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Thread: Planeswalkers

  1. #51
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    Dominaria
    Madra, The Talon Gates


    Morgana's hand fell to the hilt of her sword at the sight of Thamien's wolves. She did not fear the Simic Combine, not with her power. But she disliked them. Though the abilities they had given her had been useful over the years, the fact remained those gifts had been given without her knowledge. To know the half-elf had consorted with them in some manner did not ease her distrust.

    Rimuel glanced around. Something wasn't right. He observed as Claire confronted Rckaird, and her words stunned him. He immediately tried to grasp into the ether and walk between worlds, but as she said, it was gone. Beside him, Morgana tried the same, and also failed.

    "What is this?" he murmured aloud.

    "Something powerful," Morgana answered. "And something new. I've never encountered anything capable of something like this before." That in itself was terrifying. They were used to always having an escape route. If confronted by something too powerful even for their myriad abilities, they could jump into the worlds and escape. But now, whatever had taken that escape from them had the group at its mercy. The two looked around, trying to spot whatever had done it. And then they came into view. The five creatures soaring towards them from the horizon.

    "Dragons," Morgana snarled. She had met dragons, and she had fought them. She had been to Jund, and faced them there. On several other dark and distant planes, she had confronted dragons and had fought them. Even with her enhanced physical abilities and command of magic, all had been gruelling, tough battles. Were these the beings who had snatched their power to Planeswalk away? If so, how, and why?

    "Dragons," Rimuel repeated with an air of awe. He had more rarely seen dragons. There were some on Mirrodin, but they were few and far between. He had once fought one, but that had been a Phyrexian nightmare, dragged into the hell of compleation and set loose on the world as an insane terror. These beings were different. That much he could tell. Pinnacles of strength, and age. They were ancient beings, yet their age had not seemed to weaken them. As the dragons descended and encircled them, he regarded them at a closer distance, admiring them for their grace and apparent power.

    Morgana was not so easily impressed, nor was she amused as Lance spoke up.

    "I speak only for myself," Lance said with a smirk. "But indeed, I alone fought the enemy Planeswalker."
    "And while he speaks only for himself, I shall speak for myself and say that while he confronted the Planeswalker, we were busy dealing with that Planeswalker's host of minions," she snapped. "I wish to know, are you the ones who have taken our power to Planeswalk? If so, why?" She paused. "And perhaps more importantly, why have you summoned us here? Your accuracy aside, I wish to know what urgent matter stirred you to gather us on this plane."
    [CENTER]

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  2. #52
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    The green dragon eyed them carefully. She let out a derisive huff, which had the unintentional effect of sending Thayshia spiraling out of the air and into Claire's shoulder. The pyromancer hissed and brushed her away. If Thay was so insistent on not being treated like a glass statue, then Claire would treat her as she would anyone else.

    "Watch it, pixie dust," Claire growled, her eyes still glued to the dragons. The great beasts still hadn't divulged their motivations for summoning so many Planeswalkers.

    The dragons craned their necks down and glared into the little Planeswalkers that had challenged their intentions and implied hostility. The black dragon bristled, but it was the red dragon that spoke first, snapping his teeth and half-breathing fire.

    "If we had wished to do you harm, you would not be standing here discussing it so peacefully," he growled. He reared back, settling his weight on his hind legs. "Your issues with this snake 'walker were entirely of its design."

    "Then why call us?" Claire growled low. "And why call him?"

    "What Numot has failed to explain to you," the blue dragon, Intet, began, sending a scolding glare the red dragon's way. "Is that we did not intend to call you." She swept her claws towards the group of 'walkers. "Nor did we intend to 'trap' you here. Our intent, as it were, was to lure our enemies to us and deal with them in our own way."

    "And what way might that be?" Lance asked with a half-smirk.

    "Decisively," the golden-white dragon answered. "We have been plagued by a coalition of Planeswalkers, making incursions into our kingdom and enslaving our people. Dominaria is not the gem it once was."

    "It's now just a pillaging ground for you Planeswalkers," Numot, the red dragon, snapped.

    "We've done nothing of the sort," Jareth growled.

    "Forgive Numot, he is wounded by the devastation," said the green dragon. "And Oros's blood calls for vengeance." She stopped and stared at the rest of the dragons. "We all want our people and subjects to be free of this torment."

    "So you sent this signal out into the Multiverse, calling all Planeswalkers to your trap?" Claire snapped, flinging her arms wide. "What if the ten of us had actually come to you? Would you have attacked us too!?"

    "Pah," the black dragon scoffed, his scales and metal spikes grating against one another. "You think us animals? We may be young dragons, but we're aware of where we spread our wings."

    "Then why keep us here?" Jareth asked. "We're not your enemy. We have nothing to do with this at all."

    "Would you like to?" asked Intet, lowering her gaze to the Planeswalkers. "We can prevent Planeswalkers from leaving, but to do so for any sustained period is exhausting."

    "You'll find that even now, if you push hard enough, you'll be able to 'walk from here," said the black dragon.

    "Teneb is right," said the green dragon, glancing to the black one. "We can only sustain this for a few more minutes at best, and we only continued so that we might find you and speak with you."

    "What do you mean?" Lance wondered, feigning indifference.

    "We cannot follow these Planeswalkers beyond the plane of Dominaria," said the green dragon. "I am Vorosh, the Hunter. I would like nothing more than to chase them down and slaughter them. It burns me, but I cannot."

    "We would ask you to enact vengeance for us," said Oros, scales shimmering in the midday sun.

    "And in return?" Lance wondered, eyes gleaming.

    "We would be heavily in your debt," Intet answered, eyeing him warily. "All of Dominaria would be in your debt. And all of Dominaria would be made to know it."

    Lance laughed, mind racing with possibility. His existence thrived off the growing favors and debts accrued; of leverage gained over others; of appointments and long-kept dates on far-away planes. To have Dominaria, the gem of the Multiverse, indebted to him...it was too great an opportunity to pass up.

    "I think I have some time opening in my schedule," Lance said. He adjusted his leather coat and ran a hand through his hair.

    "Perhaps then you might find this snake-'walker of yours," Oros said, his voice rumbling low. He craned his neck to look over to the Talon Gates, and Lance swore he saw the dragon shudder. "Whoever it was, it was not of the Planeswalkers that have so recently plagued Dominaria. We have no conflicts with snakes."

    "Though perhaps they have garnered other allies since last we dealt with them," Oros offered.

    "So he had nothing to do with you?" Claire said, narrowing her eyes. She'd been called away from her efforts in Lorwyn for what? For a dragon's errand? This wasn't her fight. Her fight was on Shadowmoor If it weren't for them, she'd still be there, still trying to free Ashling, still...loosing the battle. And probably dead. As much as she hated to admit it, the sudden call of these Primeval dragons had likely saved her.

    And she was no stranger to running a dragon's errand.

    But Jareth was. And while these dragons were a far cry from the slaughterers and tyrants of Jund, they were still dragons; and their benevolence could turn to malice in an instant. He knew better than to trifle with such beings.

    "And how can we be sure what you say is true?" Jareth asked, his arms crossed over his chest. "We have only your word against an un-present accused. Hardly a fair trial."

    "Find them, and ask them for yourselves," Intet offered with a shrug and a wave of her hand. "We care not for what you do with them, only that they remain far away from Dominaria and leave us in peace."

    Oros and Numot bristled and growled low. It was obvious that not all the dragons were so dismissive of the Planeswalkers.

    "I hardly see how this is any of our concern," Jareth muttered, more to himself than the others. "There are billions of planes, billions of affairs. Should we intrude and disrupt the order of each and every plane? It is not our place to dictate the every course of every event."

    "So you sit and do nothing?" Lance wondered, fire dancing in his eyes. "Make no forays? Learn nothing new? The entire Multiverse is open to you, but you shun it?"

    "No. But I do not throw myself blindly into every conflict I can find," Jareth snapped back.

    "What you might concern yourselves with is when other Planeswalkers do just that," Claire said, pointing to the lion-man. "When its Planeswalkers, who else but other Planeswalkers can find out what's going on?"

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamotz View Post
    "I hardly see how this is any of our concern," Jareth muttered, more to himself than the others. "There are billions of planes, billions of affairs. Should we intrude and disrupt the order of each and every plane? It is not our place to dictate the every course of every event."

    "So you sit and do nothing?" Lance wondered, fire dancing in his eyes. "Make no forays? Learn nothing new? The entire Multiverse is open to you, but you shun it?"

    "No. But I do not throw myself blindly into every conflict I can find," Jareth snapped back.

    "What you might concern yourselves with is when other Planeswalkers do just that," Claire said, pointing to the lion-man. "When its Planeswalkers, who else but other Planeswalkers can find out what's going on?"
    Rimuel frowned. He was not inclined to fight for these dragons, he could attend to more pressing concerns than that. Every distraction left Mirrodin deeper and deeper in Phyrexian corruption, and his people closer and closer to extinction. He didn't have time to spend scouring the myriad worlds in the name of dragons, whose word was the only evidence they had. It was a waste of time at best, and he could think of much better things to attend to. He turned away.

    "I am sorry," he said to the others present. "But I have a more pressing matter to attend to than this. My home still lies in ruin, and monsters still preside over it... while that is the case, I must strive to save my people. I cannot be distracted from that cause, not until Mirrodin is free and the threat of New Phyrexia removed." He prepared to step away and into the worlds, towards his goal once again.

