• Our software update is now concluded. You will need to reset your password to log in. In order to do this, you will have to click "Log in" in the top right corner and then "Forgot your password?".
  • Welcome to PokéCommunity! Register now and join one of the best fan communities on the 'net to talk Pokémon and more! We are not affiliated with The Pokémon Company or Nintendo.

[Other FULL] Wishes Divine [M][IC]

  • 25,607
    Wishes Divine
    In times gone by, Ashela was a vibrant land, bountiful and full of life and magic. But this quickly began to change, for the Higher Powers still had free roam of Ashela then and when they fought, they brought cataclysm beyond mortal comprehension.

    The warring of the Higher Powers quickly spiralled out of control and the once beautiful Ashela was left deeply scarred. Green fields became cold, barren wastelands and peaceful beautiful forests became twisted, thorny, dark reflections of what they used to be. Truly, hope for mortal survival seemed lost.

    Then, 750 years ago, the first Gem Star fell to the Earth. An otherworldly stone of deep crimson that glowed brightly with the light of an ancient and powerful magic contained within. The woman now known only as the Saviour Witch used this power, casting a powerful spell that banished the Higher Powers to a different plane of existence and scoured magic from the world.

    But the Higher Powers would not give up so easily. They found that while their direct influence on the Home Plane was limited, there were other ways they could reach through the veil to assert their will upon the world they had been forced from.

    Now, 750 years after the Saviour Witch forced the Higher Powers out of Ashela, it is predicted the fifth Gem Star is soon to arrive on the Earth and it brings with it a great opportunity not only for mortal souls but for Higher Powers who still seek to bend Ashela and the Home Plane to their will.

    Chapter One - Arrivals in Demeste

    Demeste is a small city along the mountainous north-eastern coastline of Ashela. Here buildings rise up through the jagged cliffs, made from stone to help stand up to the powerful storm surges that frequently roll in from the ocean - often built into the rocky cliffs themselves. The higher up the cliffs you go, the more impressive these structures become as the higher you go, the safer you are from the effects of bad weather, so the heights of Demeste are the home of the wealthier denizens.

    Demeste is a pretty miserable location. The skies are almost always grey, frequent storms buffet the city and the coast is full of jagged stones that make it impossible for large ships to dock. It is not a very wealthy city, constantly at war with its environment in a way that limits resources. Therefore, the crime rate here is high and it's quite a rough place to live.

    It is into this setting, and other nearby villages, that Warlocks from all around Ashela are flocking. Knowledge long ago reached the rest of the continent that this would be the area that the next Gem Star would fall. So to Demeste they have come, bringing with them all their troubles and conflicts as they prepare to compete for possession of the Gem Star.

    Spoiler: Demeste
    Wishes Divine [M][IC]

    This is essentially a prologue chapter. Use this time to introduce us to your character, maybe flesh out some interesting locations in the city if you so choose. I'll probably progress this part of the RP fairly quickly because I'm sure we're all interested in getting to the meat of the plot.
    Last edited:


    Don't let me disappear
  • 13,642

    Valencia Strago
    19 // Warlock
    She Who Bears Sin
    Wishes Divine [M][IC]

    "This city... is filled, with sin."

    Valencia walked slowly through entrance to Demeste. Her eyes moved lazily from person to person, taking in the hue of each of their souls. Children passed, playing cheerfully among themselves as their parents and elders opened their storefronts and began their daily trades between merchants. Valencia shook her head and then walked quietly into an alleyway between two stalls.

    "The children are at peace, but their souls are still tainted. The elders harbor darkness within their hearts, but that is not the overwhelming feeling I'm getting from this city. They are but a single droplet of dye within the ocean of black that surrounds me. My work here will not be easy..."

    Valencia strode confidently through the spiraling alleyways. She'd sharpened her vision, honing in on a singular hue which lay some distance ahead of her. Her first mark, in a new city full of sinners. This encounter would set the tone for the rest of her stay in Demeste. She rushed around the corners, squeezing through the various nooks and crannies as her mail slapped and clanged against her in the strategically loosened areas. As she came bustling around the corner to the front of the building which held her target, she was met with a child. A boy, no more than six or seven. His hue was a brilliant blue color, free of any contamination.

    The boy's mouth drooped open slightly. "Whoa, pretty."

    Valencia glanced up at the blackened spirit she was after and then knelt down in front of the boy. "My child, I'm sorry to bother you but do you know who resides in this building?"

    The boy looked into her eyes, seeing nothing but a sadness he would not come to understand for many years after. "It's my pa." His eyes darted across her face, "Lady, you know you remind me of an angel?"

    Valencia smiled. It was an act that pained her, knowing what she was about to do to this boy. She shuffled around beneath her armor and pulled out a small sack. From it, she pulled two coins and handed them to the boy. "Thank you, child. Now, why don't you run along and get you and your father something to eat?"

    The boy looked at her with a puzzled expression. But nary a moment later, he was gone. This was the slums. Even as a pure child, the boy knew not to question why he was receiving the money or from where she got it. Once he was out of view, Valencia's eyes refocused on the black hue within the building. She turned, and pushed open the roughly slapped together planks that served as a door. A small chime jingled above her as she entered, and she was met with the call of a man.

    "Demetri? Back already? What'd you forget this time? I told you..."

    The man left where he was sitting on the floor above and made his way down the stairs. With each creek of the wooden slats, the weight of the man was apparent. He was by no means living the life of someone in the slums, and as he came into view, the disparity in visage between the portly middle-aged man and the scrawny stick-like boy she'd met before was striking. "

    "Who the - sorry, my manners. Welcome to my humble shop, ma'am. Though I'm not sure what I'd have to interest a knight such as yourself, you're welcome to browse what wares I do have. There's some silks, monster bits which are good for stewing or fermenting. We've got -" The man continued to ramble on, listing the various things he'd accumulated to sell.

    He was distracted. It was the perfect chance for judgement. Valencia held her hand out towards the man with her palm facing him. "Let your sins be known."


    The man turned to face her as she fell to the ground. All of the man's history was splayed before her. His life as a child in the very same slums, his young adulthood of robbing and stealing from the nobles, everything that he'd done up to that moment cycled through her mind as she gasped for air.

    "Ma'am? You alright?"

    "I'm sorry," she whispered. "It must have been so hard. Nobody should have to go this long without absolution..." her voice was weak, and the words had barely even escaped her lips before disappearing on the wind.

    The man looked at Valencia with confusion and then shook his head. "Well, I've probably got a remedy around here somewhere for exhaustion if you'll just give me a moment."

    Tears filled her eyes as she focused on a few of the man's most vivid memories. The first time he stole from a market stall. The first time he pillaged a noble's home. The first time he ever took a life. She took on the man's many sins, feeling the weight upon her shoulders grow heavier with every misdeed. Though, she did not feel any weaker, rather it was empowering as she witnessed the hue of his soul grow lighter and lighter with each sin that was taken from it. But now, the decision had to be made.

    "Tell me," she said as she rose to her feet and pulled her dagger from its sheathe.

    The man turned to look at her and then fell backwards into the rickety shelves that lined the walls of his stall. "M-m-ma'am! Please! You're a knight! I have nothing, only my boy! Please, just take whatever it is I have that you want, just don't hurt me!"

    "Tell me," she repeated as she closed the gap between them and then pressed the tip of the knife against his chest. "In your own words, tell me the truth of your sins."

    "M-my sins? What do you mean? I've ne-"

    "If you finish that sentence, I'll be forced to pass judgement. I am in service to She Who Bears Sin. I take it then, that you'll understand now why I am here?"

    The man's eyes widened and tears quickly began to fall. "P-please. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to lie to you. I didn't realize that you were a warlock... just, tell me, where do you want me to start?"

    "Tell me first, why it is that you're so well off and that boy of yours is so feeble."

    The man swallowed hard and then slumped further into the ground. With a shaky breath he ran his hand through what remained of his graying hair. "I do what I can for him. Truly. I don't mean to eat as much as I do, but I provide for him. I keep him off the streets. I keep him from following in the footsteps of his father. If you're really who you say you are, then you'll know just what I mean."

    Valencia nodded her head. "That doesn't excuse nearly starving the child. Excess is a sin, as is greed. I'll have you explain further."

    The man nodded quickly. "O-of course... the thing is, I'm not a good father - I'm willing to admit that. I'm not a good father. But I try to do what I can. The boy never wants for anything. I try my best to not let him know of our actual poverty. If that means I have to dirty my own hands, then that's what it means... but I'm selfish. Because I dirty my own hands I feel entitled to what I've earned, despite the fact that I'm doing it for his sake. Demetri is a good boy, I've never heard him do wrong to anyone or anything. If I can blacken my soul for the sake of keeping him pure, then that's just what I have to do as a father."

    As the words escaped his mouth, Valencia honed in on them with her powers of sight. Each word was heavy with equal amounts of regret, truth, and pride. "I see. Pride is what drives you now."

    "P-pride? Yes... I suppose..." the man looked down at the blade that was still pointed firmly at his chest. "I suppose pride is what drives me now. I've known that there's no real hope for me for a long time. But at least for the sake of that boy... for the sake of Demetri, I would do whatever I could, no matter the cost. His mother was the same way. After he was born she had come to me. She wasn't blind to our position. Despite everything, we would only ever be able to feed two mouths and she couldn't bear the thought of getting rid of the boy, and neither could I. It was a mutual decision, and it was the worst sin I believe I've ever committed." Tears filled his eyes once more and began to fall down the still drying paths of their predecessors. "I miss her every day. Every time I look at the boy I see her smile. I see her soul, I hear her laughter. He haunts me with the ghost of what could have been... but because of what I did to her, I will never forget the duty that I have. If it truly came down to it, I'd starve myself just to see him live a day longer. I'd-"

    "Enough. I understand your resolve. I've seen your sins, and taken on their weight. I've heard your tales and seen the truth of your words. The time has come for absolution. Please, rise."

    The man swallowed hard several times and nodded his head rapidly. "Y-yes. I understand. It's time. Of course it's time." His words were broken up with a nervous half-laughs and his choking on the wail that was wanting so desperately to erupt from his chest with his falling tears.

    Valencia bent the man over the counter and pulled up his shirt, revealing the mark of She Who Bears Sin. For a moment, she closed her eyes and recalled all that she had witnessed, all that she had heard.

    "You may pray now."

    "Oh god," the man cried as he clasped his hands together. He burst into a sob as he felt the cold steel of the dagger trace along his spine. "Oh god, please. God please!" He pleaded through chattering teeth.

    Valencia inhaled deeply and then opened her eyes. "May your sins weigh on you no longer. Live free and happy, for you have been absolved."

    Valencia sheathed her dagger and walked around to the front door. As she pushed it open and the bell chimed, the man cried out like a child as he slid to the floor.

    "Thank you. Thank you. I'll live this new life free of that weight which pulled me in. Thank you. Thank you."

    As she distanced herself from the building, she thought back on the boy named Demetri she'd met before. Perhaps... perhaps with a father such as his, he would never have to learn of the darkness hidden behind her eyes.



    Tonight, the marigolds bloom for her.
  • 554
    • Seen Apr 11, 2024


    A lone cat quietly made her way through one of the market streets of Demeste, one geared toward foodstuffs. On the higher side of the city, it was easier up here to find produce and meat both fresh and prepared. The Demeste Heights were dominated by merchants who wanted to hawk their wares at a premium; meanwhile, fishmongers were located closer to the sea, by the meager docks.

    Incidentally, shortly after her arrival, she had overheard that the red light district was also closer to the lower sector of the city. She thus decided to give it a wide berth.

    Anyway, at the moment, this cat was hopping along the top of the stalls, on the awnings that gave the stall owners some much needed shade. She quietly peeked over the edge of each one for a close look at what they had, then moved to the next. Her second stop of the day was a stand that sold a small variety of fruits, with only a signboard on top instead of an overhang.

    A few moments later, the man confidently sitting behind the stand and reading a newspaper spoke up in a gruff voice. "Three copper. No haggling."

    Eve paused and perked up at the statement. She turned her head about, but nobody else had been browsing his goods. She looked back to the stall owner, and it turned out he was eyeing her while he read. It was the first time she'd been addressed as a customer, rude as it may have been.

    Something about a cat being treated like a paying customer made Eve feel silly, but happy. And although the price was higher than if she'd bought them in the last city she visited, they were remarkably fresh for the locale Demeste was in, and the apples in particular were nearly as big as her head. She wondered if he had a supplier in one of the villages she missed on the way.

    Eve leapt down onto the counter and produced the coins for three. Then she reached over and tapped the ones she wanted, making them disappear into thin air. The owner noticeably widened his eyes at Eve's trick—he likely didn't expect anything in the first place—but issued no complaints as he pocketed the coin. On the contrary, he offered a "thanks for your business" as the cat hopped back onto the signboard and left to continue perusing the marketplace.

    It had been maybe seven months since her disappearance, and the Lindel royal family's search efforts for her had been unwavering from day one. For some time Eve had worried that they would employ the likes of a tracker to come after her. They weren't averse to Warlocks, as they had contributed greatly to the kingdom's wealth and its peoples livelihoods, and the incident was clearly the work of their magic.

    According to Edir, however, it would have taken one at least subordinate to Salem of the Hunt to track her down with absolute certainty; and Salem herself was exceptionally difficult to contact.

    "Ya gotta pass all kinds'a requisites jus'ta get her attention. So picky."

    She didn't completely trust their claim, of course. Edir was oddly talkative, Eve first thought, but their words all came with purpose. They always left out information that she had to figure out on her own later. Regardless, it gave her some assurance to have at least one name to keep in mind as she moved about.

    Making another purchase while she idly mused on the things they spoke of, to the shock of the woman running the stall, Eve started thinking about looking for a place to sit down and eat.
  • 865
    • Age 38
    • Seen Feb 24, 2024
    Demeste - "The Angel Of Death"

    "Yer a tough one to track down, lass. Backstreets be one thing, but do ya really think ya need to be hidin' out in a hole like this?"

    Talia glanced up from the counter to the man seated by her side. Heavy set, with long hair flowing from his head and a beard that well reached down past his large stomach. He was a man who looked as though he hadn't missed a good meal in years. Chances were that he had probably just come from one. Underneath his right arm he toted an object he kept wrapped tightly beneath a sheet, while his body carried with him a scent of the sea, a mixture of salt and fish hanging off his imposing form. The smell was enough to spoil the taste of the liquor. Talia kept this bit of information to herself, choosing instead to take another swig from the glass which held her whiskey.

    "You agreed to this location. I'm sure there were others who would be more welcome to meet you in other places," the woman spoke bluntly.

    The portly man shook his head. "Nah, lass. I wanted the best of the best, and yer all the talk amongst the... shall we say, less than suitable places."

    "Maybe," Talia replied. "But I'm not interested in flattery. Get to the point."

