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

Interactions: Lioness075 Lioness075 Tapfic Tapfic Elowyn Elowyn

Korro felt the shadow before he opened his eyes. Fal was standing over him and looked like he was about to say something, only the withered old crone had interrupted him.
He did not need two guesses to know who it was.

When Fal's tail hit him he swatted it away and sat up irritably. When the hand was offered Korro stared at it for a moment, looking up at the owner with no small amount of skepticism.
"Hit me with your tail again and I might have to cut it off." Korro made the threat, but there was a half smile playing on his lips. Finally, he took the hand in graceful surrender, and got to his feet.

"Might as well get this over with." He grumbled in Fal's direction, and started up the hill.
He watched the others carefully, trying to glean their reactions to the old woman. It was Babylon who surprised him: standing stock still as she watched the building burn. Gone was the venomous comments and whining tone. She looked like she was reliving something. It brought about a feeling in Korro that was akin to pity. If he felt that. Which he didn't.

As they began to make their way after the old woman, Korro took a few steps off course to return to the food carts. He pointed to a few choice pieces: a few meat skewers and a small banana leaf bowl of shrimp dumplings, which were given to him with a smile and a heap of gratitude.

As he passed the salty Babylon he held the leaf of shrimp dumplings out to her.
"I didn't bite any, before you ask." He muttered coldly, refusing to look at her as he gave her the food. He was certainly tempted to bite them, recalling how she had insulted him unprompted, but whether it was the 'not' pity, or the act of saving the group of witless young humans, Korro felt that giving her food was something he wanted to do.


When the old crone saw Silver cresting the hill her weathered face cracked in a bright smile.
"Ah my child, you are here. I fear you will have your work cut out for you with this group." She gestured to the figures making their way up the hill. Korro, in particular looked dour and angry.
"Half of them demons bound by my hand, the other half humans who seemingly rush into danger without thinking. Such a lively bunch!" She cackled.
It was not her true form, of course, but the old woman was an innocuous disguise in this little village, a village that had stayed faithful to her even for the hundred years her kind had abandoned them. The queen watched the group approach and had her doubts...No, this was the right thing to do. She owed the people of this world that much at least.

Monday Monday Arai Arai @BittyBobcat

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

Someone did leap into action to save the last child on the roof, just not one of the ones Roshan had expected. It was the woman who had told Wolf to brace the pillars with ice, who now whipped out a pair of knives and used them to scale the wall with impressive speed. Wolf, on the other hand, wasn't looking too good. His strength was about to give out, and when it did, so would the structure, burying anyone still clinging to it. Glancing quickly between Wolf and the woman beginning her descent, he struggled to his feet, though there was little he could do now. By some blessing of fate or fortune they made it down but seconds before the building finally collapsed.

That was all four children, accounted for and safe at last. You have done well, said a strange voice, and Roshan looked around, thinking at first that it had sounded close by. But there was no one near him. It felt more like the voice had spoken inside his head. Hmm. As the dust mingling with the smoke billowing like thunderclouds into the evening sky began to settle, the villagers seemed to have things well in hand. On his way to see to Wolf, he passed by the knife-wielding woman, who had yet to give her name, placing a hand briefly on her shoulder as he did so. "Nice work." Though sweaty and exhausted, Wolf was sitting up and seemed alright. Fal was standing beside him. Roshan intended to offer him a hand, but was distracted by a tiny old woman with festive hair decorations standing there, leaning on an intricately carved cane.

Wolf made a comment about his "full power"- catching Roshan's attention- before flopping onto his back, apparently in a mood. If he could really bury an entire village in ice with his full power, he was quite a powerful being indeed. So, why wasn't he at full power now? Naming them in turn, the old woman complimented the humans present on their bravery in a voice raspy and crackling with age, a voice that felt somehow familiar, though he was sure he'd never met this particular old lady before. Something about her did feel out of the ordinary. Perhaps she was an emissary of the God Queen, or a High Priestess of the temple on the hill? "Ah, no problem, Ma'am. This was nothing," he said, wiping the sweat from his brow and unwittingly smearing soot all over his forehead. "We only did what anyone ought to do."

Then she remarked that the other two were bearing their burden well. It took him a moment to figure out that "Korro" and "Falarion" referred to Wolf and Fal, respectively. Such melodic names! Why did they want to go by an alias or a nickname, anyway? Was this "burden" the reason they couldn't use their full power? Speaking of Fal- or Falarion- his whole attitude lent him an amusing resemblance to an angry cat, from his growling and hunched shoulders to his twitching tail that had accidentally smacked Wolf in the face. Roshan could almost see the hair on his neck bristle. Korro was also glaring at her. Whoever this woman was, she shared some unpleasant history with these two.

As the old lady promised those who hadn't taken part in the rescue more chances to prove themselves, Roshan followed her gaze, for the first time noticing the formerly feisty blonde girl standing with her back to them, watching the fire. A faint frown of concern creased his forehead. By the time he looked back, the old lady was already at the top of the stairs. How on earth had she moved so fast? Beside her stood a tall woman with shining silver hair. Overhead, the moon was at its zenith, silhouetting the peaked roof of the temple. Meanwhile, Fal helped Wolf to his feet with an apology for the mishap earlier, and Roshan was gratified to hear the banter between the two. However, the atmosphere once again turned serious, as Wolf demanded to know why he would risk his life for strangers.

Roshan looked at him long and hard. If he was asking because he really wanted to understand, he deserved a real answer. This principle was so deeply ingrained that Roshan had never found the need to articulate it. When he ran to save the children, there had been no thought- he simply saw, and his body reacted. He sighed and looked up, his eyes absently following the dance of sparks against the dusky sky. After a moment, he looked back at Wolf. "You've... always been strong," he said, "So I guess you wouldn't get it. We humans have to put a lot of work into just surviving, and most of us can't manage it on our own. We need each other. Everyone is trying their best to live, and we all know what it's like, so it's natural to help others when they need it. I think... that might be our strength. We're weak on our own, but together, we can be strong. Everyone has something to offer. Every life is valuable. Believing in that... is the strength of being human."

He rubbed the back of his head vigorously in a sudden burst of frustration. "Sorry, I'm not good with words, but that's what I think. And, I mean, if you're so concerned about your life all the time, it'll just make you miserable. We'll all die anyway, so it's better to face things head on, to live and die proudly. Right?" It wasn't often that Roshan waxed philosophical, so now he felt drained and a little self-conscious. "Well, we should get going," he said, and started to climb the stairs. Soon, however, he began to lag behind, an uncharacteristically quiet mood falling over him. Many stray details of the night's adventure, such as Wolf and Fal's grudging attitude toward the quest, their "burden", and even that golden ring around Wolf's neck, so out of place with the rest of his ensemble- were beginning to fit together, like an unfinished mosaic.

At the top of this staircase, hopefully, he would get his answers. This thought encouraged him to raise his eyes and pick up his pace a little, and as he did so, he smiled to see Wolf giving the little blonde girl some food. Generally, Roshan was a good judge of character. Whatever his real identity was, he didn't want to believe Wolf was a bad person, despite his gruff demeanor. He also hadn't failed to notice that the girl seemed dazed and distraught. If he had to venture a guess, she was probably ashamed that she hadn't done anything to save the kids earlier. After Wolf moved on ahead, he fell in beside her. In this situation, it was better not to mention the incident directly. Such clumsy kindness would only rub salt in the wound. So, just as he would with a new recruit when their courage had failed them, he would encourage her by treating her normally, making her feel included.

Wolf had already done a good job of that with the food, so what was left to him was idle chatter. "Are those dumplings good?" he asked. "All the food here is so different from back home. I want to try it all so I can tell everyone about it." Keshkarthan food was less delicate, and more heavily spiced. "Ah... the people here sure have it good. Imagine being able to eat your fill every day." Watching the others make their way up the stairs ahead of them, he added, "That Wolf is a strange one, but he doesn't seem like a bad guy." He cast her a sidelong glance, hoping for a reaction. Now that he had a chance to look at her more closely, she was actually pretty cute. Out of all the members of their motley crew, she seemed more likely to be human. All the more reason not to let his guard down. Cute people and sad people were his particular weaknesses, and she was both! Hakim wasn't around to talk sense into him, either. "Poor Fal is probably starving by now. We still haven't had dinner. Say, I wonder what sort of strong drinks they have here...?"

Just then, a sound of beating wings filled the air, and Roshan held out his arm. A desert hawk with a jeweled band on its head and a strip of grilled meat in its beak landed on his cuff bracelet. "Hey, buddy, where have you been? Seriously, you missed all the action this time!" He affectionately stroked the bird under his chin. Not that he'd been worried- Kian often left for hours at a time to hunt or explore, and he always came back. "Where'd you get that, anyway? When I told you to learn to hunt in new terrain, that's not exactly what I meant." Oblivious to his scolding, Kian hopped onto his right shoulder, where his clothing was padded underneath for that purpose, and tore into the meat. "Oh, well. Lucky for you it's all free tonight." Having finished his meal, the hawk tapped Roshan's earring with his beak and nibbled a stray strand of hair. "Hey, cut that out," Roshan said, shaking his head.

Apparently still hungry, Kian began to eye the girl's meat skewers. "Oh, no. Don't even think about it. Stealing food from a lady? I taught you better than that!" Now they were nearing the temple doors, and there was no more time for talk. "Alright. Behave yourself," he whispered, giving the bird a sharp look.
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Koralia Stormcaller
Keimara Village
Interactions: Monday Monday Lioness075 Lioness075

With the situation resolved and the last of their number collapsing under the strain of sacing the tower, Koralia allowed herself a moment of calm to congratulate themselves on a job well done, before she felt the voice of a old woman reverberate through her body, like it was her own thought. "You have done well," it said. That much was true. The ice making...person...was on his back, seemingly trying to regain some energy. He seemed to be lamenteing the loss of his strength, which, if his work on the tower was anything to go by, was considerable in and of itself. "But you did save those lives," she pointed out, absently aware of his listening and directing her words to Roshan as well. "We're a good team,"

The old woman seemed harmless enough, but there was a power to her that even Koralia could feel, something primal and wild and glorious just under the surface. And when she spoke, it sounded like safety, like home. It was tough for Koralia to explain, but the words sounded like rest. "Korro, Falarion, you seem to be bearing your burden well already!" The woman turned to see who the old lady was addressing. So, the icy one was Korro, and the shapeshifter Falarion. Neither was a very human name, at least not from a region she had visitied, though Korro's reaction to her statement looked full of malice. Falarion's wasn't much better. Did this old woman have some kind of leverage over them?

As the old lady vanished her way up the hill, Koralia quickly started after her, quietly trying to usher some urgency from her companions. Another woman with silver hair was already making her way toward the temple, where the moon had risen into position above it, a halo of pale white light enveloping the temple. She overheard the others talking about the reason for saving people, and Korro seemed to be giving out food. Roshan seemed to be trying to cheer up another girl, along with showing off some kind of hawk. Notcing he walked alone, Koralia slowly hung back to catch up with Falarion, who looked to be almost reluctant to head towards the temple.

"Nervous?" She asked with a smile. "I'm surprised you haven't gone into an eagle and just flown straight up," She half-joked.
Sun Wukong.png
Name: FalarionRace: Demon
Location: Keimara Village, templeCurrent Form: Male human

Hearing Wolf's threat merely made Falarion chuckle as he waited for the demon to take his extended hand. When he did so, Falarion helped him up with ease and then sighed in agreement when Wolf took the lead to head up the hill.

Pausing while everyone seemed to find some walking buddy, Falarion also snagged a few meat skewers for himself, not bothering to thank anyone in particular. His stomach would not shut up and Falarion had had enough.

