Other Hey there! I'll write a thing for you!

...burst with a wet squelch beneath his boot as he strode through the organic realm. Pools of sulfurous acids burbled and popped onto well-worn patches of gnarled bone and glistening meat; all around him the meat-stink of the corpse-hell continued its death-defying existence, completely ignorant of his presence. He liked it that way.

The eldritch sigils that coated his porcelain-smooth armor burned bright; they kept the worst of the anomalous effects at bay, but they wouldn't last forever. Unlike the typical astral stuff that made up the shadowrealms known to the Imperium, there was a toxic quality to this place that made even the Nosferati bend a knee to its influence. Even escaping death, it seemed, wasn't enough to wholly avert the sickness that permeated the place. But those were idle thoughts--Nereus pushed them from his mind and refocused his attention on his goal in this place: escaping. He estimated he had maybe a few hours left before his armor defenses failed him, and he inevitably succumbed to the perpetual assault on his very being.

Resurrecting in such a place was ill-advised, and he was low on the psychic funds needed to kickstart the process himself. To even consider trying to filter the ambient force and use it... he didn't want to know what sort of thing he might become under its influence. The artifice of the Archons had its limits, even with their finest works. Once more he forced the looming doom from his mind and narrowed his attention to a very specific thing: a thing that resembled a monolith of kidney stone and veins on the not-too-distant horizon. It wasn't much, but it was something.

One for... Ashvaliaen Ashvaliaen !
...curious sight among the throngs of colorful coral and otherworldly fish that flit about them. Nestled down in an alcove not too far from your intended path, the glint of a finely-polished shell catches your eye. Turning to get a better look rewards you with a clear view of the shell--and its owner, who regards you with a look of slight alarm.
Floating just a few feet above the seabed, protected by a gauntlet of coral branches, is a Merrow; she holds a man-sized spear of old wood topped with a needle-pointed shell that flashes dangerously in the filtered sunlight. Her eerie eyes watch you from behind her natural redoubt, and a hand strays to the chain dangling from her waist; there's a key there, one which she quickly pulls closer and keeps there as she maneuvers around a bit. Behind her you can glimpse the sight of a barnacle-encrusted chest, the sort which has treasure in it for sure. Her spear jerks into a defensive position after a short delay, though, making it clear just who it belongs to, however.
What will you do, brave adventurers?

One for twinkie twinkie !
...the underbrush in her mad dash to get away from her impending doom. The too-close sound of trees breaking beneath the oncoming force that pursued her continued to fill her ears; it was terrifying to try and comprehend the force it took to tear the ancient oaks apart such ease. But it was the only thing about the situation that she could fathom--anything else was impossible at the time. No part of her mind had the time to stop and ask why; why the creature that towered above the treeline now followed on her heels like an unwanted suitor, why that locket had conjured it from the depths of that well, why why why... nothing mattered but escaping. She chanced a look back at the apparition, met its thousand-faceted gaze and was greeted with the widest smile she'd ever seen. Too many teeth, too many voices saying her name and too many faces with too many eyes. This was a trap, it had to be; there was no other answer for why that locket--whose unalloyed gold was harder than diamond, its surface scarred with letters that hurt the eyes to gaze upon for too long--had fallen into her hands so easily. If she survived this, she was sure to wring that scrawny little-

Elizabeth. We've got you.

One for ragdoll ragdoll !
...best idea she'd ever had! Getting the words right had been a challenge, but years of experience made it possible; muttering the verses of an incantation to focus her psychic force into something truly magnificent...! Or terrible. Maybe it was terrible. Veseth watched from the sidelines as the tiny being she'd somehow magic'd to life terrorized its way around the pool, shooting toothpick arrows at anyone who came too close. It was a bunch of marshmallows she'd been challenged to turn into a pirate, or maybe it was a bandit? She wasn't sure; but that didn't stop it from screaming at the top of its nonexistent lungs as it waged a one-smores war against the world. The little paper boat it was in would probably get too soggy soon, and someone'd need to rescue the thing before it dissolved. Did they expect her to conjure up a tiny raft for it, too? Maybe. Right now, though, it was busy trying to murder an inflatable ball that'd offended it by merely existing.

