This is the roleplay thread for YOU ARE A GOD! Longer monologues for the sake of roleplay or responses to events go here. Every week, a 'turn' passes, and each season lasts four turns. Our story begins halfway through the season of winter.
Forest of Pine join the Allesvasser
-Expending 1 Wealth from Vasserhold along with Water and Earth magic to expand the aqueducts of Undersprings into Forest of Pine, bringing the waters of the Allesvasser to the Province.
The brawny figures in Vasserfolk in their leathers and tunics at work is easy to see. Shipments of stone are coming to lay ground work even as the Allesvasser himself is present, tapping into his water and earth magics to raise what appears to be a sturdy and impressive aqueduct. It it to bear the waters of the Oracle Fountain down from the source hidden away in the fortress of Vasserhold up in the peaks of Undersprings. The faith of the Allesvasser encourages this practice, to bring the powerful waters to the faithful along with helping to breath more life into the land and cleasnse it of any potential lurking dark forces.
"I don't like it," grumbles Rojar Ironson to the Allesvasser as he regards the new body of his Oracle while they surpervise the construction of the aqueduct.
"I know, Rojar, but... they needed a sign of how serious I am. So I will wear and protect this vessel as a show of good faith," said the Allesvasser with a smile as he regards the Vasserborn Jarl.
"I know, Allesvasser, but it still rankles some of the people. The Elf-folk have hurt us before..." Rojar said with scowl.
"And how often have men harmed them?" Countered the Allesvasser with that same sad smile. "Change is hard, Rojar but your people have endured much. So have they. We now reach a point where the world needs both. Man and Elf need to stand together. Other things are coming, I don't know what but I can feel the potential for darkness and conflict. Both sides need this. My will needs to expand here for them as much as to help you. Have not the wood and herb shipments been a boon?"
"Yes... my son is recovering faster from the herbal medicines we were able to make, Allesvasser," Rojar said reluctantly as he seems more thoughtful. "It will be hard. I've seen the reports. Elves are leave the Forest. Those unable to stomach our new bond of kinship. The Vasserfolk stand behind you and now these Elf-folk. We will embrace them as you have asked us to, show them what it means to be a friend to our people."
"I know you will, Rojar. I have faith in you," said the Allesvasser with a warmer smile as he gives the large Jarl's shoulder a squeeze. "I hear they've been happy for your stone and even put in orders for coal and iron. This is a good start, Rojar. We will make their lands stronger even as we strengthen Undersprings. This is just the beginning. Other provinces will join and we will build a land where we can prosper together and protect each other. Hopefully that may draw others to come be kin with us as well."
"As you say, Allesvasser. We are prepared to forge ahead with you. You have never let us down and we know you have always been prepared to sacrifice for us," said the Jarl before strutting off to shout orders as workers were arguing over the latest shipment of stone for the aqueduct.
The Allesvasser just smiles sadly as he ponders the name of life of his new host. He would make his sacrifice mean something for the sake of all involved. This aqueduct was just the beginning of that even as Elves and Vasserfolk argued and bartered over their trade goods in the first signs of a new bond forming between these provinces. So far no one had been shot or stabbed, which was a very good sign.
The Golden Fields were named for the golden wheat that grew there, not the precious metal. There was plenty of the later, but of far more importance was the massive surplus of food that could be produced and how easily it could be grown. It made sense then for the materialistic cult of Gol-Remez to have made their start there, even if it was also where his predecessor had held the most sway.
Sualc Atnas, the current First Mouth of Gol-Remez (a position other religions would refer to as "High Priest") stood above thousands of his fellows, his voice magically amplified to reach every ear. Behind him stood Gol-Remez's citadel, the divinely-charged monument to the god's greatness drawing in the faith of his followers and channeling it into power.
Due to their religion's encouragement of personal preference and the abundance of dye their lands produced there was no one standard attire, but it was understood that those blessed to speak for Gol-Remez should dress in a way that made clear their station. Atnas had chosen as his robes of office a velvet coat of red and white. A floppy red hat with a single white ball attached adorned his head, pointed red shoes were on his feet, and numerous sacks stuffed to the brim with gifts wrapped in green and red paper surrounded him. Despite having served Gol-Remez's predecessor for his entire life Atnas had happily made the switch, glad that he was longer required to perform human sacrifice. So with his hair as white as his beard and a protruding waistline from his indulgence in the bounty Gol-Remez brought (especially milk and cookies), he delivered a speech.
"Does Gol-Remez demand that we dedicate our lives to him? No! He only asks that we live them to the fullest.
Does he demand our fealty? No! He only asks that we work to ensure all can enjoy the pleasures this world holds.
Does he demand anything from us? No! We CHOOSE to spread his faith to all and bring about the Great Work that shall bring about The Promised Day when all shall be united the Paradise he shall create.
Gol-Remez does not demand our faith. He knows us and unlike other gods asks nothing we cannot give. We are his children and even as he guides as as a loving parent he also rewards our rightful actions! Not just through the power of our faith, but with the fulfillment of our material desires!"
As Atnas says this the Mouths surrounding him begin tossing presents to the crowd, whose previous silence is broken by them scrambling to grab them for themselves. Aside from some shoving it's surprisingly nonviolent, and by the time the sacks have been emptied most of the crowd has gotten something.
"Take these. If what you have recieved is not something you want, exchange it with someone else. If you can't give it to somebody it will bring happiness to. And know that you do Gol-Remez's work by bringing joy to others. And that true joy comes from giving the greatest gift of all: the opportunity to join us in our revelry."
"And this is only the beginning of our festivities. BEHOLD: the abundance that only Gol-Remez can provide us!!!"
A pulse of darkness thrummed from the citadel, enhancing the senses of the faithful caught in it's area of effect. As it finally ended at the back of the crowd, a miracle happened.
Where before there had been rows of empty tables, now they were suddenly groaning under the literal tons of food covering them. And even the least devout proved their devotion through their indulgences that day. For none could eat a bite or take a sip without realizing how much better it all tasted. By the end of it their hearts were as full of faith as their stomachs were full of food.
Gol-Remez was there as well, having chosen a vessel to contain enough of his consciousness that he too could indulge. He had to switch between them repeatedly or else their stomachs would burst with all the food he had them consume. By the end of the feast it was Gol-Remez's last vessel who devoured the last scraps before belching hugely and collapsing.
The god's hunger was never fully sated, but this would do for now.