By his second skewer, Falarion finally noticed the others had begun their descent and he was lagging behind. He briefly overheard the fancy guy overexplaining the human ego complex and quickly tuned him out. In doing so, he missed the comment about himself. Without meaning to, he had found himself hesitating to follow the group. It was not like he was eager to see the god bitch anytime soon.

Unfortunately, having a moment of peace and tranquility for Falarion was not meant to be. Not that he really cared. Quiet moments had a tendency to be awkward and boring.

Halfheartedly glaring at the young woman who decided to stick around for him, Falarion shoved his hands in his pockets and hunched his shoulders before finally joining the trek upwards.
"I'd hardly call it bein' nervous. More like I cuid live the rest o' ma accursed life wi'out ever havin' tae deal with 'is goddess bitch. I dinnae ken how ye were dragged into 'is, but Wolf and I ur essentially slaves riet now."
Scowling, he kicked a pebble along the path before adding, "Unfortunately, an' again thanks to the goddess bitch, neither Wolf nor maself ur at oor strongest. He overexerted himself back thir, but A'll pass on gettin' exhausted unnecessarily."

With a sigh, Falarion finally looked over at his surprisingly willing companion and muttered, "Ye got a name or...?"

Falarion began absentmindedly wondering if the human could even understand him. He found most humans struggled outside of his village to do just that. It tended to add to the fun and chaos, though.

While waiting for the response, Falarion soon found they had rejoined the rest at the temple. Upon hearing the goddess speak, he sneered and muttered under his breath,
"Aye, jus' sum more slaves to tae do yer biddin'."

SilverFlight SilverFlight Tapfic Tapfic Monday Monday Arai Arai Elowyn Elowyn
Name:  Babylon
Location: Keimara
Time: Sunset

Interactions: SilverFlight SilverFlight Monday Monday

It was a gruff, barely familiar voice that roused Babylon from her downcast shoe-staring. Wolf ( or Korro, as the elderly woman had called him ) held an offering for her to take. A banana leaf of something warm and delightfully fragrant- seafood dumplings? Dhe demon felt her mouth water at the thought of sinking her teeth into whatever it was- but no. No matter how pathetic she might have been, she still had her pride damnit!

" I-" Babylon opened her mouth to refuse the gift, only to be interrupted by her own whining stomach.

In the end her pride was no match for her appetite. The girl bit back her complaints and accepted the gift with wide eyes and a face stained the color of over-ripened tomatoes.
" Thanks," the word hardly escaped her throat it was mumbled so quietly. Neither demon seemed to want to look at the other as the exchange took place it seemed- as Babylon made special effort to turn away from the man who wasn't even facing her.

The mangled pink of her scarred hands peaked from their covers as she took the bowl and ate her meal. Stiff fingers moving slowly to select each dumpling. Her nose was right. They tasted just as delicious as they smelled.

"Are those dumplings good?"

Roshan startled her with the sudden interaction, though she couldn't say as much with her cheeks full of spiced shrimp and dough. Babylon couldn't really reply at all actually- she had taken too big a bite of her meal and was taking a long time to chew it. He bounced around topics like a pebble skipped across a lake- most of which Babylon could only reply to with some rather animated facial expressions and some nods of agreement.

"That Wolf is a strange one, but he doesn't seem like a bad guy."

Babylon finally managed to swallow, though she didn't answer for a long moment.

" I guess," she allowed, before taking another bite of dumpling. This time much smaller.
" Or maybe he's trying to fatten me up to eat later!" Which was an absolutely ridiculous accusation. Some sloppy effort to seem less affected by the fire and her inaction than she truly really was, or maybe to distract her from it. Well. It was mostly as a joke at least.

The mention of alcohol managed to immediately brighten her expression at least, knit brows relaxing as her pout became a bright smile.

" Excellent idea Roshan! You can take me for drinks later and- what in the world is that? " Babylon hadn't seen such a bird before, not even in her days as a young spirit exploring every sight she could see. Let alone a trained bird.

The hungry eyes on her food weren't lost to her spacey personality at least, and she turned to shield her dinner defensively.
It really was too bad she was so distracted though- as the group neared the temple doors the toe of Babylon's shoe caught against the jutting protrusion of a stay root, and all five foot three inches of demon came tumbling down. Her face landing perfectly in the curve of her banana leaf bowl as the gifted dumplings scattered.

She simply lay there at the base of the temple, face hidden by green for a moment- before her body convulsed in a sob so powerful her disguise fell. A tiny pair of horns that marked her true form popped onto her head.

When she finally pulled herself up somewhat her face was wet and flushed red with tears. Quite obviously, today was not her day.

Silver Celeste

Mood: cautious

Location: the temple

Interactions: queen goddess SilverFlight SilverFlight Babylon Tapfic Tapfic

Once she reached the grand temple, she found an old lady sitting inside. Being a spirit, she sensed the enormous power radiating from the old lady. When she spoke, it became obvious that it was no one other than the queen goddess. She bowed deeply and turned to observe the oncoming group.

Silver didn't answer the queen goddess immediately, merely watched the approaching team of humans and demons. Her expression was inscrutable. The truth was, even though she was centuries old, she felt shy at the thought of meeting so many new people at once. She hadn't needed to talk to many people, whether human or not, in the past century as she honed her powers by the waterfall, and she was sure to make mistakes as she became used to company.

"I'm sure it will be fine," she said at last, her voice a bit hoarse from disuse. She observed them. A person with a tail. A scrappy-looking woman with a dour expression on her face. A gaudily dressed man with a large bird on his arm. A human with strange hair that turned from white to black. Abruptly, a short figure tripped and crashed face first.

Silver moved quickly to where the girl was and patted her on the back. "Are you... okay?" The words sounded strange in her mouth. Once close up, Silver could observe more things about her. She noticed two black horns protruding from her head. Ah, so she was a demon in human disguise. She seemed quite upset and Silver realized her newly gained power could be of help in this situation. "Where are you... hurt?" Wherever the woman showed her, she would put her palms together and close her eyes, concentrating so that an emerald light emanated from her palms and knit the broken skin and blood vessels together. "Oh, should I... have asked first? S-sorry." She felt badly that her first interaction had not gone as well as she liked and hung her head a bit.

code by Stardust Galaxy
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Name: O'Korro - "Wolf"
Location: Keimara village, Eastern mountains
Time: Evening on the day of the Journey's beginning

Interactions: Monday Monday

Korro had a lot to consider as he walked just ahead of the others up the hill. Roshan had said some strange things. Was it really their mortality that made them band together?
He had made no secret of his immortal powers, yet these humans also seemed to treat him and the other demons without a hint of resentment. Well, so far, he was sure if they knew what he had done in his past life, they would not be so kind...

A sudden motion caught his eye, and he moved just in time to see Babylon face-plant int the dirt. Korro stared blankly.
There would have been a time not so long ago when he would have laughed heartlessly at her misfortune, but he didn't. He moved to help her, but there was another already walking past him: Her silver hair reflected the moonlight in an ethereal way, and was laced with spring flowers. Her clothes were long and flowing and as she passed he caught the scent of life, and green.

For one moment his heart caught as it placed the form of another in this stranger, someone he knew long a ago, but she was just that, a stranger, and the one he pictured had already faded. He chastised himself for that moment of weakness.
Still, she was certainly not human, and not a demon either. She helped Babylon without blinking and Korro, not wanting to interfere, watched from a distance.

"Some spirits chose to join you." The God queen in the guise of the old woman answered his unasked question.
"Should I find that comforting?" Korro's words were barbed with a cool anger, but he had seen first hand what this queen could do, so he kept his words respectful.

The queen chuckled in that raspy, aged voice and made a motion with her hand.
The temple doors had been shut, and stretched skyward, imposing in their gilded splendour. The form of a great tree was etched into there glittering panels, and when the queen moved her hand, the tree lit up in a faint, blue light.

The doors opened slowly, bathing them all in a warm, welcoming glow:
The hall was made of a wood that was almost white, and trimmed in more gold, with great red pillars that supported an arching ceiling. Along the walls were framed paintings on old wood panels, each scene depicting the god queen in a benevolent act. At the back of the temple, draped in fresh mountain flowers, was the god queen's likeness, sat upon a throne, on a pedestal, both made of intricately carved, gilded wood. On either side of the pedestal were a pair of stone dragons, their mouths open in silent roars, their coiling bodies draped about the back of the pedestal. Each scale was carved with such care it looked almost real.

Korro however, was much more interested in what was on the floor: in front of each pillar lining the room was a low table, and on each table was food and drink, enough for a proper meal.

"Please everyone, sit. Eat." The old woman invited, and even as she said this, her form began to shimmer. Korro counted the tables, there were enough for human and demon alike, still, he felt the weight of the ring around his neck and despite the pleasantries, he could not feel like an equal here.
Korro could no longer look at the god queen, whose weathered appearance had melted away to reveal a beautiful raven-haired woman, dressed in find white silks trimmed in gold. It was the form she had used when she had trapped him.


When the champions had all passed through the doors and settled down, the God queen began to speak:

"You may have been surprised when you noticed that some of the companions here are not quite human." Here she was addressing Koralia and Roshan, the human champions.
The artifacts binding each demon began to glow, revealing themselves to all eyes. Korro clenched his jaw, resentful that his entrapment was being flaunted.
"These beings here, are not spirits, or gods. They are demons. I have bound them and, for their freedom, they will protect you on your journey."

The queen then turned and gestured to Korro, who was leaning against a wall moodily. "This is the demon wolf of Frostbreak. He has taken many lives, demon, spirit and human. I have sealed his powers and, for the magic placed upon him he may cause the pilgrims no harm."
Korro had a feeling he knew what was coming next. He gave the god queen a dangerous glare.

"Korro, attack Roshan."

Korro bared his teeth, and stared at her for a long, tense moment. She looked placidly back at him, and it seemed there was a silent battle between them. Suddenly, Korro turned, fixing his yellow eyes on the man he had just helped. His speed was frightening. in a flash he had closed the distance between them. His sword was drawn and he was poised to strike, but just before the blade came down he stopped dead. The sword clattered to the wooden floor and Korro fell, choking and grasping at the ring around his neck.

It burned and tightened, cutting off his air and sending shock-waves of searing pain through his body. The whole scene was over in moments, leaving Korro breathing heavily, on his knees at Roshan's feet.

It was a demonstration, and though echoes of the pain still ran through his muscles, the anger burned him more. His eyes were full of it, raw and savage like a winter storm. For the moment after that brief humiliation, the room could truly see the demon he was...

Lioness075 Lioness075 Arai Arai Tapfic Tapfic Elowyn Elowyn

Location: God Queen's Temple, Keimara Village
Time: Evening
Interactions: SilverFlight SilverFlight Tapfic Tapfic Elowyn Elowyn Arai Arai

Thankfully, the little blonde girl seemed to brighten up as they chatted, especially at the mention of alcohol. She even cracked a joke. They would get along just fine, he thought. Her reaction to Kian was also pretty amusing. Later, he'd have to introduce them properly. At the top of the stairs, she suddenly tripped, falling face-down in her bowl of food. "Oh no! Are you-" He crouched down and reached out a hand to help, only to stop short when she burst into tears. She'd seemed fine a moment ago, but most likely, her fall had been the last straw after a very long, stressful day. As her small frame shuddered with sobs, he noticed two dark knobs protruding from her head, which he was sure hadn't been there a moment ago. Horns..? Didn't demons have horns? No, all kinds of creatures could have horns. Maybe she was a goat spirit or something. Still, it appeared he'd been right not to make assumptions.

