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...//Solo - Truths of Creation & Annotated Darkness

There were truths to the planes that had been Created. Of these, indigenous to himself were Suffering and Silence.

It was not a Silence of Being that plagued him. One of those, while reborn, had no power over this.
A Silence from outside. Beyond the outstretched arms of Universe, the strangely slender belly of Gaia, past reaches of empty and half-ghosted forms, and thinking….being Aware there, he could feel it. Remember it. There was Nothing, and is existed only within Him. Not Creation, the Primordial, the Immortals or Gods, the Aoide, the Mortals. It dwelt there and it festered, drumming the marks of time-measure that remained before it would spread into his veins and come. A Name would be lost completely. The names of all things would be swallowed, as they themselves were swallowed, and that unBeing Silence would be all that was withinOut
of the Void.
And here sat two gems of His own Chosen upon His lap, half drunk by this Unnamed thing. Ages past of glory, then lonliness, and finally hope. He had gathered them all again, all the strands like silk of finest godly mana. There were no more left in those scoured planes that had not been taken, used into some other substantial thing. The Life of the gods was so much taken in to sustain what Was in their absence this way. The Kings suffered no different. Each had been presented to suited hosts once, and did not wake.
There was the possibility that the last remnants that had been gathered
Were not
Not even quarter-borne visions of scales and mane, claw and shining eye, could manifest from memories thin as water. A god was not made from water alone. They were older, infused with True Name and blood or filament of Creation. Made and begotten, holding blessed Soma mixed with sap and blood, breath, fruit and body. But these two, among all that had been reborn, remained only ghosts of these things.

What had been collected? Echoes of roars that still called across the starfields, single scales from battlefields long dried and parched white of blood, splinters of broken claw, a bauble or gem from a horde scattered.
Not. Enough.
Still worse the return of Yu, his five-clawed imperial, could not be afforded for lack of even a fitting host. Futs, at least, slept fitful coils in memory of failed ash and rid-of bone. Slept, and did not suffer that there may or may not be host present in the walking lands suitable for his essence. But Yu was silent. No scales, no awareness spoke from the gem. On search there was no host for Yu that had appeared to godly eyes. The mana dwindled.

There may be no return for the Five Clawed. As first Fire had gathered and did not speak, held no name within what could be gathered, He feared the same emptiness wept from the Chosen gem. The Nameless drank it away.

He lifted the gems, kissed each and thrust them in, deep through the closed scar that covered where heart-meat wounded had rested, where still beat
The unperished echoes of first beats, first thrums inside the chaos. Pure, unbridled existence that lashed and meted out what Was. The heart beat of All, missing heart. The stones would sit in state a while, charged again by this much. That noise may wake them, break their roars from them and give them back their names on whispered, forgotten tongue from pale, most perfect lips. His other own.
...//Solo - The Butterfly Effect

His chest burned. A deep-seated aching that was felt deep at his core; a strange, tearing sensation...hot and open and painful. He wanted it to go away but didn't know how to make that happen.

He wasn't even certain that it could be done.

After all, he'd been watching - first watching....then moving and finally Being -- all in the darkness that grew larger and larger in his world. It had taken him some time to figure it out, but finally - finally! - it clicked and made sense.

As Khiarhu healed...he formed solid. Whatever that tainted unicorn girl had done (or thought she was doing) to heal the shape-shifting Tale...she hadn't quite got it down. Too soon after she had changed herself or too young or too whatever and she had done something wrong...and instead of his fading from existence as Khiarhu became stronger, he was now separate, different even through his sameness.

He remembered sinking teeth into supple flesh, tasting blood and meat and bone.
He remembered the searing pain of the pure horn driving through his chest - a wound that still would not heal.

So much was remembered by both himself and Khiarhu. But what Khia would never remember was the feeling of being thrown from one's body, feeling magic and soul torn from flesh and bone. He remembered. And since that time he had been stuck in the InBetween..unable to do anything at all but watch and wait. Until now. But he was yet a shadow of the self that grew stronger under the care of Edict and Miako: a shadow that felt pain and emptiness and the agony of having a hole through his body that would not heal!.

Khiarhu healed.
He did not.

His chest burned. Twisted and blackened claws reached up to touch the wet of his insides; this he could touch. Reality he could not...which was why he was stuck InBetween. It rankled and he would rage about in the half-space, slashing ineffectually at the Veils and at the Threads that formed separations for reality and the dimensions. Eventually, he would calm and perhaps notice that once in a while...just once or twice...he actually landed a blow.

As Khiarhu healed, he felt out this tiny ray of hope. By the time that Khia was ready to leave, progress had been made. He could reach through for very brief moments...the space of a breath, perhaps two if he were lucky. It wasn't enough but it gave him a goal: A moment now...and with more time, who knew?

It wasn't enough.

Bright eyes glittered in the InBetween, an internal fire flaring up inside. He had been watching the women prepare the Other Self for his return 'home'. It made the rage come again and again and again; pouring forth from his solid-seeming form. Bile-green and bruise-black. Hatred and rage and a desperate need to live again. To have a form and face that could walk the solid dimensions again - for longer than a breath - not the cracks between them for mere moments.

Fragment. Shadow. Nothing.

He shifted his shape and moved away from the scene before him -- Miako and Edict and Khiarhu, excited and nearly ready to go -- time to go, before his rage at the situation got the better of him. Fragment. Shadow. Nothing.

He would live again - he would follow Khiarhu's energy back to Gaia. He would find a way.

This entry crosses into Khiarhu's Tome
...//Solo - Patience

Lurking lurking lurking. Fragment could be patient. He did not want to be patient, but he could be.

Had he not lain in wait, watching as Khiarhu's body healed, watching as the dark unicorn, Miako, and the wizard-woman, Edict, prepared the shape-shifting teen for travel? Had he not followed the Other's - the Original's - energy signature across the InBetween and the Outside and finally to this Reality?

Yes, yes yes...he had.

But this was not where they were supposed to be.

Oh no, no no no, this was not where they were supposed to be at all.

As a matter of fact, this wasn't anything near where they had intended to be.

Not that he had been privy to the discussions about how and where Khiarhu would return home. They didn't even know he existed!

But he had lurked and watched and waited - listening and plotting to follow the one that had life where he did not; being patient - so patient.

So this was not right. So he would simply wait longer. Waiting he could do. Waiting would be...interesting - very interesting indeed for it seemed that the Original had dropped into a world filled with magic. Dropped into the lair of one called 'Anbu'. One that smelled so strongly of magic and power that the Fragment was very nearly drunk with it.

Heady power. Thick power. Power.

Perhaps perhaps perhaps he would be able to find life here? Power to create a life for him...here?

So he would lurk and wait. Wait and watch.

But...a feeling of unease. A feeling of not-right was settling into him. Something...something...Else. Power?

Power was here. He would wait.

Fragment hissed and slunk around the outside of this world Khiarhu was now moving into with the jackal-eared man that reeked of ancient magic. He was uneasy and unstable and dangerous in his lack of reason, but he would wait; the waiting was key.

...//Solo - Fractured Thought Trails



Waiting was doing no good, no good save that Khiarhu was getting bigger, stronger -- he was already big, already strong and fleet of foot. Still, his wounds did not heal and were it not for the shape-shifting magics inherent in each fiber of his being, were it not for the beautiful malleability of his flesh, he would have long since bled out and died.


Truth was, he didn't know. Certainly, certainly certainly the Original could die...but could he? From this? No, he thought not. It had been a long time - too long - since they had come here; Anbu. Shadows. Exalted. He was still alive. His Original was still alive, still with Anbu - learning things and moving and growing here in this strange place. This not-meant-to-be-there place that they had ended up in.

Khiarhu lived and healed there.
He existed and bled, InBetween.

'Time time time - move Original, move! There is no power here for us!'

Fragment paced, his great jaws working as he moved his shaggy head; nothing to bite, nothing to rend and crunch and crush and destroy.

Nothing there for him. Edgy, he was becoming edgy. Too long, far too long in this place with thick, sick-sweet power but none to help him.

In the distance, across the InBetween and with a soft but insistent draw, something called to him. Quietly, sweetly - promising so much, offering so much and yet speaking naught.

There was power, it waited. It called. It wanted him.

He knew it, oh yes knew it. For a while now, he'd felt something elsewhere drawing upon the gaping hole in his chest where a heart once beat in rhythm, in a hole that was now strings of tissue and vessels and charred flesh, splintered bone.

Soon. Either they both left, or he would. Waiting was doing him no good. Patience wore thin.

Soon. Power. Life.
...//PRP- Crossing Paths, Not-so-Hidden Dragons

While Seir stood and wondered what had become of Delmin, the man in question stoo about, staring in wonder. This was completely unlike anything he'd ever seen before, although certain elements did seem familiar. The entire area appeared bruised, like the night sky back on Earth, and Del wasn't quite sure what he was standing on. There didn't appear to be any ground, or any other distinguishing feature. Abruptly called back to himself by a faint mental tickle, originating from Seir, Del frowned. What the hell had that been about? Since there wasn't a way back, Del strode off, thinking sour thoughts at his demonic 'friend'. The bond was still there, and while Del realized thinking at Seir like that was petty and small, it was the only revenge he was likely to get.

Eventually, he realized that his wanderings were not aimless, that there was a purpose behind the direction he had chosen. He wasn't exploring; in fact, Del was barely paying attention to his surroundings. Something, however, had gotten his attention, and Del stood still to try and figure out what had changed. Nothing to be seen, nothing to be...wait. There, a noise. Familiar noise, comforting noise. Del broke out into a wide smile as he realized what he was hearing. The roar, the scales, even the tick of claws. It was here, and it was his. Or it would be, once he found the source. Thoughts of Seir and revenge forgotten, Del started moving again, focused and determined. Oh yes, he would have whatever called to him, no matter what.

Silky. Slinky. Moving.

Fragment slid through the many layers of the InBetween drawn onward by a glimmering, a gleaming; drawn ever onward, ever away from the Original by the sensation of wont and need and power. He could feel it, sliding against his short fur; rough and silky and cool and hot and so many things. The black rippled as his tireless muscles moved in sync.

Stride, stride, stride.

Long limbs with heavy paws moved across the Nothing, the InBetween; there was nothing there and everything. A trail of blood and gore followed him, but he did not die. He traveled for days, but did not die His claws click-click-clicked as he moved; his breathing - were one around to hear such a thing - came out as a low sort of laugh; wicked and sick sounding.

Sick. Yes, sick. Shadowy and sick but wanted. Something wanted him as he wanted Power.

Coming coming coming. He would be there soon. So soon. Patience. Soon.

He shook his head again, horns heavy and twisting more; he was changing again. The further he moved away from the Original, the further he went from the one who's shape he shared, the worse the twisting became. Fragment halted a moment, short muzzle open, nose quivering in the still-quiet of the InBetween. He was scenting something new.

Was something else drawn by his Power? Drawn to steal what was his?

No no no. It wouldn't be allowed. Ever. Never. No.

A second set of eyes opened above the first, gleaming wet and red. The other changes, the further twisting that had happened - was still happening - were forgotten.

His fur bristled.
Was he going to allow something else to have the silk and glimmer?


His muscles rippled, at the ready.
Was the flash and the gleaming and the chill and the heat to be taken from him?


An explosion of movement - muscle and sinew and fur and fang bursting into action - and this Fragment was moving again; fast, fast faster. Barreling onwards to destroy this Something that wanted to take what was his.

It was his. Would be his.

It would not be allowed. It was not allowed.


Del slowed, wary. There was a sense of something out there, something with ill intent, directed at him. The hairs on the back of his neck prickled with warning, something they had done, once upon a time, when Seir first arrived. Suddenly suspicious, Del sent an insistent prod at the link, not at all reassured when the echo came back only faintly and after a few moments. Uneasy, the man continued on, keeping a paranoid eye on the surroundings. Trouble could come from anywhere, in this broken and surreal landcape.

Following the sound, the joyful roar that had called to him for as long as Del cared to remember, finally, he arrived. He could tell that there was something different about where he was; for one, there was a distinguishable pedestal in front of him. If there was something on it, Del couldn't see it as he approached, caution once again thrown to the wind. The roar and associated noises were louder now, almost deafening. It had come to him, a while back, what he was listening to. A dragon waited for him, and a shiver went down the man's spine as he drew closer.

Whatever it was he'd been expecting, a gemstone certainly wasn't it. However, it was what lay in a small depression on the pedestal. Del frowned as the noise subsided expectantly. What was he supposed to do with this?

Pick it up. Del started violently at the voice, snapping his attention away from the gem and looking around wildly.

"Who the hell said that?" he snarled out, not seeing anything, but knowing how little that meant.

You want the dragon, yes? the speaker queried, sounding faint and tired, as if speaking to Del was taking all its - no, his - strength. The gem. Hurry. Over your, yes, over your breastbone. Place it there, that will do nicely. Hurry! Del narrowed his eyes, but gently lifted the gem from where it rested. Oh, oh, the dragon, he could hear the dragon again, whispering softly to him. He gently placed the gem over his breastbone, eager to have the dragon with him always.

And screamed, as the gem latched onto him, dissolving the cloth of his shirt, fastening itself to his skin, the bone, into his very self.

Something indeed. "Ill-intent" was the gentlest way to put what the Fragment felt surging through its veins when it saw Del reaching out for the beautifully gleaming gem. Though he did not know what precisely that gem meant in the scheme of things -- he could feel that it was powerful.

That gem. Drawing him. Calling him. That man--!!

Filthy, stinking human with his filthy stinking hands on what was his!! Unbearable. Torturous.

Fragment's jaw changed, shifting teeth and muzzle into a form meant more for ripping and tearing and rending flesh from bones; he roared as his thick, powerful legs drove his pitch-coloured body through the InBetween.


He lept.

Moments frozen in time; frothy slaver flying from opened mouth, drops of saliva held in time like small translucent gems.

Claws bared and teeth flashing. Del held the gem to his chest. The InBetween when white. Power, blinding and hot and not for him.

Three sets of eyes wide open and burning with hatred. Malice. Fur, so alive and strange usually, held forever bristled in rage. Thick strands of silvery hair, held forever like a banner streaming behind a carousel horse.

Knowing the InBetween was not where the human was precisely. Knowing somewhere inside that it would do nothing. He knew nothing but rage. A desire to destroy that which had destroyed him. Twice dead, twice nothing!!

He lept.


--a dragon roared.

Time dilated and froze for Del as the gem sank into him. He could feel something, another mind shifting from it to him, coiling deep within himself. A peculiar feeling swept over him, as if he was being cataloged - no, as if everything he was was in the process of being...inventoried. Picked over, examined, noted, and stored for later use. Later, came that voice again, sounding much, much closer.


Del had only a fleeting moment to wonder later, what? when time snapped back into place and the Thing appeared. Ghostly, yet substantial, Del screamed again as it attacked him. Another scream echoed, though in anger, not fear and pain.

NO! it called, spending power recklessly to call his Lord. This was not to be borne! A bright flare of energy went out, seeking. Del had no room to think what could possibly save him from this terrible and angry beast and froze, unable to even backpedal out of the range of those teeth and those claws.

The Fragment was lifted by sharpness, something cut deep into the ruff of his neck.

“You will cease this at once. “

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He paused, dangling the shadow-form from his claws, and looked down at the human fallen on the matter of the Between. "This is no longer a place for you. You belong to FutsLung, now, not Seir. His name is erased from you. “

Teeth and fang flashed and glimmered in the strange light of the InBetween and the Prey backed away, calling out in fear. It could taste the thief's fear, was feeding off of it -- he was so close, so close to tasting bone and blood and life on his tongue!

Glory! Eat the man, retrieve the stone!! Mine

Fragment lunged again, all the power of it's shadowy, sinuous body pushed into one last surge; massive jaws wide for the attack, claws fully extended and ready to sink into the quivering flesh before him. He snapped his jaws shut, but fang sank into....nothing.

He howled.

Dangling from the claws of a man thing creature God, he howled. Pain and frustration and rage as sharpness slipped into the malleable flesh and fur. Then the God spoke -- and Fragment stilled, legs curling up so it looked nothing so much as a malformed, malignant, quietly snarling puppy.

Interloper! But such power -- it poured off the pitch-and-hellfire skinned God like rain from a black cloud! It tingled in his nose and stung his senses. Burning

He kicked his legs and snarled, muzzle skinned up over his teeth to show his anger. He had lost his chance! Twice. Twice. Twice!! Blood and slimy pieces of inside-flesh slid down Fragment's thick fur, the wound that would not heal (yet could not kill him) having been greatly disturbed by his exertions as well as the handling by Destruction.

Del inhaled sharply. "Wha?" he half choked out, mind reeling from everything going on. He had no chance to recover, however, as the already thin and brittle bond between him and Seir finally snapped. "Ah!" Del cried out, clutching his head as things shifted once more within him.

My Lord is most generous, that voice FutsLung? purred within Del's mind, not bothering to command the human to speak for him, knowing full well that Harmodious could hear him. Shall we quit this place? he asked, utterly ignoring the Fragment now that it had been neutralized. What Destruction chose to do with it now was nothing the Dragon would concern himself with.

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“Get thee gone, safe and hale. “

He looked away from the host on the ground, lashing the tail of gold behind himself as the thing in his grasp made a scene of itself. Animal, primal, broken thing. Mostly fabric and little soul, little reason. Its howls were pitiful. He shook the thing, disgusted. "Creatures with intelligence would have stilled by now....perhaps you do not understand. Then let me be something more easily comprehended by you.“

He did not let Fragment go. The shape of Destruction melted, shifted, User Imagemalleable as the Between stuff around them. And howled. And the Between vibrated. The voice came into Fragment's mind, drowning out all else.

That stone did not call you, your own hunger did. Are you hungry? Are you worthy of notice, of life? Tell me why I should not banish you to the halls where the half-things are, forgotten things. Why should I make. you. real?

Gibberish. He was shaken - idiocy, lunacy, entered his mind in a sing-song voice -- a child's voice:
'Shaken, not stirred~'

Intelligent creature once, but not currently. Rage, the blood-lust surging through his veins and his own desperation to be whole again had canceled out any cunning or thought he might possess. Being shaken did nothing but cause him to flail limbs that changed and morphed and twisted into stomach-turning parodies of appendages one might expect.

Gilt and pitch, brimstone and rouge - Destruction changed.

"No no no! It was mi--" All thoughts ended. Abrupt. Amputated and pounded into silent obeisance by howl and by force.

Hunger. Yes, hunger had called him forth - tasting the sweet, sweet tang of power. His Gem, no the Gem, not for him. Never for him. Half-thing. Nothing. Fragment had stilled in Beast-Destruction's claws, quivering there while parts of himself dripped below half-curled paws.

Was he worth notice? Life? Yes yes yes -- a thousand times yes...and yet, it had been removed from him once, twice - a third time was an unbearable thought.

The dark-furred beast's eyes blinked, the glow of rage seeping out to join the gore pooling beneath. Massive jaws cracked open and a gravelly voice came forth. "Hungry. Life. Death. Something." Why make him real? Why expend the energy? Fragment had no answer and simply cocked his head, the under-colour of his thick fur rippling and shifting into a mass of confused hues that slid beneath the black.

This was a God with the power to grant him existence, but he could not answer why. Foul creature, foul broken, shadowy nothing! His inability left a dryness in his mouth; was he truly deserving of death and Nothingness again?


He had survived the realms of the Exalted, he had survived the Unicorn's purity and the Magus with her bumbling. He was alive yet, though his chest and back bore gaping wounds that should have ended the shadowy half-life granted him. A long pink tongue snaked out, curling over pitch colored fur. "InBetween is home, banished already. Separated from flesh, split from spirit. Shadow. Fragment."

And he was done with being such. It granted him words - brave and bold and tinged with his quiet desperation and the hunger that had driven him thus far.

"Death or Life, Alpha -- grant one or the other!"

Futs made no reply, but Del felt a very strong urge to bow being pushed at him. A moment's struggle - this was his body! his mind! - but his mental strength was far past it's limit, and he crumpled before the focus of the Dragon. Offering up a shaky bow, Del turned to leave but stopped before taking a step.

Leave how? He had no idea how the stone had gotten here, how anyone but himself had gotten here, and even that was shaky and hazy.

And then the world fell down

He changed and the Between cracked and split with the force of the change, and the raw and primal nature of His power. Del staggered and tried to scream as the ground underneath him shattered, dropping him somewhere else entirely.

He landed in the dark, his first impression of heat. Del sat down shakily, unwilling to look around further. In his mind, the voice of the Dragon purred. I am here, My Lord. We have returned. Del could make no sense of the thought, and before anything else could happen to him, he did something that probably should have occurred sooner.

He fainted.

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Words. Words. Beautiful words that slid along his spine to coil in his gut; words full of promise and threat. Syllables vocalized that blew over his malleable form like a scathing wind, stripping him bare of those superficial things - his thoughts. Tearing reasons and hatreds held so close to the gaping hole in his body away to leave himnaked.

Trembling with want and wont and need in the face of True Power.

Bare and silent, glowing eyes focused intently on eyes that saw through his hunger to the pain and agony beneath; Fragment hung suspended. Could not Destruction see the Reason he 'lived'? The burning need to be whole again, to return -- once, oh once there had been just One: Khiarhu. Gallu. Beast. Demon. Original.

Now there were three. One bound, one free...one fragmented; broken. Dangling before Alpha. Before a god of Fear, Terror, Destruction.

All this passed across the fractured wastes of Fragment's mind, glimmered in his trio of ruby-coloured eyes. His dark flesh surged up to envelope the Alpha's clawed hand, holding the Beast-God inside him...to him...the only way he could.

He would Speak. Alpha bid him respond. God of Fear. Power. Massive jaws cracked open again.

"Empty Fragment. A shell, Alpha - a shell to fill. As it pleases, Alpha. Empty, but powerful yet." Had he not made it thus far? Did he not have a mastery of the InBetween? Traveling as he pleased - unable to touch Outside, to be part of the True Physical World, but easily able to ravage this space with tooth and claw.

It was an offer, of sorts. A place. A place for him. Fragment shuddered with the wanting. He simply had to be of Use to the Beast-God.

"Feel, O Master. A strong shell - purest magic did not kill. Torn. Wounded. InBetween but Here."

Was this not Useful? Yes, Hunger for life - he still wanted it, enough that he did not care how or why so long as he were whole again.

Fragment hung, suspended. Fur rippling, skin prickling. Waiting.

Destruction dropped the creature to its feet. The Eldest seemed to grow huge, indistinct into the surroundings, and darker.
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Crouched before the Beast-God, Fragment watched. His tail curled close to his body, tip twitching; his neck craned back at nearly an impossible angle so he could keep his eyes on the deity before him.

No no no -- Not simply to survive, but to Be. It didn't matter though, the finer details, the Insides that he couldn't put into Words. He was wanted. Fragment shuddered

Confusing words. Confounding words. Meaningless to him save for one thing: he was wanted. He would have Life. Power.


"Five Claws..." Something thrummed inside him, started from the place in his chest that was a gaping wound and vibrating throughout his malleable flesh to the pads of his feet to the tip of his tail. Fragment's tone was reverent; silky even. "Bound to Alpha's servant." He wanted it. Oh how he wanted it -- like acid through his veins, the wanting burned. Bound. Wanted. No longer exiled to a shadow-existence in the InBetween!

Yes. Yes. Yes.

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"To be to be to be.....you diminish your worth with your thoughts, thing. That is just a want. Another want. Want of Being. So it is again just want you woudl offer? wants and nothing. As if the Kings needed extra. I am not impressed. "

And the point had been to find something more then just want or desire, some aspect that was worthwhile beyond that most primal of drives.

Perhaps this was not the one after all.

More words - Fragment's thoughts skimmed across them briefly but did not dwell on them. He was not really hearing what the monstrosity before him had to say - after all, it was just more...words. Words. Words.

He was waiting. Impatiently, like a child in line for an amusement park ride that was supposedly the most amazing thing ever. Eventually, one lost the awe that kept them looking up at the soaring metal girders - Fragment was no different. This Destruction-God, the Beast-God, was still terrifying, but his brain began twisting his shape.

Shapes. Waiting - would this never end? Why was he even standing here waiting? Useless! Places to Go, Things to do. A unicorn to maul and an Original to hunt down and kill.

Oh yes, he couldn't do that without a way to get through the Between. Ah! The God.

Focus. Pay attention.

Fragment cocked his shaggy head and cracked open his jaws - when he started slipping, a burning - a slide of thoughts brought his scattered brain back to focus on Destruction once more.

"To be or not to be, Alpha." The shape-shifter dropped to all fours and shifted until he was closer in aspect to the God before him. "But not a question for me now - but for Five Claws." Which was true -- It understood this much: The servant, Five Claw, was not There, but should be. Alpha wanted this. He could be Taken, used for this....but Alpha was Unimpressed. The tone said plainly that this was not enough -- more than the words, it was the tone and the way the beast-god's body spoke. Raw "language".

"Kings? A King needs a Body and a Throne, Alpha." The beast shifted bipedal again, it's muzzle skinning back in a grimace-grin. "I am Both!"

His body tore and shifted again, into a shadowy, living pseudo-version of a throne - pitch and broken, bloody and empty. Why he was toying around, one would never know -- perhaps in his head, this was a serious conversation? The shape did not last long, Fragment's malleable flesh retook it's bipedal shape and stood before the massive creature judging him.

"You wish your servant--" The creature paused, expression sly, "You would use this - but unimpressed." Survival, he knew - existing on as a shadow, a half-formed fragment, when he should have disappeared long ago. Was this not Impressive? Again, he Waited; tail lashing with impatience, his very fur crackling with antsy energy.

The Five-Claw jewel slicked out of the golden scales that covered the shadow paw before Fragment. It sat, still echoed with the deep sounds of the heart of Destruction, and disrupted the fabric of the between with small quakes.

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The jewel was beautiful, resting in what appeared to be almost a pool of...nothing and black and golden. It gleamed and Fragment cocked his head further, eyes narrowed and focused intently on the serpentine gem.

There. There. There He could feel it; throbbing, thrumming, steady and beating with not-life.

So much like himself. The Destruction-god was speaking and telling him to treasure this - of course! He slunk closer, closer still -- nose quivering as he sniffed at the item that would not allow him to tear his eyes from it's carved scales.

"A Treasure, yes. Alpha has given such wonder--" He crouched before the massive beast, nose touching the gem housing this Prince, this Dragon, thisFive-Claw. The contact brought such vivid colour into his brain that he jerked away; but it was too late -- the gem had contacted his flesh and was burrowing inside.

It did not hurt. It stung, it itched. He backed away, shaking his head like a large dog - the gem disappeared into black, and then was half-ejected by the shifting of the beast so it could claw at it. -- O! How it did itch--

'Sage, Host. It will be over soon.' It was a weary voice; the voice of one pushed nearly past their limits. Yu's voice.

Fragment stopped shaking his head, stopped trying to scratch at the parts of his malleable body that were becoming permanently affixed to the Dragon gem. The changing of the cells caused the itching - it felt wrong and he wanted to scratch at it so badly, but he did not. Thought he fusion of cells to gem had troubled the beast, the sensation of another entity inside his head did not - he accepted this and in his own twisted way understood.

"It will impress, Alpha. This treasure will thrive and grow strong. We will prove worthy." Fragment's words were perhaps the sanest he'd uttered since the Splitting; he felt...important. Needed. Real. The blood that seeped from his wounds slowed, coagulating - also for the first time since the Splitting; perhaps now he would heal.

He felt alive.

And with his body and time, one day too would the Dragon he now held inside his body.

The beast-form turned, pacing back into the Between-stuff, which tunneled and gave way a path to a far flickering. Light, like fire, dancing along the notWalls and music.

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With his nose still itching, his flesh still begging to be scratched, Fragment watched the Beast!god moving. He felt the bone-tired weariness of the gem now settling into the nest of flesh that was his body and felt his own weariness. He did not scratch.

Instead he watched. Sound and light and not-light moved around Destruction.

Come. Yes.

Fragment rose to his feet and padded after his Master, after the Master of the Dragon. He had naught else to go -- and this thing, this beast, this God owned him.

"We come, Alpha."
...//Solo - A "Formal" Introduction...

Fragment had followed his new Lord and Master, Destruction, out of the InBetween and into the Pantheon. Low lights and heat welcomed the shadowy beasts into Realty and for the first time, Fragment felt everything.

The flood of scent and sight and sensation was painful, so very painful at first that he could scarce follow the Beast God's heavy footsteps, but gradually it eased and was better. His senses didn't dull so much as adjust to his new (and unfamiliar) state of existence.

As he walked, he grew tired - it did not seem that the Alpha led him that great a distance, but his perceptions may have been skewed or just wrong, for he quickly found himself falling behind and wishing for nothing more than to drop down, tuck his tail over his nose and sleep.

'Rest, Host...it is not for us to continue where He will go...'

Rest. Sleep. Slumber. Yes.

Fragment slowed, paws finally falling still; a moment later, his legs folded under his heavy torso and he had his great shaggy head resting comfortably with his tail curled over his nose.

Host and Dragon Slept.


