Zareth 21 , 2
What was she thinking? What had she done? He hadn't sensed his brother's hands in this, there was none of the feelings of combat. This was nothing like what he had felt when Seith fell. But there was no mistaking it... she was gone. In a wave of, no it wasn't sadness, it was more like she was resigned to it. A sickening realisation came to him.
"Oh Eld... why did you do it? Why didn't you come talk to me, to anyone?"
What followed was like nothing he had ever seen. Hatred washed over him, over all of creation. Even his beloved Evermoor wasn't safe from it. No. He wouldn't let the final act she was remembered for be this. Things were tragic enough already.
Ailish searched and searched for the surviving Horror in the celestial rubble. But the goddess found nothing, no body, no parts, no blood or ichor on the floors or walls, it was as if he battle had ended and all signs of death had been erased. Then she found something; Horror's naked body. She scrambled to Horror, shaking her in some hope she was still alive. "Wake up, Oiudls'llu! Please... wake up...
Tears flew freely from the goddess fearing the worst, before the grief turned to fury. The observatory turned purple with the amethyst tides that came from the goddess. A hand reached for an old weapon, one she only saved for enemies; and whoever did it they had made one of her.
Greetings fellow gods. You might not know me, but my name is Melanthios. Eldarwen just attacked me, without any kind of reason. I beg you not to aid this woman. And any help against this mad woman, would be appreciated and rewarded.
What? Eyes raised at this message. It went without saying that Ailish would help her, but why would she attack him?
Looks like the rabid beast has finally shown its claws. She will not rest until all is under her rule. I suggest for the good of the realm that you put this one down quickly.
Eldarwen, what have you done? Why are they wanting your death?? I will help you no matter what, but please explain this madness. After waiting for an answer she turned to Sonitunes for clarity.
Dear Sonitunes, are you aware that this Melethanios is bearing your queen ill will? I want to help you both, but this news is foreign to me. Do you know what is happening? Still no response? What about Auctor?
Auctor, I must ask you if anything has changing. I've heard of one god seeking punishment for your mother. Do you know what is happening? I want to help, but I must know. Still no response from her either...
Brothers and sisters, we have only recently lost one of own, a very small number to begin with, though some of you may think it too large. Such panic and hatred as there is now can only lead to mistakes, regrets, things that cannot be undone. I've learned this the hard way. If you call for war, so be it, but should we not first meet in peace, and see if there is not another way?
It was like everyone had something to say, and the fury in her eyes turned to sheer stress; not a positive emotion at all, but a subtle improvement than rage.
Aen... what in the Ideal Gods' names is going on here?? Why is everyone wearing their scorn on Eldarwen? Why can I not speak with Eldarwen or her kin? She had hoped Aen would answer her; she had desperately hoped the seeking god did not see her as a stranger as well.
They are trying to turn you against me, despite that I have not moved since I created another demigod. Soon they will be trying to turn you against each other and come after you one by one, until there are no more left than Vantric, Melanthios and M'endar. These are the enemy. If my words does not convince you, I trust that they will prove it in the future through their actions.
I do not wish harm upon any of you. I have not called for war. Nor will I. I have called for your attention, as I make my final words.... Ailish, if you believe you were reborn and will be reborn again as I believe that I will be, then I will be waiting for you on the other side.
She had felt relieved that the green goddess had finally spoken, but that catharsis was tempered with a new fear. Why would she say these things? Unless-
"No..." The fury returned to her. It had to be this Melethanios who killed her, him and whoever else had spoken these rumors. She could feel a change as fear and anxiety were settling. A mire was being made, and the goddess would have none of it; whispers of truth, hope, and righteousness would travel in the winds, urging all who heard to look to themselves for their resolve. There would be disquiet, fighting, maybe the tarnishing of souls, but that was all part of having these feelings; it was all part of joy and sorrow.
Her attention focused on the two other gods. Purgatory had claimed them both; they needed to be free. She would leave for the heavens to find something that would make them see.... Or at least that was the plan until a new figure appeared, one wielding Sonitunes' sword and armor that mimicked her disfigured appearance. to Ailish's confusion the warrior bowed down to her, and spoke of herself and her mother.
First came questions. "What happened to Oiudls'llu? There used to be another here." She asked. The answer that came was that of another demigod's creation. "You mean she was resurrected?" the demigod nodded.
At first she had very little to say. Fury boiled with sheer confusion and surprise. Her hand began to act on its own and lightly cupped the demigod's chin, urging her to rise. "I would be happy to have you." The words just came out, and Ailish had no idea what else could be said. She wanted company in this time of grief, but not like this; not like a tool to be used and disposed. Horror was... different - as she would survive the fusion and live on as Reolis, but Ailish did not want power. "When all this ends I have something to show you."
The goddess wanted to believe that a smile or look of relief came on the demigod's face, but her face looked very placid and distant. Did she know of the fighting as well?
Vantric: 20, 1
Evermoor was surprisingly quiet. He expected it to be quiet, obviously, it was a realm of death, but there was something more here, something deeper. It wasn't just quiet, it was silent. There was not a sound anywhere. Strange. He thought.
Isond should have been nearby, but Vantric couldn't see him. The trees were thick, but he thought it might just have let up enough for him to find his apprentice. "And I give him the simplest tasks." He muttered. All he had to do was be polite to Zareth and his demigods until he showed up. It didn't take long to find Zareth and his wayward apprentice. "I see you're getting along well." Vantric threw his arm around Isond. "It's been quite some time, Zareth. I see you've met my apprentice Isond."
He smiled. "We have some business to discuss you and I." He was about to get further into his pitch when he felt something. A powerful something. Someone was channeling an obscene amount of power, and he had a hint as to whom and for what purpose. "That can wait for a moment." Vantric said, summoning his own power. He took out the Luck of the Gods and flipped the coin, hoping for a favorable outcome.
Roe - 20, 1 and Valerie 8
Valerie stood causally in a corridor deep in Oculus Obscuritatis, listening with an amused smile to the sound of children's voices arguing behind a door.
"you can't fight..."
"I don't want to..."
"...she's dangerous, I've got to!"
Finally Roe exited the room with a determined look on his face, carrying his diamond sword in one hand and wearing the whistle he had given Petal around his neck.
"Are you ready to leave?" Valerie asked him, unconsciously checking her own magical powers were flowing as usual.
"Yeah!" he replied eagerly and then the pair departed down the corridor, ready to face whatever would meet them at their journey's end.
Nivix - 16, 0
Bah. There was no need to trouble Ven, not with a task like this. Nivix changed his mind in the midst of his teleporation, as well as his destination. Instead of phasing back into reality deep beneath the earth, the god materialized above ground, somewhere in the middle of the Maroe Archipelago. He had always liked this part of the world, with its many islands and cultures only separated by a thin expanse of water. Beauty may not have been something he valued often, but the scenery here was... what was the word he was looking for? Peaceful? Relaxing? Inspiring?
...It was nice. That was a word simple and vague enough to work, even if it didn't capture the entirety of his feelings. Passable, if not ideal.
With a contented sigh, the god alighted on one of the many beaches that dotted the archipelago. Rocky and desolate, it wasn't exactly the prettiest spot around; the ground was harsh and jagged, the winds freezing and choked with salt, and the water was cold enough to chill a man to his bones. However, Nivix wasn't exactly looking for a vacation spot, now was he? Someplace this isolated would suit his needs perfectly.
With the barest hint of effort, the chemister summoned a stone slab of suitable size and toughness from underground. It was a simple matter to detect the metal within the rock, refine it, and infuse it with a few other elements. In no time at all, Nivix stood before a misshapen anvil, a ugly lump of steel strong enough to withstand titanic amounts of force.
But before he could continue, however, the god felt something tickling at the back of his consciousness.
"What are you talking about, Aen? I have not left my planet. I have not struck against anyone. If you take a look at them, do they even appear harmed? Have they lost anything? No, they have not. They are liars and decievers. Cowards that conspires in the shadows. You are all better than them.
"I will take my punishment for what I helped do against Seith, for I do believe he was as good as most of you. If a bit wrong in his head and his decisions towards the end. Perhaps he should only have spied on the true evil that waits and plans to strike against you, but when would he then have known when they came for one of you? However, the others who attacked him will never willingly take the punishment for doing the same. I will take the blame and the punishment for opening the portal in the garden as well, because I also have memories of a different universe that I come from. You can ask the ghosts of my past that lingers in Evermoor, if you want to know about it. Ailish was not the one who suggested it to begin with. It was I, even if she performed the action, but even then I aided her in doing so.