    "Aye, aye... Ya have a point, ya do," the man responded.

    Talia watched with uninterest as her customer placed the covered object on the counter before pulling the cover off of it. The man scooted it across the rough surface of the counter, which the icy-haired woman took from the man to examine more closely. An older man was the focus of the photograph, a well dressed one at that. A long, crimson red petticoat adorned his body, complete with gold lining around the wrist cuffs and tail. Form fitting black slacks graced his legs, with a pair of finely shined, black-buckled boots on his feet. His face, while showing the wrinkles that come with time, was full. A neatly trimmed beard and mustache combination graced his features, with brown, fading hair neatly combed back to give off a mixture of sophistication. Clearly, he was a man that was not hurting for coin - a situation that seemed to be a common place in Talia's work - however, she was fairly certain the man's wealth was only a small snippet of the full story. Talia was curious as to where the rotund man had obtained such a well painted piece, but she quickly decided that it was of little importance of where the painting actually came from.

    "Albert Faraungus," the portly man explained, his voice just a whisper to not draw too much attention to the duo. He could see Talia raise an eyebrow to the name. At the very least, he took this as a sign that some interest was being shown. "Yeah, ya heard me right. Founder of the Faraungus Minin' company. He's known to treat his ladies poorly, his workers worse."

    "I take it you're one of these workers?" Talia questioned.

    The man nodded. "Barely gives us enough to get by, he does. We toil in the mines for hours on end and the most the ol' dodger can cough up is couple of copper coins. That's on a good day, too lass."

    "Tragic, but I don't do wage disputes. Take it up with someone else," Talia waved off, shoving the painting back towards the rotund man.

    "I think yer missin' the bigger picture here, lass. I ain't here because me and the boys want you to negotiate," the fat man retorted. "I'm here to um... hire ya to make sure he has an accident, get it?"

    "How does this benefit you?" Talia inquired. "Don't you need the work?"

    Another head shake. "We got plans to take over the company for him. He ain't got no wife, no kid. No one to take the business from him, see?"

    Talia sighed into her glass as she took another swig. Greed really was everywhere. Lies and deceit were abound. The human race really was pathetic. Their existence an absolute blight. Still, she figured it wasn't up to her to judge. After all, this sort of thing was how she made a living.

    "Payment now," Talia concluded. "One hundred gold."

    The round man faltered. "Are ya daft? That's more than I make in a fortnite!"

    "Too bad, then."

    Talia rose from the counter and began to make her way towards the door of the bar. The large man seemed to hesitate for a moment, before practically tumbling out of his chair and waddling towards the woman.

    "A'right! We got a deal," he begged. Talia watched as the man rummaged about in his slacks, pulling out a satchel. He opened up the pouch, counting to himself before placing the bag in her hand. "100 gold, exactly. I swear on me mum's grave I do. Now, ya better keep up yer end of the bargain."

    "Consider it done," Talia remarked, as she counted over the coins herself. She quickly tucked the pouch away, offering her customer a curt nod. "The job'll be finished by sunrise, not a moment sooner."

    Leaving the man behind, the assassin stepped out from the bar and into the streets of Demeste. As expected, dark clouds hovered over the city. A steady drizzle fell from the sky, bringing forth a pitter patter of droplets echoing out through the slummy alleyways as they splattered against the glass of windows and puddles in the streets. A small breeze blew through the city, resulting in a chill that brought faint goosebumps to the skin on Talia's arms. She gingerly took hold of the hood resting against her shoulder blades, bringing it up to keep at least her hair from getting soaked.

    "Taking on another one...? I hope you have not forgotten why we came to this place, mortal," a familiar voice echoed out. "Your end of the bargain, yes? You haven't forgotten, have you not?"

    Talia shook her head in response, slowly beginning to make her way down the twisted streets of the city. "No, Lady Mifuyu... My task is still on the forefront of my mind, I assure you."

    "And yet you go on doing these jobs along the way... Do not misunderstand, even removing one of these worthless creatures is of noble cause. However, I believe our goal would prove more fruitful if we were to complete our pact... do you not agree?"

    Talia paused, the woman glancing up towards the dark clouds hanging overhead. "I'm fully aware, Lady Mifuyu... I have not forgotten our pact... or what it means for me. You placed my death on hold... keeping me in this state of dying for ten years now." As she spoke, the assassin's right hand trailed up to her face, slowly rubbing against the pact mark which ran across the bridge of her nose. It's placement was both ironic and meaningful, as it covered the slash left behind from the sword most likely responsible for ending her life those years ago. "However, while my time of expiration from those wounds may have been paused by your hand, the basic necessities still remain. Shelter to at the very least rest my body in... an occasional drink?"

    "So you say... However, do not forget that I can nullify this pact at my choosing... you do well to remember that."

    A sharp pain suddenly ran through Talia's chest. The woman stumbled forward, grabbing her chest in pain as she used a nearby wall for support. Her breath was ragged, her knees shaking as slowly the pain subsided. Yet despite it all, a small smirk graced the assassin's lips.

    "I understand..." Talia replied, her voice shaky all the while. "But for what it's worth... I've been a dead woman for ten years."
    Last edited:
  • 25,607
    Cebres Payne

    The tavern was nearly empty, bar a handful of drunken patrons and Cebres himself, who was slowly sipping on something resembling wine. It wasn't really the sort of place people congregated. The tavern was ramshackle, falling apart and dirty and the bartender didn't seem to have much interest in changing that.

    Still, Cebres didn't consider himself above a little grime and it was a respite from the chill of the evening air outside and the incessant drizzle that only seemed to grow worse as the day continued. Cebres couldn't deny to himself that even he wouldn't want to live in Demeste long term. It seemed as though the place was built from misery.

    "You look awful fancy to be sittin' in a place like this."

    Cebres, pulled from his thoughts, turned to see the source of the voice; a scraggly man with thinning hair, a greying beard and a nose that looked like it had been broken more than once. A larger man with thick arms and a beer gut stood next to him while a similarly stocky sort plonked himself down on the stool on Cebres' other side.

    "Jus' look at that nice cape you're wearin'. I betcha that cost more than one or two copper," The scrawnier of the three men said. All three of the trio reeked of liquor. Cebres would be willing to bet they spent more time inebriated than sober.

    "Not nearly as much as you're thinking," Cebres replied, keeping his tone measured.

    "Bet is mo' 'an we make ina week," The barely intelligible voice to Cebres' left said.

    Cebres sighed. This was not the first encounter like this he'd had since arriving in Demeste and he was fairly confident at this point that it wouldn't be his last. Granted, the first two conversations of this sort had been during failed attempts to mug him in alleyways. He felt it was reasonable to assume that this would not be a mugging. The rumbling voice in his head seemed to disagree, although Cebres was doing his best to ignore it.

    Give them to me.

    I can't just murder someone in the middle of a tavern. You've had your fill today.

    He returned his attention to the awful concoction he was drinking only for the thin man to lash out and knock the glass from his had.

    "We were talkin' to you."

    "We was!" the voice on Cebres' other side echoed angrily.

    "You really don't want to try it." Cebres took note of the bartender making himself conspicuously busy cleaning the same glass he'd been holding for the past several minutes. It seemed like this was a regular occurrence in the establishment. Perhaps, he even got a cut of anything the three thugs managed to get a hold of.

    "Don't we now?" The third man spoke, the beer-bellied one behind the scrawniest of them. Cebres was surprised to find that he was the most eloquent of the three.

    "You don't," Cebres said, "Didn't you hear that a Gem Star is falling around here soon?"

    "What's that got to do with anything?" he replied. It seemed that being better at speaking that his companions didn't make the man much brighter.

    "It has everything to do with this situation if you think about it." Cebres said.

    The drunkard on his other side grabbed Cebres' by his left forearm, pulling him around to face him.

    "Ya'r gonna be ril nice an gib us tha fancy cape."


    Cebres reacted faster than any of his assailants expected, driving his fist into the man's nose. He released his arm and fell back off the stool yelling incoherently. The skinniest of the thugs was in the process of pulling a knife when Cebres rounded on him, slipping easily off his stool and wrapping his fingers around his throat.

    The wannabe thief struggled against Cebres' grip, his protests beginning to slur as his thrashing began to subside. It was almost like watching a toddler falling asleep in the throws of a tantrum… except the colour was starting to fade from his skin. Cebres' felt energy begin to surge through him, adding to what he'd already collected from previous attempts to rob him.

    The better speaker of the three stumbled back in horror, catching the faint purple glow from beneath Cebres' half-cape.

    "You're a Warlock."

    "I did warn you," Cebres' replied.

    Yes. Give them all to me.

    Cebres' sighed again, releasing his grip on the man and letting him drop to a heap at his feet, barely breathing. He walked past the cowering man with the beer gut and back out into the rain.

    "Not this time," he said under his breath, talking to a presence that wasn't there. "I'm sure there will be plenty more for your army, but we can't afford to jeopardize our chances at the Gem Star by leaving a mountain of corpses everywhere we go."

    A faint, thunderous growl echoed in the back of Cebres' mind, but he could tell that Szazoch reluctantly agreed.
  • 865
    • Age 38
    • Seen Feb 24, 2024
    Demeste - "The Reaper"

    Albert Faraungus relaxed into his chair. A small sigh of comfort slipped from his lips as he took hold of the wine glass, the man taking in a quick scent of the pale, pink liquid before bringing it to his mouth for a quick scent. The aroma was sweet. The taste subtle, with a small aftertaste that reminded the man of cherries. Slipping into comfort, Albert cast a glanced down to the papers which rested before him in a neatly stacked pile on the table before him. The papers, a detailed report of his companies finances, expenditures, and profits, only did more to increase the man's mood and enhance the flavor of his wine. Business for the Faraungus Mining Company had been increasing every day, with the company - and more importantly, himself - bringing in record profits and turnovers. The competition, try as they might, were simply proving to be unable to keep up with the gains his company was bringing in. Sure, it involved stepping up on the shoulders of the little people. However in these times, a little leg up was hardly out of the question. Besides that, they were bringing in quite the reasonable wage. At five coppers a day, his diggers were able to live up quite the lavish lifestyle. Yes, their gratitude was quite apparent, his generosity much more so.

    "That said, they are seemingly proving to be a bit... lazy as of late," Albert muttered. Despite the increase in profits, he noticed that his miners were starting to bring in less ore as of late. Coal was all well and good, however his more... refined customers, those who lived up in the higher standards such as himself, were of more taste. They wanted diamonds and precious gems, not black rocks and lumps of stone. "Perhaps a pay cut to show what happens with laziness... Three coppers seems to be much more fitting than the payment they are receiving now."

    A soft knock on his study door jars Albert from his thoughts. The man takes another sip of his wine, before beckoning the guest on the other side to enter. Slowly, the door creaks open and in steps a young woman, one of Albert's maids, into the study. She is young, roughly of twenty years old, with a fair skin complexion that seems to glow from a mixture of the moonlight shining through his study's windows and faint flames provided by the crackling fireplace. She is dressed in a tight, form fitting black dress, with a frilled, white apron tied around her waist. A pair of white stockings grace her legs, with black, stilettoed heels covering her feet. Her hair, a golden blonde in color, is pulled back into a tight and well kept bun by a silk, white ribbon. Her deep, emerald-green eyes stay focused on the man before her. A sense of unease seems to radiate from her, based on her nervous facial features. Be that as it may, the young woman never takes her eyes away from Albert Faraungus. A faint scar, a whiplash marking left on the back of her right hand, serves as a reminder to never show the master anything but the utmost respect.

    "L-Lord Faraungus, my apologies for disturbing you so late," the maid stammers out. "Y-Your call... I... I mean, y-your guest for this evening is waiting for y-you in your chambers."

    Albert smiles at the announcement. Was it already so late? It seemed that his "guests" were arriving earlier and earlier every night. Still, his urge was strong. Even if his fun for the evening was starting early, Albert knew it was best to have that itch scratched sooner rather than later. Albert rose from his chair, making his way towards the door leading out to the halls of his manor. He stopped short, however. His eyes quickly turning to face the maid before him.

    Hilda was such a fine specimen. She had come to him only recently, two or three months ago to be exact. She was the daughter of an innkeeper down in the lower quarters of Demeste. Most of those locals, particularly from that area in which Hilda lived, were filthy. They carried with them a most repugnant odor, one that was a constant reminder to those in the upper quarters that they were in fact birthed into a higher standard of living. Not Hilda, however. She was a rare beauty, a reminder that a rose is indeed capable of blooming among the weeds.

    Feeling an urge raising up into the pit of his stomach, Albert could no longer contain himself. A taste was required, and he decided right then and there that he would partake in the sweet nectar of his rose. Without another moment, he quickly took hold of Hilda and brought the maid's lips to his own. Her eyes widening as she tried to protest, but the feel of his tongue, his breath still rich in the taste of his wine, crashed into her own. Her hands tightened into fists, before suddenly slamming them into the noble's chest in an attempt to push him away. The jovial feeling Albert had been feeling up until that moment quickly vanished. Instead, it was replaced with a look of scorn and anger. Reaching back, the man brought his hand across Hilda's face. An echoing slap resounded off the study walls as the noble slapped her with enough force to send the blonde-haired maid crumpling to the floor.

    "Disobedient bitch! I see you still have much to learn!" Albert exclaimed, his voice dripping with venom. "Guards!"

    The sound of rushing footsteps could be heard moving down the hallways. Without even a knock, a large, muscle-bound man charged into the room. Dressed in steel armor, a large axe resting on his back, the man looked about the room until his eyes fell upon both Hilda and his master. "My lord? Are you in danger?!"

    Albert grunted, shaking his head in response. "Not at all. Just a savage beast in need of more training. Take her to the crypt so she might be taught a proper lesson, yes? Edmund will know how to handle her."

    Hilda's eyes widened with fear, the maid curling up upon herself as her body began to shake and tremble. "P-Please... N-No! I didn't mean... It was an accident, my lord!"

    Her protests fell upon deaf ears. Albert would not even look at Hilda as his guard roughly dragged the girl to her feet before forcing her out the door and down the hall. Her crying and begging rang out and down the hallway all the while, as Albert only sighed in disgust. He supposed it was only natural. You can take the rose from the weeds, but you cannot expect all those hideous thorns to simply fall off. It was of little concern. After a few days, he knew that Hilda would be a much more submissive and proper servant.

    "I suppose I should be on my way. After all, it would be most ungentlemanly to keep tonight's guest waiting."

    Exiting the study, Albert Faraungus walked a short walk down the halls of his lavish estate until he came to a large set of double doors. Finely crafted from the wood of a strong, magnificent oak, the door was decorated with golden, stud-like ornaments. The handles, round in shape, were of similar material, complete with two lion heads, one on each doors. Albert felt it was a fine symbol, reflecting his courage and pride, as well as strong leadership that he poured into his company and his manor. A sly smile graced the business man's lips as he knocked gently on the door. His urge building up as a sense of curiosity rose from within. He wondered what kind of lovely specimen had been chosen for the evening. Each night, he sent his head servant, Edmund, out into the city to pick on the finest of "flowers" for him to "sample". Edmund, despite his lower-class origins, had proven himself to be quite the man of taste. Albert trusted that tonight would be no different.