Tick. Tick. Tick.

Internally, an alarum went off and the slumbering beast's eyes cracked open, slitting slightly to peer at the world around him. He was curled in a smallish space under a window and behind a couch. How he had gotten to that precise place - having simply dropped to the ground before - was outside his understanding...and yet it did not bother him. Fragment was well versed in how changeable things could be from one moment to another - as he was still in existence and unharmed, it was nothing to concern himself with.

The scent of the Alpha - DestructionHarmodius - was everywhere. Yu breathed the God's name into Fragment's brain. The dragon felt it best if his host learned his Lord and Master's true name, not some strange, twisted version of it.

A soft whuff and a rippling of fur was the response Fragment gave to his Dragon bound in a gem.

'You call Him what you want, He is Alpha.'

The dragon sighed. It seemed that he and his host needed to have a little "talk" - not because the Fragment (as it called itself for lack of another name) was doing anything wrong, but because they needed to know each other.

After all, though he was going to be taking over once he'd grown strong enough, there really was no telling just how long that would be.

I recall little, Host, but that He is our Lord and Master is one thing I could not forget. You will show him proper respect as is his due. No more games.'

'Games to play, games to live. I speak not of games, Treasure-inside. I simply speak.' It was true - Fragment wasn't playing games, he did not...he was simply fractured in his mind and soul and that left him working in puzzles and going round-about in ovals and circles.

It was something that Yu would learn and become familiar with once he had more time with his host. 'Fragment you call yourself, though you have no True Name. I am called Xia Lu Ling -- Yu the Five-Claw. For my Lord, I am known as the Emblem Pillar, support to the Throne. Or was, Once.' Long stretches of time had passed since he had held a form that walked any of the lands...he and his had been Forgotten save for a few small instances or over-laps.

That would change. He had been warmed by his Lord, held still and silent inside Destruction's core that he might be born again, that he might have a chance to serve as he had once more.

But first...he needed to explain a few things to his host as well as having a few things explained by said host. After that, the dragon decided his next pressing task was to search out the frayed edges of Fragment's sanity to somehow draw them closer together.

For both their sakes.
...//PRP - Ashoka & Fragment

User ImageAshoka was bored. With Zhijian gone, it seemed like there wasn't anything to do...which was odd, seeing as she'd been mostly content before she'd started hanging around the Fangbridle. Curious. Still, it was better here, because she saw less - or at least, what she saw was so unintelligible that it was easier not to pay attention to.

...but it did not change that she was bored. And so the shifter pard padded down the stairs on two legs, intent on sitting and waiting until something came along to make her not-bored. Unclothed as she usually was, since it made going from form to form that much easier, she perched herself on one of the couches and waited expectantly.

User Image Outside. It was dark and full of ashes and heat and darkness. Fragment-Yu had gone outside briefly to see what they might see; the Dragon-inside wanted to see what Destruction's rule had done with new eyes...and Fragment was feeling amicable enough. Only a small trail of blood and gore had followed the bestial host this time; Yu's gem seemed to be granting him the ability to heal, though it left the half-crazed creature lethargic and still.

Inside. A new scent - an old scent, but fresh -- it tickled his quivering nostrils and caused Fragment to raise his shaggy head. Pard. A scent he knew, and yet this one was different and was laced with so many other scents. Thick.

Female. Exciting, save that when his ears perked at the thought of having a female, the Dragon-treasure gave off a bit of a warning.

No woman. But he could inspect, yes? He would not shift to bipedal either - less tempting that way.

The black beast padded quietly into the main hall, head cocked - there there there! The woman-pard-thing! Naked - glorious - but not for him. "Woman, thy name is pard." Gravelly and half-mangled, Fragment's voice was not precisely pleasant of tone, though it was easy enough to understand.

Ashoka had seen a great many strange things in her life, mostly in her own head, but nothing quite like this beast. He did not frighten her, for that was very difficult to do. Instead, he was fascinating - the kind of fascinating that made her want a closer look, a closer smell. He knew her for a pard, but what was he? "Silly," she giggled, "My name is Ashoka."

What was he, besides Dragon-taken and...hurt? Yes, certainly Dragon, but besides that he was confusing, nearly impossible to grasp and understand. Who was this baffling thing? 'Shoka hopped to the floor, resisting the urge to shift, to stand on four paws as he did - unlike him, she would be unable to speak. Still, she wasn't shy about approaching, sniffing, dropping down when she was closer. She wanted to smell him up close, as though that might tell her more.

"But what is yours?"

"Ashoka." He purred her name across mangled muzzle and flicked his tail; she wanted to inspect, to scent him - he would permit it; standing still and quiet with only his living flesh moving - the fur would not be still.

"It has no name, Ashoka. It is Fragment." For a fragment of the Real would never have a Name -- nothing other than what it was: Fragment. Other.

'And now, my name'. A voice in his head, a voice in their head. Ah yes, now he had a name of sorts. His Treasure.

"Yu, the Five Claw. We can now be." Though he knew the Dragon's name, he did not use it: names were things of power, and his treasure could not afford to give out any of his power just yet -- too fragile still. Fragment knew this.

'Shoka's tail flicked as well, busily stirring up ash as she inspected the stranger, circling 'round and scenting him. She finally stopped in front of him, crouched and peering curiously at his three pairs of eyes. She'd never seen anyone with more than one pair of eyes, unless you counted bugs...and anyway, they were very small. What was it like to see out of six eyes? Did they all blink at once, or in pairs? How did winking work? These were the sort of questions that ran through the shifter's mind - inconsequential, but she wanted to know all the same.

"Fragment." She tilted her head, thinking. Was that why he was so confusing, so scrambled and hard to see? A piece of something. Perhaps her mind couldn't straighten out what it was trying to see - the piece, or the Something? She couldn't decide whether she liked it or not, not being able to see. It was...disconcerting.

"Yu." Ashoka sat, unbothered by the ash. "Dragon, yes? Zhiji will be happy!" She beamed.

There was much to the creature, this Fragment of a dream borne from magic and mind and then more magics yet -- but nothing to see. One's mind would skitter across it as though to forget It were there; and yet...one could not ignore that Fragment was there. Flesh and reality.

"Yes, female - Fragment." And then he breathed a sigh, the final word coming out in a sort of semi-reverent hush. "Yu."

Six sets of eyes blinked, a stagger effect - bottom then mid then top, slowly and with pause as though one could only move after the other (this was not true, it was simply How it Happened to Be). Question answered.

"Zhiji?" The beast shook it's shaggy head and settled it's hind-end on the ground, it cared little for ashes and filth -- there was blood matted in it's thick, ever-twitching fur and gaping, raw holes in it's body. No matter. Fragment whuffed a bit and sniffed at the shifted Pard, eyes bright; for some reason, his Treasure made her happy...curious. He wanted to know why.

'Zhiji...perhaps another of Ours...' A soft tired musing from the Dragon held captive in the gem held captive in his body. Was this girl Property of another Dragon?


"Zhiji, yes, Fangbridle," she clarified, after watching him blink. So that was how it worked! Interesting. "He is Dragon, too, and lonely except for brother-dragon Tian Yue." Ashoka's wings twitched, then folded behind her again. Zhijian didn't actually like to be called 'Zhiji,' but as he wasn't here to complain, she was perfectly happy to shorten his name.

Fragment was an awful mess, wasn't he? Forever nosy, and perhaps a bit too incautious, she rose enough to shuffle closer again, wanting to inspect the matted, twitching fur.

'Shoka was quite correct in thinking that Fragment was an 'awful mess' and 'too incautious' as well. It was in his nature to be thus -- the parts that once may have worked with the aspects of the Original to curb such things were not present in him.

"Ah...." Fragment closed his eyes momentarily as though listening to an internal voice - which, he really was. Yu was murmuring about the Fangbridle - brother in arms or something like that. "Fangbridle -- yes, we know of him." Or the Five Claw had. Once.

Big paws stretched as the woman-pard moved closer, claws extending momentarily - perhaps a threat, perhaps just a reminder that they were there...or perhaps nothing more than a flexing as the wretched Fragment sat with her.

"Curiosity killed the cat - but you are Pard. I wonder what it will do to you~"

Strange, wicked wicked creature! He laughed.

It was not pleasant; he meant no real harm -- the Dragon inside would not allow it.

"Nothing in particular, I don't think," she answered calmly, claw-tipped fingers reaching out to pick carefully at a patch of matted fur, "Not this time." She was Dragon-property, after all; and besides that, she was quite sure that death or extreme harm to herself was probably something she'd see coming. Maybe...but maybe not, if it involved the baffling Fragment. Either way, she didn't find it worrisome enough to curb the urge to groom that came with being a social creature.

At first, the black-furred beast didn't quite understand what the woman was doing, but as he felt her fingers in his fur, picking, it all became clear -- and just in case he didn't get it, Yu offered helpfully to explain.

'You're being groomed by Fangbridle's property--' Fragment chafed at the voice in his head just a moment; crazy he was, but stupid he was not; there was no need to explain such trifling things.

Still. It felt good to have mats plucked at. The twitching, color-shifting fur seemed tosigh and relax under her hand; the beast himself grunted a bit and bowed his head slightly to show he wasn't going to snap at her for the grooming, he would accept it.

"Zhiji and Tian Yue...two Dragons more....tell me about the Brothers." For he and his were interested and as yet still weary enough to wish to lay with an attractive female giving attention. Briefly again did Fragment's eyes and mind rest on Ashoka's naked form and contemplate taking her.

Restraint was a good thing.

It would have worked much better with a comb and some scissors, but claws worked decently - if slowly. She considered stealing a fork from the kitchen, but it probably wouldn't have been much of an improvement. And anyway, she liked the strange, shifting fur under her fingers.

"Zhijian is Ying Long, mount to the Twin Crown. His host was pard, Seppa - that is how I know him. Tian Yue is Worldshield, Tien Lung. He once was Crispin, host to Shaiming, but together they have become Tian Yue," she spoke companionably, picking away. "They have gone to the Pantheon that Once Was, looking for Zhiji's saddle and armor."

Words. Words. Words. Cumbersome words to explain things that pleased the Dragon inside but that mostly just served to inform him. It was, of course, very useful information to have, but Fragment was an impatient sort. Ever curious, but without the ability to it and listen - save that he was being rather pleasantly groomed.

"Mount and Worldshield, returned." Six eyes half closed as the beast spoke what the 'sleeping' god inside was 'thinking'. "They are back then, not just....in shells?" Fragment chuckled a bit, a rumbling-over-broken-glass sound. "The Five-Claw is curious, pretty Pard."

"They are my brothers"
"We know this, Treasure - we are talking with Ashoka."

Talking to himself, and yet not, aloud. How...curious was this new Life!

It would have worked much better with a comb and some scissors, but claws worked decently - if slowly. She considered stealing a fork from the kitchen, but it probably wouldn't have been much of an improvement. And anyway, she liked the strange, shifting fur under her fingers.

"Zhijian is Ying Long, mount to the Twin Crown. His host was pard, Seppa - that is how I know him. Tian Yue is Worldshield, Tien Lung. He once was Crispin, host to Shaiming, but together they have become Tian Yue," she spoke companionably, picking away. "They have gone to the Pantheon that Once Was, looking for Zhiji's saddle and armor."

Words. Words. Words. Cumbersome words to explain things that pleased the Dragon inside but that mostly just served to inform him. It was, of course, very useful information to have, but Fragment was an impatient sort. Ever curious, but without the ability to it and listen - save that he was being rather pleasantly groomed.

"Mount and Worldshield, returned." Six eyes half closed as the beast spoke what the 'sleeping' god inside was 'thinking'. "They are back then, not just....in shells?" Fragment chuckled a bit, a rumbling-over-broken-glass sound. "The Five-Claw is curious, pretty Pard."

"They are my brothers"
"We know this, Treasure - we are talking with Ashoka."

Talking to himself, and yet not, aloud. How...curious was this new Life!

The pard giggled, pleased to be called 'pretty.' She msotly didn't get past weirding people out. "Yes, they are back. Zhiji is like a great cat that walks on two legs instead." Unlike the shifter, who was more human-like in form. "Tian Yue looks mostly like a human, but with a dragon's tail. There is..." Ashoka scrunched up her face, thinking, "Are two more out of their shells, I think. Hard to tell which, though...no, I cannot tell."

The Prophet didn't so much as bat an eye at Fragment's exchange with his 'Treasure' - she quite often talked to herself, and that was without the excuse of a god-jewel.

Fragment shook his heavy head a little bit and thought as to whether he should mention the man he had tried to destroy.

'Futs. You nearly mauled a Brother's host...' A gentle chastisement and one that the twisted beast ignored. No one took from him what was his...even if it wasn't.

"One new, when we joined. A man with dark skin took from us the glittering jewel." His fur rippled in irritation; the thought still rankled though he now had a very important Treasure all his own. "Futs, the Beastgod called them." His long, thick and ragged tail curled around one of 'Shoka's ankles, twitching.

"Futs. Another brother?" Ashoka patted the rippling fur, then went back to working away at the mat she'd chosen. She'd be lucky if she got through this one in the duration of the conversation, forget the rest - but it was something. "That's very good. Zhiji will be happy, to have pack again soon."

"Beastgod?" she asked, wiggling her toes as Fragment's tail curled around her ankle.

"Yesss..." Fragment hissed a little bit in appreciation for being touched; though there was a little annoyance that she might treat him as a dog -- which he was not. It was simply that his bipedal form bled faster and bled more...and took more energy to hold to. Mostly, he was content to lay with the naked woman and be groomed. He did exert a little bit of energy to make his matted fur shift;strands pulling themselves free under her fingers all on their own - just a little. More fun to have her do it.

"Alpha. The One who's scent bleeds ash on this place."

"Destruction". Yu's word through Fragment's jaws, to clarify that which his host could - or would - not.

Ashoka didn't mean to offend him with the pat - she liked to be petted, whichever form she was in. It was a nice, tingly sort of feeling. She didn't notice any annoyance, however, too intrigued by the fur that untangled itself. How cool! Personally, however, she was glad to have short fur. She didn't have to worry about matting, except maybe for her hair.

"Ah, that One. I have never met Him, only seen Him sometimes." It was hard not to see Harmodius. He was impossible to avoid - a shadow over dreams and visions.

The beast shifted his bulky body a little, settling down on his massive front paws and half leaning against the woman's legs. They felt nice - Ashoka was sweetly-scented and her strangeness did not put him off at all; to Fragment, the Pard shifter was very normal.

"We met him, he gave us the Prince." And found him lacking, but that was neither here nor there now -- what mattered was that Yu lived within him...and yes, he knew full well what would happen when the gem-strangled Dragon finally broke free of his shell.

What mattered wasn't that he survived, but that there was a Life for him, a puroposea nd Place. He would be a Fragment no longer...and Alpha would have his Dragon back.

"Yes yes, all good." His tail curled along her leg idly, words meant not for her but that she could be privy to either way. Suddenly, he thought of something-- "Pard you are, but woman too."


Leaving the mat alone for a moment, she took advantage of Fragment's shift in position to explore more of his strange fur, and investigate his curling pair of horns. He was made up of all kinds of interesting bits, this one.

"I'm a shifter," 'Shoka answered, pushing an annoying lock of hair back from her eyes and sweeping it up behind an antler. "It's a gift we have sometimes, but not as much as magic or healing or seeing." Still, it was more common than her other gift.

Fragment took her poking and prodding about with a relatively good humor. The more she poked at him and moved, the more he got to see and feel -- yes, he was a bit of a letch...but this was the first time since he'd split from the Original that he'd been able to feel another...at least, the first time outside the InBetween. He was enjoying it.

"Shifter. We too, change shape." His fur rippled but he did not offer to give her a demonstration; he was relaxing, healing. Yu needed his energy more than he did, and so Fragment gave it up willingly. Shoka would either believe or she would not. Either way was fine with him.

"Yes...the Pards we knew...did not have such a gift..."

Ashoka was rather happily oblivious to being 'checked out' - not that she would have minded particularly if she realized that was the case. Sex, like most other aspects of life, was...well, just another aspect of life. She didn't really think overmuch about it, or make any kind of big deal over it - well, okay, she had a tendency to giggle about it. That was about as far as it went.

The pard didn't question his word - she had no reason to. She merely held her hand over his rippling fur, endlessly fascinated. "I know one other. There are others, too, but I don't know them."

"The dragons shift as well," she added.

Mostly, the shaggy beast was content to be petted and listen to 'Shoka talking. Her words pleased his Dragon, his Treasure greatly for they told him of his "siblings" and also gave him an idea about the sorts of things might come into contact with. It was good to know these things. Always good to know about things.

"Ah. We did not know this." Fragment all but purred, his fur seeming to reach up to tickle at the palm of her hand. "We were not told."

Much was unknown about the Dragon inside, though some had been divulged previously...Yu kept quiet for the most part; his host could learn more as time went along.

"You shift, your Zhiji shifts - I and mine also. Interesting."

Ashoka giggled with delight as Fragment's fur tickled at her hand. What fabulous stuff it was! She could play with it for the rest of the day and never get bored. Boldly, she scooted a little bit closer, half-leaning and half-cuddling.

"It's very handy, shifting," she mused, wiggling her fingers. "Having hands and talking is excellent."

He did not mind her moving closer - the attention felt good, they were having a conversation and (best of all) he wasn't having to expend much energy at the moment....which meant the world.

"Yes - we think so." He turned his shaggy head to snuff at her side a little, her wings. The shifter Pard held such an interestingscent -- different and yet the same as the Pards Khiarhu had known; different and yet the same as the Pards Fragment had not known but could recall in vague terms.

"Hands hold such use, though we do not have them now."

He didn't meant that he never had hands, simply that they were broad paws for padding about currently. Fragment flexed his paw and stretched the toes out so his claws unsheathed; stretching felt good too -- not so good at Ashoka's petting, but good.

Very good for one that was still coming used to having such sensations.

"Tell me -- there is much outside this ash-realm, yes?"

'Shoka giggled more upon being snuffed at, ticklish. She stroked the fur between his horns, wings twitching a bit. "Oh yes, lots of stuff!" Another giggle - she was full of them, apparently. "It's a whole world, after all. Much has been dying, but there's lots still left holding on. It's just normal now, after so long - the ash and the ugliness. It's easy to forget the green."

It was easy to forget the green here, but Fragment came from a differently placed Gaia....one where it was still green and lush in many places. Or was that simply another pocket that he was confusing with Gaia...? Fragment whuffed and nosed at her wings idly; he couldn't remember because he didn't have all the information - the memories were not his own.

'The Original left us with so little, Treasure...but we know this green and growing she speaks lightly of.' He did not openly say this to her, however.

"Easy to forget, so much so easily forgotten. Too many scents and sounds to remember what once was." The beast did not try to speak in riddle, he simply did. But at the least, he agreed with the horned Pard-girl. "There will be green again, Ashoka-Pard. We know."

Ashoka shook her head, untroubled but still realistic. "No, it can End still - Everything can End. But it might not. I see it Ending, and I see it Going On. There's no telling, not with Him."

Her wings flicked, pushing playfully back at his nose. "That's why I like it here, and don't. So much is uncertain, so much harder to see."

Fragment blinked it's eyes slowly, processing the information from the Shifter Pardess. "It is up to Him, then? Alpha would make ash and bone and nothing when Life requires growing green?"

Certainly, it made sense to the beast. The God had scented heavily of Destruction (as he should have)...but there had been Something else there as well....which confused him greatly.

"Why?" Not Fragment, but Yu wished to know. Certainly, he had noticed the change in his Lord, but...he did not quite...the why escaped him.

"He is Destruction - what else would he do?" It made perfect sense to her. He was Destruction, and so he destroyed, just as she was a Prophet and saw. It was just...the way things were, how they worked.

"Betrayed," she answered, "By the god who looks like stars - Lucius. Wounded. The Dragons were not here then." Might they have prevented it? She lingered on wondering only a moment.

"Ahhh. Yes yes yes. Of course." The beast sighed and dipped it's head to bite at the pads of it's feet for a moment; the whole of it's body shuddered as the fur changed under her hands -- the wounds he had been half-hiding, half-protecting with his malleable flesh reappeared. He was tired of covering them up, it wasn't a lot of energy, but like any animal, he knew they needed to breathe to heal properly.

'Betrayal We know, but what of Yu, O' Treasure. The Alpha's betrayer...the Destroyer brought out. Such things! To wake to them - disturbing!'

"Lucius..." Fragment's eyes narrowed as Yu snarled internally -- The Dragons had not been there! Their Lord betrayed! Five Claw writhed inside it's gem and flesh prisons, agitated. "This is upsetting to Us - the StarGod did this?" He chuckled to himself and to her, stopping only to yawn and show of sharp teeth.

Yu pressed upon his host again and the Beast allowed him to speak without expending energy to do so; words did not hurt him to give his Treasure. Small things to please Alpha and Dragon.

"Where there others, Ashoka, Pard Shifter? Do you know? Others to aid this Betrayer, this Star-God -- Lucius?"

Goodness! Ashoka's eyes widened, and she peered at the revealed wounds for a moment, but otherwise didn't dwell on them except to wonder idly how he'd gotten them.

The pard furrowed her brow, looking deep in thought for a minute before nodding to herself. "One, I think, just one. It was Love."

He noticed her eyes widening and whuffed. "Old wounds, now they heal. We are flesh. now."

Yu listened with the Fragment's ears and frowned -- Love? Love had betrayed their Lord and Master? Why would he go to such lengths when he could have bedded with Harmodius without such betrayal?

Fragment laughed.

"It is not always enough to have only part, no no no - Treasure should know." Again his jaws opened and that horrible rumbling laughter came out, like steel scraping across gravel. "Love brought Destruction. Fitting."

Had not love caused that unicorn b***h to pierce the Original through? Had she not destroyed them -- breaking him from what once was? Oh yes. So very fitting!

Ashoka's curiosity had her wanting to examine the wounds, to peek and poke and prod, but that that just wasn't something you did...unless you were a healer, like Satu. She poked sometimes. So the pard went back to petting, gingerly avoiding the injuries.

"Is it?" 'Shoka tilted her head, considering, and giggled. "In the pride, it just brings pardlings. One of Seppa's has the power to destroy, though."

Keeping her hands from his wounds was very likely an excellent idea as Dragon or no, he would have snapped viciously at her hands unless she asked to touch first. Accidental brushing of the wounds wouldn't get her harm though, he would simply flinch, hide twitching -- there was a difference of intent, and so long as she merely intended to pet him, Fragment was fine.

That comment brought a roar of laughter from the beast. Indeed - love did bring kits! "Oh, witty - Ashoka, Pard." He shook his head and had an expression on his mangled muzzle something akin to a smirk of amusement. "There was one We knew, that could have wrought Destruction. One with three in one." What Fragment was recalling (albeit hazily) was Equinox -- the Cerberus Pard.

Pards were interesting to Yu - obviously animals and yet intelligent enough to be worthy of notice; some obviously held a great deal of power. Shifters. Mages. Host to a Dragon.

"Three in one?" Ashoka tilted her head again, this time to the other side. What did that mean? Three powers in one, or personalities, or something else?

"Hazy, hazy...but three-in-one." He chuffed a bit - it was not his memory, but that of the Original. Khiarhu. Khiarhu would know about the Cerberus pard that had been summoned. Fragment only knew that one existed - he had no further information.

"Six eyes, three tails - so strange, so strange!"

Never mind that he had six eyes.

"That would be fun!" she giggled. Six eyes and three tails? Ooh! She still wasn't sure about the whole three-eyed thing, but three tails would be awesome! Shoka pulled speculatively at the end of her own single tail.

"Many parts can be interesting...." He whuffed a little bit; the temptation to shift so that his tail split into three parts was great -- it would please the female and that, strangely enough, would have pleased him. And the Dragon.

Perhaps it was just the attention he was getting. It was glorious after having been nothing for so long!

Fragment lifted his head and glanced off in the distance, fur rippling. "Trade horns for Tails, 'Shoka-pard." That's what he would have done -- but perhaps she worked under different Rules than he did?

Ashoka giggled - though there were some things she didn't think about much, her mind could still go into the gutter. And it did, triggering a guiltily naughty giggle. Inappropriate things were almost always funny. It didn't linger long, though; like many things, it was only fleeting, and she traded the giggling for a tilt of her head. "Trade?" She fingered her antlers. "But I like them!"

She wouldn't want to get rid of them to have tails! Even if more tails would be fun.

He chuckled and rubbed a big paw over his nose, chuffing a bit. Ashoka was cute and seemed to have a mind off where his tended to go -- not in perversion, but in how it hopped back and forth and processed things differently.

"Horns are good, but if you can trade sometimes, it is also good."

Yu settled back (figuratively speaking) to observe his host interacting -- the only thing that he wouldn't allow the creature to do was harm her, so really...Fragment had free rein and it was interesting to 'watch' him.

There was a little flick of his tail where it curled over her ankle, sort of like a pet or a pat, but not quite. "Your Dragon is lucky, to have Shoka-Pard at his side."

Unable to resist - willpower was not a strong point of the pard's, and unless it was downright stupid impulse tended to win out - Ashoka reached for Fragment's huge, tempting paw. Like most of the rest of him, she found it very cuddly-looking, and also very worth further inspection. Gentle, of course, since paws could be very sensitive things. And ticklish, too. Was Fragment ticklish? Maybe she would have to find out sometime, if he didn't object.

"Can Fragment trade?" Perhaps that was what he meant, she decided, wiggling her toes in response to the flick of tail against her ankle.

When the Pardess reached for his paw, Fragment allowed it - she had been careful and groomed him a bit...and he rather liked her, so where was the harm? No tickling though - his paws were ticklish, but he did not like it much there. Behind his ears was a much safer place to tickle!

"Yes. Can trade. Can add-to and take-away." He did a quick check with Yu, yes, it was fine to expend the energy, they were fine and he was feeling quite well, gathering energy and growing into his host. The beast's fur rippled and his under-color changed to something akin to teal for a few moments; bright color under the black as one set of horns cracked and twisted down into his skull until they were gone. At the same time, bones crackled and formed out of black flesh, muscles forming over those and then covering with fur until he had two more tails to fan at Ashoka with.

Quick as the process was, it took energy and wasn't painless though the beast did not show hurt at all. He was too used to it.

...well, that was a good way to derail her train of thought and make her forget about maybe tickling his paw. She watched in fascination as he absorbed his own horns, only to grow extra tails! Glorious, awesome, fluffy tails, and now he had three. There was, of course, nothing else to be done but abandon the paw that had fascinated her mere moments ago and scoot back to cuddle on those tempting tails.

They would probably make a fabulously comfy nest-pillow-blanket-thing.

Fragment's jaws cracked open and he bobbed his head, laughing at the woman's quick-switch -- paw for tails. They were very soft and very fluffy indeed, and he was tickling at her a little with them; crazy and wicked and horribly broken....Fragment was still male and could still like.

Which meant 'Shoka was pretty safe to cuddle and pull at his tails.

"You like tails, much more than most - Pardess." Another chuckle.

'Shoka giggled wildly, both from glee and ticklishness. She didn't pull overmuch, just the occasional tug as she wiggled around in the midst of the three fluffy appendages Fragment had magically traded for his horns. Fluffy, magic tails! She was very, very easy to amuse.

"They're fluffy," she said, as though that explained everything, and rubbed her cheek against one. Fragment was, in her estimation, now completely and totally awesome. Horned, fluffy, six-eyed, made her kind of sense, shape shifted, and fluffy. It was hard to get better than that.

Saying his tails were fluffy pretty much was the entire explanation. Totally valid for their conversation; after all, Fragment got it.

Yu prodded his host a little bit; not to leave but to remind him.

"Treasure wants me to ask -- We would meet your Dragon, can this be?" Truthfully, the fractured beast was far more interested in tickling and wrapping tails around the female pard.

Tickly, tickly! It was hard to talk when you were busy being tickled and giggling because of it, but Ashoka eventually managed. "Yes, when he is back." Giggle! "He will be very happy."

Fragment ceased tickling his 'captive' and instead curved his long body so it was half around her; like a dragon, hoarding it's treasure. "Yes, good good good. Mine too, will be happy." He shook his head a bit and snuffed at Shoka's arm a bit; she was soft and smelled good.

An excellent chance encounter, yes yes yes.

Being cuddled and snuffed at, while not as giggly an affair as being tickled with tails, was quite nice. Ashoka cuddled against the warm and fluffy Fragment with a purr, returning idly to the grooming she'd abandoned in favor of paw-holding and tail-snuggling earlier. There really was nothing better than a good cuddlepile; maybe when Zhiji and Tian Yue came back, they could have a bigger one?

As much as the great shaggy beast liked Ashoka's feel and scent, he may not be quite so interested in a cuddle pile involving all of the others...though Yu might well have been just that excited to be with his brothers that he could manage to drag his fractured host into one~

Especially since 'Shoka was being so nice and grooming his unruly fur!

The beast let out a rumbling almost-purr and half closed his eyes; relaxing.