    Then a hand touched his shoulder, and he glanced back to see Morganna stood there. The knight gazed at him chillingly, as ever quiet and grim.

    "You're not concerned about the orochi?" she asked.

    "If he comes after me, I can protect myself," he said, shrugging away from her. "I'm no defenseless infant. Besides, if he was also a Planeswalker, it will be difficult to find him. It could take years. I cannot spare that time, not while Mirrodin rots and dies."

    "And who is to say that you might not find something to aid you by pursuing the orochi and this group of Planeswalkers the dragons speak of?" Morganna replied, catching his attention. "The wurm may well have been a summoned creature, but the surrakar were not. I can summon men from the aether, conjure soldiers to my side to fight in my name and perish for my cause. But they are not real. Not like the surrakar were. You want to find a way to bring an army to Mirrodin, an army of all the worlds? Perhaps the orochi has found such a way. And if he has, then you could take it from him. But we may have to track down these other Planeswalkers." She turned back to the group. "I won't stop you from leaving, Rimuel. But think about it. By doing as the dragons request, you may just find what you are looking for. And to have the beings of this plane indebted to you... wouldn't that benefit your quest too?"

    "Why are you doing this?" he asked. "What interest do you have in making me join this wild goose chase?"

    "I have my reasons," the knight mused. "In any case, I'll do as you ask," she called to the dragons. "I will find these Planeswalkers and see that they trouble you no longer." She glanced across the ranks of the others, to Lance in particular. "I will stand with you, Lance of Goldnight." Crossing to stand near him, she glanced around at the others. "Who else will join us?"

    Rimuel was silent as he regarded the angel and the knight. It was none of his concern. Jareth was right, was it the right of a Planeswalker to interfere on every world which they trod upon? And besides, there was no guarantee that the orochi was even with the group who plagued Dominaria, or that he possessed some way to call beings from one world to another. That he would derive any benefit from this quest at all. And yet, there was a chance. Even if it was fleeting and small, he felt like he had to chase it. In the name of his people, and his home. He imagined them for a moment. A small group of Mirrans, terrified, surviving only by the grace of the Praetor Urabrask, hiding from the nightmare which was Phyrexia. For their sake... could he set this chance aside? When it might at least open the path to their salvation?

    "I will join you," he finally said.
    [CENTER]

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  4. #54
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    “For no other reason was I given this power,” Gibrael said, addressing the dragons, “than to extend my aid to any whom so need it. Doubly so if their ails were caused by men who abused the gift I – we – possess. My light is at your disposal, noble dragons.”

    As he finished his speech, Gibrael lowered his head and crossed an arm over his chest in respect. With the sort of power these dragons possessed, they deserved all his respect, especially now that their actions proved just.

    “I assume these planeswalkers are strong?” interrupted Yuu, addressing the dragon that so far had done most of the talking. “Cause if so, I will most definitely be looking forward to it.”

    Yuu could not contain her anger and gritted her teeth together. She still felt irreparably humiliated with the ease with which her Tatsumasa had been rendered useless. That was one of her strongest dragons, and it had been affected by her Planeswalker spark nearly as much as she herself had, so it also held some emotional significance. Right now she felt like she could do nothing to calm herself down except to slaughter that damn orochi down; if not him, then at least someone of comparable strength.

    “You would help us with this simply to test your strength? That is your cause?” Gibrael intervened, drawing closer to Yuu. “All of the help we can gather is appreciated, but surely your motives must go deeper than that! Don’t you feel influenced by the pull of morality?”

    The rabbit woman didn’t take kindly to this pestering of morals and motives, especially in her already bothered state. It was a surprise that nothing dropped dead when next she spoke:

    “My morals are unbothered the actions of others – so long as they don’t cross my own. My motives involve the ecstasy that bathes me with every drop of blood I spill on this blade,” Yuu slowly unsheathed her blade in a way that didn’t clear whether she was being aggressive or not. “My passion is represented in the beautiful crimson of my flames. So no, cleric, I do not feel my actions are influenced by your selfishly defined sense of morality.”

    Yuu stopped to savor the beautiful sound of perfectly tempered steel sliding on the carefully polished metal of her sword’s sheath, even licking her lips as she did so.

    “What I can’t deny is a great opportunity to test my powers and grow even stronger. Now, if we are all sorted out with our own internal struggles and petty squabbles, can we please proceed? I believe it has been close to half an hour without me murdering something, and that just makes me uncomfortable.”

    Gibrael quietly heard what the flame sorcerer had to say and stifled his own need to stoop to her level and deal the same type of punishment she delivered for her own pleasure, but he refrained from doing so. The group had been torn by infighting enough already, and the while most had settled down for now, the presence of the dragons could completely alter the outcome of a new feud.

    Still, he now knew there was yet another member of his group he had to keep his eyes on. Yuu’s pleasure for devastation had been unsettling enough during the fight with the surrakar, but her newly discovered lack of morals made her case even worse. She was a dangerous ticking time bomb, just like half of the people here. He couldn’t help but fear if he hadn’t been given more than he could handle…

  5. #55
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    Dominaria
    Madra, The Talon Gates


    Thayshia couldn’t stifle her laughter anymore. The dragons were actually beseeching them for help. Now how precious was this? Almighty hunters, lords of the sky, reduced to hapless little lizards needing aid in catching their prey. It was an opportunity not unlike this that Thayshia had been waiting for her entire life; a chance to get back at those scaled freaks for all that they had done. Now the trouble was, which would be the sweeter revenge; to refuse them flat out and leave them to their own devices, no doubt eventually getting help from someone else, or graciously taking on the task and leaving a handful of those bastards indebted to her? What if she never required their aid, what if she never needed them to pay off the debt? It was instant gratification versus a favor she might never need to have them return, and her personality dictated she’d choose the former.

    Unlike Thayshia who was still lost in indecision, Rckaird wasted no time stepping up and announcing his stand on the matter. Walking closer and raising his hooded face, he gave a court nod up at the beasts.

    “I do not exact “revenge” for any reason,” he rumbled, his voice calm and clear, “But if it is justice you seek, I will offer my blade for you. I will see to it that these ‘walkers do not disturb the order of this plane ever again.”

    Thayshia scoffed. Justice, revenge… same difference. The only difference was that the other carried a finer name. Really, the Archon deciding to offer his help made Thayshia consider opting out even more, as did the fact that apparently, Lance and Claire were on the same side. How grand. Now all that little crusader group needed was that idiot of a priest, and those she loathed the most would all be present. No, she found it much better to side with the lionman on this one; it was not their fight, not their place to interfere. She would not be talked into it like Rimuel had. She had nothing to gain from this.

    She had just stepped forward ready to announce as much, when the bickering between Gibrael and Yuu caught her ears. At first she didn’t care; it seemed nothing but a repeat of what had happened with the two knights earlier, but then she heard the magic words and found herself unable to ignore it all anymore.

    “…a great opportunity to… grow even stronger….”

    Those were the only words Thayshia bothered to pick out from the conversation, but they were more than enough to make her reconsider her stance, even if it seemed like the annoying priest was going to be part of the group as well. Strength was something Thayshia did find useful, and true enough this was a great opportunity to kick ass and take names while also getting her revenge. It wasn’t a bad deal by any means.

    She fell silent for a while, arms crossed and her small head filled with thoughts. It wasn’t like she had any unfinished business to attend to, well, unless you counted selling the blade she had acquired this morning. But that could wait, her servant would take good care of it no matter how many days passed, and an opportunity like this most likely wouldn’t appear before her the second time. Very well then.

    “Alright,” Thayshia finally breathed as she looked up at the humongous creatures, arms still firmly crossed across her chest. Though her voice was firm and so was her expression, her body was leaning slightly away from the dragons, ready to take flight or fight back if need be. You never knew with those beasts. They were animals, no matter how much they denied it.

    She turned to the gathered group and rolled her eyes. “I’ll join your little teaparty. Just don’t get in my way.” Turning back to the dragons again she added: “But you scalebags better keep your word. I will expect you to return the favor, and all Dominaria will burn if you choose to refuse.”

    With that she turned back to the group again and growled. “So, what, you just going to stand around all day?”
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  6. #56
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    Dominaria
    Madra, The Talon Gates


    The red dragon lowered its gaze down at Thayshia, nearly going cross-eyed in an attempt to get a better look at her.

    "Hrumm," Numot muttered, and a snort of air sent Thay spinning heel-over-head backwards. "I didn't even see you there. If you wish to lend us your aid," he let out a throaty noise that sounded almost like deep laughter, "we would certainly not object."

    "Bah," the black dragon scoffed. "Depending on Fae to aid us? Isn't it bad enough that we cannot deal with this on our own? Now we must consort with pixies as well?"

    "When this 'pixie' can do what we cannot, then it is our only option," the shimmering-blue Intet pointed out, pointing a claw (that alone was more than ten times Thay's size) towards her.

    "So where do we begin?" Jareth asked. He crossed his arms and frowned, drumming his fingers against his bicep. "To your knowledge, the snake-walker is not among your enemies - but who are they? And does he somehow connect to them?

    "From what we know, we believe they hail from Shandalar," Intet explained. She shook her head and neck and sent a ripple of motion through her flashing scales. "We have attempted to block their incursions into our world--"

    "How?" Claire interrupted.

