Lords of Creation: Chaos Within (IC Thread)

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---Verandrel---

It was barely dawn in High Ithol. The sunlight reflected off the stoney roofs like brass and slid smoothly down the ramparts. A light, salty breeze flowed over the streets and ruffled the hair of the citizens gathered there. They were pleasantly, yet anxiously, silent. They unconciously leaned forward, glancing towards the palace steps every few seconds. It was as if the day could not start before the ceremony was over.

Suddenly ten robed figures, ranging in sature from dwarf to human, descended down the broad stair flights. They moved with near alien grace and stealth, and a few people mistook them for phantoms rather than mortals.

A great cheer welled up in the crowd, such a mixed, incoherent rambling that it was almost droning in quality.

"Blessed be the True King!"

"Give those monsters what they've been waitin' for!"

"Lay bare the Wrath of Azgo! For Victory, and for Family!"

"Hahahahaha! I'll give those blighters in the forests no more than a few days to live. Hail KIng Ogrim and his mighty Fist!"

But the ten figures continued moving, practicaly unaware of the crowds as they cheered and threw flower petals into the air. They only shifted when a spectator caught a glance under a member's hood. The face was pale, deathly pale, and a thick, violet tattoo of a Nightshade flower was carved into the visage. Eventualy the ten left through the great gates of High Ithol, and the cheering fell to a pleasant mummering in the streets. They felt comforted for the first time in weeks, and dreams of reclaiming their old homes filled their heads.

The ten continued to walk, eventually reaching the frontier outskirts. Only a handful of villages remained intact.

The crowds of villagers parted and scattered at their passing, bowing their heads in due respect and fear. Children fled and clasped themselves behind their mothers' legs and watched the strangers passed. Marketplaces and gardens and courtyards that had been abuzz with ecstatic conjecture fell into awed silence in their wake.

They were here. The King's Fist.

And when the opportunity presented itself, they would reach back unto the marauders... and strike without mercy.

OOC
Command Populace (2AP): Divine magic takes a great foothold in Verandrel and is begining to be practiced more and more widely. In addition, an elite group of divine mages named The King's Fist is founded to combat the attacks on the frontier.


---Desert Wastes---

The adventurers' leader shakily stood forward, hefting his blade. His face contorted between a fierce desire to defend his warrior pride and nagging doubt. He had heard of such... monstrosities before... but to see them...

"Vile creature... run! Run and cower before me!"

His voice cracked, and his body posture was obviously unsure. But the other adventurers gathered around, pressing slowly forward.

---Sil Peraz---

The Oni, carefully disguised as corpulent dwarven mercenaries, smiled from ear to ear. Dark, sinister desires floated around in their minds. They could just taste the dwarf-flesh in their mouths!

The largest one stepped forward, eagerly rubbing his hands together.

"The dwarf-king Gargagrim of the south has sent us in all haste to your splendor. He seeks the legend of your kingdom, to take pilgrimage here amid your vast halls! On his behalf, we implore your mercy and hospitality and humbly ask for refuge from the dangers of the wilderness. If you allow us in, he will come in our wake bearing the gifts and tender respect of your distant kin! Please, allow us rest!"

---Eternal Volcano---

The heat was ravaging!! Timmy shifted uncomfortably as the waves of heat burst out of the caldera, though his heavy eyes did not move from the Agni'Vodha. His hands twitched towards his bow and quiver before he stopped himself. But he did not lower his hands and his gaze only intensified.

His mouth opened...

and a dry cough spilled out of his throat, suprising himself. He had not said anything in... days? Weeks? Warm spittle soothed his throat and a buried part of him spoke out.

"I-" (Cough) "I... have come here for help. Legends tell of warriors stationed here by divine sanction..."

Timmy didn't express it, but he was fully suprised with himself, as if he had suddenly seen a flash of light in the darkness of the night skies. He thought that he had come here for no reason at all, simply to hike for hiking's sake and wandering for wandering's sake. But... he knew deep down that he had not. The eyes of Azgo...

Many, many things started flowing back into his mind... and the heat warped itself into the caress of ash in the bowels of his mind. So much ash...

---Moot---

Cantorix looked up, confused with feelings. The Black dragons were never ones to trust the divine... and what would make Paren so different from Azgo? Was divinity not interlocked with eventual corruption? And yet, the echoes of the Dragonsong flowed through him still. There was a unity there. Unity.

"My forefathers... I remember their blood. All black dragons remember the great trials of the ancestors, though it is blurred."

Cantorix focused inward and closed his eyes, feeling into the past.

"There was pain... terrible, terrible pain and the churnings of Life...The hands of a god shaped us, pushed heat into bone and flame into hearts. But then..."

Cantorix shuddered.

"Void... so much life was drawn into the the void of sickness that only the strongest were given form and sinew. So many lost, fed to the Ash and Shadow..."

The dirge gained a few new notes in meaning, and continued to carry the song into the day.

"And even more was stolen, a sliver, that moved almost unnoticed... But we felt its tremor. And after that, we fled. The great fathers fled the Godcrater of the Wounded One. They felt his gaze upon their backs and in their hearts. I would imagine that it is still there, within the sickness..."

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

---Godsmoot---

And so the true race began, in the wake of the broken bodies of Seg the Liar and the scorned Artun. The fleeting forms of gods danced across the continent, hot in a pursuit that left the balance of the world on  the edge of a knife. Agni, Sa, and...

... no one else.

Azgo turned, and slipped into the shadows of the Crown. The fleeting forms of the other gods vanished swiftly into the distance. Azgo was alone.

For now.

He began to walk across the valley, following the hate of his blood. And the blizzard above filled in the footprints of a god.

 

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

~Desert Wastes~

Krr'Ree'E danced a dance of confusion at the quixotic agressive-yet-afraid stance her opponent was clearly taking.  She raised her forearms and waved them threateningly, watching the color drain from the adventurer's face as he observed the speed at which she could move them.

The leader took a step back, then another.  Pleased pheremones flowed from Krr'Ree'E.  She was about to-

*thwunk*

A crossbow bolt, loosed by one of the adventurers which had, up till now, been hiding in the back of her compatriots, whizzed by Krr'Ree'E and landed squarely in the upper thorax of her second-in-command, shattering the chitin exoskeleton, piercing straight through the soft flesh beneath it, and out the back before lodging in a sand dune.  Her second gasped, waved her hands at the wound, and collapsed, legs buckling and snapping as she fell hard onto the earth.

In one fluid motion, Krr'Ree'E leapt into the air and over the heads of the enemy party, landing a few feet from the crossbow-holding woman.  Before the woman could even shout with alarm, Krr'Ree'E lashed out, and instead the woman collapsed to the sand, clutching at her ruined neck.  The Chitrach turned to begin the dance of death with the remaining enemies, seeing her pack racing up the slope to do battle as well.

~Sil Peraz~

"We know no Gargarim.  From where does he rule?"  Came the response from the doorway.  
OOC
 Note:  Just embelish a little bit, the dwarves just want a good story, mostly


~Eternal Volcano~

The Agni'Vohda, unaffected by the heat, looked down at the Nix before him.  

"It has been a very long time since anyone has come to seek our aid, and it appears that the truths have shifted somewhat in the telling.  There are no warriors stationed here to help you.  You see the final home of the proud Agni'Vohda, second-born of all creation.  We have no desire to involve ourselves with the outside world."

Timmy began to look ill, but the Agni'Vohda continued.

"It is the case, however, that sometimes a particularly impassioned plea will sway one of the more ambitious and foolhearty of our kind into action.  Perhaps you have such a plea.  Ask, and we shall see what the Vohda say.  But first, your tribute."

Timmy continued to look ill, and shook his head in confusion.

"You do not know?"  The Agni'Vohda asked impatiently.  "That is the price of petitioning.  You must give us something of great value in return for our services.  You do have something of value, correct?" 


~Moot~

Paren shuddered, sending a ripple through his ash-y self.   

Then it is into the Abyss itself that we must go, to seek out this sliver.

Paren looked at the gathered dragons, one of each color.  

It is likely that not all of us will return from such a journey, but if we wish to see our world restored to order, and the possibility of the Corrupted One taking control of our Ebon friends destroyed, we must do it.  Are we agreed?

One by one, the dragons agreed, until only Lucan and Cantorix remained.  Paren looked at the two of them.

Will you fly with us?  Lucan?  Cantorix, you are the only one here that knows even a portion of the Abyss.  I hate to ask you to return to such a place as that, but... I must.

~GodsMoot~

As TASOE fled, bolts of lightning struck out, catching both Artun and Seg fully in the chest.  Both godlings screamed and collapsed to the earth, but Agni paid both no notice as he raced after the slimy mass of... evil.  Before long, the spirits approached the blasted, barely healing lands of the first battle between the Gods and the Behemoth.  The landscape still sweltered under the smouldering fires of the flammable... stuff... the Behemoth had shaken off, and TASOE was able to elude them.  He slowed to a stop over the landscape, trying to spot the Spirits within the smokey darkness.
Does anyone see it?   He asked to those who had also chased the Spirits.  
OOC
 There, Forgotten.  Go kill Pruinus in peace



~Verandrel~



~Somewhere... strange~
---Desert Wastes---

Only a few seconds passed before the morale of the adventurers broke. Their intimidating illusion was unveiled, and they had neither experience nor ruthlessness to hide behind. The back ranks split off and sprinted back the way they came, tossing thier heavier weapons and armor into the searing sands. Without the support, the frontline defenders were soon surrounded. Their sword and axe swings were wild with panic, and only a few undisciplined strokes connected with the exoskeletons. 

A small cloud of sand billowed out of the conflict and surrounded the battle in a blinding, stinging haze. The sounds of flailing steel and squirting blood signaled the end of the battle as the cloud cleared.

Every adventurer who had stayed was half covered in the sand and blood. A few quivered untill a strong wind entombed them within the dunes, never to see the sunlight a second time. Wavering dots in the distance was all that was left of the escaping adventurers. A thin silence lingered behind.

Then the cultists cried out.

"Hail the Crowned in Blood! We were hunted to the edge of the world, and those who endured have his blessings."

"Death to the Firstborn and to their followers!"

One of elder cultists, a waylaid arctic elf, rose gingerly and hobbled towards Krr'Ree'E, the first to have stroke a blow. His skin was cracked and peeling with dryness, and sand was thick under his fingernails. He fell before Krr'Ree'E, and admired her form with fanatical awe.

"Truely, Azgo watches over us personally. Look at their forms..."

His arm traced the chitinous armor of her arm.

"He has reached out with his hands... and made Guardians out of the Locusts that guided our western brothers! And how divine is their ferocity!!"

The other cultists voiced their agreements and laughter. They were alive- how incredible!

It was then that he heard the dying moans of the second-in-command as he bled on the desert floor. His eyes widened with zeal, and he stumbled with unusual swiftness towards the body before collapsing next to it. An outreached hand scattered dry, withered nightsahde petals into the wound.

"As fellow children of The Crowned in Blood, and as our sanctioned vanguard, I return your obedience with Life: The Life of the faithful."

The petals glowed, and the wound knitted itself together again, twisting meat and chitin. A scar faintly resembling a flower was left in the fused chitin.

---Sil Peraz---

The Oni frooze, thinking as fast as he could. A few beads of sweat dropped into his beard.

"King Gargarim? He rules..."

His breath shortened, and his fingers twiddled together.

"Umm..."

And then it came to him. The truth... Yes, the truth. A confidant grin spread slowly over his face.

"-Var. The mighty fortress-city Umvar of the South. Do you not know of his glory, or of his valorous defeat of The Oni Prince Hassan?! Even the dwarven children of today know of Gargarim and Hassan."

The other "dwarves" looked nervously at the lead dwarf. Was this wise?

Gargarim's Story
"You see, Gargarim has the thick blood of Thereus himself running in his veins! His mother's mother, Ysralla,  had been exiled from her home city and forced to wander the wilds of the southern mountains. After three years of living in barbaric isolation, Winter descended and covered the land. Ysralla was forced to hide in the black depths of the tunnels. For another three years she wandered, blind and confused, through the caverns of the deep untill she stumbled into the Forge of Thereus himself! 

