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Codebreaking Fairy

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Memories in Music
Morgan meets Music and Tien recovers a memory.


mistalina13
Morgan sat in a chair, the fresh bandage Ishum had wound around her arm after cleaning the scratches lay undone on her lap. She stared listlessly at the stone and the remains of the scratches that flanked it.

It's strange, that so pretty a thing...could be the instrument of my death.

She ran a finger over the smooth surface of the stone and sighed. Tien had been silent the last couple of hours for the most part. Only making the occassional small noises and the fragments of memory surfacing before her eyes.

So much was still shadows...would her little self appointed quest even help at all?


Zero Dream
User Image In the distance, a voice could be heard talking, standing out from the other. A powerful yet soothingly gentle voice, with a melodic quality to it that many mortals would probably have killed to have. It did not take long before the owner of the voice made herself known - a goddess wearing silk robes, her hairs still up in the braids Nergal had made days before.

"Oh, hello." Echo said with a smile. "You must me Ishum's friend, yes ? Would you like something to eat or drink ?"


mistalina13
Morgan jumped when she was addressed. The thought that she wasn't alone here hadn't really entered her mind. "I am." She nodded, smiling softly. "And, no thank you, I'm alright."

Another divine, don't forget to introduce me.

"I am Morgan, host to Tien the Commedia Dell'Arte." Tien's sudden commanding tone caught her off guard. She rose and bowed deeply to Echo.

She seems vaguely familiar...


Zero Dream
User ImageTien... Tien... The name did seem somewhat familiar to her, but nothing in her memory seemed to budge.

"Greetings to you both, then. I am Echo, the Voice of the Countless. Oh, and there is no need to bow, do not worry about it." She said with a smile, almost seeming to be caught a bit off-guard at the gesture. Maybe in the past she had been so used to this, but now, with her soul melded with a mortal... Or had she always been this way ? Her memory gave no answer. And it was a bit irritating.


mistalina13
Morgan nodded and bent to retrieve the bandage from the floor. "It's nice to meet you, Echo." This must be Echo that Crispin mentioned meeting. She stuffed the bandage in her pocket.

Voice of the Countless.....Music?

"You are the Goddess of Music...?" She pushed her glasses up her nose. It was something to do to mask her nervousness.


Zero Dream
User Image"That would be correct." The goddess smiled, and found her gaze lingering a bit. Those scratches... it did seem like the jewel had been forced on her, and quite painfully at that. Poor dear. She seemed so nervous too. Perhaps not quite used to the divine yet... ?

"Well then, is there anything I can aid either of you with ?" Echo proposed again, not wanting to be a bad hostess after all.


mistalina13
"Thank you, we're both fine..." Morgan clasped her hands behind her back. "Tien knew your name...did you know her in the past?" She fell a silent after that and watched Music for a few moments and smiled faintly.

She seemed such a gentle person, like Kishara.

Kishara... The Trickster took another look through her host's memories. You met the Allmother?

Just once...long ago...

She seemed distant for a moment as she spoke with Tien, but snapped back to awareness hoping she hadn't missed something Echo had said.


Zero Dream
User ImageEcho had remained silent when she had seen that the young woman's attention seemed somewhere else - It wasn't hard to figure out that diety and host might be talking, expecially since Zero and her used to do much the same. In the meanwhile she had sat down, and seemed to be in thought.

"It is quite possible. I fear that my memory is not in the best of shape - I seem to remember thing rather randomly. There was, however, a certain familiarity at the sound of her name. Hm." Echo's eyes fluttered closed for a moment.


mistalina13
"Neither is Tien's." Morgan sighed softly and settled herself on the couch again. Yet again she silently questioned why she had started on this wild goose chase.

I wonder how your Dragon is doing?

She grumped, letting her gaze drop to the floor. She missed Tian Yue terribly, despite the short length of time she'd been gone.


Zero Dream
User Image"Oh, I see. You are trying to help her along, then ?" The goddess pondered for a moment, eyes fluttering half-closed in thought.

"Tien, she of many masks, the trickster, hm... The songs seem clearer than they usually are. You see, sometimes, mortals did honor the other gods with songs, not just I..."

Suddenly she had to stiffle a laugh. Oh, THAT, she had issues to truly believe. She would have heard the Underworld king scream all the way from down there if THAT had even happened. "Definitively... interesting. But there is only so much songs can tell me... After all, mortals do not always know the full truth of things. I still do not remember much of my own memory, I apologize."

The lady of masks, oh, how she dared, steal a kiss from Hades ! That was still hilarious.


mistalina13
"The best I can." Morgan fell silent after that, listening to Echo's musings and watching the images Tien's memories conjured.

Tien's presence seemed to have strengthened some since the chat with Ishum. The Trickster seemed to loom in Morgan's mind, like a shadow just at her heels.

Her gaze refocused on Echo in time to notice her giggling and couldn't help but crack a smile.

She of Many Masks... Her voice for once was not so distant.

Another image came to mind, far more powerful this time...

A caress on the cheek, a hand running through her hair. A mask removed. Lips pressed against hers, body enveloped in an embrace.

Green-brown eyes went wide and she felt herself blush.

"Thank you." The voice was similar to Morgan's but not quite the same.


Zero Dream
User ImageEcho did not seem surprised when the voice oh-so-subtly changed, and seemed to pick up what it had meant rather quickly.

"I am glad I could help. The memories may have faded, but most of the songs remains, if I look deep enough to unearth them." One might arge that they where not part of her memory, no... but instead part of her own self as a whole, something too strong to truly erode.


mistalina13
It took Morgan a moment to proccess what had just occured. She had felt her body move, but it wasn't her speaking. The thought sent a shiver down her spine.

Tien...that was you?

Yes. Her presence seemed to lessen a little, the act had taken a lot out of her. Besides, she had a few more pieces to the puzzle, thanks to Music.

"That was...weird." She wrinkled her nose.


Zero Dream
User ImageThe goddess could not help the look of amusement that crossed her eyes at the moment.

"Yes, it is. I remember it was weird for my own host the first few times I slipped and spoke. It gets a bit better with time, I find. At least, it did for us, but you could say my host and I where close."

The words where still engraved in her mind. She had, in a sense, been the mother Zero had never truly had.


mistalina13
"That's the first time she's ever done that...." Morgan's gaze fell to the floor. She certainly didn't have a close relationship with Tien as Echo had with her host.

Such things take time...and we have had very little of that together. The Trickster's presence crept a little nearer, seeming to settle just on the edge again. And I will try to avoid doing that again without warning.


Zero Dream
User Image"It takes time." The goddess spoke, as if she had somehow heard what the other had said. "Time and patience, yes... Oh, do you wish to stay to sleep tonight ?" She suddenly remembered. If so, the guest room would need a change of linen... "Or are you headed elsewhere ?" Her voice betrayed her slight worry - the streets where not safe at night, and she would hate to see anything happen to the young woman.


mistalina13
"That would be nice actually." Morgan smiled faintly and her gaze drifted back to Echo.

Elsewhere can wait until the morning.

"I haven't slept anywhere comfortable in a while." She let out a little somewhat nervous laugh.


Zero Dream
User Image"Oh dear... Then it is the time to remedy that." The goddess said with a gentle smile. Then, of course, she remembered the lovely Lien - where they both so busy that she allowed her mind to wander so far ? She hadn't seen enough of the young girl in the last few days. Oh well, she would surrender her own room to the young girl for this night, then. My, wasn't her place getting quite a bit crowded ? "You can use my room for tonight, as someone else is already taking residence in the guest room." The almost motherly glance Echo sent in Morgan's direction told that the goddess wasn't likely to change her mind, now that she had agreed.


mistalina13
"Alright." Morgan smiled awkwardly as she caught that glance, already feeling bad about displacing Echo from her room. In all actual fact she would've been alright with a couch, it was better than sleeping on the ground under the cover of ruins.

"Thank you."



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mistalina13's avatar

Codebreaking Fairy

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The Music's Room
A night in Echo's home.



Echo seems very kind.

In truth she had wanted to argue with Music to insist that a couch would’ve been more than enough. That look the goddess gave her seemed to say she would accept nothing of the kind. She gave up her own room for the night to a stranger…that is not something many would be willing to do.

Hopefully Destruction’s reign has not been hard on her.

“I hope not either…” Morgan sighed and continued running the brush through her hair. “Do we really have to leave without saying goodbye?”

We must depart early.

I’m leaving a note then, to thank her at least.

Do as you wish.

It’s hardly polite not to, this is her house and her room.

You still have much work to be done.

She tossed the brush back into her backpack and scooted back on the bed, ready to settle in for comfortable night’s rest.

Where is Kaulu?

“I ‘unno…”

Find her, she’ll watch over us while we sleep.

You’re paranoid.

Catious, not paranoid. Paranoid gets you killed.

“Fine, fine!” Morgan swung her legs over the side of the bed and looked around for the serpent, to no avail.

Glasses, remember?

She snorted, got up and retrieved them from the case in her bag. “There, better?”

I’ll be glad when I can rid you of the need for those.

She sighed again and circled the room looking for the fox colored snake. “Kaulu?” The serpent slithered into sight, deep orange scales contrasting sharply against the bed linens. “There you are.”

Morgan returned to her former spot on the bed before retrieving the snake and placing it on the pillow beside her. Kaulu slithered down, sliding below Morgan’s neck and coming back around to rest her head on the girl’s collarbones. She suppressed a little shutter at the feeling. She was used to Kaulu, but the feeling of fine scales against skin was just odd.

A little impish laugh rang inside her mind. Better, child, better.

“Can I sleep now?”


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Codebreaking Fairy

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Introducing the Performer
Asherah explains herself and goes in search of Tien.

mistalina13
Asherah had spent the last few days trying to decide her next move. Nebula's reappearance was unexpected but at least it would free her from this monotony. She craved to be by her mistress' side, where she belonged.

The feline had hidden away in Morgan's rooms once Nebula had reappeared. It seemed the safest place for her to be. But she knew sooner or later someone would come calling and ask the inevitable questions.


Sosiqui
Nebula moved around her room, her hands full of plunder from the museum's vault, and tried not to think of that cursed room any more. The easiest way would be to simply lose herself in Phaedra's constant commands, drone-like... but there was a sort of madness down that road as well.

The goddess was purring in delight over her new hoard. Mostly, anyway. Phaedra kept see-sawing from glee at the finds, to grumpiness at the apparent small size of their catch. That last confused Nebula deeply. Jewels and precious metals and all manner of rarities from the inner vault of a major museum and she still wasn't happy?

Move that one - no, don't shed on it, or I swear I will order you to shave yourself! Phaedra ordered.

