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Fantasy Divinity Unbound

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Action, Adventure, Magical, Mystery, Romance, Slice of Life, Supernatural
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GojiBean

That One Fear In My Enemy's Eyes
PLEASE DO NOT POST IN THIS THREAD! THE RP IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND NOT READY FOR POSTING! THANK YOU!

Magic Thread
Playable Races Thread

Creatures, Realism, and Expectations! Oh My!
The Deities

Divinity Unbound

(Yes, this is a GojiBean face reveal, and this is my music. Lol. Credit goes to ME!!... Umm... Ahem... Yes. Carry on!)

Pre-History

Eons ago, before the sands of time fell within the hourglass, all was nothing but a void. My parents, the All Duo, were the first to awaken to consciousness. From their wisdom and guiding hand did the universe begin, and so too did my awakening. My first memory is the glow of my mother’s loving smile as she brushed the hair away from my eyes with my head in her lap. I awoke as a woman, but I felt a great and terrifying power slumbering deep within.

As my mother and father continued to bestow their wisdom upon this universe, other divine beings awoke and began to craft and populate a world in another Realm called Earth with substance and life.

First came the land; dirt, sand, stone, and everything in between, crafted by the hands of Gura, the earth deity. This was followed swiftly by the trees, grass, bushes, shrubs, and everything green covering the surface, crafted by the hands of Iullen, deity of nature. Then came the oceans, rivers, and lakes crafted by Leillia, the water deity. Beneath the waters were born seaweed, coral, and all manner of sea life created by Aerea, deity of the depths.

Finally, it was my turn.

Using powers I still don’t fully understand at the conscious level, and driven by an insatiable sense of instinctive purpose, I gave birth to a race of reptilian creatures known as Dragons; the first Children of Earth. Some could fly. Some could swim. Some could dig into the Earth. And some could do all three, and more. All were born with an innate ability to utilize the essence of my kind in the form of powerful magical arts. Despite how different they are from me, I have only love to offer them as my beloved children.

Until the Divine Light of my mother and father swallows all, and the universe begins anew, will the Light and Darkness continue to clash. Even in sleep, I can sense it stirring in the void. It’s preparing to enter the Mortal Plane, which will put my children, and the other Children of Earth, in great danger.

Mother… Father… Please, give me strength.


- Sil’Eph Niir


(credit for the map goes to the original author)

Present Day

Minions of Darkness have begun appearing in the Mortal Realm. Drawn by the dark rituals of humanoids and their forbidden circles of Summoning, these creatures wreak havoc on the land, and slaughter any and all who get in their way.

Thus far their appearances are few and far between, but it’s happened often enough that envoys of all humanoid races have been in contact with one another for the purpose of holding a meeting between the major ruling powers the world over to determine how best to meet this thread. The meeting has been agreed to, and the date has been set. The leadership from each humanoid race is now gathering at the neutral city of Lau’sha in order to decide what to do.

Should this communication break down, life on this planet has little hope of survival should the Darkness break free in greater numbers.

But three lingering questions remain... What can be done about the Darkness which is already here? Why is there an overwhelming amount of mana emanating from Dragon's Cove, the island in the center of the world? And why do the Dragons protect it so ferociously?


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GojiBean

That One Fear In My Enemy's Eyes
Lau'sha
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The sun, almost warily, peeked over the horizon. The gentle curve of the golden arc, shimmering with the heat of its light reflecting on the mountain tops, painted the skies with a brilliant orange/yellow combination; almost as if it was on fire. Golden rivers of light slithered through the mountain trails and ridges as they stretched towards the forest canopy. And, bouncing gingerly from leaf to leaf, they shimmered and soared towards the city before catching the curved, clay shingled rooftops to illuminate the city skyline.

Lau'sha, neutral Kingdom along the Southern coast of the peninsula of Ne'erwalchia, a southern neighbor of Northundra, had awoken in the dead of night in anticipation for the glorious festivities which were about to take place. All throughout the previous week, and well into last night, people from near and far had congregated across all different races to pay witness to this historic day. The streets were flooded to bursting, and the ruckus made sleep all but impossible for many. Hundreds of thousands of footsteps rumbled and echoed through the city, making it impossible to tell if one was experiencing an earthquake, or just the overwhelming presence of so many people.

Lau'sha's four districts -Royal, Noble, Common, and Slums- each trembled with a different kind of excitement and anxiety for the day ahead. The Royal District, encompassing the singular mountain and grandiose castle built atop it, shook with great joy and hope for the promise of finding a solution to these dark and troubled times. The Noble Districted, in and around the White Palace of Parliament where the Royals gathered with the House of Lords and Commons, shook with anticipation of traders and dealers following the caravan of incoming Royals from other races. New connections and business prospects were always welcome for furthering one's own fortunes, after all. The Common District, located at the foot of the Royal District's mountain and stretching all the way to the ocean coastline below, shook with excitement to see the festivities and catch glimpses of other race's most influential VIP's. Royals, nobles, traders, and more, would all be arriving this day to fill the already overcrowded city. And while tensions were high in the streets, it was all excitement and eager anticipation of something unique and historic taking place in their humble city. And finally, the Slums, who were indifferent to it all, remained humbly gathered and relaxed in the far-side shadow of the Royal District's mountain castle. Huddled by a small stream running along the base of the mountain, they had ready access to free-flowing fresh water at the very least. But other than that, nothing else in life came so easy. Their humble abodes all lined the dilapidated ruins of a section of the city long since abandoned in favor of the current layout.

Today, the White Palace of Parliament was the gathering place of the incoming royals from across the humanoid races. The streets leading directly from the exterior gates to the gates of the Palace were sectioned off with pre-fabricated fences, and guards posted at specified locations along the route to prevent unauthorized access to the roads. They were to be kept clear of all potential hazards or obstructions until the honored guests had departed when the negotiations came to a conclusion.

As for when they would conclude? Nobody knew. But it was expected not to take more than a few days.

The purpose behind the gathering was for the royals of each race to discuss what they could do to contribute to the effort of quelling and, if possible, eliminating the summons and subsequent attacks of Demonic beings brought to the Mortal Realm by servants of evil. The attacks began some twenty years ago with the first of many successful summons of a Demonic spirit to this Realm. The Demon was able to destroy several villages along the base of the mountains in the Northeastern region of Avrath before finally being brought down by a combination of brave warriors and mages. The original location of the summoning was never discovered despite a furious investigation by the United Magical Council. And over the years, the summonings became more and more frequent. This year, 1190 of the 2nd Leral Era, there have been nine Demonic summonings throughout the world already. And the damage has been catastrophic.

And so, on this 14th day of June the Royals gather to discuss the best possible approach to dealing with this crisis. All races have been effected to some degree. And all agree that something must be done. But today is not only a day of historic celebration of the gathering of these royal representatives. It is also a day of extreme tension and anxiety. For if this discussion fails to reach a conclusion agreed to by all, it will be called to an end and all nations will be forced to figure out how to deal with the issues on their own which will put them all right back where they started.

The royals were set to arrive any time now. And the city was now packed to bursting, and overcrowded from the gathering of peoples who traveled from near and far to witness this most historic moment.

Korose

Among those in attendance was a humble vagabond Elf wearing a common brown cloak with a hood over his head, and an all-black ensemble beneath while carrying a walking stick. With his head lowered, it was difficult to see that he also wore a blindfold over his eyes, the universal symbol of blindness. His all-black clothing style, as well, was common for those in mourning. And out of respect for his condition, and the perception of his being in mourning, most in the crowded streets gave way as best they could while he passed by. For those who did not move from his path, he was able to either walk around them when the tip of his walking stick found their boots, or he collided with them earning an apology from many, but scorn and a shove from others. However, he did not fight back. Instead, he kept his head down and continued walking towards the heart of the city which lay at the foot of the White Castle of Parliament's sloped path.

It was through this upward-slanting mountain path that the Royals who arrived would be making their way to greet the waiting (and heavily guarded) King of Lau'sha before making their way inside where the meeting would begin at high noon.

As he continued to walk the streets, his keen ears picked up the sound of a woman shrieking. His head turned slightly left in her direction... And in his ears and mind all other sounds were sucked from the world.

Everything around him was a black and empty void. Only the woman's cries for help, and the footsteps of both her and whoever had wronged her, could be heard. And as the sounds of their footsteps echoed, white footprints suddenly began appearing on the ground a short distance away. The woman's screams were coming from the pair of footsteps in the rear, indicating that she must have been chasing a thief who stole her purse or snatched something else of importance. The footsteps ahead of her were slightly larger and heavier. A man. Smaller than himself, but large enough that the woman had no chance to fight him off and had to scream for help from a seemingly impartial crowd.

The white footprints began moving in slow motion as he turned his head tracked them. Drawing in his focus, his body began to let off heat as the shadows beneath him grew as dark as the ocean's furthest depths. His head jerked slightly to the side, and in response the concentrated darkness within his shadow began streaking through and across the shadows of all those between himself and his target before reaching the man's foot as it fell to the cobblestone floor, mid-stride. The instant his foot touched down, the darkness transferred into the thief's shadow and immediately rose up from the ground and wrapped around his ankle. And, as the inevitable result of a rather awkward fall, a loud SNAP resounded through the area as the fibula snapped clean in the center of the shin with part of the bone erupting from beneath flesh accompanied by a smooth flow of blood pooling beneath him. The mean screamed in agony as he dropped something heavy onto the ground, and the darkness around his ankle disappeared as quickly as it arrived before anyone was the wiser.

The sounds of the world returned to his ears as he looked away, and the woman grabbed her belongings, which turned out to be a basket of fruit, and kicked the man before running off. A single guardsman who had overheard the affair pushed his way through the crowd to drag the heathen to his feet and then off to face justice elsewhere.

With the matter settled, the blind Elven vagabond meandered a bit closer to the pathway up towards the White Castle of Parliament. Once again, his body grew warmer as he extended his senses to the shadows around him. He took a deep breath, and a white pulse emerged within his mind's eye. Everything it struck returned a brief image of what was there, including a bench just ahead and to his left. A second pulse confirmed nobody was seated there, as everyone was on their feet waiting for the royals to arrive in the main streets a short distance away. Taking a seat, he set his walking stick on his lap and began to meditate.

Elena

Meanwhile, not far away, a beautiful High Elf maiden approached and blocked the guard who was dragging the thief away.

"Pardon, miss. But this piece of filth has a debt to pay in a cell for attempted burglary."

The maiden's face spoke of apology for interrupting, but nevertheless she began to scribble a note on a piece of parchment.

"What's this? I don't have time for games!" The guard shouted.

The maiden held up the parchment, and the guard quickly read its contents:

I am unable to speak the modern tongue, but I can write it. This man's leg is broken and he needs to see a doctor. The clinic I work for is nearby. Please let me take him there to splint his leg properly before you take him away.

The guard looked from the parchment to the maiden as she showed him a certificate of her right to work for the local clinic as part of a four-week internship, and the guard scoffed.

"You're a very nice young lady. But this man is a thief and will face proper justice. The doctors in the dungeon will tend to him once he's safely inside his cell."

The maiden's cheeks puffed slightly, and she flipped her parchment to a new page and angrily scribbled another note much to the irritation of the guard. Holding up the parchment, he read:

Look at him! He's extremely malnourished and trying to secure a humble bite to eat for heaven's holy sake! Proper treatment can't wait in his condition! So I ask you again to please let me take him to the clinic to splint and bind his leg!

Her face hardened into a glare, but the guard was unmoved.

"Miss, you're interfering with justice which is a crime in these parts. If you don't remove yourself from my path, I am authorized to take you in as well. Now make your choice." He growled.

The maiden huffed, putting her parchment away. But as the guard began walking by, she slipped a single apple into the thief's hand as the guard looked ahead to spot his path through the crowd. The thief tucked the apple away, and mouthed a "thank you" to her. She smiled sweetly and bowed her head as they disappeared.

(Italics means that Elena is speaking in High-Elven)
"Guards seem to be less and less compassionate everywhere I go." She muttered to herself.

She could do no more for the poor man. Thieves in neutral territory like this were almost always desperate and seeking nothing more than a meal. Rarely, if ever, did they do or mean any harm to the people they stole from. Most people understood this and had at least some compassion. At least, she had thought so. But it didn't seem that way today. However, it was a big day. A historic one, even. So, the maiden took a deep breath and chalked it all up to the tension and excitement of the day's main event, which was very soon to be taking place.

She carefully slid through the crowd, drawing eyes from all who saw her pass by, as she made her way back to the clinic to stand with the other interns and wait to see the Royals as they arrived.