"They are trying to turn you against me, despite that I have not moved since I created another demigod. Soon they will be trying to turn you against each other and come after you one by one, until there are no more left than Vantric, Melanthios and M'endar. These are the enemy. If my words does not convince you, I trust that they will prove it in the future through their actions.
Nivix was unable to resist a derisive snort. So now Eldar sought to defend herself, to act as if she were a paragon standing tall among a group of evil-doers and villains? Just who did she think she was talking to? Infants? Fools? Tch, if she thought that a few fancy words were enough to erase the insults she had dealt to him, then she was sorely mistaken.
He could feel her action, her attempt to alter all of creation at once. His lips curled into a smirk, and he prepared to counteract her power with all of his own... But why should he? It wasn't as though she was lashing out at him, and it was true that Van, Mel, and M'end had been the ones behind sealing Seith away. Maybe some opposition would be good for the trio. Eldarwen would be unable to affect him, anyway; he would retain his sanity even if she stole everyone else's.
His course of inaction decided, Nivix turned back to the task at hand: Forging a new tool.
With a delighted grin spreading across his face, the god slammed the ingot, an entire world's worth of steel and flame, onto his anvil. The smile only stretched wider as he saw that his work had indeed succeeded; the earth beneath the anvil sunk a bit, but the chunk of metal itself remained strong. Yes, yes, this would work.
Raising his hand high, the chemister summoned a hammer from his laboratory, tightening his fingers around the tool as soon as it formed. Shaping metal like this was something he had done countless times before, but this was the first time he had ever attempted to use this much metal. If he was going to do this, then he should do this right, approaching the task with the proper amount of care and caution.
...On second thought, nah, that'd be too much trouble.
With a gleeful roar, Nivix brought his hammer down, slamming it into the metal with a thunderous peal.
The resulting explosion of superheated air and concussive force encompassed most of the Maroe Archipelago.
M'endaxius - 0/30 AP, 2/2 MP
Sounds echoed through Umbraculum - voices, footsteps and the sound of a sword being drawn. It seemed that they had abandoned the Hallowed Court for a more mundane meeting place. M'endar sighed, it would never get any rest with people here and nor with a time like this. With the imprisonment of Seith done with, it was content. However, other weren't. Eldarwen had chosen to show her discontent by forcing a wave of hatred over the world. But its brothers saw the folly of spreading irrational hate and had stood up against it. Their energies had dammed the tide. But... What was this alien influence? One god had chosen to bolster the hatred. With a few seconds of scrutinising the source was uncovered - it was Ailish.
Ailish... The deranged god that had open the portal to unbridled chaos, to the wreckage of a ruined world. Melanthios only saw her as a witch that needed to be burnt, Vantric probably saw her as an obstacle to be removed. Zareth probably just endured her quirks, as long as she didn't break anything. Roe was probably doing want a child with a sword would do - playing around with it. Nevertheless, whatever the case, the Whispering Wyrm would stay in the depths of the underground caverns. There was nothing it could do. M'endar could only now spent a moment thinking on the matter of Eldarwen's exit from this world. She had finally crawled out of her garden only to find the isolationist approach had failed her.
It concluded the thoughts on one final statement, 'Farewell, Lady-of-Leaves. Know now that your garden will receive the uttermost care.' As the words formed in its mind, a hand formed into a fist. Then, motions were made the thumb and forefinger as M'endar remembered its first counter with the plants she was so keen on, and of Eldarwen herself. It wondered if anyone was so foolhardy to take Ailish's side in the upcoming battle. One name immediately lit up on its mind. But it would wait until the pieces made their appearance. A quick order was sent to its agent, 'Eld. Recon. Go.' Hopefully the Lady would be so kind to oblige, as she knew how important reconnaissance was, from her mortal life. Yes; she would make a fine agent, and would be watching from the shadows...
Zs'Wua'Itzala - 5/8 AP
She had received too things that day, refuse of her wish and gruff orders. It was safe to say that the Lady of Shadows was not in a good mood. She had just been reminded of what weak she was compared to the full-blown gods. But there still were perks. With a thought she teleported to Eld and began to sulk in the shadows. Different gods were gathered there, and from the sound of it, battle lines were being drawn. What was the point in interfering just yet? She just had been sent to see what was happening for one, and she didn't even know the who, what or why.
Zareth 21 , 2
He only came to make sure Roe didn't get himself killed. One of the wraiths from the portal had knocked him around like a play thing, there was no saying what a being with Ailish's power might do to him. It was enough to let them work it out between themselves... whatever the damn problem was. Seemed it had become the general practice to cry war whenever someone even looked at you the wrong way.
Then as usual Ailish got into a shoutig match about something with someone. She said something cryptic and he half listened. For someone who preferred to have no mouth she certainly talked a lot. Carnivox seemed to be enjoying the confrontation at least. Good, he needed something to get excited about, the poor wolf had been stuck in a rut these past few years.
Then his brother turned up with his boys and the shouting match intensified. It was like a pair of brick walls screaming at each other. Why did they bother, why didn't they just get it over with leave each other alone? The, naturally, they all piled on. Why couldn't anyone just have a good old fashioned duel? At least there was an element of fairness in that. He had no interest in this. What could would his getting involved do? What good had it ever done? But what would happen if he just stood idle? Damned if I do, damned if I don't.
Then he heard the howl. Deep at the heart of it all was Carnivox, he'd lashed out at the rambling goddess. Instinct took over and it was as if Zareth's heart did beat for the first time in days. "Car, no!"
He dove drew Midnight from its sheath and dove into the fray. This world was taking all it could, let it try but it couldn't take his son.
Pentar 26AP 1MP
Pentar stood in the meeting hall in the Hallowed Court admiring his hammer. This weapon would be his grand tool, the judges gavel to bring order to the universe. So engrossed in Gawmfust was he that he only half heard Eldarwen's message. But he clearly felt her action. How interesting. Pentar thought. So the nature goddess was against the trio after all. Pentar briefly wondered what had caused her to change her mind, but he decided that it could wait for later. He tried sending her a telepathic message of thanks, but found that he could not. "Odd." he said out loud. "Perhaps she has some kind of shield? No matter." Pentar reached out to her released energies and added his own power to it. "Message or no, that band of bastards will feel our wrath."
Aen 18/30, 2/2
Eldarwen was... dead... Aen couldn't help but look up and laugh bitterly. "There is no such thing as good and evil... things are only what you make them into..." He couldn't help but shed a few tears over the nature goddess. She may have been cruel, rude, and cold, but she still shouldn't have done this. "I promised to try and keep you in this world... guess I failed that one." There was no more reason to be here. She wasn't coming. She'd never come now. And from the sound of it... Melanthios had over-reacted. But now... she was trying to bring them down with some massive act of inspiration. Aen didn't care for it, yet it was none of his business. If it was meant to happen, it would happen. He doubted it would either way, but he at least would not get in the way of her final action. He'd now have to go to Eld soon, to grab something of hers for his ever growing collection. Speaking of it, though...
The battlegrounds was the same as ever. Still empty... only... now his new guardian stood as still and silent as everything else. She didn't really bring things to life, though he supposed that was to be expected. Aen dismounted Grix and walked over to her. "Finally awake, eh? Good to see the armor fits well enough. Sorry about the shabby conditions but I was working under short notice. Welcome to your new existence."
"..." She made no reply, and without facial clues or body language, it was proving difficult to gauge her reactions. Still, she hadn't struck him, melted down, or tried to feel, so he supposed that was some small victory.
"This will be your new home for now. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me or Grix. Grix, being the big lug over here." He patted the dragon on the nose playfully as he said this, then turned back to his new ally. "I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Aen, and if it pleases you, you'll be working with me." Aen waited expectantly for an answer, but the armor made no move to reply. In fact, he was beginning to wonder if she was sleeping. With a shrug, he turned on his heel and walked over to place of honor he'd left Olek's sword. It was a weapon, and it was time he began using it as one, not simply a memorial. He plucked it up from where it lay, bare as the day he'd taken it, and took it to the Hall of Entertainment.
