The Great Ones Foreigners in Thagretis

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At the split, Tytus and most of the guards followed Nate, Jane, and Tir’Coatl. Small amounts split to pursue the two Naga that went separate ways. Fortunately for the trio, the path to the slums would have almost no chance of stumbling across a guard. The path to the palace was filled with soldiers and guards. The Naga heading to the river could escape if one could swim.

Tytus remained just within sight of the trio. The obstacles thrown in their way prevented them from catching up.

The buildings surrounding the trio grew more dilapidated the further they went. Sights of floating structures disappeared. More often, a random bystander either in the way or to the side would be non-human. Some orc, some elf, some dwarves or halfings. A couple four armed creatures. Dirt commonly covered the clothes and faces of these beings. They withdrew from sight upon spotting Tytus and the soldiers by his side.

Another major split would present itself to the trio. To the right, a main road with a crowded market. To the left, more slums but with the city walls in sight. Forward, a road with red, unlit lanterns dangling on the side of the buildings – quiet only because the sun was in the sky.
 

Nathanael McCallister

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Nate growls looking behind them to see Tytus still behind them, “As much as I would like for you to catch your breath Jane. We got a fair bit more running to do.” He takes a deep breath and thinks on where to go.

“Okay, I’ll head into the markets. You two stick together and go elsewhere. We’ll meet up outside the city when the moon is halfway up the horizon.” He tells them quickly judging Jane and the snake away from the markets. They had magic, the snake would blend in better and Jane could probably use her knowledge of the slums to her advantage. Afterall she did mention it reminded her of home. Nate however was probably the best runner and could go on much longer than Jane and through rougher terrain. That’s why he chose the markets, not to mention use it to his advantage.

As he ran he’d jump up and grab some of the garments hanging on display and out to dry. Perfect for a quick disguise as he shoved between and around people and stalls.

Jane Tir'Coatl Tytus Amladeris
 

Jane

The Sanguine Penitent
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Jane groaned when Nate laid out the naked truth about running. She used to toil away at various shipbuilding tasks during her slavery day in and day out, none of which involved any amount of running. Her armor, normally not a problem to walk and fight in, was quickly becoming cumbersome in her growing fatigue. She just wasn't built for running, even sans the armor. Some people were. She wasn't. That was the end of it.

Big gulps of breath as they once again came to another split in the alley. How big was this city? Fuck this city, is what she really meant by that. Maybe Aivrid could burn the whole thing down. Drakon would probably approve. Sure he would. Convince Astra too. The light of Celestialism didn't touch anything or anyone here so far as Jane could see.

Nate decided to go one way, and Jane, doubled over and panting as she was, wasn't in much of a position to argue.

Jane swallowed, let out a haggard exhale, straightened up, and said to the Scaled King, "I'm going that way."

And by that way, as she indicated immediately after by starting her run again, she meant forward. Down the road ahead with the red, unlit lanterns. She clanked along in her armor, more at the pace of a healthy jog now instead of a run. Ugh. Short distances were fine but this drawn-out stretch of fleeing was killing her. She could feel that unpleasant, queasy broiling in her stomach, warning for the potential of spewing vomit like dark clouds warned of rain. Not her idea of fun.

Jane knew this: she wouldn't be able to outrun the soldiers and the Masked Man for much longer.

So after some time running down the red lantern road she kept an eye out for a door to a sufficiently large building. Didn't have to be too large, just large enough to have a number of rooms and thus hiding spots and some various avenues of escape.

And she saw one. Three stories tall, though the third floor was smaller than the other two. Jane rammed shoulder-first into the not-quite-closed door and spilled inside. Maybe the Scaled King would follow, maybe not; either way she'd close the door behind her and spend a moment once again catching her breath.

She hadn't yet turned around to see what manner of building she'd entered.

Nathanael McCallister Tir'Coatl Tytus Amladeris
 

Tir'Coatl

The Scaled King
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Their pursuers were nothing if not persistent, continuing to chase after them with no end in sight. Tir'Coatl was no stranger to physical exertion; Naga raiding parties were known to travel quickly on land without mounts. However, they would have to find a way to get these heretics off their tail eventually.

The Naga pursuing the river would attempt to leave the city, swimming outward and finding a suitable area to hide in, assuming they were followed. The one heading for the palace would try to slink off to various paths in an attempt to prolong the chase as long as possible.

As they came to another crossroads, the Scaled King cursed in his own tongue. "Do not die quickly," Tir'Coatl advised Nathanael with about as much warmth in his voice as a dying flame.

