only a taster of what is to come next, if we do not repent!"

The crowd murmured at this last pronouncement and there were some angry jeers, equating the Father with another god was radical, perhaps even heretical. His mention of tsunami struck a chord though, such a wave had not been seen for centuries and there was already mutterings about bad omens.

"Huh," the priest said with a sly grin, "And what do you say about the rumours you are an escaped slave? Such men are worthy of nothing more than a torturous execution as the law mandates, no?"

This question led to an even greater uproar in the crowd and a few pieces of fruit were thrown at the indignant priest. By the time they settled down again, Vallous and his disciples had mysterious vanished, and the crowd departed disappointed but eager to tell their family and friends about the strange prophet they met.

Gangari, Grand Ajivha - 15/15 AP
Gangari rested in the field, his minds eye drifting as he watched things unfold in Ajivha. As those inside prayed for his blessings upon them he felt new strength filling his veins. Winter coming upon the lands was something oddly refreshing to him as well. As the cold began to fill him he stood and made the long walk back to Grand Ajivha. When he arrived he wandered the streets for awhile, looking in on those he had touched from a distance and seeing that prosperity had found them.

He saw shrines erected in the streets and placed small bronze coins in their collection plates before leaving a piece of wood above the plate with a message stating "For the misfortuned" carved into it.

Eventually it became time return to the Vazin and choose.

Gangari reformed himself inside the chamber of the Vazin, and lowered his hood infront of the crowd. He took a moment to look at the crowd noting the surprised looks and shocked expressions from parts of it.

He turned to the Vazin briefly saying "Interesting Selection" in a way that only the Vazin himself would hear.

He then spoke in a loud and authoritative manner to the crowd.

"I am Gangari." He paused to let that sink in "You have been gathered here today by your Vazin because I asked him to." He paused again "I am here today to select one of you to have my knowledge passed down to. Who amongst you think you are worthy of becoming my Demiurge? My apprentice."

For a second the room fell silent, a single drawn out breath. Then everything happened at once.

Several fell to their knees in supplication, others still called out to their own spirits for explanation. Few even took notes, clearly the more scholarly of the bunch. One amongst them remained silent.

Qartoq, Raptor States

She'd followed her guests once they'd left, keeping an eye on them, but not revealing herself. Mostly cause she was bored of sitting in her manor, and she'd know if someone else came looking for her there. She had assumed an avatar that was invisible to the eyes of mortals, but still seemed to draw the attention of some animals. The group had split up, and Qartoq had decided to follow Cawles, which meant she'd heard the speech and seen the crowd. Though none of them were any the wiser she'd been there.

Qartoq summoned a basket of black fruit and flowers, after she'd heard the speech and seen the crowd's reaction. She placed it inside the house where she figured Cawles would be able to find it. It had no value to the goddess herself, as she could make another one appear within seconds. However, she hoped it would be taken as a sign that she approved of what had taken place.

After that she spent a long time in the capital, trying to understand the Krakaris and answering any prayers that were simple to answer by simply talking to all of those who asked such. There were other issues that weren't easily resolved. Perhaps she'd get to that one day. However, her reason for traveling to the city in disguise was not only cause she was bored and curious. She could already feel that the worshipers had made her stronger, but she wanted to make sure they were kept aware of the power and benefits of death. Besides, one poison was only the start, and what she'd been able to teach one of them at a time. Now that she was in the capital she should be able to perform things on a wider scale.

Qartoq made sure that she was alone, then broke off a part of herself which twisted, turned and then exploded into a myriad of black floating globes. She smiled, and then let them loose. They flew different directions, and would mainly seek out the young adults, with only a few going for any elders. She made sure one went to Cawles if she would accept it, or it'd go to someone else instead.

Chamber of the Vazin
Indraj-Alika

Before him stood a god. A god who looked like a beggar.

As the others panic around him Indraj remained calm, as if this was perfectly natural. He'd noticed the hum in the air this past year, subtle but ever present. He'd heard the stories from his family in the plains, of new spirits and wandering holy men. All in all this wasn't a huge surprise.

The man to his left was one of those in reverence, on his knees praying to his new god. In front of him a single figure rose, as if saying she was worthy, a moment of pause and the girl sat down. In the end it was Indraj who actually spoke to the god.

'That depends, what is it you will ask of me?'

Gangari took note of the man in front of him and spoke 'Vigilance, understanding, and hard work.'

'And what would I gain? My duty is to my city and to myself, what can a god offer me?'

He spoke the question as respectfully as possible, Gangari looked kind but stories were full of fickle gods.

'Knowledge and power to help better your nation.'

Satisfied with the answer Indraj bowed his head to the god.

'Kevlam Nasta Ajivha-Tahna. If you will have me I shall serve.'

'So it shall be." He paused and looked at the others "As for the rest of the willing I shall return in time to teach you beside my Demiurge.'

Gangari walked out to the Ajihvan and placed his hand on his forehead. A moment later they would find themselves in the Artisans Ward.

'If you need to collect anything or settle any affairs do so, we are going to be living on Ekaki for a month.'

In the end Indraj decided to keep his training a secret from his family and friends; his mother would only worry and his master would never believe him. His story was the same for both; the Vazin required a smith to journey to Aurora and help with the garrison they had sent. He would be gone a month or so.

Naturally his mother wept and his master lamented the loss of his apprentice, still they both gave their blessings. After saying goodbye Indraj returned to his new master, bag full of clothes and food (his mother had insisted cooking him a batch of bread for the trip). Looking back at his home he turned to Gangari

'Lead the way.'

Ajivha-Nau: The New Northern Settlement
Grhak Arakha, Chief of construction

How happy are those whose walls already rise.

The new settlement was still in its early days but with Grhak overseeing construction it would be thriving in no time, now attention could turn to the reason they had built here in the first place. Grhak lead his team up the nearby hill taking the panoramic views from its peak, in his head the citadel was finished, in reality they had yet to start. A few days ago he had received a letter from his apprentice, apparently research had lead to new possibilities for Ajivha's farms. A reply was formed immediately, coupled with a quick sketch of a new system they could uses as well as orders to get it done. Grhak had also made a requests for some blueprints to be delivered up to Ajivha-Nau, those for the device he'd been working on a few weeks ago, with any luck they would arrive within the week and allow for production.

With a smile Grhak turned to his builders.

'Lets make something wonderful!'

Grand Ajivha: Office of the Visor
Grand Visor Sarpa Dhurta

Sarpa had been given this job after losing his arm in battle. Why on earth did it have to involve so much paperwork?

He had been tasked with the composition of two letters, after listing to the Vazin dictate his thoughts he was to formalise them and see that they reach there destination. Why the Vazin was unable to write his own letters was unclear.

Gangari, Sammah Ajivha-Tahna - 15/15 AP

Gangari led Indraj into the mountains of Ekaki and would spend the next month imbuing him with his power and knowledge as he taught him his ways.

Emperor Kaius III and Katalia, Nova Verde, Isle of Maia

As spring went on, there came an auspicious day in the Auroran calendar: the Founding of Aurora Day. As usual, celebrations were held across the Empire and the Imperial Court was no exception, a private party of over a hundred nobles from the upper crust of Maia were invited to attend. This year's was particularly important, after the devastation of the great tsunami Kaius wanted to ensure the continued loyalty of his most powerful nobles. A ship had already been sent out to find clues to the source of the waves, and he had also ordered the founding of a new colony to the south and the training of a new elite whale-riding force in order to keep the nation at a state of alert in-case any further trouble.

When the day itself came, the Emperor found himself surrounded by noblemen and women in extravagant clothing of all colours, underdressed slaves carrying food and drink to the guests and one more younger brother than he wanted around at that moment.

"I miss Uncle Octy, when is he going to be back?"

Kaius couldn't take much more of Maximus' babbling, he was severely tempted order his sibling to an early bedtime but it was regrettably not late enough to deploy that option yet.

"Not for a long time Maximus, how many times do I have to tell you he's away on important business. Why don't you go talk to Mama?"

"Bleh," the only reply came.

The Emperor sighed and glanced around to see if any of his wives were nearby as a possible distraction but none were in sight. He was about to give in to despair of meeting anyone interesting when suddenly he saw her standing on the opposite side of the room, besides the door.

