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.::||{...Shards for the Throne...}||::.

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It was another round of routines, another day of searching for the God of Forests and his host. The glass they had collected was finally beginning to look like more then broken containers and bins of glass slivers. There was a sense of accomplishment about them as they observed their collection, tucking a small cup in with the other drinking vessels. Even with the destruction of Gehenna hadn't managed to shatter everything, these little treasures had remained.

Smiling, Glyph turned and headed out into the hallway that connected the apartments of the gods. Where had he not checked yet? Perhaps a notice on the corkboard below would prove helpful, more people passed by there then he could speak to in a day.

A few minutes later, he stood before the noticeboard, surprised as always at the number of notes tacked on. Most were old, stained and ripped and posted over by newer notes but they were there. Malh'reth smiled, Even among the gods, a central notice board is of use.

Glyph nodded,
"Indeed." He scribbled his note and stuck it up, front and center and hoped it might catch attention.

For someone else, it seemed, today was another round of what had became routine. It kept him busy, even if Anima still thought the task to be below him.

He had not cared back then, and he did not care now. Anything was better than staying shut in between four walls, and all the better to have some sort of use in the process. And it was the reason that the Spirit Guide could be seen heading back to the pantheon, a ratty old bag that had clearly seen better days slung over one bare shoulder, turning to enter the main building.

Turning away from the board and heading out once more, Glyph nodded at Ankou then stopped a few paces away as Malh'reth suddenly grabbed hold of his body. The mage hadn't done that in a long while and the god rumbled questioningly. "I recognize that aura, Glyph. An... An something. Opened the door when we went to Baadris."

I'm aware of who it was. Ankou, the one Cosine was familiar with. Is that important? Glyph seemed to frown slightly, disliking having command of their body quite literally yanked from him.

"Yes, it is. I wanted to know what the doors worked like." He replied as he turned, smiling as he reached for Ankou in a gesture of greeting, "I have not seen you in a long time, Ankou. Thank-you for your help in reaching Baadris, it turned out be rather important in the end, I think."

It was the aurion's voice that made his steps trail, then eventually stop. He had seen this... those two somewhere, hadn't he ?

The answer to the unspoken question came on it's own, and he nodded in acknowledgment, "It has been... And so I have noticed. I require no thanks, at any rate - it was the least I could do." Especially after Cosine had initially asked him to come, and he had stayed behind... Even if the events that had followed had proven that it had most likely been the best thing to do.

"Even so," he replied with a shake of his head, "I still say thank-you. It was quite the adventure... and the people we brought back needed along with their precious, sacred flowers. How have you been? It's been almost too quiet now. We keep expecting something more to turn up." Malh'reth turned slightly to view the lush grasses and greenery of the outdoors, their auras a pleasing riot of colours for the Aurion, "Were you enjoying the revival of the Pantheon grounds? Glyph was quite pleased by them... we've been outside nearly every day now."

The mage chuckled. Strange how before he'd struggled against Forest's influence and now he almost relaxed into it.

Quiet indeed. The Spirit Guide has no doubt that this was not over... far from it in fact. But until they either showed themselves up again or they found them... Which would most likely be too early for the god no matter what... there was little that could be done about the Grigori.

"I have been trying to enjoy the quietness while it lasts." He nodded. "And I have found means to keep myself busy... going though ruins and gathering what can be reused by the mortals. Slightly unorthodox, perhaps, but I have far less chance of sustaining injury than they do." Every life was precious, in times like these, and should not be cut short prematurely.

"How have you and the one you bear been ? He... is Forest, is my memory is correct ? Surely the change must be pleasant to him..."

Malh'reth blinked at that and grinned, "We've been doing something similar, actually. Glaucon and Glyph approached Hardmodius and asked if they could do anything for Him. They were sent to gather glass. I'm not sure what for, but we're gathering a fair bit. It's been difficult though, because what we have to find are vessels capable of holding water so shards aren't particularly useful."

The mage nodded, "And even then, the Baadris pilgrims work with glass quite a bit so perhaps they might be able to re-fashion shards if we build a forge for them." Malh'reth smiled, "Yes, Forest. We have been alright, quite busy with the glass I mentioned. There's more reason to linger now that the grounds have come alive once more. I only wish we could truly see it." He tapped his temple with one long finger, "But I've grown used to it and it's beautiful in it's own way."

"I see... I have yet to find anything that would have been whole enough to be able to hold water, so I can only hope that they have had a better luck than I have. I figured something could be done with even shards, which is why I gathered them... I could give you what I found, or you could let the people from Baadris know to come and seek me out if they wind up with a forge ?" The god stopped for a moment, apparently thinking about something for a moment. "Lady Karaskis would most likely be rather useful for a project like this... have the both of you met her ?"

Something else seemed to catch his attention. "Truly see it ?" It was the god's turn to be curious, now. Was the man blind ? No, it didn't seem like so from his words...

"Give the shards to us, if you would. We've a collection gathered in Glyph's room so that there are not piles of broken glass dotted about the Pantheon." The mage paused when Ankou did, blinking at the mention of Karaskis, "Lady Karaskis? No... I do not believe we have met her. How do you think she would be of help?"

Malh'reth's gaze turned back to the god before him and he smiled sadly, "Yes, truly see. I am an Aurion... sensitive to magic and fluctuation in such. My..." he paused, wondering at the wisdom of this admission and then forced the hesitation aside. If Ankou or any of the others had wanted his horn, they would have stolen it long ago, "my horn is my connection to the ambient energies of the world. I channel my abilities via that pathway and my senses are made stronger for it. When I'd first arrived here, there was a shockwave of mana that stole my vision from me and struck me temporarily deaf. I see but I do not see... everything is a mass of auras and mana lines to me, no detail unless I touch it and I cannot touch all the world."

"She is of Fire." The god answered, walking off in a slow pace toward the back, where materials had been piling up as of late. "I must assume she would likely be able to generate a flame burning high enough to be able to melt glass easily." She was his first thought, at any rate, the second the idea of a forge had been brought up. Her assistance would likely come of use, though he had seen little of her as of late.

When the aurion started to elaborate on his horn and his sight, the god fell quiet and listened. A great shockwave... Gehenna, perhaps ? It would make sense to assume such. Many had died outright, so to think that some might have sustained some kind of damage was a possibility. "So you only see though the magical energies gathered though your horn, and not your eyes anymore ?" The god's tone was idly curious, and it definitively did not look like he was interested in the horn in any other way than idle curiosity on the matter. If that was true, then it was perhaps no wonder that he had seemed to interested by the Door back then.

"I see!" He smiled at Ankou's suggestion and nodded, tucking that information away for later. If they could build a forge and have Lady Karaskis sustain the fire... then this would prove far easier then the Aurion had anticipated. "Thank you."

Again the mage nodded, "I believe so. Take my horn away and I'd be blind... it is not something I like to dwell on, as my profession depends on the visual. I do not know what you truly look like, only the ebb and flow of your aura tells me who you are." He grinned, "All of the gods possess a strong aura, quite beautiful really, and anything of strong magic or life pulses as well. It's hard to describe if you cannot see the pathways yourself."

"I must admit I would be quite lost with a sight like that." It did sound rather interesting, but the god was indeed having issues visualizing it in a way he could understand. "But then... I assume most mortals would be rather freaked out if they saw ghosts." Expecially a few days ago, though now... there was not much to see. Not on this plane, at the very least. The further away worlds, however...

The task remained rather daunting.

Malh'reth nodded, "It took me a while to figure things out." The mage sighed softly, "I would rather view the the world without the lines and auras I see now. However, I must admit that when you guided our party to Baadris, the door was quite an incredible thing to witness. Do you rule such pathways? How do they work?"

"I do not rule over them." The god shrugged. "But I have used similar means often in the past, to make my... work easier. It seems that I have subconciously retained knowledge of multiple things I used often, though such does not tend to reveal itself unless it becomes relevant."

"Those doors work as gateways to other worlds, activated by the mana of the deity that attempts to use it. At least, it is how it seems to work for me. I assume it could be different for everyone, since each realm of influence is different and manifests itself differently."

Malh'reth smiled at that and nodded, "I don't think Glyph remembers much either... I certainly don't. I didn't even know there were gods before I came here. It's been rather eye-opening."

Indeed. I remember very little of before the Fading, it has been so long and I wonder at all that's been neglected or forgotten. Glyph sighed, shifting within the shared space of their souls. It bothered him at times, to be both powerless and without memory despite a deeply felt need to do what his nature drove him to do.

Another soft sigh, this one audible as Mal nodded for Glyph, "You'll find your way, I'm sure. You are a god after all." His gaze had drifted past Ankou to the are beyond, making it difficult to discern who he was speaking to.

As the Spirit Guide explained the doors, both Glyph and Mal's attention returned to the god. Activated by a god's mana? "Does that mean the gateway would fail if a god did not tend it while it was in use? And any god can use it, even now?" Forest listened attentively, hoping for a favourable answer as such pathways would be useful in his travels to help realms recover.

"Nothingness is unkind. Even for gods... We have faded... Died, Malh'reth. Perhaps we should feel lucky to be able to even remember what little we do."

The god continued his steps, eventually turning to face the aurion once more and sit. "It is quite possible indeed... At one point I was able to hold two pathways open at once... But it was tiring. Draining. I doubt I would have been able to use my powers then, even if I had wanted to. I figure if I can do so, the others must as well... Though for those yet in their stones... I do not know, but it seems unlikely." It wasn't hard to guess that there was a reason for those questions beyond curiosity. "There is little of our selves to spare... I remember it well. I cannot be sure, but it is the impression I get. A god-gem's mana is better spend sustaining itself and it's host."

Malh'reth's ears flickered downward as if chastized and he glanced away, voice quiet as he apologized, "I'm sorry..." He pursed his lips some as he studied the way dull mana lines criss-crossed the ground beneath their feet. An awkward silence fell upon the mage as he struggled to find some other topic to discuss, unwilling to speak of deaths and unpleasant things.

Glyph, however, eased the mage aside and lifted his gaze to meet Ankou's,
"I do not intend to tempt fate quite yet, do not worry my friend. However, I do plan on lending my aid to the torn worlds beyond this one; to help to ease the burden on Creation and mortals alike. I will keep the doorways in mind and approach you for assistance when the time comes, if that is alright?" He shifted and gazed out at the brightly glowing shapes of the grounds around them, smiling softly, "There is much to repair... we should not be the only ones to enjoy renewal's bounty."

"It is nothing." Ankou sounded... confused ? He was not really aware of what he had said that may have bothered the mage so. "Such topics do not bother me in the least. I deal with them often. I am the spiritual guide of the dead, after all." It would be indeed problematic if the idea of death bothered him, wouldn't it ? He kept his amusement to himself, however, less he accidentally make the aurion feel worse about it. He had not meant what he had said as chatizing - simply as a statement to clarify.

But then, it seemed his words were often misinterpreted - perhaps due to his withdrawness of his previous life. He... still had much to learn.

"Certainly... though I cannot promise I will be about. I find myself wandering often these days. I can assure you that we are not the only one to benefit from this... The world is healing over. Slowly, but surely. The renewal spreads.... and I can only assume it is the same for what worlds remain. Though... I am sure our Lord would appreciate your help." They all had their own thing they could do in order to help. He had learned such. Though Glyph's influence would be more apparent than his own.

Relief flickered in the eyes of the mage briefly before Glyph responded to Ankou, "I agree. If there is healing here, there will be healing elsewhere... though I do not know to what degree and it is in part because of that that I wish to lend my talents." He rose and moved nearer to the Spirit Guide, offering a hand in friendly parting because he'd spotted his Aoidei lingering a polite distance away, expectant expressions upon their faces, "I do not expect a promise, Ankou, merely wish for a willingness to cooperate. Please excuse me, I do believe I am being called for some reason."

He nodded towards where Aisling and Natasha were hovering and smiled wryly as they offered waves to Ankou, looking bashful at having interrupted the conversation. "If you would bring those shards to my room when you are able, that would be appreciated - the two demoness' there will be the ones to receive you if I am not present. Thank-you very much for your help, Ankou, I appreciate it." Smiling warmly, Forest waited a moment before nodding his farewell and moving away.

"Ah, well... That I can definitively do." The Guide nodded, offered his own hand in return after a moment, then tilted his head, his glance going to the two demonesses as the shared body of god and aurion went toward them. Glyph's aoidei, he could only presume.

"I shall make sure it is done." Ankou nodded, making his way to his feet once more. "If you have any need of me... I dwell behind the door of crows, forget-me-nots and candles - one of my aoidei, at the very least, should be there. Be well, you and your own."

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.::||{...The Hand of Chaos...}||::.

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After his talk with Tajnevaki and Saljin, Tempest left the Pantheon. He wandered around outside, simply looking at things as he tried to think about what was said. It wasn't much. Taj never said or wrote much. And then it was cryptic and one had to figure things out. It would have been easier if he had just come out and said it. Well, wrote it.

Magic. That was the gist of the conversation. He had true magic. Not the sleight of hand parlor tricks, but real magic. Tempest had laughed until he had tears in his eyes. But then Taj was serious and his laughter had immediately stopped. He was a magician. Not a mage. They were two very distinctly different things and he would almost have rathered not being told.

So why was Taj telling him?

There had never been anything in his family. Not once. Not all the way back his line. At least none he was ever told about. And most especially not his father. His father had never condoned the magician's tricks he was so intrigued by.

He continued walking, unsure where he was going, but as he took in the green grass, the trees, the activity and even fresh air, it unsettled him. It seemed unspoiled, pristine and perhaps the way everything should always have been. Their world would have been alot different if it had been like this. But it all came back to Harmodius doing this with his magic for them.

Again that word and he growled skeptically aloud as he talked to himself. "How can he possibly think I have magic to conjure? Parlor tricks, but only the gods have magic like what Taj is talking of. It's all I've ever been capable of doing. Even Houdini only managed parlor tricks refusing to reveal his manipulations for what they were. I'd be more capable of hammering something at the forge with Joe and Hasheem. I know diddly squat about real magic, and if it exists other than what the gods themselves do, I've never seen it. And I most likely will not ever see it. Eftemie..."

The man hesitated, wincing at the thought of the girl he had loved, shoving his hat back slightly over his now returning to red hair, only the tips dyed black. The body was now Lisana's, but Eftemie was gone. Shoving the thought of the goddess away, he continued his tirade. "Efte had real magic. She made me smile and love her, but that is nothing like what he's wanting me to do."

Growling, he said as he continued, not exactly paying attention to where he was going, "But I don't see myself doing it. Not this. He's off his rocker. God of Mystery, my a**. God of Loose Screws, maybe."

Yuri followed silently, folding his wings back as he listened. Mystery could be wrong, but he doubted he was. The god saw things laced that only other gods could understand. Tempest had magic or Taj would not have pushed him in such a way. Magic even as a magician had called Tempest in some way even bringing him to refusing his father's beliefs. The man simply needed to find it out for himself. It would take time and believing in himself.

Glyph and Malh'reth, as they often were now, were wandering about the greenery of the Pantheon. Too long had they been forced watch the dull, unchanging auras of the inside of the pantheon where life didn't flicker and grow and shift as it did out here. The trees and the lawns and the little tea houses painted something of whimsy in the darkness for Malh'reth and he'd more then once mentioned its beauty.

"Do you think this world will heal its wounds with life like this, Glyph? In the space of a day the Pantheon was restored... it makes me hope for a swift recovery for the worlds." It was a grand hope, he knew, but a selfish one as well. They could both sense that Malh'reth was growing less and less strong in the soulscape between their minds and the mage hoped vainly that he might see restoration before his sacrifice was complete.

Something of the sort. The lands themselves must heal first and I intend to fulfill my role in that. Given a little time, all be whole again I believe. The god smiled, knowing his plate would be full of work once his powers were restored.

As Mal sketched the scene before him, fingers tracing lines and shapes and colours through the air, he nodded. "Forest would say that, wouldn't he?" The mage smiled, concentrating now on way a tree's aura seemed to bloom from its crown before flowing back into ground wood.

He had not really been paying attention to where he was walking, but he stopped when he saw the person in front of him. Rather a strange figure but no odder than anyone else on this world. Or even the gods. Tempest wondered briefly if the person was a god as he studied his actions. The man was not entirely certain as he watched from behind, but decided him. After a moment he decided the clothing was no stranger than others he had seen of recent.

Silently his eyes traced the movements in some confusion. What was this person doing? It was as if he was practicing something. A faint shiver ran through him as he continued to watch for a moment or two longer. Not wanting to disturb him, he just leaned back against a tree to watch.

Yuri glanced at Tempest and then at the strange man in front of them. This was something he must want to watch. Sitting down, he waited.

"Excuse me,"
Tempest finally said after a few moments. "What are you doing?" A frown still flickered across his face and through his violet eyes as he watched.

Malh'reth jumped when Tempest addressed him and the image faltered, dissolving into a prismatic mist that drifted in the light breeze. "Erm?" He spun and blinked at the unfamiliar person, "I'm sketching... that tree's aura is rather beautiful so I'm drawing it." Gesturing at his subject, he smiled softly, "Though I suppose your startling me means I have to start over."

Glyph murmured his dissappointment at the interruption, having been enjoying the entertainer's artistic efforts. A tree was certainly was something the god could appreciate in most any art form and Mal's unique form of expression was certainly beautiful.

Malh'reth's expression brightened at the god's thoughts though he returned his attention to Tempest. "Who are you? Do you mind if I touch you?" The Aurion reached out a long-fingered hand in greeting, "We're Malh'reth and Glyph, God of Forests."

"I apologize for startling you. I suppose..." he took his hat off, holding it in his hands. "that I've been around Lord Mystery too much. It's not that he's quiet though he is, but the things we've faced have had to be rather stealthy." Tempest apologized with a bow and then introduced himself.

"My name is Tempest... rather Iohannes Mallow, but I prefer Tempest."

He watched Malh'reth and Glyph a moment, since they were both there. Sort of. Reaching out he took the hand offered to him, clasping it firmly for a moment. A faint frown slipped across his face. "I'm guessing you were using magic of some sort. That's why it drew me here. I wondered about it... I do sleight of hand and used to have a show before everything changed, but nothing like what you were doing."

It occurred to him that if what Taj had told him were true and he did have true magic, then perhaps this person could give him the clues he needed to really believe in such. It was not so much that he did not believe in magic. Gods had it. He did not believe it was within him. He was a human who had a gift for sleight of hand. Tricks. Nothing more. Nothing less. A bit of skepticism crept into his face as he watched Malh'reth closely. Perhaps it was a racial thing that allowed him the use of the magic. If so, Tempest was out of luck on that count. He was not... whatever this person was.

Malh'reth smiled and nodded, "Well met. Oh... the picture...? Yes, that was magic!" The mage's smile broadened as the other asked after his profession, "You're an entertainer as well? I used to..." he trailed off into a brief silence as if remembering something particularly fond before continuing, "I used to entertain as well, children mostly... storyteller." As he spoke, he doodled a bird and tossed the lines into the air where they flapped around a moment before fading, "Illustrated my stories too, the kids loved them."

He tilted his head, pursing his lip, "This is something everyone can learn... do you not use magic? Sleight of hand is really only used by thieves in my experience." Malh'reth arched a curious brow, "How were you able to catch the audience's attention with simple tricks?"

Tempest watched intently as the bird flew and then vanished. Was this what Taj said he could do? Not likely. Even if he had been other than human, he still could not see himself doing this type of creating something from nothing.

"Oh.. well.. It was mostly card tricks. A coin from an ear. Getting free of traps that were thought to be impossible. That type of thing. Magician's tricks mostly. And honestly.. my audience was mostly girls. It had its benefits." His lips twitched and he shrugged while looking slightly embarrassed. Especially when faced with someone who could do real magic, he felt extremely inadequate in what he had once considered magic.

"Taj.. well..." A scowl flickered through his expression quickly. He felt as inept with words at the moment as he did watching real magic being cast.

The right words just did not come and finally he ended up blurting out. "I think Mystery is off his rocker!" Then he realized he had just disrespected the god in front of another god. His foot was in it now, so he might as well continue.

"Anyhow, he tried to tell me that I have real magic. Similar to yours I would guess. I can't draw a damn thing so it must be something else. He said something about conjuring from air but I have no clue what he was talking about. Can't say I listened entirely. I was too stunned to think much at all. It just kind of went over my head after the first bit. I think he doesn't know what he's talking about. At least not with me."

Malh'reth listened intently, blinking in surprise and amusement as the other blurted out his opinion. Mystery off his rocker? What was that supposed to mean? The phrase was entirely foreign to the mage. "Ah... well, have you even tried to cast magic? Sometimes it takes a bit of practice... to tell the truth I never finished my schooling.... but the first step I remember well. Lots of visualization, lots and lots and lots of it - hours spent meditating until the image in our minds grew so clear we could open our eyes and still see it, just as sharp as it was in our mind's eye."

Setting a hand on Tempest's shoulder, he tilted his head to the side, "If your strengths lay in the same vein as my talents, I am willing to give you a starting push... and some advice."

He almost felt relieved when Malh'reth sort of ignored his comment about Taj. That could only be considered a good thing. He hoped.