While he had hesitated, the silver-haired woman had run forward to offer aid. This one, if he had to make a guess, was probably not human, either, going by her airy manner, the fresh flowers in her hair and the outdoorsy smell clinging to her. It appeared she had some sort of healing ability. As the deep green glow radiated from her palms, he watched with fascination and perhaps a little envy . That was quite a useful ability, indeed. How many times would that have come in handy for him and his Brotherhood? Too many to count. Meanwhile, thinking she might be embarrassed to be seen in this state, he had moved around in front of the girl, shielding her from the view of anyone at the temple doors.

Amazingly, he managed to find a handkerchief in his pocket that was mostly clean after the night's escapade, and handed it to her. "Thank you," he said to the silver haired one. "I'm glad to have a healer with us on this quest." Then he turned back to the little one. "Take a few minutes to calm down and clean yourself up, and then we'll go in, okay?" Kian had already hopped off his shoulder and was helping himself to the kebabs, but since they'd fallen on the ground, Roshan figured she wouldn't want them, anyway. By the time they stood up to go inside, the doors were open, revealing the ornate cream and gold and red interior, with the throne for the God Queen's statue as the focal point of the decor and architecture. As he passed between the rows of pillars, he glanced at each of the paintings, admiring the workmanship and wondering at the stories they told. Tales of the gods were seldom heard anymore.

When the old woman changed form, unveiling her identity as the God Queen, Roshan was surprised yet not surprised, at the same time. The real surprise was her down-to-earth attitude with all of them. He hadn't imagined that such a high and noble being would deign to converse casually with mere mortals. For a queen, she really wasn't too bad. At her invitation, he gladly took a seat at the table, making sure to stay near the blonde girl. For some reason he couldn't help feeling a little protective, even knowing she wasn't human. As he began to help himself to the food, tearing off small bits for Kian to eat, the Queen began to address them. Setting down his food slowly, he shot a glance at the woman with chin-length hair, the only other champion that still appeared human, before giving the Queen his full attention.

Demons. Wolf's torque began to glow, along with Fal's chain and an anklet worn by the blonde girl which he'd failed to notice before now. These people were all demons. One by one, the missing pieces clicked into place, and yet, part of him still wanted to deny it. Two of them had fought beside him to save lives, and the girl... Could she really be a demon, with that innocent face? Don't be stupid. Even if most demons that roamed the Keshkarthan wilds favored grotesque, intimidating forms, there were plenty that disguised themselves as human travelers and wreaked all kinds of mischief and misery. He had also heard rumors of cities ruled by demonic tyrants with fierce, otherworldly beauty. Looking back on their interactions that evening, he felt his perceptions being turned upside down.

What was she saying? The demons were bound? They were supposed to protect the rest of them? When the Queen gestured to Wolf, or Korro, as he was really called, Roshan looked at him with a sort of pained bewilderment. Not minutes before, he'd just been saying that he didn't seem like a bad person, but it turned out he was actually a powerful demon who had slain many of his kind. And he had said those words to another demon... So preoccupied was he that it took a moment for the Queen's next words to register, and when they did, he sat bolt upright, startling Kian, who flapped his wings restlessly and shifted his position on Roshan's shoulder. What was going on? She wouldn't really let Korro attack him, right? What was she doing?

A tense moment passed between the two of them, as Korro seemed reluctant to obey. Then, without warning, he turned on Roshan, almost too quickly for him to react. He sprang to his feet, but his dagger was only half drawn when Korro raised his sword. If he had not stopped then, that would have been the end. With his hand on the hilt of his dagger, Roshan stood as still as a statue, watching the demon collapse and writhe in pain, clawing at the ring that bound him. He couldn't breathe. What was he feeling right now? What should he be feeling? Certainly not sympathy. It wasn't as though he didn't deserve it. It was poetic justice, in a way. Still, somehow, he couldn't feel happy about it. In fact, he felt... sickened.

With a screech that roused Roshan from his thoughts, Kian leaped into the air, circled, and dove, talons outstretched to retaliate. "Kian!" he called sharply, holding out his arm. "Don't attack an enemy while he's down." An enemy? Is that what we are? Reluctantly, the bird returned to his perch. Then Roshan wheeled on the God Queen, forgetting, for a moment, to whom he spoke. "Why did you do that?!" he demanded. "That was cruel!" As his shout reverberated in the silence of the temple, he remembered himself. Studying the grain of the smooth wooden floor, he furrowed his brow and swallowed before making another attempt.

"Excuse me, Your Majesty," he said, with deliberate restraint, his hands curled into fists in an attempt to still their shaking. "If I understand you correctly, these demons are supposed to protect us during the quest in exchange for their freedom, and as long as they're bound, they can't harm us. The binding... does that mean they have to obey us, too?" Korro had followed his lead earlier because of the ring. Had he also obeyed the Queen because of the ring? Would their binding instruments hurt them if they refused an order? "If that's the case... may I be permitted to say that I don't like this at all?" Roshan didn't claim to understand the ways of the gods. They were there, and they left, and that was that. Resentment was a waste of energy. Now, for whatever inscrutable reasons of her own, the Queen had decided to help humans again, and he wasn't about to refuse the favor. But her methods were not at all what he expected.

"It's not because they don't deserve it. They do. They do... And I'm sure you have your reasons. I'm sure they're necessary for this quest. But still..." he trailed off, grasping for the right words. Finally, he looked up and locked eyes with the Queen, his own glittering with controlled anger in an ironic reenactment of the scene moments before. "Maybe you can stomach giving someone an order they can't refuse, but I can't." What am I doing? Of course he would ultimately do whatever was needed to reach his goal. He had promised his Brotherhood- his family- a better world, and he had promised himself that he wouldn't turn back until he achieved it. Why was he making such a fuss over a demon? It was his kind that had made the world a living hell, and slain so many of his friends. Wasn't it a betrayal to feel pity? Yet, when he had seen the proud Korro brought to his knees; seen the cold fury in his eyes, the humiliation, the hatred, the helplessness, the wildness of his demonic nature straining to break free- there was also something familiar.

Perhaps he, who had once worn the collar of a slave, could understand how Korro felt. Perhaps he had even had eyes like that, after his many beatings. Yes, he should not sympathize with this demon, but there was nothing wrong with preserving his own honor. If it could be avoided, he would not be the one inflict such a fate on another, no matter how much they might deserve it. "I was once a slave, myself," he added softly, as if that explained everything.
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Koralia Stormcaller
Keimara Village
Interactions: Lioness075 Lioness075 SilverFlight SilverFlight Tapfic Tapfic

"...I dinnae ken how ye were dragged into 'is, but Wolf and I ur essentially slaves riet now."

Though the accent was difficult to follow, Koralia had expereince with enough regions of the world to pick up the gist of what Falarion had said. "Slaves?" She asked absently as he scowled. And his language toward the Goddess Queen suggested not only contempt, which was something bold in and of itself, but something fair more terrifying. Familiarity. Depending on who you asked, referring to the Goddess Queen as a bit...B word... would be considered sacrilige, especially amongst her own people. The Stormcallers were not zealots by any stretch, but it was hard to follow a nomadic style of helping people and not align yourself with a divine being who seemingly did the same. At least that's what the world-speakers had taught her. And the way he spoke about exhaustion, were her and Wolf weakened somehow? Had the goddess done that somehow?

Truth be told Koralia had not been her tribe's first choice to undertake this task, but the world-speakers had foreseen the trials ahead and received the goddess' word, and felt that Koralia, though not their finest warrior. THey had mentioned that she would not travel this path alone, and at the time Koralia thought that had meant other humans, but maybe it meant...something else. Still, manners had taught her to be kind to others rtegardless of one's personal feelings, and she nodded and listened to Fal's rant. "Ye got a name or...?"

"Koralia. Stormcaller," She replied, absently adding her surname. Somewhat of a weird concept to her, but maybe a single name is something she and the demon's shared in common. "How are you a slave?" Before she could get an answer, she noted that the rest of her group were ahead, comforting one of their number who seemed to have fallen. Were any of the other's human? Was she the only one? They looked human at a glance, but snippets of conversation seemed to imply otherwise.
"Some Spirits chose to join you"
"Should I find that comforting?"

Spirits as well. Koralia felt herself tense up. This was getting a little wilder than she expected, made even more so as the temple doors stretched open, pale light rushing into the room, the beautiful and intricate artistry flooring her. There were numerous frescos mapping the walls, each depciting the goddess in some way. Some of them Koralia recognised from stories as a child, others seemed more obscure. How many were true? Even the dragon carvings looked real, and made Koralia squirm under their gaze. She caught Roshan give her a look, perhaps waiting for her to sit down, and she moved to a seat at his side. Not from a matter of trust but she at least knew his name. Before she could sit for long however, she was stood again in surprise (and as a mark of respect) as the old woman paled away, revealing a younger and much more divine shape.

That was a Goddess. The Goddess. The Queen. And Koralia was in the same room as her. As the Queen. "You may have been surprised when you noticed that some of the companions here are not quite human,". She nodded as she slowly sat, face flush as Koralia realised she seemed to be the only one impressed. She did speak to Roshan as well, and she raised a questioning eyebrow at him. Had he known this in advance. "Goddess, if they're not human, what are they? Spirits?"

The Goddess shook her head with a smile, and several trinkets around the room glowed. Chains and Anglets and a large bulky necklace of some kind. "These beings here, are not spirits, or gods. They are demons. I have bound them and, for their freedom, they will protect you on your journey." 3 demons, but they looked so different from one another. Koralia scolded herself. Humans didn't look alike either. She did note that none of her own equipment glowed, or Roshan's. But there were others in the room, were they all human? The Queen then regaled them with a tale of the white haired Korro, ice wolf of somewhere, but Koralia was still reeling from the shock of actual demons to pay attention. It was only after Korro was knealt in front of Roshan, choking on the necklace that she woke from her daydream, letting out a gasp into the room. Even if he was humiliated, there was a shock of how...brutal it was. Had the Goddess intended to humiliate him? To demonstrate her own might?

Roshan also seemed displeased, and Koralia find herself recoiling from his shout of anger, not out of fear of him, but the Goddess' reaction. She watched and listened to him speak, slowly, observing the reactions of the others. Did that mean they had to follow all of their instructions? It wasn't really their place to question the divines, and yet Roshan seemed to feel very passionatley about their slavery.

"It's not because they don't deserve it. They do. They do... And I'm sure you have your reasons. I'm sure they're necessary for this quest. But still..."

That was a true enough statement. Demons were the reason this quest was needed in the first place. And there was an ugly part of her that liked the sound of revenge on these monsters. This was a form of atonement, and they would earn their freedom for it. And yet, was humiliation and servitude the best way to go about it? Koralia couldn't pretend to know much about slavery, but it seemed...cruel. But were the demon's slaves, or sentenced prisoners. Roshan obviously felt strongly about the slavery subject, and his parting words clearly made it obvious that he had a personal stake in the matter. As the room quietened and the silence became deafeningly awkward, Koralia stood awakardly, looking for an indication from the Goddess to sit back down, and when none came, she spoke to the demons among them. The wolves in the sheep.

"What...did you do? Why did she pick you?" As she spoke, she gained confidence, foolhardy as it was. She walked around the room, looking at the trio in turn. Times past, the 3 of them might not have hestitated to put her in the ground. But after the demonstration, if one could call it that, it was clear that they were obviously safe to a degree. "Did you kill people? Innocent people? Children? What did you do to deserve this fate?" It was unclear if her tone was one of pity for their bound allies, or a Judge's desire to know a sentence was just.
Sun Wukong.png
Name: FalarionRace: Demon
Location: Keimara Village, templeCurrent Form: Male human

Falarion missed the majority of the rude lady face planting, but he got the gist of the situation and smirked in her direction. What was the saying? Karma's a bitch. Oh, yes she is.
He almost felt inclined to stick his tongue out at her, but reined himself in. The crowd that had gathered was a tad too large for his liking and he instinctively found himself hanging back once more. He took this time to observe everyone and finally took notice of the horns on the rude lady's head. He was beside himself with surprise at this discovery. One of his own kind and she had the audacity to chide him like he was a child?

