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Tende altum, volare altius


Art by 塗壁

Our world was once beautiful. Our world was once blessed with divine rule, and it was perfect. So the gods would have us believe. Looking at the world as it is now; some lands ruthless, lawless and demon-ruled, others reclaimed by the forces of nature, there is beauty in it still. Perhaps it is foolish to hope that our gods will return...bring the demons to heel and restore order and peace, or...perhaps there is another way...

When the gods left the earth, chaos took over. Demons rose to power, enslaved humans, fought amongst each other, raided and warred without end. For a hundred years humans prayed, and for a hundred years, the great gods were silent. Then, the queen of gods made a choice: She descended to earth and used her elite force to subjugate the most powerful demons on earth. One by one she defeated them, and placed an enchanted sealing ornament on their bodies. Their powers now removed, they were given a choice: Flee, and let their power bleed from them until there was nothing left, or, join a quest, protect a band of humble humans on their perilous journey to the farthest reaches of the god kingdom to find the secret that will restore light to the world.

The nature of earthly powers is change. Even the fixtures of the land: mountains and oceans can change, given time. Gods cannot change, their very being is stagnated in the nature of what they are and why they are, yet still I am curious. Gods and demons share so much in nature, yet raw and wild like the earth, demons are living features of it. If the world’s very nature is change then…so to would demons not change?

There was a pleasant breeze floating in through the open window of the god queen’s private study. Shimmering curtains spun from moondust, floated like a silk moth’s wings, and an opalescent light bathed the desk in its soft, warm glow. The sweet scent of exotic blooms perfumed the air in the celestial realm and the song of long extinct birds filled the soft silence with their music. In the distance, the soft murmuring of the garden brook could be heard as it meandered its way down a slope of smooth stones. The queen set her brush aside and re-read her musings in the peace of it all with a soft smile playing on her perfectly-painted lips.

“So, you really intend to go through with this tonight?

The queen turned gracefully to the open door, where her advisor waited on the steps just beyond. He was dressed in deep blue, the ocean to the god queen’s cerulean sky, his hands tucked politely into his flowing sleeves. He stood serenely, but the queen could tell from the lines in his form that he was uneasy.

Do you believe this will work? Sending demons to accompany your chosen, setting the hope of their redemption on shoulders so small? When the king uncovers this…
He stopped when the queen held up one hand. “You are anxious because you are living in the future. Come.” She rose from her desk and glided to the door and out of it.
Summon the others. It is time we paid our new champions their appointed visit.”


The queen had instructed her champions to meet in Keimara, a small mountain village, the residents of which were devout followers of the god queen’s rule. It was modest, but elegant, with hand-carved patterns on the awnings of the buildings and the pillars that guarded doorways. The buildings themselves were made of stone and their edges smoothed with clay, painted red and decorated in flowing patterns of sandy yellow. At the entrance to the village stood a pair of large, stone dogs, their mouths open in warning snarls. Beyond them, the main street stretched in an uneven line part-way up a gentle slope, flanked on both sides by houses and shops and cobbled in flat, smooth stones. In the god queen’s honour, the most beautiful temple had been constructed on a ridge at the highest point in the village, overlooking the lively main street.

They were to meet at this temple, when the moon had reached its zenith, but the time for that was not yet here. The sun had just left the sight of the little town, but the bustle in the streets showed no signs of stopping; instead, colourful lanterns were lit and hung, and children ran with more bobbing behind them on poles. There were toy stands and silks, laughter and good conversation. There were kites and smiles, masks of every description and the food stalls! Smokey fires cooked sizzling meats and simmering vegetables. Steamed buns, fried shrimp, custard tarts and puffy pastries filled with more choices than one could eat in a night.

To those looking in from the dark, windy mountain slope, the town was a hope-kindling beacon of joy and welcome.


Chapter 1 ~ The start of the road, the jaws of destiny



Name: O'Korro - "Wolf"
Location: Keimara village, Eastern mountains
Time: Sunset on the day of the Journey's beginning

Interactions: open
Korro was one of those looking. The wind turned his ash-char hair as he approached the settlement cautiously. Korro had posed as a human many times. Human perception was easy enough to fool, so, as long as he kept to his human form, and kept the torc hidden--the symbol of his enslavement--he could likely pass through the village without being recognized for what he was.

The light and laughter reminded him painfully of his home. The demon home, with his warband brothers. The one the god queen had taken from him.
It was lost to you before the queen appeared. That cruel voice in his head needled him. Your brother betrayed you. You had nothing even before this.
I had my power.” Korro argued back, baring his teeth. Around his neck the torc’s gold felt alien and horrid. “Let’s get this over with.

Korro had set his determination to be in a foul mood for the entirety of this process, but as he walked through the gates of the town even he couldn’t keep his temper as dour as it had been. The colour and light, the fire warmth and warmer voices reached out to a part of him he had tried to keep buried.

Then it hit him: The smell. That wonderful smell of honey-roasted pork cutlets, and steamed shrimp dumplings, spit-roasted hens with coal-seared mountain potatoes rubbed all over with fresh herbs, steamed corn on the cob…

Korro’s mouth parted ever so slightly.
One of the vendors caught him drooling and gave him an appraising look. “You got money?
No,” Korro admitted sourly, giving one last, forlorn look at the wonderous foods.

Lioness075 Lioness075 BittyBobcat BittyBobcat Tapfic Tapfic ScatheAriiasqDrayceon ScatheAriiasqDrayceon Top11 Top11 Damafaud Damafaud Arai Arai

The chosen humans have been informed of the quest, but not that they will be accompanied by demons. The demons know they have been summoned to protect humans on a quest, and they also know that for tonight, the sealing ornaments will not allow them to hurt *any* humans at all.

The villagers have been informed of the visiting demons and that they are servants of the goddess and restrained so they can do no harm.

For now, the demons will not be able to recognize other demons if they are well-disguised. They can have suspicions and ask.
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Sun Wukong.png
Name: FalarionRace: Demon
Location: Keimara Village, amongst the food stallsCurrent Form: Male human, then domestic cat, then male human again

Dragging his feet along the path to the village, Falarion yet again contemplated just how he had gotten dragged into all of this nonsense. It seemed like such a trivial and stupid task. More so, he found himself muttering curses when he felt the golden chain shifting along his belt loops. He wanted nothing more than to yank the offending object off and return to his home. Yet, here he was being forced to help...humans. The sheer audacity of this was not lost on Falarion.

With his hands in his pockets and face down, he kicked at a pebble and continued his journey with the pebble skirting along the path. This was not his first rodeo in pretending to be human and he felt far less troubled than some demons by simply approaching humans with his tail on display. He always figured he might as well make it obvious. No point in sugarcoating what he is and he finds he rather enjoys the raw reactions he gets from humans as a result.

Finally nearing the glowing village, Falarion sauntered in to find a liveliness he was not used to seeing from humans. Perhaps his humans were simply too depressed to express themselves in such a manner. No matter. He was here now and had to make the most of it.
Walking amongst the stalls and exuberant humans, Falarion let his eyes wander as he took it all in. Children were laughing and running all over the place, the ambience exuded a sort of calming feeling to a degree, and the food here smelled...divine. Ugh, no. Terrible choice of wording.

Shrugging off his thoughts, Falarion continued along until he spotted an individual that was not dressed like a villager. He watched as they approached a vendor, practically drooling over their food only to be turned away for their lack of money. Not one to turn down any challenge, no matter how small, Falarion ducked into a nearby alley and wasted no time changing into his domestic cat form. If only his eyes did not glow in this form and give him away. Still, it would be more inconspicuous compared to walking around in one of his human forms.
Domestic Cat Form.jpg

Sauntering back out amongst the vendors, Falarion mindfully avoided the rambunctious children, seeking to avoid having his tail pulled during his hijinks. Finding some conveniently stacked crates nearby, Falarion hopped up them until he was on a roof. Trotting along its edge, he soon found a perfect space for him to jump on top of the nearest food stall. He hopped along the tops a few times until he found himself at one that had him drooling in kind. Steamed buns were one of the few human foods that Falarion knew he had quite the obsession over. It got to the point back home where his humans would frequently leave him steamed buns to convince him to lay off for a while. He did not always obey such whims, but did so sometimes to convince the humans to keep doing it.

Cautiously peering over the side of the food stall's top, Falarion saw fresh steamed buns sitting so close and yet so far from his paws. A brief glance around himself revealed the stall vendor busy digging through one of his supply crates. Wasting no time, Falarion hopped down and snatched up two steamed buns in his mouth. It was a tight fit, but he turned around to see a young girl giggling at his antics. With a swish of his tail, Falarion was off, sprinting between the stalls until he spotted the stranger he had seen before.

With a slight flourish, Falarion proceeded to shift back into his male human form and retrieve the steamed buns from his mouth. He knew he likely had some humans gawking at him in this moment, but he could care less. He proudly approached the stranger and held out a steamed bun towards him as if they already knew each other.

"Ye looked like a kicked puppy when they refused to give ya any food. Figured I'd have a go at it and make my entrance while I was at it."

Not bothering to provide his name unprompted, Falarion simply grinned at the stranger and waited for them to take the offered steamed bun.