It had been a long time since he'd last entered this place, and the cheery atmosphere was barely enough to brighten his spirit. This is where he'd met Eldarwen, and though they'd all fought, it was the closest he'd ever come to hanging out with a group of friends. He pushed away his emotions for now; he could deal with them later. Standing before the brazier housing Tsuranote's final fire, he plunged the blade into it. Aen watched as the fire heated the blade, then poured his power into it, a set of runes filling his mind to shape it to his will. When the sword was finally to the shape he wanted, he retrieved it from the flames and laid it out. Conjuring a small dagger, he cut a new rune into his right hand and pressed it over the hot metal. Within moments, it was done. As it cooled, Aen felt a weight he hadn't known hew as carrying lift off of him. He finally felt as if he'd put the ghost of Olek to rest.
Suddenly, before he could wait for the weapon to be ready, Aen felt a disturbance in the shield he'd created on Eld. At first it was only Roe and someone he didn't know. That was nothing to worry about, perhaps the child had gone to pay his respects. Before long, however, more came pouring in, one after the other. Zareth, Melanthios, Carnivox, and more he didn't recognize. Definitely not well-wishers, if Melanthios was among them. Leaving his new weapon behind, Aen called to Grix across their link, asking something of him before meeting him on Eld. Then, with a flash, he was gone.
As soon as Aen left, the armor came to life. Without any kind of warning, it began to move, as if practicing. The dragon watched in bemusement for a time. It swayed when it walked and bumped into things here and there, but slowly and surely it grew into it's new body. Aen was to busy to take notice, and he made no attempt to alert him. There was no need, and this new partner would grow accustomed to him in time.
Grix was about to nap when Aen's frantic message awoke him. It wasn't over with the death of the nature goddess, apparently. He wanted to rush to Aen's side at once, but he had orders, something that might prove useful soon. However, when he lumbered over to the arena, the armor stood in his way. It seemed it wanted practice with it's new powers, too. So be it, he was no better off than it was. With a short message of what it needed, the dragon was gone, bounding into the air after his partner.
Cold. The metal was cold. It was a nice distraction from the burning inside of her, though. So much pain, remembering. Better to focus on the cold. Or better yet, on the task at hand. She did not know why she didn't trust the one who'd saved her, but she didn't, and that feeling was all she had to go on. So she did. Still, she would serve him, as she must. Whatever reason for her feelings, he was trying to help. She would do the same. She let her new powers flow from the armor and envelop the arena. The mists grew thicker and thicker, until she couldn't see into it. Then she hardened it into a shell. Inside, no soul would ever come to harm.
Roe - 20, 1
Roe dived around Venator, swiping at the powerful demigod with his short sword. Flight and Valerie helped distract her whilst he found new openings in which to strike.
"Long live the Alliance!" Roe shouted with gusto as he dodged a blow from the angry demigod.
Suddenly he felt a wave of heat, coming somewhere from the sky in the direction of Evalon. In his mind's eye he saw a great fire spreading out across the Rowan's small archipelago; man, woman and child turned from flesh to dust in an instant. He silently cursed Nivix but now wasn't the time, instead he focused his energy on containing the blast so the devastation was restricted to just the small island it had started on.
The Storyteller continued to recount the tale in his melancholy tone whilst he refilled his pipe, the children as attentive as ever.
"Yet again it seemed that the gods were on the brink of war, first I will speak of what else happened in that epoch. With a final act of sacrifice, Eldarwen attempted to inspire everything in the universe, from mortal to planet to stone, to stand against Vantric, Melanthios and M'endar. The Alliance's timely hinders were powerful to overcome even this final action and render it no more a puff of smoke upon Eld.
Vantric created a new demigod Aryx the Fallen from a mortal Grigori to add to the numerous and ever-growing number of their kind. The new demigod Ren finished Aen's arena in the Battlegrounds of the Hallowed Halls. Aen successfully made a magic item in prepartion for a possible battle, however Nivix was less lucky, whose attempt to sacrifice the Maroe Archipelago in order to create an item of great power ended in failure, however it left him with an item will slightly less power than he intended."
Nivix - 16, 0
"Well," Nivix managed to cough as he weakly struggled to his feet, "that didn't really go too well."
Through eyes swollen half shut from ash and pain, the god stared bleakly at his surroundings. The ground had been scorched pitch black and torn asunder, the boiling sea was choked with debris and dust, and the wind felt hot as an oven. Any animal or plant life that had been in the immediate area hadn't stood a chance, the flames that filled the air reducing them to ash in an instant. Even the sky seemed to have taken damage, as dark and ugly clouds began to fill it.
But the distressing change in scenery was the least of the madman's worries.
"Heh," he chuckled grimly, clutching at the bloody stump where his left arm used to be. "Was probably gonna happen sooner or later."
Self-harm was unavoidable sometimes; Nivix knew that better than most. He'd had to endure damage before, both intentionally and unintentionally, but he'd always managed to walk (or crawl, once) it off in a matter of hours. It didn't look like this particular injury was going to be that easy to overcome, however.
Besides a small stub of bone and muscle jutting roughly from his shoulder, his arm was simply gone, eradicated in the same burst of fire that had ravaged the landscape. A stream of golden ichor poured from exposed arteries and veins, his remaining hand doing little to quell its flow, dropping to the blackened ground where it evaporated with a harsh hiss. Yep, looked like he had made it acidic after all.
"Hahaha... Yep, that was a mistake."
His nearly ever-present grin fading away, Nivix looked up at the darkening sky overhead, ruefully ruminating on his situation. He had felt Roe's influence, there at the very end, and knew that the child had contained the devastation to this one island. If it hadn't been for him, odds are the forging would have destroyed the entire area. "Damn," he muttered mournfully, as a thunderclap slowly rolled through the clouds above him, "that did not go as planned."
Unmindful of the blood that stained his hand or that flowed from his wound, the chemister covered his eyes in an attempt to gather his thoughts. An explosion that powerful, and taking Roe's power into consideration... This entire thing had been a failure. He was dazed and wounded, had almost slaughtered countless mortals, and, most importantly, had lost his hard earned material. The odds of the ingot having survived all of that were astronomical, if not downright impossible.
The oncoming storm stirred Nivix from his reverie, peppering the god with a depressing drizzle. Another mournful chuckle escaping his lips, the madman clutched at his stump in another attempt to staunch his blood loss; he didn't want to know what losing more ichor would do to him in this state.
Slowly but surely, he began to trudge away, barely paying attention to his surroundings.
It was little wonder that he caught his foot and tripped.
With a muffled curse, Nivix flopped to the ground in a most undignified manner. Forcing himself back to his feet, he turned to offer his wrath to the log or rock or whatever it was that had tripped him up; he would see to it that the offending chunk of debris was reduced to little more than a loose... cloud of... atoms...
He found himself staring, shocked, at his half-finished project. Misshapen and lumpy, the chunk of metal had thinned and elongated, still glowed a dark scarlet, and was miraculously whole. He could still shape and define it, as well as finish infusing it with his power. This wasn't done yet, not by a long shot.
...And now that he thought about it, Nivix knew exactly what it was he needed to build.
"Okay, okay... On the count of three."
It hadn't taken Nivix long to refine the crude shape into something that perfectly suited his needs: An artificial limb, a replacement for his missing arm, complete with a few hidden tricks and features. It was the perfect length for someone of his height and stature, and its various digits and joints were linked together in way that almost completely mimicked true flesh and blood. It was as close to ideal as he could get it, that much was for sure.
Biting his lip, the god ripped off the makeshift bandage that he had slung around his stump, discarding the bloodstained cloth without a second thought. At the same time, he focused some of his power onto the end of the arm, the point that would bind it to his body. The joint began to glow a light red, almost white, and the smell of smoke and burning air filled Nivix's nostrils.
Grasping the arm's elbow with his remaining hand, the chemister awkwardly lifted the limb into the air, attempting to properly position it for this next step. He really, really didn't want to mess this up; he doubted he'd have the stamina to try this twice.
As steadily as he could, Nivix brought the heated end of the arm up to his shoulder, getting it as close as he could manage.
He pressed the limb up to his body. The smell of burning flesh and Nivix's pained roars filled the air, but there was no missing the deranged, delighted grin that was plastered across the god's face. This was going to be fun.
