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Fantasy Munus Deorum (open)

Sub Genres
  1. Action
  2. Adventure
  3. Historical
  4. LGTBQ
  5. Supernatural
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Lore
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Vulpes lagopus

Pretend this is something clever.
Solaris

Dismiss the guilt? Oh, hardly. Hardly. She had simply meant to remind Tevan that one crippled by guilt could not move forward. To feel so keenly was not necessary to fulfill one's duty, but the weight of it would not be forgotten. Ah, well. Her friend was wise, and understood the distinction well enough, she supposed. His pain, born of empathy, was subtly different from hers, born of broken honor. He must find his own way of coping. Not that she wouldn't keep an eye on him, to ensure it was effective.

Falarion's investigations indicated a skirmish. Solaris, for her part, saw no obligation to come to the aid of Imperial trespassers who, knowing the dangers, had willingly entered the forest, most probably to despoil and destroy. But she said nothing, knowing Tevan would prioritize looking after their own.

After what had seemed like a mere instant, as her mind calculated several steps ahead of their current objective, they arrived at the Rune Temple. Like the other structures, it bore the marks of desecration and decay, but it would make a serviceable base of operations. That was what she chose to see. Sparing hardly a glance for the relics of the past, as she filed in somewhat behind the others, she lit a small flame in the palm of her hand and held it aloft to inspect the ruin, assessing its defensibility and potential avenues of approach. As long as the exterior remained decrepit, it might be overlooked; but if the Imperials suspected that forces long dormant had begun to stir, they would search here, sooner or later. They could not stay long. Plans must be made, while they had the luxury of time.

Meanwhile, Siuhaydis cleared the dust out of the upper room, while Ralis began to straighten up. Solaris hung back and observed the exchange between Tevan and Tamakai, gratified to see Tevan in higher spirits. When his laughter subsided, she raised the flame at her fingertips, barely catching a double glint of yellow among the rafters before it blinked sleepily and retreated into a mass of feathers. She decided not to mention this observation. "I think our feathered friend is content to stay where he is, for the present," she said, with the faintest trace of amusement.

Now she followed Siuhaydis to the chest in the corner to assist in the distribution of its contents, setting lighted lanterns about the room and spreading a few blankets on the floor, in lieu of proper furniture. She was careful to avoid placing the lights too near the windows, to preserve their concealment. With a nod, she acknowledged Ralis' efforts. "It appears you will be staying with us until morning. I regret that we cannot provide better accommodations."

Her ears pricked at the ring of steel, and she turned to find Siuhaydis offering her a sword. A ceremonial piece, meant for ritual, rather than combat; but a blade nonetheless. "A most fortunate find." She grasped the proffered hilt and hefted the weapon, testing its weight and balance. It would do, for now. "You have my thanks, Siuhaydis."

Surprisingly, it slid into the mismatched sheath at her waist without too much resistance. It was good to wear a sword again. She had felt... incomplete, without the familiar weight at her side. Here was the means to protect, with all the meager strength at her disposal. Weak as her divine powers were, her skill with the blade equalled any mortal master, and she would bring it to bear, against any who threatened her own. Though better still if it did not come to that.

Rieve and Tevan disappeared shortly thereafter, no doubt discussing her policy of human relations over the past century. Good. Rieve would be dealt with in due time, but it was better first that she hear her friend's heartfelt concern, which would hold far more sway over her passions than the admonitions of an impersonal judge.

By the time they returned, the place was almost livable. Better than resting outdoors, at the least. At the request for a fire, she happily obliged. There happened to be a leather-bound record book, a corked inkwell, and a quill at the bottom of the chest. Sitting on one of the blankets in front of the fire with her legs folded neatly under her and the book in her lap, she began drawing a rough map of the new Averus under the Usurpers, based on Tamakai's description. The Empire's grip is not so firm over the South, he said... Shall we start there?

Frowning, she bit her lip pensively. That gods relied on the worship of mortals for their power reflected the innate wisdom of the natural order. Lest they forsake the purpose of their strength and pursue selfish gain, they must earn the respect and trust of their people. However, it did prove to be an inconvenience, in times such as these. To ask for support now would be to ask ordinary people to risk their lives. Understandably, few would be willing, and how could they justify endangering those who were? Yet, it was they, the cardinal gods, who had the best interests of Averus at heart. Even as mere shadows of their former glory, they must find a way.

A chill passed over her, and she noticed the light had dimmed. Glancing up through the hole in the roof, she saw a dark cloud engulf the moon. "A storm is coming," she sighed. What a nuisance. "We should prepare ourselves." Being cold and wet was not conducive to clear thinking.

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Lioness075

Everyone's fighting some battle of their own.
Sun Wukong.png
Name: FalarionMinor God: Light
Affiliation: Old godFavorite Offering: Anything cat-related

As discussions continued throughout the group, Falarion could feel his interest quickly drifting away. He meandered around the group with his arms behind his head until he found a small flower patch nearby. The violet lilies were dancing slowly in a slight breeze and Falarion grinned as he crouched down to sniff one. His tail lifted up at the same time as he sniffed the lily and he closed his eyes to savor the scent.
When he opened his eyes, a bumblebee was lazily flying towards one of the lilies and Falarion watched with amusement as it bonked lightly into one of the petals and swerved, trying to correct its course. Before it crashed headfirst onto the dirt, Falarion put out his palm and gently caught the bumblebee. He moved slowly so as to not frighten the bumblebee and carefully helped it into the lily it had been trying to land on.
He smiled softly as he whispered, "There ya go, lil' buddy."

Falarion stood up quickly when he heard the announcement of them moving on to seek shelter with Tamakai leading the way. Shoving his hands into the pockets of his trousers, Falarion walked along with the group to their next destination.

As they came upon the ruins of the temple, Falarion felt himself inwardly cringe at the disrepair. He had never been much of a responsible god in most aspects, thus he had never once considered to try and clean up the various places that could now be called ruins. Though, now that he thought about it, he still would not have cared to bother. These places just never held the same value to Falarion.

In the back of the group, Falarion carefully lit a small blue flame in his palm to also aid in lighting the way through the ruins. Overhearing Tamakai's panic about an owl had him snickering and covering his mouth with his free hand as if that would quieten it.

Once they arrived at their room of choice, Falarion stood by the door and wondered what there was for him to do. He rubbed the back of his neck while most everyone else was quick to take care of something for them. Shrugging since there was nothing left for him to do, Falarion ambled over to a window and glanced about the outside.
There was little to see at this point, but then Falarion's eyes caught sight of none other than a...sparrow. He promptly dropped to his knees and put his palms on the windowsill with his cheeks pressed between them as he peeked over it at his 'prey'. His lion tail swished back and forth behind him, kicking up a tiny dust cloud. Completely zoned in on watching this sparrow, Falarion missed any other conversations that took place behind him.

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AncientBird

Reptile with wings and plumes.
Tamakai, God of Entertainment and Tricks

The group had tidied up the temple and although it was still far from what it was hundreds years ago, it had become at least more pleasing to eyes than the broken dusty mess it was before Tamakai and his group’s arrival.
They set up a bonfire and some torches, and everyone began to spread out to do whatever activities they desire. Some gathered around the fire, others went off to explore and scavenge for whatever useful items they could find and some took their time to interact and catch up.

After he had settled down from the issue with the owl, Tamakai made himself comfortable on a leaning fallen beam within the radius of the bonfire. Lying on his side with a hand supporting his head, he looked around the place, watching his fellow gods (and the mortal) going about. A small smile showed up on his face, a small smile of peace and joy… Just a day ago, the entertainment god wouldn’t dream of such a sight. Just to have a peaceful conversation and reminiscence with any of the fellow minor gods was extremely rare, let alone a gathering like this. The pictures of the past flowed through Tamakai’s head, the old and wondrous days of mortals and gods, coming together to bond and play, to sing and laugh. Perhaps if fate would be so kind as to return the 4 central gods, perhaps one day the memory of the good time may return too.

Tamakai closed his eyes and let out a loud, melodious hum, a song that he had not uttered from his mouth for a long time. Throughout the fall of the old way, the minor god had lost his magical tongue, the tongue that allowed him to sing every song, with every voice that once helped spread joy and wonder to whoever got to witness it… Nowadays, Tamakai’s voice is only a tiny fraction of its old glory… But that doesn’t mean he had given up. With whatever he had left, he still found his way to sing, to make his ability to good use and continued to be the entertainment god he had sworn to so.

His hum filled the air and the room, in sync with the flickering flame and the sound of nature surrounding the temple. It wasn’t much, but it might at least put some peace and relaxation into his audiences after a confusing and emotional evening.

After a few songs, Tamakai paused to rest his vocal cords… But before he could start another, he was interrupted. The god’s eyes widened as something sparked into his head… Just when he got up on his seat, a fluttering sound could be heard.

Several magpies had flown into the temple. They panicked toward Tamakai, chattering loudly. Some went over the minor god, while some landed right next to him. One literally flew into his surprised face. “Geris!!!” Tamakai cried as he pried the magpie from his face. “What’s the ruckus? Why are you here? I thought you had gone back to your rookery for the night… That goes to you too, Devon, Anna, Blaze, Amila…” Said Tamakai as he tried to arrange and calm all the frightened magpies down.

More magpies flew into the room. Soon, a huge flock had assembled, gathering around the entertainment god. they seemed to have come seeking Tamakai especially… Something had spooked them, something much much worse than any natural enemies Tamakai could think of.

“Danger? What are you trying to imply?” Tamakai asked as he spoke with the birds. His eyes frowned and sweat began to leak from his fair face as the god listened to the chattering. With every info he received the paler his face turned… As if the magpies had transferred their fear to him.

“Everyone! Attention please!” Announced Tamakai as he turned to his group that gathered in the room. “Danger is coming… The forest is shaking, the ground trembling and all the birds and the beasts of the wild are fleeing for their life…”

“I am afraid something terrible is happening out there… We must be prepared.”
Said Tamakai.

