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.:: ||{...Cruel Dreams...}|| ::.


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When Forest slept he dreamed of realms beyond his touch, adrift in endless green, vision unfocused and blurred at the edges as his thoughts carried him across the realms swift as a bird. Only impressions of places, of their health and standing whispered across his mind – just out of reach, tantalizing but evasive. Shadows clung to some regions while others seemed wounded or weak, the vast expanse a patchwork network of new and old energies that he yearned to reconnect with.

Straining against the dream, tossing in his sleep to call softly when he willed a section to come into focus, brow furrowed in concentration. The flicker of forms, indistinct but present gave him hope and he pushed forward, over-extending himself and the impression of a barrier stretching with his motion slide across his skin and he shivered. He was not to touch, unable to embrace this place and the brief distraction saw a rebound in the barrier that forced him back into the periphery of the dreamscape.

Frustration coiled around him, and fear, as he tried again and again to touch the worlds he saw before him – their details coming into sharpest focus only to be protected by some intangible, infallible barrier that resisted his efforts.

His dream swiftly turned to a nightmare as Glyph found himself trapped above and beyond what should be his, existing outside what gave him strength… the view twisting and morphing as waves of red and black and white washed across the planes, the regions collapsing in against themselves and robbing him of understanding as cities wrought of metal and rock sprung up in their stead. Shuddering as he felt himself shrink, shy away from the unnatural, he turned and saw a pocket of forest standing just over the rising of a concrete hill. Hope surged and he made for the glade, hurrying as fast as his legs could take him.

The ground beneath him was cracked and pitted, twisting metallic ropes snaking beneath the surface like rusted worms, chasing him as he moved. Kicking his feet in his sleep, he cried out in distress as a cable snapped free and whipped around, knocking him to his knees. He knew he vulnerable and irrational fear spiked through him, pushing him onward to seek the protection of that stand that was only meters away now…

Stumbling into the cool, familiar wilderness of the forest, he sighed with relief as the cables of rust and alloys curled at the edges of the wood, lurking like predators that waited for him to step out. He scoffed then, turned away, seeking the river he could hear running through his refuge, Glyph moved slowly along the paths, touching the trees and trailing fingers over the bushes.

Suddenly, the birdsong and activity that was music to his ears, stopped and the hushed silence that bespoke of predators descended upon the forest, causing even Glyph to pause in anxious anticipation. Ahead, a woman crouched on the edge of a clearing, features blurred and form shadowy – there but not there – and he moved towards her, wishing to warn her of the danger that lurked in the shadows. They would find safer places among the trees until the predator moved past, finding no prey to occupy it.

He’d reached the edge of the glade when the animals fled in panic and the surge of something had struck like a blast wave, sending him reeling as everything around him screamed in agony, drowning out his own cries of pain. It was like a physical blow, a fist to the stomach and face that left him feeling sick… a stunning, ethereal silence surrounding him as he leaned against a tree for support, one hand pressed to his head as if to soothe the ache that had settled there. And all he’d seen was a flash of bone-white, of ceremonial burial robes… and felt a sudden drop in temperature that had raised goosebumps along his arms.

Panting, he glanced to the tree when it felt different… unresponsive where seconds before it had hummed with life and energy. A spike of grief and anger struck him then as he realized the grand sentinel was dead, robbed of its life, as with everything else in the vicinity. The grass, the plants, the other trees… all conspicuously silent.

All dead.

The dream shattered then as he recoiled in confusion, and tossed again, his murmurs and cries having woken his aoidei.

When the hand, cool and gentle was set on his shoulder and the voice of worry spoken loudly enough to stir, Glyph sat up in bed, his eyes wide and darting about the room. Panting and covered in a cold sweat, he shook his head as he heard another spoken thing but did not make out the question. Turning his head, he winced as he touched a hand to his face and found it as sore as it had been in the dream. “Natasha…?” He murmured, disoriented.

“Yes, my Lord,” She replied, shifting her weight and clicking a hoof against the ground, “Are you alright? You were crying in your sleep… and tossing…” Natasha kept near as a silver tray was offered then, a mug of water set at its center and Aisling’s worried gaze begged him to take the offering.

Gratefully, he did just that and sipped the cool water as if he has just spent days in the desert. Wetting parched lips he shook his head, “Thank-you Aisling… I am alright. Sore, but alright. I had a nightmare, I think.

“As long as you are well, Lord.” Aelondrael’s voice broke in then and she stepped forward to stand at the foot of his bed, “You worried us, Lord Forest… you sounded very stressed. What did you dream?” For once Natasha and Aelondrael did not exchange scornful glances, were instead too focused on Glyph to worry about petty power plays between them.

“Ahn…” He mopped his face then and sipped once more as he tried to gather his thoughts and will his heart to slow it frantic beating, “Forests that I could not touch and they fell, died and were replaced by cities… I fled, found a refuge… and… and the forest I did touch was murdered. Everything, dead… right before my eyes.” Glyph shuddered, “I didn’t see what did it… only a flash of white and a feeling of cold.”

He let out a ‘oomph’ sound then as Aisling set the tray down and came around to catch his shoulders in a hug that made him grin despite himself, “I am sorry, Lord. That is a terrible dream.” Her voice was soft as she squeezed him in her embrace and he reached up to pat her back.

“It’s alright… It’s just a dream.” In the darkness of the room, the rising bruises could not be seen.

“Just… be careful, hmn? Did you want anything?” Natasha asked, taking the tray that Aisling had set down and offering the god a smile.

“No, thanks. I just need to calm down I think. You three go back to sleep – I promise to rouse you if I need anything okay?”

The three Aoidei did not move for a moment, simply watching him as if expecting him to voice some secret concern but he only waved and ushered them away. When they’d reluctantly left, Glyph laid back in his bed and sighed, staring at the ceiling for a long while before he eased back into sleep once more. The nightmare had bothered him… did it mean anything? He would have to think about it in the ‘morning’ when he rose for that day’s chores.

The next morning, he woke to the gasps of Aisling as she set about lighting the candles and lamps that illuminated their room in lieu of sunlight. Only half the lamps had been lit and the look of distress on her face made him rise from the bed and go to her, “What’s wrong?”

She pointed to her face and then at him, “My Lord! Your face!” Setting the candle she’d been using down then, she ran for the tray and held it up before Glyph when she returned, it’s polished surface acting as a makeshift mirror.

He’d been confused as she ran away but when the mirror was held up, he blinked and leaned forward, brows furrowing in disbelief as he found his face bruised as if someone had struck it. It was a little swollen, and while it had been sore, he had not been expecting that! “Hm.” Biting his lip, he nodded his thanks to Aisling and she hovered nearby as he moved to find the pile of pillows in the nook so he could think.

His chest, when he looked, was bruised as well. “Somebody beat me up in my sleep…” He murmured, confused. No one had come in, however, and his Aoidei would never lay a hand on him. The only source of bruising he could think of was his dream… the attack and the death of that pocket of forest. Was that the source, though? Glyph pursed his lips, thinking over and over what he could remember of the dream.

When it came to him, he grumbled and narrowed his eyes in annoyance. “I told you to give notice, Underworld!” The sensation of cold, the sudden death of the plants… that all hinted at Nergal and the impression of bone white skin only served to help with the idea. While he was not sure of how much of his dream was real, he could guess reasonably well that the portion with the woman was real enough to effect him.

Rising then, he gestured to Aisling, “I am going to speak to Nergal. I think he knows what the cause of my bruising is.”

The Aoide nodded and escorted him to the door, “Should I come with you?”

“No need. Tend my plants, though, alright? That would be appreciated.” He replied kindly and she nodded, closing the doors as he moved away. He was sore and not too pleased with this turn of events… and hurt, too, that Nergal would so easily kill something he knew Forest held precious. And he couldn’t even fix the problem – he had no idea where it was, if it was anywhere at all.

He better apologize.

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[Written to Go with <insert solo here>; Discussed with Thabara]
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.:: ||{...A Word with You?...}|| ::.


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A word with you?
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.:: ||{...The Gift of a Tree...}|| ::.


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Adrienne and Glyph

Now that things were green and alive again, Adrienne was often tempted to take her gardening outside, but outside wasn't exactly hers, and so she hesitated to do so. Eventually, she'd decided to compromise, and started planting flowers just inside the woods instead. She was in the process of transplanting some of the many snapdragons that had all but overtaken the flowerbeds in Rio's rooms. There were some a few other plants, like roses, but they were far outnumbered by the many-colored snapping flowers, and it was probably time to clear some of them out now that there was somewhere else for them to go. Then they'd have more room for other things!

Aided by her floox companion, the werewolf dug hole after hole in which to plant the relocated flowers, both getting marvelously dirty in the process.


The earthy scent of disturbed ground was what drew him towards the werewolf, the tang of detritus and the lingering smell of rain in the soil unmistakable. At first he'd thought someone was digging up the plants, taking advantage of the new shoots that were beginning to sprout in earnest with his careful, patient touch. Rather imagining himself painting a landscape of trees and shrubs and undergroth, Glyph had frowned at the thought of someone ripping up all of his work only to stop and peer at the many holes dotted at random along the edge of the forest.

Were those... he knelt by one patch of recently disturbed dirt and touched the snapdragons that had been planted there. There were so many! His frown quickly grew into a grin as he followed the haphazard path of newly planted flowers until he came to the Adrienne's current workspace, stopping to put a hand on a tree and watch her with a bemused expression.

Concentrating on some of the flowers were closest to blooming, he encouraged their growth and wondered if she'd notice the slight change - some held more blossoms then before now. He was developing some semblance of control and range on his fledgling abilities even if he effected irritatingly little around him.


The god arrived just as Adi was finishing up another hole, which, truth be told, she made bigger than she really needed to - digging was half the fun! She looked away from her work for a moment to select just the right snapdragon for the spot, pausing once she had it in her hands to peer at it suspiciously. She could have sworn it was different now...but no, it was just her mind playing tricks on her. She'd planted an awful lot of flowers today, after all. She was probably just getting it mixed up with another one.

Shrugging it off, she set it in the hole and started to brush in the dirt she'd displaced - until Phlox chittered indignantly from underneath. The little gray creature had taken up residence in the hole while she was distracted. "What do you think you're doing, silly?" Laughing, Adrienne set the flower aside for a moment to lift her pet out of the way. "Go dig your own holes."

Shaking off the dirt, he toddled off to do just that, but was quite interrupted by a new pair of feet. The floox stared up at their owner for a moment before giving a yip of alert.

Looking to see what he was going on about this time, Adi beamed at the sight of the stranger. "Oh, hello!"


Glyph laughed softly as the furry little creature nearly ran into him and knelt to hold out his hand as Adrienne greeted him, "Hello to you too. Planting a garden, hmn?" Waggling a finger at the floox invitingly, he waited a moment before straightening, "They're lovely snapdragons. What's your name?" Striding out from his place of observation, he looked her many potted plants over with a smile.

"We were running out of room inside," she explained, settling the snapdragon in its new home before standing and brushing her hands against her thighs - not that it helped. Her hands were too thoroughly dirty for something like to work, but it was a habit. "I'm Adi, and that's Phlox. How about you?"

The ridgeback sniffed at the waggling finger when it was offered, then returned to his mistress with a proud, 'look-what-I-found' expression.


"Ah, I see. I am glad you decided to plant them here, I'll look after them for you - make sure they flourish." He replied, smiling, "I am Glyph, Silvim Illustirre... Forest." He nodded to her and chuckled at the smug expression the floox now wore.

"If you plant them too close together, though, they'll die..." He spoke after a moment, gesturing towards where some of the holes seemed rather close together, "They need room to grow, right? Mind if I help you? Some company would be appreciated."


"Really?" Adrienne's eyes widened, and she bounced a little on her paws. "I didn't know there was a Forest god. That's awesome!"

At his observation, she tilted her head and surveyed her work. Snapdragons were some of the first flowers she'd ever worked with, since Rio had so many of them, and easier for a child to care for than, say, orchids. "They look fine to me," she said hesitantly, pretty sure of her work, but somewhat concerned now that the God of the Forest didn't seem to approve. "They're not the big ones, so they only need about half a foot."

"But..if you think we should move them...?" She chewed pensively on a dirty fingernail, looking back down at the flowers. While she fretted, Phlox climbed up her leg, then right on up to her shoulder.


Forest blinked at Adrienne's reaction, rather pleasantly surprised by her enthusiasm and welcome. A bright smile lit up his face as he nodded to her in a bit of a bow, "Why thank you Adrienne." Beaming from the compliment, Glyph padded over to the nearest hole and knelt by it, "Then as long you're being careful all is well."

He laughed softly, "Oh no, I didn't say move them, just make sure they've room to grow hmn? And be mindful of any tree saplings or shoots you find... I'm trying to encourage their growth." Glyph took a potted snapdragon then and gently transferred it into the vacant hole, "You've done well so far - I followed your trail of snapdragons here. I like them." He offered another smile as he tried to soothe the girl's anxiousness.

"Don't worry, you've done nothing wrong."


Once reassured, Adi reverted almost immediately to her usual cheerfulness. Her bright smile returned, fueled by his praise. "We'll be careful, promise!" She crouched down to dig another hole, getting it started with a trowel before setting the tool aside and doing the rest of the work with her hands. "Go on," she told Phlox, shrugging her shoulder to encourage him back down, "We need more holes."

Though reluctant to leave the perch he'd only just acquired, the floox nonetheless hopped down and set to digging the proper distance away.

"So you can make things grow?" she asked. "I've always wanted to be able to do that."


"To a point yes," Glyph replied cheerfully, following along behind Adi as she dug holes, "I can encourage them but I cannot yet do much else. Besides, you are doing the same thing as I after a fashion..." He grinned, gesturing to the hole she was digging alongside her floox, "You're gardening, that's helping things to grow."

When the flower he was working with was in the ground, he patted down the soil and closed his eyes as he cupped his hands around the plant, allowing some of his essence to flow into it. It perked quickly and grew a little taller but nothing spectacular happened and he sighed softly, "I long to touch the world in greater ways, however. There is so much to do... and I grow tired if I over exert myself." He playfully squished the blooms in a way that made it look like they were speaking in a pantomime of his own words.

A thought occurred to him then and he tilted his head to the side, "Say... would you mind if I took of these as a gift for a friend?" It reminded him of Illisia really. A snapdragon, a play on words that was, for him, a reference to her druidic talents and the dragon king she now carried. Perhaps they would enjoy the gesture.


"True," she allowed, "But I'd like to be able to do more. Not that it'll ever happen." Adrienne chuckled. She didn't mind, per se, but she couldn't help but be a little envious of the gods' powers. Though born of one, she would never be one. "I could breed my roses a lot faster."

At his display of power, she grinned. "That's something! And you'll be able to do more eventually, right? Rio's powers got better awhile ago."

"Sure! We have plenty." Her tail wagged. She was always happy to share flowers!


"True," she allowed, "But I'd like to be able to do more. Not that it'll ever happen." Adrienne chuckled. She didn't mind, per se, but she couldn't help but be a little envious of the gods' powers. Though born of one, she would never be one. "I could breed my roses a lot faster."

At his display of power, she grinned. "That's something! And you'll be able to do more eventually, right? Rio's powers got better awhile ago."

"Sure! We have plenty." Her tail wagged. She was always happy to share flowers!


"Druids are highly tuned to nature, forests in particular, and can most definitely encourage the growth and blooming of plants, actually." He smiled, "Besides, calling on the gods to assist your efforts is a two way gain - it helps you and it helps me. I know a druid if you would like to learn from her? She is host to the Dragon King Xun Jiang, her name is Illisia. I will introduce you two if you like."

Forest nodded at her question, "Indeed. Given time I'll be able to do more. Now, however, I still have a long way to go before I am myself again." He tilted his head to the side, "Rio...? I don't believe I met him yet. A god I would assume, given your comment."

"Ah! Thank-you!" He flashed a thoroughly pleased smile before he grabbed one of the pots, "I hope she likes it..." Brushing fingers over the flowers he paused a moment in indecision before nodding to himself. She would - he hoped.