SilverFlight SilverFlight
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Name:  Babylon
Location: Keimara villiage
Time: Sunset

Interactions: Lioness075 Lioness075 SilverFlight SilverFlight

Babylon hated this stupid epic journey. Nevermind the fact she had willingly undertaken the task-that was a foolish decision made in a moment of great emotional turnoil! Now her feet hurt!

The demon had been walking for days! Her fashionable boots waring thin, and bathing and washing her clothes in whatever river she came across was a nightmare! No lady deserved to be treated like this, especially not the night herself! The whole trip was utterly miserable, and of course her human citizens hadn't been greatful enough to her to lend a horse! The damn squishy, fragile bastards.

Her stomach growled. Not for the first time in this journey actually.

Babylon hated to admit it, but her time as a godess had made her soft. Hunting was difficult- not because she couldn't capture the little bastards; but because when the little mortal animals looked at her with those big ol' eyes and all the fear of death in their hearts- she just couldn't do it. She had managed to kill one rabbit in the past three days- and all the energy she spent up sobbing her eyes out hardly made it worth it.

Not for the first time in this journey, Babylon heavily regretted not taking any more of her offerings with when she fled the city. Though she supposed she couldn't have carried much more than she had at the time. Irridecent eyes flit to her own cloth covered hands. Something welled up in her chest, before escaping as a sigh.

Well, at least with her horns hidden the mortals seemed to enjoy tripping over their own feet to help her out. Gifting her with wonderful offerings in their own right- all she really had to do was find one of the males and look particularly crestfallen. Then she would tell them a story ( with a few little exclusions and stretches of the truth ) and they would invite her to dinner, or give her shiny gifts! That was how she got the robe she was wareing now- her old one was mich too large for her in this smaller form. She especially liked when they would give her soaps, or shiney things. Shiney things like money.

This was how Babylon had been living for the past few months. It wasn't quite dignified , but she would take it over the other options she had.

Now, her stomach was not too happy about all the exercise she had been getting. Especially not when she had reached her destination and every which way she turned she spotted another delectable treat- sweets and meats and potatoes and sweets!

It had been so long sense she had had a tart. The memory of zesty custard and crisp pastry made her mouth water, but there were so many options- how could she choose!

Babylon had a few coins left in her pocket, but all the different places she could spend them left her frozen in place. Counting her fingers and trying to peice together the best deal by volume, and quality per coin without having ever been formally taught any sort of math.

She could have three tarts, or four corncobs, or one hen or- huh. Was that a cat? It dipped through a cart, making off with two fresh buns in its decent before Babylon had a moment to process the movment.

A cat burgler! The little feline certainly hadn't paid for those delicious treats carried in its little maw! Unfair! You couldn't just steal things. Think about the economy you mangey animal!

Babylon turned heel and sprinted into the crowd. Dodging past running children and ducking under lumbering adults with the grace of someone on a mission much more worth while than her own.

Those little self-righteous feet found her target just as he revealed his true form. That of a blond demon with a lion's tail and a silly grin. The blond held the bun out to a gray haired man he seemed to have known for a bit, perhapse a partner in crime? A long time friend? Lover? Well, while stealing for your partner was certainly more noble, it was still rude to that hardworking stall man!

" Thievery! " the demon of night called, face scrunched up in disdain and lit by the light of lanterns as the sun dipped lower on the horizon. Despite her volume, no one seemed to pay her much mind.

" Dastardly! Deplorable! How could you so heartlessly steal from the vendor when he put so much work into preparing those buns?" she spoke as though she didn't basically do the same thing through the demand of offerings not even a few months ago.

" Also giving someone food from your mouth is gross! Don't act like an animal."
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Elizabeth "Liz" Featherspring
Keimara Village
Time: Sunset
Interactions: SilverFlight SilverFlight Lioness075 Lioness075 Tapfic Tapfic

It was the strange, mouth-watering smells that caught her first. Some cut straight to her throat with a mild burn that distantly reminded her of pepper, others called to her with a sweetness far thicker than any of the pizzelles she used to pass around among the other children during wintertime festivals, and still others were so foreign that they rendered all efforts to grasp at a comparison utterly pointless. Every shift of the wind brought a new, exciting scent to chase up the mountainside.

All in all, the trek was a short one. Shorter than the trip up the sides of her home valley, probably (though ample usage of Efre's blessing was making it a tad harder to estimate distance than usual). She took her first steps into Keimara with a leap that set her lightly atop the head of a stone guard dog and, before the offended shout of a nearby villager managed to puncture her obliviousness, skipped cheerfully off into the crowd.

Liz's lips—already pulled into a broad grin—stretched even further at the noise enveloping her, shouts, and squeals, and laughter. Each different voice was music to her ears.

She found herself drawn to one in particular, a young man stood behind a large box with steamer baskets stacked across the surface. "Bao buns for sale!" he called, cupping his hands around his mouth to be heard over the din.

Curiosity piqued, Liz stepped closer and peaked under one of the lids. Inside sat an arrangement of small, white buns not unlike the steamed buns her mother used to make (if a bit rounder). Without a second thought, she pulled one out and sniffed it just to be sure it had that same light, vaguely sweet smell from so long ago.

It did, though there wasn't much time to enjoy it.

"Hey!" The bun-man barked, "you have to pay for that!"

Liz blinked. "Pay?"

"Yes, pay, like no one today seems capable of doing!" Even being out of practice as she was with reading faces, it was impossible to miss the scowl twisting across his. If that weren't enough, his hands moved so that each phrase was accentuated by a shake back or forth as if they were tightening around an invisible neck and his skin had turned a hue not dissimilar from the tomato red houses surrounding him.

She should select her next words very carefully.

"...Why would you ask people to do something they couldn't do?"

This seemed to stump him momentarily as he sputtered for a second or two before finally managing to say, "t-to make money?" Then, after another beat of silence, his eyes narrowed. "Why am I explaining this to you? You've either got the money or you don't."

Liz's nose wrinkled. "What's money?"

For a brief instant, she worried that the bun-man had been sent back into his non-verbal state—his mouth certainly dropped back into the same slack-jawed placement—but, thankfully, he recovered more quickly the second time around. Instead of sputtering, Liz recieved only a long-winded sigh followed by a quiet, "just put the fucking bun down."

Liz's smile slipped by a fraction. Who made food only to keep it in baskets? Did he plan on eating it all himself? Why did he put it outside if it wasn't for anyone else? Each question hovered at the tip of her tongue like a boulder poised to fall off a cliff's edge, but she dutifully swallowed them down and did as told. This man didn't seem to be the answering type anyway.

As she turned to leave, a pair of screeching children rammed into the side of her skirt. Apparently unharmed, they took the hit in stride and continued tearing down the street with gleeful abandon, bumping into other people's legs and dragging a bright red kite with such enthusiasm that she might've thought they were being chased by it if it weren't for the orange reflection of lantern light in the strings.

That brought the smile back to her face. It seemed there was at least one constant between her village and the outside world.

Only once they disappeared around a corner did she brush the dirt off the hem of her skirt and resume the trek up the main road, a journey which perhaps would've taken less time if she wasn't immediately distracted by yet another stranger.

"Thievery! Dastardly! Deplorable!"

By the volume of the yelling, Liz would hazard a guess that she wasn't happy. In fact, if the sour twist to her face was any proper hint, she might even call elegantly dressed lady before her angry, which was not a very helpful thing to be (a conclusion come to for reasons completely separate from a certain man with an excessive number of steamed buns, of course).

Liz pushed awkwardly through the crowd to get a better look. Luckily, the ranting woman seemed quite satisfied lecturing from where she stood, so there was plenty of time for tedious process of saying "excuse me, 'scuse me, sorry!" to every shoulder she nudged and foot she stepped on. By the time the young adventurer squeezed within conversing distance, the stranger had finished her rant. Probably. There was no way of telling if that was the case or if she were simply taking another breath to continue, but—regardless—Liz broke in before she got the chance.

"Is everything alright?" Her eyes flicked between the lady in the dark dress and the pair of unfortunate lecturees a few times before landing on the steamed buns in their hands and widening. "Oh! How'd you get those?" she gasped. "I tried to take one, but he wouldn't let me have a..." The villagers had a specific name for it, right? What was it the man had called it? "A fucking bun."

Location: Keimara Village
Time: Sunset
Interactions: SilverFlight SilverFlight Lioness075 Lioness075 Tapfic Tapfic BittyBobcat BittyBobcat

Roshan was having a grand old time, and the quest hadn't even started yet! With all the fantastic mountain scenery, strange vegetation, and gradual slopes that were nothing like the rugged cliffs back home, the journey north had been interesting all on its own. He'd had to leave his hired horse at the foot of this mountain, but walking had been a nice change of pace. Now, as the village came into view, he paused for a moment to gather the lay of the land. That ornate building overlooking everything else, he decided, must be the meeting place. Since he couldn't read, he'd had his lieutenant, Hakim, read the Queen's letter aloud until he'd memorized the instructions. Even so, he'd kept the letter on his person, just in case it would be needed for identification purposes.