One for Onmyoji Onmyoji !
...beneath the only tree on the acre of land he'd ever imposed his will--and anything resembling a degree of order--upon. Above him the skies twisted and reflected into a thousand thousand vistas; the astral world's depths were reflected in the kaledescope of the rogue planet's atmosphere. All around the creatures of the Forest chattered away to one another of the events to come. They could see the changes just beyond the horizon, potentially better than he could. Glimpses of his Great Work filtered through his mind at the mere thought of the monumental task before him; fragments of the near-infinite what-ifs that made up the future. Ever since his arrival the prescience that had once guided every decision he made had become more a burden than the cosmological navigation aid he needed it to be. Whether it was the air or the recent revelation of the existence of the Sisters that upset his mind so much, he wasn't sure. Were it that his people could see him now, he thought, the incarnate devotion of a hundred lifetimes of work meant to guide them into higher enlightenment... struggling to make sense of anything outside the confines of a lonely patch of sanity amidst a sea of chaos.

One thing was certain. If he ever found a way to tame this world; to make the first steps of the Great Work happen, he'd need to learn to thrive in this churning mess the wider world was turning out to be. So would his people, if they were to survive their great pilgrimage across the stars.

One for Ashvaliaen Ashvaliaen !
...shaped and formed by lifetimes of contemplation, the final product of a thousand thousand years of unified devotion. A blink in the cosmic eye, yet the magnum opus of a people who sought more than themselves and their pedestals. Gods to their children, yet mortal to themselves by the barest of definitions. He was all of them, yet himself. Every thought ever shared by every mind who contributed was his own, yet not. Utopia was his name, but he denied it. There was more. He knew it, as sure as he knew himself and those whose eyes looked through his own, and whose minds were also his. He, they, knew there was more than himself. So the Great Work resumed, guided by his, their, hand towards the next truth. If a god could be made by mortal hands, could they also be made by cosmic ones, too? Time would tell.

One for Ashvaliaen Ashvaliaen !
...have seen the Great Work and its conclusion since the beginning. The product of a thousand thousand lifetimes of contemplation and unified devotion, my purpose was executed at the moment of my birth. My people were called gods by our children, yet gods they themselves desired. So it was that they shaped their messiah and sought a surrogate to fill the mold. They sought me. Yet I am more than myself; at once I am all of them and none of them. Their eyes peer through mine and their thoughts are my own, yet not. Utopia was my name, but I rejected it. There is more than myself. More than us. We, they, I sought comfort where there should have been the question. The only question: Where are our gods? I know the answer, but only by the grace of a fallible means by which I was conceived. We depart now on our pilgrimage, to the place that answers will be found. I, we, only need to be patient. We have searched the skies, seen the Sign, and know that we are not alone. We need only push, and the Shepherd will come to us. To me.

Another for Ashvaliaen Ashvaliaen !
...her grip and squeezed the trigger, jerking when the weapon bucked in her arms. There was a loud warbling sound followed by a distant whump where the sphere hit the embankment. Veseth lifted her eye from the distoil-sight, watching with awe at the plume of dirt that shot up; sure enough, it'd made it through the rippling green sheet of force not ten feet away. She released her grip on the weapon and looked to Harper, who commented on the effectiveness of the Tombori: it was one of the only known weapons to routinely slip through the warding fields that'd changed the face of warfare in the last half-century. He added that if the sphere'd hit someone the result would've been a clean-cut hole through the body.

The prisota pondered the implications of a sphere somehow having any cutting power, but chose not to dwell for too long. Just being given a chance to fire one of the infamous things was enough for her curiosity. She eyed the thing--long and sleek despite its bulky built-in tripod mount and accessories, it was a marvel of modern magetech design.

And something entirely above her realm of understanding. She waved it off and remarked on her preference for the small crossbow she'd been given as a gift some years ago; that it didn't kick like a mule, or weigh as much, either. Harper, for once, agreed. He even went as far as to say the weapon was something unsuited for anything but true-to-life battlefields. Not that that stopped people from illegally acquiring them, and using them for sport hunting or the occasional assassination.