"Really?" Adrienne looked up to listen, fascinated by the idea. While she could vaguely recall hearing or seeing the word 'druid' at some point, she hadn't actually known what one was. Her age being what it was, her education was somewhat limited, and there were large gaps in her knowledge of many things. "That would be awesome!"

"Rio's Love," she confirmed with a nod. "My mom was his host, but they've been the same person for ages." She knew well by now that 'he's one of my parents' would lead to the assumption that Rio was her father, which would then lead to no little confusion when she corrected it, so she decided to explain it right off the bat instead this time.


He smiled, "I will mention you when next I see her then, Adrienne. I'm fairly certain she would not mind an apprentice."

"Love? Ah, no, I haven't met him yet." He watched her curiously as she spoke, she did not seem upset that her mother had been a sacrifice to a god. That made Forest smile, "Then say hello to Love for me, hmn?" Patting the ground around the newly potted plant, he made sure the snap dragons were well settled before moving on to the others.

"Once we're done here, did you want to see more? I've been working from the inside out... and it's not a lot but there's more life then before." Glyph glanced at Adi, tone inviting. "Maybe you'll find some more places to plant your snap dragons and other plants."


How cool would that be? Adrienne's tail wagged with excitement. She'd always just wanted to be a gardener, like her father, but druids sounded like...like super-gardeners! It was kind of a neat word, too.

"I will," she promised, depositing one of the last few snapdragons into her newly-finished hole. "And I'd love to see more! I've been exploring ever since things got better, but I haven't seen even close to all of it. I could probably use somewhere to plant some roses. I'm trying to make pink and yellow ones, you see, and there's not really a lot of room in my room."


"Ooh~ Roses?" He nodded approvingly as he tidied up the last of the snapdragons, "Roses would be most welcome. What colours have you managed to breed so far?"

Moving further into the forest then, he stopped and gestured for her to come with him, one hand out should she wish a tangible guide, "If you see a place you'd like to plant your roses, tell me and I'll mark the way for you - it's easy to get lost if you don't know the way."


"Well, I only just started," she answered, collecting Phlox so that he could perch on her shoulder again. "The first ones just started blooming, and they're sort of peachy. I'm just guessing, really. I figure if I put the pinks with the yellows enough, maybe eventually I'll get a nice one that's both. A striped one would be really cool, but I don't have any striped roses. Rio can magic them up, but it's just the flower. They've never got roots or anything."

"I'm really good at not getting lost," Adrienne said proudly, accepting his hand, "But that would be good, just in case."


"Mmn, let me know how you are doing alright? I'll help if I can - grow them, that is, not summon them. I'm afraid I can't do that." He chuckled as he corrected himself, "My host would summon them... they were illusions but beautiful, very real illusions. I still have his sketchbook." Forest reached into his sleeve and pulled out Malh'reth's sketchbook to show to Adrienne, voice rather fond as he spoke, "He was a talented entertainer and artist."

He squeezed her fingers gently when she took his hand, "That's a relief. But if you get lost in the woods, ask for help hmn? You can't get lost with me." Winking as they moved off, padding down an old deer trail at first, the dips and rises and exposed gnarled roots seemed to even out in a minor spacial warp as they walked resulting in an easy stroll where ever they went, "What's your favourite plant? Do you only grow flowers?"


"That would be wonderful! Waiting for them to grow is the hard part, so even a little less would be great." Adrienne looked at the sketchbook, curious - although even moreso about his host. She was rather fascinated by the whole process. "What did you do with him? Can you still hear him, or is he part of you already?" As Glyph was so nice, she didn't even bother to mention the possiblity that he might have devoured him. It just wouldn't have followed.

"Okay," she agreed, giggling a little when he winked. "I like everything! I grew a cactus for my aunt once, but mostly its just been flowers. I help take care of the grass and the wall-trees, but I didn't grow them."


"What...?" He tilted his head and then sighed, "You put it well. He is part of me. There are things I know and places I remember that were his... I caught him when he finally crumbled and let him rest within." There was a finality in his tone that hinted that the subject should be dropped - it was an intensely personal thing that he was not intent to speak on.

He frowned slightly at the mention of the cactus, a faint memory of arguments past flickering across his consciousness unbidden and quickly buried once more, "Ah, that's very good Adrienne. You seem to have quite the green thumb. I think you will make a good druid if you are willing to learn." Glyph nodded approvingly, "Perhaps we will find a tree for you as well, for it to grow as you do - something for you to care for in addition to your flowers. Would you like that?" It seemed natural to him, to find a tree and connect it to oneself.... familiar after a fashion.


Adrienne didn't always - or even often - catch on to hints. Her experience was very limited, and she was used to people who spoke openly and answered her readily, like Rio. Although she'd grown quickly and well, she had little more than two years behind her. Still, there were no more questions, only an approving nod and, "Rio and Alex were the same by the time I was born."

"My dad's Eamnonn's gardener," she said matter-of-factly, every bit as proud of her aoide parent as her god one, although pride soon gave way to another burst of excitement. "Could I really have a tree?"


"Oh..." He trailed off at that, wondering for a moment just how something like that would work. It made him glad Malh'reth hadn't gotten Phaedra with child. That would have been awkward every which way you looked at it. Nonetheless, he sighed with relief and smiled.

"Is he now?" Glyph paused when she spoke, earnestly interested in what she had to say, "Eamnonn... is Hunt yes? I have not spoken to him, though Malh'reth encountered one of his entourage."

Surprised by her outburst, he couldn't help the hearty laugh and nodded, "Of course my dear. A special one, just for you. Ah~ Here's the glade I was thinking of." Stopping, he gestured to an opening in the trees not too far away, where a large tree had torn a space in the canopy. Grass had grown in, and moss dotted every surface it could attach to. Several young trees were peppered across the large clearing, some even growing on the old, dead tree. "There's plenty of space for roses here, and lots of young trees for you to look at too."


"Mm-hm!" she affirmed. "He looks like a tree. His wings do, anyway. Who did he meet?" Not her father, she assumed, since there was a very obvious family resemblance that Glyph would probably have picked up on by now.

Adrienne's little pink wings fluttered. She was almost perpetually happy, or as close as most anyone could get, and every joyful moment slid right into the next. "What kind are they?" she asked, slipping her hand from Glyph's and wasting no time in going to have a closer look at one of the young trees. "I haven't learned all the different kinds yet."

At this point, she didn't know much beyond leafy or...needle-y. She knew there were real words for that, but she never could remember what the one for leafy trees was. Something complicated, as opposed to the simple and relatively obvious 'evergreen.'


"I... do not know." He confessed after a moment, unable to find that information among his memories. Following after her as she bounced out to inspect the forest, Glyph couldn't help the fond smile. She was so happy and carefree! It was so refreshing... and touching that she would be so interested in the world around. Especially a forest. But then, Forest was biased that way.

"Ah, the youngest ones are oak and maple. See the difference in their leaves?" He held out the branch of one and a branch of the other, "The oak has nobby leaves while the maple is pointy. The larger ones are birch and beech trees. The birches have papery bark you can peel off and use as parchment - they're the white- and black-banded ones. I wouldn't suggest taking their bark though... it can hurt the younger trees." Glyph was thoroughly pleased to be teach Adrienne of the trees, his voice gentle as he moved from example to example, "The big conifers - the evergreens - grow in after the deciduous trees have as they usually need shade to prosper."

He settled onto the fallen log and braced one woody foot against it as he watched her, "Do you know what the different evergreens are called?"


"Oh!" Her tail wagged busily as he explained the leaves, and she studied them, observing of the maple, "Ea has some leaves like this! These are the syrup trees, right?" Which brought to mind a particular mystery she simply couldn't resist asking about. "How do you get syrup, anyway?"

"Not really," Adi answered, going to inspect the birch and beech trees. They had very similar names, so she wanted to make doubly sure she remembered which was which. "I know there are pines, but that's all."


He laughed, "Yes, they are the syrup trees. And you get syrup by bleeding a tree, basically. You have to cut a hole in the bark so the sap runs out and collect the sap. That's the syrup - you have to cook it to evaporate some water and then you have syrup." Glyph didn't seem offended by the concept, even seemed to enjoy the thought of syrup.

"Yes, that's right. Pines are evergreens, as are spruce and fir trees. Their leaves are their needles and they're similar in appearance so you really have to study them to tell them apart. But there are many many other types of trees and forests out there, not just the ones you see here. And they'll go by any number of names. Do you see one you like?"


"Can you make syrup from other trees?" Adi was always ready with another question, her inquisitive young mind leaping from one to the other. All trees had sap, a substance she was somewhat familiar with - in that it was sticky and annoying when she got it in her hair or fur - but there had to be a reason you used maple syrup. Did it just taste better?

"Fur trees?" The werewolf giggled, unaware of the difference in spelling. "That's a funny name for a tree! Why do they call them that?"

Hmm, hmm. She circled her options again, fingertips brushing against each young tree. Which one should be hers?


"You can but it depends on what you think tastes best... and you need a lot of sap to boil down into syrup so you have to keep in mind the size of the tree." Her questions amused him and he did his best to answer - drawing on knowledge of his own and those he'd kept of his host's.

"I have no idea. But that's what they're called." It didn't really matter to Forest what the trees were named so long as they were respected. He had many names and the trees, those that were common across the worlds, would also have many names for any number of reasons. "Maybe that's something you can ask your father?"

"If you don't see one you like, we can always go looking elsewhere, you know." He interrupted her search with a quiet comment, "There are plenty of trees in the forest. And you mind a clearing you like more for your roses."


Adrienne nodded, storing that answer away with the rest. Maybe she'd do that sometime, find a bunch of trees and see what kind of syrup could be gotten from them...carefully. She'd feel terrible if she hurt one, or - even worse - killed one, especially now that she knew the God of the Forest. He was really nice, but he might not be quite so nice if she killed one of his trees.

"I will." Hmm. Pointy leaves, nobby leaves, paper bark... "I'm sure someone at the Temple will know."

"No, I like it here," she assured him. She liked the trees, it was just a question of making up her mind. Finally, she narrowed it down to the two bigger ones, and stood chewing her fingernail in thought before pointing it at the beech. "That one, I think."


"That one?" He echoed as he hopped down from the log and strode over to the beech she'd indicated, "'Tis a lovely choice, Adrienne. Here, let's mark it hmn?" Fussing around in his sleeves, he looked for something either capable of marking wood or a ribbon of some sort.

As it was, he found a handful of silky ribbon he hadn't know were in these sleeves and chuckled as he pulled them out. "Pick one?" Black, blue, red and white seemed to be the choices, and after another check it was confirmed. "It will mark Adrienne's Tree. And everyone will know it's yours." Even if she didn't tend it daily, the young tree was large enough that infrequent visits would not hurt its survival and he rather thought she'd simply enjoy being able to go 'this is my tree!' to any who asked.


Adrienne surveyed the color options carefully, giving it some thought, as she attached great importance to color. Pink was her color, but he didn't have any of that...but she did. She reached behind her and pulled the ribbon loose from her tail. "How about this?" she suggested brightly, "Then it'll be obvious."

And she could always cut more ribbon for her tail. Given her love of the outdoors, her tail ribbons were actually rather short-lived and needed to be replaced now and then, anyway.


Glyph blinked as she offered her own ribbon then smiled, laughing softly, "Of course." Stuffing the ribbons back into his sleeve, he took her offering but had to bend the sapling forward a little so that he might actually reach the spot he wanted to tie the bow to.

When he was done, Forest stepped back and surveyed his work with a smile, "There. Now it's your tree. What do you think?" Settled in among the branches, a large bow bobbed with the sway of the beech as it recovered from being pulled over for a few minutes. "You can plant your roses and other flowers too here, I think. It will be a good spot for them."


Her tree chosen and suitably ribboned, she settled herself next to it as she answered, "It's wonderful!" Not only would Adrienne happily announce that the beech was hers to anyone who would listen, she would be back every day, unless something happened to prevent her from doing so. For someone so excitable, she was surprisingly reliable. "So how do I take care of it?"

"Hmn? You make sure it's watered and that no pests have eaten into the leaves, really. And that creatures don't try to eat into the bark - some birds like to peck holes and that leaves wounds that bugs can get in to." He nodded, "It's really easy to take care of. But I'm sure just checking on it will make sure it grows tall and big."

Adrienne nodded attentively. So, really, taking care of the tree seemed to mostly involve guarding the tree, more or less. She kind of liked that idea. "Is there anything special I can do to keep them away?"

"Ah..." Forest tilted his head as he regarded the werewolf and pursed his lips thoughtfully. Trees really did not take all that much care... they were hearty things, strong and proud. Still, he wanted to give Adi something to do. "Ah! When you see leaves turn brown or look sickly, you can pluck those. There's not much trees need in terms of active care... and as long as the tree is healthy, it is not vulnerable to those things that would harm it. You could put a fence around it, but I would really prefer you not. You deter everything if you build that sort of barrier and not everything is bad."

Making his way over to press a hand to the beech, he smiled, "Oh, I know. Sometimes people carve things into the bark... they aren't to do that unless I say it's okay. So you can make sure no young couples or the like come through and deface it." He nodded to himself, glad to have her guard the tree as he'd seen a few of the older ones with hearts and initials carved into the wood and it bothered him for some reason.


Right, pluck sick leaves! That was easy enough. She'd trimmed dead bits away from other plants before, so it followed that you'd do the same thing with trees. Thoughts of trimming reminded her to ask her father about those funny sculpted bushes, whatever they were called...but that was neither here nor there. They were a garden thing, not a forest thing.

After another nod of understanding, she asked, "What would anyone do that for?"


"To mark paths, lovers, trees for felling... any number of things. I'm not terribly fond of such acts, however, so I do not encourage such things." He smiled, shrugging, "I think the forest is beautiful enough without maiming its inhabitants."

The god was pleased with his new steward's openness about the whole thing, she seemed particularly earnest in her desire to learn and know and act properly. Then again, how could he doubt her? She had such an air of innocence about her he would feel cruel to doubt her intent.


Lovers? What did love have to do with carving stuff in trees? She'd have to ask Rio - she was sure he'd know. She could sort of understand marking paths, though. Not everyone was good about not getting lost, Love included, and needed to find their way somehow. Still, there had to be a better way of doing so than defacing trees. You could...tie stuff to them or something. Paint on them? But maybe that was too permanent...

Well, whatever. She wouldn't be needing to do anything like that. Speaking of stuff on trees, though... "Do you think I could put some orchids on it, or should I wait until it's older?"


"Orchids?" He echoed, pursing his lips as he regarded the tree, and smiled after a moment, "You can... but I don't know how well they'd do. Don't Orchids require a hot environment? If you think they'll survive, and it won't hurt the tree, go ahead."

"They've done okay in the room, but maybe that's because it's inside?" Adi looked thoughtful. It would be really nice to have orchids on her tree, but not if all they did was die because they didn't like it. "It's all sort of confusing. I mean, plants are supposed to have sun and stuff too, but there hasn't been any and they're still alive. Or...alive again or whatever. Maybe I'll just bring one out and see."

"Possibly," he replied, "You can try, by all means, and be even more accomplished if you manage to get the orchids to grow upon your tree. I hope you do, it would be a pretty addition and an excellent marker."

His stomach rumbled then, loud enough for others to hear and he realized he'd been neglecting food and drink. With an embarassed laugh, the god shrugged, "Though, if you'll excuse me, I should likely find some food, my body has made its complaints plain enough. Come find me when you've gotten your orchid settled? I would like to see it."


Adi giggled when Glyph's stomach grumbled, while Phlox mimicked with a comical little growl. "Okay! Where should I look for you?"

The forest, of course, was the most obvious answer, but it was a pretty big place, and he probably had rooms like the other gods.


"The heart of the forest is where I take my refuge. It is green and verdant, a small clearing with moss as soft carpet and a berry bush around its edge. A fallen log acts as a wall on one side. I believe a few foxes have chosen it as their home as well... unless they've moved on. Her kits were quite rambunctious." He smiled fondly as he described his bower, "Elsewise seek me out behind the door with the forest emblazoned on its surface in the Pantheon. My Aoidei will show you the way."