Vantric: 20, 1
The coin fell back into his hand with a dull thud, and he immediately flipped it onto the back of his left hand. He didn't look at it. He paused for a moment, breathing deeply before lifting his right hand and seeing what the coin had decided.
On its face was the symbol of an ax buried deep in a weeping willow. Vantric smiled, taking it as a good omen. Eldarwen had failed, and her power wouldn't curse the universe. Excellent. He thought. Then, he turned it over. What outcome did the other side foretell? Out of morbid curiosity he examined the other face of the coin. It was a burning vine spreading over a crystal. Curiouser and curiouser.
"Anyway, as I was saying Zareth..." Vantric looked up to speak to the death god. Unfortunately, Zareth was gone. "Isond, when did Zareth leave?"
The war god shrugged slightly. "A few minutes ago, maybe."
"And you didn't tell me because?"
"I didn't think it was my business." He eased his ax onto his shoulder. "Well, now that he's gone it doesn't seem like there's much reason to stay, right?"
Vantric rolled his eyes. "Clearly you're too incompetent for these tasks. Fine. Leave. There's someone I want you to pick up, anyway." The war god had a puzzled look on his face. "Go to Coelus. If you can't find what I want from that planet then we'll have to have a bit of a chat about your performance, you and I."
Isond glared but said nothing. "Good. Get to it then." Vantric said.
As the war god vanished he turned about, trying to sense where Zareth could have gone. It didn't take long for him to find the trail where his erstwhile companion had gone. In a wave of darkness, Vantric set off after Zareth.
Arriving at the location Zareth had evidently gone to Vantric immediately began speaking. "It's quite rude to leave a guest without saying 'farewell' Zareth." He then paused and surveyed the situation. Ailish and one of Eldarwen's plants were falling back as Roe, Melanthios and Zareth pressed in on them. "Ah, that explains things, somewhat." Melanthios had made his move, and evidently he had brought a lot of power with him. "Well, sorry about this, Ailish." Vantric said, drawing his blades. "Nothing personal."
Melanthios looked at Roe who attacked the demigod shouting "Long live the Alliance!" He smiled brightly, letting Roe join had been a very good choice. Valerie grabbed the orb and flew over to him to help. Melanthios then looked at Allish, he finally got to kill her. "She is mine." He said to his sons, they didn't object though Akladai seemed a bit unhappy. "You two defend Carnivox, do not let him get injured. I am counting on you two."
They both nodded, they knew what to do. Akladai flew over to Carnivox and formed a powerful shield around him. Maeglin also flew over to Carnivox, he gathered all the powers around him and made them move in the same direction making the defense much more effective. Black flames began to gather around Melanthios again, they washed over his body creating a new form. "NOW DIE WITCH!" Melanthios said as he made and magical sword an jumped towards her.
Aen 18/30, 2/2
Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Aen couldn't stop his heart from racing. He couldn't shake the feeling something was wrong, and as he came onto Eld, feeling the sudden influx of power, he knew he was right to think so. It wasn't hard to find the gods he was looking for. They were mostly standing around, when Roe lashed out at one of Eldarwen's demi-gods, the newest one. What the hell was that boy thinking? He sent out a call to Ren, who didn't respond. He would just have to hope she would listen. With the roar of a dragon mixed with the battle cry of a god, Aen and Grix burst into the battle. Leaping from Grix's back, Aen unsheathed his sword and parried at Roe's strikes, only blocking and never countering. "Why, Roe?! What reasons do you have to strike against this one, who has only just joined us?" From the corner of his eye, he saw Ren appear, and holding his new sword by straps. It seemed she did not wish to touch it. It mattered little. He held out his hand and she threw it to him. Brandishing it in his left hand, he adapted quickly to fighting with two weapons, and found blocking to almost be easier for him.
'Grix, cover Ailish for me! And... uhhh... I still need your name, but now isn't the time. I need your help to cover this one.' Grix roared, a mysterious wind springing up around Ailish. The armor, however, did not respond. It only stood on the outskirts and watched.
Cassiel 25, 2
So many voices...something about a goddess named Eldarwen. He tried to silence them but they kept coming back stronger than ever. Everyone was asking for his assistance in killing her, and then more about Seith. The voices were just like the ones he was born with and they were maddening. Just as he was about to attack Eldarwen himself, they silenced. He could feel she was dead. But, with death comes new life. Everywhere on Coelus, little glass roses appeared. They had a strangely fresh smell despite not being technically plants. The barren outsides of the diamond planet weren't so barren anymore.
Then, he looked at the neighboring planet of Salustius, it unhinged itself from the rainbow bridges and turned into a war machine. Something terrible was inbound, Cassiel gripped his sword and expected it to head to Coelus. Instead, it made a move toward another planet.
"They aren't...they are!"
He didn't want to waste time with the planet, others would deal with that, Cassiel had to make a move for the worst case scenario. The life on that little gem had to be preserved. If he can save the Girigori, he can save the others too. The angel soared through space and right on to a forest a few miles away from the battle. He landed with a crash, sending dirt and debris flying everywhere.
"Everyone! We need to go now! There is no ti-"
A dart crashed into his wing, crushing itself and falling to the ground. Soon, dozens of Ekiruru surrounded the angel and charged him. Cassiel didn't want to hurt them, he was there to protect these creatures, but he wouldn't let them harm him. He swung his shield as lightly as possible, but several Ekiruru's faces went clean off, their bodies slumped to the ground. There wasn't any way to stop them without killing.
Cassiel reached for his sword and impaled two Ekiruru on it, lighting them ablaze, hoping to ward the others off. Soon, a mighty voice came echoing through the forest. It had a raspy but determined timbre.
"Stop! No more fighting!" At the sound of what seemed to be the only male voice on the planet, the Ekiruru quickly retreated into the brush. Trees began to shake and the ground rumbled, something was moving. Cassiel prepared his sword and said calmly. "Who are you?"
Suddenly, roots began springing from all directions, one flipped Cassiel over, who caught himself in mid-air. It was the largest tree in the area, mighty and vast. It was as tall as the largest building on Coelus, truly a marvel of nature. The tree opened its eyes, they were a glowing white, similar to the Girigori, and spoke telepathically to Cassiel.
"Why do you bring violence here Girigori?"
"I am no Girigori. I am Cassiel, a god."
"I have been here longer than any other mortal currently alive. I remember each of the gods. You were not among them."
"Seith is dead. I am his son."
"Is that so? He...created my kind all these ages ago. A shame."
"What brings a god here then? Are you trying to destroy us with our queen now dead?"
"There is a great war coming, I am here to evacuate you in case the worst happens. I know you might want to help defend, but if they destroy this place, then what will become of your race? I have a home in mind."
The tree stood still for a moment. It thought and pondered for seemingly hours, though it was really only a minute or two and said. "My job is to protect this forest. Not all of Eld. If what you say is true, then I will come with you. Besides, who am I to say no to the son of my creator?"
The Ent sent a message to all the Ekiruru, they were to be moved to a new planet, safer than their current home. With Eldarwen dead, a new protector could be helpful. He also added that any attacks on the Clankers, Mizzen or Girigori would be met with a strict punishment. He did not want them to be destroyed. Cassiel then teleported them to Coelus.
"Thank you, friend. We will talk soon."
There was...something else happening though. A large spectacle of lights was happening, along with an exchange of power and he could hear the faintest of yells. Cassiel carefully went in to investigate.
As she flipped open the cover to the book, Aryx felt a great power well up from it. The acolytes didn't know what she was doing, but attempted to prevent it anyway, throwing all their power against her. The blasts fizzled away before they even got close to her. Aryx didn't notice, at that same moment a font of dark energy exploded from the book.
Aryx felt the life drain out of her. She couldn't see or hear. She tried to scream but failed at that too. Light seemed distant and fading. In those last moments, certain of her own demise, one thought ran through her head. Betrayal. Her people had betrayed her, her church, everyone who professed that she could place their trust in them. Why did she think a stranger was any more trustworthy?
The last light faded and Aryx was certain that the end had come. There would be no revenge, no rise, no key to unlocking her potential. But something happened. Devoid of light as she was, Aryx did not die, she did not feel her soul slip from the bonds of her mortal form. Rather, the darkness began enveloping her, almost swaddling her in their folds. Within it, she was held, sustained, it should have been frightening. It wasn't.
