Like a wave of living fire, the army of Agni'Vohda swept across the landscape in answer to the call of their God. Although some felt fear in their hearts at the massive beast before them, as one they manifested spears and swords of their own fiery essences. They reached the nearest leg of the Evil-Of-No-Name, parting around the fallen Marcus as if he were standing in the lee of a massive (fire-proof) rock. Stabbing and grasping, the elementals began to climb up the legs of the titanic enemy, swords and spears sinking into the legs of the beast like a flurry of tiny needles. The Evil shook and shuddered, attempting to dislodge the miniature beings who were causing such annoyance, but whenever the God managed to throw off an Agni'Vohda, it merely switched to spark form and floated back to earth before reappearing and attempting the climb again.
Like a rising tide splashing against a wall, the elementals climbed progressively higher and higher until eventually they reached the mountainous back of the Beast. There, they found themselves confronted with pools of ooze that had filled in the places where the shell had cracked open to release the spines. Stabbing and poking at the openings, they attempted to reach through the shell, past the ooze and to the God-flesh (if it had any) beyond. They were unsuccessful. The shell was many meters deep, reaching far beyond the range of their weapons. But still they tried, casting their spears down into the ooze, which hissed as it quenched the flames. Still nothing. The Evil shook and threw off the Agni'Vohda in great numbers, and soon they began to despair, traveling further up the shell towards the great peak, trying to find a shallower pit. A group of nearly a hundred gathered around a broad crack where two spikes had emerged next to one another, very high up on the shell of the mountainous Enemy, and where one of their kind had reported that the Enemy had reacted when it had cast a spear into the depths. As one, they threw in spear after spear of fire, supplied by others behind them. Every so often, The Evil would shake harder as they threw, as if their attacks were finally connecting. The pit began to smoulder, the ooze itself heating up, until finally, the great blackness caught aflame. With a roar of fire and a belch of caustic smoke which suffocated the Agni'Vohda nearest to the pit, the entire pit caught fire, and the green flames began to spread along the cracks of the shell, moving slowly from one pit to the next to the next.
Now, the Evil-Of-No-Name reacted. Roaring in pain, it shook harder than ever, sending the Agni'Vohda flying and sending large piles of flaming goo across the landscape. The ooze rolled across the ground, coating the landscape with a thick layer of burning, smoking stuff that caused even the eyes of the Gods to sting.
The entire back of the Titanous Evil was burning now, and the heat was traveling deep within the shell to where a God waited. The Ooze heated around Agni, driving back the tentacles that held him and Leaf in place. Suddenly, the eyes of the Stone Mask ignited and magma spewed from its mouth. A sword was nearby, forming air pockets in the ooze as it hissed. Agni placed Leaf within one such pocket, and then the FlameLord willed them both upwards.
From afar, it appeared as if the Evil had become a volcano, as a gout of flame erupted from the 'peak' towards the heavens. Those with keen eyes could, had they been looking at the right time, seen a stone mask and an air-wrapped God within the fire. Burning ooze flowed over the lip of the peak and the entire mass of the Evil-Without-Name began to burn.
Agni sent Leaf floating gently to earth near Onus and then turned around to face his captor.
I Am Free. He intoned, gesturing to the Agni'Vohda. A third of their number lay dead, their sparks suffocated by the smoking ooze, but the remainder surged upwards to meet their God. Agni drooled forth Magma in massive quantities as the Agni'Vohda linked body-to-body below him. They allowed the magma to flow over their bodies, hardening around them to form a stone shell. Arms, Legs, A Torso, a Neck, and the Great Mask of Agni as the head. Soon, a titanic body, equal in size to the flaming, mountainous monster, stood in the valley.
Begone, Evil One. Trouble us No More. Agni shouted, reaching forward, grasping the burning, smoking body of theEvil-Without-Name and heaving it into the heavens. As it threw, its body cracked from the effort, stone arms shattering and legs buckling, Agni'Vohda tumbling out as Agni's form disintegrated. But the work was done.
Upwards The Mountainous Evil flew, up past the clouds and into the place beyond the atmosphere. There, it was caught by gravity and pulled into an orbit that was askew of the orbit that had once been taken by the Sun. To Mortals, the Flaming Mountain, a tail of smoke streaming behind it as it travelled, brought light back to the surface. Once more the plants could grow and eternal night was no more, and if some complained that this light was sickly green where the old light had been a golden yellow, others told them to stop complaining and be grateful that the Gods had given them a light to see by at all.
Agni settled to the earth before his surviving Agni'Vohda.
My Servants. I thank you. I now free you from your servitude, little ones. Live your lives as you would, and know that you have your God's thanks.