@Wolf_Bane109 @Firewind @Pantheran @Kashima @King Castle @Nimani @redroseknight @alwaystheOptimist @Moongrid
 

Firewind

Amateur Writer
Zaldir and Aranaea
The Cart rolled slowly to its stopping point in a good spot in the Marketplace of Lau’Sha, the horse giving a small sigh of relief on its part for pulling the darn thing for nearly a week in order to make it to this historic day. For whilst the Royals will meet to discuss the hectic events of the past decades and put their heads together on what to do about it, one of his owners will once more try to sell his wonderful creations to save up for the shop.

The other will shower this (in his own mind) overworked horse with the praise he so rightfully deserves. The Second of these predictions was apparently granted to him as a hand ran down the Horse‘s head and dark mane.

“You did a good job, dear, dear Ardyn.“ a Feminine Elven voice said, giving the dark horse all the love and attention in the world.

“Naea, you do realize he nearly busted the cart when he decided to go full gallop at the outskirts of this place right?” Came the voice of Ardyn’s actual owner and occasional giver of carrots and sugar cubes. “Will you at least help me get set up so I can sell some of my wares, that is if you’re done babying Ardyn?“

“Did that school of yours ever teach you basic manners, Zaldir my Darling Brother? A ‘Please’ would have made the case.” Retorted Aranaea as she stopped in her petting of the horse and walked over to help her younger brother, “But if you insist.”

With that said, Aranaea grabbed a wooden stool, put some of her magic into it and set it down in front of Zaldir, and in almost an instant, it transformed into a larger table. A useful spell in alchemy. Though changing something’s size takes a bit of both mana and energy. Aranaea thus leaned on the table, satisfied In her part.

“You did that just so you make me do all the hard work of getting my own stuff out, didn’t you?” Zaldir asked with a hint of amusement.

“That and my dear little brother needs to understand that I wish to observe the events of today just as much as everyone else. Perhaps even helping a poor soul or two that needs the help of a powerful alchemist such as I.”

“You helping out someone I can get behind, but your pride as an alchemist has nothing to do with it. You just love helping people. Admit it.“ Zaldir countered with a sly smirk as he set down several pieces of magic armor down as well as a sword, a spear and an axe onto the table in that order.

Aranaea chuckled and with two fingers brushed a lock of her sapphire blue hair, the reminder of an alchemy mishap at her Academy days, as she shot her usual remark of her brother’s observations on herself, or anyone around him. “Cynic.”

“Realist.” came the usual reply from her younger brother. Ardyn the horse simply gave a sigh at the banter going on in front of him. Yes, these were his owners. Always bantering, Elvish or Common, about their ambitions or views on current events and life as Elven siblings often do. It seemed like they were silly fools, but to this Horse, they were his silly fools. And he’d have it no other way.....

That is until the Stallion demanded for a sugar cube.
 

Wolf_Bane109

Wild Wolf Of The North


A figure slowly stalked the streets of a small, rustic town. The buildings were made of carved stone, thatched roofs, curved wooden doorways, and glass paned windows. They were humble homes all clustered together behind larger walls that helped fence off the small town of Vhalus. A small Elven village to the northern border of the continent. It consisted of hard working farmers, blacksmiths, monks who lived in solitude, and dreamers. It was simply a place where those who desired to escape from the city life went, and could seek out a calmer life if one wished. Flames flickered against the cobblestone as raging fires spread throughout the town, eating everything in its wake. A small, red haired elven girl stood silently, eyes full of horror as she watched as everything crumpled down around her. The screams of those she once knew, the dairy farmer down the street that would deliver fresh produce and supplies on the third day of the week, the blacksmith who had helped forge her first sword that hung loosely from her hip…

The Screams...They never faded, never waned...And never left the chambers of the soul survivor’s mind…


There was a loud thud and gasp as air was sucked back into their lungs as a figure fell out of their bed that lined the far wall. Grovelling as they murmured in elven, rubbing the back of their head, “Damned night terrors..” the elven woman muttered. Slowly rising to her feet as the cloth blanket slid off of their form, leaving their body to be exposed to the morning light that peeked through the upper floor’s window. The morning sun glinted off of their skin, reflecting against the dark ink that was in stark contrast to their otherwise rather pale complexion. Yawning softly as her bare feet scraped against the wooden floor as she moved along to the bathroom, returning a few minutes later. Long, blood red hair dangled below the chest as they struggled to find their supplies to prepare for the day. The day had finally arrived since Aetrius had since first arrived in Lau’Sha, a week prior. Tying her hair into a messy, half done bun that rested just tightly enough to her head, she quickly assembled her set of armor, slipping on the first few layers of body armor, and then the metal and leather pieces were put on. The elven woman eyed herself in the dusty, body mirror that stood across the room. Normally she would have prefered simple armor, made of leather and steel arm guards, but going with the full set of armor felt more professional in appearance. Something that Aetrius had never been efficient at, being a professional. Business wise in that regard. But playing off a facade is what they needed to do, they would have been normally passing through the city, but considering what was whispered about the city, that the Royals were entering the city, she figured she could postpone her initial leave of the city. Not that she had anywhere to be as of yet.

Reaching over to the side of the bed where two Twin Blades laid, Aetrius quickly holstered them to the placements along her waist. Searching through her back, she retrieved her Kusarigma and placed them on the lower part of her belt which was hidden by her cloak behind her. Lastly, placing her longbow and quiver on her back, making sure to tie the leather strap firmly across her chest. Eyeing herself once more in the reflection, a soft sigh escaped her lips. Was she just being over paranoid and other thinking things, as she always did? Or was her gut trying to tell her something was wrong? Whatever the answer was, a slow growing anxiety formed in the pit of her stomach, and nothing could cause it to waver. It was like looming shadow that was just out of reach, but always there. She found herself shrugging her shoulders, trying to reassure her that she was simply over thinking and being paranoid. Flipping her cloak's hood over her head, she dug her hands into her cloaks inner pockets and set out of the small establishment she had been staying in.

Aetrius kept her head low as she made her way through the streets, still easily being a head and then some taller than a large majority of those in the endless crowds. Keeping her eyes down and away from most of the people that she passed by, getting odd looks and hearing the offhanded comments from those that noticed her presence among them. Making her way past a large group that had formed, she looked up to find herself in the marketplace. Walking over to one of the vendors Aetrius gave them a quick flash of their eyes, golden orbs staring down at the small dwarven man. She silently pointed to a small package on the bottom shelf, then to a cluster of apples and a strange looking pastry. The half elven woman looked as the small dwarf hurridly gathered her things, "It will be ten sil-" he was cut off as Aetrius tossed him a sinlge gold coin and swiftly left. The old dwarf simply blinked and quickly tucked the shiny coin into his apron, whistlening happily as he went about his work. The woman ducked past a few more groups of people as she clutched her food between the crook of her arm, making sure to hold the parcel closely.

Looking around the small square, there were a few benches that aligned the outer walls that lead further into the city and a small clinic that resided further down the street by a few doors. Deciding on where to sit and rest before the Royals began to arrive, she quickly walked over to one of the benches and sat down. The old wood softly creaking underneath her weight. Looking below the rim of her hood, she could see a few other people had been sitting and waiting on the benches. None had stood out of importance or need for alarm, but what was curious was the man dressed in black with the waling stick that was seemingly in the midst of meditating. Aetrius gave him a small nod, but noticed the cloth wrapped around his eyes, signalling he was visually impaired. She shook her head as she looked away, something didn't feel entirely right about him, but who was she to judge? Aetrius silently unfolded the parcel to reveal what seemed to be a compiled mass of ingrediants. Base layer was bread, with what appeared to be a form of meat and melted cheese and a variety of vegtables. Taking a bite she could feel some strength returning to her otherwise sleep struck form. From the corner of her eye, a small figrue slowly approached her from the left. Barely looking up from her meal, "What? What do you want?" the elven woman questioned, her voice coming across as a bit harsh as well as preocupied with food as she continued to chew. "I don't mean to trouble you, mi...miss, but...I haven't eaten in days and...I just don't want to be a bother." a small voice said. Finally looking up at who spoke, a small child stood infront of the oddly large female half elf. The entire origin of their species was unknown, but what she could gather the child was of Mithi decent, with two sharp ears protruding from atop her head and a small tail from behind. Giving the small Mithi a look over once more, sighing as she did so. Aetrius put down her sandwhich and rifled through her bag, taking out a shiny red apple and handed it to the child, "Don't mention it, kid. I'd offer more but, it's all I have at the moment." she said as she flashed the child a kind smile, which soon disapeared from her face as it went back to a rather stoic look. The young Mithi gave her a bow as she repeated her thanks, stumbling over her words as she backed away and took a bite of the food that was gifted to her by the strang elf. A small chuckle creased her lips as she nodded, and went back to silently eating her breakfast as she awaited for time to pass.
 

alwaystheOptimist

Today's going to be just fantastic!
Lau’sha had barely changed at all.

The cobbled streets were still littered with rotting fruit, children’s games, dropped coins, and trash that merchants had thrown from their stalls to make them appear more clean and elegant. Slum children were still covered in the same tattered clothes and grime, pickpocketing unsuspecting strangers and playing along the sides of the roads, the occasional crier collapsing onto the ground and sobbing at their loss of a toy or victory until their mother quickly rushed over and wrapped the child in her arms. The houses were still stacked against one another, walls covered in fading paint and roofs that housed both birds and leaves blown carelessly by the wind. The nobles still sniffed haughtily at commoners and slum people alike, their disdainful stares filled with disgust as the sipped tea from thin china cups in bordering cafes. The occasional prostitute clung to the side of a brothel, an arm around a drunkard with a drink in hand and the other waving to more customers, all the while advertising cheap dalliances.

Lau’sha seemed unchanged but there was something different about the Lau’sha now from the Lau’sha Athalia had visited years before. After many years as a diplomat and strategist for the Ademarian government, she had learned that people’s faces spoke more words than their thoughts and opinions.

The people’s faces held fear.

It was starkly present in the faces of the masses, from the filthiest peasant to the richest noble. Eyes glanced nervously at the procession that trekked the cleared streets, hushed conversations whispered to their neighbors; the air was dense with despair. The cause of their anxiety was apparent; the news of the nine demons now roaming and destroying cities and towns at will had set off an alarm in all the major kingdoms and nations, the need for a meeting among the leaders of nations deemed necessary.

The dappled mare Athalia rode nickered, pulling at the reigns that Athalia held. The elf loosened her grip, stroking the horse’s pale mane as she contemplated the meeting that was soon to occur and the events that led to her arrival at the city. One of Ademar’s most profitable trade sectors had recently been burned to the ground by one of the newly summoned demons which had led to a sudden drop in profit as well as citizen happiness. Many of the people had quickly turned to the government in search of a solution to the chaos the demon had created. Victims of the event had come rushing into public court, demanding that the crown do something, anything to help their now destroyed businesses homes and families. The problem had gotten so bad that the king had spent many a sleepless night contemplating how to solve the problem but to no avail. He soon had come running to Athalia in search of solutions and answers, but the only thing she could do wa-

“Athalia”

Athalia glanced to the side, shocked to see the king next to her, though she made sure that her face didn’t betray her emotions. King Meldiron had probably slowed his pace, walking his horse next to the elven diplomat’s mare.

“My lord,” she replied dipping her head in respect “-is there something you need?”. The king smiled slightly, though there was an ever-present sense of worry embedded in his eyes. He gestured to the crowds, “What do you think?” he asked simply, his gaze steady. “Whatever do you mean my lord?” she asked, her hand quickly reaching the golden chain necklace around her throat, fidgeting with the thin links of metal.

“Of the people, diplomat. What do you think of them?” he shifted on top his mount, the thick cape of fur clasped to his shoulders, shifting smoothly across the saddle. “They’re afraid,” she said plainly “, as are many of the nations that have come here.” The king nodded, rubbing his chin in thought. “Do you see a future for this conference?” he asked again, after much silence between them. She frowned at this, her eyes wandering to the guards that surrounded their caravan and those that were posted on the road. Her eyes came to rest on two squabbling merchants, both grabbing at a bag of coins on the table of their booth. “I can only see a future for any conference if the nations can get along with each other my lord,” she glanced back at the old king’s youth filled face, “We know that many other elven kingdoms don’t get along well with their neighbors and many nations still hold hostility between nations.”

The king nodded slowly, his eyes staring into the distance at the White Palace of Parliament. He smiled quickly, eyeing the diplomat “Our kingdom, though does not have such difficulties,” he smiled with a bit of confidence “thanks to our knowledgable advisor. Tell me, who on earth managed to become allies with our rival?”. Athalia quirked an eyebrow, a small smile gracing her lips “Hm..I can’t seem to remember” she quipped proudly “could you remind me, my lord?”. The king chuckled “Despite your youth child, you have a skill many wish they had,” and with that he kicked the flank of his horse and took his place at the head of the procession.
 