She felt a new power slowly draw into her. The light had gone out, and now darkness was seeping in. Darkness receded, her senses returned, and Aryx emerged, once more.
Uncertain on her feet after the ordeal, she stumbled, leaning against the wall for support. She was surprised to find black hair falling into her face, she was even more surprised to find that her clothing had changed too. Dark robes had replaced her white church garb. After a moment, she felt well enough to stand and surveyed the scene, recalling that she had been ringed by enemies.
Aryx looked up and found death. It was everywhere. Father Barteus. The acolytes. Dead. All of them. Only she had survived, book still in her hands. Unconsciously, she smiled. She bent down and examined the bodies. It was a strange sort of death, she considered. Some bodies were in perfect condition, seeming as though the life had simply left them. Others bore more grisly marks of death. Skin turning black. Blood rent from the body. Some simply had a face of unbridled shock and terror. So much death. She thought. Aryx had never felt more alive.
"Now that's disturbing." Came a voice from the doorway. "And I've seen a lot." She turned to face whoever it was. A warrior in full armor marched in. He had a helmet under his arm. It was a creature Aryx had never seen before and knew nothing of. It certainly wasn't a human, its skin was far too gray. "I'm going to guess you're the person I'm supposed to pick up?"
Aryx rose up, stretching her wings. She wasn't surprised to see the black feathers as they reached their fullest extent. "Who are you?" She demanded.
"Questions later. Leaving now." Was all the warrior said.
Aryx glared. Disrespect her, would he? She reached out her hand and felt a new power surge through her. The warrior guessed what was going to happen and attempted to run out of the way, but to no avail. Aryx caught him and ran him threw the pews, shattering the diamond benches. She marched up to the warrior. "Who are you, and who sent you?"
The warrior shook his head. "You little-" He began rising. Aryx smashed his head into the floor several times before letting him speak again. "If I answer your questions, will you stop hitting me?"
"Try answering me, then we'll talk."
He sighed. "I'm Isond. I was sent by our creator Vantric, Master of Treachery to retrieve you."
"And he sends such a weak messenger to get me?"
"Weak? I'll-" Isond was gagged by dark magic and slowly choked.
"If this is the help he hires, then it seems I'll need to up the standards." Aryx eased up the choking. "However, I need to pay my gratitude to the one who saved me. Take me to Vantric."
Isond got up, fists clenched. They glared at each other, eye to eye for a moment. Raw anger versus smug arrogance. Isond turned on his heels. "Follow." He ordered, teleporting away in a blast with Aryx close behind him.
"Roe's hasty attempt to carry out Melanthio's request for him and Zareth to fight Venator lead to more than he had expected and soon five gods and many more demigods were facing each other down. Roe and Venator leapt around each other, fiery steel on diamond, but the intervention of Flight and Valerie on Roe's side and Aen for Venator meant that neither side were able to do any damage. In the end Roe was left crouching opposite Velenator, who stared intently at him as she regained her breath. Aen stood between the pair, disapproval written across his face.
Meanwhile Ailish clashed with Melanthios and Carnivox, blades and claws flashing through the air as the three fought bitterly. In the end both the gods ended sprawling on the grassy ground, whilst Carnivox managed to stay his ground with Zareth's help. Ailish had been docked four ranks and Melanthios had five knocked out of him."
Melanthios was thrown back against the ground, blood poured from a wound on his right side. He barely managed to lift himself up from the floor, Allish fought with a power she shouldn't have. He didn't know what power she was using but it was too strong to be her own, "You filthy bitch." He said coughing up blood as he stood up. He then saw the reason for her survival, Aen had joined in her defense. It seemed he needed to destroy him after all, but not now. He was too weak and Zareth would probably turn on them before being able to fight his friend. Right now he needed to kill Allish and steal the items from Venator.
Melanthios jumped towards her again lifting his sword, but he was suddenly blasted back. He felt something grabbing and restraining him, He turned his head to see Akladai. "You can't fight again father, you won't be able to survive another hit!" He said holding him. Melanthios looked forward to see that Maeglin had blown him back, Valerie suddenly appeared before him. She stuck her hand into his chest, while holding the orb. He tried to break free, but he was far too weak to free himself. Suddenly he felt calm, the black flames began to fuse with him. His wound healed a bit as he was placed on his 2 feet, he had taken on his human form again.
He looked up to see his children standing besides him, Maeglin grabbed Melanthios arm and placed it around his neck. "I got you father, there is no need to risk yourself again." Melanthios nodded, he had regained his sanity as he looked at his children. "We need to destroy Allish, she cant be allowed to heal." he said mentally, his face betrayed the pain he felt. Akladai stepped towards him, he handed him an staff. Melanthios instantly recognized it, it had been the first staff he had ever made. Akladai seemed to remember what had happened too, Melanthios grabbed the staff and removed his arm from around Maeglin.
Vantric: 20, 1
Vantric stayed at the edge of the battle, direct combat wasn't something he was particularly adept at, and surveyed the situation for a moment. Roe and the plant creature clashed, resulting in a stalemate. Afterward, the child ran between Aen and Melanthios, both deciding for whatever moronic reason that the middle of a battle was the best opportunity to impress proper values onto the chaotic god. Melanthios and Ailish both struck at each other, significantly damaging their opponent.
As the dust settled, both lines began reforming as Vantric prepared to join the battle. That was when it began.
Ailish bled out a dark ichor, staining the ground beneath her. It reminded him of something, something he had not seen in centuries. A memory so distant that it made the god feel truly old for a moment. The acrid stench, the slow burbling, the wrongness of the texture and consistency; it all bore a familiar feeling. It took him a moment to place it, eyes widening as he did. The body began moving once more, and it wasn't Ailish that rose with it.
"That was unexpected." Vantric said, trying to suppress his annoyance at being surprised. "The monster has shown its true face." He saw Melanthios's demigods and Roe rally and charge the beast. Tsking, he slipped behind it as subtly as possible and flipped the Luck of the Gods before diving in on Ailish.
Ven - 0, 0
"So let me get this straight. We have no idea why that island chose to arbitrarily combust? None at all? Because seriously, any hints would be fantastic at this point. Saz, Nul, you're sure that neither of your guilds had anything to do with it?"
Had the conversation been occurring at a reasonable pace, Ven would have taken a few seconds to irritably massage his temples. As it was, the Mizzen didn't have time to spare for dramatic gestures; he got his reply in a matter of milliseconds, the two guild heads answering one after the other.
"Not one of my projects," Saz began, still speaking with his iconic lackadaisical tone even in the presence of his king. "At least, I don't think it was. Maroe Archipelago, yes? Smaller island? The only Breaker outpost in that area is just south of Chama; unlikely that they would have tried to destroy an entire island like that, at least without telling me first. Have been meaning to test out that new C8 though..."
"No, no, no. Do not do that." There was no way anyone could have missed the frustration in Ven's hasty response. Though, in the synthetic's defense, leaving Saz any amount of leeway in the past had ended with some rather... volatile results.
"Nul, what about you?" Ven continued, turning his focus to the other Mizzen in the chamber. "The island showed signs of severe burns and high temperatures; is there any way it could have been the Burners?"
There was a lengthy pause (almost half a second) before the blazing machine spoke up in reply. "I don't believe so, Ven," the head Burner began, his tone precise and methodical. "I can't deny that some of my subordinates, given the chance, would eagerly test out a few of their more unstable projects. But something on that scale, without any sort of warning, no, that's simply not possible. I'm sorry, but I just don't know what's going on."
"Fan-freaking-tastic!" came the terse reply. With a poorly muffled grunt of frustration, Ven turned his back on the two guild heads and began to pace around his workshop, idly dragging one of his hands along the wall as he walked. His fingers glided over benches laden with half-finished projects and shelves packed with various tools and bits of metal and his feet scuffed against the floor with every angry footstep. Damn, this was infuriating! He had to figure out what was going on, and he had to figure it out now!
"So," he began again, not bothering to face his companions, "island randomly goes boom. We don't know why or how. We just know that it wasn't due to the Burners or the Breakers, yes?"
Barely resisting the urge to snap at Saz for his vague reply, the king belligerently continued. "Could it be because of the Blitzers? Or the Builders or the Benders, for that matter? Do either of you know?"