Nebula sighed, and moved the appointed object half an inch to the side. "There?"

It will do. For now. Again, satisfaction warred with displeasure in the goddess' tone. Sit. I wish to survey my findings.

Nebula gratefully lowered herself to perch on the edge of her bed. She could feel the goddess rummaging around her remaining eye, taking snatches of sight. The feeling was bizarre. As Phaedra moved and muttered to herself, Nebula tried to think of other things.

Dust under the bed, should clean it... wonder how my Lord's doing... funny little sound in the next room...

... sound?


There shouldn't be anyone in there. Nebula stood up and turned, much to Phaedra's displeasure. Had that woman returned? Ooh, that woman... that woman...

Jealous, are we?

"Shut up," Nebula mumbled, and padded cat-silent out into the hallway to listen at the door of Morgan's room.


mistalina13
Asherah's ears perked at the sound of someone in the hallway. Was someone coming? She stilled herself and listened. The footsteps were too light and there was no rustle of fabric, so it could not be the Worldshield. One of the aoide then?

She sniffed. Perhaps they wouldn't even stop long enough notices noise from this room? Even if they did, there was no reason she should not be here. This was her mistress' host's chamber. If she could no go out and search, this is where she should remain (even if it irked her to do so.)

Her tail tapped lightly against the bedframe as it flicked in aggitation.
She needed to get out of this place if it was possible.


Sosiqui
Maybe it was her imagina-no! She'd heard the soft tap that time. There WAS someone in there. Nebula's fists clenched at her side.

And what now, kitten? Do you suppose it is your Lord and his lover, tangled skin on skin? Hmmm? Phaedra chuckled, and Nebula's tail lashed back and forth. She didn't want to think about that. But no... no. She didn't feel him there.

Maybe just the girl, then...

Another sound startled her, and Nebula realized she'd put just enough weight on the door handle to turn it down some. Just as the person within had betrayed their presence, she'd betrayed her own.

Now what, now what? The goddess was eager, amused, as if if the Aoide's every movement was a soap opera for her amusement.

Nebula took a deep breath. Do what an Aoide ought, ask if there was anything to do, and then... leave, red-faced. She lightly pushed the door open a crack.

"Forgive me, my Lady - is there anything I... can... do...." The scent wafted lightly past Nebula's nose. The same scent she'd smelled on her pillow, her sheets, in her room-


mistalina13
Asherah had risen from the bed as the door handle began to turn, her muscles tensing. Someone had stopped by the door and was opening it.

Very well. Time to get it over with.

The feline smirked when she spotted who had opened the door. Nebula, the one she had pretened to be. And she looked upset by something.

This was priceless...


Sosiqui
Nebula stared. It wasn't her Lord's... woman... at all! The face that met hers was nearly identical, almost, almost like looking into a mirror.

But not quite. Not quite. And just like that, Nebula's shock flashed into hot anger, and she pointed one trembling finger at the interloper. "You. You. You did this."


mistalina13
"I needed to be nearby. Your absence simply gave me an opportunity and I took it." Asherah smirked. "That's all there was to it."

Her tail flicked idly back and forth as she watched Nebula.

"But, out of curiosity, what do you claim I was responsible for?"


Sosiqui
"You..." Nebula snarled, all her fur standing on end. "You stole... me! My place, my Lord, my everything, they didn't even know I was gone when I needed help, and... this, this is your fault!" She jabbed one finger at her ruined eye, the gem gleaming in the socket.

Yes, kitten, and? Show me your anger, show me what you'll do to keep what you most desire! Show me, Phaedra purred.

"I don't know who you are, but... you'll pay for what you did. You'll pay!" And with that, Nebula slashed at the other's face, claws outstretched, aiming to cut across the other's eye. Exactly as had been done to her.


mistalina13
Asherah moved slighly to dodge the blow at her face and reached to grab the Nebula's hand to keep her from trying again.

"I'm an aoide, same as you." She snorted. "We are replaceable, you and I...all aoide are. But our lords and ladies pick favorites. Is that why your angry, that your not a favorite?"

She glared at the other feline and tightened her grip.

"If anything you should be glad your on your way to freedom."


Sosiqui
"Let.. me... GO!" Nebula jerked away as hard as she could, but the other was stronger; she could not break the grip. "Freedom... this is your idea of freedom?!" The pitch of her voice tilted upwards, towards the hysteric. "I am going to die without ever getting what I wanted, and if it hadn't been for you... he would have come looking for me! I would have been safe!"

Naive, Phaedra chuckled, but Nebula was well past caring. She tried to pull away again.


mistalina13
"If he is what you wanted, you have no chance anyway." Asherah released Nebula's hand after another moment, ready to grab it again if the other did anything foolish again.

"If one of them wanted you, they would've found a way to take you regardless." Her tail began to lash back and forth, clearly she was getting irritated.

"Besides, is dieing not preferable to the situation your in now?"


Sosiqui
"How dare you," Nebula snarled, and launched herself bodily at the other.


mistalina13
Asherah snarled, the anger pent up from being stuck in this place was begining to surface. She was ready when the other feline launched herself at her. "It would seem there is nothing left to you anymore..."

She did her best to manuver so as to pin Nebula to the bed, hopefully without too much of a fuss. "...not even sanity." She dug her claws lightly into Nebula's shoulders.

"If you would wish to still serve your Lord before you perish...I would suggest shelving the fantasy that he might see you that way."


Sosiqui
Nebula hissed, then spat in the other's face. "You have no right-"

"What in the name of the Twin Crown Himself is going on in here?" came a sudden sharp tone, and Nebula stiffened. Tian Yue...

And now it gets even more interesting.

"Stand aside-" Tian Yue began, then paused. "Nebula and... I assume the one who served me under that name? No more of this, not in my chambers. Battle elsewhere, later, if you must."

"Lord," Nebula managed, twisting away from Asherah as best she could. "I've found her, the interloper - do something to her! She did.. . she did... much to me!"

"I assume you are under Tien's service, if you are in this room," Tian Yue said, addressing the other Aoide. Much to Nebula's consternation, his voice was not unkind. Firm, but not angry. "May I ask your name, and your purpose in serving as my Aoide?"


mistalina13
Asherah let go of Nebula and drew back upon hearing the Dragon. "You are correct, my lord." She took a few steps back from the bed and Nebula before bowing.

"My name is Asherah, I serve the Commedia Dell'Arte." She drew up again, to look him in the face, clearly unafraid. "I wanted to stay close for when I was needed by my lady...or her host."

The last was added as an afterthought, mostly for Tian Yue's benefit. Asherah had no reason to like or dislike the girl, but her allegiance lay with Tien.


Sosiqui
Nebula stayed on the bed and fumed, trembling a bit with her anger. How could she just stand there and... bow to him and... ! She bit her lip, hard, and got a thin stream of blood running down her chin for her efforts.

And her lord seemed blind to everything Asherah had done! He was even nodding at the whore! "I thought as much, when I found that the Nebula I thought I knew was someone else entirely - it seemed most likely that you were Tien's. Your Lady has gone far afield, it seems. Perhaps you should seek her out. I do not think it would be... prudent to remain here, for now." He glanced over at Nebula, and she stared back at him, trying to communicate a million things with her eyes.

Punish her! Hurt her as she's hurt me! Please!

Such wild desire, Phaedra crooned, and Nebula flushed under her fur.


mistalina13
"That was what I had planned, to explain myself in the morning and depart afterward. I had not expected my Lady to leave so soon." Asherah nodded politely to Tian Yue. "I will ready myself to leave now, if you wish."


Sosiqui
"I think that would be best," Tian Yue replied, far too mildly for Nebula's taste. "Thank you for your service; though it was done under a false name, I have nothing to complain of otherwise."

Nothing to complain of...! Nebula practically snarled at the Dragon, but she managed to choke it down.


mistalina13
"Very well, my Lord. It has been an honor to be in your service, even if it was for a short time and I am delighted to hear I did not disapoint."

Asherah smiled softly. "I appologize for the deception, but it was neccessary. Might I speak to Toki as well, before I leave, to appologize to him as well?"


Sosiqui
"If you like. I believe he is in my chambers, cleaning as usual. Go quickly to your mistress, then. I worry for her host," Tian Yue added, more quietly.

She was going to get away with it. Asherah was going to get away with... doing everything she'd done. Nebula shifted, and hugged her knees to her chest.


mistalina13
Asherah reached down to retrieve a small bag from beside the desk. She had packed it days ago to be prepared to leave whenever it would be required. She slung it over her shoulder and bowed again to Tian Yue.

"Thank you, my Lord."

She rose and slipped past him out of the room and into the cooridor, making her way quickly to Tian Yue's chambers to find the Rabbit.



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Codebreaking Fairy

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Kiss of Death
Someone surfaces from Tien's past.



mistalina13
It was barely after dawn, yet Morgan had woke early to watch the sunrise. There was no point in trying to sleep longer anyway, her dreams were puntuated by the Trickster's memories for much of the night as they had been the last few days after she had left Echo's home.

So much of it seemed to intimate and personal to be shared, especially now that some of the details were less fuzzy then they had been. Though, it seemed Tien did not share the same respect for her host's memories. She went through nearly everything.

There was nothing quite like metaphorically being stripped naked and examined. Tian Yue was right, gods were nosey.

You have potential, but there is much work to be done.

"Where shall we go today?" Morgan extended an hand toward the serpent resting atop her backpack.

Seek out more allies of old.

Kaulu wound her way up Morgan's arm and over her shoulder, letting her head come to rest upon a collarbone while leaving her tail wrapped around the girl's arm, as if protecting her mistress' gem.


Thabara
Someone was following her. In fact Morgan had been followed ever since she'd left behind the security of Music's peaceful little abode, the girl's silly attire making it all too obvious whom it was whose gem she was bearing.

Foolish little Trickster, trying to mold that girl into your role, too soon, too early.

'She' was not the one in control, that was easy enough to spot for him. Her movements were different from what the goddess' would have been, speaking of insecurity, anxiety. That split-second of hesitation before she'd reached out for the serpent. No, that clearly wasn't 'her'.

He hid himself in the shadows of an entrance, patiently waiting for the teen to pass by. The moment she did, his hand shot out, bony fingers grabbing her arm with the strength of iron shackles, jerking her closer.

"Hey thar, Missy," he hissed, a haggard figure barely visible in the shadows. But there was the smell. The smell of cheap alcohol which was not even remotely masking another, much more offensive aroma - the sweet, putrid scent of rot and decay. "I like your snake, Missy. Sell it to me, will ya?"


mistalina13
Morgan nearly screeched when she felt someone or something grab her arm as she passed. She tried to wrench her arm away, to no avail as he spoke.