Katalia had entered the party an hour ago, under direct orders from Lysei himself. She was to figure out a way to talk one on one with Emperor Kaius. The god had suggested possibly invading his bedroom, but she had a better idea, one that had less variables involved. She would approach him at the party, possibly drag him out, and then talk in private about Valous. If Lysei was to act on a larger scale, he would need support, it was then beneficial to have the cooperation of Kaius before extending even further. Lysei could only grant so much protection after all.‏

The Weaver of Flames was dressed as a phoenix, or at least that was what the man at the costume shop had told her it was. The dress was a mixture of green and gold feathers, with a red crest, with a fine silk underneath. The whole outfit was incredibly luxurious, and normally would be outside of her affordance, but strings were pulled and this might just have to be a birthday present. Either way, Katalia met eyes with the emperor and smirked, this might be even easier than expected.

She waltzed up to the Emperor with a welcoming and warm smile and said in her most regal voice. "Ah, my Emperor! How good it is to see you doing well! Here I had been told those visions had taken quite an effect on your psyche, seems I must dash those rumors across the craggily shores of our own countryside. Tell me, have you been visited a second time? My Lord is certainly the brash type."‏

"Woah... hello," the Emperor replied in a dazed voice, ignoring the women's breach in royal etiquette addressing him. He was about to tell Maximus to go away but the child had already vanished of his own accord, he turned back to the enchanting woman.‏

"What is your name, dear lady, and how is it you read the imperial mind so well? It is true there are... disturbances," he added, not wanting to dwell on the visions of the mysterious deity's wrath that visited him nightly.‏

Her name... what should her name be... oh damn it she hadn't thought of that. Oh well, sod it all. She smiled brightly and said "I prefer to be addressed as Katalia. But I suppose the reason I know you so well, would be that my Lord has knowledge beyond us!" She laughed a bit and then made a crooked smile. "To be quaint, I have been sent here to give you a message. My Lord suggested I approach you as you were preparing for sleep, but that just seemed rude when a party existed for such a purpose. Are you following?"

"Uh huh, Katalia" Kaius nodded with a slight smirk on his face, dropping any pretence of formal speech, "Would you like to come to my private chambers to give me the message?"‏

"Quite, it shouldn't take long." Katalia motioned for Kaius to guide her there and smiled. She wondered a bit what the private quarters of an Emperor would be like. Having spent so much time in the forest after she escaped Thallus the first time, she had almost forgot what luxury looked like.‏

"Come," the Emperor said and he took her through a nearby door, past the great thirty foot statue of Matthias to a dimly lit chamber with a wide silk covered bed and exquisite carved wooden furniture. A serving boy hurriedly ran out after refilling the fireplace and then shut the door behind him, leaving the two alone. The Emperor put a hand to Katalia's head to gently stroke her hair. "You know you are very beautiful, dear lady," he said absent-mindedly.‏

Katallia slapped his hand away and got to business. "I'm not here for that. Lysei sent me to tell you that he has selected a prophet. I am sure you have heard of him. Valous is not to be harmed, and Lysei himself was considering making a bit of an arrangement with you. That's why I am here."‏

"Oh," Kaius felt deceived, now the woman's unearthly appearance and words made sense, "Lysei? Is that by any chance the Sir Demon I encountered a few months back and whose visions plague me to this day? What has he to offer me?"‏

Katalia laughed. "Lysei is no demon, he is one of the few remaining gods of this land, and of those, the only one to originate in our lands." Katalia shrugged and sat down on the bed. "Those visions he gives you, he is testing to see if you will act on them. Haven't you noticed how when you receive subsequent visions, the lord he shows to you dies exactly a week later? It is not coincidence." Katalia stretched out a bit and sighed. "The other gods are moving, at least that is what he tells me, as are the other nations, you will want a patron sooner rather than later. If the Father exists, he certainly has no interest in global politics. Lysei however, does."

Katalia got up and began to twist and weave the flames of the fireplace. "Vallous is claiming that Lysei is the Father, come to our humble planet and taken form. Obviously, this runs against the current state of religion. If you however, were to come out in support of it, then Lysei would be able to better protect your lands. He has no interest in aiding you with invasions, colonization, or other such acts, but if someone were to invade, he would likely come to the people's service. His and your powers, then, are entwined. Embrace Lysei in your religion, and gain his favor. He already has shown interest. You have witnessed what happens to the majority of people who have met him, so you can rest assured that as of now, he does not wish any harm to come to you."

"Vallous huh?" the name seemed familiar to the Emperor but he couldn't quite place it, supposed prophets and wise-men were two-a-penny anyhow. If this one had the backing of an actual god though... "Where is this Vallous, and how can I meet him?" he asked slowly.‏

Katalia shrugged and said "How am I supposed to know? The old guy goes wherever he wants to. He shouldn't be hard to find, he usually gets quite the following wherever he is. He did say something about a march in the Capital City when I met him, but he gave no dates on that. I'm sure if you sent out a request for him to be peacefully brought to you, he would come."‏

"And if not, he'd be brought here soon enough anyway," Kaius grinned darkly, "I must talk with this man before I can make any proclamation, for all I know he's teaching heresy. Besides..." he gave Katalia a suspicious look, "what's in this deal for Lysei? I never got the impression he was particularly enthralled by our holy Empire,"‏

Katalia smiled. "That's the wrong impression then, from what he tells me, he has grown quite fond of the people here. That's part of the reason he gets so angry when the nobility exploit the people. If you work with him, both parties benefit. Your nation gains a protector, and Lysei gains the ability to protect. It's that simple."

With her piece said, Katalia raised herself and began walking towards the window. "You have a party to return to, and a decision to make quite soon. Hopefully, we won't have to meet again."‏

"I've already made it," the Emperor replied and raised his hand in farewell, he couldn't believe his luck. With a deity who was so involved in the affairs of men actively supporting Aurora, the possibilities were endless, even if he didn't entirely trust Lysei. Still, he thought, corruption will be rooted out as He commanded. He shot one last comment after Katalia as she left. "On the contrary dear lady, it would bring me great pleasure to meet you again!" he winked.

Katalia chuckled. "I am Lysei's Weaver of the Inferno. My gift is of destruction. This was...a special occasion. Treat Vallous well, he's a bit funny, but good natured." As Katalia stepped out of the window, a clearly visible mesh of flames welcomed her and she began to sprint far away from Kaius' Manor. She had done her job, it was up to Vallous now not to be a complete moron.

Lysei, Raptor States 13/15 AP

Lysei was traveling invisibly now. Some would feel him as a gush of wind, others not noticing him at all. He didn't like to talk to others much, the other gods probably did, but Lysei for some reason felt little kinship with the mortals. Even Katalia didn't hold his attention long. He felt like they were his flock and he, the shepherd, had to protect them from the wolves who would don their skins. Perhaps one day he would find someone to captivate his attention, but today was not that day. No, today he would learn more about the Oscens, particularly one Yoren, their leader.

From what Lysei had gathered, Yoren had managed to secure his position largely through murder, assassinations, double dealing and countless other methods. This had come to Lysei's attention via a simple request. One Krakari child who had barely managed to escape the wrath of the Oscens sent out a prayer to anyone who would answer "Kill Yoren Oscen, he is evil." Lysei rarely took such requests, especially from children as they tend to act rashly, but as he did investigations, Yoren had certainly done enough to warrant an execution.

Lysei could remember his first discovery quite clearly. While time passed linearly for mortals, Lysei could bend light in such a way that he could gather it from deep space, in effect seeing back in time through old light. What he gathered from such a manner, was horrible beyond recognition. One of Yoren's assassinations was on a Krakari trader who went by the name of Ilithak who sought to switch his weight over to another family. The brother of this Krakari, named Nelthok, made the desperate Yoren a proposition-kill Ilithak and his family so he could inherit the company, keeping control in Yoren's hands. They had met in the trees nearby after a failed persuasion attempt from Yoren himself.

Lysei was unable however, to watch the attack. The light did not escape the hut, though he could smell the blood. Blood that had been spilled in greed. Lysei examined and prodded the hut endlessly, as Nelthok slept. He wondered how anyone, could commit such an act, but it did not matter. Nelthok was guilty of Fratricide, he was beyond redemption in Lysei's dark eyes. The god of vengeance sealed the hut closed, conjuring bars on every single exit. Taking care to ensure there was no possible escape. It was then that he teleported Nelthok's family far outside the area, in a safe place. They were innocents and did not deserve to die. Then, the god tipped over a candle and let the hut burn to cinders. He could hear Nelthok's screams and it rekindled a fire within himself. Surely, there were more cases like this one. Lysei would soon visit Yoren himself, but not before removing a few key pieces to ensure Yoren was alert.