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Worthlessplebian

Worthless pleb
Svakre, The Onyx Rhino

The submission of Sybis' conviction to Svakre pleased the Onyx Rhino. The idiosyncrasies of the spymaster slowly revealed themselves, allowing the Imperial general a glimpse into the inner workings of a spy's mind. But while the Emperor's eye babbled inanely about stratagem, proselytising about philosophy, or similar avenues of verbal torment, the Black Baron focused his orbs on the ameliorating Antonius. It is a terrible thing to take pleasure—mild as it is—in the suffering of a comrade. Were they comrades? The question whizzed around in Svakre's iron skull, meandering aimlessly towards the warmth of the fire.

They fight for the Empire, they fight with the same ideals. But can that suffice for camaraderie? Antonius, an opportunistic parasite that possesses no cardinal concept of restraint concerning material or mortal resources. To Svakre, it is undeniable that if Antonius were given the chance then he would butcher the Rhino in his sleep. So why not take his sword now and cleave this arrogant, stain-upon-Averus in twain.

His hand reached into the pyre, retrieving a flaming twig. Holding it up against his obsidian helmet, its' light dimly illuminating the pitch darkness. The flesh on his fingerpads did not even sizzle. The answers to his question arrived one by one, as Svakre watched the dancing fire. From the Emperor himself to the fanatical crusade of his followers. Least of which Aetius, who may or may not enact insipid plots to avenge his "dear friend."

The lit stick's blaze began to die in Svakre's giant hand. All things eventually did.

pitter-patter

"What?" The Rhino called out in confusion, ears drawing a picture. A dozen animals or spirits scrambled with frightening ferocity. The golden streak pulsated with trepidation, his flesh beginning to knit itself anew. His skin grew paler by the second; the noises continued to rush. His armoured hand immediately found the hilt of the Abyssal Wake, still stained by the blood of fallen deities.

pitter-patter

The steps grew louder then fainter as Svakre shut his eyes to focus. Their breaths. These creatures weren't breathing to attack... They were fear-stricken to the core. Animalistic panic, driven by innate instincts. Survival in its' purest form. Such terror is not to be underestimated. The troubling problem is that they were not the terror, but simply the observers. For how long? Svakre wonders.

Thud

"Not long at all." The Black Baron ghastly hissed under his breath. Time decelerated as before as Svakre's head swivelled in the direction of the thundering.

Thud, Thud

Then turned into earth-shattering pounding as the trees shook in trembling consternation. The Onyx Rhino's voice bellowed. "RUN, FOOLS, RUN!" Not an ounce of fear in his voice. Not because he is fearless—even Rhinos are scared of larger beasts—but the need to maintain cohesion. Before he could run, however, Svakre and Antonius had the same idea or at least Svakre agreed to it. His gigantic weapon raised high in the air and then came down with guillotinic might. Devastating the noble steeds. Not enough to put them out of their sacrificial misery, but enough for their blood-curdling whines to attract the monster's attention. "[Please, forgive me.]" He whispered in an unknown tongue. Before stampeding by himself toward the path. He is, undoubtedly, the fastest Deity on land but he chose deliberately to lag behind everyone. His idea was that if they fell behind then he would pick them up and carry them.

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AI10100

Expert Lurker

Felix Valerius Sergius
Location: Outskirts of the Divine Forest
Interacting with: Coyote Hart Coyote Hart

Unlike his expectations, Lord Svakre and Lord Sybis accepted the priestess's fire. Felix nodded mutely to himself. Then perhaps not all is lost for him. He doubted he could hide his own power for much longer. He figured that perhaps it would be best to say it now than later. However, Lord Sybis was already moving on for the next plan. Perhaps later then. He should tell his Lord Aetius first— it had been his gift after all, hadn't it? However, something worrying had come about them. The rush of the demons' footfalls fell upon the ground— not towards them, but away from them.

The hair on the back of his head stood up. Something was wrong and everyone was picking up on it. Even his horse started stomping uneasily next to him and Felix quickly stood up, holding onto the reins of his horse. All around the ground were other animals rushing away. Something was coming. Something big. Perhaps, even, something more terrifying than anything the forest could offer.

But what could scare away more demons?

He had already mounted his horse by the time Lord Antonius had suggested leaving the horses behind as bait. Seeing as he was already mounted on his horse and it would have already been a waste of time to dismount again, Felix had made the split-second decision to just keep his horse. He'd been with him for so long now and he wasn't going to let him go that easily.

As soon as they were ordered to run, Felix had immediately started for the path laid upon them. "Cicero!" He called out to his friend, reaching out for his hand and pulling him up onto the horse while it was moving. He turned to the priestess who was closeby to Lord Svakre who seemed to be keen on catching anyone who was going to lag behind. With that, he set for the path, lagging closely behind with the gods but keeping his eyes forward and alert— who knows how the forest would react to them now that they were delving deeper and deeper into it regardless of what was chasing them.
 

SilverFeathers

Ruler of the Sky
Ralis Crasmere
Divine Wood - Rune Temple

The wind goddess' use of a whirlwind to remove dust and crumbs of rubble alike proved to make Ralis' self-assigned job a bit more bearable. Though still in a bit of a mindless daze, he mentally noted down a few things he had perceived so far whilst moving in and out of the room, such as the sisterhood between the two female central deities and the closeness between the god of earth and the god of tricks. The latter was a bit of a surprise to see, considering the assumed dissent between compassion and trickery, but watching Tevan's face light up with laughter was quite nice to see. He didn't particularly like the deer deity or anything, it was just that for a god said to so embody the traits of kindness, warmth and forgiveness as was told in tales of the past, Ralis felt that this was how he should be.

Solaris' words startled him slightly, as he realized he hadn't moved with rubble still in hand for a while. "Oh, don't worry about it. There was nothing else that could've been done anyways." He responded slowly with traces of weariness in his tone. Though it could've been taken both ways, rather than the whole demon situation, his words and thoughts were more orientated towards the connections chaining him to the old gods. After all, who's to say he'd be free once morning comes? It was still a tiring thing to think about, so he cast it aside half-heartedly as he watched Siuhaydis pass over an elegant blade from the opened chest to the fire goddess. Rather than the swords he had seen imperial soldiers wield, this one looked oddly... dainty? It was beautiful sure, but he did ponder how useful it would be if demons actually attacked this sacred place. He could only trust in the goddess' swordsmanship he supposed.

Time passed by in an oddly peaceful manner after that. It was as if there was no threat of imperial soldiers and demons at all for a moment, as the room slowly transformed into a quaint little home. The soft, warm glow of the lanterns and the colourful blankets made the place quite inviting, so much so that Ralis was tempted to steal everything when this was all over and bring them back home for his family to enjoy. The weather will only get colder after all, and his parents were finding the chill more and more unbearable as they aged. As he finalized this plan in his head, he noticed Tevan and the frightening goddess of bugs, Rieve, he believed her name was, return from their outing. He still couldn't help but dislike the pair together, though he also didn't like how his opinions of them were based on a single interaction, so Ralis at least tried to remain more open minded about them for now.

The earth god helped him finish up the last of his self-inflicted chores, and the satisfaction he felt at managing to complete his task was oddly pleasant, though it was incomparable to the relief his legs felt when he finally sat down. He gazed dazedly at the stars for a bit, wondering how his family were doing, and if they had remembered to block the gaps in the back door to prevent the night chills from getting to them whilst they slept. It was only when the campfire was set ablaze that he snapped back to attention, as he watched Tevan approach him gently with a thick wool blanket. Was that in the chest? He couldn't help but ponder, as unlike the blankets Solaris had laid on the floor, this blanket seemed oddly thick and cozy. He wondered what it could've been used for in this temple, back then.

"Thank you Tev-Uh, I mean, just thank you." It was an odd thing to stutter over, but for Ralis, his mind wasn't yet sure if he could refer to them by name to their face. Mentally and to his family he didn't mind referring to them as such, but he wasn't sure if the gods themselves would find it offensive for a mere mortal to refer to them by name. Did they go by their titles? Wait, had he already referred to one of them by name? He couldn't remember, his head hurt, and he was tired. He would probably just continue referring to them indirectly for now. The fact that his head tripped over something so insignificant likely proved his mental state at the moment. Though he often felt proud of his calm and rational attitude most days, this was not one of those times. "I'm fine. Don't worry about me, I'm wearing quite a few layers anyway. You guys should focus on thinking about what to do in the future and whatnot." He responded after a slight pause, his eyes drifting towards Solaris for a moment at the mention of a storm, before flicking upwards towards the clouded skies.

It was honestly as if everyone was trying to put him to sleep, especially once Tamakai's melodic hum started drifting through the air. The tune eased his buzzing mind as he laid his head atop his knees, all huddled together beneath the soft blanket gifted by Tevan. The lack of dust aided by Siuhaydis' efforts kept his breathing comfortable, and the warmth of the campfire set alight by Solaris flickered in his eyes, beckoning him to sleep until he could resist it no longer. Unfortunately, the peace was inevitably broken not long after, with a flurry of feathers and bird screeching suddenly charging into the room.

Something terrible is happening to the Divine Wood? He mumbled internally as he re-awakened the gears in his head sleepily. He really should feel more urgency, but the fact that he had so many gods surrounding him made him feel little real panic, though he still quickly got up regardless. "This is likely caused by the imperial soldiers and their gods no? Since they gathered here for some reason we hadn't figured out yet?" He voiced his own conclusion out loud, thinking it the most reasonable explanation from the snippets of information he had gathered so far. It was likely the gods were more knowledgeable on matters like the emperor's intent and godly abilities however, so he elected to remain quiet after voicing his thoughts as a mere mortal.

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Arnalia

Junior Member
Rufia Dolabellae

She was anxious, even after Lord Aetius short quarrel with Lord Antonius distracted her a bit. The punch made Rufia put a hand on her mouth in shock. Still processing the facts that, yes, gods were able to lose their temper. This wasn't what I was taught though.....weren't the gods always in control? Wasn't Lord Aetius renowned for his hospitality ? And did I dream or did he really spoke with a southern accent ?
This train of thoughts almost made Rufia forget about her earlier predicament until, Lord Aetius, a bit weary, said.
“You needn’t explain yourself young Priestess, clearly it’s the will of none but the Emperor himself. Granting you such a gift in your hour of need.”
At his words and smile, although the latter a bit stiff but she rationalize it was the fight, Rufia shoulder relaxed a little, she gave a tentative smile. "Really ? I still can't believe all of this really happened..but...you must be right. Oh! As usual of course, your Divinity" As Lord Svakre started to talk, Rufia turned to him.
"Fret not, Priestess." The air shook with his words. "By whatever means you acquired this power, your loyalty to the Imperium is the only qualifier that matters."
She put a hand on her heart, determination in her eyes. "My heart only beat to be of service to the Empire." She beamed a little at him and then hear Sybis. “Svakre is right, as long as you are loyal, you are protected. And yes, we should move.” Rufia nodded and walked to her mare. As she mounted on it she felt the ground vibrate. As if something was....skittering ? The thought barely flew through her mind that the mare started to fret and neigh at the swarm of bugs and rodents scurrying away. Rufia frowned in disbelief at the display and shook her head. "Shhhh, Epona, shhh, beauty." She patted her mane, trying to reassure her.

