Agni fell backwards as the Beast of Azgo attacked him, enveloping him in smoke that seemed to burn from within. For a moment, Agni feared that, as before, the smoke would smother him, but it was not the same. This smoke stung and clung and stank, but it was not overwhelming. Agni flared brighter, and the smoke around him illumed and revealed a shadowy presence in the smoke. Agni lashed out with a whip of Magma, and the shadow-thing twisted and danced, avoiding the lashing fire as it blazed through the smoke with an acrid hiss.
At the corner of his perception, words filtered through to him from that which had attempted to smother him before. Angrily, he turned his attention away from the smoke-being and sent a stream of magma flying towards where the sounds were coming from. The taunt cut off with a startled yelp and the sound of movement beyond the enshouding smoke, and Agni smiled for the briefest of moments before the smoke-being tumbled into him, clamboring all about, trying to get in.Agni coughed and cursed, taken by surprise. The dark being wrapped himself around and around, and Agni felt the tide of battle tipping, the renewed taunts of the dark God dancing through his brain.
Scorch was not yet gone. He had been transformed, but some part of the Agni'Vohda remained, curled up in the corner of his new form's psyche. Usually, his new self ignored the sniveling remnant of what he had once been, but now Scorch roared to the fore.
NO! I will not let you hurt my Lord Agni! The soul-piece shouted, wrestling for control of its horrific body.
~Back to Agni~
Suddenly, the smoke seemed to go slack, and Agniwas able to escape again into the less... corporeal smokiness. His enemy turned to follow him, but slower and with less control than it had had just moments ago. Not willing to make the same mistake twice, Agni poured fire into the smoke being and a wail of pain emerged from its midst as the smoke began to burn with a fire not its own.
The Agni'Vohda had been struck with some strange malady, a disease which cooled them and forced them to huddle close to the heat of the Eternal Volcano or die. Some among them began to whisper that this was Pruinus' doing, and that she and her followers wished all Agni'Vohda to perish.
~The Deep Caverns~
Sil Arkoth was gone. Here and there, a few spires of sturdy granity poked out of the magma lake that had once been the city. The few remaining dwarves, the fastest of those not fighting and those lucky enough to be near the one safe passage up away from Sil Arkoth when the lava began to pour down looked at what was left of their city, shook their heads, and turned away. Each had lost someone, had lost many someones. Children clutched the skirts of women who were not their mothers, wives talked in hushed words about their dead husbands, and the men who had escaped stared into the darkness as if trying to spot someone shrouded in it.
They walked for days in the darkness before finally stopping in a cave that could accomodate the hundred or so survivors. Here, they discussed the future. There were other dwarven towns, other dwarven cities. Some among them desired to go to one of those. Sil Nalep was the nearest, they surely would have room for a hundred more. But the dominant voices, eyes haunted with memory, declared that under no circumstances would they ever be trapped underground again. They would travel to the surface, and find their fortunes there.
A chant went up among them. "Sil Arthoth Endures!" as they marched towards the light.
It had been hours since the refugees had left, and the lake of fire hissed and bubbled, sending echoes throughout the cave. Suddenly, a burning hand thrust out from the pit, followed by another, and a dwarf pulled itself from the lava. The dwarf knelt at the edge of the lake, and vomited up molten rock onto the stone floor. Coughing and hacking, he finished clearing his lungs and stood once more. The fire that enveloped the dwarf began to recede from the majority of its body, leaving dark red and hairless skin behind. The only place fire remained was the face, where a beard and hair made of tongues of flame continued to blaze. The dwarf opened its eyes, and flames danced in empty sockets.
Giroth breathed in and out a few times, feeling the superheated air enter his lungs. He looked down at his red-skinned hands and flexed them experimentally a few times.
"How am I alive?" He said aloud, hearing a new richness and heat in his voice.
Giroth remembered the pain of his body on fire, remembered his race towards the edge and his plunge into the cavern. He remembered a moment of intense, searing heat...
From behind him, he heard the lake splashing, and turned to see more dwarves emerging from the lake, all aflame as he had been. His eye caught on one nearby and Giroth grinned broadly.
"Brother." He said, moving to help Galfe in his first moments of rebirth.
Sorry, my 'write well' brain appears to be off right now. I'll clean this up later.