His gaze drifted over to the exceedingly exhausted Skinned One beside him, internally debating if she would ever recover from the exertion.

Luckily for her, she did, pointing out the direction she was headed in. The Naga warlord nodded, deciding the slow human would at least serve as passable bait in the event the guards caught up. Perhaps she had some more arcane potential akin to what she showed beforehand, something that could be of use to their escape from this wretched city.

"I shall be with you, then." Tir'Coatl nodded, slithering forward. He kept some distance ahead of Jane, scouting out the area to ensure there weren't any witnesses or guards that could be a potential issue. Luckily, none appeared. He threw his gaze back, gesturing that it was safe to continue onward.

When Jane found the building, Tir'Coatl did indeed follow inside—the Naga's lengthy tail quickly wrapping around himself from beyond the doorway.

His gaze swept across the room, spear in hand as he registered whatever they just walked into.

Nathanael McCallister Jane Tytus Amladeris
 
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When Nate split off from Jane and Tir’coatl, Tytus and his comrades stopped for a moment. It was not for long, but the distance between Tytus and the foreigners increased.

Pointing to three soldiers, Tytus being the most senior of them ordered, “After the man! Dead or alive, stop him!”

And so, three soldiers charged toward the crowded market after Nate. There were some screams in surprise or shock as the soldiers showed up. The sea of people made it difficult for them to keep constant sight of Nate.

However, Nate stole some clothes from a stand.

Seeing soldiers running towards the stand and guessing with how Nate was fleeing, the elder elven merchant that Nate stole from yelled, “Thief! Thieeef!!! Guards, this way!”

That gave the three soldiers enough for them to keep running after Nate. Though if the monster hunter could break line of sight for enough time to change, that might be enough to shake them and disappear.

Meanwhile, Tytus and one other soldier gave chase after Jane and Tir’Coatl. In Tytus’s mind, the naga was the highest threat – being too similar in appearance to the lizardfolk that stalked the deserts outside Thagretis.

Because of the delay, Tytus lost sight of the two as he entered the red light district. He did not see Jane and Tir’Coatl enter the three-story building. Panting, he slowly walked down the street and looked for signs of where the two must have went.

Inside that building, Jane and Tir’Coatl would smell tobacco smoke. The entrance lead directly to a large room with the floor of the third level as the ceiling. Empty cushions were scattered throughout the room. Stairs at the far side of the room lead to the second level. Some sultry laughter could be heard in from there.

Hearing the door burst open, a tiefling woman past her prime gently rose from her seat near the door. She held a long, smoldering pipe and took a puff from it before turning to see Jane and Tir’Coatl.

If either had been in one before, it would be obvious that Jane and Tir’Coatl just entered a brothel. The sign outside would also be enough of a clue for the building’s purpose: The Come Right Inn. The tiefling woman before them could be assumed to be the Madam.

The Madam had to deal with rough clients regularly. Quiet a few would wonder in drunk and not all would be pleasant when under the bottle. So the Madam was not alarmed by Jane and Tir’Coatl’s sudden entrance. Even Tir’Coatl’s scaley appearance did not faze her – some people wandering in were of worse appearances.

However, the Madam yelled as she pointed at the door, “Hey! No weapons!”

Tir’Coatl brandishing a spear was the most immediate cause for the Madam’s response.

And out in the street, Tytus heard the Madam’s words…
 

Nathanael McCallister

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Nate shugs sime as he ran with the clothes. The elf would get over it. Since afterall, he probably had more where that came from. Looking around for a way to break their line of sight eventually Nate came upon an alley way. Ahhhh perfect.

Once again he would run down it and look for things to climb up on and up to the roof quickly. There was a pile of boxes but not enough to climb up to a roof. So Nate quickly started to get into the disguise in an abandoned building to his right, away from any window or door. Keeping his sword nearby and his gauntlets and armor on until last. He did have his uncle modify it for sucn occasions. If he had to die to keep out of those cells, he would.
 

Jane

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Jane flinched when someone yelled from behind her. Then she turned around and flinched again when she saw the Madam. She wasn't expecting someone like that! The Madam looked like Hyatta from Guillotine. A demon. Off to a degree, but similar. The Redeemer had said something about this, about these kinds of people. Half demons? What were they called? The name elusively pirouetted away from the grasp of her mind.