    Opening the door, Albert took in the sight of his bedchambers. An ornate, burgundy rug made of only the finest fibers stretched out in the middle of the room, accenting the burgundy curtains and the dark, oak furniture that decorated the room. Each piece had been handcrafted with wood located to the far north, located in the Morin Weald. All of it sturdy, with gold trimming similar to that of the doors which led into the noble's bedchamber to begin with. Framing the walls were various landscape paintings, each one more detailed than the last, with a large, potted plant sitting the southern-left corner of the room. In the center of the room, stood Albert's bed. Silk, lavish sheets were stretched across it, complete with a curtain to pull close when even more privacy was desired. The bed curtain and linen, much like the rug and window curtains, were burgundy in hue, with a gold pull tassel dangling from the top of the bed post. However, what caught the lord's eyes was the vision that sat patiently on the bed.

    A lovely vision to behold, a woman clad in black and red. She was wearing a dress, with the skirt being of a deep red and silk in fabric. The top half, a black bustier corset, left little to the imagination. It was tight, pushing up the woman's already ample looking bosom. A pair of fishnet stockings graced her legs, with black heels matching her top covering her feet. A delicately picked, black rose decorated her hair, which orange colored reminded the man of the fiery sky of sunsets one might see in his paintings. Her skin, though pale in complexion, seemed to make her look all the more exotic, with her cold blue eyes making her look all the more enticing. A black facial veil covered the woman's lower face, leaving everything beneath her eyes covered. Despite this however, Lord Albert Faraungus could practically feel his mouth watering at the sight of this absolute beauty. He could feel that urge rising, heating up his insides like a flame in his belly. Yet, the noble managed to keep his composure as he walked into the room. All the while, he made a mental note to give Edmund a bonus this month. Perhaps he would simply let the man keep Hilda for his own pleasures.

    "My apologies for keeping you waiting, my dear," Albert began as he removed a deep, midnight-blue waistcoat. The noble hung his garment on the nearby coatrack before he made his way towards a cabinet located on the southern wall of the room. "There was an unforeseen issue to take care of. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me."

    The woman seated in the center of the room nodded with a giggle. A voice that quickened the pace of Albert's heart exiting from ruby-red lips. "It is of no consequence, my lord. I am merely blessed to be in the presence of one as regal and elegant as yourself."

    Albert nearly faltered at the comment. The woman's voice, like a melody being carried through the wind, almost beckoning him to throw himself upon her delicate form right now. He coughed lightly, clearing his throat as he reached into the cabinet to take two wine glasses and a bottle. He popped the cork off of the green glass, bringing it to his nose to take in the scent before gently pouring some out for himself and the woman on his bed. A deep purple color, with a strong odor that brought forth a hint of bitterness. Yellow in color, it reminded Albert of freshly picked lemons, yet his refined taste knew that it would not be as bitter as to ruin the evening. He casually brought the glass towards the woman, watching with a smile as she brought the glass to her lip and partook of the wine.

    "So... you're familiar with me then?" Albert asked.

    The woman nodded. "Oh my, yes. Lord Albert Faraungus, of the Faraungus Mining Comapny. Everyone knows it's the most profitable business in Demeste."

    "That would be correct. My, you are as intelligent as you are beautiful."

    "A shrewd business man, they say. One who manages his finances carefully. He keeps his employees in check, making sure that they ground they crawl on is sturdy before he climbs upon their backside to profit from their blood and sweat."

    Albert's face faltered only slightly. "Well... I assure you that that much is only rumor at best, milady. Why, my men count their blessings that they are able to work for such a generous soul as myself. Without my coin, they would be crawling through the mud of the lower quarter, more likely than not standing on the street corners with hat in hand and begging for a penitence."

    "Indeed... Why listen to their cries when you can merely turn a blind eye. Their deaths mean nothing it if it is a way for you to fatten your own wallet, is that not correct?" the woman questioned.

    Albert's eyes narrowed. "Pray tell, what concern is it of your own about my men. I pay them. They get their meals and shelter. If they are so displeased, they would make their own exit, perhaps take refuge in the homeless shelters that are constructed at tax payers expense? My expense? What concern is it of yours?"

    A visible anger seemed to overtake Albert's facial features. After dealing with Hilda, the last thing the noble had intended was having to defend himself from a whore?

    "Is it not your job to take care of them? A leader, yes? You should be doing your place to take care of your men. Foster their trust and strengthen their bonds... You are no different from others in so-called 'power'," the woman muttered. Her eyes visibly darkening. "A blight upon humanity. A blight upon the world... You disgust me."

    Albert's eyes blazed in a blind fury. He threw his glass to the ground, the liquid inside spilling out onto the floor as the glass now decorated the rug stretching out beneath them. Without hesitation, Albert brought his hand up and prepared to strike the concubine, but the woman grabbed hold of his wrist before that strike could land. The man's eyes widening in surprise. His hand shaking as he tried to move it, but the woman's grip on his wrist did not falter. A deep chill seemed to exude from the veiled-woman's palm, causing the man to wince in pain.

    "You... what are you...?" Albert strained. As if on cue, the woman reached up and pulled the veil off of her face. Albert gasped in surprise, immediately taking in the glowing mark that stretched across the woman's face. "A warlock?! Wait, that placement..."

    "That's right," Talia answered bluntly as she finally released her grip on Albert's hand. The man stumbled back, falling off the edge of his bed in the process. "The Angel of Death has come to make you answer for your sins, Faraungus..."

    Albert quickly scrambled to his feet, the noble lord making his way towards the doors of his bedchamber. However, Talia was not about to let her mark escape. A chilling wind blew through the room as her mark began to glow once more. A crystal-like spearhead formed before her, entirely crafted from cold and sturdy ice. Without delay the pillar shot forward, flying across the room and piercing the back of Albert's leg. The ice pillar jabbed straight through the man's leg, sending forth a wailing howl of pain as Albert toppled back over to the floor.

    "M-My men... The guards! Guards! Get in here this moment!" Albert screamed.

    Talia remained calm, despite Albert's panicked cries for help. The woman slowly walked forward as Albert tried to pick himself off the ground, to the point that she passed him and placed her palms upon the doors. Pact mark still glowing, ice began to protrude forth from her hands until the doors were completely encased in ice. Talia and Albert could here the sounds of rushing footsteps from the other side, followed by the sounds of cursing as what could only be assumed to be Albert's guards began to slam against the door leading into his bedchamber. No concern was evident on the assassin's face, however. She remained entirely emotionless as she turned her focus back towards Albert. The man was attempting to pick himself back up once more, but was quickly greeted by the visage of Talia kneeling down in front of him. A sharp jab of pain caused another wail of agony to exit from the terrified noble. A sharp, blade of ice now jabbed through his hand, essentially keeping him pinned to the floor.

    "There is no escape," Talia stated, removing the wig that covered her normally icy-blue hair. "There never is for the souls of the damned. You have been targeted, by the very men who you step upon. The very men you betray time and time again. Live in a shelter? No... They cry for justice, and those cries will be answered as I reap your soul to hell."

    "P-Please... This is all... A misunderstanding!" Albert begged. His voice trembling. The man was on the brink of tears. It was absolutely pathetic. "Money! Yes, I can pay you money! As much as you want, you're an assassin after all! 500 Gold? A thousand gold, yes?!"

    "Your money is born on the blood of the oppressed. I'm not interested," Talia muttered.

    "D-Do you think they are any better?! They're just as greedy! I assure you!" Albert snapped. "What will you do? Kill them all?!"

    "You're not wrong," Talia answered. "Humans are monsters. A blight. Never trustworthy. Never loyal. Always willing to step on each other and kill. And then do it all again when the hierarchy is toppled. "I will always be there to kill... to reap the souls of the damned... It's my duty. Farewell, lord of greed."

    Before Albert could utter one more syllable, Talia gripped the man's hair and pulled his head back. Another blade of ice forming in her hand, the woman reached forward and jabbed it straight through the noble's throat. A blood-filled gargle echoed out into the room as the man coughed violently, sputtering fluids across the room and into the air. Talia's face remained unmoved the entire time, the woman watching in silence her target's life faded into nothing.

    "A miserable creature... To the very end."

    Talia nodded in response to Mifuyu's comment. There was a sense of satisfaction in the Patron's voice. Despite her initial objection to the assassin taking on this task, she seemed to be quite pleased with the results. Still, there was no time to stand around and take pride in the death of such a pitiful human. The beating on the doors behind her alerted Talia that time was of the essence and a hasty exit was needed. Briskly walking past the bloodied corpse of Albert Faraungus, the assassin threw the windows open before disappearing into the night... Another job complete, another vile human soul extinguished.



    How did this even happen?
  • 453
    • Seen Nov 20, 2022

    Amaro Puga

    There was a refreshing crispness to the air up on the cliffs. Amaro was displeased to find upon entering the town through the few docks available that the cliffs seemed to trap the smell of the desperate and the poor mixed with fish (in all states of decay) and seasalt, but up here the winds swept away the worst of it while keeping a slight tint of the sea. Were the skies not constantly mired by overcast he would dare to say it reminded him of home.

    But now was not the time to be feeling nostalgic. The warlock had set up a small art stand on a specific street in a specific marketplace frequented by specific well-to-do members of society for a reason. He'd spent the last week gathering information about the key figures in this town looking for an in to slip among them and start accumulating favors. He found the people of Demeste were unusually tight-lipped about secrets and gossip, due to the town's tendency to attract and rear unsavory characters no doubt. There was a lucky break on the third day of searching where a woman who had a little too much wine let slip that a Mr. Sigmund Keld, one of the wealthiest merchants in the city, had planned to host a large party to celebrate the birth of his daughter in a few days.

    Once he had an event to attend, Amaro found it a lot easier to grease palms or sweet talk information regarding Mr. Keld and his daily routines. The man apparently had an ego the size of this cliff, a sincere love for his family, and a habit of day drinking. On said day-drinking trips he usually took this road home due to its relative safety and the fact he has some level of ownership in most of the stores here. The spot Amaro has chosen in particular was in plain view of the road for even the most tunnel-visioned drunkard, and his chosen display of detailed portraits, solo and family.

    Just on queue the small mass of people gawking at a jeweler's shop parted to let a man pass. The man was just shy of "portly" with slight graying to his hair and large, bushy moustache and appeared to be focusing most of his attention on not appearing wasted in public while his two guards did the actual navigation. Amaro suppressed a small smile as the man, Mr. Keld himself no doubt, made his way down the street until his eyes drifted to the impromptu art stand. Keld stopped and said something indistinct over the chatter of the evening shoppers, motioning his guards to follow him.

    "Never seen you 'round here," Keld said, striding up to Amaro's stand. Amaro couldn't quite tell if the man's tone was meant to be intimidating or just bossy, but waved his arm to the side in a welcoming gesture anyways.

    "Amaro Puga, artist." The warlock answered with a slight bow. "Master of landscapes and portraits. That's both solo and family portraits, by the way."

    "Sigmund Keld," the man introduced himself with a slight nod of the head. An acknowledgement, nothing else. Yet. "The stall's… new. Never seen it 'round here. How long ya been here for Mr… Puga was it?"

    "Aye sir, I've only been in town just over a week, and most of that was getting accommodations established. The stall has only been up for three days."

    Keld nodded in agreement, although Amaro guessed he was only half listening at this point. The gentleman's attention was focused far more on one of the landscapes on display, a view of gentle mountains sinking into a green valley. He'd chosen softer hues overall, and the fuzzy outlines and blending colors created a sort of dream like appearance to it. "I see, I see," Keld spoke each word slowly and deliberately, business sense apparently overtaking inebriation. "This is a rather… impressive painting. Is this a real place?"

    "It is, or rather it was," Amaro replied, adding a little hint of sadness to his voice at the 'was'. "This is the view of my home of Galilla, as it was quite long ago. That valley is one I stayed at for about a year. It used to produce wine before the soil went bad, now it's sadly a run of the mill iron mining village."

    Keld paused for a moment, looking for the right word. "Tragic, but the painting is beautiful. You have no clients tomorrow, I hope."

    "My entire schedule for that day is open," Amaro answered with a smile. Even if he did have something, this was an opportunity worth dropping everything over. "It sounds like you'd like to commission a piece, I hope."

    "Aye," Keld grunted, reaching out his hand for a handshake, which Amaro returned. "A family portrait, old one is quite out of date. The Keld manor is only about 5 minutes north of here. Impossible to miss." He turned to leave the stall, waving his guards back over to him. "I trust I will see you there."

    "It will be an honor." Amaro bowed once more, his plan proceeding swimmingly.



    Don't let me disappear
  • 13,642

    Valencia Strago
    19 // Warlock
    She Who Bears Sin
    Wishes Divine [M][IC]

    "This city... is filled, with sin."

    Valencia exited from the alley and looked up the cliff side. The sun was beginning to set now, but with her gift of vision she could tell even through the ocean of colors that were being poured out by the evening sky. The population of this city might be dark, and prone to corruption, but in this city it all trickles down that cliff. The single darkest points are of those who live in luxury.

    Valencia. Her patron spoke to her mind, causing a minor headache as her voice resonated through her. There's no need to push yourself so hard now. You've only just become one of my subjects. Take your time and come into your powers at your own pace. You'd be useless to me if you fell under the pressure and were needlessly slaughtered by those you've been tasked with judging.

    "You don't need to tell me that…" Valencia whispered as she made her way up the hill.

    Perhaps it was due to the condition of her armor, or maybe because of her face that screamed 'don't fuck with me', but on her way up that hill nobody dared break her stride. Everyone she passed was in the process of closing up shop for the night, and any business she had up atop the hill was of no concern to the common folk.

    Their souls may have dulled, but their senses are keen. Hmm. The patron cooed softly. I do often miss living in this world.

    Valencia sighed. "Yes, and perhaps if you hadn't been forced out then people like us wouldn't have to be put through such hardships."

    The girl waited for a response as she continued her trek, but finished it in silence. By the time she'd reached the peak of the cliff, the sun had already fallen beyond the sea. Valencia spun on her heels and took in a deep breath, closing her eyes. She held out her hands, her palms facing the homes of those now below her. As she opened her eyes, she found three blotches of pure black. They sucked in the light around them, actively corrupting the blue and green hues around them. This was too much work to be done in a night for a single person.

    "I suppose I'll start with that one then."

    She fixed her eyes on a building which housed two souls of equal darkness, surrounded by a swarm of others whose souls ranged from a sky's blue to a murky dark grey. This place was one which could not be allowed to continue existing if it were to continue sullying the souls of others. And it was because of that act, that there would be no chance for absolution.