Even at this distance, a sense of warmth and peace seemed to radiate from the place. He descended the slope and strolled through the village slowly, intending to savor the experience. Up close, he noted the ornamentation on the houses, and the lack of any dilapidation or decay. The hustle and bustle was similar enough to the bazaars back home, but the festival atmosphere stood in stark contrast to the cutthroat haggling and raucous argument that often enough came to blows. And, of course, there were no slave auctions occupying center stage. Not only essential wares, but toys, festival props, and comfort foods filled the stalls. Children ran laughing through the crowds. Excited, cheerful chatter filled the air. Roshan paused in the middle of the busy street and took a deep breath.

These people were happy. Happy, and safe, and free. This... this was everything he wanted for the world. This was the sort of life he envisioned for his Brotherhood someday. All the sights, sounds, smells... this was a paradise- for anyone who had money, at least. Roshan did, in fact, have money. There was time to kill before moonrise, and he figured there was no harm in treating himself, within reason. He might even pick up some souvenirs for the folks back home. Now, where to start? The only foods he recognized were rice and something resembling kebabs, but where was the fun in sticking to what he knew? Ambling casually up the center street, poking in at one stall and then another, he gradually amassed a collection of exotic snacks he'd never seen before, as well as a few toys and a brightly painted mask he wore on the side of his head, the way he saw others wearing theirs.

Sweet and tangy, sticky and fluffy... and the seafood! All of it was very different from the flavors and textures he was used to, and he enjoyed every bit of it. Licking his fingers clean after a wonderfully flaky pastry, he paused to eye some baskets filled with what looked like balls of dough, when the raised voice of the shopkeeper caught his attention. Now, Roshan certainly stuck out like a sore thumb, what with his stature, foreign dress, and the large spear he carried in the crook of his elbow, but this young woman seemed even more out of place than he did. Not only was she lacking the means to pay for a bun, she also either didn't understand currency, or had opted to make an ill-timed joke. Very intriguing. Popping the last of his shrimp in his mouth, he followed her for a few paces, stepping out of the way of a pair of children trailing a kite behind them.

Moments later, they were both distracted by shrill accusations of thievery, the source of which appeared to be another foreigner dressed in fine, dark robes, directed at a blond young man apparently in the act of offering a pair of buns to another man dressed in furs. None of them looked like Keimara natives. Still following on the heels of the bright young yokel as she threaded through the crowd, and gaining on her, as the villagers were more inclined to get out of his way, he caught the tail end of a lecture on decorum, followed by the girl asking the blond man about his ill-gotten gains. Only, there seemed to be a slight misunderstanding regarding the bun seller’s vernacular.

Roshan had just bitten into a chicken leg, so he was forced to choke down his mouthful while shaking with strangled laughter, pounding his chest for assistance. Once he had managed to swallow, he approached the eccentric group, still trying not to laugh. "Miss, I'm afraid that word has nothing to do with buns. I don't know what these are, but I can safely bet that's not what they're called." Then his eyes flicked over to the so-called thief, narrowing slightly at the sight of a catlike tail. Interesting. "Speaking of which, the little lady has a point. If you can pay for them, you should. Now, sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do, but I always try to even the score in some way." Folding his arms across his chest, with the drumstick in one hand and the toys in another, which included a small drum on a stick with two beads attached by strings, a pinwheel, and one of the little lanterns, his spear still secured by the fold of his arm, he gave them all an appraising look. A wide grin spread across his face.

"Say, you all look like you aren't from around here. You wouldn't happen to know..." he leaned forward a little and continued in a stage whisper, "Anything about a quest, would ya?" Then he straightened and resumed his normal tone. "Well, in any case, us strangers should stick together. I want to know where you all are from, and I know at least some of you are hungry. Let's say we continue this over a good meal and drinks? I'll buy. Oh, what am I doing?" He smacked his forehead lightly. "I haven't introduced myself. The name's Roshan. Don't suppose you would've heard of me, this far north."
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Location Kiemara Village
Interactions: Arai Arai

Zero made his way up the the mountain side, the clopping of his horses hooves against the stony path was the sole sound accompanied by the occasional sound of strong winds until the sounds of boisterous life from up ahead. Reaching the top he noticed the the two stone canines symbolizing they had arrived, Were here. Zero called to Koralia. Whether Zero wanted to admit it or not this Journey had him a bit anxious, he and Koralia had been making it off fairly perfect, living in true servitude of their deities, while also living by their own personal beliefs, but now joining a group of strangers who they know completely nothing about left him a bit on edge about the unknown.

Entering the town Zero was astonished by the sole ambience of this place, joyful people with no apparent worry in the world, boisterous children flying their lanterns, glorious smells of various delicacies floating in the air. “ it’s hard to believe places like this still exist in the human world, all the damage done by the wicked has nearly stripped all of the spirit from the world.” he said to himself as he came upon a man with two young children selling sweet buns.

Tightening his grip on the reins he pulled the horse to a stop in front of the trio.” Hey, two dozen of those sweet buns please sir” he said leaning giving a smirk to the two children before going into his coin pouch grabbing three gold coins flipping each of them one, their faces instantly brightening up.

” No problem sir, you mustn’t be from around here carrying a sword like that, there isn’t much violence here hopefully you will have no reason to draw your weapon on this visit. “ the man said stuffing the buns into a paper sack before handing them over to zero and an extra to have now.

Grabbing the sack he stuffed it into his horses saddlebag nearly smooshing the buns before taking a bite from the single bun he was given. “ I hope your right, because all towns that I ride into I go into it with the same mindset but more times then none it doesn’t go that way.” He said squeezing his horses sides softly as it began walking off up the main road in the direction of the temple.
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Koralia Stormcaller
Keimara Village
Interactions: Top11 Top11 Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus

"We're Here,"

Koralia breathed a sigh as the duo rounded the last corner of the narrow path to Keimara village. It had been too narrow at points and a little shaky, so Koralia had offered to walk ahead of the horse to check for any dangers on the way. Aside from one nasty bit of loose rock tumbling into the valley, it had been a painless trip. "Good," She replied as the duo stepped over the threshold of the villages outskirts. "The sooner we get underway the better. The Gods wait for no one,". Though demons probably had their own rules about the subject. She'd known that they would be involved in some way, and despite the rigorous teachings of her elders, she'd be lying if she said she wasn't curious to meet a demon that wasn't going to immediatly attack her. How the townsfolk would accept them being here was a different matter.

As for as villages go, Keimara was better than most. It's difficult to reach location and it's natural defenses meant that the people here looked unweathered and relaxed, their lifes comforted by the safety they were provided. She absently tugged her worn tunic and attempted to straighten it as best she could as several finely dressed people gave her and Zero a side glance as they walked in, fine clothing and perfectly done up hair unflinching in the mild winds of the village. By contrast, Koralia's boots were covered in dirt, her hair was matted with sweat and her palm was wrapped with a blood stained bandage from a day or so earlier. She'd been stared at before, but never had she felt so out of place with a village she'd visited.

“It’s hard to believe places like this still exist in the human world, all the damage done by the wicked has nearly stripped all of the spirit from the world.”

She nodded absently. Stormcallers saw first hand a lot of the aftermath from the wicked, so there was something strange about a place so perfect. Koralia's nose wrinkled. "It's almost wrong," she admitted to him. "I feel like there is a trick to it, or an illusion we're not seeing, that this place would be spared the fate of everything else,". There was an element of envy in her voice to be sure. Nothing this easy came to her people, nor any other people she'd ever met. As Zero made his way toward the sweet bun seller, she noted his two children were watching with an heir of suspense, the kind of look children get when they can tell something important is going on, something adults would rather ignore.

The man began to pack the sweet buns, Koralia pocketing one herself and taking a bite. Gods above it was good. Foraged food and stream water didn't even come close. And with the price they paid for 2 dozen of the things, there was little difficulty in understanding how the villagers were so...ample. She nodded her thanks, both to the man and to Zero, and continued walking after Zero mentioned the trouble elsewhere. "They really don't get it do they? How bad things are outside of here," She trailed off as more children passed. It occured to her she hadn't seen a guard since they walked in.

Noticing the revelry somewhere off to the side, Koralia tapped Zero for him to stop moving toward the grand temple ahead of them, gesturing to the motly group. Even from this distance, she could make out some of them had features that were, most certainly, not human. "I'd guess we start there," She said, making her way over to here an offer of "a good meal and drinks. I'll buy," Good enough for her. His outfit was gaudy, suggesting money wasn't a problem. He'd mentioned his name was Rashan. The name didn't ring a bell, but Koralia placed the name as Keshkarthan in origin.
Keimara village
Interactions: SilverFlight SilverFlight Lioness075 Lioness075 Tapfic Tapfic BittyBobcat BittyBobcat Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus

Paws larger than they had any right to be hit the ground in a rhythmic pattern, claws raking rivets in the ground and leaving conspicuous tracks in the rain-soft soil. The loping, twitching shadow that left the tracks invited little but the idea of wrongness, the figure too long to move in anything but draconic waves, and legs too tall. Like a poorly-made puppet, the smooth sprint jerked occasionally, as if warding off an imaginary entity.

Zimmerit leapt over a rotting tree, her snout smarting from the sharp, bladed grasses she lunged through, and her mask held firmly between her teeth. Every extra breath of air she had went into furthering her running—the faster she went the less likely she'd be caught. She couldn't afford another delay on this blasted "quest." Even so, the air was sharp with moisture and her throat felt nearly as though it had been run through with sandpaper. Her pace couldn't have been as fast as when she'd started.