"Sorry, I can't, it doesn't belong to me."

She wrinkled her nose and did her best to keep her gag reflex under control as she tried again to free her arm. Whatever it was that had her was quite strong.

Death.

What?

Get away from it! Either it's dead, or spends time among them!

Working on it!

"Unhand me."

This was only the second time she had spoken through her host without warning, but these were extreme circumstances.


Thabara
"But, I'll pay you generously, Missy. Very generously. See," he rised the large earthen jug he was holding with his left, its contents splashing, "snake wine is a delicacy I haven't had in Ages."

His dark, practically black eyes lay a tad too deep in their sockets, yet they seemed to burn with an unholy vitality as they locked onto the snake. He could sense the girl's fear and it excited him. It was his time to play games now, his time.

"Unhand me."

There went a jerk through his body when he heard her voice, and his head snapped around to look at the one speaking.

"Tien.."

He practically purred that name. His lips split into a broad, wide grin - too wide, like a shark's - and he finally made a step forward. A haggard figure clad in dirty, ragged clothes; the strands of his long dark hair with streaks of gray filthy and unkempt.

"Hiding behind that girl's face now, eh?" The stranger spat. "Just another kind of mask." His cracked voice was dripping with venom as he lashed out at her. "What is she to you, Tien? A doll, that you dressed her up to look like some poor copy you? You've always enjoyed playing games, though I didn't know that included dolls."

The fingers around her arms even tightened their grip - it seemed absurd, laughable that this gaunt, almost sceletal person would possess such strength, and yet he did - there'd be a mark left behind, at the very least.


mistalina13
Morgan would've jumped and screeched at the sight had Tien not been working to keep her fear supressed at the moment.

"Do you...know her?" She whined when the stranger gripped her arm tighter and her mind started to race, hoping she could find some way to escape this situation.

Careful mine host, it will be harder to run if you are broken. There was something eerily familiar about that tone of voice and that smile. It was not unlike that of a cheshire cat.

"Please, answer me!" Another small whine.

Kaulu in the meantime had wound her way around Morgan's arm, toward the stranger and would make an attempt at biting him if the command was given.


Thabara
"Know her?" His eyes narrowed and the mad grin slowly melted away. "I thought I knew her. For a while. For a while I trusted her. But no one can truly know her. She does't even know herself."

He pulled the girl closer, his black eyes seemingly trying to burrow into her skull, as if was trying to pry upon the goddess within. "Ain't it so, Tien? I'm surprised you even managed to remember your name, lest alone who- what you are."


mistalina13
Forgive me, Morgan. "Who are you?"

Morgan felt as if she had been pushed aside, forced into the role of observer for the moment. The need to escape was overwhelming, yet she had no control. She was caught between Tien, this stranger who knew her and the stinging pains that shot up from her arm.

The Trickster did all she could to shove her host aside, whether she did so for protective reasons or not was up in the air. All she knew was that she could not manage it for long yet.

Hopefully it would be long enough for him to answer.


Sosiqui
Tian Yue was flying again, in dragonshape - he had so many to look for (and so many to not look for) that he had taken to going out every day, in an ever-widening arc away from the Pantheon itself. The past three days had netted nothing much other than the views of more devastation. But now, as he soared, he suddenly caught a weak flare of divine power from below.

What...?

Curious, he angled his flight downwards, peering until he spotted two figures below. They seemed to be struggling, he realized, after a moment. A deity attacking someone else? No... the soft breath of power was not coming from the attacker.

And then he recognized one of them. A chill of cold rage shot through him, and he turned his vague downward turn into a full dive, letting out a bellow of anger as he plummeted towards the pair.

Morgan!

"Release her, or I swear by the Twin Crown I will see you dead in my claws!" he roared, landing in a skid and twining about in one sinuous movement to challenge her attacker. Simultaneously, he thew every shield at his command around the girl.

No, not Morgan, he realized as his power enfolded her. Tien.

But it was close enough for him, for now.


Thabara
The Dragon's sudden appearance was unexpected and he let go of the earthen jug in his right, the heavy vessel smashing to pieces and it's intoxicating content spilling all over the cracked ground - there had indeed been a few dead snakes within. However, it happened less out of surprise but the intent to free his hand to weave an ancient magical gesture into the air, conjuring up a shield of his own. The crackle of the two protective spells conflicting with each other was enough to tell him that the other's shield was quite powerful.

"I know what you used to look like underneath your mask," he hissed into the girl's ear before he abruptly let go of her and pushed her towards the dragon. There was something eerily familiar about the draconic beast, but it took him a moment before he could place that familiarity because it was so diminished in shape and form in contrast to its former glory. Ah. Tien Lung. Dragon King.

"I see you already found yourself a toy to be your knight in shining armor, and the World Shield no less!" He clearly was mocking her, his voice laced with acid. "But he fails, Tien, he fails. The silver city of Tanagra, the continent Pereth D'ain, the underground cities of Laer.. He couldn't protect them." He sneered, his dark eyes settled on the dragon. "I saw the victims of your failures, dragon, I saw them all."


mistalina13
How would you....know that? The Trickster's presenced faded into the background, her saved energy having been nearly exhausted for the time being.

Morgan stumbled, having been forced back into control when Tien's presence retreated. The exhaustion of Tien's outburst rapidly began to catch up with her and she nearly fell back onto the paving stones.

"Leave my beloved alone, you miserable creature!"

She managed to get to her feet again and retreated to Tian Yue's side.


Sosiqui
Tian Yue hissed low at the interloper, flicking his tail protectively around Morgan as she came to his side. "Have you? Well, I have seen Universe bound and branded, and my Lord the Twin Crown grievously injured because I was not there. What are all your names to that?" He lifted his head and stared into the man's odd, deep-set eyes. "The blade-edges of your words are old and broken. I am Tien Lung reforged and you hold no power over me. This girl is under my protection." Bless you, Shaiming, for giving me that freedom from the daggers of Tien Lung's past.

Under Tian Yue's rage ran a current of thought, lightning-quick. Someone from the goddess' past, it seemed - and his as well? But he remembered no such thing. His nose twitched slightly at the smell of decay.


Thabara
The stranger's dark eyes narrowed at Tian Yue's words. 'Tien Lung reforged'?

"I see," he said finally - slowly, cautiously. He'd heard the rumors, but paid little attention to them since he hadn't thought them to be true. "Seems like I've been somewhat out of the loop with what's been going on in the Pantheon. My bad." He grinned, not seeming overly bothered by that revelation. "Explains why you would be interested in her at all."

Her. Clearly, it was the girl the dragon was interested in, not the goddess.

"It doesn't matter," he said, hooking his thumbs into the belt of his pants and proudly raising his chin. "The girl will be gone soon enough. Once She gets stronger, she'll come to seek me out on her own."


mistalina13
Morgan reached over to rest a hand on Tian Yue's neck and she sighed. This stranger was right, Tien was getting stronger.

See if he will give you a name...

"Huh, oh, okay." She murmured. Her hand ran idly over Tian Yue's scales as she let her gaze slide back to the stranger.

"She's asking for a name, care to oblidge?" Morgan pushed her glasses up on her nose with her free hand.


Sosiqui
"If she seeks you out, that is her own affair, and none of mine unless Tien chooses to ask for my protection." Tian Yue flicked a glance over at Morgan. He had never seen the goddess take control before, and the thought gave him a pang of regret as the adrenaline calmed in his mind. But that was the way things worked, as he knew only too well.

The rest of the matter was Tien's alone. He merely sat, ready to protect Morgan if he was needed, but he would not interfere in the goddess' plans. Whoever this exceptionally stinky old man was, he was clearly someone from the past, with his lists of dead names and interest in a goddess only newly reborn.


Thabara
"Fine with me," the stranger said, nodding briefly, the tone of his voice filled with obvious dislike and arrogance as he spoke to the dragon king.

"Depends," he said, turning slightly to address Morgan. Glasses, of all things. No wonder 'She' hasn't made her wear a mask yet.. That was amusing, somehow. "Is there anything, anything you could offer me in return?"


mistalina13
Offer him a favor, Morgan, from me. The feeling of familiarity with the stranger surfaced again. Faint flickers of memory from times of old, still plagued by too many shadows.

"A favor, from Tien." Morgan took a deep breath, trying to stay relaxed. She was grateful Tien Yue had come looking for her, she needed his strength right now.


Thabara
He hadn't planned to disclose anything to her, merely to enjoy himself while he taunted her, mocked her.. But a favor? That was just too good to be true. It also made it painfully obvious that the goddess was still far from being her old self yet - in the days of old she wouldn't have made an offer as careless as this one. A powerful thing, that, a favor - especially if offered by a god.

"A favor, just like that?" he asked, inwardly berating himself that he was probably letting this excellent trade slip through his fingers. "You're not going to try and put a limit on it, or to haggle?" He asked ironically and raised a brow. Why, in Hades' name, was he actually trying to warn her? Guilt perhaps. For the role he had played back then.


mistalina13
"No killing." Morgan continued to run her fingers across Tian Yue's scales to reassure herself that he was actually there. If she was still around when this favor was fulfilled, she didn't want to be a witness to killing.

Were I strong enough, you would not have to deal with this...stranger at all.


Thabara
Fool.

A wicked grin spread on his face, revealing irregular rows of teeth - some missing, some blackened, the ones remaining whole of a sick yellowish color and seeming way too sharp.

Dangerous. Hungry. Shark-like.

Such a fool. Definitely not her old self yet again.

"A kiss it shall be then," he purred, enjoying himself immensely. Oh, he might get stomped on by the Dragon for this, but this borrowed body wouldn't last much longer anyway so he didn't mind.


Sosiqui
Tian Yue's tail lashed once, lightly, then lay still again. He didn't like the idea of that... creature... touching Morgan, and especially kissing her, but... the Trickster's business was her own. It wasn't his place to interfere more than he already had.

But it didn't mean he had to like it.


mistalina13
Her expression slightly, gaze narrowing. If one knew what to look for, they would see a hint of the old Tien. The hand on Tian Yue's scales slipped away. Mine host, I need your help.

You have got to be kidding me.

I wish I was.

At this moment Morgan wished she was gone or at least able to retreat further. The thought of kissing that creature disgusted her.

You owe me big time!

A few steps brought her close enough.

Get it over with. Quickly.

"Very well." The voice wavered between that of the host and goddess.


Thabara
His embrace was surprisingly gentle, but the look he shot at Tian Yue as he peered at him over Morgan's shoulder, the grin he flashed at him, could be interpreted as nothing else but a challenge.

So, her lover was actually sticking to the protocol? How utterly boring, just like a certain someone he knew..