Lonely Thereus could not bare to see her leave, after his ages of solitude. He took her for his bride, at the behest of one promise, that her bloodline would be as strong as the stone itself, that their blood was thick as molten iron and their hearts purer than than flawless gold. And that Thereus would guide this son in taking vengence on the peoples her exiled her.

Thereus agreed, and from thier union was produced the Shield-Maiden Farsi. There is another saga entirely about how she crushed the vile dwarven tyrants and drove even the Agni'Vodha mercenaries before her! Suffice to say, she was betrayed in her prime in the very temple of Thereus. As she prayed, her treacherous squire Hassan slipped a cursed dagger into her neck. With her dying breath, she cursed Hassan to die at the hands of her unknown son. It was then that Hassan revealed that he was no dwarf, but a monsterous, ravenous Oni! Hassan then mocked her, and attempted to devour her... but he could not! Her skin bent his teeth, her bones broke his jaw, and her very hair almost chokedn him to death. In the struggle, The Sheild Maiden Farsi forced Hassan to swallow her sword.

In rage and shame and pain, Hassan fled. And for Thirty years no dwarf could find him. Kings and warriors, priests and assassins, and even Thereus himself could not find Hassan. And when they could not find Hassan, they began the search for her mysterious son. But they were not the only ones. For in the shadows of the gods, Hassan plotted against the unknown son of Farsi with a terrible power.

For thrity years the son son of Farsi lived with his father, a humble farmer, suffering through Winter and drought and poverty. It was a tough life, but a neccessary one. His father taught him the strength of the unyeilding plow, the patience of the silent wheat feilds, the compassion of livestock for their young, and the cunning of the wild beasts.

And on the day of his thirtieth birthday, their farmstead was attacked while the son of Farsi was hunting in the woods. The ground shook, the wheat feilds split apart and their seeds were scattered to the winds. Their homefell under its own weight as a great fissure cracked open. And from the depths a tainted Remorhaz emerged with the fury of a god and the might of ten armies! It destroyed the entirity of the farmstead, and swallowed up his terrified father with acid and crushing jaws. Thinking it had killed the son of Farsi, the creature burrowed back into the earth.

The son of Farsi returned in the evening only to find the ruinous husk of his whole life. Enraged, he dived into the bowels of the earth with a thunderous roar. The Hunter had become the Hunted, Haha!! For three days and nights, the son of Farsi fell and climbed and hunted the creature deeper and deeper into the caverns. Finally, he caught the creature at the very bed of the earth, caught fast in strongest granite a dwarf can imagine. The son of Farsi, still mad with anger, pulled the squirming Remorhaz out of the ground like a bird pulls a worm from the mud. A great battle happened as the dwarf demigod tore open the Remorhaz with his bare hands untill he reached the stomach. Inside the corpse of the creature, the son of Farsi wept on the acidicly roasted body of his father.

It was then that he noticed the warm glow of fire from beneath the bed of the earth, and heard the chorus of hammerstrokes like thunder below... and the sounds of a god weeping with him. Cautiously, the son of Farsi entered through the opening. It was a mighty forge, miles long and miles high! Countless anvils aglow with brazen light guarded his flanks, and mountains of precious ores both known and unknown to men spilled across the marble floor. And a mighty god with firey-red hair stood near his anvil and wrought the tomb of his daughter in mithril and gold.

The son of Farsi called out to him saying "You there, who dwells below the earth in the splendor of kings, to whom all the ores of the world belong, and whose hands craft the wonders of Creation, how could you weep when you have so much?"

And Thereus answered him, "What is splendor if I cannot share it? What comfort can ores and minerals bring to the hollowness of the soul? And all of these things of my hands, and they not less wonderful than the living flesh, which is filled with joy and sorrow and love? I have lost my daughter, and no 'wonder' can replace her. I ask the same question of you, mortal: How can you weep? What have you lost?"

The son of Farsi leaned heavily upon the god and spoke the troubles of his heart, "I have lost my father, whom loved me more than I knew and now is taken from me as well. Oh, Fickle Death!! Curse the day that Zebus challeneged Leaf and doomed us all to perish!!"

Thereus wiped the tears from the eyes of the son of Farsi.

"Fellow sufferer, would you do me a great kindness? I wish for you to take this, my Brazen Torch, and enter the land of the dead. Find my daughter, Farsi the Sheild Maiden, and give her my token of love. In exchange, the Brazen torch will lead you to your father, that you may say your goodbyes as well."

The son of Farsi took the Brazen torch, and agreed to weeping god's request, if only to ease his suffering. And there in lies yet another tale of how the son of Farsi earned the respect of an Angel of Death and gambled with his life to enter the realm of the dead. With the Brazen Torch as his guide, he did not lose his way in the Great Beyond amid the countless souls. He eventually found Farsi the Sheild Maiden after many trials of spirit and courage. She revealed his heritage and her prophesy of her enemy's demise.

In loyalty to his father, rather than his mother, the son of Farsi agreed to her command and took the new name Gargarim, which means "Son of the Curse". Gargarim petitioned Zebus for his otherworldly knowledge. After another bargain, Gargarim learned that Hassan had fled to the very tip of the North, where he was bending the Remorhaz to his will.

Gargarim returned to the land of the living, gathered up an army, and ventured into the kingdoms of the Elves and beyond their farthest borders. There, Gargarim used the Brazen Torch to melt the heaviest layers of ice that sealed Hassan's hidden palace. Dwarf rose up against Remorhaz, and Gargarim battled Hassan in the heart of his towering Ice palace. Countless soldiers on both sides drowned as the palace melted before the blazing fury unleashed in Thereus's Brazen Torch. As the palace shook, and soon fell, Gargarim plunged his hand into Hassan's stomach and pulled out his mother's mighty sword. Hassan, gurgled... and then fell dead.


Only Gargarim returned from the North, and he has proven a just and wise king in the many years since his victory. But Gargarim is aging, and he has chosen a new king to rule in his stead. He seeks a lnd of peace and beauty, and he can think of nothing more magnificent than the halls of Sil Peraz! Will you grace us with your compassion?"
 




He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

~The Moot~

Lucan nodded once, briskly.

"You have my wings, and my voice", said the Azure, with little fanfare. 

Show

Will get back to the chase tomorrow or saturday; currently preparing for another playtest of my d20 game! Busy! Busy! Busy!
 
~The Moot~

Paren grinned and faced Cantorix.    And you?  

 
~Sil Peraz~

 
Although the story woven by the visiting dwarf seemed too fantastic to be true, it was also detailed and, in some manner, convincing.  The dwarves of Sil Arkesh and now Sil Peraz still told stories of the times that Thereus walked among his children, the dwarves.  It was said that the problems that had befallen their race had begun when Thereus had left them.  If it was in fact true that this Gargarim had found and spoken to Thereus himself, this was something very, very important not only for Sil Peraz, but all dwarfkind, who were begining to pull themselves out of that dark age when they had been driven from their ancestral homes by Craterspawn and Lava.

The gates opened, and the dwarves were allowed entry through the thick carved doors, inlaid with precious stones which showed a fanciful depiction of the flight of the dwarves from their lava-consumed city.  After that, it was a few minutes of walking through a dark tunnel, and then blinding light as they emerged into Sil Peraz proper.  rows of pastures filled the valley and cattle and other livestock grazed placidly, looking up only briefly as the Oni walked past them.  Cut into the very walls of the mountains themselves were terraced fields that grew the crops that fed the people of the city that filled the back third of the valley.  Mighty statues of dwarves stood as sentinels over the main entrance to the city, easily twenty feet tall and decorated almost garishly with large gemstones on their helms, armor and weapons.  Beyond the statues, majestic buildings rose up, covered with artwork.  It truly was a golden city.

2 AP:  Nourish Populace:  Sil Peraz is a beacon of wonder!

 ~Desert Wastes~

 
Krr'Ree'E tensed as the humans touched her, babbling their strange meat-language and making generally excited noises.  She then gaped in wonder and joy as her Second was healed, somehow, by those they had just saved.  After her Second assured her that she was fine, Krr'Ree'E turned to face the survivors.  There was no way they could live in this heat, and there was no reason to assume that those that had chased them would not return if they left.  And with no way to communicate with them, she couldn't exactly ask them what they wanted or where they were going.  

After a moment, she decided that her mother would know.  She opened her mouth and scratched out a word she remembered from before.

"Kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhm"  She rasped, gesturing with her arms in the direction back to Krr.  When the survivors made no move to follow, she gestured again and said "kkkhhuummm" again, trying to force meat-sounds to come out of her mandibles.  She waved to her pack, and they began to try and herd the humans to travel with them.

~Eternal Volcano~

The Agni'Vohda rose after Timmy had been silent for some time.

"You have nothing?  Nothing at all of value?  This is... strange, Nix.  Everyone comes with something.  Very well.  You are clearly here because you wish help, and what say you to this deal.  At some point, you will discover something of value.  When you do, it belongs to the Vohda.  If we are agreed, you may approach the lip of the platform and speak your need into the Caldera itself.  The Vohda will hear, and if your need is acceptable, one will come to join you."

 
---The Moot---

Cantorix nodded solemly, letting the aches in his body give him strength. He would need it.

"I will come..."

The statement carried more weight than the Mootstone.

"The Moot can not last forever, Paren." 

---Sil Peraz--- 

The story had worked it seemed. Funny, how the truth can be so easily wielded for deception.... Well, it was mostly true. There were a few details out of place, but that was how the story was remembered, and how King Gargarim told it to his stewards. And to his credit, the story was true... as far as he knew.

The leading Oni shook with ravenous hunger and pleasure. Sil Peraz... it was greater than any city he knew. It was a fine place to build a palace, and then an empire.

And so it was, that Hassan stepped into the gilded halls of Sil Peraz.

OOC
Why not? Create Exarch (1AP): The demigod Gargarim, grandson of Thereus, walks the earth, bringing light and wisdom to the dwarves. But he is indeed aging.


---The Desert Wastes---

The cultists quickly caught on, and obeyed with enthusiasim. If the Chitrachs had led them to the Plane of Fire and asked them to jump in, they would have. Many of them supported themselves on their escorts, almost shambling. Only the wizened elf walked on the strength of his own two feet, and he did his best to keep pace with Krr'Ree'E. He faultered at times.

The party crossed the very crest of the dune, and vanished into the desert, farther than any human had ever been.

---The Eternal Volcano---

Timmy could have cared less for trinkets and bobbles. They all turn to... ash... eventually. He kept a hawk-eyed vigil at the Agni'Vodha, suspicious of his sudden generosity.

"Agreed," he whispered.

The young Nix turned and soundlessly approached the blazing edge of the Caldera. Fierce, searing winds flared up and soared towrds the broken volcano's mouth. His cloak strained, and then snapped at the collar, taken up and into the clouds. He cautiously peered over the edge.

Ironic, that the magma appeared like a frozen lake with plates of black ice and churning water beneath. How could anything spend a few hours down here, let alone years?! He could practically feel his muscles roasting beneath his thick fur coat, which was singed at the tips. Involuntary tears came to his eyes.

"Warriors of the Deep! Champions of the early years of the world, when good and evil gathered in armies to dwarf the seas! I have come here at the behest of legends and myths of your skill seeking your aid. I have been charged by the Divine to journey farther north than even the Crown itself. It will be a perilous journey through uncharted wildlands and places best left forgotten, places infested with Remorhaz, Oni, Nightwalker, bandits, and possible even greater threats. Those who travel with me will be under the eyes of the gods and near their favor!"

"This is no task for the helpless, the cowardly, or the weak. Death will stalk our every step, and glory awaits those who endure! Would any stand with me, or are the legends of ages past without merit?"

 

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

~The Chase~

The First Battlefield was porous and filled with blackened, festering holes of GodMountainFire, a thousand thousand tunnels that formed the perfect hideout for TASOE to remain unseen. Yet TASOE knew it was still vulnerable, rent from a divine body as it was. It drew still as the flames of Agni passed overhead, closely followed by a smattering of petals -- the intangible body of that strange entity, Sa.

