As Seg retreated upwards, he noted with some peculiarity that there were chunks of earth floating, high in the sky. The work of some god or other, no doubt. And... was that one of the suns? How odd that it hung, motionless, giving off a steady (if relatively dim) white light.
A divine wind rustled his garments, and a storm of flower petals brushed against his face, his arms, tickled his ears, and swept between the folds of his clothes. The flowers probed relentlessly, and Seg found himself swatting away as they gatherd in larger and larger bundles. In short order, the air was suffused with them. Seg floated amidst a sea of color, surrounded on all sides by the infernal, tickling things.
There was a presence... somewhere. Seg knew that much -- however many flowers grew upon these motes of flying earth, the chances that enough petals would have spun off (to... greet... him?) was beyond miniscule, to say the least.
The petals grew eerily still, and there was a sudden silence.
Every day craterspawn and rehmoraz made further inroads into the north. Stragglers were cut down, staining the snow red in tribute to the bloodcrowned. Body parts littered the barren fields. Those who escaped death found themselves wandering a forest of limbs.
Yet, eventually, refugees gave way to the barren north. The creatures went further, seeking out the last mortals. Surely, that couldn't be all there was? There must be more. They could feel it. Life endured in the north.
A small band of corrupted angels found themselves separated from the rest. They passed through a drift-valley, an easier path out of the wind. They had little reason to fear, for in the monotone whiteness, they could easily see anything approach.
Nothing approached. Nothing needed to.
There was no sound as, to a one, a legion of figures stood up from the snow. Their skin was pale, their frames slight, their features fine, but their furs thick, their bone-bows broad, and their arrows true. Before the craterspawn could respond, they were exterminated in a hail of death.
The enemy dealt with, the artic elves descended upon their prey, taking everything of use. The northern winds will strip a man to his bones. The elves were worse. Nothing remained.
And they marched south.
The remorhaz were unaware. Though an army walked through the snow, they did so with light tred and uneven step. Their passing sounded like nothing more than shifting snow. Yet, when one rose to the surface, the elves were waiting. Spears dealt with the creature quickly, and it, too, was converted into supplies to fuel the war.
Every day the elves slew more, ridding the north of the infestation, driving the remorhaz and craterspawn back south. Those that didn't flee were never seen again.
3AP: Turning the northern people into artic elves. The AP I spent on the notherners was specifically for this group, so I'd assume that it still counts towards their overall strength, yes? I know shadow spent AP on them too, but I'll let him decide if the artic elves worship him or if that is some other northern people 1AP: Command: combat. The artic elves are very adept at fighting. Their particular specialty is ambushes, though, and moving quickly through northern terrain unseen and without leaving a trace. 1AP: Command: The elves go to war and push the craterspawn/remorhaz south. I'm not really sure how far, but since Forgotten said that the war is over and wanted us to erradicate his armies, I'd assume all the way to the crown.
The angels hesitated. They had no quarrel with the odd being that stood between them and the blasphemous god. He didn't smell of corruption and lies and filth. At least, none that they could sense. Yet he defended the foul one.
A few angels were overcome by their primal urges, and attacked. They were cut down easily. With no Leaf to return to, their bodies lay on the ground, dead. The angels didn 't fully understand such a concept, and so felt no anger at the fate of their fellows.
It looked around, and saw that there were plenty of other corrupt things in this place to deal with. The god could wait for last.
The angels turned aside and went further into the godcrater.
"Brother, you must do this for the greater good! Think of the lives you will save! Think of the futures you will preserve!" cried Sheine, clasping his sibling's hand. His youger brother had lost an arm before and had only barely been stabilized hours prior. He was still too weak to fight, but the enemy lines were not thinning. His older brother was gifted. A sorceror, a Luminary. He had powers to combat the enemy that Solos didn't, but they were not enough.
"I know that the time is dark, Sheine, but do not let desperation weaken your mind. We will win. I know it. The stoneskins and emberfolk are at our aid. This day will be ours. You have to believe that!" The injured man looked into the eyes of his kin. He could see the ravages this war had inflicted upon him. He was pale and gaunt, his eyes were bloodshot, his hair half-white. He had given as much as he could on the battlefield, and he was also at his limit. They both were, but what Sheine was asking was... He couldn't do it. He had a wife, and a young child who were waiting for him at the waycamp. After a moment of silence his older brother seemed to relent, though he still looked as if a great weight was near to crushing him.
"I am sorry, Solos. You are right. This day will be ours. Our lady Pharos has seen to that."
Without another word he put his brother to sleep. A tear came to his eye as he worked the powerful spell his goddess had given to he and his fellowship. In moments his brothers soul was gone, reduced to raw power in Sheine's hands. In his mind he built a warrior of raw stone and metals, a creature of earth unlike the Galeb Duhr. With raw magic coursing through iron bone and rocky sinew, it would have the strength to help turn the tide. Before long the powerful golem stood before him. "Go. Defend the soldiers." he commanded it and it silently obeyed. He took one last look at his brother's body.