"I would not think so, Ven. There is no reason to accuse them of devestation on this scale, at least not without-"
A thunderous peal cut off Nul's answer, and a brilliant flash filled the small room, blinding all of the Mizzen with its intensity. Panicking, Ven struggled to clear the spots from his lenses, trying desperately to divine the source of the light; if this was some new attack or disaster, then he wasn't sure he could deal with it.
"Oi, Ven! You still playing around here?!"
"Nivix, if that's you then I swear I'll-"
Ven's furious threat was suddenly cut off as Nivix stumbled forwards, awkwardly wrapping an arm around the Mizzen's shoulders. "Heh, boy am I glad to see you. You would NOT believe the day I am having; it's just been crazy thing after crazy thing."
"Look, Nivix," the synthetic darkly muttered as he ducked out from beneath the god's half-embrace, "I'm sure that you'd love to go on and on about whatever experiment you've been up to, but I'm a little busy at the moment. So, unless it's really important, I'm going to have to ask you to..."
Ven trailed off as he got a good look at the chemister. "Hells, what happened to you!? You look like you just jumped from Obscuritatis into a lava pool!"
"Close, but no cigar Ven," came the surprisingly cheerful reply. Nivix flashed a grin towards the Mizzen as he slowly tottered backwards, like a drunkard who's had one too many. "There was certainly fire and a moon sized planet involved, but you're wrong on the jumping bit. Nope, just up to some good old fashioned forging!"
"Moon sized... What are you talking-"
The Mizzen suddenly jerked to a stop, a horrible premonition slowly creeping over him. Please no, please please please let him be wrong...
"Wh... Where exactly were you doing this forging?"
"Er... What's that place down south of here?"
"No, no, the one with all the islands."
"...The Maroe Archipelago?"
"Yeah, that's the one."
Silence reigned for a few moments.
"Nivix, quick question."
"Are you in any danger of dying or anything?"
"Dying?" Nivix took a few seconds to examine his burned and bloodstained body, a surprised look crossing his face as he took in all the damage that he'd received. "I don't think so, no. A little beat up, maybe, but not dying."
"Good to know."
Taking a few quick strides forward, Ven did something he had always wanted to do. Putting all of his divine power and strength into it, he slammed his fist into Nivix's face in a collision that seemed to bend time and space itself. The chemister, caught off guard by the sudden attack, was sent flying across the room, his body embedding itself deep within a wall of solid rock.
"Hey, what was that for?" the god whined as he struggled back to his feet, wiping dust off of his clothes with his one good hand.
"What was it for? What was it for!?"
In a flash of steel and fire, Ven teleported across the room, reappearing directly in front of his creator. "Are you being serious!?" he roared as he launched a fearsome barrage of blows towards the madman. "What do you think it's for?! For randomly giving me this body?! For making me immortal!? For leaving me in charge of an entire race while you went off and screwed around for a thousand years?! For coming back out of the blue and telling me that YOU'RE THE ONE WHO ALMOST SLAUGHTERED MILLIONS OF ROWAN, CHANGELINGS, AND MIZZEN AND CAUSED AN INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT THAT I'M GOING TO SPEND THE NEXT FEW MONTHS CLEANING UP?! Maybe it's for one of those reasons, huh!?"
Such was his fury, Ven didn't even notice the fist that slammed into his head with all the force of a dying star. The Mizzen was sent hurtling across the room like a missile; he only came to a stop after crunching through nearly ten feet of solid rock.
With an annoyed grunt, Nivix finally hoisted himself from his own dent in the wall, his grin replaced by a thin hard line. Slowly, he stalked across the room, nodding towards the other two synthetics as he passed them. "Saz. Nul."
Sticking his head into the hole Ven's body had unwillingly dug, the madman tried his best to negotiate. "You know, those punches really weren't that strong. Have you even been trying to get any tougher?"
...What, I never said that his best was any good.
"No," came the furious reply, "because I've been too busy with running a damn nation! Because, unlike some monarchs, I wasn't given a damn choice in the matter!"
"Well, we can't have that, now can we?"
Pulling his head out of the crevice, Nivix shouted over his shoulder. "Hey, Saz, Nul. I'm taking Ven with me for a while, okay? You two are in charge for the next few weeks, got it?"
"Wait, wait, no. No no no no no! Nuh-uh, don't you dare-"
Another blinding flash filled the room, and when it disappeared Nul and Saz found themselves alone.
Zs'Wua'Itzala - 5/8 AP
The figures were knocked back by their adversary. Ailish... Yes that was they were calling her. She... changed, she was no longer the female figure that had addressed with then with pleas. Ailish now bore an appearance similar but yet different to Zs'Wua's ancestors - the Aask who she had been taught about when she was but a youngling. She smiled as she remembered as the teachers shown their skill in shapeshifting throughout her education as a Phantom in her mortal life.
However, 'Ailish' had the stench of wrongness all around her. The ichor bubbled up from ground, the soil had refused to absorb it, to absorb such a thing. Zs'Wua was puzzled by this strange sight - were all of the gods simply these monstrosities masquerading as divine beings? She asked the one who had uplifted her to demigod-hood, and got a negative answer. But even after that, she didn't know what to think. The feeling was like almost an instinct, that this creature - whatever it was - did not belong.
In this, Zs'Wua was certain - that she had to help defeat this being and her lackey. Zs'Wua had to make this right, she had to help with the erasing of this corrupted goddess, M'endar's orders be damned. She rose up from the shadows and chose her course, the little one had enough shielding from the others. Yes... she would pick the one with the blades. As he charged at the creature, through her power - meager though it was - he became encased in shadow, protecting him from the creature's bite.
M'endaxius - 0/30 AP, 2/2 MP
Apart from the occasional mutter from Petal, it was silent in the chambers of Umbraculum. But at least it from safe from the ravages of the battle in Eld. However, it was time to ask its agent what was going on there. It sat down on the obsidian chairs which contrasted sharply with the gray-white interior. M'endar began to fiddle with the shards from the last great battle, just to keep its mind at ease. Anything could happen, even another imprisonment.
It just chucked the shards to the other end of the table. Just messing about wouldn't do anything. M'endar quickly opened a telepathic channel with its agent in the field, Zs'Wua. She seemed to be a little preoccupied, so M'endar drummed its fingers on the table while it waited for a response. All the Deceiver got was an annoyed "Yes?" It shrugged off the bile in the voice. No doubt this one would be hard to control. Was picking one so proud a good step? It couldn't be sure, as the results of it so far were few and far between. Nevertheless, it was... limiting being weakened, but at least with Zs'Wua, M'endar could do something. It replied:
"Situation. Report. Now."
The response was an irritated hiss of words, "The one called Ailish has turned into a... monstrosity. She has clashed with the one called Melanthios. Both have taken grave wounds. A young-looking god tried to talk the little one but failed. Another push is happening, Melanthios's forces and the little one are attacking as well as the one with the coin. Melanthios's forces are also shielding the little one and I have taken the liberty of shielding the one with the coin with my power."
"Hmph. Caution. Dangerous."
M'endar sighed as it send those last words to Zs'Wua, if Melanthios had been weakened, then... No, it wouldn't think about that. From the sound of it, no-one had objected to the slaying of Ailish. Well, except Aen, but that god clung to his 'honour' like a babe clinging to a mother. That was his way and for now, it did not bother M'endar. With the situation explained it when back to fiddling about with the shards, wondering what to do with then and about the outcome of the battle. So many possibilities... Though it couldn't say what would become of the remnants. The Deceiver, to its dismay, had to wait and see.
Aen 18/30, 2/2
Ailish was a monster now, but he wasn't sure he had it in him to kill her. Not yet. He would leave the fighting to Cassiel. Grix sprang after him, and Aen nodded his approval. However, he was shocked when he heard Ren clanking after him too. It seemed that she was starting to follow his will as well. He'd pray for their safety if it wouldn't have been to himself. Instead, he silently asked that Zareth make sure no one got hurt. He had his own ward to take care of. He hadn't protected Ven from Roe to let her get killed defending Ailish, and if her positioning said anything, it was that. He broke into a run towards her, hoping to pull her out of the battle.