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Pantheran

New Member

There was a smell of freshly baked bread, fire burning on the stove, the chatter coming from the streets, as a lean figure had noticed the unlocked back door to a bakery. Without much a creek of the floorboards two pieces of the bread vanished on the counter and the figure left as quietly as he had arrived. The white haired man had been in the city only for bit over two weeks, looking for his place on the streets with everything he owned being carried in a bag on his shoulders: three throwing knives, his father’s dagger, pocket watch, medical supplies and the breads were slipped on top of his spare clothes. Another dagger and a leather pouch with couple coins were tied on his waist. Everything else he had owned had burned, along with whole city of Callah, his own hometown. And so his life as a refugee had started.

The man continued his journey around the common district, his face covered by a hood and a scarf. He was not interested in the meeting as no matter what decision was made, he didn’t expect anything to change for him personally. The nobles only cared about themselves, they did not care about people like him: the ones without nothing to their names. And so Zagaroth had decided to use his time wiser: to gather up supplies he needed to start up his new life in this city. In the rush of heading to see what was going on some people had forgotten to lock their doors or close their windows and that suited a thief quite well. Unattended coins, simple jewelry and even a silver cup to sell found their way into his pockets as well.

Eventually Zagaroth headed back to a little shack he had stayed in at the slums. It wasn’t much: just an old mattress, crate that served as a table and storage space, candles for light and a large bowl to collect water. It was enough for now, and he always kept anything of value with him. He had learned that you never knew when you had to leave. However as he arrived and opened the crooked door his eyes went to a man laying on the same mattress he had just slept last night. The man’s clothes were dirty and rippled, his hair unwashed and skin tainted. It only took Zagaroth a second to see that man was another streetrat. The other man turned at him and opened his eyes. There was a moment of silence as both of them just stared at each other as to see if it was worth to fight for the place. It was Zagaroth who stepped out and closed the door. It wasn’t a surprise to him that someone else had taken that place. In the streets it wasn’t always first come first serve. Not at all so. Instead everyone had to fight for themselves.

The thief walked to a nearby stone wall and leaned against it, holding his eyes closed for a moment thinking. He took a deep breath and opened his eyes. It was time to find a new place to stay.
 

King Castle

King castle as in a castle that is a king.
The bustling streets roared with the typical shouting, cheering and laughter expected of a festival. This included the usual influx of travelers and traders, minstrels, jugglers, dancers and anyone else with either a skill or goods to sell. Though this was undercut by the cause of the gathering, the spread of demons by cults, many people saw oportunity in the event all the same. There was fear to be sure, but what was this grand show of unity for but to ease those fears? The royal processions surrounded by retinues of knights in their glimmering armor? To declare "We shall stand together against these monstrosities! We shall drive their foerventthis world! We will keep the peace!"

Walking the streets, buying overpriced snacks and knick knacks, showed him that these horrors from beyond the veil had yet to leave such devastation that the common man had forgotten how to laugh, to smile, to sell him honeyed sweets! It meant that there was still time to take decisive action. That they could stop a tenth demon from repeating the tragedies of its predecessors. He was glad that the tension had yet to meet its boiling point. That he could wonder the streets like this, dressed just as another old man enjoying the festivities. No fancy robes, no need of his sword or armor. It made him all the more aware of his position of authority and the responsibilities that came with it.

He soon found himself passing through the familiar square leading to the White Castle of Parliament, filled with all manner of spectators hoping to catch sight of the royals passing through. He was of little notice, going opposite the crowds, away from the excitement. Making his way past the nearby clinic and into a small alley, he turned a left into a second alley, seamingly a dead end, save for a lone door on the side with a hanging "open" sign. A strong smell of mixed aromas, some bitter, others sweet, assaulted his scence of smell as he made his way in. The small, dimmly lit room was lined with an assortment of odd trinkets and jars filled with an abundance of tea leaves. Behind a small counter, with barely enough room for a book and a cup of tea due to the pilling of more goods for sale, was an old dwarf there to greet him.

The dwarf slapped his leg, a wide grin of triumph. "Ha! I knew you couldn't pass up a gander through here! But what are you doin' here now? Don't you have a fancy march to attend?"


Sebastian made his way over to the counter "Not yet friend. We have some time until it is our turn. I made my way here just a bit ahead of schedule. I'll have just enough time to change. As to why now, I don't think I'll be able to come here once things start. Better to prepare for the long haul."

"Bah! Thats why I stay here. No strangers to bother me and plenty of time for myself. Speaking of time then, may I recommend something new? I'm sure it'll be to you tastes." he asked, confident in his jugment.

"Something new? Coming from you it must be good! I'll take a box of it then." he replied. To get a recommendation from here was high praise indeed. Only the best, not the most expensive, would have a home here.

"Well ahead of you," the dwarf pulled a small box out from under the counter "I knew you would swing by for the big party, so I had this prepared for you. Usual charge and what not. Now after this thing is done you stop on by and we'll have a real talk you hear?"

"Yes, I understand. As soon as I have time. Take care old friend!" Sebastian traded the payment for the box and took his leave. Making several short jumps with teleportion, he would arrive in time to change into formal attire and take his place in the proccecion as the representative of his nation.
 

Nimani

New Member
For three weeks he has spent time in this city but is yet to find that which he is looking for. However the roiling in his soul, tells him that he is close to the Center he so much sought for. He knew this because the inner turmoil kept getting worse and as if he caught a case of bad digestion, his gloved right arm went over his stomach. Movement however did not go unnoticed and it perked up a person next to him. The Old Man, his one eye veiled with milky blindness, shifted his shriveled head on the pillow and looked at the strange tender that sat next to him in apparent discomfort. He saw the movement and tapped him on his left arm.

"You know..." he stammered into silence, but continued after some difficulty "...in times like these, young men like you have no excuse to be so broody."
It was not the hoarse quality of the voice that snapped Asano back to the present moment, but the intent behind the words. Here was a man, more dead then alive, marooned in a foreign city after being forced to flee by an even more foreign powers and yet he is cheering him up?

Asano nodded, curving a smile for his patient, and for a brief moment the silky material of his hana caught the moonlight that came through the hole in the hospice's roof. Old Man saw the beam, his one good eye tracing it up, the malnourished ridges of his face betraying great concern. As if he took upon himself the difficult thoughts away from his young helper.

"Just don't cross the sea, go East or South! You told me are from the South? Go back home, you will be safer there lad." Old Man tighten the grasp on his left arm and Asano put his right hand over it. He did not pry into the history of his patients but at that moment he realized that the Old Man must have been a refugee from when the dark summonings began. He did not had the heart to tell him how the situation has escalated and that nowhere was really truly safe anymore, let alone in his southern homeland.

"Not all is lost. We will make it safe again. Rest some more."

"There is no more rest for me, among the living lad. Too tired." He spoke with the surety of a man who lost all fear but that of death. In his eye shone a brilliant moment of stark realization when all norms and barriers of everyday life fade away and only the highlights of moments truly lived are contrasted before the gasping void of unknown. He has seen this moment on the dunes, in the gutters and in this hospice that is slowly turning into a tomb.

The Old Man's lips perked and clenched together, what little breath he had came in and out in spastic moments . Asano thought he saw beneath this derelict of disease and old age a beauty not entirely of human origin, but little of that mattered now. He volunteered in this hospice in order to tend to those that are terminally ill and as such stage the pains of the soul are more destructive to a person then that of flesh. Man is after all, his worst enemy. He hoped he would find the Center here among the groans of the afraid and dying but he was not sure, until this very moment. Not knowing how to help the Old Man, he focused at the roiling in his own soul.

Edging on a small chair, he bent over until his lips almost touched the Man's arm still held in-between his hands. Taking a moment to remove the sheep-intestine gloves that the hospice gave him, he spoke with a quiet and soft voice for Old Man's ears only, a few lines he wrote a few days ago:

"Life, death, – death, life; the words have led for ages
two opposites; but now long-hidden pages
are opened, liberating truths undreamed.
Life only is, or death is life disguised, –
Life - a short Death! until by Beyond we are surprised."


The pain within him turned into a clenched fist and then an orb of white pain, before exploding, exuding serene peace and calm through his body. He wept softly.
Old Man nudged him, and to Asano's surprise he was smiling, both of his eyes glimmering with happiness.
"You know, I've met someone like you before. Now I know why I lived. Thank you. I will listen to you and rest some more." he winked at him, all trace of fear gone.

Asano nodded and with a grateful smile, he made the Old Man comfortable before leaving him for the night. As he opened the main doors, a crescent beam of light came over the hill, bathing his grey and brown robe. Night was over before he even realized and morning freshness coupled with a cold breeze that came over the dockyard, shook him free from night's stupor.

After talking with the head nurse, arranging for himself a couple of hours of rest, he closed the door. However, before the doors closed shut, even among the occasional groan and whimper, he thought he could hear the Old Man exhale.
He was happy, they both managed to find the Center.

. . .

The hour threatened to outpace him as the sun slowly climbed but Asano maintained a deliberate and slow pace as he walked from the docks, climbing on a winding sea-side street to his lodging a mere corner away. One hand within his white cloak and lodged between voluminous belts and another clutching his staff, eyes downward as he mused how to put this latest understanding he had of life on parchment. This intimate comprehension he gained, this transmutation from negative into positive must be written down before it is forgotten! Abruptly, he changed his pace, suddenly eager to reach his lodgings. He remembered something - not only does he need to return to the hospice later, but he also needs to meet a friend as well. Someone he thought he would never see again.
 

Pantheran

New Member

Black clothes, black and red hair, a red cross tattoo on her shoulder hidden under her shirt; the signs of the succubus mercenary known as Black Widow. She was at the city of Lau'sha for her work, a contract from a noble to eliminate another noble. It was a rather boring but a typical job. Two people quarreling over petty things. But as long as it paid well she didn’t care of the reasoning. It had been several weeks since she had settled at the inn of the noble district before actually signing the contract. Now that she had though, she had tried to get close to the man. But he was often surrounded by other people.

The event had not helped the situation at all. Rather, it had made it worse. She had to be extremely careful to not be recognized as the people gathered from all over in the city. Among the crowds there could have been her old clients or even families of the people she had taken down. Not to mention a possible bounty hunter who might be after her head and the 3000 gold. For that reason she had prepared herself with a knife infused with poison hidden inside her boot. Everything else she had left at the inn for now: clothes, spare knife, few vials of poison, medical supplies, her sketchbook and inks for drawing. As she usually had only one job in each city she attempted to travel light and buy what she needed on the way.

Luciana was now making her way closer to the palace, flying as close as she was allowed while trying to stay at the edge of the crowd. She wasn’t going to miss such an important event especially when the outcome might affect her work. If the outcome wouldn’t please everyone the possibility of more quarreling nobles and royals existed and from that more work for her. Or worse case, even the old enemies were going to unite against this demonic thread. Or maybe her skills would be needed and hired to go after these demonic beings. The different thoughts were filling her mind as she was waiting for the announcements being made.
 
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Kashima

Master Enchanter
Sitting perched atop the spire of one of Lau'sha's soaring churches in the Noble Quarter, Arenaria watched the passerby below and the city as a whole. Between her exceptionally keen eyesight and grandiose vantage, she found herself with a stunning, yet informative view.;while the city was, admittedly, quite beautiful to view, Aren was also privy to a view of many hidden nooks and otherwise obscured locales, and so she sat and watched as the Royals marched onward. Her master, Grus, had sent her here to view the procession and learn what she may, although she had thought it strange that he had insisted she go prepared to defend herself, although he did seem to have an uncanny knack for being prepared. At his behest, she had brought her knife, sword, quivers, and bow. She had two quivers strung across her back, as well as a small half-quiver sewn into the outsides of the trousers she wore under her armor. Her sword hung on her left hip, and her knife was sheathed at the small of her back. She also carried a leather backpack designed for and by Aerolians, which easily accommodated her wings and allowed to her fly without risk of losing her things due to a more harness-like mechanism for wearing it. Within, she had a sizeable variety of miscellaneous goods including coils of twine, a length of rope, a sewing kit, spare clothes, soap, and other such basic amenities.

From her vantage she was easily able to see all sorts of shenanigans underway, from robberies to cons, beatdowns to pickpocketing, and while she felt a strong urge to do something about the more violent escapades, she knew it wasn't her responsibility: Her duty was to examine the parade and learn of the aftermath. However, she wasn't quite certain what to do afterward; normally, Grus would tell her to come straight back afterward or some such, but nothing of the sort was said and he had given her no instructions past learning of today's event. While he was somewhat secretive, a trait common to many of her people, it was unusual for him to be both so vague and so casual about a matter as important as this, nor about her safety or instruction. If anything, Grus had always been a bit overprotective, so Aren's mind had been wondering to his uncharacteristic behavior during the entire trip, and even now, she was unable to keep her mind on the task at hand.