    Valencia walked to the front of the building and read the description on its post.

    'Escorts for Hire
    Slaves for Sale
    Only the Highest of Quality Goods and Services
    Men and Women welcome"

    The corner of her mouth twitched as she read the sign. 'How disgusting," she thought to herself. The act of prostitution had been criminalized in her home, and slavery had been banned in all forms. The thought of such depravity clouded her mind. She pulled one of the swords from her belt and cut down the sign before walking into the building.

    The lights around her were bright, but she'd become used to the idea of a dark-less night, so it wasn't quite so unusual. As the sign had said, there were men and women all around her in various states of undress. Various dyes had been used to mark on the persons their values and rates, and the only people who'd become completely undressed were those who were marked with 'sold'.

    Valencia snarled again, and apparently caught the attention of a worker in doing so. The man lifted up a lantern and made his way towards the door.

    "Ah, ma'am. If you'll excuse me, I've got to go and light up the sign before it becomes completely dark."

    Valencia looked the man up and down, noting that he was fully clothed and had no markings similar to that of others upon his person.

    "And what is it that you do here?" She moved to block the door as he walked towards her.

    "Ah, well, I'm in charge of sales. Everyone comes to me to pay before anything happens. I keep the books as well, alongside the masters."

    Valencia stared at the man's soul, taking in its greenish-blue color. He wasn't an evil man by any means, but being around this depravity was certainly beginning to take its toll.

    "Tell me," she said as she began to remove the armor from her chest. "If you could start your life anew, somewhere else far away from this filth, would you take that opportunity?"

    The man looked at his feet and laughed softly. "I'm afraid that option simply isn't in my stars. The wife and I both work here now, and it pays better than working a stall down below."

    As he spoke about his wife, the color of his soul flickered to a darker color for a split-second before settling back into its natural state.

    "I see, so your wife is a prostitute?"

    He shook his head.

    "I see… and if you don't mind, where is she now?"

    He smiled. "Well, I don't know that you'd be interested in her. She's too plain for someone like yourself. But, if you must know…" he slowly turned and pointed at a haggard looking woman who was shuffling around the poorly lit areas with markings on her skin denoting five copper. "She's simple, so she doesn't understand much. She usually disappears for a few days at a time and then is brought back here and sold back for a fraction of what she was bought for. There's not much she's good for to someone who isn't in love with her."

    As Valencia followed the man's finger, she noticed the girl for the first time. A hue-less. Simple was putting it lightly. The woman had close to no brain function, and thus no soul to speak of. Her lack of color made her all but invisible to the girl.

    "I see," Valencia whispered as she held out her hand, attempting to view the girl's sins.

    She had thought that perhaps it was simply something that couldn't be seen with her vision, some anomaly that she'd not encountered before. But as the mark appeared on the girl's back and no memories flooded Valencia's mind, she understood. This woman could do nothing without someone there to guide her. As much as it pained her to say, it likely was just as the man had stated. The woman had no use outside of her body.

    A tear formed in her eye as she dropped her heavy armor to the ground beside her. "Sir, take this." She grabbed the coin purse from her side and placed it in the man's hand. "There's enough in there for you to start a new life for yourself someplace else. You're not a bad person, but everyone else in this hell-pit must face justice. None within the premises are worthy of absolution save for you and your wife."

    "I don't-"

    Valencia pulled the second sword from her waist and looked up at the man. "I won't blame you if you decide to leave your wife behind. I'm not going to say she can't live a fulfilling life, but when I judged her I received nothing. She has nothing to give to this life, but if you can take something from her without dulling the hue of your own soul, then you'd best take her and leave while you can."

    "I don't understand…" The man stepped away from the door. As Valencia freed her blades and then took a few steps forward, he noticed the mark on her back. "Y-you're a warlock," he whispered.

    Valencia locked eyes with him and nodded. "Yes, a warlock in pact with She Who Bears Sin. I've come to pass judgement on this place with my blades in the name of that pact. And for just you, I am offering an opportunity to leave here unscathed with that most precious to you. If you can continue living your life in a way that will not deafen your soul then you may be lucky enough to never meet one of us again. But if you should choose to stay, then you will meet the same end as the rest of these pigs."

    The man dropped the lantern, causing it to shatter and alert the patrons - some of whom were still carrying blades at their waists. He quickly bolted back, grabbing his wife by the waist and hoisting her up into his arms before disappearing out of sight.

    Valencia smiled, please with her decision to let at least one person free. The lamp-fueled lantern next to her was still leaking flames, so she flung it with the tip of her blade out into the main room where many of the patrons had been relaxing as they made their choices for the night. The flames scattered around with the dripping oil, making a long trail which cut off the path to the left.

    "Estrillad, forgive me for the sins I am about to commit." She chanted, raising her hand to the unseen pillar of blackness hidden in one of the upper rooms. "Give me the strength to carry out judgement in your name, and help me to bear the weight of humanity's sin upon my shoulders. Make my blades holy, and my feet swift with each sin that I rebuke. Make my body your vessel, and allow my sight to guide me to those in need of salvation. The reaping shall now commence."

    One of the men tossed the woman on his lap to the side and rushed quickly up to Valencia. As he pulled his blade from its sheath, she sliced off his arm at the shoulder. As the arm fell to the ground, the sheath skittered away, revealing an ornate gold sword. The man let out a vicious howl as he cried in pain, grasping at his gushing shoulder.

    "You bitch I'll-"

    Before he could finish, she had lopped off his head. She continued, unfazed, into the main meeting room. The men and women around her who still had weapons shuffled to their feet and struggled to arm themselves.

    Her connection to her target above had finished forming, and his sins began to flow into her body, causing her to fall and writhe in pain on the floor. The men around her stopped for a second, dumbfounded, while the women continued forward so as not to show pity for the disruption of their work. The sins of the proprietor flooded her mind as she spun on her knees, cutting the legs of the women around her just above the ankles. The cuts were clean and quick, thanks to her continuously heightening abilities. As the women took their next steps forward, they slowly slid and fell on each other as their feet were left behind their legs without their knowing.

    Valencia rose slowly, surrounded in a pool of blood and fire. As some of the prostitutes had fallen onto each other, they'd accidentally stabbed or cut one another deeply. They each called out now as they screamed in pain. It was only a matter of time before reinforcements came in through the front door to check on the wails, not to mention the flames which were now building up to the second floor.

    "I suppose you'll do," she muttered as she grabbed one of the prostitutes with the darker hues by the hair and dragged her to the front door.

    The front door had two hooks, upon which a plank of wood was supposed to rest in order to seal it. However, that plank had been nowhere in sight upon her entering the building, so she opted to seal the door with the dying body of the prostitute she'd maimed. To ensure that the body did not move, Valencia impaled her through one of the wooden hooks with the sword the prostitute had taken up against her. She quickly retrieved the golden sword that the first man had attempted to wield against her and plunged it through the second hook.

    "Forgive me for this," she whispered before decapitating the prostitute. "Leaving you there like that would have weighed on my mind and clouded my hue."

    By the time she'd finished, the men who'd been seated in the main room had all taken up their weapons and were proceeding cautiously towards her. They all spoke at once, their words jumbling together into an incoherent mess. Valencia shook her head and then readied to take their lives before she noticed patrons coming down from the second floor and escaping somewhere in the back.

    "Ah, of course. There should be a rear exit… in that case," Valencia sheathed her weapons and rushed headlong at the men ahead of her. "I don't have time to waste on slicing you up right now," she said as she slammed her fist through the throat of the closest man, lifting him up with ease and rushing through the mass with him as a human shield. "It wouldn't due to let the main course escape now, would it?"

  • 25,607

    Chapter Two - The Fallen Star

    As the hours go by and the sky gets dark, a faint red light begins to illuminate the cloudy night sky. It gets brighter and brighter as the light of the Gem Star washes over Demeste and the lands surrounding it. The Gem Star itself is too small to be seen for much of this time, but soon a deeper, more vibrant light becomes visible streaming through the heavens, its power the source of the radiance that dies the sky. It's a breath-taking sight. Then it all goes wrong.

    With a sound louder than thunder, the Gem Star explodes. A flash of crimson light rushes across the sky and dissipates as numerous tinier streaks of light rain down upon Ashela. For a moment, an uneasy peace is shared. Then, the Warlocks in and around Demeste hurriedly disperse, rushing to collect as much of the fallen Star as they can for themselves.

    This chapter is simple enough, react to the detonation of the Gem Star and spread out through the area around Demeste in an effort to collect a Star Fragment, a piece of the Star. You're welcome to create specifics of locations you go to yourself, but I've listed some basic information on the surrounding area here for you. Remember, much of the land of Ashela is roamed by dangerous monsters that will attack with little provocation and other Warlocks are also seeking to claim what they can.

    Villages: A handful of smaller villages, each a part of the Demeste Protectorate, surround the area around Demeste. It's quite possible that a few Fragments have landed in or around one of the villages. Be warned though, some Warlocks chose to wait in these villages rather than in the city, and that puts them right there where they can easily grab a Fragment.

    The Bay of Demeste and Despair Sea: The Bay of Demeste is mostly empty aside from jagged rocks that block the passage of larger ships and the odd islet, but beyond that is the Sea of Despair - named for being particularly treacherous. The waters here are harsh and full of sea monsters, but there are a handful of slightly larger islands. Perhaps some Fragments landed in the Sea or crashed onto one of these small rocky islands?

    The Ironcrown Mountains: These resource rich mountains, the very same that the cliffs of Demeste lead into, are not the hardest to climb in Ashela and are far from the largest. They are still not easy terrain to traverse through though and are dotted with mines, many of which are abandoned.

    The Barrens: Of course, other than these landmarks, much of the land around Demeste is simply flat, grey and empty. This is where the largest monsters can be found and little else, but is also the widest expanse of land which means the most shards have probably landed in places such as this.

  • 944
    • UK
    • Seen Apr 5, 2024
    The Denizen
    Wish Upon a Star

    "So droll. So, dreadfully droll. I wish to hear a squish, but the mortals go amiss~"

    The Denizen strolled through the mysteriously quiet streets of Demeste. The only company it felt was the rambunctious singing of its patron and the petrified shuffling of the rotund bellied woman it had taken from its last conquest.

    "It refuses to pop. Perhaps we should aid it. Assist it, push the process. Oh, you must learn to communicate as the mortals do, the motion is so delightful once you get used to them. Let's. Let's help it pop. I want to see what comes out when it squishes~" The High Power giggled with a putrid glee. The grotesque creature appeared on The Denizen's shoulder and looked down at the black haired woman, who's absolute fixation was on the hunk of gold and black metal she'd relented to follow.

    The woman's feet clung to the ground as though they'd been caught in mud - The Denizen had stopped before her. She could feel her heart lose at least a beat in that moment.

    As the Denizen turned to face her and reach for its sword, an explosion of red light took the sky.

    "Ohhh, that is far more interesting than a squish~"

    The Denizen followed the streaks of red that fell unto the earth. It's mission had not changed. Without so much as a command from it's patron, it grabbed the woman and marched in the direction of one of the red streams.

    The Armour


    Tonight, the marigolds bloom for her.
  • 554
    • Seen Apr 11, 2024
    "You pulled in quite the haul, kitty!"

    «Yes, though I expect it to cause me no end of trouble soon.»

    Eve sighed, knowing that this was what she signed up for when she made her pact. In front of her was a red crystal nearly the size of her paw; a little piece of the reason her patron had led her to Demeste.

    "Eve, get moving!" Edir rushed her as soon as the Gem Star shattered. Like most, she was watching the sky at the time. The city quickly devolved into chaos as warlocks scrambled and started fighting.

    She stayed far from the line of fire on her way, taking advantage of her form and abilities to stick to the rooftops as warlocks were throwing magic at each other on the streets. Nobody paid her any mind either, as she was used to. She only had to deal with dodging the few stray spells that flew her way, and made it to her target the fastest.

    It had landed on the roof of a high-class mansion in the upper district of the city, disrupting a bird's nest. More accurately, it obliterated a bird's nest and stopped firmly wedged in the stone underneath. The fragment's light didn't diminish from the Gem Star's breaking, radiating a serene glow that left the tressym briefly entranced when she laid her eyes on it.

    «It is quite beautiful.»

    "And can you feel the power coming from it?" At their prompting, she realised she could sense a sort of pulsing energy emanating from the fragment. Seeming to read her mind they giddily continued, "That's just a piece of it. Imagine what the whole thing must feel like!"

    "Hey! Stupid cat, that ain't food!" A warlock caught up to them, two more soon coming in from other directions.

    "Ah. Looks like it's time to book it." Edir paused. "Hey, I've got a great idea!"

    "Here, kitty kitty! I got some nice fish for you if you bring me that shiny rock!"

    «Does this idea involve causing more trouble?»

    "Nah, nah, you'll love it. Hear me out: no warping."

    «... Very well,» she answered, not bothering to hide her exasperation. Eve slipped the crystal into her storage space. Once she did she realised she could still feel the fragment's energy—Edir mentioned her limited abilities wouldn't be able to hide it perfectly—but decided to put off worrying about it for later.

    "What the fuck?!"

    Then she braced herself, and hopped off the roof as one of the warlocks cast a stone cannon that demolished the spot where she stood.

    Eve § Cebres


    The low, rumbling growl still echoed cacophonously in the back of Cebres' head as he sprinted through the streets of Demeste. He had watched, enchanted as all were, as the Gem Star had shown itself and then felt his awe break and become horror as the meteorite exploded and sent fragments streaking across the sky.

    It had taken but moments for the silence that had followed to shatter and pandemonium to break out throughout the city. The warlocks that were present rushed into action, each making a mad dash to claim as much of the Star as they could and in doing so had quickly found themselves in conflict, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

    Cebres, of course, was little different. He hurried to leave the city, trying to avoid as much conflict as he could on the way. He was well aware of the corpses that mysteriously dissolved into ash as he dashed past: Szazoch claiming the dead for his own.

    Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine! Once more, Cebres' patron roared into his mind. He could feel the Higher Power's intense frustration and longing for the Star and he knew he had no choice but to obey at any cost. Too much was riding on his collecting as many fragments as he could.

    "I know. I'm running as fast as I can," Cebres said under his breath, shoving through a clutch of terrified civilians unsure of where they should flee to. He continued to rush onward, intending to collect fragments from the vast barrens beyond the mountains. However, he very suddenly found his progress rudely impaired and his face full of fur.

    Something collided with him almost head on, coming from the opposite side of a three-way intersection, hitting him with enough force to nearly throw him off balance. The something then kicked off of him, finally knocking him to the ground, and ran off in the direction he was heading.