One for Ashvaliaen Ashvaliaen !
...her thumb along the blade of the knife, Veseth looked on at the weapon in confusion. Made entirely of hard plastic, the article she held was something of a parody of the real deal; it held an edge, sure, but the whole thing felt like it would snap in half with any real force behind it. She turned it over, noting the serrations on the back. Did whoever made this thing really expect it to see use as a saw? Things in the Great House made little sense, and this thing was a testament to that.

She glanced over at Harper, raising a brow and asking just what this was. The Ratter said it was a conscript's knife--the sort of thing you'd give to someone as a token gesture for self-defense. He nodded to the crate she'd obtained it from, saying these often found their way into the hands of brigands and thugs. They were cheap, easy to come by and perfect for the sort of pubstreet fights that were so common in the ports of the Gulf. When clothing was the only thing you'd expect to encounter, he added, they did their job well.

Looking back at the knife, Veseth regarded it with a newfound sense of bewilderment.

One for St. Clover St. Clover !
...doors of marble swing wide to reveal the great chamber beyond, and the horrors that dwell within. The unmistakable sound of water sloshing against stone greets you before the grand sight ahead is revealed; a luxurious red-then-black relvet capret running the length of the floor up to the raised platform where a distant menagerie of vaguely-humanoid serpents dwell.

Between you and them lies a stretch of great pillars and walkways adorned in gold filigire, littered with stone figures resembling peasants in various forms of supplication. Statues of great snakes both feral and hybrid dot the spaces between, giving an air of menace to the whole place.

Looming over the throneroom like a menacing high-born, the owner of this place can be glimpsed amid her throng of protectors. A gorgon of considerable size and brilliant blue hues, the queen is an imposing--if regal-- sight; garbed in the tattered remnants of a once-vibrant purple tunic and gold trinkets adorning her head and arms. Her guardian cadre of yuan-ti hover close-by to intercept any threat to their ward, or her grotesque throne of twisted and broken bodies turned to stone by her baleful gaze.

Thankfully that same gaze has not found you, yet; her attention is presently occupied by the frightful hoots of an owlin that dangles from her elongated razor clutches. But it won't be long before they notice you, if they haven't already.

An encounter for anon!
...screech and threw yet another bottle at its would-be assailants. Perched atop the balcony, the bully bird was in a nearly unassailable position; any approach by foot or air was bound to be met by a missile of its cruel choosing. Down below the helpless homeowner could only watch as the common guard were made to scramble out of the way of the oncoming object.

Her heart sank when she caught a glimpse of it as it shattered against the cobble of her walkway: a vintage she'd had for at least six years, dating back to the time of the ascendancy of the Saint Herself! Now it was nothing more than a walking hazard!

Yelling was issued from the bird as it boasted its latest victory, recounted in a number of parroted insults it must've heard over the years. Such vulgarity from nothing more than an oversized magpie! She had half a mind to undo the wrappings on her forearm spurs and charge its entrenched thing herself, and throttle the life out of the thing!

Something for Ashvaliaen Ashvaliaen !
...hefted the weapon, tested its weight in his hands. Unlike the dozen other tools of the trade scattered across his body, this alone was worth its weight in favors, sterling and every bit of work he'd put into acquiring it.

Hadir liked to think the Saint Herself had put this treasure in his hands. He ran through the routine to assess its readiness - a ritual he'd come to know like the back of his hand.

Years spent in the House Guard had left him proficient with most forms of weaponry; this was another beast entirely. Coming in at close to twenty bits on a full load, the bulky and blunt-nosed thing was far from subtle. When it saw action, it roared with all the ferocity and great flames of a dragon of old. The shame was it only held about six shots worth the great gouts before giving out.

Glancing down the stubby sights, Hadir considered the comical nature of anything resembling accuracy with this thing. Plumes of fire as wide and wild as it made were hardly something that required a proper aim; it's what made it so useful, and so unwieldy. He tutted at the lack of chances to bring his prized piece to bear, but chose not to dwell on it.