    "With very powerful magics. Difficult magics," Vorosh, the green dragon, said.

    Intet grumbled, irritated with being interrupted. "But even with our magics, they continue to arrive. This led us to suspect Shandalar."

    "A plane constantly in flux. Moving constantly and throughout the Multiverse with no set pattern or orbit," Lance said recognizing the plane's name, all with the same bored smirk.

    "You would likely have to know its exact location in order to prevent their arrival. Blocking the path to Dominaria through the Eternities," Claire muttered, more to herself than any of the others. She'd heard only tidbits of information on the hard-to-find plane, mostly from Izzet League scholars and students of the Multiverse.

    It was a strange fact, but only a very few non-planeswalkers knew about the existence of other worlds and planes beyond their own. Most of the individuals she had encountered believed her to be crazy until she proved them otherwise. In short, there was very little sharing of information between the planes; most of it was gathered and distributed by Planeswalkers as they traveled. Some gathered troves of information across various planes. And Ravnica was perfectly situated to serve as a hub - of sorts - for Planeswalker meetings and meldings.

    And the Izzet League was particularly intrigued by them. Claire, in her loyalty to the League, had provided them with as much information and exploration as she could.

    "Has anyone ever been to Shandalar?" Jareth asked. He was beginning to appear more comfortable with their new arrangement and seemed - to Claire, at least - the voice of reason. She knew well how volatile and impulsive she could be - those were some of her favorite qualities. But they weren't always conducive to meticulous planning and group problem-solving. Even with her League work, she was always an act-first/think-later kind of woman.

    It was good to have a calm, level head around. Especially in a group like this.

    "Once. By accident," Lance said offhandedly. He glanced out to the sea, watching the Talon Gates. Claire recognized a calculating glint in his eyes, a wary amusement, and something...more. "And I didn't stay very long. It was only later that I learned what I'd done."

    "Only in records," Claire said with a sigh. She ran a hand through her fiery hair, absently brushing off burning embers. "From what I know, you kinda' have to just stumble across it or hope to cross into its path in the Eternities." She played with a little ball of flame between her fingertips. "There are enchantments Planeswalkers can use to tie themselves to Shandalar - or even specific places there - or create a beacon to find it again."

    "Can you follow these enchantments?" Numot asked, gazing down with glittering blue-red eyes. Claire didn't let the dragon's gaze intimidate her, and glared back with equal fire. Of the five dragons, she liked Numot and Intet the most.

    "They're calibrated - attuned - to their specific Planeswalkers," Claire answered, shaking her head. "We'd each need our own tether to follow it." She looked to Lance. "Are you sure you never created one?"

    "It was my first Planeswalk," Lance answered with a shrug. "I wasn't quite sure what was going on. I wasn't much aware of the volatile nature of the Multiverse either, so didn't concern myself with not finding Shandalar after I left. Then again, I haven't had much desire to look for it since."

    "Well we need to find it now," Jareth rumbled, frowning. And Claire nodded her agreement. "I would like answers as to why we were attacked, what the Planeswalkers are gathering dragons for, and whatever else is going on."

    "I thought you didn't like to interfere," Lance said with a chuckle. "Goes against your policy of following a 'natural course', right?"

    "It doesn't mean I don't like to know what's happening," Jareth countered. "Because should something warrant my involvement, I'd rather not go in blindly."

    Lance just shrugged and chuckled.

    Claire's mind raced as she tried to determine the best way to locate a route to Shandalar. There was no way to simply "go" there. They could leap into the Blind Eternities and search for a thousand years and never find it. And without Shandalar, they were missing a crucial piece of the puzzle as to why they were attacked, a question Claire demanded answered.

    And on top of it all, a deep inner yearning called for her to find Shandalar - a strange world, a strange plane, different, ever-changing and flowing and oh-so unique. It filled her with a sense of brilliant wonder and urgency.

    She smiled to herself. That was her blood showing through. Always searching, exploring, seeking-out. That's what it meant to be born to Zendikar--

    "Wait, that's it! Zendikar," she blurted out, drawing the strange looks of everyone there. She would have blushed if she wasn't so excited by her own understanding.

    "You'll have to explain, I'm afraid," Intet said.

    "Just. Gimme--just," Claire could barely contain her thoughts, and certainly couldn't vocalize them at that moment. So she took a steadying breath. "Shandalar is unpredictable, right? That's just its very nature. Unpredictability. If you look for it, you'll never find it. That's not hyperbole. That's fact. Unpredictability is built into its existence. It's everywhere and nowhere until you look for it. And then it's not there. It will never be where you look for it. That's the very set of principles it's founded upon. It's a quantum anomaly."

    "Helpful," Lance drawled in his condescendingly sarcastic sort of way. "Interesting, I'll admit, but I fail to see how this makes finding it--"

    "Easier?" Claire finished, smirking. "Because once you understand the quantum dynamics of a plane like that you can beginning trying to work around it. Watch." She held out both hands, spaced slightly apart, and lit them with flame. "Like flows to like. Whether it's fire or water, or even planes. And that's no more true than with entropy. With chaos. It's the natural state of things: disorder. Leave things alone for a while, without interference, and everything breaks down and succumbs sooner or later."

    "And Shandalar is a plane with its foundations rooted in the idea of chaos," Intet said, understanding beginning to dawn upon her.

    "Unpredictability," Claire continued, nodding to the dragon. "You can always predict the unpredictable to be unpredictable. That's its only constant." She looked around, hoping everyone was following her train of thought. "And unpredictable will be drawn to unpredictable - like drawn to like."

    "Hence, Zendikar," Lance finished with a smirk. Though it was not his sarcastic bored one, but amused and - perhaps - impressed.

    "It's not that Shandalar will be in any close proximity to Zendikar," Claire explained. "But Zendikar's volatile nature will draw a tangible link between them if we look hard enough."

    "I thought you just said looking will never find us Shandalar," Jareth said. He was clearly much less comfortable with all the talk and explanation.

    "Not on its own, and not from here, you're right. But..." Claire said, and licked her lips. Her eyes danced with excitement and fire. "But on Zendikar the rules are different. Gravity shifts, and flows in different directions. Reality breaks down, or at least weakens. We should - at least in theory - be able to 'look through' the quanta around Shandalar."

    "Unfortunately, this trail of discussion seems ready to lead us towards Zendikar," Jareth rumbled. "It is a path I am none to eager to follow."

    Claire made no reply, merely frowning. Even Lance cut away his mocking tone for a dark furrowing of his brow. Neither of them were eager to return to the chaotic plane either.

    "And why is that?" Teneb asked, challenging them.

    Jareth growled low, baring his fangs, and spoke a single word that sent shivers down Claire's spine.

    "Eldrazi."

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

  7. #57
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    Dominaria
    Madra, The Talon Gates


    "Eldrazi," Morganna echoed, the word a bitter curse. "I have fought them." She remembered the chittering horde on Zendikar, abominations led by abominations. And those were only the grunts. The expendable fodder of the Eldrazi. She had glimpsed far worse beings sometimes. Spied them across the horizon as she wandered that plane. A floating island wreathed in eldritch forces. Great titans, lords among the Eldrazi. Against them, a lone Planeswalker would be helpless.

    Even a group such as this would be helpless.

    Rimuel was grim and quiet. He had encountered the Eldrazi too. Their presence on Zendikar had not endeared him to the idea of returning at all. And yet, as the Auriok thought, the path seemed to lead only there.

    "Have you ever been to this Shandalar?" he asked Morganna.

    "No. I've heard mentions of it from other walkers now and then, ones who found themselves there by accident, but I've never reached it. I don't have the time to try in any case," she replied. "I'll assume you haven't either."

    "Of course not."

    There was a brief silence. "Tell me, Auriok, if we go to Zendikar, are you prepared to fight Eldrazi?"

    "I've done it before. I'll get by," he retorted. "I've seen the worst of Phyrexia reborn. After that, you'll excuse me if little chills me with dread."

    "Of course," she said with a chill smirk. "In any case, it seems the trail leads us there." The smirk turned bitter suddenly. "Sooner than I thought I'd go back there."

    "Why? Do you have some trouble on Zendikar?"

    "The last time I was there, I managed to alienate some people," the knight replied dismissively. "I couldn't care less for their opinions of me, but should we run into them on our little quest, I doubt they'll take kindly to seeing me." She glanced back to the dragons, regarding them. "If we do run into them and they attempt to make trouble, I'll deal with them."

    "I doubt they'll even be alive to run into us, considering the state of Zendikar these days," he deadpanned.

    "True," Morganna observed. "But you'll find that people can be remarkably tenacious in hell. Those survivors on Mirrodin are a testament to that, Auriok." He looked at her, unsure whether it was a compliment or not. Catching the glance, she continued. "I mean them no disrespect. In all honesty, I have fought with your people in the past."

    "You did? What happened?"

    She was silent for a moment, before replying. "I alienated them." The knight looked at her hand, sparks of light dancing with motes of shadow around it. "Something you will come to appreciate if you witness my tactics, Auriok, is that I come to be hated by people quickly for fighting as I do. But if that is the price I must pay to keep a few more lives from sliding into the abyss of death, I will pay it."