THUD

She hear the remaining demon scampering away in a rush.

"Hm?"

THUD

Sybis and Lord Antonius shout startled her.

"What-"

Heavy footsteps. Much. Much. Heavier than the one of the panther demons.

THUD, THUD, THUD, THUD

Rufia eyes widened. Heavy footsteps now ruining.

"RUN !" She shouted and looked around if anyone needed help.

She felt a pang of guilt and sadness as she saw Lord Svakre kill the remaining horses and urging the others forward. Seeming set on closing the line.
Felix was taking Cicero on his horse and she saw the rest of the gods racing toward the deeper part of the forest.

"Giddy Up Epona !" She urged her mare as she tried to keep the pace with the others.



@ Worthlessplebian Worthlessplebian
@ High Moon High Moon
@ Athanas Athanas
@ AI10100 AI10100
@ Basil the Bulgar Slayer Basil the Bulgar Slayer
@ Coyote Hart Coyote Hart
 

SilverFlight

Tende altum, volare altius
The plan worked. The creature, whatever it was could be heard shifting, pausing. The horse whinnied in its weak, pained voice. It happened almost too quickly to see: a shadowy claw flashed out of the darkness, grabbed the horse by a leg and dragged it screaming back into the woods. The scream was cut short, but Sybis was already moving. He made sure his party was in front of him and he ran.

The forest flew by them, it seemed almost too quickly. Sybis couldn't tell whether they had been running for seconds or minutes. At length, the path dumped them out onto solid, hand carved stone. The Rune temple sat like a dark sentry against the sky.

Sybis turned only then, waiting to see what would happen. The area was open and exposed, and whatever could drag a horse like a child's toy was likely big enough to run them down. If that thing caught up with them, it would be a fight.



Tevan smiled as Ralis took his proffered blanket. He sat down beside the boy, watching him as he dozed to Tamakai's tune. Tevan added his voice too, a gentle mumble of soft words he remembered well. The blanket began to slip from Ralis' shoulder as he slept. Tevan reached out a hand to replace it gently.
The remark of the storm cloud roused him.
Tevan rose and joined Solaris by the window. That...isn't a cloud...they're birds!

It was then Tamakai's magpies winged to the window, squawking frantically. Tevan didn't need his friend's translation to know something was wrong. Below them the forest shuddered, and several figures poured out onto the stone courtyard.
Tevan gasped.
"Those are Imperial gods, and they have three mortals with them. They look like...they are running from something."

Then a noise hit them, at first a long, raspy hiss, like the drawing of a last breath, the tops of the trees shook and it seemed the whole forest shivered in revulsion. Goosebumps pricked Tevan's skin.
Then is was there. Tevan couldn't see it, in the trees in the dark, but it felt like all living things were writhing away from it.

A shadowy, black hand crept out onto the stone, then another, and two more. The creature emerged, the size of an elephant, crouched on humanoid legs, and flexing four arms, but dripping, rotting. The decay of its body falling in pieces as it moved. Its breath wheezed through something like a mouth, but escaped through holes in its chest. It staggered, twisting it's face around like an owl. Two glowing round eyes, blank and souless gazed at them. On one of its wrists, embedded in black flesh, something flashed purple...a very familiar stone.

And then it attacked, lunging for Antonius, the one most heavily injured.

Sybis had been frozen for a moment. In all his centuries, he had never encountered such a horror. He barely noticed the pain in his wrist, snaking up his arm, and when the thing attacked one of his allied gods, Sybis dove to intercept it. His sword sliced through the fetid flesh like wet paper, but the wound didn't even seem to bother it. With one clawed hand it swiped Sybis away with no more effort than swatting a fly and he was sent crashing to the side.

Tevan gripped the stone of the second story window with white knuckles. He looked on as the grotesque abomination came into the starlight.
"That thing is evil. It's not a monster, or a demon, its something fouler still." He looked to his fellow gods. "This goes beyond the rift between Imperial or Averus...they need help."

High Moon High Moon Worthlessplebian Worthlessplebian Basil the Bulgar Slayer Basil the Bulgar Slayer Athanas Athanas Coyote Hart Coyote Hart AI10100 AI10100 Arnalia Arnalia Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus SilverFeathers SilverFeathers Lioness075 Lioness075 AncientBird AncientBird Hazmat44 Hazmat44 Frozen Thyme Frozen Thyme Ari Number Two Ari Number Two Lekiel Lekiel
 

Frozen Thyme

There’s a little witch in all of us.
Aluma, Goddess of Autumn
Aluma watched in a state of muted awe as the black cloud encroached upon the woods. The rushing footsteps drew her attention down to the party of Imperials fleeing… right towards the Rune Temple. “Those humans…” she started, noticing something peculiar about them… if only a faint feeling. Perhaps it was merely a protective urge.

Tevan was calling the other old gods to act, and with a creature like that approaching the temple, Aluma was happy to oblige. “Please, hold this,” she stated, thrusting her signature cornucopia into Tevan’s hands. She then drew her sickle, a supernatural glint coming off the deity’s weapon. The autumn goddess was gone with in a flourish of leaves, which spiraled down behind the Imperial party. “Bring your wounded inside, usurpers, but tread lightly,” she stated as she reformed.

The past century was hard on Aluma, but there she stood, living proof that she withstood the hardships thus far. With considerable agility, she danced to the side of the creature and swung her sickle with an elegant but practiced motion and a strong, confident flick of the wrist.

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Athanas

You needed someone to blame, so you cast it on me.
Another battle won. What few demons remained fled, cowed and broken by the might of the Imperial Gods fighting in unison. Yet Athlios was not relieved, not for a moment. On his path there lay a million more battles, and this one was not even a major one. Still, some sense of pride was natural.

The magic of the mortal girl that had torched the panther was puzzling. Mortals possessing powers, he was no stranger to, of course, but Rufia seemed perfectly fine-no curse or hindrance plagued her. So from what source did she draw this strength? A godly blessing, perhaps, for her devotion? But by whom? Fire was not his domain, nor was it anyone else's. Ultimately, however, he resolved that this mystery was not worth examining right now. If she were willing to use her fire to scorch their foes, then that would suffice. Later, he would assign some...guards, to protect this blessed individual and keep an eye on her.

But to do that they would have to survive this instance. Athlios in all honesty wanted to leave. They were barely into the forest and already a large pack had come upon them. If they were to return, they should return with a full complement of handpicked hunters, each armed in their full panoply and ready to face these threats. He was about to suggest such a thing when Antonius, battered and mangled, approached him. Athlios mentally had already prepared a list of caustic retorts to chide the plague god for his foolishness. Anything from his lack of armor, to his misplaced callousness, to even his complete inability to effectively combat even a single demon without his flock.

But to his surprise, Antonius made no offensive effort. Instead, he merely asked that Athlios provide him with a weapon with which to finally defend himself. He paused for but a few moments, taking stock of the other deity, before reaching into his satchel. There was, indeed, a few spare weapons therein, and his hands closed upon a battleaxe. He had intended this as a gift for a hunter that had accomplished great deeds. However, that hunter was not without flaw-lust was his own chain, that prevented him from advancing in the ranks. And it was that same chain that killed him. One of those...whores he liked so much, turned out to be nothing more than a cultist. She slit his throat while he slept, wrote revolutionary messages with his very blood.

Athlios made no effort to conceal this-if anything, he stopped anyone from cleaning up the building. He ordered hundreds of his own followers, whom he knew also struggled with commiting to the path, to come and see. Eyes wide open, panic frozen on a dead visage. A warrior of preternatural skill, almost, robbed of any dignity, any honor. For a cause that was impossible, by someone who thought killing those she disliked made her any less of a murderer.

No more than two weeks later, the numbers of those undertaking the trials had almost doubled.

Let them make martyrs of us. It might be our blood that is spilled, but it is their graves that they dig.

Perhaps this weapon would serve a similar purpose here, to Antonius. He had grown complacent, so preoccupied looking at the pretty flowers and the undergrowth that he somehow missed the beasts and the traitors lurking in there. And, had it not been for everyone else's aid, the verminlord would now be dead for his folly. But he was still alive, and, evidently, all the wiser for it.

"It takes courage to admit you were wrong" He finally said, retrieving the battleaxe and handing it to Antonius, a beautiful piece of work, like anything he ever touched. "But courage alone will not win us this war. I ask not that you declare I was right, I ask simply that you accept it, and act accordi~"

A great commotion interrupted him. Another battle? And so soon? No, no, the beasts were running away from a threat. Athlios needn't be told twice that they should all probably follow suit. Yet the debilitating curse put upon him by the tyrants made it difficult, and he would've been left behind...had Svakre not forcefully picked him up and carried him so that he may keep pace. In truth, an impressive feat-the lord of metal weighed about as much as the name implied, and yet Svakre did not reduce his speed in the slightest.

Their plan worked. The horses slowed down whatever new servant of the tyrants was causing this massive commotion. Athlios did not weep for the animals, instead quickly taking stock of their surroundings.
The Rune Temple
He felt the memories gnawing at his resolve, harder than before.

It had been a beautiful night, filled with the brilliant sounds of peace and prosperity. The breeze, the wondrous breeze caressed his face, and he breathed deeply. His breathing was not hampered by the constant flow of grease. He looked at the stars, and his vision was not clouded, not by spots, nor by hallucinations.

No. No, no, no. This was all a lie. there never was peace, there never was prosperity. There were only the lies of tyrants. He had defied the tyrants then and suffered the worst of punishments for it. He would do so again.