He bowed to her, a sweeping gesture as he stepped back, "If you'll excuse me now, Adrienne? It was a pleasure to meet you."


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User Image It had been a while since he'd encouraged the crows to make themselves at home in his room and while it taken some time for them to become comfortable, the window Glyph kept open for their entry was now frequently being used. Thankfully thankfully the birds were well behaved and caused little trouble beyond a shiny object or twig from his garden being snatched now and again.

They didn't seem to be laying eggs, however, and it saddened the god. He had hoped to help Ankou with his familiars but his frequent checks had always been met with empty, if well formed, nests. It was only when his Aoide had politely suggested he stop stalking the poor birds that Forest realized the crows might like their privacy and had backed off, almost to the point of forgetfulness. Almost, because it was hard to miss the flurry of a black body as it winged in through the window and alighted on the branches of his everwood pillars.

It was midday, and he was curled up in one of the tea houses dozing, a cup of tea lightly held in long-fingered hands but long since gone cold when Aisling had hurried up to him and fretted at the edge of the small house. "My lord! Lord Glyph! Come quick! There is something I think you would like to see!"

Her shouts had roused him, causing him to nearly spill his tea, and it had taken a moment for the request to register, "What? What is it Aisling? Did something happen?" He blinked the sleep from his eyes and sat up, yawning as he eyed her, "I was having a pleasant dream."

"My sincerest apologies but... please! It is something you'll like. Nothing bad." The demoness was all smiles and fidgeting motion, her hooves clacking against the pathway that lead to the tea house, "Don't make me spoil it."

He nodded then and set his cup down, joining her a moment later. Aisling had become more aware since the end of Gehenna, and he was grateful for it. She still had troubles but her spans of lucidity were longer now, even if she was the 'simplest' of the three Aoide that tended his room. Despite that, though, he found her earnest desire to help and her own brand of innocence - strange for a demon - refreshing. "Show me, then, Aisling. It must be important if you're so worked up." Patting her shoulder, he followed her back into the Pantheon and found himself before his door soon after.

"Aah!" Understanding hit and he pushed the doors open, standing aside to let the Aoide through before he entered fully, "Have they finally laid clutches?" Hurrying past the demoness without waiting for an answer, he scooted a chair over and stood on his toes to look into the nest nearest him. It delighted him to find three eggs gathered in that best, shiny and beautiful. However, as he moved to inspect the second nest, a black form streaked by, cawing loudly and barely missing as Glyph ducked, hands instinctively raised to cover his head.

"They have, but trying to get near the nests is near impossible - they're fierce in guarding them." Natasha spoke as she came around the corner, alerted by the cawing and that sense of knowing her master was near. "Aisling found them, though, and Aelondrael intends to stay away from them. Can't say I blame her, they nearly undid her fancy hair with how much they were trying to drive her away." The crimson demoness seemed amused by that as she leaned against the corner, "Welcome back my Lord."

Glyph had retreated from the nest and the crow had settled down while Natasha had spoken, Aisling having taken the chair and put back in its place, "I see... So they tolerate Aisling the best?" Both Aisling and Natasha nodded, though their expressions differed - one of interest, the other of relief. "Then Aisling, I want you to watch over them when I'm not in, alright? I will speak to Ankou soon. Please alert me as soon as they hatch."

"Yes sir!" Aisling smiled at him and gave a bow that was echoed by Natasha and the two disappeared back into the room.

Glyph lingered where he was, eyeing the nest he didn't not get to inspect with curiosity. The mother crow, however, stood at the edge and watched him intently, as if warning him off. Chuckling, he waved a hand, "Don't worry madam, I won't disturb your eggs."

The smell of cooking filled the air and he wondered what was being prepared. With a final wave, he drifted further into the room to see if he couldn't pinch a morsel or two.


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The pot of snapdragons he'd collected were in full bloom by the time he'd chosen to stop by Illisia and Xun's quarters. There had been many buds to start but he rather thought the plant looked more appealing with a multitude of little blossoms along the stalks and so had spent time encouraging the gift to bloom.

Glyph knocked on the door then and held the offering of friendship up so it would be easily seen when the door opened. Or, at least, he rather hoped it would be seen - Illisia was awfully tall. He eyed the gift skeptically then lifted it a little further, obscuring his face with the result that only his horn and furry ears were visible.


The knock on the door caught Illisia's attention, away from simply lounging and listening to the sound of the waterfall after a dip into the lake. One long eyebrow rose sightly, and the elf got up, grapping her clothes and putting them on quickly before she went to the door.

She still remembered the first time she'd showed up in front of an human naked. That hadn't been very pleasant.

The door opened about a minute or so after Glyph had knocked, and she wound up with... a faceful of flowers. Still, she knew to who those ears belonged to. "I think you need a bigger plant if you're trying to hide." She teased.


Glyph blinked as he looked over the top of the flowers and shook his head, "I'm not trying to hide. These are for you. They're called snapdragons." He nodded sagely, "Reminded me of you... I thought a house-warming gift of sorts might be appropriate. Besides, your room had so little in the way of plant life and I thought this might help make you, and Xun, more comfortable."

He offered a smile as he held the pot out to her, "Have you been well? I left hastily last time but I did not want to impose upon conversation between you and... the Dragon King." He'd paused as he tried to reach for Xun's 'title' and found he did not know it, causing him to purse his lips in thought. Which king was Xun?


...Well, by all appearances, night elves blushed a deep purple instead of red, if Illisia was to be of any indication. "Ah... ?" She certainly was not used to such things...

An amused, deep chuckle at the back of her mind reminded her that she was no longer alone, and one ear twitched in response.

"They are lovely." What an odd name for a flower, indeed... "We've been fine, and to be honest you weren't exactly intruding much." She gave a light chuckle, and stepped aside to allow him to come inside. "No hightailing it out this time, hm ?"

The room was just as dark as it had been when Forest had first been in it, but it was bigger - much bigger - and the sound of the waterfall would betray the presence of water.


He beamed when she blushed, pleased that she enjoyed her gift, "Ah, if you insist. And no, I won't be 'high-tailing' it out of here unless you wish me to leave or other matters come to light." Glyph's attention shifted into the room as she stepped aside and he blinked once more, "Oh~ You did some redecorating, hmn? This is quite nice."

Pausing a few steps inside, he flexed his toes in the grass and smiled at the feel of it - cool and slightly moist, as if after a morning dew. He never wore shoes any more - there was no need - and he much enjoyed the feel of soil and grass beneath his feet. The sound of the waterfall did indeed betray the water and he glanced in the direction, "Do you have a fountain as well?"

"There was a young woman planting many snap dragons along the edge of the forest I was tending, she gave me a pot. Her name's Adrienne." He smiled, "She complained about not being to grow things but... I suggested she speak to you to learn some of the druid arts if that is alright. She seemed to enjoy gardening."


"Well, I guess you could say it like that." She stepped forward, clearly unhindered by the darkness as she followed the rock path. "I didn't really like how it was before, and Xun didn't really either, so... we changed it."

She grinned as she heard the mention of a fountain. "Ah... not really." Illisia stopped, turning to face him again. One thought was all that was needed for the area to light up just enough to reveal the lake and the massive waterfall.

"Oh ?" There was obvious interest in her tone and in her expression as he told her of Adrienne."That might be an idea... I am not sure how much I will be able to teach her, however. I am... not the best skilled myself." Not to mention that she probably did not have enough time left to teach her of the whole druidic arts.


"Ooh!" He turned towards the direction of the rumble when the lights came up and found himself looking at a waterfall... and a lake...? Glancing to Illisia for a moment he then moved towards it, "This is beautiful, running water is such a comforting sound." Coming to a stop near the edge of the water, he dipped a toe in and laughed, "A little cold though."

He scoffed at her comment, shaking his head, "You've made it far under your own prowess. Your skills are similar to my own right now... probably stronger, all told, and I cannot teach what I am. I've faith in you, Illisia." He gave a little shrug and arched a brow, smile wry, "You are skilled enough to have my approval, my friend. I should think that's proof enough."


"It is." He agreed. "Xun had to have some water around, apparently. It was his idea." She certainly had not thought it possible, until she had seen it done with her own eyes.

"I... will do my best." She said again. If she found the girl, and if she was willing to learn... well, it would not be much, but it would be something, at least. She certainly did not agree that her power went beyond his, but that was such a silly thing to argue about. She'd certainly never cared about how powerful she was or was not, before. As long as her skill was enough to do what needed to be done, well, all was good.

Illisia seemed to finally decide on a spot, shifting to sit on the ground and held her arms up to take the potted plant from him. It would certainly do better outside of a pot. "And what have you been up to ?"


"Oh? What is his aspect? It occurs to me that I do not know." He seemed slightly embarrassed about that but handed over the potted plant as he sat down beside her. Her agreement to at least consider the mentoring made him smile with appreciation and the embarrassment slid away, "Thank you Illisia."

"I have been trying to improve as I can. Testing the bounds of my restrictions as it were." He glanced at his hands then, fanning the over-long fingers as he inspected them, "As grateful as I am for form once more, it isn't quite right yet. And there is so very much to do... I have been trying to restore the forest we first met so that the mortals at least some kind of fresh, clean resource to rebuild with rather then simply just reusing what wasn't turned to dust during Gehenna." Curling his hand into a fist then, he sprawled out, supporting his head with said hand as he lay alongside Illisia.

"It's amazing wow quickly the people around the Pantheon are recovering. Children are actually laughing again." He smiled, "It's very encouraging."


She took the potted snapdragon and settled it beside her, and started to dig a hole, with only her hands as tools. The soil was soft and rich, and easily dug up even with her lack of claws. "He is... the Lifewater of Worlds. He... controls water on earth, I think ? So... Rivers and lakes, I guess ?" She still wasn't quite sure she understood all that.

That is certainly accurate, my dear. The dragon rumbled in approval. You have a keen attention to detail.

It helps that you're in my head, I guess. She replied, amused in turn. Illisia could not read his thoughts as he did with her's, but she certainly knew a few things - from what he actively projected to her.

"Well..." She paused for a moment, as if wondering if she should speak her mind or not. "You... have been gone for a long time, yes ?" All these gods, faded and returned... "It will get better in time, I am sure. You are having a lasting effect... and it's certainly more than most can say." Her attempts at renewing never lasted long, before... before things started recovering again.


He blinked, "Aah, Lifewater. I understand." Glyph nodded then, "Perhaps we will work together then, Xun. Teamwork would prove most beneficial I think." So that was why the name had felt familiar... rivers and lakes were something associated with forests from most any mortal point of view. He chuckled, it was a good thing he liked Illisia and what he'd learned of Xun thus far. It would make co-existing difficult if they did not at least get along.

Glyph smiled at her, "Thank-you. It should get better in time - it is simply frustrating sometimes, to know you can do more but cannot achieve that yet. Ask Xun if you wonder at my words." He nodded then shrugged a little, "It will come, I know. I am simply impatient. Better then loosing track of time, I suppose."

"So, have you spoken to very many others since being here?" He asked, curious enough about her and her well being to gossip.


I will look forward to this.

"Oh, I know that." She answered. If Xun actually could pace in her mind, she was sure he would spend his time doing such. But all things took time.

After all, how long in the time of an immortal was spent waiting ? But these had certainly forgotten such. It made her wonder just how much else had been, but Ti Lung had not shared such matters yet, and the druid knew better than to ask such delicate questions to Forest.

"Hm..." She stopped digging for a moment, looking over the hole she had made, then back at the pot to gauge if the hole was wide and deep enough. "I've met a few... mostly other dragons. They seem to be able to... sense each other, I think ?" Come to think of it, she had yet to meet a godess, hadn't she ?


"The Kings? Or gods?" Glyph queried, "It does not surprise me that the Dragon Kings would know their brothers. We also know our own kind, however. You feel something about another, something familiar. If you are looking for the Dragon Kings, however, Futs Lung dwells in a house outside the Pantheon with at least one rather snippy demoness. I spoke to him when Harmodius asked Judgement and myself or gather glass for Him. Yu should be somewhere in the Pantheon, near the Twin Crown."

He tapped his fingers on the grass thoughtfully for a moment before shaking his head, "I... do not actually know where the other Kings are, or the other nature gods like myself: Desert, Prairie, and the rest. You are the first new Dragon King since I have returned... "

"Though, if I were to recommend others to meet, I would suggest Glaucon who is Judgement, we were comrades in our effort to quell Gehenna and I hold a great deal of respect for him." He smiled, "And Ankou, Spirit Guide, a friend for whom I am tending crows. He travels much, however, so I do not know if you would find him all that easily."


"I have met two.... Tian Yue and Zhijian." She mused out loud. She frowned a bit when he spoke of her being the only dragon king to return since he had, but she did not say a thing. There was no need for Glyph to know... that. It was worrying enough for her to begin with, there was no need to worrying Forest as well.

Xun Jiang, for his part, carefully took note of the information given to him - the location of two more brothers. The two that... he perhaps could truly ask guidance of, the two that had went though the same thing as he had.

"Xun wants you to know he is glad for the information." She settled for a smile again. "He wishes to visit them in the future, and that makes it easier. But you know, I am starting to wonder if there are any goddesses about." The elf teased lightly, returning to this task of digging. She knew better, of course - after all, Xun had mentioned a sister.

"Ah. I haven't spoken to Tian Yue in person, though my host painted a portrait of Zhijian." He noted the frown but mistook it for a thought likely related to the topic at hand - that of meeting other dragon kings.

"You're welcome Xun." He smiled a little, "Especially if you plan to seek out Futs Lung - I hadn't even known he'd taken residence there when I happened upon the home." Amused at the stroke of luck, Glyph blinked when she spoke of meeting no goddesses yet. "Ah. Hmn... Goddesses then. Music, Laughter, Numbers - Echo, Lisana, and Cosine respectively - come to mind. And Karaskis, Lady Fire. I'm sure there are others but those are the goddesses I've met," He paused, "Of course there is Gaia, though I do not know what name she goes by now or where she dwells. The Mother was injured from what I understand..."

He trailed off a little guiltily. If any deity would be one he would visit it would be Gaia... if only to check up on her, and present himself.


"They were both very kind and helpful to me... in different ways." Illisia looked over the hole once more, then stood again, sliding the plant out of it's pot and leaving it carefully aside as she took the pot to the lake to gather water.

Xun wasn't sure if he liked to have his name shortened like that, by someone other than his brother or Illisia, but there was little he could do about it, so he let it slide. Forest did not mean it as an insult, at least.

"One of Zhijian's servants is a prophet... She told me Elik would come here one day." She lowered herself to sit again, pouring the water in the hole before setting the snapdragon there. There was gladness in her tone, but also a certain amount of worry. "She... could not tell me when, however."

"Oh?" Glyph echoed, ears flicking to attention at news of her son, "It means the devastation of Gehenna did not claim him. I am relieved to hear that. One can only hope he returns to you soon..." He trailed off as he realized the reason for the worry in her voice and cast his gaze down. That was right... if he did not arrive before Lifewater claimed her fully they would not be able to say good bye.

Sighing softly, Forest returned his gaze to her, "Did she say where from? Perhaps you could search for him if you knew the general direction from which he was coming."


"She didn't. All she could tell me was that he would come one day." Illisia was certain that Ashoka would have told her if she had seen something else - the pardness seemed to have been glad to help.

She moved earth around to settle the snapdragon at it's new home, filling what part of the hole the earth that the flower had been potted inside hadn't. "But still... I know for sure that he is alive. It's... relieving."


"Ah, that's a shame. Still, that information alone is something to work from." He smiled, "I have been looking as I work but I have haven't come across another like you yet. Let's hope his arrival is sooner rather then later. I am quite interested in meeting your son. Does he follow the same discipline as you?" When she had finished settling the plant, he reached over and toyed with the flowers as he spoke.