1 AP: Denourish Land: The Burning Lands are created, filled with burning piles of the Goo of TASOE (which Thought tells me will burn for centuries, at least). This is a hellish place, filled with caustic smoke and choking heat. Nothing much can survive here.
1 AP: Command Land: The Collapsed Mountain: The 'body' of Angi has formed a tall mountain of rubble in the middle of the Burning Lands.
Deep within the flaming mountain of the sun, down below the burning pools of ooze, below the smoldering embers of fire, at the dead cool heart of the body, a wisp of evil waited. There was plenty of time before its next move. Time enough, even, to decide what to do with the god of darkness still in the mountain's gullet.
Shards of the dead god littered the gorund. Near the feet of Onus, the prison that Agni had set down opened. The ooze had lost its cohesion, and disipated into the air as a maisma that was soon gone. Little Leaf unfurled himself, stretched, and looked around. He saw Agni and his eyes lit up.
"That was... unpleasant. But, you're free! Excellent. And Pruinus? Have you seen her?"
3AP-Create Exarch: Seg, god of cake-I-mean-lies. Normally appears as a homely man, somewhat short and stout. He wears simple clothes, but always has his sleeves rolled up, a well-worn work apron, and his arms and hands have the look of someone who works with their hands. He has a ready smile and a generous heart. However, currently he is taking the form of Leaf.
Pruinus heard the whispers of the winds once again, this time directly in her ear.
"The Lord Leaf is in grave danger, please come. Lead astray by the imposter Ar---"
With a ripping sound, the voice(s) screamed in agony and begged for life as they were pulled to the centre of this maelstrom, towards the shadowy new deity. Pruinus lifted herself upwards as her brother ran to her, preparing to fight this cruel, unholy deity before her.
Then everything went black. The whole world was doused in shadow and cold. She was always cold, yet right now she felt the world had joined her. After a while, a bright light formed some distance in front of her. As she felt herself walk towards the light against her will, she saw the planet that she and her allies inhabitated, she was back to the place where the four first met. She saw that the source of light was the burning mask of Agni, and he was accompanied by Leaf and Zebus. She could not hear their voices, but their faces contorted in rage and anger. Wild, exaggerated body language and gestures also indicated to a heated argument. Pruinus tried to walk forth or to shout calming words to them, but her body would not allow it.
Finally, Agni's mouth poured open as he bellowed fire onto the other two gods, their forms ablaze as they slashed at each other, opening deep wounds of boiling blood. Finally, Leaf's spear impaled Agni through the mouth and came out through the top of his skull, blood-magma pouring away into nothingness. As the three gods bodies slumped against each other, the world below begin to collapse and crumble away into dust. Pruinus fell to her knees, this was something her body would allow her to do.
She could weep, even though she knew this as an illusion, the reality of the situation was all too real. She was dragged apruptly back into the world when she felt another horrendous pain. She realized she was being carried by Zebus. Glad to see him again, she did not like being babysit, she was a god after all. She stop caring for her ego when she felt a stab of agony again, this time pinpointing the pain in her wings. Her wings... The primal spirits had gifted her with them. This realization came all too late as her wings began to crunch and twist, a series of sickening crunchs echoed throughout the Godcrater as her left wing finally jerked itself from the socket, soon followed by the right. Pruinus pain did not end until after the wings were fully devoured by Alturius. Despite her agony, she wished for nothing more then to face this god in combat, but she had been rendered too weak and all she could manage was to feebly stir in Zebus arms. She was disgusted with herself, she hadn't been able to defend the spirits. If Alturius hadn't done the deed for her, she would have ripped her wings out herself out of shame. She did not deserve them.
In a forgotten crevice, half filled with flaming ooze, little lord Leaf's body lay. His skin was no longer green, but as black as charcoal. At the edges of his frame the embers glowed their last. Fire had done it work, there was nothing left to burn. A strong wind came up and the fragile body crumbled to ash. The little god was no more.
There is an irresistible law of the universe, however. A law that cannot be bent, cannot be broken, cannot be ignored.
A green glow, like sunlight filtered throw a forest canopy, grew within the ash. A single speck, a seed, was left, and it grew.
It took time, as these matters do, but before long a tiny hand grasped the edge of the pit that the lord of life was in and pulled itself out.
On the edge of death Leaf stood. Changed, certainly. His body was like that of a marionette, but he still wore his leafy armor, his eyes still had the same intensity as before. Though, as he walked away, there was perhaps a little added lightness to his step. But that is to be expected. He had his entire life ahead of him, and nothing but life.
The craterspawn had no interest on the earthmotes high above the crown, for they were sparsely settled, and the length of time between bouts of chaos and mayhem was an eternity, compared to the dense swaths flourishing villages of humans, below.
And so Sa observed.