Difficulty staying on task was an issue she had always dealt with, though. While she was studious and intelligent, her mind often raced and made focusing on a given task very difficult. It wasn't a rarity for her to often be working on multiple assignments or tasks at a time, so she could switch tasks as her focus did. This was Grus' idea, but one that had both pleased and surprised her; by swapping along with her attention, she stayed fully invested in whatever she was currently working with without becoming bored or having difficulty getting it done. Truly, many of the qualities she possessed, he had taught her. Lacking parents and traditional upbringing, he had needed to double as both parent and mentor, father and teacher for her, and while Aren wasn't the most open individual, she had long appreciated the lengths he had gone to for her and the lessons he taught her. Lessons, such as protecting the weak... Lessons, such as always completing the task at hand.

Realizing she couldn't focus on the procession without addressing her other qualms, she sighed and took to wing, aloft after but a few flaps of her large, white wings. Glancing at the procession of royals as they proceeded, she made mental note of their location and pace before turning her attention to the suffering below. Checking her bag and quiver, she was satisfied to know all her things were with her. She had only brought a few elemental arrows, nothing especially strong, but it would be enough for most circumstances. And so began her patrol over Lau'sha.
 

GojiBean

That One Fear In My Enemy's Eyes
Korose

Seated quietly beneath the shadow of the hilly path leading to the White Palace of Parliament, the blind Elven vagabond continued to meditate. The black void of the world around him reverberated with activity. And as a pulse emanating with each breath, he took in the visual of the world around him through the white reflections amidst the darkness. A tree immediately to the right of his bench, and a cobblestone path leading all the way down to the sea beyond it. Just ahead to his right, close to the street leading back towards the heart of the town was a woman of equal height to his own who had helped a child. Kind of her. The path leading to the heart of town was straight ahead of his bench, and he could see the mass reverberations in the white reflections of his pulse as thousands of people tried to hold individual conversations amongst a sea of voices.

Ahead and to his left was an alley way. But because it gave a sharp right turn, the reflection would not show what lay beyond. Only the primary reflections would return the white image to help paint the mental picture of his surroundings. And finally, a mere ten meters away and immediately to his left, the winding path leading to the White House of Parliament. At its doors he could just make out the silhouette of the King of Lau'sha as he greeted an arriving diplomat. They were too far away for him to make out who they were or of what race they were, but the outline was very slim which made him guess that it was a female.

He lifted his hood for a brief moment to feel the warmth of the sun against his flesh, and the angle said it was still too early. Replacing his hood, he returned to his meditation.

Meanwhile...

Elena

At the clinic, the High Elven maiden from earlier was engaged in conversation with another intern. A young man, human, from the faraway Kingdom of Nhyella.

"So you've been an herbalist for almost four hundred years?!" He asked.

Taking her lead pencil in one hand and her parchment in the other, the maiden scribbled her response as he eagerly awaited the moment she turned the parchment around.

Yes. But not an herbalist, really. Just a gatherer.

"Still, that's impressive! You've probably helped more people than are here at the event in that time, haven't you?!" He asked excitedly, a little bounce in his step.

She chuckled and scribbled her response.

I don't know about that. But I have contributed a fair share, I think.

"You're way too modest E-... Um... Elanor?"

She chuckled once more and scribbled another reply.

Elena.

"Elena! My apologies!" He bowed.

She waved his bow off nervously, and smiled sweetly as he stood up.

"Well, point stands. You're far too modest. Given how efficient of a runner you've been for us here, and how eager the doctors seemed to be to acquire your services for this week in preparation for this day, you must be amazing at what you do!"

Elena laughed and shook her hand, waving off his comment.

Korose

Were it not for his... Special circumstances, he would be like everyone else. None the wiser. But he felt it. A subtle, but alarming spike of wicked energy erupting from his right, out towards the ocean. Slowly his head turned in that direction, and he sent out another pulse to see what was there... Nothing.

"Evil never lies... So where are you?" He muttered quietly.

Keeping his focus on the road and ocean beyond, he sent another pulse... Nothing.

His lips tightened slightly as he heard cheers emerge from the marketplace. Evidently, a gathering of performers had made their way to the center of the mass of people and began dancing, singing, and playing instruments to liven the festivities.

Another spike of wicked energy caught his attention, and he again looked towards the ocean. More cheering from further into the market began as more performers gathered to do magic, juggling acts, puppet shows, and more.

"... A coincidence?" He whispered to himself.

Standing from his bench, and touching the tip of the walking stick to the ground to feel the cobblestone in his path, he slowly walked the road to his right leading towards the ocean. As he passed the tree, he ran his hand through the lower branches to feel the leaves. A cool, morning breeze caressed his cloak, causing it to blow behind him slightly which revealed a pair of wicked dual daggers at his lower back for the briefest of moments. But his focus remained forward, locked on the ocean and the source of the wicked energy. He felt it spike again, and a roar from the crowds emerged. Someone must have done something amazing.

"Not a coincidence." He growled.

He stopped mid-stride, unsure of whether or not to head towards the source or return to the market. If the performances were linked to these wicked spikes, which would be more dangerous for this city?

...

The Royals would not arrive for at least another hour if he was judging the sun's angle correctly. And as long as the performers were entertaining and not endangering anyone, the more pressing matter was to identify the source of the spikes. He resumed his steady march towards the docks, and could only hope that the Royals wouldn't arrive sooner than expected. If they did... Who knew what could or would happen?
 

Nimani

New Member
As soon as his eyes were closed, the thick smell of qah! weed reached his nostrils. With a groan Asano woke up from his brief sleep, removing the qah! before water managed to flood it's hollow interior. Taking the cigarette holder in-between his lips, he sucked out any unwanted moisture and with practice inhales and exhales managed to stabilize the sparks within the qah! before the fire had any chance to gutter into more smoke.

Stretching legs and arms, he opened the attic window, letting in gusts of hot summer air within his humble abode. Much like his abode, the view was also humble, seeing not much farther then chimney from the neighbors roof and the bell tower of the local church. However, Ninia graced them with her complete radiance today, giving them fair weather and opal blue sky, making him feel more invigorated then the brief sleep ever could.

With a practiced puff of scented smoke and measured pace, he moved to the rotting cupboard and the water bowls where his qah! was. With the bowls he tracks the journey of Ninia and that of Naru - her nocturnal counterpart and consort. This far north people called this contraption 'water-clock', but Asano knew it as Sotha Ela Eteru or in Common, 'Wisdom taken from Above'.

The contraption is simple and iscomposed of two bowls and two rags. The top bowl is filled with water and has a small hole just where the curve of the bowl tapers of to form the bottom. Over its lip is tied a thick cloth, trailing beneath the bowl and to the other side, cupping the underside in a tight embrace. The second rag is tied to the first at it's underbelly and as it dangles from the bottom of the first bowl all the way to the bottom of the second bowl below it. This part usually stays submerged as the bowl below fills up. As water escaped the top bowl it soaks the first and second cloth, transferring the water below without producing a sound of falling droplets.

Usually the bottom bowl has small carved lines on the inside measuring the water-line and thus passage of time. Asano took it one step further by mounting his qah! on the lip of the bottom bowl and lighting one end of the hollow cane just so it produced a bit of spark among it's fill of oily qah! weed. As water fills up the bottom bowl, it would find it's way to the qah!, the oily weed within usually sizzling in contact with unwelcome moisture, producing a thick and aromatic smoke but quickly extinguishing it.

In this way, Asano managed to measure time, without having to employ the less advanced methods of the locals and avoiding having to pay a knocker or the innkeeper to wake him up. This way of measuring time, of 'taking wisdom from above' was part of fragments that survived the Shattering of Ninia, his homeland and that of his people. These fragments, known in the many zuma as Ancient Laws or Ancient Lore is now in sole possession of the Matrons for both protection and safekeeping of the crumbling texts. And the only reason why he knew how to take the wisdom from above is because of his mother who was a Matron, a woman of wisdom. She used to tell him many such magical tales of incredible feats and small ingenuities of the past as a way of a bedtime story or to steel his courage in time of peril and challenge. He remembered and wrote down many of such stories, but as is the case with the improvised water clock, if ever they were made again, they would be improvisations taken from crumbling fragments.

An hour should be enough, he thought, etching another small notch within the bowl. Just like my people, this is but a fragment if what it was once. But it endures in a way, just as they. Just as he does.
As if struck by lightning, his eyes widened and his hands went for the scroll-bag, attempting to write down another glimmering on the massive scroll before it faded.

There was serenity in the dilapidated attic, the calm atmosphere accentuated by aromatic scent, sounds of a scratching quill and occasional creak of the attic window. His light brown eyes danced across the huge diagram he was writing into the scroll, a scroll so large it blanketed most of the floor. Ever since his Becoming, Asano worked on the scroll - the words cris-crossing horizontally and vertically, this way and that as he tried to connect various life moments and impulsive verses into circular loops and orderly structures - until the collection of musings on the scroll started to resemble a geometric diagram.

Suddenly but not unexpectedly, there was a creak on the stairs and Asano quickly rolled up the scroll back into the bag, hastily tying hana around his rowdy hair, negotiating with blue cloth the strands of jet-black hair that would, inevitably, find their way out in two cascades down to his shoulders. He remembered that in a zuma it was unusual, for hair to be sticking in this way out of the hana, but it was not frowned upon. In small, silent ways even tradition made concession to necessity and Asano did not had much dyed cloth on hand.

There was a knock on the door, but he was already taking a small bag and a bronze kettle from the cupboard. He may no longer live in a zuma, but no guest yet has found him unprepared.

''On the sands of history I walk...'' Asano started.
''...until I reach the dunes of the future and back to the People.'' the guest returned, opening the creaky doors. The guest was half a head shorter then the doorframe, which put him an entire head shorter then Asano, but wider - with shoulders to match that of a bull and a smile more curvaceous then the young moon.

"Marid. Under Sun and Moon we finally meet again friend." Asano finished the homilie with his left hand touching the chest, lips and forehead, opening the palm away from his hana to the guest. Marid returned the gesture silently but without hana it looked ridiculous and leaving Asano frowning. It was the little things.

He bore no ill will to the newcomer but there was an important difference between them. He abandoned the dunes in self-exile, while Marid was a cast-out. In those days, the two traveled together until they learned the ways of the new world, but where Marid took to the foreign ways with enthusiasm, shunning his ancestors, Asano was more reserved. Nonetheless he was happy to see someone from his homeland, who looked like him and knew his troubles.

"Ah, Asano, how long has it been?" Marid stood boisterously, with hands on his hips, towering above the carpet and few straw-filled pillow for sitting that his host prepared for him. Asano coughed politely on the top of his palm but did not respond, his attention focused on boiling the brew. Marid took this as a cue and looked around the attic, his eyes catching a few details, among which was the cloth-bound bowls, and at that he suddenly frowned.

"A week from now, it should be eight moons." Asano suddenly responded, not surprising his guest with the sudden answer for Marid intimately knew Asano only as two exiles sharing life and death on the road can. That's why he did not arrange this meeting in his house or in the inn's taproom below. He knew Asano would find former distasteful and later too inhospitable and noisy.

"I see little has changed." Marid said the furrow further creasing his forehead as he looked at the white, grey and brown robes of his host, all along with thick belt embracing the waist tightly and with a turban at the top. As Asano turned, Marid saw his bearded face and kind light-brown eyes that sometimes stalked him in his dreams and he eased up at the familiarity of the scene, the crescent moon reappearing on his lips. "You should really give this world a chance, like I have. Why have we left the Wastes behind if not for that?"

Serving them both with hot, brown brew, Asano manned the qah! again, puffing before answering. "You know why. Our paths diverged. We see things differently."

"Pah!" Marid responded, but Asano could not be sure if it was out of annoyance or because of hot embuhra, but he did not pursue it and Marid knew he wouldn't. It would be impolite.

"I am a Gilder now." he added in between sips, fidgeting with a golden chain that was latched from one shoulder of his coat to another, dangling as some ridiculously large necklace. With the way how some of the more wealthier merchants were dressed in Lau'sha, Asano suspected that was the point.
"Caravans from north and north-west are under my purview now." he hurriedly added.

"You remind me of a boy who looks for a wife." Asano responded with mock seriousness, before adding with his ubiquitous, kind smile "I am sorry I have missed your promotion. It sounds like a lot of trust is placed in your care."

"It is." he answered, nodding too enthusiastically. "And I have yet to break it. I suspect that's what makes me so valuable, competency is of secondary importance in this business you know."