Hajova's Internal Development Winter Turn 1
[Witch-Haven] - [Audio Track]
Part 1: Olo's Construction
The tall lumbering trees, the scent of blackberries filled the air. Dashes of wind sprayed forth and fro in random directions in an almost unnatural dance. Little blubs of decaying leaves shimmered across the ground as a chilly rain descended calmly through the shin-high, dormant undergrowth. The occasional snap of falling tree limbs creates a staccato across the ever heard whole note of zing. The forest felt somewhat asleep, under its usual orchestral sound. In a sudden crescendo, the flap of wings felt across the trees. Graceful yet potent, the swosh and szing as a black form twirls and flips across the canopy, passing by the small wisps floating just under the branches. Landing by rock tools, lumber, and a detailed blueprint inked in periwinkle glow; arches of Oshinec cascaded across the page as the winged figure exposed its bright, nectar-colored belly scanned across all of the items. Long, pointy ears on its head; small snout and a duet of small protruding fangs destined its face to strike passion in some, fear in others. This winged figure proclaims itself through its tall statue and meditative pose as a Chiropteran, one who arose from bats long ago. Could they be found in books? Well, if you dug enough maybe. They may be the most recognized for the animist beliefs, though those beliefs remain in their heads. Their hearts channelled Hajova now; their reward for their dutiful and dedicated devotion to the spirits. The Chiropteran gazed at the blueprint carefully. The detailed numbers and mathematics along with the immaculate handwriting held testament to Hajova's dedication to function and form. He scanned along the tree, making marks gently with a red stone bound to the end of a stick. Flying counter-clockwise along the trunk, Olo planned supports and platforms for Hajova's newest initiative. A series of platforms for those hunting, pest-clearing, or anything for the matter across Witch-Haven as a place to rest and operate various traps she had devised. Olo investigated a hollow trunk with a large circle in periwinkle glow across the top. He slowed his movements as he looked through the spiderweb wrap around each trunk. Bee hives stuffed the log like a turkey. Hajova professed that bees were far more harmful than fire. The wrap itself is durable enough for transport, not for when the log would fall. Olo flapped his wings together as he moved his fingers, finding the support beams marked with a vertical line. He heaved and ho'ed those for preparation as swoshes and szings filled the air.
Olo calmly ate a blackberry as his fellows readied and placed the wood together, carved and carefully made for its new function. He carefully lashed and glued with a mixture of spiderwebs and trap sab to hold each plank and connector together. He carefully measured and placed each guard rail before he worked with his brother, Jorega, on the trap mechanism. Jorega stood around 6'3", around a head taller than Olo. Together they spun the rope together and laced it upon the gears that would hold the log in place. Once the bare necessities were snuggled just right, Olo gathered the excess lumber and crafted a small set of tables and stools for sitting, eating, and conversing. Upon approaching dawn, Olo gathered the work crew and flew back to Witch-haven Hold.
TLR: Hajova tasks her Chiropteran followers (200 ish/ what's needed) to construct landing pads across Witch-Haven and ready them with bee-ridden traps. Roll: 7
Part 2: Takuma's Field Study
"My Kodama, why has our Teotl sent us now. Winter still speaks within the song." A human druid with animal skin clothes, blue paint across his arms and face in Tiger form approached and spoke swifty.
Takuma raked back his maroon hair, centering his circlet with the sea-colored stone inside of it, "She wants us to discern any exciting plant work to help our people. I think with Winter wanning, she wants to screen for hard plants that could be used in crater lake. Though, she had not disclosed particularly why."
The party of druids (8) scour and appreciate the natural beauty of Witch-Haven having a grand time studying and identifying plant life. Trails, wading through the Jacoyba River, and spotting Chiropterans flying to and fro from worksites. They spend the night amongst the trees before returning to Hajova's crater hold.
As they returned, Takuma traveled along the hardened roots of the Spria trees to reach Hajova's ancient shrine at the center of her Reformation crater. There she awaited for him. He placed his hands in hers as they briefly spoke.
"Mother, should I report on our findings?" Takuma's hands fizzled a little. His body stilled. Hajova swayed them side to side. While not truly her child, Takuma became Hajova's step-child through the death of his mother and the disappearance of his father.
"Oh sweetness, the sun rises as we speak. You must'en get to bed. Don't want those sunbirds to peck you. Chat we will when those paintings of eyes of yours get their sheen back. Quick now."
Takuma nodded, rolling his bed roll in the small dug out in front of the shrine. He lifted off his deerskin tunic, leaving his fiber pants and circlet. Hajova nestled her white cushion under his head, placed a hand on his forehead as he breathed deeper and deeper. As his nose snickled and woshed in sleep, Hajova returned to a ball of black mist in the center of the crater, awaiting word of news.
TLR: Hajova tasks her druids to scan the province for useful plants before Spring begins its concerto. Roll: 8
The deafening blast wave and rippling aftershocks of the terrible and calamitous explosion overhead broke over the unyielding edifice that was House Xeres as it's awakened master willed it's howling ascent through an labyrinthine urban substrata à la unsurveyed forgotten catacombs, ruins, dungeons, passageways, and sewers. Just as the fortress withstood the millennia, the Capital far above would be saved from complete annihilation, whether by the Pantheon's grace, or Muurdaan steel...
He looked to the Preservers hurriedly flitting about the feet of kneeling Housemen Elite that they squired, first to emerge from the din of the castle armory presently occupied by the legions roused from their barracks. It was certain that the forces of his vanguard alone, their potence born from hate kept in check only by cunning, would shake the city to it's foundations were the great armored hulks unleashed. Overlord Xeres laid a mailed fist upon the tower bridge gate when finally the palatial heights of the structure pierced the surface and broke free with a long rumbling shudder as a series of mana depleted enchantments dispelled and it came to a rest securely atop it's former earthen prison. "You're about to enter the greatest battle of your life," he addressed the assembling ranks of troops. "The fate of humanity is intertwined with the city-state of Muurdaan and it's empire. Fail, and all of her accumulated wisdom and memory will be scattered to the four winds. Succeed, and you'll be honored for generations to come." The man declared. "Your cohort will cut a bloody swath through the invader for the Terror Teams and legions following in your wake to reach their objectives. Show no mercy to the enemy, and before the day is out I'm certain to have the proud Underlord Touryan for my cupbearer." He smirked at the thought of the Capital Houses groveling at his feet once the dust had settled, signaling the tower watchmen to open the way to the drawbridge and lowering his visor as soldiers cheered.
What he saw then gave him pause unlike anything else on earth. It appeared the likes of prophecy had run it's course for the children of Muurdaan. A vast smoldering crater far below, devoid of all life, swarmed with errant hordes of golems and elementals created from residual magics surrounded and bid him welcome to what little remained of his home. In that moment, the disturbing implications of the rest of Muurdaan's displacement to another plane of existence, rather than the havoc and destruction that he had feared, was too great for him to bear. The rulers of the Eternal Empire had in their cowardice abandoned their people to ride out the end times without scarcely a thought of sparing the rest of mankind. "The council has betrayed their sacred trust. It falls to House Xeres to shepherd humanity now."
Gillian and Halmed were walking through the town square where the celebration was at its highest point. They were both dressed in comfortable clothing. The people of the Silverlanes were able to mange well, thanks to their Lord, Inziim. Gillian was a healer that used the medicinal waterplants to help the people. She was still fully learning the craft, but hopefully by the next winter, she would graduate to the next Rank of Healer. Halmed was a miner in the Quartz mines. It was a valuable material and one that was highly placed. Both had important jobs in this settlement.