"Forgive me, Solos." he muttered quietly, wiping that single bitter tear aside.
~The Crown~ Agni was immediately aghast, the magma quenched and dull within him.
Did I? He asked quietly to those around him. Did I kill the TeaLord? Seg is correct. Leaf was with me in the beast. I could feel him. I tried to save him, but I was so angry. Fire was everywhere. I was everywhere. Our enemy was flammable. But... Leaf was also Flammable. He showed me that he was when we first met. If I did not protect him properly. If... do I even know how to protect?
Agni fell silent. In his mind, thoughts flowed like cooling lava, bunching up on top of one another before breaking open in a new rush of anger.
Perhaps all I can do is destroy. Perhaps this is all I am good for. I destroyed the Beast. I burned the angels. But I did not protect Zebus. I did not protect Leaf, I did not protect the nameless God who helped fight for me. I am a tool, and all tools have a
PURPOSE. Agni shouted. He turned to Zebus.
You wish this war ended? You wish fire to cleanse the land. So be it. Agni wheeled towards the southeast, where smoke from the Eternal Volcano could be seen.
~The Eternal Volcano~
The entire battle was now inside the volcano. The remaining Agni'Vohda fought bitterly, circling around the handful of dragons who remained, burning back the Craterspawn before they could bring down the scaled beasts. Singe, elected leader of the Agni'Vohda and one of those who had actually spoken to their God, wondered if he had done the right thing in sending some of the dragons away to assist the other races. Would they not have been put to better use here?
No. He thought to himself as he saw another one of the scaled lizards fall. Better than some of the race survive this massacre. Certianly none of them would.
He had only a moment's notice when suddenly, everything changed. From deep below, an angry rumble sounded, far below the surface of the lake of fire. Singe looked down and saw the caldera rushing up to meet him. Only a few feet below the line of battle, the lava stopped rising in a single wave... and instead exploded upwards.
The dragons stood no chance. Shards of rock, wrenched from the Heart of the Earth, flew upwards in a rain of ten-foot-long needles, impaling the remaining dragons in seconds. Their bodies were flung upwards, colliding with the Craterspawn just ahead of the rain of death. The Agni'Vohda shifted to spark mode and rode the updrafts out of the volcano.
The corspes flew from the edge of the volcano, followed moments later by a blast of smoke and lava that launched itself high into the air, covering the sky with a thick black cloud. Singe flew low, avoiding the worst of the smoke, which was not thick enough to cause death to one of his kind, but was certainly unpleasant. He looked down at his home. To the west of it, the flocks of the Craterspawn flapped nervously. Singe's heart quailed at the sight of so many more warriors, and wondered how long it would be before they stopped watching the mountain, and started spotting him.
Singe did not need to worry, however, for the Volcano came to the flocks. With a loud boom, an entire side of the Eternal Volcano slid away, and a tidal wave of superheated ash and rocks and magma raced across the landscape in seconds, catching the flocks unaware. Eyeballs boiled in screaming faces, flesh charred to bone and bones were smashed to toothpicks in a matter of seconds as the cloud swept through the entire valley between the Southern Mountains and the Crown to the north.
As the pyroclastic wave moved on, Singe looked towards the volcano once more. The Caldera had been freed. A wave of magma poured forth, spilling over the rocks and following the path the flow had scourged clean. Those Craterspawn who had managed to hide, dazed and confused behind rock outcroppings were found and burned alive by the silent wave of fire that coursed through the valley.
Not a single Craterspawn remained.
Agni turned from the Eternal Volcano, whose smoke filled the sky behind him with a red glow.
I can cleanse this land. This is something I am good at. All things are Flammable. Do you wish me to continue?
1 AP: Command Land: The Eternal Mountain, quite literally, explodes. An entire side of the mountain is ripped away and destroys all life (save for the Agni'Vohda) in the nearby vicinity, particularly to the west. A thick layer of magma now covers much of the land between the Crown and the Southern Mountains.
The primal spirits understood that Pruinus believed that all life should be challenged in order to gain strength. The primal spirits enacted her beliefs for her across all of nature, each generation becoming slightly stronger then the last. But what with Craterspawn and Remorhaz roaming the world and slaughtering all in their sights, the evolution of these creatures was far too slow to compensate for the incoming invasion.
They were dealing with bigger threats right now, but sooner or later Azgo's minions would come to slaughter the animals within The Crown with ease. That was unless the creatures here changed, evolved.... transformed.
A shudder of wind and ice crept throughout the crown, to be followed by the same blizzard that birthed these creatures. This time Pruinus did not command them, the spirits acted of their own will. As the wind and snow and hail buffeted creatures of all shapes and sizes within the crown, their muscles and bones begin to contract and twist shape in what should have been an agonizing tranaformation, yet was almost painless. Almost.