"I don't." Asano responded after a sip, "But you have always been good to me, so I see how your inner light could shine through, even to the eyes who have never seen the desert."

Marid chuckled, gesturing to the bowls on the rotting cupboard. "You are too kind, but you should leave this desert mysticism behind. For four years I have not seen you and you still dabble in this backward folklore. It will suffocate you. Water clocks, broken pottery and star reading - it did not serve our people! Why do you think it will serve you?"

Asano looked in his eyes and at his guest's uncovered head. He responded calmly: "Perhaps the mistake was not in the wisdom we have collected, past and present, but in our presumption that the sparks of divine radiance we once glimpsed should serve us?"

"You really speak like a Matron sometimes Asano. Those witches are the reason why our ancient homeland is the greatest wasteland on whole Earth!"

Asano sighed, pulling qah! from his mouth. "You don't know th..."

"Of course I know - you know it too! We are no Dune Demons, we have eyes and ears. Let me show you the armillary spheres my men brought from the Splintered Kingdoms. Those people managed to map the entire sky! Look, I know you are not religious, so I don't know why you busy yourself with these....stupidities that only hold you back. Instead of dusty attics, you should be with me - in two storied-houses counting coinage, weighing material and making deals! If you really wanted to help our people, why not try to earn as much as you can? The walls and towers of Ninia won't be rebuilt for free."

Asano watched him carefully, for it was obvious these words nested in his guest for a long time. In truth, he himself knew they would, for similar weights burdened him as well. Similar but not the same. As his guest shifted uncomfortably on the pillow, Asano spied in him the same stubborn pride and stubborn single-mindedness that made him refuse to back down. Impossible to make concession, too rigid, too afraid. To his host's sorrow, in this Marid reflected the soul of their People and if Asano is correct, the reason for the Shattering of Ninia, whatever the specifics of that event were.

"But should the ancient walls and towers be restored?", Asano asked coyly, drawing another puff before inspecting the holder. He stood up, placing qah! down to the notch he made within the water clock. The water already climbed half-way to it.

"Come Marid, you did not wait eight moons to come and pick apart with me ancient history. What do you want?"

He nodded from where he sat. "I would not disturb you otherwise. Others give us enough grief. What do you do now?"

At that, Asano crouched, pulling from the cupboard a linen bag, the content inside tinkling. His hand went into the sack, pulling forth a few smaller bags and some sort of glass bottle.
"Medicine. From what I know of the Ancient Lore and what knowledge I have gathered in my travels of healing herbs, brews and poultices I try to mend the sicknesses of the flesh."
Marid grunted, gesturing to the scroll-bag that stood propped against the wall: "And what is that for?"

"Medicine, but one that mends the spirit. We walk two different paths Marid and I only begrudge the separation that difference brought, but I try to understand you. We spent time together, you know me. I hold no worship of many Gods we have met but I try to love and learn, you know this."

At that, Marid turned his head away as if embarrassed, his shoulder slumping forward. A shuddering sigh escaped him.
"Please forgive me. I have not forgotten the teachings we discovered and what we have learned together. Truth be told I cannot look back far, it's too hard."

Asano crouched next to him and took him by the shoulder. He would allow himself this and no more.
"I know my friend, it's hard for me too, in my own way."

"Now..." he begun as he stood up, tying the sackcloth to his waist and slowly removing the cups and kettle and what remained of embuhra within:
"...by what business?"

At that Marid recovered somewhat, straightening his shoulder, his gaze following Asano's hands as he worked: "Powers that be are gathering in the city to discuss what is to be done with these summonings. You know of this, yes?" he shot him a quizzical look, knowing very well Asano does not pay attention to the world at large.

"I think I've noticed among the whispers and rumors." he added nonchalantly. "What has that to do with your arrival?"

"Guildmasters and influential merchants will hold their own gathering in order to settle the affairs that beneath the notice of the Royals. I will be representing the Cobbler and Merchant Caravan Guild as well as a portion of Caravansaries of the Eastern Crescent. I am not pretending I will have any say during the lesser gathering or of what is to come, but If I can help the people I will."

"Help the people or seek to secure the caravan routes your beneficiaries utilize for trade?"

"I don't understand, is there a difference between those two? Surely even you cannot be so blind to deny the importance of trade?"

Asano swallowed the insult, the grievance many times magnified not only by their prior relationship, but also by their current relationship of a guest and host. "I am not. Merely asking if your magnanimity extends to that of your competitors?"

"I cannot be responsible for everything! There will be other Guilds and company emissaries present."

The last of the prior tranquility vanished, replaced by an atmosphere of tension. Inwardly, Asano chided himself for acting as a child and sticking his hand in a pit of serpents. He knew how Marid acted impulsively when met with a challenge. At that moment, the thick aromatic smell spread across the room and he removed the qah! before too much moisture managed to extinguish the fire within.

Marid watched him, clearly not knowing what is going on but enjoying the smell.

"It's time for me to go. I have work to do at the dockyard hospice and you have..."

"Hospice? Are you mad? I've heard of strange and incurable diseases that refugees bring with them to the city!"

Asano continued: "...and you have still not told me what this gathering has to do with me. Are those attending, falling ill? Suffering as those that come fresh of the boats? Again why does this concern me?"

Marid sighed, knowing that he not only lost the battle, but continued a war he should have waged a long time ago. He shrugged.

"I don't know. Maybe because I think you can offer something to the gathering - something others cannot. You are the most seasoned traveler in the western region. I know not what you hoped to find in the shattered kingdoms of the North and across the sea but that qualifies you as a person of use in these dark times. There is a lot of misfortune coming from that direction, and if you could offer council or merely update our maps of these regions, it would be enough."

Asano stood for a moment, his quarterstaff already in his arms and ready to leave, but he hesitated. Marid sensed an opening and lunged:

"Look, you don't have to promise me anything. But you've got nothing to lose and I, we, have possibly a lot to gain. Remember, if we find a way to resume trade in some of the regions, we will be able to bring medicine and food to the suffering places. And if we managed to scavenge some intelligence along the way concerning these dark cults that keeping appearing, it would be invaluable to the Magic Council!"

"Yes, and I see the Magic Council would look upon you most favorably after that. They might even feel indebted to you. You, a man of the South." the moment he said it, he regretted it. It was truth for people have looked to the Shattering of Ninia as an example of tragic magic misuse, something the Council is very careful of and as such out of all the people, those affiliated with the Magic Council are usually the most unfriendly and suspicious of Ninians.
For Marid who sought recognition and fortune in the middle strata of society, this stigma would invariably work against him, escalating in suspicion only as he climbed higher. However despite it being the truth he should not hold it against Marid nor bring it up like this. Not to Marid.

"Look, I will be there if the guards let me in. For old time's sake if nothing else."

"They will. Thank you, my friend. I know this is hard for you Asano, but I think there is much humility we all can learn from these misfortunes."

Asano smiled. "On that we agree, my friend. Under the Star and Moon..."



* * *


Despite the time of the day, the freshness of breeze since this morning has not abated nor lessened by the stale smell that it carried up from the dockyard. Standing on the top of the road as it crested downward toward the harbor, Asano paused, his hand clutching at the staff. The peace of mind has vanished and any semblance of the Center was a pure fantasy by now. He resisted the urge to walk back to the inn and to that dilapidated attic and open the scroll assuring himself that the moment once caught was not as half as elusive as he doubts it to be. The comfort at the thought of returning was almost overpowering next to the prospect of having to walk down and face the ugliness of death and weakness of the dying.

He took a deep breath. If Marid's visit and proposal shook him out of his Center this hard, he wondered how could he face complete strangers? Has his precious solitude turned to festering loneliness? Has he drank too deep of the well of knowledge, flattering himself with wisdom unattainable since the creation of Ancient Laws? Has he fallen into the same trap?

He smacked his forehead against the staff and took a deep breath. Maybe Marid is right, maybe I have never truly left my zuma?

He sighed, allowing himself a moment of weakness before recovering. So what? Even if everything about myself is a self-made illusion, I still want to find the truth and mend suffering. It is natural that we struggle, but suffering is a sin upon our being.

In his mind he kept the thought of tonight's meeting of the Lau'Sha's wealthy, holding it's location in his mind's eye for a moment. If I could be of more service then as a mere herbalist, I should do it.
At that thought he clutched the staff more tightly now, before walking down to the gutter and the hospice that awaited him.

...
He resumed his steady march towards the docks, and could only hope that the Royals wouldn't arrive sooner than expected. If they did... Who knew what could or would happen?

The morning crowds were especially horrible these days, the tightly packed gaggle rushing to reach the city center for the upcoming festivities, bringing news and fresh supplies, eager to escape the poor prospects of those stuck at the docks. Asano considered himself always to be a very nimble person, but this was though even for him to break through. So instead of negotiating the upstream current, he employed what little patience he had this morning, deciding to wait it out.

Humming to himself, he almost did not notice the hooded figure until they almost collided with him. At the very last moment, Asano managed to interpose his staff in-between them. Only then did he notice the blindfold. He had to yell in order to be heard over the murmur of the crowd:

"To the docks, stranger? Let me help you, we stand a better chance if the two of us brave this stampede."
 

Firewind

Amateur Writer
Zaldir and Aranaea
Zaldir began to set the last item example of his wares onto the table before pulling out a sign from the cart with a small smile. “Almost there Zaldir. Couple more years of selling products and commissioned weaponry and we’ll get our shop off the ground.” Zaldir thought to himself. He then placed it at the forefront of the table, the sign reading as follows: “Kestal Metalworks: Magical and Mundane Curiosities“. A work in progress name for that far off dream but for right now, this Elf was now ready for potential passers by in the marketplace.

“You look all ready for anything. Thinking you’ll attract customers?” Aranaea asked as she begins to take a seat at the drivers seat of the wagon, pulling out a book as she does so.

“I believe so, Sis. What with so many expensive things to eat and drink in this area. I even think the Earthen Halberd will find an owner today.“ Zaldir replied.


“If they wanted farming equipment sure.”

“Hey! Come on, it’s a good versatile tool!” Zaldir retorted. Before standing in front of the table, putting on his best smile and grin, one would almost think it was akin to a wolf up to a sporting trick.

“Ladies and Gentlemen! Gather around if you wish to view mystical armaments, magical tools of the trade, and the most likely of all... simple, perfectly ordinary Children’s toys, or Magical Curiosities? I’ll let you be the judge as we go through some prime examples of my wares. So step right up, and take a look!”

“And there he goes. Ever the restless little wolf cub.“ thought Aranaea as she thumbed across another page, ever pondering, ever watchful. She could not figure if the nervous energy she felt was from the long travel from their previous stop to Lau’sha, or the fact History was being made close by.

History! Oh History! It was still an hour off before the Royals arrived to the event, yet she could only speculate what would become of it all before the day was out. Would there be disagreements, Compromises, or would people she knew from her academy days be there? All manner of questions danced across her head.


Out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw a blind elf, wandering past the Marketplace and towards the docks. She assumed the noise of the festivities and performers, especially her not skilled a showman of a brother who is currently selling several mundane trinkets to children, must’ve been too much for him. “Or maybe.. there’s a nervous energy all across the city, eh Ardyn?” She says as she scratches behind one of the horse‘s ears as it flicked, observing out of the same corner of her eye a human helping the blind elf as she smiled softly at the gesture, the Stallion looking unfazed by everything around him.

Especially Zaldir’s mediocre salesmanship. “I’d do anything to get a sale on at least one weapon Today. I could use a refresh of my essence stock.” Zaldir thought as he observed random passersby browse his weaponry and armor.
 

Pantheran

New Member

As Zagaroth was walking along the streets of the slums, hopping over an occasional puddle or passing by a person napping on a corner of an alley he was heading over to a certain small hut. He knocked on the door and hunched down through a low doorway. The hut was small and dim as an woman in her late 30s looked up and smiled as she was sitting next to a table and a kid around 8 years old ran to him. “Mister Zagaroth! Did you bring something?” he asked with an excited expression.

Zagaroth nodded. “I did”, he said while taking one of the breads from his bag and handed it to the boy. “Save something for your mother and brother.” He told the boy who nodded again as he ripped a piece from it and started eating it. Zagaroth smiled at him as the woman got up. “Thank you. You’re such a kind soul” she gave him a heartwarming smile. “It’s not an issue Millie” Zagaroth replied. In the time he had been in the city the woman had offered him great help by telling where everything was located, how to deal with guards and even washed his clothes that still had faint smell of smoke when he had arrived. With her husband being off working in the mines and trying to save money for the family, Zagaroth had wanted to return the favor. “How is he?” He asked in a low voice with more stern expression.