The music was festive and full of joy. The undead Calvary put on a show of a parade, maneuvering with depth and skill to the amusement of the crowd. Tomorrow there would be services to morn those who had been lost in the battle, but for tonight, tonight they would celebrate their great victory.
Halmed turned to Gillian with a turkey leg in his hand. "So why do you suppose that we are having such a grand celebration?"
Gillian placed her hands on her hips and slightly cocked her head to the left. "Really, Halmed? Were you not listening to the proclamations?"
The man took a bite out of the turkey leg and shrugged his shoulders.
Gillian sighed as one of her hands moved to her own forward as she shook her head back and forth. "Honestly, I don't know why I spent my time with you if you are going to be so dense." She waved her right arm around as she motioned to the undead troops. "Lord Inziim, with assistance from the rest of the his new pantheon, The Kahinzi were able to crush the Pretender Mitrix and save the region of Quennan, just as our God should be able to do."
Halmed nodded as he took another bite of his turkey leg. He gave a hard swallow before he started to speak again. "So we're celebrating the victory over this False God?"
Gillian pulled a few locks of her hair over her left ear. "Yes, and the successful forming of the new Pantheon. It is a joyous occasion. The God of Luck, Kai and the Goddess Hajova, of the Earth, Sky, and Void.
Another hard swallow of turkey leg, Halmed started tapping his chest with his fist until the moment passed. He'd have to get himself some water soon or that would just get worse. "Oh wow. they sound pretty strong. But of course they'd have to be if our Lord Inziim has teamed up with them.
Gillian smiled. "Yes, of course. Inziim knows best. Hence how easily he crushed that Pretender Mitrix in one on one combat. What I would have given to see that glorious moment."
The music became louder and the pair gave in to the full enjoyment of the new Holiday.
in a world of one color
the sound of wind
gently fills the ruins.
Among the rubble, the fortress of the Children of Attolia stood defiant against the ceaseless torrent of the chilling winter breeze. Peace and harmony filled the walls of the fortress as a flute solemnly sang throughout the halls, accented by the sounds of footsteps crunching the frozen earth, and simple chatter among its inhabitants. The people eagerly went on with their daily duties in this cold morning. Food was being prepared, birds tended to, rubble being cleared out and various items made in small workshops. This was the peace and safety that the people had come back to the Old World for, a small oasis of respite and comfort in the midst of the turning of the wheel. Yet, beyond the walls, the Improbably Pot knew... even seen the horrors that awaited for these dovish people. It mattered little what terror or storm awaited outside for the Pot. It would pass through the tides as it had always done. Yet, for the people who looked to the Pot for guidance, the Pot knew that their mortal coils were ephemeral at best. They would not find physical salvation in this world; however, spiritual ascendance was a distant, yet open door for their salvation. Physical death was not a terminal state of the self.
The Pot sat at the altar room as before him, rows of masked men wearing pot shaped hats sat on their knees, without moving or making noise. Only one of these men, sitting to the right of the Pot had earned the honor today to play a wooden flute and guide the others in their meditations. In this room, it did not matter which clan one belonged to or how much coin one carried in their pocket. These were physical illusions meant to pervert the spirit into creating a false sense of meaning and security in life. Such false meanings only creates more suffering for the self. All that mattered in this room was the depth of spiritual awakening and realization in this holy room in a way that no one could be judged by artificial and transitory values.
The flute ceased as the meditation ended. The flute player slowly put away his flute, and then rose from his knees. He slowly walked to the Pot with his back towards the others. He took off his hat, placed it gently next to his own feet, and slowly lifted the pot over his own head. The man then spoke "My Disciples. The bitter winter winds, day by day, have started to become slowly less biting as we approach spring, a time of action. We must do much to preserve our peace and harmony so that more may be able to learn the way to enlightenment. It is for this end that I seek volunteers to form an expedition and head south to the lakes of Pasha's Tears. Let us begin discussions with them so that we may form relations with them, and help guide them so that they too begin their path to spiritual awakening. We will approach them with open hearts and gifts of the body and spirit. Who among you will rise to this challenge?" All of the men began to rise from their stillness.
The Pot did not speak as it simply allowed a silence to fill the air. The men stood still without making a single noise. With a content nod, the Pot spoke once more "The Banner of the Left will handle this task. The inhabitants fight over the lakes as precious spawning pools, yet Attolia is blessed with sea access. See if that can be used as a tool to broker peace and alleviate their territorial needs. The Banner of the Right will continue to maintain the vigil to protect the faithful in their duties and escort me if any issues are to occur that require closer attention." The Pot lifted itself. The man paused for a moment before gently placing the Pot on the altar. The man picked up his hat and donned it once more. The left half of the room bowed and then began to quietly leave the altar room.
1. Emissaries, missionaries, and traders are sent to open diplomatic relations, attempt to convert, and open trade with the tribes in Pasha's Tears. They bring with them trading access to Paradise Birds (Food, Exotic) and copper, which will hopefully tempt the tribes with luxuriousness. If the Pelagians seem open to joining the fold, then the diplomats are permitted to use Attolia's coast/sea access as a negotiation tool to alleviate their need for more spawning territory.
2. Attolian Society and Continental Pioneers work on clearing out/salvaging/excavating the remaining ruins of Attolia
Rumours had abounded of a terrible creature roaming the farmlands of the great fortress, scaring away livestock and terrorising farmers and guards alike. With the population terrified, only two mighty warriors had stepped forward to deal with the menace, tracking it to it's hideout. Even with the blazing sun in the sky, no light seemed to enter the cavernous mouth of it's lair.
Sweat dripped from the massive muscles of the larger warrior as he tossed his long, luxurious hair backwards to peer into the dark shadows. But the darkness was all consuming and even his awesome sight could not pierce it.
With a grunt, he looked to his female companion, the sultry samurai adjusting her awe-striking armour for the battle ahead. "Are you ready?" boomed the bare chested behemoth, reaching for his colossal club behind his back, the very effort making his muscles strain.
With a slow nod, the well armed warrior woman reached for her own weapons, sliding the two finely crafted blades from her hips. "On three...."
The ground shook, as the mighty man slid his sandals across the ground, heaving his weighty weapon before him.
Gripping her steel swords tightly, the azure coloured amazon stared unflinchingly into the mouth of hell, ready to strike.
With a roar, the pair charged with unparalleled strength and speed into the beast's lair. But even this unmatched duo of legendary champions was struck cold when a pair of blood red eyes of striking scarlet stared back from with the darkness. It's gaze was like ice in their veins, trying to tear away at their very souls so how could these almighty heroes not recoil at it's very presence. Within the hellish shadow the beast stirred, it's eyes now locked on to it's newfound prey. "Retreat!" screamed the horrified Heracles, as the malevolent creature charged at them.