At this point, the two beastial creatures had themselves a lovely nap...and when 'Shoka awoke later, Fragment was gone...
...//Solo - Crime and Punishment

Pard female. Scents of many mixing with the bone and dust and ash and Destruction. It was all too spicy and heady, flowing about his sensitive nostrils in a constant ocean of scents.

Drowning. Suffocating. Scents.

And boredom.

Other things too -- curiosity and a new alertness regarding the world around Them prompted Fragment to pick his healing, hulking body off the Pantheon floor so that he could explore outside.

Granted, it was difficult to convince the Dragon resting inside him that they should 'abandon' the Pantheon and get outside for a bit. Yu twisted inside his gem-prison, testing at the delicate filaments that held the two creatures bound -- he could not make the flesh do as he willed yet but he was firmly anchored to bone and sinew, spirit and fragmented soul. Had it been up to the resting God, they would have remained in the sick-thick scents...drowning in the ash and wrong that surrounded their Lord and Master's dwelling place.

"It is good to come out, yes yes yes." Fragment rasped to himself, to Yu, as heavy paws went thump-whump-thump-whump against the scorched earth. Further and further but not too far. Still tired yet, still not strong - but Fragment did not have to pour all of his energy into the Dragon anymore. He simply had to be careful and rest often. Which was why after twenty or so minutes of padding about he found a shady spot with grass and settled down like a dog; front legs half crossed, tail curled around so he could see it.

"Come out, come out, come out~."

Fragment's six eyes squeezed in a strange sort of bestial smile and there was a rippling, a change in his body -- something moving inside.

Something that eventually surfaced from the malleable flesh of his tail; glowing and gleaming and serpentine blue. Yu's gem.

User Image

'What are you doing? You cannot remove me. The contract is done, Broken Host.'

"Not to remove, no my Treasure - but to talk. So much the better, like this. Yes. Yes. Yes."

The gleaming, scaled gem seemed to radiate annoyance and resignation. His host was insane - but less so now than before. Yu had spent much of his time not simply resting, but seeking out the weakest, most frayed edges and points in the beast's mind; weaving himself into these places, securing his hold.

Each time he did so, Fragment's thoughts became slightly less scattered and slightly more entangled with his own.

'You are a strange one, Broken Host. What would we speak of now?'

"Traitors." The word held such ripe promise; Yu felt and knew that in that word there was so much more contained: the hunt, the capture. The kill.

Yu tried to explain as they spoke nestled comfortably in the grass under a warm sun that delivering such punishment was for Harmodius to do, not lesser beings - but the creature would not listen nor be swayed. Not even after Fragment learned that he could not kill the Sinners. Death was not the worst that could happen.

That was something he knew very intimately
...//PRP - Scales and Gold

Nebula sat on the Pantheon's front steps, dragging one finger through the ash and dust and leaving meaningless swirls behind. It was an easy little task to keep her busy while Phaedra dealt with larger concerns.

As delightful as the world was in its current stage, it needed to stop. At some point enough should have been enough; entropy should have reached a threshold and held there. Ruin was a wonderful thing for an intelligent and enterprising goddess, someone skilled in picking up the pieces and reassembling them into a far more pleasing form, but at this rate there would be no pieces left for her to play with.

Surely that had not been her Lord's intention.

Her host began to hum tunelessly, with an idle mental flick, Phaedra shut the sound off as if it had issued from a mechanical source, not a person. The goddess allowed her just enough sight to keep her occupied with the ash, no more.

User ImageAsh and Destruction. Smokey dying scents...scorched earth. Fragment's sensitive nose twitched as he padded slowly back to the Pantheon. His Treasure was unhappy with him - first for the trick he kept pulling when they 'talked' and most recently for going off exploring. Yu Five-Claw did not wish to leave his Master's side; not with the world in the state it was...but Fragment was still in-charge physically so out and off they went.

"Do not sulk, Treasure-mine...we learned much, Outside Alpha's circle"

The great shaggy beast met with a bristling wall of irritated, coiling dragon; he simply shook his head and laughed until a breeze brought another scent to him. There was...something beyond ashes in the air - the scent of female. Interesting, yet another woman-creature.

Fragment perked and kicked his slow padding into a bit of a trot; he would meet this new person for they scented heavily of spicy, exotic things and magic.

One of Nebula's ears twitched; Phaedra listened, and caught the sound. Something was coming, something large, moving on - she made her host hold her breath for a moment - yes, paws. Hmm. Theoretically it could be dangerous, but anything dangerous coming to the Pantheon would find itself outclassed in short order indeed.

The goddess kept Nebula seated, but focused her own attention on whatever-it-was that was on its way. A lumbering dark shape... that tasted of god.

Yes yes yeeees - Magic! Power. Sweet and musky all at once; his nose told him there was more than just one type of magic there. God-magic and something else...something his senses didn't know, couldn't identify.

'You cannot eat her, whomever she is.'

Fragment rumbled a chuckle deep in it's massive chest; closer - closer still! A moment and his sharp eyes could make out the feline Aoide sitting...watching him. Massive beast, mangled muzzle, size eyes all gleaming ruby - he was a sight!

A kitty! Oh ho ho - he felt the urge to chase her, to see her running before him as prey, but Yu squelched that down and reminded him he could not.

Instead, he slowed as he came closer; there was no harm meant.

Not really.

Phaedra smiled, and nodded in acknowledgment - while it was quite fun to come in hidden, to lure and surprise, there was also a certain delight in being recognized at the very start. It laid down different rules, shifted the game into another form, with different potentials. "Greed and hunger, lust and endless guile," she purred at the unusual host. "Mine own is Aoide, but she is near the end of her time. The trials of this Age have broken her mind. Forgive my lack of movement, but I must expend undue power to keep her sane."

Once in a while, Fragment showed a great amount of sanity...it took his host aback slightly, but pleased him as well. His host was not entirely broken. Yu sympathized with the Lady Phaedra's "plight"...they both had hosts that required extra...handling to function.

"No forgiveness required, Lady Phaedra. My own host is quite...Fragmented." The beast nodded it's great shaggy head, horns seeming to move slightly of their own volition.

"Broken kitten, broken toy - little girl would make a good pet, we think."

Sing-songs again. Yu-Fragment sighed and shook their head. "Excuse him." There was a pause, and then congratulations. "Congratulations Lady, if she is near the end of her time, you will be born again soon, yes?"

"Oh, my little kitten is an excellent pet." Phaedra chuckled, the sound deepening into a purr at the end; for a moment, Nebula glanced up, but even though Fragment was standing right there she seemed to look right past him. "But all good things must come to an end, as they say."

"So true."

Fragment cocked his head curiously and raised a paw half-way as though to poke -- the motion halted and he simply scratched at his maned chest instead. "Ashes to ashes. Kittens to Goddesses." His fur shifted colors slightly, blues and purples mingling under the black in strange colors and shapes.

"All things End - Ashes end too. Alpha would end All."
"Lord Harmodius is Destruction, gilded - that would be Your influence, correct?"

"Here kitty kitty kitty~" Fragment crooned to Nebula even as the Dragon King sought information from Phaedra, round-about.

Phaedra purred again, the sound thick with desire and delight. "Indeed, it is the reflection of my Glory he wears, to my deepest honor." There was unfeigned sincerity in her voice; it was truly an honor, and truly intoxicating to have her Lord bear her, thus. "But I too fear that playtime may be over far too soon, to no purpose and profit." Nebula's tail puffed out a bit in response to the goddess' unease on that score.

The Aoide ignored Fragment entirely, so it seemed, though her doodling motions sped up a little.

"So We are not wrong -- broken and tormented, all is Ending." Naturally the twisted creature would focus on that aspect; Yu was thinking that while Destruction was apparently demolishing the land while in this aspect, there had to be something. He wore Greed's glory...that had to be a good sign.

"What of the Consort? The Empress?" Though much had been lost, the Dragon knew his history. He knew his Lord. This would not have happened had either been at Harmodius' side.

"Pretty kitty~ Sweeet kitten~ " Fragment continued crooning at the woman-child-host. Creepy thing.

"The Consort and Empress..." The words brought dim flashes of memory to the surface of Nebula's mind, overheard conversations from her own Dragon King before his name and nature had shifted in his own merging. Phaedra plundered them for meaning. "The Empress is reborn, though not yet in glory. Of the Consort I know nothing; he has not been seen. That is all I know on that score."

It was here that Fragment interrupted, chuckling deeply."So much, left to rot and die....Sleeping servants - Dragon-Treasure dormant and dull....worlds falling to ash." Beautiful and yet he would prefer green and growing -- a longer life in that aspect. Still, he was amused.

"My Lord stands without his Court -- and I hear there has been treachery..." Yu's spirit thrashed angrily in it's prison; his lord's realm ashed...the Consort missing, the Empress not yet ready to Be...and what of the Dragons? What of his brothers? Yu could feel the touch of the Dragon Kings in this land...but it was dulled as he was dulled.

The great beast stretched out his front legs, claws reaching, reaching for Nebula - but not quite touching. "Treasure worries much; things have changed, Gilded Lady - Kitten." Fragment curled his tail over his back legs and skinned his lips back to 'grin' at Phaedra/Nebula. "Ash and bone~ Flesh and blood~ All begins and ends from the same fount!"

"Treachery, yes, but that is all over now and my Lord lies gilded, so it matters not to me," Phaedra said, with a faint shrug. "That was before my time. An inconsequential action. Why worry about the past when the present is so full of possibility?" She smirked. The past for her was storehouse of information, and little else.

Yu coiled tightly in his gem; Phaedra's words held truth to them, and yet he felt such shame at not having been there - at not having protected his Master - that he couldn't quite let it go.

Fragment was greatly amused by this.

"Treasure holds much that should be released, wicked, wily woman." He rumbled a laugh and then shook his head; ah, such lovely goddesses he did meet! Shocking, appalling women that struck quite the chord with his basic self! While Yu wondered at the reborn goddesses they had encountered thus far; Neva, Phaedra - Fragment delighted.

Such a pair, such a pair-- mismatched and yet perfect. Fragment bowed to Yu's will, Yu's will fed on Fragment's power.

"So much, yes yes yes Lady...possibilities. The Treasure must learn to look forward, not back. Dragons must be old-fashioned!"

If he only knew!

Finally, Nebula flinched, and focused for the first time, the thought of Dragons bringing her sanity briefly to the surface. "Tien Lung...?" she mewled, helplessly, blinking at the being before her.

No. The shape was wrong.

The Aoide drooped, then curled inward again.

Nebula's response to the mention of dragons and her brief crest to sanity to query whether they were Tien Lung - nor not - caught both Yu and Fragment's attention. Needless to say, that sort of reaction was quite...interesting (but for varied reasons on either God or Beast's part).

"No Kitty, kitty...not Tien Lung~" Someone else. His Brother. Pity that name was likely the most they would hear from the feline Aoide during the remainder of her life-span. She smelled delightfully different!

"Tien Lung? She stirred when a Dragon was mentioned...is Tien Lung a Brother?" Yu pushed gently at his host, requesting that the shaggy beast rise and move a step or three closer. "Lady Phaedra....are many of my siblings reborn? Would you tell me?" Not "do you know", for Yu was well aware women did not always say what they knew - and visa versa. Obviously, the Aoide had known a Dragon - but whether it had been before the Fading (which would definitely explain her apparent insanity) or more recently, he could not know without being told.

Lady Phaedra, hmm. And from the mouth of a Dragon King, no less. The goddess savored the moment like a fine wine; a smile spread across Nebula's face again, when it had previously fallen blank and confused as the host gained momentary control. Now it was easy enough to push her back down, keep her sedated and dulled. Her name spoken so by such a deity was power and ambrosia.

"Even so. Tien Lung is reborn, that much I know... quite well." The smile deepened a little bit. Dared she use the delicious little tidbits? But even she was wary to be too petty when it came to the Dragon Kings. Their bonds went deeper than she could fathom, and her attempts at shaking such at this stage would likely only fail and turn the Five Claws against her.

The reward was not worth the risk. She sighed, inwardly. "This one was in the Worldshield's service until she held my prison to her eye. Fortunately, he had another servant." The gem sparkled, as if with amusement.

He listened intently - Fragment and Yu through his furred ears. Phaedra had much of interest to say; true to form, the wily female Goddess of Ruthless Desire would have things that held worth.

"We think you chose well, oh Wicked One, Lady-of-Want." Fragment chuckled again and raised one large paw to bite at the fur matted there for a moment; they were thinking. "I imagine my Brother was displeased to lose one of his own, even to Yourself." Was the Dragon King's input.

"Why outside, Gilded Goddess? Why in ash and heat with your Kitten?"

Yu was surprised at his host's question -- but then, Fragment had surprised him more often since he had started 'knitting' his psyche back together (as much as he could). It was an excellent question...though not one he himself would have asked.

"Because, alas, so few care to wander through my Labyrinth as of yet." Phaedra heaved a deliberately impish put-upon sigh; this was turning out to be much more enjoyable than she had expected. The massive many-eyed beast had a most unexpected turn of wit and mind in its horned head, one that ran well with her own. "Do they find this place scary, do you think? Perhaps my Lord might be persuaded to redecorate His dwelling along with His form." The gem in Nebula's eye gleamed with amusement, reflecting the glow of the lava.

"They see the spider, not the web here." There was a decided 'wuff' of air from the creature's cracked jaws and his tail thumped against the charred earth in a slow rhythm.

"Pity more won't play with the Lady." Eyes glinted brightly; oh, he was amused - and happy to have attention and give it!

"Perhaps our Lord would return the Pantheon to it's former glory...but not in this Aspect." Yu frowned - as much as a gem without form could really frown, that is. His host and this dangerous woman were enjoying each other's company a little much -- it seemed that the Goddess Phaedra had a wicked bent that slid alongside the one that the Fragment had.

Dangerous woman indeed.

"Oh, I shall have my play in due time. The time of my ascension grows closer by the day." Phaedra's purr was affectionate, directed at the kitten, the sweet little Aoide that was so close to the end. "And then the web will grow, and grow." Had she not brought down a city even in this hampered form? In her prime, she had tangled nations, bid them war and break themselves to pieces for her at a single word. Glorious.

"And what do Dragons care of spiders?"

"Even a Dragon should not discount the venom a spider may have. A lesson that more would be wise to remember." Yu knew that not only were desire and greed dangerous things, but a woman's wiles were not to be treated lightly either. The Lady Phaedra was obviously a cunning creature - he could admire that, but he would not be lured into thinking she were utterly harmless.

Oh no. Of all the mistakes he may have made, such would not be counted among them.

"Delicious kitten, I would have her before, if I could." Fragment chuckled again and licked at his chops, "Dragons and spiders, all tangled and tails! We would have our time soon too.

Fragment's head tossed a bit, his silky mane fluffing up with the movement. Yu was choke-holding him a little bit, curbing his host's tongue in warning to not be overtly friendly with one that so happily spoke of toying with others.

"Perhaps the wise may be on their guard... but they should remember that no soul is completely free from my touch. We sit deep down, my siblings and I, in the shadowy places." Her smile was predatory. "I cannot be anything other than what I am, my dear."

Fragment bowed his head so he could claw at his muzzle a bit; being held in check for what seemed like no good reason irked him - Dragon's will or no.

"Greed and beauty and sweet lies, tainted with tart truth -- so she speaks"

Xia gave an inward sigh; though he worked in strange sing-song and riddles half the time...there was no doubt but that his host was oft correct. Wise to be on guard, oh yes, but she would not let him forget (nor should he have tried) that Greed was an aspect reflected in the very nature of all beings.

Even a Dragon King could be filled with greed.

Had he not been so once? It was likely; what place - in truth - did an emblem hold? A faint tickling drew along scales only half-realized in such an ephemeral state -- small Dragon, small charge. Had it not rankled once? There were others, Brothers-bonded by fang and scale and servitude, that had held loftier positions.

'Soft, so soft Dragon-Treasure .... but we will not, no.' Fragment almost purred as he felt Yu's hold on him loosen; whatever the Dragon had been in the past - they would be again...but more. If nothing else, Phaedra had once(and perhaps yet still) a disciple in the twisted beast.

"We are shade-dwellers, Lady. Treasure forgets....you brought him me!"

Yu - through the beast's body - went rigid, six eyes widening. Yes....ruthless desire - Greed - had brought Fragment to his Lord and thus brought them together. He relaxed in the beast's body and sighed, flicking ears that belonged to his host. "I find no fault in being what you are, Lady Phaedra. But I will not forget that, either."

Phaedra nodded, a sly smile flickering on the Aoide's face. "A pleasure, truly. My domain encompasses much, though mortals breaking themselves to bits in thrall is purest sacrifice... there are other aspects. A small hunger, appeased; what harm in that? For once, or twice, or three times..." There was a charming sparkle, a whirl of blue, in the red eye.

"Only that damage which we allow with over-indulgences, Lady." That sly look paired with the vacant, staring eyes of Phaedra's host brought a small stone of disgust into the 'gut' of the Dragon King - he could not help it. It was not attractive at all, but what could one do when relegated to a host that was...not quite all there?

Of that, Yu knew much.

"Harm. No Harm." Again, the garish 'smile' that peeled back black lips from teeth that gleamed; wet and sharp.

"Far-reaching are the Domains of Destruction, Lady Phaedra." He wondered whether any others had been brought about...that would be as good an information-morsel as knowing that he was not the only Brother of Scale and Fang to be reborn. "Tell me, are you alone, or have others been revived?"

"Plague I have met; he brought tidings of War. Of the others I know not, but I feel sure that certain of them would have sought me out were they reborn. I assume they have not been." The tip of Nebula's tail twitched, and the Aoide slumped forward a little.

"Ah..." The goddess' voice seemed a bit strained. Nebula was trying to wake up, trying to become aware - they had talked too long. She was not fighting hard, not now, but... Time to go, kitten.

"I fear my dear host is becoming... unsettled. Perhaps you scare her, my dear beast... but I would meet with you again, when such is no longer a concern."

Yu tucked that information away for later - it would be good to gather as much information as he could, even now with this body not his own. As for why Phaedra would trouble herself to tell him these things...well, he was almost certain there would be some sort of 'request' later from her. Time would tell, however.

Fragment noticed Nebula's body growing restless before Xia did, and he purred a bit at his Dragon; words sliding across the prisoner-diety like silk on scales. 'Time to go, Treasure mine. This Kitten needs a nap.'

"Thank you, Lady. Your generosity is appreciated." Both host and gem bobbed the beast's head; there was no need to press for more information nor more time. Fragment had already decided that he liked the silky goddess; liked her voice that flowed like liquid honey and caressed his sensitive ears sonicely. Yu had decided that they would speak later simply because she seemed to know quite a bit -- very likely from her host having been the in the service of one of his Brothers.

"Yes yes yes, Wicked beauty - later and again and again." Fragment stretched and rose; he would take his leave before she did - no sense in waiting for Greed to gather her fractured 'pet'.

The Lady had told them much...and nothing at all. Food for thought and cause for many more questions in the Dragon's mind. He let his host wander as he pleased while contemplating the encounter with Phaedra...
...//Solo - The Promise and The Threat

Lovely Greed. Fragment had approved wholly of the Goddess-in-Kitten's body. Of course, he'd also approved of the Pardess, Ashoka as well - both in form and face. And the way both were bentin such interesting ways.

He wholly approved. And planned on spending more time with both before there was only Yu. Perhaps, if he were lucky enough...he would get to enjoy Ashoka. Phaedra was more a source of information and wicked delight than someone the beast would have bedded.

Dangerous spider, luring flies to her web with beauty and - for those unmoved by that - information.


Yu was still contemplating what Phaedra had told them. War. Plauge. Greed. Three of the seven had been called forth in this time. And two of the Dragon Kings...

Fragment cracked his jaws and spoke aloud as he wound his way through trees and trashcans, parked cars and buildings. "Three." He chuckled a bit, "Dragon-taken. Glittering and golden, the dark-man has him."

Ah, yes. Yu had almost forgotten the most obvious Brother-reborn. Golden...golden...Soft memories fluttered against the walls of his mind. A thick lub-dub, the blazing heat of their Lord's body, closed around him...calling to him sweetly, seducing him into remaining. And the cool presence of...Futs? Yes. Brother-Keeper had been there too.

"Four Dragons, two yet encased in gilded prison...Three of Seven, Destruction reigns and the world is ashen." Xia wondered what it all meant; his unsettled feeling passing to his host and causing their fur to ripple strangely.

"Worry worry, stuffy Treasure -- Should wait and worry when there is cause. Useless Before." Broken or no, Fragment did know a thing or two about focusing on the now.

Yu sighed through the creature's body and snapped another "brace" into place; securing Fragment's sanity and his hold just a little bit more -- when the creature was being lucid, he could do this. When it was not...

"I worry when my Lord is Pitch and Fire - when His domains appear. And when you make 'friends' with Greed." The creature snorted at that and the Dragon almost smiled. Did one really make "friends" with one such as the Lady Phaedra? He thought not. Fragment didn't really think so either, but he did enjoy her...dangerous, beautiful spider that she was.

"We liked Ashoka-Pard also. Soft and warm, we would bed with her."

"I'm well aware...at least she is a safer choice for company. I would not recommend sleeping near the Lady Greed."

"The Promise...and the Threat, yes? Two women - Fitting, we think."

Both host and Dragon chuckled at that, their feet carrying them around randomly. Perhaps they would find food and take a nap - that was the important thing: to rest and recover...and while Fragment slept, Yu could think without distraction.

The "vessel" of his rebirth was noisy.
...//PRP - Please Curb Your Dog

Ellis quietly fingered the little bottle of cold that had lived in his pocket since the day he had been informed not once, but twice that it was necessary to lug around if he wanted to live out the rest of his days in relative comfort and consciousness. He resented how good it felt, how addictive a drug it had become, and how much more power it gave Neva over him. His fingers tightened around it, talisman and burden both, as he walked down the street, shoulders hunched defensively. He wasn't sure where he was going, only that he needed to get up, get out and move.

His feet and Neva's quiet, subtle prodding had taken him towards the Pantheon, but he hadn't been there so many times as to recognize the way. Now that they were stronger, Neva wanted to seek out more of her kith and kin, reestablish old ties and form new ones, learn the current goings-on of the court--find out who would be useful to her, who best to avoid and who to treat with a modicum of respect.

User ImageIt was warm there, laying in the sunlight and scaring children. The playground - as the sign had told him - was a fantastic place to go and lay. The city had removed many trees to assure their children would have a bright, sunny clearing to play in...only, he found it quite wonderful too -- and no children would come anywhere near the massive, mangled monster-dog that was sprawled across the top of the hexagonal monkey-bar cage.

Children were crying to their parents or running home to do so as Ellis wandered the street; as a matter of fact, one ran straight into Ellis. The pig-tailed little girl blubbered about a monster-dog and how she wanted her mommy to come and chase it away (the parents that had come down to see this "fierce beast" were appalled to see that their kids weren't lying at all!)

"Hmm...what's this?" The creature cocked it's head...a chilly, tickle-at-the-nose and bite-at-the-senses scent hit him: magic. Like the Alpha, but not.

A God was nearby? But where? He peered from his perch, keen eyes seeking the source...

A small, frantic body running smack into Ellis startled him out of his dim, gray reverie. The little girl's sobbing description of the monster that had taken residence in the park was garbled and almost incoherent, but just intelligible enough to pique the curiosity of goddess and host alike. Ellis's offer to help never made it out of his mouth as Neva, both disgusted and amused at the wound-up state of the child, pushed past the little girl and into the growing throng of onlookers. He stood on tiptoe as he tried to get a better view, jostling for position amongst the wary, curious herd.

Do you not need to first don a cape before you rush in to slay the beast? Neva taunted, reaching out with senses her host didn't possess until a wave of recognition washed over her. Ah, she said, soothing her host's body towards stillness. Well. That explains much; there is nothing for us to fear.

"What?" Ellis asked as he wound through the crowd, carefully elbowing people out of the way until he stood free of them, firmly in the no man's land between the frightened parents and the frightening beast. Nothing stood between Ellis and the creature now except for yards of sand and dilapidated playground equipment. There would be even less than that, soon, as Ellis started walking towards the thing atop the cage, shrugging off the worried voices that called out to him.

Ah - yes, there. A young man, moving towards him. The source of the power he'd caught; that was absolutely certain. Fragment could almost taste the chill bite on his tongue. Snowflakes and ice. A wintery god was housed in this one, yes.

Yu watched Ellis moving past the crowd, moving towards them, through Fragment's eyes. For all the things about his host he did not appreciate, the one thing he couldn't complain about was the beast's willingness to allow him free-use of his senses.

"Greetings, human. God-in-hiding." Fragment rumbled a greeting, ears twitching, tail tip curling around the metal that creaked under his weight. Dilapidated playground indeed. "I would like to eat you, but cannot. Pity, your scent is delicious.

"I cannot eat the children either. More of a pity, that."

This is a really bad idea, Ellis decided as he got ever closer to the giant, six-eyed beast.

Nonsense, Neva replied, pushing her reluctant host to climb the monster-laden structure; she would not stare up at this thing, nor would she have a shouted conversation with it, when they could easily share space. It is one of us. Can't you feel it?

Ellis's feet found tenuous purchase on the rusty bars of the cage, and he smiled warily at the creature as it addressed him. "Greetings, um...thing, and other thing," he replied, carefully settling himself against the cage, closer now to the beast than the ground. "Thanks for not eating us. Why can't you eat the children? I see nothing preventing you from doing so."

Three sets of eyes blinked one after the other; a staggered set up designed to assure that he was never unable to see. Fragment felt the metal groan under the added weight, just a little, but enough paired with his own bulk to strain the thing.

Human men, women and children milled about; a regular crowd of wary-afraid people that couldn't quite look away. Like a wreck on the freeway, the people had to look. Had to see if Ellis would be eaten or not - to watch the drama unfolding before them.

"We are Yu. I have no name, but use that of the Treasure." He chuckled and licked his chops; eyes seeking out the tender looking children longingly - oh, how he wanted to eat just one!.

"I will not allow him to eat innocent bystanders." Yu's tone, Yu's smoother language - but still the same raspy, gravelly voice. Rocks and glass and metal; scratchy.

Eyes widened in appropriate awe at the sight of teeth more than sharp enough to make short work of him and the crowd, and anything unfortunate to find itself between them. "Uh, good doggy. Nice doggy."

The name, spelled out in all its titles and intricacies, took Neva by surprise--this transcended her expectations, at the same time dashing her hopes for a good afternoon's diversion. To provoke the host of a Dragon King into an act against said King's will would likely be met with harsh repercussions, none of which imagined possibilities she was willing or able to deal with right now. Still, that did not mean she couldn't make use of the day's outing; it was what she had come for, after all. "I understand. It is an interesting form you wear, nonetheless."

Probably a good idea, to not screw around with the host of a Dragon King - one of Harmodius' chosen. Fragment enjoyed Ellis' fright and obvious discomfiture with his teeth. They were big, they were sharp and scary...definitely not something that any normal person would ever come in contact to.

"It is a worthy form, or will be. My Lord would not have given it to me otherwise." Not precisely true, but that the Fragment's form would be a worthy one was quite likely to turn into a truth; so far the beast had not let him down and was - apparently - more amiable to being 'changed' than most others.

"And your own host? He seems a bright and intelligent sort."

Ha! See, that guy thinks I'm smart, Ellis thought smugly even as he shifted ever-so-slightly away from Fragment's gaping maw. He could feel the eyes of the crowd on his back, their voices hushed to murmurs of anticipation. They were both hoping and waiting for a show just as much as Neva had been, and it was likely they would be just as disappointed.

'That guy' also doesn't know you as intimately as I do, Neva retorted, adding verbally, "Then our Lord chose well; it is a fitting shell for this Age He has wrought. As for my own host, he is not so smart as to give in to me, to accept the inevitable...but I did not choose him for his mental prowess." Ellis looked indignant at the words that had just come out of his mouth.

Fragment shook his head at Ellis and snapped his teeth at the crowd; delighting in the screams and the way the humans jumped as though he could reach them from where he lay (technically...he could have, had he really wanted to do so).

"Silly creatures, Men." With fur rippling and twitching, he refocused three pairs of eyes on Ellis in such a manner as to suggest unending mirth at his expense. "Yours is Winter, unending. Chill and ice and blinding white for your soul." He stretched a paw, extending the claws at the tip just a little bit too close to the man -- very nearly touching him.

"Fighting does no good, bond-brother. Treasures demand great payment. Glitter with yours as she rises to glory. Yes yes yes -- it is good to be like this."

Ellis twitched away from the snapping jaws, his fingers clutching the rusted bars tightly as he almost lost his balance. He turned his head to look over his shoulder at the crowd, watching as they gestured at him and each other, and refocused his attention on the beast before him only to find sharp claws far too close for comfort. The urge to scurry away was quickly squelched by the goddess who lived inside him--she would not appear weak before this king of kings in order to indulge his petty mortal fears.

"Speak for yourself," he replied boldly instead, fighting to ignore the claws so close to him. "My treasure," he spat, "has no intention of leaving me alive once she's taken what she needs from me. What's so good about that, huh? And what about yours? Do you think some cold-blooded dragon's gonna need your big furry hide the minute after he doesn't need it anymore?"