    Leaving that conversation behind, she turned to the discussion regarding Shandalar. "If we must pass through Zendikar on the way to Shandalar," she offered, "I know the terrain, as well as it can be known there. I can do little about the movements of the Eldrazi, since I doubt I left much goodwill towards me among the population the last time I was there. But if we are lucky and the terrain hasn't changed too much, I should be able to find us an easily defensible position, which we can hold against the Eldrazi while you do... whatever you intend to do to find Shandalar."
    [CENTER]

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  8. #58
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    Dominaria
    Madra, The Talon Gates


    Thayshia was very close to flying up and sticking her staff through one of the dragons’ eyes when they dared utter the word pixie and keep toppling her over with their stinky breath. Who did these lizards think they were? They were the ones pitifully trapped in their home, unable to protect it, unable to chase after those that sought to wreck their land. It didn’t matter how many thousands of times her size they were; they were nothing but prisoners. The walls of their prison might’ve been far apart and their ceiling high, but it did not change the fact that they could not leave. Dominaria was their birth place and in time it would turn into their grave. That’s all there was to it. She, she was different. Free. Free to do as she pleased wherever she pleased. It wasn’t difficult to see who had the upper hand here.

    Didn’t change the fact she was pissed off, though.

    So pissed, in fact, that she barely listened when the others burst into their little theorizing session. She caught all the important parts; Shandalar, the constantly moving plane she had never visited, and… Zendikar. Thayshia turned slightly, scoffing as she saw Claire explain her theory. She was probably wrong anyway. Everyone seemed to trust in her theory however, and Thayshia did have to admit it didn’t sound… impossible.

    She rolled her eyes. Probably just a lucky guess.

    Rckaird, still standing a bit further away, was instantly intrigued at the mention of both his homeplane and the Eldrazi. He knew of those creatures, and had fought them before. After all, out of all the planes he had visited, Zendikar was the one he had spent the most time in. It was his homeplane, and its constant state of chaos needed order more than anyplace else. It was also the plane where his name was the most famous. He had helped countless of people and cities there, and though the plane itself was still in chaos, he had brought order to the people, at least. Naturally he hadn’t mended the entire, huge plane, but he had changed it for the better, and the people held him in high regards for that.

    Of course, there were also those who cowered upon the mention of his name. But such was the fate of fools and rebels, those who did not care for the common good and only sought to fulfill their own needs.

    After Morgana had offered her help, Rckaird contemplated speaking up. He knew a multitude of cities and towns indebted to him, and he had spend so many years wandering around the plane both before and after gaining his spark that he knew the terrain well – well, like the woman had said, as well as it could be known, at least. He decided not to mention any of that however. He didn’t find it particularly important to mention at this point.

    Instead, what he really had to offer was knowledge of the magic that dwelled there. His family had been scholars, and since a very young age he had been dragged along to try and find the secrets of the ancient civilizations. He knew the places where magic gathered, and he knew the locations of all the ruins. He knew where magic was strong and where it was weak, and he knew when the balance would shift. Some of the old ruins still held power – such was proved when he had gained his spark. He still remembered that day; he remembered the artifact they had found, and he remembered its power. If he were to start looking for a link to Shandalar, he would start there.

    “I have a suggestion as to where to head first,” he finally spoke up. “It is the place where I gained my spark. A holy place of old, filled with powerful magic. It is probably buried now, and the place where it stands has probably shifted. I do believe however, that it is possible for us to track it down. I have done it before. I do believe that the place will, at the very least, give us a clue on how to proceed and where to look further.”
    TumblrdeviantArt


    "I am not a bad man
    Even though I do bad things
    Very bad things
    Such horrible things"


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  9. #59
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    “They hail from Shandalar…”
    To Gibrael and Yuu both, Shandalar was a place none of them knew - or had even heard of. Gibrael had just gotten his planeswalker spark years ago and he’d spent most of the time since then staying on a dedicated number of planes tending to the people there; either healing the sick or… cleansing the unrighteous. His lack of knowledge on these things was understandable.

    Yuu, on the other hand, felt diminished for what should be the umpteenth time, and she wasn’t taking all this particularly well. During the previous battle, she already had suffered the fiasco of having her dragon spell countered and used as fuel for an offensive spell. She was the one that used her own creations as fuel for her spells. That was her gimmick. Instead, this damn orochi went and beat her at her own game. The humiliation was made unimaginably worse by the fact that this man was from the exact same plane as she was: Kamigawa, and seemed to be able to use the same magics she did, only by tapping different colors of mana. Now her inexperience was made to show when she did not know of either Shandalar or Zendikar… She decided, then and there, she had to get out more.

    Thank the kami for Claire’s outburst and technobable: her overexcited speech had effectively distracted Yuu from her self-bashing.

    "Shandalar is unpredictable, right? That's just its very nature. Unpredictability. If you look for it, you'll never find it. That's not hyperbole. That's fact. Unpredictability is built into its existence. It's everywhere and nowhere until you look for it. And then it's not there. It will never be where you look for it. That's the very set of principles it's founded upon. It's a quantum anomaly.”
    “It’s a what?” Gibrael queried, his voice low, knowing perfectly well he wasn’t being heard.

    “Once you understand the quantum dynamics of a plane like that you can beginning trying to work around it.”
    “Quantum… mechanics?”

    Gibrael was completely lost. Yuu just stared on, wide-eyed.

    Claire had pretty much lost the both of them in her speech, but Intet and some of the others seemed to be keeping up with her (or at least, pretending to.) It wasn’t until the phrase “Like flows to like” had been repeated enough times that Gibrael finally understood the basic principles.

    “Oh, so it’s kind of like magnets?” he said in complete innocence, oblivious to the fact it’s the difference in positive and negative charges that make a magnet work, and not what the metals have in common. Wrong in theory, correct in practice, one could say.

    “Regardless,” Yuu interrupted. “These Eldrazi seem strong enough to have all of you cowering in fear, so I take it they must be several times stronger than the wurm we just fought. This is good. If we learn to defeat them - or perhaps, even summon them - we will be one step closer to defeating the Orochi the next time our paths cross. And believe me, I do not intend to let that damn freak have his way the next time we meet.”

    Yuu’s excitement mirrored Gibrael’s fear. He had a tough time with the wurm as it was, all he did was defend. If the others, who showed no signs of fear when fighting it, were now reacting like this at the very mention of the Eldrazi… Well, it obviously made him uneasy. He did not fear death, as there was very few things that could maw him fast enough before he could tap into his… other side and simply heal himself… But his cleansing magic was slow and single target, and took quite a bit out of him. Maybe it was time to try out new avenues of attack, after all...

  10. #60
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    “I have a suggestion as to where to head first,” he finally spoke up. “It is the place where I gained my spark. A holy place of old, filled with powerful magic. It is probably buried now, and the place where it stands has probably shifted. I do believe however, that it is possible for us to track it down. I have done it before. I do believe that the place will, at the very least, give us a clue on how to proceed and where to look further.”
    Lance regarded Rckaird with a raised eyebrow. It was the most the archon had said with his head not shoved up the confines of his own ***, and thus it was a much more clear-sounding string of words than anything he'd said before. Lance let out a little chuckle despite himself.

    "It's a start," said Claire, half-scowling. She wasn't eager to be relying on the archon anytime soon, it seemed. If only she wouldn't scowl so much; she'd be much more attractive--even with the buildup of soot and ash. "We might be able to find it. And it might work. But I wouldn't be surprised if the Eldrazi already found it. Places like that, ancient and powerful--that's the sort of stuff they look for. And somewhere where a Planeswalker ascended? They're drawn to that sort of Multiversal...stuff."

    "We know nothing until we try," Jareth rumbled, again the voice of reason and patience. That attitude of his might have led one to see him as more of a big pussycat--anyone else, maybe. But not Lance. Not someone who could pierce the veils of temperance and restraint to see the beast within.

    And make no mistake--Jareth was indeed a beast in more than body alone. Lance felt the stirring of his darkness, his beast...his Passenger. Lance recognized ferocity--however bridled it might be--when he saw it.

    “Regardless,” Yuu interrupted. “These Eldrazi seem strong enough to have all of you cowering in fear, so I take it they must be several times stronger than the wurm we just fought. This is good. If we learn to defeat them - or perhaps, even summon them - we will be one step closer to defeating the Orochi the next time our paths cross. And believe me, I do not intend to let that damn freak have his way the next time we meet.”
    He recognized madness as well.

    "Onward into the valley of death, then. Shall we?" Lance said, his voice as smooth and dark as spilled blood. And he couldn't help but smirk at the chuckle that rose up from the space behind his eyes.

    "Zendikar is a tough place to walk to," Jareth said. He turned up to the dragons and fixed them with a stare. "Would you mind?" It was not a question.

    Yes. There was fury and ferocity in the lion indeed.

    "It is done," Oros said, without a gesture or motion or movement from him or any of the others. "You may leave at any time."

    "You all can walk to Zendikar alone if you want and end up in the Roil, or you can follow me," Claire offered with a shrug. She didn't even glance back; she just slipped into the Blind Eternities.

    Lance accepted her offer without a word and followed the trail she purposefully left behind.

    ===

    Zendikar. It was a world so wild and reckless that Jareth almost lost himself there once before. It would have been all too easy for him to descend into the wilderness, throw off the trappings and pretense of civility and truly, genuinely, be a thing of fury and power. He could have become something...

    New.

    But he had restrained himself. Because that--losing the soul to impulse--would have accomplished nothing. And so, with the Eldrazi on the rise and so beyond his scope of power to do anything against alone...he had left. Returned to Alara, to Naya, to protect his people and provide guidance after the chaos of the Conflux.