But casting magic? "Well, I can't say I've ever tried it since I really can't say I ever believed in it. Not sure I entirely do now. I mean.. to do a magician's trick, you follow a plan. You lay out the equipment. You have it all prepared and in place. Then it's a matter of tricking someone into believing that it happened when you used something else as a distraction to keep them from seeing what was really going on. But this... " Tempest shook his head in some frustration. "I still think this is some trick that Taj has pulled on me for his amusement. Me? Real magic? I don't see it happening."

A frown slipped across his face as he watched Malh. "No disrespect intended to you, but I'm still looking for the trick to what you did. Does it work if I really do not believe in it?" Such was his quandry. All his magic tricks were just that... tricks. How did he see his way clear to what Taj was saying was before him? He was not a stupid person, but this seemed far beyond what he was.

He ran a hand through his hair uncomfortably. "I guess all I can do is listen to you and then see what happens. But somehow I don't think this is going to come easy for me. I'll have to unlearn what I have known and start all over. Not an exciting prospect."

Malh'reth frowned as the other called his magic a trick, insisted on it really. With a proud tilt to his chin, the Aurion fixed his gaze on the other's eyes and arched a brow high upon his head, "You live among gods, are speaking to a sacrifice, have seen the grounds go from barren to lush in the blink of an eye... and you think magic is just a trick? There a myriad of ways to draw on the energies of the world, to form and shape and guide it to your will and you won't even try?"

He pursed his lips as he stepped back, rummaging about in the sleeve for his little sketchbook, "Are so turned around by Mystery that you cannot trust even what you see and touch yourself? Here, perhaps this is demonstrate that magic is real." Flipping through pages, he ran fingers over the surfaces like a blind man, 'reading' and discarding the images there. An observer would note many buildings, small animals, and the like. When he stopped, he shifted the book so he was holding the top of it and offerred it to Tempest, "See this? This is a drawing of a villain in one of the stories I would tell - a Shadow Stalker they are called, nasty beasts. Strike at twilight and have a piercing cry that will make your blood run cold. Also note that it is a sketch... nothing more then ink upon parchment. Your media may be different, Tempest, your tricks perhaps will be the spark to set your magic, I do not know. In any case, there is no sleight of hand in this."

He settled two fingers on the book with his free hand and smiled as he fell back into the reflexive magic, drawing more mana then normal so that the other would feel its flow, "I draw on mana and will it into the drawing... then I pull that drawing from the book and with a twist of will, cast it into reality." As he spoke, he took the time to draw the ink from the page and smiled as it swirled, visible, about his fingers with a soft glow then shot forward. From the small glowing mist a feline creature stepped forward, all scales and fur and fangs. It's tail lashed behind it and a poisonous purple gaze fixed upon Tempest. "Tell me where the trick is, hmn?"

From within Mal, Glyph shook his head with a slight smirk,
You needn't show off, you know. Magic does indeed exist and if this one believes it does not to the point of ignoring it when it bounds about before his eyes there is not much you can do. Determined ignorance is a difficult wall to brake down.

"I know but shush, alright? This is important." The mage murmured in reply.

Tricks were what he was used to. It was what he looked for in everything. A part of him did doubt that such things existed. At first it had been like that anyhow. Seeing Karaskis pull fire forth and cast it as much as Taj hiding things directly in front of him still had him doubtful though more open to it. It had changed from not believing in magic to not believing in it for him. He was simply a magician. That's all he had ever wanted to be. Was determined to be. It was always the next trick or finding out how a trick was done so that he could use it.

But a part of him had unsettled watching Malh'reth before he had actually said anything to him. A part that said there was true magic there. But again it was in him, not Tempest.

"It's not that I don't believe that others have it. I just don't believe that I do."
he said softly focusing on what was happening. Long ago he had learned to watch for details when he had begun his sleight of hand training with an old man who loved magic tricks as much as he did.

His eyes watched closely what the aurion did. Each movement. Each line. Surely he would catch the trick at some point. But as he listened without taking his eyes from the fingertips and then outwards, he began to frown slightly. Then his eyes widened at the sight of such a creature staring back at him.

Tempest growled, backpedaling, his hands upwards in front of him as if to shove something away from him. "Okay, okay... What is that thing?" He had already forgotten that Malh'reth had already explained that to him. Then he remembered that he did not have his gun with him. Hopefully Malh'reth could get rid of it the same way he brought it there.

"Nevermind. Shadow Stalker. Right... right. And nothing to mess with. Um... get rid of it, okay? And you misunderstood me. A little. It's not so much that I don't believe in magic. I've seen it.. including this thing. But I don't believe in it for me. I mean it's always the tricks I've looked for. I don't draw like you do. Wouldn't be able to sketch a square box let alone something like that thing there. But what exactly is.. mana? Is that what you called it? Start at the beginning I guess... I mean... will you?"

Yuri sat up with a growl, suddenly alert. Whatever Tempest thought, he did not like this creature staring back at the man. His tail twitched now where he had been simply sitting idly and enjoying the day.

The stalker rumbled, a feral sound as it began to pace about, eyes fixed on Tempest. Then it turned away as if seeking better entertainment elsewhere. However, the feline wheeled around several paces away and broke into a charge, roaring out a sharp, high-pitched scream as it leaped at him. As it would have contacted, its form dissolved into a cloying shadow that swirled away and streamed back to the mage.

His hand was held out and the shadow coalesced into ink that burbled and shifted before he guided back into the page. "You're quite mistaken if you think you have no magic about you." Malh'reth smiled sadly, "For you have quite the intriguing aura."

Tucking his book away, Mal pondered a moment, "From the beginning... hmn? I suppose the beginning is this then: Everything in the world has energy about it. This energy concentrates in plants and animals and flows through the world. That energy is what I use to power my magic... it reacts and is drawn to strong wills, and strong wills can shape it to whatever purpose they want. The start, then, is learning to let it flow through you. I can't really offer much more then that until you're able to feel mana." The Aurion decided to forgo explaining his ability to see the mana that coursed through things as there was little point in confusing the magician.

Tempest blinked at the sound and movement, but the fact that it suddenly vanished in front of him turning to ink caused his jaw to drop. Shaking his head slightly, he glanced over at Yuri who was settling back down now that the creature was gone.

"So in order to use this mana I have to be able to feel it first."
He frowned slightly as he contemplated what had been said. If everything had this so-called energy then how did he find a way to access it? "Strong willed..." he mused for a moment. "My father used to call me that amongst other things. Said I should just do what I was told and get a job instead of wasting my time trying to find magic. I never could abide that, but instead went looking for what I wanted. Magician's tricks or magic as we always thought of them. I found those things- the plans and gadgets- but they never seemed quite enough."

He studied the hat in his hand a moment before putting it back on his head at a sort of rakish angle like he used to wear it. Watching Malh'reth, he said, "I once heard that crystals could be used to access what was called magical energy. But I don't see myself sitting in front of a magic crystal waiting for something to happen, but if such could be used, would it work for me? Is that the same thing? Or something entirely different? I guess... I need to find something that I can use much the way you use your sketchbook, no?"

Some was question as much as answer as he tried to work this out for himself, but he understood that this person knew far more than he did. One thing he had learned, though, was that anything handed to him on a silver platter was not worth as much as something he had worked for himself. Maybe this was what he had been looking for all along. Maybe this kind of magic was the key to putting on the best show he ever could. Maybe this was what Houdini himself had found and understood. A bit of excitement slipped through him. "So how does one go about feeling this mana? I mean is there a specific way? Meditation? Or something else....? If I'm going to change what I do, I need to do it properly."

Malh'reth smiled, "At least you had a choice in what you wished to be. My people are not so open to choice and opinion as yours seems to be." Arching a brow, he nodded, "Anything can be used as a means of focusing mana, crystals are a common item because they're easily attuned to the flow of mana - at least, that's what it's like where I come from. However, there are worlds where glass is forged into jewelry as much as it is fashioned into weapons - so I suppose there is reason to believe that that property of crystals holds true."

The mage fell quiet and he considered his next statements, getting the feeling that the other wasn't quite so determined to ignore his own spark, "Some magi do not require focuses to channel mana through... it is as if they are directly connected to ambient energies about them. For example, had I finished my schooling, and I was talented enough, that Shadow Stalker would have been no illusion and possessed of its own will to a degree... requiring no drawing to cast it into reality. It is finding what suits your abilities best.

"We began with meditation, concentrating on recognizing and feel the flow of your own mana then reaching out to touch what flows around you..." He pursed his lips, "But if you do not know the feel of it, it is difficult to start... here, maybe I can help you." Drawing away, he drew a quick circle then began to move his hands over the surface as if shaping a sphere. It was a difficult exercise he had never quite mastered but perhaps it would help... "Watch the sphere, recognize it and look for it within yourself. Close your eyes and search for the feeling that matches this."

Falling silent, he concentrated on the sphere to the point where any response from Tempest was ignored. This was no illusion but rather the manifestation of raw mana... the intermediate step between his stage of schooling and the next. Slowly, a scintillating sphere began to collect, pulsing with power and potential... streams of lines seemed to fade out of invisibility as they joined the ball. It was a familiar feeling for Malh'reth, though keeping the raw mana visible was a difficult thing.

"I suppose I did have a choice. Give up what I wanted or be disowned by my father. I took what I wanted. I couldn't do otherwise not even for him." Tempest admitted as he watched and listened closely to the aurion. He might look for a crystal though he did not feel... was that the right word for this? Inwardly he nodded to himself. He did not feel that a crystal would help him find whatever it was he needed to find.

"No focus... "
he repeated softly. Maybe that was an option also. Well, he had two ideas to try now. Tempest continued to listen as he watched Malh'reth explain to him. Meditation. He could do that easily. When he had his shows he always took a few moments to sit quietly and try to focus himself on what he was about to do. It had just seemed the proper thing to do then.

His violet gaze widened as the globe began to shape in front of him. Were those lines coming from the things around them? He watched in fascination as it almost seemed to move in slow motion. Close his eyes? He blinked but did so, trying to figure out what he was supposed to find. For a moment he simply stood there almost at a loss. Then he opened one eye, peeking at the ball. It had gotten a great deal larger.

Inwardly he growled at himself as he closed his eyes again. What was he supposed to feel? *Focus, Tempest. Focus.* At first there was nothing. He could hear the insects nearby, the few birds that were living there. Voices. Then for the briefest of instants, he felt something go sliding through him. The man nearly gasped at the sensation almost opening his eyes. It was hot, warm, bright, yet cool, fuzzy and dark, and a myriad of other things all swirled into one. It tickled and caressed as it passed by yet there was power there that finally did cause him to gasp. He could almost reach out and touch it. Almost. It was the briefest of moments he felt it and it refused him suddenly, slipping from his grasp.

It was gone, but the sensation remained on his thoughts. It was as if the ultimate trick was just before him, teasing. Then it had slipped away. Opening his eyes, he watched for a moment longer before his lips suddenly twitched upwards on one corner. He had the key to what he wanted now. It had been a long time since he had wanted something. At least it felt long.

"I think I understand now."
he said softly. "I have to figure out how to reach that inside myself. I guess nothing worth having is easy." Maybe Taj was not off his rocker.

The longer Malh'reth held the manifested ball, the more unstable it became and he slipped for a moment when his attention was drawn by the other's careful probing. He could feel Tempest's connection and smiled to himself even though the lapse in concentration caused him to falter. The sphere dissipated quickly after that, flowing back out into the surroundings with no will to direct it. The power fizzed across his senses and he shivered, finger tips tingling as if they'd been asleep a moment before.

Flexing hands and sighing softly, the mage rolled his shoulders as he lifted his gaze to meet Tempest's, "You do? That's good! Indeed... it's something you have to recognize yourself... I can't really do much more then this for you." He quirked his lips in a mischeivous smile, "And that's very true, the best things are those you have to work for."

I believe you'd gotten through to him, Malh'reth... congratulations. I must admit, however, that I did not know you could manifest mana like that. Is there a reason you do not do it often? Curiosity and admiration coloured the mental speech as Glyph applauded the Aurion.

Tilting his head to the side, Mal flicked an ear and nodded, "Several reasons... but I will tell you later, mn? Why don't you just look yourself?"

Because I'd rather respect your privacy - some things I can ask to learn others not as much. The god replied with a smile.

"I see... thank-you." With the internal conversation having apparently come to a close, the mage glanced to Tempest once more, "Learn to touch that energy at will and you'll have taken a definitive step forward, Tempest. It may take a while but do not give up."

Tempest smiled as he watched the ball of mana scatter. He knew what to look for now. He had felt it and he would not forget it. Watching the aurion, his grin widened. "Thank you. It's hard to get more than a few cryptic words from Mystery most of the time. This helped me much more than what he said, though I'm wondering if his intent was not to drive me out to look for it."

Tempest was almost annoyed at the thought. "I will figure it out now I think. At the very least.." he shrugged, but a bit of determination was now on his face. "I shall try. I'll find what I need to focus on it. Something like your sketchbook or maybe even a magician's wand or something similar. And if I need nothing, I could always use my props to distract from what I'm really doing."

A laugh slipped free. "I'll let you know. Again, thank you, Malh'reth. And also, Glyph." he added, acknowledging both host and god with a bow and a tip of his hat. "Come along, Yuri. We have some things to look for. I need to experiment with some gadgets or something."

The feline stared after him, getting up with a sigh. He was enjoying just lying around doing nothing. The aiko should have known it was too good to last long. *Goodday, sirs.* he said tail twitching as his wings unfolded and then folded back. *I better make certain he gets into no trouble. I know that look on his face.*

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.::||{...Laws of Nature...}||::.

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The Laws of Nature

It had been a little while since David or Glaucon had seen Malh'reth or the god he carried. After their visit with Harmodius they had promptly parted ways, both having a new room to furnish and a small task to finish. They had probably both supposed, the god mused, that they'd be meeting up again to check on each other's progress, but both ended up being a bit engrossed in their own affairs - which, on Glaucon's end, involved a moderate deal of motivating his host to get to work. In the end they had both still managed to get a good amount of glass, and figured that Glyph and his host would have achieved similarly successful results by now, so now felt like a good time to visit the god of the Forest and see how things were going on his end.

Even if they hadn't heard Creation's description for the door to his rooms, it would have been pretty obvious which one it was: no need for symbolism here, it was a forest. Painted right there on the door. Hoping that Mal was awake and about, David gave it a couple of raps and waited for someone to answer.

As it was, Malh'reth and Glyph were not actually in their room - hadn't been for some time. As soon as the god had noticed the change in environs, he'd taken to spending a great deal of time outdoors enjoying the greenery so different from the blackened and cracked earth of before.

One of the great arched doors swung open to reveal a rather disgruntled Natasha sucking on a finger. "Yeah? Who co- Oh, hello David, Glaucon." Her rough tones fell away as she recognized Judgement's host and even went so far as to offer a smile. "Did you want something? Lord Glyph's out at the moment, unfortunately. Hasn't been back here for more then a few minutes for a couple days now." She scoffed at that, obviously annoyed by that and yet unwilling to gainsay her god's orders.

"Of course that means I've had to watch the glass he's collected. So much broken stuff... Hard on the fingers." Indeed, her fingers had a bandage or two where she'd nicked them in handling the shards Forest had been quite diligent in bringing back.

The sight that David recieved upon the door opening was enough for him to give Glyph a couple of extra cool points. One thing was for sure, the god of the forest had good taste in servants... Natasha was definitely of the same kind as Eudocia, but her figure was much easier to appreciate due to the fact that she wasn't minty green. He eased into an appreciating smile at the sight, which managed to get by with minimal faltering upon hearing that he'd have to go down the stairs and head outside if he wanted to talk to Mal anytime soon.

Outside... we probably should have expected that.

The cripple leaned on his walking stick with a nod. "There's a bunch of that s**t in our place too. Diogenes hates it," he smirked. "But we're gonna see about getting all of it moved out today, so don't worry about getting those lovely hands of yours too messed up." Flashing a winning grin at the satyress, he started back towards the stairs, finishing with "We'll send up a messenger when we figure out where it's all going."

As usual, it took several minutes for David to pick his way down the stairs, but the fresh open air breezing through the new Pantheon made it somewhat worth it this time. He wasn't sure where to start looking to find Glyph, and so started lumbering towards the first cluster of trees that caught his eye

She smiled in reply, tossing a mischievous wink his way before returning to the task at hand - sorting the piles of glass into colours and clear. She wasn't sure why this mattered but Glyph had said it was important so sort she did.

Outside, Glyph and Malh'reth were sitting under a particularly large and leafy oak - one of several trees that appeared in the area much to his delight. With the thrum of life around him the Pantheon's grounds were so much more appealing now; no more barely visible lines denoting barren rocks and dead trees.

Across from Glyph sat a woman with crimson hair fanned out on the ground behind on her and four arms held aloft in a medatative position. Clad in nothing more then what appeared to be a bikini bottom and a push-up bra, she stood out against the rich browns and greens around her. When Glaucon and David approached, a single violet eye opened to skewer them with an appraising gaze.

A surprisingly formal and strictly loyal Aoide, this new addition to his growing number of servants clicked claw-like fingers together as she spoke in a rich, velvety voice, "Who are you?"

At that, Malh'reth's eyes opened as well and Glyph glanced first at Aelondrael then to whom she was speaking, recognizing the aura and the posture of the man. A smile brightened his face upon seeing his comrade and Forest rose, moving to set a calming hand on his lotus aoide's shoulder, "It's alright. That's Glaucon, God of Judgement."

She turned her face upwards when Glyph touched her shoulder, face full of warmth and appreciation in contrast to her cool gaze for David. "Understood. Do you wish for me to leave?"

"No, not at all. Continue your meditation Aelondrael." He nodded as he stepped forward, "Greetings friends! It's been a long time. Enjoying this turn of events? It's good to see some life is returning." He spread his arms to indicate the gardens.

David sighed with a mix of relief and jealous amusement when he found that he'd gone in the right direction... and found what must have been a new servant right next to him, just as gorgeous as the first. Where, exactly, was the god of the Forest accumulating all of these babes from? An immature joke about this new development danced on the edge of his lips as he approached to speak, but the lotus lady spoke first and Glyph continued shortly after, dooming his clever remark about girls and wood to be forever unsaid.

"S'a hell of a lot better than it looking like the damn moon out here, that's for sure," the mortal agreed. The lack of a sky was still making him not want to look up far enough to see the horizon, though, and his cane kept sinking and sticking into the new grass and soil, but how things looked now were still a definite improvement from what it was like before. He slowly sat down on the ground near Glyph, assuming it would be alright to relax and chat a bit before they got down to business.

"Glaucon figured you'd be thrilled when we saw the changes-- and I am pleased to see that you are," the god finished, slipping into control easily and with no real protest. "Your domain will have much land to cover in the coming days."

Glyph sat back down as well, amused by how his Aoide continued to watch David from under lowered lashes. Turning then, he let his gaze drift back to Glaucon and nodded, "Indeed. There is much to be done. I can only hope I will be of proper assistance to the Twin Crown, we are still so new and I cannot touch the world in the ways I wish to yet." He smiled sadly, running fingers through the grass at his tree's base. When the time came, he hoped he'd gain normal sight for he yearned to see the green of leaves and the vibrant colours of the minute flowers without having first to touch them.

"How has your time passed then, Judgment? All is well?"

"The world was a new thing once, now it is as if All is new again," the Judge mused, loosely folding his hands in his lap. "You, as all of us - we will regain our touch in time. I too await the days when I can reclaim my domain and be embodied by my words."

He went on to confess, "I have been appreciating the peace well enough, but it pains me to see the survivors in such a state of anarchy." To him, society and structure were all but crying to be rebuilt. In his current state, however, he couldn't do much more than resolve petty arguments and give tidbits of advice.

Glyph nodded at that, though his smile was small. "There is much to do and I am glad to see Creation regaining power. I was not sure of the effects of that cocoon we summoned Him from but with the rejuvenation of the grounds, it seems we take a step towards recovery." Forest tilted his head, blinking at Judgement for a moment, "They are listless, aren't they? There is shelter here, perhaps some structure and direction would bolster their determination. This is why I wish to ask for their help - the people of Baadris in particular - to show that they are not simply pawns in our games." Hopefully a task would give them reason to pull together and begin the long and arduous trek to rebuilding their worlds.

He chuckled, shaking his head,
"Far from pawns, though I doubt they realize their importance to us."

"One step of many," Glaucon replied, "small, careful, soft.Creation's touch will be gentle where Destruction's was harsh, new life eased into existence and survivors being guided into a time of what will hopefully be prosperity." He offered a small smile of its own, almost sheepish in its nature and timing. "No doubt he will depend on His children, however weakened we may be, to play a role in that guidance. Our true powers might be currently lost to us, but we can still speak."

Yeah, and you like using that power a hell of a lot, David smirked from his mental peanut gallery.

The other god gave a challenging quirk of the eyebrow at Forest's next statement, saying, "I have reason to doubt that. They saw what their very own words and thoughts did for our Lord, and it would take a fool to come away from that undermining his own importance."