A bird startled as she passed it, and she turned sharply to avoid its beacon of horrified scrambling. Many things happened at once with her unexpected change of direction.

The grass parted from her snout, her mask's vision cleared, and she nearly ran full-tilt into a random, silvery grey horse drawing a carriage full of human spawn. Behind her, Zimmerit's tail fluffed, arching with her back as she skidded to a stop a whisker's width from the horse's side. For a breath, both quadrupeds simply stared at each other. Zimmerit's brain kicked into gear from its single-minded purpose of run. Letting the horse startle first and alert every living thing in three tsubo seemed like a bad idea. She turned tail and darted back into the grass.

Zimmerit scoffed to herself as warmth ran under her fur. If she'd had her second tail, she could have simply turned invisible and left. She'd forgotten how inefficient having a single tail to her name was. Still, at least she had a decent sense of smell, even if it was on par with a human's. It was, in fact, the smell of human foods that led her to the correct place. She thought her hearing should have been the first to pick up on other living things, but the blood rushing through them and her own panting clouded them, fogging her strongest sense in a most frustrating manner.

Still, she could see and it didn't take her long to find the village... town... city—whatever humans were calling their settlements. With a huff, Zimmerit shifted smoothly from demon form to her newly-recovered human form, though she did take a moment to mourn the lack of her eighth tail to go with the transformation ability. Even though she had the most useful power from that tail back, she was still limited—and her human neck was now adorned with a gaudy new ornament. The previously-demon-now-old-woman stepped out from her hiding place and into the gates of the little human place, head held high even as the horse behind her finally came to its senses and screeched at her. Even disguised, she imagined she still at least smelled like fox. She wouldn't blame the beast if it tried to trample her. The human driving the cart, however, was a different story.

If just to ensure that if she got trampled, so did some of the humans, Zimmerit slipped into the crowd, summoning up what she remembered of her "kind old lady" act from when she was still watching her advisor and his strange interactions with that human village. It put humans off their guard—demons, sometimes, as well—and the collar of her robe hid the binding band well enough for her to sweep through the crowd mostly unnoticed. Convenient, trickery was.

Her original plan was to simply make a break for the temple the moment she got clear of most of the humans—she didn't think her demon form would fit all too well without squishing someone, and dying simply because one squishy monkey refused to get out of the way was not something she thought was at all productive. That plan went out the proverbial window the moment she passed a small group and her ear caught—somehow over the din of the crowd and the crowing of some bun trader who didn't even use mirin in his fillings (and really, shame upon him and his family if that was his recipe)—some semblance of the word "quest".

Zimmerit paused, tapping her nails on her mask before—with a glance over her shoulder—she saw the swishing, blonde tail of what was undoubtedly a demon. She turned around immediately, all-but inserting herself into the space of the group and yet saying nothing. What was there to say? These were obviously quest-goers. What other reason would a demon have to be in the presence of so many humans?

Name: O'Korro - "Wolf"
Location: Keimara village, Eastern mountains
Time: Sunset on the day of the Journey's beginning

Interactions: Lioness075 Lioness075 Tapfic Tapfic BittyBobcat BittyBobcat Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus ScatheAriiasqDrayceon ScatheAriiasqDrayceon

Out of the corner of his eye Korro noticed the cat, but he said nothing, instead taking a few steps away from the targeted bun vendour.
This was obviously another demon, and Korro would rather go hungry then give away one of his own kind to humans.
When the stranger returned to him however, the look of surprise was apparent on his face. The gesture was even enough for Korro to overlook being called a "kicked puppy".
His eyes narrows in suspicion. "What do you want in return?" He asked in a low voice. Still, he took one of the offered buns. Whatever the score, he was confident he could settle it.

The bun smelled divine, and Korro lifted it slowly to his mouth. He had almost managed to take a bit when someone began yelling at him in a high voice.
The woman was yelling 'thief'. 'Thief' and not 'Ah, a shape-changing monster!' for if the woman had seen the theft, she had also seen this character change shape. Curious reaction for a human.

The look he gave Babylon was murderous. He took the bun and, without breaking eye contact, bit into it with emphasis.
The vendour was alerted however and gave the scene a long look.

"H-hey! I don't remember selling you any of my buns! You come and pay for those." He waved his wooden rolling pin, though his short, portly stature left a less-than threatening impression.

Korro had to think carefully, weight his options. If he fought now a punishment from the damned ring around his neck was ensured, and likely he would cause pain for the other demon as well...so then...it was run. Korro tensed for the sprint, looking at the tailed demon who had given him food. He wasn't going to leave an ally behind, even if he was rude.
A split second before he was about to make the break, he was stopped dead by another curious face.

Korro paused. The girl was most definitely human, or a very very clever demon.
'A fucking bun.' Korro nearly choked, and the ghost of a smile appeared in the corner of his mouth. He sympathized with this one.

"I still need to be paid." The vendour reminded them loudly. Murmurs began to arise from the crowd. It was just at that moment however that the vendour caught sight of the tail. He froze and looked up. "Oh...you're one of..."
This was bad. If the humans made a scene they might send others to attack, and hurting the humans of course, would bring pain, but by some stroke of luck, it never came to that:

The word "Quest" and there was a strangely-dressed man before them, from the desert Korro thought, offering to pay for the pilfered buns.
"That is...generous." Korro tried the word on his tongue. It had been a very long time since he had used any word like it, and it was as close to a 'thank you' as the stranger was likely to get.

"I don't mind whose coin." The vendour interrupted, but one look from Korro silenced him.

"Most call me Wolf." Korro returned the stranger's name with his title. "You're one of them then. The human pilgrims summoned by the god Queen for this fool's errand?"
If no one suspected he was a demon before, putting "human" before pilgrim would inform the clever ones in the group, but the vendour's eyes popped.

"Oh! Emissary of the god queen! I am truly humbled to be in your presence! Please! Take the buns! I have more if you like, for your friends well!"
That did it. As soon as the word went out, suddenly the group was being offered whatever they liked. Clearly the people here enjoyed the queen's protection and were very grateful to her.

The vendour spared a glance for the pretty young lady that had exposed the thieves. "Is she your friend?" The vendour asked Roshan.
"She is not." Korro replied for him flatly.

"What about her?" And now there was yet a new face standing with them. An older woman, who had appeared and said nothing. Korro glanced at Roshan in question as if to ask 'do you know this one?'

At length Korro breathed a sigh of relief. That was close. He took another bite of his newly-gifted meal, feeling much less irritable than he had been before. He cast his gaze about the city square: off in the distance, several children were climbing on an old building, one had a fist full of firecrackers as they sat on the roof to survey their land.
One of the adults caught them and began scolding them fiercely...The one with the firecrackers, who was just attempting to light them, startled and tipped backwards into the ruined house in a cloud of dust...

((Scroll the box, the post is longer than it looks))

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Sun Wukong.png
Name: FalarionRace: Demon
Location: Keimara Village, amongst the food stallsCurrent Form: Male human

Falarion's grin only widened when the stranger accepted his bun. At the question of what he may want in return, he merely scoffed.
"Och, nuthin'. I figure we're all stuck together here anyways. Best make the most of it, aye?"
He was pleased when the stranger eventually introduced himself. He had expected him to be an individual in their party and was even more pleased when he specified humans. He had to be another demon and Falarion was happy to have started off on a good foot with one of his fellows.

Any hopes of continuing their conversation dissolved away as someone cried out that he was now a thief.
Rolling his eyes, Falarion turned to face the woman and smirked, "Perhaps, but these humans oughta be helpin' us out on our wee quest, no?"
With a flick of his tail and shifting his weight from one hip to the other, Falarion proudly took a bite out of his bun just about the same time as the stranger did.

Just then, yet another stranger converged on them and Falarion snickered when she referred to the buns as 'fucking buns.' How naive.

It seemed as if his interaction has instigated their gathering, as more began joining them here and there. One was very obvious in his inquiry about why they were there and Falarion simply gave them a deadpan stare in response. No shit. It was nice that at least one in their group had money, even if it meant less fun stealing. Or he could just steal for the hell of it. Meh.

Unfortunately, the vendor took this moment to finally realize what had occurred. Sighing in exasperation, Falarion turned to face the vendor, but decided to take a back seat to this conversation, as it seemed everyone else was saying plenty to resolve the situation for him. Less work for him, more food for him. It was a win-win at this point.
He had caught sight of his buddy considering fleeing, at least his body said so, but Falarion merely chuckled at the mildly chaotic situation he had caused. This was fun.

The vendor then finally noticed Falarion's tail and began to draw conclusions that he felt were long overdue. How dense could these humans get? He was hardly trying to hide himself.

It seemed to be ultimately decided that they could take however much food and such that they would need for their journey, though Falarion still rather enjoyed having stolen the buns first.

Hearing Wolf finally introduce himself, Falarion offered a toothy grin to the group and said, "Oi, an' I find most refer ta me as 'Menace.' But ye can call me Fal instead. I'll respond either way."
Scratching at his chin, Falarion scoffed when Wolf mentioned their fool's errand. It certainly was just that. He expected everything that could go wrong would somehow go wrong. At least that would make the experience all the more chaotic.