Eons of schemes had taught TASOE with patience. Not so for Agni, and TASOE wasn't sure about Sa, but it knew it was only a matter of time before Agni got impatient. And when Agni got impatient, things started to burn. Including, perhaps, TASOE. That was not an ideal outcome.

The seekers knew about his husks. The Deceiver, The Mountain, The Shadow. The seekers know about its minions. The Vain and The Liar. It could not hide here, among the ground, forever.

It needed a new body -- and the appearence of a new god would no doubt raise alltogether too much suspicion.

Something deep within the roiling, oily mass of TASOE clicked. The Light God, Urru. TASOE extended his senses, and in short time, found where the god of Light and Lightning was slumbering.

TASOE peeked a tendril above ground, saw the coast was clear (for the moment), and flew off towards the East, where it sensed the Light God.


----

"Yesssssss, we see the spiritsssssss. Hurry, it goesssssss towardsssssss the eastern windsssssss".

A brief flurry of petals pushed Agni eastward, then hurried along past him. "Come, lord of flamesssssss".

Secret AP

AP
- 5
[Secret] Create Exarch -- Before approaching the Godsmeet, Sa created a mindless exarch in the form and shape of Urru. This sleeping "godhusk" is what TASOE is racing towards, too panicked to notice the few subtle differences between this husk and the real Urru (who is in parts unknown).
~The Moot~

Of course the Moot cannot last forever, Cantorix.  Do you not already sense it dissapating?  This task is for the six of us only.

And Paren was correct.  Around them, the Moot was slowly breaking up, the song quieting down as a few dragons here and there took wing and flew off.  Here and there a few clusters of dragonkind stood in conversation as their kin left, but no longer was the lake-filled valley crowded with draconic bodies.  Some of the dragons, particularly the Orange and Azure, who had prior experience with two-legged mortals approached the Dragonborn, and they began to discuss plans for the first Dragonborn city.

I am glad we are all in agreement.  Cantorix, we must enter the Abyss, and it seems only logical that the best place to enter it would be at the very site from which it was torn from this world.  You and the Ebon dragons have long held secret the location of this scar on reality, but now I fear we must travel there.

 ~Desert Wastes/ Krr~

 
And so it was that the cultists were led deep into the boundless sands of the desert.  Krr'Ree'E and her second briefly discussed blindfolding the cultists, but after a tense debate, decided to let them walk free.  It wasn't as if there was any defining landmarks to help them navigate.

Soon, they reached the entry portal and climbed down into the tunnel leading to Krr.  Krr'Ree'E heard the sighs of relief as the cold air washed over the cultists.  Down the tunnel they went, past the doors and failsafes to protect the city against another eruption of the Endless Volcano, and finally into the city/hive itself.  Krr'Ree'E led the cultists along the sloping path and to the palace, in which her mother waited.  Krr'Ree'E approached her mother, climbing up a twisting ramp to reach her head where they could talk in private.  Krr'Ree'E explained how she had found these meat-creatures being attacked by others and how she had brought them here.

«I thought it would be an opportunity to try our new creations»  She said softly to her mother.

The queen's eyes glowed slightly as she thought.  After a moment, she replied.

«Yes.  If what you say is correct, no one will miss these flesh-things if things go poorly.»

Krr'Ree'A made a few communicative shifts with her body, and the males that tended her scurried off, hopping onto the shoulders of the guards and relaying messages.  Quietly, the guards began to surround the cultists.

Krr'Ree'E climbed down from the pillar and, as she stepped onto the ground once more, paused as two males raced to her, holding a chest between the two of them and trying not to drop it.

«Thank you, little ones.»  She said to the males, who bowed and chittered a high reply before bounding back to her Mother's body.

Krr'Ree'E opened the chest and reached inside, carefully lifting the thing inside into the light.  A long insect, resembling a dark millipede with a highly developed head (if such things were nearly a foot long and had a diameter of three inches, rested in her arms, legs and tentacles waving softly in the air.  Krr'Ree'E walked forward and held out the insect to one of the cultists.  It was clear the Chitrach wanted him to take it.

1 AP:  Spawn Creature:  Translator Bugs:  Long, millipede-esque creations of the Chitrachs that allow for communication between species... after a fashion.

~Eternal Volcano~

Silence answered the Nix as he stared into the depths.  After a long moment, the voice of the Agni'Vohda rang out behind him.

"As I said, we are retired.  Most appeals for assistance are not answered, especially not ones that promise... peril.  Good luck on your journey, but -"

"I'll go."  A new voice said, as a smaller Agni'Vohda appeared, climbind out of the depths of the caldera and landing gently on the glass platform.  "I've always wanted to see the north."

The Agni'Vohda approached Timmy.  "Plus, this means I get to decide what the Vohda gain from this journey.  I guess I'm your army.  Name's Firebrand."

~Verandrel~

And as the King's Fist approached the Forest, they were met by a large group of crystaline beings, who stood silently, barring the way into the forest proper.


~Somewhere... Esle~

Galfe coughed and hacked in the strange air that seemed barely capable of supporting life.  He had wandered the purple-mist-shrouded halls of this place for what seemed like days, finding door after door that seemed to lead to more halls and corridors.

He was growing certain that he was going in circles.

~The Chase~

Agni spun and changed direction instantly, for such were the benefits of being a God.  For the briefest of moments, the God wondered where Azgo had gotten himself off to, but the reappearance of the Slimy-slick Spirits, visible in the distance for the barest fraction of a moment, banished all thoughts but chase and destroy from his mind.  
---The Crown---

It was a majestic place.

 Azure ice glimmered with the soft flare of mithril and gemstone. Gentle sunlight flowed into the icy pillars, painting the ice a rosewater red in the dusk. Pillars carved into the exact likeness of angels lifted the arched roof with a natural ease as if they had always been here and had only been recently freed from their icy prison. There was a warmth here despite the cold. The flow of primal energies was calming to the point of alienation with the tightness of your skin and the weight of your organs. Like the cradle of a god carved into the mountains...

A tentative step fell upon the ice, a cumbersome steel boot smeared with all manner of blood and filth.  A disgusting yellow tint reflected off the wall's mirror surface with gnarled faces. The dripping rythem of blood bounced about with an unbridled energy. The angel statues almost turned away from the... abomination.

Azgo stopped just outside of the entrance. It was as if the weight of the world was wretching on his body, tearing it down. How many times had he come this close? So close? A surge of emotions rushed through him: bitterness, hate, lust for vengence, righteous anger, and a metalic taste of regret. If he had any other option...

He took a deep breath and bulked himself up. His fingers curled tightly around the Grand Scepter. 

He didn't. It was the right path, the neccessary path, the only path. The First Demands it, and Azgo demanded it.

Azgo took one step, and then another, and another, and another untill his pace was a harmonious mix between an eager bloodlust and divine, ancient grace. The entrance hall was a long corridor of   murals and icy scenery depicting the creation of the world. The rising of continents at mere whims, the planting of forests seed by precious seed, the light of the sun combing the darkness for life, and the assembly of the gods... The Firstborn in all their mysterious glory themortals praised them for. Azgo's steps cracked the ice, sending unnatural shrieks from the floor as primal magics were tossed aside.

They recognized him, he could feel their presence. A legion of spirits unlike the souls of the mortals flowed  to the colossal glaceril double doors. The runes carved into the door since the first few turnigns of the world pulsed with an astral aurora, daring him to proceed. the faint image of a horned knight wavered in the door.

With all the power of an earthquake and the momentum of a raging river, Azgo charged into the door. Azgo's wardrum hearts beat ferociously, squirting blood from behind his milky eyes as he screamed. The brass maul was lifted, and then fell with monumental weight upon the doors.

The ice shattered, scattering thousands of razor ice blocks and splinters hurtling into the atrium. The glacier forged door-frames crashed and bounced across the floor in an avalanche, breaking dozens of statues effortlessly. A heavy mist shrouded the doorway as the screech of ruptured ice died.

A slow black haze chewed through the mist, swallowing the sparkling ice flakes left in the air. Primal spirits were dragged, squirming and screaming, into the haze. Their radient souls blackened, withered, and dried up into an empty husk left peeling on the floor.

A wounded abomination of a god stepped out from the black haze. Blood seeped freely from his eyes and from the scar tissue torn out from his brow. The blood poured unto the god-plate armor and pooled on the floor. The light glowing naturally in the atrium slowly corrupted into a poisonous scarlett.

"Greetings, dear sister."



 

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

---The Moot---

Cantorix prepared for flight, flexing the fresh scar tissue enwrapped about his skin.

"Were I you, Paren I would not fear the Abyss."

Mighty leathery wings flapped and sent small gusts skimming across the cold water's surface. Cantorix    hovered over the other dragons. His tail flicked for them to follow him westward.

"Fear what lurks within..."

And Cantorix took off at such a pace that it would have been foolishness to guess the fear that hid beneath his scars. 

---Krr---

The cultists moved like sheep through the hive grounds. They bumbled, paused, and occasionally wandered off, eager to see and smell and hear and touch. Their meaty voices were obviously filled with the pitch of excitement and awe... but to the subtle of hearing, there was another tone. Not arrogant, nor domineering, but... possesive. Familiarity. They spoke like a braother-in-law come to see his prodigal family and admire their success

The cultists were begining to break down however. Their bodies were worn and battered. Sand was entrentched in their nostrils and around the rims of their eyes. Their muscles were atrophied, and skeletal frames stretched the skin.

The wizened elf took the millipede-creature, curious but oddly calm with insects. The creature scurried up his arm and around his shoulders, and hung there like a chitinous scarf.

---The Eternal Volcano---

Timmy grimaced thinly, trying hard not to look him in the... "eye". In his own way, he didn't want any Agni'Vodha to join him. How many had died on his account? Too many...

"Firebrand, yes? You do your people... and the gods, much glory."

The sentence hung there in the blistering air, awkwardly. Timmy shifted his weight, knowing he had acomplished something but not what exactly. What now? He had always looked out for himself, on his own initiative, since the great fire. Now he was looking after two.

Timmy motioned with his head.

"Well then... Lets-uhhh-Let's get out... of... here. I guess."

 

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

~The Chase~

Following Sa was proving... unsettling, for Agni. The god of flowers had no real body, but it still existed, and often, as Agni felt he might be gaining on the fleeing TASOE, he found himself stumbling into the divine manifestation of Sa, delaying the two as they quickly untangled themselves.

It happened time and time again. Eventually, Agni grew suspicious. Was Sa intentionally slowing their chase? What could it have to gain from--

"Still it fleesssssss"

Agni and Sa watched as TASOE suddenly leapt from the ground, coiling and rolling through the air, shooting like an arrow towards one of the Suns. Wait, no, that wasn't the sun, that was... the Light Lord?

With a cry of triumph, TASOE reached its target and vanished into the brilliant godflesh. Within moments, Urru's forward motion was halted, and the godling spun, jerkedly, around. TASOE's baleful gaze gleamed out of the Light God's eyes.

With that, the chase came to a sudden halt.

"Stop. Back away. Unless you will that the young god of Light fall, an innocent casualty of your murderous ways."

TASOE's voice dripped with inky Darkness. There was no doubt; this, then, was the being which had imprisoned Agni in the Godmountain.
~GodCrater's old location~

There were only a few crags of stone that reached out of the sea that seemed continually tossed by gale-force winds against which the dragons fought with all their might.  It was with considerable effort that they managed to all land on one of the larger rocks, gripping tightly so as to be blown off.  

"Where did this storm come from?  One moment it was blue skies, and now this!" Morenth shouted over the rain and wind.  

Paren looked over at Correloth, who nodded once.

I would say we are at the very site where the Abyss lies closest to the world.  Here, and only here, may we enter.  But to reach it, I fear we have a much more difficult journey ahead.  You see, the seals placed by the Gods and by the Corruptor on the Abyss are sealed so tight we cannot get there from this place.  We must go by... another route.