Just then, a newcomer joined them and casually healed the rude lady's hands for her. Raising his eyebrows at this with crossed arms, Falarion decided that was a useful power to have amongst them.

Hearing the human companion near him speak up briefly, he simply nodded and added her name to the growing list he would have to juggle here. Koralia. The last name sounded very cliché, but he held his tongue in favor of waiting out this stupid meeting.
At the mention of food awaiting them, Falarion perked up and his tail flicked back and forth behind him. She really should've opened up with the food.

As they all entered, Falarion warily eyed the feast setup and hung back, as Korro did. There was this instinctive feeling of not belonging that overwhelmed his senses. Despite how hungry he still was, he found himself hesitating to choose a seat.

Before he had a chance to find some distant seat, the goddess addressed the group. Falarion immediately scowled at her and then snarled when his gold chain glowed. He felt defensive with how exposed he was to the others and he did not like openly displaying any weaknesses.

Thankfully and unfortunately, Falarion was not designated to be the goddess' play thing. He would have much rather the rude demon be put on display than Wolf, though. He winced in sympathy when Korro collapsed in agony. It never got easier to deal with. He really could not wait to be done with this stupid quest.
Sighing, Falarion stalked over to Korro while his tail whipped back and forth behind him. He chose to ignore the humans speaking and focused on helping his fellow demon.
In a vain attempt to clear some of the tension, Falarion faked a grin and extended his hand towards Wolf.
"Second time ye've gone doon tonight, Pup. Really, thir's nae need tae keep fallin' fer me lek 'is."
It was a stupid joke and attempt at flirting, but Falarion hoped it helped to some degree. He maintained his position, waiting for Korro's reaction.

In the meantime, Falarion gave the goddess a pointed glare. There was little reason for such a flamboyant display other than to flex how the demons were enslaved. There was surely a better way they could have approached this topic than purposefully hurt one of them. Or she could have chosen the rude demon at least.

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Name:  Babylon
Location: Keimara
Time: Evening

Interactions: SilverFlight SilverFlight Elowyn Elowyn Monday Monday

She didn't really want to move. No, Babylon would have been perfectly content to sit and wallow for a time. All her thoughts on absolutely everything wrong with her life pushing tears from her eyes as though her head had filled up too much and now all her woes were leaking out into the leaf bowl. It's not like she respected any of these people ( except maybe Roshan ) enough to feel shame over the act. She had had a difficult day, and all her friends were dead and also probably never her friends in the first place. If they wanted to judge her then fine, but they couldn't make her care!

Truthfully she hadn't expected anyone to step forward and help. The woman with long silver hair surprised her in that right.

" Ah- uh," Babylon stuttered out the response. It was so much more difficult to speak to women than it was to men. Which was probably why she avoided them when she had the opportunity to do so. Well, except Rei. But that didn't really work out now did it?

" I'm fine, a little fall wouldn't hurt me. I just like to cry sometimes! " though when her hands lifted and the pink scars of her hands were uncovered, the beautiful stranger closed her eyes- palms pressed together as she concentrated. No sooner than Babylon had felt the emerald glow knit her skin, familiar in its comfort- did she push the other away. Scurrying back as though the magic had burned her.

"Oh, should I... have asked first? S-sorry."

" Yes, You should have!" Babylon's words were still wavered with the unsteady breath of recent violent sobbing, though at least she had stopped crying now.

The sour demon bit her lip and stood after a moment of biting back frustration, brushing the dust from her robes and tears from her face.

" If I want help, I'll ask. " She really wished her fit wasn't interrupted. She really needed that. Now she was going to be all unsteady and emotional for however long this escapade would take, and there was nothing she could do about it.

Babylon did take Roshan's offered handkerchief with enthusiasm at least, though she was still a bit to stubborn to thank him; no matter how comforting his calm words were. When she had wiped away the last of her tears, she didn't even bother handing it back to him.


When the God Queen revealed herself, Babylon very quickly began regretting every single decision she had made in the past few hours. From freezing up at the sight of fire, to pitching a fit and sobbing on the floor like a sniveling infant.

The pale disbelief, fallowed by cherry red embarrassment that painted her face made as much perfectly clear. It only became worse when the God Queen informed the humans of her and the other's predicament. All she could do to hide was weakly cup her scarred hands over the silly tiny horns that popped out from pale hair, and avert her gaze from the rest of the group. The golden shackle clasped around her ankle felt as though it was sending a burning shame up through her veins.

None of that was nearly as horrible as what happened to Korro, though. An order was given, and the wolf lunged for Roshan. Something in the back of her mind told Babylon to draw her dagger and stop the blade, but it was smothered by her trust in the God Queen. Surely she wouldn't let anyone be hurt-

Babylon felt the phantom pain of the shackle around Korro's neck as it burned him. Sent him to the ground, writhing in pain that sent wild anger through his piercing glare like a rabid animal. Her hand moved to touch her neck, though her own binding ornament wasn't anywhere near; nor had she ever felt its burn.

Wide eyes turned to the God Queen where she stood, as though she would offer some explanation for the horrible display. As though she really owed an explanation in the first place. It took Babylon a good few seconds for her to remember the woman was a god, and no god could ever truly owe a demon anything. Maybe she would at least offer the explanation to Roshan, the mortals were deserving of answers, weren't they?

"It's not because they don't deserve it. They do. They do..."

Even Roshan in his righteous anger understood that when the dust settled, demons were bad. No matter how many layers of endearment they piled around their souls in an effort to be something else, they always brought more pain than good to this world. That's why they were demons, wasn't it?

The words still hurt though.

"Did you kill people? Innocent people? Children? What did you do to deserve this fate?"

Babylon had killed people of course. It wasn't like any demon that went without bloodshed would ever become strong enough to survive a hundred and eighty eight years in this tattered world. They would be killed by another demon, or some heroic human who was afraid of monsters pretty quickly.

Though distantly she wondered if demons were actually included in the woman's idea of 'people' in the first place.

Innocent people? She didn't really have the right to be the judge of that. Children? Well, no, not that she was aware of at least. Something she had done to deserve this fate? Something in particular? Nothing that human kings hadn't been doing for centuries really, but well. She was a demon, so she was sure it was different.

" I don't see why it should matter to you," either of them really. They and the spirit were on a quest to make the entire world a better place. Babylon was on quest to kill a demon, or die trying. The other two were bound, forcefully more likely than not, and had they been left up to their own devices- would be part of the exact force they had been brought to work against.

" Do you ask every demon how many sins they've committed before you kill them?"

The words were sure, but her voice wavered with uncertainty. She hadn't really thought of herself being bound before now, because she had wanted to take this journey- but in the end she was no better than Fal or Korro. What exactly would trigger the shackle around her ankle to burn her? Any physical attack? Or touch? Or even simple anger?

" It doesn't matter, just assume we deserve it if you need to. "

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

Interactions: Monday Monday Lioness075 Lioness075 Arai Arai

The goddess returned Roshan’s outraged gaze with one of knowing sadness, and ancient regret born of much contemplation.

It is cruel.” She admitted softly. “The ornaments they bear will prevent you from coming to harm, if it is within the demon’s power to prevent it, but their will is still their own. They will not obey you unless they wish it. If you do not believe me, offer Korro a command.

Korro glared up at Roshan, and made it very clear he would not be doing anything the man asked, for now, out of sheer spite.

Roshan spoke of deserving and Korro put his eyes back on the floor. He could not look up, but when the human mentioned he himself had been a slave, the winter demon’s anger began to cool.

Falarion’s hand appeared before his eyes a second time that night and after a long pause, he took it to rise back to his feet.

He snorted quietly at Falarion’s attempt at humour. “You wish.

Koralia spoke then too, demanding the scores that had landed her unlikely demon allies such a punishment. Korro fixed her with his deadly yellow eyes.

He watched her as Babylon answered, and he agreed with the other demon, still, he decided to answer Koralia’s question, for she had asked:

You would like me to say that everyone I killed deserved it? I cannot. You want some scrap of light in my heart so you will not be forced to walk alongside a monster. Or, perhaps, human, you are afraid to look in a darker mirror for fear of what you might recognize?

It was something like a challenge, and Korro moved to return to his spot on the wall, eager to forget what had just passed.

I should speak of your task.” The god queen proceeded, “And of the tools I would have you bear.

She closed her hands, as if holding something small, and when they parted again, a tiny ball of light shimmered between her fingers. It grew and spread and began to form a scene: a red sky, black shapes with weapons moving across a barren land…

Our world has fallen to evil. Chaos is the master now, and many suffer. I have brought you from the far corners of the world to help me save it.

The scene shifted, the light retracted into three bright white points, and these points grew to form the likeness of three elegantly bound scrolls.

There is a power, hidden in your mortal realm. An ancient power, older even than the pantheon of gods that have forsaken this plane. The power was broken, many millennia ago, and its fragments are scattered. These scrolls are the fragments: each contains a piece of sacred text that can grant the wisdom and power to bring darkness to light, cure evil hearts, and restore honour and justice. With them, we can return this world to balance without the help of gods. You see, these scrolls cannot be uncovered by gods, human eyes must find them, and only human eyes can read them. I know not their whereabouts; however, I can grant you each a piece of my divinity, which will help you find them.

Korro’s eyes widened. Now it made sense.

You mean to plant a divine spark in these humans? Your reason has abandoned you.

Korro until now had guarded his tongue with the goddess, but this was too much, even for his subdued pride.

Most demons spent hundreds of years honing their skills and gaining strength, but there was one way a demon could gain ultimate power quickly: and that was to consume a piece of divinity rent from a god. Demons could sense this divinity if it was on earth, and many were drawn irresistibly to it. Most demons knew this. Falarion and Babylon would know this.

Tell them the consequence of this gift god queen.”

The queen seemed reluctant to speak it, and looked apologetically at her chosen human pilgrims.

Korro could not wait. “Having divinity reside in you sounds wonderful, but in the world now, where the goddess’s interference has left so many demons scrambling to fill the holes left by their slain leaders, they will be looking for ways to take power, and there are none better than stealing divine energy. If you accept this, every demon in the land will be after your blood.

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Location: God Queen's Temple, Keimara Village
Time: Evening
Interactions: SilverFlight SilverFlight Tapfic Tapfic Arai Arai

Rather than anger at his outburst, the God Queen's eyes were filled with understanding, alongside a boundless compassion and sadness which ran deeper than his own. They were like two wells whose depths he could never fathom. On learning that the demons maintained their own will, he exhaled softly, relaxed his stance, and looked away, ashamed for having doubted her. When the Queen suggested he give Korro an order, he looked down at the latter, acknowledging his belligerent glare, and shook his head. "No... that's alright. I believe you." Falarion came around the table to help his fellow demon to his feet.

For her part, the other human champion wanted to know whether these demons had earned their punishment. The petite demon girl's response earned her an inquisitive look. It was true that he had never met a demon who was not responsible for countless atrocities. Even if he had, he certainly hadn't interrogated it to find out. It was kill or be killed, out there on the sands. Hesitation could be fatal. But why was she saying this? To make their burden lighter? Why? Out of the corner of his eye, he'd seen her duck her head and cover her horns when the Queen exposed her identity. Was she ashamed to share Korro's predicament? Or...

'I was summoned for the, quest too! In fact, I undertook it of my own will.' Words that had been lost in the rapid-fire exchange of their first meeting came back to him. Had she really chosen to be bound? Roshan couldn't imagine agreeing to that, even if he were somehow in a position to deserve it. Still... was it possible she was ashamed of her nature? Were demons capable of that? Korro seemed to share her outlook, though in his case, he owned his nature proudly. There was a familiar ring to his challenge. He had known humans like that- humans who trusted only in their strength, and would sink to any depth rather than succumb to forces outside their control.