He then erupted in laughter when Wolf ousted the tattle-tale of their group. He could only hope she was not actually joining them. But if she did, he suspected she would be very easy to rile up.

Taking the brief moment of silence in the conversation to glance about himself, Falarion looked for something entertaining and was pleased to see some human children playing with firecrackers on a roof. Until one was clumsy and fell back into some old building.
Amused, Falarion said, "Ye ken, it always amazes me how humans are able ta live as long as they dae...given how helpless they tend ta be."

Tapfic Tapfic BittyBobcat BittyBobcat Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus ScatheAriiasqDrayceon ScatheAriiasqDrayceon Top11 Top11 Arai Arai SilverFlight SilverFlight
Name:  Babylon
Location: Keimara
Time: Sunset

Interactions: Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus SilverFlight SilverFlight Lioness075 Lioness075

Many things happened rather quickly. Mostly more humans crowding around and stuffing themselves into the fray with various comments that she didn't much car to react to, or simply didn't hear- except the man who agreed with her. He was highly intelligent and worth listening to. Just look at his regal dress! Clearly someone with class a few steps above the others! She gave him the honor of being her shield. Stepping to hide behind his gaudy robes as the scary one shot her a glare.

" Of course I'm right," Babylon acknowledged his half-agreeance with a mutter, but frowned when the regal man kind-of-sort-of half agreed with the others as well. Betrayal. Didn't he know this wasn't actually about who was right? It was about upholding the foundation of society! It was about the law!

" As the former ruler of-," something obviously crossed her mind that made her reconsider her line of thought. Her mouth snapped shut with hard enough to make her teeth click.
" Actually! I don't need to spout my credentials to you animals. "

When the portly little bun-man appeared, Babylon didn't bother halting the smug smile that pulled across her cheeks; though it was quickly replacing that sour frown of righteous indignation. Unfortunately the man had lost his spine in the matter of seconds , just because one of them was a mangey little demon with a tail! So what? Babylon would bet the last of her money she could have wiped the floor with him!

Well, she could have some months back at least.

The gray man introduced himself as 'Wolf' , and made it very clear why he was here in the first place. Another demon summoned by the god queen, like the cat burglar who was named 'Fal' but 'Menace' suited him much more, and herself.

Damnit. That meant she would have to group up with Mr.Scary eyes and a thief. It was almost poetic how horrible this journey was about to be for her. She could feel it in her blood!

Oh well. At least she also had Fuck Bun and the regal one- who's name was Roshan; and whatever others there were. She wasn't really paying attention.

" Fitting name for a dog," Babylon muttered- though she clearly was not prepared to catch any sort of flak for the insult. She ducked behind Roshan again.

Her stomach may have made a noise at the mention of free food- but Babylon certainly would have denied it had anyone pointed it out.

"Is she your friend?" The bun man asked.

"She is not." The scary man answered.

" You don't get to answer for him, Mutt! " Babylon snapped almost immediately, though only her head was peaking out from behind her barrier.
" I was summoned for the quest too! In fact, I undertook it of my own will. "

The girl crossed her arms and wrinkled her nose at the whole thing, still visibly upset at the lack of justice for this transgression and completely unaware of the scene unfolding behind her. Fal made a stupid remark about humans and there helplessness that was a bit out of place, one that Babylon replied to with a glare.

" How is that at all relevant right now? " She questioned. Sure it was somewhat true and somewhat related to their situation, but they needed to get back on topic!

" Anyways, back to the matter at hand. Eating food from other people's mouths is gross even if you're lovers. " The accusation was made with both scarred hands pointing at the demons of stealing buns- despite the complete lack of evidence other than a simple passing thought had while first accusing them.
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Location: Keimara Village
Time: Sunset
Interactions: SilverFlight SilverFlight Lioness075 Lioness075 Tapfic Tapfic BittyBobcat BittyBobcat Arai Arai ScatheAriiasqDrayceon ScatheAriiasqDrayceon

When Roshan noticed the indignant bun seller standing there, he began counting out the price of two buns from his coin purse. Meanwhile, the grey-haired man introduced himself as 'Wolf'. A strange alias... At his next words, Roshan paused and glanced up sharply, taking in his animalistic yellow eyes and his tense, wary stance. Referring to him as a 'human pilgrim' clearly distinguished the two of them. He also didn't seem very enthused about their mission. Glancing again at the one with the tail, or 'Fal', as he called himself, he wondered what sort of supernatural aid the Queen had apparently enlisted. Were these two spirits? Surely demons would never be involved in something like this... right?

Based on the reactions, or lack thereof, from the villagers, he supposed not. All the bun seller's generous offer earned from him was a pitying look. That sort of obsequious attitude always irked him, even directed toward a Goddess or her associates. Far too often he'd seen it abused by unscrupulous authorities. Thankfully, in this case, it stemmed from genuine respect and reverence, rather than fear; but he preferred to be treated as his own person, and rewarded according to his own merits. Nonetheless, eating for free suited him just fine, and he had no patience for the sort of argument that would likely ensue if he insisted on paying. With a small sigh, he pocketed the change again. "Well, I'll hardly say no to a free meal, if you insist."

Then the vendor asked if the young lady who'd exposed the thief, who was now standing behind him for some reason, was his friend. Before he could reply, Wolf denied it in his stead. Chuckling at the diminutive girl's aggressive response, he held up his hands, still full of odds and ends, in a placating gesture. "Hey, now. I don't see why we shouldn't be friends, seeing as we'll be working together. But we haven't met before, if that's what you mean," he added, with a nod toward the bun seller. 'What about her?' the man asked, and Roshan turned around to see a little old lady standing in the midst of their gathering, looking for all the world as if she had grown there. He blinked. "I'm afraid we aren't acquainted, either."

Taking stock of the situation again, he counted six eccentric characters, including himself, the old lady, and a newcomer, a woman with chin-length hair dressed for the cold. None of them had unusual features like Wolf or Fal, but he wouldn't assume anything at first glance. "Well, then. Is there anyone else we're waiting for? If not, since we're eating for free tonight, we may as well have a meal and get to know each other. Let's find somewhere quiet to sit down and talk. Does anyone know a place?" Turning to the bun vendor, he asked, "Any recommendations?" Roshan's curiosity was piqued, and he was eager to know exactly what sorts of people these were- especially the clearly non-human among them.

He glanced at Fal and Wolf again to find the latter staring at something in the distance. Following his line of sight, he spotted two children playing on the roof of a dilapidated house, one of whom was attempting to light some firecrackers. Suddenly, the child tipped backwards and fell through the roof, sending up a cloud of dust. Oh, no... Roshan dropped everything but his spear and took off toward the house. Not only was the kid likely to be hurt, if he had actually managed to light the firecrackers, with all that dry wood around... That was bad news. Leaning his weapon against the wall of the building, Roshan poked his head inside, squinting in the darkness and waving his hand to clear the dust away. "Hey, kid!" he called. "Are you alright?"

Name: O'Korro - "Wolf"
Location: Keimara village, Eastern mountains
Time: Sunset on the day of the Journey's beginning

Interactions: Lioness075 Lioness075 Tapfic Tapfic Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus

A small sense of relief filled Korro as the lion-tailed demon spoke. He seemed relaxed about the entire affair, and though Korro didn't share the sentiment precisely, he was glad to have an ally.
Not as much could be said for the second demon, for Korro was almost sure now that's what she was. They had all been given this false choice, but perhaps she meant she chose to be bound? It was beyond fathoming.

Korro took another bite, and finished the bun in a few more, ignoring her words until he was finished. Then he turned and looked down at her with evident dislike.
"Better a dog than a traitor."

He turned away from her then, to afford Roshan more of his attention. The human wanted to talk? Odd.
Korro expected to be treated like a slave, but this one was treating them more like equals. Perhaps he did not know what role the demons had to play in this.
"We can speak, but I only know we were summoned here to await the instructions of your god queen."
The last word was spoken with no small amount of venom.

Before he could hear a response however, Roshan had dashed off. The child. The fall. Korro had seen it. He had also seen the string of firecrackers catch.
"Wait! Stop!"

Korro tore after Roshan, aiming to grab him by the collar and haul him away from the door to the building, just before flames erupted from the opening.
Korro shielded his face with his other hand and stumbled back, his body giving off small wisps of steam.
"I hate fire."

From the raging inferno before them, Korro could just make out the small figure of the boy, who had landed safely on a pile of wood shavings at the back and been spared the initial burst of fire, but he was now trapped behind a wall of flame, and three more children were cornered on the roof, which looked fit to collapse at any moment under their weight, so an adult would most certainly send it crashing down.

Their screams were echoed by more people as the blaze drew attention.
People shouted for water, and some began running for a well that lay in the square a hundred paces away.
Korro wondered if letting the stunted humans burn would result in a punishment, but one glance down at Roshan told him that if he didn't help, the human he was responsible for would probably die trying to save them.

Korro growled.
"I command ice." He spoke out loud to Roshan and the others. "What would you have me do?"