1 AP: Command Populace: The Agni'Vohda develop an intense anger towards Pruinus and her followers (which they percieve as any cold-based being) 1 AP: Command Populace: The Survivors of Sil Arkoth migrate to the surface and break ties with the other dwarf nations (if any still exist). 2 AP: Shape Race: The burned dwarves of Sil Arkoth are transformed into Azer.
Pruinus slowly floated over to her home as Urru followed close behind.
Pruinus was glad to have the chance to mentor this god, Such a innocent and ignorant god wielding powers such as his was deadly, perhaps she would need to teach him of the position they held in the natural order.
Pruinus then thought she saw humanoid movements on one of the mountain paths. She gently floated down, the blizzards raging around the mountain covering her presence.
She saw the feral, beastly humanoids going about there business and she watched fascinated, for days on end, not even sure if Urru was nearby any longer.
1 AP - Expand Culture- The Nix
Pruinus travels around the crown watching the Nix for days on end, taking in and learning about every detail of the Nix's life. The discoveries she makes are as follows:
From now on every post that involves the Nix (And some that don't) will feature an OOC entry about the Nix and their lifestyle and culture. This is a lot easier for me then writing a huge list all at once and better portrays a growing, evolving race. I will spend extra AP to define the Nix's culture if it is of significant importance. All of these entries will be cataloged under the culture section of the Nix wiki page (when I create it)
Clans Nix live in clans of around 40-50 indidivuals. Each clan's name is a title composed of two words that describes or defines an iconic feature about the clan, such as the area they live in or their duties. Some of the clan names are as follows:
Stoneguard - A clan settled in a mountain passage who decide who passes through into the crown. Everflame - A clan settled on a mountain top whose duty is to light a beacon when they see enemies approaching The Crown. Riverheart - A clan settled in on a delta island within a large river. Proudheart - A wandering clan said to birth some of the finest Nix warriors on the planet.
Most Nix are born into a clan and spend their life as a member of that clan, although in special exceptions some Nix have joined a different clan to their home clan. Also rare, but not unheard of, is two clans joining together to create a single clan, usually combining the two names into a new one. (For example, The Proudheart and Stoneguards join together to form either the Proudguard or Stoneheart clan.)
I'm confused. You said that Zebus wont attack if the odds are uneven. Yet, there are two gods against two. So... what in the who now? I'm assuming you're taking Azgo's servant into account?
Regarding Umbra, just to give an idea of how I'm viewing things, since I'm mind controlling another god, I'm assuming it's better than a normal exarch but still less powerful than a full god. Also, since as I said previously, my characters are designed to lose, which tips the scales in favor of Zebus and Agni even more. I'd think that with Azgo's exarch, then, that actually would make us even again.
How does one fight that which one cannot see?
Agni's attention turned towards the presence, but it slid away.
It was the unseen thing, the flicker at the corner of your vision, the breath on your neck, the sense that there's someone watching, waiting for you to close your eyes and sleep.
From behind, the god struck again. Another jolt of fear, aimed at the fire god's mind.
~~~What Agni Sees~~~
The voice was familar, but passionless. Dead.
"Yield," another voice, the same as the first, said. A third, and a fourth, joined it.
A prick, a magma-drawing pierce! A tiny thing lighted on Agni's form, a cruel bloodied spear in it's hand.
Pierce and pain! Another creature landed on Agni, the same as the first. Though Leaf had been a tiny god, he hadn't been this tiny. Barely a fraction of the old god's size, yet each one was burnt to a crisp. Empty eyes glanced up at Agni, and lifeless hands thrust spears again into Agni's form.
More attacked, and more, a swarm, covering Agni, each with a long needle, each drawing a drop of magma, again and again.
He could feel them over every inch of his body. Why wouldn't they burn away?
Zebus said he would wait.
Those who hesitate are lost.
Again the darkness pried at the mind of the dead god.
~~~What Zebus Sees~~~
In the darkness, through which embers floated fitfully before being snatched out of the air by hungry shadows, a shape appeared. Bright against the black, too bright at first to look at, but Zebus recognized the sword that brightness carried.
The godslayer, the very blade that had killed him before.
The bright figure resolved into the form of a giant guardian angel, left hand covering it's face, right hand ready to strike. It let out a shriek, the call of the bloodlust. It had been the last sound that Zebus had heard in his previous life.