The weasel stepped into the warm sun from the barn, watching with curiosity as the two children ran away screaming from her, the little boy falling to the ground in his haste and his stick clattering down besides him. Feeling her tatty dress being pulled, the young girl turned, her two sharp stones dropping to the floor, and helped her fat friend from the ground, tugging with all her might as the weasel hopped towards them inquisitively. Covered in dirt and snow, the pair took off into the distance as fast their little legs could carry them.
The weasel tilted her head, watching them unflinchingly with her pitch black eyes as they went. The sounds of heavy footsteps behind her pulled her away from the curious children. Jumping to the side of the road, she now watched as a legion of creatures, in the thousands, marched by heading for the peaks of the twin mountains. Unperturbed by the startling sight, she took off in the opposite direction...
Kamaitachi: Consummates relations with the bordering Queen Forest.
Followers: 4K Bakemono, seek to explore the Pale Sisters, looking for new resources, treasures or secrets.
The Chiropterans labored tirelessly for Hajova, but building apiaries and rustling bees did not come naturally to these mainly nocturnal creatures. Many mishaps were had, many chiropterans were disrupted by numerous stings. But prevail they did, and the defensive platforms were built, and the defense-hives were evenly distributed among them.
(Non-sacred Chiropterans are disrupted, and cannot march/fly until turn 2) -- but their project was a success, and security and sentry ability of the home province is raised considerably.
As for The searching of plants, indeed it was difficult for the season -- but their goddess in her wisdom knew there were things to find... The populace knew most plants were not in bloom or showing themselves, but on the rim of the crater a discovery was made... certain trees that had frozen solid around the lip of the goddess' crater exposed to the freezing magical mist of the crater's waterfalls -- revealed a meta-natural phenomenon -- the forming of "Crystalwoods" -- Trees converted thusly did not survive the transformation, but became magical sources of wood and ice, that refused to melt even in much warmer environments -- rising temperatures simply gave them the properties of warm but unmelting ice crystals. It was not a renewable resource, but Hajova gains 2 units of Crystalwood... which all marvelled at what the applications for such a special material could have. Could it make interesting magical equipment? Powerful lenses? A valuable trade good? Time would tell...
The Death of Hatred First Public Prophecy of the Allesvasser
The Great Cycle of Hatred has reached a point of ending. The great Winterborn Lord, Trisde'llevalean of Qualatiol, who uses his power to chain the Elven peoples to Hatred shall fall. The cycle of Hatred has gone long, fueled by the blood of Elves and Men. Yet it is those like this Great Lord who perpetuate the cycle. Know that Hatred has wrought its own downfall for the Stars do speak and declare that the Great Trisde'llevalean will falter. His wrath has spun nothing but building contempt and exhaustion. He has invited his own failure.
The Elven people will turn from Hatred as the Lord falls. Some may try to cling to it in desperation. Others will learn and grow away from it, walking into a new age and opportunity for them. All will be free of his chains, his will and endless fury towards those not of his kind. The time of old feuds is coming to a close and the Elven peoples must step forward into new views. Some may be grim, some may be joyous, but all will be free to walk their OWN PATH, unfettered by the threat of dominance from one who has lived past the point Hatred.
Know that there are those who will embrace you. That HOPE is not dead. Break the chains of FEAR and HATED. Be free and step forth into you own wills for He who binds you to his through sheer force of power will not long remain to do so. A great change is upon us all and Hatred can no longer be the fuel of survival. It is a poison and it has poisoned the heart of Trisde'llevalean to the point that his end is upon him.
So speaks the Allesvasser
Watcher of the Stars
Speaker of Stone
Voice of the Waters of Life
1. Emissaries, missionaries, and traders are sent to open diplomatic relations, attempt to convert, and open trade with the tribes in Pasha's Tears. They bring with them trading access to Paradise Birds (Food, Exotic) and copper, which will hopefully tempt the tribes with luxuriousness. If the Pelagians seem open to joining the fold, then the diplomats are permitted to use Attolia's coast/sea access as a negotiation tool to alleviate their need for more spawning territory.
The barbarians seemed to want the pelagians out of the province, and happily accepted gifts of copper and birds. The Pelagians explained they spawn in fresh water and during the warmer months they go to feed and grow in the seas. The pelagians, using natural weapons made of coral and shells, were particularly attracted to Copper, and likewise wanted the barbarians gone as they sometimes stole their "Caviar" -- though violence between the two peoples so far had been light, as populations grew it would doubtless escalate. The pot could decisively side with one or the other or try to continue to negotiate an unsteady peace. The barbarians for birds and copper were willing to trade horses, which they used for both labor and war.
"The Horned Deer clan will control Pasha's tears, armored ones -- be warned of that, but for now your trade is welcome" Said the barbarians.
"We need this province to breed, priests of your pretender... intercede on our behalfs and exile the humans and we shall join your faith" said the Pelagian Shamans.
This would be an interesting knot to unravel!
2. Attolian Society and Continental Pioneers work on clearing out/salvaging/excavating the remaining ruins of Attolia
So much was destroyed in attolia, but one great relic was found intact under a devastated temple. A mirror that weren't for enchantments, would surely have been shattered. This enabled, when used by a pretender, to see the likely outcome of a declared action before it was committed to. In addition to this, an assortment of magical weapons and shields were found in a devastated museum... 1 unit of enchanted swords and shields was found, enough to equip 1-2k troops.
in the high peaks followers of Kamaitachi found a broken skull in a devastated shattered patch of black ice in the middle of a frozen lake. All around the skull shards of blue fire laid oddly like glass... this was the corpse of a minor demigod or pretender that had been shattered by the elves, it seemed. The shards were collected and taken to the treasury, the broken skull was given to Kamaitachi as an possible magic item... the skull whispered you see... in languages her agents could not understand.
Faith gains Dark Tutor (magic item) if desired, or the item can be sold off for 1 wealth.
Faith gains 1 unit of FROZEN FLAMES -- which can be kept as a trade good, have a function created for it, or it can be converted into 2d4 fire OR water sparks.
The Pot sat in the altar room, flanked by rows of Kriegans in their religious garb. A small red glowing light seemed to circle each the Pot and two others in the room, the Kahan of the Right Banner and the Kahan of the Left Banner. Silence filled the room as not a word was spoken nor a sound emitted. That is until a knock was heard from the entrance to the altar room. "Enlightened One, your guests have arrived." a voice said as the doors opened. "Presenting, the Pelagian Elder Shaman, Velas and Chieftain of the Horned Deer Clan, Arminius." Two humanoids then entered the altar room with wide eyes as they looked around at the odd scene of seeing rows of masked men. The Pelagian appeared to be past his physical prime, yet the way he carried himself spoke wisdom as he quickly collected his senses and looked forward at the Pot without gawking. The human Chieftain on the other hand continued to look around the altar room for a moment before he stopped to look at the Pot. Several colorful feathers seemed to decorate his hat, a sign that the chieftain already took part in the luxuries that Attolia provided.