It was then that he heard the cries of the Krakari. Some group of mortals had invaded, and were raiding villages with brutal efficiency. Several had already been abandoned and the people were praying to anyone who would listen. Yet, for some reason Qartoq did not answer. Lysei did not care much to look for why, he had to see this for himself. So he decided to put away his ambitions on Yoren for a time, and instead focus on the raid.

These small mortals were brutal. Dead Krakari littered the streets and the screams and cries of the survivors being carted off and taken in for whatever pleasures the warriors might partake in made Lysei sick. Everything about this was wrong, war could be done without hurting innocents, war could be just, but this was not just, nor did it spare the innocents. This was was solely for greed, taking and taking and taking. Lysei was boiling, his invisibility was failing him. A swirl of flames began to rise high and above the war scene, and Lysei managed to see where the Ray Das had landed their ships, the main base of operations.

"What...gives you the right?" Lysei was barely holding himself back at this point, he speaking through gritted teeth and at once, he flashed a hot white and yelled to all nearby. "WHAT GIVES ANY OF YOU THE RIGHT?" As the Ray Das recoiled from his massive yell, Lysei turned his rage into creative destruction. He began to forge a tornado made of his flames. It would burn and cleanse these raiders from the Raptor States. None would escape his wrath.

Jashiki, OileŠn Uisce, 15/15 AP

Floating over the Ray-Das as they made their raids on the outer settlements of the flying mortals he watched them for several weeks. Staying invisible and going from floating far above them and watching every aspect of the attacks to standing in the main war room Jashiki watched Ber-Sam conduct the raids. Floating high above the command ships and watching some of the raids in another area when a rush of hot dry air washed over him, making him jerk and look around sharply for this very unlikely things origin. Looking down slightly and catching sight of a man in armor and covered in flames winking in and out of sight Jashiki narrows his eyes and keeps his invisibility on a tight leash.

"What...gives you the right? WHAT GIVES ANY OF YOU THE RIGHT?"

Jerking slightly when the roar of sound washed over him Jashiki knows this is another god, someone who seems to have taken a dislike to the way the Ray-das are doing their thing. Narrowing his eyes as power starts to get pulled into the figure below Jashiki can feel the heat caused from it.
Dropping his invisibility and dropping down to 50 feet in front of the god here Jashiki keeps his physical avatar the same size as the one in front of him.
"What you are trying to do there will kill many people. Most of them are people who pray to me."
As Lysei was gathering his power, he found himself surprised to see another god show up. He hadn't met one before, but as his gears began to turn, he realized that this god could possibly be leading this raid. Which only further disgusted him.

"They are murdering innocent people. This is their punishment. Why would you let them do this?"

"I let them do nothing, but i am not going to force them to change their lifestyle. The nation here should have taken more care with their people. Do you believe the nation they are attacking is innocent? these people who you are trying to punish have been living like this for longer than we have been here, much longer."

"Living a life of murder for long periods of time does not excuse continuing to murder. There are good people in these villages, good people who they are killing. I am going to put a stop to it. Either call them off or allow me to do it for you. If you are concerned about your power, I am sure they will begin praying to you a whole lot more when they realize that their actions have consequences."
Looking at the god in front of him Jashiki shakes his head slowly. "I will not, and you should not either. True, there is innocent lives on both sides and they are dying and killing. But that is life, struggle and survival. These people below will learn from this and the ones who live will know what to do next time. The ones who don't live through it will not have to worry about this ever again. Actions do have consequences, but this is not the correct one."

"THEY ARE NOT INNOCENT!" Lysei boomed and the ground began to quake under his fury. "These halflings have invaded the homes of others, and have murdered and killed and stolen. Under any circumstance, the punishment for such crimes is death. I will not allow this to continue, if you have a better solution, then you had better give it soon."
"they are as innocent as any fighter and warrior. and their positions were reversed many hundreds of years ago. This will not stop, here or elsewhere. Even if you unleash fire and death down on them they will do it again somewhere else, or another group will do it to someone. You can not change that, life has risk and danger. This is one of them. Let them do what they are doing, i agree that over zealous killing and pillaging is wrong. But killing them all will not change anything, in fact it will bring hate and anger at you and this nation for it. That will cause this to happen more often, not less. Talk to the leader of these people, asking and giving your reasons with the knowledge that if she doesn't things can get very much worse. I have worked with her before, she will understand. But threatening her and promising fire and death will make her become stubborn and not listen to you."

Lysei contained his power and looked Jikashi directly in the eyes. "This is not war, this is a massacre. You will talk to her with me, and we will tell her to leave these lands at once, and never return. If she can abide by this, then her forces can leave unharmed. However, any of her warriors that refuses to leave, will be left to me." Lysei began to slowly descend to the ground, amongst a large number of awe-struck Ray'Das soldiers. He picked a random member of their forces and quickly scanned his mind for any information. With that, he then understood their culture and why they invaded and began to walk towards their leader's camp. He expected Jikashi to follow.
Dropping quickly and stopping in front of the other god Jashiki lifts his hand and looks him in the eye. "To leave and stop the killing this time. I will not agree with them never coming back. This is a battle, and massacre it may be but that happens. You can ask her to leave and stop senseless killing, but that is the limit. If you intend to try making them leave than we will have a problem, a serious one. This is part of their life, as much as sailing and having a family."

Lysei looked at Jikashi in the eyes and said "I don't care about politics, wars, or any such matters. I am only interested in protecting the innocent, and if they can abide by that, then I won't cause them any more trouble. I suggest you teach them proper behavior in war. Perhaps if you can manage that, I will help you give them a home." With that, Lysei continued to walk towards the commander. If this was to be a peaceful negotiation, or an execution remained to be seen.
Looking after the other one as he walked past Jashiki shakes his head slowly. Walking after him and stepping in time he can feel eyes of everyone looking at them. "they have a home, and any battle has deaths. Many of them innocent, you can not change that."

"I execute justice where there is none. That is my purpose and goal. If you truly do not value justice and wish we simply remain at the sidelines wishing we could do something, then you are not worthy of being called a god."
"In all parts equal measure. Justice is fine, but it is blind. I will not remain on the side lines of this world, but i wont make the mistake of trying to change those who live in it right away or to far from what and who they are. There is justice here, just not at the forefront."
"There is no justice when the people are made to suffer. Had the Raptor States invaded the Ray Das in such a manner, I would be having a similar conversation with Qartoq. I can never allow such actions to take place, not now, not ever. If I must change the world, then that is exactly what I will do. Don't try to stop me." Lysei stopped and made a mark on the ground. "Wait here. You have my word I will not attempt to summon another tornado while I do this, but I want to speak to their leader alone."
Looking at the mark on the ground then at the one who made it Jashiki shakes his head. "No, you are blind to what is happening. You see things as this or that, when they see it as all gray. Justice is here for those who break their rules, and if they nation here had attacked they Ray-Das i would have asked you to stay out of that also. The repercussions from an attack like that would be up to these people. Leave, allow me to talk to her and ask her to stop senseless killing. But i can not allow you to see the leader of the people i am the patron of at the moment alone. Leave god of justice, and let those who live in the gray settle this."
Lysei pondered for a moment, and altered his mark. "You have until this mark expires, if these forces are still in these lands when it does, I will return. Until then, I am going to deal with the scum in individual villages. Don't disappoint me."

With that, Lysei vanished in a pillar of inferno, and began to assist those attempting to fight against the Ray-Das. Organizing leaders and evacuating the helpless. He gave the leaders the power to fight back, powers over fire that could rival any attackers. Most likely those who he designated as magi would die, but their deaths would ensure that the majority could live

Golden Settlement

Jugaan rumbled with frustration as she watched the prospective "tamers" cower at the aggressive moves of the maggots. "Children..." she growled as she left the maggot pit for a moment to look around the settlement. However, her stroll was quickly interrupted when a runner from Highcrag found her, with news from the capital.

Apparently, the Stone Tribe had been busy and discovered a new way of stacking rocks, which they then decided to spread to all the Tribes, save for the Gold Tribe. Fortunately for Jugaan, Budraal was above the petty rivalries among the Chieftains, and had the information relayed to her as well. With a curt nod, Jugaan dismissed the messenger, and then summoned Wos to plan how to best use the new construction techniques.