Just to be clear, these aren't real. Umbra's trying other psychological fear attacks. These aren't even really phantoms, as others can't see them. Technically, even umbra isn't aware of what, exactly, Agni and Zebus are seeing. If they resist the fear attack, I'd imagine that they'd still see the images, just be able to look beyond them and realize that they're not there.[/block]
Winter still held the south in its grip. A dense fog had developed along the coast and was making its way inland. There weren't many about. Some rabbits and birds and other creatures, the rare elf or dwarf or human, but all was quiet and still.
Little feet pattered across the sand, then there was the sound of something being thrown into the water. The water whrished for several minutes, but eventually the quiet was restored. Yet, if one listened carefully, one could hear the different timbre in the sound of the ocean. There was something out there, a branch perhaps, that disrupted the waves.
The ocean is unforgiving of entruders. The wood must have become waterlogged, and it eventually sunk.
Time passed, and eventually a sprout appeared out of the ocean, and it grew into a mangrove tree. The tree continued to grow over the years, reaching ever greater heights. No other trees or plants shot off from it. It remained in the southern ocean, ever growing larger, until it was large enough to dwarf even small mountains.
1 Nourish: Create a giant mangrove tree off the southern shore
It had taken many warrior to fight off the ice-beasts, and even more laborers to safely descend into the cave, and their best thinkers to remove the treasure within. At last, though, the artic elves had retrieved the sun.
The two queens fought over what should be done with it, and in their distrust of the other, they both finally agreed that if they could not have it, the other couldn't either. So it was decided to put the sun back in the sky.
The problem of how to do this then presented itself.
Zebus went flying as the stony fists came crashing down into him. Barely missing a gout of magma from Agni, his shadowed cloak dissapated completely.
I know nothing of loss and anguish? Of grief and suffering or hatred? I who was there by their sides as thousands perished. Who was cursed and asked upon as families and loved ones perished. By Your creatures no less! Or how about when I was there and the tears rolled down my face as I gave the command to Agni to purge this world of your abominations. Striding forward, Zebus draws his sword and splits it into two. I have eyes yet I can not see. My mind plays tricks on me trying to drain my resolve, but my resolve can not be drained. Let us see what can happen when I have no eyes to see with or a mind to trick.
Not finding too difficult to find a blast of Agni's flame fighting that of the godcrater's Zebus walks in. Searing flame and scorching heat rip the flesh and muscle from bone. As Zebus walks out the other side only bones remain. Well, bones covered in flames and skeletal hands clutching the swords.
One does not need eyes to see nor a mind to think.
The flames on Zebus glow white-hot as Zebus flys forward his sword leading the way. Crashing into Azgo, he forces the other god to defend.
Mind that Zebus didn't know about Umbra. He knew a little about Azgo's exarch from their last encounter, but Zebus still doesn't know about all of the different gods yet. At that point in time, Zebus had just learnt about Umbra and still doesn't know its name. He thought is was still two against 1 right then.
Now that the odds have evened and he is focused, it is time for the main show!
Azgo felt him through the black. How the wind was drawn through the now empty vessel of his skeletal form. Azgo shifted his weight, digging the god-forged boots deep into the stone. He could have dodged. He could have parried. But he did not; the opportunity was much to great to pass up. And so he let Zebus collide into him with all the inevitable force of death's wicked edge. The two gods plummeted through the air and then through the outer wall of Guvarah An. They slid across the floor of the first central room until Azgo was rammed into the main pillar, 100 feet across in diameter. The Reaping Sword impaled through Thereus' armor and pinned Azgo to the inscribed pillar.
Azgo leaned forward and grabbed ahold of Zebus' bony limbs, suffering through fire far more intense that the sun. He was immersed in agony, and a lesser god might have perished there. Azazel/Go'El certainly would have. But Azgo endured, and now his foe was within his grasp.
"No, Zebus. You know nothing. You have seen it. Heard it. But you know nothing of suffering. Is your body a twisted horror, a form forced upon you? Were you betrayed by those whom you expected the best from? ARE YOU ALONE?!"
The gauntlets glowed white, and thick bloody steam whistled through the armored fingers. His hands were blackening. But Azgo tightened his grip, cracking the bones. Azgo poured his illness into Zebus, sending waves of pain along his being.