"Same discipline as his father and grandfather before him might be more accurate." She mused out loud, pressing the earth around the plant and looking over her handiwork. The open skylight above would guarantee the plant some sunlight... if such things were to be again. It occurred to Illisia that she was not quite sure. "I have learned quite a long time after he has, but... yes. He is a druid as well, but he excels more at direct combat than I do. Which is a little odd, considering that I used to be a sentinel."

Druids were very versatile, which always made it good to have one around.


Glyph chuckled, "I see. Even so, you are both likely skilled in the art of combat then I. My host knew very little in the way of physical martial arts... and I cannot wield the same power as he once did. You would probably defeat me quite soundly." The though amused him and he laughed again.

"Do the more combative druids follow a different regime of training? How does your craft get passed down from generation to generation?" He pursed his lips in curiosity, thinking of questions, "Are the only druids where you come from Night Elves as well?"


Well, Illisia had quite the life experience backing her, which only made it more unfair for the reborn forest. He was all curiosity and questions again, however, and she chuckled.

"A different training, yes. They are more skilled at shapeshifting." She could shapeshift indeed, and defend herself that way, but it was a little awkward. She certainly preferred to fall back on her sentinel training and defend herself the old fashioned way, so to say. "Males were traditionally the only druids, and so mostly they pass on the art - my father and my husband taught me, once they awoke. Many druid sleep, for a long time, within the Dream, but there are also a great deal who remain awake as well. There are other druids in other races... but their culture varies greatly from ours."


Forest blinked, "Shapeshifting? You can alter your form?" The tone of his voice almost seemed to ask a third, silent question of 'can you show me?' but he held his tongue - at least as far as that went. "The Dream? Why do your people sleep?" Hers was a fascinating race, the more he learned of it... and the more he wished to travel to see the Night Elves.

"Mn, I imagine druids would differ across races and worlds." He nodded at her comment as he bit his lower lip, thinking. That would be something to consider when explored Yggdrasil at some point in the future... not all of the peoples he encountered would have the same views when it came to their spiritual practices. The people of Baadris were certainly an example of that. He huffed at that, a frown ghosting across his lips. They had been a stubborn people.


"They sleep to guard it... as far as I know, only my own people do such thing." to be honest, Illisia did not know much of that - had never been expected to sleep that long sleep, and therefore had not known much about it... or what happened within. It had to do with the green dragonflight... but that would only serve to confuse Glyph. "I was never expected to sleep, so I do not know much about what happens within. Druids often sleep for a long time... centuries... before they awaken again, and others take their place."

The silent question was not lost on the night elf, and she chuckled a bit, evening the earth and finishing the planting before she stood and stretched a bit. It was always best that way. Tension in her muscles and shapeshifting did not mix to become a pleasant result. But then her body started to twist and change rather rapidly, the woman showing little in pain even as her body rearranged itself. Mere seconds later there was a feline-like creature where Illisia had been, which sat once more, tail curling into the grass. She'd kept her coloration, her face marking and her characteristic ears, but the rest was distinctly feline.


"They sleep to guard a dream..." The idea was odd to him, but not unbelievable. Perhaps dreams were a connective thing for the Night Elves... and thus worth of being guarded like that. He trailed off, however, as Illisia's forms twisted and shifted and he found himself staring at a rather exotic looking feline.

Suspicious at first - having known only illusions of such things thus far - he reached out to smooth fingers over the feline's head. Blinking when he felt fur and it did not pass through some sort of magical image he chuckled softly, "I see! You're beautiful like this too." After a moment, he moved to scritch an ear - it felt good when he did that to his own fuzzy ears, perhaps she would not mind it either.


"And what were you expecting ?" Came the rather amused inquiry as he laid his hand on her head and looked just the slightest bit surprised. Having to speak through a maw did not seem to hinder her speech much at all.

She flicked that hair a bit, but found herself leaning into the touch, a low purr becoming audible.


Not only did his host shapeshift, but she did indeed purr. How very feline. As long as she didn't start acting like an overgrown house cat and flopped all over Glyph's lap... that would be a little unbecoming, really.

He paused when she spoke and chuckled, "Not this, certainly." A pleased smile settled into his features as she leaned into his touch and he let out a quiet, happy sigh while he petted her, "Are there other forms you can take?"

"A bear and a smaller, faster cat - a cheetah. And a seal-like form for swimming." Those were about those she was good at. Beside the tree. Very quirky of a healer perhaps, but she didn't like the tree. Or being immobile. She was much different from most other druids in that way.

Beside, that would be a little ironic, keeping in mind who she was talking to.


A... tree. Really. He could not help himself - he laughed at that.

Hush, you. Illisia gave the mental equivalent of a pout. Thankfully it was hard to do so with a muzzle, so the gesture did not translate to the physical.

"Ooh." He nodded, "Adaptable to whatever you're doing, yes? What's it like to swim? I... haven't tried to learn yet." Continuing to pet her, he glanced over at the lake with a chuckle.

"Yes. I can adapt to pretty much any situation I might face." Such was the adaptability of a druid.

His last comment, however, seemed to have quite the effect in itself - her lower jaw went slack. "You... don't... ?" Apparently to the elf, that was rather impossible. Glyph didn't know how to swim ? He might as well have admired he didn't know how to walk ! "I..." She shook her head, in an attempt to make the moment pass. "...could teach you ?"


Glyph couldn't help but chuckle at her response and shook his head, "Ah, I'm Forest, not something watery my friend. I simply haven't had the chance to learn yet." He pursed his lips, embarrassed. It wasn't his fault that that wasn't high on the list of things to do! He'd rather not drown himself so soon after returning.... that was really kind of counterproductive.

He almost missed her offer as he pouted and it was a moment before he nodded, "Ah... alright." Glyph smiled uncertainly, wondering if that was a good idea. He'd also rather not make a fool of himself in front of anyone.


But forests had lakes ! And that was still a little ridiculous. Unfortunately for Glyph, that had settled Illisia in mother-mode, and she was not going to let him off the hook easily. Something had to be done about it and she would do something about it, thank you.

"Good thing there's a lake, hm ? And only you and I here, of course." The druid padded over to the lake, shifting back into her own self in mid-step, not quite realizing that she had left her clothes behind in the first shift. "Come with me, it isn't hard, I promise. The lake's not very deep either unless you get too far in."


He blinked, uncertain about her comment about it being just the two of them. That wasn't really true and besides, did it matter? Scratching his head as he furrowed one brow. "You are aware that I can drown... yes?" Glyph had to remind himself to finish the sentence when she shifted back and he found himself staring at a comely night elf backside. He averted his gaze for a moment, thinking she might take issue with the lack of clothing - most did - but when she seemed just as comfortable naked as she was clothed, Forest let out a (relieved) sigh.

Nudity was not an issue for him... he wore clothing to keep warm for the time being, and to keep certain mementos close. After a moment, and having managed to force the slight blush down, he rose and lingered to strip off his shirt, ensuring it - and the treasures within its pockets - was safely set aside where water would not damage his possessions. "It's also cold. I'm not too fond of the cold, reminds me of Winter."

The complaint was weak, however, and he knew it.

He only hoped he didn't prove too inept at this 'swimming' thing.


Indeed, clothes were mostly more the comfort of others and not her own. And for protection when traveling and such. Certainly not a requirement in the comfort of her own home ! Illisia kept on walking, unhindered by Forest's gaze, and turned to look at him, one long eyebrow risen. "And I assume you are very well aware I would not let you drown, yes ?"

Busted.

"Honestly." She spoke with the patience of a mother. "You are more fussy than my son was when he was one hundred. It isn't that cold." She could not quite pick up and carry Glyph in, like she had done for Elik, which would be a little problematic.

...Or perhaps...


Glyph laughed, "I should hope not. It would be a sad day indeed if a druid would allow the Lord of the Forest to drown." Puffing out his cheeks he regarded the water as one might a daunting task. For someone unfamiliar with swimming, deep water was an imposing thing and Glyph was no exception. At least here, he knew, there would be no dangers unless Lifewater had chosen to stock his lake with predatory fish.

He shook his head, "Hey. I am not fussy. Simply mindful of my safety. I rather enjoy being alive again, thank-you." As if to prove his point, Forest stepped into the water until it came to his ankles and peered at Illisia with a glint of challenge in his gaze, "See? I'm not fussing." Unfortunately, with the shadows of the shallows hiding his feet and the woody substance of his lower legs, it appeared he was some sort of plant-man that had been set in the water so the roots could soak.


By all appearances, males were certainly similar no matter the species or status. Prod at their ego just a little bit and... "I find your lack of trust in me keeping you alive a little disheartening, really. The lake's not going to split in two to eat you."

There was an unseen spectator to this whole scene, and Xun Jiang was definitively amused indeed, watching this unfold with great interest.

Progress, certainly, but... oh, was he ever fussy indeed. "Yes, that is certainly the most amazing display of ankle swimming I have ever witnessed." Oh, now she was pushing it, and her luck, quite a bit - it was a god she was talking to, after all, and had it been anyone other than Glyph, she probably would not have dared. Illisia reached out her hand to take. "Come on here. It's not deep enough for you to loose footing but there'll be enough water to show you how to move." Indeed, the water only reached to her waist where she was standing.


"Stranger things have happened." He replied with a shrug, a wry smile playing across his lips, "And I do trust you. I've no reason not to - unless you're implying I shouldn't?"

As her comment however, he flushed and scoffed as he dipped into a bow, "Why thank you my dear, your approval means a great deal." A touch of sarcasm and embarrassment flavored his tone as he straightened. While the water might be up to her waist, it would several inches higher on him, their height difference were so pronounced. "I must also point out that you're a head taller the me, Illisia..."

And now he felt particularly short in addition to feeling awkward. Sighing, he waded forward until the water hit his waist. "Will this do?"


Bah. Alright. She'll have to relent at least on some things. "Yes." This would have to do.

"To swim, basically, you move your arms and legs to move yourself in the water." She could have likened it to flying, really, but Glyph... didn't do flying either.

Which at least was a little less baffeling than not being able to swim.

"Just like that." She moved, swimming back and forth. She was much better at showing than trying to explain things with words, really. "Try it ? Just stay along that line or go back toward the sides and you can always just put your feet down again if it doesn't work out."


He watched as he demonstrated, attentive and focused as she paddled back and forth. Nodding after a moment, he let himself sink into the water more so it supported him more fully, and experimented with swooshing his arms about in mimicry of her motions.

What his efforts got, however, was the typical novice swimmer's more splashing then stream-lined swimming. He moved to stand after his attempt and slipped off a large rock, unbalancing him so much he tipped over and fell against her with an awkward yelp. Trying to catch himself, he twisted and tilted his head to the side so he wouldn't gore the night elf. The motion was successful but not without consequences.

Face firmly planted in bosom, and foliage shoved in Illisia's face, he froze - unsure of how, or what, to apologize for first. Sorry I shoved my face into your breasts was just as awkward as I hope I didn't stab you with my twigs.

He chose, instead to close his eyes and hoped he wouldn't make more a fool of himself as he murmured, "'m sorry...."


The situation had been humorous before. But now it had transcended into downright hysterical. He probably should have felt upset. Truly.

But all that Xun Jiang, Dragon King Ti Lung did at this very moment of his rebirth was laugh his head off.


And you're certainly very helpful. She grumbled toward her dragon, them moved carefully to avoid twigs and to support Glyph with one arm instead of

well.

her chest.

"Are you okay ?" Illisia didn't sound livid, and she had yet to catapult him right out of the lake. That could have gone worse, all things considered.


It was probably a good thing that Glyph could not hear their conversation for as much as he might be flushed now, he would have likely wanted to retreated. With her help, he righted himself and, rather mortified, gingerly brushed the stray leaves that had settled and stuck to her shoulders from the moisture on her skin. "Ah... I..." He brushed her again and backed away, unable to meet her gaze or settled on anything to say, "Uh... You have very... uh, soft skin. I- my deepest apologies."

Dipping into a stiff-backed, formal bow, he kept his gaze on everything but her, and her chest. And the leaves he'd shed on her.

"Apologies." Mopping his face with a wet hand, his ears were tilted back, exaggerating his expression. With some distance between them, he stopped and stood dumbly, unsure of what to do now. He didn't want to leave but he would not blame Illisia for kicking him out of the room either. Letting a breath he hadn't known he'd been holding, Glyph silently offered thanks for the fact that they were alone.


"...I think you broke a twig..."

Akkkkkwaaaaaarrrddddddd.

Well, okay, she'd certainly had worse down to herself (human perverts came to mind) but she figured trying to turn it into a joke would probably send him bolting for the nearest forest, from which he just might never dislodge himself from.

"....That wasn't bad, really ! Just gotta practice a little more, yes ?" Hey, then in doubt, pretend it never happened, right ?

She still wasn't screaming his leaves clean off his head, which at least offered hope in the situation.


"I did!?" He echoed, sounding thoroughly concerned as he reached up to check his branches and did indeed find one hanging at an odd angle. Wincing as he broke it cleanly off, he sighed, "I did. Hmn..." He hadn't tried to reshape his body since he'd taken it over, not conciously at any rate.

With a frown of concentration, entirely distracted for the moment, he wrapped fingers about the wounded limb and slowly managed to 'stretch' the twig back into it's previous form. The buds of small leaves quickly appeared after that and a moment later they unfurled so that his crown was restored once more. That... was surprisingly simply. But then again, he'd only been reforming had been there before. Shaking his head, he smiled then, "There."

Clearing his throat, he was grateful for the change in subject and shoved the piece of himself into his pocket - to be figured out later. He wasn't exactly in the habit of leaving sticks around.

"I... guess so." He replied, still red, "But I will try away from you, I think. I... honestly did not mean to that Illisia. My sincerest apologies..." True to his word, he stepped away from her, making very sure to avoid the rock that had caused all this.


The regrowth made her blink in surprise, but then... Illisia had to figure it made sense. If he could influence plants to grow, why couldn't he be able to do so with his own self ?

"It's fine." Really. Seesh. It wasn't like he had stabbed her or anything. And that was still better than falling straight in the water, which probably would have sent him into panic. And while she was still hellbent that he would not drown in her presence, dragging a flailing tree out of a lake was not high on her list of priorities.

Illisia brushed the few leaves that had fallen on her off, almost comically, then ducked into the water to observe. There, if he fell again, this time she would catch him with her head.

Or something like that.


He nodded then, noting her choice to sink into the water and could not honestly blame her - even if he'd make sure he'd not fall into her again. Glyph would rather not gore a friend.

Settling back down, he tucked his legs up and spread arms, slowly rolling so he was floating in the water on his back. It wasn't so hard, really, once you concentrated - and he seemed to float rather well. That was a good sign.

Again, he kicked and waved his arms, and managed a semi-controlled direction of movement. "This... isn't that hard." He sounded surprised as he spun in circles, toying with motion control. "Feels good too - one you get used to the chill of the water."


"I told you so, didn't I ?" The elf replied, more than a little amused. That was always how it went, really. First they acted like babies then all was fine and dandy.

Boob-planting was optional in most cases, however.

"And see, one day you'll need to swim, and you will think 'Oh, what would I have ever done without Illisia !' Or something like that." She grinned. The elf was more than willing to bet on that one, even if she would likely not be there to see the result for herself.


Laughing, Glyph nodded then tilted his head back to look at her upsidedown, "I definitely will. I can go swimming at the lake now~" Sounding pleased, he sat up and carefully found his footing, amused, "I wonder what your kin would say if you told them you taught Forest to swim. Probably not believe you..."

It sometimes struck him amusing at how the gods here acted and reacted with the mortals among whom they lived with the same intensity of emotion... wanted and wished like the mortals they depended upon and yet, from what he understood, such concepts were awfully hard for mortals to swallow. After all, who would believe you dined with one god or enjoyed a passionate debate with another?

He shrugged then, letting his thoughts fade back into the recesses of his mind and moved forward, "I hardly think that being able to float on my back like a lotus constitutes swimming." He splashed her playfully, "Surely there's more to learn?"