Millie shook her head with sadness in her gaze as she lead the white-haired man to a small side room. On a bedroll was resting a small boy, no more than 3 years old, feverish and coughing hard. His body was covered by a blanket and next to him was a bowl of water with a moist piece of cloth. Zagaroth knelt next to the boy touching his forehead. It was truly burning hot, the boy's sickness had gotten worse as the time had passed. Zagaroth frowned. “There’s not much I can do. He needs a doctor Millie.” He said dimly as the woman sighed. She was about to reply but Zagaroth cut her off. “Let me take him. I will pay for the treatment.” Millie watched him closely and shook her head again. “I can’t take your money like th---” but he cut her off again. “I will get the money.” He had grown fond of the family and he couldn’t bare to see the boy face death to see in such young age.

“Where would you even…?” The question hung up in the air as Zagaroth stood up slowly and turned to look at the worried mother. The words felt heavy as he spoke. “I’m a thief.” he admitted, wanting to be honest for her. “It’s not my money but it’s money you need.” “My husband will send--” “No Millie. Even if he would the boy….” There was a sigh as his hand slipped through his hair. He couldn’t say the words out loud. Neither could the boy’s mother as the words hung up in the air that felt still and heavy as if time had been stopped. The silence was cut sharp by the boy having another coughing fit. Millie’s eyes teared up and she nodded, whispering silently “Please help him.”

Zagaroth nodded and carefully lifted up the boy on his arms, still wrapped in a blanket. He wasn’t strong but the boy barely weighed anything. Once again he nodded at the mother and quickly made his way out, Millie standing on the doorway watching, her hand squeezing the fabric of her dress.

It wasn’t easy to go through the crowds, carrying the child, but using his thief’s agility he was able to slip through the people, making his way through allies, avoiding the people watching an performance. He had made his mind to find a doctor or a medic from the upper class of the city no matter the cost. The child needed all the help he could get. He almost busted through the door as he finally saw the sign for a hospice and saw a brown haired elven woman in the front.

“Please, this child needs help.” He said in a hurried voice as the child got another coughing fit proving the point.
 

GojiBean

That One Fear In My Enemy's Eyes
Korose

Walking slowly down the empty street with his focus squarely on the now silent horizon that was the sea, he barely had time to react as a horde of people suddenly erupted from up ahead to rush past him. Even standing 6' 2" and weighing just over 200 lbs, Korose was battered by the surge of bodies as they bumped and slipped past him to get to a better area to view the festivities. Finally, he managed to push to the side of the road away from the main body of the horde. While not perfectly devoid of people, it was far less crowded than the center.

Suddenly, a voice range out above the roar of footsteps.

"To the docks, stranger? Let me help you, we stand a better chance if the two of us brave this stampede."

Korose let out a pulse, and saw that before him was a strangely dressed man offering to walk with him in the opposing direction to the hordes.

Not interested in the man's offer, Korose immediately returned his focus to the horizon. Another pulse, but still no source returned. He began walking past the man, but was again bumped off his path by the crowd. Narrowly avoiding falling into the man who'd spoken to him, Korose caught himself by stabbing the ground with the walking stick, helping counter his shifted weight and straighten his posture once more.

Another pulse, but this time to feel out the crowd. And it wasn't slowing down. If the image the pulse returned was anything to go by, the horde was only just starting. It seemed like they were being fed from the main square and now marching/running in a circle through the streets as part of the festivities. They wouldn't be stopping anytime soon either. Not unless he took drastic measures.

Korose's body grew hotter as he concentrated mana through it in preparation for a release of magic. A quick burst to knock part of the horde down and stop their advance so he had time to walk beyond them to the cleared and empty road leading to the ocean. Just one good-... Bump!

A child had run into Korose's leg and fallen onto her rear.

"Owie!!" She screamed before starting to cry.

The heat dissipated, and Korose's posture relaxed slightly. For a long moment, he merely stared at the child as she sat crying. But finally, he extended his walking stick forward towards her. Seeing it, she grabbed it and was pulled up to her feet. She dusted herself off, sniffled, and gave Korose a quick bow before rushing off with the crowd. Korose's head followed the girl for a moment, turned towards the ocean, and then tilted down subtly. Heaving a sigh, he turned back towards the man who'd offered to walk with him earlier.

"Does your offer still stand?" He called.

_______________________________________________________________​

Back at the clinic, Elena went about her cleaning duties by sweeping the dust from the floor at the entrance with an old broom. Humming pleasantly to herself, she swept it out the open door and patted it with a stick to shake as much dust as possible out of the straw before closing the door and setting the broom down in its designated spot in the corner.

"Phew." She sighed.

"Nice work, Elena." Said a doctor who came out of the back room.

"Ah, doctor!" She stammered.

He blinked, not understanding a word she said.

"Um. Yes. Anyway, you've done well so far. But the festivities haven't even truly begun yet despite the noise outside. When the Royals arrive, we're going to see a large influx of people with injuries large and small. I know you're just an herb gatherer, but I trust you know enough to at least help with scrapes, bruises, and other small wounds?"

"Yes! Of-Oh..."

She dashed to her desk in the back of the room and grabbed her parchment and pencil, scribbling her response.

Yes! Of course, doctor!

He nodded with a grunt.

"Good. At least you can help with something. Just be ready."

She had begun scribbling her response, but he had already returned to the room from whence he came. Elena was mid-scribble when she sighed and walked over to her desk to put the parchment down. The receptionist shook her head.

"That man is impossible sometimes." She whispered to herself.

Elena set down her parchment as the door was thrown open by a man with white hair holding a sickly child in his arms.

“Please, this child needs help.”

The secretary immediately was on her feet, as was a nurse seated nearby who rushed forward to pick the child up and carry him to the back room.

"Elena! Watch the desk for me!" The receptionist called.

Elena nodded in a panic as she dashed towards the desk and slammed her thigh into the corner.

"EEP!" She cried, and froze on impact, doubling forward over the desk before slowly making her way around to sit on the chair.

"Aaaahhh..." She sighed in pain.

She rubbed her thigh as she took in a breath and exhaled, suddenly remembering the white-haired man as she looked up.

"AH!" She yipped, standing up immediately and banging her opposite knee into the edge of the tabletop.

She bit back another yip, groaning through her now clenched teeth as she sat down slowly again.

"Why me?" She muttered.
 

Nimani

New Member
As the Blind Stranger deftly avoided collision with him with a precise balancing of body weight and utility of his staff, Asano merely stepped aside, letting him walk past.

Leaning full weight against the quarterstaff, Asano observed as the stranger attempted to reach the dockyard. The Stranger was taller and broader then him and coupled with his blindness, Asano thought the efforts could only end in one tragic way - under the boots and hooves of masses surging to get to the heart of the city. He was not going to let that happen. The Stranger might appear agile and able but Asano would prepare for the worst nonetheless. He won't be a bystander to someone's death.

While appearing nonchalant in posture, his voluminous robe hid many subtler cues of body language. The muscles tensed and he was slowly leaning forward, ready to pounce at the Stranger and drag him out, before the stampede has a chance to knock him down and trample him. However, as he observed the Stranger looking at the crowd and then toward the ocean horizon, Asano realized he might be gravely underestimating the blind man. Many of those who have lost one sense have compensated as their bodies enhanced the remaining ones. Still he couldn't see how sense of smell or hearing could be useful in this racket, let alone that of touch.

After a failed attempt and a collision with a child, Asano prepared to make his own way down toward the hospice. Suddenly, the stranger turned to him, calling:

"Does your offer still stand?"

Asano nodded and then replied: "Come."

As he stood by the stranger, observing the crowd, he noticed a lot of heat coming from him, but that could've been the heat of the coming day. For a moment he was glad he wore bright colors over lose clothing.
He waited and waited as people walked past, all agitated by the heat and nervous at the prospect of the coming festival or at least what comes after it. No one would stop for anyone and even if you tried to muscle in alone, you would be pushed and the trampled. Kindness was in short supply, so he waited.

He waited some more and then just as it looked that he gave up, perhaps his nonchalant poise confused for disinterest, he suddenly leapt in-between two burden-oxen but not before he pushed the stranger forward, holding him in front. Suddenly there was a flurry of movement and flashing of passing faces of myriad of sentient races and those of burden-beasts. It was all so overwhelming that one did not had time to think even as so much as to where they should place their next step. However Asano pushed the stranger onward and just as he was to use him as a battering ram in what appeared to be a full-front collision with a Orc, he took him by his brown cloak and pulled him back, using the momentum of the blind-stranger' weight to push him behind his own body, just in time for the both to squeeze between the Orc and the stone wall.

Now as the stranger was behind him, he could see Asano almost dancing as he pushed, probed and squeezed against the wave of bodies with his quaterstaff, all the time calling at the Blind Stranger over his shoulder:
"Don't think - you'll stop. Focus on following me."

The gravity of the situation, the heat, the sounds, smells and the stress of it all would be somehow lessened as Asano danced, his face serene but his eyes betraying utter focus amid this whirlwind of activity. He was ocean of calm, exuding confidence as he imagined himself running across a high dune, each wrong step possibly resulting in either a break-neck thumbing down or slow and agonizing sinking into the unseen patch of quicksand. In a way, it was just like home.

With his fluid motion and deft guidance and Korose' agility and strength that Ninian simply lacked, the two found themselves at the docks, the smell of pressed bodies overpowered by the refreshing and salty breeze wafting from the ocean. At where the road leveled out and arched toward the main thoroughfare that housed the docks and warehouses, the two paused, Asano catching a breather.

"Thank you stranger." he said after a moment before saluting him by touching his chest, chin and hana in one fluid motion and then opening the palm toward the Blind Stranger. His face furrowing he looked his dancing partner once-over, adding politely with a soft inclination of his turbaned head, as if bowing:

"If you beg at the docks these days, you'll find small mercies or so I heard from the unfortunates that come from the ships. If you need food or comfort you can find me in there." he said, gesturing toward the hospice. "It's not much but it's better then nothing."
With that he turned around and motioned forward, already dedicating himself in his mind to the duties that should keep him busy till the evening.
 

Pantheran

New Member

Luciana had found a spot to sit and rest on a rooftop of one of the houses. As she was gazing over the crowds, her eyes caught up something more exciting than just sitting and waiting for royals: music, dancers, jugglers, people having fun. A grin was formed into her lips. She had been a bit early so she would have time to get a drink and dance some. She looked around her surroundings. Was she really going to pass over all the fun in a fear of bounty hunter? The answer was quickly decided on. No, she was not. “They say being in plain sight is the best way to hide” she muttered quietly and shrugged. One day her carefree nature might bring up issues but she brushed the thought aside. This was not going to be that day. The succubi spread her wings and hopped down on the streets among the people before folding them out of the way and wondering where to go first. As she walked among the people, Luciana stopped to watch some of the performers and tossed up a coin or two for them. She was not shy on money or shy on spending it.

“Come in, come in! The best ale of town right ‘ere!”

The call coming from nearby caught her curiosity as Luciana had never said no to a drink and so she walked into the busy tavern. Several bar maids were rushing around with trays of ale, mead and wines. The chatter was loud and gambling was going around the tables. The woman stopped one of the maids. “Gimme two ales.”
"Two? But you’re alone?”
the younger girl looked around her.

“I said two”,
Luciana smirked as she flicked the coins on the tray and grabbed two ales from it. The confused bar maid watched as the woman took few gulps of the ale before she was once again called to deliver more drinks to the customers.

“Ah, refreshing” Luciana thought as she held the second jug her eyes going around the tavern. There was a quick lick of her lips as she approached one of the tables. Gathered around it were five, all relatively young men, playing a card game. She sat down between them. “Room for one more?” She asked placing the drinks on the table.

The oldest of the group eyed her suspiciously. “A girl like you want to gamble? Do you even have the coin?”

The Widow laughed delightely as she took few pieces of silver dropping them on the table. “Does this satisfy the gentlemen?” She asked getting nods among the group and new set of cards were laid out.

* * *​

Several rounds of games and drinks later, Luciana’s cheeks were rosy red but her wallet was ever so slightly heavier. She hadn’t won much but the fun had been more important. Without even realizing it, they have gathered quite a audience while playing as the men were clearly curious about the woman. As she was leaving one of the men she had gambled with walked to her. “Miss, may I offer you my company for the festives?”

Luciana flashed a bright smile. “Why of course”, she said as she wrapped her hand around his arm. As they walked out of the tavern there was another lick of her lips.
 

alwaystheOptimist

Today's going to be just fantastic!
Athalia - Sebastian

She could see the White Palace Parliament over the heads off a few of the caravans in the procession, and for the first time in a long time, Athalia felt nervous.