Roe - 20, 1
Roe bounded around Ailish with a look of grim determination on his face, desperately trying to strike a blow with his diamond sword against the void creature's pulsating mass. Each time he got close however her great arms came crashing down and the young god was forced to leap back, unharmed but no closer to his goal. He saw first Vantric and then Cassiel joining in the fight, although he had scarce time to pay attention to them as Ailish's blows kept raining down on him.
Suddenly he noticed Venator approaching the beast causally and his blood ran cold, what if she helped her former mistress? The demigod held her arms wide apart as if she was greeting Ailish and walked up with a smile on her face. She never even got a chance to block the gigantic fist which materialised from the creature's bowels and struck her in the middle, her lifeless body landing in a heap on the ground some distance away.
"Noooo!" Roe shouted but there was nothing more he could do, he frowned and threw himself back at the corrupted god with a renewed vigour, ducking under a swinging arm and striking her deep in her liquid abdomen.
Aen - 18/30, 2/2
No! Again... he was weak... again, he had failed. The battle forgotten, he ran to Ven's crumpled body and fell to his knees at her side. She coughed weakly as he pulled her up into his lap. There was a battle raging behind him, but it didn't need him. The fallen warrior dying before him did.
"My purpose," she whisper softly, a slight wheeze to her voice. "Did I protect her like mother wanted?"
Aen bit his lip and held back his tears, forcing himself to smile. "Yeah. You did it. You did it perfectly." He held onto her as her coughs began to sound wet and her blood splattered onto him. He barely noticed. He hummed a somber requiem, one use by the Ekiruru for their fallen warriors, rocking the young demi-god in his arms as her coughing slowly quieted. As he hummed the final note, her eyes began to look past him.
"Thank you... for that honor, battle god," she said at last, barely audible. "I am glad... I could live up to your... favor." She said no more. Only then did the first shining drops fall from Aen's eyes, staining the blood of his fallen champion.
Melanthios looked at Venator, and was how she was crushed by Allish. "good riddance" He thought with a smirk. He then saw the items of power, he felt the power they possessed and smiled. He then saw Aen running up to her, and holding her in his arms. That annoying pest was getting in the way again, but no more! He would get those items, no matter the cost.
Melanthios had wanted to make Aen attack him, or attack Allish. It seemed he had failed, but it was of no concern right now. The seeds had been planted, and his plans had been set into motion. He turned back around, and focused on defending Roe again.
Zareth 21 , 2
he turned his head to face Aen. All around him people, plants, the very ground of Eld began to die beneath his feet. A cold wind began to blow from the north and the beginnings of frost found a footing on the leaves. Still the sight of the fallen plant girl stirred a flicker of warmth in his dead chest.
He placed a hand over her cold, unbeating heart. Stilling her fluttering soul. Keep it safe, keep it hidden. IT was time to gather his strength.
Zareth summoned Flight and whispered in her ear. "Go to the god of the dwarfs. Warn him of what may come, protect his mortals if you must." With that the bird was gone, off to her task.
He looked back to Aen. "No one else dies today."
Zareth rejoined the fray, his power gathered around him, withering and rotting anything that got too close to him. "Cover me!" He called out to Carnivox.
The Hunter had been knocked back after Ailish's transformation. He stood there in shock for a while. The sight odf another one of those... things, a relic of his former self. It had been enough to strike fear into the wolf for the first time in over a thousand years. Luckily Zareth's roar brought him back to the present, just in time to dodge one of the creature's flailing appendages. "Right." He growled and opened fire with with a flurry of arrows. None of them were enough to piece its leathery hide, but they could at least distract her.
Meanwhile in the meeting hall of the gods Pentar's peace was disturbed when a bird suddenly flew through the window and perched on his statue. "Craaw!" It began to squak and flap its wings at him wildly, as if trying to convey some meaning.
The Storyteller took a deep puff of his pipe and then continued his tale.
"With all attention diverted towards the battle, few noticed something stirring deep in the depths of space around Evalon, nor did many see Cassiel moving an entire forest from Eld to Coelus, complete with a number of Ekiruru."
"Wouldn't the Ekiruru fight with the Grigori?" a child asked.
"Ah, perhaps..." the Storyteller replied, "Cassiel would be careful to avoid this however. Anyway, back on Eld, the Venator Crisis was coming to a head. Venator's misguided attempt to defend her former mistress cost the demigod her life, presumably she had no idea just how insane Void Ailish had become. Her body was retrieved by Aen but even this gesture was marred by bickering with Melanthios over the fate of Eldarwen's items.
Meanwhile, Ailish found herself surrounded by Roe, Vantric, Cassiel and Zareth, desperately attempting to fight off all four with her many arms. Eventually their blows were too much and the void monster leapt forwards towards Zareth in a last ditch attempt to save herself. This mistake would cost the void creature her life, having let down her defence she was impaled on the weapons of the four gods fighting her. The slime melted away into the ground leaving only a withered husk behind."
Roe - 20, 1
Ailish shriveled corpse lay in a heap on the ground, the black mass oozing away as fast as it has collected. Roe walked cautiously up to the body and dejectedly sat next to it once he was sure she was dead.
"I'm sorry Ailish, I really didn't want to have to kill you," He said aloud and recalling his gesture an age ago at another friend's death, he summoned a small white flower out of thin air and placed it gently on the slain monster's breast. He stared down for a while at the body and noticed a glowing light deep in her torso. Intrigued, he reached in to lift it gently out and hold it out to the light, it was a small sphere that sparkled with countless colours.
"I won't let you go," Roe whispered to the glowing orb and cradled it against him.
Vantric: 20, 1
It was done. He cleaned his blades before sheathing them back at his sides. Ailish, the void monster, whatever-it-was, was dead. Vantric walked the length of the monster for a moment. "Quite distasteful." He murmured. The beast was hideous, and it's death did much to improve the aesthetic of the world if nothing else.
The beast's blood slowly stained the ground of Eld, discoloring it. Vantric doubted that anything would grow on this particularly part of the verdant world for centuries, possibly ever again. As he walked, considering the power the beast had and trying to understand what he could of its corpse, something caught his eye. It was a glint in the sun, something that no one else seemed to notice.
Carefully, he knelt down, pretending to examine the remains of Ailish. While next to the body, he slid his hand toward the shining object within the beast. By touch, he realized it was a container of some. A jar? Vantric thought. He slowly eased it out of the beast, careful to hide it within the folds of his cloak. Perhaps it was nothing, but perhaps he had stumbled upon something very important. In any event, there was no reason to tip his hand just yet...
Vantric: 20, 1
Vantric reappeared back in the fortress. His meeting had gone rather poorly, the battle afterward, however, had gone unexpectedly well. After things had been settled he needed to prepare his next move. He needed the right tool for the job. "Where is Isond?" He muttered, walking through the fortress.
A slight echo bounded through the halls, making its way to Vantric's ears. He picked up his pace. What is going on? He thought. Slowly, the sounds began becoming more distinct, and louder. Rattling metal. Ethereal powers. Grunts, screams. He shook his head. It seemed like Isond couldn't handle anything.
It didn't take long to make it to the room the noise was originating from. He turned in to find Isond charging an angel with black wings. Isond slashed at Aryx who flew out of his range. Aryx responded by throwing dark energy at Isond, who deflected it. Vantric waited for a few minutes, admiring the battle before finally intervening. "Alright, that's enough." He announced, marching into the room.
The pair turned in tandem to find the god entering the room. It was one of the smaller libraries he hadn't made much use of. Most of the books lining the walls were blank journals he hadn't found the time to begin working on. Interspersed were a few volumes he had copied and spread throughout the fortress. "Aryx." He said, standing before the angel who bowed her head respectfully. "I'm glad to see you took my offer."
"It was only natural that I should, Lord Vantric." She said, beaming. "My skills should not be bound by the limitations of mortality."
Vantric chuckled, Isond glared. "I certainly expect they should. I don't make such offers lightly."
"I appreciate this, Lord Vantric. However it seems that there are some who don't seem to meet expectations. I would suggest that perhaps it might be worthwhile to consider dismissing certain elements."
Vantric looked to Isond. To his surprise the war god seemed angrier now.
"I'll keep that in mind." He said, moving to Isond. "I see you've retrieved Aryx, Isond. That's worth something, I suppose."
"And I regret it wholeheartedly." He replied glumly.
"Oh, come now, certainly things aren't that bad?" Isond's look told him otherwise. Vantric smiled.