Really, what good did it do to be all high and mighty when he owed his existence to individuals like her? Better to be allies and make his appreciation known then to sit on high and direct from afar in his opinion.

"You've my thanks, Illisia." He said suddenly, more seriously, before he dipped into the water once more to practice swimming.


"They would probably ask me just how many times I bumped my head on the way." The druid answered with a light laugh. Nope, no one would believe her. And if she had not seen it firsthand, then she probably would not have believed it either.

"Oh, there is certainly more." She kicked water back at him in retribution. "But we have to start somewhere easy, hm ?"


"Heh, the only one to have bumped their head is me." He spun around, apparently fond of the one thing he could do decently so far, and watched, "Oh? Then what's the next step my teacher?" Smiling, he waited for her to demonstrate the other strokes and kicks of swimming.

"Well, you flip around and stop pretending you're a lilypad, for one." She teased a bit, suddenly pondering if Glyph's twigs actually flowered in the spring. Then he would truly have been a lilypad. Kind of.

Well, that was a little silly.

"And then you do wider movements with your legs and arms, This makes you go faster." The elf then demonstrated, darting back and forth.


"I'd need to bloom if I were a lilypad," He returned, shaking his head, "And that's a way's off... Spring is some time away. I'm actually loosing leaves right now." Glyph seemed to frown at that as he gazed at the cast off leaves floating in the water. Even if the environment outside seemed to respond only marginally to the seasons, he could feel winter's touch drawing near and he really did have things to do. Working through the lethargy would be difficult.

Brought out of his thoughts, he blinked as she zipped across the water and laughed softly, "I see..." Still needful of air, he wondered how well this attempt would go... if he started to drown himself at least Illisia was there to help him. Thus, he settled into floating face down then turned his head sideways, ears flicking a couple times at the odd half-submerged, half-above water feeling.

He kicked then, limbs slapping the water rather then cutting the surface but it was a only a moment before he figured that part out. Soon enough, he was blowing bubbles as he moved around, more novice playing then experienced swimming but it was a good enough start.


So he did actually bloom. Hm. She wasn't sure if it made sense, or if it was weird. Abandon every preconceived notion, he who enter here.

But then gods had do use for such notions, wouldn't they ?

"Yeah, that's it !" Illisia chirped, encouragingly. Sure, it was lacking in finesse, but that was what practice was for. She could do little about that, really. At least now if he fell in a lake or something he wouldn't sink like a rock, and that was a good start really.


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Where Nergal talks to Glyph about beating him up
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The forest was looking better and Glyph's need to fix and encourage the plant life had softened to the point where he did not feel guilty for just enjoying a walk among the trees. It was quiet, peaceful, and if there was a sky, the light would dapple the ground and mingle with the smells of soil and life. As it was, the forest was cast in sleepy twilight as if caught on the edge of rousing from a deep slumber.

It inspired happiness in Glyph and he often stopped to linger on the pathways as he wandered, trying to explore the reaches that he had not yet taken the time to acquaint himself with. There was a rise, he'd found, that broke the ground some time back and jutted tall and sharp through the forest, providing a wall of rock as a sort of northern border. Whether this shift in the ground was a scar from Gehenna or a predating form was difficult to tell - the soils and plants had all been badly damaged, and the creeping vines had covered the bluff's face since the recovery of the realms. It's top, Glyph had discovered, opened up onto a vast plain that neighboured his forest and made him chuckle at the thought of a travelling falling into his domain if they were not careful.

"Almost back to normal." He spoke aloud as he stood at the top of the bluff observing the expanse of greenery. It was better then before, he knew, though there were gaps and brown spots where new trees were still young. "Patience and time. It will recover." Again, he reminded himself of the need for such things - trees grew over mortal lifetimes, not less - and it was a disconnect he felt profoundly. Somewhere within knew he really ought to just relax but at the same time... the legacy of Malh'reth gave him a distinctly mortal point of few. As a result, centuries almost seemed too long to wait despite his being immortal.

When he left his observation point, he had decided to descend in a different place and back track, add a little twist to his current trek. The face was steep and with few hand holds, he refrained from climbing down as a squirrel might. The last thing Glyph wanted was to break his neck in a fall. Thus, it was further then he had hoped before he came to a narrow winding path that cut across the cliff face. More then once he slipped and more then once he felt as if his heart and lurched into his throat and chosen to take up new residence there.

The rumble of pebbles streaming down the side of a rock shelf heralded his arrival at the base once more as he stepped onto the loamy ground and took a moment to regain his breath. It had been a surprisingly harrowing descent and one he wasn't too inclined to repeat any time soon - he much preferred to have his feet on (or in) the ground.

His activity drew the attention of nearby creatures, however, and the bushes rustled with the motion of curious animals. Chirping broke through the quiet background murmur a moment later and the flash of a brown body tugged his gaze off to the side. Another blur raced across the narrow space between treeline and cliff, darting into the undergrowth. Arching a brow, he crossed his arms over he chest and leaned against the nearest tree, waiting for whatever it was to decide if it wanted to visit or not.

The rustle of leaves above his was the only warning he got before a foliage covered something dropped down onto his head. Glyph yelped in surprise and stumbled, hands going to his head in a reflexive action to pull whatever invading thing it was from his hair and twigs only to realize the creature was grasping his horn for dear life, refusing to be pulled away. When he realized the little leafy, scaly creature wasn't going to claw at his face or try anything else untoward, he finally settled and heaved a sigh, heart racing. "That... was unkind." He murmured, gesturing for the little creature to climb onto his hand as he spoke to it, "You could have at least asked."

He felt the reptile shift on his head and frowned, though he did not move to grasp at it again as he considered the fortune of being alone during such an encounter, embarrassed by his reaction. Had Glaucon or Illisia and Xun, or even Ankou been with him, he doubted he'd live it down. As it was, he'd not breathe a word of it to anyone - Forest did not freak out in his own realm. Not at all.

Glyph's thoughts were interrupted by the creature's decision to climb down onto his arm at last and when he brought it around to look at, he blinked. Before him was an ivy-covered lizard thing... but the foliage, was growing out of the little reptile as if rooted. "Oh! My, you're a curious creature, aren't you? You look like a length of ivy!" Bemused by the other being's appearance he stroked the leaves with his free hand curiously and smiled when the gesture drew a pleased, rumbling sound not unlike a purr.

A chorus of curious chirps sounded from the bushes then and the ivy mimic in his hands tilted its head to the side as if listening. The sharp, loud chirps it issued a heartbeat later were obviously communication of some sort but Glyph had not idea, he only knew that upon that command (presumably something like 'it's safe to come out') nearly a half dozen of these curious plant-lizards came from the trees and bushes and surrounded the young god, all chirping and wanting some attention.

Surprised by their friendly attitudes, Forest laughed and when he bent to greet them, the ivy mimic did not jump to the ground but rather took up residence around his shoulders as if it had claimed him as its own. The satisfied chirp from his leafy friend only served to confirm his suspicions as he ticked the pinecone-like mimics. When he didn't pay immediate attention to the holly-mimics, they reared up and flapped their wings in anxious curiosity quite clearly saying 'my turn!' by their fidgeting antics.

The pale green one that reminded Glyph of mistletoe, however, did not wait to be picked but rather echoed the ivy and took initiative, climbing his sleeve with great agility and took up a position atop his head. It gripped his horn and he laughed, knowing it was using the new vantage point to look out with much curiosity. "Well then, I supposed I've made some friends. Care to join me in my walk?"

Rising, he moved to continue on his explorations and found that the mimics had joined him in the branches and bushes. They moved with great speed and agility and were entertainment in and of themselves, fascinating to watch as they leaped and played and kept pace with him. Even the ivy mimic seemed to curl along the branches it chose as its pathway and if it had not been moving, Glyph was of half a mind that he probably wouldn't have noticed it on casual glance.


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Forest meets Desert.
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Glyph encounters Phaedra xD
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Solo - The Effects of Winter
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It had been a taxing last few months. The times he'd encountered other denizens of the Pantheon for any length of time had been unpleasant - first Desert then Greed and then the haughty Winter. None of which he got along with particularly well. Now that he'd gained some breathing space, Forest had retreated into his beloved bower and taken the opportunity to traverse its pathways again and again. Wandering through its maze was calming, offered a hideaway where he could only be found if he so chose to allow it.

As it was, Glyph wasn't deliberately trying to be difficult to find, not really, even though the lake he was currently lounging beside was so deep into the forest, only determined mortals or those who knew the way would be able to find it with any degree of ease.

Isolation this was not. Surrounded by plant and animal, Glyph felt so much more at home here then in the confines of his room within the pantheon.


Illisia had taken to wandering further and further away from the pantheon, widening the boundaries of her known world so that she would locate herself more easily. And well, she had to admit the peace wasn't such a bad thing. If it wasn't Lindita driving her up a wall by being too helpful, it was running into another of Xun's brothers. Funky genetics, really. He claimed that he had a sister, but she'd yet to find her on pure accident as he did the others. It wasn't that they were bad encounters, not really, but they were a little awkward, with her having to relay whatever Xun wanted to say, She was never quite sure how she was supposed to behave and what she was supposed to say.

She had approached the lake from the other side from where Glyph was currently lounging, completely unaware of his nearby presence as she peered at the water. It looked so clear and nice...

When a quick look revealed no one nearby (oh, how wrong was she), she kicked off her skirt, removed her top, and dived from the top of the cliffside straight in the clear water.


The resounding splash made the god start and he say up, eyes scanning the water's surface. There were no large creatures in that lake, as far as he knew, and it had been serene a moment before. Now... the ripples of whatever had just landed in the water were lapping up on shore.

"Hello!?" He called, crossing his legs as he leaned forward. A moment later he saw a familiar flash of lavender skin and immediately glanced away... then slowly back. There was Illisia, skinny dipping in the lake and really, he couldn't honestly complain about that. Coughing despite himself and hoping he wasn't blushing out of embarassment, Forest rose and waved, trying to get her attention. "Illisia!"

He was quite happy to find her here, a friendly, familiar face he had much to catch up on with. It had been entirely too long and the realization he'd missed her struck him, drawing an awkward grin from the forest god. "Xun!~ Illisia!~ Mind if I come in? I've been practicing what you taught me!" Perhaps she wouldn't mind his joining her?


Illisia cut though the water like an arrow zoomed though air - quickly and neatly, reaching the bottom of the lake before arcing upward to emerge and breathe. The water was indeed as pleasant as it looked, crystal-clear and cool. She had certainly started to enjoy swims more lately, and she could not help but wonder if Xun had anything to do with it.

It was only when her name was called out that she perked, looking around until she finally looked around. "Glyph !" She looked perfectly comfortable, unlike most people would have when caught swimming in a lake naked. It had been some time since she had last seen him, and it was her turn to realize that she had actually missed him.

But most importantly, he was indeed blushing.

He was blushing, and Illisia could simply not resist if.

"If you think you can handle it." Illisia smirked, then dived underwater again.

This was so on.


Glyph huffed at that and shook his head, "I can handle it! I won't drown by default now." He did have his pride, though, and so he chose not to mention her appeal as a distraction that might... detract from an ability to swim properly.

Stripping, he set his folded clothing on a nearby fallen log and waded into the water. Shivering at first, Glyph had to float about and warm up his muscles before he paddled out to where he'd last seen Illisia. His movements were smoother now, more confident and strong as he slid through the water and dove a couple meters below the surface to look for the night elf.

She would likely always be better at swimming then he, but he was not longer a complete novice.


The night elf emerged further back, leaning against a rock to watch. His technique had definitively improved, his movements seemed to come much more naturally than they had done back in the pool in her room.

"You are definitively a good student." She pointed out, keeping a close eye, just in case. A lake, after all, wasn't quite the same thing as a contained pool.

...Well, of course it was not like he was a bad sight to look at either.


Glyph smiled at that and offered a word of thanks as he spotted her and paddled over, "How have you been? I've spent most of my time out here recently, so I feel uninformed, but I've had poor luck, meeting others with.... ah, dispositions that rub me the wrong way. I trust your encounters haven't veen so unfortunate?" He stopped a little way away from where she was reclined on the boulders and let himself float; he'd realized he was actually fairly good at just motionless floating.

"Mostly dragons. It's like I am a magnet." She made a bit of a face, but said nothing else. Not all her encounters had been enjoyable to her, per-se, but it seemed better to not mention it - mountains and forest were somewhat alike in domains, so it would have surprised the night elf if there was a relation there. The last thing she wanted was to upset Glyph.

"Nothing much happened, as far as I can tell."


"Oh? Zhijian's a nice person. And Jin is rather formal. I don't think I've met any of the others in anything more then passing." He replied with a smile, "I assume Xun appreciates reconnecting with his brothers. Are you all accounted for, then? Or are some still missing?"

Forest nodded at that, "Calm, then. That's a good thing. I do know, however, that Desert is returned... and Phaedra likely hates me." He sighed, "And Winter is... a harsher personage then I'd anticipated. Though I'm most out of sorts because Desert has found his way back, calling himself Ashanti." He pursed his lips, clearly at odds with the god. Glyph did not remember much, let alone the specifics, but he'd felt a strong connection to Desert... though that connection had felt more like particularly strong sibling rivalry then of comradeship.

"Be careful of those three, Illisia. I would not want you hurt."


"There are still some missing." There was some lingering sadness in that. Xun Jiang's, most likely. But then she smilled. "But I have met most of them. We will find them."

You need to stop thinking about the bad first, honestly. There was a bit of a 'tsk' sound in her mental voice. That isn't a nice way to live.

...You are most certainly right. He had to admit. This was worth keeping in mind.

Illisia listened to the rest of Glyph's recounting of the events, her ears flattening a little. It was hard to imagine how anyone could actually hate someone like him, to be honest. He had the kind of personality that would have him well-liked most of everywhere he went. It was his last statement that really got to her, though, made her blink and her cheeks light up like a bonfire. When... when was the last time that anyone had actually worried about her like that ? She was the one who usually worried about others.

"I... will be fine." She said, before ducking under the water in a rather half-assed attempt at hiding her deep purple blush. Awkward, awkwaaaaard...


"You may be a powerful druid, but you are mortal yet... and they are unkind gods. Don't let your heart be swayed by them, as my Host was spellbound by Greed. That is not a relationship to be enjoyed." He replied easily, smiling at her blush, "Am I not allowed to worry about you?"

Splashing her with a soft laugh he tried to get her to stop hiding, "No need to hide your blush. I simply wish you well. Though I am sure Xun would not allow harm to come by you, I will also help. My realm is sanctuary for those who seek it - don't forget." Glyph winked then and pushed off the bottom so he kick lazily about, enjoying the waters.

"But on to more pleasant topics. Did a girl named Adrienne ever seek you out? I spoke of you and your profession when she proved interested in gardening. She's a very nice person. I hope you didn't mind that..." It hadn't really occurred to him that she might not appreciate a would-be apprentice until just that moment and he paused, to look over at her with a 'sorry I didn't ask you first' expression.


Elaboration did not seem to help much - the druid had been about to retort that it was her job to watch over people, when she got a facefull of water for her trouble. Hey ! Illisia was quick to launch a counter-attack, an almost child-like pout settling on her lips.

"I met her outside, actually." Illisia answered when she had regained most of her composure. "She showed me her tree. It's a very nice tree, but im kind of jealous you give trees to pretty young ladies, and not old Illisia." She stuck out her tongue at him - far from truly offended. "She... learns amazingly fast. She caught on the concept very quickly. Maybe it's because she's part-god ?" And part aoidei. Confusing family tree is a go.


Glyphs' ears flicked back in a hurt expression, taking her comment to heart as he believed she wouldn't say such a thing unless she thought as much on some level. Kicking nearer, he paused within arms reached and regarded her seriously, "Illisia. By virtue of your loyalties the whole of this forest is yours to shelter and frolic in. ...Were you in want of one? And you may be ancient by most mortal's counts but that hardly makes you less appealing. I find you beautiful." He honestly seemed worried that he'd missed such a thing - wasn't it obvious he'd opened his realm to her? She was a sworn guardian of not just one but all and as such she had the right to take shelter, sustenance, and entertainment from among the boughs and ancient trunks.... And to call him for favours if she was in need.