It wasn’t that she had never been nervous before, she had years of experience at similar conferences, but the uncertainty that this conference was going to come up with any solutions. Many of the nations that had been invited were still confused about how to handle such a situation and didn't have any idea how to solve the problem at hand. Her thoughts fell to the faces of the citizens of Ademar after the demon attack, their faces marred with fear and grief, their hands clawing at the closed palace doors begging for help, help that the King couldn’t provide. She thought of the dead, bodies twisted into the remains of stalls and buried under the rubble of destroyed houses. Their faces were empty, though the ugly fear they had once held stuck on their faces like a memory one could never forget. She winced at such images, her eyes hardening, her lips forming a thin line. Her knuckles whitened, grip tightening on the reigns of her mare, and she shook her head, trying to push away such thoughts from her mind.

She would have to find a solution, her people depended on her for it, even if she would have to sit awake at night for days on end.


He had made his way to a small inn that he had been staying at for the past few days to change for the conference. It was a cozy little place in the common quarters he used when he was on unofficial business or wanted to blend in to observe the flow of people.

Exiting out of a closed carriage as if he had been inside all along, he surveyed the guests that had arrived. Things were fairly calm amongst the royals and retinues, though there was anxious energy hanging about the place. It was to be expected with the destruction that had torn through many of their lands. His nation had been fortunate that none of the demons had made there a way to their homes. The worst trouble they had was from refugees that made their way in. And refugees were no real trouble at all. Sebastian had high hopes that things would come to a swift end. The perpetrators caught and relief efforts quickly underway. It was unlikely to be so simple though, things rarely were.

Amongst all of the familiar faces, there was one oddity. An old friend out of her usual composure. He made his way over to the woman, her face painted with grim resolve.

"Careful there, you wouldn't want the people to think that things are too bad when we go out on our march. We have to their great hope after all," he said, finishing with his trademark smile.


Athalia turned her head towards the source of the voice, her eyes landing on an elderly man, though his face radiated youth and childish sense of happiness. His warm smile lit his features as he walked over to the tall elven diplomat, hands clasped behind his back. Athalia allowed herself to let a small smile break her grave expression and dismounted her horse and handing the reins to a servant boy, a Mithi with twisted ram’s horns and a small tail. She strode over to the familiar face, bowing her head in respect and murmuring a small Ademarian greeting in Elvish.

“Things have already become so grave that I’m surprised you can still smile and stand here without worry,” claws sunk into the leather of Athalia’s cloak, the large barn owl staring intently at Sebastian. The creature ruffled its feathers, letting out a small hoot, before nibbling on Athalia’s ear.

“I believe Cornelius is saying ‘hello’ ”, Athalia chuckled, pushing his prodding beak off of her ear. The barn owl lifted his beak in the air snootily, and flew to Sebastian’s shoulder, offended that Athalia had pushed away his gesture of affection. She frowned at the owl before turning back to Sebastian. She fell in step with the human diplomat, fidgeting with the chain of her necklace.

“How have your travels been my friend? Has the life of a master been treating you well?”, she stressed the word master, a bit jealous that she hadn’t had the time or the patience to push through the Master’s Trial herself, a shame that she hid from many people.


"All has been relatively well, considering current circumstances. Though that is a statement too few can relate to as of late. We'll need to do something about that while we're here" Sebastian replied, speaking in elven. He raised a hand to gently caress Cornelius, the owl moving in tandem with his hand.

She frowned, turning the man's words in her head. "Hm. I reckon your people have not been affected by the demons yet," she said simply, "How have you been dealing with the refugees?", she replied in elven, hands falling from her necklace. Her eyes slid back to the crowds pressing in on the procession, watching as the crowd writhed with anticipation and frustrations.

"We have set up a shelter for them to start with. Then we started administrating the necessities, food, drink and the like. We're in no lack of such supplies and people have been open to helping so it's been quite manageable so far," as he spoke he looked to the sky, bright and clear. It was good weather today. "We'll likely be tapped to help in the recovery efforts. My lord certainly seems amiable to the idea," his gaze returned to the conversation at hand, to the caravans and the people. "And you? Any plans in motion? Or anything I can do to assist?"

Athalia glanced at her companion, chewing on her lip in thought. "The people are restless. Scared and terrified. They don't know what to do or where to go - I'm afraid it's too much for our king," she glanced at King Meldiron, his figure atop a large black stallion. "He's been unable to sleep for the past few weeks, apparently he wakes up haggard and sweating from nightmares...though I don't know of what." She watched Cornelius burrow his beak into Sebastian's hair, the middle-aged barn owl nibbling on the man's ear. "All we've done so far is hand out the essentials to the people; bread, water, blankets and such. Many of the rich merchants have assisted by helping us build shelters for the victims. One of them, I believe him to be a man named Murid, has also arrived here in L'ausha." Her ears twitched a bit, sensitive to the loud crowd, "Why do you offer help when your kingdom is strained for resources? I've heard you have been taking care of the most refugees out of all the kingdoms."

As Sebastian listened to Athalila he nodded solemnly, smile changed to one of sympathy. He had seen the damage that a demon could cause himself. He had helped organize a few of the hunts and had been there to see the aftermath. His thoughts were soon interrupted by the beak of sir Cornelius. Sebastian enjoyed the show of affection from his rider. "I have done what I could, given the time that I had. But even so, we can do more. We could do without another church or three, the odd statue or monument. I heard the painting in one of the cathedrals was put on hold until things calm down, the money being better spent elsewhere, if you know what I mean," there came a brief pause, followed by a sigh. "Though, I feel that my people don't understand the weight of the situation. They haven't been harmed themselves as of yet, and I'm thankful for that, and it's not like they don't care, but if things get worse then it won't something far away anymore. It's not far away for those already harmed. Money can't undo the loss these people have experienced. So I will work to stop things from getting any worse. We all will," he finished, smile back on his face, to end on a more hopeful note.

She looked away from Sebastian's hopeful face, her pessimistic nature taking hold of her thoughts. She had dissected Sebastian's answer, picked it apart to pieces searching for any signs of hope. Demons had once been a problem in the past, but the old ways of dealing with such problems were outdated. She had studied them over and over again, trying to decipher a solution out of old ideas; but to no avail. The new demons were strong, the sort of strength you would find in a resilient and strong young man; youth filled and undeterred. Too new for old ways. But many rulers were still old-fashioned, clinging onto the ways of their forefathers and refusing to let go. If they were to come up with a true solution, it would have to be both new and brilliant.

This was a new era and the old ways had to left behind.

She turned looking into the eyes of her old friend, "That remains to be seen, old friend," she glanced at the building where negotiations were to take place, "That remains to be seen".
 
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GojiBean

That One Fear In My Enemy's Eyes
Zagaroth and Elena

The nurse was quick to get work much for Zagaroth’s relief. He gave her a nod as this lifted the child from his arms and carried him in the back. The white-haired men went to sit on a chair to wait, watching the door where the nurse had disappeared. He had been worried they might have denied help from them, as it was clear from the way he dressed that he was not from a wealthy family. But at least for now the kid would get help. His thoughts were interrupted by a yelp as the elf had hit her leg onto the table. As he turned to looked at her, she managed to do it again. His lip curled up in the slightest smile, as the clumsiness felt so… normal. Zagaroth had always seen hospitals as places of crying and misery and the girls reaction went against that image.

The man stood up and walked over to the desk. “How much for the treatment?” He asked, going straight to the point. He could just ask straight away to get it out of the way and then figure out where to get the money for it.

Elena started a little when the white-haired man approached and asked about treatment. Along with a few "uhh's" and "um's," she opened the drawer of her desk and brought out a pamphlet of procedures and pricings. Flipping through the pages, she found what she was looking for and happily turned it around for him to see.

Basic entry fee: 5 Copper
Basic Medication: 14 Copper
Herbal Remedies: 8 Copper/Package
Laceration Bindings: 20 Copper
Bone Sets/Splints: 40 Copper
Major Wound Cast: 2 Silver (100 Copper)
Minor Surgery: 5 Silver (250 Copper)
Major Surgery: 10 Silver (500 Copper)


Elena tapped her finger on the "Basic Entry Fee" a few times, hoping he would understand that the 5 Copper was all that was owed for now.

He looked through the page and to his suprise the prices were lower than he had expected. Which meant he'd be able to steal enough to cover it all quite easily. The crowded festival outside was perfect opportunity to snatch what he needed. As the girl pointed at the fee, he nodded. Taking his coin pouch Zagaroth slid the five copper to the girl.

Elena set the pamphlet down on the desk and gathered the coins, stacking them in her palm as she stood up and walked to the back of the room near a small safe. After unlocking it with the key she had been given, kept safely tucked inside her blouse by a necklace chain, she set the money inside the rather barren belly of the safe before closing and locking it again. And after tucking the key back into her blouse, she returned to the desk to sit down and offered the man a pleasant smile.

While the elf girl was putting the money away, Zagaroth counted what he still needed. The kid would certainly need the medicine so that was another 14 copper. It could even be more if the herbs were added. Plus the 5 copper he had just paid. He had the silver cup from earlier but it wasn’t a very good day to try and sell stuff for merchants so stealing it was. He glanced towards her as she put the money away.

“Seems like they took the money into bank before the festives. Smart move.” He thought.

As the girl approached him again with a smile, he simply nodded. “Thank you for helping him. His mother has been having sleepless nights.”

Elena's smile sank back as she heard about the boy's mother and her sleepless nights. Her ears, already pointing out to the sides, seemed to droop ever so slightly more as she glanced at the table. And after thinking for a moment, she put her left palm out flat, and used her right fist to hit it, like she'd just discovered something important.

Sitting next to Elena on the table was her parchment and pencil, which she dragged in front of her and started scribbling something. And when she was done, she held up the parchment for the man to read.

In the Main Square, there are games to win money! Maybe you could try them out?

Starling slightly with the sudden hit of her palm the thief looked at her. As she wrote the words on the paper he realized he had not heard a word from her. "A mute?" he wondered in his mind as he let out a slight chuckle and smiled at the girl as she had just offered him the perfect cover.

"Sure, games sound good."

Elena smiled more brightly with a soft chuckle, and put her parchment down. Walking around the table, she grabbed the man's hand and guided him to the door. Opening it, she had to hop a few times to see over the crowd. But once she spotted what she was looking for she pointed with her free hand in its direction

It was a game of accuracy. Plates were held on sticks and moving back and forth. You were given five small bags filled with rice to hit them with. And the more plates you hit, the more prize money you won. But the plates moved quickly. So hitting them wouldn't be easy. Still, hitting even one would award at least 1 Silver, which would be enough to cover any basic medicine and maybe two or three herbal remedies along with it.

Zagaroth had not expected her to come with him and abandon her spot at the front desk as she pulled him outside. Somewhat awkwardly having to follow her, he looked at the direction she pointed at.

"Target smashing?" He eyed the game.

He had some experince in throwing weapons but his targets had never been quite so fast. And a bag of rice would be different from a knife or shuriken. He turned his head towards the elf.

"So you're saying I should try my luck in that?" he tried to confirm the thoughts of the mute girl.

Elena gave a sharp nod of her head, with a tiny grunt of affirmation to go along with a pat on the back for good luck.

Korose

The vagabond's head followed the man who helped guide him past the crowds as he started walking away. And as the man walked out of earshot, he looked back towards the water just up the road and growled under his breath. "I never beg."

He continued up the road towards the docks, keeping his focus on the horizon line while occasionally sending out a pulse to guide his path. Once or twice he bumped into boxes or other objects below his 'line of sight,' and each time he snarled a little and reprimanded himself for relaxing on the pulses.

As the wooden beams of the docks creaked under his shifting weight, he listened to the sounds of the world around him. A few seagulls calling overhead to his left. The sound of the water wrapping around the pillars holding the docks up above the waterline. The wind flowing past his body. It was rather tranquil. However, the ominous energy he had sensed earlier derailed any sense of peace he had previously thought about offering the situation.

His body began to let off more heat as the mana in the environment concentrated around him, causing his cloak to subtly billow out behind him. Taking the fabric in both hands, he slowly pulled his hood back revealing his spiky black hair and blindfold over his face. Taking in a deep breath, and letting it out on a hiss through his teeth, he sent out a much, much more powerful pulse which was actually visible to the naked eye as a heatwave-like shimmering in the air as it rapidly expanded out towards the sea in front of him. The surface of the water in the bay collapsed under the force of the pulse, indicating it with a wave moving back and out to sea before slowly calming down and returning to normal.

As the pulse's presence disappeared on the horizon, he took a much softer breath as the heat dissipated around his body. Standing up a tiny bit straighter, he crossed his arms in front of his chest and waited...

Some three minutes later, he felt another spike of dark energy from the same spot on the horizon.

"You felt that one, didn't you?" He whispered.