    How strange it was to be back. He could already feel the call.

    "You made it," Claire said, looking back as the group came through. They made the small, outcropping of cliff a bit crowded. The pyromancer gestured to the city below, one of the very few in all of Zendikar. "Welcome to Affa. Largest city in Akoum."

    "I thought we were looking for the archon's house?" Lance said with a laughing look to Rckaird.

    "We can," Claire muttered. "But Zendikar is so volatile that tracking it down on our own would take months or weeks at best. Unless we have a guide. In which case we'll need to hire one from the League of Anown."

    "And they reside in that city?" Jareth growled, not eager at all to return to confined spaces.

    "No," Claire said. "But that's the place to start looking."

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

  11. #61
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    Vernach, Embodiment of Despair

    Plane of Ilos
    Kingdom of Irelia
    City of Riven


    “So this is what I see my kingdom reduced to…” wallowed a man dressed in regal, extravagant robes. He stood hunched over a long and well adorned table where a tattered map of his dying kingdom lay covered with all sorts of small statuettes and other markings.

    He traced the route the last of his army had taken with an old, frail finger. When he reached the end of it, the City of Riven, he tapped it twice. It was the worst place to be backed off to. It was a coastal town built right above an enormous and jagged cliff, with only one road leading into it. He had been backed off to a place from where he would not be able to escape. Being built onto a cliff, the city was naturally too high up to have a harbor on it. So the harbor was built further south, where the land smoothed out and the jagged rocks made way to a beach. That harbor had been secured, and most likely destroyed, by now.

    He was trapped in his own fortress, and with the river that fed his town and his crops having seemingly evaporated and turned into nothing but a muddy trail, there wasn’t much longer before he’d starve or die from thirst. He was already rationing his supplies, and his army was already fighting on a half empty stomach - something all generals fear.

    His hand slammed the little wooden figures on the map in a way that was more a show of tiresome frustration than that of anger. They represented the siege Riven was under. Behind them there was a line running from the distance right through Riven’s grassland territories and farms, but it had been burned off. And the way the burn seemed to perfectly trace the path of the river, it was obvious it had been intentional. A rude marking of the dry river; once thriving with clean water, now a murky swamp. Yet another hell sent blessing in this time of need.

    What kind of curse was he under?

    “To have my army - the greatest in the land - be defeated by mere barbarians and their shamans…”
    The man slammed down on the table with force.

    “This is where your pride lead you.”

    It was a different voice, much more calm and collected. It came from the shadow off in the corner of the stone room and echoed through all the walls. It taunted him, as it had done for about a month.

    “You’re back, demon.”

    “I have a name, you know…”

    From those shadows stepped a threatening figure. A demon clad in leather, with stony red skin streaked with fluorescent blue, walking with a strangely human posture. Unlike the other man, who had definitely seen better days, this creature was at complete ease. At times, it even seemed like he was smiling, despite being trapped in the same stone city as the other man. Despite being just as much a victim of the siege as the king he shared a room with.

    “Vernach.”

    He was definitely smiling.

    “You held most of the continent - and all of its most valuable resources. You waged war on the small nations that only through some miracle were able to resist your superior armies, your advanced magics and your exquisite weaponry as you hoarded all the good this land had to offer… Yet you still lost all of it at the hands of a group of ragtag marauders.”

    The demon stopped just beside the king.

    “Where is your arrogant pride now?”

    He strained his gaze from the king and inspected the map he had before him.

    “I can offer you a way out.”
    The demon’s voice became more serious, matching the grave tone of the king’s.

    “I know of your terms, demon, and my will remains the same.”

    “Tsk, tsk…”
    The demon seemed disappointed, but one look at his face revealed a growing grin.
    “There it is.”

    “My pride, you mean?” pondered the king.

    “What else?”

    The two now faced each other, a hard determination present on the king’s face. Vernach had to admit the king had guts. Very few could stand in his shoes and still give that fervent, defying stare at him. Heck, very few people could handle staring at him at all.

    “You know my terms: I can defeat your enemies, rebuild your kingdom and guarantee a cultural, economical and scientific golden age the likes of which this plane has never seen. I will protect you and your kingdom - including your lineage - for a thousand years, and guarantee long term prosperity for all.”

    ‘Awfully noble for a demon,’ thought the king. He’d heard this offer a hundred times and never even once has he believed it.

    “In exchange, you want my throne.”

    “No!”he interrupted. “Nothing like that! You and your ilk can keep your throne and your petty politics… All I want is your allegiance. The ownership of your kingdom, of its king and of its every inhabitant… as well as their worship. Simple, really.”

    “How is owning my kingdom different than owning my throne?”

    Vernach rubbed his bumpy forehead. Royalty so rarely had the knowledge to understand his plans and his words without him carefully choosing them.

    “Irelia will have its king, and that will not be me. But Irelia’s king WILL be my vassal, as will its people. I will not slaughter them, I will not make them slaves for hoards of demons…” Vernach cleared out, avoiding an unneeded torrent of questions and accusations. “I will make your kingdom become greater than it has been ever before.”

    “And just how can such a thing be done as easily as you describe?”
    The king was becoming angry: he felt insulted. And truly, he was. If ushering in a golden age was such an easy task, then the fact that he hadn’t meant he was an incompetent ruler, pure and simply.

    “Oh, it can. I’ve seen it done countless times. How, you ask? Well, take my deal, and you will see for yourself…”

    Doubt began creeping in the ruler’s mind… He knew full well it was only a matter of time before he and his remaining forces were wiped out or starved. There was nothing he could do; the last three attempts to stop the siege ended in four of his battalions being wiped out in two hours, a third of those forces being instantly killed as they crossed the city gate. Just as the barbarians had defeated his forces, they had also killed and ransacked every other tribe in the continent. They were complete monsters, defeating them would be doing the impossible.

    Vernach could not defeat them. He was but a demon: strong, most likely, but not enough to defeat an army of thousands of men. Perhaps… this was the perfect test of his skills. After all, if he could defeat an unbeatable army, he could surely bring together a kingdom, like he’d been boasting.

    “Kill them. Kill them all. If you do, I’ll accept your deal. But…”

    The king turned to face the demon and was not surprised to see him boasting the biggest smile he’d ever seen, which was saying something.

    “If you don’t completely annihilate every single one of those damned monsters, there is no deal. Understood?”

    Instantly, the room got darker and chillier. Vernach became clouded by thick black smoke, yet light shone from his eyes and mouth, creating an orange smirking face in the midst of the smoke.

    “How I’ve waited to hear that.”

    Two giant bat like wings protruded from the smoke just as it expanded to occupy the entire room. When the darkness cleared, Vernach was no longer there.

    -------------

    A burly, hairy man sat down on the head of his bed. He was completely naked and held two equally naked wenches under each of his big arms. The bed was covered with empty flasks of wine and beverage, and a naked young man, passed out under them.

    The bigger male was laughing ecstatically, obviously inebriated and completely satisfied. He knew his army was just as pleased as he was. In each tent there was an orgy, a drunken brawl, or a despicable combination of both. The man knew his tribe had reached the epitome of perfection, and were playing the role their gods meant for all humans to play. They were enjoying life and all of its gifts to the fullest, not wasting a moment to be merry or an opportunity to prove their strength. They were gods among men as far as they were concerned.

    But the man’s dream was about to become his nightmare. The smell of sweat and drink in the tent was replaced with a smell of putrid bodies. Both the wenches and the naked man on the bed had their flesh rot away before the bloodchief’s very eyes.

    Confused and, for once in his life, scared, the man jumped from his bed and ran out of his tent, his nakedness forgotten.

    What he saw in the camp was even worse. The air was black with the poisonous smoke escaping from the rotting corpses of his soldiers, which coated the blackened soil from one end of his camp to the other. His soldier’s tents were burning and their smoke completely blocked out the sky, where no moon and no stars shone.

    It was the chief’s bellowing scream that broke the trance. He woke up in his bed, alone and sweating, covered in nothing but those same old flasks from his dream. No wenches, but no dead bodies either. It was all just a dream… Outside, the sounds of drunken orgies and their screams of pleasure still echoed through the camp, just as he wanted. Even if the sounds seemed a bit… different, than before.

    He covered his shame with a robe made of bear hide and walked outside to check on his army and put his paranoia to rest. But, with each step he took, he noticed the smell was not that of sweat and merriment, but of blood and death. And the screams were not of pleasure… but of pain and pure agony.

    And as he walked outside, the bloodchief saw the same bloody painting he’d dreamt of. That of dead soldiers, rotting corpses and the kind of chaos he wished to avoid. Death was everywhere. The same burning tents pushed out the same black smoke and it still covered the sky… but the moon was still visible. The smoke seemed to actively avoid it and formed a circle around it, simultaneously drawing the gaze of anyone who dared stray their sight from the chaos on the ground to look at the night sky, just as the bloodchief did.

    What he saw made no sense, yet it explained everything. Right in the center of the moon floated a figure, stillessly. A demonic form of a beast with gigantic wings, monstrous horns and terrifyingly long limbs which ended in horrible crooked claws. The demon floated surrounded by a black fluid substance, somewhere between smoke and gel, the same substance that coated the ground and killed his soldiers.