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Koralia Stormcaller
Keimara Village
Interactions: SilverFlight SilverFlight Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus

Koralia barely had time to speak to the others in the group before the firecracker popping rang out, the dilapadated building across the square beginning to catch already. She turned away from the group with some mild disdain. Some of the party seemed to almost look down at the accident with a sesne of superiority. "Those must be the demons," She thought to herself as she turned toward the building, leaving them behind. Clearly the Goddess's pickings had been few and far between if these were the best she could muster. And if they unhappy with their position, so what? They were part of the reason it was neccesary in the first place.

She hadn't seen the child fall in, but the shouting and waving of the 3 others on the roof of the building attracted her attention enough. These buildings were dry but cold in this environment. They wouldn't go up immediatly, but they would go up soon enough. The roof didn't look stable enough to climb either, lest Koralia already be halfway up the side of it. The gaudy clothed one was just ahead of her as they approached the building, loose wood and stone tumbling down the sides of the alleys on either end of the building. Roshan motioned to open the door before Koralia watched in shock as he was dragged aside by another with grey hair, flames erupting from the now open doorway. He looked human enough but the smoke drifting off of his body made her doubt the assumption.

"I command ice. What would you have me do?"

Demon then. Then again, her powers were elemental in nature as well, though lightning wasn't going to be as helpful as ice here. She called out to the demon, gesturing to the building. "Douse the flames on the pillars," She shouted over the roaring and screaming, gesturing to the 4 wooden logs that made the frame of the bottom floor. "Then use your ice to bulk them up. If they burn through those logs it'll collapse in on itself,". Ice would have to do for now. Were that other Stormcallers were here, they could've created rain, the thought making her a little homesick. Still, you work with what you have. She knelt to Roshan, leaving the grey haired man to his own devices. "Any ideas on how to get them out of there?" She asked him.


Location: Keimara Village
Time: Sunset
Interactions: SilverFlight SilverFlight Arai Arai

No sooner had Roshan reached the door than a hand caught him by the collar, yanking him backwards, and he stumbled and fell on his rear. At the same time a crackling cacophony broke out, followed by a blast of blinding light and heat that he was sure scorched the hair off his forearms as he raised them to shield his face. The moment the heat died down, he leaned forward and desperately searched the inside of the house with strained, watery eyes, absently brushing sparks off his clothing and quenching the smoldering tail of his headband. Thankfully, he could still see the boy, apparently unhurt, through the shimmering heat waves and leaping flames. Still, hungry tongues of fire were rapidly eating up the floorboards, and a glance upward confirmed that the roof was fit to collapse at any moment, with three more kids still stranded on top. He would need to act quickly.

In the background, there were screams, shouts for water, and the frantic pounding of feet. Hearing a voice behind him, he looked over his shoulder to see that his rescuer was none other than the one who called himself Wolf, who seemed almost annoyed as he stood there looking down at Roshan with steam curling off his body. Huh. "Thanks," he said with sincerity. "That was close."

"I command ice. What would you have me do?"

Roshan's eyebrows arched in surprise at the show of deference, especially considering his attitude but moments before. Though he was accustomed to leading others, he had in no way asserted authority over this fellowship, having expected them to be on equal footing. Nonetheless, now was no time to question it. A female voice cut in, urging Wolf to fortify the structure of the building using his ability. She was right- if the pillars gave way, all would be lost. Now she crouched beside him, and he recognized her as one of the latecomers to their gathering. Any ideas, she was asking. At this, Roshan sprang to his feet and faced the inferno, every inch the commander. He reached for his spear, but at the last moment, his hand dropped to his side and curled into a fist.

Of course, his first thought had been to summon water to douse the flames, but he doubted he could swing his spear in that enclosed space, much less without bringing the whole building down around him. Though his abilities were well suited to an open battlefield, making the most of his height and reach, in this situation they were all but useless. Even so, there was no excuse for backing down when there were lives at stake. There was nothing for it but to charge in and hope for the best.

"You two reinforce those pillars, then help the kids on the roof," he said, as though giving orders in battle. "I'm going in." Without waiting for a reply, he strode to the entrance of the building. Then, on the very threshold, he froze. A thought had struck him. It doesn't hurt to use this once in a while, kid. He could almost hear old man Azat's voice and feel a heavy fist thumping the top of his head. He couldn't control water in there, but there was someone who might. Grabbing his spear with one hand, he turned on his heel and seized Wolf by the shoulder in his excitement. "If you have water, you can freeze it and control it, right?" Releasing him, he took several paces away from the building and assumed a fighting stance. He saw the well across the square, but this way was faster. "Stand back, everyone!"

Quickly but cleanly, he executed a combat form with smooth, efficient slashes and spins and elegant footwork reminiscent of a dance. Water foamed at the edge of his blade and streamed behind it, growing with every arc and turn until it became a torrent. Finally, when he came to rest, a thick ring of water revolved slowly around him. "Use this to put out the flames between the kid and the door," he called to Wolf. "I just need a path." His eyes conveyed the urgency of his order. If he remained still for too long, the water would vanish.

Elizabeth "Liz" Featherspring
Keimara Village
Time: Sunset
Interactions: Technically everyone but Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus in particular

"Miss, I'm afraid that word has nothing to do with buns. I don't know what these are, but I can safely bet that's not what they're called."

Liz blinked and tilted her head as her newfound friends made a noise concerningly close to choking. Then, satisfied that they weren't gasping for air, she huffed a laugh at her own confusion. "Alrighty, if you're sure." It didn't quite make sense to her why someone would call something a word that it wasn't, but the world was different out here. They had strange words like 'fucking' and 'money,' and surely each one had a meaning of some kind even if she didn't know it yet. She'd have to start learning them soon.

Given the chance, she might've asked for a definition on the spot, but the conversation picked up quicker than a gale on the mountainside and she was left scrambling in its wake. It had been some years since Liz had needed to keep track of any voice other than her own, much less the hodge-podge of people her company was melting into. She tried her best, though, with what fragments she could catch.

When the man—Roshan, he said—mentioned a quest, she leapt in place like a stoat trying to catch the attention of a rabbit. "That's exactly what I'm here for! How'd you tell?" Her eyes lit up at the chance to use the introduction she'd been practicing the entire trip here. "I'm Liz! Lovely to meet ya'!"

"That is... generous."

Oh, right! If her mother could see her now, she'd be begging her to thank Roshan for offering them food (at least, that's what she assumed he meant by 'buying' it). "Yes.." Liz nodded slowly in an attempt to measure the pause just-so. "Very generous," she echoed, eyes wandering away from him before she had even finished the sentence.

They went first to a toy-stand full of various brightly colored pinwheels, kites, lanterns, and other bits of highly important (and equally as delightful) memorabilia. From there, it was only a short hop toward a group of children clambering around a rooftop. She took little notice of the bun-seller as their short affair played out. When one of them fell, they earned an empathetic wince on her part.

Having no clue what the kid carried in his arms, she had no reason to suspect things had gone as terrible wrong as they had.

The building took like summer lightning to a drought-dried field. One moment there was naught but dust and wood, the next a roaring inferno rapidly cloaking itself in dark pillars of cloud.

Liz rushed forward just as quick. Before she knew it, she had a foot in the air and smoke biting at her throat—though, as one of the children's cries reached her ears, she faltered. The gust rushing around her leg to keep it afloat halted, dropping her an inch before she could gather herself once again.

As of yet, Liz hadn't taken any issue with her god's blessing. This dance was a wonderous one and the slight pauses and wandering paths necessary to keep in line with the whims of the wind had only ever served to make it moreso, but at a time like this she found her impatiance growing with each unproductive step. The heat wafting up from the flames forced her to take an awkward, winding route that dangled her dangerously close to the hungry flickers just as often as it launched her far too high to be of any help.

But she made it. Through a panic-induced eternity, she made it.

Her heart twinged at the tearful wide-eyed children huddling together on the rooftop. She'd only be able to carry one.

"I'll be back, I promise," Liz blurted, snatching one of their hands and before she could think on it for too long. A jolt jumped up her spine at the first human touch she'd had in years, but she forced the sentiment to the back of her mind. There would be time for that later. For now, she clutched the child close and began her wavering descent.
Sun Wukong.png
Name: FalarionRace: Demon
Location: Keimara Village, amongst the food stallsCurrent Form: Male human then gryphon

The eccentric woman of their group continued to amuse Fal, even more so when she ducked behind the rich guy after throwing out a meager insult. Humans.
When she mentioned the way he had passed on his food and hinted at them being lovers, of all things, Fal burst out laughing and doubled over.
"Ye think we're anythin' tae one anothe'? I jus' met 'em!"

Unfortunately, the fun soon came to an end, when the others noticed the idiotic children. With a sigh, Fal shoved his hands into his pockets and then meandered after them to the scene. He watched with a bored expression as most everyone jumped into action, one way or another, to save the kids. Honestly, this really felt like overkill, what with everyone just casually whipping out elemental powers and the such.
Scratching the back of his neck, Fal watched as one child was saved from the roof and then the other was promised rescue. Seeing as that human was taking eons to do anything, Fal decided to expedite things so they could move on from here.