The kiss.. it was short. Passionate, but short. Perhaps because he felt pity on some level for Tien's innocent host who had been dragged into this against her will. It might even have been a good kiss if it hadn't been for the taste of death, the odor of death, the touch of death.


mistalina13
Tien was hit with the same flashes of memory as she had been when Echo had mentioned the masks.

Kiss. Passion. Affection. Love?

So many shadows, so many pieces missing. Not enough answers. Her presence faded suddenly, back to that of a looming shadow.


Morgan's skin blanched and she pulled away, stumbling backward and nearly falling down as she fought off her gag reflex. She couldn't help but shutter.

Is he...dead?

"Now there is something you owe Her."


Sosiqui
Tian Yue quickly shifted to steady his lover, recoiling inwardly even as she did. What a thing to ask for... what kind of history did this man have with the Trickster?


Thabara
"Angmar. It is the first name I bore, and my true one. Appreciate it, for names have power. Unfortunately it is not the one I'm most commonly known by nowadays." He smirked. "Nonetheless, perhaps you will be able to dig something up in that fancy library of yours. If not, there will certainly other chances, other exchanges of favors." The stranger flourished a bow and added mockingly: "Perhaps I will have found a body by then which is more pleasing for your eyes to look at."


mistalina13
Morgan leaned against the Dragon and swallowed nervously. Hopefully there would be no more favors until she was gone. She might as well have been kissing a corpse...which was just...wrong.

Angmar? And old memory stirred, but the wisps vanished before she could catch them. That name was familiar, very familiar. Where does he fit into this puzzle?

She resisted the urge to snort and roll her eyes at that last comment, obviously the pleasantry and mocking were for Tien, not her.


Thabara
"More pleasing to touch as well," 'Angmar' added with a grin, when goddess and girl seemed to have chosen to stay silent. Idly he kicked against the remnants of the earthen jug and the dead, soaked reptiles with the tip of his boot. Shame he hadn't thought of asking for the snake. At another time perhaps..

"Well then, I shall be off," he said, turning and waving over his shoulder. "This hasn't turned out to be as amusing or interesting as I thought it would. Another time then, perhaps when you remember more.."


mistalina13
Part of her was tempted to call out to him, tell him to stay in the hopes of learning more. Perhaps Tien was encroaching on her moreso than she originally thought. She kept quiet and simply stared after him as he walked away.

We will meet again, when I am more whole.

Morgan waited until Angmar was out of sight before looking back at Tian Yue and she couldn't keep the sadness from her expression.


Sosiqui
As soon as the man was gone, Tian Yue curled around Morgan, enfolding her gently in his coils, a draconic hug. "I missed you," he rumbled, softly. "Who was that man? How is Tien? How are you?"


mistalina13
"I missed you too." Morgan leaned against him and sighed heavily. "He is familiar to Tien, that's all we both know." She stroked the Dragon's scales lightly.

"She is...distant and confused." Morgan closed her eyes. "I'm...mostly fine." Considering I'm a few steps closer to dead. She fell silent for a moment, then opened her eyes to gaze up at him. "Can you take me home?"


Sosiqui
Tian Yue looked surprised. "I thought... are you done journeying already? I mean, yes, of course I can take you home... I'd love to have you back, but if Tien needs..." His voice trailed off. He did want her back, desperately so, but the goddess had to be considered as well.


mistalina13
"No. I wanna go home with you." Morgan threw her arms around the Dragon's neck. She didn't care that she was being selfish at this point.

Silly girl, lets go home with your Dragon. Tien laughed then, but her voice had sounded almost sad. What you need now is to train and that can be done anywhere.

"Tien even says I can go home."


Sosiqui
"Well then, with permission..." Tian Yue chuckled and lifted her lightly up in one carefully cupped claw, offering her a step up to his shoulders. "That man... Angmar. He knew some ancient names, very ancient indeed... old failings of the Fading." His eyes were narrowed slightly now in thought.


mistalina13
I knew him...but from where...I'm not sure.

Morgan carefully climbed up onto the Dragon's shoulders and settled herself. "Tien says she knew him, but she can't remember from where." She rubbed the side of his neck lightly. "Thank you for coming for me love."


Sosiqui
"Did..." Tian Yue paused. "Did no one else come for you, then? I had searched, but your... your friend, Ser. She was gone before I even read your note forbidding her to go. I looked for her, but did not find her. Did she find you...?"


mistalina13
"No...no one else did." Morgan closed her eyes. "Ser probably got lost." She sighed heavily, part of her doubted her friend was still alive. Her fingers ran idly over the scales of the Dragon's neck as she tried to banish the bad thoughts.


Sosiqui
"I see..." Tian Yue bowed his head for a moment, then straightened. "Hold on," he warned, and waited for her before leaping up into the sky, twining upwards until they were high above where Angmar had accosted her.


mistalina13
Morgan relaxed the further away from that place that they got. She opened her eyes to look at the landscape. The fact it was so bleak and dead still upset her, but to a far less of a degree.

I wish to speak to your Dragon, once I've had time to regain my strength.

She waited until they were on their way to relay the Trickster's request.


Sosiqui
"Speak to me? Of course - I've wanted to speak to her as well. I would like to know the goddess that holds you," Tian Yue said, with a smile that was only a little sad. The wind rushing around them carried the scent of ashes and dying things.

There must be restoration before too much more time has passed.



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Codebreaking Fairy

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Coming Home
...


It was nice to be home, though she didn’t have long to enjoy it before she succumbed to sleep, though at first she was left on the edge of dreams, listlessly drifting.

Do you need to speak to me?

Just for a moment or two, child.

What about?

There was silence for a moment and a shadow took shape from it. It was far more defined than last time it had appeared to her, more distinctly feminine with the contours of a mask etched into the shadows.

Tien?

Still not quite whole…but better than before. She snorted softly. My memory feels like it’s been put through a ...cheese grater…I think that’s what you call it.

Do you remember who Angmar is?

Only that he is…we were...close. Other than that, he is a faceless shadow, like the rest.

Is there anyone else who might be able to help you?

Perhaps...if we parted last on speaking terms.

Send Asherah to find out…when she comes back?

Good plan, now sleep child, you need rest as well as I. The shadow of the Trickster faded as she released her host, letting her slip into the realm of the Dream Lord.

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One She Thought Was Gone
Asherah Finds Angmar

mistalina13
The feline aoide began her trek through the ruined city in search of her mistress. In two days she hadn't seen any traces nor heard a scrap of news. It was frustrating. Granted her Mistress' business was her own, but she still should have been by her side, for protection at least.

Asherah snorted softly and adjusted the bag on her shoulder. She had long since shed those attrocious frilly petticoats in favor of her more comfortable, closer fitting garments. A charcoal silk shirt, with a bodice, comfortable breeches and open toed flat boots. Her hair was worn down, with a red ribbon loosely tied at the end.

She paused for a moment and sniffed the air. The scent was unmistakable.

Death.

Her tail lashed from side to side as she dropped her bag to the ground and reached for a throwing knife from her sleeve. Something was nearby and she knew it.


Thabara
There was violin music, suddenly, the wild rhythmic melody of a gypsy tune drawing her towards the nearby entrance of a backyard. Strangely enough, there was laughter as well. Asherah could glimpse caravan's parked there, from where she was standing, and a young woman juggling.

The putrid smell of death and decay still remained in the air, stronger now, but it might be much more perceptible to her fine senses than the mortals' for they seemed not to be bothered by it at all.


mistalina13
The feline's ears perked at the music and she wrinkled her nose. I had no idea there were still people here. She replaced the knife and started cautiously toward where she heard the music from.

Asherah made near the edge of where the caravans were and then stopped to avoid being spotted, picking a decent vantage to observe the goings on.


Thabara
They were carnival folks, it seemed, for the caravans were fancifully painted in bright colors - still beautiful, even though the color had peeled off in many places, allowing for rust and decay to settle.

The violin player was not visible to her, but there was another young man wearing simple bluejeans and a dirty t-shirt practicing a poi performance. Some dogs fighting over some scraps of food. A pair of scrawny kids playing with marbles in the dust, and another person sitting nearby, clad in simple clothes and a riding coat which had clearly seen better times, apparently assigned to watch over the children. His face was hidden in the shadows cast by the brim of the large hat he was wearing, revealing only a mass of filthy long hair - much of it grayed - thin lips and an unshaven jaw.

He seemed old, that was the first impression everyone got of him, but his hands moved swiftly - one skillfully wielding a small carving knife, the other shifting around small piece of bone.

"Kitten," he said without looking up, lips twisting into a broad grin, "I see you."


mistalina13
Asherah very nearly jumped when addressed, silently cursing herself for not hiding herself well enough. She took a step out into the open. "So you do." The feline knew better than to let her guard down, even if the old man seemed mostly harmless.

She sniffed the air again, trying to pinpoint the source of the foul scent. Perhaps it was nothing more than a dumped body somewhere in the ruins nearby. At least, that's what she hoped.


Thabara
The carnival folk clearly hadn't noticed her until now, at least they looked startled enough. The juggler missed one of her balls, a bright red one, and it rolled towards Asherah, coming to rest right in front of her feet. Whispers in a foreign language could be heard, indicating there were more mortals than just the few she saw, but the man raised his right hand to wave them off dismissively, and the voices stilled.

Apparently his judgment was respected, and if he didn't think of the strange woman as a danger, then she wasn't.

"Fancy seeing you here, Asherah," the man said. "Looking for your mistress? Lost her again? These people wear masks for there performances, just as she did, but you wont find her here."


mistalina13
Asherah tried not to let the suprise register in her expression. "How do you know who I am?" She couldn't help but snarl a little. Lost her again! This man certainly wasn't what he appeared to be.

Some memory flicked from long ago. It couldn't be...no...there was no way. "Who are you!?"


Thabara
"Come closer, kitten, and I'll show you."


mistalina13
Asherah bent to retrieve the ball that had rolled over toward her and tossed it back to the juggler it came from before she catiously approached the old man.

An uneasy feeling crept over her the closer she got. Something definately wasn't right about him. It coudn't be him though, there had to be explaination for this.


Thabara
The juggler smiled politely and nodded a thanks, but the look in her eyes showed that she was still wary of the stranger.

The smell of rot and decay she'd sensed clearly grew stronger the closer she moved to him, until there was no other explanation possible - he had to be the source of it.

"Now than kitten, will you dare to touch me?" He shifted, one hand motioning at his chest. "Right here.. where the heart should be."


mistalina13
Asherah tried not to recoil simply at the stench. That man was rotting. She supressed a shutter and eyed him suspiciously. Touch him? The feline's tail lashed back and forth and she tentatively reached out a hand when she got close enough.