As if on cue, perhaps, the beast caught up. Athlios turned, preparing himself for combat. More challenges by the tyrants? So be it!
His determination did waver for but a brief moment at the sight of the creature. In all his years, he had never seen something quite like it. Rotten, corrupted to it's very core, and driven mad by this excruciating torment...The prophet felt like he was looking at a grim mirror. His stomach sank further as he saw the stone on the creature, the very same stone he now possessed. Treachery.

There was no more time for ruminating as the creature barreled forth towards Antonius. Sybis intercepted it, which revealed that it's flesh was rotten and relatively brittle. Even so, it's great strength bashed him aside with null effort. To kill such an entity would require a prodigious amount of damage. But Athlios had just the means to unleash such a devastating barrage.

Every piece of him moved in complete unison, his capacity to multitask impeccable as always. One of his arms ripped off the stone from around his neck, tossing it aside while his flail was immediately in flight behind it, smashing it to pieces against the ground. With a terrible heaving noise, he vomited a veritable projectile stream of the same-tar-like substance that had killed the panther, covering a decent patch of the colossal entity. Another arm had already retrieved a flask of enchanted alchemical fire, lobbing it with force at the beast. The target caught on fire immediately, the accelerant amplifying the already terrifying potency of the flame. Even if being on fire did not hinder the creature, reasoned Athlios, liquidation by a fire source hot enough to melt through stone would probably have that effect. His offhand, in the meantime, was also in motion, giving precise commands to the flying blade, which targeted specifically the creature's extremities. Sybis had shown the thing could easily be cut, after all, and with each pass of the blade the monstrosity lost another digit. It's bulk was still terrifying, but if it's ability to grapple targets was hampered, it might be easier to evade it's attacks.


Another presence made itself known, a minor goddess that served the tyrants. Much to Athlios's confusion, she did not attack them, rather diving into melee and also assaulting the creature. He did not trust this, not for a single moment, but right now the threat that lay before him was too grave for him to do anything different.

He backed away from the now burning monster, taking aim with his mace towards it's head. Should Svakre and the Tyrant-Slave manage to keep the thing away from him, he would attempt to blind it, or at least severely damage it's head.
 
Antonius, Lord of Pestilence
The Central Forest


Stomp.

Crash.

The death rattle of a horse, its neighing bleeding into the dark canopy overhead.


And then the unseen monstrosity continued its hunt, an endless appetite for whatever it could grab and shove into its maw.

The path that was available to the Godly Entourage was far from the easiest. Antonius saw several companions fly past mounted atop their horses and cursed them for not leaving the pesky animals behind. No amount of adoration towards their steeds would matter if the company as a whole were caught by the beast. The Lord of Pestilence held reservations over sacrificing his own destrier, but after his feet kept getting caught on the roots lining this forest floor and the highway of rodents and critters, the Lord of Pestilence considered his gambit a cautionary victory. Should his horse have tripped, broken its leg as it fell, Antonius would’ve been flung into the densely packed forest canopy walls, survival was all but assured though the Lord of Pestilence was not certain he’d be conscious.

‘As if that wasn’t a present concern,’ Antonius’ thoughts were bleak and limited.

As he ran, his soft shoes falling to the wayside and his feet crashing on stone and stick with frenzied force in his march for survival, Antonius became aware of other ailments besides a stunted rate of recovery. He began to sweat quickly and his veins were flooded with the warmth of a furnace. His breathing became fast and shallow as he racked the air with ragged coughs and deep inhalations in a futile effort to fill his lungs. Not ten minutes into the chase, Antonius recognized that the toxin seeping into his body was causing adverse reactions across the board. Had it not been for the approaching menace, the Lord of Pestilence held no illusions that the demonic panthers would’ve sniffed out the effects of their toxin and returned later in the night for Antonius.

‘Small, ironic victories.’

The summation of his state wasn’t great. A fever was causing his vision to blacken, filled with dark spots that contributed to the Diseased Lord almost losing his footing. Thanks to his nature, Antonius was battling the toxins admirably, but he’d need to stop soon, find rest and refuge.

Throughout this situation, Antonius barely maintained a grasp on Athlios’ axe. He’d considered throwing it—both into the woodlands and into another fleeing party member—but decided he’d rather remain armed. If the worst befell him, having one of the Enchanter’s weapons would serve him far better than his guile.

‘If any of the others fall, I can let this monster devour them and use that time to climb a tree.’ He’d be safe in the thick of the forest, where he can recuperate until morning and return to his palace before plotting his next course.

This desperate scheme was put aside as they emptied into a clearing and emerald eyes widened with hopeful vigor. Some stone monument, weathered through a century of neglect, stood as an oasis from whatever pursued them. Antonius grinned, pained as it appeared, happiness flooded him as he darted for the unused temple.

Then he heard a crash, a low rumble that developed into a growl.

Antonius turned on his feet and just caught himself as a… A beast he could not describe freed itself from the mysteries of his mind so that Antonius could bask in its horror. His eyes widened as the behemoth in all its blackened glory reached for him. Holding Athlios’ axe harder, Antonius braced himself.

‘Sybis?’ The man was shocked to see the other Imperial Deity fly into action. He cut the beast’s offending fingers away, the determination cut into his face an all too familiar sight. The camaraderie they shared, even estranged, tied them together. They were servants of the Emperor and the Conquerors of Averus. No demon would best them, if at all this horror could be categorized as such. As quickly as Sybis came, the beast threw him aside and Antonius’ eyes narrowed as Sybis’ body bounced on the soft grass before coming to a pause. He gripped his axe tighter and moved in tandem with the Thrice Cursed Mad God.

Athlios ignited the beast and sent his sword after it and Antonius grit his teeth, swaying on his feet precariously before digging his axe forward for an offending hand—only for his swing to be interrupted. His eyes widened in sight of…

‘Why does it have a gemstone?’ Antonius’ swing went lax, missing the flailing and inflamed abomination and rendering himself an easy target for the third time that day. Yet the danger was absent in his mind.

‘Why… Why does it have the Emperor’s ultimate gift?’ It was a mark of superiority and trust, the old Emperor had given them out for a purpose. A reason. With a warning as well but none of his old comrades were dullards. Yet this beast had one? Had it stolen one from a fallen ally? Did the Emperor misplace it? Was it a thief? Was it—

‘Gah!’

Antonius’ eyes widened and he let out a piercing wail as the blackened hand alit with Athlios’ inner rage grabbed at him and squeezed with a primal desire, to feast on whatever could not assert its dominance over this aberration of life itself. The limb had yet to meet the flying sword’s fury and would not be denied such a convenient target as the perplexed Lord of Pestilence.
 
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SilverFeathers

Ruler of the Sky
Ralis Crasmere
Divine Wood - Rune Temple - Second Story Room

Ralis froze completely as he watched that thing emerge, the disgusting sludge that constantly dripped down its enormous body, the erratic hisses wheezing through its chest cavities, and those hollow, iris-less orbs that seemed to see everything and nothing at all. It was something completely out of a nightmare, an abomination so horrifying he couldn't have even imagined it in his wildest dreams. He struggled to stop the trembling in his hands and feet, the overwhelming sense of fear, confusion and disbelief stunting his senses. This was... absolutely incomparable to the demon he had encountered as a child. Not only was it dwarfed in size and strength, as he watched a figure get blown away by the demon's singular clawed strike, but it bore no resemblance at all to whatever it could have originated from. His understanding of demons was certainly poor... but what kind of spirit could have spawned such a monstrosity?

He had no clue, and further remained in the dark as half of Tevan's words flew in his ear and out the other. The shock, fear and adrenaline coursing through him kept him wide awake as he pried his eyes away from the beast and towards the crowd below them. The words he had recalled earlier rung through his mind. Three mortals, with the rest being imperial gods. Looking at the state they were in, it seemed the Divine Wood had not been kind to them. Though dark, Ralis could vaguely decipher their figures, there were three darker-haired men, three blond-haired men, a red-haired woman and finally someone clad in a full suit of armour... but with clothes on top? No, wait, he had vaguely heard of a god that appeared like this. A metallic one that brimmed with the power brought forth by a heinous cult. He wasn't too sure of specifics, nor did he care to know, but he watched as said god vomited sludge onto the beast before setting it on fire with some thrown item.

As the autumn goddess too joined the fray, his heart settled down a little. Of course, with so many gods joining forces, he had nothing to worry about, right? Though he thought as such, he couldn't help but clench his fists, his eyes wandering to the crowd endangered down below. Three of them were mere humans, just like him. Why weren't they running away? What loyalty led them to stay and fight besides the imperial gods in such a situation? He couldn't understand, but as he watched one of the blond-haired figures swing at the beast haphazardly, he immediately sensed his impending doom. Idiot! He was already injured so heavily, why in the world did he enter the fray again? The thudding in his ears made it hard to think, as a painful wail echoed throughout the vicinity once claws clutched the bloody-robed man tightly in its grasp.

Help him! Faster, before it's too late! If only, if only... Ralis panicked, his thoughts in disarray as he lamented his mortal powerlessness, before the glint of something high in the night sky caught his attention. It was the victim's axe, sent flying vertically during the chaos. It was positioned perfectly above the monstrosity's arm, slowly spinning in an arc as it reached its apex. If only that blade would fall faster, with the same force that monster used to swing that man aside- Ralis' eyes could only widen even further at the subsequent scene. It was as if the heavens themselves had heard his pleas, as the axe shot downwards with a terrifying speed, its harsh blade tearing through the abomination's hand, loosening its grip and giving its victim freedom.

"Haha, what the heck..." Ralis couldn't help but mutter with a relief that felt unreal, only just realizing his arm had been outstretched towards the axe this whole time. "What am I doing... pretending I'm a hero or something?" He couldn't help but continue to mumble, feeling a little embarrassed by his actions. After all, it definitely wasn't him that had saved that pitiful figure. Likely one of the imperial gods on their side by the looks of it. Scratching his head lightly, he tried to casually rest his other arm on the stone window sill until he realized that he... couldn't? As the adrenaline wore off slightly, he found that his left arm felt physically immovable, as if it was being weighed down by a thousand boulders. The more acutely aware of it he became, the more it hurt. As if the insides of his arms were being crushed by something... like his own bones. "Ow, ow, ow." He couldn't help but yelp out as he gripped his suffering limb with his free arm. What was happening? Why was he in pain? Was it real, or was he imagining it? Ralis didn't know how to explain the situation, so he chose to stifle his pain as best he could and bear with it in silence.