 
A long moment passed before Morenth gasped:  "You couldn't possibly-"

Yes.  To get there, we must die.
GodCrater's Old Location

One of the dragons, a gold with a particularly fierce demeanor, stepped forward at the words. Or perhaps it was more appropriate to say he scurried forward, for the wind and the slickness of the rocks made it difficult to gain purchase, and he sort of scrabbled his nails against the rock. The dragon, who's name, much to the amusement of his peers, was Sneferu, tossed his majestic head as nobly as he could with his dragon-whiskers slapping him maddeningly in the face. And then he spoke with the most resonant voice he could muster.

"Surely not! There must be another way!"

He appealed to the rest of the dragons, huddled as they were against the storm-tossed stone.

"We are the mighty dragons! Greatest of any race, living or dead! We laugh at the ground when we beat our wings! We laugh at the wind when we breath our fires! Those too were wrought by godly hands, why should this be any different?"

He laughed, as though to demonstrate his point. 
---Southwest Ocean---

Cantorix sat quietly on the godforsaken outcrop with his back turned to the others, lost in thought. The rain lashed heavily, thick as hail, and the winds threatened to push them into the seas. Cantorix watched the distant lightning cast its cloak across the clouds.

He could not help but scoff at Sneferu. He glanced breifly at Morenth. The word "Fool" was practically written across his irises. Then his lonely gaze returned to the thrashing ocean, and he waited for a decision.

---Verandrel---

The King's Fist loosed themselves into a skirmishing formation. A light breeze flowed over the soon-to-be battlefeild and their robes wavered in the wind. The mages' faces were cold, in both senses of the word.

At some invisible signal, three of the mages stepped forward and held out their hands with authority. The tattoos on thier bodies suddenly glowed with violet light, and the outlines moved across the skin with organic fluidity like flowers caught in the wind.

The ground shook and a fissure snapped open beneath some of the crystaline warriors. With a roar that dimmly mimicked an angel's scream, spectacular geysers of acid blasted some of them into the air. More and more geysers erupted sporadicaly, and wide brooks of scalding chemicals sunk into the porous earth. Grasses shriveled, trees snapped under their own weight, and the meadow had swiftly become a hellish marsh.

The over seventeen mages began sprinting full force at the beings, their hands drawing lances of fire and lightning from thin air and their faces emotionlessly cold.

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

~The Ocean~

Morenth, although still agitated from Paren's statment, couldn't help but chuckle (the noise of which was lost to the storm) at the expression that flashed across Cantorix's face at the heretofore-silent Gold's words.  Despite his prickly personality, she liked this dragon, perhaps as much because of his orneryness as despite it.  

"You know nothing, Summer's child,"  She shouted back at the Gold.  "You and yours are the only ones of Dragonkind that have never faced hardship.  My kind was decimated at the Eternal Volcano.  The Blacks fled from this very spot moments before it vanished.  The Oranges were born to combat, and Paren has obviously paid the steepest of prices.  The Whites were born unable to think, driven by mindless rage.  And the Azure saw most of their number swallowed by a monster, within whose gullet they fought a seemingly unwinnable battle for survival.  Only you and yours have been spared this.  We are but pawns of the Gods, we move as they will.  And if Paren here states that this is the only way, then it is.  If I must join my kin beyond the veil, then so be it."

She turned to Paren and nodded her assent.  The White, after a long moment, shrugged and silently nodded as well.  

I fully anticipate that those of us who survive the... attentions... of the Abyss will return to our bodies and live once more.  Paren said to all of them.  If you prefer, we can call it something else.  A deep sleep, perhaps.  But so long as our souls can find their way back, we will not perish on this journey.  But, once more, this is the last point in which you can back out, so if you wish to, do so.

~Krr~

The insect lay still for a moment, legs gently settling themselves so that the bulk of the beast rested as unobtrusively as possible on the man's shoulders.  Finally, the head, adorned with tentacles that waved langidly in the air, rose from where it had settled near the man's throat.  

With a sudden surge of motion, the head surged forward, sharp teeth suddenly appearing in a tiny mouth that burrowed into the flesh just under the man's adam's apple.  Blood flowed freely as the man, too shocked to cry out, flinched backwards, trying to get away from the thing draped around his neck.  As soon as a hole into the esophagus was created, the insect pushed tight against it, latching on with tiny clawed hooks as a strange membranous tissue was revealed on the back of the head.  The largest tentacle reached upwards and touched the man's temple, and the man grunted once more as, with a flash of light, the tentacle fused with the man's skin.

"We are sorry for that."  Krr'Ree'A said, leaning down to inspect the man.  "We actually had no idea how exactly that would work.  Do you understand us?"

And, as it turned out, the man did.

~Eternal Volcano~

Firebrand sneered.

"Leave the Gods out of this.  They never have done a thing for my people, other than get them killed.  Why should we worship beings who ignore us, then kill us indiscriminantly?  Pointless waste of time, I say.  But yes, lead on.  What did you say your name was again?"

~Somewhere... Else~

Galfe had gone over the moment he had been kidnapped (for he was certain that that was what had happened) a hundred times or more in his head as he had stumbled around the strange manor complex that he found himself trapped in.  To be honest, he had recalled far less than he had hoped.  It had all happened so very, very quickly.  There had been... a chill... to the air, a hand... a purple hand?  Yes, purple, and finely scaled, grabbing his arm and pulling him, harder than he had known possible.  He had fallen backwards, through a portal, seen a glimpse of glowing yellow eyes and a toothy grin, and then... nothingness, until he had woken here.

Wearily, he pushed open another door, and froze.

A corpse lay before him.

Galfe ran forward and turned over the body of the Azer and gasped in dismay.  It was Hrundi, General of the Flame Brigade and who had been the only person keeping the army from fragmenting... until he had disappeared mysteriously, and the situation in Sil Arkesh had deteriorated.  His throat had been cut from ear to ear.

A creak in the hallway behind him.

Galfe turned to see a purple hand wrap itself around the edge of the doorframe, long fingers seeming to bend the wood as it grasped it tightly.  Galfe spun about, saw another door on the far wall, and started running.

AP

1 AP:  Spawn Exarch/Superbeast:  The Azer Boogeyman.  The principle antagonist behind Sil Arkesh's woes.  Purple-skinned with glowing yellow eyes, sharp teeth and long, claw-tipped fingers.
 

~Frozen Lake~

Giroth stared down at the frozen ice that covered what had once been his home.  What had happened?  And was Galfe, his brother, even still alive?

~The Chase~

Agni stopped, but not due to any loyalty to the God of Light, whose company he had only kept for a few brief minutes long, long ago.  Fire was superior, after all, providing Light and more.  

No, Agni stopped because at long last, their quarry had spoken, and the voice that it spoke with sent a chill though the soul of the God.  That voice was the one that had trapped him.  Here it was then.  Proof that the evils that had been plaguing the world, and the Gods for so long were all created by the same... thing.

Do you think the blood of a God would be enough to stop me from getting my revenge?      Agni spat out gobs of angry magma at Urru's body, forcing the ball of light to drift away.   I think not.  What are you... and...       Agni's many mouths grinned as he said his favorite phrase...  Are you flammable?
---Southwest Ocean---

Cantorix spoke over his shoulder, still watching the lightning drawing closer to their sanctuary. 

"Do what you must, Paren."

The darkness slinking in the distance was suddenly scattered by a cobalt bolt, only moments later to reclaim its posession as if nothing had happened. And only the whimper of thunder was left to those who could hear it and one day forget it. Cantorix swallowed bitterly.

Perhaps the dragons would be no different.

Glorious one day...

And gone the next. 

---Krr---

The man fell to his knees, attempting to cough. His thin arms shook under his own weight, and his chest buckled.

"Gaaagghhh! The... pain. Augh. The pain..."

The man covered the insect where it peirced his neck, small amounts of blood and saliva flowing between his fingers. After a few seconds, he looked up suprisedly at the Chitrachs. His head was spinning, and the corners of his vision were flush with darkness. Had they... 

"What?" he moaned in the insectoid tounge. His voice vibrated within his throat, and felt as if someone were playing an instrument inside of him... using his muscles as strings.

The other cultists gasped from shock, but were rather calm about the entire situation.  They worshiped the Wounded One, and as such, they had seen worse. Much worse. 

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

The Ocean

Sneferu looked dejectedly around at the other dragons, searching for sympathy in those face and found none. Each face was as stony and determined as the rocks upon which they clung, beaten down by the rain and the hardships they faced. And Sneferu hung his head. It was fear, after all, just as much as pride that had lead him to speak out as he had done. Fear, like the pounding winds, had beaten him down and now shame at his own cowardliness drove him even further to desperation.

"Please... Morenth..." said Sneferu, he must make her understand, he had to, "I do not wish to die this day..."
~The Chase~

Not-Urru quivvered. In rage? Fear?

"We are not to be trifled with. This is your last warning!" The god flittered back and forth. Urru's body made it hard to tell what it was thinking, beyond the malice dripping from every word that was.


A rush of flowers spun in flurries arouind both Agni and Not-Urru.

"We think it isssssss nothing more than a bundle of cowardice and fearsssssss. Since it emerged into thisssssss world, it hasssssss alwaysssssss hidden behind the facesssssss of othersssssss."

Sa's petals suddenly hung motionless, swiveled such that each directly pointed at Urru. "By all meansssssss, Agni, let usssssss see if it burnsssssss"
~Krr~

Krr'Ree'E rocked back and forth on her feet in a dance of joy.

"It worked!"  She exclaimed.   After a moment as she watched the man continue to grunt and whimper in agonized pain, she looked to her mother.  "The next breeding goal needs to be reducing the pain caused by the joining.  But this is an excellent step forward."

Krr'Ree'E stepped towards the man.

"As you have no doubt guessed by now, you are now the first human to understand us without the need for magic.  Our little creation here picks up our voices and translates them by feeding the impulses directly into the hearing portions of your brain, while the air of your voice is manipulated and used to speak in our tongue.  But your language is not taken from you.  Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth."

The man did so, and felt the insect release his vocal chords.  He coughed a few times, blood flecking his face as he did so.

"If you would be so kind to tell your companions to follow my sister, Krr'Ree'O?"  She gestured to another Chitrach standing near a side door.  "She will see that you are made comfortable.  Before you go, however, would you mind staying and answering some questions?  You see, we have no idea what to feed you, or what other amenities you may require.  Furthermore, we want to know all about how the Bug feels.  And we should talk about the circumstances by which we found you, of course.  Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth to awaken the Bug."

~Southwest Ocean~

Morenth sighed.

"Sneferu, Paren was very clear.  If you do not wish to do this, you do not have to.  I am afraid to die as well, but Paren has been our ally in the past, and I do not think that he would steer us wrong now.  Yet, if you will not go with us, perhaps you could stay to guard us?"

Morenth paused, then turned to her Azure companion.

"You've been quiet.  What are your thoughts?"


~The Chase~

I thought you'd never ask.    
Agni said, laughing as he opened his myriad mouths.

Within Agni's core, the link to the plane of Eternal Fire was opened, and the white-hot fire of that place was released, blasting free of Agni's open mouths in a wave of heat and fire that washed over the current hiding place of TASOE.  The Not-Urru screamed in pain, and the souls within it cried out in anger, black ichor spewing from cracks in Urru's form to form a protective shield around their erzatz body, providing a moment of cover before being boiled away, but always replaced by more.

And then the earth began to shake.  Agni's eyes looked around, and finally spotted a massive rocky mountain-that-moved bearing towards them.

The Stone-Lord...  He breathed in surprise as he recognized the approaching God.   

But his one-time child with Pruinus had been changed.  Gone was the noble beauty of Stone, the meeting place of Fire and Ice.  Instead, the God was slick with mold and mildew, which covered its body in a toxic cushion of blues and greens and browns.  Gone too was the purpose that had once shone within the God's eyes, in fact, gone were the eyes, replaced by pulsing sacks filled with poisonous spores that threated at any moment to burst free.

As Agni increased his attack on TASOE, He shouted at Sa.

 
Do something about that!
~Southwest Ocean~

Lucan snorted. "I have seen the death and subsequent resurrection of my people. She lends me no fear now. Let us do this, and our mark on history be secured."