He pursed his lips, ears perking forward as he tried to think of an appropriate apology. "I... I am sorry I was not observant enough, Illisia. Apologies. I respect you... perhaps I was not obvious enough in my offering of my, ah, protection. Adrienne is responsible for but one tree in specific, I offer you the Forest beyond the single tree. Does that make sense? I don't know if it does... " He was verbally floundering as he sunk lower into the water such that only his eyes, and his leafy twigs were exposed, and blew bubbles of distress, figuring he was probably just making it worse. He hadn't meant to bother her....

"It's good your student is a quick learner." He burbled at length, awkwardly trying to get the conversation back on track.


Oh no... this hadn't meant it like that at all. It was her ears that dropped back now, and she stared at the surface of the water as if it was the most interesting thing in the world.

"Silly..." She whispered, letting him come closer. She... didn't mind it, not when it was him. "I wasn't serious at all..." His comment about him finding her beautiful caused her to blush again, No one had really made her such a compliment, ever since her husband had died. A husband that she had loved dearly, yet had barely known.

"Don't worry so much." She leaned forward - kissing his forehead, and immediately asking herself just why she had done it. Well, at least now she knew not to do jokes like that to him. "And don't be so hard on yourself. I didn't mean any of it. I won't tease you like that anymore." Now that she thought about it, it made sense that it had been likely to strike a cord in him. Stupid, stupid...

"Especially in this case." She agreed. Given that she had no idea how long she still had... "I will not be able to teach her everything, and make her a druid in truth, but... she will know what will be the most important for her."


He flushed as well when she kissed him and smiled at her, nodding slightly in relief, as he took her hand to kiss the top of her hand a gentleman would, "No.. it's okay. I... well, I respect you Illisia, and I welcome your company. Don't forget that." Glyph finished lamely, reaching for words more poignant then that and falling flat. She really did fluster him too easily.

"You will do enough. And what she hasn't learned I will help - perhaps I will have regained some of my glory by then." He offered, hoping that she would take comfort in knowing her teachings lived on, "I assume she will in turn teach others your craft. Not all will be forgotten. I will remember you, she, and Xun. I cannot speak for him but the sacrifice - willing sacrifice of my host is something that I will always keep close. It will be because of him that I found life once more..." He trailed off, fondly remembering the mage.


She let him take her hand, and closed her eyes for a moment. This did certainly bring back memories... "It's been such a long time since..." She opened them again, shaking her head. "No... nevermind. It isn't important."

It was a little embarrassing, at that.

"Even if she doesn't... then at least she will know." Illisia nodded. She had never really planned to teach anybody, so that in itself was an accomplishment. "She is looking for a god to serve, she told me... since she's part-aoidei." It sounded like a causal note, but the druid had her own reasons to bring it up. It would certainly be a relief to see the young girl settled with a familiar, friendly face...


Glyph blinked at that, then smiled as he chose not to pursue that topic. It sounded private and he wouldn't pry. "If that's what you want. I am curious, though, if you ever choose to speak of it." He tilted his head as if saying 'I'll listen, okay?'

"Oh? I didn't know that. Her parentage is something of a mystery to me, I must admit. Does she not serve Love? I thought her patron god was Rio."


Illisia seemed more willing to continue down the latter part of the conversation rather than elaborate about what she had meant. "No, Rio is her mother." Yes, she'd said mother. Having met Love for herself, it sounded all the more foolish, but she managed to say it with a straight face. Mostly.

"Her family tree makes my head hurt." She scratched at her head. "Let's see... Rio had a female host. She fell in love with one of Hunt's aoidei, and she got pregnant. She's one with Rio now, so Adi just calls him mom. He does not look like a girl in any way or state of imagination. Unless being pink counts." Which, in her mind, didn't count.

"Following that conversation, Xun promptly asked me to please not get pregnant." She sounded terribly amused at that. "I don't think he has much to fear there."


"Mother...?" Glyph found himself a little lost at first, though a soft chuckle greeted her explanation, "Ah, I see. It is similar to how Phaedra ensnared my host then. They were lovers for a time, though I believe she saw him more of a toy. But I digress." He cut himself off before he could ramble into something he clearly disliked. "I am only glad he did not get her with child. I would never live that down." The complexity of host and god relationships was something he obviously was familiar with.

"Pink doesn't count," he agreed with bemusement, "Does Xun not relish the idea of children, then? I adore them." It was, perhaps, one of his weak spots. That, and both shiny objects and sweets. A box of candies or a plate of cookies made him truly happy, even if such things were at odds with his element.


Well, that did sound a little messy, she had to admit. Her lips pulled into a tight line at the thought of what would have happened then, but she didn't pry the subject any further. She'd already made him uncomfortable enough, thank you.

"I don't know." Her expression turned pensive then. Well ? Do you ?


The dragon had been silent so far, preferring to leave to two to their privacy... as much of it as could be done with an unseen bystander, anyway. I do not mind them. I would rather avoid such a situation. That had looked plainly obvious to him.

"He says he doesn't mind them." The elf shrugged. "He just wouldn't want them to lose well... me, I guess ? I kind of agree with him there." Adrienne had taken it well, but that didn't mean everyone else would. "But it's a moot point anyway."

Say the night elf swimming naked in a lake. Had there been anyone else there, the scene would have looked pretty suspicious.

'I had meant that more in jest..." He replied after a moment, frowning slightly. "I understand his logic, the loss of a mother would be devastating, I think." Glyph nodded, agreeing that such a situation would be... difficult.

He fell into awkward silence then but did not wish to part company so soon, choosing to float there a moment before his bright eyes flickered with mischief, "Oh! Do you have a moment? There is something I would like to show you... I found them in my walks about the forest." His ears perked forward in enthusiasm, "I think you will like it."


"I know." Beside, she had one son. That was more than enough.

Illisia, for her part, did not seem to share her companion's discomfort, as she swam a few more circles around the lake. She stopped when he spoke again, one long ear tilting toward his direction with interest. He clearly had her attention now, and her curiosity. "Well, I should probably go get my clothes first." Her voice lacked the embarrassment that would usually accompany such a situation, and instead Illisia shot off to the side, emerging from the lake and running back up the cliff, choosing to do so rather than to shift.


He nodded when she spoke of clothing but did not get a chance to speak before she was away and running up the cliff. Had anyone questioned his choice to linger a moment in the water, he would say he was waiting for her... not watching her lithe form at all.

After a moment, he too turned away and returned to shore, finding his own clothing. When he was dressed, albeit rather damp, he leaned against a nearby tree to truly wait for the night elf. He was fairly certain she would enjoy the funny little creatures.

"This way." He spoke when she drew near and turned down one of the dear paths - its winding line now well traversed once more as animals returned. Again the forest seemed to bend around him, though he walked at a leisurely pace, "Are there very many interesting creatures where you come from? What about plants? Like your Teldrassil, for example."


It wasn't long before Illisia has returned, settling back into a walk after she met back up with the god, thankfully clothed this time. She was also a little damp, but she did not seem to mind too much, not even bothering to squeeze the water out of her braid.

There was still that sense of wonder about her again, as the forest seemed to bend to his will once more, but it was more subdued than her initial reaction had been. It did make her wonder, however, just what Xun would be capable of.

"Well, Teldrassil is our world tree." She started to explain. "It's huge, and very high. It takes a few hours to get from one side to the opposite. The branches and foilage are so dense that they essentially act as stable ground - our main city, Darnassus, is built on top of it, and there are a few smaller village. It's got it's own flora and fauna."


"And the flora and fauna? Do they greatly differ from this place?' He prompted, "Though... I would like to see your world tree. It may be a relic of past eons..." Glyph trailed off, though the tone of his voice was thoughtful, as though he were wondering if it might a hold-over of old courts. Teldrassil was not Yggdrasil, and trees fell in his domain... though it might just as easily be the work of another.

"I remember so little." He murmured to himself, frustrated that try as he might, he could not link such a concept to a memory. Still he, seemed to be leading the conversation as well at the walk in a specific direction - deep into the woods, towards the shadow of a bluff that cut across one portion of the forest.


"Nothing that differs too much than with the rest of Azeroth." What had... well, what had differed had been because of the taint that had been taking over in some places, not a natural thing in any shape or imagination.

"I wish I could take you there." And she wished that she could see it for herself, one last time. "But I don't think I can." She had no idea how to go back, for one thing. For another... maybe it was better that way. Maybe.

Her eyes softened a bit. "Im sure you'll remember in time..." Xun didn't remember many things, either, but she did not mention it.


"Ah, I see." A smile was evident in his voice as he paused at one place, calling in a sing-song-chirp that didn't quite match a bird's warble. "Perhaps these will be a surprise to you, as well."

"Once the Sky is returned and ways opened once more, I am sure Ankou would grant us safe passage if you describe it to him. There are portals in the Pantheon which link this realm to the other planes of existence. Through that there might be a chance. I will ask him next time I see him."

As she trailed off, however, an echo of his sing-song-chirp issued from the brush around them and he turned to grin like a child at Illisia. At first only one voice answered his call but it was soon joined by several as number of strange leaf-lizard creatures crept out of the bushes and down the trees. One, a minty green plant-lizard made its dainty way across an outstretched arm and curled around his neck with a chirp of greeting. From its back seemed to sprout vine leaves, marking it as something perhaps half animal, half plant.

Another, resembling a spring of mistletoe, ambled right up to Illisia and stopped before her with a curious sound as it flicked it tail. About the size of a kitten, it was a small, leafy bundle of curiosity that went so far as to paw at the hem of the night elf's robes.

"Aren't they cute?" He asked then, thoroughly pleased with himself, "I don't know what to call them but they use their leaves to hide in the bushes and trees. They're very friendly." Leave it to Glyph to find a colony of curious mimic creatures and adopt them.


Uh ? Okay, now she was confused. She'd certainly never seen any of those portals, who was this Ankou, and why was he chirping for ?

Well, the elven woman got an answer to the last mental question soon enough, one ear standing almost straight in surprise as the sound was actually echoed, and the small creatures skittered out of hiding. No wonder he'd been looking so michevious ! And she'd fell right into it.

"What are these ?" She asked, peering at the one who had taken perch on Glyph's shoulder. One of the pack, a lighter green with it's leaves patterned like mistletoe, carefully started sniffing in her general direction.


"I have no idea. But I think they're adorable and they like me so I'm not about to complain." Glyph replied with a laugh, quite entertained by Illisia's expression. "I found them when I was working on this region not too long ago. One was wounded so I took it back to my bower and nursed it back to health. She's quite appreciated it."

He pet the one that was curled about his neck as he smiled, stepping closer so the ivy-coloured one could take its turn to peer at her. The one that had been pawing at her feet decided Illisia was no longer interested and clambered up Glyph's robes with surprising skill to take its place on his head, among the little branches, and held onto his horn as it chattered to its fellow about his neck. "They like attention, touch, and black berries." He added after a moment, listing the things he'd learned they liked best.


In truth, Illisia hadn't really realized one of them had been pawing at her until it scampered away and climbed Glyph much like if he had been a tree, settling on top of his horn. That was hilarious, she had to admit, with the little creature looking much like if it reached the top of the world. "Ill'd be careful with that, though. Mistletoe over your head often means trouble..." She stated as candidly as possible, before bursting into laughter.

Undeterred by the fact that it's other kin had been overlooked, the other mistletoe came closer, still sniffing at this strange, purple skinned woman. Apparently deciding that it liked her, it then started to climb along her skirt, settling on her shoulder and flicking out it's forked tongue.


"It does?" He asked curiously, tilting his head back slightly as if to look at the creature. It chittered at him in protest and he laughed, reaching up to stroke its little head. Her laughter clued him in and he blinked, quite embarassed, "Oh! I see! Well... if trouble comes with my mistletoe, does your matching friend not suggest the same thing?"

He arched a brow, a wry grin turning the edge of his lips up into a mischievous smile, "I dare say it does."

Around them, the little creatures were chirping and greeting the pair with excited little voices, some even going so far as to scamper up the nearby trees and ride the branches down to look at this new person. They new Glyph well but this purple person! She was new and friendly and so interesting!


"Hm... ?" One long eyebrow rose in confusion before the little lizard-like creature started happily chirping in her ear. It seemed like she had a little companion. "My, my... Well, you see, mistletoe is only dangerous if it's over your head, you see. Mine is clearly under my ears, which makes it under my head, and is therefore completely harmless."

One could say she was probably cheating with such a statement - mistletoe would have to bee quite high in the air in order to be over her long ears. She rose one hand to carefully run across the back of the little creature - there were actual leaves on there, not just limbs patterned after leaves, which surprised her - carefully, with it giving an happy chir sound.

"They're certainly friendly." She looked upward at the mass perched on top of the tree branch. "Good thing that im not carrying any berries, or else I think I might end up buried."


"Then I suppose that gives you the advantage," he replied genially, reaching over to beckon her new friend towards him in the hopes he might elevate it above her head and beat her at her own game. "Is the danger doubled, then, if there is mistletoe above more then one head?" Glyph asked playfully before regarding the pinecone mimic that was hanging at the edge of a slender branch.

"That... is quite possible." He mumbled, entertained by the mental image that gave him, "They seem to have a sharp sense of smell - they always know when I'm carrying some. Maybe we could go pick a few, they're fun to play with."


"Then it becomes especially dangerous." Her ears stood up completely straight, adding more to the challenge and wriggling in a way that could be nothing else but teasing. "Then they're forced to kiss, don't you know that ? But, technically it isn't winter veil, and usually the mistletoe is inanimate, so maybe it doesn't count."

The mistletoe mimic had now discovered something interesting - Illisia's braid, which now was being sniffed and pawed at extensively.

"Well, there are probably some nearby ?" Berries, not mimics. She already know there was plenty of those.


Glyph laughed, "So a single mistletoe allows for optional kissing while two is required kissing? I cannot say that is a terrible arrangement. Winter Veil? Is that a celebration where you come from?" He poked a wiggling ear when her mistletoe friend decided her braid was more interesting then his fingers and shrugged, a smile still on his face.

"Indeed. There's a berry patch not too far from here, where they tend to gather for meals." Gesturing off in one direction, he waited a moment before he started off. His sense of direction was unfailing in the forest, it seemed, and had Illisia asked where they'd started he could easily point out the proper direction.


"Yes, it is." Illisia walked alongside Forest, falling into pace with relative ease. "In wintertime, where families and friends gather and exchange gifts. It is a human holiday, I believe... but we ended up adopting it along with their alliance. A mingling of cultures, I would say. They started worshiping the elders in turn, as well." As they should have a long time before that, but the night elf refrained from passing that judgement out loud. At least now the lack was no longer there.

The little mimic twisted at her braid, almost as if attempting to make a nest out of it, chrr-ing happily as it did so. Illisia either did not notice or did not mind.


The idea appealed to Glyph but he lamented the passing of winter. The elders? It wasn't a huge leap of logic to believe she was speaking of her discipline's leaders, "The elders of the druids? When is that festival?" He sounded quite interested in that one - it was something he could perhaps arrange, as Nergal held the Day of the Dead, perhaps he could host a festival to honour himself and those who held the forest sacred.

The mimics moved along with them, slipping among the branches with ease and cheerful calls. Occasionally a cascade of leaves would fall across them as they strolled, the result of playing lizard creatures overhead. It made Glyph smile. It was peaceful here, and relaxing... and best of all, he was not confined. He noticed deer tracks in the ground not long after and nodded his head to indicate them, "Looks like we won't be alone. The wildlife's finally begun to come back. A vixen had her kits in my bower, rambunctious little foxes. And it seems the deer have returned as well." He sounded proud, glad to see life on the rebound.


"It.... Hm. It happens in spring, at the start of the lunar new year." She really had no idea how it converted to the time of this place. She had no idea how the months and days were even called !