A raspy, rumbling laughter came from the large pitch-colored beast. Winter chose an amusing host! It was good that he had such spirit - that would serve Her well, yes. Fragment's six eyes blinked slowly and he glanced over at the humans milling/cowering/peering/slinking around the playground. They were waiting for Chaos. For blood and pain.

Humans were strange. Both Dragon King and host agreed. Twisted and changed, no doubt in part because of Lord Harmodius being in his Destruction aspect.

He cocked his head back at Ellis before answering. "We were not alive before, we were not dead either. Something is better than nothing, Host-of-Frost." Fragment was well aware that "he" would not survive as "him" -- but part would remain, in some form or other...and that would live on as Yu lived on. A fair trade to a beast that had once been part of a whole and then ripped asunder.

"It is different for you, I see." Yu spoke through the monster's body, tone firm but gentle - disrespect for the Goddess housed in his body would gain Ellis nothing -- surely the man had to understand this? "You answered the call, whether you did so knowingly or not. There is no point in fighting the inevitable--"

"Enjoy the time you have, human-Ellis! Fight, ********, eat and drink until there is no You, but Her!"

Hilarious. Really.

Anger--at his situation, at this beast's presumption, at the goddess that inhabited his body--flowed through his veins like sugar-coated heroin, filling him with wild energy and righteous fury. How dare this less-than-human thing tell him how to spend his remaining time on earth? Neva dulled everything except his unexpected and growing anger, reveling in its brute force, encouraging it further. Ellis opened his mouth to spit out a barbed retort that died in infancy as his breath lodged in his throat, choking him as unexpected pain stabbed through his abdomen and quickly rippled outwards.

Ellis's fingers grew white-knuckled as they clutched the rusty bars, a poor anchor to stability as sight and sound lost out to the feeling of something poking cruelly through his insides. He itched all over, as if tiny things were running around just beneath his skin. He dimly heard the screams of the crowd as the wave of too much not enough make it stop ran over them as well, but shut them out as self-preservation kicked in in the form of his own personal parasite.

Neva felt the wave as strongly as her host had without the benefit of physical flesh to bear the brunt of the agony. She felt it pulling at her essence, twisting the edges and threatening to tear pieces off. She lashed out at it, sending it spiraling through her host; she chased it out of him, feeling her own anger at the violation, until they were both left exhausted. Ellis's muscles slowly unfroze and he finally subsided, panting and shaking, blood dripping freely from his nose and his head throbbing in time with his fluttering heartbeat.

"What?" He wheezed.

Ellis's anger washed over the beast like a cool breeze, caressing it's strange flesh; yes - the Goddess had chosen wisely: her host was strong-willed and a good match for all his complaint and whining. Fragment would have waited to hear what the brunette was going to say, but it never came.

Pain-- His fur rippled and stood on end--

Though unseen, a wave of power - devastation - exploded through Fragment, Ellis and the throng of on-lookers. It chilled the beast to the bone and caused him to bear down with claw and fang upon the rusty metal bars of the playground 'toy'. All six eyes went wide and the beast threw it's head back and gave a blood curdling howl -- escape, it must escape, it must get free--

Go go go go gogogogogogoGOGOGOGO! Panic! Terror! Blind senses meant danger!

Fragment's muscles gathered, bunched and released as he lept from the top of the toy. He landed near a small group of people too brave for their own good -- fang and claw flashing and lashing out and tearing through flesh as though it were nothing. The humans screamed and wailed and sobbed and fell prostrate onto the ground-- Fragment started to lash out again, but Yu finally managed to recover from the wave and started reining his host in sharply.

'Stop! Beast of mine-- CEASE!' The Dragon King knew what that wave meant: Trouble. Harmodius. Something had happened that Should Never have Happened. He had to get back to his Liege, to the Pantheon. Newly come into a host or no, Yu was a Dragon King -- one of nine meant to stand at their Lord's side, to keep balance, order and lay down His will as Law.

Fragment hunched on the ground, it's fur all on end and crackling; every limb trembled as the feral instinct to run warred with Yu's mastery of his host. After long moments, the beast straightened and turned, still wobbly and obviously frightened, to address Ellis and Neva.

"Something has happened - something that should Not have Happened. I go to the Pantheon, to my Lord's side. Will you with me?" There was no time for explanations, not just then. Neva would know the urgency, simply from the effects the wave had had on her -- and Yu as well. It was her choice - stay with the screaming, milling cattlehumans...or return to the Pantheon.

It was a shame, Neva thought, that her host's senses were still addled by pain and bewildered fear, though that she could not appreciate the beast's graceful savagery was secondary to the urgency of their situation. She snapped him into action, forcing him to release the now-collapsing bars of the play structure and stumble carefully down it. "Yes," Neva hissed through her host's mouth, finding that it was, at least for the moment, much easier to control him despite her own weariness. Ellis's body lost its tenuous balance and fell against the creature's. His fingers gripped the fur in some childish search for comfort. "Take us with you."

Blood on his claws, on his muzzle -- he could not worry about such things then...besides, if the wave had been any indication of what was happening, of what was to come...

..a quick death at his 'hand' had been a kindness.

Fragment shuddered and emitted a low whine; even Yu's hold could not wholly tame the great beast, but there was Loyalty there, and Duty. Treasure wanted him to stay firm, wanted him to carry this human and the Goddess inside back to the Alpha - to the structure of bone and ashes, of heat and fear and pain.

Ellis fell against the black monster and clung to him, but this was not enough -- Neva's request prompted the creature to shift it's body for the journey ahead; fingers that had been tangled in fur, grasping were caught and pulled into the beast's body -- the whole creature seemed to move and shift around until the host was settled onto Fragment's broad back, arms around his neck.

'Do not be afraid, simply hold on.' Yu's tone was reassuring; surely what he and his host had just done to Ellis was frightening, but it was necessary: There was no time for the human to fall off.

With that, Yu spurred his bestial host into a dead run - back to the Pantheon. Back to Harmodius.

Onward, to Ground Zero.

**As a note, this rp will be continued HERE**
...//ORP - Grigori - Part I (MP)

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The throne room seemed empty, except for the waiting throb of the air. And Samyaza waited as well, watching the two men go with little interest other then they should be so faster. And this frail thing that insisted on going with her? It was ridiculous, while she dripped her gore down her vines and dress, fresh sprung bodies from flesh of arm too thin to even bear up a child's weight to breast if this were Mother.

" Are you prepared, Gaia? “

There was an undercurrent to the tone, but it was foreign and spoken in accent too heavy to judge. What was the Grigori speaking anyway? Her words were comprehensible, but they were not a common tongue known to a world heard of by Persephone's people for certain. The Grigori's mouth did not even move correctly, if at all, with the sounds of her voice.

User ImageBlanched knuckles still tingled faintly where Hunt had laid his parting kiss, her expression stony to keep it from caving in while both gods bid her goodbye and good luck in their own ways. Kishara could not blame them for their hasty exit, no more than she could have asked them to stay and keep her company in a room full of ghosts and shapely corpses that refused to putrefy. They had already done too much and received too little in the way of thanks, their scored limbs and fatigued stances enough to barter their escape.

The throne was unfilled and momentous, craggy as a volcanic tower of obsidian that threatened to erupt and flood the room with the hot antagonism of a familiar, feral shape. The only thing that stopped the expectant weight of space from capsizing her was the arm that dripped steadily at her side as it beat its own dissonant tune, holding like an anchor hooked to some forgotten, bluer sky. The plants tightened relentlessly, trying to help her through numbness, but she could hardly favor them with a gracious word as she trekked the final few steps to the heart of her once-Husband's domain. There were no readied explanations, nothing thought or planned as far as what would be said to Destruction when He inevitably appeared. She was too exhausted to even work out the complexity of emotion she felt toward the scantily skin-clad creature that aimed derision her way: Gaia merely settled on hating her until something else could be decided upon.

She hazily scoured her head for an idea of what it meant to be ready, to be prepared, and all that came back to her was Lucius' morbid appraisal of what it meant to fall by the Horned King's hand. What would a born-again Empress be like? A refashioned thing charged with her domain, her duties, wiped clean of her failures. There would be no womb, merely a fissure in the world, in all worlds, where hope might yet lie. "Yes." The response was hardly a whisper, somehow less real than Samyaza's pliant language, and the word fluttered like a heart-shaped clot on her tongue. Yes. Because she had come too close to murmur anything else.

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"Hardly a match for days of old
this petty throne of blood and black
I expected greater to behold

Your sovereignty is slipping, Lord. “

Samyaza moved forward, approaching the dais as she spoke. Her claws worked at her sides, held 'palm' up and out.


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"Samyaza, how come you here from your wretched hole?"
The response was nearly immediate, a sharp eye turned wholly on the throne chamber as her voice called out. Destruction's form shaped like building sinew out of shifting nothing atop the throne. "Our war ended long ago, and weregild given you and yours was more then generous considering the circumstances....."

The Eldest paused, pupils sharpening to predator-points as he looked beyond the Grigori, "Gaia....what is the meaning of this? Your arm-"

He stood, but the motion had the feel of armour and weapons to it.
"Why did you open a gate to the Ashlands and bring before me this....thing. Why would you stand before me again beside some purpose of Them? "

His scowl increased, becoming disgust as he spoke. No, it would not have been Gaia alone. There was no reason in this life for her to have thought or been reminded of them and the world above the Chasm.

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"Don't let your guard be distracted, Lord. This meet is with me, “

It all felt right, right to her first thoughts and first breaths of the air of the place. The feel of the worlds of the Is instead of the Isn't. Here He was, but his form looked thin, wild and wracked. Strength beyond strength and close to those revered edges.

The summons wafted threadbare at best, picked clean of piousness and courtesy in a way that made the rudeness aimed at her seem trivial and perhaps even slightly flippant. Such daring could not have been the product of pure bravado, but the Grigori had yet to prove herself insensible, and there was also the matter of another potential bargaining chip she might have had clutched in what passed as an excuse for hands among her kind. How else could she have expected to gain what she asked? Destruction was likely not in the mood to grant favors simply because someone had barged into the throne room and demanded it be so.

Kishara held her arm and breath while waiting, watching floorboards that bore suspect stains and wondering at the swiftness paid by His voice leaping in response from the ether. A simple frown split her pale face while she listened to the exchange, feeling the Emperor's presence build and thrash in the smallness of the quarters, trying to decide what His harsh vocalizations meant. It was not until her name was intoned that the goddess finally raised her gaze, half-expecting the accusation she could almost taste along with the ember-clogged eminence of Him. Surprise flickered momentarily across her features at His appearance, the ashy wildness of form dripping the wealth of kingdoms while she stood laced in meager green, her arm dragon-colored with splattered hues of grim garnet. His notice of the limb's state tempted her to hide it somehow, perhaps swinging its useless length behind her skirts or something equally ridiculous. She settled for leaving the arm where it twitched at inopportune intervals, not at all optimistic enough to mistake the way He stood as though perched on a honed edge for concern on her behalf.

It was the next layer of blame, however, that made her brows furrow in confusion, staring at Him through her lashes to guard red-rimmed eyes. "Aristogeiton..." Gaia croaked softly, trying to find the proper explanation for His ears while also mining around in her thoughts. Again, He said, as though this was a travesty which had been suffered before; some purpose to which she had not been acquainted with in the delay of her second arrival. Samyaza's voice cut across her own, but she could hardly let the matter drop after so compelling a first utterance. "An exchange... her emancipation for a piece, a piece of him." For you, she nearly added, I agreed to this for you, but her tongue felt dumb in her mouth, teeth that had always sat well together suddenly fitting crookedly. How could He still think this was a coup? Everything they had tried had been in an effort to help, to heal, and now further charges were being brought against her. The Grigori's entrance had been unavoidable, something achieved because little else was available when seeking a precious prize.

But the expression being directed at her... it was as if some gordian knot of stubbornness had formed in her belly that only His look could slice. Perhaps she should have asked questions, should have thought through what Illumin and Eamnnon had asked of her instead of simply agreeing to act as a door. She remembered so little and missed so much, and now they were here again, on opposing sides of a room that stunk like a fox's den and a lion's kill. She had been foolish without realizing, made intractably stupid by hope, and now she had only a ravaged arm and the sliver of some ancient lover Light had taken with him upstairs to show for it.

User Image " But where of the symbol of the Consort? Where is his necklace? “ Samyaza's mouth curled up, showing her teeth. " So long ago when he returned to this world, his mission to convert us failed. Where is the opal neckalce? Surely you would have donned it when he died? Surely. “

The grigori laughed, " The two who came for that final piece left to us, that is when I knew, as that cursed brightness burned our skin and eyes. I knew it worked. So you all can have that final piece, left beyond the beyond and above the blessed Purity. She came to help me gain a new name, Lord. I want Samyaza no more, but something greater, longer lasting to the Purity. “

The grigori's claws worked and energy whorled in the space between.

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" The war was over..."
Destruction's stance faltered, braced up by a hand upon the arm of the throne. The empty rhythm of the wound echoed louder in the chamber.
" Kishara......stop...the spell...."

The daybreak glow of whatever Samyaza was weaving momentarily distracted her from the discussion; the flung words little more than garbled prophesying that she couldn’t pull solid fact from. A necklace, an opal necklace: something that had once stood proud and bold in place of the slender bands of gold that now wrapped around His throat in strangling patterns. When had it gone missing? Why hadn't she noticed? Everything felt shapeless and shadowy while she tried to recall, an encroaching darkness no longer studded with the familiarity of guiding stars. The Grigori knew more than she was telling, more than she had first divulged fresh from the massacre of her arm where grains of sand clung to blood caked to flesh.

And then it was there, some Christ-wound higher up as His chest welled from a fissure she had thought swallowed up by igneous scarring long ago. Her lips parted in shock, bloodshot eyes widening to wild circles as the blistering, musky scent reached her, vastly different from the smell and texture of her own sap-riddled insides. What matter of trickery was this? None of it seemed to follow logic, the disgrace paid by barren fields inside her body and the wick-thin woman showing strength that surpassed the All Maker and All Devourer. He growled threats and spoke of wars while she sundered them with mention of names that had been Forgotten... everything was forgotten, like silver-plated fish all aquiver in a mirror surface where they couldn’t be identified. What did the world matter if He could forget?

Gaia at once was and was not part of the proceedings, some hapless bystander watching a skirmish her eyes couldn’t makes sense of, a scene that her cobwebby thoughts couldn't process. But the order was clear enough when it dropped from aureate-powdered lips and onto the floor, crawling to tug at her skirts with its appeal. Stop her. Stop the spell. Her arm altered its agonized palpitations to match the hollowed call of His greater hurts; He was bleeding and she was standing still again, stricken by some deeper uneasiness, wondering at this information that she held only shards of. Again, the goddess was caught in her own unknowing, supported by nothing but wispy conviction and a voice that had lied to her on countless occasions before. No harm, no loss, no end, and yet they crowded together in this place to crow of triumph. The doubt struck deep in her heart, violating the sanctity of peace more viciously than any disintegration of maidenhead could match.

But she had to act, had to do something instead of sit passively by and watch Him crumble before some magic that grievously wounded, no matter what else it sought to achieve. Lucius she could walk away from - could rail at and leave to his own miseries until he came to her - this she could not.

The vines that served as makeshift dressing snapped open like the ties to a straitjacket as she stepped toward the mad grin lit by foreign energy, her wings beating brutal measures into the air as she sought purchase, ravaged limb banging against her hip and leaving telltale smears. Kishara's good arm snatched at the other woman’s twisted wrists while the greenery raced forward in an attempt to subdue, ignoring the cold seeping into her chest. Enough. No more. If she lingered in uncertainty for forever, then the candle would burn down to nothing on her watch. Supposing it had not already.

Seconds dripped away as a patter of blood to count the hesitation. The echoes of the room fell silent.


Even as green-within-green finally came to grips and life, fluttered against spun corrupted existence, the blood was already changing.


What was red was washed away, not black but a darker uncolour. It shifted, hissed and spat upon the floor, a primeval shade which ate dark and light alike.
The echo of the rhythm of time was fallen away. Each of the windows of the great throne room flashed brilliant in colour for seconds, some imaginary orb of light like a full sun shone behind them in the great swing of a dowsing string. The Seed, The Body of Void, Creation, Union, Child and World Tree, The Pantheon, The DragonKings, The War, The Fading, and then the light stopped behind a blank pane. It was not a glass illumination, cut from prisma too fine to be mortal quartz silica, but empty and clear.

And it began to burn away in the heat of the great lamp, while the grigori laughed below and the goddess who grappled with her. the pane fell in globs on the floor. The skin of the crown smouldered, chunked off in meaty heaps upon the floor. There were scales beneath, and bones that crackled with growth and splinters.

" It's too late, “ the grigori let the magic go wild, sprayed arches of UnMake spattered on her own emaciated limbs and the goddess alike. Both began to ash and rot away in pox blotches. "Just a nudge, just a whimper, can't you see it's never simpler, When towards the edge one dances near the difficulty disappears. The last barrier's cracked. The name is gone, it is eaten. The form is Last, the Tale is Over. The Tale Is Finished."

We may never know the full story of our success, but whatever plays out upon this day...we've won.

Tangled as she was in a fighter's mindset, the rapidly changing backdrop registered late in her consciousness, a fleet-footed gazelle of immediacy racing ahead of an inept pack of slathering, disheveled dogs. The windows flashed and a metallic taste entered her mouth, some reverberation of a stuttered existence filling her ears, the precursor to a even worse fate as the room was pried open by rays of falsified light. Grassy tendrils twined and ripped, growing thorned and dense while her fist tightened, grazed knuckles seeking a tender spot. It was sloppy, messy, and all but botched from the beginning, but she fought regardless, intent on undoing whatever damage had already been inflicted upon the hunched shape of vilified dread.

It was the burning smell that opened a chasm in her single minded onslaught, something thick falling to another state of being, glass and charred animal congealing into a single, loathsome perfume that infiltrated her nostrils like poison gas. But her attention was directed to the pang of loss that rippled hot and heavy through her body, more substantial a result than even Lucius' cross had caused, and she knew the extent of the devastation before her vision could verify it.

Sweet, black blood, a previous life's love, all gone in an instant and reduced to a mound of flesh and slivers of fossilized, reptilian components. The revelation should have flattened her, pain oozing from every possible pore as the dismantling force that the other held cupped in twined barbs went purposefully awry. It ate where it splashed, legions of welts raising where the skin had not reverted to some putrid mass from direct contact. She was screaming, an unbroken, wordless note of anguished fury that rode its way out of her mouth and through the green extensions as she tried to finish the act, tried to rip the other woman to shreds. Samyaza had to die, had to perish for what she had done, what she had extinguished... there was no thinking beyond that point.

But it was growing harder to move, to listen, even the bellowing wrath tumbling from her lips dipping out of the range of narrowing senses. An arm stripped of skin and bent into awkward shapes was sizzling beneath the weight of nothingness, and the droplets that had found the smooth planes of her face were burrowing and smearing surfaces meant to be kept separate.

Too late, she'd said, as though the last page had been turned and the unsettling blankness in the middle of the telling had been planned all along. Kishara's last coherent thought as consciousness was swallowed down a toothy throat was that the Grigori was not wrong. This time, there would be no Fading, no gradual loss of life. This time, they were all going to die.

A sorry, sallow sallying forth.

Samyaza’s right arm, thin spindle’s nigh-eaten through, tore and joined the goddess as she dropped to the floor. She was a tangled web of thorns and spent fury, but Kishara’s rancor was hardly a match for what the Grigori could recall.

“And in the halls it rings,
It rings it rings
The light
It sings
But show forth the egg and seal,
Claws and steel, time’s old wheel
Broken seal
At last the trumpets call and bay
Blow and play, end of days
Hide and pray
Cry and

The goddess, pretty one upon the stone, would find help soon enough. There was a gate to build. Yes, her swoon would serve nicely. Bless those tired, wound-worn gods; bless Ramuel’s claws. “One pain masks another.”
Samayaza used what remained for her, her left claws, to split through the holy skin like a brand through snow and take the wounded, opened arm of Gaia. Now both pocked, one-armed, ad queens of their races, they made a fine coin.
There was a gate to build.

The grigori looked up to the dais, watching briefly as the tendons, ligaments and muscle stretched up and curled, glossed with a noxious mucus. Silent, but alive, the chrysalis was formed and developing.


Here starts the beginning of the end. The name of the crown is gone, and the form of the crown is now developing into the creature called Gehenna. This will take some time, and the weeks left to what exists are on a schedule. This can be stopped prior to the opening of the chryssalis, or even after if the players gather and are creative. If nothing is achieved, the Edelsteine game will end.

I will post the exact schedule of once I have access to the wiki on my laptop at home. The schedule begins now, with the first phase starting on friday, and it will end 13 weeks from then (or about 3 months). Each week will have a focus influence/power or event that would indicate to scholars and seers precisely what was going on.

((Assuming we can indeed post now, yus? n.n))

As it happened, Adrienne had been playing a game of hide and seek earlier, oblivious to any sort of impending doom as she darted around in search of one of her flooxes, and attempted to avoid discovery when it was her turn to hide. It had eventually ended when she hid in one of the kitchen cabinets and fallen asleep in the small, dark space, surrounded by the warmth of the lower level of the Pantheon. Violet had found her soon after, and the two had made a furry napping-pile.

Her world was warm and happy, and the young werewolf content, until she was shaken awake by Nightmare - something unlike any dream, good or bad, she had ever had. Unlike any scary story, or frightening movie. There was nothing in her short span of existence to compare this Horrible Thing to. She didn't even know if she was asleep or awake, only that she was scared. Suddenly claustrophobic, she kicked open the cabinet door. The floox's limp form fell off of her and out onto the floor, where she lay unmoving.

"Violet?" Adi whispered, sliding from her hiding place to kneel beside her little pet. She reached down and picked her up, cradling her in her small hands. She wasn't breathing. Adi's lip trembled, and tears began to form in her eyes. Though she was young, she knew what death was. After all, she'd seen plenty of movies, and besides that, her father was a servant of the Hunt. Violet wasn't going to wake up, and she knew it.

Perri Indiya
The ghost horse carried her faster than she dreamed possible, and within far less time than it should have taken Caolan found herself at the door of the pantheon. Sliding off her steed's back, the young goddess walked around to the side kitchen door, worried she'd be walking into a trap if she took the main entrance. The pooka dissolved into a wisp again, leaping into her pack to nose around and rest while she went to work. The beastie certainly deserved it.

She stopped by the small door when she reached it, wishing she had her father's ability to stretch his senses out before him so he could know what lurked beyond his view. No matter. She would have entered anyway. Pushing it open she steeled herself for the horrors beyond it - and found only Adi and a bit of fuzz.

"Are you okay?" she asked the small werewolf girl, kneeling beside her and checking her for wounds.

Kheviel had made good use of things in the siutation presented. He had daggers in all his normal hiding places, and two more shethed at his hips. he'd made hasty exit from the house, barely stopping to secure it - after all, would it matter if he had a place to return to, if the End was here?

He'd been quick on the draw, watching for any means to catch himself a quicker route to the Pantheon, and succeeded in doing so. He kept his walk brisk as he closed the last distance to that place, dread and forboding skulking in the shadows of his mind.

Almost atop the consciousness of the elf, Xuan Yi, the protector of the Empress and Consort, was aware and ready. Although young in this world, she had learned much from her host and they were of same mind now. Both knew something was going on, and were ready to face down the consequences that loomed. She soothed him, eased him and kept him focused, as neither could afford to let the other slip. They were one in mind, even if not in body and soul. She was vigilant, strong... she had to be. For Them, and for Him. She hoped fervently at least some of the dragons would rise and answer as well.

He strode to the doors and pulled them wide open, ready to react. Whatever had happened had happened, but he was certain that the danger was not there, for the doors likely would not have been as they were. No force could have possibly not harmed the building otherwise, if it were capable of harm to Destruction. He looked in - finding absolutely nothing of note to the scene which drifted in his own mind.

The Throne, where He is always at... She directed their gaze otwards those doors, silent and shut, seemingly barred to block something, anything. She hissed, almost turning it to a growl in displeasure.

He stepped forward, frowning. He didn't ever recall those doors being shut, closed away from people. In all his times, never had he seen it this way and it unsettled him. More then the people lying in the street unmoving, more then the sudden sense of doom that lingered in the air. No, those doors were shut, and he knew something lay beyond them. He braced himself, moving in, and was aware he was not alone, either.

User ImageHe was sprawled over the tree. From above, he looked crucified, thin wrists stretched wide. He was upside down, head impossibly among the skulls of the roots. But there were none to see him there, on the library floor. From his own point of view he glared at the balcony from which he had fallen.

That wave had been so much worse than the last. This was no sword through the Heart of Creation. A hole had opened, and now the world was pouring into it, a rotted apple to feed the seed. He could see it, Knew it, knew that it happened now. The Dragon's ruined ribcage sprung like a bear trap, bone by bone, cathedral pillars with vines of sinew and gore snaking up them, growing. The shape of a chrysalis.

She was here.

Suddenly all his brooding on old memories was pointless. Samyaza - not a ghost of old failures, a dangerous secret pigeonholed in the files of his mind. No, no, no...he rolled over to vomit. No this was now. The Mother of Lies not ten yards from his coffee maker, with all that was left of the Twin Crown on the Dais behind her, curling up, dead, defensive flesh around the core of its nothingness. She was finished with it. Gaia was sprawled over the threshold, her arm and Samyaza's free of their bodies, holding hands (if vine or blackened sinew could be called a hand). It was bizarre as a vision, but he wasn't a prophet.

Gianfar stumbled up and ran, lifting his skirts. He careened into some of the newly organized bookshelves, leaving feathers mashed between the spines. He was shedding a trail of them in panic, like silver leaves. This was bad, oh this was bad.

It was one thing to supplant the Throne, another to have Her here. All of a sudden, he Knew what she wanted. How could he ever have forgotten?

The End.

"********" he bolted from the library stairs and into the main shop. It was deceptively quiet. There were two children by the large doors. One fuzzy as his host had been, the other not human, but less obvious why. She had bruises on her neck.

"What are you doing here?!" he said in panic. "Get away from there, its dangerous!"

How were there children in the shop?! Good gods that one looked like Beryl...

User ImageSoaked in a shiny layer of sweat, Eddard rose from his bed after the dream state induced by Eid that was interrupted by "the event." Passing by the mirror, the only thing hanging on the wall, he could see his eyes were rimmed red as if he had been crying showing through as purple beneath his blue flesh which was also a great deal paler than normal. Something was amiss, he could sense it. An unidentifiable sense of gloom and despair was growing in the pit of his stomach. He sleepily sighed, forcing the final remains of tiredness away. Eddard felt as if he had slept for days and perhaps he had. Crossing the room, he approached the door and exited.

You mentioned age old oaths being broken? what do you mean by that? he thought to Eid.

Not even I know of the old oaths that bind our existence, but the wave was ancient, archaic, the kind of repercussion that occurs when something shakes the planes, and the epicenter was downstairs.

What would you have me do?

So willing to serve, you are, in the face of impending crisis? If only you would serve me in such a fashion.

The two were quickly impatient with each other and their exchanges were only the tip of the iceberg that was their struggle. That was hardly an answer.

Do as you will, insolent. I have nothing to say that you care to regard.

Eid had the truth of it this time. Eddard made his way downstairs onto the ground floor.

Seeing Gianfar he asked, "What is this? What has happened?"

It had been a very good thing that Finn-att was sleeping when the 'Wave' hit. Considering the various things he could have been doing, like going down stairs, and the catastrophic ways a centaur could hurt himself upon falling...he was, really, quite lucky - not that he felt lucky. Quite frankly, he felt like s**t, and on top of it, he didn't have any idea what the hell had just happened. He didn't have time to figure it out, either; the next thing he knew, Itztlac was prodding at him to get up and get downstairs now.

Finn obeyed, and was soon clomping down the stairs in as much hurry a centaur could afford to take stairs in...which was to say, slower than someone on two legs running down them. Despite the fact that they were wide enough to accomodate someone of his stature, he didn't like stairs any more than he had the day he'd first encountered them.

((EDITTED :: because I may have been pushing more than should have thinking more time had passed than truthfully has. Ivy's post in the thread cleared up some of this for me.))

Jaster and Saljin made their way through the streets. Several times the younger stopped as the stone began taking its toll on him. Both he and Taj were pushing his body to move when all they really wanted to do was rest. Exhaustion was there consuming them both, but the need to press onwards was stronger and neither were going to stop until they collapsed. He suddenly sighed, flinching when he saw the person lying on the ground.

The shifter padded alongside, still somewhat confused by what was happening. He felt a need to remain in feline form as they moved. His tail twitched in irritation as they moved through the streets and he snarled when he noted the person lying before them. A wary eye on their surroundings, the feline sniffed the body, a deep growl rumbling in his throat.

Moving closer, he kneeled down checking for a pulse. There was none. Shaking his head, he got to his feet. There was nothing to do and he noted the others nearby.

Only the first.
Taj stated whispering softly to Jaster. There would be many.