"How is it you know who I am?" She kept her voice low.


Thabara
He grabbed her hand, as soon as she reached out with it, and pressed it against his chest. Something was strange underneath her fingers, not as it should be.

A hole.

A hole where the heart should be.

"Does that answer your question, kitten?" he sneered. "I should have stitched it up, as usual, but ahhh.. you start to get lazy with age."


mistalina13
Asherah's eyes went wide, her upper lip went into a snarl and she yanked her hand back. "YOU!" Her tail lashed back and forth and her ears flattened. "It shouldn't be possible..."


Thabara
He laughed then, a loud, roaring laughter which seemed to verge at the brink of madness until it abruptly stopped, as if the sound had been cut off.

"There is little that is not possible for me, Asherah. You know which masters I served.."


mistalina13
Asherah hissed and her snarl did not lessen. "You served yourself first..." Her tail lashed faster and her muscles tensed. If it would do any good she would've shreded him on the spot. "...that's the way it always was."


Thabara
"True, that." He seemed rather serious, suddenly. "There was a time once, at which I might have served her, gladly so, had I not been bound by another." There was a small pause before he added solemnly: "And had I been able to trust her."

"So." He pushed up his hat a little, peering up at the aoide with those strange bottomless eyes of his, apparently not in the least put off by the anger she displayed. "Are you searching for your mistress?"


mistalina13
"She slipped away before I was able to approach her." Asherah wrinkled her nose. "Did she happen to cross your path?" It was a risk to let him know that much, but hopefully it would be worth it.


Thabara
"She's always been of the slippery kind, yes." The man grinned. "I've seen her. Shared a kiss with her as well, though she did not seem too excited." He shrugged. "If I tell you, will that gain me a favor?"


mistalina13
Asherah hissed. "I would not be either, with you looking like that." Her tail continued to lash back and forth. "I am in no position to give favors. Nor would you get one if I were."


Thabara
"I'm not asking for anything big. Just.. if you would deliver a thing or two to her, for me? Nothing harmful, I swear that by--" he paused, apparently at a loss by what or whom to swear his oath. "By my heart," he finally decided. "Wherever that b***h has hidden it."


mistalina13
"I suppose I can do that." Asherah relaxed slightly. "Whenever I find her." She quirked an eyebrow. Hidden? The feline knew better than to ask, especially since it was something her mistress had failed to mention before.


Thabara
"Well, her brave new knight in shining armor came to pick her up, that dragon king, Tien Lung. I suppose you know where he lives?"


mistalina13
Asherah nodded. "I do, though, the Dragon has no interest in my mistress, only her host..."


Thabara
He leaned forward, suddenly seeming very interested. Enough, perhaps, to make Asherah regret she'd slipped that certain bit of information. "Is that so?"

She might have been wrong, but there seemed to be something akin to relief in his voice.


mistalina13
"At least as far as I can tell anyway." Asherah snorted softly and shook her head. "I need to return to my mistress, is there a delivery you wish me to make now?"


Thabara
He shook his head. "No, not yet. There are.. things I need to find first, things I need to do first. Later. I'll find you, kitten."


mistalina13
Asherah nodded. "Very well. I must start on my way back now, I've delayed enough as it is." She turned and started to walk back the way she had come.


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Codebreaking Fairy

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Trickster & the Dragon
Tien talks with Tian Yue.

Sosiqui
Tian Yue hummed to himself under his breath as he moved down the hallway towards Morgan's room. It was good to have her back, so good - he hadn't been in the Aoidei quarters much since she'd left. After all, there was always the risk of running into Nebula on the way...

But not this time. He paused for a moment at Morgan's door, then knocked. "Love? Are you in?"

mistalina13
Morgan was laying on her bed and had dozed again only to be jarred awake by the knock on the door. "Yeah, come in." She sat up some and idly groped around for her glasses on the small table beside her bed.

Sosiqui
Tian Yue opened the door and went over to the bed, sitting on the edge next to her and reaching out to put one hand on hers. "How are you feeling? A bit more like yourself once you've had a chance to sleep properly?"

mistalina13
Morgan retrieved her glasses and slid them on. "A bit, yeah." She sat up further and leaned against him. "Thank you, for coming to find me..." Her cheeks reddened slightly and she glanced away.

Sosiqui
"I would find you wherever you were if you needed me," Tian Yue said gently. "How is Tien? I felt her in control when I protected you from that man. She is growing stronger."

mistalina13
"She's been quiet...the last few days." Morgan sighed softly. "Tien can only speak through me...she can't...control my body yet." She did her best to keep the sadness from her voice.

Tien stirred at the mention of her name but did not speak, figuring she would leave Morgan time with her lover. Part of her felt guilty for taking her from the Dragon.

Sosiqui
Tian Yue nodded. "It takes time to gain that control. Shaiming used to exert it during the night, while I... er, Crispin... was asleep. Phaedra doesn't yet- oh, you don't know," he said suddenly, squeezing Morgan's hand. "We found Nebula. The one that dwelled here in her place is Asherah, one of Tien's Aoidei. Did she find you? She set out to seek you. Nebula herself... it's complicated, but in the end she too was taken by a jewel. Phaedra, Goddess of Greed."

He did not mention how very unpleasant Phaedra was, or what had been done to his once-servant.

mistalina13
Asherah...

"No, we weren't approached by anyone except Angmar." Morgan squeezed his hand in return. "It's a shame...about Nebula." She lifted his hand and nuzzled it.

"I apologize..."

Sosiqui
"Yes..." Tian Yue left the rest unsaid - that in a way, it was a relief that the Aoide would be gone, but there was guilt there too. It was convenient for Tien Lung that Nebula would die, was it? Feh... there's honor for you. He shook his head. "It is hard for her. The goddess is one of Destruction's seven; she is not kind."

He paused as the timbre of Morgan's voice shifted, then inclined his head respectfully. "Greetings, Trickster. Apologize for what?"

mistalina13
"For taking your lover from you, Worldshield." There was a tinge of regret in her voice.

Sosiqui
That... that was a surprise, and Tian Yue took one sharp, indrawn breath before shaking his head, a sad smile on his face. "No. You need not apologize for your rebirth. Tien Lung did exactly the same thing to Morgan, after all. I... I will miss her dearly," and he fumbled to hold Morgan's hand tighter yet, "but I do not blame you. Don't feel guilty about it, please. I will treasure her for as long as I can."

He paused. "But... thank you, for the thought. You are kind."

mistalina13
Tien did her best to keep what she said from her host. "I will keep as much of her with me as I can, but I am in no position to make a promise like your predecessor did." That was her small way of admitting she wasn't nearly as strong as the Dragon.

She nodded weakly, but it was the best she could manage. "As are you, strong too, just like she said." There was a tinge of a smile and a mischievous unfamiliar glint in her host's green-brown eyes.

Sosiqui
"I know - I would never expect something. I never expected it before it happened..." Tian Yue trailed off, then shook his head. "What Shaiming did is unprecedented and not likely to be repeated. But... thank you. Again."

His tail flicked back and forth lightly under his robes. "I have wanted to speak with you from when I learned you had chosen Morgan for your own. I am not sure if we met in the time before the Fading. Or if I had... if I would have known." His smile quirked, playfully. "A lady of masks, yes?"

mistalina13
"I cannot recall..." Her head lulled lazily against the Dragon's arm. "Mhm. But it was not to my advantage this time...I cannot remember my true face." She sighed softly.

Sosiqui
Tian Yue's instinctive reaction to the soft movement was to lightly put one arm around her to support her - too late remembering that it was Tien, not Morgan. Oh well. Best to... get used to it, I suppose... "My memory - or, rather, the ancient memories of Tien Lung - are fragmented as well," he said, aloud. "The face you have chosen for now is beautiful, though."

A pause. "... Whatever happens... take care of her, please? I know I have very little right to ask, but I can't help it."

mistalina13
"I will do what I can..." Tien felt a pang of guilt then at the sadness in the Dragon's voice. "...I'll take my leave now, so you can have some time with her..."

Morgan felt herself suddenly shoved back into control as Tien retreated and she slipped her arm around his. "I love you, no matter what happens, I love you and I always will." Her voice was barely above a whisper as she spoke, her gaze drifting up to meet his.

Sosiqui
"Likewise," Tian Yue said softly, bending to brush his lips against hers, a bare touch - making sure it was Morgan there, looking up at her. Once he was sure, he moved to deepen the kiss.

mistalina13
Morgan shifted and reached up to lace her arms around his neck as she returned the kiss.


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Cat in the Shadows
Asherah's Return.


She can’t complain that I didn’t let her sleep. The Trickster carefully pushed her host’s consciousness aside. Even though she will be exhausted, come morning. It was an odd feeling to have a body again, especially since for the moment it required a good deal of effort to move.

She sat up uneasily in bed and looked around, everything was horribly fuzzy. Right…glasses; now where did Morgan put them?


Suddenly a light appeared across the room and the glasses were held up before her, politely offered. “Mistress.”

She took them, carefully unfolded the sides and slid them onto ‘her’ face. Nebula? Squinting she tried to make the face out in the dim light. It was one who wore a similar face to the now host of Greed, another aoide…her own. “Ash…Asherah?”

The voice was the Trickster’s host’s at first and wavered slowly toward that of the goddess, then back again. “Yes, Mistress.” Does she…not remember me? “I’m sorry to wake you.”

“You didn’t.”

“I returned and thought I should present myself promptly, that is all.”

“You survived well, in my absence.”

“You taught me well, Mistress.”

“That is good to know…as I will need your help to rebuild what I have lost. Will you serve me again, Asherah?”

“I never stopped serving you, Mistress.”


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Codebreaking Fairy

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Cat and Rabbit
Asherah and Toki get a chance to talk.


Completed Roleplay


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To See the Starts
Morgan meets Lucius.


mistalina13
You picked a good time to loose your nerve, mine host.

I know...

For once Morgan wished Asherah was not so resourceful in finding out things. She stood facing the doorway to Lucius' chambers and a group of butterflies suddenly began flitting around in her stomach, making her quesy.

"Great..." She muttered and bit her lip.

Go ahead and knock, Morgan, you are not alone in this.

Morgan swallowed hard and lifted a hand to knock.


Ivynian
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The door was, in fact, cracked open to save on playing for hours with getting the handle open. Lucius considered the growing hate he had for doorhandles while he mounted the stairs from the below shop. He'd be better off just removing the handle and putting the thing on a swing hinge. It wasn't graceful, making his apartments like a public room or pub or some other such place. But it wasn't graceful to be seen trying to work a handle and cussing at it in the hall for twenty minutes at a time either.