"Then you know nothing, for you have lost nothing. Empty sympathies and shallow apologies. Artificial tears. They all mean nothing, as ... you mean nothing anymore. You had everything! We had everything! And You are too blinded in delusion to learn anything! No amount of sundered flesh will remove that monsterous affliction. Your eyes may be missing now, but you will always be shrouded in blindness and hidden from the truth. FOR YOU ARE UNABLE TO HANDLE ITS BURDEN!"
The skeletal inferno was adjancent to him now, and now it was Azgo who felt... inevitable. Bringing all of his hands together, he summoned his wrath and cast Zebus across the hall. The god crashed through pillar after pillar before tumbling across the floor, his sword scattered next to him.
Azgo stepped forward, and proptly collapsed to his knees. He let out a cry of agony, one that had only been outdone in his initial descent. His hands clenched his now gushing chest. The wound was deep, and death lingered at the edge of severed godflesh. Entire dead organs were purged from his body through the wound before being regrown by gnarled hearts. Azgo staggered to his feet and felt the diseased winds being torn apart. Zebus, chipped, had charged again with blade raised at The Blood Crowned. And so they clashed once more. For every swift swing of the blade, Azgo brought his armor to bear, to weather its wicked edge as he had weathered existence itself. Sparks flew across the room in showers before being suddenly devoured, and rubbled began to fall from overhead as sections of Guvarah An became unstable. All about the room they manuevered, behind and around pillars and fountains and walls. Steel was scarred by death carnate, and returned its kiss with unfettered wrath.
The Eclipse Aflame assaulted Agni from every side, carving into the Godcrater's skin. And with a hideous moan, every wound burst into a jet that rained sulfuorous, acidic blood unto the battlefield. When bouts of magma were hurled at Ka'Vah, the ground heaved like purposely broken bone into his way to shield him. But Ka'Vah was suddenly slowed, stuggling against... something. The gree-lit smoke swirled and weaved through itslef as soldiers in a campaign.
All around Agni the smoke coalesced and began to take form. These forms were reminiscent of the Angels... no legs to speak of, just a broad base of fire that roared and crackled around a thin upper torso from which long, dextrous arms and hands flickered in and out of existence. The ring of smoke continued to grow, and soon a circle of the beings surrounded Agni.
They began to speak, and in perfect harmony one word was spoken per familiar form.
"Killed? Your Son? At the hands of King Azgo?"
And there was a smoky, wisp-like laughter.
"No. He is salvagable. Unlike you. Perhaps you would be suprised how little he cares for you. How little many care for you..."
"It was a gift, not a trophy. Your son was right to think that he owed you nothing. He understood how many die around you! How imperfection leads only to death. To suffering..."
And while the wisps mocked the god, their thoughts were divided. Some of them disappeared, slaying each other mid word only to be reformed seconds later. And so Ka'Vah commanded the feeble presence within him, hoping to cow him into submission. Tendrils, parasites, of ailing fire began to burn away at Scorch's very essence.
"You! I who I was! BE STILL BEFORE I SNUFF YOU OUT! I AM LORD AND MASTER HERE! STAY SILENT AND DIE, FOR NOTHING IS LEFT TO YOU!"
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
Thought: The erzatz Leafs are both burning to a crisp and NOT burning? That's trippy.
Forgotten: I'd prefer Scorch not to die completely, if possible, but subduing him is perfectly fine.
Agni twitched and flailed as the many copies of Leaf swarmed over him. With a puff of flame, he send fire coursing through the many pin-sized holes riddling his body, and heard the screams of his tiny assailants as they burned. Agni felt his mind begin to slip as the unburned tiny leaves continued to attack, when suddenly his mind grew still. They burned, but did not burn. They drew blood, but the earth below was not covered in magma. They shouted in Leaf's voice, but Leaf was dead.
The shell of fear cracked around him and drained away like a lanced wound, carrying the crying little god-impostors with it. It was just in time for Agni to hear Ka'Vah begin to speak. Agni smirked as he reached out with divine force into the darkness, casting about for Umbra.
So my son is not dead, merely unloyal. Why am I not surprised? He wanted very little to do with me from the moment of his creation.