    A moment later, a shower of stones filled the air directly above Cebres' new position. He hurried back to his feet after they passed, catching a glimpse of the feline that had knocked him over in the process. Then he turned to look at his other attacker, seeing a warlock already preparing another volley of stone missiles. He reached for his chain, but was interrupted by a sudden, rage-filled scream from Szazoch.

    THERE! He felt his head whip around unbidden, seeing the cat sprinting off ahead of him… and feeling some sort of powerful presence.

    "The cat?!" Cebres questioned incredulously.

    MINE! This guttural roar came with such force that Cebres found himself taking off after the cat before he even realised he was running, all but forgetting the warlock behind him who was still shooting projectiles in his general direction.

    Cebres § Eve

    The warlock of stone was her only problem, really. After Eve escaped, he dispatched the others in the area and gave chase, proceeding to carve a bloody path through the city. He fired spears and blocks of stone haphazardly, using the full extent of his powers to rip up the streets as she ran. Although his attacks missed, he was forcing her to change direction and getting rid of the competition at the same time.

    Perhaps it was to be expected, but it was difficult to elude him. With the earth under his control, he had enough of a sense for where she was within his range through all the corners she turned that he could keep following her through each one. And if he didn't have a pathway, he could make one that let him keep up.

    "Take a right up here!"

    Edir's order caught her off-guard, as they were initially content to just watch, but she didn't lose focus. She bounded off a wall, which was promptly and thoroughly destroyed by the stone warlock, and down the alley they pointed out, spotting a flight of stairs that provided easy access to another rooftop.

    Up there, she was able to see that the city had turned into something out of a nightmare, and spotted a straight shot to the next major intersection, a three-way that led out of Demeste. The number of civilians running for their lives was drastically lower than she expected despite the location, and not because they managed to get away safely.

    "Jump into the crowd on three!"


    "You want Rocky off your tail or not? Trust me! One! Two! Three!"

    Eve jumped, and eventually her paws touched down. Time felt as though it had stopped for a discomfortingly long time. After all, what she landed on wasn't the ground. It was a man's face.

    Regardless, she had no time for apologies or modesty. She kicked off the man against her feet, and bolted down the road out of Demeste. Completely contrary to what she expected, however, Eve soon had even more warlocks in pursuit of her, including the unfortunate man in the cape who she'd used as a landing pad.

    At first she felt ashamed for putting him in Rocky's line of fire. She then figured that chasing her meant he was a warlock himself, and likely a threat, so she was able to brush the feeling off without issue.

    "I can't believe you did that!" Meanwhile, Edir was laughing so boisterously she could imagine them clutching their stomach and literally rolling on their floor.

    After some minutes of running away and indirectly causing severe structural damage to the area, two of the warlocks were eliminated by one another's powers. A third was taken out by Rocky. It was then that the remaining three stopped and turned on each other, evidently deciding that they couldn't work together. The caped landing pad was among them, attesting to her suspicions and his resilience.

    Stopping only long enough to confirm the situation, Edir gave Eve permission to use her own abilities again. Without responding, she made her escape.

    Eve § Cebres

    Szazoch continued to roar in Cebres' head, ordering him to chase after the cat. Unfortunately though, as the more reasonable of the pair of them, Cebres had already realised that wasn't really an option. More stones were already levitating up around the first warlock, and the second remaining warlock brandished a curved scimitar.

    "I think you're going to have to accept a consolation prize." Cebres was no happier about losing the fragment than his Patron was, but there was little that he could do about it given his current situation. This was an assessment proven correct when the newcomer suddenly slashed with his scimitar, despite the distance between them.

    Cebres reacted out of pure instinct, diving low to the side. It was good he did, because he heard the sound of metal hitting wood behind him and glanced back to see a sizable gash in a wooden post. It seemed like this person could somehow ignore the space between himself and his target.

    A moment later, stone began raining down upon both the swordsman and Cebres. The scimitar wielder pulled back around the corner of the alley he'd emerged from to take cover. Cebres wasn't so lucky as to have that option, being forced to actively run around the incoming projectiles, very nearly being bludgeoned several times.

    "I really don't have time for this!" Cebres yelled at the pair.

    "None of us do, friend," the swordsman replied, taking a slash at the stone warlock who defended himself with a wall of stone. A gash appeared in the rocky barrier, which then exploded into another barrage and forced him back into the alley.

    A second wall erupted out the ground behind Cebres a moment later, preventing him from making a run for it as a second volley was launched at him. He jumped at the wall, springing off of it and over the rocks. They demolished the wall behind him as he landed, drawing his chain and running at the stone warlock.

    Another distance-defying slash nearly took his head as he ran, but narrowly missed, cutting into a building instead. Cebres lashed out with the chain like a whip, and the stone warlock leapt back. The attack merely grazed the stone caster, but he sagged suddenly regardless as Cebres channeled his magic through the weapon.

    "Wha—" the man started to wheeze. He didn't get to finish the sentence as Cebres lashed out with the chain again, this time snagging it around his victim's feet and pulling him to the ground with a sharp tug.

    Cebres sprinted for his downed opponent, ducking under another slash from the partially-covered swordsman. He reached him as he was starting to get up, wrapping the chain over his head as he got behind him and pulling it against his throat like a garotte.

    The swordsman threw another spatial slash, attempting to catch both targets while they were together, but a wall of stone blocked his attack again and repeated the process of breaking down into a blizzard of shrapnel that forced him back into cover.

    A spear of earth and stone shot out the ground into the back of Cebres' thigh from behind a moment later, forcing him to drop to his knees. The stone warlock was evidently a very skilled adversary, but that was even more reason not to let go of him. Cebres' maintained his grip, bringing his opponent to the ground with him. He pulled the chain tighter, but he wasn't aiming to suffocate the man.

    The stone warlock's struggling started getting weaker as Cebres reached out to him with his necromantic magic. He started getting paler, his body seeming to almost wither and age as Cebres maintained his grasp.

    The swordsman moved again, attacking with a thrust this time, opening a wound that pierced through the stone warlock and left a hole in Cebres behind him. But Cebres only briefly felt the pain as the life he was stealing from the stone warlock flowed into him, closing both the wound on his thigh and the fresher one. Moments later, the stone warlock was too weak to struggle. His body fell limp and then dissolved into ash.

    "What the fuck?!" the swordsman yelled as Cebres returned to his feet, damaged clothes the only sign of the wounds inflicted on him. The sword warlock turned to run down the alleyway.

    Cebres hesitated, having no personal desire to kill the man. However, he had promised his patron a consolation prize. He dashed after the other warlock, lashing out with his chain as he had against the stone warlock, wrapping it around his terrified victim and pulling his feet out from under him.

    He closed in on him seconds later, wrapping his hand around his neck and forcing his face into the dirt.

    "I'm sorry," he whispered as the swordsman's struggles grew gradually weaker until he too was ash in the wind. "It's nothing personal."

    Cebres stood up and hurried off, heading in the direction he'd last seen the cat. But he was fairly confident it was a fragment lost.

    Cebres § Eve

    A short time later, Eve was resting in an abandoned manor on the border of Demeste and the Barrens beyond, trying to figure out how to properly hide the Gem Star fragment's power. During a break in her testing, Edir spoke up.

    "Ya know, this woulda been so much easier if ya jus' flew out of the city." Eve was about to protest, still being uncomfortable with using her wings despite spending the better half of a year in her current form, until Edir interrupted her. "But I gotta admit, this way was way more fun, and we still got a piece of the Star out of it. Perfect score, kitty."


    Don't let me disappear
  • 13,642

    Valencia Strago
    19 // Warlock
    She Who Bears Sin
    Wishes Divine [M][IC]

    Valencia walked out of the burning building and breathed in deeply through her nostrils. Her blades dripped with blood at her sides, and the only sound left from behind her was the crackling of fire as it ate away at the wooden frame of the whorehouse. Her mind was soothed for a moment, and her heart felt light. The weight of the sins slowly faded from her back as the nobles bled out in a dark room within. She'd only let the two escape, but they could be allowed a new life. Their souls were yet to be darkened, and their deaths would have been simply unnecessary.

    'You've done good, my child.' Estrillad whispered in her ear, "Your time here has been well spent thus far, but look. Up above.' The knight's gaze lifted to the sky, finally taking notice of what she'd been blinded to before by the flames of the building behind her. The sky was filled with a crimson light, illuminating the world far better than her little act of arson. 'Beautiful, isn't it?'

    As Valencia began to nod, that beautiful crimson light exploded into a number of fiery tendrils which etched themselves into her vision as they spread across the sky.

    'The gem star!' Estrillad whispered excitedly. 'It's shattered! If you want its power, you must retrieve the shards. Hurry, before another warlock beats you to it.'

    Valencia spun on her heels, hoping to catch a glance at where some of the other shards had gone. As she did so, she could see the hues of dozens of souls in the city below her beginning to rapidly change hue. "Warlocks."

    Of course there would be other warlocks here. They all knew that the gem star was coming, it was only a matter of time. She knew that she couldn't risk going back down into the city. Despite the undeniable strength she could obtain from judging the sins of so many who'd sold their souls to further their own gain, now just wasn't the time for judgement. She needed a piece of that star or she'd end up falling behind everyone else. She turned back and looked up the hill, seeing the edge of the cliff just within a sprint's distance. She knew at least one of the fragments had fallen in that direction, and based on prior knowledge, she knew that there were some small islands out in that sea as well. If she was lucky, it'd have landed on a beach somewhere. If she were unlucky, then she'd be wrestling her share of the star from the hide of some unfathomable sea creature.

    This was her only choice. She sheathed her blades and crouched down. In a second, she was gone. The wind blew her hair back as she sprinted up the hill. She knew her powers would do her no good in a world of mindless sea creatures, but if she were lucky... yes, there off in the distance was the slightest glow of grey. It was unfortunate for that soul. Whatever they'd done until today couldn't have been too terrible, but sacrifices had to be made if she was to succeed. Eventually, she too would need to be cleansed... but for now, all that mattered was retrieving her own fragment.

    As she neared the edge of the cliff, she leapt into the air and flew over the edge. Down below were countless jagged rocks and the tumultuous crashing of the sea's waves as they pounded the cliffside. As she fell, she managed to spot him. An old man with a small sea-worthy vessel. He was easily in his seventies, but still he rode the waves and tossed out his nets. It would be a shame... but she was going to get to that island, one way, or another.

    'Do what you must do to succeed. I shall bear your sin, Valencia.'

    As her patron spoke to her, she was filled with purpose and shrugged off the unease of the successive acts of cruelty she was about to commit.



    How did this even happen?
  • 453
    • Seen Nov 20, 2022

    Amaro Puga

    At the writing desk of a small, upscale inn room, Amaro slept ungraciously slouched over papers he had been reading just a few minutes ago. The flickering candlelight created shifting shadows over his face while he slipped further into a dream world.

    Elsewhere, in a place that felt disconnected from both time and space, swirling clouds of fog filled the landless void around a floating Amaro. The first time he saw it, he was rendered breathless from the sheer unreality around him. Now, however, he was a little annoyed at being dragged away from his important set up work suddenly. Especially in such a crude manner as suddenly causing him to fall asleep without warning.

    The fog in front of him swirled and thickened into a practically solid wall before suddenly parting, leaving him alone with Aklune. He gave a slight bow to his patron while she studied him over, as she always did. "I suppose there has been a change in plans then?" Amaro asked, breaking the silence.

    Aklune just turned her back and motion for him to follow her. The two of them set off into the fog-filled void, a brisk walk in returning silence. Amaro watched the shifting shards of color in his patron's hair as he followed. The fabric of her clothes did not wrinkle with her movements, nor did her veil ever shift in a manner that would expose her face, yet her hair softly blew in a non-existent wind. The fog began to subside after less than a minute of walking (although Amaro could not tell if their walking actual moved them within the void, or if the void shifted around them). Soon enough he found that Aklune has led him to a small cluster of ruins on an island.

    Whatever was here before, it was certainly large and ornate. The marble pillars had been etched with something long ago, but the salty sea wind seemed to have wiped it clean over time. The sea around the ruins was a brilliant blue and still compared to the seas around Demeste, and the clouds above were a brilliant white. The island itself stood on rocky cliffs high above the sea, but with a healthy, plant-covered surface surrounding the ruins.


    Amaro had been so taken in by his surroundings that the voice of his patron startled him. Looking at the sheer distance he would be falling onto jagged rocks below, he was glad he didn't suddenly jump and lose his footing. He wasn't looking to find out if he could feel pain in the world too.

    "Tonight?" Amaro asked, frustration rising in his voice. "I have not had any time at all to build connection adequate to pull in favors for getting this star. How am I supposed to get to this star before the swarm of warlocks that descended upon the city do?"

    Aklune stared at him, distant stars behind her veils twinkling with light. He saw no discernible expression on his patron's face, but he could feel her displeasure in the atmosphere around him. "I didn't say I wasn't going to fight for it," he said in his defense, "but I am at a disadvantage in my current position. I was hoping to avoid fighting these battle directly, which is why I'm getting these favors. The other warlocks are sure to be much more... direct."


    "I understand, but what about the last one standing? How do we know I can beat them."


    A very real wind picked up at her last statement, forcing Amaro to shield his eyes from flying dust. Aklune was gone when he opened his eyes again. He was still on the island, but gone were the green plants and magnificent marble ruins. All that was left were worn chunks of broken marble crusted over with salt on a jagged, rocky surface. The sky above was now littered with the dull gray clouds that hung around Demeste, and the sea around him surged in violent, gray tinged waves.

    And then he was awake in the real world again, face pressed against the hard desk. With a start he ran to the window and threw it open, leaning outside for a good look at the sky. Above, a light dashed across the sky before exploding into a brilliant light. There was a delay, and then a sound like crashing thunder shook the entire room. Amaro watched helplessly as star broke into pieces and scattered across the ground.

    He thought about the island he visited with Aklune once more. The scenery was familiar, he was certain that was the Sea of Despair. If anything, he wagered part of the star fell on that island.

    Last edited:
  • 865
    • Age 38
    • Seen Feb 24, 2024
    Demeste Heights - "Healing"

    There were no more signs of life. The only sound was the occasional crumbling of another chunk of stone nearby. Talia sat in one of the many abandoned buildings in the Demeste Heights, located next to a theatre once hailed as a masterwork of architecture. It had served monarchs in the past. Now, it served as a battleground and grave.

    More than twenty warlocks entered the theatre in the hours following the Gem Star's appearance, many carrying shards of the shattered Star and seeking more. Before day broke none remained, and the glowing pieces they possessed were held in a woman's cold, dead hands.

    "I would have thought they would be more of a challenge," Talia mused aloud. "Not one put up an actual fight, as if they weren't even trying."

    She paused, eyes glancing down to her shoulder where a splatter of dried blood smeared across pale skin. She vaguely remembered one of the warlocks, in an act of desperation, had attempted to attack her with a knife, going as far as to jam it into shoulder. The look on his face when she merely pulled it free before tossing it right between his eyes was almost comical. At least to her it was, anyway.