These were almost worse than demons, to his mind. At least demons had their nature as an excuse.

As the Queen began to explain the details of the task at hand, Roshan stilled his thoughts and forced himself to pay attention, raising his eyebrows at the mention of a power older than the gods. As far as he had known up until now, all ages prior to the rule of the gods were shrouded in mystery. If he knew nothing of the minds of gods, he knew still less of heavenly politics. Yet, he began to have an inkling as to why this quest was top secret. Placing such an ancient power in the hands of humans would probably ruffle a few feathers, not to mention bestowing said humans with a spark of divinity.

Roshan nodded when Korro jumped in to finish her explanation. "And that's where you come in." Addressing the God Queen, he added, "I'm not afraid. It can't be that much worse than the life I've lived so far. I chose exile in the desert over refuge in slavery long ago. That is the path I'll continue to walk." Turning back to Korro, he gave him a small smile. "Don't worry. I intend to pull my weight. I'm confident I can hold my own, even against demons." Assuming more details, such as how they were to use her divine gift, and what, exactly, the scrolls would do in a practical sense, were forthcoming, there was only one thing that bothered him.

"Your Majesty, there is one slight problem. You say that only humans can read these scrolls. Well... the thing is..." he put a hand on the back of his neck, feeling a little sheepish, "I can't read." Hopefully, the other humans could. Learning to read and write had been on the to-do list for a while, but however much Hakim nagged him, it kept getting pushed aside in favor of more practical matters. In the desert, it was never of immediate relevance, and in the cities, he could always bring an educated member of the Brotherhood to handle those things for him.
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Koralia Stormcaller
Keimara Village
Interactions: Lioness075 Lioness075 SilverFlight SilverFlight Tapfic Tapfic

Koralia had thought her question was a fair one. This trio, caputred or not, must have done something to earn their fate. And yet as Babylon began to speak, Koralia bristled at her response, her brow furrowing and her hands forming into fists. Even the woman, who seemed the calmest of the 3, suggested a nonchalant attitude to the people they have killed. "Do you ask every demon how many sins they've committed before you kill them?"

"I don't go around looking to kill anyone," she retorted, but noted that the woman seemed distracted for a moment, idly glancing at her leg and the glowing ankle braclet. The woman, Babylon Koralia thought, brushed her off and claimed it didn't matter, just assume they deserve it? Koralia had seen the aftermath of a 'doesn't matter', the destruction of the village left in it's wake. Fires that weren't possible to quell with any amount of water. Monsters and beasts lured into homes, livelihoods turned to ash. Countless lives lost, countless more ruined. She'd seen her fair share of demon actions, why shouldn't at least some of them face consequences. But in spite of that, Korro's answer was no more satisfactory than Babylon's. And he seemed just as uncaring of his actions.

"You want some scrap of light in my heart so you will not be forced to walk alongside a monster. Or, perhaps, human, you are afraid to look in a darker mirror for fear of what you might recognize?”

She watched him walk back to his spot, trying to downplay his humiliation in front of them, and she saw red. Who was he, this killer of men, this monster the likes of which had neccesitated this quest in the first place, to act above her? She had been hoping to learn more about demons on her journey but so far they seemed very eager to act, for lack of a better term, holier than the humans they butchered. "What I want to know is if you deserve pity or if you deserve to be shackled," She retorted quietly with a scowl.

The silence that followed was quickly picked up by the God Queen, and Koralia watched with wide eyes as the Goddess regaled their task. On the surface, their task sounded almost trivial. Find these fragments, however many and as only humans are able, read the text and restore the world to balance. But as she mentioned a power older than even herself, Koralia hesitated. If there was a power older than the Gods, what would it mean for her and Roshan to claim it? Would they be tantamount to demons themselves? Or more benevolent? When it came to her mentioning the restoration of divinity to track these fragments, she noted Korro's agitation. He almost goaded the Goddess into explaining herself, and, when he tired of that, he told them himself. That they would be a target for everything and everyone.

"Every demon in the land will be after your blood,"

"Including you?" Koralia asked, unable to stop herself. The power didn't interest her, truth be told she felt a little scared of what she would do with it. And the target on her back wasn't exactly something she was looking forward. She tried to look to Roshan for his thoughts, but he seemed eager enough, or willing, to put his life in the hands of the demons. She nodded as he spoke. She'd come this far, to back down now and leave him to his task alone would wrack her with guilt, it was her duty to stay at this point, her own feelings be damned. "I'll take up this honor as well Goddess. If you have faith in myself, and these 3, so do I," She declared, looking through the demons.

"Your Majesty, there is one slight problem. You say that only humans can read these scrolls. Well... the thing is..." Why was he nervous all of a sudden? Didn't he just say he wasn't afraid. "I can't read," A moment of silence fell across the room as it sank in to Koralia what that meant. It meant she was the only one who could read these scrolls. "I could teach you!" She said, a little too loudly and a little too eagerly. "I could teach you enough to read these fragments," she repeated, though on some level she was just desperate not to bear the burden alone. The Stormcallers had been collaters of stories and history for a long time, and you can only keep so much history orally before it needs to be documented. Her writing skills weren't great, but reading was enough to understand most of the common language.
Name: Khatiy
Location: Keimara village, Eastern mountains
Time: Evening on the day of the Journey's beginning

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This was a far, far place from home. Khatiy had never ventured this far east-- in fact, she had never set foot outside of the warm embrace of Keshkartha prior to this sacred journey. As ironic as it may seem, this place felt hostile to the Heiress, and here in the East, she was like a needle lost in a haystack. To say that she stuck out like a sore thumb was an understatement. A foreigner to be sure-- long, southern braids cascaded over the athletic frame of her shoulders. Bits of sand still fell from her persona as her feet subtly trotted forth along the main road of Keimara Village, her dark skin standing out the most among the locals here. To those familiar with the locality, it was easy to ascertain that Keshkartha was her place of origin.

The leather boots of the Heiress left their heavy imprints upon the road as she continued forward with sheer will, her thick vestiments bogging her down with similar weight. For here, in the East, where most would consider the temperature to be moderate, a true Southerner like Khatiy found it terribly cold. A modest woolen fur adorned her shoulders and upper body, topped by a small hood that covered her head, decorated with two small, feline-looking ears woven from the same wool. The rucksack hanging from her back bounced subtly with every step, moving inunison with the bounce of two braids that spilled out from her hood upon her torso. In front of her, with two hands, the southerner held out an old map of papyrus, its features long since blurred and faded from the consequences of time.

"Hhhh... Lost again?" Her voice spoke out weakly, to nobody in particular, colored eyes gazing out into the distant sun and the outline of Keimara Village. The journey here had been terrible. Long, arduous, and too hostile and cold for the likes of a Keshkarthan camel to endure, Khatiy had ventured out all the way here on foot. Her heels were horrible sore, her stomach grumbling in complaint just about every minute. Empty waterskins hung from her waist, her rations long since having been depleted. "No-- This has to be. This is it!" A quick revision, her hands flipping the map upside down, and the details began to fall in one by one. Not that they were needed, for in the distance, the one and only temple stood tall and clear. This was it, Keimara Village.

A strange place, oh so strange, or so Khatiy thought to herself. The architecture here perplexed her, as did the phenotype and behavior of those she could see walking about the village commons. Curious, almost cat-like eyes glanced from one side to the other in silent observation, occasionally quivering at the sight and scent of food. She'd stop momentarily, but only to ogle as her stomach grumbled. For all of the careful preparation she had conducted for this journey, it had not occured to her to bring any money. Even then, she knew not whether this place even accepted Usaaman copper coins. A disapproving look from the owner of the food kiosk was all it took to shoo the foreigner away, and Khatiy could only continue forward towards the temple in sadness, her gaze momentarily dragging along the floor. She felt slightly overwhelmed by the strangeness of this place. Oh, what was that? This building looked like it had been through both a fire and a winter storm-- but Khatiy could hardly bother herself to think any harder about why this place was the way it was. It was only at the sight of a peculiar party of strangers that her demeanor seemed to pep up a little, as she noticed them making their way up the temple stairs. Were these the allies Raiko had prophesized she would meet along the way? They had to be! Khatiy could not remember a single time in her life when Raiko had ever been wrong. About anything. Her feet picked up the pace, and up the stairs she followed.

From inside, she could already hear a voice speak out. Not an ordinary one. A divine sound, she could almost recognize it from a previous encounter. This voice spoke of demons, of the divine quest, and of more. The girl's eyes lit up with splendor as she rose from the stairs to gaze upon the beautiful interior, and the divine presence sat upon the throne inside. And, as if aligned by fate, she had walked in on what seemed to be.. A duel. A duel of fate. Khatiy had seen duels before. Many of them. This time, a cold-looking individual charged at another man. Boldly, he reached for his dagger... And felled his opponent without even having to use it? The offender writhed in pain on the floor, as another sought to lend him a hand. In truth, there was hardly any time for Khatiy to react as she stepped further inside, because all attention was absorbed by the God Queen and what she had to say. The Heiress's eyes still sparkled with wonder as she gazed towards the throne and the divine being that sat upon it, listening closely. In more thorough detail, the quest has been explained, and Khatiy could not help but let out a little nod of approval at the mention of scrolls. Khatiy was Usaaman, and so scrolls were an absolute specialty of hers.

Khatiy had made her way to the table, and her arrival was nothing short of obnoxious. The clunky noises of her equipment were a terrible interruption, and yet the girl seemed oblivious on as to how much noise she was making. A large, two-handed Khopesh of copper hung proudly over her back, clanking loudly against the contents of an old rucksack that hung from her opposite shoulder. Pinched in between both objects was an old, medium-sized scroll, tied weakly together by a flimsy piece of string at the center. It is possible that some in the room may recognize the scroll for what it is based on the sigil stamped onto its cylindrical outline-- but, could it be? A summoning scroll! To any with knowledge of such a thing, its presence alone may seem laughable. Summoning Scrolls are a terribly ouddated practice. Nowadays, there are so many more practical ways to cast magic, whether it be through the use of wands, staves, or other conduits entirely. To see someone using a summoning scroll was like seeing someone using a rock to write on a wall instead of using a quill, ink and paper. Khatiy, though, oblivious as ever, carried the scroll proudly. In fact, part of her seemed surprised that no other person here seemed to have any scrolls with them. How do these buffoons even cast their magic? Oh, great, can they even cast magic?

As the situation continued to unfold and the quarrels between the group intensified, Khatiy uncouthly reached her hand into the table, grabbing the biggest chicken leg she could find. Her quick eyes flittered across the table in search of nuus, a Keshkarthan bread that usually accompanies every meal. She chomped right into the succulent leg, chewing quietly. Intently, her ears tuned in to the conversation at hand. She made no judgements, but found herself curious about the emphasis on demons. Khatiy seemed almost indifferent to the matter at hand. It was true that many treacherous demons reside within Keshkartha-- but in Khatiy's personal experience, the evil of demonkind doesn't exactly supercede the evils posed by certain humans themselves. Kreshkartha was a most belligerent region, a place where violence is widespread, whether at the hands of demons, humans, or even animals. The wastes are unkind and unforgiving. And Khatiy did not exactly share the same negative opinions of demons as others in the room might. Khatiy was also a terribly secluded person, never one to have ventured outside of her home, and so knew little of the true natures behind demons and humans. That much, at least, was apparent from her indifferent body language.