Regardless, Jane took in the details of the main room, the cushions and silky curtains and the smell of tobacco and the dim lighting. And she knew in a goddamn instant where she was--Astra would be displeased but her mother would be so proud. While it wasn't enough to pop the Seal of Nykios about her heart, Jane knew that such indulgences would cost her an afternoon's worth of floggings. She didn't have the time. She didn't have the time. Her toes could use a little licking, but she just didn't have the time. She and the Scaled King and Nate were being chased by the city's soldiery and (justalickortwocomeon) there wasn't any time. The Scaled King didn't even have feet--she didn't have the time and it wouldn't be fair to him either. Astra was all about fairness. Right! She could buy a round for him too. How's that for charity? Barely knew him and treated him to a nice time already. Surely he had something that tickled his fancy. He didn't have feet but he did have--

Jane snatched at her Amulet of Astra and pinched her eyes shut and her lips together. Held herself like this until the tempting thoughts dispersed.

Recovered, Jane opened her eyes and let go of her Amulet and held up her right hand in a beseeching manner. Said as quietly as she could, hoping to by extension bring down the Madam's loudness of voice, "We're sorry, Madam. Could you give us a minute? We're...still deciding on what service we would like."

Brothel or not, it was Jane's hope to lay low. Fighting a few soldiers would be delicious fun, but a whole city's worth? There was such a thing as too much of a good time. Jane ought to know.

Tir'Coatl Nathanael McCallister Tytus Amladeris Aivrid
 

Tir'Coatl

The Scaled King
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Tir'Coatl's eyes darted to the woman, only wavering to inspect the room they had found themselves in. Horns grew from her skull, and her skin was oddly colored compared to the human Skinned Ones he had seen. Certainly uncommon in their lands, though it could be the opposite here. His gaze landed upon the dim lighting, grazing silk curtains and cushions, as the scent of tobacco smoke grew ever-present.

These sensations, coupled with the appearance of the tiefling before them, culminated in a blissful ignorance regarding the building's services. Born into a tribal society and forged as royalty among Naga, brothels were an alien concept. He had consorts and concubines for such desires, should they ever arise. The idea of even entertaining the thought of partaking, or even knowing of, such a lowly form of Skinned One entertainment was an utterly abhorrent one.

It was for this reason that, as Jane strained to keep herself from the indulgences of the flesh, considering even purchasing some likely-unorthodox services for the footless Naga, Tir'Coatl remained completely and utterly innocent and oblivious to the matter at hand.

Perhaps the sleeping chamber? During the colder months or after a particularly ravenous meal, Naga were known to indulge in long hours of rest in comfort. Gazing about, it seemed unlikely.

Parts of him wondered if it was the sunbathing chamber, with which to rest as glorious light dances upon your scales. An underwhelmed glance about the chamber revealed nothing but a vague sense of disappointment. Too few windows, not enough scales, so no sunbathing.

Whatever it was, he was sure it would come soon to reveal itself.

At the shout, Tir'Coatl slightly lowered his spear and distanced it away from the woman. "Yes..." He agreed, nodding along to Jane's statement—all the while wondering what 'services' entailed. Were they an artisan, perhaps, of silk?

Regardless of this building's unknowable purpose, maintaining some semblance of silence was imperative to not being caught. "The weapon is sacred to me. Is there a room where it could be kept safe while we... peruse your wares?"

People probably peruse wares here, right?

Yeah, he was sure of it.

Jane Tytus Amladeris Nathanael McCallister Aivrid
 

Aivrid

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Tag: Tytus Amladeris Jane Tir'Coatl Nathanael McCallister

Time to face the music.


The melody was familiar, yet unknowable. The tune that played for Aivrid was indescribable. While he was certain that he could guard his mind from the paltry magics of the priestess, it was clear that she was channeling something greater. A god. A true Great One. The creature played his song to tempt Aivrid into swaying from his goal. The song was irresistible; Aivrid stood still, his gaze empty as the situation turned violent around him.

In the end, power was the goal. Greater magic, greater strength would push the limits of what was possible. If he were to submit, he would be given such things. He could learn from this Holy Elder Dragon and achieve power unmatched across the entire world. Then, someday, when he was strong enough, he would scheme against that wretched creature and take his place...

But power granted by another could just as easily be taken away. He would be like the priestess, only channeling the strength of a greater being through himself. And even then his power would be inconsequential compared to the Holy Elder Dragon. Scheming and intelligence had taken him far, but facing such a creature, it would not be enough.

He would not be enough.

Was submission the best route? If he could not stand against it, there was no choice but to join the Holy Elder Dragon.

The song grew louder, the melody more enticing.

Yes, that is right. Do not resist. Submit and you will receive power beyond what you could hope to achieve alone...