Glyph nodded in agreement. They all would be needed in mending the worlds and the chaos that Gehenna would have wrought. "I intend to shelter the mortals as much as I can, provide resources if possible. And you, my friend, will help them build nations once more." Glyph smiled. He really was looking forward to involving himself with the mortals in a beneficiary-like manner.

"Over time, perhaps, that will sink in, but from what I have seen, the general populace is still confused. Eased, perhaps, by the greening of the grounds but thrust into our turmoil as they were, I doubt they fully comprehend what is going on."
He chuckled, a small smile playing across his lips, "I don't even claim to know the long and short of these events. I only hope they have not grown too stubborn in the peace, we do need that glass to present to Harmodius."

"They will be nations with utmost respect for you and your sheltering," the Judge mused, an extra layer of righteousness creeping into his tone. "I will see to it that neither this nor any future generation will take any fruits of the Earth-mother for granted, not after what's been witnessed here."

The smile crept back, however, when Glyph brought mention of the class into the conversation, looking like he could almost be ashamed when he said, "And it seems as though I nearly forgot why I sought your presence in the first place. I believe we have collected a satisfactory amount of glass for the Crown. If you have no pressing matters to attend to today, I shall send my messenger to my and your servants to start collecting it together and bringing it outside."

[******** finally.

Forgive me. I must still be accustomed to having an eternity to spare for such things...

Glyph bowed at the waist in a deep gesture of respect and appreciation, "My thanks to you, Judgement. Too long has it been since true respect was kindled in the hearts of mortals. They will surely benefit from your guidance." It was a formal thank-you for something the god held very close to heart. His domain was a precious one and to know he had at least one ally among the Edelsteine was both soothing and encouraging. The Forests would once again rise, tall and majestic, to feed and shelter the worlds.

At the mention of glass, Glyph nodded his agreement,
"Indeed. There is quite a collection in my quarters, Aisling and Natasha will help bring it down... as will Aelondrael." He glanced at the exotic Aoide and she returned his gaze with a neutral expression, "Aelondrael?"

"Of course, my Lord. Do you wish for me to attend to the matter now?" She rose and clasped her hands before herself, bowing slightly.

Glyph turned to Glaucon and tilted his head,
"Now...? We also need to arrange a forge or something similar for the glass-workers... have you organized them? It was mentioned to me that perhaps Lady Karaskis would assist us - she apparently reigns over Fire."

Giving a polite nod to Aelondrael, Glaucon replied "Arranging a forge should be no object as resources become more readily available during this time of renewal. For the time being can at least start by getting everything gathered into one place for ease of transport." Shifting his sitting position a little, he added, "While a house for the fires is being built other things can be done, such as sorting the whole collection, and breaking the unsuitable pieces into something finer and more suited for glasswork."

"I shall send Libra ahead of your own to alert them of the preparations, if you do not mind," Glaucon nodded, and from his shadow arose a tiny silvery-bronze wisp bearing an equally tiny pair of scales. "I can trust that you've been attentive, so please be swift."

An honor to be of service, my Lord, the wisp replied, giving a small bow and flying back towards the Pantheon.

And, begrudgingly climbing into a standing position, he suggested with a smile, "In the meantime, perhaps we should seek out our glassworkers."

Glyph laughed softly at that, "My quarters are filled with sorted glass already, friend. As we have been collecting it so too have we been sorting it. Clear with clear, and colour with colour." He smiled and stood as well, "By all means do so. Please go help Aisling and Natasha, Aelondrael. It would be appreciated."

"As you wish my lord." She smiled and turned, moving briskly away to go assist the other two Aoidei.

"Now... I agree we should speak with the glassworkers." Walking slowly, in an almost leisurely manner he waited a moment before continuing, "Once the preparations for the forge are underway, we should contact Karaskis as well. I think the process will go much faster if she is present to assist."

"Such attention to detail," the other god smirked, "surely an admirable trait. But how else would you be capable of raising such living majesty that is your glory from the earth? I should have expected no less." Glaucon could imagine the immaculate care his friend must have taken in making his realms into proper manifestations of his domain - almost like an architecture, but of wild nature instead of stone and marble, marvels of art in their own right.

Both David and Glaucon immensely appreciated the slow pace Glyph had started in - it meant they could keep up without much struggle. "Karaskis of Fire, correct? Agreed. Would you know where she can be found?"

Glyph's smile broadened and a faint tinge of blush darkened his cheeks for a moment before he replied, "I... thank-you Judgement. You flatter me." Inhaling, he coughed slightly and turned his gaze elsewhere, thoughtful, "I think perhaps you should engage in diplomacy with the glass workers, that is, after all, your strong point. Eloquence and straightforward requests are called for and I do believe they respond best to a patron of society then to a rambling facet of nature." He smirked and laughed softly.

From his corner of their mindscape, David audibly gagged. Augh, I think he's starting to have a crush on you, man... could you, like, please back the ******** off so you don't start sucking face with another guy in my body?

Truth be told, Glaucon had a strange appreciation for nature he was just now refamiliarizing himself with thanks to Forest, but that was neither here nor there. They had matters to attend to.

"Of course," he replied, giving a slow and emphatic nod, "it would be my pleasure to do business with these mortals. As much as you relish witnessing the revitalization of nature, I too would be glad to be within my element."

While Glyph wasn't developing a crush on Judgement, he was rather fond of his comrade. After all, awakening to a world in turmoil and being tossed together and then thrown into a desperate quest to do something to ease the crisis does allow for some semblance of camaraderie to develop. Besides... Glaucon was very good at giving compliments... was it such a bad thing to appreciate them?

No... but I'd really rather not die with the image of my body getting close and personal with David's Malh'reth broke into Glyph's thoughts with a smirk, Who knew you were susceptible to flattery o mighty forest!

Glyph's brow furrowed,
And what is wrong with that? I am not a vain creature but I can, and do, enjoy a compliment.

Or three, Malh'reth quipped.

His answer was a scoff as the god returned his attention to Glaucon,
"Perhaps they will not be so stubborn this time around. Their time at the Pantheon should have made the gods a reality for them." Forest nodded as he swept a hand out in a loose gesture as they meandered back towards the Pantheon, "I wish not to tread where Judgement rules. I only hope we have the supplies to build a furnace or forge..."

Say what you will, but the forces of Nature do need to be treated with the respect they deserve, Glaucon was arguing, in tandem with Glyph's scuffle with his own host. I do not see why it should not start with me.

Whaaatever, dude, David chuckled, giving the impression of a dismissive wave. Flirt all you want. Just don't let it get physical, okay?

Soon the two gods and their hosts reached the pleasant open space of the orator's walk, where several mortals and Aoidei were scattered, some loosely bunched into groups and others simply lounging alone on the smooth stone. It was a pleasant atmosphere to be in, or so Judgment thought: people gathered around the ornamental pillars, free to speak and debate at their leisure, the very grassroots of a new society.

"Such bright faces..." he observed, raising his voice so it would catch across the crowd, "So at ease, filled with hope. The gods are truly blessed to have people such as these in their following. If my own followers end up being anything like these, then I will have nothing to fear for my future."

His words ended up turning a head or two-- good, he'd succeeded. One of them turned fully around, and, sitting up straight, asked, "You're one of them, then? A... a god?"

Glaucon answered with a slow nod. "I am. As is my companion here, recently returned to this world through the grace of mortal bodies such as your own. I am Glaucon, Lord of Judgment, and he is Glyph of the Forest. Might we trouble you with a question?"

"Yeah..." the man answered, looking as if he wasn't sure whether to bow or do something else, and ended up standing up straight. "I don't know if you're for real, but you guys seem okay anyway. What do you need?"

"We are looking for some people who hail from a land called Baadris... they're very ornately dressed, the women often wear glass wings. Would you happen to know where they are?"

"Baadris?" He scratched his head in thought. "I think... yeah, the glass people, you mean?" After being confirmed with a nod, he continued, "Yeah, I've seen some people like that. There's a lot of them up in the apartments Harmodius made. It'll probably be your best bet to look there."

Glyph walked alongside Glaucon as they meandered through the gathered mortals, pleased by the relative calm that had replaced the uncertainty that had clung to them mere weeks before. While Glaucon caught the attention of some, Glyph returned those looks with smiles and nods, moving away to speak with a few only to hear Judgemen introduce them.

Making his way back, he noted the location the man gave them,
"Thank-you. Shall we?" Bowing, Glyph stepped back and began to move towards where the Baadris people were supposedly located. With any luck, they were still there.


Meanwhile, Aelondrael had made her way to the Pantheon and was already helping the other Aoidei gather up the glass. Leading the way, she carried a couple bins of glass shards with such a formal air about her that it made both Aisling and Natasha smile in amusement. The pair of demonesses followed behind, bearing their own bins of glass.

"Where are we supposed to be taking these?" Natasha asked as she glanced around and did not find Glyph.

"The notice board would be best. I do not know where Lord Glyph wishes to begin this undertaking but pausing in a public area is the most logical thing to do, yes?" Aelondrael responded without looking back, intent on the task at hand.

"I... see. Alright then. After it's brought down, I'll go find him then."

The answering nod was enough for both and they settled into comfortable silence.

Karaskis walked along looking over the various changes, still at times almost in shock. Cinder remembered when the pantheon had looked like a shop...but then Destruction's reign came and the changes started. It seems so long ago and at the same time not all that long at all... She still hadn't bothered with having shoes made, the slight chill of the walkway didn't bother her however. She was clothed simply in a dark blue wrap with gold accents, Siddhi had helped her with putting it on earlier to it hung like a sari.

Pausing the goddess scanned over the nearby area her eyes settling on a gathering of aoidei, normally she likely wouldn't have taken much notice of them but they were all carrying what appeared to be bins full of glass. Likely some project or another of one of the other gods, she was about to continue on when she noted where they were heading. The noticeboard...she had almost forgotten about it in all the change that had happened after the ceremony. Considering that someone might have added something there Karaskis made her way over to the board, stepping closer to the aoidei she smiled, "greetings."

It thankfully only took a handful of steps into the proper hallway before the two gods could spot the people they were looking for - they might have been away from their home, but it didn't change their manner of dress one bit. Several were milling about doing household busywork, carrying in laundry and passing around plates of steamed fish that had probably been caught from the small streams outside. When Glaucon and Glyph's footsteps reached their ears, it had the effect of halting most of that activity - they were familiar faces to them, after all.

A couple of youths with free hands even nervously bowed to them, after a moment of hesitation and exchanged glances.

"Greetings," the Judge started, with a small polite bow over his walking stick. "I suppose we require no introduction. Allow me at first to apologize for your current state of affairs... this transition must have been unexpected for some of you, and I hope you are faring well here in the house of the gods. If you feel it is my place to ask, are any of your glassworkers available for a commission?"

From the nervous youths a few stepped forward and from their confident gait, Glyph suspected they were well used to the gods. One, a woman with delicate glass hoops hanging from her ears greeted them formally before continuing, "Yes, my Lord. But... if I might ask, what do you plan for them to work with? The land is raw yet... basic materials have been difficult to find and we are more used to an environment of sand then we are of forest. Wood is too precious to waste needlessly."

Glyph smiled at that and nodded, "We have materials for you and are willing to help build the items neccessary if you require something like a forge. You can forge new glass from old, correct?"

The man standing beside her nodded, "We can... so long as the source material is of high enough quality."

Glyph nodded and glanced to Glaucon before looking back to the pair, "When can you be ready to start?"


The Aoidei glanced up as the set their loads down and inclined their heads in respectful greeting. It was plain that this newcomer was another god and while she might not be Glyph, deserved some medium of respect on principle. "Greetings! By chance, have you seen Lord Glyph? We're to bring this glass to him... but Aelondrael forgot to ask where he migth be before they parted." Natasha glanced at the lotus Aoide with a smirk.

She simply frowned at the demoness and continued, "Or perhaps where glassworkers might be - they were in search of them." Adjusting the glass in her buckets, she made sure nothing was falling out as Aisling fussed about behind her.

"They want to reforge this into items to present to Harmodius, but broken glass just won't do." She smiled up at Karaskis, displaying a cracked and bottomless cup.

Karaskis listened to the aoidei thoughtfully, it seemed they had a mission of sorts to finish up. "Unfortunately I am not familiar with your Lord, nor do I believe I have seen him. My path has been quiet until I came upon you." Shifting her gaze the goddess looked to the containers of glass, "the glassworkers - do you mean the mortals from Baardis?"

At the mention of reforging Karaskis shifted her attention more fully to the aoidei, projects such as reforging where one of the many things people seemed to be striving for when it came to starting over and establishing the survivors.

"Reforging...you have a forge set up then for the glassworkers? And if you do mean the survivors from Baardis, I do happen to know where they are staying...some of the mortals that are faithful to myself are in the same area. I can show you of course if you like."

The youths looked at each other for a few moments, exchanged a couple of looks and whispers, and upon a series of nods another stepped forward, saying, "I see no reason why we shouldn't start as soon as the forge is ready. It would be a blessing to be able to start up our craft again, be it for the gods or otherwise."

"Then it is settled," Glaucon nodded, offering an easy smile. "I am sure that among the glass we'll provide for reforging, enough will be of the quality to suit your needs. You have my personal gratitude, as I imagine will Lord Harmodius."

A few pairs of eyes widened, and nearby a woman sputtered around her bite of fish.

Glyph's gaze shifted to the woman who choked on her meal and he tilted his head, obviously concerned. She caught his gaze and nodded, waving as if to say she was fine. Shaking his head, Forest bapped Glaucon gently on the shoulder and laughed softly.

"Harmodius..." The woman asked, voice stunned, "Is that where your request is ending up?" She seemed both anxious and eager at the same time as murmurs of surprised interest echoed out through those now gathering behind the two speakers.

"Indeed. We need your help to help the Twin Crown. Your effort is most appreciated."
Glyph replied, nodding. Inwardly, Glyph was relieved - the mortals' reactions had been difficult to read for the god and he was glad to see they were not overly intimidated by the end point of the request. "What shall we do to help you? You need only to ask."

Turning around, the self-appointed representatives began organizing the Baadris refugees and inside an hour, they were ready with lists of materials, labour, and volunteered artisans.


Natasha shook her head, "Yes, we mean the people of Baadris. And... as far as I know there's no forge yet. I don't even know if we have the materials for it.... we might be able to harvest enough wood to burn for the fire but I don't know if either Glyph or Harmodius would appreciate that." She pursed her lips, expression thoughtful.

"Perhaps we should find them first and ask for instructions before making plans without our Lord's approval?" Aelondrael interjected, lifting a brow.

"I agree... lets ask Master first." Aisling nodded and stepped forward, bowing slightly as she did so, "Would you lead the way please? And I am deeply sorry but what might we call you?"

Glaucon shared the other god's initial concern at the mortal woman's health, but that was also as far as his relief extended - he was more pleased that the unsubtle hinting at who this job was ultimately for had been as motivating as he'd intended it to be. "Truly, you must be fine craftsmen, approaching this project with such honest enthusiasm," returning Glyph's rap on the shoulder with a small grin that looked a bit more like it belonged on his host's face than his own.

The lists put together and the artisans and labormen gathered, everyone quickly started down the hallway and towards the Pantheon entrance (or, at least, as quickly as one could with one of the gods in David's disagreeable body and some of the mortals not wanting to leave him straggling behind). Along the way they would pass closely by the noticeboard; the sudden change in the flow of human traffic and the familiarity of the faces within would likely be enough of a tipoff to Natasha and Aelondrael what direction they'd be expected to take the collection of glass in.

Back outside, the refugees were efficient, cheerful, and very eager to get to work. As enjoyable as their period of relaxation had been, they all seemed to be in agreement that it was time they started using their skills again, even if it was in a foreign place.

Lifting a brow Karakis listened a moment to the Aoidei. The goddess nodded slightly in agreement before speaking, "that is a not a problem, and I am Karaskis - goddess of Fire."

It was clear at least to her that perhaps the others could use a bit of help when it came to getting their glass melted down. She'd of course have to see how they had their forges built, but those were things to come. If needed she knew those she could gather to aid with such a venture, but wouldn't bother with until she knew what if anything was still needed.

"Come along this way - and what is it I should call you by?" Motioning to the group she started off toward the rooms of the mortals. The goddess' steps were measured and she was mindful to not get too far ahead of those that had a burden. "It is not too far... now." Glancing back over her shoulder as they neared the mortal's quarters she paused near them waiting for the three before reaching to open the doors.

Aelondrael nodded at that, falling into a deep, strangely beautiful bow when the goddess introduced herself, "And I am Aelondrael, servant to the God of Forests." Aisling and Natasha echoed the sentiment after the lotus aoide and together they followed Karaskis with a few loads of glass.

On their way to the mortals, the parade of people moved by and, ever attentive of their lord's presence, the three aoidei perked when they saw Glyph keeping pace with Glaucon. "Lady Karaskis... They are there, see? Our lord is among them, as is Judgement. Perhaps the search need not be continued now that they have walked by us. Would you deign to come with us, Lady? I believe they are setting up their forges outside."

Natasha, arching a brow at the lotus aoidei's take charge attitude pursed her lips and nodded her agreement, "Excuse me, Lady, but I must take this burden to Lord Glyph. Aisling?" The other demoness nodded as well and together they started towards the train of Baadris folk, leaving Aelondrael behind to accompany Karaskis.

Aelondrael, however, was not overly pleased with that turn of events and turned a sour expression upon the two. Karaskis was a goddess and deserved more respect then that! While yes, Glyph was their master and his needs would always come first, that did not mean you simply abandoned an ally. Her silence towards the departing demoness' was proof enough of her ire but she turned again to Fire and smiled, neatly hiding her displeasure, "If you would, Lady?"

Out in the area before the Pantheon's entrance, the Baadris people had spread out into their camps, drawing up plans for the forge and setting up assembly stations with surprising efficiency. Those who did not possess the skills for the more technical work became runners, gathering supplies and distributing them between the groups. And those who knew to lead did so, quickly pulling the once-restless group into a focused effort.

It pleased Glyph to see such ready effort, though he knew they must have been anxious in their idle waiting. No one knew when or if they might able to return to their homeland and so a chance at familiar things was welcome.

"Glyph!" Natasha called, smiling when the god turned to regard the aoide, "We've got the glass for you! And we found Lady Fire - Karaskis. Aelondrael's bringing her."

Glyph smiled broadly at that and took the load of glass as Natasha offered it, quickly setting it to the side as Aisling offered hers as well. "Excellent, thank you." He turned to Glaucon then and nodded, "It seems the pieces have come together, now all we need is to build that forge."

"Ah," Glaucon smiled, turning around as the two heard a new smattering of voices coming their way - two he could recognize as Aelondrael and Natasha, the later of which earned a spike of interest and a silent request from David to give a wave to. Or a wink. Or one of a small list of pickup lines he cheekily read off to the god as the aoidei continued their approach, with an individual who was undoubtedly the goddess of Fire following them.

The god settled to politely incline his head towards the new diety instead, saying, "Lady Karaskis... It is a pleasure, and an honor to be working with you. May the fruits of your combined efforts be successful."

Since he hadn't really been doing much besides standing around and watching, and offering encouraging words where appropriate, he certainly didn't feel it right to use 'our' in his greeting. He was no less content for it, though, glad as he was to finally see some order and work ethic in the mortal populace. The Judge continued in this vein as the forge slowly but surely took form, eager to praise the craftsmen's diligence as much as they seemed eager to please-- they were making a labor of devotion out of it, intent on making it a work of art fitting for the grounds around the Pantheon as well as a tool that would see more use in the future.

Finally, after a leisurely but still productive pace of work, the forge had been completed, ready for the spark Karaskis would provide to heat it up.

Watching the aoidei Karaskis hid a bit of a smile, although she didn't know the extent of it watching the hinted at bits of drama was a pass time. Of course her aoidei were not always so good at hiding it, perhaps they should take lessons she thought.

Nodding slightly to Aeleondrael as the aoidei motioned her onwards she headed over toward the other deities. She had not met either as of yet, and the only memories of Justice's host were when she was still mostly sleeping.

"Greetings Lord Forest and Lord Justice," offering a courtly bow to each she then shifted her gaze over those nearby. "It looks as if the forge is just about ready..." her eyes settled on the forge taking note of the design and materials used.

"If I understand correctly you need help with a flame for your forge?" stepping over the forge the goddess' eyes went over what had been gathered, motioning one of the nearby mortals she spoke quietly. Her instructions were precise once she left the mortals would be able to upkeep the heat though she was glad to find that the man had previous knowledge.

Karaskis was able to summon Kalfyra, and Kalfyra brought others. With the help of the knowledge of those that worked on the forges within her room the group worked. Once the forge was finish the main need for Karaskis had come. Before starting with the creation of the fire she looked over the forge thoughtfully making sure it would hold the heat without danger, after all the heat they needed would be great.

With the aid of Phi's alchemy she made sure that there would be enough of the dark coal that would hold the heat that the furnace would need. Using her flames to start a small fire as it spread she poured her energy into it, closing her eyes the goddess' mind went to the fire spreading throughout it. For those moments she danced and sprang not within the flame but as it, despite the element in use a peacefulness filled her. It took well over an hour to bring the flames hot enough for the glass, during that time Karaskis just stood close to the furnace to her time went quickly and once it was done she just stood a moment blinking her eyes on the flames another few moments before turning to the others.