Another spike of dark energy was felt a few seconds later, and the vagabond uncrossed his arms as he sensed a change in the way the energy felt. But what did the change mean? Was this another source, different in origin from the first? Was it a change in form of some kind? Some Demonic beings had been known to change forms to suit their circumstances in the past. What about the possibility of-

The spike returned, and this time the difference was unmistakable.

"You're getting closer." He whispered.

He uncrossed his arms and continued to wait, keeping still as a statue allowing the minutes to pass him by as the clouds overhead lazily forged on at the mercy of the atmospheric gusts and streams.

Some twenty minutes had passed before he felt the next spike. However, it wasn't just that. By sheer chance, he had sent out a pulse just a few seconds before. And the pulse returned the faintest outline of a body reflection to him.

... His foot slid backwards about half an inch, and a single bead of sweat dripped from his chin to the wooden beams of the docks below.

"That's... Much larger than I expected." He whispered.

He could feel his heart pounding in his chest as the image was burned into his memory. And if he was calculating this thing's speed correctly, it would arrive just after the meeting was set to begin back at Parliament.

He glanced back towards the city and even took a half step towards it. But he hesitated. Looking back towards the water, he wept the sweat from his chin and took a deep breath. Standing up straight, he crossed his arms and continued waiting.
 

Firewind

Amateur Writer
Zaldir and Aranaea
If the Early bird caught the worm, then Zaldir would have had more customers. But as he chose the Marketplace, he and Naea would have to put up with the crowds going in and out enjoying the other places the market offered, from food to fun and diversion. Zaldir at This point was sitting on a chair and was putting together pieces of a metal gauntlet, with the plan being once it was done, He’d check the articulations of the fingers.

Whilst Zaldir was doing that, Aranaea was finishing her session of studying and closing her book. She observed the festivities and thus began to hatch a scheme in her head, with a smirk. “Zaldir, if I asked you to participate in any games to earn a prize for me would you do it? I’d handle any customers.“

Zaldir raised an eyebrow at her offer, looking towards her as he didn’t say a word, yet his hands were still putting together the gauntlet. “The next thing I’d see when I get back is you reorganizing my cart after doing a clean sale sweep without as much as haggling on my magic weaponry.“ He answered, as he slid the last finger of the gauntlet in place and began to look it over, bending one finger at a time, all the while pondering what he should do with it. “Hm, I wonder if I should make this into a singular piece and sell it off as a magical item.”

“Or just swap It out with one of your personal armor.” Aranaea teased, hinting at a subtle threat of selling his more personal items kept in a separate trunk.

“Oh, not on your life. That armor was a gift from one of the few school friends I had in that crazy school.“ He said, whilst trying to force himself not to reminisce on his school days, “Besides, my style would totally ruin the aesthetic of that armor. ”

“Come now Zaldir, there‘s fun and games out there! Besides, you know I meant watching the shop in terms of making sure no thief got any foolish ideas. Come on, play a game or two at the main square for awhile please? Pretty please?~” She said, her voice turning into an almost pleading sound.

Zaldir’s eyebrow twitched. And he thought he was the younger of the two. Nevertheless, he sighed with resignation and said, “Only if you stop doing that, fine. I’ll take a break. Not like I’m attracting much other then kids with pocket change for the toys and trinkets I sell for five copper.” With that said, he set the gauntlet down and placed a sign saying “On Break” In three languages. The young elf then got up and began to make his way to the Square.

Aranaea smirked in victory, as she then gave a prepared carrot to Ardyn, who chomped on it immediately. “I won this round Ardyn. He needs the social exercise every now and again. Now then, lets see about finding a way to boost business a little bit.”

——

“She bloody tricked me, I know it. I could be back at the cart right now making a sale-Ooh! A Sandbag toss! I love that game!“ and with that thought, Zaldir headed towards the game in question. The object of the game being one tosses a bag filled with heavy sand into a basket about several feet away from them to earn a prize. The trick of this game being it must be tossed backwards. Zaldir thusly paid to play three attempts, and was now preparing to either succeed, or make a complete fool of himself.

To be fair, it‘s going to be the latter, as no one ever truly has good aim throwing things backwards.
 

GojiBean

That One Fear In My Enemy's Eyes
The sun grew both stronger and brighter as the procession climbed up the hill, prompting Athalia to call for a parisole to shade her from the blinding light. As they neared the final destination, Athalia parted ways with Sebastian, giving him a final wave as he dissappeared into the crowd. The elven servant carrying the parisole was instructed to hand the tool to the diplomat and Athalia called to have her mare restored back to her. Hoisting herself onto the creature, she murmured some warm words of encouragement to the tired creature, pushing the mare to canter to the king, who was deep in thought.

With his chin resting between his thumb and index finger, the King gazed emptily down the path towards the central square. The sight of the usually populated main road, cleared save for the guards and rails they placed to hold back the crowds of people, was almost unsettling. Pinching the bridge of his nose before running his hand through his graying hair, the King took a deep breath as he caught sight of the arrival of the first Royal Caravan proceeding towards the building.

He offered a small smile as the caravan continued, recognizing the banner immediately.

Catching sight of the king, she glanced to King Meldiron who was dismounting his own stallion, which was shifting nervously amongst the bustling crowd of royals and chaeuffers. Dismounting her own mare, she handed the reigns to a servant who quickly rushed away with the rest of the caravan to a nearby rest area. Cornelius had returned to her shoulder and watched the throng of royals with brooding eyes, occasionally letting out a small hum from his chest. Noticing the kings motion at her, she bowed her head, moving to rest at the king's side.

"My lord, I believe we must greet the king," she murmured, shocking him out of his meditative state.

The king nodded, ushering the servants carrying gifts to come forward, "Come, let us pay our respects."

As the King of Ademar and his entourage split from the caravan to ascend the path to Parliament, King Fehran continued to smile as they ascended. And upon their arrival before him, he first exchanged a bow of the head and a friendly handshake with King Meldiron.

"Welcome to Lau'sha, King of Ademar. I trust your journey was a safe one?"

The old elven royal nodded solemnly.

"I must thank you. I would have called this meeting myself, but you beat me to it" he laughed, gruffly.

Athalia eyed the king, biting back a repriminding remark towards the king at his somewhat boyish comment.

The king shrugged his shoulders slightly at his prudish diplomat, sighing, "I truly mean to thank you, joking aside," he gestured to the servants that had been standing quietly behind them. They quickly rushed forward, holding chests laden with spices and expensive silks.

King Fehran calmly waved a hand.

"You needn't present me with such gifts, my friend. Not when such items are better served as benefits for those people most critically effected by this encroachment of Darkness upon our world."

He glanced to Athalia, and gave a bow of his head.

"May I presume that you are one of the King's advisors, milady?"

Athalia bowed her head, "Yes, your majesty. I am Ademar's diplomat." She looked up, staring pointedly at the king, "I believe we have met before, or at least, your diplomat a few years before."

"Ah. It must indeed have been Lehrotan who met you those years ago. I'm certain I would remember such an encounter."

A man standing beside King Fehran gently tapped his shoulder.

"My apologies. Please, both of you. Make your way into Parliament. We are expecting a total of fifty-five parties, including yourself. The wait may be upwards of two hours before they've all made their way to the table with you. So please, grab any refreshments you need once inside and feel free to mingle until everyone has taken their seats." He said, stepping aside to gesture towards the path up to the Parliament building.

King Meldiron nodded, walking into the building but glanced back at Athalia who had stayed behind. Shaking his head, he entered the cool of the interior, sighing.

Athalia stood rigidly, as if she were planted in the spot she was standing in, "I must ask your majesty if your kingdom has been faced with any of the new born demons as of late. Your people seem to be a bit....frazzled."

King Fehran waved his hand casually.

"Not at all, milady. It's the stress of hosting the event. There are so many people who have crammed the streets from near and far, and across so many of the humanoid races, that it's thrown what was considered "normal" life into pandemonium."

He took a breath.

"Sadly, there is a difference between understanding a situation and accepting it. And while my people know the situation they face, it has been hard for them to adjust to the influx of bodies filling the streets and the main square."

The man from before, dressed in a beige cloak and hiding his face beneath its hood, tapped the King's shoulder once more.

"Apologies, milady. But I must ask that you continue inside. The others are arriving now." He said as kindly as possible.

As she complied, the King directed his attention to the procession of caravans as they all began pouring into the city in an orderly line.

As he'd stated before, there were a total of 55 Royal Families in attendance, in combination with their caravans and advisors. And as the King of Lau'sha greeted them all in turn, his own advisors and personal guards kept a careful watch on everyone who ascended the pathway to Parliament. On one occasion, one of the Royal's Advisors was pulled aside and questioned before being allowed to proceed. Why he was questioned remained a mystery, and the Royal Family he clung to was less than pleased with the treatment. King Fehran apologized on behalf of his guards, but maintained the stance that they were only doing their due diligence. Despite the ruckus, the proceedings continued for two and a half hours until all the Royals were seated inside Parliament around a massive circular series of tables with the King of Lau'sha present at the center to serve as both the host and moderator of the event.

"Royals from around the globe, I thank you for taking the time to visit Lau'sha for this historic meeting. Gathered today are the most prominent and knowledgeable Royal Families who have experienced the wrath of the Demonic beings which now encroach upon our world. Allow me to introduce everyone."

He brought out the list of attendees, turned to face the three families of the human race, and began to read.

"Of the human race, King Grisham III and Queen Laria of Rorush, and King Graham and Queen Amara Wrymsung of Freirhiel."

"Of the Elven race, King Neiahnas and Queen Vhalloa of Uruuk’ho, King Meldiro of Aldemar, and King Rahsvaten and Queen Aalua of Bheniil."

"Of the Dark Elven race, King Kalkkin and Queen Jealle of Vrukos, Emperor Deirdan of Xuollo, and King Serko’los and Queen Wuii’l of Jahnpur."

"Of the Orcish race, Ghorgas of Bremdor, Hrelo of Uundughas, and Lekhorn of Brahmden."

"King Yallen and Queen Hretala of Oirolos, Khellem of Turtos (adjunct King), and Irdolen and Ghalla of Vrostenheim."

"Of the Fae clans, Lhamia of Vortuum, Eris of Yussol, and Paoloa of Dferti."

"Of the Nymph clans, Hrathia of Kolra, Fruha’n of Utuul, and Ashaia of Erithia."

"Of the Miithi, King Dahrrios and Queen Mentua of Nahlen, Shrothis the Great of Qelln, and King Praanti and Queen Sulos’ha of Gahlluda."

"Of the Aerolians, King Hremto of Hyenta, and Vhuro of Desrita."

"Of the Errit, King Tarrotos and Queen Nehlia of Iituta, and Queen Vrea of Fahrentuus."

"Of the Merfolk, Xandros of Aulia, King Huuruo and Queen Baia of Nelmios, and King Fhallen of Kiil’kas."

"Of the Goblins, Drakis the Bold, Alkos the Swift, and... Er... Ahem, Blah Dee McBlahderson of Blahndale."

The last name was followed by several sniggers and stifled chuckles throughout the room.

"Of the Treants, Thuumtu of Vortria."

"Of the Giants, Srelko of Cierra’hn, and Drohndos of Gerrata."

"Of the Imps, Kreko Swiftshame, and Mreldo the Terrible."

"Of the Succubi, Queen Rhathia of Jalmtuu, and Empress Fahruthal of Silkuten."

"Of the Kobolds, Uhlto of Ghertia, and Breldos of Vhundahl."

"Of the Naiads, King Haaltio and Queen Rhenn of Callos, King Jerkhosse and QueenAolua of Hahlleim, and Queens Ceissu and Saanti of Lorleim."

"Regrettably the Spriggans were unable to attend due to communication errors."

"Of the Sirens, Seilina of Luualan, and Queen Harrola of Dehruran."

"Of the Harosians, Ferald Rockfist, and Brahnma Slightfoot."

"Of the Shemians, Monkaias of Strenthor, Rothalos of Oorulahn, and Rendol of Zhelos."

"Of the Uranus, King Erik and Queen Samthala of Guurata, and Emperor Kellen and Empress Ophalla of Crie’tan."

"And finally, the Sylthii, like the Spriggans, are unable to attend due to communication errors."

He rolled up the scroll with the list of attendees and handed it to an attendant who took it away quietly.

"I would like to begin this meeting by opening the floor to the Royals of the human race to share their experiences and hardships as caused by the Demonic Encroachment upon our realm. You have the floor," he said, gesturing to the three human Royal Families.

Meanwhile, at the docks...

Korose

Despite what his Pulse View showed him earlier, that feeling of dark energy had since vanished. And all traces of whatever he'd seen earlier out at sea were gone. But even so, he was not willing to let down his guard just yet.

He maintained watch at the docks, keeping a steady stream of pulses going to prevent any sudden surprises from taking place...
 
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