Well, hello there? There is someone outside my door again. You'd think I was back to my old prominence, so many visitors. I have no ******** clue who she is though. She's human....a host or potential host, perhaps. But why would she be at my door? Just knocking on every door in the hall? Meeting the neighbors? His mouth pulled sardonically.

"I think you'll find that no one is home." He announced his presence as he paced down the hall.


mistalina13
It was a moment before he came up the hall that she noticed the door was actually open. "Odd...." How could she have missed such a thing? The nerdling sighed softly and bit her lip, maybe he wasn't here after all.

"I think you'll find that no one is home."

Morgan would've jumped out of her skin, if such a thing was possible. She hadn't even heard foosteps coming up the hall!

Why didn't you warn me!? Even her mental voice sounded annoyed.

Learn to be more observant... The Trickster giggled impishly and settled back to watch the show.

Morgan looked over her shoulder, offering a brief smile before turning to face him. Skin like a muted night sky...and bound hands. "It's nice to finally meet you...Lucius..." Her tone was soft and gentle, if a little timid.

The warm smile reappeared on her lips and she bowed politely. Even though he was bound, he was still magnificent. She couldn't help but be a little in awe.

The WorldShield has good taste...


Ivynian
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"You know me, but I'm afraid I require the courtesy of an introduction from you." Host or potential host for certain. She didn't have the mannerisms of an Aoide, and mortals had neither reason nor knowledge to know his name anymore. He doubted that any follower of the other gods would be filled in regarding him either. Out of sight, out of mind.


mistalina13
"My name is Morgan, host to Tien, Commedia Dell'Arte. I wanted to meet you because your important to the one I love." She smiled still as the greeting was offered.

But the grin turned impish as the Trickster greeted the bound god. "Greetings, Universe." The Trickster retreated back afterward, content to just listen for the moment.


Ivynian
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Because I'm what? That was hardly a thorough introduction. Why add that onto the end at all if you aren't going to explain any further?

The title she gave didn't mean much to him at the moment, either, but name and the word host struck true enough. "Again, you have me at a disadvantage. Who exactly do you intimate? I am not important to many. "

The fledging reborn in her had a familiar voice, something that rang in his memories like laughter and warm evenings spent with entertainment and coy plotting. Commedia....art of comedy? Something to do with that. Well, I've always been said to have a sense of humor, whether it was benignly said or no.


mistalina13
"My lover's name is Tian Yue...at least...it is now." Morgan's smile lessened a little. "He is Tien Lung, Worldshield." She bit down on her lower lip lightly to try and keep her focus away from her thoughts.

Calm yourself and don't dwell on what can't be changed.

After a moment or two her smile brightened again. "I only wish we could've met sooner." It wasn't the whole truth, but it would do.


Ivynian
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"Tian Yue? I see. Tien Lung and Shaiming of old.

Well this would have had potential to be nasty in a previous life. He wasn't certain if his chest ached or not. Memory was there, all their times entwined as flickered light and scale, their games and puzzles. The solving of hearts riddles and betrothal to each other. The happy ceremony, Gaia had wrapped cord woven of AllColour about their wrists.

His choker.

And it was returned now, and they had spoken some, tiptoed around each other in an unfamiliar dance. What were they to each other now? But here was a mortal that was lover to him?

"'It is now'?...Well, you have the problem of time on your hands, that is for certain, if you are a host. Enjoy him as you may, Morgan. Were you likewise attached to the boy that was his host? Crispin, I think it was?"


mistalina13
"I was...and still am in a way." It was shyly but willingly admitted. She missed the time when she did not have to share nearly as much, when there were no old memories to compete with. "I miss him."

She blushed faintly and glanced away.

"...and soon it will be my turn to disapear from his life." Morgan wrang her hands nervously. "After I am gone, do what you can to not let him fall into sorrow..." She sighed softly and her eyes closed.

It was a bold request to make of Universe and she knew it, but she did not want Tian Yue to be alone.


Ivynian
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"Well aren't you bold, for mumbling to your hands. We've only just re-met in this life."

"The Dragon Kings have each other, closer then any other kin among us supposedly, and beloved by Harmodius himself. He hardly has need of me. Besides" Lucius' rested a fist on his hip, jutted in contraposto. "As you said, that creature is Tian Yue. Shaiming was my lover, in days dead. We have no claims for each other, nor are responsible for each other."

It was mostly just spite. Some human host begging strangeness of him that he hadn't even sorted out himself. Let alone they'd only just introduced themselves. How very like a mortal, to ask for something without previous acquaintance and just expect to be given it. That would be the sort that Tien Lung would pick up for his bed. Simpering.

"So you sought me out to ask me to look over your ******** buddy when you die, because you were too foolish to steer clear of jewels and are now paying the price for it? That's hardly just wanting to meet me. Shall I move stars and nebula for your benefit as well, to commemorate our first encounter? Would you like comets to shower when you die? "

This was hardly necessary. He could feel the brand hot in his blood.

"Look, Morgan. Tell me why I should care? He is not my lover. We have spoken only barely in this life, and I certainly don't know a thing about you. Why do you come to me? Do you know why I am marked? I love Creation, not his dragon Worldshield. " His tone gentled, "I have paid for my love. Then and now....bound many times over. I don't ever want to love again, I think. I want to be free. "


mistalina13
Morgan did her best not to let his tone rile her. "I only ask because he speaks well of you." She snorted softly. "Besides, companionship might do you both some good." It might take the edge off your cynicism for one. A hand went to her hip, almost mimicking Lucius' pose.

"Being marked doesn't change who you are." She kept her tone even and gentle. "Everyone who has loved has paid...Lucius. It's just when you find the right person, the cost seems worth it and it's no longer a binding...or a prison...its freedom." It was a very mortal view of things and part of her expected a biting backlash from Lucius for it.


Ivynian
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*Companionship do us both some good? Well, that doesn't speak very highly of you as a 'lover' if he needs companionship when he does already have you.*

"Meaningless. You give me no rhetoric I haven't already heard."

"If there is nothing else, Morgan? I wish you the best with the Dragon, as yourself and perhaps continuing if you become one with your god. And to your god, Trickery....well met. I look forward to sometime coordinating something wonderful with you in the future. I have always been a fan."

Her words seemed less like argument and more like advice, as if he had asked for advice. Though he supposed to the self-important mortal mind any such invitation smacking of that sort of personal nature would be so construed. Pretentious girl, that she dared. To a diety. When she claimed to be lover to another. When she was a host! She should no better her place in the hierarchy of the World, but there she stood in mock stance as if she had wisdom more then her years about how he should carry himself through Life, Himself, and Everything.

They would not be friends.


mistalina13
Morgan nodded politely. "As I am sure she would wish to cross paths with you again." She reached back to nudge his door open for him a little further before starting back down the hall toward Tian Yue's rooms. The Dragon was right, he was certainly handsome, but arrogant and cynical as hell. Perhaps with more time and friendships he'd learn otherwise.


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Codebreaking Fairy

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Bird of Bones
or a Gift from the Shadow.



It was on the on the way back from her visit with Universe that she stumbled over something. A small basket draped in back fabric. “What’s this?” Morgan bent down and pushed the fabric back.

Chirp.

She jumped. “The hell?!”

A bird.

”That’s not like any bird I’ve ever seen…it’s got wings on its head.”

Chirp.

“It is cute though.” Morgan reached into the basket and gently petted the bird.

There’s a note.

“Huh…oh.” She picked up the small card. It bore a message, written in black ink in an elegant hand.


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The Note
May this remind of times past, and holidays long forgotten by all but we.

Weaver of Shadows


Weaver of Shadows…Melanctha. You’ve awakened, my old friend?


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Codebreaking Fairy

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Daggers Crossed
...


At the request of her Mistress Asherah had scrounged to find two good pairs of daggers and now they were finally being put to use. The how, however, the aoide had tried to protest against. Currently she was being using as a practice dueling opponent.

The feline aoide snarled briefly, her muscled tensed. This girl had more strength than she would’ve thought. The dream teaching her Mistress had been doing must have helped, as the girl did not look like she had ever handled a weapon in her life.

Better...

Funny. Why am I bothering with this again?

Muscle memory. It takes time to build…you could be dead before your brain has a chance to tell your muscles what to do if you’re ambushed.

We’re in the pantheon… She lifted a dagger to parry one of Asherah’s. When would I get ambushed?

You’d be surprised, child. Tien’s tone was almost condescending, like a parent speaking to a child. Not all gods who dwell in the same halls are allies.

I could’ve guessed that much. Sheesh. Morgan rolled her eyes and sidestepped, barely avoiding a blade Asherah had aimed for her throat.

Use those dancer’s legs, girl. With that training you have no excuse to cut it so close. It’s clumsy!

She snorted and ducked to make a counter attack at the feline aoide’s side. It cut through the fabric of her shirt before the feline pushed it away.

“Better. I still do not like the fact the girl is not wearing armor.” Asherah wrinkled her nose as she glanced momentarily at the ripped shirt.

“But she does have my help.”

“You’re distracting.” Morgan leaped back to avoid a slash at her midsection.

That’s no excuse. Tien punctuated the comment with a mental swat. Focus. I did not spend all that time teaching you to see you beaten by an aoide!

Geez. What’s got your panties in a wad today?

“This will be easier once you learn to move deliberately and less on instinct. Must we go through the forms again?” Asherah drew up into a defensive stance, her tail flicking back and forth in irritation.

“No…” Morgan paused to push her glasses up her nose.

I wish those weren’t necessary.

So do I, sometimes.

“Come at me this time, and mean it. Weak attacks are easily overpowered.” The feline kept her gaze on Morgan, still unmoving with the exception of her tail.

Morgan rushed at the aoide, moving at first to strike at the aoide’s face and as she expected Asherah brought up knives to guard against the attack. She brought her other dagger around to strike at the feline’s side.

Finally, you’re getting the idea.

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Codebreaking Fairy

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In Dreams
...



Morgan tossed and turned; barely able to manage remaining asleep. As of late she and Tien were intruding on one another’s thoughts and dreams. At times she was the observer, other times she experienced the memories first person. It was fascinating and unnerving at the same time.

She tugged at the edges of her cloak anxiously; he was late by upper world terms. Though, time didn't seem to hold as much meaning down here since most every resident was of the dead variety. Hands disappeared back beneath the cloak; it was all she could do to keep from pacing.

Silly man.

Finally she heard footsteps coming from just out of sight. Maybe, just maybe he wasn't going to stand her up! He did have a tendency to do that from time to time, unavoidable circumstances or something.

Her gaze rested on the path where into view.

Please...