There'd be chances to burn down half the neighborhood later, surely.

One for Ashvaliaen Ashvaliaen !
...the seconds fly by as her focus drifted further and further from the now, bleeding into the unseen currents that moved the world along in ways few could grasp. The cramped recesses of her palanquin fell away, replaced by the busy city skyways and streets that existed beyond. There were glimpses now and then - things that might happen, were happening and had already happened; fascinating outcomes that were of little use to her at the time.

No, she was tasked with figuring out the outcome of the afternoon's traffic at an infamous bottleneck some two districts away.

Niela was tired of these trips into the future for such mundane purposes; in truth, she wished to work on the weather crew or something of more tangible importance. But like many initiates into the Arvalith Society, her oracular talents weren't honed enough for anything but these meager jobs. Eventually she would get the chance, but not now.

She felt herself frown in the waking world, her body reflecting her transient mind's thoughts. That was another sign: she was still anchored, at least in part, to her immediate surroundings. Only those able to truly project out into the wider world, to glimpse the flow of causality from a purely immaterial standpoint, were considered fully proficient in their work.

That was something to work on, she figured. But for the time being, she needed to focus on navigating the causal-currents to her destination. Through all the chaff and byproducts of the city's extensive use of the weirding forces, that was easier said than done. She was up to the challenge, though.

One for Anon, featuring a rookie commercial seer from the AoW Project!
...leaned into the railing, watching the endless blue both above and below them stretch out to the horizon and beyond. Gulls screamed overhead at the disturbance the ship's horn caused, circling the mighty vessel in search of quieter perches. Nikolas took the smell of brine and sea salt in with a deep breath.

Beside him, the ship's guardian -- a giant of a man named Nereus -- watched along in silence.

"Decades on this moon and this sight never gets old," Nikolas remarked.

"The seas are the same regardless of the season or ship."

Always the downer, this man.

"But surely you can admit the beauty of nature, no matter the time or place?"

Nereus was silent. Then, he nodded.

"See? That wasn't so hard."

"Easy to say, for the man whose lifetimes have been staggered and varied."

"Hard to say, for a man whose life has been interrupted so many times."

"Your deaths have given you perspective, Provost."

"Please, you know that title is as pomp as the people who invented it."

"But they're your people."

"We're all people," Nikolas corrected. "I hold no more authority than anyone else."

"Says the man who brought fire to those lost in the cold night."

"Says the man who tended that fire after I left to do the same for others."


"You're just as responsible for this as I am, Wyrm-Eater."

"I told you not to-"

"Use your title, yes; I believe that was the polite translation, however."

"Do I need to crush your skull, Kerde’ha-fitz?"

Now it was Nikolas' turn to cringe. "Point taken."

Nereus made a noise beneath the porcelain-smooth helmet he wore, one Nikolas was sure to be a laugh.

Here's a thing I poked at tonight for myself! Starting to get a more defined cast of characters for this setting, namely big movers like these two here! More to come soon!
"...do you remember your first life, Provost?"

Nikolas frowned, looked up from his book to see the Old Man of the Sea staring at him.

"What of it?"

"Do you remember it?"

"Parts. Why?"


"What could the immortal possibly be curious about? You've been around longer than I have; by centuries if I count right."

"Centuries," the giant agreed. "But your... experiences. They are worlds apart from our, my, own."

"You speak of the Nosfer-"


"Right, sorry - you speak of your brothers?"


"Right. Well, I can't suppose I can say much that you don't already know."

"Humor me."

"Very well. I recall... the important things. The moments when someone's life turned around after talks over tea, or the smile on someone's face when they met me years after I taught them their trade."

"The people?"

Nikolas nodded. "They were the entire reason for my living; more than anything in the world, I only desired to help people help themselves."

"Kerde’ha-fitz; the Teacher of Ways."

"If you want to use that antique, yes. But I'm so much more than what history paints me as."

"Like a tramp?"

"I prefer to think of it as the life of a wandering scholar-"

"More like the wayward, illegitimate head of the moon's leading authority on the preternatural."

Nikolas bristled. "I'll have you know I earned my title as Headmaster by valid means!"