Still, the crown roared with the savage, feral cries of predator and prey alike. A new form of life prowled out from within the mighty blizzards, their minds still adjusting to the transformation. They looked down at their forms. They were familar, yet their bodies had conformed to allow them to stand on two feet: Their back legs were their only legs now, their front legs twisting into arms and hands as they stood tall. For some species, such as the penguins, the transformation had not been as drastically different, they simpled resembled a humanoid form more. No longer hunting each other, six separate physical forms stood amongst each other as a single race: The Nix.
Closer to the cycle of predator and prey then any other race, whilst slowly matching the intelligence of the other mortals races, the Nix alone could combat the Craterspawn with the same bloodlust and primal, savage fury programmed into their very nature, but they were indepdent, capable of their own thoughts. And that, the spirits thought, made all the difference in the world.
Pruinus felt another wave of contempt as she listened to her brother Zebus speak of the world in such a manner. Still, this time she contained herself.
"I believe none of us would wish for a dead planet. What do you suggest we do?"
Pruinus asked, unaware of the events occuring in the crown and further north.
--- AP Create Populace: The Nix - 3 AP
Humanoid versions of six animals appear within the crown: Polar bears, snow wolfs, snow leopards, arctic foxs, Deer/stag and penguins. Forming tribes or "Warbands" of hundreds, they march out of The Crown to meet the Craterspawn and Remorhaz in open combat. Only around 60% of each species is turned into Nix, the species still exist within their "regular" animal forms.
Seg rubbed his chin as he considered these odd petals. The petals themselves seemed natural enough, but their occurance together spoke otherwise.
"I say," he asked, "is someone there?"
The half-sunken mass of flesh rested. It was longer now than it was wide. A dozen pseudopods extended out from the sides, and a line of fleshy bulbs had grown above and below. These had taken a red tint, although there was no light to see this by, and they quivered as something moved beneath.
~At the Burning God-Mountain Of the Sun~
The volcanic explosion was so powerful, toxic fumes and debris flew high into the air, high enough to reach the sun. Several boulders smashed against the sun. The sleeping creature moaned, a noise that echoed well below, to the roots of the world, but it did not wake.
King Bernhar, Lord of Frosthaven, Third of Four, walked along the slopes of the mountains. There were such things in the north, but made of ice and snow, not... this stone business. It was all very strange.
The ancient tales had said that the people had traveled from the south, from a land without snow and ice. That had seemed like a ridiculous fancy to Bernhar, even when he was a child on his wetnurses' lap. But now? That such wonders might exist in the world. It was even warm. Where did the warmth come from? There should have been bonfires blazing all around, yet there were none. It was just... that way. Impossible.
Bernhar's generals walked with him. Though he was young and inexperienced, they obeyed him well. Out of respect for his father, no doubt. The old king had helped forge the five kingdoms. He was a great man, one that Bernhar hoped to not ashame.
It had been quiet most places along the strange circle of earthen glaciers. Perhaps the abominations had been erradicated. But in the east, the scouts reported, there was still movement and fighting. And so Bernhar went to look.
The mountains here were dotted with tunnels. The king ordered seal-blubber torches be lit and small teams sent down to find where they lead. There was something here that attracted them. He wanted to know what.
Ghosts stalked the city. Beings in white appeared without warning, fell upon wandering craterspawn, and only blood on stone indicated the fate of the foul creatures.
I didn't want to be too definitive with the elves in Avarom. Maybe they're driving the creatures out. Maybe they're not. I'll let others decide how effective they are.
Culturally speaking, I'm envisioning "5" kingdoms for the elves. The northern most being the first kingdom, the southern most being the second, the western most being the third, and the eastern most being the fourth. The center kingdom is actually just common ground, where the other kingdoms can meet without exposing themselves to others. And yes, that is supposed to be like a mini-duplication of the crown and the four directions.
Avarom's halls echoed with the sounds of battle. As the Anima Guard penetrated the heart of the city and the artic elves began to abttle the outlying cratespawn, a gathering of giants approached the city, surrounding it. Craterspawn were swatted out of the air, remorhaz were wrestled to the ground and finished off with swords and spears the size of full grown trees. The ring of giants slowly closed inward, pushing their enemies into the waiting arms of an exarch and the groups of superb warriors.
The monsters fought visciously for their survival, but the forces arrayed against them were overwhelming. A few giants were felled, but the battle here was finished and done. The cavern of Avarom grew quiet as the final death cries of the vanquished faded. The sound of shifting rocks as the giants and Cumbrous moved about was all that could be heard for many minutes. Slowly, a pocket of earth would open, or a well hidden door would fall loose, and people began to emerge.
The Galeb Duhr had been sent to protect Avarom. That is what they did. Though the buildings were little more than rubble, and the warriors were badly depleted, some of the people had survived, thanks to the ingenuity of the two races, Human and Galeb Duhr together. Rebuilding the great city would take years. With the scant few survivors, repopulating could take twice as long. But there were survivors.