Basil the Bulgar Slayer Basil the Bulgar Slayer
 

AncientBird

Reptile with wings and plumes.
Tamakai, God of Entertainment and Tricks

The sound of breaking wood and frightened scream called Tamakai to join the other old gods at the window. Although it was quite dark, the moonlight was enough to unfold a commotion that was likely the source of his magpies’ stampede.

Out in the clearing in front of the temple, a group of people was running for their life, heading for the temple. After them came something big and loud… Tamakai didn’t get a good glimpse at it until the figure emerged fully from the tree line. An abomination of pure madness, with four hulking arms and skin dripped stomach turning muck of its rotten flesh. Its head rotated in an awkward and disgusting position, reminding Tamakai of one of those nasty owls he just encountered a while earlier.

“What in Averus is that creature?!” Tamakai uttered, frowned and wrinkled his nose at the sight of the disgusting being. The minor god at first thought it was some sort of demon, but with Tevan calling it something even fouler, Tamakai found it not so difficult to agree with his friend.

Upon inspecting the crowd that were running from the monster closer, Tamakai recalled them. “They are the very same party of the imperialist I saw in the evening!” Said the minor god. Suddenly, his expression turned from fear and confusion into a little smirk. “Well, I guess whatever plan they had didn’t work out, huh? Kind of amusing to see them running for their lives for a change.”

"This goes beyond the rift between Imperial or Averus...they need help."
Said Tevan, suggesting that the old gods should lend the imperialist their hands. “Are you certain? These usurpers always claim themselves superior to us ‘uncivilised savages’. Surely the almighty empire dogs can easily bite their way out on their own.” Said Tamakai as he crossed his arms and rolled his eyes at the idea of helping their bitter enemy out.

However, looking back at the scene, Tamakai slowly changed his pose and made a long sigh. “Fine… But I only agreed to this because they were bringing that monstrosity right into the Rune Temple, and I figure we have had enough fallen beams and holes in the ceiling in this supposed sacred ground.” Muttered Tamakai. He then proceeded to observe the monster once more, just to see what he could do to help stop the creature from advancing further. Suddenly, his eyes caught a glimpse of something shiny… A purple glowing dot, located in one of the monster’s arms. “What is that?” Tamakai spoke to himself as he focused on the glowing part. Such a strange feature to be on a monster of this appearance… Tamakai’s sense told him there must be something about it… Something worth investigating.

"Falarion! Why don't we go stretching our muscles a bit? Showing the empire dogs how it's done to deal with this monstrosity." Shouted Tamakai to the golden lion god. Other gods like Aluma had already entered the field to fight, so Tamakai felt quite confident about this battle, even if his full power hadn't been restore... After all, the monster seemed immensely powerful, but rather dimwitted and not that agile to begin with. Tamakai then turned toward his magpie flock. “I am off to battle, any of you wish to help me protect Rune Temple?” Asked Tamakai to the magpies, still perching inside the temple. They were all silent, looking hesitant and anxious. Tamakai looked at them then exposed a caring smile. “It’s fine if you don’t want to, you have done so many favours for me today. It’s only fair that you get to rest, my friends.” Said the minor god before he leaped out of the window, his body transformed into a magpie with shining blue eyes and glided toward the creature.

There was silence among the flock, but then one of the magpies took off and followed Tamakai. It was Geris, as loyal as ever. After that, more magpies began to take off, one, two, four, six, ten and eventually almost the entire flock that came into the temple flew off and headed after Tamakai, as if that their confidence had been restored.

Tamakai and his flock swarmed the sky above the abomination and the imperialist party, filling the air with their chattering noise. They took turn to dive at the creature’s eyes, trying to obscure its sight and disoriented it, making it lost focus on its quarries on the ground. While the magpies were busy swarming the head, Tamakai had another idea and dove for the monster’s arm, the one he noticed the glowing light coming from. There, he saw it, a glowing purple gemstone, embedded in the fiend’s flesh.

“This must have something to do with this monstrosity...” Thought Tamakai as he rushed at the arm, trying to peck the gemstone off.

SilverFlight SilverFlight Lioness075 Lioness075 Frozen Thyme Frozen Thyme
 
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Vulpes lagopus

Pretend this is something clever.
Solaris

Birds. That was no cloud. That was all surrounding avian life fleeing as one. That, alongside the flurry of Tamakai's messengers and his reaction to it, signaled a threat far beyond what this forest normally produced. Solaris sprang to her feet, book and quill falling forgotten to the floor, and moved to the window. She could only shake her head mutely when Ralis offered the Imperials as explanation. Grasping the hilt of her sword, her entire body tense and alert, she rapidly scanned the temple courtyard. Eight figures, in total, comprised the arriving Imperial party- three mortals on two horses, five others on foot. One hulking metal monstrosity, two others, well-equipped, another considerably less so, carrying an axe, and... Solaris felt her gut clench.

Ælfweard. Or Aetius, as he now styled himself. So. In one hundred years he had not grown in wisdom.

These impressions passed in the blink of an eye, subsumed by the miasma of decay and filth emanating from that thing slinking out of the undergrowth like some prototypical life form hauling itself out of the primordial mud. Demon, she thought, at first. But no. Tevan was in the right. Is that-? Shock rooted her to the floor as the hairs at the nape of her neck stood on end. A purple orb protruding from the black flesh spoke of forbidden power, an evil far more ancient than Imperial dominion. It was not what she feared, but the similarity... was uncanny.

End it. End it, now! every instinct urged. But what of the mortal? While she hesitated, Aluma made up her mind to enter the fray. Solaris glanced over her shoulder at Ralis, then back at the scene unfolding below. Perhaps, after all, the Rune Temple was the safest place for the humans to take shelter while their protectors were thus occupied. No better way of keeping the creature away from them than keeping it engaged. Ending the threat took precedence over all else.

She drew her sword and bolted down the stairs. For once, this was not a purely logical decision. As one of the weaker gods present, she could have served as a last line of defense for the temple, and left the fighting to those more capable. In choosing this course of action, she was revealing both her presence and her weakness to the enemy, parting with what little tactical advantage they possessed. But to do otherwise would go against her very nature, as Averus' eternal vanguard in the face of the darkness and terrors of this world. The Lady of Justice did not turn from battle.

By the time she arrived, the creature was engulfed in some kind of unnatural flame- probably alchemical- courtesy of the armored god, but this did not hinder its ravenous grasp for the injured blond deity. Only the timely descent of his battle axe from above spared him. Solaris narrowed her eyes. Unless they deceived her, he was not controlling that weapon.

Regardless, it gave her an opening. A spark leapt from her forefinger to the ground at the monster's feet. At once, a wall of flame erupted, marking a line between the creature and its prey. With her present strength, she could only maintain flames at half a man's height, and the alchemical fire had not seemed to faze it. Still, she hoped at least the element of surprise and the appearance of a barrier might buy a seconds' reprieve.

A strange impression gripped her, with a flash of red hair out of the corner of her eye, as she crossed the battlefield- a similar energy to what she'd sensed from Ralis, but much stronger, and, somehow, more familiar. But she couldn't spare a second glance.

Now, she interposed herself between the creature and the injured Imperial, on guard in anticipation of the creature's next move. Tamakai lent his aid, pecking at the arcane stone that apparently served as its energy source. "Humans, fall back to the Rune Temple, and I will guarantee your safety. My quarrel is not with you, unless you choose to make it so." Her voice rang clear, strong, and commanding, as in the old days. "As for the rest, we will first slay this beast. What follows, I trust to your prudence." She could not help casting an aside glance at Ælfweard as she said this.

Were it not for their shared danger, as her tone made abundantly clear, she would scarce have lifted a finger on behalf of these usurpers. Nor was she so naive as to expect honorable treatment in light of her assistance. For now her hope rested in their territorial advantage and superiority of numbers, as well as the weakened state of their enemies. As she spoke, wisps of flame coiled around her angled blade. It began to glow a dull red, a pale imitation of the white-hot fury she could harness at her best. Alas! Had she the power, she would have summoned her Dawn Blade, that manifestation of divine flame which purged all impurity while cleaving flesh and soul. It was not to be used lightly. Each time it had been drawn, it had taken a life, be it god, demon, or mortal. This abomination merited no other fate.

Nonetheless, she was a god still, and she would make it feel the wrath of a god. Do your worst, fiend!

@SliverFlight SilverFeathers SilverFeathers AncientBird AncientBird Lioness075 Lioness075 Frozen Thyme Frozen Thyme Athanas Athanas

Special Mentions: High Moon High Moon Arnalia Arnalia Basil the Bulgar Slayer Basil the Bulgar Slayer
 
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SilverFlight

Tende altum, volare altius
The creature moved as it flamed in the aftermath of Athlios' attack. The fire seemed to do nothing to its skin, however where it had been cut, its flesh burned. Its digits were broken and sliced and now one of it's arms had been cleaved clean off. Yet still it moved as if it didn't feel the pain. Tamakai's attacks did nothing to dislodge the gemstone, which was embedded into its arm with strange black tendrils, Yet as soon as Solaris appeared, the creature's dead eyes turned toward her. It's corrupted rage seemed to falter, and it staggered back a pace, as if something in the cardinal goddess gave it pause. Almost as if...it feared her.

High Moon High Moon Worthlessplebian Worthlessplebian Basil the Bulgar Slayer Basil the Bulgar Slayer Athanas Athanas Coyote Hart Coyote Hart AI10100 AI10100 Arnalia Arnalia Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus SilverFeathers SilverFeathers Lioness075 Lioness075 AncientBird AncientBird Hazmat44 Hazmat44 Frozen Thyme Frozen Thyme Ari Number Two Ari Number Two Lekiel Lekiel
 

Worthlessplebian

Worthless pleb
Svakre, The Onyx Rhino

The mad dash through this accursed forest of yester-years gave no solace to the charging Rhino. It all became a blur. Trees, Animalia spirits, and comrades. But as quickly as they began their escape, it ended. Arriving at the scene of a clearing with a temple most dilapidated. Svakre of centuries pass had once visited this holy shrine, but that memory is blocked away in his subconscious. His senses picked up an interesting noise, as if someone or more shuffled in temple. This brief sensation was overwhelmed when that deplorable monstrosity's foot... Foot-crashes disturbed the very ground under them. Svakre spun around to face it.