When they finally reached the building, he stared for an instant. Uncertain. Fearful. Tired. Then, he pushed the door open. This was the place, he was quite certain. Tiredness slipped over him and his knees went weak as his hand slid to the doorframe to catch himself.

Glancing around, he blinked in surprise to see two children bending over a furry creature. Others were there also. For a long moment he studied the circumstances, but his eyes were drawn to the doors.

"I.. Is this the...? Are we late?" Jaster began only to shake his head as Taj tried to take control once more. He was getting very tired and lost in the whirl, but he wanted to help.

"Where else would it be? What is wrong? I can feel it."
Then tiredly, and voice softer, Jaster added "Forgive me. I am.. we are... Mystery. Jaster... Tajnevaki." His eyes returned to the closed doors.

User ImageArctang had given up kicking and yelling at the doors, as he had directly after the wave had hit. Exhaustion seemed to set in, and he leaned against the walls nearby. Slowly he allowed himself to slide down, until he sat on the floor, staring at the doors with a haunted expression. What was he to do? There was trouble on the other side of that barrier, and the Twin Crown at the heart of it.

So he sat, all his attention focused on those closed doors, as things began to happen around him. He ignored it all, his attention solely on his goal. His body trembled, so newly his and so very tired. Even so, he wanted to be ready. Ready for whatever was happening or about to happen. The fact that others were arriving mattered not, save that there would be others to do what needed doing, just as he did.

He was still stunned from the shockwave. He had to be. Such single-mindedness was something more of his twin's forte than his. The flicker of thought made a rise of further worry and distress surge through him. Swallowing the panic, he reached for her within, using heart more than mind this time. Finding her, he entwined tendrils of himself with Cosine's self. He wanted to be absolutely sure she was safe while he waited for whatever was to come.

For several moments, Betha stood where he had left her, watching him flail against the huge closed doors. But when he slid to the floor, she moved. It felt like walking through molasses, but she moved steadily. Her body hurt, muscles and joints protesting the abuse the shockwave had divvied out. The cool floor at least felt soothing her bare feet, though she was sure the ash was no good for the blisters and scrapes.

The shell between her breasts felt like a hot coal, just barely on the near side of tolerable. Despite that, she rested a hand over it protectively. It housed a diety, after all. Though what it wanted with her, she wasn't quite sure yet.


Well, asked and asnwered? It rather baffled her, but she set it aside, coming to a stop beside the distressed god of... Numbers. Betha's tufted ears twitched as the answers kept coming. This could be useful, though in a limited sense. She crouched down for a moment, wincing as her feet complained. Perhaps sitting was better. So she propped herself against the wall next to the nearly trembling form of Arctang. She said nothing, but merely patted his young arm comfortingly. She didn't know what was happening, and hardly expected a full explination from the voice in her head, but she was sure the information would be forthcoming.

In the meantime, she watched as others gathered. Betha and Arctang against one wall were less visible to some, and not acknowledged, but it didn't seem to bother him, and it certainly didn't bother her. So she merely watched and listened. Such a strange assortment of faces, races, and beings! Amazed, she mutely took in all that was around her.

Zero Dream
The wave had hit. Hard. Like crashing into a brick wall with a speed twice lethal. And yet... he somehow lived. He was worse for the wear, and one of his legs apparently locked - he was limping quite badly - but there where a few things that made the dark blue aoide keep moving in despite it all.

His lady. Rio. Little Adi.

He had to find them. Quickly. Thankfully at least one wasn't too hard to find. "Adi ! Lady Caolan !" He recognized Hunt's daughter instantaneously, having seen her a few times when the childrens where playing. "Are you well ?!" His pain didn't matter. The children where more important.

But then, someone else entered the room, and the aoide all but froze. "My.... my lady ?"

Hell had no fury like a woman scorned, they said. At that instant, whoever "they" where, they where probably right. This was reckless, dangerous, and sheer insanity to come here, right now, but she didn't care.

"Concerto ! Adi !" She rushed to them, the fact not occurring to her that the little werewolf girl might not even recognize her.

She could only dread what things where like beyond the locked doors.

User ImageRunning. Fragment was running again towards the Alpha. But also towards the Omega, the End, if the feelings he picked up from Xia and the dread that had balled in his stomach were any indication.

Big paws hit the ground, jarring both beast and human alike as his long stride ate up the distance. Fast. Faster. Faster -- Yu's urgency transferred to his host and the monstrous creature's form changed in mid-stride: sleeker, larger haunches to drive them forward more rapidly - more aerodynamic. Ellis was pulled deeper into the creature's malleable flesh while still remaining outside.

'Faster yes, faster Dragon -- outrun the terror, run to the terror...'

Fragment's mouth hung open, tongue lolling out as he sped back to the Pantheon; he lept here and there, weaving in and out of traffic and human alike, passing buildings and trees so quickly they blurred into nothing. The trip was not a short one, but the beast's fear and Yu's apprehension pushed him to complete the trek much sooner than one might have expected.

It seemed he was proving to be a proper fit for a god he was indeed.


The Pantheon loomed ahead as Fragment slowed and came not to a stop, but a sort of cautious walk. Ellis slid from his body as he released the human and moved further in -- people. Crowding. Power and fear scented on the scorched air and Fragment/Yu walked among them, tail against his legs, ears pinned back.

"What's happening here?"

Locked doors? What?

The ride to the Pantheon was exhilarating, to say the very least. Excitement meshed with Neva's curious aggravation at the wave of power that had lashed out from the Pantheon and Ellis's giddy fear at their mode of transportation. Ellis fought futilely against the taffy-like fur that held him in place, eventually giving in to that and struggling to keep his head out of it, at least. He hadn't said a word since the wave had ripped through him, and he took the opportunity to piece himself back together--to process this and move on, so he could get ready for whatever would come next.

Both host and goddess were relieved when the journey was over, and Ellis stumbled as Fragment released his hold on him. His equilibrium was slow in stabilizing itself, and he allowed a wall to support him while he regained his balance. Strands of fur had adhered themselves to the dried blood that was smeared across the bottom half of his face and he wiped his forearm across it, the drying, tacky blood standing out on his pale flesh like a brand. He waited a moment before taking a long, shaky breath and following the beast into the Pantheon.

"Nothing good," he muttered hoarsely in response to Fragment's question. There were other people there, more than he had ever seen in the Pantheon at one time. He could feel the power emanating from the building, and flickers of other things like fireflies in the dark.

It's them, Neva told him. The others. Yu and I are not the only divine beings here. There are many.

Perri Indiya
Caolan watched the others trickle in, all fire and fury to be thwarted by the sealed doors before them. She nodded to those who addressed her before turning back to the entrance, willing some sort of knowledge to seep out of it so she could analyze it. She was too small to fight, surely, but not so young that she couldn't stand in the shadows and record what occurred for use later.

User ImageThe moment he stepped out of Illumin lighthouse Eamnonn dropped to all fours, sliding into a rather dire looking dark wolf form and pounding across the cursed land as fast as his legs could take him. He gained the pantheon quickly, and had to add a sudden loop to his journey so he had time to slow down. The gathering of assorted mortals and gods near the closed entrance put him back on two feet again, although his flesh stayed dark and his face bestial. Familiar scents greeted him, and he smiled wryly as he approached. His daughter had come.

He bent and scooped up Caolan as he passed her, distracting her from her from whatever she had been observing but failing to illicit a comment. She was reserving what little magic she had for the coming battle. Good girl.

"Smells like blood." He said to Gianfar, stopping next to the studious god he hadn't seen in some time and skipping the pleasantries. "Worse than the rest of the world, which today is saying something."

"Violet's d-dead," Adi managed to sniffle at Caolan, before person after person came charging in. Ordinarily, she would have answered the silver-haired adult - he'd asked her a question, after all, but...but then Concerto came and...her Aunt Echo? She looked different, but smelled mostly the same. And then someone big and green came and took Caolan! All of a sudden, there were people everywhere, and she didn't know what to do. If there had been one or two, she would have clung to them readily, but...but there were so many!

Feeling lost and terribly small in the sea of adults, she sat on the floor for several moments more before standing shakily beside Concerto and Music, cradling her fallen pet in her arms as tears rolled down her cheeks. What was happening? Why was everyone so afraid?

Finn-att could do little but stand at the foot of the stairs, towering above most of the gods and hosts, and wonder at what was going on.

Zero Dream
User ImageEven with all the furry that was boiling just under the surface, Echo could not resist. The little where seemed to afraid, and it struck a cord deep within her. Where was Rio... ? Remembering too well what had happened to her, she feared for everyone, only to have a few drop off her list of worries as they trickled in.

She was pretty sure the one she feared for the most would not show up.

Finally, Echo gave in to her own instincts, and scooped up Adi in her arms, holding her against her chest so she could cry her heart's contents if she wished.

She couldn't promise her everything would be alright. Not here, not now. She perhaps wasn't the best fighter, should that be required, but she could protect the children, at least.

There had been sounds upon the door as their meet had begun, and now in the aftermath, Samyaza noticed their absence as well. Or, replacement. There were voices outside, bare whispers that trickled into the awareness of the throne room to indicate others were awaiting audience. They worked fast, in the home here of the gods. There was not telling how many, or at what strength they had come. Light and Hunt had only left moments ago, easily able to return in the time it had taken she and Gaia to descend the stair and speak...battle. But they were still wounded.

And they were not so glorious as one might expect of gods. Young. Even Gaia. They were all so....... young. She had lived ages upon ages, if life it could be called, and these were supposed to be the gods? She stretched open her maw and swallowed the prized arm for safe keeping. It would not do to underestimate.
Not now.

" Wrap me coils, wrap me sweet, that nothing touch me made of meat. Nothing solid, nothing sane, nothing on this Being plane.

A haze of twisting distortion came over her, a shell unwholesome. She put her remaining limb to the door and pushed. The shell crackled, the magic of the doors rotted and began to give way while the flawless stone and carving where her spindles met began to sour and curdle.

User Image

It was a good thing Echo had picked her up when she did - it gave her someone to cling to when The Scariest Thing She had Ever Seen opened the door. The young werewolf stared in wide-eyed horror for one long moment before shrieking and burying her face in Echo's dress. Make it go away makeitgoaway makeitgoaway!

She should have stayed in the cabinet.

User ImageEddard had not seen such a sight quite as this. The being that pushed through the door resembled something ripped from the bowels of the deepest nethers of the Umbra and made to walk...no, float among the land of the gods. Eddard kept himself in check as his hair bristled in anticipation, awaiting to see the actions of the other gods. From his current angle, he couldn't quite see the scene within the throne room.

Why do you hesitate? Have you grown cowardly in the wake of current events, before the foe who stands before you?

It isn't cowardice, only ignorance. Let us see how Knowledge acts.

You would forfeit initiative?

In light of uncertainty, yes.

Perri Indiya
User ImageThe Hunt put his daughter down, entreating her to hide . For once she did as she was told. He moved towards the front of the crowd, eyes narrowed and muscles stiff with anger. On the subject of the trustworthiness of the Grigori he would have liked to be wrong.

Remember what it was like in the Ashlands. Attack with magic and power, not knives. "Going? So soon?" He asked innocently, doing his best to sound polite as Illumin had before.
...//ORP - Grigori - Part II (MP)

Xuan bristled as the door opened and she saw what was there. It did not take long to sponge up the sight and scene before them, to remember from ages past. The Dragon knew well what dangers lie there now, why the vicious strike from nothing and nowhere. What truly could have rivaled Destruction - as unstable and unbalanced as He was...

Khevile felt all the full emotion and sheer rage now making up the Dragon and focused amber eyes on this walking nightmare who seemed to think their words so witty. Had he a shot in all of bringing her down he would have, but the unknown left him with hesitation. He shifted footing, looking to the Dragon again.

Damn that b***h she hissed, her voice a growl of rage and hatred as eyes fell on Gaia there. The Empress, bloodied, injured... a heap of something where one knew Destruction had to be.... it was wrong, never should have been... oh, by the hands of All, and the time immortal, this never should have been! She cursed her youth, her weakened self, and all that was a moment at how stupid this all was. The room was filled with a mix of those returned, those who may yet one day prove useful to the Pantheon, or would have, had the End itself not lay here before them. There had to be a way, Must be a way...

She is dangerous. Damn her for being betwixt us and Gaia! We must make sure she is well! There must be a way to fix things. There must...

Kheviel frowned, unsure how they would make it past this... thing. He was ready to find a way past that thing to make sure she was fine, but he wasn't about to jump the gun in trying to get in - no clue what this thing could or would do exactly. And he was quite more thankful that there were others here who seemed perhaps more capable of dealing with her then he - actual dieties. He watched carefully for a chance of something - be it aiding someone's attack, or getting an opening enough to aid Kishara, or to see if she would respond at all. She didn't seem to be dead, but everything seemed very much out of place and reason.

Anticipatory murmurs filled the air, adding to the oppressive feeling of dread Ellis felt. He remained where he was against the wall, his all-too-mortal body still feeling the effects of the wave. He took in all of the creatures that had gathered in the hall--a centaur here, the shapeshifting Fragment there, a handful of godlings not confined to gems as his was--and felt very out of place; he had no business being here among them.

No, Neva told him, idly fixing the damage within him that she had helped create, everyone felt this. This concerns everyone.

The door scraped open then, and Ellis's eyes widened as a floating, half-decayed thing pushed its way out of it. Bile rose swiftly at the grotesque sight and was barely swallowed back. Ellis pressed himself closer to the wall, a million whats and whys running through his head.

I don't know, Neva answered. I have never seen such a thing, or if I have, the memory has been lost to the Ages. Stay, she told her host, squelching his desire to flee. Watch. Learn, but do not get too close.

Taj had receded tiredly allowing Jaster some breathing room. Their body craved to rest and they would allow it as they could. Even if it was just leaning against the wall to listen. He tried to remain alert to what was needed and happening. He tried to remember what this creature was but the rememberances were not readily his. Bits of the fading dropped down showing him small portions of what had occurred then, but what had been felt earlier and revealed to him were the scattered images of pain and confusion. Now was far from that and yet similar in dread, fear, and worry.

From where he stood, Jaster and Taj, to some extent, had watched as more and more gathered, cautiously, angrily? and warily. His brother and sister gods or so Taj thought of them. But the one Jaster wanted to see, he did not and that caused him true concern. A bit of disappointment slipped into him also, but he shoved the emotion aside to remain focused on those around him. He had found them, so he would find him even if in trouble.

It was not entirely horror or fear that focused his attention on the thing that finally opened the doors they were all so concerned with being locked. Curiosity was there as well as caution and fascination for not knowing what it was they faced. He shivered lightly as he watched. It was obvious that many others were older than he. Stronger. More powerful. Yet they slowed, hesitating and were wary of this rotting creature before them.

Saljin snarled-hissed- as felines did in reaction to what they did not like, he reached out absently to pat and soothe him. It would not do to attack what they did not understand. They would listen.

"Shh, Saljin. Now is not the time."
His voice was soft, gentle and low so that he was not a distraction from what needed to be done by others, yet the feline would hear. He forced himself to stand there watching though he wanted to rest. Now was not the time for napping.

Arc surged to his feet as the doors swung apart and a nightmare emerged. The... thing was just within sight, but an arm's reach away, or a little more. He had never seen the like of the creature. Though clearly female, he couldn't bring himself to think of it as a 'her'. It was nothing so lovely and feminine as a woman should or could be. It was a horrific combonation of a parody of female features... breasts, lips, hair... intermingled with metallic terror, with splashes of some unknown further marring her form.

Repulsed, he took a step backward and nearly fell over the little troll-woman who had only just begun her new, immortal life. Well, the life of her diety, whomever it was, anyway. Urgently he centered her behind him and edged backward again. His concept of charging in at full speed to discover what had befallen their Lord were gone. From his angle, he could not see into the throne room, but he wasn't about to leave the new host behind him to face that thing alone. Noone else seemed to be near them at this critical moment, so he remained where he was, watching the monstrosity warily, shudders that all up and down his new body as evidence of his reaction to the random non-wholeness of the thing before them.

Betha was completely baffled by the gathering that occured. But before she could take in the faces and qualities of those gathered, something began to happen. In a heartbeat, the doors they rested by were no more. As Arctang sprang to his feet, the tea troll scrambled to her, tripping on her long skirts. She peered around his form to try and catch sight of what it was everyone was staring at. There, in the doorway, one claw clinging to mouldering stone that began to crumble beneath her grasp.

While the thing looked terribly frightening, Betha had seen so very many strange things in the short time she'd returned to her own form, she hardly felt stirred by anything as she looked upon it. Her first thought was, most surprisingly, curiousity. What was it? Or rather, what was she? Though where bones might have been on a normal mortal form, instead of bone being bared, there was metal, built or born to look like mortal bone. She certainly looked semi-normal from the chest up, or at least normal for one of the Big Folk.

She was still peering around Arctang when he suddenly moved backward into her, stepping on her poor abused toes with his own bare feet. She bit back a yelp of pain, sensing that it would split the tension that hovered in the air. She sent a glare up at him as he tried to shove her back further behind him and move further away from the odd woman-thing. She had her own mind, she could decide what to do herself! Still, now didn't seem to be the time to assert her independance. Instead, she hunkered down so that she could see between his legs, watching the strange creature that everyone was focused on.

She was completely baffled as to what was going on, or why everyone seemed so very wound up. Yes, whatever had knocked her down had been unpleasant, and yes she had a lingering feeling of foreboding, but why had it all been suddenly focused on this being emerging from the doors? All she could do was watch and wait, and wonder at the stirring uneasiness within her that was not her own.

Something is still wrong....

So many scents he didn't know - gods and goddesses in varying stages of rebirth milled around the locked door; all were waiting as he was. The wave had obviously had it's effects...they'd been drawn back here, to the Alpha.

'Be still, Host. Feel that? It is Wrong.' Yu stroked at his host's consciousness, trying to sooth the edgy creature so he could look through it's eyes and get a better sense for what was going on.

Then the doors opened.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Whatever that thing was - that pieced and plucked arrangements of rotting sinew and half-there flesh was, it was wrong. Not to Live!

Fragment's fur stood on end and his form warped rapidly into something bigger, more feral -- less mane and more mass; he skinned his lips back to bare glistening fangs and even an unspoken command from Xia could not silence the rumbling growl that came from the creature's deep chest.

Just leaving -- but beyond this thing was blood-scent and rot-scent and the smell of things utterly horrifying. Not-Alpha. Not-Harmodius. And yet both, but with other smells mixed. Too, this unreal-yet-real thing smelled of blood and blood-magic and flesh.

He wanted to leap at her. He wanted her gone. She felt so very wrong to him that every inch of his being wanted to rip and shred and destroy -- just to be rid of her. Be rid of the crawling feeling she created under his skin.

Wisely, Yu held his host in check though the beast snarled and growled and it's body tensed as though it would leap forward and attack.

Zero Dream
User Image....And what in the name of the Twin Crown was this.... this thing ? Echo tensed, one wing folding over Adi instinctively, protectively. From her angle, she couldn't see well what was within the throne room - which only added to her tenseness. She did not recognize the grigori for what it was, but the feeling she got from her... it... and the whole situation.... It was near impossible to think the creature was up to anything good. Not with that smirk plastered on its face.

Everything felt wrong. Her eyes narrowed. Just leaving ?! Oh, she didn't think so. Everything inside her screamed to charge, but no... she couldn't give in to that. Not with Adi all but clinging to her for her dear life. She couldn't give in to the urge. At least.... not yet.

Her glare was locked on her, however. She wasn't going to let the... thing out of her sight. She did not trust it one bit.

User ImageThe two children disregarded his warning, nearly disregarded his existence. He would have scolded them, but then the others came. Harmodius’ army, a tattered handful of the handful of deities He had made. His deathknell their clarion call to battle.

Eamnon arrived late, but was quick to his daughter’s side. Yes, of course, Gianfar could see that now. But there was no time to congratulate his old friend on the results of his raping. The doors opened.

It was not shock. He knew she was there. Still, his heart stopped old habits, was silent in his chest. The black pox of time, no, emptiness had marked her face, stripped her naked of flesh. But the years gathered around her in Queen’s raiment. They were attendants, pushing him to let her pass. He was two beings, ancient memory and present, schismed with emptiness between them. She had lived every minute of the long years. She remembered more than he did, knew more than he did. She smiled that same smile.

“Samyaza…” he spoke the name for the first time in two lifetimes.

Eamnon, of course, had gotten the first word. A cheesy one-liner delivered with such fatalistic aplomb he could only be about to attack. Never mind that frothing mad dragon thing that raked furrows in the floor.

There was no time, no time for him to think. Where had the arms gone? What had she done, and where was she going? No time for them to rush to the crumpled goddess behind her. If they did, Samyaza would glide past with them tumbling in the wake of her emptiness. The emptiness… He had to warn them, but yell anything and the battle began, his side in it declared. Could he stop her with words, to trade some? Goodness knows he had little else.

“It has been some time, Queen of the Grigori.” That his breath had stopped meant he did not pant. He spoke with a dry and regal calm. Wielder of Void. First of the Fallen. How far we have both fallen, since then. But you were the first to dissent. Has your voice reached His deaf ears at last?”

Please, by his own name, let them hear that slight emphasis and Know. Pounce her like a pack of hounds on a vixen, and that shimmering sickness in the air around her could eat them away.

User Image

So many, indeed. They gathered snarled, bucked and panicked, hid and slavered, cried.
And there was Hunt, so stalwartly leading the charge.

"One cannot garner new name, where form no longer remains the same. Your captain cruel collapsed. So has the once-ling queen. Perhaps later, cocoon sprung, I can find a name from final lips. But not now, Hunter. That one speaks to no one now. But she will need all of your help, his taint hit her nearest, dearest, closest wracked and lacking found the floor. “

"You'll want to stop her leaking gore. Let not concern for me get in your way."

There were some near, very near, that must have been the beating on the door. And...familiar feels....senses. Smells. The Kings....some of their number in some sort or manner stood here before her. That could be well. That could be very well, as no dragons they were in form or majesty.

But that last flute note, an oldest, welcome sound to her old ears and her eyes half-lidded in deep recollection, "Thoth. That was a name once. In feminine mien, Sarasvati. There were days where I would have lent my two arms to yours to hold your mala and veena. How call you now and how do you answer, master of Literati?"

"How do you stand here, now, to speak with me?"

She moved slowly, edging to the last length of the door, and nearer the couches, letting the small creature and godman...thing be behind her. The rest of the room seemed far more hostile.

From the moment the doors opened, Finn-att had been possessed of the urge to rid them all of that Wrong thing, utterly alien and clearly the enemy. His hide twitched as though to rid itself of flies, but this irritation wasn't caused by any pesky insect - only a biting sureness that he wanted to feel this thing beneath his hooves. It was full of strangeness, and that was more than enough reason to want to stomp it down on the ashy floor.

No, Finn-att, Itztlac cautioned in his mind, There may be a time for that, but it is not now. We do not know what plays itself out here; let Knowledge speak with her. It was Knowledge for certain - Samyaza had said as much. Samyaza. Queen. Grigori. Only so very vaguely familiar, these things...

He wanted to know more.

The centaur brought his left forehoof down hard upon the floor, both wordless acknowledgement of his god's command and expression of his frustration at it. He was a warrior, and no good at standing by and listening.

Catching sight of movement near the door, Jaster noted the two scrambling back from her. Though he had no doubts every spot in the room was at risk, it seemed that their proximity might put them more so. There was little he could do other than to use caution himself.

Listening closely to the voices and what was said, Jaster noted certain words had pulled a reaction from Taj. A slight nervousness slipped into his body, but it was not wholly he himself who was shaking slightly. The god dreaded whatever they had been drawn into.

Wielder of Void. Captain? Queen? Leaking gore? Literati?

An intense feeling of revulsion as several confused thoughts slipped down over him as Taj caught and held the words not the least of which was pain. A searing sensation that slipped through both their minds. This was certainly a strong reaction from the god and Jaster's grip tightened on Saljin's fur unknowingly, knuckles whitening slightly as he suddenly grimaced. The feline rumbled in question glancing upwards, but made no move.

Then in the softest of whispers Taj spoke again. Jaster frowned trying to understand.

She is empty, and void, and waste. Injured lie in the place. Let Knowledge speak what it will. Other tasks there are to fill.

It wasn't these he wanted to listen to. It was the one he had met. The one who had been there the 86 ages with things he needed to learn. The one he owed the apology to. This was not for him to do. To stand and listen. Let the Master of Literati do so. He was the scholar obviously. If there were injured, then they needed help.

He glanced at the creature once as he moved to the side. His grip remained on Saljin as he tugged him, head indicating. Then he moved behind rather than between those speaking to one another. She herself had said they needed help and more powerful than he remained to her.

Yu perked his host's ears towards the half-formed creature that apparently was named "Samyaza" and the one that had called her such: the white-haired god. Thoth? Sarasvati? Gods of knowledge and writing, of lore and such. The dragon surmised (and correctly) that it was related to the god's domain...though which precisely, he could not know and would not assume. Domains were a tricky thing, sometimes.

Fragment's muscles quivered, he really wanted to leap at - or away from - the floating caricature of a woman. Yu would not let him; rather the Dragon was digesting her words. Captain cruel...Harmodius!! -- and the once-ling queen? Gaia? Gaia was reborn?! And yet...her words indicated that she was harmed, bleeding and hidden "behind" the "interest" his Lord's cocoon.

An item that he could see if he allowed his host to move closer yet to the statuary, away from the couches where the god and creature were speaking. Fragment's fur stood on end and part of his awareness followed Samyaza -- the others he could care less about. If they attacked and were harmed, if they lived...died...that was not his concern; no matter that it was a concern for the Dragon King bound to him.

Tick tock, tick tock...feel the sand, running out the clock~

'Now is not the time for your sing-song and games, Host! To listen, or to aid the Empress...' Yu was torn. There was much information that could be garnered from observing, but his lord was in a shell that he could see from where he stood and the Empress...hidden from view, but it must be her blood that the beast's nose was picking up.

Through the Fragment's body, Yu turned back, seeing Ellis-Neva crouched there, useless for battle - but perhaps not for other things. From the corner of his eye he watched another moving towards the fallen gods - a boy and his pet - Good. Neva would keep her wits about her host and Ellis would have hands to help.

Even as handicapped as Yu was in his current form, he was a Dragon King. A born leader of those under the Twin Crown's rule. He would not sit idly by when He needed aid. Nor when His Lady did.

'Neva, Ellis --' The beast's jaws opened a bit, and low words came from within his chest; he was being as quiet as he could and still be heard by those he wished. 'That thing said the Empress is harmed - get into the throne room, past those statues, and find her. Help her. She must not die.'

Zero Dream
User ImageThe subtitles of Knowledge's tone of voice where far from lost on her. There was something here. Something important. Something potentially dangerous. Another initiative to curb her initial reaction of wanting to dive right in. No, she had to be careful. When Kishara was mentioned, her grip on Adi tightened slightly out of reflex. She.... she was in there ? Wounded ?


There was another urge - to go straight to her, to help somehow. But... this meant crossing the door. Adi seemed to be latching on very tightly, and.... endangering the little werewolf was the last thing she wanted to do.

Thankfully, her sensitive ears picked up what the massive black beast was saying. Hopefully the ones the message was meant to would listen, and she did her best to keep her face neutral, as if she had not heard a thing. She did not speak - she was not in the mindset to be good enough with word, and the pale god seemed to be able to make up for this lack. She stood there, ready.... just in case.

The impossible: conversation between the twisted, nearly bodiless thing and a gray man, too regal in tone and stature to be anything but a god reborn. Low voices, sedate and rife with riddles and ancient history, took the edge off of Ellis's instinctive fear--if this thing was as monstrous as it appeared, surely it would have no use for such eloquent speech. He allowed himself to uncurl a little, he and his goddess watching the proceedings with more interest now than fear, though a large measure of that was still present.

His eyes slid to the side as his name was called, by the beast who had brought him here, no less. They flicked to Yu and then beyond, to the wide-open entrance to the throne room, before narrowing in comprehension. He nodded, quietly pushing off from the wall, keeping one eye on the godling and his levitating companion and the other on his path. He ducked between statues and people struck dumb with awe or fear or both, crouching by Fragment as he reached the shapeshifter's side.

"Cover us," Ellis whispered into one long, furry ear, patting the beast's side as he used him as a shield from sight until he was able to scurry into the throne room. The chrysalis loomed large and threatening before him, and he swallowed back his fear--with no small measure of help from Neva, who would not abide such a silly, pointless emotion now, of all times--and gave it a wide berth. The sight that greeted him next was hardly any better: a one-armed goddess, a frail and broken thing surrounded by an ever-spreading pool of her own blood.

Neva firmly denied him his instinctive desire to run, at least for help more qualified than he. No, she told him. She who lies there is worth more than giving in to your petty, mortal squeamishness. You will attend her, Neva ordered, and Ellis winced as he took a step towards the dying form, blood eagerly surrounding his shoe. The subsequent ones were easier, and he only cringed a little bit as Neva made him kneel by the body's side. Hesitant fingers reached to touch the ghastly wound before recoiling.