The two walked closer towards the Improbable Pot before stopping 10 paces in front of the Pot. They both took a knee and lowered their heads in deference to the Pot. "Hail, Enlightened One. We have arrived as promised to present ourselves as leaders and representatives of our peoples. May we serve your holiness well!" The Pelagian spoke with a measure of circumstance. It was clear that the Pelagian was used to such things, though his experience as a shaman likely well prepared him for such an event. "Aye! Here we are." The Chieftain replied in agreement. It was rather unusual for Arminius who was rather straightforward and loud to be playing second fiddle and letting someone else speak first on his behalf, but to the Pot it merely seemed as if the Chieftain was a bit overwhelmed with all these formalities.
A booming voice emitted from the Pot "Welcome, out newest disciples. We are blessed and gracious that you have come to join us. We have summoned you both to discuss matters now that our futures are entwined. The Sons of Attolia are a rather mercantile people, used to sailing the seas and participating in markets around the world. Our circumstances have lead us to believe that it would be wise to open our markets once more and actively participate in commerce. What fortunes are we able to bring to our markets?" It was with this opening that the Chieftain spoke "Horses! The Horned Deer Clan are master horsemen. People across the continent will seek our swift steads, though of course we should keep the swiftest for ourselves." The Pelagian replied "The Pelagian tribes offer our coral and shells that we use to craft most of our tools and weapons, though I suppose most would purchase them for their beauty or other reasons." The Pot replied "Very well, whatever it is that we may provide for our collective fortunes and prosperity is welcomed. Let all know that we offer Paradise Birds, Copper, Coral and Shells, and Horses for trade so that they may approach us with offers to trade and barter. May our ships be filled with fortune and opportunities."
The courtyard of the castle is always so quiet in the middle of winter. The bitter cold has forced most plants to recede, the trees dark and dormant as they await the Season of Rebirth, whilst many of the small woodland creatures normally seen about the castle gardens now sleep soundly in their burrows, hibernating through this season of snow and ice. The Goddess' children, the Divine Messengers, may not hibernate themselves but they ward against the cold like any other creature, keeping themselves safe and warm behind the walls of their great ironwood castle.
The peaceful quiet of the castle gardens is momentarily broken by a sudden poof of something landing upon the ground. Of course, the Goddess soon reveals herself, a great kitsune of white fur and red markings, as tall as a horse in body and twice as long. Her nine long and fluffy tails sprawl across the crisp, freshly fallen snow as she herself gives out a great huff, her hot breath kicking up snowflakes from the ground while melting most others. And she lies there, resting. The Kitsune is not used to facing foes of that strength, and to think something of that might managed to grow so close to her realm, the noble forces of nature being twisted to create such obscenities. It is all quite sickening.
The Kitsune would not be able to rest in her place for long. Her appearance brings with it the attention of others, and here, in the heart of her realm, it brings the attentions of her children. Foxes soon appear from the castle, and they joyously make their way over to their mother. Including the young kits, who excitedly rush over, their tiny little bodies clambering through the snowfall to see her. Sensing their presence, the Goddess would rise into a sitting position, watching with some amusement and most adoration for the young ones rushing to her.
"Mother!" They would yip, finally reaching her, practically jumping with energy, "Is it true?! Did you destroy a horrible monster, and saved a whole town by yourself?!"
"I heard it was a thousand, thousand, thousand paws high! And breathed clouds of death that could wipe out forests! And led, like, a huge horde of other monsters too! Is that all true?!"
"My darlings." The Goddess spoke, her heart swelling to see them, and she could not help but stoop down her head to nuzzle with them, "I have missed you all so much."
By this point, the other, more adult foxes arrived, along with the Goddess' eldest son, Hiro. Seeing him arrive, the Kitsune rose her head back up from the little ones, and cast her serene gaze down upon her son. "Hiro, I am so glad to see you here safe. Are you alright? Did that monster harm you?"
"No, Mother, I escaped quite easily." Hiro tells her with a warm tone, "You could have told me what you were planning to do. I could have stayed and helped you."
"I could have, yes. But that creature could not have known of my presence. Even just the slightest inkling from you could have tipped it off. Besides, if you truly knew that I was there, you may not have spoken as you did. Of peace and wisdom. It may not have understood either one, but I am so proud of you for trying."
"Now, I must take my leave and--" The Goddess would speak, only for her words to raise a chorous of whines at her decree.
"You're leaving again?!" One of the little ones complains, "You're always leaving, Mother! Can't you stay with us just this once?!"
The Kitsune's heart cannot help but shatter at such a complaint, hurting her in ways the little one could never understand. What mother leaves her children, after all? Shame grips her like an icy cold vice over her heart, forcing her gaze away, the pain sinking into her chest like a ravenous parasite, almost taking her breath away. But she knows her children are hurting too. Many understand, of course. But every now and then, the unvarnished truth of everyone's feeling surfaces, this time within the words of a little one.
"Laros, that's enough!" Hiro barks harshly at the young kit, "You know our Mother has many duties! You will not--!"
"Hiro!"The Goddess speaks, raising her voice just a touch, but her commanding tone is all that is needed for everyone to fall silent. The Kitsune looks back to her children, all of them, their little faces looking up at her in mixed expressions of unease. How much she wishes she could be here with them all the time, just her and her children, without worry or care for anything else. But that is not a luxury she can indulge in today. Maybe one day, maybe when all things have been set right in the world, finally then she can be the Mother her children truly deserve. At last, after long moments to tense silence, the Goddess speaks. First to Hiro, her voice pained. "Please, enough, Hiro. Laros did not mean any harm. He simply speaks honestly in his innocence. Do not be so hard on him."
"I shall stay."The Goddess relents, unable to resist her motherly call to home, "For as long as I can. I will need rest, and there is no rest better had than at home, among my beloved children."
Rising to her paws, the Goddess would turn back to her castle, her home. Asphodel is a still a concern, one the Goddess could never forget, but the evil pretender suffered a great blow by losing the Blightbloom, and will take time for it to recover from such a loss. The Goddess can spare the time to be with her children.
For just a little while.
It's not too much to ask for.
"Good people of Vaalville," A Druid declares in the towns centre, people all around turning from their work to look to the crier, ceasing their efforts to clear the town of rubble and repairing its defences to listen, "Our Goddess, in her infinite compassion, saw the plight of this town and sought to bring blessed salvation to all its people, by destroying the vile abomination known as the Blightbloom. The monster is indeed dead, and all here are now saved. But the danger is not yet over. The creature's master, monstrous Asphodel, yet lives, and for as long as it does live no one will know peace. The Goddess wishes to finally destroy this blight upon the land, by marching a Grand Army of the Wilds into the heartland of this wicked monster to slay it once and for all."
"Our Goddess stood at your side in your most desperate hour," The Druid declares, "Who here will now step forward to stand at her side! Who here will rise to fight for your lands, your homes, and for your families! Every able-bodied man and woman is now needed! Join the Goddess' army, and fight for all Life!"