The southerner's eyes flickered then between those who spoke. Koralia, Roshan. Wolf, Babylon. Falarion. She knew not their names, but knew to distinguish them from human and demon from the artifacts they wore. Binding pieces. Her eyes settled on Roshan for a moment. This man had a vague familiarity to him, from his appearance, all the way to the way he spoke. Khatiy couldn't help but wonder if he was from Keshkartha too-- He had to be! The bird that accompanied him, it was a desert hawk. .... Up until now, Khatiy had been quiet, unsure of if she should even speak, but it had only now occured to her that, just like Koralia, she too should vow herself to the Queen's service and accept the task at hand, complete with the risks it brings.

"Goddess... I too will take up this honor, and pledge my services to you. Please, forgive my late arrival." The Heiress spoke out, her voice still somewhat weak as she bowed subtly over one arm, chicken leg clasped firmly in that same hand.
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The sun had finally retreated below the horizon, and with the encroaching dark of nightfall came the hunter. Finyagur raced up the mountainside, staying among the rocks and trees to mask his approach. Powerful legs propelled him up the steep, rugged slopes, while nimble arms steadied him during the ascent by grabbing onto the rough surfaces. At no point did his feet even touch the road; the less travelers saw of him, the better it would be for all at this moment.

As the once-dense foliage thinned and the palisades of Keimara came within view, the lesser god clutched the giant wolf pelt draped over his head and shoulders. "Mikylva, lend me your power," he uttered while concentrating. Its dusty white fur turned an array of earty hues, matching the landscape and shifting to adjust with every foot traveled. Its chameleon-like effect, paired with Finyagur's silent footfalls, camouflaged him adequately.

He soon found himself at the foot of the wall. This would be easy enough to scale, but he waited for a moment when the footsteps of patrolling guards and hapless villagers faded. It was then he lunged and scrambled up the surface, then hoisted himself over. His next move involved weaving through the alleys and quieter, shaded streets until he reached the temple outskirts. Peering out, he could see a young, dark-skinned woman ascending the temple stairs. Even from his hiding place, he heard her jingling and rattling like a bag of armor scales.

A quick circle around the temple revealed no other entrance besides the front. Dashed was his plan to make an unconventional entrance as he often did! With a disgruntled huff, he began his final climb up these weathered stairs, as well. Even after one hundred years, the pious still kept their house of worship pristine, the signs of age barely showing, in his opinion. He remembered this temple fondly from one of his few trips outside the North in six centuries. Though he couldn't tread these grounds blindfolded, his memory served him well... as did his ears. What was this ruckus...? He ducked by the doorway to listen in on a human's heartfelt dialogue regarding the ethics of enslaving a demon. The words of a poor, clearly confused woman reached his ears:

"What I want to know is if you deserve pity or if you deserve to be shackled."

Peering in at an angle, the already appalled god spotted something that made his divine blood run cold, and then boil. There, rising off the floor, was a demon he knew all too well—and hated all too much...


Wasting no time, Fin sprang from his hiding spot, thrusting his spear forth and piercing deep into his de-powered enemy's chest. Every subsequent violent stab brought sweet catharsis. No one stopped him; his actions answered the question, told these bleeding hearts Korro deserved MORE than to be shackled...
The life drained from the demon's face... and the world was a better place.

Every muscle tensed as Fin's mind screamed and his body subconsciously resisted stooping to such a low level and indulging his twisted fantasy right then and there, drawing foul blood on hallowed ground. Tears welled up in his eyes. He felt more powerless than ever.

'No... Focus,' he finally corrected himself, straining to fight back his tears. The Queen was counting on these foul creatures, as much as it pained him. With willing spirits few and far between, this was truly the last resort.

So there was the plan... the inevitable utilization of an ancient secret predating many demons, spirits, and even gods. Those demons were to escort the chosen humans to hunt the scrolls? Then Fin would oblige as well. There was no turning back now; the trickster gods got him this far. He resolved to proceed, knowing what may happen. Swinging out, he appeared in the doorway, his pelt returning to its snowy white once again.

With the Heiress of Usaama pledging her allegiance to the God Queen, Finyagur marched into the room, his spear pointed upwards. "Your majesty," the towering being started, deep voice echoing throughout the chamber. He bore a solemn, somber expression as he reached over the girl's shoulder and plucked the other leg from the roasted chicken. "I, too, volunteer for this pilgrimage. I am ready to walk a path none of our kind dare tread." His tone grew more resolute, as though nothing would dissuade him. "I pledge my life to your cause. Please accept my service, as well."

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In the night, bathed in the glow of a lonely mistress moon, there wandered a serene stray. The stray wore neither a canine or feline exterior, even if her movements held the sleekness and grace of the well-versed street cats and her bountiful stamina akin to that of the working dogs she’d seen on her ventures. No, there was a gentleness to her that meant the intrinsic aggression of claws and pointed teeth were not for her. That wasn’t to say she was weak, there was a strength that came in the form of softness. Young in her years compared to most of her kind, naivety cast its curse as did the twisting fear of the unknown, but she wasn’t the timid, little rabbit anymore. Years had paved their way, perhaps in culmination for this. The carving of time and engravings adorning her life left by so many had whittled her into a fine spirit. Ying Yue determined there was only a singular fault that she needed to work on, her punctuality.

Lateness was a guarantee, Yue was sure that the others would understand. It was only right for a spirit of lunar origins to arrive once the moon accompanied her. Luminescence enveloped her, casting her in a slight, but ethereal glow nonetheless, the truest splendour available for the lovely little fellows she was so very excited to meet. Honesty was a virtue, and Yue’s truth was that she had little to no clue of what she was about to step into, whenever she arrived of course. Peace of mind came with the idleness of it, and ability to overlook fine details that she definitely should have dwelled on. If she recalled correctly, there had been a mention of demons, peculiar company for the God Queen to keep but Yue remained unvexed. The spirit wasn’t one for casting an immediate judgment when she hadn’t met the poor creatures yet, to come together for this mighty task they must be on paths for redemption and forgiveness for their sins! How endearing.

Mountains became blobby shapes in the distance and the entrance of the village welcomed her with the enticing embrace of smells and sounds. People! She’d missed people. Humans and their complex lives, interwoven and connected to many in such little time, time so easily severed and cut short. Fragile humans, forever impressive with their commendable will and drive. The counterparts to demons in the mission, the humans, what would they be like? More importantly, what would they like? It was only natural for her to gravitate to the plethora of stalls decorating the inviting lantern lit streets. Yue had never been to this part of the region, there was easily a handful of things that she wanted to try simply to see if there were minute differences in flavour, texture, and technique, but that would have to wait. Time waited for no one, and Yue was sure those gathered wouldn’t be waiting around all night for a floundering spirit left with the abstract choice of buying adorable little custard tarts or sweet puff pastries. In the end she settled on the puff pastries, buying a lone custard tart for herself to keep her growing hunger managed on the way to the temple.

Steps led to the temple’s pristine entrance, bringing Yue to a stop before she could enter, not so she could prepare herself, but because of who was lingering outside. A hulking beast of a man waited, ducked by the doorway, bringing pause to Yue. He seemed to be listening in, taking opportunities to glance and watch those inside. Nibbling on what remained of her custard tart, Yue considered her options, she could simply walk past this odd man, or continue to wait for his next move. Little contemplation brought Yue’s to her decision of the latter. Giving her cheek a little tap, a further shimmery glow encapsulated her body and the spirit winced as her hearing was amplified, but she adjusted quickly enough to be able to catch most of what was spoken at her maintained distance, snacking the entire time.

Arguments were held and fealty sworn, it seemed that the temple’s guest finally heard enough for he made himself known. Yue’s tart eating halted as she took in his towering height and his matching boom of a baritone voice captured the attention in the temple. A volunteer, and a solid one at that, the Goddess was a lucky bunny. There was nothing for Yue to be concerned about anymore as his motives appeared earnest, and with that cleared up, the spirit climbed the remaining steps to the temple and through the entrance.

Bowing deeply enough for her white strands of hair to touch the floor, Ying Yue inhaled a deep breath, raising her head with a saccharine smile painting her ruby lips. “My deepest apologies Your Majesty for my tardiness,” Yue spoke politely, the sweetness of her smile dipping into something more warm and wholesome like a loaf of rich, golden bread fresh out of the oven, “please be assured of my unwavering service and loyalty to your noble cause.”


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

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Korro smiled as he leaned against the wall, though with bared teeth, it looked more murderous than pleased. This female human was entertaining.

’Deserving’ is such a fickle word.” He told her nonchalantly, as if he had not just been brought to his knees by binding magic.
“Many would say I am deserving of honour, many others death, but you humans love playing judge, jury and executioner, don’t you? You do it all the time to your own kind.”

He was goading her on purpose, perhaps getting a rise out of her would somehow justify his harsh words. He wasn’t exactly sure, but for now, it was more entertaining than the goddess and her quest.
When she turned his cautioning back onto him his smile then held a hint of pleasure, but it had a sinister twist.
“If not for the god collar around my neck I would tear you apart.” He answered honestly, but there was a resignation in his tone that revealed he had accepted his lot.

The god queen heard Roshan’s confession and her warm smile shifted into a gentle laugh, like birdsong in spring. She was not mocking him, rather delighting in his humility.
You companion is kind to teach you. Reading is a valuable skill in life, however the language of these scrolls is so ancient no one can hope to know it now. The scrolls cannot be read, rather they impart their knowledge to those worthy few.”

I’ll teach you as well.” Korro chimed in, sounding slightly annoyed. “If only to spare me the embarrassment of traveling with an illiterate peasant.

The goddess looked to the new face that appeared and her expression was bright with joy.
Ah my newest champion. There you are.

Korro glanced up for a moment, and took in the features of this new human. A desert dweller again, but this one had an air that spoke more of the wild, and of beasts and the laws of nature. He felt something like a kindred spirit in this one, but time would tell.

Then he noticed the god behind her. The acute hatred that flooded his eyes was impossible to misunderstand.
He watched with disbelief as Finyagur pledged himself to the quest. Would the torment never cease?

Before the gods had been recalled, Fin had been more than a thorn in Korro’s side for almost a century, as soon as Korro had enough power to fight. This deity protected the people of the North, while Korro had preyed upon them under the banner of the Sunset King. Many of his carefully laid strategies had come undone at the hands of this god. Korro could not stop himself:
So, you join this fool’s errand too Fin? What happened? Finally grow tired of cowering under your king’s robes?

The past hundred years had been hard on the Northerners, though there were instances when even then, inexplainable things would happen to free or help them. Korro had always wondered if it was Fin, defying the order to stay away from Earth.

If the goddess heard Korro’s inelegant barbing she made no show of it. Only looked surprised when Fin had appeared. Had she not expected it either?
The goddess simply nodded once in acknoeledgement , though it looked like should would have words later. Instead, she welcomed the last member of their small party who had appeared during the exchange, an ethereal, elegant maiden, obviously a spirit.

Your resolve will bring great joy to many.” The goddess thanked them all.
To my noble human pilgrims, I bid you approach.

As she said this, she fashioned a circle out of both hands, placing it over the center of her chest. A gold light began to glow, pulsing like a heartbeat in the center of it. It shone brighter and brighter, until it was almost blinding. All of a sudden it subsided, and the goddess now held three orbs of golden light, nestled like pearls in the palm of one hand.

Korro’s eyes fixed on the pearls hungrily, he could feel the power emanating from them, but he controlled his urge to take them, and remained where he was.

Touch a pearl, and accept your divine gift.” She instructed the pilgrims.

As she said this, there were three shapes that had appeared in the background: two humanoid, and one animal.
The first was a silver-haired maiden in a jeweled gown, who had her gentle eyes fixed on Roshan. The second a confident young man with pale blue skin, who inclined his head toward Koralia. The lion, adorned with gold and with a kind expression, looked upon Khatiy. The deities seemed like they had something to say to their charges.

Korro tired not to look too nervous in the presence of so many gods, and without his power to defend himself. He chose to move just a little closer to the other demons. Not for support, just…because.