Koga had been wrong. He would not find her; she found him. Amidst the chaos of an enduring winter, an unsteady, inconsistent sun, and the slow deaths of starvation and loneliness, she had found him, amidst the hundreds of hundreds of earthmotes dotting the region above the crown.
She had found him -- and she was changed. Her skin shown with the pale light of Pharos, and her hair and been bleached white by this inner brightness, but she was still his betrothed, his beloved.
And she could fly, laughing at gravity with the aid of her, what did she call it? Sorcery?
Their reunion had been a happy one, to be sure.
For a time, they lived almost happily - her spells allowed her and her fellow luminaries to travel the immense distance between the crown valley and the earth motes, and she made good use of this power. Food, drink, spare clothes, all of which had been denied to Koga for weeks upon end.
But though they were glad of the other's company, she saw that Koga quickly became taciturn and mournful.
He felt like a prisoner, trapped in the sky. He did not have Pharos' power, and so was tied to this island. She saw this to be truth, and asked what he would have her do, for they were truly in love, and for him to feel sadness and longing, so too, did she.
He asked her to take him with her, when she left for supplies. To craft her magicks such that the descent was safe for the both of them, rather than allow him to grow old, trapped on this island in the sky.
She obliged, gathered him close, and together they leapt off into the empty skies.
Almost immediately, Koga felt something wrong. His beloved's flesh flared bright, and became burning to the touch, the scent of seared flesh assaulting his senses.
She cried out in pain, and he in worry. He knew not what was wrong, nor knew she, and as they slowly fell, kept bouyant by her magicks, she burned brighter and fiercer, her skin splitting along a spiderweb of power.
It was the spell. Why had this gift failed, when it had worked so oft before? The spell required energy to sustain itself, and the simple fact was that slowing two humans was far more taxing than slowing one.
Koga looked into her eyes, and saw only pain of fire. There was no question, Koga let go immediately, pushing away. Better that he should die, than his beloved burn up holding them both aloft.
But alas, her spell could not be broken so easily. The casting of a spell was a contract -- a given amount of energy, 'Mana', for a given task. The harder the task, the more mana required. She could only channel a finite amount of energy at once - but the spell, the hungry, strands of magic, required more. And so it took from her what she would not, could not provide. And so as Koga fell, he could do naught but watch as his beloved flared brighter still, as her soul burned to fuel the damning spell.
One last mournful scream of pain and sorrow, and her soul was no more - Koga was blinded as a wave of heat, light, and force erupted from his slow-falling betrothed, her mortal form unable to contain the vaster energies of her sorcerous soul.
Koga cried out in horror, a sound lost admist the screaming wind of his accelerating fall. She was gone, slain by her selfless ignorance, and her love of him.
"I will find you."
Koga closed his eyes to the ground still far below him.
"In the great dark beyond, I will find you." he promised once more.
Sa was troubled. Its petals swept downwards after the smaller of the two mortals - the one who had not exploded in a fountain of light. They slowed its fall, and then reversed it.
This, magic, was dangerous. It was the same power as the gods, and, it seemed, that mortals did not realize their limits.
Sa's petals gently depositing the human on the ground it had leapt from.
The human seemed stunned for a moment, uncertain as to why it was still alive, then decided it did not matter, and leapt from the earth mote again. A second time, the 10,000 petals of Sa intervened, saving the human from its self-destruction.
And still it showed no gratitude, launching itself from the earth mote a third, a fourth, a fortieth.
At last it grew still, weeping softly into the ground before its house.
Sa's petals danced, and far below, Pharos' luminaries felt... something change... as Sa staked its claim.
- 3 AP Claim Domain: Magic -- Sa claims the domain of Magic, establishing the rules governing its nature. These may be added to over time.
Every use of magic is powered by an amount of "Mana" directly proportional to the strength of the task.
Every being with a soul has a maximum capacity of "Mana", from which they can cast spells. This replenishes rapidly over time, and most beings can regenerate the entirety of their mana within an hour. Gods are the exception, as their use of magic is capped at 4AP, and regenerates over the course of a week. Other exceptions exist. Angels, with their two souls, can hold particularly large amounts of mana.
Arcane magic, such as sorcery, must have its cost in mana 'paid' upfront. If a creature cannot generate enough Mana to fully 'fund' a cast spell, the defecit must be accounted for, a violent process that rips the caster apart at a molecular level, burning the caster's soul to provide the necessary mana. Igniting one's soul in this manner is often irreversible, leading to death and a violent explosion.
After some time and much distance, Zebus felt Pruinus starting to stir. Laying her still form upon the ground, he propped her up against a rock. Kneeling next to her, Zebus closed his eyes and he passed his hands over her wounds closing them up, the dead tissue falling from the body.