The steps came to a halt still a good distance away from her, his gaunt figure barely visible in the thick fog, and there he remained - as if there was an invisible line drawn upon the ground which he could not cross.

Without making a sound he put a finger to his lips in a silent warning, his eyes flicking towards the huge black birds perching on the dead branches of a nearby tree with a meaningful look, and then he quietly motioned for her to follow him.

He never looked back to see if she really was behind him, despite the fact that the heavy mist stifled any sound that was made. He knew better than that… Bad idea, trying to look back, here in the borderlands.

Rules. His rules.

But for every rule there was a way to break them, bend them.. Or, at the very least, a workaround.

The path he followed seemed to be only visible to him - twisting and bending like a giant serpent, often taking unexpected turns - and it was hard to tell how much time had passed until they arrived at his cottage. An ugly, crooked little thing, that cottage, which - if you looked at it from the corner of your eyes - seemed to have been built from skulls and bones rather than stone.

Only then, when they'd arrived at the doorsteps, he finally turned to embrace her, his lips finding hers.


She shuttered and curled into a ball. This was a familiar dream…drawn from Tien’s memory rather than her own. Each time the memory became clearer…and more complete.

She followed after without hesitation, always keeping her gaze forward because if he slipped from her sight she would be lost in this place. She kept her distance until they reached the cottage, the only place they could really hide anymore.

Her hood fell back when their lips touched. Short hair fell around her face, brushing the cheekbones of a finely crafted leather mask lightly as the remnants of an appearance changing spell flickered away.

"I was worried..." Just barely whispered, her words were for him alone.

She rested her head against his shoulder, her arms lacing around him. Sometimes she needed the reassurance, to make sure he was real; that her mind wasn't playing tricks on her.


"Ah but why should you be, sweet prankster?" His lips curved up before they sought hers again for another kiss. "There is barely anything left which has not been done to me yet for all those sins I have committed. That can be a good thing in a way - you ought to be more worried about yourself," he said jokingly, not entirely serious about it. After all his lover’s talent to wiggle her way out of even the most perilous situations was legendary - quite literally.

"Mmm...I always worry about you though. Almost as much as I missed you..." She lifted a hand to caress his cheek before it slid down coming to rest on his throat, her thumb running back and forth along his jaw lightly. Her lips curved into a mischievous smile, golden eyes glittering as she watched him.

Tien often wondered who this man was…now she was beginning to wonder as well. The Trickster thought highly of him for many reasons.

"You worried about me more than you missed me?" He rose a brow, and there was a dangerous glint to his dark, almost black eyes as his smile broadened to a daring grin. "And how much do you love me, fair trickster?" Perhaps not at all.. He was well aware of that, the feelings of a goddess could not be fathomed by the ways of a mortal. Even though, as he proudly had to admit to himself, he had come as damn close to immortality as it was possible - and had paid tenthousandfold for that sacrilege; was still paying for it, in fact.

Do not think of that.

Slowly, playfully, his hands rose to find the strings at the back of her head which held the mask in place.


The only thing that was never clear in any memory…was the Trickster’s face. Did she not remember it anymore…?

More than life itself.

"I'll leave you to puzzle that out." She teased lightly, staying still as he went to remove her mask. Something she allowed no one else to do. A playful smile still graced her lips.


Did she ever tell him, that she loved him?


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Codebreaking Fairy

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Gift of a Heart
A mysterious gift...


Morgan groaned and rolled over in bed. The Trickster was doing her best to wake her host for another day of training but it seemed the girl did not wish to rise yet. Was she that easily exhausted? That certainly couldn’t be the case…she indulged in things more energy consuming than training before.

I’ve been awake on and off all night…'cause of you! Let me sleep!

How so?

Your memories…got tangled into my dreams again.

It’s getting clearer now…but there are still holes.

Tien?

Hn?

Who is he?

Only silence answered her host and she withdrew slowly, to ponder things. Who was he? Who was the one who made my heart race like that...? Why don’t I remember his face?

Morgan ignored the Trickster for the moment and leaned off the bed, groping blindly for her glasses on the night table. Her hand closed on something, but it was not her glasses.

“What the…?”

She lifted the object, feeling the brush of a thin metal chain against her hand. A necklace? Where did this come from? The nerdling brought it closer to examine it. It was a delicate heart pendant on a silver chain.

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Did you know this was here?

What was…where? Tien borrowed her host’s eyes for a moment. Maybe it’s a gift from your Dragon, perhaps?

Maybe…

Something flickered in Tien’s memory, vanishing before she could grab it. She tried to dismiss it, but something unseen tugged at her. The Trickster retreated again. Asherah will be coming soon, expecting to find you awake and ready for training.

A gentle knock came from the door. “Mistress, Lady Morgan….are you awake?”

Morgan sighed and sat up. “Come in….Asherah.” She answered the aoide mid-yawn.

The door opened and the black cat slipped in, soundlessly closing the door behind her. “I trust this morning finds you well.” Asherah offered a soft smile and her gaze slipped to the necklace, still dangling from Morgan’s hand. “A gift?”

“Yeah….” Morgan looked up at the necklace again, only then realizing her glasses were still missing. “Do you see my glasses anywhere, Asherah; I can’t seem to find them…”

The aoide looked around and spotted the glasses on her desk. “Here they are, Lady Morgan.” She plucked them off the desk and offered them to her.

“Thank you…..Asherah. So what’s on the agenda for today….or should I ask?”

“More training…” The aoide purred softly and her ears twitched. “But...someone comes this way. It sounds like your Dragon. You may yet be saved from me for today.”

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Codebreaking Fairy

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Not Serious Business - Part I
One last game...

Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.Tian Yue hummed to himself under his breath as he searched around under his bed, his tail waggling comically; if anyone had been in the room to see the dragon tail protruding out from beneath the dangling bedcovers, they would have been hard pressed to realize that the being currently rooting among dustbunnies and boxes was really the Dragon King Tien Lung.

Aha! "Ow!" Tian Yue winced as he banged his head on the underside of the bed, but he had his prize - his bag of dice and character sheets. They'd been shoved under here at some point. He wasn't exactly sure when...

Probably when I decided being a god meant I had to be Serious. He made a face and squirmed out from under the bed, brushing the dust away from his clothes. He was still wearing robes, but these were much simpler than his elaborate court hanfu. But enough of that. More than enough of that.

Tian Yue gathered up the dice and papers, then headed for Morgan's room. He tapped on the door, hoping she was in - her time wasn't entirely her own after all, not anymore. "Morgan? Are you in, love?" He grinned, wondering what she'd think about what he'd brought. It had been quite a while.


mistalina13
More than one voice could be heard from the opposite side of the door. A moment or two later the door to Morgan's room opened and Asherah slipped out and bowed politely to Tian Yue before disappearing out the door to the pantheon corridor.

"Come in, love."

The voice he heard through the open door was Morgan's. She got up from her desk chair and stepped into the light of the doorway.

"Greetings, Worldshield."

She took a half step back and motioned for him to come in.


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.Tian Yue nodded to Asherah as she passed him, still faintly startled by the other Aoide's similarity to Nebula - but that was another thought to stomp on. Wherever Nebula had gone, her welfare was no longer his business, and it did him no good to worry.

Fortunately, Morgan was a very good distraction. "Good morning - and to you as well, Tien," he added, walking over to the desk and putting the papers down there. "Both still doing well, I hope?"


mistalina13
"Mhm." Morgan closed the door and followed him back into the room, embracing him after he dropped the papers onto the desk. "Mmm...I missed you." She nuzzled against his shoulder.

What did he bring with him?

Hm? She pulled away from the Dragon slightly and looked back over your shoulder. "Character sheets...and your dice." A little smile. "Did you want to play?"


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show."No, I thought we'd do a bit of origami." Tian Yue grinned, then reached out and ruffled her hair lightly. "Of course! We haven't gamed for a while, and well... there's more important things than trying to manage what can't be managed, and fret over things that worrying won't fix." He made a self-depreciating face. "Help me remember?" he added, impish. The Dragon was definitely in a playful mood. "Tien, if you'd like to play, I would love to have you join the game. It's a simple diversion, but fun, and you might enjoy it."


mistalina13
"Sure." Morgan reached up and stroked his cheek. "She'll probably take you up on that, she's been asking enough about it." She laughed a little.

"I'll join you."

"It's settled then, where did you want to play?" She smiled softly.


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show."How about the living room? It's a bit more spacious, and we can use the table... and I can make Toki attend us. Remember that one time when he went to get us drinks, and he didn't come back for hours." Tian Yue laughed, but there was a soft warmth to his smile and a flush of pink in his cheeks. That had been the day they'd first kissed. Fallen in love. So many things.


mistalina13
"Yes, I remember." Morgan blushed too. It was a treasured memory for her. "I'll get my notes and we'll be ready to go." She gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek. "Could you go get the table and chairs arranged, love?"

As she looked up into the Dragon's eyes she felt a wave of sadness, maybe even with a hint of guilt, though it was not her feeling.

I am sorry, for what's been done.

I appreciate it, though nothing can be changed now. She smiled up at Tian Yue again, more reassurance for herself that she was alright then for him.


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show."Oh, sure thing." Tian Yue gathered the gaming supplies back up and, giving Morgan a grin, scurried back to his own chambers. He deposited the papers on the coffee table and tugged an armchair over so that it faced the couch on the other side of the table. Perfect.

He had needed this, he realized. Finding Beryl's gentle advice was an excellent tonic for his divine self, but his still-human nature needed more than just ambrosia. Forget high and mighty notions of divinity. If I can't remember things like this... He shook his head. Then I won't be me anymore. Whatever me I have become.


mistalina13
The Trickster's presence felt closer then it had ever been. The shadow the goddess had been in her dreams had recently flooded with color offering a muddled hint of her appearance. More of her memories had resurfaced as well, though not quite complete.

He's waiting for you...remember?

Ah...yeah. Morgan shook her head and grabbed a shoulder strap of her backpack, slinging it someone ungracefully over her shoulder. "Now where are...oh yeah." She pulled open a desk drawer and rummaged around for a moment before pulling out a large dice bag.

That's everything...isn't it?

Yeah.

She left her room, pulling the door shut behind her, and headed to the common room where Tian Yue waited for her. "So, did you want the chair or the couch, Love?"


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show."Oh, either is fine with me... hmmm." Tian Yue was shuffling through the character sheets, brow furrowed in thought. Then he looked sheepishly up at Morgan. "I don't know if this is telling or not, but... I'd rather play the character Shaiming rolled. Ting, that human mage... is that strange?" He gave her a wry smile.


mistalina13
"No...it's not strange at all." Morgan smiled and slid the strap of her backpack off her shoulder, leaning over to set it down on the floor. A slight, almost dizzy, sensation caught up with her when she righted herself and she nearly stumbled as she went to put the tackle box down.