"I believe we need to capitalize on this opprtunity..." Jugaan began, looking to the eastern wall of the the chamber. "While I would rather want our maggot 'training' to be complete before trying this, I believe we should expand our Tribe's territory to the east."

Wos nodded, seeing what his Chieftain was planning. "And then all the Tribe's will have to deal with us if they plan to expand further north."

"Exactly." Jugaan smiled. "Continue the work with the maggots, but also gather a group of your best settlers. Give them this information from Highcrag, and then send them east."

Wos nodded and left to carry out the Golden One's orders. He instructed the settlers about the new techniques the Stone Tribe had learned and sent them on their way. While at the same time, went to go oversee the maggot tamers. He too was disappointed at their lack of progress, but encouraged them to keep trying.



Highcrag-Den of the Supreme

Meanwhile, in the capital, Budraal summoned Lew'pan to his presence. After he had received no progress with the visitors outside, Lew'pan complied and quickly arrived to his patron's side. "I believe it is time to expand the Glass Shifters' talents..." Budraal began, "...you have collected a wide assortment of misfits from all across our lands, I believe at least some can be put to use scouted for lands to reclaim."

Lew'pan nodded in agreement. "There are several other Luug who I've recruited that are smart and slippery enough for just such a task. If you will excuse me, my Supreme, I can find them and begin training them in scouting techniques right away!" With a nod, Lew'pan was dismissed to begin his task of forming a group of Glass Shifters that could serve as the Deep Tribes' scouts.

Jashiki, Ray-Das war room, 12/15 AP

After talking with Ber-Sam and telling her everything the most she would compromise is taking half the food and treasure in surrendering towns but if any of them try fighting than they will attack it to the best of their ability. She agreed when Jashiki asked her to keep the senseless killing and slave taking down but she she refused to leave, wanting to show Jashiki how well they can fight and live. Nodding after their discussion Jashiki disappears from the ship and looks down at the ships then out over the towns still fighting. Taking a slow deep breath he says out into the air, it being carried to everyone in the towns in raiding distance. Ray-Das and raptor states, knowing the raptors will hear it and understand what is happening and the Ray-Das will hear and follow it. "For those listening. The Ray-Das have told me, Jashiki god of water, that any town that surrenders will only have to give up half their food stores and treasure. Any who fight will be attacked to the best of their ability's. If you do not fight them they will not kill or enslave you, but if you try to fight they will do just that."

Closing his eyes at the end Jashiki hopes that they will all listen and understand, both the mortals and Lysei himself. Turning away he moves through space to his island and settles down on its shores to look over the people he had sent there those months ago.
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Jashiki, OileŠn Uisce

Looking down at the group of people Jashiki feels something new inside himself. Instead of just seeing mortals to worship him and he doesn't actually know, these are ones he rescued himself. People he knows because he went down and met them personally before steering them to his island. Watching the group work on building houses and small boats, probably for fishing and traveling close to the island. Watching Ker-Hai and his family work together with several others he knew he was right in putting Ker-Hai in charge, the boat they are making bigger and better made then anyone else was able to do on the island so far. For weeks Jashiki watched them fish and travel on the water, little houses were built on the island but they kept going back to the water. Some was necessity, after all it was the best place to fish and get food, but they would go back for fun after all that.

One day one of the smaller children was playing next to the waves unsupervised, having walks away from his mother without her realizing. Watching this little mortal play with the waves and screech in happiness every time one splashed him brought a smile to Jashiki's face. Materializing behind the child and walking up to it he picks it up before a larger wave can grab the child and pull it out to sea, holding it in his arms the child goes from playing with the waves to staring at him. It reached out slowly and after what would have been a stinging tug on the hanging tentacles on his face it starts babbling and gurgling at him in baby talk. Walking slightly up the beach and sitting down with it Jashiki laughs softly.
"No no little thing, I'm not your daddy. So rude for such a small person. I'm a god, and you'll learn all about me when your old enough to sail."
The baby boy babbles more at him for another few minutes, then just as baby's will do leans on him and falls asleep right away. Holding it for a little longer he remembers that baby people need to be cared for often, and the mother is probably going to be worried after so long. Standing slowly and turning towards where he can feel the parents looking for it he walks that way slowly, holding the baby in his arms and letting it sleep.

Walking up to the house where the baby's mother and father are searching for it he knocks on the door softly. Holding the baby with one arm to do so, he waits till they open the door to say anything. Speaking faster than their shock and amazement Jashiki hands the baby to the mother and smiles warmly at them.
"This one will grow up loving the sea, I can tell. Teach him well. After all, you never know when brave young ones will be needed."
Turning and vanishing Jashiki looks back to watch the woman start crying as she rocks her baby and the man hug her, both of them with stunned wonder on their faces.

Moving to the top of the mountain and standing on a flatter place Jashiki walks over to the rock face and scoops out the rock. Digging in slightly and then scooping out a little to make a bowl he looks at the small indent in the wall he had just made for a few seconds. Nodding in satisfaction he reaches out and puts his hand over the depression in the alcove, his hand not moving for one long moment before one drop of his blood falls into it. After the one drop he calls up some water from the surrounding ocean and from the running rivers on the island. A few drops from each soon the depression is full of water, clear pure water with a slight shine to it.

Dipping his claws into the water and stirring it slowly he lifts them out and watch's the drops drip off his claws slowly. Shaking the water back into the depression Jashiki lifts all of the water up and out, it separating to 238 individual drops of water. All of them hanging in mid air around him, most of them above his head but some down around his shoulders. One of the ones lower down twice as large as the rest, hanging in front of him they all are perfect raindrop shapes. Staring at them and smiling Jashiki waves his hand and they all fly out, the lower ones to the people on the island with the large one hitting Ker-Hai. The rest of them flying out and hitting random people the world over.

Cyth'raul, Middle of the Ocean → Golden Settlement - 13/15 AP

There was a lot going on, a lot going on indeed. However, it was of little concern to the deity. Combat was always unseemingly, ugly, destructive and not at all helpful went it came to the matter of Pacts and peace - two tenents Cyth'raul had taken to uphold. However, those who chose to fight were free to fight. Let them kill each other off.

The Pactforger had more pressing business.

First a message to dear Alcrik, "I am sure all nations appreciate trade. Those in the North, in Highcrag, have a wealth of mineral goods to offer. The grand city-state stuck in a desert across the inland sea to the East surely require some goods and have various goods in return to offer. Alas, I have yet to find out more about other nations."

And then there was the matter of Jugaan. Poor Jugaan.

Did she not understand the terms of the contact? Assistance for worship - plain as day. It was not Cyth'raul's fault that even with divine intervention the Luug couldn't even settle a pile of dirt. And the silence! The Whisper In The Dark craved communication, lest the whispers inside the deity's head took over. But it was too late for that.

Invisible amongst mortals, a dark hand plucked a maggot from the earth, whispers caressed it, "Grow. Grow. Grow."

As Lysei gathered himself at the front lines, he saw that not only had Ber Sam not begin to withdraw, her efforts had redoubled. Her forces gathered outside of towns and demand half of their resources, or they would begin killing. This was not the deal. Jikashi had failed just as Lysei had predicted and would probably attempt to resist anything he did. Not that such an attempt would bother Lysei much. The god gathered himself and decided to end this charade right here and now.

The god of flames threw a large sword directly at his mark back at the Ray Das encampment, and the sword shattered his marking. These splinters broke out and spread across the Ray Das leaders with great precision. He aimed for every single one of them to be marked. Any military commander would soon be nullified and that would end this raid. Lysei gave his warning, and Jikashi broke his promise. Lysei would not break his. There would be consequences. Soon, they would all be cleansed from these lands.

Qartoq

The strange dark orbs found their way to many Krakari, and they were hailed as blessed by the goddess, her wings of death they were called with the power to command the deathly winds. Others among the faithful despaired that they too had not been blessed, but then it was only natural to envy the power commanded by the blessed. Their dark magics no doubt had many uses, and certainly could push the nation further to greatness.