"Im glad." She smiled as she looked at him. It was nice to see a place that was alive again, truly alive in all the senses of the word, having having to deal with things slowly (and then much less slowly) crumbling for what had seemed to be years.


"Start of the lunar new year... I, ah, have no idea when that is." Glyph mused, glancing up at the canopy, and the nothingness above. He sighed, "Not that I think anyone knows. I move by seasons... wet, dry, warm, cold. Summer, Winter, Spring, Autumn. Though I must admit my favourite is summer." Forest smiled, his fondness for the season obvious - it was a time of blooming and fruit bearing and growth. His own twigs, mostly barren over the winter, were budding anew now that spring was returning.

It was a few moments more before they found the berry bushes and he stopped, gesturing at the berries he'd helped to encourage to grow. "There we are!" The mimic lizards left him and descended upon the bush with joyous chitters and chirps as they played or wrestled with one another.


"I can't be too sure either, not in this place." This world did have a similar cycle of seasons... Maybe if she could find a calendar, she might be able to figure it out.

She did smile at his preference of seasons. "Azeroth is a little different like that. There's areas where there's snow all the time, and areas where it's warm all the time, and very little places that actually go through a visible cycle of season. It never snowed on Teldrasil."

The little mimic perched on her flicked it's tongue again and launched down to play with the others, and hopefully to nab a few berries for itself as well. "Ah-ha, look at them !"


Glyph grimaced, "Remind to stay away from the places of everlasting winter, then. I would be a poor Forest indeed. I have said this before, I know, but your world fascinates me." He murmured as he leaned against the nearest tree and the newly unfurled leaves seem to perk at the nearness of the god. He noticed it and smiled, glad for the little things.

Her exclamation made his smile grow wider and he straightened up a little, perhaps proudly, and beamed at his companion, "Entertaining aren't they? I love them. You should see if yours would go with you, mine tend to follow me... though only a few venture outside the forest's borders. Maybe you'll have more luck."


"They're adorable." They played a bit roughly, kind of like the frostsaber kittens tend to do, but it was adorable to look at, at the same time, and it seemed the little mimics knew how to not hurt themselves in the process.

"Really ?" She looked sideways at Glyph. "Wouldn't it be happier here ? But... Hm. Nothing some bribing with berries can't fix, I guess." It would be a little amusing, and to be honest she was growing fond of the little creatures.


"They come back if they're not interested in leaving. It's not like I've put collars on any of them, they're free to come and go as they like." He returned the sideways look, lips quirked into a grin, "Isn't the connection better if the creature knows it has a choice rather then being bound by chains and collars?"

He pushed off from the tree and made his way carefully among the mimics, their play not even slowing as they bounded between his legs. Plucking some berries from the bush, he popped a few in his mouth and gestured for Illisia to join him, "Let's get some berries for you then, hm?"


"Of course." She couldn't help but agree with that. She had such a connection with her frostsaber... The great cat was likely gone now, and it saddened her. He had been a constant, true companion, carrying her wherever she needed to be.

She put the sad thoughts aside for now, at least, and just laughed when he called for her, and she stepped forward as well, careful not to step on any tiny moving bodies. "See, as I say... berries always end up working."


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"Well then, gents, its good to meet you." Sho and Jimbo, the tweed team from the kingdom of stick-up-butt.

"Aren't you a little...white for a name like that?"

Maybe he was raised on the fly by interstellar monks and taught the intimate secrets of wuuwongfu or such.

They provided enough distraction from the layout of the place that she started up the stairs again. The door and walls at the top were total celtic revival, a whole lot gag. Maybe it could liven up with a deathDruid motif.

"Knock Knock, and I'll huff and I'll Puff and I'll blow your house in." She kicked the door, stacatto thuds, leaving black smudges from the soles of her boots.
Hooray, it had worked! She had had her doubts for a second there, but Laurence came through and scooped her up. Being picked up in and of itself was always sort of fun, like a little ride, although the best part was just being close to someone. The still-damp pooka snuggled close, her short tail wagging happily as her sadness evaporated.

She peered curiously at the colorful woman they went to meet, glad to have a good view from being carried. This was so much nicer than staring up at people all the time!

"And I'm En!" she added cheerfully to the men's introductions, though the lady had already begun to continue on.

Sharp words and sharper knocking sounds on the door found their way into sensitive ears. Yu had been curled, half dozing at his Lord's feet when the racket began. His eyes slowly opened only to narrow in the direction of the sound; a low growl began deep in his chest and rumbled up through his throat much the way any dog would respond to an unwarranted, impatient 'guest'.

Slowly he uncoiled himself from the base of Creation's throne, looking to Him with an annoyed expression on his bestial face. "Company..." He pricked an ear towards the doorway again, "Female and impatient." Up on two legs instead of four, Yu would stalk to the door and open it with something of a snarl - unless his master called for him to heel. Of course, Xia Lu Ling would not turn anyone (that wasn't a Grigori) from His door...but he certainly could give them a little pause - maybe impatient wenches would learn to be a little less...abrasive, coming face-to-face with a Monster.


Glyph had descended from the level the gods' room were located with a ceramic bowl full of blackberries and a leafy companion about his shoulders when he heard the thunk of booted feet against the door. Furry ears perked forward then as he paused at the corner to peer at the group that had gathered, their voices drawing his gaze first one way then the other. "Mn?" He blinked, wondering if he'd missed some sort of summons in his preparations to go out for a stroll around the gardens.

The mimic reached out then and snatched the blackberry from his fingers with a mischievous chirp and he frowned at the creature, "Hey." Holding the bowl a little further away to keep the ivy lizard from snatching more, Forest padded towards the group.

As he drew near, the god noticed the woman kicking and frowned. She must be new to the area then... or just exceedingly rude. Coming up behind behind the others, he offered a wave of greeting then popped another berry into his mouth. "Is something the matter?" Interest was plain upon his features and his ears pricked eagerly forward.


A little white. Irritation throbbed in the back of his mind, low and seething, but he bit his tongue even as the woman began to climb the stairs again.

”My host’s name is Laurence—“ The dragon continued patiently until her heels smacked into the door, marring the beautiful surface. There was no hope of even pretending he could calm Laurence now, and the priest would turn to, as gently as he could, push En into James’ arms before he stalked forward, not about to grab the woman, but definitely crossing the lines of personal space.

“You have hands, knock with them.” He told her frankly, not about to stand for desecration. “Keep it up, and—“ And whatever he’d been about to say would never be known, as the door opened. God wasn’t there, probably his polar opposite, really, and Laurence found himself craning his neck back to meet the multiple eyes of a horned, fanged beast that certainly met the description of a demon.

He sensed nothing but threw his arm out anyway, not caring if he caught Hjava in the gut, just wanting to get the woman behind him even as he stepped forward to face the beast, openly bristling. One swipe of those hands would probably knock the wind out of him, but if he could get a prayer off, boost his strength and speed—There was really no time for words as he started to react, ignoring the words of Shuo echoing through his mind.

Laurence, he's not an enemy--!

"I also have other body parts I know how to use. Can you say the same?"

But the door was open and the biggest furry in the universe was on the other side. It didn't actually look like a fur-suit. It made noises like the real deal.
But then she was getting ushered around like a damsel and really she wanted to kick the guy in the nuts for discourtesy. It'd be easy enough, from behind.

But if you had something snarling at you, it was usually better to be the guy in back then the dope in front.

"Is the Lord in, Handsome?" She mosh-yelled it over Sho's shoulder.

James' eyebrows shot up a bit as the female began to kick the magnificent work on the door. Now, there was absolutely no necessity for such a stunt in his mind. He didn't know how she treated her things where she was from, but she was just asking for trouble. When Laurence handed the pooka off to him, the brunette didn't spare a word of disapproval though he knew completely well what the man was going to do. His arms delicately pulled En to his chest, and while he wasn't as warm as Laurence he at least made an attempt to pet his fingers along the crest of her brow.

And then the doors opened, filled not with the face of beauty that he had come to find typical in this realm. It was a monstrosity. Though it was symmetrical, it was beastly and not at all what any of them had likely been expecting. The punkish girl had, indeed, summoned the Big Bad Wolf to the doorstep. James bristled automatically in defense as well, keeping Enekpe in one arm while his other moved for the stungun in his bag. But then, Laurence was throwing himself in, and the gaudy girl back. What did he think he was doing?

And the girl was shouting at the thing, prompting it to come along. James, who was behind her like any sensible beast that thought their hide worth keeping, gave her a stage-whisper. "It might be prudent to ask yourself if you're willing to take on the door-man to see him." He was about two seconds from running himself. But what about Laurence? And Shuo? If the thing seemed rabid, he'd have to do what he could.

..whuuuh. Suddenly, there was a really big, really ugly thing with lots of eyes at the door, and the next thing she knew, she was getting passed around! En tucked her face in James' arm, trusting that, somehow or another, she'd be protected. She hadn't gotten this far just to be eaten!

I don't think there's anything to be afraid of.

As usual, Yu's monstrous appearance had the intended effect; the motley group before him - was that tiny thing...edible? - behaved just as many before them. Save for the girl - she looked like she wanted to spit nails at whomever it was that had stepped forward so gallantly.

Blue eyes narrowed at the person in front of him - a very familiar tingling came from this man! A Brother! Xia Lu Ling would have spoken directly to him in greeting, but...that woman was a harpy, shouting demands at his ears, never mind that the man-with-God was moving to do some...whatever. Presumably to save the "lady" from his claw and fang.

He cracked his great jaws open, skinning his lips back from sharp teeth a moment before answering any of those before him. "Cease your motions, you will not be harmed."

"He," Yu put great weight on that single syllable; intoning awe, reverence and also a sort of "you should know better than to be mocking, young lady" lilt to it. "Is in." Black furred body moved away from the door to gracefully (where monsters graceful?) allow entrance. "Come. All His children are welcome."


The housewife-gone-retro didn’t seem inclined to swagger around him to confront the beast herself, and though her words were loud enough to make him feel half-deaf. Yeah, he knew she was perfectly capable of using other body parts. Her mouth didn’t count though, and had he not been focused on the behemoth before them, he’d have snorted as much.

Black lips had peeled themselves back, though the priest had seen too much teeth in his lifetime to flinch. Laurence, I believe he is a Dragon King. Shuo sounded oddly pleased, delighted to have found another of his brothers, and in such magnificent form!

It was enough to make the dark-haired man pause, wary, uncertain, but trusting the dragon’s words. Then, the goliath spoke of Him, and his shoulders tensed again as the black body slid back smoothly to allow them entrance. Wary, but silent now, Laurence would glance back, ignoring Hjava to search for James and En. Still there, still in one piece. He moved, satisfied, and unconsciously found himself starting to tremble. One hand clamped over the gem underneath his coat, feeling the cotton of his shirt framing the cool metal.

Was He here? Truly? Wordless reassurance pulsed through his mind, and he felt Mang attempting to relieve some of his resurfacing anxiety. He straightened his shoulders in turn, took a silent breath, and searched the room as he moved deeper into the interior.

Glyph had hung back as the door open and the flurry of movement followed, the dark-clad man putting himself between the pale-haired woman and the rest of the group. None of them had familiar faces and they had all reacted strongly enough to Yu that he wouldn't be surprised if it was the first time they'd met the dragon king. It amused him, really. Yu was intimidating, yes, but he wasn't that bad!

Drawing nearer, he slipped around to the outer side of the group, "I don't think he's going to eat you." Glyph remark with a smile, nodding a greeting to those nearby, wondering if they'd notice him this time - he was short, and soft spoken, but it was hard to miss the horn and fuzzy ears and hallmark twigs. The mimic about his shoulder took the opportunity to pinch another blackberry or two and chirped at the strangers. "Hello Yu. I was going out to the gardens when I saw you lot. Is something the matter?" If he could help, he would but as of yet he was in the dark about this group.


And the thing could speak to them. James swallowed a little thickly looking over Laurence's shoulder at the furry behemoth, his anxiety slowly but surely slipping into wonder. What kind of creature was this? So many horns it bore in so many different styles must make for a heavy head but it sure was impressive. Feeling the minute tremble of the pooka on his arm, he reached to run a soothing hand down her spine, scritching very lightly at the fur in an attempt towards comfort. They were going to be alright! And, it seemed, the Creation deity was here in the throne. Most fortunate, seeing as he and Laurence had been prepared to scour every corner of the wide gardens looking for him!

Somewhere behind, another approached them. He also bore a horn, but a single one in the center of his head, ears tufted. He almost seemed to wear a crown of sticks in his hair. "We're alright," He said kindly to the man, not yet aware he was speaking to Forest himself, "Thank you."

But he could not linger- Laurence had started forward into the room. Impatient man! But it gave him an excuse to move. As he meekly slipped by Yu, he gave the Dragon King a soft 'thank you' and pointedly did what he could to hide the fuzzy En against him, as if sensing the creature's intention. To Harmodius, then. Would that loud-mouthed girl follow them?

These creeps jumped at everything, and sure enough, here was no need to worry. The doorman was probably also the bouncer, so keep on the better side of the establishment and it'd be cool. The inside that was revealed by the hulking furbag stepping out of the way was a greenhouse on the greatest LSD trip known to mankind. She didn't even know what a fraction of the plants were. Another gawker crashed the party, sure enough, adding sugar smiles that Fay had warned her about. Wasn't everyone just so damned nosey and helpful here!

She had business to attend that didn't involve the greenhouse tour. She side stepped around Sho, Jimbo, and Twiggy and strode in with a nod a the wall-of-fur. Being at the back of this line was a nuisance.

"Won't be a minute. Lord of the Realm, right? Well, I know how knights and vassals work, gotta present and get permissions to pass the grounds. " She walked as she talked, not patient enough to carry on a conversation with Slaver and remain in the company of her taggers-on. Not like she'd invited them anyway.

Creation sat throned in living, writhing mana, less like to mortal seeming in stature then normal. The plants nearby had ceased to be single entities, wyld forms infused and sentient which moved to fence newcomers some ten feet from the base of the strange seat.

Words came down in majesty, not the tongue of men or beasts, not tongued at all for his lips did not move when it sounded.

" You'll find I'm less of an absolute monarch then that, Hjava."

...it wasn't going to eat them? When it seemed safe, En peeked out to get a better look at the much larger creature. Was it another god? 'Yu' seemed to ring a bell with Kikechum, at least a little bit. And there was Harmodius again! She certainly hadn't been expecting to visit him today, not that she minded. She was pretty much just along for the ride, as it were.

And oh! That new man had twigs in his hair, and a funny little ivy-covered thing! The pooka turned in James' arms to peer at it.

Glyph moved past the Dragon-host man and the other male holding the tiny, delicious-looking Pooka and greeted him; he dipped his head and rumbled out a greeting in kind to Forest. "No, nothing wrong, these people...wished to see Creation." Bodies moved warily past the fur-covered sentry to approach Him; once all were through, Yu closed the door and slipped back to coil his hulking form about the throne again.

Creation address Hjava, Yu closed two sets of his eyes and waited. The mortals were kept away from Him, but the wyld things let him be; Yu belonged at Creation's feet.


Yu-- He caught the name, understood its significance, and turned his head to take in the newcomer, was rewarded with a glimpse of twigs and something like a horn, and long, furry ears--

--but none of it mattered.

He sensed Him before he saw Him, felt ripples of peace settle across his conscious, and the priest sighed before he could help it. Greenery was everywhere, life was everywhere, and though he couldn't even begin to understand the throne that He was seated upon, Laurence didn't look long enough to truly puzzle it out. Pale skin, a flash of bright, brilliant hair, and what looked like a sanguine stain of a tear tracing down one cheek...

Overcome, the man had sank to his knees, bowing his head slightly and trying to keep his shoulders still so they wouldn't shake with joy, with sorrow, with disgust at himself, even being here, in His presence. Likewise, he could feel Shuo aching, burning, needing to lay at his Lord, his Master's feet, to be in his services again, to beg for forgiveness.

The sound of fur sliding against surfaces made him look up, startled only briefly, but it was just... what had Shuo said, Yu Five Claws, coiling about the throne as though to support and protect it.