With the horrors of the Blightbloom still fresh in the minds of the people, droves come from across the realm to join the Goddess' new army, and especially from Vaalville. A good start was made upon building her army, but more would be needed. There was no telling the strength of this evil pretender, and the Goddess must ensure she is as prepared as possible. Asphodel must be destroyed, lest it grow and spread and become an existential threat against all Life everywhere.
The Goddess felt it.
The brutal murder. The senseless destruction.
During a meal among her children, the Goddess would suddenly gasp and whine, the feeling of so many lives crying out in terror in a single moment, only for them all to soon fall silent. It was pain unlike she had felt in a long time. The Kitsune has seen much in her long life, and endured horrors, but the very worst of them all is the desolation of the natural world. So connected to Life is she that when a great, sudden imbalance to the Endless Cycle is made, it comes down upon Goddess like many tonnes of stone.
"Are you alright, Mother?" Hiro's voice rings out in the now silent feasting hall, frowning with worry to see his mother pain, "What is wrong?"
"I... I-I just felt..." The Goddess stammers out, her voice shaky, cracking under the weight of terrible realisation, "No.... How could...? So many lives.... So much lost...."
Grounding herself, the Kitsune gathers her strength of will and uses it to shield herself from this disturbance, quickly lessening and vanishing the shock and pain as quickly as it came over her. Regaining her composure, the Goddess looks back to her children, looking weary and downcast.
"Something terrible has happened. Untold destruction has been wrought. Many lives have ended, suddenly and violently. All living things purged at once. So many lives... have broken away from the Endless Cycle. They... they may never know Rebirth...."
"I am sorry, my children."The Goddess rises, turning to leave with as much grace as she can muster, "I must rest."
The Divine Messengers can only watch as she leaves, looking to each other once she was gone, all confused and disturbed by what they just witnessed. Whatever happened, it must have been terrible indeed to shake their Mother so much. The enemies of all Life are mounting and growing bolder, it seems. Asphodel may be their first enemy, but this today promises that it will not be the last.
The city-states of Berytos, Muurdaan, and Attolia enter into a free trade pact to better facilitate the spread and flow of commerce throughout the local channel region of the Westerlands continent. The following goods and resources are transported to their market exchange...
Part 1, A: Parley Vous? Edited from Discord for improved writing quality
Seven minutes, no more or less. Hajova laid before both King Ochirluaxl and Queen Uiluilmia. Monarchs of their respective sides, each in a bloody feud with the other. Peace? Maybe not even the faintest glimmer. Yet, Hajova seeks to preserve the lives of the tribes for she knows that the Death cycle of the Infinite Cycle is far full of energy. So, she arrives in the Jovecc Mires with an escort to parlay with the monarchs in a hope to resolve the tension between them and wield their support against the Queen of Funerals, Ephine.
Hajova speaks first, floating upon her unsullied white cushion. Radiating purity. She allows both monarchs to comfort themselves in seating before giving her powerful speech:
"Greetings, my appreciation for both spreads forth for ceasing bloodshed in that speaking may occur. I understand that abundant troubles spread upon you both, and while many believe cooperation amongst you is foolish, my many eyes see differently. You both are in a conflict that yields no rewards to either; simple loss of life, resources, and great potential. You exhaust your strength when death looms not so far. The Queen of funerals will march upon you soon; death will come for you all if you do not come with me. I did not come to simply give a warning. I offer you love, acceptance, and fair judgment for both your peoples. All races are equal in my eyes. Both in the living and when they join me in the realm of spirits. I come with shelter, food, and water. I come to heal your lands and bring back animals for hunting. And I come to grant absolution to the spirits of your ancestors as is my promise to all who take me as their teotl. With all that I know and offer, may you Uiluilmia or you Ochirluaxl have questions or concerns for me?"
Uiluilmia speaks first, but the lizard king nods in agreement throughout... "each of us owes a deep debt in blood to the other, Pretender. We cannot simply put out the fires in the hearts of aggrieved mothers, vengeful sons, and families bend on revenge. This is no longer the day of the old order... It has been shown that goblin and lizardman cannot agree."
"I understand the troubles you have will create skepticism and concern with your leadership. I, with a child myself, understand those concerns. However, neither of you will survive the onslaught of the Queen of funerals. She will come in spring and use the vast energies she has collected to wipe you clean. Is this blood debt worth damning your future? Is the past so important that you would throw away tomorrow? Would you want to throw away the lives of your children for petty revenge? A revenge that will only spark more? This blood debt will never truly end until you recognize it only destroys you and accomplishes nothing and then cease hostilities. I offer salvation from the shadow of death that awaits you. All you must do is put everything aside and allow me to show you the love and compassion for which I have for all creatures. To show you the great potential I see, and the futures of victory that await us. In the face of this world's chaos, unity is our strength. And with me, all of these things are and will be plentiful."
The lizard king speaks, with your time up... "We had a pretender once before, a god of laws and orders that kept the peace, dead, by elves. What makes you proof to godly assassins, what makes your protection more complete? Then the goblin queen speaks, in turn -- "And what do you know of this lady of graves, and how do you know they mean us harm?"
Hajova nods, "The elven lord that sent those champions has been enthralled by one of my esteemed allies. The elves are in disarray and seeking to make peace with the other races. And for the assassins, simple. The night is my shroud, my dominion. I see all; no invisibility or illusion can hide from my gaze. These assassins will have the folly that they can sneak up upon me when truly the tables shall turn upon them. They shall face the wrath of the spirits and shatter upon them. They shall not succeed. Not in thousands of years. For they have tried before, hundreds before your time, and it is self-evident that they failed." She pauses, "The Queen of funerals is damning herself by destroying her own province for these energies. Once the province is dead, she must move. The path she has laid will only lead a twisted crusade across the world. She herself already lost faith within some of her people, a rebellion is active as we speak. With sure resistance, her forces will rout and more will follow. In my current position, I am well prepared for her, ready to provide this resistance to have her people defect from her cause. Upon sight that another can challenge her in the field of magic and power, her people will see the truth and come to me."
Uiluilmia speaks up: "Ochirluaxl and I, I can tell, are both skeptical -- but in that we find a glimmer of hope, can we not, lizard king? For upon these promises, at least we can agree we have reservations. Perhaps our people are not so different? We hate the same, we question the same -- with guidance, perhaps we can see the same." .... Ochirluaxl frowns... and is pensive for a bit.
"Blood must be shed for my people. We demand war immediately on this "Lady of Graves" -- and my people will fight beside the goblins... the heat of hate shall be quenched in the blood of this pretender that seeks to do us harm... will you help lead our armies? Will you take the battle yourself to this godling, as we will take the fight to her troops?
Hajova smiles, letting the purple energies across her arch ignite, "Yes, I shall. Let us rid this world of this abomination. I will command your troops and crush her."
"If you lie," Ochirluaxl says, "then the goblins and the lizards will unite --to turn on you".