I don't have anything to stop the blood flow, he thought helplessly.

Use your shirt, Neva suggested.

What? But--

Now is no time for modesty, host. You must put pressure against the wound and that will suffice until we can find something more suitable.

Ellis nodded dumbly, removing his shirt before wadding it up, carefully putting one hand on Gaia's shoulder while the other pressed the fabric to the wound.

User ImageHe listened. He didn't necessarily understand, but he listened. Both to what the monstrosity said, as well as what others said. He could feel the little body behind him vying for a view, and continued to try and protect her, attempting to edge the both of them behind one of the couches. This was so not right. So very not right. Captain and queen? Could those mean what he thought they meant? He still was trying to process what it was the mousey individual had said to her. How did one weild void?

But others were moving now, particularly a rather large creature with a set of teeth to make a bear think twice. At first he thought the thing thought to leap upon the mock-woman... what had it been called? Samyaza had been what the unusually forward but reserved looking one called her. But no, the large bulk of furred menace stopped, and a smaller form slipped around behind him, and towards the throne room. Arctang thought now only of the young form behind him. He must protect her! He continued to edge her towards the others, towards the door out, or the stairs leading up to the rooms. She needed to leave!

She put up with his mother-henning long enough to get around to where she could see beyond the strange woman and into the room. Shortly thereafter, a beast shielded another who ran in and fell to his knees beside a fallen form that lay in a shining pool of liquid. One would not be enough! She moved to follow, but Arctang stopped her, trying to force her the oppisite direction. She had had enough!

She swatted at his hands and stepped back away from him, glaring up at him as he glanced back worriedly. Fiercely she whispered between gritted teeth. "Mind yourself, and let me mind my own. There is tending that must be done!" She pointed urgently towards the throne room, and when he turned to look, she darted out from behind him. She got just beyond arm's reach, and then slowed to a more cautious pace, padding on her bare feet behind the frightening individual. Having managed to get thus far, she then darted over towards the boy who was pressing a swiftly reddening shirt to the stump of the woman's arm. Hurriedly she shed her outer skirt and knelt beside him, ready to lend a hand.

She completely ignored the grotesque figure of what might have once been man-like, but now... well, it didn't bear bothering with at the moment, considering the life ebbing all too swiftly across the floor.

Perri Indiya
The Hunt's more base instincts strained against reason, but the pain every shift of his muscles brought held him back. Attempting to tear the intruder apart would do nothing but end his own existence, and he had miles to go before that would be a worthwhile sacrifice. Everything smelled like blood and ichor. Lady Gaia needed him alive.

His eyes narrowed at the Grigori but he kept the rest of himself in check, stalking around her to stand near Kish's torn form. It was his fault, of course. He'd left his post. "Fine. Go." He said sharply, not able to turn his back on the thing he had helped bring here and help the goddess before she had moved on. He kept it short, afraid that if he was more verbose he'd say something he'd regret.

Little Suffocation stayed behind the stairs, eyes wide as she tried to pick out Kishara's form from the mess of liquid and pulp spread over it, no longer the nice and pretty lady she had met before.

He was torn, painfully in the most figurative way. The subcontext of words was clear, open, and there, laid out before them like a half-drawn and ruined map. Nothing clear, othing open, just cryptic hints but ti was enough. Her own words were enough to still his own desires, moreso as others moved to her. And Xuan Yi, Shield of the Empress and Consort too was torn by this mixed signal.

No, Kheviel said pointedly to the Dragon, feeling muscles begin to loosen at last as the threat of a fight began to loom, she wants us to ignore her. This... Grigori, this madwoman. She wants us to attend to Gaia and allow her leave, escape. To spirit away with something no doubt. You don't distract your opponent to other things without cause, Xuan. I've fought enough fools who try such to know. But she is smarter... and that makes this worse.

You are only lucky there are those who heed not those subtleties, Xuan hissed with a seething rage. I should have been protecting her.

That is neither here nor there, he fired back, hands sliding down his sides as he shifted steps a moment. He made sure there was enough distance between he and her, but also made sure her leave of the door was no completely clear, either. He knew if this one she spoke to could perhaps garner more from her, to enlighten them further with what he knew, it might work better. But there was too much risk to lose in letting her slide away. He licked his lips slightly, his mouth feeling slightly dry from the tension.

Xuan dwelled on the words of Knowledge again, pondering. First of the Fallen... it was something, something there.... no, this one, the one responsible for the fall of Him - she had to be it, she had done something in the past. No no, she couldn't be allowed to leave. An urge to speak filled her, and she took it. "Why the hurry to leave?"

A wonderful question. I do hope she answers - preferably without trying to behead us or something. A dry sarcastic tone went with the words as he kept focus on her, ready to react on a second's notice but putting a less hostile stance forward. Some were attending Gaia, so he needed to not worry yet about her; no, this thing which had caused the harm needed dealt with.

User ImageEid roared in Eddard's head, ringing through his entire body with unquenched fury. Were these not the Lord's own. Were none of them sworn to protect him in some capacity or other? Had they forgotten the simple concept of sacrifice. Eid couldn't remember anything, consumed with rage. They step aside and allow her to pass by her word as if SHE were Lord. Draw your sword, let her feel our wrath.

Our wrath? Eddard was caught off gaurd by the reference, but didn't allow Eid to cloud his judgement. Something is beyond our understanding. We learned that the Hunt is a warrior. Now is likely not the time for fighting.

Cowards, every last one of you are children lost in the dark. If you are too afraid to get up and turn on the light then you will remain lost and afraid forever, frozen in fear, and you're the worst of all, Eddard.

Eddard clenched his teeth together in anger. I think I much prefered the nausea and exhaustion as opposed to your constant scrutiny. If you can draw the sword from my scabbard, I will lay down my li-- Eddard was interupted as the fingers of his right hand, the arm that contained Eid's gem, writhed inhumanly as the arm bolted across to his left hip to clumsily wrap around the handle and begin to pull the blade free. Eddard reacted quick, grabbing the right wrist with his left hand and preventing it from completely drawing the sword.

Quit resisting me, this has to be done.

If you can't overcome my resistance, how can you overcome something that makes your fellows, by your own words, 'cowards'?

Eid could only bellow in defeat.

User ImageA new name for the Crown? She doesn’t mean “Harmodius.” If that were gone, we would all have forgotten it. There were names and there were Names. Harmodius had spoken them into Being, with a sound for which Gianfar could only make similes – innumerable pipe organs, the sea in caves, avalanche, wild fire. It was the Old language. The Grigori spoke it. Samyaza’s rhymes were the Great Song bridled, hobbled and chained into something their ears could ride. She could speak their First Names. Did she know it, to take it, His Name?! Has she Unmade Him thus? And now she asks for mine!

But Gianfar was just the name of a star, a god that had faded Ages before. Could it hurt him any more than Thoth, or Sarasvati, for her to know it? It was how everyone knew him, that must lend it power. But he was a dreadful liar.

“They call me Gianfar, in this Age.” He fell into step alongside her gliding gore. She hovered many heads taller. He imitated her speech, wondering if he Knew it, if he could remember that Oldest of tongues. If only she spoke it pure, for him to hear, just once. That would be real Power, perhaps enough to keep things Made without the Throne.
“The old names dance like Ezekiel's bones on your lips.
The gods have always had so many.
The Grigori few, but never wanted any.
Ramuel, Danel, Batraal, Tamiel, Turel, Asael, Akibeel, Anane, Azazye…”

He shaped them without breath, like speaking when he flew in the wide plains between the stars, but those shapes hulked even further, where even distance wasn’t.
“Why hurry to meet them? They have waited this long.
Won’t you humor an old man, a snippet of the Song?”

That must be where she is going...to free the others, or tell them the news.

It was so tempting to go with her, to see the Ashlands. He wanted the Power she had, not to Unmake, but to Change. But he was no match, alone, for one, let alone 10 Grigori. And there was Revei, sleeping upstairs. Could he leave him?

It might not be an issue, the others certainly didn’t look keen to let her leave the room.

User Image
"To hurry is to waste, though I have other tasks to face. Others places, other times. Rather the stroll here for the passing of the Signs. “

"Though I would speak with you again ...Gianfar..."
She rolled the syllables in however she spoke, mouth moving only so much as a shifting of her jaw as though a name could have flavour. Or cables therein were pulling as though to communicate in mundane manner.

He would know well enough where to find her.
It would be more prudent to strike him down, Knowing was dangerous. But this was a hair's width showdown, each with hands on their hilts and preparing to draw. A first move would cinch the occasion. The group of them was hesitant, afraid, and uncertain. The ache of Gehenna was in them, and most of them looked so blank. There was no memory in those many eyes. Mortal eyes. Mortal, dying eyes, hollowed from the inside like pumpkin lit from within by divine candles....set out on holiday. But festival goods always rotted over the following weeks, wet and brown, and the candles...

The candles always burned out.

Her pace did not falter, following the initial motions of the panic-boy; there was a window beyond the couch. Closer portal, ruder then the door. Battles she had seen plenty of, but it was not her preference. Wasteful. Sad to let go the opportunity of the kings. It would take too much to focus on single targets and the mana that flowed in an out of each. "It is a good name, gentle syllables that are easily moved to question....up-lilted as a plea for help."

"I am glad you remember my name."

The window was behind her.

Perri Indiya
Eamnonn swallowed a growl at Knowledge's mimicry of Samayaza's speech, strung too tight not have thoughts of "Traitor!" slide behind his eyes. He held himself as still as possible, only moving to track the Grigori's movements. She was going through the window. Beware the blood splatter.

Jaster's pace there had been somewhat slower than the others as he was unknown to them and uncertain that his movements further inwards would cause the distraction he was trying not to move into play, but he was also newly fused and lacking the strength the others appeared to have and of little threat to her. He had ignored others as he and Saljin slipped past them, quickening his pace and stride to slip around the corner and into the next room even as he noted her moving. He was of little threat to her. But he soon knelt down beside the two as they tried to bandage, sliding his arms beneath the girl on the floor and raising her up slightly in support. The blood little mattered to him though for once he tried not to study the fascination things of such a nature held for him.

"Raising her upwards a bit should help you." he stated softly, voice definitely not an order. He did not know them.

It seemed odd that her arm was gone, but he braced her body for them as much as he could. His thoughts returned to the missing appendage. Why would someone take an arm? And where was it? What exactly had happened? He turned his head, trying to see about the room, but his focus was needed on what they were doing. Trying to save her life.


The sensation he received from Tajnevaki was a question rather than an agreement. Something incoherent slipped down over him and Taj shoved against him forcefully. Now was not the time to try to push his way forwards. It would hinder what he was trying to do, so Jaster fought to keep his attention on helping and he won. But the feeling was not dismissed and he thought about the reaction silently watching them tighten the wrappings to stop the blood. Was Taj asking if it were really missing or saying that it was not? Sometimes his cryptic answers were annoying if they were in the wrong spot.

"Saljin, start looking around for the lady's arm. I don't understand why it would be missing. A fight might have cut it off, but I would think that it would be lying here beside her. Taj likened the one out there as empty and waste, but I-we have no power to face her. There is no trust there though."

Saljin rumbled in extreme uneasiness as a growl slipped free, but he began looking around. His nose stirred the nooks and crannies behind the statues and all the places bloodied. All he found was dust until he followed the stairs upwards to stare at what was left of the one there.

Pained surprise slammed into his senses for the second time that day, and the feline form he wore shifted, vanishing to replace fur and claws with skin and clothing. Saljin stumbled backwards a step, finding himself sprawling. Staring in wonder, he found himself opening his mouth to speak only to say nothing.

Red hair and gold? Was that- that...? Saljin was quite uncertain how to describe what had been done and it was hard even with the things he'd seen to wrap his mind around what this was. Was that the god they had been looking for? To find him in such a state would sting and he glanced over at the younger man as he tried to help with the shattered girl. He shook his head, finding his voice.

"No arm, Jaster. I do not think it is here. The one up there cannot be helped. It will take more than we can do" His words were truth but not informative. They could not be. Not yet. Not to Jaster.

"Then we take care of her first. When we get her bandaged, we will move her to one of those round couches. It will be more gentle until a solution to them presents itself." His voice soft, but even then Taj pushed again, this time shoving hard into Jaster not unlike hitting him with a book that had pale hair behind it. He winced gasping in painful surprise as thoughts and images spun. A book with hair? He blinked. Literati?

"Someone needs to tell them that her arm is missing. Taj just threw a mental book at me to act, so.. the one called Literati I would guess." His voice was loud and clear with no name to call the master of books, but how far his tone would carry, he did not know. The three of them were busy.

Zero Dream
User ImageShe was heading for the window. Going to flee, and with her, the knowledge of what had truly happened. This was no longer a time for hesitation. She had to act, and act now, before some of the younger ones rushed for her in despite of the warning that had been given.

Adi quickly exchanged hands - from the goddess to her aoidei. Concerto did not even require an explanation - he ducked behind the stairs with the young girl. Echo was willing to put herself at risk but... not her. Not Adi, who had probably been caught unaware in all this mess. Where was Rio ?!

She couldn't afford to think about it Not right now. She turned and watched the creature.... The grigori once more. She had probably known what the name had meant, once, but there was no recalling of this now. Perhaps it was far too gone. She cursed her own inexperience mentally and did the only thing she could think of, the only thing she could really do that did not seem completely, utterly foolish.

She sang.

Her voice started out low, then steadily gained in volume. She had done this before, even if she had honestly wished she could have forgotten this. She had stopped a mortal in their tracks with her voice, once.

But this did not seem like a simple mortal.

Her words where not normal words, or at least, did not seem like a language anyone might have known. She had no time, so she simply sang on different melodic scales, and focused on Samyaza. Her voice was as calm as she could keep it, both to try and contain her panic, and not accidentally sound the first rush of war. No... Perhaps Gianfar would get something out of her if she managed...

No, she had to stop thinking. Stop thinking and focus. Hopefully the others would be smart enough to react accordingly. If this foolish attempt even worked.

Don't move...

((This is a good idea of what Echo's singing would be like, if anyone wants / need it. *waits for Sosi to lol at her on aim >>*))

Finn-att was tired of waiting - tired of standing and listening, watching everyone else wait, or else tend to the fallen Goddess. Tired of looking at that Thing - though Knowledge called it Queen, he couldn't see it as a being of either gender, hardly a being at all. Ugly, wrong, dangerous. Whatever evil had happened here to draw them, it had been the cause.

..and yet everyone simply stood, and watched it move to take its leave. What were they waiting for? Surely they couldn't mean to just let it go. So why did they not move? The centaur would have expected more action from Gods, particularly against those who wronged them, and Samyaza certainly had.

His frustration grew and became anger - not just at the Grigori-Queen, but at all others in the room as well. Cowards! How could the Gods be cowards? Even the one inside him sought to hold him back, to soothe his ire. But he would not have it. He was tired of it. Most of all, he was tired of standing idly by; and not just as he was this moment, but as he had for a year or more. Waiting, trapped, reined in by Night in a world of stone and stairs; he was tired of listening, tired of doing what he was told.

Someone had to move, and he wasn't going to wait any longer for someone else to do it, for a by-your-leave.

But then one...began to sing? It was, without question, meant to do something, but what he didn't have any real idea. So he decided to treat it as a convenient distraction, and moved, despite the horrified grasping of Itztlac at his mind. Finn-att surged forward, charging at Samyaza - he would jump the couch, draw his sword and strike at her.

At least, that was his intention...whether or not it would work out that way remained to be seen.

Ellis bristled at the sound of footsteps softly padding towards him before he forced his body to relax--it couldn't have been the thing out there, it had no feet and sounded to be in conversation he was too preoccupied to eavesdrop on anyway. He turned his eyes from the raw wound he was tending to dart a look over his shoulder, almost relieved when he found it was a tiny woman rather than a big scary thing. She couldn't have possibly posed a threat, and he was confident enough in his masculinity to be sure he could have kicked the a** of such a small creature anyway. Nonetheless, he was relieved when she wordlessly offered him more cloth to use to stem the flow of blood from this as-of-yet unnamed woman.

"Do you think you can tear that into strips?" Ellis asked quietly, nodding towards the extraneous garment. "We can at least wrap the wound up, a little. My shirt's gonna be pretty useless as a band-aid soon." Indeed, blood was already starting to seep through his fingers where they held the sodden cloth to the place Gaia's arm used to be.

Another man joined them soon enough, and he hunched over the unconscious woman protectively as this stranger propped her up. "Be careful," Ellis chided him, shifting on his knees to keep his ruined shirt pressed tightly against the wound. Wary eyes watched the interplay between new host and unknown quantity when a voice from the main room grabbed his attention. It was singing, of all impractical things--such beauty in so horrible a setting. He wanted to listen, but was hastily reminded that this was neither the time nor place.

"Yu," he called over his shoulder, taking the other man's suggestion to heart, "you're closer. Ask it where the arm is!"

Six eyes narrowed at Gianfar - Knowledge would have explaining to do, should they survive this encounter. He slunk closer to the Grigori-woman, to Samyaza as she moved; teeth bared and muscles tensed at the ready should she think to attach him or those behind.

Large ears were listening intently to what the creature was saying - she had more to do...obviously, destroying their Lord wasn't enough! Yu filed that information away for the moment and willed Gianfar to keep her talking, to keep her from escaping out the window as it seemed she wished to do.

A woman was singing and some great horse-bodied creature surging forward to do battle - where

The human, Neva's host, called to him -- The arm? Gaia was missing her arm? Memory tickled at the Dragon King's memory but turned forth no great realizations. Heavy feet moved him yet closer - not past the statuary, for he despite the free-falling chaos that was rolling into play, he was not yet ready to die.

"Her arm, Gianfar--" Yu's tone suggested that the scholarly looking god's name might well have been distasteful to him; "Gaia's arm is missing!" Words, words over singing and over the heavy hoof-beats...over the scent of blood and the salt-sting that came with the uncertainty in one's own comrades --just words, but words needing answer, demanding recognition!

He hoped that Knowledge had heard him.

"Give us the answer, Half-formed! Rotting!" Fragment's voice, gravelly and rough hissed past Yu's choke-hold; his Dragon was splitting his attention in many directions. Fragment took advantage of this; flinging his demand not at Gianfar, but at her
...//ORP - Grigori - Part III (MP)

Xuan was already at work long before Khevile on the words, melodic and almost without time. Gianfar knew something, something more then they but he was much Older in this time then she. But... no. She spoke of more things to do. These were things that if allowed would bring worse thent he pain, worse then the Crown's situation. And then-

Kheviel's eyes narrowed to amber slits as he heard the words through the mess, the din, the chaos of it. Wasn't that how endings were, but a mess and uncalculated failings of all? An arm from the Empress? He unconsciously channeled Xuan's mind on choice of words.

A prize, something... perhaps useful since she is the Fount of Life, Xuan snarled and before much more could pass between them they were both aware of the sound of hooves.

Kheviel realized then his blocking of the door had left one crucial uncovered place. A window, innocently there. She could easily break through the glass, it would not be hard for anyone too. She was going to leave through the glass window and do whatever worse she could. There was too much wrong, too much screaming in his heart and mind, of pain and agony at all that was coming to be...

His hands drew daggers on instinct and a blade was launched, glimmering only slightly fom the enchant it held from years past. Blades that had been there at the worst of times, including that fateful night he and Xuan had become one initially. She could not be allowed to leave, she mustn't, for she had more to do that would bring worse upon them, by her own words. Gianfar be damned, they couldn't wait any longer, and someone else was moving in as well. It was too late, and maybe too little by now. His left hand was ready to flip the blade to the right as he watched, ready to try and react.

Quick and willing fingers went to work, tearing her overskirt into long strips deftly. She cast a glance over her shoulder as things began to happen in the other room. Hoofbeats, snarls, and singing, such an odd cacophony. Gulping down fears, mentally blocking out the rest, she focused on those before her, struggling to save a life instead of take one. She began to bind the wound, working with the boy who pressed the fabric to the wound, and the boy who held the limp body of the woman up. She bit her lip as the blood trickled out the edges, trying to work faster, bind better. "This isn't going to work," she gasped. "We have to cauterize it!"

She raised her head and looked around. Light flickered from behind the grotesque form that was strung upon the throne. "There," she paused, hands falling still on the inadequate bandaging. Glancing at the other two, it was clear she was the only one free to do it. Her stomach roiled at the thought, but what else was there to do? "I'll find something." She rose swiftly, but her feet slipped in the blood that smeared the floor. Scrambling back upright, she hurried to make her way around behind the throne. Behind it was a massive fireplace, a fire burning brightly within it. Determined, she ran to find the implements used to tend it. She had to work fast to heat the metal enough to be of any use.

User ImageWatching the small woman defy his protective gestures and put herself in danger, darting past the one called Samyaza to go to the side of one of the two figures left in clear agony in the throne room... it sent a jolt of sense through him.

This was not a situation of defense only. Preservation was not going to happen by hiding or protecting. Not the way he had been doing it. The logic stared him in the face and mocked his action. Courage had been shown by the weaker, the lesser, the mortal. His head snapped back to the figure that was gliding his way. He rose from his crouch slowly, inhaling as he did so. Almost visibly, he shook aside his fears, his distress. This wasn't about him. This wasn't about that little troll-woman either. This was about something deeper, something more important than any one of them. More important possibly than even all of them collectively.

He drew another breath, as if in slow motion, and stepped back. This time it wasn't in retreat. He didn't even need to look behind him. The only thing between her and the windows behind him was... him. Still as if in slow motion, two things began at once. Singing, a voice so sweet and compelling, swelled out of the throat of a lovely woman that had stepped forward. Almost at the same time, a large form plunged forward. The sound of hooves on floor echoed weirdly in his mind, triggering memories of a small girl and a very large centaur. Never having laid eyes on his form, Arctang felt sure this must be Finn-att nonetheless. An incongruous tear sprang to his eye as he watched the friend of his host pelting into danger he couldn't stop.

Another step back, arms out-stretched as if to block the access to the window. It was senseless, his number-driven logic arguing with him against the action. But no others were there with him. None stood in the way but he. Fingers brushed solid obsidian wall as his still young heart thudded painfully slowly in his chest. Desperate, he glanced to either side. What could he do?

User ImageSong rose, washed the air with pure waves, much like the Sound he imagined. It wasn’t Samyaza. She gave him nothing. She was too wise for that, he guessed. Their surface pleasantries only thinly veiled what they both wanted, and he didn’t want the same thing.
”Meet again when seed has eaten
all the flesh of fruit and Tree,
when you’re gathered, can’t be beaten -
then you’d offer me to me?”

Even now she’s poised to flee.

He was so close...the shock of His crumbling, seeing Samyaza, the song he heard now. The Words were as close as that place where names hovered when you couldn’t remember them.

Then, echoing Samyaza’s lilting of his name, an acidic growl, each syllable thrown separately. ”Her arm, Gi an far!”
His mind spun, apples and sevens falling, the winning alignment was lost, the slots stopped on Yu’s question.
Where are the arms? Vines green and withered, mother and crone, entwined like snakes to eat each other. The immediate answer was obvious. All that was missing here – His name – was taken by her.
Why? He had no idea.
Where has she put them? There was nothing to her. She wore nothing, carried nothing, wielded Nothing.
The wheels snapped into place.

“The arms are in the Void within her!” he yelled to the room. His voice was normal, hoarse vibrations of flesh and breath.
Just as he was dropping his pretenses, a beast leapt the couch like Sagittarius in the sky. His jaw dropped too. He had warned them!

User ImageSome of our fellows' uncertainty seem to have diminished. Strike now, strike swiftly, lest we miss the opportunity. Eid continued to struggle with his disobedient host in an attempt to draw the sword at his hip.

They are being as brash and possibly as foolish as you. The scholar and the hunter are yet to have acted aggressively. They both know something, Gianfar mentioned as much. And you still have failed to draw my sword. Even as he fought to prevent the sword from being drawn, Eddard found himself instinctively moving around the edge of the room along the wall to put himself into a flanking position nearest the window that she seemed to be heading too. And then there was song in the air. Would he give in to Eid's rage?

The song has begun, I command you to dance with this Queen. Do so with the brave and the strong. Do so without regard for the meek and cowardly.

I should not have to explain the unspoken contract I am obligated to as host to you of all people. I will not blindly throw you into undoing when it is my responsibility to foster you into your former power while I have a say in the matter. If you must consume or discard my being one day, it will happen because I did as was charged. With his final proclamation, Eddard forced his right hand free of his sword and assumed full control over his faculties once more.

User Image
M u s i c ?

Just the same she stilled, poised in front of the window, QuiverBoy at her back and Gianfar nearby, but parted by furniture. They were all moving. A great form charging up. The other warrior sidling like a crab. Time seemed vague in the turning of the gears of the gods around her until the mortal blade drug over the haze shield.

Her eyes refocussed. "I hear war horns in the Hall-"
The centaur's sword never connected, the metal was eating itself up to the hilt, towards his hand. Then another disruption, and she quirked to see a dagger stuck in her, bloodless, falling into particles before vanishing altogether. The 'wound' closed. "Foolish mortal contrivances strike first blows to start the dance, covered by the lady's magic thrall. "

Her concentration was briefly broken, just the same, and the field dissipated. It wasn't necessary. A quick glance confirmed what she needed. The boy was still there...to take the glass. She put her claws to his neck, turning like an asp, and drove him through. Followed.

Follow the leader.

(Arctang will suffer void rot on his neck from the contact, but not as bad as they may have been, since Samyaza is not using them as a focussed attack. )

User ImageHe had tried to brace himself. He had tried to be ready! But it proved as fruitless as he feared. Before he could react, there were claws about his throat, and he was moving. With strength that shocked him, he was hurled backwards, millions of shards of colored glass bursting around him as he continued backwards, falling, falling!

He didn't even notice landing. He lay flat on his back, staring upward as she soared after him, out and away. But his mind was having trouble focusing... pain had erupted at the base of his throat. He tried gasping a breath, but something had gone wrong, and his breath refused to draw. Laying on the glittering ground, he raised a hand to his ruined throat and felt the warmth of his own mortality.

((Edited for proper injury-depth. Also will post for Betha after some others post.))

His...his sword! Startled to a halt, he stared wide-eyed as the blade dissolved, working its way up to the hilt. He never bothered to see if if it kept going and ate up what remained of the weapon, because he threw the uesless thing away from him in horror. What...how had she done that?

Itztlac might have given him some kind of 'I-told-you-so' answer, but if he did, it never registered with the centaur - he was too busy staring as Samyaza drove one of the gods through the window. He didn't know which it was, but it didn't matter, as reflex took over within a moment. He gathered himself and leaped through the window after the pair, with sense enough to make sure he didn't land on the fallen God.

Metal may not have done the trick, but his hooves were a force to be reckoned with, and he was more than prepared to use them. He looked for an opportunity to strike out at the Grigori.

I would not be so certain. Don't be foolish! If you die, we both die.

But there were some things more important than his own survival, or even his God's.

Jaster nodded, falling silent as he held her gently while the little woman hurried to find something to cauterize the wound. He heard voices and yells and singing blended coming from the other room. Whatever they did in there, this girl's arm must be important in some way. The feeling he got from Taj was that it was extremely so though he did not begin to understand it and Taj seemed uninclined to explain if he could. Mystery had fallen silent and he began to suspect that the rest was in other hands still.

A tourniquet he had been thinking of, but once the word sprang from the little woman's lips, he knew that heat would work better. His knowledge of aiding was limited to what he had read from the library long ago and taught in school. Not much. She seemed to know.

The word repeated itself as he thought of the meaning. "It would stop it."

Saljin had turned to stare as the woman ran up the stairs. These three needed time to do what they could, but someone needed to see what happened in the next room. It was better to be wary and alert than to delve entirely into what was being done. The shattering of glass was heard, and he turned his head startled by the sounds. Glancing at the one near him, Jaster frowned glancing towards his friend as Taj moved uneasily though he remained silent.

"Make sure she doesn't need help up there, Saljin. Or burn herself."
Jaster stated, indicating where the little woman had gone. He glanced over at the man beside him holding cloth to her arm. "I suppose that creature went through the window, but why did she need her arm?"

The shifter nodded, moving upwards and past the throne and one there. He stopped to the side so as not to startle her, violet eyes watching closely. It would not do for her to be burned. She was the one who knew what needed done. "'Tis hot here. I am Saljin. Do you need any help, Lady?"

Zero Dream
User ImageIt was hard, so hard.... too hard, her full rebirth too young, her powers too untrained. She couldn't even tell if she'd managed to stop the grigori for even a second. She continued singing, none the less, until one of the young ones was flung trough the window and her target out of sight.

The edge of her vision started to dance and she landed on her knees when she attempted to take a step to follow, to at least make sure Arctang was alright. Echo heard her servant stir behind her and rose an hand to stop him. And he did. Good. At least her boys knew when it was important to obey, and when they should test her. Now was not one of those time.

"Don't let her get away !" It seemed obvious, even dumb to say. The goddess did not consider herself a natural leader by any mean, so all she could do was state what was crystal clear. "And for the love of all that is, be careful !" She had... Gaia's arm ? What kind of use could that be... ? She didn't understand, but it was easy to see that there was some kind of purpose.