No. Think. That was what he was good at. Through the fog of the song shone the light of his goal. It pierced through the haze, and Aivrid was reminded of the truth -- he intended to be the King of Dragons. Not in the same way as the Holy Elder Dragon, submission was no substitute for respect or fear, and it was against the true freedom that Aivrid sought beyond all else. As long as that behemoth stood, he was an obstacle to Aivrid’s plans. When one played the Great Game, it ended in victory or death. A powerful player had entered the arena. That simply meant Aivrid needed to be smarter.

Awareness returned to the man’s eyes; it was clear some time had passed. His orc escort had left for Kannorgopad and the other travellers had fled. It made no difference. The soldiers and mages here were nothing compared to him. All of them were pawns; tools, and tools could be broken. A dragon, not so easily.

Aivrid lashed out, aiming to grab the priestess by the throat. To hold a life in one’s hands was the purest power of all. That power would be enough to pay the cost, assuming his grip was firm.

“Die.”

Still, one paltry human life was small in the grand scheme of things. If he could not use the priestess’s life to fuel his magic he would simply call on his stores of wealth hidden away in his lair. With his free hand he drew a rune; it shimmered black in the air, then disappeared as he spoke the command word.

“Silence.”

As his command suggested, the air around him stilled. No sound could escape, nor enter, nor be produced in the field that he created. Even the magic song he heard was silenced. Without the vocal components to their spells, he hoped to disrupt the other mages, even only for a short time.

In the moments of confusion that ensued, Aivrid called instead on his most costly magic. As it was his timer was still running -- without his natural flames, he was forced to make do with an inferno created through his Direct magic. With a thought the cost was paid and the flames roared to life, soaring higher than the roofs of the nearby buildings and swirling outwards to everything nearby. The flames served as a beacon, just as the light of the clergy had been before. But this beacon served to cause fear, panic, and a simple reminder that death was on its way to Thagretis.

The sudden blast of heat was enough to knock those around him back, if not incinerate them instantly. In the field of silence, none could hear them scream.

Aivrid stood in the eye of the firestorm. He could not recall the last time he had razed a city. It was time for a refresher.
 
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The footsteps of the soldiers pursuing Nate could be heard approaching the alleyway. The clanging of their plate armor grew louder. Their breaths were heavy with the amount of running they had been doing.

“Down here!” one yelled just at the entrance to the side street.

And then they were going down the alleyway. Getting closer to the abandoned building’s door. Until they were right in front of it.

Then they kept running. Away from the building that Nate hid in. The sounds of the footsteps grew more distance until they could no longer be heard at all – even by Nate.

Nate succeeded in shaking his pursuers. He would have some freedom to explore the slums. He could go back to the marketplace he came from, yet there was a high likelihood that the clothes merchant he stole from would recognize his merchandise. He could also go in almost any other direction. There were peddlers on the side of many streets nearby peddling their wares. Inns and taverns could be found nearby.



The Madam examined Jane and Tir’Coatl. Jane’s armor was strange, though usually only soldiers had plate armor within Thagretis. The Madam assumed that the Scaled King might be this woman’s slave or servant.

Though it was not in the Madam’s place to question potential clients. There was a more important matter to her.

“Sacred or not, you leave your weapons with me until you’re done or you leave. What kind of brothel even lets you see the girls with one?” the Madam firmly told Tir’Coatl with a raised voice.

At least in Thagretis, it was common in the brothels to ensure clients did not carry weapons when they visited escorts. Sometimes, a client would fall in love with a working woman. Or have a fit of jealousy. A dead prostitute makes no money and could drive the surviving women to flee.

Not much longer after the Madam said that, the door to the brothel opened. Standing at the threshold: Tytus.



“High Priestess!” a soldier yelled as he dove in front of the priestess to be grasped by the throat.

Then silence. The horns from the palace could not be heard in that moment.

The High Priestess took some steps back. Soldiers moved to stand between her and Aivrid.

The priestess’s mouth moved as Aivrid began to cast the inferno spell.

I͞ ̨s҉ee, ͝now̢.

With a swift movement, the priestess slammed her staff into the ground. A spell bulwark materialized as the initial blast occurred. The High Priestess was thrown out of the silence field as her comrades were incinerated.

The High Priestess landed on her back. She winced from the impact yet still maintained a grip on her ornate staff. She could hear the palace’s horns once more. As the blaze grew, the closest buildings already caught on fire.