~The Chase~

Sa was reacting before Agni had even began to speak. Petals flared out, some arcing into Onus' hide like tiny arrows, others darting up into the air and gathering a mirror-like sheen, reflecting sunlight at the approaching godcorpse.

And then Sa held its position, doing nothing as Onus lumbered close and closer. But each step of the great stone god was heavier and came slower, and it was a good many moments before Agni pierced together what was happening -- Onus' rotting, festering bulk... was in bloom! The hulking God had slowed almost to a stop, so innundated with blooming flowers. They bloomed despite (or perhaps, because of), the rot of his body, and though each flower alone was next-to insignificant, their combined weight was immense -- enough to bring the stone god to a standstill.

But Not-Urru wasted no time. It pushed forward, directly toward's Agni's fire. (What did it care? Pain was temporary, and this body was not its own) It grappled with the fire god (despite neither being having arms, per se). Its dark presence pulsed, and Agni was in a cave again, alone and dark. "Die." spat TASOE. "Die alone and withered, you inflammable hulk".

Sa turned to watch as Agni's eyes glazed over, the god in the throes of some mental battle. For the moment, Sa did nothing.
---Krr---

The aged elf stood shocked. He faintly festered toward the other Chitrach and coughed up a command to the other cultists. The ...creation still felt horridly unnatural, even if it was indeed mundane.

"Go with that one.. Krr...Ro-rrr.We are safe here."

Even if he understood the name it was hard to pronounce it in the human tounge. The others, moderately unsettled, began walking with high heads. 

"Ask your questions then, child of the Blooded King, and I will answer."

The elf followed Krr-Ree'E, answering any question she had, often quoting the words of ancient priests still recorded from the time of the first believers. 

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

The Ocean

Sneferu's fear and innate pride born of being a dragon battled briefly across his face. But it hardened into resolve almost immediately. It would not be he who sullied the shining name of gold dragonkind.

"Forgive me my moment of weakness, Morenth," said Sneferu, bowing his head, "It was unbecoming. I shall accompany you into whatever darkness awaits us."
~Krr~

OOC
  I'm pretty happy with this as it is.  Forgotten, feel free to post anything else you want, but I'm pretty content wrapping up this part of the storyline.



And so it was that religion came to Krr, and safety came to the Cultists of Azgo.   Deep within the bug-infested caverns, hymns of praise to Azgo, crafted in tongues both flesh and chitin, filled the air, echoing through labyrinthine corridors.  

One by one, the cultists were fitted with Translator Bugs, and over time more humans came to live with the Chitrachs.  These received newer bugs which demanded less of their hosts, were more responsive to subtelties in human and chitrach voices, and, as a benefit, hurt quite a bit less, at least after the initial implantation.

~Ocean~

Then we are decided.  Very well.  Give me a moment to prepare us for the journey.  First, we must be protected from this storm.

A tear in the fabric of the universe opened above them, and fire and magma poured out of the portal to the Source of All Fire.  Paren wove the magma expertly, placing it just as the storm cooled it to obsidian.  First he extended the reach of the platform itself, making it possible for them all to stand easily, if not for the wind.  Walls were next, struggling to rise against the storm and doing so in fits and starts as the obsidian cooled, hardened and broke away from the stress, only to be replaced moments later by a new layer, building on the ruins of the old to grow taller.  Soon, the stormwinds ceased to buffet the dragons, and, one by one, they let go of the earth and stood normally.  Higher the walls went, slowly bending towards one another until a half-sphere of a roof of black stone shielded them from the rain.  The circle of sky above them diminished above them, the stone stopping when a small circle of sky was still visible, just in the center of the now mostly-enclosed room.  Rain still poured down, but Paren turned his attention to the floor next, scouring it smooth as the other dragons danced to avoid the fire.  He then carved channels in the floor, allowing the water to flow away from the center in six small rivers, each inlaid with a precious stone the color of one of the six dragons, drawn from the beyond.  The rivers poured out of holes left in the bottom of the circular walls, ensuring the room would not be flooded.

One by one, Paren had the dragons move away from one of the seven divisions of the room.  As they moved, Paren would draw forth a massive stone altar of the color of one of the dragonkinds.  When the altar was in place within the segment, the dragon of the appropriate color would leap upon it and sit.  One by one the dragons were given their altars, and one by one they sat upon them, until all that was left was the single unused segment.  Paren eyed the segment for long moment, then willed a final wave of magma through the Portal.  A blinding flash filled the chamber, and as it faded, the dragons beheld a stone depection of one of their kind, inlaid with a rainbow of colors, and clearly meant to represent all of them.

Nodding to himself, Paren turned to the others.

We are ready.  These altars will keep our bodies intact and undefiled, no matter how long it takes us to reach the Sun and bring it back.  So do not fear, our bodies wait for us.   Now, let us go to our destination.

The portal winked out, but not before releasing a smooth metal ball, that began to drop towards the water below.   Yet, before it could reach the pool of water, lightning fell from the heavens, through the hole in the roof and struck the ball before darting out and striking each dragon in the chest, driving the life force from them instantaneously.  As their heads began to fall, the altars beneath them hummed and a field of magic surrounded their bodies, keeping them in the regal positions they had been holding moments earlier.

The ball fell, hit the pool, and the lightning died.

~The Great Beyond~

One by one the dragons appeared in the inky darkness, each in some degree of shock at their demise.

We must hurry.  The god of the Dead does not suffer visitors.   Paren warned.  Grunting, he opened up another Portal.  

Fire streamed out, cutting into the darkness and driving it away, revealing the underlying ylem of the plane of death itself.

There.   Paren pointed at a purplish bruise/scab that was not far from there.    We must enter through there.

The dragons flew to the bruise and attacked it with their powers, and soon the bruise broke open.  But instead of something flowing out to them, they were sucked into it.  As the last dragon disappeared through the cut, it sealed itself behind them, and the Abyss was quiet once more.

~The Abyss~

We've arrived.   Paren said. 



~Chase~

The Evil presence(s) lashed out at Agni, trying to drive him deeper and deeper within his core until he could be surrounded and snuffed out like an errant candleflame.  Agni, in the shape of just such a flame, retreated wildly before the onrushing darkness, truly believing himself trapped within the dark cave once more.   Behind him chased an inky mass of darkness that seemed even blacker than the surrounding cave, racing after its prey.

But wait.  Agni was not in a cave.  Agni was fighting!  This was a fight!  And he was losing, because he ran.  The God stopped its motion into the cave, turned, and faced its pursuer.

A burst of red-tinged light washed over Agni-Within-Agni, and suddenly the candleflame was replaced by an Agni'Vohda, carrying a sword of fire and wearing a talisman of dark metal, etched in bright red, but obviously incomplete.

No.  I will not.     Agni said to his foe of darkness.   I will not wither and die.  It is you that I shall drive out of my mind and destroy, you spirits of Evil!


PP


2 PP:  Nourish/Guide Populace(s):  The Chitrachs become Azgo-worshipers, and the Cultists make a home in Krr.  This is beneficial to both groups.

1 PP:  Command Land:  A temple of sorts raises around the dragons, as within their bodies sleep, awaiting their return.



~The Chase~

If there were a word to describe the state of Sa's petals, the best attempt would be, vacillating.

The Spirits had fallen into the first part of its trap, but now, they attacked Agni, unwittingly delaying their doom. Sa could act... and martyr Agni in the process.

No... No... better to let the fire god finish its fight with the creature. The remainder of the trap would spring, regardless of the victor of the internal conflict.

After all, Sa had Prophecied it would be so.

~Agni's Inner Monologue~

Around him, the darkness laughed.

"What mortal creature is this? You would flee into such a weak mortal body?" The darkness rumbled. "Do you not remember this?"

And suddenly The Agni within Agni'vohda was simply one among many such flames, a charge of furious Vohda. But so too, appeared the Godmountain.

*THUNDER*

The Behemoth's fist clapped down, and a dozen dozen sparks sputtered and died. Behind him, the Eternal Volcano erupted, sending more sparks into the lava of their doom.

"These mortals are battered! Broken! Our minion killed this race, and now it will again kill their god!"

The Godmountain rumbled forward, and the Fist raised for a second strike.

"Die." spat TASOE. "Die cold and lightless, you fleeting wisp."
---Verandrel---

The skirmishes continued on the western front of the island for months. The border between the forest and the sparse hills of the dwarves became a bruised, war torn marshland littered with the bodies of humans and crystalines sinking together into the bloated mud. Stony fortresses soon appeared overnacross where the land was solid, keeping a cold vigil over the thin marshland. Occasionally patrols of mercenaries and guardsmen marched out from the thick gates and into the wilds. And only occasionally did they return.

In response to the unexpected resistance, new fleets of ships sailed out around the island. Colonies sprang up like weeds, suffered, and left only ruins in their wake. But a few survived, and grew into ports, and then flourished as cities. The waterways between the islands swelled with new ships and lumber gathered from the other isles. The spirits of the Itholians were soaring high, and their wrath was gathering like a storm over the forbidden forest.

---Krr---

The elder priest  bent down, and plucked the luminescent flower out of the sandy garden, admiring its azure glow in the near darkness. His hands reflected the pale light, casting a alien tint on his wrinkled skin.

"So we are the light in the darkness." He whispered. The flower seemed to smile.

the priest gathered a small bundle of the flowers, secretly dead that they could not remain there forever. A sudden voice boomed from around the corner.

"Brother Gylderstan? Is that-"

The priest threw the flowers into the air, and clutched at his pounding chest. A cascade of light cast dancing shadows across his cotton robe. The flowers landed lightly in the sand.

"By the Blood of Azgo!! Blast it, boy; you scared me."

Brother Gylderstan leaned heavily against the wall, letting the throbbing come to a gentle close. The translator bug in his throat stirred, and then was still. He licked the inside of his mouth.

The young priest began picking up the flowers off of the flower, hiding his contempt.

"Sorry, brother... Another one's entered the clinic."

"What? At this time of... night?"

"Yes. He's waiting for us now. The others request your presence when you can."

 The elder priest smoothed out his robe, in the hopes that his dignity would heal with its correction. He gestured towards the alleyway.

"Then what in the Abyss are we waiting for?! Let's go."

---The Abyss---

The dim glow of the Great Beyond had vanished, and every dragon soul present could feel the void in the air, in the ground, and in the very fringes of their being. The darkness was almost absolute aside from an unholy flicker within the veins of ice.

A sound bubbled up and out of the darkness, all around them. It was strained and cold... and.... lost. As if it knew that it didn't belong. One of the drastood craned to listen, but it swelled away from them, only returning to the edge of hearing when they thought it was gone.

Cantorix shuddered. So this is what death was like... He felt empty. Disconnected from the binding connections of the flesh. He could feel the corruption around him, and the visage of Azgo imprinted on the insides of his eyelids gathered crisp lines and power in the darkness.

"Welcome to the Abyss..."

OOC
Command Land(1AP): A marshland appears as a result of the magics of the King's Fist. It becomes contested grounds for the territorial war.
Nourish Populace(2AP):Chitrachs. The cultists staying with the Chitrachs confer the blessings of Azgo on the populace with Divine Magics. New gardens of fungus and plants that don't require light spring up around the hive. The humans occupy a section of the hive close to the palace and turn it into a faith-healing clinic and nightshade garden. The cultists begin applying influence on the Chitrachs, egging them closer to war and to breeding inspection war beasts.

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

~Within Agni~

Fear gripped Agni-Vohda's chest and threatened to squeeze the resolve from him.  Agni rolled away from the fist, grimacing as many of the other Vohda were too slow to avoid the attack and perished.  Behind him, he felt more than saw the pyroclastic wave, which seemed to grow larger and larger as it approached from the Eternal Volcano.  If the Godmountain did not kill them, then the cloud surely would, smothering and ripping them apart in moments.  And Agni, for a moment, despaired, stuck between two certain deaths.

No.

This was not how it had been.  The Volcano had erupted later, and the Godmountain...

The Godmountain had burned.