    Vernach channeled the mana from the swamp he’d dried up himself to rot away all the thousands of barbarians he’d trapped in the dreams and illusions he’d created. Using the blue mana from the sea, he’d trapped each and every one of the barbarians inside their own personal nightmare and fed on their despair. He’d grown stronger after each person whose mind and soul he’d devoured, harvesting enough power from the death of one, to kill another two… successfully starting off a chain reaction which lead to the deaths of the entire opposing army in minutes at virtually no effort. Hell, he’d walk out of there with his belly full.

    First task, accomplished.

    ------------

    The king fell down on his throne, exhausted from the blood ritual he’d just gone through. The sigil on his chamber’s floor slowly faded away, making way for an empty, silent room.

    Vernach, back in his humanoid form, analyzed the map one last time.

    “How do you propose we unite back my kingdom, stronger than ever, then?”

    Vernach gave one long smile before speaking.

    “Simple. The barbarians tore down all the other tribes, raped the woman and killed the man. Just like they’ve done to all of your cities but this one. The next step is simple: we integrate those tribes back into our kingdom, and start the rebuilding process from our borders in, instead of just attempting to rebuild an old empire from a single, starving city.”

    “The tribes hate us as much as we hate them, they’ll never agree to that. This was your ingenious plan?”

    “Are all humans on Irelia as proud and foolish as you? I don’t mean you absorb them into your kingdom and make them your slaves or labourers. You will dispatch your soldier to those tribes, and make a new kingdom from them and this city. The woman left in the tribes are pregnant and defenseless, they need men to sustain them and soldiers to defend them. Your army will provide both. You will give the tribes equal rights you would give to any other citizen, and I mean it. They will be seen as equal to the Irelians you ruled before, nothing more, nothing less.”

    Vernach paused for a moment. When the idea sank in and he cleared all the king’s objections, he continued.

    “Your old citizens will be indoctrinated to believe that this was the result of camaraderie forged from fighting the same enemy: your people and theirs have become brothers in arms, and previous war propaganda will be replaced with new one about unity, cooperation and acceptance. This includes new books, romances and plays. You must do everything you can to change your culture so there are as few uprisings and revolts as you can, and so there is no xenophobia amongst your - our - vassals. Many a kingdom have been torn this way, and the only thing I can’t fight is infighting.

    “You will then focus each tribe and each remaining city and use the best out of every resource available. Towns that lack mines can become famous trading outposts, and towns that lack roads can develop libraries and academies… I will leave you many an aid and check on you every other year, but my instructions are clear. Lastly, I will leave you this…”

    Vernach waved his hand and made a book appear from the aether on the king’s lap.

    “That is a detailed guide on what you are to do in the next ten years. Don’t worry, its connected to my psyche and is imprinted with my very personality. The later pages are yet blank, but their writing will appear once the time is right. It is still too soon to faithfully predict what you should do in detail six years from now, anyway… But the book will accommodate everything.”

    The king was agasp. The detail of the actions described in the first pages of the book… it was perfectly clear that the demon had been planning this for years, if not decades.

    “By the way, the river’s water should return in just a few days. Tell your farmers to get ready to return to their crops.”

    Vernach felt it again… That pull. That want to seek out whatever was calling him. But the call was getting weaker and weaker… He suspected it was nothing but the echo of a scream by him unanswered. He’d taken too long sorting things out, it was time to investigate.

    Before the king could stand up and say his piece, Vernach breached the door between worlds. He said his goodbyes, said he was “always watching” and simply vanished from Ilos, seeking out the source of the call.


    (OTT: This is merely Vernach's introductory post. Next post, I'll have Vernach reach Dominaria, only being locked out of it. However, the dragons said the block was weak and that "they could planeswalk away anyway if they tried hard enough" so I'll try to get away with Vernach using his Dimir magic to pry through the blocking and see everything that happened thus far. Next post should also have Gib's and yuu's reactions, which I didn't include here due to size and time constraints.)

  12. #62
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    The Planeswalkers made their way into the city, though Jareth glowered, and Lance laughed, and Claire combed the streets for the covert markings of the League's presence. But she could find none. She felt they were getting close, if only for the cold shiver running down her spine.

    "They don't seem very friendly here," Jareth muttered, his eyes narrowing at the people scampering out of their path and ducking into doorways.

    "We're strangers," Claire said, waving him off. "And on Zendikar, strangers coming into town rarely leads to anything good." She shook her head, trying to fight the chill and shiver.

    "You feel it too," Lance said, whispering close to the pyromancer in a voice that seemed so deep and dark and beautiful.

    Claire swallowed hard, fighting against the heat of his voice. Why hadn't she noticed it before? Still, she focused instead on his words, rather than the tone with which he spoke. "That something's wrong? That we're being--"

    "Followed," Lance answered, pulling away. Claire breathed a sigh, one of relief and disappointment. "Or watched, at least." He smirked faintly, and his eyes grew distant, as if he was no longer truly there. "Indeed."

    Lance turned to Thayshia. "Would you mind searching down that alleyway, my dear pixie?" He nodded towards a dark space between two upcoming buildings. "If I had to hazard a guess, that'd be the place I'd look for a shadowy follower. And you're the perfect size to slip away undetected."

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

  13. #63
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    OOC: Suddenly, a post!

    ---------------------

    Zendikar.

    As cliché and uncharacteristic of him as it might sound, the second Rckaird’s foot landed on his homeland’s soil, he felt at home. Yet, the feeling wasn’t peaceful, nor was it particularly enjoyable. It wasn’t the same kind of feeling of belonging as many others probably felt upon returning to their birth plane. No, to the Archon, coming home didn’t mean peace and relaxation, it meant quite the opposite; once he set foot in Zendikar, all its problems, all the chaos and crime running amok became his business once more. Once there, he could not turn a blind eye to his people’s troubles. Even now, when the assorted bunch of Planeswalkers had other business to take care of, the Archon willed to leave, to leave these foolish kids on their own devices and be where he needed to; with his people.

    But he had given his word, and there was no force in the world that could make him go back on it. He would help Zendikar. He would cleanse it from chaos. But not today.

    The self-proclaimed Judge hardly heard the banter going on a little bit to his right, as the city below them had claimed his full attention by now. Affa. He knew the place well. He would have claimed to have known it ever since he was a mere boy, but that would have been a lie. He knew Affa back then, yes, but it was hardly the same city as it was today. Nothing in Zendikar remained the same for long, and certainly not for almost a hundred years.

    At first Rckaird thought of objecting to the idea of hiring a guide. He did not think they needed additional baggage to drag along when he was fully capable of leading them around. But then, common sense defeated his pride, and he remained silent. The truth was that it had been a while since he had actually lived here. Visited, yes, but not actually traversed the lands. He didn’t know this place anymore.

    Somehow, it angered him – well, as much as it was possible to anger a man void of such feelings, at least.

    People recognized him on the streets, and his appearance brought about many different emotions among the townsfolk; fear, gratitude, awe, resentment. Yet everyone knew not to voice their opinion, be they good or bad, to the Judge walking past. And Rckaird didn’t bother to raise his voice and ask them anything, either. He was too deep in thought.

    Thayshia was flying along, little arms crossed and mouth constantly spewing curses and insults at everything she passed. The gate to the city looked stupid, there were ignorant little brats pointing at her and asking questions from their peers, and although many of the people in town seemed to fear the overall group, it seemed none were afraid of her. There was even one kid who dared come poke her wing. If it weren’t for the brat’s friend quickly pulling him away from her reach, she would have roasted the imbecile where he stood. Ugh.

    Everyone walked in silence the whole way. Well, except for the little lovey-dovey pair of assholes walking up front, consisting of the depraved little angel who tried way too hard to attractive and the overly busty bitch who suddenly developed braincells just a few minutes ago. They sure seemed as chatty as ever. Gack. Just throw in the priest and the Archon and the dreamteam of assholes’d be complete.

    Thayshia rolled her eyes. She sure hoped that once this little mission was done and over with she’d never need to meet any of these idiots again.

    Just then, the resident pretty boy decided to open his mouth again. Yeah, because he had been silent for at least two seconds now and surely he couldn’t have that.

    "Would you mind searching down that alleyway, my dear pixie?" He nodded towards a dark space between two upcoming buildings. "If I had to hazard a guess, that'd be the place I'd look for a shadowy follower. And you're the perfect size to slip away undetected."
    Thayshia’s wings flared up, and before she could stop herself or even think through his words, she had conjured up a fireball and sent it flying straight towards the asshat’s face. Nobody called her a freaking pixie. Especially not some sleazy halfling.

    “Did your mother never teach you to be polite when asking for a favor?! Were you born with a stick so far up your ass it makes shit spew from your mouth?! Call me pixie again and I swear I’ll castrate your sorry ass on the spot!” She cocked her head, the fire surrounding her dying down a little by little. God, that had felt good. So good to finally let out the frustration that had been building up inside her for so damn long now.

    She flew past the group and turned around right besides the buildings, arms crossed once more. “I’ll search the place. You shut your damn trap and watch.”

    And with that, the Fairy flew into the darkness between the buildings, gripping her staff. Having calmed down now, she started to feel it too. A chill, a danger lurking somewhere near. She lit herself up to light the way, resembling a firefly as she scanned the place and looked around to the best of her ability.
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  14. #64
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    The Blind Eternities

    ‘What magics are these?”