(For gameplay purposes the Raptor States are now capable of interrogating the dead (as an espionage action), they main get other actions later once I've figured out how they'll work)

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Gangari

The gods power spread through the man, metal burned into the backs of his hands and his eyes shone with his new power, but he felt no pain only understanding. The workings of the world, he could alter them with his power, inscribing symbols and glyphs of his god. The art needed to be taught to others, any fool could see the benefits for his homeland to have such a thing, it would be a glory for Ajihva and Gangari both.

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Lysei

The god's fury was a firestorm among those he designated as targets, throughout the mercenary and Ray-Das camps the leaders burned in their tents. Immolated before their men by a force beyond their understanding. The Ray-Das were unnerved and without leadership, and it would no doubt weaken their resolve to raid the lands of the Raptor States.

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Jashiki

The people were confused at first by the strange marks the water drops left, but comprehension dawned quickly. The power to move water, such a blessing could have only one source, and they gave praise to Jashiki for the blessing. Each too was uniquely blessed with a technique, though they soon began to share them, the simpler techniques spreading more easily than the complex.

(I'll put some thought into what actions might be made available by this)

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Cyth'Raul

The maggot writhed and swelled, fast becoming far greater in size than before. A pale smooth enormous creature now sat before Cyth'Raul, though its purpose was known only to the pactforger.

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Ray-Das

The raiders of the Ray-Das moved quickly and hit hard in spite of the loss of leadership, their arrows were a perfect match for the winged Krakari who sprang to defend the small towns and roads they struck, and by the time the mercenaries contracts expired the raiders were returning to their homeland aboard ships laden with valuables, fit to join the wealth they now pulled from the earth.

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Raptor States

The news of the raids to the south only further increased the Krakaris willingness to prepare for battle, the Sacred Band of Kraai trained zealously to battle whatever threats might emerge next, and the scholars and smiths crafted a new blade that could be wielded in flight, its curved edge taking advantage of the momentum of the wielder's dive. Even among the preparations a diplomat departed peacefully to the desert of Sammah Ajivha-Tahna, and soon found a place for himself in Grand Ajihva itself.

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Aurora

The Auroran scouts knew the seas by heart, even with the new waves that had so recently crashed across it, and locating the island proved simple. Many among them felt disheartened by the sight of it, for its creation had brought great destruction to them. But this was an age of new gods it was said, and perhaps one of them was responsible for this isle, they had found it now so sending an expedition to search it would be simple (a minor action, same as it was for the Krakari sending an expedition to the manor).

Back in the mainland the new faith of the god Lysei spread reluctantly, even with the strange events of late the people were hesitant to make such a radical alteration to their faith.

The new unit paraded along the coasts of Aurora even as the settlers returned home in disgrace, the jungles remained difficult to tame and the people were growing accustomed to their failure to settle them.
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Sammah

The new settlement grew faster and stronger than most had imagined, a fortress to rival the walls of Grand Ajivha itself! Such an homage removed many concerns that expansion was an insult to their great city, and soon people flocked in greater numbers to Ajivha-Nau. Even as they did so the new ballistae were mounted on the walls of every Ajivham city, a stern warning to any who might try to conquer them. Finally in the fields around Grand Ajihva the new irrigation ditches flowed freely with unending water, a blessing from their new god put to use by Ajivham hands.

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Deep Tribes

The maggots remained stubborn, and in some cases vicious. Those tasked with handling them grew irritable as well, and a few even smashed their charges out of frustration, which did little to make them more obedient. In the meantime the settlers found the land around the manor difficult to set roots in, the tribes and brigands who frequented the manor were unwelcoming to what they saw as invaders and even the might of the Luug did not cow them into submission. The settlers and tamers both met with failure.

Even among the failures the new unit of Glass Shifters came together, proud to put their talents to use for the tribes. They had been misfits before but now they had a purpose, and respect that came with their new position.

The crowd fell too a hush as the Vazin emerged to the balcony.

Today was the official start of Mauna, the Ajivhan festival of silence. Ironically it began with a speech. Thousands of eyes upon him the Vazin spoke:

'Kevlam Nasta Ajivha-Tahna. My children, today marks the dawn of our most sacred time, a time of reflection and insight. These past years have been hard, our world is truly changing around us, often by looking within can one find some peace during the storm.

Many of you may question what we begin today, in the face of new gods our old ways may look foolish. However, gods and spirits have no true power over our minds, simply the world around us. This festival is spiritual, yes, but we do not pray, we do not sacrifice. It is a festival of the mind, of the soul. It is done to breed understanding of ourselves and wholesomeness of the soul. No gods or kings, only man.

Shut, breath, think, understand.
Sut, prana, cintana, anagma.'

The crowd took up the chant, first in their common tongue then in Old Ajivhan, five times they chanted, as they always had. Then they obeyed, what was this but another Job?

The Vazin returned to his hall and passed instructions to his steward. Traditionally Mauna had been a time of isolation, each citizen remaining inside in study, however as Ajivha had grown this had become impractical. In recent times the festival had been altered, people remained at work they simply did so without a word. Free time was still spent in reflection but daily life continued as normal. Naturally foreigners did not quite understand,actually paying the written price on wares was a rather alien concept.

His orders delivered the Vazin retreated to his own quarters, in truth he was glad to have some time at peace.

Hall of Raptors

The hall roared with the voices of the elders who heard of the raids that took the lives of Krakaris along with their money. Some preached about open war while others argued appeasement but the real decisions would have to be made by the major families. The bad news didn't come without good news as the scholars and smiths were able to create fearsome swords that utilized their speed in flight. The thought to utilize these swords came without any hesitation but once the meeting went underway, the thought of other actions weren't so unanimous.

"Calm down my fellow councilors!" Farko yelled out. Farko and his new elite troops have been training endless and ready to spring at a chance at revenge against Ray-Das but neither of them knew when that would exactly be. Aerya knew how valuable his troops would be in the coming fight and throwing them into a fight wouldn't exactly be the smartest way to implement them. Aerya at least wanted them to wait until their new weapons were in their hands then Sacred Band would be even more of a match to Ray-Das' soldiers.

"The raid on us will not be forgotten and such an impasse will remain in our minds for years to come but we cannot attack while the snow falls. I speak wisdom to you and ask you to instead pray for Qartoq so that she may bring death upon them." Aerya said but in truth, reports came in of other such beings coming into play during the raid. A fierce fire God came down from the sky and slew a number of Ray-Das captains through immolation which was an act that will not be forgotten. Another deity was spotted as well which seemed to be the God that Ray-Das praised which they saw as a demon rather than a god for helping the Ray-Das.

"Our first real contact with these people and they kill our people and take our gold!" A councilor shouted out.

"We cannot let this stand! War!" Another yelled out.

"Do not fret." Gora spoke out. "We will spill their blood soon enough." Gora looked to Aerya with a deadly smirk. She knew that he sent one of them and now he sent word to them. Aerya couldn't stop him even if she wanted to. Gora held too much power now and it was because of her. She swallowed a knot in her throat before she continued. This was no time to falter as the lives of thousands would be decided in the coming days although Aerya had a feeling that it was simply a matter of time.

"We need to wait until the snow cannot hamper our movements." Aerya argued.

"For them to raid us again and kill us in our sleep?" An elder yelled out. The houses cried for war and there was no convincing them much to Aerya's frustration.

"They won't raid us if we turn our newest settlement into a citadel. We much make it safer for us and our people." Jaherys said and her suggestion brought much approval which also brought Aerya a moment to breath. War was the last thing she wanted let alone needed.

"Then we must further fortify our settlement." Aerya said and just like that they had a new objective to follow but it would only be a matter of time until they cried for war once more.

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Cawles Strix, Shrine of Qartoq

The relatives of those slain by the Ray-Das raiders prayed for vengeance and death while Cawles simply led them in prayer. The procession stretched out to the streets in the blinding snow. Even in this weather they came to see their priestess. The Krakaris started calling that much to her embarrassment. She didn't really consider herself to be such but rather one of those that Qartoq had chosen.

"For she is ours." Cawles said aloud in a prayer. The orb had come to her and out of her curiosity she had taken it. The orb opened her mind to some of the knowledge that Qartoq had given her. Much to her wonder others had emerged with the similar power and they joined her order as priests or priestess so that they may speak or Qartoq's wonder alongside with them communicating with the dead.

"And we are hers!" The crowd responded back again. Initially it wasn't her that activated her power first. Her newly designated priests and priestess went to a cemetery where one of them displayed just what exactly they could do. In the dead of night a spirit emerged from a grave and using their powers, they spoke to it.