The pearl will give off a warmth as you tough it, it's light infusing with your body. Your vision will become bright, almost too bright to bear, then, suddenly it will return to normal, except for a faint glow on the horizon, indicating the direction of the first scroll.

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Lesser God of the Hunt

Finyagur expected no less of a reaction—disbelief that he stood before the God Queen, her chosen, and her unruly pets. He had predicted what would come next, and Korro somehow simultaneously did and did not disappoint with his barbing. Shooting a weary, bitter glare towards Korro, he retorted with words like daggers dipped in cobra's venom: "I sensed there was a foolish dog who needed to be kept on a short leash."

No sooner did the words leave the god's mouth than his hateful gaze lightened and snapped towards the Queen. His ears pricked up, as though he heard something none were able—or perhaps permitted—to perceive. His expression proved inscrutable, but his eyes flickered back to meet Korro's for a second. With an acquiescent nod to his gracious ruler, he cleared his throat and took his position along the wall, opposite his archnemesis. He seemed strangely attentive, even as he devoured his chicken leg. With only a few mighty bites, the bone was stripped clean.

As the gifts were presented to the three pilgrims, Fin looked on with admiration. Some of his kindred spirits—gods loyal to this cause—had appeared before their champions, evidently to relay an exclusive message and bid them good fortune. The best part of this whole phenomenon was Korro's thinly-veiled cowering. It would have been poetic justice to drain the wolf's power fully and cage him in a god's abode. That was not the situation, however, and it would not be said that the hunter received punishment for harming someone critical to his superiors' machinations.

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Sun Wukong.png
Name: FalarionRace: Demon
Location: Keimara Village, templeCurrent Form: Male human

Falarion relaxed a margin when Wolf responded to his halfhearted joke. It was better than no reaction at all. He grinned at him and then stepped back, as it seemed there were still some stragglers for this 'quest' of theirs.

While some bickering broke out and a few argued about how many humans the demons had killed, Falarion wandered back to the feast and began digging into the food. It was a shame so much of it was going to waste while the others argued over pointless topics. It seemed like a given to Falarion that they, the demons, had all killed humans at some point. Why did it matter how many?
He also felt like it might be an inappropriate time to say he had killed less than ten humans in all of his time. The humans in their group would probably be intrigued by such information, but Falarion did not want to be an outlier among his own in this group. He would simply keep up the act and provide vague answers as was needed. After all, he doubted any of the humans would believe him even if he said so.

Shoving one pastry after another into his mouth, Falarion curiously watched as some more drama unfolded. It felt like it was never-ending with this group, but he supposed the circumstances justified such chaos.

He finally checked back into the conversation when the queen goddess got to the point and told the humans what they sought. Almost immediately, Falarion choked on a pastry and quietly struggled to regain his breath while the others continued in their discussion. When he had regained his breath and concluded he would not asphyxiate on a pastry, Falarion snorted and muttered, "Aye, give th'humans a taste o' their own medicine. I lek it."

Curiosity was piqued when Wolf reacted to a certain individual joining their entourage and Falarion nudged him in the side before quietly asking in a sarcastic tone, "Friend o' yers?"

Seeing the queen goddess move on, Falarion sighed and let his head fall back against the wall while a few gods and goddesses appeared for their 'champions' or whatever. His tail began flickering about behind him, as the annoyingly lengthy discussion just would not end. He was definitely not reacting to the presence of these beings while he was weak. Absolutely not. He focused on maintaining a look of boredom while giving Wolf a discrete nod when he inched closer.

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Location: God Queen's Temple, Keimara Village
Time: Evening
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Roshan had leant an ear to the argument unfolding in the background, not because he was interested- at this point it seemed Korro was only arguing for the sake of arguing- but because he feared it would escalate. He was relieved when it seemed to die down. Even though he expected her kindness, the Queen's reaction to his admission still caught him off guard. He returned her trill of laughter with a wide, boyish grin, as a slight flush colored his cheeks. For some reason his embarrassment caught up with him only now, in his surprise. Provoking a genuine, good-natured laugh from the Queen of the Gods was not something of which he would have supposed himself capable. Thankfully, his illiteracy would not be an impediment to this quest.

Even so, he greeted his fellow champion's offer with enthusiasm. "Sure! That would be great." As Her Majesty had said, reading was a valuable life skill. Why not make the most of this opportunity, while also bonding as a team? When Korro, too, offered assistance, in his characteristically gruff manner, Roshan stared at him for a moment, then threw his head back and laughed heartily. Why that was so funny, he didn't really know, but it was. "Very well," he said, wiping away tears, "We can't have that, can we? I am a peasant, after all. Actually, it's worse than that. I'm an outlaw. I have no status whatsoever. But I suppose learning to read will make me fit for your illustrious company."

Meanwhile, a clanking sound caught his attention just before the God Queen greeted their newest arrival. Roshan noted her light clothing, bronzed skin, dark braids, and especially the handsome khopesh strapped to her back with interest. She must have hailed from Keshkartha. Behind her came a hulking mountain of a man dressed only in furs and carrying a spear. Both of them wasted no time in helping themselves to the roasted chicken before pledging themselves to the quest, the young woman's elegant bow an amusing contrast to the drumstick in her hand.

Evidently, there was bad blood between Korro and the large man- 'Fin', who was probably a spirit, if they shared a long acquaintance. If the Queen acknowledged this tension, she did not comment on it. Roshan sighed. This should be fun. A third newcomer arrived, a petite woman with unusual red eyes, in similar dress to that worn by the locals, along with a broad, veiled hat. This one, at least, did not seem to pose any problems. In fact, her soft, delicate mannerisms were rather endearing.

Now that all were assembled, the goddess saw fit to present the humans with their divine gifts. At her instruction, Roshan stepped forward and touched one of the golden pearls. Warmth seeped into his body, while at the same time, dazzling light filled his vision like the sun at midday, only it didn't come from a particular source but seemed to glance off of everything, so that each surface was like the face of a jewel. He blinked, squinting in confusion, and the light began to subside but for a faint glow in one direction. Thinking at first that it was a flaw in his sight, he turned his head this way and that, but its position remained constant. So, that was how it worked. "I see," he said. "Thank you, Your Majesty."

Looking back at her he noticed, for the first time, the three figures behind her, paying little heed to the others in his astonishment on recognizing his own patron: Bahareh Anahita, the goddess of pure springs. "My Lady-!" Until now, they had only spoken at rare times within his dreams. It was good to see her like this. After greeting the Queen with an elegant curtsey, the lovely maiden approached him with light, graceful steps, her feet clad in dainty silver slippers. A shimmering halo of water flowed around her head and shoulders, and her gauzy dress seemed to float as though she were underwater.

"Roshan," she said, her voice like the soothing murmur of a brook, "Here is my advice for you: Trust your companions. With the end of this journey will come the dawn of a new age. For the sake of that world to come, put aside thoughts of vengeance, and think only of peace. Continue to hone your strength and skills, for there will yet be need of them." Roshan nodded. From the moment the two of them had met, they had recognized a shared ideal. A new Keshkartha would await him on his return, one that could be shaped by those who had the will. For both of them, it was an opportunity to realize their shared ambition.

What place the demons might hold in that new world remained to be seen. It seemed she was encouraging him to keep an open mind; or, at the very least, to maintain peace within their group for the duration of their quest. "Remember: fresh or foul, the deepest wells draw from the same source within the earth. Pure waters can become brackish, and bitter waters can become sweet." As always, she was fond of speaking in riddles, but he knew he would understand with time. Having conveyed her wisdom, she let her serious demeanor fall, a faint, warm smile tugging at her lips.

"Reckless, as always, I see," she said as she encased her hand in water and passed it over his forearm, erasing the burn marks from the cinders that had fallen on him in the burning house. In all the excitement, he'd hardly noticed them, but they had begun to sting quite a bit. Tracing a circle in the air with her forefinger, she summoned a thin stream of water that spiraled around Roshan from his feet all the way to his head, magically pulling the soot from his clothing into itself. That done, she drew it into an orb in the palm of her hand, the small black particles swirling around inside, and closed her fist, causing it to vanish. "That's all I can do, for now. You'll still need to bathe."

"Yes, Ma'am," he chuckled.

"And you," she said, stepping up to where Kian sat perched on Roshan's shoulder and stroking his breast, "Be good to your master. If you get into any mischief, I'll hear of it." The bird actually cocked his head, as though listening. As she tilted her head to look up at Roshan again, her blue eyes clouded with gravity. "I have no doubt you will succeed. But remember you have but one life. Choose your battles wisely."

"Don't worry about me, My Lady," he replied. "I always keep my promises. I'll make sure to come back in one piece." Thus reassured, the Lady Anahita inclined her head with a smile, and drew back to wait near the other deities. Roshan sighed as he watched her go. It would be nice if they could converse like this whenever they wished. If a goddess and a human could truly call one another friends, then they were as close to it as circumstances allowed. Since their partnership had been forged by an equal exchange, they regarded one another with mutual respect and trust, and she had never demanded from him a submission which was not in his nature to give.

Yes, there were many deities to whom he might have pledged his loyalty, but he was sure that his Lady was the best of them all.


Koralia Stormcaller
Goddess Temple
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Koralia nodded a smile back at Roshan, before Korro also offered to teach the other human. IN a very rounadabout and insulting way that Koralia found confusing. Why offer to help and then insult him, what appearance was Korro trying to keep up, and to who? But Roshan seemed to take it in good stride, and Koralia blinked with some surprise at his open admittance of his criminal past. "I suppose that means I've already passed Korro's rigourous background checks," She called to them both with a smile.

As the group swapped jibes and jokes, Koralia was caught off guard as the Goddess welcomed in 3 more to their number, newcomers that were seemingly late or had gotten lost along the way. A woman with dark skin and a braided hair, that Roshan seemed to recognise in some way. Likely another desert dweller, and she seemed human enough, which gave Koralia some grateful relief. The group was currently leaning in demon numbers, which didn't bode well for their task. Her hopes were quicikly dashed however as the sheer size of the next man, brandishing another spear and covered in furs. He could've been human, but his apparent history with Korro suggested otherwise. The Goddess also didn't seem surprised by his arrival. The third was difficult to place. She looked human and dressed human, but her eyes were a deep crimson, leaving Koralia uncomfrotable at the mystery of it.

"Nice to have more humans in the mix," She addressed the desert woman. "As you can see the Goddess has recruited a lot of help for us, but not so many humans willing to save their own world it seems,"

“To my noble human pilgrims, I bid you approach.”

At her behest, Koralia made her way across with her human companions, actuely aware of the others who hadn't been chosen observing this strange ritual ceremony. Though if it was jealousy, contempt or displeasure, she couldn't tell. Some of the demons seemed focused on the pearls, which didn't settle her either. As the 3 approached, a bright light pulsed from an unknown source in the Goddess' hands, and Koralia turned away for a moment, unable to focus. When she looked back, the Goddess held 3 pearls of gold, hovering slowly in her hands. The pearls slowly hovered from her hands to the vicinity of 3 others around her, 2 of which she didn't recognise. The third however...

"Maeldon," She whispered with a tinge of a blush. In her childhood thorugh her training and communing, she had...maybe...harbored a small crush on the divine being. His hair was wild and unkempt, nothing like his tapestries and what little descriptions had been passed down in the tribe. They had never spoken directly before, and yet he leaned on her like an old friend would, and spoke casually. Koralia blushed again, thinking back to the amount of times she'd wished to meet him like this in her teens. Something that he had likely known given the amount of praying she'd done. "It's you," She muttered quietly, with some shock still.