"It will work for the glass now."

Once the forge had been set up and materials gathered with the help of Lady Fire, Glyph and Malh'reth saw to it that he helped as much as they could. The mage would conjure the needed pipes and tongs as they were required and even duplicated the forge once it was complete and he was given a description of the materials.

Thus the mortals were given a task to occupy idle hands and the two young gods could rest easy in the knowledge that the scraps of glass they'd gathered over the past while were not just scraps. Most of the glass was reforged into simple water-carrying vessels, glasses and broad bowls - minimalist in style but functional and matching and as perfect as the glass workers could manage for the Twin Crown.

It would take a few short days but eventually the work would pay off and the ensemble of surviving vessels and recycled ones would be stacked, boxed, and otherwise stored in neat arrangement for presentation to Harmodius.

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Strange, how you never expect that precipice to come so soon. I thought I’d had longer… but I also knew that he was growing in strength. I could feel my soul being consumed gently like the slow beat of small waves crashing against a rocky shore. Who I was… the very core of me was being swept away by something far vaster and I welcomed it. I let go, bit by little bit, and let him have longer spans of control, complained less when I found myself watching without meaning to…

And then came the edge. The bold cliff was no longer tall and proud but had been undercut by the ocean… a remnant hanging over a precipitous drop into something unknown. I clawed at the ground as that fall took me, reached with both hands to grasp at life and existence in a gut wrenching reflex.

Four fingers…

He didn’t demand, didn’t charge, didn’t even say a word though I knew his attention was completely upon me. It was a gentle sort of watch, the kind of deathwatch you gave your dear ones – the smile, the expressions of warmth and kindness… the unspoken words that hung like epitaphs in the air ‘I love you’, ‘rest well’, ‘thank-you’ all those things and more.

Three fingers…

It was comforting, that. Reminded me of his gentle take-over and the promises I knew he would keep. A good creature, this god… not zealous, not cold… but the sort of neutral I could feel right about giving up my soul for - even if I’d had the choice. My life… my life was something of an anomaly really. I should have stayed with the Herd but I was called by something called opinion, beckoned by curiosity and held fast by freedom. Funny, how those things drew me to my doom.

Two fingers… and I begin to fall away, to truly let go with a sigh of relief and a jolt of pain as I disconnect entirely. Feeling fades away, every sense but sixth seems to have become obsolete.

One finger.

The void opens up and I drop away, falling not through darkness or even through light but greenness and vitality and death and cycles… it’s a strange embrace and I twist to see it properly. Falling now, my face to the wind I see a forest opening up – vast and lush. Mesmerizing.

For a moment I wonder if my last seconds will be in a broken heap of bones and sinew… or a torn wisp of soul as the leaves come into view, rich in detail and colour. I shouldn’t have worried though, Glyph is not like that… the Silvim Illustirre is a kind soul and grateful for my sacrifice.

How do I know?

The branches twist and move, reaching up to catch me in soft foliage and cradling boughs, to pull me down into the green eternity with a smile on my face. As the canopy closes in over top, I smile one last time and mouth ‘thank-you’. I’m not sure why… but it feels right.


A surge.

A solidification.


It’s quite the sensation to go from merely borrowing a body to owning a body. I knew it would come soon… but as with all things, I did not know exactly when this moment would arrive. I’d felt him slipping, growing smaller and smaller, giving way to my ascension but I did not think it would be so sudden.

For me… it was a quick jolt of awareness, an anchoring of my being as my essence permeated the other, body and soul. He jerked, twisted and lunged in reflex and I moved to catch him as I had touched him so many times before… mind to mind, spirit to spirit… and yet, when those mental fingers flexed, so too did the body’s. When my mouth gasped open, so did his… I could do nothing but watch and comfort my brave sacrifice as he slowly let go.

It was hard… harder still to catch his spirit and surround it with my own. I’d grown to enjoy him, this soft spoken mage who spun dreams into reality, and I mourned the lack of time in which to say farewell. When he was gone and the storm within my soul began to settle, I sighed and shook my head as I sat on the edge of the bed in my apartments of the Pantheon. It didn’t seem like that long ago that I’d suggested we move from Phaedra’s rooms to my own… Phaedra. Greed. I doubt she will appreciate this turn of events as much as I have - that one does not let go.

The ache of bones and muscle draw my attention back to the here and now, forcing me to focus on my newly regained body. I feel heavy, strangely solid and yet fragile. The fingers I flex before my face are over-long, elegant and alien at the same time. The rustle of fabric as the breeze brushes through the open window catches my attention and I turn to look, my furry ears having flicked an swiveled like a deer’s.

There is a buzz and another settling, a pinch soon soothed as this body shifts to better suit my being. My vision crackles, fizzing like a poorly tuned television as the blindness gives way to natural vision. It seems the magic unique to the mage has dissolved with him, no longer binding me to an arcane disability.

At first it is strange and I do not recognize my surroundings… where once vibrant, ever-shifting lines denoted shapes there are solid things, white and green and far more real for their presence. The fabric at the window is no longer a sheet of dull energy but a light coloured thing, stunning in its simplistic beauty. I find these things, these little details, catch my attention and pull it about the room and for a long time I sit there admiring my surroundings. A flare of light from a marble set upon a shelf draws my eye and I rise to investigate, instantly curious… even covetous of this sparkling bauble.

An involuntary smile dances across my lips as I take the item into my hands and realize it is Malh’reth’s… his bauble, the thing he’d wished to sacrifice to Harmodius when we gathered the glass for Him. I roll the cool surface between fingers as he once did before tucking it into the pocket of a sleeve. I think I will keep this, this small trinket of his. It will serve as a reminder of my beginnings when my mortal coil at last falls away.

A flash of green tugs my gaze still elsewhere and I find myself staring into a mirror. It’s odd, being a participant in this gesture… I had skimmed his memories for the appearance of my host but one’s view of oneself is ever biased and distorted. What I see before me amuses me, a wispy aura of greenery has sprung up about my expressive chestnut ears and his face, now mine, is elegant and sculpted. Soft lavender eyes are framed by a playfully unruly mane of hair and the turn of lips as I smile is both mature and endearing. Touching fingers to cheek, I nod in appreciation and mouth a final ‘thank-you’ before turning away.

I cannot tarry overlong for there is much to do. Forest has returned and my role in this grand opera is only beginning.

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Sight is an amazing thing and something to be appreciated, Glyph has come to realize in the hours following his morph. Where once everything was a maze of twisty, glowing lines there was now a tactile world full of colour and texture and interest. His rooms’ door, in particular, had caught his interest and he had stood there for some time simply picking out the intricate details and marveling at the visual feast.

Still, his thoughts had taken him elsewhere and his feet had followed, down the pantheon’s stairs to the main chamber, reveling all the while in the delightfully airy architecture. It was not suffocating to him, with the natural palettes and the scent of greenery and water perfuming the air. A beautiful place, really, he was glad to see it at last and yearned to find the grounds he knew were thriving with life. A mental image of grasses and trees bathed in sunlight was held clearly in mind as he drew near the exit.

An image quickly shattered, however, as he stepped out into grounds proper and found the world cast in unnatural twilight. A spike of dread drove through him and he reluctantly lifted his gaze, a motion borne by macabre curiosity, and found the very sky empty. There were no lights… no stars or moon or sun… he shivered and looked down, hugging himself as he padded instinctively to the comfort of the groves.

He had felt a twinge some time back, some loss but it had been dampened by the mage’s less keen senses and their sight… their sight had seen the truth then? The sky was as empty and black as before… save there were no currents of mana to watch. A profound sense of guilt and loss settled about forest then, as he sank down to sit against the trunk of a willow. The stream flowed nearby, offering a soothing babble of sound but it did little to lessen the sudden strike of grief. He had gone so long without noticing the sky’s fall? What had happened, then, to cause its undoing? Malh’reth had not known and neither had he… no one had said anything, perhaps because it was obvious?

Not so for him. And now questions piled upon questions. They had stopped Gehenna, had they not? Was the sky a causality prior to the ritual? It seemed that way… so they’d not been fast enough. Along with the countless mortal deaths, was the sky’s to sit on his shoulders too? It was a heavy thought and drew a heavy sigh. Leaning his head back against the bark, he closed his eyes and listened to grounds, to the stream, to the quiet rustle of leaves and imagined sunlight on his face, bathing the groves in nourishment.

What had happened…? He knew he did not have the full picture, especially now with the evidence arched across the once-sky. It was more than the lotuses, he surmised, though Gehenna was at the center of that again, he was sure. His ignorance was not willful, however, and though it was some time before he brought himself to moving once more, he stood and took to wandering the pantheon’s grounds.

He needed to seek answers, to understand the circumstances he’d been reborn into. Action had called him from the beginning but it was only now, as the world relaxed into creation’s influence once more, did he realize the depths of his insensitivity.

It made him wonder what else he had missed. While Gehenna might be settled, the Edelsteine had been restless… he knew it was not over so easily. Lost in thought and mourning, Forest wandered among fruit trees that dotted the pantheon’s ground, taking comfort in their subtle fragrance and sturdy boughs.

What has happened?

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When the mortals had proven to know just as little as he about the events beyond the lotuses... Glyph had returned to wandering the grounds. To cheer himself, he would encourage the bloom of those flowers he'd come across, willing the buds to open just a little faster. His touch was so light now... faint and new and draining but it brought a smile to his face and lifted his heavy heart when he saw the delicate plant life respond to his attention.

Tired from the 'practice' and inclined to think, Forest sat beneath a great apple tree, the blossoms all open - courtesy of his touch. A few insects buzzed around, taking advantage of the sudden appearance of flowers and he sat watching them, expression uncharacteristically somber. Leaning back against the trunk of the tree, he wiggled his toes in the cool grass and tried not to be distracted by the empty sky even as the questions whirled in his mind.

He had been gone for quite some time. Just how long was a hazy subject - though nothing seemed too different, there were subtle hints, there and there. The state of the nearest buildings, for one.

And now, the work was all done, and the information compiled, and all there was to do was wait. And try to catch up on what had happened in his absence.

The god had wandered though, one crow having taken perch about his shoulder, taking in the sight of a tree in full bloom - something he had yet to see in his new life - when he caught sight of the form sitting at the base of the trunk. Hm... ?

Upon coming a little closer, he did, in fact, recognize this one. It still took a few more steps for him to see the difference - to see that this was not host, but god now.

"Something has you troubled ?" He asked, stopping his pace a few feet away from Forest.

Glyph's gaze remained on the insects above, the bumbling motion of a particularly fat bee entertaining the newly reborn god, as he pointed up at the sky, "Indeed. I have missed much..." He turned to regard the other then, expression sad, "I did not think my vision would speak the truth of the sky... I had been so hoping to feel and see the sun on my skin." He sighed and dropped his gaze, "Greetings Ankou, I have not see you in some time."

Resting elbow on knee and draping arm over his other leg, Glyph frowned, "I did not know the Sky was lost... Were our efforts in Baadris too late then? What else transpired beyond my knowledge?" He arched a brow, obviously consumed by questions, "I returned to awareness in a world rife with suffering... and was reborn into a broken one, without really even knowing what went so terribly wrong. I... feel awful not to have questioned the source of anguish until now, more terrible still not to have noticed the loss of one of our own until now."

...That was true. The aurion had been... blind, in a way, hadn't he ? He remembered this.

"I do not think anyone had thought..." Ankou shook his head, looking up at what had once been a sky, but was now nothing but absolute blackness. "My nephew and my niece - Grief and Lament - were tasked... of his passing, by our Lord. I do not think... that there will be a return for Universe. Not as it once was." It was a more absolute than the fading itself, for while they certain all fell, but once, there was enough of some of the pantheon to raise again.

Of Lucius... There was probably nothing left. Not even the echo of a whisper.

"There will be a sky again." He said, tone assured. There would be, there had to be, they had done the best they could - but he pushed that thought away. "But... not of a divine source."

"Still, I feel as though I've failed somehow.... I did not know the sky's patron had returned, let alone that he had been undone. Such a causality... to fail to protect such a key part of what Is..." He frowned and trailed off with a sigh. "I hope you are right and that the sky does return. It bothers the mortals, and I must admit it troubles me as well.

"What happened, then? What caused the sky's undoing? And indeed Gehenna itself? I have not thought overlong on that, and rather think it was a mistake to be so truly thoughtless. Foolish even." Glyph stretched out his hand, gesturing for Ankou to sit beside him rather then hover, "You have been returned to this world longer then I, do you know much of the Pantheon's history?"

"Not for much longer than you have, it would seem..." After all, he had been yet trapped in his gem, only a voice in Adrian's mind, when it all started to unfold, and the very start had likely happened much before that.

The Spirit Guide moved to sit as well, the crow that had taken perch flying off - most likely hoping to find a snack among the insects buzzing along the newly-opened flowers. The questions he had asked himself, and these questions he had answered for others - though he had not done so for quite a long time.

"The grigori." He said, after settling against the large tree. "Wielders of Void... One attacked Lord Harmodius, in a manner that I am uncertain of, as I had not been there. What resulted... was Gehenna. The cocoon you likely know of, if not seen, sending shockwaves in it's wake. My host was knocked out cold... Many mortals simply died on impact. After that, came the influence of the weeks. The grigori... she escaped, with Gaia's arm I have been told... but to where, I do not know."

Glyph listened as Ankou spoke, brows furrowing and ears drawing back in an expression of anger. So that was what had struck down Harmodius. He'd known that something had catalyzed that turn of events, the name sparking memories of a brief encounter with Illumin, and to find out Gaia had been injured as well! His frown deepened and something akin to outrage sparked in his lavender eyes as he shook his head, "Aye. Malh'reth's vision was destroyed then, and was the reason for our blindness. Who are the Grigori? Why would they strike at our roots? Gaia and Harmodius both..."

The joy that leaped into his throat at knowing the goddess was among them was strong and helped to buoy up his moods, "It was them, then, that caused the undoing of the sky. Without their treachery, He would not have foundered and Gehenna not triggered." He shuddered, thinking the end could be so easily brought to bear, "Why was the Twin Crown not better guarded?" He pursed his lips, wondering where the Dragon Kings had been but was wise enough not to voice his concern - Zhijian had barely left the throne room since the cocoon's appearance, and Yu as well, had taken up his post after the calamity. Had they been unable to do so before?

He rather hoped that were the case. "Does anyone know where the Grigori are now? Has there been any steps taken to safeguard against them further? My powers are hardly offensive..." Glyph bit his lower lip as he looked up into the tree and met the gaze of the crow, smiled at the way he caught its attention. He would not be use in a fight, he knew.

"I do not know much of the why, unfortunately." Ankou's features had pulled into a frown. one arm resting on folded legs. "They were at war with us before the fading, even... But the true start of this, I do not know. Of the matter of guarding... Many gods went to Lord Harmodius' side as they felt the repercussions, and none of them managed to stop her. One lone Grigori... Against many of our own, at varying stages of rebirth. Even our Lord as Destruction..." He trailed off then, shaking his head. "From what I have been told, she was focusing on escaping - had she not... Their touch devours All just as the sky had been eaten before my very eyes, and most of us are ill-equipped to fight such influence, even at our strongest. Weapons of Creation's influence had been forged... lost to the fading but reclaimed once more." Though he had no true idea of the actual events... It was how he felt.

"One lone Grigori... and our might combined could do little?" Glyph echoed, falling into thoughtful silence, "The weapons that defend against them have been gathered, then? That is... a relief. The realms have been undone enough... to be further touched by Void would only make the suffering worse. With Harmodius returned, however, and Creation's healing influence, I hope I might be of greater service to him now. The glass we have collected is nearly finished... and I can finally present the offerings alongside Judgement... but I feel that is little in comparison to what I could do." His gaze shifted away from the bird and back to Ankou as he spoke, "Some way to ease the burden of repair."

Forest smiled suddenly, his heart eased a little even though he mourned still for Universe, "Where have you been, then, Spirit Guide? This might be the first time I have seen your face but I have not heard your voice in some time - did a task take you away from the pantheon?"

Ankou only nodded along to Glyph's statements, understanding well the anger behind those events, but knowing that it would do nothing well, that for now, their energy were better spent elsewhere. Toward the mortals. Toward themselves.

Until they were told otherwise...

"I have been gone for some time, indeed." He announced, golden-yellow eyes watching in the distance, but his expression turned to amusement. "I did warn you that I wandered often. I found myself wandering quite far this time." How would Forest have felt in the large branches and roots of the World Tree, he wondered ? "Now that there is an Underworld again... The dead need to find their ways. Tian Yue had been tasked to make count of the remaining worlds, and as our steps were aligned... I traveled with him. Our steps took us to the World Tree itself."

"The World Tree...?" He echoed, understanding dawning as the name came to the fore of his mind, "Yggdrasil? You've been into its reaches? What was your travel like, Spirit Guide?" Glyph's smile was broad and his interest earnest, "What was Yggdrasil like? How many other worlds did you document then?"

News of other realms was most intriguing to Forest and stirred so very many questions. Were they alright? How many lay dead? Did the world tree survive their brush with Gehenna unscathed? It made him anxious to touch and see those other realms... but he knew his power was small yet, unprepared for too much stress.

Ah... He should have thought that this would be of interest to the forest god.

"It was..." The Spirit Guide paused for a moment, struggling to put what he had felt back there into words and still have it make sense. "Wast. Bigger than anything else I have ever came to witness in this life. A labyrinth made of roots, branches and wood... That has seen better days. Many sections had closed off completely, the worlds that once dwelt behind..."

Well, he found no need to elaborate.

"We have not visited All That Remains. That would have been madness, and we would have been at the task for ages... But we mapped it the best we could, where the dead sections and the alive sections were."

Glyph listened attentively, nodding slowly as the other spoke and chuckled to himself, "I wonder if I'd get lost... I would like to see it at some point, when I am better suited to such a trek." He too felt no need to ask after the closed off routes and a quiet sadness crept into his eyes as he thought of the many lost lives and worlds.

"I would think a trek of that size would be most time consuming," he replied after a moment, "But you did map some, which is better then nothing. Especially if we wish to return the mortal pilgrims to their homeworlds at last. We've stranded them for so long already..." He pursed his lips as his gaze flicked back in the direction of the Pantheon and many mortals it sheltered.

"Indeed... We were gone for quite a long time. We have only now returned, to be honest. Perhaps you might have better luck than I with finding your way."

The World Tree was, after all, a tree, though wast beyond anything else he had ever witnessed. The Guide's expression turned thoughtful as he watched the crow perch on a large branch over his head.

"Perhaps you..." Then it seemed to occur to him that he was talking out loud. "Ah, no. Nevermind..."

"Perhaps. But there is no guarantee, after all." He smiled, "It is not forest and Gaia's realm, not mine. Asking for her blessings might speed along any expeditions. I will need to find her..." His attention drifted inwards as he considered the things he had to say to the Empress, chief amongst them querying after her health.

Glyph blinked when Ankou started to speak and then stopped himself, expression confused, "Pardon? Perhaps I what?" He pursed his lips and fixed the Spirit Guide with an even expression, "Speak, Ankou, do not cut yourself off. What do you want of me...?"

"It is nothing. Nothing important, really." Ankou seemed... embarrassed ? He was not usually one to ask such small favors of others, even others of his own kind, so this was a little awkward for the Spirit Guide. "You likely have much more importants things to do, and I would hate to bother you with my own needs..."

It did not look like Forest would let go, though, even him could tell with that kind of stare. "I... Well, there are crows, they often follow me and keep close to me. And close to Cosine as well. They, like everything else, have been hit by the devastation of the world... I had built some... branches out of scrap wood, on my balcony, in hope they would attempt to nest..." That sounded so silly, when he was telling it out loud. "They perch here, certainly, but they do not build nests..."

Glyph's determined expression softened as Ankou spoke but still did not voice his wish. And, really, he didn't need to. A kind smile blossomed on the god's lips and he glanced up at the crow as well, extending an arm and hand so that the creature might alight on his offered fingers, "Perhaps they are not comfortable with their perches... I will look after them, if you like? I cannot offer solace with my person right now, but my room has an entryway with pillars of Everwood, the crowns still preserved. Those boughs, sheltered and 'alive' may provide the kind of cover they desire."

He smiled as the bird did indeed alight on his hand and he lowered the limb so he could regard the crow without cranning his neck, "I will leave my windows open and your crows are welcome to nest there. Will that soothe your concerns for now, my friend?" He would have let the crow perch upon his head but his branches were small yet, he'd rather not have to reattach them if the bird inadvertently broke some. Later perhaps, but not now.

"Perhaps... They seem to appreciate them to petch, but not to nest. But granted, I am... not be best with handling living creatures." The Guide admitted. His domain were souls, not life. He had probably over-looked something that the birds needed. Cover, as Forest mentionned. Some had chosen to nest in the nearby fruit trees of the pantheon garden, but this...

This soothed him, to be honest.

"That would indeed." He have a nod of his head. "They are... important to me. They remember old pacts, where most would not have. I... ...Thank you."