Must've gotten up too fast.


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show."Funny how things work..." He missed seeing Morgan totter, so absorbed was he in reading over Ting's character sheet. "What about Tien? A rogue as well, I assume?"

Tian Yue smiled, amused at the thought. Tien was curious too. Maybe Gianfar would like it - it was so full of rules and lore and bestiaries and all manner of minutiae that Knowledge might well be fascinated by the game. Perhaps... perhaps they could even get up a little gaming group! In the Pantheon....? Well, it might ease tensions to be allowed to smite pretend mortals instead of being tempted to go for the real thing...

Surely everyone couldn't be serious every minute. There had to be some room for just being.


mistalina13
"Perhaps...but, that's like being myself..."

Morgan settled herself on the couch and began shuffling through papers, trying to convince herself that the dizzy sensation she felt a moment ago was nothing. "Try something different then?" She pulled out her own character sheets as well as a blank one. Once the characters were decided she would choose a campaign.

"Hn...what would you recommend, Dragon?"


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show."Hmm... I understand what you mean. I- er, Shaiming - came up with the character I'm going to use. A human, something different for him." Tian Yue's smile was a little bit sad for just a moment, remembering. He would have loved this. "I'm not really sure why he picked a mage, but... well, there are lots of choices. I guess it's a chance to behave like something different from what you really are..."

Maybe that's her job, though. Trickery. Maybe she does that all the time... He wasn't sure. "How about you, Morgan? Are you going to GM today?"

Oh, stars, she's got the goddess of Trickery in her head.

We're all going to die of horrible, horrible traps.


mistalina13
"Perhaps a bard, but I'll think about it.

"I can if you wish, Love, unless you would like to try your hand at it?" Morgan smiled softly and rolled her eyes as Tien rummaged around in her memories for descriptions of the classes.

Shall I get the book for you, to make it easier?

That would be most helpful.

She giggled and pulled out the Player's Guide. "It seems she can't make up her mind."


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show."I'll leave it to you - you have a sneakier mind, and with Tien's help... I fear for Ting's life, I really do." Tian Yue grinned, impishly. "Then again, Tien will be on my team..."


mistalina13
"Alright then...." Morgan giggled. "...though you do not know if she will be help or hindrance."

"A Bard, I think."

A small dizzy sensation came over the nerdling and she snapped the player's guide shut. "It's settled then. Now to find a suitable game." She closed her eyes, shaking her head gently in the hopes of ridding herself of the dizziness.


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.Tian Yue noticed that time; he tilted his head at her, curious. "Are you okay? Need some coffee or something?"

"A bard, huh. Bard and a wizard... let's hope we don't have to come down to a muscle vs. muscle fight, or we'll be doomed! Still, wits will out... with any luck..." He picked up his dice bag and opened it, peering inside at the polyhedrons within. "Behave, you lot."


mistalina13
"I'm alright..." Morgan nodded and adjusted her glasses. "I think I have a game that will work...." She smiled softly. "Bards have ways to protect themselves...and others. More than you might realize."

"Asking dice to behave? You might as well try to collar Chance herself." An impish playful laugh came from Morgan's lips, but it was definitely not her own.

Unlike before Morgan did not seem startled when Tien spoke or did things through her. She simply smiled again. "How does an escort mission sound?"


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show."Oh, you'd be surprised, my Lady Trickster - with all the importance and superstition surrounding dice, I wouldn't be at all shocked to find that we have a God of the d20 somewhere in our Pantheon." He grinned and tipped his dice out of the bag, into his hand. "An escort mission would be fine, provided the person we're escorting isn't some insipid creature who can't take care of herself..." Tian Yue made a face. "I had enough of that with video games back on Earth, thank you."


mistalina13
"I learned a little of it from Morgan..."

It was Morgan who laughed this time. "I assure you, it's not." She retrieved her own dice pouch from the backpack and emptied them carefully onto the table, peering at the numbers that came up. "They are angry with me...I think." The nerdling wrinkled her nose.

"Oh yes, are we playing this round with miniatures or just maps?"


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show."Angry dice, hmm? That could be good for us... but if Tien's using your dice, hmm. I wonder if they'll know who is who?" Tian Yue peered curiously at the dice. He didn't quite remember if Crispin's dice had seemed different when he was rolling for both himself and Shaiming.

For that matter, would they 'know' that he was a different person now? Sort of?

"Hmm... maybe just maps. Less complicated for the newbie." He grinned at Morgan, though the sly look was solely for Tien.


mistalina13
"True." Morgan smiled softly and reached down to push her miniatures tackle box out of the way. "Take a couple of minutes to look over your sheet and pick which spells you would like to prepare; I have to help Tien get her character sheet filled in, alright?"

She picked four three of the d6's and let them fall onto the table. The dice were slightly kinder to Trickery, but the rolls didn't come out great. The nerdling sighed softly and scribbled the numbers down on paper.


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.Tian Yue made a face at the dice rolls; not quite as good as they could be, not for his future companion-in-arms. He forced himself to look at his character sheet, not at the dice, and after a moment began marking with his pencil to remind himself what spells he had chosen for that 'day'.

"Okay," he said when he was finished. "I'm ready, I think." He held up the character sheet so that Morgan could see as well. "How fares the bard?"


mistalina13
"Not much use for heavy labor...but good at what she does." Morgan nodded and tried not to frown at the sheet. Angry...angry dice. "Strength...11....Dexterity....13....Constitution....13.... Intelligence....14....Wisdom....15....Charisma...16." She glanced over Tian Yue's sheet as well and nodded. "Looks fine to me..."

Not everyone can be perfect...even in games...

I know...

She set the character sheet for Tien's bard on the table and picked up her notes. "Time to begin."


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.Tian Yue nodded, retrieving his character sheet and pouring the rest of dice out of his hand and onto the table with a soft clatter. "So where are we adventuring today, oh Master of Games?" He grinned. It really had been too long since they'd last done this.


mistalina13
"Since your last mission to retrieve the pendant, you've attained a sort of fame among the magical community. The pendant you retrieved was an ancient relic, containing powerful spells that wizards of this age have only read about." Morgan paused for a moment, glancing down at her notes again. "But it seems this pendant also contained a great evil, that is now loose in the world. This time, it is your job to escort the High Sorceress as she travels to the source of the evil now contained the Wizarding Acadmedy's walls, to destroy it."

Hn...why a bard and a mage for that job.

"You two were chosen for this mission because you blend in with her traveling entourage. Any other questions?"


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show."Pendants. It's always pendants, honestly." Tian Yue grinned. "Someday, someone should write in a mystical toe ring or something... anyway. What kind of terrain are we covering? What's the details of the mission?"


mistalina13
"The terrain is mostly what you would expect: very hilly, with roads and forests dotting it. Though, the school itself is actually in a peculiar place. It's on an island in the middle of a large lake. So, time on a ship will be required to reach it." Morgan glanced down at her notes before picking up the dice to roll again, cringing a little at the result. "According to the seer traveling with you, there will stormy weather a fair portion of your journey. Good for the crops, not so good for you as you will not be able to make so much progress on those days."

Tien listened attentively, doing her best not to snoop through her host's thoughts for clues about the game.


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show."Duly noted. Okay... let's get going, then. Dare I assume our employer has provided adequate supplies, in the interest of brevity? If not, let's take care of that first... if so... then let us proceed, hm." Tian Yue peered at the character sheet. Maybe playing Ting wasn't the wisest course of action, tactically speaking, but he'd made his choice and it would have to do.


mistalina13
"Basic supplies and mounts are provided. However, any special supplies you need, like material spell components, are not provided for you. Most are easily required on your way out of town, bear in mind if this mission lasts too long and you run out of components you cannot use some of your spells." Morgan skimmed her notes.

Rarely, most simply use your voice or your instrument.

No, just your voice and your instrument.

Very well then.

"There are other hirelings, mercenaries, among the entourage as well. So you are not alone in this mission, however they do not know all of the details. They are clothed as servants. Keep an eye on them, in case one double crosses." She rolled the dice onto the table again, glancing at the numbers. "After a couple of hours, the caravan is ready to leave..."


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show."Okay, let's get this show on the road, then." Tian Yue picked up his d20 and rolled it absently around in one hand. "Ting takes a position near the front of the caravan - not in the very very front of course, let's put some people with swords between the mage and anyone looking to stick sharp objects in him - but enough so that he can watch the road ahead and keep a subtle eye on said people with swords."


mistalina13
"Karin takes a position near the High Sorceress, strumming her lute idly as she rides."

Morgan suddenly felt distant and dizzy as Tien spoke. The feeling only came closer, crashing over her like a wave hitting shore as she came back to awareness. The nerdling closed her eyes and took a deep breath, in attempt to steady herself before reaching for the dice again. Her hand shook as she dropped the dice on the table. They all came up ones.

Uh oh.


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.Tian Yue winced. "Ouch... I don't think I've ever seen a roll that bad bef- Morgan!" He jumped up and darted to her side of the table, then knelt next to her chair. "Love, you're shaking..." He reached up and cupped her trembling hand in his. "What's wrong?!"


mistalina13
It's time, little Morgan.

"Dizzy...and sick." Morgan squeezed his hand. "Tien says it's time. I'm scared." Her voice was quiet and uneasy. "I need to lay down...help me to the couch?" She let go of his hand and forced herself to her feet and managed a few uneasy steps before collapsing on the floor.


Sosiqui
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show."Tien says- time..." Tian Yue's voice trailed off, and he made a small, distressed sound as she staggered away from him only to collapse on the floor. "Morgan! Oh, love..."

He lifted her up gently - much easier to do now, as the Dragon King, than it had been for Crispin - and carried her in to his bedroom. If the changes for her would be anything like his own had been... the couch might be insufficient, and she might fall off. The bed would be better. He thought all of this distantly, as if it was someone else entirely who was here, carrying Morgan, thinking clinically about how best to care for her as she...

Died?

No.
Tian Yue laid her carefully down on the bed, then knelt at the side, reached up one hand to brush her hair away from her face. For a long moment he remained there, silent, watching her breathe, memorizing the soft shape of her features.

He'd known this was coming for months now. Why was it so hard? But if it had been easy...

Then I wouldn't be... me. I wouldn't be the Tien Lung that Shaiming wanted me to be.

He took a deep, shuddering breath, then reached up and took one limp hand in his, squeezing tightly. "I love you," he said, quietly.

Then Tian Yue made himself let go, made himself go and sit on a chair, though he couldn't quite bring himself to leave the room entirely. Only then, when he was seated, did he let himself cry.


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