It lurched from the shadows. A beast in the shape of a mortal... Or god. A multi-limbed abomination of nature with a festering façade, splintered structure, and mephitic odour that induced vomitum in all who bore witness to this cadaver, animated by a foul power. A sour-induction came over Svakre, this blank-eyed beast deserved nothing less than complete an utter deconstruction by vivisection. Yet other than its' detestable shell, Svakre had been devastated by an uncomfortable truth. Though poor of sight, Svakre could spot that... Purple glow. Time, as before as now, moved at a snail's pace. His mind rewound the clock, back to when the messenger came with a gift most precious. He could it see it now, Sybis' unprepossessing phizog. Svakre looks down in this reconstructed moment, the spymaster's hand possessed a stone. Svakre accepted, but not fully.

The flames of Athlios broke that instance as Svakre's hand held the very stone that he received. The rush of emotions that went through Svakre shattered the equally rushing rationalisations that he underwent. So terrible was this truth that he had missed the arrival of the cardinal Goddess and the minor Goddess of Autumn. His body shivered, the stone vibrated in his palm. A single word crystallised in an instance, the truth had become undeniable.

Treachery!

In a movement so swift, Svakre tossed the gem in the air while simultaneously unsheathing the Black Dagger. He walloped the gem with the broadside of the dagger, not dignifying it with the edge. The stone shattered instantaneously with his swing. The miniature chunks flew off and Svakre's anger had been stoked to the brim. Not even the meditative techniques could have saved him from teetering into the Abyss of Wrath. His nostrils flared as they took the air from the forest, his lungs pushed to the brim. Yellows orbs shut themselves. His mouth snapped open to horrifying sound. The air shattered as if the soundwaves were the hammers of a blacksmith striking away in fury. The ripples caused by this, shook the leaves of the nearby trees. The clamor threatened to pop eardrums. It overshadowed all whoever in his presence. This roar was not the roar of glory, not the war-cry that he broadly calls when battle comes. The difference was not amplitude, but control. Where the godly war-cry inspired his soldiers, where it dripped with divinity, and granted them a boon. This roar of betrayal was animalistic, destructive, and harrowing. For a brief moment, the world knew the true meaning of fear.

Svakre gazed at this pitiable corpse. It would not feel pain, but Svakre did not need it to succumb to that stimulation. That will be reserved for Sybis and Antonius and the pestilential Emperor!

To kill things like this, you do it quick or you remove its' functionalities. Svakre's nose drooped, his muscles fired with all their might. He plowed towards the beast's legs, in keeping with his titleship and divine realm as the God of Rhinos by using his signature ability, the Mach Charge. First, he will take away its' rotten legs then he will part the affront-to-nature's head from the body.

SilverFlight SilverFlight Athanas Athanas Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus Basil the Bulgar Slayer Basil the Bulgar Slayer Arnalia Arnalia AncientBird AncientBird and all present.
 

Coyote Hart

Misguideful Moniker
Cicero Tarquinius.png
If the monster was enough to make full fledged gods be forced to flee, it probably was something seriously powerful. Despite the brave countenance that Cicero displayed, the presence of the monsters beyond the shadows and the ominous thumping was enough to let a bit of panic enter Cicero's expression. With his horse dead, Cicero gratefully took Felix's outstretched hand and scrambled up to sit behind him.

"Thank you, Felix! I'd be dead without you," Cicero exclaimed. He silently cursed Anthonius for his ploy. If not for Felix, the death of the horses would have meant the end of Cicero. There was absolutely no way that Cicero was going to be able to run as far as any of them. After all, he was terribly anemic.

His heart pounding, he attempted to make a paper crane, but under the bumpy ride, the wings were folded weird, the face was malformed, and the tail was bent at an unnatural angle. When he tossed the crane into the air, it didn't even have the strength to hold itself up. Not that a perfectly made crane would be able to keep up with the monster.

"Like a lion lapping at the heel of our boots
Each lick sapping strength and courage
Til our mind sees the gaping maw the color of soot

Hiding and waiting to pounce in every bit of foliage"

As they rode, Cicero muttered ideas for poetry under his breath as a way to keep himself calm. But making a poem while fleeing from something that even the gods feared was a terrible idea, and he quickly stopped. Hopefully, Felix wouldn't think of him too insane. The ride also posed an opportunity for Cicero to reflect on Rufia's magic. If she hadn't been aware of her magic until the near present, then it meant that the two of them were likely in the same boat. Some phenomena allowed both Cicero and Rufia to develop magic.

The rune temple appeared in Cicero's vision, allowing him to release a sigh of relief. Perhaps they could make a stand there. When they got closer, Cicero noticed several figures convened. It was an odd sight. Why were there so many people in such a dangerous place? His question was answered as one of the figures apparated in a flurry of leaves towards them. They were old gods. Cicero's expression soured, although he was glad for their assistance.

As both the usurper and old gods leaped into action, Cicero dismounted Felix's horse and carefully folded a proper paper crane, which he threw into the air. He saw Athlios toss down the stone that the emperor had given him, which prompted Cicero to walk over and inspect it. The string that it was attached to was cleanly torn apart, and the stone was shattered into several pieces. Why did Athlios make such a choice?

Then from the eyes of the crane, Cicero saw: The monster they fought had an identical gemstone embedded in it. Cicero grimaced. Wasn't this a gift from the emperor? Why would it have such detrimental effects? The question angered Cicero. It was completely illogical for a general to sabotage his own troops. Regardless, this all posed an interesting opportunity for Cicero, and the man's scheming mind thought of some potential opportunities as he carefully wrapped the discarded stone in several layers of paper as he put them into the bag that carried his poems. Hopefully, the stone would only be effective against gods and wouldn't hurt him.

Cicero looked up in time to see a magpie peck at the monster with its beak, and he exclaimed, "Okay, why does he get to try to eat the monster while I get smacked for suggesting a demon dinner?"

The poet turned to both Sybis and Felix, but he knew the answer intuitively: It was because the old gods were savages. But before he could say anything else, Cicero's eyes widened. While he had been focused on Athlio's stone, Sybis had been struck with an attack by the monster. Perhaps it wouldn't be a good idea to stay out in the open with a monster on the loose. "Actually... I think I'm going inside. Felix, Rufia, stay safe please."

A sword-wielding woman charged into the fray, and Cicero decided to go through the path that she had left from, as that would would probably lead him to safety. As Cicero ran towards the temple's entrance, his crane spotted a window, from which a figure leaned out of. That would be a good place to be.

Running up stairs sucked. At the top of the steps, he had no choice but to slow down for a few moments as he gasped desperately for breath. The decrepit and abandoned temple was an eyesore and Cicero wished that he didn't have to rest there. So even as he felt that he was about to pass out, he continued to walk towards the southmost part of the temple.

As he continued to walk by the relics of old, he suddenly came to a room that seemed either a bit more well-maintained than the others or was occupied. Indeed, there were several figures in the room, some obviously gods. Now feeling a bit safer, despite being in the presence of the old gods that he so despised, Cicero collapsed to the floor, his vision darkening at the edges as he desperately tried to pull in air.

"I wish... Aetius... would provide a cure to this," Cicero gasped out after he miraculously avoided passing out. Painstakingly, he propped himself up on one knee as he surveyed the room.

"You..." Cicero said to the white-haired man in the room, "Do I know you?"

It was like a moment of deja vu. He had a feeling that he knew the man, but he most definitely didn't have any memory of meeting him. But in the back of his mind, the stories his grandmother would tell him pulled at his mind. Of the god that Caelia had worshipped. Dark skin, white hair, mesmerizing blue eyes.

"Tevanus?" Cicero asked tentatively. He forced himself to rise to his feet-- if this was really the God of Healing, then he couldn't stay down. He wouldn't bow to an old god, even if he didn't mean it.

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Arnalia

Junior Member
Rufia Dolabellae

As the trees passed by her in a blur, Rufia began to see what seemed like the remains of an old temple.
The place looked terribly unkempt, despite guessed about it relationship with the old tyrants gods, a place of worship in ruin was always a doleful sight to her eyes. That's what Rufia would have thought if her whole being was not set on just surviving.

Rushing her horse toward the temple, she went a little past it. Not even looking once behind her. If she can't make it at least her beloved horse must. She may die and though everyone at her temple will grieve they will be able to move on. But if their only horse die then all of them would be doomed. Living off the land had many advantages but one of the pitfall was that the few you had was indispensable. Without a horse to help with the field and travelling, living was near impossible for the temple, it would be force to heavily indebt itself to buy another one. Rufia did not even want to think about what her friends or poorer acolytes would have to sacrifice if that was the case.

Once a little far away, she brusquely halted Epona, then patting the fear stricken mare, Rufia slowly dismounted.
"Shhh, shhh my beautiful." She whispered, trying to sooth her as much as she could. Looking around, she noticed a little spot that offered coverage near the back of the temple and decided to guide Epona there.

Once finished, leaving the mare rein untie, she hear noises. Peoples screaming and fighting, not wasting any minute she prepared her bow. Only five arrows left, her lips thinned at the thought. Maybe she should just take cover instead?.....But I can't abandon everyone like that.
She looked at Epona and sighed.
"If I don't come back for you return to the temple and tell everyone I love them okay ?" she let out little snort, she knew Epona was a clever beast but did not expect her to understand a word of what she said, Rufia then hugged the mare and raced to join the others.

As she reached the voices what she saw stopped her dead in her track. She reflectively flinched away from it.
An abomination. A sin against nature. All she could think about was how the black and putrid body, made her gagged. It lanky body and multiple arms coupled with the black sludged covering it, a vision that not even her worst nightmare could conjure. The worst by far were it soulless eyes, boring into you yet devoid of life.

Reaping her eyes away from it she observed the battle. An unknown red haired woman with a scythe was slashing the abomination. Next to her Lord Athlios spat a black substance at the beast and set it on fire. The demon however looked unfazed. To her horror the creature got a hold of Lord Antonius until an axe cut the monster arm, freeing him. Was it Lord Aetius that did that ? She thought. Sybis laid a little far away, visibly unconscious. Despite her worry and concern for him what drew Rufia eyes was the woman in armor. Something was familiar about her, eerily so. She couldn't say what it was except that the faint pull in her chest grew stronger and stronger as she approached her.