    There was a veil around all of Dominaria, shielding the plane from ‘walkers such as him. Impressive magic had done this, that much he could taste, but a spell of this magnitude was very hard to maintain. Already he could see small cracks he knew he could punch open, but he dared not. If he crossed the veil by force he’d arrive in an explosion of energy, foregoing any and all secrecy. And you don’t reach 2000 years of age with such displays.

    Instead, he weaved a single, simple spell through the crack. He bent his consciousness around a single thread of blue mana that seeped through the widening cracks and penetrated the plane. His presence would remain hidden, but he’d have eyes on the ground and inspect the events taking place beyond the enclosed shield. As soon as the strand of blue mana pierced the bubble it detected a huge collective of people bearing the smell of the aether and of other worlds: Planeswalkers.
    An entire gathering of them.

    What was the meaning of this?

    He immediately detected three particularly prominent individuals: the first, a male angel (which was, by itself, quite something) with an aura of mana with a tainted taste; the second was a bipedal lion of impressive bulk, and it took little to no time for Vernach to take notice of his extra-sensorial detection powers, the little time he’d spent investigating the lion man was enough to leave him worried he’d been detected. The last was… an Archon. A fully formed Archon, with his own winged lion and everything. With each inspection Vernach got increasingly glad he didn’t manifest in person, between the angel, the archon and that priest by the side, he’d have been targeted for an exorcism almost instantly.

    Vernach let that little sliver of consciousness linger on all throughout the meeting with the dragons, and used every little chance he had to pry onto the memories of the less aware, particularly those of that Soratami. Her mind was easy enough to intrude, it was just a collective of emotions and moods. It was almost like it was being contaminated by the red mana her spark had given her access to. The red spots on her fur were unusual as well. In 2000 years of multiplanar hopping, Vernach had come into contact with less than a handful of red mana weaving Soratami, and none had been marked by its use the same way she had.

    Interesting.

    “Zendikar, is it? No time to waste then.”

    That very same Soratami then exploded in a flare of crimson and burst through the aether just as the shield around Dominaria withered. She traced an arc of recklessness and impatience that bent the eternities themselves, and Vernach had absolutely no trouble riding the bubble they left behind. It wasn’t his first visit to Zendikar, and he knew the way perfectly well. He just appreciated the ride through her relentless energies, behind which he could remain hidden. Even as Yuu appeared in Zendikar in a spectacle of flares and blood red mist, the little mouse she had at her feet remained inconspicuous.

    By the time the Priest and the Archon appeared, Vernach had long stabilized into this temporary rodent form and burned off all traces of his demonic resonance in the fires of the geistmancer. There wasn’t a holy being alive that could identify him as a demon in this form less they did some pretty invasive tests, a danger he didn’t fear as long as he stayed out of sight.

    And so he did. As the group moved from the grassy and wild meadows of Zendikar, over its raging, shifting terrain and into a small village of sorts, Vernach skid from grass blade, to rocks, to random crates in the street, undetected.

    Or so he thought. Not long after they reached the town, the angel picked something up. Had it been him? No, he’d hidden his presence. He was sure of that. Not even that angel could have picked him up. Then… what?

    His sensorial perception was thwarted in this state of his, and he unfortunately couldn’t very well detect the same thing he could tell the angel had picked up on. Either from uncontained curiosity or out of a need to feel safe and in control, Vernach followed the pixie down the street and into the alley, hoping he wouldn’t have to break his cover so soon and already designing a new alias so should he need to.

    “If he’s trouble…” whispered Yuu as she slowly raised her long, beautiful arm and stretched her palm in the direction Thaysha and Vernach went.

    She only needed one more second- no, not even that much. Just an instant longer, and she’d have done it. Gibrael snapped her arm away and forcefully pumped a small controlled blast of stagnant white mana through her, automatically stopping the current flow of mana in her arm and breaking apart the spell before it was even cast. He raised her arm above her head and neared his head next to her.

    “Are you out of your mind?” he whispered in an irritated grunt.

    “Release my hand, boy, before I part yours from your body.”

    Gibrael reluctantly let go of her arm, but his stare was kept fierce.

    “Don’t go about endangering innocent lives. Don’t you see all the urchins running through these streets? If you just blasted the alley you’d end up scorching a good deal of those to death! Not to mention that chasing us is no cause for being burned to death!”

    “I was just resolving a problem before it revealed itself. Trust me, you’ll regret me not doing that once the pixie returns.”

  15. #65
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    Lance chuckled as Thayshia flittered away. He brushed away the soot and scorch marks from his face. Fae-fire was irritating, and certainly unpleasant...but it was barely a candle against the divine light of Avacyn, or the infernos of the Ashmouth and Devil's Breach, or the red-hot blood of Shilgengar's curse coursing through his veins.

    Still, her little tantrum had served its purpose, drawing to her all the watchful eyes that lurked in the shadowy places just out of sight. Lance knew shadows well, knew how to walk between them, balanced on moonlight's razor edge, heavy with the whispers of his Dark Passenger. He could pierce their veil now, on his own - tear it away and rip out the obtrusive little watchers.

    But where would be the fun in that?

    So Lance watched as Thayshia shimmied away from the group and down into the darker corners of the city. And he watched as she waited there in the darkness, looking for danger. And he watched as her frustration - and trepidation - grew. And he watched for the shadows to move. And--

    There. Movement in the darkness

    Something flew out, all open jaws and pointed fangs; pale-skinned and red-eyed and deathly-silent. Opened wide to swallow Thayshia whole--or at least take a bite out of her. To anyone else it would have been little more than a flicker of motion at the edge of vision, the flash of a blink--and little Thayshia would be little more than a sparkling shower of blood and pixie-dust.

    To anyone else, of course.

    When the thing in the darkness pounced, jaws open wide, claws elongated--Lance was more than ready. He'd already felt the rush the slow and steady pulse, and grabbed onto it--and suddenly, the pouncing thing was stranded, frozen and floating in midair--mid-leap.

    Thayshia turned a moment later--what would have been several instants too late, otherwise--and came eye-to-eye with the thing's terrified stare. This thing...this predator-thing had never felt a such paralyzing sensation in all its life. It was, indeed, stuck.

    "Good work, pixie," he said off-handedly to Thayshia; his gaze never wavered from their new friend. "You make excellent bait. And I mean this with all sincerity." He didn't bother waiting for her reply and instead turned to his captive.

    "How are you doing that?" Claire asked, leading the rest of the group over. Her wary gaze lingered on the frozen attacker.

    "Simple binding magic," Lance said, waving her off. That was a lie, of course. He was capable of White binding magic, but Sangromancy, the magic of blood, was oh-so much more enjoyable. He'd worked his grip into the attacker's blood and frozen him in midair. He could have told Claire and the others as much--there was little reason not to--but he preferred his secrecy. Why an angel would know blood-magic would lead to a line of questioning he felt like avoiding.

    In the end, his aversion to revealing his secrets came only from his whims--because he wanted to. And secrets held great power.

    "A vampire," Jareth snarled, glowering at the beast in Lance's grip. Lance smirked, how right the leonin was on oh-so many levels. "Tried to bite off more than it could chew."

    "A Zendikar vampire, hunting us?" Lance mused in ironic disbelief. "No, I don't think so."

    "Why not?" asked Claire. "Maybe it was looking for what it thought was an easy meal?"

    "Easy?" Lance all-but laughed. Claire glowered. "Nothing about our motley group is 'easy' at all. An archon, a leonin, an angel, a woman in mizzium armor...even the pixie would have been too much for this little scavenger had she known he was coming."

    "Then why bother saving her?" Jareth rumbled. He didn't take his eyes from the captured vampire, but Lance could sense he was testing him.

    "I had already sent her into a waiting trap," he said, waving off the leonin's concern. "How rude do you think I am?" He turned back to their captive. "Regardless, there are easier meals here than a contingent of Planeswalkers. Especially since this vampire isn't very hungry at all."

    "How do you know?" Jareth asked.

    "Please," Lance scoffed. "I'm from Innistrad. I know vampires very well."

    "But is there any way to prove-"

    Lance didn't wait for Jareth to finish. He used his sangromantic grip on the vampire to throw it up against the alley wall, then he whipped out his silver-inlaid dagger and sliced across its belly. The vampire let out a strangled scream. Lance then pushed back the skin, revealing the engorged, blood-swollen stomach of the beast. He popped it with his dagger and let the stream of half-digested blood pour out.

    He released his hold over the blood in the vampire's skull and lungs, and the savage thing immediately gnashed its teeth and snarled and spat at the gathering of Planeswalkers. Lance silenced it with a stare, and the rising unseen shadow of his Dark Passenger cowed it into submission.

    "Now then," Lance said, flipping the dagger between his fingers. "Shall we begin the questioning?"

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

  16. #66
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    Zendikar, the jungles of Bala Ged.

    Alicia spat at the cowering goblin. "I've paid you and your friends to get me to the catacombs. Eldrazi or no Eldrazi, you'll do your job. Alicia had never liked goblins, but they knew their way around the ever-changing continent.

    "You can't be serious!" the goblin shrieked in horror, "the end of the world is on our doorstep and you want us to do nothing about it? You're mad, you are!"

    Alicia was getting tired of this. Since when did goblins know thought reasonably. "You can go and die later. In the meantime, get me to those catacombs before I tie up another of your companions as Eldrazi bait!"