"And yet they remember you, as you've said." He smiled, "It gives me hope that those who once were loyal remember their allegiances to me... once I find them, and... er, remember them." Glyph smiled, a little embarrassed. It did not surprise him his memory was so faulty - it seemed that way with many, but to not know even those closest to you... did it reflect poorly on him?

"You are very welcome, Ankou. I will encourage their prosperity as best I can." He grinned then, an oddly youthful smile as he let the crow sit upon his shoulder, "And I will inform you of young ones if they come. Though, of course, you are welcome to visit whenever you choose - my room lies behind the golden doors depicting a forest. My aoidei will welcome you if you go."

"Of course." If he would take such invitation, well... only time would be able to tell. Ankou remained more composed, but Glyph's cheerfulness seemed infectious, and he have a small smile in return.

"If there is ever something I can do for you... do not hesitate to ask. I have already told you where I dwell, did I ?" At least he thought he had, but he had so many things on his mind lately that little bits of information like this sometimes slipped though and were forgotten.

"I will remember that. Thank-you." He nodded gratefully, appreciative of the gesture, "And no... I do not believe you have. The few times we have run across one another, we have been away from our quarters. Do you live away from the Pantheon like some of the others?"

Ah, so he had not. Oh well, at least he could rectify that now. "No, though I am often away. The door of forget-me-nots and crows is mine. If I am not there, at least one of my aoidei most likely will be. They will relay anything you wish to tell me."

Jinx was quirky, but efficient. And Anima... was just plain efficient, really. Both would make sure the message got to it's intended destination.

"Forget-me-nots and crows... how fitting." Glyph mused, smiling to himself. "I will be sure to remember that.

"I am not keeping you, am I?" He asked suddenly, realizing that Ankou's loitering here might be a problem if the god elsewhere to be, "Do not let me keep you if you are expected someplace. I will keep your crows as you asked, my friend."

"Ah, no. Not really." Most did not even know he had returned yet, as it was - so the list of those who would be looking for him was rather short indeed. Cosine came to mind immediately, but all she would need to do was send Infinity to find him. Crows seemed to be able to find him rather easily, either trough instinct... or something old he could not remember.

"You are not keeping me away from anything beside wandering without a end destination in mind."

"No destination, hmn? And no pressing matters..." He paused a moment, considering, "Well, if you would suffer my company I could show you the trees and we can see if your crow finds them to his liking. Perhaps word will spread among them then, and the sound of chicks will follow after."

Rising, Glyph took a step towards the Pantheon and extended his hand to the other with a grin, "If nothing else, we can enjoy a pot of tea and you a spot of rest. I would like to thank you for your reassurances Ankou."

...This was not such a bad idea, to be honest. He was somewhat comfortable with Glyph, even if they definitively were completely different, and to be honest he was quite curious to see­. He did not think the crows would like to be indoors much, but he had kept that thought to himself, not wanting to offend the Forest god. And he likely knew better than he did, after all.

"I think it is most likely you suffering my company than the other way around." He spoke, amusement slipping in his voice. Forest seemed quite sociable, where as he was very much an introvert in nature. "I must admit I am curious, however."

"I am curious as well." He replied with a laugh, "And I know it is indoors... but my room has a high vaulted ceiling that should not cause claustrophobia. I would offer a better perch, but I cannot offer sufficient support right now." Gesturing to the small branches that grew from his head he arched a brow, "Perhaps in time I might guard them for you myself."

A short time later they were at the Pantheon and Forest paused before his door, laying a hand on the split between the two halves and stepped back as they swung outward. "Welcome to my quarters, Spirit Guide. Those are the pillars I spoke of." Inside, the entryway was lined with what appeared to be trees, their scent light and earthy in the air and their surfaces were rough, echoing old growth. Towards the top of the vaulted path, the crowns of the Everwood Pillars spread out, obscuring the ceiling almost completely and gave the impression of stepping into a grove rather then a room. Despite being severed from the ground, the leaves were bright emerald shapes shot through with the forms of thick branches.

"Will this do?"

The mental image of the god himself acting very much like a tree... and being a nesting place... almost made him laugh out loud, and yes the thought did not seem foolish in any mean. He was not sure the crows would enjoy their chosen nesting place moving around, however...

The trip back had been mostly silent, thanks to him for the most part, but he peered curiously when the door opened.

And what he saw was... Well, beyond anything he could have thought of, really.

This was not a room... this was a forest in itself ! Even the smell was right, really, and try as much as he might, he simply could not see a ceiling at all.

"...If that is not, then I don't know what would." He had to admit.

The floors were bare, hardwood planks that lined the entryway further enhancing the feel of a forest. Framed by the pillars, a white and green space was illuminated, warm and inviting in its atmosphere.

Glyph smiled, somewhat pleased at Ankou's reaction, and stepped inside, "I'm glad you approve." It was a moment before the crow took flight, having been watching the gods with a curious gleam in its eye, before it ventured forth to explore the pillars. When it settled on a branch and fluffed out its feathers, Forest chuckled, "It seems he does to. It is settled then, they can nest here if they like."

By then, Aisling had heard her lord's voice and the click clack of hooves on marble echoed quietly, a reminder that were not indeed in a forest, "Lord Glyph...?" The demoness paused at the edge of the entryway, where wood floor was edge against the cool surface of a marble one, "Lord Glyph! And a friend. Greetings! Did you need anything...?" She followed their gazes up into the branches and smiled, "Pets?"

Glyph's gaze sought Aisling's and he smiled, "Could you brew some tea? A blooming one, I think." Padding further in, he trailed a hand on the last pillar and paused there, waiting for Ankou, "You'll join me, yes? The blooming tea is quite good."

Aisling nodded at the request and disappeared into the room's interior, seeking tea and pot.

The sound of hooves on marble rather than earth almost startled him - the rest of the room simply gave such a perfect illusion of being outside that it caught him off-guard.

"I am glad." In the end, though, the crows themselves would be judge - though this was a good start. It would only help complete the illusion, really, to have wildlife in here, would it not ?

Ankou was not much a fan of tea - not usually drawn toward warm liquids, to be honest, but he nodded. He would have a taste of it, if only to be polite, and well.. keep Forest company a little longer.

Forest lead the way then, escorting Ankou into the single room. To one side was a sitting area next to a raised dais that was enclosed by low glass walls that distorted the view enough to lend privacy. He did not stop there, however, and continued past them to the round seating area set into the ground and ringed by a lush garden of low growing plants and flowers. Cushions were arranged neatly and it was into these that Glyph fairly flopped.

He loved this corner of the room for not only did it allow one to lounge, it also afforded a fantastic view of the Pantheon grounds and now that Creation's touch had led plants and trees and all manner of greenery to flourish, it was picture of beauty. Gone were the lava pools and blasted rock that Glyph and Malh'reth both had disliked, replaced by an expanse of life that spoke of promise.

It was only a few moments more before Aisling approached with two porcelain mugs - the glass teacups having been sacrificed to Harmodius - and a pot with no lid that held a mass of some sort of plants. With time though, that spherical ball would 'bloom' into an arrangement of tea plants. "Try it, it has a very mild flavour. Very good." Glyph remarked as he poured himself a glass and held the cup between his hands, enjoying the warmth.

Ankou followed silently, careful not to step onto any large amount of plant life, and taking in his surrounding. This... was not a place he would want to find himself in constantly, he had to admit, but not something that was uncomfortable, not in the least.

He sat, though he did not quite flop like Glyph had, sitting on one of the cushions with his leg crossed indian-style. He have a polite nod to the aoide and accepted the cup as it was given to him, not attempting to drink from it just yet. It would likely need to cool down quite a bit first.

"Well, this is certainly more impressive than my own set of rooms." His own were much more... traditional.

Glyph nodded his head in grateful acknowledgment of the compliment, "Thank-you, but I do not think it is anything special... It is a room suited to my tastes for when I am here. I prefer not to be bound by walls, however, and would just as soon sleep under the canopy of beloved trees." Indeed it was a modest room despite its configuration for it held no ante-chambers, no bedrooms or kitchens... it was a single room.

"I would assume yours are tailored to your preferences?" He smiled, "Greed's is guarded by a labryinth and looked out over lava pools I suspect she rather enjoyed. I do not wish to return to that setting, however. And I rather doubt she will have appreciated my 'stealing' her toy." Glyph sighed softly at that, grateful to have had the fortune to avoid any run-ins with the goddess.

Well, it was comfortable and did what he needed of it... while he was actually there that is. To be honest, Cosine was using his quarters more than he was at this point.

The mention of Greed made a frown cross his face, however, and he shook his head. "...Let us not talk about her." His own... or rather, Adrian's run-ins with the goddess had cemented in him the desire to avoid her as much as he possibly could. True, he would not be as easily manipulated as his host had been... but she would be more than happy to rub his face with what had happened, the Guide was certain. And he could think of much better ways to spend his time than to 'entertain' Phaedra. Let her to her own games, and him to the things that actually mattered.

Glyph chuckled, "I agree. I am not fond of that one either... my host... was a toy for her before I found him. True to her nature, if nothing else." He scoffed and glanced out the window, lip curled in a rare show of true dislike, "I do not remember my ties of before to the others nearly as well as I am of my views on her."

Taking a sip of the cooled tea, Glyph pursed his lips thoughtfully.

"I do not either, not for most..." It sounded better than admiting that there likely had not been any. It was true that he did not remember very well, but he remembered enough to know that he had been rather withdrawn, even from most of the pantheon beside the spheres of influences that he simply had to interact with. "But it seems better that way. Easier. Let begone be gone, so to speak. This is a new life, and old grudges do not have their place here, I feel." Certainly not in a time where they were so few reborn. He finally brought the cup to his lips, having a taste of the liquid within. It certainly was not bad indeed, but still a little hot for his tastes.

Glyph nodded, "Agreed. A fresh beginning, then. To new and better experiences, and a future full of promise." He held his cup out to Ankou as he offered the cheer, a holdover from Malh'reth's sociable gestures.

"Indeed." Ankou rose his cup and turn, and took a sip of it again. It was cooling down quickly, which was not a bad thing at all.

He would finish it and talk with Forest for a few more minutes before finally excusing himself and leaving the rooms of Forest, to destination unknown.

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He'd wandered back to the Pantheon after a short absence, finding the outdoors far more welcoming then the small, ragged towns that surrounded the god's headquarters. Even the Pantheon, despite its airy architecture and soaring columns, wasn't as comfortable to Forest as the wilds around it. However, he'd developed something of a guilty conscience for not at least checking in with his Aoidei who were most likely fretting at the lack of contact.

Glyph had paused at the Noticeboard, a legacy of his resourceful host, and had smiled despite there being no notes for him. The mortal had done much for him and those around him... was a cherished memory and sacrifice.

Seeking his door afterwards, he'd paused before another door, this one depicting a nameless, great tree and he wondered at it. It had not been there the past time he'd passed by this way and its proximity to his own rooms - right next door - made him rather curious. Who could dwell behind that one? Someone with some influence that was similar to his own domain?

Undaunted, the sociable god knocked upon its wood and stood there with a slight smile, hoping that someone was indeed home.

It was that knock, the first sound to truly reach her ears in days, that startled the elven woman right out of her slumber, her long ears having made her hearing rather keen. She jerked upward, suddenly disoriented. Where was...

Oh, Right. Creation. That room. The gem... She'd put it on her arm, and then she must have fallen asleep, as if there had been two senses of exhaustion wearing her down instead of one.

There was that taste in her mouth, however, the one she got when she slept for much too long. How long... ?

In her daze, it took her a moment to realize that the sound she had heard had been a knock. Who... ?


The night elf worked herself onto her feet, straightening her dress as she finally stepped forward to open the door, reguarding Glyph with the rather bemused expression a barely-awoken person often poccessed.

Apparently night elves were not morning persons.

"Hn... ?" It was then, finally, that recognition seemed to hit. "Glyph... ?"

Glyph, for his part blinked at the disheveled night elf when opened the door, rather obviously surprised, "Illisia...?" He couldn't help the soft chuckle that escaped him at the sleep expression that clouded her silvery eyes. And though he couldn't see the gem, he could sense something different about her and knew she'd taken on another of Gods.

Sighing softly then, a spike of possessive upset was quickly suppressed before it blossomed into anything greater. Another god was on its way to rebirth and he would not begrudge him or her that. However that that was her calling bid sadness to settle into the void the shot of possession had left behind. The frown was quickly suppressed as well, though his voice was soft as he tilted his head, neither stepping away nor closer, "I'm sorry. Did I wake you? Your rooms are simply next door to mine..."

"...They are ?" She asked, peeking her head out to look. She hadn't noticed... not that she would had known what to look for. Hair was starting to break free from her braid, only adding to her dishevelment. "Hn."

"Well, come in. There's not much in here but there's cushions." She let go of the door then, turning to go back inside.

Not a morning person indeed, though one could hit worse. At least she was coherent.

He nodded, smiling, "Indeed. The Grove, see?" Glyph inclined his head to the double set of doors depicting an old growth forest etched in golden relief against rich wood.

Moving forward a few paces, he paused at the threshold, "Are you sure? I can come back later... I would not want to disturb the both of you. If it is slumber you need, simply send a message to my Aoidei when you feel better up to it."

"No, come in... I get the feeling I've slept for much too long, anyway." She grumbled, flopping against the cushions again and undoing the length of leather cord that kept her braid in place, a large movement of her head undoing the whole, leaving her with a full mane of slightly wavy, dark purple hair.

The room was small and cramped - four walls, a floor, a ceiling, and a large pile of cushions. She hadn't had much opportunity to do more yet. It was rather dark inside, suited for a creature with night vision, but there was thankfully little that Glyph could trip on.

"...And what is an aoidei, anyway... ?" She asked, clearly a little confused.

She moved to gather her hair again, and something on her right arm glimmered silver.

"Mn." He replied, entering the room properly then and found it a small, dark place so different from his own airy, light rooms. It wasn't bad but he was careful in how he moved as not to inadvertently stumble on something that would send him sprawling onto his face. That... would be most embarrassing.

"An Aoide?" He blinked then realized she wouldn't know that and smiled as he lowered himself into the cushions and lounged comfortably, no stranger to such a set up. "An Aoidei is an immortal... though truly immortal. They served us in the past... and some reconnect with their lords and ladies once they've been reborn. Personally, my three are Natasha, Aisling, and Aelondrael. They are dear friends and servants and they help in everything that is asked. They... hmn..." He pursed his lips thinking, "I'm not sure what they would be equivalent to for your people... representatives of the gods, perhaps?"

He fell quiet when he caught a glimpse of the silver, tilted his head to the side at the visual confirmation his senses had eluded to, "You do bear one of us now..." As she moved, he recognized the insignia that curled about her arm and a look of surprise settled into his features. He bowed his head, "You shelter a Dragon King now? Another is returned. That is good news... Who have you welcomed into yourself?" He spoke softly, not entirely able to hide the sadness from his voice, though it was intermingled with relief. She would not be the sacrifice to a child of Destruction then... that was good. He would not to worry about her well being then. The dragon king would, hopefully, treat her kindly.

"Hn..." It was her turn to ponder out loud. "Avatar ?" No, that did not seem quite yet. An avatar meant an actual personification, did it not ? Her common english definitively lacked in places. "No... a priest, maybe ? Representative ?"

His next statement interrupted that string of thought, as well as the movement of her hands. "Yes, a dragon, Lord Harmodius told me... Ti Lung. Something about water and earth and scales."

It was hard not to notice the sadness in his voice, and her ears drooped slightly. "I did... what felt right." It was the only explanation she could give. "I will die eventually, and if I this dragon can help to right what went wrong... Then it will not be a waste." Would Glyph understand ? She was not sure.

"Perhaps a Priest... though that isn't quite right either. Perhaps when you have met a few you will understand." He smiled, not overly worried about it, "Visit me and mine some day, I will introduce you."

"Ti Lung...?" He echoed, pursing his lips as the name seemed familiar, toying at his mind where memories had faded. It was familiar... and yet, the harder he sought the answer the more ellusive it seemed to become, "I know the name, though I do not know to which King it belongs... has he not yet spoken to you?"

Glyph's expression turned from one of curiosity to one of apology, "I did not mean to guilt you, Illisia. It saddens me that you will be the lifespark of another - we have only met recently but you are one of my first true followers that I have encountered, I cannot help but be a little possessive of those that give me strength, can I? I do care for you, my friend." He smiled fondly, "You are an ally and welcome in company as a follower, but I admire and am grateful for your willingness to give yourself to one of my kinsmen. I do not frown upon your choices, do not worry. Though I do insist that you treat her well, Dragon King Ti Lung." Glyph arched a brow, obviously speaking beyond Illisia and to the king himself, hoping the god would register the words even if he did not speak yet.

"Not really..." There had been that effect, when the gem had been put, but that had been so faint... it was likely only her imagination.

There was no answer, mental or otherwise, at Forest's last statement, only the loose feeling of coils in her mind, rolling softly as if in slumber, the vaguest sensation of something that had not been here previously. That sensation made one long, feather-like eyebrow rise slowly in puzzlement.

"...I do not know why he chose me, though." She had not known that dragons were something special, per-se... but Glyph's reaction spoke of such things. "Something that he needs that only me has..."

"Hmn... would you tell me when he does then?" Glyph asked, "I would like to know into who's care you've been given." He winked, grinning to show he was not concerned.

"It... is something unique to each of us..." He spoke then, taking a moment to think on his opinions of Malh'reth, "My own host, Malh'reth, was a mage... an entertainer and summoner of sorts. Kind, gentle, and driven to do something to help the kin that had cast him out. I cannot say why, exactly, I found myself needing him but... it is there, that unique spark. Perhaps it makes us whole again... or heals old wounds. It is an opportunity to regain ourselves, I believe, and I find myself cherishing life all the more - and I've developed an strong appreciation for bonbons but that is neither here nor there. If I had to give words to the things that Malh'reth gave to me, however, I would say a greater appreciation of existence and a deeper wonder of the world." He chuckled, "It might seem odd to you that I might say that... but it's like looking through a child's eyes and seeing infinite promise. I can and do stand in awe of creation, especially now when renewal is coaxing life back into the land and the mortals, ever determined and inspiring, work at piecing together their lives. It is difficult to word, I am sorry." He sighed, puffing out his cheeks as he found himself unable to fully express what Malh'reth meant to him and how it might relate to her and her god.

"There is something truly heroic about giving up your very being to another... and I assure you, the one you bear will appreciate your sacrifice for there is something within you that makes him better."

Illisia listened with interest, gray eyes focused on Glyph as he spoke, even as she had resumed her motion and had started to weave her hair back into a much neater braid. She was not quite sure she understood completely, to be honest... But maybe it was one of those things one needed to go through to understand.

"I see..." She said when he had drifted off into silence. "How long does it usually take for..." She wasn't quite sure how to word this. "gems to speak ?"

He shook his head, "I have no idea. I would think it depends on the personality of the god you bear. If they prefer silence, they may not speak much at all." Glyph laughed softly, "I would hope they would at least tell you who they are."

Illisia moved her hands to tie the braid with the leather cord she had discarded on her lap, expression thoughtful. "I don't think he's... awake." That barely seemed to make sense, but it was the impression she got from the other presence within her. Alongside her.

It definitively ranked way up there on the list of the wierdest things she had experienced.

"Oh." Glyph shrugged slightly, "A sleepy dragon then? You can talk to him, you know. I doubt he'll answer if he's slumbering but... it's not a one-way connection." It didn't seem odd to Forest that a gem might sleep, especially if he'd only recently found a host. "You could also probably nudge him too..."

Apparently, Illisia seemed to take that rather literally - one finger rose to poke at the surface of the gem. It was a little odd, she had expected the area to be rather painful, especially with the burrying of the figurine's tail in and out of her skin, but it was not so. There was also no bruising or wound on her skin at all, almost as if the gem had simply already been there. But both the elf and the god in front of her knew better.

"Hn..." Nope, that didn't seem to do it.



She wasn't exactly sure how to do that. This kind of... spirit stuff had always eluded her. She was a druid, not an arcanist !

But she tried, at least.

The other consciousness shifted a bit under her mental prod, almost as if confused itself, before it settled again. There was a strange feeling of stretching, of someone reaching out though the whole of her own body, to see though her eyes and listen through her ears.

Ah... Thank you, my dear.

The look her face was, indeed, priceless and Forest found himself laughing despite himself, "Oh, you figured it out?" There was praise in his voice as he tried not to insult the elf but, really, that was a most entertaining expression.

Until it dawned on him the greeting meant the dragon had woken and it fell, turning into a look of embarrassment, "And woke him up? Apologies." He nodded a little, fluffy ears laid back against his head, "I didn't actually mean to wake him up, m'dear..." Oh well.

Illisia only nodded, that expression of shock not leaving her face.There was a voice in her head !

And what else were you expecting ? The voice - very male indeed, rather rich and deep - sounded much more amused than insulted, and her expression turned into a pout.

"I don't think he's mad." She pointed out.

I have certainly slept for long enough, my dear.