They better had to be careful. The only one she knew of that could potentially heal those kind of wounds had been gone for almost as long as she had lived.

Perri Indiya
What the-? Eamnonn watched them all move with growing horror, resisting the urge to put his head in his hands. Were they all insane or just suicidal?

"What the hell are you all doing? Let her go!" he snarled, glaring at the goddess who had been singing. Sending others to die in her place but her in his bad books. "There are ways to fix this but all of us getting unmade is not one of them."

User ImageThe music had stopped, replaced by murmers, shattering glass. Their last moment to act was stretching out, almost merciful, but it was in slow motion.

His thoughts weren't for the unfortunate who had gone through the window, or for the valiant youth whose hooves plowed the air like he'd send them after his sword. He was wholly bent on Samyaza. He couldn't let her go just yet. She was not the sort of villain to monologue useful information before she died, or to give in to torture. How you tortured someone who embraced nihility he didn't know. But even to see her, to hear her, to watch her fight was teaching him.

He burst up in a cloud of feathers, yelling over his shoulder.

"Don't let her go! She'll free the others! We have a chance against her alone!" He was shouting through molasses. But in real time his contradiction chased right on the heels of Ea's order.

He spread his wings, his robes fluttering, his hair down and wild, filling the window space like an image too cliche to have graced the Pantheon decor. Light even haloed him, electric sparks like stars caught in his hair. Miniature bolts jumped from windowframe and pillar, from red bellied clouds outside and the dusty ground. It wasn't Indra's Vajra or Thor's Mjolnir, more like the errant finger that touched Franklin's key. But every bolt centered on her, as if she gave them off. She was caught in the middle of a lightning globe, a science experiment.

I hope she uses potassium to puppet limbs or fire synapses. Electricity won't grip void, or seize it up. Let it hold her, just enough for others to attack. Good gods...can they? Does anyone have offensive magic besides me?

Her shield was down, even the centaur boy had a chance, but it would be up any moment. They had to press her more, closer to the limits of her power. Make her Speak.

edited for accuracy

It was a disaster in motion, one which you could only watch with a sickening feeling in your stomach. His dagger had hit, dissolved, and the wound shut. All that effort, for nothing at all? He felt a sort of lost despair at the situation, uncertainty cluding his mind.

KHEVIEL! Xuan roared in his mind, forcing him to snap back to the situation and renew his sense. Once she was sure she had him aware, her voice was a growl at him in his head, angry and frustrated at the entire situation. Don't you dare give in now, I know you can do something. We have to - for Gaia, for everything... hell, for us. She's up to no good.

And what, you didn't hear the other? Unmade? He wasn't exactly ready to get them both killed - himself, alone, he wouldn't have cared, but Xuan was a part of him.

And Gianfar says otherwise. Who's to say who is right? She has Gaia's arm and there can't be a good reason for that. Hell, she says she ahs more to do and if she is going to call relatives, that's bad. Didn't we have enough of a problem with her? Think of having more of them... There was a slight desperation to her voice, a ruling fear of things getting worse then they were, of things being unfixable.

Kheviel was already moving again, this time for the door and flung it open to dart outside and around to keep a sight on Samyaza. He was an assassin, not a mage, and it was more then painfully obvious that his weapon skills may prove fruitless here. There had to be something, anything -

It was a flash of inspiration, a one in a million shot but it had to be something. If she could consume things like metal, could she mute a fire? He still had a few more daggers on him at the worst - he tore at one sleeve, ripping it in quick motion and wrapping it about the hilt quickly and securing it with a pierce with the blade. His hand pulled free a lighter from his pocket, something kept to burn evidence if needed and at the worst, use it for other's lighting needs. He drained off some of the lighter fluid onto the cloth, holding it carefully and lit it.

Gripping what hilt was not covered by cloth he aimed and launched again, going for her back with force on the throw. Flames licked at the skin of his arm, causing him a flash fo pain he barely registered as he let the blade go, waiting and hoping. At the worst, what? Nothing? At least he was trying. But it was a two-pronged battle - against her, and himself, as the weight of the world hung low.

User ImageEddard watched as the events unfolded, the weapons dissolving as they came into contact with this supposed queen and then how she drove one of the gods through the very window he had tried to move to and then followed her victim. The two leads he had hoped to follow were now contradicting each other, the scholar and the hunt, and oddly enough their actions seemed to contradict their roles as well.

He could not look within, to Eid, for guidance. He had offended him and driven him to silence once more and likely wouldn't follow his word anyway. Instead he followed the words of Gianfar.

As the haze shield seemed to dissipate, Eddard enacted his weakest human spell, the casting time almost instant. Though the duration would be short due to Eid's presence handicapping his abilities, Eddard gambled that the encounter would be short enough that it wouldn't matter. His eyes glowed silver as he drew the one of the two daggers that was concealed in his boot. Rolling around to peer through the broken window, the enchantment on his eyes allowed him to percieve the pattern in the weave of magic that surrounded her, even flowed through her. The complexities were astonishing and difficult to interpret, but he could see one thing. The shield was indeed thinning and dissipating.

In the blink of a silver lit eye, Eddard picked an appropriate hole in the weakening field and let his dagger fly with all his strength as if his mark wasn't Samyaza but something far past her. He was strong enough to tear through a castle portcullis with his bare hands, would this strength do anything to serve him against a foe so rich in magic? And then he too was climbing through the window in pursuit.

Betha glanced over the available tools, weighing their usefulness for this particular wound. It was big, so merely a poker wasn't going to cut it. Her eyes fell upon the ash shovel. Perfect. Snatching it, she shoved it deep into the heart of the fire, where the flames were barely visible, a faint blue tinge beneath roaring flame.

The sound of a large window breaking brought her around. The shovel would have to stay in the fire a time, and things sounded rather drastic out there. She padded on her still-blistered bare feet to peek around the throne, only to stifle a squeak as a strange man suddenly appeared nearby, speaking to her. Hand unconciously on her chest, over the shell now imbedded there, she caught her breath and nodded greeting to him.

"Aye, if only it were hotter," she replied, peeking back around the throne again. There was definitely a commotion, and a winged figure was hanging in the patch of sky revealed by the broken window. A static crackling popped and sizzled, though it seemed to be focused elsewhere. "No, I only need time, and it seems we have precious little of that." She turned to gaze at Saljin. "The metal must heat or it won't do its job," she explained. "If it doesn't seal the wound, there might be no saving her."

Within her, something stirred sluggishly again, as if trying to wake from a drugged sleep. There was a sense of urgency in it, but very little coherent thought. Almost tenderly, Betha mentally patted the slumbering entity and soothed it, like a mother tucking a child back in. The struggling ceased, though the faint drowsy awareness did not retreat. She was waking.

"Hopefully we won't have to find out," Ellis replied, looking over his shoulder as the singing stopped and glass shattered. He caught frantic movement out of the corner of his eye before turning back to the other man. "We should move her now," he insisted, moving an arm behind their patient's back, "before the fighting gets any closer. The metal has to heat anyway, and there's no point leaving us all exposed like this. We'll lift her on three--ready? One, two--"

Doesn't "cauterize" mean--


Oh, gross.

"--three." Ellis rose slowly, an arm gently supporting the goddess' back beneath her bloodstained wings. He waited for the other man to rise with him before leading them towards a couch tucked securely behind a wall of the throne room, out of immediate sight of the battle.

In a moment, the world had Exploded into action and reaction. Cause and effect. Here one touched with the scent of a god move, there another did -- and still more that were flavoured with that particular taint were driven into action.

Yu watched Knowledge go after Samyaza and moments later felt that his own body was moving.

'Mine, oh Treasure - my body to move still.' Fragment's will, strong and that which had kept it in a sort of half-life for so long, had finally broken some of Yu's hold. 'It gives what you desire.'


The beast lunged to the window, shifting so that it might worm it's way past Gianfar and reform outside; there was no room inside! Knowledge had the window, the centaur was out, the thin waif-god was out -- the others could only attack from within. Fragment took an extra moment to see that Yu's gem were tucked deeply inside and then he kicked into action.

Centaur. Scholar. Those yet Inside all attacked from one side -- he would slide around quickly and then attack at an angle -- all heavy body, fang and claw.

The arm, her arm-- Half-rotted, wielding Void. He would wreak havoc upon her strange form if he could. Bite. Rend. Destroy--


Apparently, they were not yet finished with their hobbled waltz. The sound of further tinklings of glass and iron fitting broken further with extra passings just served as warning that more then one not-even-god had decided to follow along. She took to ascending, let them fly if they could.

User Image


fizzle-snap-pop The air was alive with something like enlightenment, only the painful, headache kind. That would be Knowledge's learn'd strike. Jumping on the bandwagon as well. Pressing, pressing, press the lesson further, deeper,
press the gory, ghostly boojum
'till it sickens, weary state
and turns upon the field in hate

"Very. Well. If-you-aren't-done."Jaw ground bone on bone and worked in fury to get word from invisible, sparked throats.

Another dagger, this one flaming. She reached back and plucked it out, spindles paying the licking tongues no heed. She turned where she was and used the weapon point to mark a path in her field of vision, the voice from no throat echoing stronger in ripples the trinal chant that stung the ears,

"Val foth nosslythe, calrue no eldawehn."
"Val foth nosslythe, calrue no eldawehn."
"Val foth nosslythe, calrue no eldawehn."

The words formed threads and shot through the earth in a runed ring around the small grounds of the pantheon building. It rose in flashes like geysers, a wall, huge, eating light and air and sky between. It ate the earth a foot wide, and cut off the nearest pursuers from the building....the building from the her.

A troll, an elf-thing, and the centaur near, visible. countable.

(( This is a Void wall. It cannot be seen through, or cast through until it is cancelled or dissapated. Gianfar and the present kings may each make rolls on dice. Gianfar, your normal percentage roll on 2 d10. For the dragon kings, you are both not even morph yet, you roll 2d10 with a 15% chance to have epiphany. ))

"Forgive me. I did not mean to startle you. Then we need it to burn hotter, but I'll do it for you, Lady." He glanced to her feet, noting that she was blistered already. "There is no reason to ruin your feet further when I wear boots and my reach is a bit longer. Sit and take the pressure from those burns, but I will need you to tell me when it is ready. Medicine is not my forte."

His jacket was quickly off and tossed aside, shirt sleeves shoved upwards. Adding dry wood carefully to the flame he hoped the fire would grab hold of it and begin to blaze even more. Glancing over he caught sight of a small bellows often used to stir the air and make a fire hotter. Without hesitation, he picked it up and began to push the flames making them rise and grow stronger.

"More wood and air should help speed it up a bit." He wiped the sweat from his brow, smudging his forehead with dirt. Glancing towards where Destruction was changed, he shook his head. Jaster would not like this one little bit. He'd spoke of his regret to Evadne and they had talked on the trip to reach here. Perhaps this was what was needed to make him understand. It was time to lose the boy and become a man. He sighed, shaking his head. Either way, it would not be easy.

He glanced to Betha as he stoked the fire once more, stirring the flames higher. "Do you know what is truly happening here?" His voice was soft and not so curious as wanting information on what they faced.

"Yes, we should." Jaster agreed and then moved slowly, carefully with the man. It would not do to make her injury worse when they were trying to stop it. Gently he aided settling her on the cushion, but still maintained his support so that bandaging would be easier.

"I am Jaster, but the god we become is Tajnevaki."
He introduced himself, hoping that the little woman would soon return and this girl would have a better chance. "My friend is cursed to be a shapeshifter, but he means no harm."

Jaster glanced upwards as the ground shook and the light coming in the windows seemed to dim. What on earth was going on out there? A frown creased his brow as he glanced over, but he cradled the girl in his arms a bit more protectively. She could not defend herself. It was up to them. He wanted a bed and to sleep, but though he blinked tiredly, he focused on what he was doing. Fusing the stone had taken a great deal out of him, but he still forced himself to task.

Nothing was going right. This was impossible! That Thing was all but impossible to stop, wasn't she? With her spell, a wall went up around the Pantheon, cutting them off - cutting them off from others who might have been able to do more. He was beginning to realize that he wwas all but useless. His sword was gone, and whether or not his hooves would have been more effective, he would probably never know, not with the Grigori now fleeing through the air.

Though he knew now it could not harm her, he unslung his bow, drew an arrow from his quiver, and let fly; perhaps he could delay her, if only with mere annoyances. It was a pathetic hope, but it was not in Finn-att to give up. He would try anything he had, no matter how foolish it might seem.

User ImageThe magical wall sprung up behind Eddard, catching him off guard. Such power. Eddard knew he had bitten off more than he could likely chew...and he relished it.

With the thrum of the centaur's bow Eddard broke out into a strafe, rounding away from his fellows in an attempt to avoid any sort of blast area effect. He could not hope for too much with his other dagger, especially at the distance he wanted to have. His motion brought to mind a number of possibilities for the next course of action. He weighed them as best he could, each sharing varying degrees of futility.

He couldn't likely pull off his spells that manipulated his locomotion for he was exhausted of magic aside from Eid's dampening effect. Approaching a dilapidated building, a scheme began to formulate in his head. It had the likelihood of failure woven in it, but was still worth a shot. Now if only the other two are able to stall and survive.

Zero Dream
User ImageShe could very clearly feel his glare on her, making her tail-strings lash nervously though the ash. This probably wasn't the smartest idea, but... it wasn't like she could have stopped them. In fact, it looked like the goddess was very keen on attempting to follow and get herself involved, only for the pain to take over again as she reached the broken window. She couldn't see any of them anymore - her ears flattened back a bit in worry.

Nothing was going right. It seemed like she could barely even think - let alone react correctly. Still, she did her best to avoid the glass shards and let herself drop on her feet next to Arctang once the pain subsided a bit. He seemed to have a few glass shards stuck inside him. And those marks on his throat...

She should have shut up, honestly. Let those who knew those things handle it. Useless, as always. She sang, once more - a probably futile attempt to call them back. For now, she needed to get him back inside, and at least get those shards out of his body and the cuts bandaged... She stood and peered though the window. "....I might need help carrying him back inside..." Her voice was meek.

He lept--

--and all for naught, because the half-formed woman had spouted a language that crawled across his spine and settled into the pit of his stomach - strangely familiar and yet still wholly unknown. The beast's eyes widened in surprise as a wall of nothing appeared before it - coming between it and the Grigori woman Samyaza -- there were others trapped inside with it, but not he.

Fragment's heavy paws hit the hard, charred earth with little puffs of ash and dirt when he landed, and the beast prowled the wall at the behest of Yu; growling all the while.

'Curse that whore--!'

Host and Dragon heard the songstress requesting aid, but for the moment all of their attention was focused on that infuriating barrier.


The voice was neither fully elf nor dragon but a mix of both as they both came to the same conclusion. They were cut off from the others, and worse, he had no solid clue just yet what to do about this. Obviously she'd cast magic - a tongue he knew not - and spells took effort, a source, something. She needed to be broken, airborne or not, and that ... dome dropped. Damnit, there were three of them, and she was.... ungodly.

Nice choice of words, Xuan commented dryly. Don't stand still.

He spit on the ground, shifting quickly as he snapped one wrist for another dagger. What he wouldn't give to know a spell or have even a wand to try and use right now. He shifted, moving to space himself from the others as he gauged his place, the angle, and more. The blue-skinned one was moving, and the centaur wasn't giving up. Good, good...

He shifted the dagger between hands and let another fly, trying to keep her busy as he thought. Distractions, annoyances.... distractions.

"Samyaza," he said keeping a loose stance ready to react. "What is it you're hoping to do with all this? What is it that you want? Why are you doing this?" Talk. It was easy to make somehting stop thinking if you tried and maybe he could bait her into something. At the least, if she answered, he may have some idea to deal with things later, providing he didn't die now. She was too intent on fleeing though it seemed, then to stay too long... but it was still dangerous.

User ImageTo the others the wall was despair. Count the distance 12 inches deep or lightyears made spanless without light (how fast could darkness travel?), it was the same to them. It could be a hairs breadth; they could not pass.

Gianfar alone felt hope, rising like a drug in the back of his throat, a sudden buzz.
It took so little! Only half of the gods, if that, were giving chase. His thunderbolts had slowed her only enough for daggers to sting. He had feared they would be no more than bees, pesky to a lioness. But here! She not only swatted, she roared!

Sussurous syllables, paper tearing or fire’s first inhale. Repeated, rising pitch and swell. The sound drummed in marrow, blood, aqueous humor. The roar was visible in black tongues of flame. The earth was tearing, fountaining black. It was parchment under a titan quill. To speak, to write, to make or unmake were the same in that tongue.

Let it be so burned into me!

He was trying to learn from instinct and the rosetta stone of a single spell, hunched in the dark by the light of the candle had once been the great Flame of Knowledge. That taste again. Hope.
He had a chance.

It was easy work settling the one-armed goddess upon the nearby couch, especially with help--she was such a tiny, frail thing, lighter still less an arm and unmeasured pints of blood. Such a shame; such a waste.

He felt Neva's interest pique at the other man's introduction and looked up from the hideous wound the goddess bore, smiling thinly. "I'm Ellis, host of Neva, the Frozen Heart. I'd say it's nice to meet you, but under the circumstances..." he trailed off, letting the destruction that surrounded them speak for itself. The sounds of battle seemed farther away now, muffled by the dubious security of the wall to the throne room.

He turned to peer over his shoulder at the other pair in the room, his eyes carefully skating over the chrysalis containing the one ultimately responsible for all of this. They seemed to know what they were doing, or were at least good at pretending so. "Good," Ellis stated, turning back. "We need all the hands on our side we can get. If that thing did this to her," here he gestured at the bloody stump where an arm used to be, "who knows what it could do to the rest of us?"

Perri Indiya
He was too tired for this. One wing living and one wing dead, the rest of him pushed to the limits so hard he wasn't even sure how long it would take him to heal anymore. He'd just wanted a nap. Twenty minutes of rest, maybe an hour. Just long enough that it didn't feel like his tendons were sliding off his bones. The anger was the only thing keeping him moving now.

"I'll carry him." Ea said gruffly, back in his usual place. Errand boy. Weightlifter. The big dumb Hunt who no one listened to. He went to the window, ignoring the glass that bit into his flesh. It would heal.

He knelt at the injured god's side, making sure he could be moved without his neck injury worsening. "Stay still, I'm taking you to be helped. That neck wound doesn't look fun." He slipped his arms under the other's shoulders and knees, bringing the body with him as he stood. He returned to the singing goddess, honestly surprised nothing in him broke from the strain.

"Where do you want him?"

((Picking up Arctang because he seems shocked and injured. If he would fight, I'll edit.))

Why are you doing this

They were stalling. She could end all three with ease now, running ants full bare awake god blood. They all tasted of it. The mana of the Crown raced in all three, pungent and heady on void scorched tongue. Better not to dawdle. There were yet reborn gods behind that barrier, a building of them, and she was wounded. The further away, the harder to track and pinpoint. Spells to be set up, webs to weave, all things likely to deceive.

”You’re all just pissing in the wind.”She smirked, looked up as arrow and dagger, bloodless, struck and rose straight up swift and sure as a bullet fired in celebration.

Zero Dream
User ImageEcho followed him back inside, and was about to say the couch, but noticed that she had been beaten to the idea. Kishara had been moved there. She had to take a moment to swallow the lump that was forming in her throat, and again resist the urge to abandon everything else and go straight to her.

They are taking care of her. She will be fine. She will be fine. She will be fine...

She needed to focus, again. But the worry in her eyes when she saw the mother seemed to tangible that it could have been touched. At least, there wasn't only one couch... She moved ahead of Ea and went to the couch opposite to the one Kishara was put into, turning it herself to allow him an easier access to it, and less steps to take. Her body protested the effort, but it was easy to ignore with all the worry clouding her mind. "Here will do... Thank you."

Taj stirred for an instant and Jaster had the distinct impression he was smiling. A few faint words slipped out to him and he repeated them thoughtfully.

"In the stillness of winter, we find silence and acceptance tho listening to an even subtler secret." Jaster shrugged faintly in amusement. "Or so he says. I don't always know what he's talking about. He often talks in riddles or images."

Glancing upwards as three entered the room, Jaster noted that one was being carried. The big green guy carried the fellow with black wings he had passed on the way in and the girl looked as if she would attend to him. That creature must have hurt him seriously if another was carrying him in.

"Somehow I don't think we've seen the last of the injured."
Jaster said softly.

Saljin never hesitated in what he was doing. Even when she had not answered but seemed lost in thought, he merely stoked the fire higher. Several times he pulled it from the flames shoving it back in. But finally it began to gleam a burnished red. The shovel would easily cover the injury they needed to sere, but was it hot enough?

Glancing over at her, he asked, "I believe this may be ready, but you will need to decide. As I've said, I've never had to cauterize an injury before. Jaster and I have been lucky so far. Just bruises and a few minor cuts."

User ImageThe void barrier cut off his target from his spell, but nothing could be further from his mind. The lightning raced a wide circle around him, pouncing from ground to cloud, young dragons mad with freedom, threatening to enlighten any in their path. He was exultant, eyes wide and watching the black scrawled scroll unfold.
So familiar, so familiar! Were not all things familiar to him?

The rending of the earth before him, the rending of His Name from Person, it felt like the rending of layers and layers of sediment in Gianfar's soul. He was split, all the stratus showing, artifacts, nuggets of knowledge flashing from the canyon walls as he pinned his wings and dove deep within himself.

Let it be so burned into me... Unfortunate wish. All his thoughts, visible joyous energy, converged on him. The lightning met with a crack. He was transfixed, then dropped like a doll.

He lay outside the Pantheon with white tendrils curling from his puffed wings and nest of hair, the last laughs of vanished dragons. His eyes were wide open to the sky.

"How odd..." He muttered in wonder.

User ImageThe breath knocked from him, all he could do was lay there as battle was pursued. He practically couldn't even gasp, and his throat burned like fire, tracing a line around his neck that felt as if it had severed all important functions. His hand pressed vaguely to his neck proved differently, but that didn't change the sensation. However, when darkness loomed up so close by, he risked the pain to arch himself enough to roll his eyes up and see... nothing. A wall of blackness rose between him and those chasing the powerful creature that had laid him low.

And so easily she had! He'd been a means to an end, an inanimate object that was of minimal use to her. And yet she had left him sprawled amongs the glass, bruised and battered to say the least. His heart squeezed at the thought of what she might be doing to those who sought to stop her. He shuddered, ignorant of the large shards of razor-sharp glass that dug deeper into his flesh.

He was not alone, however. An eerily beautiful woman, with the glow of a diety about her eyes, bent over him, and here now came a green and somehow mythical-appearing individual, lifting him from his bed of pain. Somehow this seemed to remind his lungs that he needed to breathe, regardless of their own shock. He inhaled convulsively, spasming in the weakening arms that held him.

Betha was ignoring the dizziness of weariness that was roiling within. She must be strong. She stared almost unseeing across the room and out the doorway. Glass shattered, people went out it, came back in it. Darkness suddenly shadowed the windows. She shivered and nearly yelped as she was addressed, spinning in place to stare at the shape-shifter in startlement. Reason reassreted itself a little slower this time, but did so nonetheless.

She moved closer to inspect the glowing metal. She nodded. "That looks about right. My father used to need to use such methods on the animals he husbanded when they hurt themselves too badly. Especially the wild ones, that wouldn't abide staying confined for the healing." She beckoned him and turned to hurry back towards the limp green lady that now was cradled on one of the huge round couches. She bit her lip, worried about the nearness of fabric with the heat and fire of the metal, but knew it had to be done, wherever she was.

To the two supporting her, she instructed matter-of-factly, "Hold her up and keep her still. She may react to the pain and be much stronger than you anticipate, even unconcious." To Saljin, she pointed him into place and spoke quieter. "When they have her firmly in hand and the cloth is removed, you will have to press it firmly against the wound and keep it there long enough to sear it shut." She couldn't offer more specific instructions, since she couldn't remember seeing such a drastic amputation. Animals in this state often simply had to be put down. Obviously, that was not an option here. Worriedly, she bit her lip and hoped for the best.

It is time to wake... it is time to rise... time to see... time to recognize.

All but ignored save for that small insult, Finn-att could do little but try to follow Samyaza on foot. It would be just his luck if she could fly faster than she could run, but he would follow for as long as he could; if nothing else, perhaps he could give the others some starting point to try and find her again.
...//ORP - Grigori - Part IV (MP)

Lightening cracked - dancing about the white-haired god that had called it; he watched, every particle of his fur snap-crackling from the frantic energy being transmitted through the air.

There was a flash of light as the spell converged upon it's maker and then the man dropped.

Blind, deaf and dumb as to what was going on behind that wall of Nothing - wall of Void; Fragment growled his anger and Yu raged inwardly at their utter and complete lack of use.

Both were loathe to turn away from where they knew the Grigori-b***h had been...and yet, there were sounds and scents yet inside the Pantheon that could require attending - never mind Knowledge. Here, the one that smelled of beasts, of woodkin and mouldering leaves, of shade, and of predator -- there, the human - Ellis - he had instructed, now with others.

"There is also the Alpha..." Fragment reminded the still-angry Yu; "Bottled up and Broken - still the Alpha!"

His host was correct. With the Void wall keeping him from Samyaza and Knowledge on his arse from being electrocuted by his own spell...there wasn't much that he could do outside at that point. There were, however, many things to be looked into. Inside the Pantheon. It was just a little difficult to tear himself away from the desire to find a way...to tear down that blasted wall and then tear her to pieces.

Indecision and standing around didn't suit either of them though, so Yu guided his host over to the white-haired god and had the beast chuffing at his sleeve, nudging him a bit as an animal would. If nothing else, this one knew things. Important things.

"Up - Gianfar. Love-bites do not a god fell."

Kheviel smirked, amused at the choice of words. At least humor was not lost here, despite the gravity of the situation. Or lack of, in her case. Oh to have means to drop her a** to the ground... wishful thinking in a desperate situation. Too bad she read well and refused to speak.

"Well, dear lady," he said with a slight shrug, slightly irritated at the situation of his last dagger gone... astray. "If that is what I do, so be it. It is better then doing nothng, yes? Aside, I was merely asking based on your own words before. I can't help compelled curiosity from such speakings."

Of course, he wasn't as eager to remain still or too relaxed, for fear of a potential attack. However, he felt pushing once mroe with another throw might get it back on him, or worse, and he was running dry of things to do. And room to act. This... darkness was preventing a large part of him from being able to assess things better.

I hate her, probably more then I should now, and not just because of this, or before or anything.

That's because I do, Xuan, he said simply. I hate her with everything I've got, especially since I can't do a damn thing to her. Why didn't I become a mage?

Xuan didn't reply, but she did think of a few comments that would be better suited for times not under such duress.

User ImageThe words stuck in Eddard's mind. Was this all futile. Was offensive magic the only way to solve this situation. He struck the side of the dilapidated building, causing a section of the wall to crumble and collapse. He had intended to throw the chunks of debris at his foe hoping the larger objects and there bluntness would do better than piercing.

He found himself second guessing his decision, he had told Eid that he would protect him and now he found himself in a situation where he was doing the opposite. In his hesitation he hefted a chunk of debris but only held it, ready and poised in case she started to cast again. Maybe the size would at least cause her to misspeak and possibly lose her spell.

((Eddard only throws if she starts casting))

An eyebrow lifted in almost perplexed amusement as Ellis regarded his fellow host in a new light, this one tinted with Neva's interest. "Many secrets hide beneath blankets of snow," she said through Ellis's mouth, twisting it in a wry smirk, "but should they seek acceptance there, they will find themselves silent forever."

"Yeah," Ellis said, shaking his head to get the goddess out of it, "believe me, I know the feeling." He turned to follow Jaster's gaze, frowning as another body was brought into the makeshift infirmary. "s**t," he muttered as he caught sight of the ugly ring burned into the young god's neck. "At least that one's still got all of his appendages." His eyes cut to the troll as she approached, widening at the sight of the red-hot metal. He battled the instinct to recoil from it--it would feel much hotter to him, now, cold-bound and shirtless as he was, and swallowed hard as he put the broken goddess's body between himself and it. He wrapped an arm around frail shoulders, careful of the delicate wings, and propped her up with a knee at the small of her back. "Hold her legs down," he instructed Jaster. "It'll do all of us more harm than good if she thrashes."

Unhindered, the half-thing vanished to the skywithout further word. Up and it could only be assumed beyond the underbelly of intestinal clouds that constantly impeded view of the still cancerous skies.

The grigori was gone.

(( The Metaplot portion of this rp is now considered concluded. All those involved may feel free to split off into other threads, or may continue to post in this one as needed. Police yourselves and keep aware of timelining.

As far as the Void Wall goes, it will remain in place for a in-game time period of 24 hours. It blocks entry or exit by the ground. Those who can fly can get over the wall with some effort. After the day is past, it will dissapate into foul vapor and there will be a chasm into nothing for about 3 days where it was. The fabric of what is will naturally sind out tendrils and reknit itself then as Gaia herself heals.