Nereus snorted. "Says the man without an ounce of talent for the weirding arts in his bones."

"Not in this life, no." Nikolas frowned. "But if I did, you'd be a thousand miles away right now. Ideally under something heavy, like a carriage."

"Baseless threats."

"Says who?"

"Says the man that was taught and handed the tools to kill the immortal."

"Well then," Nikolas smiled, "I suppose it's lucky that I'm not immortal, isn't it?"

"Keep talking and we'll find out."

Here's another!
...wind made the thopter lurch one way to the side, frame groaning from the stress. Jake cursed under his breath and hoped the thing wouldn't give up the ghost before he'd had a chance to disembark. He glanced down and watched the skyline race as he was carried to his destination on the far side of town: some protest that the Duke wanted one of his personal staff to supervise.

He glanced back to the cable keeping him secured to the thoper's operator bench.

"Don't worry, she's secure!" the co-pilot yelled over din of the engines.

"That's what worries me!" Jake replied, earning a laugh from the man.

In the event of an emergency, Jake had no doubt he could dismount the vehicle and survive a fall from standard cruise height with the help of his suspensors. The problem would be getting freed in time to push away and turn them on. Orthisi tended to weigh on the heavier side thanks to their dense bones and stature; he didn't need the extra weight of his suit and kit giving gravity any favors. The thought made him glance down at the dial on his forearm - the arrow was in the green; a fully supply of the best Amber sterlings could buy, enough to let him stay airborne for about six hours if he didn't try anything fancy. He knew the same went for the supply of electrostatic gel his chemical unit relied on.

"Two minutes till we're in range! Want to go ahead and get that fancy shit of yours ready?"

That was the pilot - another Immortal serving under the Duke's personal command. He was dour even by Jake's standards, but he was good. Real good.

"Just make sure you keep this thing in the sky long enough to let me off!" Jake grounced, adding, "Then you can crash!"

"Not without the Duke's permission! This thing's worth more than both our lives!"

"Sure as shit is; he pays for the best, for his best!" Jake agreed.

"Damn right. Now shut up and get ready!"

A small look into the Immortals, the personal guard and henchmen of the Fair Duke!
...shook and rumbled with each ritual movement. Clad in the ceremonial plain grey robes of his ancestors, the Su'Qach timed his breathing to the flow of the wind around him. Careful control over his body's faculties ensured there was no room for error. To mistep even once would bring ruin to the entire work. He felt the eyes of his students upon him, watching his every move in silence with wide eyes.

Three of the four were his cousins; the descendants of his kind's own children. The fourth was one of the moonlit-kin. All were welcome so long as they adhered to the traditions.

"The currents of the world are easier to envision than ever before," he said, and punctuated the words with a sudden pivot in their direction.

"You need only look into the night sky to see them; the lifeblood of this world flows freely through its outermost skies. One day that will not be the case, so take advantage of this unfortunate gift."

One of the cousins flinched at his voice. An unfortunate sign, he thought. Though they had discovered the talent of empathic speech, none present could speak his native tongue. And to them, he knew, it was a harsh and snarling thing - the sounds of a beast, not a teacher of the old ways. He would be sure to bring this up in the meeting of the clans. If anything was to be done in the long-term, the language barrier would need to be overcome.

Little thing involving the Su'Qach, a sasquatch-like people of enlightened mystics who cultivated order and peace in the world this setting focuses on!
Frid blinked. "What's it doing just... sitting there?"

"Can't do much more; not in this heat," Hadir answered.

"This heat?" Frid frowned. "It's the middle of winter; how is it too hot?"

Raising a brow, Hadir gestured to the quietly rumbling engine mounted on the back of the exosuit. Whoever was inside was taking care not to move more than they absolutely had to - poised to strike with their revblade held high, they were the frozen image of a mighty Alfmir Iron Lord mid-strike.

"What about it?" Frid asked, taking a glance at his colleague.

"Suit there burns Geo for fuel; it's a lot like coal, but burns way hotter and a lot longer."

"How hot are we talking?"

"Hot enough that it needs Alfmir's storms to keep it cool."