"Yep!" Maeldon replied, more loud than she'd expected. "It's me!" He put an arm around her and walked a few steps out of earshot from the others as he did so. His robes seemed to move and flow like clouds, and he smelt like rain or static in the air. Everything about him felt...not permanent. Even this form felt like it was changing as she touched him. The golden pearl hovered in the air between them, unspoken and unacknowledged. "I figured the old guys would send you," He continued, patting her head. "Not many with your drive!"

"T-Thank you!" She exclaimed, then spoke quietly. "It's just a shame there isn't more humans here, and so many..." She trailed off, looking back at the demons. Some seemed scared, which made her feel more comfortable by Maeldon's side. "Nasty scary demons?" Mealdon finished loudly, loud enough for the others to hear. "Listen, if you're going to do this, you need to be adaptable, you need to accept that some things are going to pass through you that you don't like, and others you have to accept and move on," He said with a shrug, gesturing back to the demons. "Everyone is capable of change, even them. And maybe they'll change you too. To be alive is to change. If you stop changing, well," He drew a finger across his neck, then floated the pearl over to her. "You're done,"

Koralia nodded, looking back at the demons once more, then graspred it steadily in one hand. It burnt for a short second, then her skin lit on fire, a million tiny pinpricks before they settled, and there was nothing. She clsoed her eyes and tried to feel for this navigation guide, and felt it. It wasn't as obvious as Roshan's, but was a more subtle pulling, a faint shout in the distance, something catching the corner of your eye, the urge to stomp on a crunchy fall leaf. It was a gentle pull, come this way, come here, come get it. It was a little uncomfrotable, but Koralia figured she would get used to it.

"Looks good on you, this divinity thing," Maeldon said with a smile, looking down at her. "I'm sure you'll do great. But you've got some good people here, of all kinds. Try and learn a little," He finished, then walked away from her with a grin and a wink, gently taking the hand of the Goddess that had spoken to Roshan as the two made their way back to the Goddess Queen. Roshan seemed equally as close to her as she was to Maeldon, and she mouthed "Wow!" in his direction.

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

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Korro leveled a venomous glare at Fin, but turned away. There would be plenty of time to torment him.
"Friend of yours?" Falarion asked.
"If by "friend" you mean I'd happily watch him drown in is own ichor, then yes."


Once the three pearls had been accepted the air in the room seemed to change: it became warmer, softer and even Korro, stubborn as we was, felt calmed by it.
As the humans spoke to their patron deities, and said their goodbyes, Korro felt the pang of a hunger not yet satisfied. He chose a table farthest from the collection of gods and sat to eat.

"You may stay here tonight, in my temple." The goddess told them. "I promise that while you are within these complex walls, no harm will come to you. Tonight as least, you are safe."
As she said this, several priestesses appeared carrying soft bedding.
One of them bowed to the three pilgrims respectfully. "There are baths on either side of the Northern wall. The fires have been lit to heat the water."

Korro cocked his head at that, then subtly sniffed his sleeve and wrinkled his nose. Even without his keen senses the smell was almost overwhelming; he still stank like a burning house, but it would be an effort for him to accept anything from the goddess who had enslaved him...The food was helping though, despite his wish to hang onto it, his anger was subsiding like smoke in the rain.

By the time he had eaten his fill he looked almost approachable, and watched to see what the humans or his demon and spirit companions would do next.
He had given some thought to Roshan's answer about why he had helped the human children he didn't know escape the fire. He had questions too, and his eyes told the man so when he glanced up at the self-admitted outlaw from Keshkartha.

As he waited, Korro's gaze drifted out the shuttered window, to the dark mountain forest stretched out below the town. He longed to run to it, lose himself in it, become a wolf and pretend for one moment like things were as they were before...
But they could never be the same, even if he had not been captured for this foolhardy quest...he could never go home...

"Did you have a home before this?" He asked, to anyone who had taken it upon themselves to approach him.

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Name: Khatiy
Location: Keimara village, Eastern mountains
Time: Evening on the day of the Journey's beginning

Much like some of the others within the temple, the southerner's body seemed to ease a little as the arguments also seemed to subside. She could not understand the context behind what was being argued, partly because she had not been here to listen to the whole conversation, and partly because of the difference in alignments. Khatiy had killed people in the past, did that make her evil too? Coming from a different place, her outlook on demons was different than some of those who were present here. So varied were the places of origins here that even two travellers from the same region, Khatiy and Roshan, appeared to have different understandings of human and demon nature. Nevertheless, the apprehension that her human companions here -- Roshan and Koralia, seemed to harbor towards the demons invoked a subtle sense of caution within Khatiy too. This was the first time the 3 pilgrims had met, but Khatiy trusted their wisdom for one reason or another.

As Khatiy would rise from her bow, adressed formally by the Queen Goddess, her ears flicker with surprise at the sense of a large presence behind her. Heavy footsteps signalled the entrance of someone, and before she could react, an arm reached past her to grab at the chicken on the table. Her eyes widen a little with astonishment as she takes a precautionary step or two towards the side, nearing Koralia, her gaze studying the new presence up and down. Intimidating as this newcomer may have seemed, his voice carried nobility as he pledged himself to the cause, and the Heiress reasoned right then and there that anybody noble enough to take up this cause was surely not to be a threat. Or so she thought. Behind the man came too a much less imposing presence. This one carried herself with an almost feline-like swagger, which drew the attention of the Usaaman who had studied lions and cats for most of her life. As much as she would have liked to further observe these two promising newcomers, however, the agenda was already moving. Khatiy turned to Koralia, who seemed to have spoken to her.

"Mmh-- hello, yes. It is a pleasure to meet you. I am called Khatiy." The Heiress smiled. Her voice perhaps sounded different. Not exactly a fully fledged accent, as Falarion seemed to don, but it was clear that Khatiy was from a different region, the mannerisms of her way of speech similar to those of Roshan. She'd gaze past Koralia, at Falarion, who seemed much too entertained by the plethora of food available, Khatiy taking then a bite of her own from the leg of chicken. She wondered what Koralia meant by what she said-- that it was nice to have more humans in the mix. Was she referring to how there are only so few humans righteous enough to want to take on this kind of adventure? Or was she showing hesitation towards working with demons? Khatiy could not tell. Studious as ever, Khatiy would have loved to inquire, but the attention of the pilgrims was once more beckoned by the Queen. They were to approach. Together, Khatiy, Roshan, and Koralia did just so, and so it would become apparent that neither Yue nor Fin were pilgrims. Were they other demons or gods?

The Heiress walked forward, a sparkle in her eye as she witnessed the presences that began to coalesce from the Queen and her pearls. Her eye was drawn to the patrons of both Koralia and Rosha, who seemed like interesting divine beings themselves, but what drew the widest smile from her was the newly formed presence of Raiko. As she approached, she would have walked between the spaces of Korro and Fin, who seemed to have quite a history. She could almost sense the tension between them. Her observant eyes glanced to her side, to O'Korro, who in some ways was the most interesting figure here, or so Khatiy thought. She could immediately discern certain things about certain people, but when it came to this person, O'Korro, all Khatiy felt was unanswered curiosity. He looked foreign. His hair was a pretty white color, fading into grey, and yet he was youthful. She'd never seen such hair-- she couldn't help but find the person somewhat attractive, in a foreign kind of way. Almost, cute. A blush befell the southerner's features as she was caught staring, her features retracting further within her hood which was decorated with those small, brown ears like that of a puma. "You... Smell like a dog..." Khatiy blurs out defensively to O'Korro, her tone timid, perhaps in a socially awkward panic, her nose scrunching a little. Khatiy had many, many hounds back home, but they were hardly her favorite animal. Smelly, rambunctious, no. Cats were by far more preferable to her.
She'd withdraw quickly, bursting forward towards the pearls, approaching the presence of her patron diety. "Lord Raiko!" Khatiy greeted, walking towards his embrace, wrapping both of her arms around his mighty mane, to scruff it as if this Lion God were some sort of house pet. "I made it, to the temple. These are my new 'friends.' These are the ones you spoke of, yes?" She asked the lion.

"Khatiy." Raiko greeted, refraining from using any formal titelage, not wanting to reveal any information about Khatiy's background, of her royal birth. The Lion God bellowed with a slight, disturbed snarl. Demons were present-- he could smell their greed in the air, loathing the way they stared. "The path here was long and arduous, I know it. But this is only the beginning of your sacred Journey. Take a careful look at those around you." As Raiko spoke, Khatiy glanced towards both sides. Towards Roshan, and Koralia, who each shared similar embrace with their own patrons, the Heiress's smile wide. She'd glance further back, to the Demons and Gods who remained closer to the table. "Wheter you would consider these travelers your friends is up to you to decide. But know this, young one. Friend, or foe, you have all pledged yourself to the service of our God Queen. You all come from different parts of the world, regions in the Realm of Humans that you would never even have fathomed. Some are not even from this very realm. Northerners, Southerners -- human, demon-- these distinctions matter not right now. Always stay true to your purpose, to the pledge you have made. We are depending on you, Khatiy. On you, and the brave individuals that surround you. I know you will give it your very best." Raiko emitted a low, friendly-sounding growl, allowing Khatiy to take the pearl. The Lion withdrew, despite how clear it was that Khatiy wanted to hear more, taking his seat next to Lady Anahita who had also seemed to withdraw, Maeldon soon joining them too.
The pearl filled her with warmth. An almost blinding sension sent a rush through her head, an inexplicable feeling. Within her mind, she heard something, almost like a loud thud, a sensation akin to pieces of a puzzle fitting together. And suddenly, she could feel a pull, a tug, towards a certain direction. An otherworldy calling, for lack of a better description. Truly, she could not describe it, but she felt a strong attraction towards that general direction. Khatiy glanced once more to Roshan and Koralia. Heeding Raiko's advice, she proceeded to share some sentiments of approval towards them.

"I know we have not met before.. But I also know that you are incredibly brave and dedicated individuals. I am glad to know that you will be at my side in this adventure to come, as I will be at your side." She gave them both a sincere smile. "Will you join me at the dinner table? I do not know how to explain it, but.. I think.. I think I know where we must go. In any case, we would do well to appreciate the shelter and resources our God Queen has offered us tonight, and prepare for the journey ahead. I think we should all sit down, and discuss, yes? Perhaps, it would be nice to get to know one another?" Khatiy glanced then towards the other beings. O'Korro, Fin. Yue, Falarion. She could only hope they would be so amenable as to sit for conversation too, though part of her was not brave enough to ask. She'd feel much more comfortable if Roshan and Koralia were at her side to approach them, as the other two pilgrims were already more acquainted with the demons.

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Lesser God of the Hunt

"Look at them," Finyagur exhaled as he watched the chosen commune with their patron gods. Each of them had received the gift of magic, and now the smallest sliver of divinity from the Queen herself. His once hard expression softened with the realization that there was hope for the human realm. It was just a shame those gods could not be here to share in their disciples' journey. As for Fin, he knew not who he would have chosen—if he even could have chosen a human... yet maybe it was better this way. These humans were now living, breathing, walking targets for demons. Would he have wanted that for one of his people, who had already seen so much strife in a century?

Khatiy had the right idea, in the hunter's opinion. The luxuries of rest and comfort were there at the temple, and they would do well to take full advantage of it while they could. Staying quiet to let them familiarize themselves with one another and fraternize with those demons, he seated himself at the table and poured a cup of mijiu. He savored it and another helping of meat, more things from this realm he had missed.

While doing so, Fin stared at Korro, whose back was turn. His nemesis stared seemingly absent-mindedly out the window. Was he really starting on the path to redemption, or contemplating yet another poor choice? There was no way anything constructive or beneficial would come to a demon's mind... right? The deity glanced over to the spirit in white, evidently a local. "What do you think of all this, spirit?" he questioned her in a lower tone, his dark eyes motioning towards Fal and Wolf.

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