While everyone was focused on the fire situation, Fal took a step back to ensure he had adequate space before he promptly shifted into his gryphon form.
Gryphon Form.jpg

Spreading his wings, Fal leapt up and flapped to guide himself towards the roof and remaining children. He landed heavily, as his form was not one meant for being careful. As the smoke from the fire wafted about the roof and through the nearby hole, Fal loomed just outside of it, his glowing eyes all that the fearful children could see.
Deciding to not waste any more time, Fal lunged forward as the children squeaked in alarm. He grabbed the nearest child by the collar of their shirt and turned around before hopping off the roof and spreading his wings to glide himself back down behind their motley crew. Without further adieu, Fal promptly dropped the child from his mouth, hearing them gasp when they fell on their rear-end in the middle of some stalls.

Grumbling to himself about said wasted time, Fal meandered back to their group to see if the others were finally finished rescuing the original idiotic child. As he walked, he shifted back into his male human form.
"Ye ken, we cuid already be eatin' a feast of free food, but naw, we had tae save these children. This is going tae take forever if we stop fo' every human being a tube."

He shoved his hands back into his pockets and resumed watching the others conclude their own rescue. His expression remained one of boredom, not displaying any concern for the current scenario.
Having done his part to hurry things along, Fal hoped the others would be as useful as he was. He was still very hungry and that one steaming bun had not sated his appetite.

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Name: O'Korro - "Wolf"
Location: Keimara village, Eastern mountains
Time: Sunset on the day of the Journey's beginning

Interactions: Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus Arai Arai

Korro blinked in surprise as the desert human thanked him. He was not used to being given gratitude either. He tried to sound annoyed:
"It won't do me much good if you burn to death before we start this inane quest." He grumbled at Roshan.

Another voice cut through the chaos, a woman. Korro turned to see someone he did not recognize, and she was giving him orders.
"I'm not about to be commanded by just any loud human!...hmm, that's not a bad idea." Korro had begun to snap at her, until he considered what she was actually saying.

Korro wasted no more time, he snatched a bucket from one of the townsfolk running to dowse the flames, casting the water onto one of the pillars. With a flick of his hand the water froze solid, reinforcing the beam. Korro swapped the empty bucket for a full one, as the townsfolk saw what he was doing and ran to help. He did this again and again, until the four pillars were frozen. They steamed badly, but Korro exerted as much power as he dared to keep them from melting. Sweat began to bead on his brow, but he grit his teeth and held on.

The lion-tailed demon, Fal, landed on the roof and the beams quaked. Korro grunted with the effort, but kept the beams solid, forcing the ice to embed into the wood itself.
Watching the others work with him brought a strange sense of pride: The russet-haired human stepping on air as if it were stone, even the other demon, Fal, snatching children in his gryphon form only to deliver them safely to the ground--it certainly gave them a fright, but they were spared any real harm--. For one small moment, it was as if he was back with his demon brothers in the mountains...

Before Korro could get any more sentimental, a hand shook him out of the thought. Korro stared as Roshan grabbed him, completely bewildered.
"Wait, you're going in there? Have you lost your tiny human mind?!"
Korro stared at him with a mix of frustration and begrudging respect as he caught up with what Roshan was thinking. "I can." He answered with a frown. A path. He could do that.

The desert dweller then summoned a ring of water, no doubt a gift from the divine being he was a servant to. It was enough.

Sensing a chance to show off, Korro drew on the water Roshan had called: he clenched his fist and the water burst into a thick ice mist. With an elegant motion Korro forced the mist to tunnel into the flames, boring out a path for Roshan. The timbers smouldered and glowed red, but a clear way to the child was now visible.

"The path is cool, but there is still a danger of falling timber, and who knows how sound the floor is now." Korro took one more full water bucket from a woman nearby, and this one, he emptied with one swift toss in Roshan's direction, aiming to soak him from head to toe.
"If you're determined to rush in there like an idiot, wet clothes will not burn, but, better to be fast either way."
Korro could not hide the exhaustion now. He new he couldn't hold the beams for much longer, and the fire was feeding off the structure, growing stronger with each second.

One child in the building and still one left on the roof. Time was running short, but they were almost done.

Top11 Top11 BittyBobcat BittyBobcat ScatheAriiasqDrayceon ScatheAriiasqDrayceon Tapfic Tapfic Lioness075 Lioness075

Location: Keimara Village
Time: Sunset
Interactions: SilverFlight SilverFlight Lioness075 Lioness075 BittyBobcat BittyBobcat

While Wolf worked swiftly to freeze the pillars and hold them in place, and Roshan jumped into action himself, the back of his mind was busy collecting little details that didn't add up. Wolf had saved him, but seemed annoyed about it. He deferred to him, but had taken offense to the woman's direction, at first. That wasn't even mentioning his dour attitude about the quest in general, and his snide remark about the God Queen. Meanwhile, he caught fragmentary glimpses of the funny redhead- Liz, was it?- quite literally walking on air with a child in her arms, and a gryphon landing on the roof to snatch up another. This one turned out to be Fal. Though his strange accent made it hard to catch more than every other word even when he had half an ear to lend, his flippant tone came through loud and clear. Why had these two been chosen? In fact, it almost seemed like Wolf and Fal were here against their will. Later, he promised himself, he would get to the bottom of this. Right now, he settled for shooting Fal a baffled frown.

Despite his initial protest, Wolf caught on to his plan quickly. Under his control, the water Roshan had summoned transformed into a swirling mist that drilled straight through the smoke and fire, instantly clearing a tunnel. Impressive. It was no surprise that each champion hand-picked by the Queen would have extraordinary skills, if nothing else. For now, he was glad to have this spirit- or whatever he was- beside him, regardless of his personal motives. Roshan set down his spear and crouched, prepared to sprint, acknowledging Wolf's warnings with a nod. Any reply was smothered in a sharp intake of breath as a shockingly cold bucketful of water splashed over his head and soaked through most of his clothing. A shiver ran all the way from the crown of his head to the tips of his toes. Well, that would wake him up! Why was that well water so cold, anyway? "R-right. Good thinking." He shook his head vigorously and wiped the water out of his eyes. "Okay. Here I go!"

Springing into motion, he ran straight through the open doorway along the pathway Wolf had made for him, clearing the pile of burning timbers in a single jump. Forcing concentration amidst the dizzying heat, as the smoke stung his eyes and clawed at his lungs, he found the boy, picked him up and slung him over one shoulder like a sack of grain. "It's okay. You're gonna be alright, kid. We're getting out of here." On turning around, prepared to make another run for it, he saw steam rising from the damp patch of floor as the flames started to close in again. Another portion of the roof collapsed, the broken beams and shingles sending up a shower of sparks as they fell, and he raised his free arm to ward them off. A wavering curtain of smoke blotted out the light from the entrance. Now came the hard part.

This time, as he came down after leaping over the fallen beams, the floor gave way beneath him, his right foot falling straight through with a jolt that brought him to one knee. The boy whimpered and clung to him tightly. Glowing embers rained down onto his arm, and he hissed with pain, setting his teeth. They were just a few paces from the door. They would make it. With a tremendous effort, he braced his left foot against the floor and strained for several breathless, agonizing seconds, finally wrenching his leg free. At last he staggered outside, covered in soot and desperately gulping lungfuls of fresh air, and fell to his knees. Then he set the boy on his feet, freeing him to run into his parents' open arms. Behind him, he could hear more falling timbers, and the glasslike sound of red-hot logs shattering.

Still breathing hard, he blinked the tears from his smarting eyes and checked the roof again. There was still one child clinging to what was left of it. "Hey! There's still one more up there!" he shouted hoarsely, casting his eyes around in search of his teammates. "Someone..." No, orders had to be specific, especially in a crisis. Was Liz around? What about Fal?


Koralia Stormcaller
Keimara Village Fire
Interactions: Open

"I'm not about to be commanded by just any loud human!...hmm, that's not a bad idea."

Koralia frowned at the man's sentiment, clearly a demon if he had that much of a problem with her. That said, he carried out his task dilligently, ice embracing the wooden foundations of the structure, though the flames still burned within. Roshan seemed to have it handled though, and she continued to supply the other man with water for his ice until she watched him return, boy in hand, smoke wisping away from them as the interior of the building further collapsed behind them. She breathed a sigh of relief as the boy was reunited with his mother, though Rashan still seemed stressed.

At the same time, a great gust beat down against them, somewhat fanning the embers as Koralia watched a large Gryphon land on the roof and leap away with another child, dropping him somewhat uncaringly back on the ground before shfiting back into human form. Koralia's teeth grinded. Apparently he'd felt he'd done his fair share and was finished with that. Thankfully the blaze just needed to be extinguished.

"Hey! There's still one more up there!"

She looked to Rashan, who was gesturing to the roof, seemingly in no fit state to continue. The ice demon was keeping the building upright, which left the gryphon or herself. Koralia steeled herself. The others had proven themselves useful at least, everyone here was, to some degree, capable of greatness. As was she, and she needed to show that. Drawing 2 of her throwing knives and gripping them tightly, she leapt onto the icy defenses that now shored the bottom floor of the building, using them to pierce it's surface and quickly scale the building. If it were'nt for the danger, there would be something almost familiar about this, the climbing aspect at least.

Clambering to the top she gave the child a smile, who, from the look of things, hadn't quite recovered from his close up Gryphon encounter. "Put your arms around me," She ordered, scooping the boy onto her back. He wasn't too heavy, but she was still slower as she began to make her way back down the building, knives digging deep into the wood.