A flash of light shone around Agni, and the talsiman he carried suddenly sported onxy tracings along with the ruby which had been there previously.  Agni turned to face the Godmountain and, pulling back his arm, threw the firey blade at the beast.  The sword turned in three lazy revolutions before landing in the flesh of the Godmountain and sinking into the ichor that protected it.  For a moment, nothing happened.  Then the entire Godmountain caught ablaze in a single instant.  A roar rang out, and reality seemed to shatter under its force, the scene around him breaking apart until once more it was him in the darkness with the Spirits.  The sword reappeared in his hand, longer and brighter than it had been before.

No.  I shall not.  I shall cast you out, TASOE.  Reveal yourself to me.

~Verandrel~

 
The success of the colonies of the Itholians encouraged them to expand even further, exploring more and more of their continent than ever before.  For a time, aside from the constantly simmering war between the Forest and the City, life was good.  So what if wood was a bit more expensive to procure than it 'should' be?  The stone quarries still put out plenty of stone for housing and the colonies were beginning to ship back lumber.  Perhaps the Forest wasn't needed after all.

That is, until the ships began to return from Chubek, most propsperous of the satellite cities with tales of disaster.  The city was destroyed, walls torn down, homes burned or smashed, and corpses lying where they had fallen, many with relatively minor injuries but faces blackened with poison.  It was not until a week after the reports had begun to arrive that the only survivor of the attack was finally brought to High Ithol... a young girl, barely five.   She was barely capable of speech, rocking back and forth holding with her remaining hand a freshly bound but still raw stump where her other arm below the elbow had once been.  The soldiers had found her unconcious and barely alive next to the body of an older man with an axe and, presumably, her blood still on it.  Any possible family resemblance had been lost due to the poison that had distorted the man's face, but the best guesses of the physicians had been that the man had acted to stop the poison from spreading in his daughter in the only way he could moments before his own death.  

The only thing the girl would say was 'snake-men' when asked what had done this to her city.  Eventually, the concesus was that she would be cared for in the hopes that as she recovered, more details would emerge.

In the meantime, however, the ire of High Ithol lifted temporarially from the Forest to deal with this new threat.  Deep inside the forest, however, the Insuannon and Crystallines were hard at work, infusing hollow gourds with powerful and explosive elixers.  Soon, the towers of their enemies would no longer stop them from wiping the humans from their lands.

~The Abyss~

Paren stared into the darkness for a long moment, then, straining to cross multiple planar boundaries, pulled out a small ball of Magma and Obsidian from the Source.  The illumination provided by the makeshift torch seemed tiny compared to the overwhelming darkness that surrounded them like a hungry pack of wolves, just waiting to pounce and devour the light, and the n them.  

Or at least, that's what it felt like.

The light was enough so that the dragons could see in their immediate vicinity. blue and orange and brown splotches of lichen covered the ground, relying on something other than sunlight for nourishment.  The air was humid and yet icy cold, sucking the heat from their flesh at a rapid pace.

We must move.   Paren said to the others, lifting off from the ground and into the large cavern.  It is likely unsafe to stay in one spot for long.  Keep your eyes open and let us find a way out of this place.  Cantorix, I have heard that this place has several layers, each worse than the last.  Can you confirm this? 

2 AP:  Create Populace:  Naga.  Standard Naga except extremely poisonous and capable of turning themselves fully into snakes.  Awoken on one of the other islands by the expanding Itholians and retaliating against human settlements near their ancestral homelands.  
1 AP:  Command Populace:  The Itholians temporarially relax their attention on the forest to deal with the new threat to their colonies.
1 AP:  Command Populace:  The Crystallines and Insuannon are working together to create ways to deliver explosive potions to the battlefield.
---Sunthos Isles---

If there was one thing Admiral Davus loved more than the sight of well-built ship, it was the sight of dawn on the water. Every morning he stood on the bow of his galleon... watching the horizon and feeling the breeze on the cuffs of his jacket. Any onlooker would have said that he dressed finely dressed statute carved out from the hull of the ship herself. There was a long pause as the water slowly melted into soft gold before the sun, and rippled with the promise of days long since passed. What awaited them, those bold ennough to come this far?

The clatter of crewman stirred him from his thoughts. His cloak fluttering in the breeze, Davus turned and walked between the bustle of the crew and the spray of sea salt from between the rails. He would be needed in his cabin shortly.

Davus closed the ornate door behind him. A quick glance over his shoulder warned him that his darling pet was still asleep. He swiftly ruffled through the mounds of parchment on his desktop, leting charts and reports fall to the floor carelessly. A triumphantly look flashed in his eyes was a stained leather notebook emerged out from the ruins of paperwork. his salty hands grabbed hold of it, flipping exactly to the page he had left behind.

In silence, Davus began sketching, eager to capture the natural splendor of the Insuannon behind the iron bars. The poor thing was hardly eating, but the fathers were still glossy as the pearls of the sea floor. He loved sketching. It made for a great focus of his spare time...

 And outside the widows of his cabin, the prows of a hundred ships could be counted, all beating effortlessly into the sea in pursuit.

---Verandrel---

Arggghhhh!!! Outta battery. Tomorrow.

OOC
Command Populace (1AP): Itholians. The king has ordered a new fleet be constructed and an army raised to traverse the path of the ancestors. Their mission is too raid, capture, and explore the condition of the East and report back to the King.
Command Populace (1AP): The dwarves are commissioned by the King to begin undermining the forests in preparation for collapsing sections of heavy resistance. The dwarves reluctantly comply.

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

---The Abyss---

Canorix flinched away from the sudden light. The sheer cold was begining to set into the bones of his soul, chiping away at their sturdiness.

"Confirm? No. But there have been ruminations that it is so."

Cantorix focused inward, feeling his soul clotting together. He felt... off, as if districts of his mind he had long since sealed away were moving with malevolent life. Something was stirring within him from an age-long slumber.

Cantorix lurched as it began to squirm. The Abyss was inside of him, and as such it affected him more than the other dragons. The vast depths of the plane called out to him... with familiarity of an old friend. 

"I can feel it... how far the Abyss goes. It is far enough-"

Cantorix opened his eyes- and gasped. They were surrounded... by dragons. Dozens of the pale wisps had emerged from the darkness and out from their tombs of icy embraces. They flirted on the edge of the firelight, inexplicably drawn and repelled by its otherworldliness. And in the light, the fresh wounds of battle scarred their indistinct souls: gashes the size of trees, necks and joints in impossiple positions, and loose tendons where limbs had once anchored. Horror flashed in Cantorix's sable eyes. He knew some of them... by name.

They were murmering, whispering truely, to themselves.

"Where am I?"

"Guard the flanks.  The dragonspawn musn't escape..."

"Behold the glory of the... dragons.... Behold and be amaz...ed."

"Alone."

"I don't want to die, somebody, anybody... I don't want to die. Azgo, if you can hear me..."

But none of the souls seem connected to the reality around them yet. Their hollow eyes gazed into the void beyond mortals.


They spoke, and could not hear.

They whispered, and no one answered.

They died, and the living celebrated.

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

---The Halls of Creation---

Had an age passed? Had a generation of humans learned to walk, to speak , to sin,  to live, to love and to hate and how to surrunder a last breath? Had the stars, ever fleeing the the destruction left in the wake of the gods, finally vanished into the black where even the echoes of the first scream travelled onward? Had everything changed? Had nothing?

Time was a vague thing to the gods, something they controlled without being familiar to its delicate weave. Time was beneath them... and beyond them. And so it passed.

Azgo and Pruinus held the other's gazes for a time. There was a mutual understanding there, bidden in their eyes. It manifested as a stark and bitter grimness at the events unfolding almost outside of their control. They seemed more puppets than gods, moving under the strings of the inevitable. Perhaps in the end there was no difference.

The time had come.

There were no words, for those that understood each other had no need for such petty inventions.

The ice pulsed with newfound glow, awash in blood and ichor. The statues trembled like children. Or ants, truely. Quivering ants in an earthquake. Primal souls crawled away from the towering god-prince, choking on the filmy miasma spread wide as a noble cloak. A low holwing roared from the outside blizzards and was gently absorbed into the azure ice. 

And then it began. Who started it? Who seized the first step? Whose heart was ready for death? That was lost in the first moment. They simply... fought.

Like leaves in the autum's arms, eagles plummiting from the mountainpeaks, and currents of water sweeping between the pebbles of a surging river they fought. The initiavtive flowed back and forth as fast as gods' eyes see, eash combatant-no, artist- exploiting the momentum and rythym of the other and adapting their own. The Fused God, clad in the frosted platemail of Thereus, swung the Grand Scepter in a constant whirling flurry. Wide, punishing arcs forced Pruinus on the defensive. For every swing there was a step, a slide, a weave, and the spin of a soft snowfall. Spring water was envoius of her grace.

And in a singlular manuever, she slipped inside Azgo's fell reach.  A year of winter over the whole of the continent fit in her grasp. She struck again and again at the Godplate. A rim of glacier ice enfused into the steel. The battle's gravity shifted, and Azgo fell back like an avalanche, letting Pruinus stagger forward fruitlessly and awaiting a dire mistake. But Pruinus had learned a world of experience from their last encounter; she fell back on her footwork just in time for a lightning uppercut to merely graze her shoulder. They stood across the hall from each other, and with the magnetism of suns drew each other back into the combat.

The pair of them clashed again and again across the vast collection. The bare force, let alone the weapons themselves, scattered statues and pearl glimmering murals. Fragments of hand-carved fingers and marbled hair splintered into flakes and frost and were lost to the ages. More and more frequently, Prunuis lifted her hands and commanded the very foundations of the Hall to rise. Right when Azgo was about to land a mortal blow, a pillar of ice dense as stone broke open the ground between them. A dozen he broke open with his swing, unhindered, and a dozen he skirted about to keep himself unpreditable. The blood red ice crumpled and collapsed, shattering under its own weight. Soon the cavern walls trembled and sections fell with the angel chandeliers of the ceiling.

Prunuis had been waiting for this moment. The instability was her ally. She suddenly cast out her hands, and the statue of a Remorhaz drew in the weight of hundreds of layers of ice beneath itself like a porous stone. It launched itself over her head at towards the charging juggerneaut that was HATE incarnate.  Azgo  drew his maul in close, and braced for the impact. The statue broke open into an avalanch and dragged his dug-in heels across the ice. It was a strike that could have leveled a city, or emptied an ocean.

The battered ColdMother leapt into the air, phasing through the ceiling ice and into the second floor carved within the humble mountain. She collapsed, only somewhat intentionaly, and merged her hands into the floor. Summoning the largest amount of power she had ever commanded, the supports of her creation that had been built to last  were crushed. The entire first floor caved in from the sides while a mountain of ice beneath rocketed up. The sheer roar of the crunching ice deafened the ears of all living creatures within a mile from the entrance. 

The Hall shook, only kept together with the presence of its Lady. Prunius crushed the ice together, and then released. The ice fell apart and expanded outward, leaving an unrecognizable waste of a thousand years of effort. The floor shook... and then was still.

Prunuis shivered, the thrum of battle fading away to the pain of Azgo's thrashing. The seconds dragged on, and the scarlett ice pooled with blood. Prunuis grimiced, almost choking on her own words.

"I'm so sorry, Azgo."







He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

OOC
Well, that wasn't how I expected that fight to go!


~The Abyss~

Paren hissed in surprise.

Steel yourselves!  They cannot harm you if you do not allow them to do so.  They are mere shades of themselves, lost here.  For this is the Abyss, the place of the cursed dead, and what all of Death would look like if not for Zebus, who fights back the encroachment of the Abyss even now.  

 
Morenth looked sadly at the dragons.

"Is there nothing we can do?  Surely they do not deserve this!"

Surely they do not, however their current condition is beyond our power to fix.  What we can do isfinish our quest and live.  That is truly the best we can ever hope to do.  The dead are dead.  Let the Gods determine what happens to their souls.

This was not the answer Morenth had been hoping for, and her complex snort said about as much.