Glyph's amusement returned when she informed him that the king wasn't upset. "You look so surprised..." He pointed out, though he did not say much more then that. They were likely conversing and making introductions of some sort and he didn't want to bother them if he needn't.

So, instead, Forest waited, only offering a simple, "Talk to him?"

"I didn't expect that." But to be honest... she was not quite sure what she had expected to begin with.

Talk to him, hm ? "So you are..."

The dragon, yes. You may call me Xun Jiang, my dear. You are certainly beyond using titles. The voice was still weak, rough around the edges. There is no need to speak out loud to reach me... Ah, I see we have a guest ? Or perhaps... There was a strange impression in her mind again, of brows furrowing, or pages of a book being turned as the dragon sought the knowledge he needed. I see... Can you speak for me, my dear ?

There was a moment of silence before the elven woman spoke once more. "...He says he's sorry. He didn't know I... belonged to another."

Glyph tilted his head at that and simply smiled, "Thank-you. But it is your choice, not mine, Illisia, and you'll find no enemy in me, Dragon King. Greetings from Forest." He seemed comfortable with the situation, he was speaking to two entities now, and not two, even if felt bad for having facilitated waking a sleeping dragon.

Ah... Forest, then... The dragon seemed to ponder this for a moment, going silent once more, but she could still feel him here, awake, looking and listening though her.

"...This is really weird." The woman let out, sighing a little. Well, no where to go but forward from there.

"That's normal. You'll get used to it, I think." He replied, smiling at her as their conversation seemed to peter out into silence. For a moment he considered staying then shook his head and rose, "Perhaps I should take my leave? I've imposed for long enough, I think."

He patted Illisia's shoulder as he moved past her, "If you need anything, remember my door is next to yours."

She didn't especially want him to go, but... perhaps he had other matters to tend to. And truth to be told, she was rather hungry after sleeping for so long. How long exactly ? Xun Jiang wasn't talking. Maybe he did not know either.

"Im not far either, if you need me." She said, her voice soft, almost motherly.

He smiled and nodded, "I won't forget. Take care."

Padding across the room then, he slipped outside and took care in shutting the door so the light in the hallway wouldn't spill into her shadowy bower. Squinting, Glyph yawned as he glanced around for a moment before heading into his own rooms. Illisia's quarters really did inspire a sense of quiet sleepiness and he found himself waving to the Aoidei as he slipped into his own bed and curled up to nap.

Perhaps he'd check on the night elf before he next wandered into the wilds.

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With the revelations of his return, Glyph had taken to wandering the grounds in between his visits to the glassworkers. The work was coming along well and near completion at his last visit but his mood was too somber to properly enjoy the jovial atmosphere of the Baadris pilgrims’ work. His travels had taken him further abroad then normal, drawing towards the edge of the greenness that surrounded the pantheon proper. Here and there, he’d stop to concentrate on the plantlife, testing the bounds of his influence as he encouraged the young shoots to grow and establish themselves.

It was difficult, really, but the unfolding of a leaf here, or the straightening of a shoot there as he continued to settle into his influence was both rewarding and encouraging. The barren patches still present in areas saddened him and he’d linger there, sewing seeds to replenish the land. They were simple things but he rather thought the gesture would be appreciated.

Eventually, the sounds of a festival caught his attention and he’d moved towards it, drawn by the colours and activity. Pausing along the edge of the graves, Forest look on for a moment, watching the proceedings with a certain air of curiosity. Everywhere there were decorations, bright and beautiful, but themed after the dead… and despite the theme, it was difficult to dislike the smell of food and sweets or the lively talk. Even the flickering dead that moved past, their pale forms a shiver of cold against his skin, were not dangerous in nature.

Drawn into the crowd by children’s hands, he followed their laughter to the center of the festival where the stalls offered all manner of sweets and jewelry. Crouching down, he played a game of bones with a few before one offered the god a sweet roll that he quickly accepted with much appreciation. The ebb and flow of children’s attention was a short cycle, however, and the children moved away soon enough, entranced by the passage of a ghostly entertainer who stopped to amaze them with his juggling and smiles.

Rising, Glyph continued on through the crowds – stopping at a particularly colourful stall to enjoy a sugar skull – and out into the graveyard proper. Few of the dead wandered here, away from the life and lights of the festival but Glyph rather found the graves intriguing. Here and there were arrangements of flowers lain at the bases of graves, one even had a potted rose bush set at the head. It was here that he knelt and dug a hole in the ground beside the grave marker, transferring the bush into the ground. His powers were small yet, but the touch of growth he did possess could ensure that the offering continued to bloom year after year, “I hope they do not mind a rose to guard their remains.”

„I cannot imagine they would possibly object,“ a deep, sonorous voice gravely remarked from behind. There was a feel to them as if they had been uttered from deep below, the bowels of the Earth. There had been no sound of steps approaching, or, perhaps Glyph had simply been too focused on the task at hand to notice?

„You may have a chance thought to ask them for yourself,“ Nergal bent forward a little, peering at the withered engravings. „The Tirnays, is it? I believe they are having a bit of a family reunion right now, close to the central square.“ He offered a polite smile, the expression seeming strange and foreign in the sharp angles of his face.

He'd been wanting to escape the bustling activities of the festival for a little while, after his attempt to mingle with the mortals had … failed, spectacularly so. There wasn't much of a chance for 'mingling' if you were way taller than anyone else, and of such imposing stature that everyone instinctively made a wide berth around you.

He remained in a safe, respectful distance to the young deity. This one was one of Gaia's spawn, if not in this life, than certainly he'd been in her last. And as such, he was inclined to remain cautious for the time being, just in case the massive dislike for him she harbored was something that was inherited by the other deities of her line.

That and … he'd noticed by now that the direct effect of his presence was somewhat … devastating upon the local plant life.

Glyph jumped at the sound of Underworld's sudden comment, almost loosing his balance as he turned sharply. The foliage about his head rustled and his eyes were wide, startled and held a hint of the guilt of those caught red-handed, "I... ah..." He coughed and straightened, noting the other's strength of presence and smiled broadly, quickly regaining his composure. Pocketing the sugar skull he'd been snacking on, he nodded to Nergal, "I do not think that is neccessary, actually, as a potted plant shows intent for a longer lasting momento doesn't it? It would be a pleasant surprise for them." Brushing the dirt from his hands he bowed slightly.

"I am the Silvim Illustirre, Glyph. I reign over the forests." He smirked a little, "And I assume from your stature and strength of presence you preside over those gathered here? I have not seen a festival like this before... though I must admit I am not overly fond of death and decay, be it lacquered over with lights and wonderfully tasty sweets. I did not mean to interrupt you." An apology rang clearly in his words, though he remained where he was, "If you do not, though, I would like to wander? ...Why are you staying back? I do not fear you..." Glyph looked perplexed and somewhat worried that another would remain so far from him for no obvious reasons, "... Do I bother you? I will take my leave if that is the case..."

Ducking to the side, he moved as if to give the god his space.

„They may consider it a miracle,“ the chtonic deity said calmly, quirking a brow at the other's startled expression. Had his appearance become so intimidating even for those of his own kind?

„Forest, then.“ Nergal inclined his head politely. So his guess had been right, this was indeed one of Gaia's direct descendants. „I am pleased to make your acquaintance. And you are quite correct in your assumptions – I am Nergal, the Overseer of Souls. Underworld,“ he added as an afterthought, for the sake of clarification, as there were a great many who tended to mistake him for Death. „This festival is indeed under my aegis.“

„However ...“ Underworld's eyes narrowed somewhat. „I think perhaps you may have a bit of a misconception of the festival. By no means death and decay are glossed – or, as you put it, 'laquered' over – here.“ He was lecturing now, he was well aware of it, but that didn't stop him. Forest had meant no offence, he was certain of it, yet the younger one's careless words irked him. „I have to admit, upon the first installment, I felt a little … appalled by how colorful and cheerful it turned out to be. Death is a serious matter, and I felt any celebration of it should be … solemn, dignified. However ...“ He clasped his hands behind his back. „I rather like it the way it is,“ he admitted. „Life and death, they are merely part of the same cycle. Considering your domain you should be well aware of that. These festivities … they are about welcoming back the dead, about death being accepted as a necessary part of life itself, something that is not to be feared. Especially now that it is known that death is not the end.“

„Pardon me,“ he said after a moment of uncomfortable silence, „I had not meant to ramble, or to lecture you. As for the reason to keep my distance – I like my private space, yes, but first and foremost … I would not want to inadvertently undo the results of your hard work.“ He stepped back, enough to reveal that the grass at his feet was wilting. „Life and I … do not get along too well. But, you are not bothering me. I would walk with you, if my presence is not too intimidating.“

"All the better to bring a smile to their faces." He replied, pausing to listen when the other spoke of the matters of the festival and stopped entirely as the god went on. While his words might have been careless to the deity they were indeed not meant to wound - Glyph saw his place as a force of life, a beginning and middle, but not a force of death that would renew the cycle. "Death is a serious matter indeed, Nergal, however I do not think my influence is to cause such ends to the natural cycle. I provide and restore, I do not take away."

He straightened a little when his views of the subject were called into question and he smiled at the taller deity, "We are two sides of the coin, I do not mean to disrespect yours. I am simply more comfortable among the life and bustle of my element then the dead. Everything comes to an end, even the great trees who live for centuries or more, but everything must have a beginning too." He blinked when the Overseer stepped back and glanced down at the wilted plants with a sad look, "You are not rambling nor do I mind the lecture. We each are a step along that cycle - I simply prefer to the keep the company of my own then to trespass where I do not belong. As I said, it was the activity that drew me here. I am only recently returned to myself and just as recently my vision is restored ...That must be difficult." Frowning, Glyph glanced to the newly planted rosebush then again to Nergal, "It wound pain me to leave death in my wake."

Forest chuckled then and smiled quite broadly, "No you are not too intimidating, Nergal. I simply do not wish to impose on a celebration I have no part in. The one I would say goodbye to cannot be recalled from your realm. But will walk with you." His voice quieted then, gaze cast down. He missed the mage and their conversations. "There is so much work to be done... I imagine that with the devastation of Gehenna you are quite preoccupied?" There would be so many dead from that... countless lives lost.

„It is part of what I am,“ he said in regard to the withering grass. „And, as you put it, I am quite preoccupied. I expect I will not be around too often, though it cannot be avoided completely – it is the prayers and worship of the living, that I require, after all ...“ There wasn't even a temple yet. „I will try to keep the damage to a minimum though,“ he promised with a faint smile.

He waited for a moment, leaving it to Glyph to chose their direction. „There are fewer souls to take care of than you would think, though. Those worlds Eaten by the Void, anything that was in the Space between,“ he glanced up at the non-sky, seeming strangely melancholic, „it was Eaten Whole. The souls that were there, are gone. If only I had restored my domain sooner ...“ The death god's voice was bitter. But then he shook his head. There was nothing he could do about it now. „All the more important to deal with those that remain, and – when possible – return them to the cyrcle. You did not think I would keep them all, did you?“ Though, oh, he certainly wanted to.

"Mnn?" He tilted his head as Nergal made his promise and smiled, "I appreciate that. Though if you chose to touch this realm on a widespread scale I would not be able to repair the damage so easily as I am now. That you would take care is greatly appreciated." He lifted a brow in a bemused expression, "I am certain, however, that your touch will give me much cause to test my bounds."

A soft laugh escaped him as he considered Underworld's seeming reluctance to exposure of mortals, "I will gladly entertain those mortals you would rather avoid, Underworld. I have no qualms with the company of others... indeed, I rather enjoy it. After all, who's heard of a forest with only one tree?" He quipped in light humour as they turned down another row of graves, his gaze flicking over the offerings in case he saw another potted plant.

Glyph shivered at the mention of the Void and the undoing of Universe. He nodded somberly, gaze cast down in quiet respect for the lost god, "I... had hoped to feel the sun upon my face when I took form once more. When I was greeted by the very same thing I saw before - an unsky - I was struck by grief. I did not know until that moment we had lost the Sky. You are right, though, that we must care for those that remain. I-- Why would you want to keep them?"

He blinked, the question a sudden change in tone as he glanced to Nergal once more, his lips pursed, "It's rather important souls cycle through.... I have no idea what would happen if they didn't..." He trailed off, obviously disliking the situations he was imagining, "I think, perhaps, I will keep to what is familiar to me, however."

Something nagged at his attention, however, and his gaze kept trailing over to a copse of trees lined up along one side of the graveyard. "What's over there...?" Curiosity had caught him again, and the barefoot god shifted the direction of their walk slightly. Pausing as they passed another live offering - this one of marigolds. Dropping into a crouch, it almost seemed by instinct that he touched the few flowers, encouraged the few other buds to open up into full blooms - managing seven in total so the plant was a burst of golden colour against the grey and black of the stones. "There should be more offerings like this..." murmuring to himself as he set about digging the hole at the top of the grave in which he would insert the marigolds.

"Are there any plants you prefer, Nergal? I can only think of one thing that might resist your..." He trailed off, trying to think of a phrase other then 'death-touch', "well, it probably won't die when you touch it."

„I do not think it is even possible for me to extend my influence this far,“ Nergal admitted. „My powers are very limited in the realms of the living. The day of the dead is somewhat of an exception, and it is very draining and tiring.“

„The sun … I rather miss the starry sky of the night, its brilliance and vastness.“ For a moment the sad tone seemed to creep back into his voice. „There is no sky in my realm. But for the living … it should not be thus.“

Glyph's question startled him, and he blinked, a little surprised. „Well,“ he mused, „I figure you would have to question the mortals about this. I do not know wherefrom they may have gotten that idea, or any of their other misconceptions,“ he said dryly. It was only half the truth, though. There was that age-old, primal desire within, for the shades of the dead to be his, always. Always. It was, perhaps, the original reason for ritual and protocol to become so prominent in his manners and dealings. The abyss came to mind, for some reason, which he and Echo had crossed at the borders of his domain.

He discarded these unsettling ideas for now, instead watching with quiet wonder as Glyph nudged the marigolds into full bloom with his powers. „None that I can think of,“ he replied to Forest's most recent query. „Though … a certain liking of the pomegranate seems to have carried over from ages past, and ...“ His smiled openly now, a rare occurrence. „If you were to come across any coffee plants, I would be most appreciative if you were to encourage their growth.“

„Something which might withstand even the touch of Death?“ He blinked. That was unheard of, but then again, plant-life certainly wasn't his forte.

"I don't know much yet, either I'm afraid," he frowned slightly, concentrating on the marigolds before him, "There is much I need to recover... the journey has only just begun." Hearing the smile in the Overseer's voice, he glanced up and returned the smile. As imposing as Nergal was, Glyph rather appreciated the effect of a smile upon the other's face - he was not so distant and aloof as his mannerisms suggested then. Nodding slightly to himself, Forest returned to his work, "You should smile more often - it suits you. Pomegranites and Coffee plants? I will remember that. If you had a garden, I would offer my assistance in establishing such things. My own is filled with fragrant herbs and low-growing flowers - really quite relaxing to lounge among the cushions and look out over the Pantheon's grounds."

When he was finished, he turned the pot the marigolds had been in upside down so it would not fill with debris and stood, "Well... not exactly. It still dies... but it doesn't rot nearly so fast as everything else. Wood is good for that." He smiled, a sparkle of mischief in his eyes, "It's called Everwood - it still blooms even after it is cut and formed. It doesn't grow or produce more fruit or flowers but it takes a very long time to rot or decay. It adds greenery where else such things would be difficult." The warmth with which he spoke of the tree made it plain he treasured it, even if he could not recall where such a rarity grew.

If anything, Forest's encouraging words seemed to have caused the reverse of the desired effect – Nergal's smile vanished almost instantly. „I do have a garden, in fact,“ he remarked, however, „in the peristyle of the quarters the Lady Music and I share within the Pantheion. It used to be barren, a rock garden fit for quiet contemplation and meditation. But, as I have gathered from the Lady Music's tales, it seems to have changed quite a bit in my absence – I have not been there yet to see it for myself.“

„Everwood ...“ He stood quiet for a moment, gray eyes growing dim and unfocused as he queried his recollections of what tales he'd been told by the dead. „No, I have not heard of it … yet. I am intrigued, though, so if I do happen to come across it, I will make sure to let you know.“

Forest noted that and frowned slightly, wondering why his comment had sobered the god. With a sigh, he nodded as he listened, "I see. Hopefully Lady Music will be able to maintain its vitality so that you might enjoy it as well. And that would be much appreciated, if you find out. I have a feeling it's rather rare, however, so it may be some time before I learn of its location."

He paused, cutting off the question that had been stirring as Nergal's gaze grew unfocused. It would be silly to ask if he traveled, after all, he was reborn completely - unbound by physical constraints once again, and likely knew through his essence. Something turned in Glyph then, and he pursed his lips at the twist of jealousy, unbidden as it was. Seeing Nergal in his prime once more made Glyph all the more grateful for his host's sacrifice and yet he yearned to settle properly into himself once more. Time would bring that back, however, and he had naught but to wait and grow as his brethren were doing.

He hadn't even noticed the awkward silence that had settled between the two gods as he'd retreated into his own thoughts, the gentle music of the fair and the more natural whispers of wind through grass and tree filling the air with enough sound that he had noticed. Stretching, his joints popping at the motion, he glanced to Underworld, "Are there any others who have found their glory once more?" He asked, curious, "I have really only seen those who are still in the process of reclaiming their prestige, like myself. You are the first I've come across to be restored - I must admit I am inspired and made impatient."

Glyph laughed softly as he made the admission, puffing out his cheeks as he tucked some of his unruly bangs back. They always seemed to be falling into his eyes and it was rather bothersome. "I will find mine again, I am sure," there was an undercurrent of determination in those words, beyond the simple comment that hinted at his determination not to Fade again.

„It may be sooner than you think possible,“ he pointed out pragmatically. „While things may be on the mend throughout the worlds, they are yet far from full recovery. From what you told of its properties, I daresay, this Everwood would currently stick out like a sore thumb where it exists.“

„That, and … materials like that are often favored for burial sites, evergreen vegetation and the like, to symbolize eternal life, the continuation of the soul even after death.“ He clasped his hands behind his back, looking akin to a scholar lecturing a student for the time being. „There are also those who would bury their dead at the roots of the great trees, for much the same purpose.“

He fell silent for a while, but he cherished the quiet and did not think of it as uncomfortable. He only stirred when Glyph asked his next question, his hands unclasping. „Eamnon, the Hunt,“ he answered almost immediately. „He has a host of followers, and had his first temple built even before his full ascension, something which I still lack.“ Hell, he was glad he got offerings now, he hadn't really started considering a temple yet, until he mentioned it just now. „Tian Yue, the Worldshield. And … Well, Universe was fully ascended as well. Yet he was snuffed out like a candle flame.“

„It was a rough road for me,“ the Underworld deity admitted. „I was impatient too. When I was first reborn, I expected to be able to restore things to what they had once been in no time whatsoever, if only would be able to take over the body of that dreaded host of mine. Little did I know. Four years, Lord Glyph. A span so short, the blink of an eye, yet it stretched like eternity.“ Had he still been the same person as immediately after his rebirth, his voice would have been filled with disdain. As it was, though …

„In those four years I have managed to alienate the Mother beyond reconciliation, was betrayed and captured, fought in a war, learned of grief and suffering, and that the Queen who was once at my side is dead and gone. Yet I also found new love, fathered children, traveled, learned to place my trust into mortals, and came to know a brother whom I did not even remember about.“ For the span of four years the flame of his life had burned bright and red-hot like a mortal's. „It … was a valuable lesson.“ Especially for one as slow to learn and change – if at all – as him; but he wasn't ready to admit that openly.

Burial sites? Beneath his trees? He would remember that, then, and hope that Nergal would not kill the trees should he visit such graves. It would be disheartening should the god kill tracts of forest... even though it would serve as a base from which new life could grow.

"Hunt, Worldshield, Underworld, and Universe..." Glyph echoed curiously, "So few of us and one lost already." He pursed his lips, about to say something when Nergal continued and he cut himself off, more interested in listening then in speaking at the moment.

Forest nodded, understanding easily the short span of time feeling like ages, though he blinked at the summary of the god's life during that time. He had not expected it and smiled softly, "I would imagine. You've enjoyed much experience in the time since your rebirth then, Nergal. I think it will be similar for all of us once we find ourselves once more." He was curious about the fallout with Gaia but did not ask, thought it best not to poke at such things.

"You have a brother?" He asked, curious. Another one such as Nergal? That was, well, daunting. Underworld was imposing enough... to be greeted at death by two such deities? He felt rather bad for the poor souls. "And children? I adore children and there are so few among the mortals... easy prey for demons and destruction alike." He sighed.

„Enjoyed?“ Nergal's expression turned rather sour. „I am not sure that would be the right term to use.“ There was a hint of a smile though, as he thought of his beloved wife-to-be, and their children. „What I meant to say, was, it will not be easy to re-ascent, but in the end, it will be worth it. Perhaps it was the lesson all of us needed, to view the world through the eyes of a mortal for some time. Though I do not think all of us would learn from it.“ Like Avarita.