"You can't be serious," Frid said, unconvinced.

"Dead serious; whoever's in that tin can does more than just move around, it'd slag the whole suit in minute."

"How're they not a pile of scrap already, then?" Frid asked and looked back at the engine.

"Don't ask me; I just know what the guy who caught me when I was trying to look inside told me."

"You didn't."

"But I did."

Got another one!
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"...old are you?"

The witch would've frowned if she'd been able. Instead, the multi-eyed skull that was now her face stared the young man down in silence, embers flickering in the empty sockets.

She regarded him for nearly a minute before she spoke, glancing at the gauntlet that was now her hand. Her fingers clenched shut and let a bit of ash fall between them. "Generations," she said, "longer than you could know; old as the City in the North and maybe even a bit more. But so little is kept in this old husk. Most of my life has been spent walking the same path, seeing the same places over and over until I can recall nothing but the same things I've seen for so long. Vast, endless deserts of white; cinders of our once-beautiful ward's corpse being relit anew; the reptile-spawn of the Northmen's work."

"Only now have things finally changed. My mind records events with clarity I've not known since I was a maiden. The thawing of the world... that was the first thing I remember in this new era."

"That... was over four hundred years ago."

"I know. Can you imagine the things I've seen since?" She would've smiled if she could. "The stories I've collected?"

Got something from a project I've been brewing up! Let's just say it deals with a tundra moon, Wizard Atlantis, Furnace Cities and an undead World Tree! More to come!
Frid watched in horror as the chimera tore into the still-warm remains of his kill. The way he bit away huge chunks of raw meat was enough to flip his stomach, an impressive feat given his work as a mortician. There was an almost feral manner in how the young man acted, both in his hunting and now consumption of the oversized sewer rat. The creature was nearly the size of a pony, but had put up very little in the way of resistance when put to the test against the hooked claws of its superior on the foodchain.

When Kalehar lifted his attention from the carcass and turned his bright-yellow eyes to his watcher, it nearly made Frid lose his cool. Being under the hungry gaze of what was nothing less than an apex predator of human make was... unsettling to say the least. The wide, bloody smile he got was enough to make him regret every life decision that led him to this point.

"Want some?" Kalehar asked, far too innocently.

Frid wished his ghost would flee to the afterlife.

Poking at some new peeps, including this adorable chimera dork here!
...the city and hummed a quiet tune, watching the throngs of worshipers and tourists intermingle on the streets below. These were the best nights - when he evaded his captors and snuck out for a few hours, no one else to watch over him or boss him around. Kalehar groused the fact that his status as vicar meant little to the towering homunculi that were his custodians, their stoic nature ensuring compliance with church doctrine.

A claw idly picked at his teeth while his feet swung to and fro over the edge of the rooftop, his perch chosen for its vantage over the busy intersection of the midtown neighborhood.

He could hear the various voices of the people as they went here and there, barely making out their words. His makers had gifted him with quite a number of impressive traits during their pursuit of the ideal messiah of the new age. Shame I didn't turn out as expected, he thought. It amused him to consider the shock that must've rippled through the upper echelons of the institution when his true potential was revealed.

Distracted by the smallest thing and prone to flights of fancy. The last thing an organized religion wanted was its figurehead to roam off mid-sermon.

"Wonder what you'd think of me if you saw me," he mused to the cool night air. "Have the roaming part down pat, but everything else? The charm, the miracle working... nah, not one bit. Some Kerry Half-Wits I am!"

"It's Kerde'ha-fitz."

Right on time.

Frowning without trying, Kalehar turned his ire to the one person bold enough to try scaling three stories up right after a snowstorm. Looming over him was the familiar feathery form of his sibling, the other product of the Ailing Church's magnum opus.

"Ferry Cow-Spits."

Now she was frowning.

He grinned.