    Another two had simply walked into the traps she laid on their way in. She hardly put any real thought into it either, and expected nothing of them—it was really quite lazy how she haphazardly tossed some explosive ice mines about the theatre and left them, and she wasn't going to bother disarming the ones left untouched.

    The fourth had followed just behind the third, avoiding the same underwhelming fate. But as he was grabbing the third warlock's Gem Star piece, he was dealt with by an ice arrow to the face that immediately froze his brain.

    Yet another was particularly resilient. He managed to make it close to the stage where Talia had left the fragment she first found. He was pinned to a wall as he tried to escape, and he didn't die very quickly (probably a product of his powers), so Talia just kept firing arrows until he shut up.

    This gave the next victim time to attempt an ambush. She had snuck in and made it to the balcony seats. She probably meant to snipe Talia herself, but she was disappointingly dispatched by another one of the ice mines. By this point in the night, Mifuyu herself began lamenting that granting those people power made the higher powers all look like idiots.

    Coming up on the end of the night, the theatre became the site of an impromptu battle royale. Magic was flung every which way as they all tried to murder each other for what was now a small pile of Gem Star shards. Talia and Mifuyu, undetected as they were, watched in extreme boredom due to a lack of deaths, not a snack bar to be found.

    Eventually, Talia took it upon herself to break the 9-way stalemate, proceeding to eliminate each combatant one by one with all the precision of a practiced plugger. When it at last died down in the theatre, no new arrivals approaching, she left to take a break away from the stench of blood, leading to where she was now.

    "Talia," her patron called not long after, an unexpected urgency in her tone. "There's another fragment of the Star not far from here. One of exceptional size, judging by the power I just sensed... but it disappeared as quickly as I felt it. I do not expect there to be much additional competition considering the stunt you pulled, but I'm not going to risk missing it. Get moving."

    "You're never going to let me rest, are you?"

    "You will be allowed to rest all you like once you've satisfied me."

    "... As you wish," Talia sighed. She removed her rear from the less-than-comfortable wooden chair she sat on and headed for the city streets. The orange glow of the rising sun was the only accompaniment to Mifuyu's guidance this morning.

    A short jog later—at least, short for one who felt no fatigue—Mifuyu had led Talia close to a home that was in remarkably good shape. Rather, many of the houses in this district were intact enough to protect from the wind and rain. Regardless of its state, it was no less abandoned than most of the city, so it took no effort to gain entry.

    "Lady Mifuyu, are you sure it's around here?"

    "Do not question my senses. They cannot be fooled."

    The infallibility of the higher power's senses did nothing to alleviate Talia's suspicion. Its proximity to the theatre, where Talia all but committed a massacre, may have played a part in its preservation; but if any fragments of the Gem Star ended up in this area and stayed long enough to be tracked down, warlocks would have already razed it for as little as a splinter.


    Contrary to Talia's expectations, however, the house she entered at Mifuyu's command wasn't entirely empty. Her still heart and silent steps made the slightest movement far more perceptible to her than when she was alive. She heard the sound of a cupboard opening. Of feet on wood.

    It's not human...

    An open door separated the combined entryway and living room from the kitchen. Talia crept up to the door frame, Mifuyu quiet as the revenant peeked around the edge.

    Standing on the polished kitchen counter, undamaged by the chaos outside, was a cat that looked like it would fit comfortably in Talia's arms, illuminated by the morning light shining through the windows. She watched it gingerly pull a chunk of preserved meat from its packaging, and it ate with a sort of elegance she didn't expect from an animal.

    "Did it hide here for shelter, perhaps?" Mifuyu wondered, noting the wings folded against its torso. "Even the skies are unsafe for such critters at the moment."

    The cat paused and blinked. Talia herself had completely erased her presence, and she was certain that it would have taken a skilled warlock to detect her—it was her specialty, after all. Even so, its head turned to the door as if in response to Mifuyu's voice.

    Their eyes met for an instant, then the cat jumped off the counter to find a hiding place. There were unfortunately few ways out of the room. Every window and door was shut with the exception of the door Talia blocked, and it probably knew she would have caught it. Lacking options, it ran to the dining area adjacent and took cover behind a closed-back chair.

    While her patron began deliberating to herself about the fate of the Star piece she felt earlier, Talia briefly considered what to do with the creature before them. It was well-groomed at a glance, sporting fluffy ashen fur that hadn't so much as a speck of dirt on it, and its demeanor made it seem particularly docile. It wouldn't have been out of place in the home of a high-ranking noble.

    "It's alright," the assassin calmly called out as she took a cautious first step into the kitchen. "I'm not going to hurt you."

    Talia was used to animals hating her. Simply being a walking corpse got her on their bad side more often than not. This one, on the other hand, looked like it was willing to give her a chance. It slowly stuck its head out from behind the chair once Talia reassured it again.

    "It's okay, you don't need to be scared."

    In retrospect, the still-drying blood on her person and lack of a heartbeat did her no favors in assuaging the cat's fears. Yet the cat welcomed her through that barrier to entry. Talia extended the back of her hand once she closed in, allowing the cat to sniff it; and seeing that it didn't run a second time brought her a sense of joy.

    "May I... pet you?" Her gaze met the cat's again. Its eyes were a vibrant blue, not unlike her own, but they had much more life in them than she felt in the last decade. And in its right eye was a barely visible horizontal slit that crossed over its vertical pupil, like some type of scar or birthmark. The cat blinked once, then laid down on the chair and slightly lowered its head in apparent understanding.

    Talia reached, taking the encounter more gently than any normal human could. Her fingers brushed against the cat's head. Its ears twitched in response, and the assassin pulled her hand an inch away long enough to gauge its reaction. It looked at her again before nudging back against her hand on its own.

    Given its approval, Talia kneeled down in front of it and started stroking its fur with some enthusiasm, a hint of a smile gracing her lips. She was grateful to have kept her hands clean during the slaughter. This lasted for perhaps a minute, making Talia feel strangely healed by the comforting sensation of the cat's warm fur and the feathers on its wings against her icy skin, when Mifuyu finally finished talking to herself.

    "And what exactly might you be doing, pet?"

    Talia froze at the sound of Mifuyu's question. As if it had never happened, the smile fell from her lips. Her expression quickly being replaced with her usual, blank mask. "I was merely… checking to see if the cat had happened to collect a fragment, somehow. You detected one here, yes? It's possible that it thought it some mere object of play or the like and brought it here."

    A moment of silence.

    "...I believe you've been inspecting this creature for long enough. I suspect the shard's current owner fled as soon as I had detected it. So perhaps you'd best move on now?"

    "Yes… of course," Talia replied.

    She lingered a moment before rising to her feet. The assassin looked down at the winged cat, who gave her a curious glance in return, appearing almost lonely realizing their little session had ended. Mifuyu had a point though: she came here for a reason, and the cat was only slowing her down now. While it was a nice distraction to indulge in fluff… Mifuyu's goals were more important than Talia's leisure.

    Back to the hunt, I suppose. Maybe if she could have pet the cat herself, she would cool off a little...

    With thoughts like that in the back of her mind, the hardboiled, ice cold assassin gave the ashen-furred cat a friendly wave. Then she left the house behind and returned to her search, hearing the melodic chirping of wild birds despite the din of chaos still resounding within Demeste.
  • 25,607
    Cebres Payne

    The wind was blistering cold as Cebres walked through the empty expanse of the wilderness beyond the boundaries of Demeste. Despite it being the middle of the day, the endless expanse of grey clouds above left the scenery dark as though it was early evening instead and it had been raining on and off all day.

    Cebres' mood was only further soured by the frequent growling fury Szazoch projected into his head. Since he had failed to retrieve the Star Fragment held by the winged cat and been forced to fight the other two Warlocks back in Demeste, he had found only two miniscule fragments - and even then he was pretty sure they were two halves of one fragment that had further split.

    Since then he had been searching for the faint red glow that would indicate a Fragment being present in the area. Szazoch had been aggressively pointing Cebres in the direction he was currently walking, so he assumed it wouldn't be too long now before he found what he was looking for.

    Sure enough, eventually, as the sky darkened further, a red glow became reflected on a rocky outcrop. Cebres was already moving in that direction when Szazoch's gravelly voice started urging him forward again.

    "THERE. MINE!"

    "I know."

    Cebres sped up, jogging toward the glow. It wouldn't do now to have to fight another Warlock for ownership of the Fragment. He would, of course, do just that if it came down to it. But if avoiding conflict was an option, it was the option he'd prefer to take.

    He reached the outcrop, stopping suddenly at its edge. It seemed a lot less natural than he had originally thought. In fact, it was less an outcrop and more a ring of large stones that had been jammed together. In the middle was a pile of various smaller stones and, more worryingly, bones. It took a few more seconds before Cebres realised that some of the stones were, in fact, not rocks. They were eggs… and in the middle of them was a small crystalline shard emanating a red glow.

    "Shit," Cebres swore, "I have to get out of here before whatever layed those comes back. I don't want to have to deal with any of the monsters that live out here."

    Unfortunately, it was not to be. Almost as soon as the words had left his mouth, the ground behind Cebres exploded outward, showering him with dirt and rocky debris. He watched as an enormous reptilian creature with grey-brown leathery skin rose up from the ground, patches of scales dotting its body.

    The monster was the size of a small building, with a long tail and an equally long neck that ended in an ovoid head with a maw full of jacked teeth. It's limbs each ended in a foot that could easily double as a hand with long, sharp claws. It was astounding to think that he had walked directly over such a gigantic beast and not known.

    The monster roared its displeasure and lunged forward to bite at Cebres, not actually moving from its position but merely shooting its head toward its prey with its serpentine neck.

    Cebres dived to the side, narrowly avoiding becoming a meal. He rolled down the side of the nest, landing uncomfortably on the hard ground it rose from. He kept rolling, dodging another attempt to snap him up, eventually coming to a halt and rising into a crouching position. He withdrew his chain but didn't have a chance to use it, the creature went in for another bite.

    Cebres shifted to the side, hearing the sound of the monster's jaws snapping shut just to the side of him. Avoiding the bite wasn't enough to spare him the creature's wrath though, it swung its head to the side like a whip and knocked Cebres flying, sending him sprawling in the dirt once again.

    Another bite came, but this time he was able to roll to his back and lash out with his chain. The weapon struck the monster's head and it recoiled back, taking little physical damage but feeling the life-draining effect of Cebres' magic.

    Cebres climbed to his feet, waiting for the next attack as the creature turned toward him. It had been put-off somewhat by the feeling of its lifeforce being drained, but it had a nest to protect so Cebres knew it would attack again soon.

    What he didn't anticipate was the full body charge. The enormous reptile rushed him, a several tonne mass of slashing claws and snapping jaws. He had only split seconds to realise that turning and running would be a mistake, as its long neck would allow it to easily snare him if he turned and ran or moved to the side. That was likely part of how it hunted.

    Instead, he ran forward, sprinting under the towering beast's legs as it rushed the other direction. He made it out from under it, avoiding being bitten again, but this time fell victim to a lash of the monster's tail. It hit him with enough force to stop a non-Warlock from getting back up, but he wasn't a non-Warlock.

    Cebres, wrapped his arms around the tail as the creature flung him about and started channeling his magic into the creature, pulling its very life into himself and using it to heal the bones and organs it had damaged. His grip tightened as he felt hit vitality returning.

    The creature whipped its head around, flicking its tail toward its mouth, trying to snatch up the meal that was attached to it.

    Cebres let go, using the creature's own momentum to fall onto its back, the monster's head missing him by a wide margin. He flung his chain forward, wrapping it around the base of the beast's neck and pushed his magic further. The monster grew gradually more sluggish beneath him as he used the chain to pull himself toward the monster's neck, holding on tight until very suddenly it dropped.

    The monster twitched and struggled violently for nearly an hour, Cebres struggling to hold on as the creature tried to snap him up, unable to reach him where he was clinging to it. His fingers were aching and bleeding from where his wn chain dug into them when the creature finally stopped moving and crumbled into ashes.

    Cebres fell to the ground from several feet up and lay still for several long minutes before a yell from Szazoch pushed him to his feet. He climbed down into the nest and picked up the Fragment.

    "Sorry, but one nest doesn't outway the future of an entire nation." Cebres climbed out of the next, pocketing the shard, only to freeze in place. Across from him was a short man in a dark cloak.

    "That was quite the display."

    Cebres reached for his chain again.



    Don't let me disappear
  • 13,642

    Valencia Strago
    19 // Warlock
    She Who Bears Sin
    Wishes Divine [M][IC]

    "Can I have my blades back now?"

    The elderly man gripped the wheel of his ship tighter as he turned his head to look at the knight who was sitting with her arms around her knees, completely dejected after the harsh talking to that the man had given her. "Ask again. Please. I am daring you to try me. I can and will throw this ship to the cold embrace of the waves. For the last time, you need to learn respect for your elders. I don't give a damn if you're a god, a warlock, or a shape shifting lemur. Learn some manners, and show respect to those who its due."

    Valencia sighed and rested her chin on her knees. The man's soul wasn't dark enough for her to gain much power, and he'd managed to catch her off guard with a net that was yet to be cast out from his rig. For the hours they'd been travelling since then, its been a back and forth of lecture and pleading. "If I just had my swords, I'd be out of your hair. Honest. At this point, I'd rather take my chances with the unpredictability of the seas themselves than subject myself to another minute of your preaching."

    'Some of what he says is true.'

    "I don't want to hear it from you, either," she hissed beneath her breath. "Lot of good you did 'bearing my sin'."

    'Well, let's just say its best that it didn't have to come to that. After all, what good would a ship have done in these seas for someone who spent their entire life in the mountains?'

    Valencia buried her head deeper into her knees and growled. "Ugghhhh."

    The old man looked at the girl once more and then shook his head. "We'll be there soon. You can see the island in the distance now. It's only a matter of time."

    "Praise be."

    "Yes, praise be."


    "This is as far as I go." The old man held the swords out to Valencia. "The water here is close to waist deep, but you shouldn't have any trouble making it to shore."

    Valencia took the blades from the man and strapped them back to her waist. "It's appreciated." She patted the weapons, finally feeling some semblance of control again now that she was armed.

    "I'll wait here for you."

    Valencia did a quick double take before meeting the man's gaze.

    "What? You really expect me to leave a young girl all alone on an island to wait for another boat that won't be by for who knows how long?"

    Valencia shook her head. "I'm sorry, it just caught me off guard for a moment. After that trip, I'd figured you'd just be ready to be done with me."

    "It's the right thing to do. That's all. It's not as if I want to tote you around anymore. Your voice absolutely grates on my ears, and you're the most ungrateful woman I've met in a long time. But I'm not an evil man. I'll do right by you before washing my hands of the matter."