Soon after, preparations are made for an assault upon an hour after dusk the following night. Letters are sent to the generals of Ephine, causing some to defect to Hajova's cause.
(Continued in part B)
Part 1, B: Revelations
[Festerwoods/Barywood] - [Audio Track 2]
Hajova arrives precisely as she meant too. She hovers upon her cushion, watching as Ephine's forces cautiously approach the meeting place for which the letters detailed. Ephine raises a blue flag to begin parlay. Hajova, one of talking before violence, graciously accepts the opportunity. She approaches Ephine and her retainers in the center.
"Greetings, Ephine, I have come to heal these lands from the sickness that befalls them. I understand that you played a key role in this. I've also noticed some unrest among your ranks. Let us discuss these matters." Hajova speaks calmly with slow movements. She appears quite courageous despite the true visage of the fallen angel.
"You have tricked me already, how much of a fool do you take me for -- you are a mother of lies... what could we possibly speak about. Forces are awakening that your tiny cabal you call a pantheon cannot even comprehend. Stopping me is only throwing fuel on a fire that smolders beneath us all."
"Talk should always come before violence. And these forces, as the ages change, forces shall be unearthed. It is inevitable Ephine, that with change, comes flashbacks of the past. If what you say is true, then my allies and I shall rise to meet it. We have already made great accomplishments and wield diverse talent. While you may be concerned, I am not so. Though, I appreciate the forewarning of possible enemies." Hajova raised her four hands into a pointing position.
"The Kzer-Za are preparing to invade the continent. Let them put that warning on your tombstone."
Unfazed by Ephine's warnings and insults, Hajova continues, "Hmm, interesting. Then why destroy your province? Why disease your people? By destroying your lands, you only hand them victory before they could have earned it."
"Sparks. Sparks bend the rules. And to stop the Kzer-Za, we must BREAK them..... This is your last warning: I will not go quietly into that goodnight. The power I have amassed, if I cannot turn it on the Kzer-Za, will be loose on you. You will not have another chance to back down." Ephine opens her arms wide behind her forces, "These eight thousand skeletons here were once faithful worshippers. They sacrificed all so I might wield their might against the inevitable. You are but a barrier to this land's survival."
"Hmm, this land will not survive your methods Ephine. Take a moment to gaze at the grander picture. Yes, you gain power now. Yet, you lose so much in the long term. Do you know precisely when they shall come? Is it a looming threat? Time is of relevance here, and it would be best for all to consider it. If we have time, then we shall prepare. Ephine, you stand better with others than alone. You can end the suffering of your people right here, right now." Hajova clasps her right hands over her left hands, "No more need to die, and these dead can rest now. These lands can heal. And together, we stand far better than alone."
"Are you not here to take my lands? You wish to make an ally instead?" Ephine loses confidence within herself, and her eyes lose focus for a moment.
"Ephine, I am willing to work with others. For I am many condensed into one singular will, I have seen much. To further unite us against these Kzer-Za, the warring tribes in the south have required of me to cease the threat that lays upon them from your actions. And to end the war between themselves, they desire bloodshed to cease the hatred among themselves. Proclaim to them that you shall mean them no harm and allow your toughest warriors to prove their combative strength against them. Let them have their bloodshed and they too shall join us in the cause against the Kzer-Za. From this cause, we may challenge the powers that threaten us and grant greater prosperity to all of our peoples. Strength in unity is the apex strength can have. And from joining me, you shall gain the aid of 5 of the divine. Together with them, we stand well against the Kzer-Za."
"Our paths do NOT align! Those goblins and lizarmen are not your pawns, they are NEXT TO FALL so that I might turn them into the sparks needed to face the ultimate threat. Take to your line, Wretch. It's time for your army to die."
"If you so wish, let us see if your forces will stand their ground with a goddess that has no faith in them for the letters were fake and you gave them no chance and assumed guilt," Hajova yells so that all of the Tauren may hear her.
The Tauren generals drop their great axes, and command their musicians and standard-bearers to drop their equipment. "TAUREN! THIS IS OUR CHANCE AT FREEDOM! THERE IS NO FAITH IN US, SO WE MUST NOT HAVE FAITH IN EPHINE!" Ephine, in those moments, had been denied. Her actions have shown the revelations to her followers that she was unjust to them, and that she will not change from her wrongdoings against them.
"I gave you a chance Ephine! Yet, you did not understand that I have the moral law. I shall end their suffering and heal their lands. All are the same in the eyes of the spirits. I shall treat them far better than you." Hajova yells. The black flames flicker out on Ephine's greatsword. She looks of sweat, widened eyes, of mortification of her soul. Ordering her skeletons forth, loyal as they always be, Hajova uses one word of power against Ephine.... ENTHRALL
Ephine speaks "I cannot resist you. My following has turned on me, and faith in me dies with it... but there is one last thing I can do to help you... here are twelve nature sparks and six death sparks. All I have drained from the province so that the Kzer-Za might be slain. Take my power, and lead my people to victory." With those words, she shatters in a million pieces of glass before they blip from existence.
"You saw the truth in the end. May your spirit or whatever remains rest peacefully." Hajova turns her gaze towards the Tauren, "These lands shall no longer be named the Festerwoods. What name would you, Tauren, have for these lands? From your decision, these lands shall be named."
"Braywood" The general who led the defection cried from the back.
Hajova, quick to respond to leadership, "Then let these lands be known as Braywood! Any Object?" A hollar among the Tauren erupts. It seems that the name will be discussed long after today. Nevertheless, Hajova nodded. She will wait for another time to discuss the name, allow the Tauren time to relax and rediscover as their lands blossom as never seen before. Hajova kept her promise to the Tauren, as all of her closest followers knew would come. In those moments, the goblins and lizardfolk smashed and laid to rest the undead that remained. Hajova remained on the scene long after others have departed. She looked up upon the night sky.
"Maybe others will be different." Moments after, a chiropteran comes and collects the sword and armor of Ephine. Hajova looks upon the armor and denotes them as the Sword of Funeral Passage and the Armor of Graves.
Part 2: Continued Development - Alchemy and Magic Workshop
Olo stayed behind, tending to Hajova's next project. He knew full well that Hajova never seemed to run out of ideas. His wings appreciated that bees were not involved this time, yet they trembled at the thought of future ideas. Hajova allocated enough to complete the project during the assault, though, the rest would come shortly and help complete the project as no true combat took place. Olo smiled with contentment with Hajova's speaking ability. He knew full well of that. He was one of her children after all, or as the spirits say, he might still be. Hajova's intentions never appeared with any sort of clarity, so for Olo, her plans for him were anyone's guess. Though, he hopes for the sake of one whose appearance he faintly remembers from long-distance looks and a portrait inside his mind from three years ago. Oh, how he hopes to see them one day. His wings flap with excitement and a little indifference that continued to bubble constantly. However, time stopped for none, and Olo wanted to impress his Teotl. He set out to collect the vast herbs and other ingredients to stock the new Alchemical and magical workshop that he would spend his life in when not building amongst the trees. Hajova would not chain him to it; he'd personally beat her to it. Why? Olo is the strange chiropteran that smells plants a little too vigorously with a sudden knowledge of the aftermath. Though, these two events have wild intermissions. Nothing to top Takuma's sober partying and sweet talking of course. Olo, drunk as can be, could never top that. Though, Olo carried a niche for knowledge and the constitution to brave his youthful acquisition of such. He, knowing full well what works, carried the full weight of creative freedom from Hajova. From this detail, he wondered if Hajova changed her mind or her mood. Though, he never dwelled on it too long. That purple flower near the crater smelled rad, and he could see little fairies dancing on top of his head, despite they be eaten into extinction by Witch-Haven's native Giant spider population that made a peaceful existence with Hajova. Despite, Olo's wild habits. He and the others finished the project on time with a little flair here and there.