Paren led them onward, past the icy glacier beyond which blazed a forge of divine proportions, over a plain littered with the souls of the dead who wandered, lost and cold.  Mothers without children, husbands without wives, friends without friends, each trapped in their own endless, dark eternity.

Finally, they reached a narrow tunnel that descended into the earth, and Paren gestured them through before following himself.  Just before he left the First Layer of the Abyss, he looked back.  He could swear he was being watched.

~Near the Eternal Volcano~

It was quiet here, distant from the flowing lava coming from the caldera.  Lying in the midst of the rocky plain was an anomaly: A faint red glow, a wisp of acrid fumes, curling around one another like wary dogs.  Suddenly, the two rushed towards one another and with a wave of heat and smoke, Ka'Vah raced off to the North.

Azgo was in trouble.  

~The Icy Lake~

Giroth had managed to melt his way down into the ice far enough down that he could sense what he had hoped to sense:  Life sealed away beneath a stony dome that was taller than the rest of the lake.  Dimly, he could see the ruins of Sil Arkesh in the depths, but that dome... was new.  His brother, his people, might yet live.

Giroth climbed from the lake and began to make his way towards the nearest town.  Human, Nix... he would even take a Craterspawn if it were to show up and offer to help... he needed heroes to go down there.

---The Halls of Creation---

Pruuis nursed her wounds, feeling the first cracks in her otherwise flawless form since her wings had been stripde from her. An unnatural calm settled over the ruins of the tiered Hall, like maggots feeding on a recently animated corpse. Blood was everywhere, and the sounds of the blizzards were stronger than before. And in the very distance, Prunuis knew that a host of primal souls were converging here. They were drawn by the death of the Horned Knight. This Hall would be safe, but perhaps it would not be rebuilt.

She should have felt overjoyed.

Pruinus staggered to her feet. If Azgo was loose, then something had gone horribly wrong. Did Zebus know? She had to find him. There was so much she had to ask him. The Maiden of Winter hobbled towards a gaping hole in the mountainside. She seemed to have aged tenfold, and she had not aged well...

But she did not. 

Prunuis stopped herself at the cliff edge, looking out. Light, dappled from the pounding snowfall, slid down the Crown mountains like quicksilver and pearl.  It seemed to admire her in its own glow. A branch of winter berries, sleek with gentle frost, sheilded her from the rising sun over the mountain peaks. A sudden feeling washed over her and rooted her to the spot. There was something she had to do first. Zebus could wait for a few moments.

She felt...

Prunuis reached out and plucked a small twig from the branch. A handfull of ripe berries bounced in her grasp. The distant smile of Leaf appeared in her mind's eye. Prunuis' grimace melted into a vaguely disspossessed frown. She skirted across the ice, between the masterwork carvings still intact. A stream of memories occupied her thoughts. The stench of acidic fumes. The callous touch of gesyers. Those... craterspawn is what the mortals called them, yes? Yes. The craterspawn flocks. Prunuis stopped in front of an imposing statue, refusing to look at it in the eye. It was Azgo, and yet not Azgo. The statue seemed more passive than Azgo had ever been He was not in pain, and he was not threatening. But it did seem to be an outcast. It was scared. It was...

Alone.

-He should not be pitied, for there lies a malignent evil underneath...-
An icy hand lowered the berry branch over the inscription. This statue finally belonged where she had placed it long ago. A few tears rolled down her face and cascaded down the statue's base. Things had come full circle at long last. Pruinus hesitantly looked up at the statue. Were the eyes indifferent? Or forgiving? She hoped for the latter.

---Over the plains of the Continent---

Ka'Vah had seized control once more! How incredibly GLORIOUS!! The rush of power, the dominance of control, and... Oh, the power!

But why was he doing this? Every thought in his mind, excluding those of hishated dissenter, knew explicitly that this was a horrible idea. Return to Azgo?? Why would Ka'Vah enslave himself again? He had just broken free of Agni's chubby fingers squeezing the life out of him. Now was the time to be celebrating! It was the time for nations to fall, for families and farms and cities to burn into ash, for wastes to be made of the lush!

And yet... he felt drawn here. Summoned of a sort.

He hoped he knew what he was doing.

---A Town...Somewhere---

Timmy leaned back heavily on the oaken chair. His feet throbbed with sores, and his back was strained with the weight of their surplies. He sighed a deep breath of relief. It felt good to be back in civilization.

A rather attractive server passed his table, winking at him from the corner of her eye. She nonchalantly placed a frothy mug on his table.

"Compliments of the house."

Timmy raised an eyebrow as she walked away and into the backroom, looking back him over her shoulder.

Scratch that. It felt great to be back in civilization. The mug was rimmed with alcoholic suds, and it tasted better than sweetened honey. Timmy cast a casual glance about the tavern, his brows furrowing in slight annoyance. Where was Firebrand? He better not have gotten himself in another fight, or else so help him... And if he starts complaing about how they haven't fought a bandit in the last two weeks again, well...

Timmy shook his head. He had no idea what he'd do. That was when a rather haggerd looking dwarf stumbled into the tavern. Timmy could sense that this was no ordinary dwarf... and he seemed to be on no ordinary purpose. Timmy drew his hood down low, eager to pass the time with dwarf-watching.

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

~Agni~

The flaming husk of God Mountain collapsed into itself, splitting out a battered Artun. Agni could see the god how he saw himself - a muscular, pale-skinned humanoid of indeterminate form, and then how Agni perceived him -- a phantom ball of unimaginable heat and light.

Great strands of fire drooped from the remains of the godbeast, above, stringing the god up like a pupeteer's plaything. Artun opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out -- his tongue was missing.

"You martyred him, you know."

TASOE's voice came from everywhere and nowhere as Artun bounced helplessly about his strings, mouth open, face and fireball both screaming alike.

"All he wanted to do was help his friend, to warn him about us. And look what you did to him."

A burdeonsome guilt assailed Agni's form, bearing him down, dragging him back, dredging furrows in the ground.

"Die." spat TASOE. "Die scorned and without mercy, you prideful creature."
~In Agni~

Agni felt as if he was being smothered in darkness and smoke, a physical manifestation of the emotion he was feeling.  He cast about with his sword of fire as he ineffectually tried to fight back.

Yes, I did.  I acted in haste, I acted rashly.  I allowed emotion to overwhelm me and my senses to be dulled.  Artun was always my friend, always the bright shining one, I feel great remorse at what I have done.  Wrong, Wrong, so wrong was I.  

But the sword flickered, its flame threatening to be quenched.  Still, Agni tried to fight, until a thought burst in on him.

But Artun did betray me.  His actions nearly cost me my life.  He did not reveal his masters, he FED me to them.

The greenish-blue of tanzanite came into existence on the talisman around Agni-Vohda's neck, and the sword of fire flared back to life in a white-blue blaze that was painful to look at.  Darkness fled, and Agni leveled the sword at the Spirits, whose forms were almost distinguishable.

No.  I will not.  I have sinned, it is true, but you have been the root cause.  I deny you.  Get Out.

~A Town~

 
Giroth muttered to himself as he entered the tavern.  This place seemed reasonable enough, he guessed.  No one was likely to try and slit his throat and steal his few pieces of gold.

That said, the dead thieves who had tried it had proven to be an excellent source of gold themselves.

Giroth surveyed the room, spotted a mostly empty table, occupied on one end by a Nix who studiously was avoiding calling attention to himself in the manner that made everyone notice him, and sat down at the other end, being sure to leave several chairs between the two of them.  

After several very high proof alcoholic beverages, he looked over.

"Know where I can find some heroes?"  He asked. 

---The Halls of Creation---

 Pruinus breathed a heavy sigh of relief. A great burden had been lifted from her tired shoulders, one that had worn on her since she had first encountered him. His pain was at an end at last. And her children were safe. She wanted this moment to last forever...

But it could not.

The First demands it.

Suddenly, a pair of monstrous hands erupted through the icy floor and burrowed into her calfs, followed by a behemoth of frozen steel and dead flesh. Gnarled limbs and vapors heavy as stone coiled around her and began to crush. The glory of the azure Hall was suddenly drowned in thick black. The stench of dying flesh left to rot and heal for eons clung to her face like a mask of wax. What was happening?!

Pruinus could acutely feel the bones of her frozen body strain... and then shatter under the pressure. Agony ran across her limbs like charged lightning. She cried out, but no sound broke free of the mask. But more than the agony, a sickness pumped its way into her body. Ethereal tentacles cut open the fringes of her divinity, and godblood thick as tar poured in by the oceanful. She felt like she was on fire.

She began to struggle, fighting as hard as she could against the vice grip. Inch by inch, her slick skin made progress. But as she got close to escaping, the abomination tightened its grip, lurched, and threw her limp body through the statue of Azgo. The berrry branch fell through the hole and p-lunged into the bloody slush below. Her body skipped across the floor, breaking several more statues, before it crashed into the wall. Frosted dust flew up in a cloud at impact.

The ColdMother gasped, choking on... nothing. Her whole soul felt tainted with poison and bloated with bile. She risked a glance at her scalding hand. Her flawless carved hand was cracked like a spider's web and festering from within. It was becoming opaque with corrupted blacks and sallow shades. Pruinus staggered to her feet and leaned on the statue of Zebus, waiting for the dust to settle.

And flake by flake, the indistinct danger took on edges and shadow. Two nightmarish faces emerged out of the murk, and became only more horrific with clarity. He was barely recognizable. Pruinus wanted to scream, but his glare held her fast. Was this.... had he...?

The Crowned in Blood loomed over the broken base of his statue, unmoving in the slightest regard. His body had been stripped bare inside of his armor. Bones were covered in thin, black membranes.  Cavernous holes had been carved where a tangled system of organs had churned with hot blood. Azgo's faces were little more than blue-black skulls with eyes frozen solid, starring into her. His cheeks were gone, and small streams of cooling blood poured down between his remaining teeth and onto his shoulders. 

The Apostate's Bane was little more than piecemeal, rimmed in solid blood and scrags of loose meat. A gaping hole in the chest revealed the only moving things in his body: a pair of fused, pus-coated hearts. Veins and arteries grew in and out of the organs like the mixed roots of ancient undying trees. Blood seeped and spurted through the weak walls of the organs. Pints of blood messily splashed to the floor every few seconds, sizzling and bubbling.

Azgo looked down at the uncovered inscription, shaking his skeletal head in disgust. 

"Evil, Sister? You have no idea what true evil is, do you?!"

His voice was more mechanical than before, like air scraping against bare bone. The sickly vitality was gone... but the HATE in his voice was distinguishable enough. His decrepid body shambled forward.

"I am the seed of YOUR evils! I am the monster birthed of YOUR ambition! All of my pain... all of my suffering... all the toil and foolishness of the mortals... All of the evil in this world can be traced back to your hands and your heart." 

A tenderness entered his voice, weak as it was. "I know you didn't want it. The appeals of power never had the same temptation for you that they had for the others..."

"But YOU held their counsel! They might have listened! But that didn't matter, did it? You followed them because... because... because you loved them more than me."

Azgo suddenly lurched over. That was more painful than all his years of sickness. He glared at her. Prunuis hardly held his gaze, wracked with pity. Azgo felt his blood boil at her eyes. Did she pity him? Still?!

"DO YOU HAVE NO SENSE OF GUILT? OR ARE YOU AN EVEN GREATER MONSTER THAN I THOUGHT?!"

The husk of Azgo roared, and charged her. Pruinus stumbled into a better postion mindlessly, enraptured with new guilt. Not guilt for betrayal, but that she had failed to ease his suffering twice now. She had in fact, only tormented him. They clashed again, and the Halls of Creation rumbled with their force.

Pruinus did her best to weave between the storms of calculated blows, but it seemed that Pruinus was pushing herself to her very limits just to keep pace. The Wounded One had only become faster, his footwork like the steps of a ghost, and he attacked with more than just his fists. The ColdMother ducked beneath a pair of apparently inaccurate attacks, ready to exploit his lack of defense, when an invisible fang of energy impaled her abdomen. Gallons upon gallons of searing sickness invaded, rotting her soul in its wake. She stumbled, clutching her side, and almost didn't see the follow through of Azgo's full-body clash. 