    "Hmm." Valencia kept her eyes locked with the man's for several seconds before she spun on her heels. "Again. It's appreciated. I've not been shown kindness in a while."

    "Yeah yeah, just carry on with your business. I do have to get back to my market stall at some point."

    Valencia nodded and then leapt over the side of the boat. The water was freezing, a fact which wasn't aided in any means by the metal armor covering her. She stepped high through the water, carrying her knees to the water's surface before lowering them back down into the clutches of the sludge-like sand. With each step she took, she felt herself sink and slide, unable to gain proper footing on the seabed. After a few minutes of struggling, she'd managed to make her way to the beach. The moon shone brightly above her, and the wind blew the palmettos into a beautiful orchestra of rustling leaves and creaking branches.

    "Who are you?" The man appeared from between the palms. His voice was warm and deep. His pants were tattered and torn, and he wore no shirt or shoes. His skin was dark from the tanning of the sun, and his eyes were bright. He was slim, but his muscles were toned and immediately recognizable, and he stood nearly a foot taller than any man Valencia had met before. Valencia took all this in, analyzing the man's being, but missing one key component of his character. "Who."

    "I am Valencia Strago, a warlock-" the girl slammed her hand against her mouth, attempting to muffle the words that were coming. "hailing from the distant kingdom of Irida."

    The man continued down the coast towards her even after hearing she was a warlock. "Interesting," he mused.

    'Be careful.'

    She already knew. It was the first time since gaining her powers that she'd been able to take in the features of someone before knowing what kind of person they were. His soul was invisible to her eyes. Valencia gripped her swords and began to pull them from their sheathes, but before she could fully release them, the man held his hand up to her.


    Her body was frozen. She struggled against her own muscles, feeling the tension in her shoulders as she tried to push her arms out. Her body wasn't responding to her, but why?


    She obediently placed the swords back in their sheathes.


    Her arms fell to her sides.


    Valencia struggled with all of her might, but despite her physical and mental strength, she was forced to kneel at the edge of the sea.

    "I hope you're coming to realize what's going on by now. You weren't the only one who saw that star fall out here."

    Valencia raised her head, meeting the man's downward gaze. He hovered over her, towering like a giant. "You're a warlock?"

    The man smiled. "Perhaps that is it. Perhaps it isn't. Who's to say? Maybe, I'm a shape-shifting lemur? Maybe I'm an elder?"

    Her eyes widened. "H-how-"

    He waved her off. "I'm not the old man, don't worry. I heard you, even from all the way out there. If I will it, I can hear or see anything. Should I wish to be, I can become omniscient. But the burden of knowledge is great when you have no way to utilize it."

    "What are you?" His power was tremendous, that much she could easily tell. But who was he? If he was a warlock, what type of being was he contracted to? How could one man be so much stronger than her? She'd taken on warlocks before in her travels, but nobody had ever exerted such dominance over her so swiftly.

    'The Speaker.'

    "The Speaker?"

    The man smiled at her. "Ah, your patron knows of mine. That makes this easier. I'll allow them to explain while I continue with my prior business."

    'The Speaker is a powerful god. As his name implies, his power and the power of his followers comes from speech. Words, phrases, and even entire speeches can be used to exert his will. The Speaker's power is nearly limitless, as the power of the words is based on their meaning and understanding. For a god who has no need for any singular language, his repertoire is endless and at times even fictional. Back in the old days, The Speaker was able to bend other gods to his will by uttering a single word.'

    "My god..." Valencia looked over at the man who was beckoning and speaking to the sea.

    "Come. Come. Drag, and beach. Come. Come."

    'For the warlock, the power is less potent and limited to their own understanding. The Speaker is quite particular with his subjects, as their power is directly related to their intelligence. This is one of the few warlocks I'd hoped you wouldn't have to meet. There's only one way to overpower him, but for that, you'll need the shard.'

    The shard. The shard would amplify her powers, but where on the island could it be?

    "Come. Come. Drag, and beach. Come. Come."

    Valencia turned her head towards the sea, finally noticing what the man was beckoning towards. "Holy shit."

    A massive creature which belonged in the depths of the sea had drug itself to the surface and was forcing itself into the shallows. It appeared to be a catfish the size of a whale. Its body was steaming as chunks of ice quickly melted and fell from its body. The creature arched its back, quickly forming new ice on its body as it struggled against the call of the warlock.

    "Come. Come. Drag, and breach. Claw and break. Reach. Reach. Push and meet land. Come. Come."

    As the creature became too entrenched in the shallows, its fins extended. What had appeared to be fins, were in fact long, thin arms which shared an icy webbing between them. Though the creature was still several hundreds of feet away from them, it reached out with its chilly appendages and dug its claws into the sand of the beach. The claws raked through the fine sand as it pulled itself in closer. As the arms contracted, an icy web began to reform between the dozens of bones which made up appendages.

    "What the hell kind of monster is that..." Valencia's eyes were filled with a fear that she'd only held once before. This... this was like something from a completely different world.

    'The Llaroq. The only of its kind. It's an ancient creature created by one of the gods who fell in battle to act as their mount. Undoubtedly, in these times it would be an apex predator, that much can be sure. The fact that this warlock is exerting his will over it... he must be ancient himself.'

    "Loud. Echo. Reverberate. Amplify." With each word, the man's voice grew louder until it had reached a deafening level of intensity. "Prostrate yourself." His tone was calm, but the entire island shook as he spoke. The sea rippled and was pushed back as his voice traveled across it. The creature let out a cry which was equally as deafening before it slammed its head against the sandy bank, sending a massive wave back towards the shore. "Part." The wave instantly disappeared, evaporated as if it were no more than a drop of water in a raging inferno. "Finally. I have my prize."

    Valencia followed the man with her eyes as he walked out into the sea. "What is his goal?"

    'Don't you see it? There, in the creature's head.'

    Valencia focused her eyes on the creature. It was then that she noticed it. A large shard was embedded into the creatures skull. The wound was gushing with black blood as the rest of the creature's body contorted and tried to force itself back towards the sea.

    'You must take it before he gets to it. If you hold the shard, your power will be far greater than his. His words will no longer hold sway over you.'

    "But I can't even move from where I am now, how am I supposed to get there if I can't even move myself from here?"



    Tonight, the marigolds bloom for her.
  • 554
    • Seen Apr 11, 2024

    Royal Castle, Lindel

    "Out of the question. It's far too dangerous."

    "Then who do you propose we send next? Our best agents continue to return with nothing to show for their efforts, and the oracle's magic has proven ineffective!"

    "I already have one missing sister. I don't need another."

    "And I suppose you think our next king disappearing is a better option?"

    Two individuals argued in a dimly-lit study, a sole servant on standby near the door. The two went by the names Kieran and Moira. They were also known as the first prince and princess of the Kingdom of Lindel.

    Their younger sister, Princess Aine, had been spirited away over half a year ago by power beyond their means to trace, and the fruitless search for her thus far had their patience running thin. The desk next to them was covered in reports from the ongoing investigation. More recently came the addition of a separate investigation regarding various warlocks and their patrons, as well as information about the Gem Star's coming.

    "Father and Mother are still young," Kieran answered, "but your fiancé can't be left waiting forever. Who knows how long this search will continue?"

    "You talk of a fiancé I've barely spoken to in over a year."

    "Ah, yes," he countered, taking on a sudden flair for the dramatic, "especially after losing our beloved sister. Your grief has been so overwhelming you couldn't possibly let him see you in such a heartbroken state... Yet after a couple of months you're attending parties as normal."

    "Because unlike you I've returned to fulfilling my social obligations. Besides, those girls care more for me than he does. For you too. I don't know what she sees in you, but Marquess Lennon's daughter was worried about you spending most all your free time of late cooped up in this study. If even they're concerned, how do you think you'd make Aine feel with you looking like you haven't seen the sun in weeks?"

    "If she were here, we wouldn't have this problem."

    "And everyone we've sent to find her has turned up nothing!"

    "At least they come back. That's why at the next meeting I'll be suggesting I take a team to search for her myself."

    "Are you saying I'm unfit for the job?"

    "I'm saying I'm more fit for it than you. You'd just as soon take her and run as soon as you found her!"

    "And you wouldn't?"

    "Are you saying I would abandon my country and my duties?!"

    "You certainly didn't deny it earlier. All Aine has to say is that she doesn't want to come home and you would buckle."

    Unfortunately, the missing sister in question also happened to be the best at calming the siblings down. As a result, this back and forth continued for some time.


    Don't let me disappear
  • 13,642

    Valencia Strago
    19 // Warlock
    She Who Bears Sin
    Wishes Divine [M][IC]


    Valencia was kneeling in the sand, struggling with all of her might to free herself. Yet despite her best efforts, the most she was able to achieve was the smallest twitch.

    "Girl, snap out of it."

    Valencia's eyes slowly moved over to the elderly man who was crawling up beside her. "But… why are you here?" She whispered, recognizing the captain of the ship.

    "The Guardian of these seas just forced itself up onto dry land and you're stuck in the sand, what did you really expect me to do? Simply sail back to land and try to forget any of this ever happened?"

    Val hung her head. "...." She moved her tongue around in her mouth, feeling out the words that her mind was trying to bring up.

    'You should thank the man.'

    Valencia's eye twitched as her Patron voiced up in her head, drowning out her other thoughts. "I'm getting there," she muttered.

    The elderly man looked up at her as he easily raised and lowered the woman's limbs. "Whatever's wrong, your body is perfectly fine. If this is a mental thing, you need to get over it. The Guardian is the one who controls the climate of these seas. Without its protection, all hell will break loose in these waters in a matter of days."

    Valencia scoffed. "What do you think I'm trying to do, old man? It's not like I'm trying to just sit on my hands here."

    The captain shook his head and stood up. "All that talk, what does it amount to? You're just a scared little girl at the end of the day." The elderly man reached out and patted Valencia's head before taking one of her swords. "Lot of good you are."

    Valencia's eyes widened as she watched the elderly man pull off his dirtied shirt and wield the blade. His body has overall rugged, made hard from a lifetime of lonely sea work. The only place on his body that saw any flab was in his gut, which was earned through the sharing of his tales at the local tavern.

    The warlock closed her eyes and performed the symbol of her judgement on the man, knowing full well that if he were to go after the other warlock he would most certainly die. As she began to run through the man's life, sorting out his misdeeds from his merits, she began to feel the strength of his smallest sins pile up inside of her. Her arm began to twitch slightly more than before, and she could finally feel a numb sensation in her legs. This was it. This old man, with an entire lifetime of experiences would be the source of her power. He would turn the tides so to say.

    Valencia slowly rose to her feet and wobbled as she locked her knees. She felt a great uneasiness as she pulled the sword from her waist. She took a few awkward steps forward, watching as the elderly man began to high step through the shallows of the water.

    "Don't go. Stay back. Your sins have been absolved and I've taken your power, so please," Valencia took several more slow and wobbly steps forward, but the captain continued to increase the distance between them. "Don't go near that man."

    The other warlock slowly turned and extended his hand to the elderly man. The warlock smiled devilishly as his eyes met Valencia's. "Halt." His voice echoed across the shore, despite being nearly knee deep into the water. It was nowhere near as loud as earlier, but the power of his voice was still undeniable.

    The elderly man fell backwards, almost as if he'd run headfirst into a wall. He fell onto his bottom and then rolled onto his back, causing the crashing waves of the sea to wash up over him. Valencia felt a massive weight being placed on her back which threatened to break her, but she had found the necessary strength to move on now. Her steps were slower, but they were steps nonetheless.

    The warlock smiled once more and then beckoned towards the spot where the elderly captain still lay, submerged under water. Fear suddenly overtook Valencia as she realized what was happening. If such an impressive weight were enough to force a warlock to stop in their path, what could a mere human hope to accomplish against it. Several seconds passed and Valencia's steps became slightly more hurried, despite her wobbling and stumbling as she came closer to the edge of the shore.

    "No." She muttered, watching the warlock's smile turn to a frown.

    "You're weak, Valencia Strago. Your resolve is lacking. Despite the power you emit, you're nothing but a child. Those without power do not belong in this world." The warlock held out his hand. 'Come.' He mouthed the words, but did not speak them. And yet even without announcing his desire, the captain shot forth from his bed in the seas and was gripped at the throat by the warlock.

    The captain dragged the sword along the water's surface as he floated through the air towards the warlock. His eyes were glazed over, and as he flew, he coughed and sputtered, choking on the water he'd been forced to inhale over his extended and unintended submersion.

    "This is what power is. It is not a sense of righteousness, nor is it holy. It is an absolute power, one that commands all to do its bidding. Your power is lackluster. It needs too much in order to shine, but I… I am like an eternal flame. My brightness is apparent and everlasting. No darkness can cover me, no cold can extinguish me, and even without tinder I will continue to blaze. This is true power, warlock. Watch me, and learn your place in this world."

    The warlock slowly began to tighten his grip around the captain's throat. The elderly man kicked his legs weakly, having already been half-drowned. He scratched at the warlock's hand that encompassed his throat, and eventually attempted to claw at his face.

    "This is perfection. Unquestionable. Unrelenting." The warlock's smile returned as he continued to tighten his grip to the point that the captain no longer had the strength to resist. "Humans are like insects to the likes of us. We are not just messengers of the old gods, but gods ourselves. We dance in their hands no longer. I will collect these fragments of star and see that we are placed in our correct place in this world."

    "You're killing him!" Valencia finally cried out. A slightly red color had taken her normally pale face as she watched what was mostly a completely innocent man being slowly murdered before her eyes.

    "Yes, that would be the point." The warlock tightened his grip until his fist had completely closed around the man's throat. A heavy stream of blood sloshed into the water as the captain's body slowly slid out of the man's grip, tearing free from the shreds of flesh that the warlock still clenched in his fist. "Without even utilizing our powers we can so easily end these peasants. And yet you use your powers in such a disgraceful way." The warlock released his grip, allowing the final chunks of the man's crushed neck to fall into the water. "It's disgusting."

    Valencia fell to her knees, feeling the strength provided by her judgement depart with the captain's life. She felt once more like a child performing for the first time in front of her father. Her sword sunk into the sand as its weight became too much to bear.

    The warlock's face turned to disgust as he walked up towards the guardian. "And now, my power shall grow even further beyond that of a mortal's comprehension."

    As the warlock reached for the large fragment in the creature's skull, the Llaroq desperately inhaled, causing a vibration that shook the entire island. The warlock smiled smugly as he placed his hand against the fish's flesh, but quickly recoiled when his hand turned an icy white.

    "You damned beast. You dare to strike back at me? Learn your place, creature." The warlock pulled back his opposite arm and scowled. "Stiffen. Solidify. Harden. Reinforce. Strengthen. Indurate. Sharpen. Hone. Refine. Acuminate." The warlock's arm steadily appeared to grow heavier as it dropped slightly with each word added onto it. "Begone, creature. As with your master before you, your time in this world is no more."