TLDR: Olo (and crew) builds a building for discovering and making magical and alchemical concepts and items. Olo also tends to sniff things way too much.
At the center of the crater lake, the shrine to Hajova shimmered brightly in the moonlight. The floor of the shrine was polished and cleaned; orbs of red, green, and purple energy congregated around the edge of the platform. The stars gleamed above with the faint scent of blackberries slipping between the starlight and the ground, leaving a haze for the energy to dance and project. A tall, human figure stood in a wide stance at the center of the shrine, bare across the body spare a loincloth for decency and a blindfold. The energy spread like fibers over the air surrounding him, easing in speed before gently moving into his body. His skin radiated the colors as the energy collected inside of him. Whooshes of branches float by as spirits of the trees approached. A spark of light dawns as a violet, spectral sword materializes within his hand. He clutched the sword with wonder as his blue eyes tingled in its light. He swung the sword as if he might prove it an illusion. The sword struck the shrine floor with a spectral sasczh and nothing more. Yet, it retaliated against the squeezing of his hand, feeling wood, leather, and a ting of metal. None of these things it was, yet despite his best efforts to understand, it was. Wisps gathered as they created a strong mist, blocking sightlines to the shrine. A bright green, spirit entered through the mist, approaching Takuma and placing a hand on his forehead.
"Place yourself in ease. None may witness these events. Be honest and true as we temper you for the daylight of battles to come." The spirit whisked and whooshed as it disconnected with Takuma, shifting into a bland soldier with sword in hand. The spirit called out in this form, "Test for the skill with the sword, a dueling weapon that will become useful with increased mastery. Forth, I come to strike, prepare thyself and hold none within yourself. Harm cannot truly come to me within her Absolution." The spirit cast a blade, spinning into hand from the air above the spectral soldier. Takuma breathed deep as the soldier whisked his sword in a large slash, raising his arms to form the blades together. Takuma slid his body behind the soldier, letting the sword slide and reach for the shoulder. He planted his feet one on the ground and one on the side, quickly forming an upward swirl to stagger the soldier. Precisely in time, the soldier blocked Takuma's slapdash push, holding firm. He stepped back, letting his weight briefly bring Takuma's sword towards him before suddenly pushing forward, staggering Takuma to the ground. The specter raised the sword overhead, aligning it with the moon's downward gaze of light. The sasczh of the tip clanging against the stone echoed briefly before a swift sweep to stand pushed the sword back up into the soldier's hands.
The clang and zing of blades carried on with parries, groundings, and the like. Slapdash swings and meager pushes from Takuma eventually led the spirit to wield its blade against his neck. Upon this, the blades dispersed and the soldier faded into mist, leaving the spirit in its wake. Takuma rolled over onto his back, panting, with glistening sweat flooding from his skin. His mouth opened wide and his hands held against his forehead. A quarterstaff materialized beside him, beckoning with velvet energy.
"Done we are not, energy you hold. Energy to be expended." The spirit manifested into an ancient monk, wielding a quarterstaff as well. Takuma slowly drifted up before he coughed and wielded the quarterstaff. His body twitched slightly, with his knees bending slightly. As before, the spirit rushed him, and despite his tired body, he swiftly blocked the advance, pushing the lower end of the staff towards the spirit. In a predictable fashion, Takuma pushed with the familiar weapon, causing the specter to hook Takuma's legs. Takuma used the quarterstaff to save his balance and push off the specter. Panting, Takuma charges into a foray of parries and jumps as the specter continues to block and counterattack against his legs. Minutes pass and the spirit whacks the spectral staff against Takuma's head. His blue eyes close and he almost slams against the stone floor. The spirit caught him with telekinetic force, gliding him to lay flat on the floor. The spirit unleashed a high-pitched sound, one not heard by the human ear to the east. A minute passes before a flap of wings and a Chiropteran graces the shrine with its presence.
"Rough time for Takuma, he lasted longer than I thought. Spirit, I will care for him." The Chiropteran spoke.
The spirit reverted, leaving the shrine. Takuma's legs drifted down as wings flapped, letting the shrine shrink in view behind them. An elegant, treehouse laid ahead with attention to detail in each little crevice surrounding them. Warm, with a fire, the Chiropteran laid Takuma in bed, letting his iridescent skin dim and return to normal.
"Well, the spirit temper will fade soon enough, and these 'wounds' will suddenly fade from you. Guess there's no need to treat you. Wish we understood better what the process does, but our teotl keeps her secrets. So much trust within you, but not in me, I wanted to prove to her that I could be up to the task. But, we both know how that went. I know you can't hear me, but I think it helps to speak into the wind anyway... Here, have this little figurine you found when we were pups. At least you will know it was me. We normally are not to answer that call, but I decided not to care about that anyway." The Chiropteran flew out of the dwelling, fading into the prevailing mist of the falling water.
The next night, Hajova returned to Witch-Haven. She approached the shrine with Takuma beginning his studies. She approached him, having one of the Chiropterans gift the Sword of Blackfire and the Suit of full Blackplate to him. Takuma scanned across both pieces of equipment. He looked towards Hajova's mask in somewhat disbelief.
"Mother, I suppose you received these from Ephine?" Takuma waved the sword, caring not to strike the Chiropteran. He wielded it with a shard of grace, a mote of his future skill.
Hajova nodded, "Yes, my child. These are my gifts for you. Continue to use the spectral weapons for now, but I will make arrangements for you to use this blade on dummies and eventually true enemies. The armor you will naturally acclimate as you don and wear it."
Takuma nodded, "Thank you Mother, I am glad everything went well. Success has already reached us, and we are excited to welcome our new Kinomi. I hope everything bodes well for the integration."
Hajova smiles, "Yes, it will take time, but I know that we shall share our differences and become one people. One not dependent on one's origin." Takuma gives her a hug, before returning to his scrolls and leather books inside his treehouse.
TLDR: Training Session for Takuma to train him up to be a hero/sub-character. He will use the new Sword of Blackfire (Sword of Funeral Passage) and Suit of full Blackplate (Armor of Graves).