„I do have a brother, yes. Ankou, the Spirit Guide. You do not need to look so daunted, he certainly is much gentler in presence than I am, or else, I figure, it would be hard for him to make the souls of the dead follow him. And my children – I have three.“
His pride was obvious, and he made no attempt to hide it. „Two sons and a daughter. Lament and Guardian, the sons, and the daugher is Grief. They … should be around here, somewhere.“ He'd caught glimpse of Kios' lavender hair, at the very least, but that had been just before a host of mortal worshipers had demanded his attention. And now that he'd managed to flee, the child was nowhere to be seen.

he admitted, „do hold a special place within my heart as well, even if most claim I do not possess one. Among the dead, they are the ones truly innocent who need not to be judged.“

Glyph frowned then, "I meant no offense, Nergal. I meant only that you've had the opportunity to experience such things, regardless of their good or bad connotations and from that are able to derive greater wisdom." He pursed his lips, trying and failing to see how that might have bothered Underworld. Hm. "You may be right, however. There is much I've learn in the short time I have returned... much to think about and learn from."

He'd been about to speak more when Nergal announced his relation to Ankou and Glyph's jaw dropped open. "Ankou?" Surprise was evident upon his face and he struggled to hastily recompose himself lest he further offend Underworld. Shaking his head, he could not help the bemused chuckle that escaped, "You and Ankou...? So he is a death god then. I... I am sorry but you are very different indeed. I have met the Spirit Guide several times prior to this and I must say he had been a friend to me. I very much appreciate the company I've kept with him." It made him sad, however, to think Ankou might grow to have the same sort of effect on his plants... that would be depressing. To make friends of death gods only to worry about the after effects of their visits.

He sighed quietly.

"Three children? A proud father you must be." Glyph replied, distracted once more by the mention of children, "And worthy influences as well, powerful things in this time. Might I see them at some point...?" He looked hopeful as he nodded his agreement, "I cannot say my opinion of their existence after death but... alive I do love their innocent exuberance. Willing to learn, enthusiastic, and gentle for the most part. They are very much a welcome presence."

„No offense was taken,“ Nergal tried to reassure the anxious forest deity. „It is just … that a great deal of the experiences I have made on this plane, while bound to a very vulnerable, still half-mortal body, were less than pleasant. And it is nothing I wish to discuss either,“ he clarified quickly, before Glyph could even think to ask what exactly had happened to him.

„Hrm-hm, Ankou.“ Why did everyone seem so surprised, once that relation was divulged? „He guides the spirits of the dead. There are a great many which find the way on their own, but by far not all of them. Especially not now, after I was gone for Ages, literally. I … am grateful he seems to have found a friend in you.“ He picked up upon the lines of concern forming upon Glyph's features, but not the reason for it. To him, it seemed only natural that plants would wither under his touch – though he presumed the devastating effect would lessen once he no longer extended his powers like now, to make possible the Day of the Dead – for he couldn't think of any other deity that would be closer to the domain of Death than him.

„Of course you may meet my children.“ Why did people … deities … seem to think they needed his permission first? Even Harmodius had seemed hesitant to interact with them without his prior consent. Though, when he thought about the possibility about someone like Avarita approaching his offspring, the ideas they could give them … His lips pressed into a thin, dark line almost immediately. Okay then, so he did prefer to be asked for permission first.

"I did not think you would..." He murmured, "I do not pry where it is not wanted. I will, however, listen if any should wish to speak." Glyph smiled, the offer broad enough to deflect any pressure it might have put on the god.

He did, however, blink when the other thanked him for his friendship and tilted his head, "I find Ankou to be good company... why would I not consider him friend? As I consider you a friend now... I am not so difficult to impress, just do not cross me or mine - something I think we can both agree upon. I just... hope he doesn't take entirely after you or I shall have to move my garden to pots and hide them away when you both visit." Forest pursed his lips in a thoughtful expression, honestly trying to figure out the logistics of death-proofing his rooms for visits from Nergal and potentially Ankou. "You're welcome to visit me.. but, ah... give notice first?" He asked, trying to be delicate about the matter. He did not fear or loathe death but at the same time... it would be most tiring regrowing his garden.

Glyph lit up at the other's permission and flashed a brilliant smile, "Thank-you. Perhaps you might bring them when next we meet, then? Ankou asked me to encourage the breeding of his crows and they have built nests in my room... it promises much. Do you think your children might enjoy that?" Provided of course, they did not prefer other sorts of entertainment.

„Us chtonic deities … I, at least, am used to the fact that we are feared more than anything else. Our presence seems to be intimidating to most. I myself am fine with it,“ or so he liked to pretend at least, „but I would not wish for any of my relatives to feel rejected, or lonely, for what they are.“

„Honestly, I think the effect I have upon alive plants would be less devastating were it not for the Day of the Dead. Currently I am extending a great deal of my power to make it possible, and realms of Gaia and I are … overlapping, would be the best term to use, I think. Once the dead have been returned to their rightful place …“ He shrugged. „I will have to wait and see for the effects of it.“

„I would be pleased to bring my children … And my wife-to-be too, perhaps? They all would enjoy your company, and what you have to offer, muchly, I do think.“

Glyph waved a hand, "I am no mortal, Nergal. We are comrades, I have no reason to fear you. Or Ankou. It would be difficult otherwise, I think." Gentle chiding, perhaps, but he could understand. He would no sooner want to be feared for what he was... though the likelihood of that was slim, given his nature.

"Either way," he shrugged as well, "Do not let it keep you from visiting me. We cannot help what we are."

Glyph blinked at that and smiled, nodding, "Of course. I would enjoy meeting Lady Music as well. It is a plan then, Nergal. I shall meet your family at some point in the future. When you decide upon a time, send a messenger." He'd straightened up and had a sense of happiness about him as he walked with the god, pleased that Underworld would want to introduce his family.

„I honestly do wish Gaia had your kind of insight,“ Nergal said with a sigh. Though she wasn't exactly afraid of him, but rather loathed him with a passion that was frightening to him.

Though, did she still, really?

He hadn't met her for so long, perhaps he really ought to try …

One of them would have to make the first step, after all.

„However, speaking of my brother ...“ He peered into the distance over the smaller god's shoulder, at two figures in the distance, both of them familiar. He and Glyph were not the only ones to have sought escape from the buzzing activity of the festivities, it seemed.

„Your company has been most pleasant, and I certainly do look forward to be visiting you in the future with my family. I will send a messenger beforehand, just as you have suggested to do. But now, if you would excuse me …“

"You do me an honour to say that," he replied with a bow. He really did need to go find Gaia... there was much to speak of.

Turning as the other looked over top of him - not uncommon as he was still relatively short in comparison to most other people here - he thought he saw the figures that had caught Nergal's attentions and nodded, stepping out the way. "I did not mean to keep you, Underworld. Your company would be most welcome. Take care."

Offering a wave of his hand in parting gesture, he slipped back into the crowds to go enjoy the festivities for a few moments more and give Nergal some space.

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RP with Harmodius - delivering glass

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.:: ||{...The Reflecting Tree...}|| ::.

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With the inheritance of his body, Glyph was determined to reestablish his connections to the world around him… it was there, so close, and yet his powers were still so limited that the degree of success was minimal. It frustrated him, sometimes, to sit and concentrate and find he was really only to achieve what an apprentice druid might. He was a God! Forest incarnate!

It was during one such bout of self depreciation where he was failing to heal a barely-alive tree fast enough for his satisfaction, that he fell back into the soft, spongy undergrowth and stared up at the canopy. He knew he had to come to terms with his circumstance, to act within the confines of his mortality but knowledge and wisdom were different things entirely… especially to the mind of a newly reborn god who yearned to achieve his full and proper glory.

The desire for power wasn’t even entirely selfish. Restored to ‘normal’, he was certain he could be of great help to the mortals and immortals alike… the forest was a haven for all – food, shelter, company… it could all be found among the branches and boles of these trees.

The trees and brush that was still alive, anyway.

Creation’s touch was effective and the influence of life was bolstering plant communities but Glyph still felt driven to do his part. Whether driven by obligation, instinct, or need, Forest was not sure – he only knew that this was what he was meant to do, his very existence relied on the continued heartbeat of the vast forests that spanned worlds and realms.

It was an odd sensation to have a foot in both worlds… to know he was the Forest and Forest him and yet be inclined to think of such a thing as a separate being, a separate concept. Perhaps that was Malh’reth’s influence? A mortal point of view that stuck with him and reminded him that for all the spans of centuries that he would come to consider as brief moments, trees, flowers, birds, and people would have been born, grown, and died.

To be aloof would be to lose connection.

Was that his failing in the before? Was that what he was learning from this?

“Is that your gift, Malh’reth?” He mused aloud, smiling as he flexed his toes against the soft, moist blanket of moss that covered the base of the tree he was currently laying beneath, “To remember the individuals? Remain in touch with the physical world… did I lose myself within myself before? Did I assume too much?”

The mage did not answer, but the whisper of wind through the trees and the shrill, plaintive cry of a nearby bird broke into his reverie. Tilting his head back, he regarded the surrounding trees, “Did I forget patience or have too much? I can feel you, my friends, but I cannot hear you… not yet. The future…” He drifted off into silence again, biting his lower lip as he pulled the marble that had been Malh’reth’s out and regarded it, holding it above his head so the light that streamed through the branches would be caught and refracted, making the bauble glow. “The future. Is that it? I do not know why I faded, Malh’reth, but I failed somewhere… we all did. You lived in the present, shielded your past from me and yourself and chose not to speculate too far into the future. Did your fate frighten you so terribly? I don’t think it did… not after you came to terms with it. You knew your end would come some day and so you chose to live in the moment.”

His voice was soft, just another murmur in the woods as he speculated and spoke to the marble, “Maybe living in the moment would reduce my impatience, hrm? Appreciate the current circumstance and let the rest come as I grow. Or, at least, work towards that growth. I can’t very well sit here like a lump and expect to achieve anything of import can I?” Glyph laughed at himself, the philosophical frame of mind sliding away as he sat up and leaned forward, fingers sliding into the detritus of the forest floor. “Ground myself first, then reach for the sky, right? Little steps, so nothing is forgotten…. Bit by bit.”

He nodded then, returning his treasure to its pocket, and shifted so he knelt before the tree, pressing the palms of his hands against the silver and black bark, “And I’ll start with you. Bit by bit, you’ll feel better – I won’t give up, don’t worry.”

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.:: ||{...A Nursery, A Bower...}|| ::.

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With the renewal of flora, fauna was beginning to return in truth. The game trails, choked with growth and smooth from lack of treading feet, were slowly becoming visible again, the soil turned up from the picking of hooves. They wound great tracks around this forest, a sort of green highway for the creatures that dwelled there.

However, great and small, the forest denizens were fleet of foot… quick to hide at the passage of another. It had been difficult, at first, to find the deer and the badgers and lynx. They had learned to recognize that the presence of something supernatural was a herald of a predator – the demons had since moved on but the lesson had been a hard one and predators and prey alike were loathe to tread so easily so quickly. Eventually, however, they had come to recognize his gentle presence and would not flee, some even trusting their newly born young to play with the laughing Forest.

His tree… his Reflecting Tree was doing better now, though it was still weak. The growth of a fortnight had been coaxed from it, the tilt corrected and a break in the canopy fashioned to allow light in. It had responded well to his determined ministrations and no longer seemed on the edge of death – even sported many new leaf buds in what Glyph considered a visible sign of the tree’s effort to survive.

Stubborn things, trees. Slow to grow, slow to die, long to live… They made Forest smile whenever he considered them – both saplings and sentinels alike. The pressing of his hand to their bark would afford him a sense of their ‘heartbeat’, the rush of sap and water along the length, the buzz of energy as it turned light into food… subtle sensations all, they spoke of life and renewal and gave Glyph yet another reason to concentrate his efforts. This life should be spread throughout the realm, not restricted to small, resourceful pockets.

This would be his Nursery. The small woodland, a maze of trees and brush, would be the home in which he matured. Its restoration would mark his growth and serve as a reminder of where he had come from. It would be a refuge for any at the Pantheon, a welcome retreat for the Edelsteine perhaps.

A Nursery, however, required a Bower.

And a proper Bower would not be a simple clearing set willy-nilly somewhere in the forest. It had to be in the right spot, a small enchanted grove a mortal might stumble upon and wonder at. The ground would be covered in moss, a comfortable bed for anyone to rest on… there would be food nearby, the kind did not matter – only that there would be something to nibble. A log, perhaps, if he was lucky, would serve as chair and table… It would be a private hideaway.

That then, would be his next project.

With a flourishing base camp, he could work from the inside out and sew the seeds of a new generation of forest, lush and vibrant.

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.:: ||{...The Wanderer...}|| ::.

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She was getting closer now.

Closer to what... This was what the elven woman was not so sure of. She had been following the line of renewal, so to speak, seeking it's source, with the indistinct feeling that there was something there awating her.

Answers, perhaps.

She would rather like to have those, after so long.

The forest was lush and alive, though still showed signs of the previous struggle there and there. On that day, that day she remembered so much, so vividly, everything had changed, almost as if the air itself had been cleaned from it's taint and the vegetation had started to thrive again.

Almost too quickly for it to be natural. It puzzled her, and she wanted to know. She wanted to know why the sky was gone, and she wanted to find her son. With some luck, Elik would have the same idea than she had.

The night elf had stopped, sitting upon a rock to take a sip out of her water jug.

It had been several days since Forest had returned to the Pantheon, having left his Aoidei behind to tend to matters in his stead there while he immersed himself in the growing wilderness that was stretching further and further around the Pantheon.

In particular, a restored forest had drawn his attention and while the old trees were beginning to rouse themselves from fitful hibernation forced on them during the events of Gehenna, there were many saplings in the spaces that had opened up between the ancient sentinels. The underbrush had grown in thickly as well, obscuring the pathways now mostly abandoned by the animals. And it was here, among the resurgence of life that Glyph had taken up residence in for the past few days. Fallen logs everywhere were now nursery trees, the seeds having been encouraged and cared for so that they were now well established. Forest's touch a gentle and sheltering one as he sped them along, halving the time it took for the fragile new growth to get a foot hold in the world. Canvasing the forest, the renewal seemed to become more prevalent the deeper into the wood one went.

He hadn't even realized he'd migrated towards the center, setting up a sort of camp in the heart of forest that more closely resembled the bower of Shakespearean fairies then a metropolitan vacation. Moss covered nearly every available surface, and vines sprawled across one side of the small clearing he'd taken as his own, their leaves mottled and broad, a berry bush had taken up residence on the other side, it's thorns warding off unwelcome visitors even as it tempted with ripening berries. He was particularly proud of that - having nursed the bush back to health and even incited it to begin to produce berries.

Glyph himself, however, was currently passed out in his 'bed', curled against a fallen log he used as a wall. The time he'd spent in the forest was draining and he slept for many hours when he finally drew away from his experimentation and, as he saw it, duties. Whuffling as he snored softly, the god was quite oblivious to the world around him.

It was the soft sound of snoring that caught Illisia's attention, one long ear perking slightly in the direction of the sound. She was not alone here... ? Someone needing aid, perhaps ?

She was up on her bare feet again, following the direction and sidestepping every sapling and the torny bush with obvious care - these tiny lives were fragile, a fact that she knew all too well.

But she was not quite expecting what she saw once she had made her way to the small glade proper. A lone man there... Most of all the people of this world she had met had clung to the ruins of those stone, brick and concrete-made cities which tended to make her uncomfortable, and also clung in numbers.

"Ah..." She whispered, pale silver eyes looking over Glyph. Where these... branches in his head ? They looked much too solid and alive to be twigs that had gotten stuck there.

"Ah...?" The word echoed, sounding slightly confused as the god shifted and flopped over onto his back, blinking bleary eyes as he roused himself from sleep. Ah..? That wasn't a normal sound, and it wasn't something he'd said... Yawning hugely, he sat up and leaned against the tree as he ran a hand through his hair. Ears flicked and the leaves rustled in the light breeze, his gaze unfocused for a moment as he yawned once more.

When he saw Illisia, he blinked and made an 'oh' sound. "I... wasn't expecting anyone here... Are you lost?" He asked, tilting head to the side, noting her slightly puzzled expression and the bare feet. "Be careful, there's still a lot of sharp, dead debris littering the ground - I don't know much of the healing arts if you hurt yourself." Rising then, he stretched arms up high and rolled his shoulders as he flexed his toes, enjoying the feel of moss between them.

Well, there she had to go and awaken him. There... was something about this man, though, something she could not quite understand or explain to herself. A sense of... power, perhaps. Whatever it was, Glyph had her complete attention.

"I- I did not mean to awaken you..." She apologized, before a slightly akward smile settled on her face, silver eyes surveying the area. "You could say I am lost, but... I am not sure what I am looking for, to be honest. You need not to worry for me, though."

"It's alright." He smiled kindly, "I simply have not heard another's voice for a few days. I thought perhaps one of my retainers had need of me - I'm quite surprised they haven't come looking for me yet to be honest." Striding towards her, his brows arched in a look of 'really now?'

"If you are lost and on a search I will guide you out if you like. Your well being is hardly not of my concern, elf. You are in my domain and I will aid as I can." Glyph chuckled softly, "Are you searching for the other pilgrims? The Pantheon itself?" When he drew nearer her, he found himself looking up rather far and blinked, bemused. She was awfully tall... but she did not possess the same kind of feeling a host had, she was not among the Edelsteine. "What is your name? I am Glyph, Silvim Illustirre, God of Forests. It's a pleasure to meet you."

Pantheon ? His domain... gods ? Illisia was silent at first. In her long life, she had met many who had pretended to be gods. But this... this Glyph... he certainly felt different than any of them. So she was, at the very least, inclined to believe him. Long, feather-like eyebrows fluttered lightly with her surprise. God or not, this man... seemed kind.

"I am Illisia. Illisia Shadowmoon. I seek not a place or people, maybe, but... answers. I have come from a far-away world to find them for my people, as the world seemed to spiral into it's end... I do not plan to return without them." Or without her son, but... she had no idea where he was, her Elik. But he was a strong man, not a little boy - she held the belief that wherever he was, he was alive. He had to be. She had lost everything else... she could not lose her son. "And I want to... help, wherever I can. I am skilled in the healing arts, and have been taking care of those I can find on my way here... But I feel a longing to go in this direction. Like if I am... needed, there." Sure enough, the direction she pointed toward was where the Pantheon was.

Even if she could not go home, she had to find a way to be useful.

"Well met then, Illisia Shadowmoon." He nodded, "You've come far then, and answers are something I understand the need for. My source is rooted in a likewise quest. I do not know the whole story but I know enough to perhaps soothe your mind." Turning away, he went and checked on the berry bush, caressing it lovingly as he inspected the berries. It would not be long now before they ripened on their own and they would be sweeter for that, unhurried by his hand. "Come sit with me and ask your questions, the trip to the Pantheon will be only a few days from here if I guide you so take some rest. Are you hungry? I can find some food if you like? Mostly berries and nuts for now... there are few fruit trees in this forest and those that are, are still to young to bloom."

He glanced up when she pointed in the direction of the Pantheon and blinked, "That... is indeed the direction of the Pantheon. Your skills will be most useful then, if you are a healer. We are recovering now that Creation is returned but there are many who are still feeling the shock of Gehenna - the end you said you felt. You will find much work there, and you will be safe as well, though I would steer clear of Greed."

Creation ? Gehenna ? Had she not already been confused, that would have done it quite nicely. Still, she moved, with the innate grace elves as a whole tended to possess, to sit beside him, gathering the cloth of her skirt in her lap so that it would not take too much space. "I would not be adverse to something to eat... I-if you do not mind, of course." She had been feeding from the fruits of the forests in her travels, and it had never dawned on her that they might belong to someone. Though the idea of a god of Forests was not an odd one - her people had worshipped such a figure, once. Come to think of it, had she not dreamed, one time as she had slept... about gods ?

"...Are we safe, now ? Or..." It was the first thing that came to her mind. She certainly felt much safer than she used to be. "The priestesses... They said that the world was ending... So I was sent here, with my son. I... do not know where he is. We were separated, a few days before the sky..." She did not complete her sentence. Could not.

"I do not mind." He chuckled softly, "You are welcome to take from me as you need. We are safe here, yes. But I am young yet and my powers are hardly offensive as they stand now." The god shrugged slightly, "There is nothing here that will harm you, but there are those who wish to strike at the gods and you are safest among my brethren. Safety in numbers, after all."

He paused as she spoke of the sky and her son and sighed, glancing up at the darkness that hung over head. "I am sorry for your son, if I find him, I will direct him to the Pantheon." He pursed his lips, sadness creeping into his posture, "I mourn as you do, Illisia. Universe was undone, lost to the End that we narrowly avoided. I miss the sun and moon, and stars. I have been told, however, that there are those endeavoring to restore the sky. I do not know details, but I have faith they will succeed."

Glyph moved a little away, tending a seedling that had drooped for some reason and coaxed it back into standing firm. "I will be right back then, there are acorns and blackberries not too far from here." With that the forest seemed to shift, almost like an illusion, as he stepped into it proper.