Her quick overview made, Rufia directed herself toward Sybis. Standing a little away from the demon she positioned herself. Preparing an arrow she snapped her fingers at it tip. As if she had done that all her life a spark appeared and lighted the arrow. "Guess the panther were good practice" she muttered almost dryly and shot at the abomination face.





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AI10100

Expert Lurker

Felix Valerius Sergius
Location: Outskirts of the Divine Forest
Interacting with: Coyote Hart Coyote Hart AncientBird AncientBird

Felix considered the group lucky. It seemed like they were outrunning the monster at the very least— the sacrifice of the gods' horses was not in vain. But it had consumed them at such a speed that it was practically negligible. He shook his. No time to worry about these. "Can't have you dying on me too early, Cicero. I don't want to return alone." Because at the end of the day, CIcero was his best friend and he could never forgive himself if he died in his watch.

The temple came into sight and before they could catch their breath, the monster broke through the forest. It was larger than he had anticipated. His eyes searched the monster's body, looking for something that looked like a weak point. Four arms. Two eyes that seemed devoid of anything. Did this monster even see through conventional means? And something that glowed on its wrist. Perhaps the source of power? Could the malice inside that object be the one powering it?

"The circumstances are different here Cicero." He huffed out jokingly as he watched, with mild awe, what was happening before them. The deities who hadn't come forward to join the Empire were there and they were keen on attacking the monster. Perhaps because they had led it to the temple? For a moment, Felix had to think of the pros and cons of this arrangement. The monster was the bigger problem— whatever qualms they had with the Old Gods didn't quite matter at the moment. What mattered was the monster's defeat. "Be careful inside. We don't know what they'll do to you."

The fire that danced before them lit the area up. The gods were doing what they can yet the monster seemed to be unfazed by this. Felix let out a sigh. He was a mortal. If they could not do anything against this monster, what could he do? The part of him that wanted to survive wished to fall back into the temple and hide. But the other part of him— the soldier— knew what he should do. If he laid his life down to aid his gods somewhat, no matter how small, then it would be an honorable death. He grabbed his spear and tightened his hand around his reins. Horseback was one of the things that were taught to them— fighting with one's horse gave the advantage of speed and mobility.

And he would capitalize on that.

He charged forward with his horse, spotting a few magpies trying to peck at the gemstone. The monster looked stunned, its eyes gazing straight at the woman from earlier. Good. He struck his spear forward, towards the gemstone but careful to avoid the magpies that were surrounding it and tried to dig into its flesh to remove it— hoping that the special enchantments placed upon the spear would do the trick, or at least loosen the damn gemstone. Regardless of the outcome, Felix would urge his horse forward and away from the monster before rounding to prepare for another strike.
 

Lioness075

Everyone's fighting some battle of their own.
Sun Wukong.png
Name: FalarionMinor God: Light
Affiliation: Old godFavorite Offering: Anything cat-related

Falarion's purely visual hunt was ruined when the Imperials made their appearance. He groaned and stood up while rubbing the back of his neck anxiously.
"These guys always bring trouble with 'em."
Sure enough, a demon rushed out of the forest behind their group and Falarion inhaled sharply at the sight. He was not entirely keen on unwarranted violence, but even he knew how dangerous a demon could be, especially with the humans present.

Hearing a groan nearby, Falarion turned to face Ralis, who was in pain it seemed and was clutching one of his arms. Falarion had missed what Ralis did to achieve any injury, but was quickly at his side.
Worriedly, Falarion looked over the arm and winced before inquiring, "Are you alright, Ralis? What happened to you?" He had not seen any projectiles enter the room from the fray outside, so he was at a loss for what do.

He heard footsteps quickly approaching their room and turned around in time to see one of the Imperial humans collapse to the floor.
His attention span struggled to remain focused on Ralis, as he found himself wanting to meet this new human as well.
Shoving his hands into his pockets, Falarion adopted an easygoing grin and chuckled when the human recognized Tevan.
Peeking around Tevan's side, Falarion said, "Oi, hello there, Imperial human! I see you brought quite a few friends with ya. What's your name? I'm Falarion, god of light!"

He then promptly recalled Ralis being injured and dashed back over to his side, "Right, I promise I did not forget you! I'm still at a bit of a loss here, though." Falarion rubbed the back of his neck yet again, likely causing a red welt to form from his anxiety at this point.

SilverFlight SilverFlight Coyote Hart Coyote Hart SilverFeathers SilverFeathers
 

Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
Siuhaydis, Goddess of Air, Lightning & Change

Of all of them, she was perhaps the one who felt the passing of years all too keenly. When one lived in nigh perpetuity, it was easy to live in the moment. To let the burdens of time rest in the deepest recesses of thought lest they weigh you down.

But such was not the ways of the Goddess of Change. To know change was to know the befores and to weigh it against the afters. Each epoch marked by the shifting scars upon the land and the indelible marks her erstwhile followers had bestowed upon her memory in order to be set free. Each she cherished, in their respective alcoves of her mind. Like an age old curator, who judged not each story good or bad, but took upon an unspoken oath to safeguard each tale of passing moments in the great library.

It was one of the things which tore at her soul so deeply that day Lirael fell. The Spire of Memories right in the centre of the temple city, precious records for all who sought the lessons of the past gone forever, nothing more than maddening echoes in her mind for she’d clutched them too tightly they broke in her years of oblivion.

A hundred years paled in comparison to thousands. What was a drop of dew against the magnificent Mai`Ilmen, deepest lake in the northern reaches? But yet, why had the last hundred mark her so much more? Strife did more to be remembered than tranquility perhaps.

"A storm is coming,"

Solaris’ voice arrested her wandering thoughts. Siuhaydis moved over to stand alongside her fellow deities, though she couldn’t yet shake the melancholic pall of her inner musings; at least not until she rested her eyes on the darkened horizon and weighed upon Sol’s comment. Nay, not dark clouds, the one who was the living embodiment of storms realized as the dark mass scattered towards the temple in a rush of panicked squawking and cawing. A twisted chill snaked down her spine a moment before the thing thundered its way into the temple clearing, but not before several darting figures.

"Those are Imperial gods, and they have three mortals with them. They look like...they are running from something." Tevan had called out, confirming Siuhaydis’ observation.

A roiling boil of emotions flooded her chest as for the first time since the goddess awakened, she felt her pace quicken.

Murderers. . . traitors. . . defilers. . .

As much as the dark mass made her skin crawl and set off the alarm bell that recognized the utter perversion of all things natural, its ringing toll was drowned out by the maddening thump of her pulse in her ears. A clawed limb of putrid dripping shadow took a swipe at one of the imperial gods. A god whose head shone under the soft moonlight with long auric tresses. A sibilant whisper cut through her scattered thoughts.

Deceiver. . .

Something about his appearance struck a chord within the goddess as a red haze descended upon her sights. She heard the sounds of cracking thunder. The anguished screams of dying men. Then a sharp stab at her side. Instinctively, a hand clutched at her throbbing waist.

"That thing is evil. It's not a monster, or a demon, its something fouler still." Tevan was speaking again, looking to his fellow gods. "This goes beyond the rift between Imperial or Averus...they need help."

Something within her snapped at Tevan’s words. Fury rose within even as Solaris drew her sword and rushed into the fray alongside Aluma and the Imperials.

Fools. Have they learned nothing? Even after all that has happened, were they still slaves to their ideals? Have they- no, their people, their faithful followers not suffered enough that they would let themselves be shackled by their own interpretation of virtue?

“Help them?!” The once placid goddess whirled on Tevan, demeanor changing in the blink of an eye as the wrath of a tempest blazed in her silver eyes. “Do you hear yourself Tevan!? How easily have you forgotten, or did-” Siuhaydis faltered, as the storm in her eyes abated somewhat and pity softened her visage, it break you? she trailed off, not willing to give voice to what she thought had happened to her dear friend. It was madness, not even a day after they had awoken, unsure of what the world had come to and here they were exposing their necks to the chopping block that was the wretched Imperials.

“Did you not wish you were strong enough then?” Siuhaydis began again, her voice steely but quiet. “We could’ve saved more. . .”

Lirael wouldn’t have fallen.

“No Tevan, let that foul beast take them.” Her voice was resolute, but something within her wavered at the sight of the battle before her. Something about the creature nagged at her mind, but as yet, it was a still small voice compared to the screams of her dying followers.

But In spite of her words, something about it enraptured her - and the fact that she still worried for her fellow Averusians despite her misgivings - so she’d stepped out of the temple in order to observe the battle closer.

 
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SilverFlight

Tende altum, volare altius
Tevan nearly fumbled the thing as Aluma thrust her cornucopia at him. He looked on with a shocked expression as the goddess of the harvest attacked the creature without a second thought.

Tevan’s next concern were the humans. Imperial or ally, they should be protected, but it was when Ralis put out his hand that the earth god tracked his line of vision. He saw the axe fall of its own accord, how Ralis had saved one of the Imperial gods from a devastating blow, yet he seemed in pain after the fact.
Tevan reached out and put a hand on his shoulder, his expression all the mortal needed to tell him that Tevan had seen.

Just then someone stumbled in through the ruin of the door. A stranger, one of the humans that had come bursting out from the forest with the Imperial gods. He collapsed onto the floor and Tevan went to him, an old instinct guiding his actions.
Do not fear, we will make sure that creature does not harm you.

And then, this new mortal said his name. “Yes, for all the good you know of me, or the bad you have been told. I am he.” His eyes trailed the boy’s features, something about them seemed familiar, though he couldn’t quite place it. Still, there were more pressing matters.
It will be all right.” The god reassured him, “Let there be peace between us for as long as those foul monsters draw breath at least.

Tevan stood, going to take Falarion’s shoulder and grip it tightly.
I’ll help put a stop to this. If things look bad, come and lend us a hand.

Then Siu spoke. Tevan could feel the rage behind her words, which cut into him like a knife, and when he met her gaze, his eyes held a sadness, deep and ancient.
Perhaps the gods must answer, but the humans there fighting have not wronged Averus, and if these gods fight to protect the mortals, I will hear them, at least.