Let the woman talk all she wanted. Both dragon and host could only look on, their pain both terrible and beautiful as they were finally able to gaze upon their Lord.

"Oh." Glyph responded with a nod, having surmised as much in the sort interval between outside and inside this door.

The mimic felt the gaze of another on it and turned to peer back at the pooka, it's nose twitching and long tail flicking with interest. Idly, Glyph held out an arm so the leafy lizard could get a closer look as his gaze swept from the woman with the attitude to Creation himself. Forest dipped a bow of greeting then but started forward to go investigate the plants that ringed the throne with great curiosity.

He hadn't meant to get involved in anything in particular but these interesting little plant-creature intrigued him and that made this worth while. Crouching at their perimeter, he let the mimic slide down to the ground and go back to investigate the pooka while he offered fingers to the plants and hoped they weren't carnivorous. "Good day my Lord. You keep interesting company today!" Might as well say hello to Creation and his entourage, he hadn't dropped in for some time - was too preoccupied with his own projects in a nearby forest.


Creation's quarters were (aptly, James thought) covered in lush spires of vines and more types of flora than he could count. It was indeed more of a greenhouse than what you'd expect of a throne room. The plants were the tapestries, the drapery, the carpet. James half-expected the hum of bees or the sight of some sort of critters to peek out at them from the thick collection of plants, but he did not look for them. Naturally, his eyes were drawn up and up, to the pale figure that sat upon the formidable structure of the throne. Lord Harmodius, wasn't it? His breath drew short, never having laid eyes on a being more radiant and now having a picture to which all else would fall short in the future. He was a being of scientific intrigue, but for a moment, he found his thoughts fumbling. And yet, he was calm.

Nearby, Laurence sank to his knees. James sensed the motion more than he saw it, his eyes still attracted to the various colors that composed the deity's hair and the aura that seemed to surround him. Of course, his first thought toward the mana was radiation, and perhaps it was, but there was no going back now. He didn't want to. He did fumble a moment before he too, more awkwardly, slid down to a kneel near the priest, figuring in this situation Shuo and Laurence were going to be his model for courtesy. His arms uncurled and Enekpe was delicately placed down upon the thick carpet of clover-like structures, allowed to move off after the ivy dragon as she wished. He, in the meantime, honed in on the conversation that went on between Hjava and the Lord Harmodius, bowing his head enough as if that would truly cause him to become invisible to all. He was a normal-looking man thing and knew there was just as much value in going unnoticed as there was having the attention of another. He was serenely patient. In this time, he took to exploring everything in the room with his eyes, having to tear them away from the Twin Crown with some effort. Undoubtedly, he was exquisite, but he was also stationary and the alien did not need his eyes to listen.

The fuzzy-eared, horned man spoke to Harmodius as if he were a friend, he noticed, and secretly awaited for a response to build a further judgement upon just what sort of a god Creation was.

IT KNEW HER NAME.

Wait, no, that was definitely a guy. Freakin' four stories tall guy packing more then this whole road crew, even doggie woof-woof there, combined could ever want for. The gloow and sparkles s**t throwing off little fairies and plants and who knew what else meant someone must've slipped her a good one at some point. No one just SAW this kinda stuff unless they'd shot a frisco speedball.

"Uh...yeah..."
She couldn't look away, but her eyes were blurred up with tears, so it all got fuzzy anyway. And she sounded like an a**. "I......"

Where had she been going with all this anyway?

" You wanted to humor a farce about presentment. You are accepted here, and may come and go at your leisure. The resources of food and shelter are yours to share in. Trouble no others, and no judgment will be brought on you. This is the dwelling land of the Gods. Heed the advice that they are perilous, wise and wicked both. If you seek guidance, Aris can answer questions for you. "

"Will you guide her? Of similar cloth you are both cut. Mankind's finest gather to start the journeys anew to far kingdoms under the eyes of the gods. "


A man stepped forward, untroubled by the plants, from a side archway of pallid roses. "Hjava, follow me.”

Once set down, she wagged her tail at James in quiet thanks, and wasted no time in going to investigate the strange, ivy-covered creature that had come with the twiggy man. She kept an ear flicked in the direction of conversation, listening curiously, but said nothing. It seemed best not to interrupt without some good reason, which she didn't have.

Yu watched the ivy-creature and the other small-and-delicious one for a moment before returning his disdainful gaze to Hjava. She was irreverent, brassy and brazen - but even she was struck dumb by Creation's splendor; her sharp tongue stilled...those toxic green eyes wide with awe. The Dragon King shook his head a bit and turned to watch Aris coming forth.

"Our Lord has managed to still her sharp tongue, Aris, but beware. It may not last long." He chuckled a bit and then fell quiet; a little part of him wanted to follow Aris and Hjava - the woman was quite an oddity and it piqued his interest...but a deeper, bigger part was most content at Creation's feet.

Plus, sticking around meant he could see what the others wanted. Maybe eat one of them. Maybe.


Glyph looked up when Hjava stuttered and stumbled about her words, mildly amused by the awe that Creation's presence had struck into the visitors. He was majesty and life to look at and for Glyph, at least, it was a pleasure to do so - a reminded of hope and renewal. It seemed she was being welcomed into the fold and so he offered a smile of welcome as Aris stepped forth to guide and answer the mortal's questions.

She probably had a few... once the stun wore off. People normally had a great many questions after spending a little while in the Pantheon.

Glyph caught Yu eyeing his lizard and in turn moved to intercept that gaze with a frown, "He's not edible. I have some berries if you want those instead." Indeed, this small bowl was still mostly full and he arched a brow as he proffered the snack, "Nor are any other of my mimic lizards, thanks."

For his part, the ivy lizard skittered over to where Enekpe was and stopped just far enough that it could extend its neck and sniff at the curious creature without getting too close. A moment later it chirped curiously, cocking its head to the side. Something was different about this one... it took a step closer and chirped again, flicking its leafy tail.


The priest was attempting to keep his breath slow and steady, the sound of Hjava’s voice slowly filtering in through the blood roaring in his ears. From the sound of it, she was dazed now, and he was too overwhelmed to even feel the slightest bit of satisfaction. None of that mattered anymore—nothing but Him.

Amber eyes flickered to the mortal that He called forth, watched him beckon to the woman as though to lead her away.

It was the young mortal that captured his attention, and Mang felt a horrible twisting of guilt that he could not quite place. It felt somehow familiar, a scene like this, but there was that name again, just on the tip of his tongue. Aristo...? He had failed his Lord, he knew it--and that failure extended far beyond being given this second chance.

Jarred out of his slight stupor by the dragon’s puzzled tone, Laurence refocused on Lord Creation, wanting so badly to say something to Him, to confess his weaknesses, but words still wouldn't come. And somehow, that was all right.

It was enough to merely gaze upon Him for now.

His eyes drew back to the conversation at hand when he heard the female stumble for words to say. She'd been quite the bigmouth up until now, even daring to snap back at a creature who could probably snap her when she swaggered right on past him. She had the gall to kick the door of not just a god, but supposedly that of the God. And now that she was before him, he had but to speak her name and she quelled. James didn't see her tremble, but there were tears in her throat. Something in him softened a little, satisfied but in some ways confused by her change in demeanor. Was it her nerves finally caving in on her? Or had she truly been stunned by the visage the deity presented, the aura that seemed to exude from him from on high.

The first Harmodius seemed to tell the girl was that she could cut the tough-girl act, not quite threatening to 'judge' her if she continued to act out. He hailed a man he had not noticed from nearby to help her further, which seemed a dismissal of sorts to him. But what did he mean, similar cloth? Both human? Surely not related. What stuck with him the most, though, was Creation's statement about the gods- perilous, wise and wicked both. This was not the standard of most Earth religions, who held their gods as perfect and above all human fault. If these gods could be wicked, then... the closest he could equate them to would be the theology of the Greeks, the Romans, or the Africans. There were other religions he had heard of that would fit the category as well, but they were not of Earth and this place seemed to be so very similar to that planet that he did not dwell on it for long.

Green eyes slid to their corners to observe Laurence, quite obviously stunned and reverent. He looked like he wanted something, but was too polite to say yet. Creation seemed, at the moment, very formal to James. He had ignored the words of the twig-bearing man, though he wasn't certain if that was because he was trying to address someone else at the moment. Get the upstart out of the way, as it were. Perhaps the twig-man simply was not worthy of attention, but when he looked over to him, the aforementioned humanoid did not seem offended. Perhaps he was used to it, or afraid to. Where he came from, his lords were tyrants. They would ignore or praise as they pleased, offering no respect to anyone but themselves. Even the leader they had assigned to represent his race was a toy. One moment they could dote on it, bolster it, and in the next just toss it aside in a fit of impatience. The Tzech, unlike the Esarians, could be moody. In a way, they were gods with how much they had accomplished. Everyone handled power individually, and it seemed to him that if these were indeed gods, they were power. What had that Yu creature said? That Harmodius welcomed all of the ones he created? But how did he welcome them? Certainly not equally, if the hierarchy of species and the distance between this world and the next was any indication.

As Hjava was ushered off, he lowered his gaze again to his hands. What would happen now?

" So it must be, unfortunate but true, that in this untimely hour I must turn away my children whose eyes and minds should not be profaned by too raw a sight or sound. Here in this sanctum I am less bound. So it is, fair sons reborn of scales covering second flesh.....you come unto me new again and hale. "

"And in good company of strangers who study of our names and ways and would not in truth be whole unmanned by sight of Us. "


Creation stood from the striving mana flows and laid his hand down and out to Yu, palm up in beckoning, " Pillar, it is by my side I must entreat, that I can stand as even my strength flows in this time outward to the many. "

"Welcome, Glyph, and good morrow to you as well. My company is ever strange and wondrous, but no complaint will you find on my part. And you, sirs, kneel so and do not speak. Speak, else I will have no knowing how better to attend you then to hobble as I might to find you softer surface for your joints."


Though the Dragon was watching the two small-potential (but not really) food-sources in the room, he was finely tuned to Creation and the mana coming off him. "Always, Lord." When He called for Yu, he moved, swiftly, to His side. Support called, support given in the guise of a thick, furry head rubbed against the beckoning hand and a solid form that would serve it's purpose beautifully.

The raw mana zinged about the Dragon King and made his fur crackle in a pleasant but distracting manner so that one set of his eyes slowly narrow closed - the other set first turned up to gaze at Creation, then down again to Glyph and the other, kneeling hosts. Yu smiled, fangs bared in a non-threatening way. See? Good doggie.


"Nor will you find complaint in me." Glyph replied to Harmodius with smile, "I think I shall visit more often. My travels take me beyond the Pantheon often of late... the walls can be too confining even in these airy halls. I prefer the wilds, but I think perhaps I should return more frequently. Apologies." He nodded his head, though his tone spoke of an earnest interest to visit Harmodius more, especially if he kept such delightful plant creatures as company - anything of that sphere intrigued the god - and he would not deny that being near such raw, creative essence improved his mood and energies greatly.

Turning from them, then, he looked to the newcomers and bowed slightly, "Welcome! I suppose I should introduce myself. I am Glyph. Forest. I pale in comparison to Lord Harmodius but I have food and shelter to offer if you need it. Leave word with my aoidei behind the door with the golden wood on it." He ran a hand through his hair then, "Just, ah, not the single tree. That's right beside mine and belongs to Xun and I don't speak on his behalf." Another smile then as he met their gazes, "Pleasure to meet you!"


A silence had filtered through the gentle atmosphere of the greenhouse, if it could even be called as much, but Harmodius soon broke the silence. Laurence hung onto every word without realizing it, struggling to understand, to comprehend. Less bound? Was that the reason He had sent Hjava away—as a sort of protection to herself? And fair sons reborn of scales—was He referring to Shuo? And studying strangers could have easily been James.

He called for Yu then, spoke something about His strength, and man and dragon observed with varying degrees of awe as the black behemoth complied and his sleek fur seemed to crackle just from being so close to Him.

Words still failed him as his eyes flickered to the one called Glyph, and Laurence immediately remembered being told about him. The Forest god, just as Illisia had said. He knew his judgment was too clouded to tell whether or not the other was sincere, but he trusted the elfin woman, and would silently bow his head to the Forest. Later, perhaps, when he was a little more focused, and a little less overwhelmed. If he was right next to Xun and Illisia’s door, then it would be a simple, effortless thing to find and meet up with him.

Sensing Laurence could not yet speak, Shuo would lend his voice, and the deep, sonorous tone did not hide the joy he felt. “My Lord.” The dragon breathed, and Laurence tilted his head down a little further, as though to hide both of their shame. “I have come before You to announce my return, to lay myself at Your feet. I am Shuo Huang Zhe, now, Mang. I do not... remember, my Lord, but I feel—I know that I have failed You, in more ways than one.”

“I wanted to beg Your forgiveness.” The priest suddenly rasped, his voice rough with emotion. “For being weak. I never doubted You, Lord, but I couldn’t—“ He broke off, hatefully staring at the floor for a moment until he could compose himself, speaking in more level, almost monotone notes. “I never lost my faith. ...I’ve taken your dragon, and I’ll help him, but only for You. I’ll prove myself to You, again.”

Unbeknownst to Shuo and the others who had gathered in the presence of Creation, Harmodius' first words seemed to eerily reflect some of James' own thoughts. The Esarian blinked with mild surprise, trying to decide whether or not it was truly just a coincidence. It sounded like it could be a statement that simply went with the departure of Hjava, and very well may be as simple as that. Was it possible that a god could read his mind? Yes, he decided, it was not impossible to decipher a mind if one had the proper abilities or equipment. He had known of a species who read the brain waves of one another to communicate. He had a brain, ergo it was possible that Harmodius could read it. Was it likely...? No, not really. Who would want to bother reading his brain? But then, he did mention something about a stranger studying them, and if that wasn't James, he didn't know whom Harmodius was referring to. Just how much did Harmodius know, he wondered, how boundless was his knowledge and how did he come by it? Had he been told of them or, more strange yet, had he been expecting them? Did Creation's power go so far as to shape every part of their existence? It seemed improbable. Was he like the Christian's God, where he was all-knowing and all-powerful? Or was he merely limited to his title, just creating something and letting it go free from there? James wasn't sure and almost wished he could have more distinct proof for either way. But then, all gods he'd ever read about disdained showing their powers upon request. Oh, they would use them to prove a point more than once, but never when specifically challenged.

The god went on to address them all in turn, first Forest, who introduced himself as Glyph. James dipped his head in acknowledgement to the leafy god, mulling over what he divulged to Harmodius. If Glyph traveled a lot, perhaps he could be of some assistance to someone who had travel considered as an option, as well as the intrigue to get started on some sort of geographical map. Perhaps Glyph could also tell him what he knew about certain flora and fauna before James got around to going out there himself. It was something to consider later, so he tucked the god's room location into the depths of his mind and made a note to bother him some time when he was free.

The Yu-creature slunk over to Harmodius in haste, bypassing the plants that had once made to block their passage. Pillar, he called him, and the canine-like creature put his head obediently in the pale hand. So gods could be like furniture to one another? Or just to Harmodius. Interesting. It suggested a hierarchy of gods, then, aside from just Harmodius and the other gods. He'd have to ask someone later.

James perked a little as Harmodius addressed them, his lips drawing thin with wan amusement at the god's statements. Hobble indeed. For them? Perhaps for Shuo, who would mean something to Harmodius as a Dragon King, but not for him. To back the thought up, Shuo and Laurence began to explain their situation to Harmodius and their concerns. It was something he hadn't been told, and something he tried quite hard to keep his curiosity from now.

"Assuredly, Lord Creation, the shape of my joints and my reason for coming here are not so pressing. Suffice to say, my name here is James and I'd rather see Sir Shuo and Laurence taken care of first. Should it suit you, of course." He said carefully, keeping his tone level and demure even as he offered a slight, humble smile.

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Dapper Gekko

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RP with Meep
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Room redo solo

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solo of some kind here

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