Name: O'Korro - "Wolf"
Location: Keimara village, Eastern mountains
Time: Sunset on the day of the Journey's beginning

Interactions: Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus Arai Arai BittyBobcat BittyBobcat Lioness075 Lioness075

He could feel his strength ebbing away. Korro growled and called upon the last of his magic reserves. The ring about his neck grew warm as he fought it.
He watched Roshan, saw him stumble as the floor gave way beneath him. Steam billowed up from the pillars, fighting the acrid black smoke for room in the air above.
By some miracle Roshan made it out nearly unscathed, and the boy ran past Korro into the arms of his waiting parents.

He heard Roshan shout something: one more trapped?
Korro slipped to his knees. "I..grh! I can't hold it!"

He could see the shape of another human, scaling the beams to reach the last child. She was climbing down when his strength gave out. She would only have seconds to make it back.

Korro's palms hit the earth and the edges of his vision blurred. The blazing heat from the fire sapped what little strength he had left, but he couldn't get away.

Korro's foggy vision focused on a small, old woman, smiling from her place in the crowd.

"You have done well." Had the old woman said it? The voice sounded like it was coming from inside his head.
They all heard it however, each member of the chosen team, demon and human alike.

Once the last child was safe the beams collapsed in upon themselves, sparing the surrounding buildings from danger. The villagers worked to pull the rest of the house to the ground and water the earth to fence in the flames.

Korro rolled into a sitting position, though he was still sweating and breathing heavily. He cursed the ring around his neck for what seemed like the thousandth time that day.
"If I had been at my full strength I could have buried the entire village in ice...now I can't even put out a house fire. Pathetic."

He flopped back into the dirt, partly for the exhaustion and the heat, partly because he was sulky.

The old woman was still there, she had stepped forward now. She was small, Korro guessed she would barely reach his chest, and her skin was tanned, pocked and worn, like the thousand-year trees in the windswept plains. Her white hair was wispy, and tied up with colourful thread , flowers and feathers. She leaned on an intricate cane, carved with more flowers and exotic birds.

"That was no small amount of bravery, Roshan, Koralia, Elizabeth." The old woman croaked, her voice was cracked, and warm like a hearth fire. Something too would seem oddly familiar, even if the sound itself was new.
"Korro, Falarion, you seem to be bearing your burden well already!"

Korro narrowed his eyes and gave the woman a spiteful glare.

The old woman turned, a glimmer in her clouded eyes. "As for the rest, well, I know you, and there will be many more ways in which you'll be able to prove yourselves."
She turned and started at a slow hobble up the hill. "This way chosen!"
It seemed Korro only had to blink before the woman was waiting for them at the doors to the god queen's temple. The round, shimmering disc of a moon was now perched high atop the temple's point. It was time.

Korro turned to Roshan, fixing him with a confused scowl. "Why did you do that? Risk your life for humans you didn't even know?"
The ring about his neck was visible now, uncovered from the furs Korro wore as he had struggled to keep his ice magic intact. It glittered in the firelight, and seemed out of place on the scruffy, dusty man who wore it.

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Silver Celeste

Mood: nervous and anxious

Location: just outside the village

Interactions: open

No no no, I can't do this. Silver paced to and fro in front of the village's gates. She fingered the crystals dangling from her long staff. But the emissary said that they would be in this village. She couldn't help but remember how horrid the human race was during her last encounter. That one had trapped her in a spirit orb and forcefully taken her magical power. She recalled that there would be demons on this journey as well. She hadn't met a demon in a while, either, as she spent most of the past century honing her healing abilities at the waterfall. Those glittering drops pounding the surface of the water relentlessly. Already she felt a pang of longing for the place where she had found such peace.

Silver shook her head slightly and gathered up her courage. This is what she had been training so long for. A chance to prove that she was no longer a useless nature spirit who had enormous amounts of mana but couldn't use it! She had made it this far and--she sniffed the air--there was a delectable smell wafting towards her on the wind. She peered closer from her perch on a tree limb. There was a distant roar of a crowd. It seemed cheery, although the last time they had seemed cheery as well. But the food... Silver followed the enticing smell into the village. That's right, she remembered. Making delicious food is one thing the humans are good at!

With that happy thought in mind, she picked up her pace and wandered into the crowd. Noises, voices and smells assaulted her senses. For some reason there was a faint tinge of smoke in the air, but no one seemed panicked. Although she didn't have a map of any sort, she knew that her destination was the Goddess' Temple and any spirit older than a decade could sense the power emanating from its beautiful walls. Silver ascended the hill the Temple was built upon as the moon rose high and full in the night sky dotted with stars.

code by Stardust Galaxy
Sun Wukong.png
Name: FalarionRace: Demon
Location: Keimara Village, amongst the food stallsCurrent Form: Male human then gryphon

As the final children were rescued from their own idiocy, Falarion watched the dramatic conclusion to the whole moment. He could see where the frustration was being equally felt by Wolf in that they were both restricted in their powers. A scowl became present on his face the more Falarion thought about it until he saw Wolf seemingly collapsing from his efforts. Surprised by this, Falarion ambled forward, doing his best to not exhibit any real concern. Curiously, he looked down at Wolf but was cut off from speaking when she appeared.
The god bitch herself, great. There was no way he could not recognize her voice after the bullshit she had put him through. His scowl quickly became prominent once more and he spun on his feet to spit at her when his tail instead followed his momentum and lightly slapped Wolf in the face.
He was about to turn back around to apologize, but then the goddess began congratulating them for their whatever they had exhibited. The fact was not lost on Falarion that they had yet to enjoy any feast and his stomach growled lowly in response to his thoughts. Was he going to have to stand there and listen to the old lady give them some stupid speech?

Thankfully, this was not the case, as she decided to leave them all in the dust to just accept things as they are. Lovely.
Shaking his head, Falarion finally turned back to face Wolf and snorted when he heard the inquiry. It seemed like a fair thing to ask to Falarion. It had been rather idiotic of the human. It made Falarion wonder if their stupid quest could end prematurely if a human passed without it being one of the demon's faults directly. Food for thought. Although, one was willing to cover expenses to feed them and he never would say no to free food. And he still needed the damned gold chain removed from his being, so he begrudgingly accepted this was his life for now. He supposed that was what he got for letting his guard down in the first place.

Speaking of his golden chain, Falarion found his eyes drawn to the shining bit of jewelry sitting snug around Wolf's neck. Sheesh, at least he only had to deal with it being on his own neck when he changed into an animal form. He liked to think he had been quick enough with both of his recent shifts to avoid making it too obvious.
Sighing, Falarion finally spoke up,
"Sorry fo' the tail whip thir, tends tae have a mind o' its own, ya ken?"
He then extended a hand to Wolf, intending to help him stand back up. He was more than eager to go give that cantankerous goddess a piece of his mind, but for the time being, it seemed he and Wolf were the only demons present. Best that he did not leave the puppy on his own. Even more so after he had collapsed from pushing himself too hard.

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Name:  Babylon
Location: Keimara
Time: Sunset

Interactions: Lioness075 Lioness075 SilverFlight SilverFlight

"Better a dog than a traitor."

The insult rang in Babylon's ears. Enough so that a dissapointed frown pulled at the pink of her lips, and knit brows narrowd irridecent eyes.

" I don't remember pledging my loyalty to anyone like you. " She muttered the comeback, clearly not interested in continuing the line of question further.

She wasn't quite sure she was all to interested in talking to any one of this group, actually. A scary dog, a thieving house cat, some other side characters? They probably didn't have much of a wit to battle- at least not in a way that wouldn't make Babylon want to climb a tree to avoid getting nipped at.

Except the regal fellow. Babylon was certain he was the best of their group.

The girl was slightly surprised that Korro and Fal had just met, if only due to the sharing of food in an unsanitary manner. Sure demons didn't quite get sick like humans did- but still! It was about standards!

" Thats even worse!" She called after Fal at his answer- but he was already mosing towards something.

Babylon followed in curiosity, but paused as sparks flew.


Babylon did not move from her spot during the fire.

All she could manage was to stand watch as each of the human children were plucked from burning building. Her eyes wide, reflecting the flickering oranges and burning gold of flame as it lit the dusky street. They didn't move in time with any target. Lost in a time not long past.

Her heart pounded in her chest, feet frozen in place and hands burning with a pain that should have long since subsided.

Babylon stood and watched with shallow breath among the quickly crowding humans.

When it was over and Babylon could finally move again, she felt the heat of shame wash over every nerve in her body. Fast as water from a bucket, unforgiving as a blade against skin.

Freshly sparked disgust in herself lit anew before it had been given the chance to subside- when the wise gaze of the old woman fell apon her. Babylon almost wished she had been punished for her lack of action- but if the shackle around her ankle had begun to burn she did not feel it.

The once great demon locked eyes with the scuffed stone path and bit her lip, walking in silence behind the group as she prayed for a paradox. Both that the others would not say anything of her cowardice- and that she would somehow recieve a punishment to alleviate her the burden of doing it herself.

She hardly had the energy to maintain her human disguise with all the emotional termoil of the night. So of course it brought to mind a poem.

' Frozen in fire, lit by the hollow moon
Shame, but no justice in my scorn
Empty as the night scribe's rune '

Babylon needed to remember to write it down later, before she forgot the exact words.
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