Over and over it happened: distracting swings and imposing footwork only to trap her into an unseen strike to her divinity. The room spun before Pruinus' eyes, and her own body felt alien and frighteningly unfamiliar. The festering was worsening, and the translucent beauty of her form was replaced with patches of stygian darkness and curdled blood.

"Azgo, I-" A swift and destructive uppercut landed Pruinus on her fragile back. Fully black portions of her body crumbled into frosted ash. Azgo began to advance, but stopped mid-step and threw up a wall of noxious fumes all around him. Several blue-white bolts of energy cascaded unto the wall from behind, but were absorbed into the smoke. The room filled with light, and with the warmth of... souls. Hundreds of spirit packs and herds crowded the room. They moved with perfect cordination, throwing themselves at the vaporous cocoon. A few dozen of the strongest floated over to Pruinus, and began carrying her away from the fighting and towards the stairs to the third floor.

The cocoon twisted, shuddered, and then split open with a hurricane of acids and lashing winds. Azgo caught a glimpse of the spirits bearing Pruinus to the next floor. With an abyssal bellow, The shambling god began wading through the masses of spirits. With one had he smote them with disease of the soul, and the spirits imploded in ashes. With the other, he washed them with acid and toxins untill the souls attacked themselves out of the desperation to die. But for every herd that perishes, two more took its place and forced him back with sacrifice of dozens. Then it was over... and Pruinus had escaped once more...

No.

Azgo would fail again. He had come too far. He had sacrificed too much. The Lord of Pain dug his heels in, and with the momentum of a falling mountain pressed again into the spirit hordes. The room was swiftly plunged into a hazy green shroud, snuffing the light eminating from the Primal Spirits. The sent of ash and death floated and filled the room to its brim.  A tall indistinct figure crawled out of the smoke, horrified at what he found.

"Is that...Azgo?... You escaped?! Oh no.-I mean, uhhh, Master! You escaped?!"

Ka'Vah shuddered to his core just saying those words. 'Master'... nothing filled him with more dread than the idea of being Azgo's servant, except being the servant that Azgo may learn betrayed him. What had he gotten himself wrapped up in?

Azgo's frostbitten skulls stared at Ka'Vah in disbelief. How had his servant survived so long? And why hadn't he reported to him sooner?! But this was no time for questions. There were only commands.

"Ka'Vah! Slay them all! Let not a single pup escape! Pruinus must die!!"

The Eclipse Aflame hesitated. If he did this, was there turning back? What if Azgo survived?! But in the end, he had little choice. If he left, and Azgo survived... it was best not to think about it. Ka'Vah gathered up the scorch of his old fires andspread himself thin across the spirits, suffocating and smothering them with bitter defeat.

Azgo passed through the carnage, shaking off the petty spirits clinging to his heels. He sprinted up the flights of stairs, eager to finish what had been started so long ago.

...

The grand, delicately inscribed door was ajar. Carvings in the language of the gods adorned its edges, all describing the vastness and voids before the gods themselves. Azgo gently pushed the door open, and entered with the stride of a king come home to his throne.

It was a terribly large room. No mortal or even god had walked in its chamber before this moment. A collossal statue stood mysteriously and magnificently on the far end. It was a cross between a humaniod and a cloud of darkness, of a void. At all junctions and edges it was unrecognizable and yet fatherly and motherly. The entirety of creation stretched under its outreached limb.A simple inscription was the only writing inside of the room.

-THE FIRST-

Pruinus was leaning heavily on the spirits, hobbling towards a carvedhole in the roof through which sunlight could reflect off of the statue. Only heavy, razor snow flowed into the chamber at the moment.

Pruinus looked over her shoulder. There was a horror in her eyes, and a calmness.

Azgo paused.

...

The time had come.

Azgo lashed out with a flood of ethereal, deicidal poisen. The spirits collapsed, choking. Azgo slowly advanced towards her. He had come so far. It felt more like a dream than reality. His voice seemed lost in the past and in the pain.

"Do you know why I hate you more than any other, Pruinus?"

The Coldmother summoned up the last portion of her strength, and burst apart into a feirce blizzard wind. The gust raced through the hole and towards the castles of clouds. Azgo disincorperated into a dark, sallow miasma and followed with  the force of a summer tempest.

The summit of the mountain was soon wreathed in a terrible blizzard that seemed to be moving like a comet's tail toward the upper reaches of the sky. A thick sulferous storm blazed in pursuit and enveloped the blizzard in darkness. A thousand storms brewed within, as lashing winds and brutish power churned wildly within. Azgo reached out and crushed the storm, which fought back with nigh unstoppable resistance, untill it at last collapsed back into Pruinus, miles and miles above the surface. Azgo resumed his physical form, locked in a grappling combat, and falling back to the planet's surface.

Azgo clasped her throat with both hands, and let the floodgates open of his illness. A never-ending river of rotting soul merged into Pruinus. She tried to scream, but the grip was too tight. It was agonizing at first, but the longer it went on, the less she felt, and the darker the daylight seemed to be. She was more ash than ice now. Her eyes glowed yellow in the depths of the ether. Azgo forced her to stare into his eyes, both blind and seeing.

"It is because I loved you more than any other... And I would have suffered everything I have suffered up untill now if you had only asked me to, my little sister."

No mortal artist could have painted those eyes. And no god could have imagined them. Pruinus coulsn't tell if they were nothing but HATE or LOVE.

The pair hurtled back towards the planet. Faster. Faster. Faster. Azgo took one fell hand off the throat of his dreaded enemy, and plunged it into her soul.

A warped scream echoed into the ether and, having no boundaries in the darkness, was lost forever.

The pair of gods crashed back into the mountain, breaking through the summit, every floor of the Hall, and a few caverns beneath the mountain. Dust and ice bathed the entirety of the new... crater as the mountain collapsed outward. The world shook, even at its very edges. Beneath the layers of rock and the clouds of dust, a god kneeled over the corpse of his sister.

...

Azgo wept.

OOC
Pruinus, the Coldmother, has been obliterated. She is not dead, and cannot be revived by Zebus.
Claim Domain (3AP): War. Azgo's previous experience with fighting and destroying the gods themselves, as well as his mastery of the Deicidal Taint, have forged him into a powerful and dangerous enemy for any thing in creation. People do not worship Azgo for war, but any worshipper knows that War is an essential part of the belief in Azgo.


 



 

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

~Halls of Creation~

The Primal spirits fled in panic as the Halls of Creation began to collapse around them and Ka'Vah chased behind them, choking the stragglers and any who chose to fight in a dark miasma of poison and flame.  

But there.  There was the exit, still open to them as a slash of snow-glare sky at the end of a long arcade.  The spirits raced for the exit... but Ka'Vah was faster.

A blanket of smoke descended over the exit, and eyes of malevolent flame burned out from the darkness.  Without mercy, the exarch attacked, killing one spirit, then another, then another in ruthless efficiency.  Those who tried to fight through were met by waves of fire and choking fumes, forcing them back.  Despair began to burn brightly in the eyes of the Primal Sprits...

Suddenly, a ripple washed over Ka'Vah and the smoke demon seemed to contract in on itself, forming a hazy, indistinct shape of an Agni'Vohda.

"Run!  Get out of here!"  The exarch cried, waves of conflict racing across his body and seeming to push at him from the inside.

The Spirits, who had gathered in the back and corners of the room to hide, stood and ran for the exit, pushing one another in their haste.  A dozen or so made it past the monster and through the exit before their temporary ally appeared to lose whatever war it was waging against itself.  With a cry of pain and frustration that morphed into a roar of triumph, the exarch expanded outwards once more before sweeping forward and catching the remaining primal spirits in its embrace.  

The survivors ran down the mountain, hearing the cries of their friends, their families rise to a climax, and then fall silent forever. 
---A Town---


Timmy leaned in, carefully setting his drink beside him. The last thing he wanted to do was set it too close to this bottomless pit of a dwarf... it might just "fall" into his iron stomach.


"Heroes? No, no heroes."


His tail twitched, and a confidant smile slowly spread over his muzzle.


"But I do know that an Agni'Vodha sellsword is in this very establishment. That's right, you heard me; an Agni'Vodha. None of the road bandits have touched him yet, they're so scared of him. Perhaps I could... arrange a meeting? A few details might be nice."


As much as Firebrand could be frustrating, Timmy enjoyed the infamy of the Agni'Vodha assassins. Sometimes all that was needed was a name drop, and things smoothed themselves out. Sometimes...

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

~A Town~

Timmy rocked backwards as the dwarf's eyes literally started to glow with an internal light and his bright red beard began to move of its own accord.  This was no ordinary dwarf!

"An Agni'Vohda?"  The sort-of dwarf asked, turning and leaning towards Timmy, surprise, excitment and... relief(?)... evident in his voice..  "One is here?  That is perfect.  I need someone of his, I mean, I want to... eeehhhh...   Yes, I would very much like to meet him.  Direct me-"

Just then the doors to the inn burst open and Firebrand all but roared into the common room, sending patrons standing by the exit diving for cover and splashing alcohol everywhere.  Firebrand paid them no heed, spinning quickly in a circle, spotting Timmy, and racing over.

"Timmy!  You need to come right now!  I did it for you!  Yes!  I-"  The Agni'Vohda paused, and glanced at the Nix's table companion.  "Huh.  An Azer.  Didn't expect to see one of you on the surface.  Anyways!"  He turned back to Timmy, Giroth all but forgotten.   "Come on!"  

The Agni'Vohda dragged Timmy to his feet and pulled him from the inn as Timmy cursed and tried to slow the determined Firebrand down.  Behind them, the Azer followed from a somewhat safe distance.

It took all of three minutes for Firebrand to lead them to an empty stable not far away.  They entered, and Firebrand pointed towards the back wall.

"See?"

A body lay slumped against the wooden slats of one of the stalls. 
---A Town---

Under his hood, Timmy's eyes widened considerably. He scrambled towards the body.

"Firebrand! You can't just kill any elf we encounter!"

Timmy leaned his ear close to the elf's mouth with concentrated effort. A whisper of breath graced the scruffs of hair, and Timmy relaxed. As Firebrand came closer, the glow of firelight illuminated the rustic stable. The elf's silken garb shimmered at the silver threading. An intimidating sigil was emblazoned proudly on his chest. His skin was heavy with sweat, and light with any kind of color.

"Wait... is this... a royal courier? From the elven lands? Firebrand... how..." Timmy's voice trailed off. His stomcahc was aflame with butterflies. This felt like the true first step in something much MUCH larger than anything either of them had probably ever experienced. Timmy reached inside of the satchel lying across the elf's lap. A thick, lavender scented missive had been uncerimoniously crammed into the tiny pocket along with a few loose papers. Timmy scanned the documents quickly, only vaguely listening to anything Firebrand was saying.

An... invitation of some sort... and a schedule. Seemed that the courier was far behind. Infection, out of the nowhere. Went to sleep healthy, woke up nearly dead.

Timmy paused, rereading. He paid no attention to the gleaming dagger slipping artfuly into the elf's open hand.

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

~ A Town~

"But I thought this would be what you wanted.  I mean, you keep talking in your sleep about how much you hate the elves.  Wasn't that why you came to my home?"  Firebrand asked, genuinely confused.   "Why else would you try to hire an Agni'Vohda if not to kill your enemies?  I mean, granted, I didn't kill him yet, I figured you would want the honors... this is a nice and tame elf, after all... barely much of a fight."

Firebrand was about to say more when suddenly a dark shape hurtled past him and collided with the elf.  Moments later, Giroth's voice growled:  "Drop it, in the name of the Northern Sun."  The blade clattered to the ground and Giroth turned his head to look at Timmy.  

"So what is it you've found?  A courier from Iceheim shouldn't be anywhere near this backwater."  He looked back at the elf.  "Feel free to enlighten us, if you can."

OOC
Keep in mind that Giroth actually spent quite a bit of time with the elves, so he can help with the details of any given story.  He's also pretty annoyed with them for abandoning their joint quest together...
 

 
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