Come sister dear, it is time to wake. Strange things have been happening, and I could use your help. Your injuries will heal in short time, but I need you to help bring me up to speed.
~The Twisting Nether~
Amid the barren wastes of the great beyond, lay many trees and bushes. Souls from small creatures dot the area, and from other mortals, but upon this particular day a different kind of soul appeared. A brilliant aura brighter than any energy in this barren realm apeared. As she layed sleeping the others begin to build a shelter around her, and a shrine for none had ever seen a being quite like this.
She layed like this for quite some time, and eventually her light began to dim. As her light finally disappeared, she woke. Desperately looking around all she saw was the shrine around her. The last thing she remembered was falling with her love.
Azgo's seeing head turned over his shoulder at Altruis. Open wounds across his neck revealed straining ligaments woven haphazardly with bony fragments.
"Their world will suffer, yes. All those who follow the Firstborn and their allies will know of agony and grief. They will become familiar with the smoke of burning flesh and graves the size of children. They will learn of betrayal, a betrayal that will cost them ..."
His last few words were filled with sputtering bile and wrath.
"And you will suffer, as you have tried to destroy me!"
He may have been weakened, but this fledgeling god would not be allowed to remain here any longer. Azgo turned, and clenched his rigorously scarred gauntlet. Malice filled his eyes once more.
At least half of the stony city Avarom's population were in pieces and piles of limbs. The market stalls had been toppled. Every citizen who had hidden beneath his fruits and silks and spices lay deathly quiet as the screeching and footfalls of the craterspawn grew eerily louder. Even more haunting to them however, was the crying of those unfortunate enough to bleed to death.
Those few remaining were held up in the local temple of Artun. The myriad mirrors on the walls had been shattered. Thousands of glass shards littered the floor and dimly reflected the calm glow of blood and torchlight. A few craterspawn had broken through earlier and if Thereus had not instructed the townsmen in steel, there would be no ashen piles of former angel on the floor. The people there prayed to Artun desperately between sobs and terrified ramblings. And a few... prayed to anyone who whould listen.
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
Pruinus rose feebly, her body showing no signs of ever posessing wings now. She wanted to apologize to the primal spirits, but again she felt the gesture beyond words. However, The Primal Spirits spoke to her first.
"Many of our kind have been lost. This tragedy could not possibly have been foreseen. But please now, Cold Mother, shelter us from these devourers and allow us to aid those who also seek shelter."
Pruinus was almost confused for a second, but then she nodded. She gave five blessing to the primal spirits, Forming five bonds for the primal spirits to share with the world, to protect its inhabitants and to be protected by them. Across the world, in the ransacked villages and cities, a very small group of indidivuals suddenly felt a surge of knowledge, of inspiration... But right now what was most important of all is they felt Power...
They creep out from their hiding places, battle cries escaping their lips as they fought back against the craterspawn, fuelled by a burning hatred of all the injustice they had suffered.
Barbarians leapt into the fray with no caution or mercy, cleaving through their foes with whatever makeshift weapons they had at hand.
Druids called to the spirits, blasts of lightning ripping the craterspawn from the skies at their command, as those who sought safety on the ground who bound by roots, screaming as they were dragged into the earth.
Seekers watched battles unfold from afar, throwing a well timed knive at key foes. Upon finding their mark, these knives send swarms of primal power over their foes, whether it be a swarm of ravenous insects or wildfire.
Shamans heal and keep watch over the wounded, all the while a cluster of spirits take form to repel attackers from their masters.
Finally, Wardens stand before their allies, unflinching before their the armies of Craterspawn whose attacks rain down fruitlessly upon them, knocking them back with the power of a mountain.
With the efforts of these indidivuals combined, the Craterspawn drop like flies to the power of the primal spirits. The single sun shines brightly over the battlefields of men. The evil mountain was gone. Winter was over. Now the last task that fell to the mortals was to rid their world of these abominations, a destiny they accepted whole heartedly.
--- 1 AP - Command populace/Spirits Through bonds with mortals, Primal Magic is born into the world. Primal magic works similar to arcane magic, but the primal spirits are the mana that fuels their spells. in man-made locations there are less primal spirits around. As such, the power of the spells is much more potent in the wild areas of the world where the primal spirits roam free, and primal powers only recharge when the wielder rests in an area with sufficent amount of primal spirits. Addiontially, primal spirits cannot be devoured by soulfiends when a member of a primal class is nearby, as these people protect the primal spirits simply by being around them.
Putting a hand upon the unsteady goddess before her, Zebus attempts to steady her, as she communes with the spirits around her.
I think they understand. It was out of your control that this happened. We need to start moving now if you are ready. I can feel the balance of the world is off some how. We need to find others. Please tell me what has been going on while we walk.