PM me at need whether for interactions with the chrysallis or if you have questions. ))

Glancing up as he listened, Jaster nodded, moving, tightening his arms about her legs slightly. He shifted his position a bit so that he would be able to control what movement she had. He doubted she'd remain awake long if she did move. There was too much blood loss for more than a few seconds of consciousness. But they did not need her touching the shovel accidentally or any of them. Further injuries were not necessary.

His voice soft as he simply prepared himself for whatever came. Thankfully Taj was not requiring his attention at that moment, but he was stirring. Strangely it was in reaction to Betha. He'd gotten an amused reaction from Neva and that's all that was intended. There was little else for them to do while waiting.

Saljin carried the redhot shovel carefully behind as he followed her back to the injured girl. He listened intently as she gave them all directions. At least one of them knew what they were doing in this circumstance.

He waited for both to be ready and the instant the cloth was moved away, he placed the shovel against the stump of her arm as instructed. The smell of burning flesh permeated the air as he continued to hold the redhot metal against the injury. The skin and bone fused closing off all those veins that had once carried life to the appendage that was no longer there. His nose twisted in more than a little disgust at the odor, but this was to save her life and he held the shovel firm. It reminded him of the utensils of torture he'd seen in the depths of another time and place, but he held back his shudder and focused on what he was doing.

Zero Dream
User Image`When Ea had laid the godling down on the couch, Echo made her way back to kneel beside the green god to look at the injuries proper. There was a few shards of glass in his skin, and the wound on his neck... She shape of claws.

Concerto came, the shop's first aid kit in one arm, a little werewolf in the other. She took it from him and sighed. She wanted to ask him to look for Rio, but his limp worried her. "You should be resting." She couldn't manage to push any authority in her voice, only worry. Hopefully he would still listen.

She turned her attention back to Arctang, who was much more injured. Maybe there would be a guide to bind Concerto's leg in the kit, so she could do that later. "There's a few glass shards in the wounds... And I am going to have to disinfect them. This will probably hurt."

Her ears pinned back at the sickening noise of burning flesh behind her. The scent was also horrible, but she let them be. They knew better than she did... hopefully. As long as the mother did not bleed to death...

She swallowed the lump that was forming in her throat and opened the kit, reaching for tweezers and getting started on extracting the broken glass she could see.

((Puppeting Ea a teeny bit - Perri, if it bothers you, let me know and ill edit it out))

She had been blessed by sleeping through the worst of it, remembering happier times without the overwhelming influx of contrary imagery to gouge out her eyes and gnash them between dagger-like teeth. But the sudden pain that erupted through her made the fabric of the delicate delusion fray, plunging the injured goddess back into the salt and fire of a world she'd never expected to wake to. There was something eating relentlessly into her shoulder, dragon's breath obliterating tissue as her lithe frame tensed and colorless lips parted to expel a throat-shredding gasp. It burrowed deep, tunneling in bonfire waves through stunned nerves that had yet to relay consequential information, making her spine arch against the solidity of something supportive while wings flapped to dust thighs and bare torso in absinthe green motes.

Gaia's brain smoked in time to her skin as she bucked feebly, manacled by bodies warmer and stronger than hers while an agonized scream lay pinned in her chest by the same stake keeping her heart from leaping away. Unwilling eyelids rose partway to give a blurred view of the scene above, the watery orbs beneath rolling with alarm while she tried to discern the mishmash of shapes and colors that swam. Nothing she recognized, nothing she could make heads or tails of; and there was now the added distraction of an aroma pushing its way up into her nose, a hot, terrible scent that made her neck twitch her lolling head toward the other shoulder, nausea trying to push out of a too dry mouth. She retched on emptiness, body barely moving with the firmness of unknown hands holding steady, looped around the spoiled planes of her and further encouraging the heated greediness of whatever she was being tormented by.

Tears fell in sickly thin streaks while she struggled to understand, everything too tangled with shock to reveal a common thread of sense. The day's events crowded her to no avail, unable to assimilate through the smoldering barrier that bit like metal blades into her skull. A lifetime longer than her prior existence passed before she was ushered back into the same dulling realm as before, blanketed by blackness and the coldness of an unnamed vacuum. The taut muscles in her legs and middle went suddenly limp with relief, her face relaxing vaguely as the burnt smell of divinity fell beneath her notice. Her heart went on whispering, scalded by what it contained, but her head was too far gone to care.

User ImageThat wasn't what I was thinking about at all... Each time he reached out for the knowledge of the Old Tongue it jarred his brain and some other question was answered. Jarred indeed, the machine had nigh shorted out. It was offensive to have such a random if not irrelevant epiphany. But this was a jackpot.

Something was nosing his sleeve, alarming sounds like a bear sniffing at a carcass. It was a moment before he realized the looming red lights and black blurs were not the angry sky but a face much nearer, coming into focus as if he had real prescription glasses and had just put them on.

It can speak...

"Dear me..."
he crab scooted backwards with a sudden shuffle of robes. They were off his shoulders and his hair was over one eye, the other wide. He stood quickly, wings fluttering like a bathing sparrow's to shed a cloud of the ubiquitous black ash. He pushed at the glasses that weren't there, leaving a warpaint stripe on the bridge of his nose.

"Nono, you stay there." He said though it hadn't followed. "But listen, I have it. I know how to hurt her. Gaia's blood, spilled so careless on the stone. Or Hunt's hounds might do it." His tone changed to someone thinking to themselves, "Not that it matters till we can get through that wall. Nor would I expect to find her still there or anyone alive behind it. Curse her memory and experience!"

He looked up at the beast. Is he one of Those we need?
"Who are you? What are you?"

Kheviel sighed, angry and frustrated, but the adrenaline wearing off. He felt the edges of tiredness creeping, eating and nibbling away at him, but things weren't done yet. Gaia, for one, was still inside. And he - well, he was outside of this. Divided, away, frustrated and angry again. he could not get back there, to find out.

The dragon held at him, biting back the weary fraying athat was threatening to take over. She would have none of that, they need to work still. She desperately wanted to see Gaia, her former charge, well, one of... and there were other matters...

He sighed, giving a vocalized grunt at the wall which divided him from the Pantheon. No rest, no sleep, and no place. "Argh!" he managed, kicking some dust with one foot. "Great!"

We'll figure this out, Xuan said calmly, trying her best to sooth the mortal. She knew he had a temper but... this was definitely a bit out fo sorts. She couldn't blame him though, all things considered. It was frustrating to watch ehr go, and be divided from everything. We will see Gaia when we can...

Yeah... He'd console himself with that they had time for things still. They had to. He turned to look at Finn, chuckling quietly. "Well, now what?"

User ImageThe world whilred while he tried to focus. What had he been doing? He'd been doing something important. What had it been? He was set down on something soft, and a melodic voice spoke to him. As he slowly swung his eyes to see who it was, his eyes fell upon a child.

Attention sharpening, he focused on the young thing, his memory aroused with thoughts of Rairne. He smiled at the little girl while he inwardly reached for the glowing coal that was what was left of his host. What he found was a cold nugget of what-had-been. No warmth glowed from the once brilliant coal of life. A wash of anguish rolled over him, accompanied by physical pain.

He gave a gasp, his ribs protesting but allowing it. Glass shards, being removed and the wounds cleaned. Glass shards... from the window. The window he'd been shoved through. Memory clicked back into its proper place as he recalled what it was he had been doing. He gritted his teeth as the last shards were removed, waiting before he tried to speak.

But when he did, all that came out was a rasping sound. A swift hand to his throat to the wound bleeding sluggishly there explained it. Frowning mightily, he called upon the determined nature of his host that he had chosen to absorb into himself. He had to know. "Wh're 's she?" he managed, turning his pale eyes to the startlingly bright ones of the one who tended him. "Wh'red she 'o?" The g sound proved too much, and he spasmed into a cough provoked by the rawness of the inside of his throat.

She had to be stopped. Halted. Held. This thought provoked him, so that he became more aware of his surroundings. An unexpected scent assulted him, and he looked over to where another lay, being tended. Something glowing dully was being removed from where her arm should have been. Another memory clicked into place, the call that an arm was missing. The mostrosity hadn't had it... had she? He resisted the urge to shake his head in confusion. He was going to have to get over this, so he could be useful again.

She ignored the terrible scent of burnt flesh and examined the wound after nodding to her helper to remove the metal shovel. To her satisfaction, the woman no longer bled, not even sluggishly. It still needed binding, though. She turned and hurried to scoop up what was left of her skirt material and brought it back to the couch. "After I get this bound, we need to get her somewhere she can rest. It's too busy here." She glanced around at those gathered near to help the woman. "Do any of you know somewhere quiet? in this," she paused to glance around, seeing the place as if for the first time, "unusual place?"

She stirred, opening inward eyes. So sleepy! What had happened? She tried to stretch, but discovered she had nothing to move. She was inside? Quelling a moment of panic, she peered through the windows before her, gazing down upon a nightmarish wound. The windows pivoted to the face of the one wounded, and Jenga felt a jolt of fear. Gaia?!

Finn-att had paid little attention to the others who'd ended up on this side of the void wall with him, but now that Samyaza was gone - damn her! - there was nothing more pressing demanding his attention. After an angry stomp of his hoof, he turned to the two-legger had spoken. He couldn't, for the life of him, imagine why he was laughing. "I don't know, but it would seem we're stuck."

It was an easy enough task to shut his eyes against the sight of flesh being clumsily seared shut, but Ellis didn't have the luxury of blocking his nose from the noxious odor of burning meat, nor his ears from the sound of the hissing and sizzling of the ruined stump of the goddess's arm. He blindly tightened his arms around the body that strained to break free of the pain they were inflicting upon it in the name of healing, and while the wings fluttering against his stomach tickled, this was certainly no time to laugh.

Finally, the sound stopped, though the smell lingered, and the goddess he was holding onto went still once more. His eyes cracked open, and he felt selfishly relieved that this part of the whole messy ordeal was over and done with. He sighed as he relaxed his arms once more, now holding the goddess merely upright instead of steady.

"There are rooms," he answered, "upstairs. Rows of doors. I don't know who they belong to, but there's got to be a bed behind one of them we can lay her out on."

In Concerto's arms, Adi wiggled a little - the Scary Thing was gone, and she was ready to be back on the ground. She was curious, and worried about her 'aunts,' and needed to blow her nose. The werewolf snuffled. She still held Violet's tiny body cradled close, between her and the aoide, and it was growing cold. She'd have to bury her.

"Wanna go upstairs," she mumbled, ready to get away from the strange smells and go to bed and crawl under the covers and not come out. A moment later, however, her ears flicked as she listened to the adults. "Aunt Kishara can stay with us," she suggested, with a hint of possessiveness, and looked to Concerto for backup.

Zero Dream
It took a moment for her to make out what he was saying, "I... do not know." She sighed. She fled outside - but beyond that...

When his tiny little charge started wriggling, he let her down, but held her hand nonetheless. "She is right... She can stay in Rio's room with us. I doubt he would mind." He was, by now, so used to it that he did not even think to use full names and honorifics. A far cry from how it had been since he had come in his temporary service.

Ellis looked up at the voices providing a welcome and convenient out. "Okay," he said, not knowing who these people were, who this Rio was, and where, exactly, they were taking the wounded woman, and not especially caring. He didn't know anything about first aid--though cauterizing the stub of a missing limb probably qualified as second or third aid--and these people would definitely be more help than he would. He was all too willing to hand this off to them.

Except, You will stay; you have no engagements more pressing than this one.

What?! What the hell for?

Because I will it, and that is all the answer you require.

Ellis sighed in resignation, nodding more to himself than the others. "Okay," he repeated. "Lead the way. I can carry her there."

Fragment's gleaming eyes narrowed and then squeezed shut a bit - this Stained Dove of a God seemed afraid of him. How exquisite! The beast licked it's chops in a manner that suggested he might find Gianfar a suitable meal; much as a wolf or bear would no doubt find a ptarmigan or quail a tasty meal.

Yu was worn but held his host in check though the creature's muscles quivered and threatened to break his hold. 'He speaks of knowledge - of a way to get her -- speak, Host Mine! Or lend me your tongue yet again!'

"I am nothing, Gianfar. Lore-Keeper." The creature's fur shifted and rippled with a soft rustling sigh. "Fragment. Shell. Vessel for a Serpent-God."

As amusing as his host's gravel-voiced game could be, Xia pressed forward and would speak for himself. "I am the Emblem Pillar. Yu Five Claw recently housed in this twisted beast before you by the will of our Lord."

All around was scurry and hustle and bustle. The scent of seared flesh hit Fragment's nostrils and he growled deep in his chest; meat. But no - Yu knew that must be the Empress's flesh being tortured so severely...and all for her good! His Empress, broken on the floor...burned. Host and Dragon shuddered but were distracted only seconds from the white-haired god standing before them.

"I wish to know more. To destroy her...to regain Him, I would join with the lowest shadow-being." The beast moved forward a step; paws heavy on the ashen ground.

User Image Don't know? That brought Arc abruptly upright, twisting himself to gaze out the windows at the wall of... naught. He scowled, sinking his teeth fiercely into his lip and running his bloody hand through his hair. On his youthful, not-quite feminine face, the dark expression was almost endearing and adorable, if it weren't for the fury in his pale eyes. She had gotten away. He was certain of it. A quick look around showed that most of those involved were still here. None had stopped her. What in the world was that thing?

He turned to his benefactor, the pretty woman with the brilliant eyes, and softened a bit. She looked so very distressed, he felt the odd stirring not to add to her unhappiness. He opened his mouth to speak, but again his throat rasped too painfully. A faint frown flitted across his facea gain, but he reached to grip her hands in his own, tightening in hopes of showing his gratefulness. Unsteadily he rose, wincing as muscles flexed torn skin along his back and shoulders. He needed to find something to drink, so that his throat would ease and he could talk without such pain. Reminded once more of his unusual wound, he touched his throat again. He'd also need something to bind his neck, for the time being.

Someone nearby suggested a suitable place for the wounded woman. Glancing up at the two, she nodded agreement. "That would be excellent. She'll need looking after constantly. I'll help, but it's good that she'll be where others are too." She tightened the last knot of her makeshift bandage and rose, ignoring her insignificant feet. What were blistered toes and heels compared to those here who needed tending? Unconciously she shook out her underskirt and smoothed it, clearly unaware of the incongruence of this gesture with the blood and soot that stained it. "If none of you mind, we probably should get her there while the swoon lasts," she suggested, glancing from the one who offered to carry her to the adult who offered the room. "If you'll show us where?"

What was this she had woken to? What little she saw from the windows before her spoke of chaos and undoing. Confused and not a little uneasy, Jenga remained still and quiet, groggy and not awake enough to do anything more than that. This was no game to be played rashly and without one's faculties. She would bide her time until she knew more before she asserted herself.

Despite this decision, however, a flicker of something awoke in her as those windows passed by an unfamiliar face. Something familiar was behind that stranger's eyes. Dully she focused on figuring out what that niggling recognition was.

Kheviel smirked slightly. "Yeah. Joy of joys for that. How ironic, I suppose. I came here with reason, and now I'm stuck out of it." He gave a slight snort of distate, adjsuting his shirt and eying the missing sleeve. "I kind of wish I'd been stuck to the other side... divided from everyone who seems to have a clue. From thigns that should matter to me - Destruction, Creation, whatever you want to call him, and Gaia."

But not alone, either. It can't last forever, her power is not that far. It can't be. The dragon was willlful, still bristling. There had to be things, ways... she let her host slide on the comments made unto the Twin Crown, more delving into thigns that had to be done, if anything. She was young and weak... too young and weak, it felt, but there had to be something. She may not have a purpose to guard now, as official, but that did not stop her from loyalty to Him. To do something, if anything.

"So what do you plan to do? Do you think this will go away any time soon?" It was idle conversation but he was grasping at straws, bitter in defeat and seperated for anything meaningful he felt he could do.

Just what was it with everyone in this cursed world talking too much? Being in an extremely sour mood just that moment, Finn-att wasn't particularly keen on listening to the man talk. "How should I know?" he answered gruffly. "The only thing to do is wait."

Jaster shifted her over to Ellis allowing him to carry the girl. They seemed to know her and were willing to take care of her and even had a room for her. He glanced over at the other grouping taking care of the other injured, but then back to the little woman nearby. A hand on her arm to stop her.

"What do you need to help you take care of her? Clean cloths and fresh water?"
he asked, his voice soft. "I'll need rest myself, Taj newly fused, but Saljin and I can bring what is necessary for now."

A faint shudder slipped through him as he touched her arm. There was something there and Taj stirred again. But he said nothing simply stared at her intensely almost amused.

Her. The god smirked faintly wondering if she would know him.

Jaster stared at the little woman in sudden confusion at the sensation of emotions that flooded out from Tajnevaki. There was love, warmth, friendship, happiness, safety, and a myriad of feelings sliding through him. For a moment he was overwhelmed as Saljin steadied him with a hand.

"I'll bring you what you need. Jaster is going to sit down to rest for a few moments." the shifter replied gently. The shovel had been returned to the fireplace and the rest of the tools hung back where they normally did.

User Image"Yu! I was sure we had lost you! How did you....no it isn't important. Only that your strength has returned to our numbers. We will need it, because She goes now to open a gate to the Ashlands, I am sure of it. She will bring the other Grigori, when the Chrysalis is ready to hatch, if not before."

This thing was Yu! He had thought of it as draconic, but it did not resemble the stately coils that had once served as throne and guardian. Of course it wouldn't, Yu was only a gem. He must be strong, that he could control this beast at all. It was slavering and sniffing and growling self satisfied drivel at him... It obviously wanted to eat him. He ought to be stronger than a Host, but he wasn't sure. He didn't know what it was...

"No, Yu's Host, that is Nothing." He pointed at the black wall. "I suspect you don't know what you are. But if you are truly a creature of the Void, then that blackness shouldn't harm you, which would be useful." But what was the point in rebuking something with so little mind left to it. What might it have been before? It did seem like an Ashlands tainted beast.

He needed to pass on the light that had come to him, he needed to fob off the burden so he could study her spell. Hell, but he'd been so close. But it was a precious casque of knowledge, too important perhaps for the jaws of a mad thing to carry. I am sorry Yu, but I don't trust your hold. What if I told you, and it forgot to tell anyone else. How well can you steer with only strained threads of sanity for reins?

"Let's go inside and see how the others have fared. I have much to tell all of you."
He lofted back through the window, shaking the last of the dust and static from his wings.

Inside there were fewer than he expected. Only Eamnon and Echo, next to Arctang on the couch. It would be a bit awkward. He had a feeling Eamnon wasn't pleased with him, and he hadn't actually met the other two yet. He flew right to the couch's side.

User ImageArctang halted his trek to the kitchen for a drink when he saw someone return through the window that was backed by blackness so different from a night sky. Brows drawn together, he backstepped and sat down again, his gaze steady suspicion upon the one who had seemed to court their Enemy. His pale eyes bored into the white-haired figure, jaw tight. He wanted to demand to know what had happened, why she had gotten away. Some irrationality, and perhaps partially the rattled nerves, made him want to accuse this stranger of being responsible for that monstrosity's escape.

Instead he held his silence, throbbing throat still oozing vital liquid, setting his voice afire when he tried to speak. Just swallowing hurt right now, so verbal accusations were out of the question. He ran a hand through his hair unconsciously, and earned another few nicks in the effort, due to multicolored shards still being caught there. He did his best not to scowl, not taking his eyes from the winged stranger that had an air of importance and urgency about him. Whether such was valid or not, Arc had not yet decided.

Zero Dream
User ImageEcho stopped moving when Gianfar entered - she had been putting things back in the first aid kit in order to put it in the others' reach should it be needed for the mother - small red-tincted shards of glass gathered in her free hand. "Is... everyone alright ?"

She eyed the black wall outside. It looked like the grigori must have gotten away.

The Dragon warmed to Gianfar's welcome - he was wary yet, but there was familiarity there...and of course...this one god seemed to have any ideas about that crumbling artifact of Void. 'There are others...yes, that feels right.' Fragment sighed as Xia sighed inside; giving way to the other's will and wishes yet again. 'That must not happen, Gianfar...'

Fragment's great shaggy head lifted, the fur cracking and shifting under colors- deep black over gloaming colors. Hard to see, save for eyes that were keen and observant. He seemed to be weighing what the white haired god of Knowledge were saying...or once again contemplating the ingestion of said god.

"It has walked nothing. Slept there when sleep was needed. Nothing is nothing to fear." He chuckled until Yu tightened his hold again. "Behave must I, for Treasure does not amused be."

While Gianfar's pause and then instruction to go inside to speak with all stung slightly, the Dragon King well understood why. For one reason, it was good to share this information with as many as would hear....and for two....well, he was cradled inside the body of a mad beast.

At Yu's instruction, Fragment took the few steps required to gain enough momentum to leap back through the window -- there were not many Left. The man with the scent of the forest, a woman that wore wings that caused the air to move....and the child that had been mauled. The boy bore Samyaza's scent yet.

"Speak, Gianfar -- share with us what you know." Yu's tone, but Fragment's throat.

User ImageSo the beast claims to have walked the Void? That's interesting. If the Grigori could have used it to her advantage, she would have. So it wasn't a beast of theirs. But it might be able to walk in Void again. It might know the way... He wanted to take it back out with him to the Wall, when this task was finished.

He sighed inwardly at Yu's command. So like the Court, so like the Dragon Kings, to command a thing you were about to do. Such obsession with heirarchy. He pointedly ignored it and got to his words in his own time. Still, there was a dread of it breathing down his neck. He hurriedly positioned himself next to Echo, facing Yu.

"Echo, Arctang." He said by way of greeting, and left it at that. He and Eamnon had already established an uneasy camraderie, at least he hoped. Perhaps Eamnon wouldn't remember that time he electrocuted him...

"The only wound we know for sure to have been taken is yours." To the handsome, sullen youth on the couch. Xiao would have hit on him. Maybe that was why Gianfar kept the darker news to himself, for the time being - that others had been trapped behind Samyaza's spell, others who might have been Arctang's friends, others who were probably dead now. "That is a Void wound. You are lucky it was a passing blow, and no deeper, and that you are already starting to dominate that Host body to succor it. There is nothing to heal a void wound but magic or time. We will all rue that Panacea never returned, these coming days. But, speaking of Void, and what can be done, there is something I have to tell you all."

User ImageArc touched a hand to his throat again, feeling the stickiness of the blood coagulating sluggishly. He kept his eyes fixed on those of the one speaking, though. The one who knew his name. That puzzled him for a few heartbeats, until it all fell into place. Knowledge. He not only had knowledge, he was Knowledge. And with that information came the answer to his odd behavior. He blinked a few times in startlement as the solution to this connundrum fell into place.

Relaxing subtly with this enlightenment, he nodded cautiously to he who Knew. He couldn't remember much about him, though he was sure they must have come into contact more than a handful of times in the time long ago. How could Numbers and Knowledge not know each other? But his memories from that time were foggy and unclear, like glimpses of blue sky on a stormy day. For now, what little he could sense from his memories reassured him that, though strange, the way Knowledge was behaving was quite normal. Somehow this reassurance was bolstering, and he sat up straighter, despite the protestations of the lacerations on his back.

What was it he would have to say? Surely in this time of chaos and dismay, whatever came from his lips would be vital. Intent upon him now in a different manner, the newly reborn Pie Bird leaned forward to better hear the imparted information.

Betha, meanwhile, had followed those carrying the unconcious invalid upstairs. As she walked, a hand on her arm slowed her. She turned to meet the startled gaze of the man who stopped her with offers of assistance. She felt a shudder run through him, hearing an echoing song, an abrupt striking of a triumphant chord within her. She blinked as it felt as if her heart had literally stopped beating for four or five beats.


The voice within her nearly sang along with the ringing chord. She put a hand to her head as if to steady it, tufted ears flattening back against her head in chagrin. Along with the word had been a flood of positive emotions, too jumbled to make out in the brief moment they lasted. All too quickly, the sensation passed and she was herself again. Wondering at the reaction from the one within her, she nodded faintly at her helper.

"Alright. I will need both warm and cool water, clean bandages for a change later, and some clean cloths." She trailed after her charge, glancing back as they left the still rather stunned looking young man. "Will he be alright?"

Still clutching her fallen furry companion, Adrienne led the way upstairs on padded paws, opening a green door on the left into a rather surprising room - it was carpeted in grass, complete with the occasional flowerbed, and the walls were...well, trees. Somehow. She had no idea how things like this worked, only that it had been her Uncle Ea's...of course, she'd never met him, but she'd heard plenty about him! As a matter of fact, there had been someone green downstairs...

Skirting around the bathing pool in the middle of the floor, she shooed a pink and black cat-thing off the bed she usually shared with Rio. Where was Rio, anyway? He'd been here just earlier! He must have gone out the window and climbed down the tree. Keeping out from under the adults' feet, she padded over, stood on tiptoe and peeked out - the view was all spoiled! Not that it had been a fabulous view to begin with, but that wall-thing was really ugly. He wasn't on the other side of it, was he?

...he certainly had gone outside, though. It was hard to miss the bright pink wing-shards littering the ground.

"Uh-oh," she murmurred to herself. That was a lot of wing! "Rio?" she called out the window.

Saljin nodded at her repeating what she had said she wanted. "Warm and cool water, clean cloths, and clean bandages. I'll see what I can find for you and bring it up. Jaster can check on the other and see if he needs any help. Just leave the door ajar so I know which one."

He moved towards the kitchen looking for pans for the water and clean towels. Touching a finger to both pans of water, he ensured they were not too warm or cold. Then he began looking through drawers and cabinets looking for cloth and bandages. A few moments later with the tray full of the required items, he moved up the stairs towards the rooms. It didn't take him long to find it and he quickly placed the things she needed on the table nearby. Then he waited to see if she needed anything else. "Cold on the left, warm on the right. If someone can point me in the direction of a linen closet, I'll see about making more bandages. I couldn't find much downstairs and a clean sheet will work."

Jaster had moved towards the room again but moving past the others to stop at the top of the stairs stopping at Destruction. Or what was left of him. For a long moment he watched, his thoughts in turmoil, his face pale as Taj stirred uneasily, but then was startled from his reverie as he heard others talking behind him. Taking a last glance at the god, he moved back down the stairs to them. The white-haired fellow was back in the window as was the snarling one. Literati was what she had called him, but the other he couldn't say he knew the name. Moving forwards to stand beside the injured one, Jaster watched and listened as the void wound was explained, but he certainly hoped noone else had received such.

There was something Knowledge needed to tell them? Was there a way to repair what that creature had thought she had done? If so, he'd do whatever he needed to.

Shadow-beasts went many places that most did not. Fragment had traversed the InBetween while chasing after his Original. He'd slept in a sea of nothing and his heavy paws left no mark and made no sound when he had moved.

Fragment watched Gianfar with eyes that blinked in stagger; he never was without sight. Knowledge's discomfort with his form pleased the monstrosity quite well, though Yu himself did not think on it.

Yu bade his host plant his fluffy bottom on the ground and listen. His everlasting gaze fell upon each in the room as though measuring them in some manner; the Dragon wanted Gianfar to hurry- to spill this information, but he started with...niceties. Names were filed away for the future but summarily pushed aside for the moment.

Waiting, waiting. Fragment was not good at waiting.

His fur shifted and his tail thumped like an annoyed cat as Yu held him still with what amounted to a hand on the beast's head - the beast wanted to please his "Treasure" but his nature was...compromised. It was hard to sit and listen.

Zero Dream
User ImageIt did not seem to startle her in the least that Gianfar had known her name - he was knowledge after all. Such things where probably the easiest for one like him to figure out.

What did slightly startle her, however, was the other name he said. She had heard that one before. So this.... was Cosine's twin ?

She wasn't looking forward to telling her of her brother's injury.

To knowledge, she gave an acknowledging nod. She was so tired, now...

Waiting. He didn't want to wait, really, as there was too much looming and to little time it felt like. He paced a moment, eying the wall with a look of distaste. He couldn't just... stand here at the wall and wait, could he? Who knew what could return, what could come.... He stopped pacing, and folded his arms over his chest, frowning.

I doubt it's going to go away any time soon - and honestly, as much as that all did nothing to that unsavory.... thing.... you'd best consider re-gearing a bit and getting yourself back up to par before we continue. Xuan remained calm and tactful, as much as she just wanted something done, something that made some progress.

Yeah, you're right, but... everything I want to know about, know of, is over on the other side. Calico, Kishara, everyone else that was there... His amber eyes never left the wall.

Xuan left that to silence, and settled into waiting. At the worst, it may never go, but there had to be some way around. Perhaps they could find someone knowledged in magic to help, or some other means... at best, they went home, came back, and it was gone.

He turned, only giving a slight nod to Finn-Att before taking the way back to his house. He would figure something out, and prepare perhaps for a long stay near the Pantheon if this damned wall wouldn't let up. But he would not rermain cut off forever from them. He would find a way, and he would do what he felt needed done. Calico knew where he'd be if someone needed him, and he hoped that she was there. Her Aoide, too, knew, so he let himself rest more content in that knowledge.

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