Setting the cornucopia gently down in a corner, Tevan took a step back, then leapt straight out of the window.

SilverFeathers SilverFeathers Lioness075 Lioness075 Coyote Hart Coyote Hart Lekiel Lekiel Ari Number Two Ari Number Two

*~*~*



For the goddess’ presence, the creature was stunned just long enough for Felix and Svakre land their blows: Felix’s spear connected with the gemstone, and it was pried up several inches, but underneath one could see seething, black tendrils that had sprouted from the rock to imbed themselves like worms threaded through the creature’s flesh. There was no way to separate creature from stone, not without completely removing the limb, and, even then, glancing at the wounds on its body one could see the black, writhing mass creeping under every inch of its flesh.

Svakre’s charge connected then, and the weight of the creature was taken off its legs, crashing down, threatening to crush both the god of rhinos and Felix under its fetid body.

It gurgled and roared, clawing the ground to gain purchase again. With two of its remaining arms it flailed, attempted to gore anyone and anything nearby. It made a slash at Athlios, razor claws powered by unnatural strength. The fear of the goddess it seemed, had been temporary, only enough to land a single blow. It leaned forward to snap at Solaris, it’s breath hot and sour. Then the arrow struck the side of its head, lodging itself firmly in the creature’s skull. It staggered again, slipped in the mess of its own dripping body and hit the ground with a crash. It was till flailing even then, lashing out and screeching.

Sybis rolled to his knees, he didn’t recall hitting his arm but it hurt! The pain was nearly unbearable. It felt…it felt like something was burrowing into it. When he looked down, thick, writhing tendrils were creeping under his skin. The yell that came from him was wracked with pain and fear. He stumbled to one side, clawing at the gemstone, something he had had for hundreds of years. He had just returned from the capital, the stone fully charged, what was happening? Fear and confusion were painted plainly on his face. Yet as he looked up through his tear-blurred vision and saw the creature before him, writhing and screeching, he understood.

Listen to me!” He bellowed to the other gods. “You have to get rid of those stones! Now! AHHHH!” They were the last words he could manage before his human voice dissolved in a hoarse, guttural roar. His body convulsed and grew, skin turning black. His spine extended, snapping and popping and his limbs grew. The transformation was rapid, though it seemed…deformed, imperfect. In places the skin split, dripping gold blood which quickly rotted away to dark, viscous ooze. His jaw cracked apart, growing long, crooked fangs. His nails became claws, black and sickle-like and before long, the god Sybis was no more, and a second creature, glared at them through veined, lifeless eyes.

It looked around for just a second, and then rushed for the closest target: Rufia. It moved with a terrifying speed, broken jaws gaping. The sound of hooves rung on the cobbled stone, just as the creature was about to come down on Rufia and her bow, sharp antler tines met its face. Tevan caught the creature’s head in his deer form, stamping as he forced it back.

RUN!” Tevan barked, his voice strained by the effort of holding the new abomination at bay. The creature, like the first seemed to pause, stagger in fear, but slowly, it too was overcoming the shock, and threatened to overpower the earth god.

Vulpes lagopus Vulpes lagopus AI10100 AI10100 Worthlessplebian Worthlessplebian Basil the Bulgar Slayer Basil the Bulgar Slayer Athanas Athanas Arnalia Arnalia High Moon High Moon AncientBird AncientBird Frozen Thyme Frozen Thyme
 

Frozen Thyme

There’s a little witch in all of us.
Aluma, Goddess of Autumn

Aluma backed up and gasped as a scene worthy of a horror story unfolded before her. She knew it; this ‘emperor’ had to be using the usurper gods for sinister machinations. That, or he knew not the power of the gems he gave them. Given Sybis’s last words, the former was a fair assumption.

As much as Aluma wanted to rush to Tevan’s aid, she knew his wishes and her own predicament. Turning her attention back to the fight at hand, she observed the creature’s flailing—uncoordinated and wild, but still dangerous. “We should sever that arm with the gem on it!” she directed the enemies of her enemy. Not one to sit idly and bark orders, she wound around the creature in a complex motion and swooped in to ‘harvest’ the malefic gem by slicing its powerful arm. The autumn goddess used the momentum of its swings against it. She betted it would take several blows, even with this technique and such a sharp sickle, but it was a start.

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Vulpes lagopus

Pretend this is something clever.
Solaris

Curiously, the creature reeled back at the sight of her. Did some fragment of spirit yet remain within that walking corpse? Did it feel fear? Yes, it was right to fear her. All things born of darkness shunned the light of day. Meanwhile, one of the mounted mortals doubled back without his companion, striking at the stone with his lance. Solaris' keen eye did not miss the glimpse his efforts afforded of the creature's composition. The limb must be severed, but this dull blade was of little use toward that end.

One of the Imperial gods tossed something in the air- a strikingly familiar purple orb- and it shattered at the blow of a dagger. Then the Imperial let loose a tremendous, thundering bellow that sent tremors through the earth, shook the trees, and rattled her very bones. A radius of arrested momentum followed briefly in its wake, save for the god himself. Ears ringing, she watched as the impact of his charge plowed the creature into the ground.

A second to recover, and she was in motion, determined to press the advantage. The sooner this business was dispatched, the sooner questions and answers might be exchanged. While she ran, dodging the petulant lashings of the creature's stymied fury, she relinquished control of the wall of flames, letting it to die to a smoldering black smudge, and poured the energy into her weapon. A gaping maw loomed before her, spewing fetid breath. She aimed to strike, but an arrow pierced its skull, tipping its shaky balance in favor of gravity. Was that arrow on fire? It was natural fire, not alchemical. All gods were accounted for. Had the mortal...?

But now was not the time.

Warding off the creature's erratic blows while seeking an opening, she had only half a mind to lend to the other Imperial's warning, until a strangled cry at the outset of his grim metamorphosis arrested her attention. She stepped back from the fray to gain a better view, and suspicion became confirmation. They've been sent here to die. When it seemed nothing could heighten her contempt for the usurpers and their practices, the Emperor himself betrayed his own vassals. Such political intrigues bore her utmost contempt.

Solaris ran, as the newborn abomination lunged for the mortal with the bow, even knowing she could not close the distance in time. Hooves clattered on the broken pavement, and Tevan intercepted the blow just in time. Now it was necessary to divide in order to conquer. She glanced back at the others. Aluma was in the right, but more was needed. An attack on all fronts would increase their chances of destroying the monster completely. "You! Armored one," she called to the keeper of alchemical concoctions. "Spray more of that combustible liquid into the chest cavity, if you can, and burn it from the inside."

Then she ran to assist her friend. Crouched beneath Tevan's antlers, she thrust her sword upward with all her might, just below the stone embedded in the creature's chest, concentrating all the fire she could muster along its length and forcing it into the tarry mass of flesh. The blade brightened from murky red to scarlet. Sweat beaded on her brow, and her arms trembled from the strain, but she would not waver. If the grasping black tendrils burned away as soon as they grew, she might be able to pry away the stone with the tip of her sword. So she drew every last spark out of her weakened body until her vision began to swim. Like a funeral pyre of old, she would immolate this tortured soul from the inside out, and so end his misery.

How pitiful, for such brutal kindness to be his last. The Emperor will pay.

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Special Mentions: SilverFlight SilverFlight Arnalia Arnalia Athanas Athanas
 
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SilverFeathers

Ruler of the Sky
Ralis Crasmere
Divine Wood - Rune Temple - Second Story Room

Vague voices echoed around him, alongside the sound of birds taking off, shouts of fury and footsteps fading in and out, though none succeeded in distracting him from his current predicament. The excruciating pain only further increased his focus on his arm, his teal blue eyes showing nothing but a mixture of confusion, frustration and suffering, with sweat quickly forming atop his brow.

It was only when a faint voice that Ralis vaguely registered as being addressed towards him that his focus waned, gifting him a small window of relief. Though the comfort was faint, he couldn't help but sigh audibly. Then, that familiar voice spoke once more, and it was only now that he realized that it was the lion god that had aided him. A debt he would pay back sooner or later, likely through finding suitable offerings when he returned home. But, what truly and finally broke him from his trance however, was a warm hand being rested upon his shoulder. Trailing the hand to its source, he found the face of the first god he had encountered this eventful evening, Tevan. Momentarily, he felt the flow of pain from his arm rush towards the stranger, but before it could reach him Ralis was stunned still, his power dispersing completely.

Why... why is he looking at me like that?

That small knowing smile, one that showed nothing but empathy and understanding. He hated it. His family loved showing him that expression whenever he would argue against them about their stance on the gods, or throw a tantrum about it in his youth. It was a face that told him that they understood everything, and it would all be alright, no matter what. How frustrating it was to see that expression on his face, though deep down, Ralis knew clearly what that meant. Though Tevan had long leapt out of the window into the chaos below, Ralis remained frozen in place for many moments after, staring transfixed at his arms, and occasionally glancing at where that battle axe laid abandoned on the ground.

Taking in a deep breath, he steadily looked towards the battlefield once more, only to catch the sight of one of the dark-haired imperials transforming into the same abomination he was trying to slay. "...What sort of nightmare is this?" He inquired vaguely out loud, long overwhelmed by all the sights and events of this unavoidable trip to the cardinal shrines. His words about the stones did not evade him, as it was clear some sort of trap or betrayal was going on, but who was betraying who remained to be seen. He had likely missed a sequence of events earlier, but regardless, his eyes darted towards the other members of the imperial party, half-expecting them to start morphing into something hideous also, though it seemed it wasn't their time yet. Recalling that there was also a new mortal addition to the room, from that terrifying party no less, he immediately whipped back to face the stranger.

Blond hair. Fair, unmarred skin. Exquisite clothing weaved for wealthy comfort. Just his appearance alone was enough for Ralis to antagonize the man, being so reminiscent of those that were fond of trampling his family for the fun of it. But more than that, the sense of fear and urgency driven by the horrid scene he had just witnessed fuelled his swift march towards him. Deftly bringing his survival knife up to his throat, he held the man by the shoulder as he interrogated him. "Oi, explain to me what the fuck is going on down there." He spoke harshly and crudely, with a cruel iciness in his eyes, though if one could register the situation calmly, his hands were trembling faintly and his stance was not as restrictive as it could've been.

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