As for the rest. You assume I feel emotion over whether or not my creation is attached to me? Whether other Gods find me pleasant company? You smoke-thing, you do not understand me at all. Fire brings Death. Fire brings Change. Fire brings Suffering. Fire brings Renewal. Fire brings all things, bears all things, endures all things. Fire, my friend, never fails. If others cannot understand that, then I hope they enjoying being flammable.
Agni crowed with delight as he caught hold of the slippery dark-thing that lurked in the smoke.
Got you! He said, throwing Umbra across the crater at great speed. Stay out of my brain.
Scorch, however, was not giving up without a fight. Lances of cleansing fire stabbed at the tendrils attacking the Scorch-Self that lived within Ka'Vah, cauterizing and stopping the assaults as fast as they began.
"No. You entered my body, shoved me aside and transformed me into this thing. I would rather die than live an eternity like this, and to die protecting my Master is the greatest gift I can provide."
Among the wisps appeared a blazing Agni'Vohda, spear of flame held in one hand.
"Let us fight." Scorch whispered to its other-self.
"Never fails? Oh, Agni... how you have failed. And how many have you failed?"
But he was correct. Ka"Vah did not understand Agni at all. Azgo would have called him abomination. Zebus had betrayed him out of pride, and Agni out of monsterous callousness. But Ka'Vah... almost agreed with him. He loved the feeling of consuming others, watching them burn alive. He savored their terror, and their agony.
Whether or not he believed it, Ka'Vah continued to speak as Azgo would have wanted him to.
"But no, it has nothing to do with thier like or dislike of you. You would be suprised in how... hollow your efforts are. You work with them, grant their boons, fight their wars, save them and fail to save them, and what does that amount to? They plot against you nonetheless. Plot to weild you like the weapon you denouce yourself to be."
"It is the way of Firstborn, to scheme. Betray. One day they will tire of your presence, and then you will fail for the last time...That is why Azgo fights you. They are always seeking for ways to climb upon the corpses of their fellows for place and power, and as you betrayed Azgo, they will betray you. And even if they are flammable, together they will break all of your contrived purposes."
Ka'Vah was enraged that this... memory dared to stand against him. And even more enraging, was that his strength was too divided to kill him then and there. Ka"Vah, of course, was no diplomat when he was angry.
"Even when your Master does not care for you at all?! He just confessed that your feelings are worthless! AND THE BATTLE? WHERE WAS HE? HOW MANY OF YOUR KIN ARE ALIVE BECAUSE OF AGNI? OR BY MERE CHANCE?! ANOTHER GOD HAD TO SAVE YOUR PEOPLE, YOU SAW IT! NOW DIE CREATURE!"
And so, remaining in the circle, wisps scrambled around themselves aginst the fiery form, weaving the flickering lights of emerald and scarlett into the smoke.
You wound me, good sir! To think that I, the master of hatred and slaughter, would crush something that i find not merely annoying but terribly vexing in terms of righteous progress...is... justified. Hmmmm.... Ona more serious note, I did not plan to kill Scorch... yet. This is much too good of a moment to have him killed off.
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
"Which means that for the present, I should seek other work, others to heal. Idle hands are... well, you know."
Abruptly, the ten thousand petals began to spiral upwards, and away.
"You strive, overzealousssssss, to affirm yourself, god of remediesssssss. Your fervorsssssss are..." And here, Sa's voice hushed, as it drew out the next word, "Susssssss pici------ ousssssss"
The petals had nearly vanished, and with them, went the voice of Sa. "Be mindful, Seg, of your promisesssssss"
And of course, the implicit statement: Sa would be listening. It wasn't a threat, or at least, it did not seem to be. But it was clear, Saknew better than to take things at face value - Seg had not convinced the flower god of his good intentions either.
Let them try.Agni replied.As it turns out, most anything is flammable. Your master is likely just as flammable as the master of this other one, Agni waved his magma whip in the direction of the sprawled Umbra, was.
But I am confused. Is not your Master's claim that he, too, was one of those he terms firstborn? That he was betrayed by us? How certain are you that he speaks the truth, servant? I do not remember this betrayal. It appears that the DeathLord does not as well, nor, if what he says is accurate, the ColdMother. How certain are you that he was not the betrayer and we the betrayed? How certain are you that he will not do the same for you?
Agni watched the smoke warily, observing the fight between what looked like an Agni'Vohda and a number of dead angels or craterspawn.