He was gone upwards of ten minutes before he returned, impromptu baskets made of leaves and thin twigs cradled in his arms, and a jug he'd brought along was filled with spring water. One was filled with acorns, and the other with large, ripe blackberries. "Here we are. Eat. Drink." Sinking down to sit beside the night elf, he reclined comfortably against the fallen tree.

This was alot of information to take in at once, and she did so silently and gratefully. No one had been able to answer her questions before, and for that she was grateful. She nodded once when he left, and held her questions until he returned, helping herself to some of the berries.

"Universe... undone ?" That she could readily believe. The darkness over her head seemed... absolute, more so than the night time she called home. That was worrying in itself. That gods could... come undone.

A terrifying propect.

"...And the other deities of the skies ? The moon... ?" That was another worrying thought in itself. The more Glyph spoke, the more inclined she was to believe him. She liked to think herself good at reading others, at figuring out if others were lying, and Forest seemed completely honest to her.

"Hmn... well, Tian Yue, the World Shield is alive and well.... I'm not sure about the other sky deities. Universe is gone, but I have not met a Lunar god yet. There is Light, however, but no Sun gods that I know of." He pursed his lips, thinking, "Hrm... the ones that I know of are these: Wind and Fire have both returned, as has Hunt. Light, as I mentioned, and Shadow too. Some of the Dragon Kings, Judgement, Underworld, and he peer the Spirit Guide. Music, Laughter, and Mystery as well, and Numbers. And Gaia though I have not met the Empress as of yet." He smiled as he took an acorn or two and nibbled on them, "There is a good chance I have not met the others, or that the gods you are concerned about have found their chance to be reborn." He ticked the domains off on his long fingers as he repeated them to himself, making sure he did not forget anyone. He saw no reason to lie, saw no shame in their return to life. The mortals had a right to exist, did the gods not as well?

"You could ask Harmodius, if you like. He is the Twin Crown and knows far more then I. Perhaps he knows if your Moon is returned, and by what name he or she goes by now." He tilted his head, "Are you a worshiper of the lunar gods then? A holy person as well as a healer?"

...That was a rather long list of... no, not names, but things, domains perhaps, or spheres of influences ? She doubted she could remember them all, but she tried to remember what she could, bringing the water jug to her lips. She had her own water, but... it seemed rude to deny what he had taken the time to gather.

"In a sense, yes. My people worship the moon goddess, Elune. We are known as night elves, but I do not think there are any in this... this place, this world. I come from far away, as I said." But in a sense, it would make her son easy to find - it made it easier to keep hope. "I am not a priestess, no - but I am a druid."

Forest idly toyed with the little plants that were growing on the fallen tree, using it as an arm rest as he listened to her. However, when she admitted to being a druid, that arm fell and he leaned forward slightly, surprise and admiration plain in his eyes, "A druid? I did not think I... well no, that can't be right. You defer to the lunar deities. Do you..." He frowned, suddenly rather unsure of how to ask such a thing. It wasn't like he was trying collect the mortal after all, "Er, well, that is to say, do you hold the Forest sacred as well?"

It was an unexpected find for Glyph, really, to come across someone who worshiped him even after had faded and gave him hope for the future. That was if she held the Forest as sacred as well, that is. She would not strengthen him if she did not pray to him after all.

It had not occurred to Illisia that Glyph did not remember, and so she interpreted his statement in a completely different way than he had likely intended. "Druids are traditionally male, yes... But much has changed for us, in the recent years. I was one of the first."

She smiled then, shaking her head to toss her braid back. "The forests are our homes, our lives and our soul... Beloved as well, of course." But ah, did he not already know that ?

"You spoke of... rebirth." She asked now, one long eyebrow rising with interest. "Would this be why you do not seem to remember such... ?"

"Oh... your society divided the genders into specific roles?" He replied, tilting his head to the side, "I do not differentiate between male and female worshipers... that would be rather unwise, all things considered. Belief in the gods should not be bound to a mortal's form, only their beliefs." Glyph smiled then, approving of her decision, "That you went against the norm, then, to seek your own path is admirable, Illisia. And much appreciated."

He coloured when she spoke his lack of knowledge and glanced away as he nodded slowly, "Aye. Awakening, rebirth... we Faded long ago and only recently have the gods begun to return. I am not fully restored quite yet, but it is faith like yours that enables my re-ascension. It has been countless years since I was last awake... and I do not remember as much as I perhaps should." He sighed and glanced out across the clearing, "I can do so little as of yet... please forgive the neglect. But take heart in that Creation seeks to restore what was broken."

And that seemed to prove it for her. Even very skilled liars would have likely stumbled over such a direct questions, but Glyph had spoke of it as he had done everything else. It was easy to believe him, even as he spoke of things that seemed impossible. But the events of the last few years... the slow decent into decay, followed by what seemed to have been the end of everything, and then the sudden revitalization of the nature around her...

She had longed to find a more logical reason, but the more she learned and the more she thought of it, the more it seemed that divine intervention was the answer. These gods, them, only recently awakened... The mention of that fading make her frown in a mix of thought and worry.

"It takes a long time for open wounds to close again." It was all that she said about Forest's last statement. He was... interesting, she had to admit. Not at all like how she would have expected a creature of divine power to be. This was not a bad thing, just... unexpected.

"It used to be so." She finally remembered his first question. "But much has changed in the past few years... as I have said. Nature had always seemed to call for her, and once she, at last, had the opportunity... she could not ignore it's call any longer.

He smiled at that, bemused that she should strike so close to the truth unwittingly. "They will close... though I am not certain of the time frame. I trust in Harmodius, however, and can only hope to do my small part in aiding Creation's efforts." Shifting, he leaned back against the tree once more with a soft, tired yawn, "There are others with more knowledge than I at the Pantheon, and more experience with recent events. I would speak to Ankou, who has proven to be quite helpful in keeping me informed, and with Tian Yue as well. He is the Worldshield, a Dragon King. He should have more answers for you and if not, one of his brothers might."

Curling toes in the moss of his bed, Glyph smiled once more, a soft expression and curious, "Much might have changed but I know nothing of your race. Are all as beautiful and graceful as you? My host knew only..." He pursed his lips, trying to remember the designation, "lesser elves... mostly mingled with human races, and my own travels have encountered only human mortals thus far. What is your world like?" There was a slight plea in his voice, as if asking something he might be afraid of the answer for... she had come seeking answers, but... had her world weathered impending annihilation well? It bothered him whenever he thought of those worlds, so far from the Edelsteines' touch - even Ankou and Tian Yue had only mapped a few realms along the limbs of the World Tree.

Illisia was silent for a moment, slowly taking in the information once more as she did her best to remember everything that she could. Her race would need to know of this world, of these gods. They would need to know in order to rebuild their civilization.

"I come from a world called Azeroth." She started, eyes slowly drifting closed in introspection. "We lived much of our time hidden in the forests, withdrawn from the humans and other race of that world, minding our own business... But all that changed radically so many years ago. I am not too sure what is going on right now - but war was asunder once more when I left, the alliances with our allies dissolving swiftly... and that was saying nothing of the horde" She sneered a bit in disgust at that last word, but overall kept herself vague - there was much, much more than this, but it was not her wish to bore the god of Forests. "I have no mean to know what has happened beyond that."

"I see." He replied quietly, somewhat disappointed that she would be so vague, "Azeroth, hmn...? I shall remember that. Perhaps I find it one day, along the routes of Yggdrasil. If I do, I will call you Illisia and you can return to your world. With Universe gone, I believe the only way between worlds is through Gaia herself... which should prove to be an interesting trip." Speaking more to himself, his thoughts wandered far from their location as he tried to imagine this Azeroth.

"Do not lose faith, my friend." He spoke softly when his gaze returned to the night elf, "If it weathered Gehenna, it is most likely still viable, if shaken." Taking the jar he sipped from it as he watched her, frowning slightly at her summarized responses and almost formal manner of carrying herself. Unlike others, he was not so strict on ritual and formality... peoples worshiped in different ways and really, keeping him company and respecting his domain was all that he asked. "You do not have to be so worried about placating me, Illisia. Your words to not bore and I am not bothered by your company. Another's presence is much appreciated."

"...I would like that." She had to admit. She wanted to go home, of course. This place was similar in some ways, but completely aliens in others. But seeing it revive... had given her hope, that hopefully the same thing would have happened everywhere else.

He spoke of a world tree... but no, she doubted that he meant the same thing that she thought of. Not if it could be used to cross words.

Her eyes, a complete silver all over which seemed to glow slightly in the darkness that surrounded them, finally seemed to settle on him for the first time since she had awoken him. She had always thoughts gods watched from on high, mostly disinterested in the matters of mortals. Perhaps... it was not the case.

"...It has been a long time since I have actually been in lengthy company with another." If that had been meant as an apology or a statement, was somewhat unclear.

But well... then...

"...We are one of the oldest race of Azeroth, starting out primitive as with anything else, but as my ancestors settled near a well of magic called the Well of Eternity, it all started to change. The magic started to change us, with each generation living to be older than the one that came before it, until finally... we became immortal to time. My ancestors called themselves kaldorei - children of the stars." This was old knowledge - much older than she herself was - but she knew it well.

"Things remained peaceful for a long time, until... our queen was corrupted by demons and they used the well to enter Azeroth. In the end... it was destroyed, with such a force that it split the world into two continents, and caused a similar split among my people - those who still wished to use magic were exiled to the newly-created eastern continent, away from those that wished to turn their back upon such a dangerous force. They came to be called high elves, and their appearances changed in turn, to become much like the elves you have likely seen." She had seen some of the elven beings of this world, and there were strong similarities. "I choose to forsake the arcane - my first husband, however, did not." And there it was, the proof that she was much, much more ancient than her young body would make her look to be. "We chose to go into seclusion from the mortal races, to live our lives in the forests of the western continent. In time, the people of the east forgot that there was even a west continent at all... and we thrived, as silent protectors, striving to protect Azeroth from the demonic threat we had accidentally unleashed onto it, with out world tree allowing us to keep our immortality and keeping Azeroth safe from the burning legion. It was like this for ten thousand years... But eventually the tree was destroyed. Our immortality was lost, and while a new world tree had been grown... it never returned. This was the time were our society began to shift, where I became a druid like my father, my husband and my son. It was the start of the turn for the worse to be honest... and that is pretty much the jist of it. We are much different than we once have been..." And that made her uncomfortable, to some extent.

When he felt her gaze finally settle on him, he caught it and offered a smile, a small gesture of thank-you. As she began to speak of her history and her people, he fell silent, listening with much interest and nodding at points.

"You've endured much then, Illisia Shadowmoon. And seen many ages, if your people were immune to Time's touch." He spoke slowly, thoughtfully, "My domain is yours to wander, I do hope you realize. Rest and shelter and food are yours as you need, I do not begrudge the survival of others and it seems to me that a friend might be of more value to you then a patron god. If you have need of me, druid, call me. I will answer as best I can. I only ask that you continue to ward the woods you travel, protect and cherish them as you've no doubt been." It went without saying that in doing so, she also protected and cherished their essence embodied.

"I do hope the destruction of your world tree reflects not on your world's connection to Gaia... It will be most difficult returning there if that is so." Pursing his lips, he glanced away as he thought, "I do not think you can sever your link so easily, perhaps that is something to ask Gaia if you see her... Or I will ask should I come across the Empress."

"I will." The night elf answered, with no hesitation. She was a druid, after all - she knew very well of these things. Their powers granted from the very earth... and it could very easily take everything away. Nature was a powerful force, often unpredictable.

"I do not think we are talking about the same thing here." Illisia shook her head. "Our world trees... do not allow people to cross in between worlds." Only the arcane could do such thing... at least, from what she had known. She had come to realize that much of the things she had known did not hold true here, and while it was to be expected, it still left her feeling rather... unstable. Like if the ground had been pulled from under her feet unexpectedly.

Relief and encouragement made the god relax a breath he hadn't known he'd been holding. While he might make clear his status easily enough... he could not and would not force someone to worship him, that was a choice of their own. A flush of warmth spread through him with her agreement and he smiled quite broadly at her, "Thank-you." He had at least one confirmed follower now... and many more in her world it seemed.

It said something of himself, he thought with a flash of pride, that after countless aeons of slumber, mortals still believed in him. Reconnecting with those places then would be a priority as he came properly back into power. He shifted slightly, anxious for the time were he would be able to reassert his presence to the faithful.

Her words drew him out of his reverie and he nodded, "I agree. I think they are things of different origins and different scales, so I am not overly worried. It does beg the question, however, that if your world trees are not the link then what is?" That was something to investigate later on, after she had her answers from the Pantheon.

Speaking of the Pantheon... Glyph glanced at the berries and nuts he'd collected, found them mostly gone and smiled, "If you are rested, I will guide you to the Pantheon now if you like. I do not want to keep you from your answers, I know how important they are."

In truth, Illisia was eager to get moving - not that she found Glyph or his company boring, but now that it seemed like she would finally be able to find a place where she could be given answers that were not completely vague and useless... She found herself eager to move.

The elven woman nodded, working herself to her feet with ease. "You said it was not too far... ?"

"A few days' trek," he answered as he started towards the Pantheon's direction, pausing at the edge of the clearing, "Walk with me and we'll be out of the forest soon enough." Gesturing, he then turned and moved on without looking back.

The forest was quiet, sleepy perhaps, as the inner clocks of the creatures that had survived demanded sleep be had. The undergrowth was think here in the heart of the wood, but the way seemed surprisingly easy as Glyph moved along. Their path was straight and when it seemed they might be forced to turn aside, the forest seemed to shift slightly, making way for the god in what could be described as more of an illusion than an actual change for when one looked back, the forest had not truly changed at all.

Thus, Glyph would dramatically reduce travel time within his realm and his sure sense of direction meant his steps were confident even if he was simply strolling through the woods.

Illisia nodded, getting up in turn to follow Glyph, not expecting this would be so difficult. She was used to rough, natural terrain, after all, and had a whole lot of stamina left over from her days as a sentinel.

And yet, the found it rather hard to keep up with the god of Forests in his own element. Many times she had prepared to turn or leap over something, only to suddenly find that she did not need to do so - and that everything seemed back in it's place when she looked back. Which had caused her to lose quite a bit of ground and have to break into a run to actually keep up.

It was like the forest itself moved to bend about his will.. something she had never seen even the strongest druid accomplish.

Her surprise amused the god and he stopped at one, watching as she ran to keep up, "I did say keep close." The soft chuckle that escaped was easy enough to read and he winked as he continued forward, again looking to ease her passage through the woods. Had she been an enemy, however, she would have found that every branch, every root, and every pothole had seemed to gather along her path, blocking and tripping at every opportunity.

Glyph paused again later on and gestured for her to follow him, "One moment... I've something to tend to." It was proving to be an almost compulsive thing with him, to renew that which had managed to survive, to sew seeds and encourage their growth.

Off the path he'd chosen, a particularly large tree had fallen, its root ball a vast wall that had opened up some great space where its base once was. In the tumbled earth, several shoots were growing and it was here that Glyph knelt. "There has been so much destruction wrought... I am surprised more has not fallen." He murmured, glancing up to the once-great monarch.

"I've been trying to help this place regain a foothold... it is not much but each little bit helps, I think." As he spoke, he cupped his hands over the shoot and concentrated on it, willing it to grow more firm and resilient. Beneath his hands, he felt its tiny leafs brush against skin and drew away, pleased to see the shoot had grown straighter and stronger. Experimentally, he expanded his influence to cover the little gathering of shoots immediately in front of him and was equally pleased to see the young plants visibly straighten up. "I cannot do much now, only encourage their growth, but I believe there is progress being made."

He sounded a tad winded and when he rose, he inhaled deeply as if after a run. "My apologies. Let us continue."

Well, indeed he has. She could not argue that at all, so she kept silent. The elven woman had never thought something like that could even be possible, however.

Illisia slowed down when he swerved, finally getting her true chance at catching up with him without having to transform, dried pine needles cracking under her weight, and she stopped when she was a few steps away, watching with great interest, and mulling things over for a moment, almost afraid that he might find offence in it.

The night elf seemed to finally decide that that was foolish, and stepped closer, calling upon her own power. Stardust seemed to follow her steps, and it finally rose, fluttering upward, eventually dissapairing into the blank sky. It left the grass and the stems it had ran across just slightly more green, more alive. Her power did not match his, not in the slightest, but there was a faint difference.

He paused as the stardust swirled up and he felt a tug of something on some inner core of himself. It was an odd sensation, intensified by his proximity to the druid, that made him think of the mana lines he'd once been able to see. A soft gasp escaped him then as the tug grew a little stronger and she bolstered his work, healing the area further.

A silly little smile of earnest thanks settled on his features then and he bowed to her, "Thank-you." Experimentally, he focused on that tug and tried to feed power into it as he had the plants. It worked and the flow of energy became stronger but... what would happen? It never occured to him he might overload the mortal he was using so little power. "Hmn..."

There was another strange flutter in her awareness, right then. Similar to the one thing she had felt pulling her toward the direction of the pantheon, but at the same time completely different.

She blinked in surprise, but did not really seem harmed. Just... a little startled, really.

Glyph perked at the elf's reaction and grew curious, stepping closer to her, "Did you feel that...?" He sounded hopeful especially since she did no seem at all worse for wear. It was exciting to suddenly have the opportunity to explore his ties to someone who worshiped him.

So that had been... ?

"Yes," She finally said. "...It was kind of like what I've been feeling at this time but... completely different at the same time. It's... kind of hard to explain, really." Feather-like eyebrow rose a bit in curiosity. "So you did... ?"

"I don't know..." He replied thoughtfully, "But apparently I did. It was like... I was trying to help the seedlings but not directly... it's hard to describe. Something tugged on me so I answered it." And that had apparently meant he'd empowered the elf.

"Try it again?" Glyph asked, obviously intrigued.

She nodded, then focused once more. The stardust returned... with just the slightest green tint to the small, glowing substance. It rose again, fluttering off to sky and fading into nothing far above the top of the trees...

And again, the plantlife seemed renewed. More than Illisia's sole power had accomplished, but the elf wobbled a bit, ending up having to use a nearby tree for support. The tips of her fingers felt like they had been ablaze, for a short moment.

She only barely had controlled her own power.

He caught the slight tug when he felt it, ready for it this time, and paid more attention to it, focusing his reach.

When she wobbled, however, he broke off and caught her, bracing her back with one hand as he looked at her in concern. "Are you alright?" He felt responsible, for he knew his control was not infallible yet, still testing his bounds as he was, "I think, perhaps, such an experiment is for another time... when I am more sure of myself. Yes? My apologies Illisia." He didn't move, however, not until she'd recovered herself and he was certain she was not harmed.

"T-That might be a good idea." She managed to answer, finally, still willing the sensation of dizziness to leave it. It was almost like if the world around her had been turning on it's orbit much faster than it actually did.

She had never quite experienced something like this before... which was saying something, for someone who has lived as long as she had.

It took a few more minutes before she finally let go, and dared step away from the tree she had used as support. She could walk, at the very least.

He nodded when she spoke and walked slowly as she moved away, keeping close. "I am sorry..." he murmured again, actively easing their path through the undergrowth so she would not trip or stumble further. It was one skill that came to him easily, this knowledge of direction and 'finding' the best path.

"Did you want to sit? I really did not mean for that to happen..." He was doting without realizing it, still happily surprised at having found a follower and loathe to hurt the mortal.

"I am fine." She replied, softly and patiently. That kind of dotting... oh, she knew it well. She still laid it on thick onto her son, and well, anyone that looked like they needed protection.

She did not expecially like to think she was the latter, but did her best to find no offense in it. She definitively was walking a little slower, though, which meant Glyph would need to let her a chance to catch up.

"If you are sure." He replied, giving her space after a moment though he continued to walk slowly. Watchful, he would move off a little bit then look back to ensure her safety. He really did not want to break a follower... that would be entirely counterproductive.

When he was certain of her recovery, he moved onward without pausing every few moments once more. The trip through the forest would take the better part of the day and travel to pantheon at least another day after that. The least he could do was ensure she got to where she was going without frying her further.

It took her some more time after that to recover more or less completely, where she was finally able to mostly keep up with him again. As long as she had him in her sight, really, she could not really get lost.

And given that she was a nocturnal creature, the constant darkness was working in her advantage at the moment. She definitively had one hell of a physical constitution, that was for sure. But then, prancing though forests was what night elves did.

Leave her alone in a town and she would likely get lost three times in the same direction.

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Dapper Gekko

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Solo reserve - contemplating followers and continuing to work/practice

To do list post-morph

1. Solo where Glyph actually gets to see things, including his Aoide and feels, properly, the hole left by a vacant sky xD
2. RP with Phae, where an enemy is most likely made (RP with Sosi)
3. Experimentation with powers / tending to Pantheon grounds
4. Thanking Umbra for the glass he gave (RP with Seph)
5. Asking Harmodius where he would be of most assistance (RP with Ivy)
6. Possible quest - unknown number of RPs and Solos
7. RP with Eirlyn and Glau where poor Eirlyn thinks she's cursed (RP with Inle and Mouse)
8. Glyph meets Kios (RP with Zedre)
9. Glyph meets Lacrymosa (RP with Thabara)

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