    Alicia really, really didn't like goblins. Even in Jund they were a nuisance, although in Zendikar they actually have some purpose as guides. They could go all over the world and actually remember some places. And in the eventual hostile attack, you would expect the goblins to die first.

    Alicia never expected the Eldrazi, though.

    They came a few days after she had embarked on her expedition to the Verdant Catacombs. So far she hated them, they were worse than the dragons in almost every case. She could sense one of the bastards in the vicinity, although she didn't really focus on killing it. She wanted to get it all over with, especially these goblins. The group walked on for a little bit until they were finally there...

    The Verdant Catacombs was exactly as she had expected it: a twisted labyrinth full of flora. The place was probably teeming with traps, and probably the odd ghoul, vampire, or Eldrazi. Alicia shrugged, paid the goblins and entered the catacombs alone. Alicia always got frustrated with labyrinths. But she knew the catacombs worked on four different levels. She knew that going through obstacles was a much faster way than going around them; and so with a malicious grin she unattached the Sunforger from her belt and channeled her mana into it, powering it up for a spell.

    Bala Ged was very poor when it comes to White or Red mana, but there was just enough of it to power the Sunforger, which in turn could create more powerful spells. Practicality was something Alicia appreciated, especially a practical hammer. She focused on her Sunforger and in a burst of mana brought the weapon down onto the catacomb floor, smashing it. Alicia stepped aside as the floor collapsed into the lower levels of the catacombs. Following her Sunforger, Alicia jumped down into the hole...

    As the floor of the last level of the catacomb collapsed, Alicia entered satisfied with her progress. Any other explorer would have left the ruins intact. Alicia was a more lateral thinker. As she expected, the crypts were empty, save for a small chest on the far side of the room. Alicia brought out her Sunforger once again and slammed the ground with a heavy impact. The shock wave that followed triggered every trap meant for her to fall into. Alicia had already lost two fingers to Zendikar, and the Etherium replacements make up poorly for them. Several arrows, pitfalls and Baloths appeared from nowhere. Alicia cared little about the pitfalls of the arrows, but the Baloths would be annoying. Fortunately, the three massive predators couldn't see her, so she slipped into the shadows and drew out her crossbow.

    She ran her fingers over the Goldbark weapon, it's smoothness somehow reassured her. The Darksteel reinforcements send out their little bursts of energy, as if they were in constant friction with eachother. She could feel the pulse of her enchantments in the bow as she wound it back. She reached into her quiver and drew out her Burst Arrows and placed it securely in the Crossbow. Two of the Baloths were menacing each other over some sort of long-dead carrion, so she took her chances and pulled the trigger.

    The arrow soared at massive speed and penetrated the first Baloth's eye, then it exploded, instantly killing one baloth and stunning the other. In the confusion Alicia had the time to reload her crossbow and fire another bow into the second baloth. It hit it's front leg and the resulting explosion ripped away a large amount of flesh from the Baloth. Alicia slung the weapon across her back and drew out her Sunforger. She ran up to the injured Baloth and was upon it in a matter of seconds, she channeled the strength of her whole body into the hammer and brought it down on the beast, crushing its skull and instantly killing it.

    In the meantime the last Baloth had found its prey in the darkess and threw itself at Alicia, swiping her with its massive, scaly paw and sending her crashing against a wall. Alicia got up and took out her crossbow again just as the beast started charging at her. She took out her arrow, and wound it up, as the Baloth got closer and closer. Just as the Baloth pounced for the kill, the cossbow was loaded. With dead-eye precision she fired the arrow into its scaly hide, not damaging it whatsoever. It was the enchantment in the arrow that activated, sending waves of white mana and encasing the Baloth into a bubble of protection. Now away from harm, Alicia could relax. She rewound her crossbow and opened up the chest.

    The treasures seemed pretty typical, gold, jewels, a few maps to other treasures, but among the treasures inside was a strange carved bone that looked like some sort of weapon, although bone is a peculiar material for weaponry, Alicia realized. Nevertheless, she pocketed it too and used the little mana she had left to planeswalk away from the Catacombs.
    Last edited by D-World; 14th December 2012 at 10:25 AM.
    Have a nice day

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    "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present."

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  17. #67
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    Zendikar

    The beast pounced on them, but Lance froze it in mid air and took complete control of it. Vernach grinned as he felt the blood magic at works, carefully disguised under the veil of white binding magic. The beautiful lie slipped right through him, but the others seemed to buy it, obviously not as adept at recognizing demonic schools of magic at work.

    The angel then threw the beast on the ground and simply ripped its stomach right out of its body. The horror on Gibrael’s face was completely mirrored by the lust and ecstasy on Yuu’s. The young man, much too surprised at seeing such gruesome behavior from a holy angel, couldn’t act before Yuu hovered forward until she held Lance in an embrace.

    “Oh, darling, you know just how to push my buttons.”
    She giggled then wrapped her right arm around Lance’s chest as she stretched her left arm, her palm pointed at the vampire. The vampire was consumed in orange flames.

    “STOP!”
    Gibrael burst forward engulfed in a flash of light. His robes grew as he approached the vampire and proceeded to envelop the tortured beast, extinguishing the flames. Instead, a gel-like substance oozed from the robes and onto the vampire, healing its wounds.

    “This torture is not just unnecessary, it’s downright evil! We can extract what we need from him without putting him through such pains!”

    The robes receded, revealing the monster with sealed wounds, grasping its recently closed holes incredulously.

    Vernach noted the doubt heavy on Gibrael’s mind. The boy had apparently just met his first planeswalkers, and his idealism was being shattered with the force and subtlety of a thousand erupting volcanoes. Poor lad, seeing his whole vision of the world be broken by torturous angels and murderous archons… He was near a breaking point. Vernach saw the potential the boy had, and how easily his entire set of morals could be rewritten at this stage of his life.

    Yuu, however, just looked on, confused, unable to understand Gibrael’s reaction. This was a vampire they were talking about, a silly little monster that deserved no mercy, especially from the heavily religious sort like him. Not to mention it’d just attacked them. The thing was already dead, it just didn’t know it.

    But then, Yuu stroke upon a thought that made her think she’d understood Gibrael.

    “Oh, I get what you’re up to!”
    And she incinerated the vampire’s leg off with a concentrated blast of red, flaming mist. The creature screamed - or hissed, more like it - in pain.

    “Why are continuing the torture!?” he protested, already kneeling beside the charred appendage, hoping he could still recover the leg.

    “Isn’t it obvious? We wound him, torture him until he is seconds away from death, and you swoop in and heal him back again. Then we repeat the process. I thought that was what you were thinking of doing?”

    Vernach had to admit, the way Yuu’s mind worked brought a smile to his lips.

  18. #68
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    “Isn’t it obvious? We wound him, torture him until he is seconds away from death, and you swoop in and heal him back again. Then we repeat the process. I thought that was what you were thinking of doing?”
    Morgana shot Yuu a look of pure disgust. "I doubt that was his intention at all," she said coldly. "Since I also strongly doubt that he happens to be concealing a sadistic inner self. No, I expect he planned to heal the wretched creature."

    Turning her attention to the vampire, she considered. She had dealt with its sort before. In fact, her blade had been ripped from the hands of such a beast. She drew the serrated, vicious-looking blade. It was plainly obvious by comparison that it was originally the weapon of such a thing. Its edges were as keen and hungry as the wretched creature she looked upon, its rough hilt as primitive and rough as the predator.

    "On the other hand, while a cycle of torture and healing seems repugnant, I doubt this thing is willing to part with its information in many other ways," the woman noted. "Sadly, I'm not capable of healing others. It's not the sort of magic I tend to use." She cast a look at Rimuel. "How about you, Rimuel?"

    "Me neither," he said. "I'm a warrior first. Healing was the task of others." He looked slightly sickened as he looked at the vampire.

    "Not fond of torture?" Morgana questioned, noticing his unease.

    "I won't interfere," Rimuel said quietly. "But I won't partake in it either." He stepped back, making his position clear.

    Morgana sighed. "Anyone else not keen to get their hands dirty should step back with him," she said. "That includes you, healer. While I'm sure the vampire appreciated your efforts, goodwill is wasted on monsters." She brushed Gibrael aside, her sword held at the ready in the vampire's eyesight. Sadly, she doubted they could do much worse following Yuu's reckless example of complete disregard for any sort of restraint.

    In truth, the Soratami had earned only disdain from Morgana. Ruthlessness was something she herself was accustomed to. One had to be ruthless to pursue the form of salvation the knight tried to deliver, but the sort of callous, undirected ruthlessness Yuu displayed was another thing entirely. It spoke of arrogance and shallow amusement in subjecting others to misery. And if Yuu continued to so brutally abuse her power, Morgana felt certain she and the rabbit-woman would come to blows. After all, the multiverse had more than enough suffering without Yuu's sort wandering the worlds adding to it for nothing more than a moment's thrill.

    "In any case," she continued, addressing the vampire now. "I am sure plenty of us would be more than willing to inflict a lot of pain on you until you decide to give us the information we want. So the truth of the matter is that we can make this take a long time and be very painful for you if you insist on staying quiet, whereas if you just tell us what we want to know, then we can all be on our way with little time wasted and a lack of further pain for you. So, what will you do?"

    She leveled her blade to the creature's neck in a silently threatening manner.
    [CENTER]

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