"We have been struck by a merciless enemy. Our leaders will act but we must offer our prayers to Qartoq for she holds power over them all. The power of death is her domain and death... will soon come to the Ray-Das." Cawles spoke trying to mask her apprehensiveness. She had never seen or met these people before and now she was praying for them to die. "Her wings will engulf them and block out the sun."

"May she come for them!" The crowd chanted. The hatred was palpable but also the fear. Cawles also feared that war would soon come with this strike. Many would soon perish but it gave Qartoq her souls. She prayed that hopefully the Ray-Das dead would number their own in the coming war.

"So pray my brothers and sisters." Cawles clasped her hands together and so did the others. "Qartoq, give us and our leaders knowledge and protection. Give Ray-Das death and pestilence. Give us protection and enlightenment. Give Ray-Das suffering and hardship for we are yours."

"And she is ours." They all responded with all their sadness and grief praying for the deaths of people they barely know.

Vallous, somewhere on the Isle of Pesh

Vallous ran down a rocky path along the coastline, his disciples had vanished and now he was being pursued by a group of heavily armed men. The path suddenly ended and the prophet found himself on the edge of the cliff, with nowhere left to run. He briefly thought about jumping but then thought better of it, Lysei had got him out of a deadly situation before.

"I surrender!" he cried and raised his hands as the men approached. He glanced at their insigninea in disbelief, they were the Emperor's private guard.

"Are you the prophet they call 'Vallous'?" one shouted, poking the old man in the ribs with his spear.

"I am," he admitted.

"His Imperial Majesty the Emperor has requested an audience with you, you are to come with us at once,"

"I don't suppose I have a choice in this?"

Another jab in the ribs with a spear answered his question, he allowed his hands to be bound to a mule and then together the group made their way back along the rocky coastal path.

Emperor Kaius III and Vallous, Nova Verde, Isle of Maia

Two weeks later, the Emperor was listening in his private chambers to one of his court spies, getting increasingly angry.

"What mutterings precisely?"

"They say bad omens, your Majesty," the man replied, looking apologetic, "The great wave and the repeated failures to colonise the southern lands, some say there is a curse on this court. Some want the Noble Parliament restored, affairs were better managed then they say."

"Octavius no doubt!" Kaius groaned, "I knew he would be causing trouble from the moment he arrived last week. Is there anything else?"

"Well, there is this note from our allies that arrived today,"

It was a letter from Vazin Prajja Tu Andha, inviting him to visit Sammah's leader at their new settlement. Kaius groaned, yet more preparations to consider and...

"Your Majesty, we have the man known as Vallous outside. Do you wish to see him?"

"Already? That was quick." the Emperor exclaimed, "Bring him in now, I've got enough on plate as it is, lets see if we can get this done, quickly."

Vallous was brought in, looking shaken and confused.

"So, Vallous," Kaius began, "Have my men been treating you well?"

"Eh, well your Imperial Majesty..." the prophet couldn't say much more honestly.

"Good," the Emperor replied briskly. "I have heard on good faith that the fire god visited you too, is that correct?"

"Yes, Lysei came to me first in a dream..."

The conversation went on for half-an-hour, detailing the specifics of Vallous' teachings. In particular, he emphasised that Lysei was a representative of the Father, returned to the world of the living to root out corruption in Auroran society and that he had no ill intentions against the Imperial Throne or the order of society.

"I find these teachings... agreeable," the Emperor said finally, "I have one more question for you, however,"

"Your Majesty, anything I can answer,"

"Is it true what the rumours say, are you an escaped slave?"

"That... is true," Vallous admitted with shame, there was no sense denying his crime.

"Huh, quite the irony that a supposed god of justice would use a criminal as his prophet," the Emperor replied, "nonetheless, his judgement seems to have been wise in this case. Who was your master?"

"Young Lord Nelind, primary owner of the Nelind Fishing Company. He is but a boy but his aunt runs the day-to-day affairs of the business."

"A woman running a company?" Kaius chortled at the idea, "How unorthodox. Anyhow, I now hereby pardon you for the crime of deserting your master and any others you may have committed in doing so. I will arrange for a payment of gold to be made to young Lord Nelind in compensation for his loss."

"Thank you!" Vallous exclaimed gratefully, "Your Majesty intends to accept my teachings?"

"I do," the Emperor replied, "Come Vallous, I have an announcement to make,"

Jashiki, OileŠn Uisce, 9/15 AP

Standing on the mountain and looking out over the island Jashiki can feel the hundreds of people out in the world gain the power he sent out, each of them flaring in power only felt by him because he is the one who sent it out. Standing there looking out he rocks back and stumbles a step when thousands of voices start yelling for him, all of them saying essentially the same thing "Help us! Shaking his head and holding one hand to his head he moves through space till he is in the center of the cry's, finding himself in the center of the raiding camp. Looking around he see's 50 fires spread out over the landscape, and none of them feeling like camp fires. Dropping to the ground and reaching out with his mind he reads what is happening and he is shocked and distressed at what he finds, Ber-Sam dead.... With 49 of her officers. Standing there shaking with rage and regret Jashiki stays still as more and more of the soldiers around turn to face him and some quiet as some others start yelling, but all quiet down as one small tear falls off his face and causes the ground to freeze in a 30 feet radius. Standing in the middle of a crowd of hundreds of people Jashiki raises his face slowly and opens his eyes, some of the people in front of him dropping to their knees at what they see in them. Saying softly but it reaching every person in the camp all around.
"This... Is inexcusable... Trying to change the way this world works their god killed your leader, and someone i liked. She was... Murdered by another god, one who saw fit to stop you all from one of your nations ways. This will not stand, it will not!"

As the men and woman around him start cheering Jashiki looks up at the sky and sighs softly. Turning and moving through space as the soldiers cheer behind he moves back to his island and stands at the top of the mountain. Closing his eyes and sitting down criss cross he speaks to all who have the mark given to them. "Benders of Ray-Das and Aurora, your new found powers are gifts from me. I am Jashiki, god of water, and i am here telling all of you that my island is a place where your powers can flourish and grow. Many of you will be delighted at this power and will wish to stay where you are and use it to help your family and nation. I can not tell you to leave your family and friends to come to a new and maybe wrong place, but i will say that you and your family's are welcome here. This is a safe place where you and your family's can live without fear of others."

Opening his eyes and moving down to the village he smiles at some of the village children playing around with their new powers. An adult watching them and making sure they didn't inadvisable hurt another. Smiling as he walks past and nodding at the adult as she bows he moves to the small town and to Ker-Hai's home, walking through the wall and stopping there he coughs softly. Ker-Hai and his wife jumping at the noise they separate from their kissing and turn to bow to him low, both of them a little red in the face. Smiling and walking over he raises them and keeps his hands on their shoulders. "Please, don't be so embarrassed for something like that. Maybe soon you will have another little one on the way?" Smiling more as they exchange looks and blush more so. Letting them go Jashiki looks between them then focuses on Ker-Hai he says softly. "Ber-Sam was killed by another god." Shock and anguish wash over both of their faces they hug each other and slowly sit down, Ker-Hai's eyes closing. Then he looks up at Jashiki and says quietly "This will be devastating to the Ray-Das, she was great. They will need you much more now as well." Nodding in agreement Jashiki sets his hand on Ker-Hai's head "They will, and I'm going to help them. You are in charge of the people here and who will be coming here, teach them well and never allow this place to be defiled by those who wish to use it for their own gains." Standing still for several second with his hand on his head he turns and moves through space again. Standing at the top of the mountain he spreads his hands and takes a deep breath, letting power trickle from his hands and slowly it swirled around the town and keeps swirling around faster and faster. Invisible to almost everyone those with the mark on them they would be able to see it faintly.

Cyth'raul, Golden Settlement - 12/15 AP

In front of the Cyth'raul lay the deity's tool of vengeance. So, they were having problems with the maggots? Well that would get a whole lot worse. Though it had to be something suitable. With a stroke of the chin, the whispers within the Pactforger's mind ushered in idea.

"Rotten! Rotten! Rotten!" They screamed.

It was an apt word to describe the Pactbreakers, however, more came to mind: corrupt, dishonest, traitors... Cyth'raul only felt disgust for them. With a flick of the wrist, the deity's mark appeared on the giant maggot.