"Aryx, could you please excuse us for a moment. I have something I'd like to discuss with Isond." The angel frowned, but glided her way out of the room easily enough. Once she had gone, Vantric spoke again. "I take it you two don't like each other."
"Don't get along?" He shouted, "She's arrogant, bossy, and insane. What possessed you to make her a god?!...Alright, that's a stupid question in retrospect, but the point still stands. I can't stand her!"
"Good, then. I have a new assignment that will help take your mind off this, and your body away from her." Vantric reached into his cloak and produced an envelope with calligraphic writing on the front. "Deliver this to Aen with my regards."
Isond just stared dumbfounded. "I am not playing messenger. I'm a warrior, damnit! I'm-"
"My apprentice, Isond." Vantric cut him off. "And you will do as I order. If I tell you to mop the floors of the fortress, then you'll do so. All of them. So which will it be?"
There was a pause where Vantric could actually hear Isond's teeth grinding before snatching the letter and storming off.
With Isond gone, he walked out to the hallway to find Aryx leaning against the wall, arms folded. She stood up once he arrived. "Good to see you're still here, Aryx."
"I thought it might be worthwhile to listen to what was going on. Also, there's something I wanted to ask."
She opened the book in her arms, flipping through the pages. "This book you gave me, it's blank."
"Well, it's just..." She seemed a bit flustered, "I had thought when you said that this book would open my potential-"
"I said the book was a contract." Vantric interrupted. "Opening it was the act of accepting the contract. This," He tapped the book, "Is a book of curses. And it needs to be filled. I've given you the power to fill it, but you will need to do the work from here. Or do you need help?"
Aryx snorted, "I need no one." She shut the book, "Though, Isond mentioned some things. He said I was bound to you, for eternity. I take it this is true?"
She nodded slowly, methodically, looking back to the book. "Well then, at least I've been chosen by someone who values my talents."
"Good. Now, I have an assignment for you." Vantric snapped his fingers and a thick contract appeared in his hands, along with a note. "Follow these instructions, and do not fail me."
She smiled, "I won't."
"Well, let's be safe about that." He reached into his pocket and handed her a coin. "Take this, for luck, and this." He produced the small jar.
Aryx accepted both gifts. "What are they?"
"Items of power. The coin can manipulate luck and the jar...I'm not quite sure." He admitted, "Presumably it has some powers. Find out what they are, if you can."
"I will." With that his second protege left. Vantric turned back to the library and pulled up a chair, summoning a glass of cold water as he did so. It was times like these that keeping Isond around made sense.
Aryx teleported to the location Vantric had specified. It was a large obsidian building. She looked over her instructions once more. Yes, this was the place. Dark fire began to consume the note as she let it leave her hand.
She marched into the building carrying her book in one arm and the contract Vantric had provided her. Hundreds of eyes immediately looked at her. Strange horned creatures filled the building, many behind desks writing on pieces of paper, others were handing documents to their neighbors. From what she saw, it was a very bureaucratic affair, reminding her a bit too much of governmental work back on Coelus.
One of the creatures approached her. "Hello, and who are you?"
Aryx let her wings extend to their fullest extent. "I am Aryx, and I would speak with your leader, Calath." A quiet began running through the building. The creature gestured toward her.
"Follow me then."
It didn't take long to find Calath. He was in a back office at a large desk organizing paper work. He stopped immediately when the devil and Aryx entered. The lesser devil bowed quickly and left. Calath, got off his seat and approached Aryx.
"Welcome." He began, extending his hand, "I am Calath the High Speaker of this court. I must admit, I'm rather shocked that we have a visitor. No one has come to this court, for a very long time. What brings one such as you here?"
Aryx refused the devil's hand. "I am Aryx, here on behalf of Lord Vantric. He wishes to treat with you."
"Lord Vantric?" The devil said with intense interest, "Yes, I remember him. He came by briefly once, very long ago. Quite an interesting figure, if I recall. What does he wish to deal with us about?"
She unfurled the contract on the devil's desk. Calath immediately began to read through it. "Let me see...for the party here referred to as 'devils'...do hereby knowingly enter into a contract with party here referred to as 'Vantric'...would owe certain services to party Vantric should this deal be accepted...would provide service of emancipation and certain other unspecified benefits at need..." After a few minutes, the devil finished. "Well, everything seems to be in order." He flipped through the papers once more. "And I can't say I'm in much of a situation to refuse this offer." He signed the contract. "We accept."
Aryx blinked, "Accept what?"
The devil sighed, opening up the contract. "'In so signing the party known as 'devils' will be knowingly accepting all terms and conditions herein, and, upon signing, will be given emancipation from the location known as 'Hell's Court' by the party bearing this contract.' That would be you."
"Ah, I see."
"Is there some complication? Is this something beyond your skills?"
"Of course not!" Aryx snapped. "Just give me a moment." She looked down at the book, then looked to her other hand. She still had the coin and the jar. They were supposed to be items of power, but Aryx didn't know how they worked. Still, she wasn't about to leave without accomplishing her goal.
She set the items down on the table. "What's this?" Calath asked, opening the jar. He reached in and took a bit of the dark substance from it out.
"Wait, don't-" She shouted as the devil licked it.
"Mmm. That's quite good, actually." He commented, closing the jar. He then grabbed at his head, "But I...feel a bit funny. What was that?"
Aryx grabbed the coin. She didn't know whatever was in that jar would do, but she'd deal with that later. Focusing her power, Aryx attempted to alter the devils.
Zareth 21 , 2
It was over. The others had claimed their carrion and left. The souls of the fallen had been laid to rest and sent to the other side. What will await these ones I wonder?
This part of Eld was a lonely place and was only made worse by Zareth turning it into a blackened graveyard. His power was getting out of control he had to reign it in or the whole forest would go the way of this glade. Zareth closed his eyes and breathed deep. He stood in silence for a while until he could get his emotions under control. Still it was no good, he couldn't clear his mind.
He growled in exasperation and paced the dead forest floor. Even now he felt a small echo of Eldarwen. You damn fool.
But something stood out among the darkness. A flicker of light, there were embers burning among the earth where he had laid the Ekiruru to rest. Zareth bent down and picked up the little ball of fire, tucking it away into his tunic. He would have to look into it later. She brave to the end and stupid. Where has their pride gotten them now? He shook his head as if he could scramble the thoughts vying for his attention and throw them out of his head. All the while the creeping death that radiated from him spread further and further.
Zareth roared in frustration and flung himself into the heavens. To any mortal looking up at the skythat nigh nothing would have seemed amiss but there were a few who saw. A collection of astronomers on Evalon claim to have witnessed a number of stars flicker and die out that night, leaving a streak of pure darkness on the night sky. Of course there is a lot of debate on the cause of this and some question whether it ever happened but if they were to consult the star charts they would see that several stars had disappeared completely.
Zareth could find no peace in the darkness. He felt no warmth from the burning sun. He wandered creation like a lost shadow until he came to Salustutis' icy north continent. With nothing but the howling wind and the occasional mountain of ice or pine forest to break up the barren tundra. There wasn't a living thing for miles... here he could let it all out.
Zareth screamed and howled for all he was worth. He slashed into the earth and ice with his sword, demolishing glaciers and carving into the continent like a piece of meat. His power washed out of him like a flood, bringing with it a new deathly cold that sank down deep beneath the planet surface.
To the mortals in the south of Salustutis it sounded as if a great storm was raging over the ice barrens, a blizzard that might threaten to spread south and cover them in frost. Across the northernmost cites emergency services were put on high alert, houses were boarded up and the golems stood to attention, ready to serve.
And all the while Zareth's fury grew and the storm raged on... and the ice spread.
At the coast of this cold continent a Deus Filli expedition watched in awe as the great blizzard threatened to consume the whole mountain range in the distance. They huddled among the clustered pine trees for any bit of cover they could find. "And you're sure this is a good place to set up a settlement?" One said to their team leader.
"With the right magic any area can become habitable." He tried to make himself sound certain. "This is proof life can survive here." He knocked the trunk of one of the trees to enforce his point. Still his eye wandered back to the roaring storm, it was only getting louder. At this rate it might deafen his team, never mind freeze them. "Let's just stick to the more docile areas for now." He did the best to hide the quiver in his voice... why couldn't he shake the feeling that that storm wanted him dead?