More! More I say!
...underfoot as he waded through the icy rapids of the river. Pistons and merchanical calibrators kept him stable despite the water's attempt to topple him, making him thankful for the Old Man of the Sea's gift of this technological wonder. He'd made this trip hundreds of times, but the things the Onager allowed him to do never ceased to make him appreciate the world he'd been born into. With just a few chunks of Geo, John could cross the Blackjaw Valley in under an hour and never worry about his safety. Loaded down with a full supply for his hungry engine, the suit promised a journey of at least a day, provided no wyrms were met.

He glanced down to the frigid froth that tried in vain to claim his inner hearth, noting the ice forming around his midsection. Without the cold, the Onager would've overheated and turned to slag within an hour of awakening. Now it seemed the Goddess was trying to tell him not to test his luck, that the warmth it provided to keep him alive in these trying conditions had its limits. She was fickle, not wont to provide for fools.

"Three yards to crossing, I'll get the tether in place and leave the rest in your hands," he said to the soothsayer stone nestled in the mask of his helmet.

"Expecting trouble?" That was Henrick, one of the new louts brought onto the expedition crew.

"Better safe than sorry," John answered. "Iron Lord or not, I won't be able to stop one of the wee beasties from having its fill if you're already in its jaws."

"Heard you lot were supposed to be able to do anything."

"We can, when the Goddess wills it - any other time, well, She doesn't coddle us."

"So much for the legends."

"So much for your bonus, runt."


"Crossing complete, setting down a groundspike. Oracle silent until we're sure there's nothing up the embankment; that's double for you, Henrick."

...shook hard enough to rattle the windows of the courtyard, and anything not fixed in place. Kale's ears perked up when he caught wind of the all-too-familiar screams that usually followed these setbacks. A small grin came to his lips as he resumed tending to his turnips - the blood dripping from his hands was devoured by the greedy soil of the garden, eager to taste the divine handiwork of the church. His sister had called this place a type of soup, once; that the bodies and blood used to nourish the things that lived here had made the very ground come alive. That it hadn't tried to eat him yet, she'd said, was a miracle.

He saw it as a mutual agreement: the garden was kept fertile with daily offerings of the wastrels he came across--rats, birds, the occasional church experiment--and in exchange, it gave him turnips. There were other things, of course, but the turnips were his pride and joy. He only wished the other clergy could see that, and not scream in terror when they saw a limb or some bones rise to the surface for a little fresh air.

Honestly, how they were so weak stomached after all these years was beyond him. Even his sister kept her lunch better.

This island has the strangest clerics.
...at the young man before her, as he continued to add things to what she could only surmise was meant to be a nest.

"What... is the purpose?" Elega asked, bewildered by the vicar's actions.

Kalehar paused his work and glanced back at the woman, staring with wide yellow eyes. He had the remains of a cardboard box in his teeth, detritus smeared over his once-pristine robe to add to the grungey look he seemed so fond of. "Wmh?"

Elega pursed her lips. Inwardly her spirit host demanded she just ignore this and pretend she never saw anything, stop wasting their time and simply report the wayward boy to his custodians. But something about this peculiar ritual stayed her hand, prompting her to say, "This whole... thing you're making here; I don't get why you'd waste your time with it when you've got-"

Kalehar spat the cardboard out. "A suite back in the cathedral?"

"And a small legion of attendants to set things up the way you like."

"Cause that's not how I like it," he said, "too cramped in there, too stuffy."

"Whereas this pile of literal trash is... better?"

"Makes for a better place to take a nap."

The way he said it as if it were the simplest thing in the world was bewildering. Elega frowned behind her mourning veil, wondering just what was going on in that hard head of his.

As if sensing this scrutiny, the young vicar turned back to his alleyway abode and gestured to the building beside them. "There's also a lot of folks that come through this way - lets me hear stuff that I couldn't, trapped up in that golden cage they like to call a church. How'm I supposed to help people if I'm up there, and they're down here?"

"So these little excursions of yours are, what, for collecting firsthand accounts?"

"Something like that. Helps that it lets people see I'm out here, too; know I'm probably scrounging around in case they need some of my blood for whatever. Or just somebody to talk to. Whatever, really."

Elega nodded, making sure to take note of this for any future interactions she had with him. "In that case... might I suggest trying some leaves?"

"I was just thinking that myself."

Trash priest says hello!

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