"Cause havoc." Cyth'raul said to it, and to the mortals the deity thundered, "War. Death. Destruction. Do mortals only drift towards those dark things? If that is so, then so be it. I will give you what you desire then."

Cyth'raul's voice then quietened, "There always is a price."

Golden Settlement

Jugaan heard what sounded like a threat from Cyth'raul echo through her mind. What had this "god" done? Did it intend to enforce the pact that was void in the chieftain's eyes? Regardless, Jugaan did not like malicious tone the being was taking. "Cyth'raul..." Jugaan spoke to the darkness. "...what is the meaning of this?!"

There was one short whisper, "A Pactbreaker's reward."

"Pactbreaker?!" Cyth'raul's response confirmed Jugaan's suspicions and weakened her temper. "That is a word that can either apply to both of us or neither of us, but don't you dare label me as one and leave yourself clean! Our 'pact' was worship in exchange for guidance. My Tribe received no guidance, I have heard the settlers' words myself! These mountains were claimed by their own heart and perseverance, not your intervention! Our pact is void, Cyth'raul, your retribution is as unwarranted as my Tribe's worship."

"You asked for assistance and received it.Whether it worked is irreverent." The deity calmly replied and began to mutter, "I wonder if you are worthy of my mercy..."

"Assistance implies help, but my Luug were hindered by your words. If I cannot even verify your part of the bargain was upheld, how can you expect-" A rumbling cry from beneath Jugaan's very feet called her out of her den and into one of the larger chambers of the settlement. Below her a battle raged, with Wos leading his fellow Luug in a defense against a horde of maggots, being led by one of massive size.

"Mercy indeed." Jugaan thought to herself as she clawed away at a few maggots that had scaled the cave way to get at her. Seeing that the battle would consume the colony if she did not act fast, Jugaan thought of an interesting idea and beat a hasty retreat. "Cyth'raul..." Jugaan began to speak to the god once more, her tone more relaxed, but obviously still aggravated. "...I believed we have reached an impasse over the fruitfulness of our original pact. However, perhaps our relation can be mended on the basis of a new pact. If you are willing to listen, I can bring more than just my Tribe into the fold."

"You assume I would break my word, you wound me." Cyth'raul sighed, "Very well, as long as this new Pact does not turn out like the last one."

"You have my attention, what is it?" The Pactforger then added.

"This creature you bring against my Tribe, it has potential for more than just your revenge upon me. If you turn it's control over to me, not only will I bring the Gold Tribe to your feet, but also two other Tribes, whose number of worshipers would double my own Tribe's." Jugaan thought for a moment and then bowed to the darkness. "In fact, I will make an act of good faith to help repair our relationship."

With that, Jugaan left her den once more and moved back to the open chamber of the colony, where the Chieftain called out to all who could hear. "Listen, my Golden Tribe! This effort is not lost! Pray! Pray to Cyth'raul for aid! Pray for this plight to be brought to an end!"

Some of the Luug in the midst of battle gave a stomp of confusion, but were suddenly silenced by the loyal Wos, who rumbled a poetic (for Luug standards), quaking prayer to the Pactforger. "Oh mighty Cyth'raul, being beyond comprehension, honor my words and bring upon us salvation!" The Luug around him soon copied his prayer, an old saying that was originally a prayer to Therax, but suddenly retooled for new worship.

Cyth'raul smiled, "It shall be done."

Just then, the terms of the Pact were engraved on the deity's mind.

After that, The Whisper in the Dark stroked the pale creature once more, feeding the images of Jugaan and the Gold Tribe into its mind.

"Friend." The deity whispered, "Leader. Obey. Same as Creator."

Jugaan returned to the chamber to see that the giant maggot had apparently been soothed, and even "looked" up at Jugaan herself. Jugaan smiled, returning the gaze into the beast's vestigial eyes. "Aid the Luug!" The beast quickly turned upon its smaller-sized brethren and crushed many of them under its wieght. With it's help, Wos and the other warriors were quickly able to subdue the horde. Upon seeing this, the other Luug, either fighting elsewhere or fortifying the colony, emerged and began to pray to Cyth'raul as well. Jugaan nodded in approval, giving a final whisper to the Tribe's new god. "When the tunnels are clear, I will head back to the capital and fulfill the rest of our deal. Let us all prosper."



Highcrag

Meanwhile, events in Highcrag had been much less noteworthy. Budraal, in the face of rumors circulating about their trading partner and a nasty raid, had ordered a revision of Highcrag's structure, and for any faults in the mountain's defenses be patched over and then strengthened.

The Moss Tribe also toiled away in their caves, trying to replicate the previous success of a better moss cultivation. In order to make room for their research, the Tribe harvested some crop early, storing it away for later use.

Qartoq, Raptor States → Ray Das → Manor

She might have noticed that more of the Krakaris died in a shorter span of time than usual, if she'd been paying attention. There were mortals dying every day though. Qartoq certainly noticed it now that they were praying for her to get revenge on their attackers.

Death wondered if they knew what they were asking for. It was possible, and she thought of a number of ways of doing it in the time it took for her to decide on a course of action. Once begun she feared it would continue, snowball, and get out of hand, so it was best to be careful and hidden in any action she chose to pursue.

"I'll try my best." Qartoq whispered in response to one of those praying to her, Cawles, as she had been the first among them to lead. "Although, while concealed and striking from the shadows. No need to risk it escalating just yet."

After she'd said that she shrunk in size, seeing the houses and walls around her grow tall. It was different, when she was used to being taller than most. She stopped shrinking when she was the size of a small mouse, and made her invisibility stronger. She took no new avatar, for she would be nothing more than a mind, a whisper on the wind. Now she'd only need to jump in time and space again.

She found the attacker's origins, or at least the country of those the Krakaris wanted her to bring death too. Qartoq thought of what to do, but made no sound or movement, thinking it into reality. The firey coloured beetles should be crawling out of the woodworks, carrying a plague to wipe out the mortals living here if she was successful. Qartoq didn't stick around to find out, instead she warped back to her manor. She'd never left it as far as anyone should be concerned. She assumed her normal avatar once inside, and laid down on a bed to enjoy a bit of wine and food.

Gangari, Sammah Ajivha-Tahna - 13/15 AP

It was an interesting experience to speak to another god for Gangari, though as to where the others were coming from was beyond him.

Indraj had taken to his gifts rapidly thankfully and was soon admitted back to Ajivhan society in time for their Festival of Silence. A festival of silence was something new to Gangari, though he was quite familiar with silence and reflection himself after a decade of it, a nation dedicating itself for over a month to it was new to him though.

Connecting himself mentally to the activities of humans and participating was something he felt he need to do to stay sane. He found that with slight adjustments to his form he was seen as a simple beggar, the kind of person that was casually ignored by society and took to this disguise frequently when he wasn't involved in anything. Wandering amongst the crowds and watching others as they lived. Looking and acting like one of them made it easier to learn about them and therefore help them.

But after wandering the city it eventually became time to begin his first grand work on Ajivhan society.

After a few minutes of thinking how he would want it to appear he walked to the place he chose and buried a silver acorn there, willing it to grow fast and strong from the sands of the desert and the rock of Ekaki.

Lysei, Somewhere at the Bottom of the Ocean, 13 AP

Lysei was sitting at the bottom of the world's great oceans. The occasional fish would swim by, only to quickly dart away feeling the massive increase in temperature. Lysei had isolated himself from the mortals, more than a little angry with how the Ray Das had continued to attack despite losing their leaders. This was not how he expected it. Yet, those who had committed the crimes had already been punished. There simply wasn't a way to go about this without simply killing an entire nation, which would be far too extreme.

The god of flames however, was not alone. Someone had been watching him for a time, another god most likely. Though who it was, was far beyond him. Feeling a bit calmer, and needing something to do other than rage at the Ray Das and Jikashi, Lysei rose up to the surface of the water and said calmly. "You may come out now."

Gangari strode out across the water to the flame deity, this being the first other deity he had decided to reveal himself to.

"My name is Gangari. I watched what you did to those barbarians in the face of their new god and I felt it would be best if we spoke face to face." He paused "I knew of the Ray-das when they were young. They don't have much of a capacity for reason and their creator made them think they're acting correctly." He paused "If you try to cut their metaphorical head off they'll grow more. If you wipe them out they'll pop up somewhere else. If you do nothing they'll get worse." He paused again "The best way of stopping them is to contain them."