    The warlock slammed his hand into the creature's skull, penetrating up to his shoulder. "Lengthen. Elongate. Extend. Expand. Protract." With each word, the creature shifted uncomfortably. It let out several more rumbling breaths as the warlock's entire body slowly turned an icy white. "Increase."

    The creature's entire body spasmed, causing it to almost roll over at one point. The frosty air which had been forming around its body slowly dissipated as the warlock freed his arm from its body.


    In an instant, Valencia's eyes were assaulted with a darkness that was even greater than that of the night. It was a darkness which glowed, or radiated like the flames of a blackened sun. It encompassed her entire vision, and from within that black sun which seemed to consume everything around it, two crystal blue eyes seemed to peer into her soul. As the set of eyes noticed her expression, they were joined with a yellowed grin.

    "My apologies."

    The voice seemed like a whisper now, hidden behind the veil of darkness that assaulted her every sense. She'd instinctively created a judgement pact with the bearer of the soul, and was instantly driven to the brink of a mental break. Even in just the past few days this man had committed more atrocities than all of the beings she'd judged in the months up to that point. Valencia vomited and forcibly cut her connection with the soul, despite the unfathomable surge of energy she'd just received from it.

    "Tsk tsk. It's not polite to look into other people's memories like that." The warlock now stood in front of her. "Shame, that was just the opportunity you needed too. If you'd struck while you'd been judging my soul, you very well may have had a chance to take me on."

    Valencia's gaze slowly rose to meet the warlock's. "Why? Why would you do all of those things? Your soul… it's…"

    "Sure, you caught me. I'll let you in on the secret." The warlock waved his hand around at the invisible dark. "Knowing everything comes with a price of course. No matter how I personally feel about the things I've done, the morality of every other living being that I witness on a day to day basis does have an effect on me. Your power is special, that's why I'm so disappointed in the way that you utilize it. You're one of the few who could free me from this dark burden. Of course, many of your kind have already tried before. Those first few years off the top are especially difficult to get by, so I hear."

    "You mean to say-"

    'I'm sorry Valencia. As I said, I'd hoped you'd never have to meet someone like him, but I should have been more specific. In truth, I'd hoped you'd be able to acquire the star before you had to meet this man.'

    "That's right. I've taken on so many of your Patron's followers, but none could ever free me from this burden. And so, I hide it. Conceal it. Feign ignorance towards the gravity of it. All so that those who share your powers can grow to a point where you can stand a chance against me. A soul as powerful as mine causes those like you to gravitate towards it. I've been given so many appetizers over the last three hundred years, but I've never been able to enjoy a full meal. Your ilk always give up just as the battle has begun. And that's why I won't kill you here."

    Valencia furrowed her brow. "What do you mean you won't kill me?"

    "Well, a God must be impartial. A God must be free from morality in order to complete his duty. And yet, I am constantly subject to both. Your Patron is a great help for me in that regard. Although I've never personally met her, I feel we share a somewhat symbiotic relationship. I am the greatest hurdle for your kind to overcome, and yet I am also the thing closest to bringing salvation to our Patrons."

    'Valencia it's-'

    "What do you mean you're the closest thing to bringing salvation to the Patrons?"

    The warlock smiled as he mouthed several different words. His aura disappeared once more, and his body slowly lighted off the ground, floating further away from Valencia with each word that came from his lips. "Should I possess all the shards of this star, my powers may be great enough that I can undo the banishment. It's only a theory, but my Patron's power is endless. Should it come to pass that I can have power similar to his own and we strike at the seal from both ends, it may well come to pass that warlocks are no longer needed."

    "You don't make any sense…" Valencia slowly rose to her feet, feeling the weight of the oppressive warlock lightening as he grew further away. "You say you want to be a God and yet your goal is to free them? I don't understand your motives! You do so much evil, but for what? What good is attaining all this power if you're just going to give it up to bring back the old gods?"

    The warlock smiled as he floated towards the sun. His body rose until he was just a speck in the sky. "Perhaps when next we meet, you'll be able to see a little deeper into my history. There you will find your answer, but I don't intend to make it easy on you."

    Valencia stared at the sky for several minutes, watching to see if she could find where the warlock had gone off to. But it was no use. He had risen too far for her to see, and he'd concealed his aura from her once more. She finally gave up, and continued out towards the sea. The captain's body floated lifelessly, crashing against the corpse of the Llaroq that the Speaker's warlock had euthanized.

    "What is…" Valencia looked up, noticing something shining in the skull of the sea guardian. "It can't be."

    But it was. The shard was still embedded in the creature's skull. The other warlock had either forgotten, or more likely chose to leave it for Valencia to find. It was an informal challenge; a taunt against her. Her powers were nowhere near what was needed to take him on as she was now, and they both knew that.

    "I'm sorry to both of you… but I will avenge you." Valencia picked up the sword that lay a short way away from the captain's body and held both of her blades so that the length of them rested against her forearms. "Guess it's time to start climbing."

    Last edited:


    How did this even happen?
  • 453
    • Seen Nov 20, 2022

    Amaro Puga

    The docks smelled as bad as he remembered them, much to Amaro's chagrin. He was lucky to have a hint with the island, as he was sure that every warlock that infested this town were now pouring out after the pieces of the star. Like ants from a disturbed nest. He ducked into an alley to prepare his disguise. He needed a boat, and didn't want his face necessarily seen procuring it. Especially after this plan.

    He pulled out a coinpurse that was a little on the larger side and began to fill it with pebbles from the road closest in size to coins. He put the ones that most resembled the real thing towards the top of the bag, leaving those that would be a harder sell at the bottom. Comfortable with the size and weight of the bag of rocks, he tucked it away inside a pocket and grabbed a few handfuls of dust from the street. He didn't like actually getting his clothes dirty, but the less he had to make an illusion to cover the less chance that someone sees through them. Comfortably dirt clad, he pulled his mirror to observe how he looked.

    His face began to morph in the mirror as he watched. His nose became flatter, broader. His eyebrows thickened and he gained a few wrinkles around the eyes. His hair turned a dark brown in general as his skin took on a more sun-baked appearance. He wasn't dressed to look like a dock worker, but he could reasonably pass as a merchant's bookkeeper. He wouldn't seem too out of place trying to make a deal here at the docks, and he would have enough authority to make decisions for a ship without its captain present. He did a quick check that the golden glow from his hand would be covered by his glove, and the cloth dutifully blocked the light. It will do. The disguise would work, now he just needed to execute the scheme with no pull in this city that he could fall back on.

    He emerged from the alley with a practiced false urgency. He needed to find a mark for this scheme. He wanted to find a boat that could be piloted by one person, but could also survive the choppy waves of the bay. Thankfully anything that wouldn't survive the waves was likely at the bottom of the sea by now, so he just needed to find one that looked like it had seen actual use.

    That eliminated about two thirds of the boats currently docked. That left the owner of the boat itself as the next deciding factor. An argument over cargo unloading zones broke out to his left, and he hurried past the area. No need to get caught up in something that could potentially undermine the scheme. Besides, this area of the docks was most for outsiders, as he understood it. Outsiders would be less likely to sell their only means home, so this was a dead end. Just further down was the area primarily used by the actual residents of the city.

    He needed someone willing to make a quick deal and be unquestioning about a stranger with a lot of cash suddenly showing up and in urgent need of a boat. Either a fool or an unscrupulous fool. The preferred target would be someone in charge of a smaller vessel owned by a larger merchant company. Yes, that was the mark.

    As he neared the local-owned portion of the docks the smell of fish intensified. Ships unloaded their haul from the sea in thick hulled ships, both large and small. Amaro picked up the pace, he needed to be seen as in a hurry. He rushed past a small crowd gathered at a pair of large vessels, the snippets of conversation he caught sounding like the typical bored chatter of workers. He'd heard enough of that back in Galilla to know it'd be worthless gossip about women, booze, and gambling. It did mean he was probably in an area in use by a company wealthy enough to afford large ships though.

    This is exactly why you need a plan. If he had time to plan this he could have just stolen a peek at the port's records and identified which ships would be a good target.

    A few spots away from the pair sat a small, barnacle encrusted vessel. Only one worker sat near the boat, pulling empty nets onto the land. The scraggly sailor sat in a stoic silence, but his posture and motions gave a hint of frustration after a poor day's haul. Small ship and a disgruntled worker? Perfect.

    Amaro did a light jog over to the sailor, exaggerating his lack of breath. "Sir, may I have… A moment of your time?"

    The dusty haired man looked over at the dirt covered illusion and then back to his nets without so much as a twitch of a facial muscle. "Sorry, don't think I cans help yuh." His hands went back to mechanically unfolding the net and looking over them for issues.

    "I actually think you can… sir." Amaro pushed back; looking for another target was just more time wasted that could be spent looking for the star. "I actually needed to ask you about that boat righ-"

    "S'not my boat," the man said, cutting him off without even looking back. Amaro felt his eye twitch with frustration behind the illusion.

    "I quite understand that. But maybe you can help me? My own ship got pushed ashore on one of thes-"

    "I said s'not my boat… sir. Now go. I'm in hot water with th'company already. I can't be entertaining any sob stories now."

    Let's see how long that attitude lasts. Amarod dropped the cinced coinpurse onto the worker's lap. The man eyed the stranger with suspicion then cautiously opened the bag. He peeked inside before fearfully closing it and looking around. After confirming no one was watching, he pulled one of the golden "coins" from the bag and inspected it.

    "The fuck do yah want?" He asked harshly, stashing the coin away in his pocket once he was apparently convinced of it's realness. As expected, he was now open to negotiation once a thick bag of coins had been thrown at him.

    "As I said," Amaro said while trying his hardest not to smirk, lest it accidentally slip through in the illusion. "My captain is stranded on one of the islands out in the bay. We need something stronger than the little lifeboat I came over on to haul our goods in."

    The man nodded along to the story, still frowning and eyeing the bag of "coins". "The fuck yah want this tiny thing for. Be a lot of trips back."

    "Orders from my captain. He wants the goods brought in quietly if possible, no need to alert everyone that there's just cargo sitting out there to be claimed. Our ship was not that big in the first place."

    "And yah's not with the company, are yah?"

    "Have you ever seen me around?"

    "Well, lucky for yah," the sailor stood up, tossing the net into the water and pocketing the coinpurse. "Today appears t'be my retirement day. Whatever happens to the boat now ain't my problem."

    The worker began to walk away, hand still clutching the bag in his pocket. "If I was yah I'd get that cargo unloaded and be gone before tomorrow though. Lest the company see yah."

    And I'd recommend getting out of town before that illusion wears off on that gold. Amaro thought as the man grew smaller in the distance. He climbed into the boat and grabbed the oars. He'd learned how to pilot small boats like this in Galilla, but it'd still be a rough time out on the waves.


    It took Amaro over two hours to actually find the correct island without the help of the marble structure. He finally noticed a familiar series of jagged rocks emerging from the sea that helped lead him to it. Soaked and sore, he directed his vessel to a portion of the island that wasn't a rocky cliff overlooking a hull-splintering collection of boulders.

    It was to his infinite displeasure that he noticed a second boat had already been tied down to the shore.

  • 25,607
    Cebres Payne

    "You can relax," the man said, raising his open palms, "I'm not here to fight you."

    Cebres moved closer to the other man, but he did not release his grip on the chain. He knew better than to be so trusting, especially in the middle of a hunt for fragments of a Gem Star. Besides, anyone, especially a Warlock themselves, knew that a Warlock raising their hands wasn't always a gesture of peace.

    Sure, there was nothing concrete saying the figure before him was a warlock, but intuition told him that he was. He was wandering the Ashelan wilderness alone and was not at all concerned about having seen a display of Cebres' own powers. That was more than enough to tell Cebres that he was dealing with another warlock.

    "You're a cautious one," the other man said, "Although, I can't say I can blame you. After all, you're carrying a piece of a Gem Star. Rest assured though, I have no intention of taking it from you. In fact, those necromantic powers of yours are far beyond anything I could do right now."

    Now that he was a bit closer, Cebres had a better look at the man. Although his voice was smooth and his manner of speaking was not ineloquent, one look at him was enough to see that he had not lived an easy life. He would have been lucky to reach five feet in height, his eyes were sunken with dark circles under them and his skin was gnarled, pallid and heavily scarred. The little hair that could be seen under his hood was thin and wispy. This person didn't seem particularly old, but they looked like they'd lived a million years. This only served to make Cebres even more wary of what he may have been capable of.

    "What do you want then?" Cebres asked, still refusing to relinquish the grip he had on his weapon.

    "I suppose an introduction is in order then," the man said, "My name is Cato Favian, although most simply call me Goblin on account of my appearance. As you have probably guessed, I am a warlock like you. I have no interest in a continent-wide war over pieces of the Gem Star though, so I have a proposition for you - or rather, an invitation."

    Openly calling himself Goblin was enough to give even Cebres pause. Naturally, no such creature actually existed. But anyone who had grown up on Ashela had probably heard the folktales about small, hideous creatures who raided villages and snatched children away. It wasn't uncommon to hear warnings not to go too far away from the safety of your village unless you "wanted the goblins to get you" as a child or for a haggard parent to threaten to have their children fed to the creatures.

    Naturally, given its content, the introduction did not make Cebres any less concerned about this individual. If anything, it only made his caution grow stronger. Still though, it was true that Goblin had not made any move to try and take the bit of Star he had taken from him. "An invitation to what?"

    Goblin smiled, revealing damaged and unnaturally jagged teeth. "A gathering of warlocks. Rather than kill each other mindlessly over hunting for numerous tiny pieces of Star, my thought is to gather a group of us together and decide communally what to do about this situation. Of course, it's entirely possible that everyone will decide to just continue trying to kill each other anyway, but at least then I've made an attempt."

    That was a risky proposition. It was not at all beyond the realm of possibility that Goblin would just try to kill everyone assembled all at once and then try to make off with Gem Star pieces looted from their corpses. But again, Cebres had to acknowledge that the other Warlock had not made any attempt to fight him or take his own Star fragment. If he had the kind of power to defeat an entire assembly of warlocks, he would have killed him by now easily.

    As it was, it certainly seemed plausible that this individual was telling the truth. If that was the case, a meeting like the one proposed could also be an opportunity. It could possibly put several fragments all in one place and Cebres could potentially do something similar to what he suspected Goblin of to begin with. At the very least, if all the warlocks present did decide to murder each other, it would mean more useful corpses for Szazoch's army, and therefore his own.

    "Where is the meeting and when?"

    "A small town called Wildfold Watch." Goblin pointed into the distance, "If you head that way from this general area, you can get there in a matter of days. The meeting itself will be in five days time to allow for those who are having to travel there from further away."

    "I'll go then," Cebres said, "For now though, you leave."

    "Of course," Goblin said, smiling again. He turned and walked away, leaving Cebres with a search to continue and much to consider.