Lysei examined the other god. His appearance reminded him of...but that was impossible. He had never met this deity before. As such Lysei quickly calmed himself further and said "Good to meet you Gangari, I am Lysei, which you may or may not already know." Lysei looked outward towards the Ray Das continent and said softly. "Being vague won't help the either of us, what do you mean when you say containment? Simply forcing them into one singular spot of land? That could lead to them being invaded by others due to weakness. I am not ready to condemn them fully due to one attack. Please do elaborate on your containment idea." The god of vengeance was a bit on edge after meeting Jikashi, though if Gangari already dislikes the water god, perhaps he wouldn't be as callous towards strife.

Gangari took a moment to think "You're right in that it would be wrong to limit them to a single city, They'd fight that anyway. But they don't have to have their cities here." He paused "Their Jashiki has already shown his capacity for creating land." He pointed to the east "If their attempts at settling and raiding and invading this continent are met only with misfortune they may give up on it and beg their god for their own lands. Distance may discourage them and their aggressive nature will cause them to turn on themselves in the end."

Lysei looked up at the skies. They were fantastically serene, almost immune to what was happening below, blissfully unaware Funny how much he despised the sky for something it had no control of. "As much as I hate to admit it, my time is limited, I don't want to waste a massive amount of my moments and power on the Ray Das. Not when there is so much already to improve on this world. If war does break out, and it may, I think we should attempt to enforce some rules of engagement, a few laws that would limit the civilian death and stem the bloodshed to a reasonable amount. Perhaps we should hold a meeting of the gods soon." Lysei did not feel much kinship with the others, but it would likely be wise to meet them.

Gangari took a moment to observe the creature infront of him before speaking "That is fair, I was merely suggesting a possible solution to them. As to your suggestion of setting rules for war, though I have little experience with the other gods, I agree. Dampening the chaos of war would be in the best interest of the future. If you secure the cooperation of the other deities for this meeting I shall appear." He paused and looked at a school of fish gathering underneath him "Interesting." He looked at Lysei again and spoke "If you have further dealings with the Ray-Das and their god you will have my support as long as you remain sane."

"So be it." Lysei replied with eyes set to the sky. "I may very well do that within the next season or two. Until then, my destination is set." Perhaps he would take a note out of Jikashi's book with his next move. A blade that could pierce the skies themselves, one that would allow for mortals to seek out their justice, instead of having a god do it for them. Perhaps he could make those who live in the clouds above everyone else realize how those down there lived. Lysei could only try. With that, he disappeared and began to forge his sword.

Lot-Vos, High Tower

Wolf-Keal looked over the reports. In spite of the gods rain upon them, the Ray-Das managed to successfully raid and loot from the winged creatures, in a true show of spirit. His early speech echoed in his head, but he couldn't help but think about the attacks on his people. Wolf-Keal was a warrior first and foremost, leader of the Elites before his hasty promotion. He was enraged at the behind-the-back attacks by the gods, and that despite them pulling back and giving up more resources, this god was blind and stupid and decided to attack. Like all young gods, many had said.

Wolf-Keal began his walk down to the training yards where two new units trained. They were getting ready for war, this time not in favour of loot or gold, but in land. Those winged bastards will pay for crossing the Ray-Das, even if it may be their god's fault. On one hand, a unit of siegers trained, testing new ladder and siege engine techniques. A few were busy learning from the miners about the easiest and best way to make a makeshift tunnel.

On the other stood a fierce unit of Elite, readying and preparing for open combat. They fought side by side, half in their animal form and half in their halfling. Swords and bows clang and twang, providing music to their battle dance. Wolf-Keal was impressed at the sudden vigour of these men and women, something only seen when the old gods lived.

As he strode up the steps back to High Tower, he was brought into a lower room, where a few of his most holy men were working. The ritual was long and expensive, but as Wolf-Keal sat himself into the chair and the chanting began, he knew the gods would not have such an easy time beheading the Ray-Das.

Jashiki

The invisible barrier sprung up exactly as Jashiki had envisioned it, those blessed by his mark or related to one who was would be able to cross through it without causing so much as a ripple in its substance, while others would find it impassable. No doubt the god would be able to see this in action soon enough, after all the summons of a god would be intriguing indeed.

(note: it is a minor action if nation players with benders want to have them go check out the island)
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Cyth'raul

The maggot's skin became tough steel and it raised itself up and slammed down on the ground, the walls of the cave around it shaking from the impact. It let out a mighty roar and soon other maggots rose around it, enraged by its mere presence. The force made its way towards the Golden Tribes, tearing apart the earth as they went. But then, the pactforger appeared once more to it, and spoke.

"Leader. Obey. Same as Creator."

The maggot calmed, though its fury still lay hidden beneath, and the other maggots began to disperse. The maggot queen sat patiently before Jugaan, waiting to see what his command might be. And when he spoke, it obeyed.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Qartoq

After her departure the beetles began to emerge, peacefully chewing on the leaves of the plants around them. Her designs had failed though, for whatever reason the beetles bore no illness, and in fact the only harm they caused was to a few crops, a loss the farmer recouped by discovering that their brightly colored shells could be ground up to use as a pigment.

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Gangari

The Silver-root University grew tall and strong from the earth, over the coming weeks it sprouted into a towering living structure, its halls empty but open and welcoming. It had the potential to be a great place of study and learning if the Ajihvams simply took the effort to stock its shelves with their knowledge, and fill its halls with teachers and students.

(Sammah can implement the university as a technology (giving an edge on researching) at the cost of 2 wealth)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Lysei

The blade was fashioned expertly, its curved slightly wavy blade embodying the flames that had forged it, though the rest of its features seemed simple enough for it to pass as a kitchen knife or the like. It was a dangerous weapon in the right hands, and those hands would likely be ever shifting.

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Sammah Ajihva-Tahna

The scouts that left found nothing but empty waters where they searched, though the scholars and architects back in Grand Ajihva had more success in their endeavors. Working in silence, honoring the festival as they were, they were forced to communicate through designs drawn up and passed around. Oddly enough this prevented them from engaging in some of their usual squabbles or scholarly debates, and directed their focus entirely to the walls, which they soon had a plan to improve.

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Raptor States

The curved blades were soon produced in great numbers, and passed out to the Krakari army, who began to train with them. In the wake of the raids all attentions seemed devoted to war, the army trained, a new citadel was constructed, and even the prayers of the people turned to asking for their goddess to act, or in an increasing number of cases vilifying the Ray-Das god as a monster or demon.

Jashiki could feel the distorted stories of him the Krakari passed among themselves, it intermingled with the prayers he received and distorted them, and his power waned as a result.

(results of secret action are below in the Ray-Das section)

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Aurora

Lysei's teachings began to spread like wildfire through the nation, while many still had their doubts the endorsement of the emperor did a great deal to encourage the spread of what had formerly been a cult at best. Temples throughout the nation added prayers to the god of fire to their scriptures, and in some a small fire was kept burning on the altars continuously in an expression of reverence.

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Deep Tribes

The maggot queen's aid was not the only success the Deep tribes saw, the moss tribes efforts continued to be rewarded and they began to squirrel away excess food as well. The reinforcements to their lands also went along quite well. In truth though most of the Luug would find the Maggot Queen far more interesting news though, after all if a god could grant them such a beast what else might he be able to give them?

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Ray-Das

The training went well, the Ray-Das were made eager and proud by their success and put their efforts towards preparing for further victories. The loss of Ber-Sam and the other leaders was felt, though and the ritual began in earnest to protect another of their leaders from suffering the same fate.

It was an ancient thing, from the time of the old gods, some said that it was the work of a rebellious servant of theirs, others that it was simply the earth itself willing a protection upon the mortals. Whatever the case the ritual concluded and what wealth had not been paid out to the priests performing it had seemingly vanished. In its place sat a small grey stone, warm to the touch, an object now bonded to Wolf-Keal that would hide him from the sight of the gods, unless he wished for them to see him.

Not all threats to the Ray-Das were divine though, days passed and one of the cooks approached Wolf-keal, he had spotted a Krakari sneaking among the kitchens and decided to give the food intended for him to a dog to see if it had been tampered with. The dog had quickly grown ill and perished, it seemed that an attempt had been made on Wolf-keal's life, and while it had thankfully been averted the assassin in their midst had not been caught.

(since the action was successfully opposed the Ray-Das are now aware of the Krakari agent, though they haven't caught them)

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