You will not t̡he͜ ̷f͢i͝rst̸ ́pr̛et҉e͘n͏der̸ ͡w͝e̶’̴v͝e slay̧ed,” she hissed as she sat herself up.

Then, the High Priestess sliced one of her wrists with a sharp edge on her staff. The cut was deep. Fatal, if not healed within minutes.

An͘d ͡w͏i͝t҉h th͡e̴ ̵b̧eàting o̸f H͢i̕s̨ ̛wíng͏s,͠ ̵a͏ ̷t͞y̷ṕho̡on forme͜d̵ ͟to͞ l͟e͞v͟e͟l͡ ͜H͏i̶s enȩmies͠,̡” the High Priestess chanted.

The blood the poured had poured from her wound and will pour from it evaporated. Arcs of electricity on her staff formed. The price shall be her life.

A cyclone of wind materialized. Invisible to the high until it made contact with the flames to form a fiery tornado. It would keep the fire from spreading out as the flames were sucked into the air above. This torrent would continue until the priestess – bearing a faint smile – perished.

Yet the footsteps of more approaching the seen could already be heard. The city knew of a dragon’s presence within the city. They saw the pillar of light. They see the flames. More priests would appear with their connections to Drakormir. And something more powerful than the High Priestess approached.

The attempt to raze Thagretis would be no different to an attempt on the large cities of the continents, such as Alirria, Vel Anir, Elbion, and maybe even Molthal.

Aivrid Nathanael McCallister Jane Tir'Coatl
 
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Nathanael McCallister

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Nate sighs taking a few deep breaths as the guard ran past his hiding spot. He would wait a few minutes before heading out again. The hunter wanted to track down Jane and Tir if he could to make sure they were okay, but still while staying covert. Covering the lower half of his face with a scarf he had nabbed to assist in the goal.

The hunter keeping track of important checkpoints, hideaways, and where the guards are he slowly and in a very relaxed manner, makes his way around the slums. Any soldiers or guards that would approach he would simply look at a peddler's supplies. Really this place would be nice to live in if it wasn't for the crazy religious leaders. Such nice merchandise, if only he could find a replica of that man's mask!

The Snake's scent and Jane were quite different from the people of this city's scent. He had no idea how to explain it but it probably had something to do with diet... among other things. Eventually, when he sees the familiar look of the soldiers' armor he shrugs.

Then looking up at sign told him where they were.... Nate gives a sigh of defeat.

He would much rather be in that barn again looking after twelve drunk adventurers and Jane then be in one of these places. At least that place was cleaner.

Nate looks around and sees some of the slums occupants playing some dice with some money on the table. He snaps his fingers, goes over to them, and sits down to watch. Forking each of them a few gold coins each to let him watch and to continue playing. But in reality, he was only there to keep an eye on the brothel situation. If the piped up some about him watching he would simply give them one more gold coin to keep them happy and playing, he might even get in on a game or two if they talked him into it.
 

Jane

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A short, stifled laugh rumbled in Jane's throat. Her cheeks puffed up some as she tried mightily to suppress a smile.

Peruse your wares. Peruse your wares, he had said. That was a hell of a way to put it. And despite the severity of their current predicament it brought some welcome mirth. At least to Jane.

The Madam wasn't having it though.

What kind of brothel even lets you see the girls with one?
"I know a few," Jane said. And said it reflexively, as matter-of-fact honesty. There were some choice spots in Cerak and around the Black Bay. The Sisters of the Citadel weren't always in a "Let's sacrifice everyone to Alarak" mood. Jane, upon joining the cult, came quickly to helm these little forays into the exotic pleasures that could be found in dark places. Slaves weren't always used for manual labor, that was for damn sure. And one of Jane's greatest delights was literally chiseling a man's chiseled abs. Sometimes to the rhythm, sometimes not. Mix it up.

By Astra, she was being led astray again.

Then she heard the door and felt the small woosh of air behind her. She looked over her shoulder.

The Masked Man.

Jane wheeled around. Placed her hand on the hilt of her sheathed sword. Half-raised her heater shield--the Holy protection that had shimmered about it earlier expired now. Then took her hand from her sword and lowered her shield a second later.

And to Tytus, she grinned widely and her eyes beamed with the excitement of meeting a long lost friend and she said with a hearty energy, "You're just in time!"

She had decided on a more unorthodox approach. If it didn't work, it didn't work: she and the Scaled King would end up at the same destination than if she'd simply lunged right for the Man.

But if it did, Astra forgive her. Her flagellation tally would stretch into tomorrow.

Tytus Amladeris Tir'Coatl Nathanael McCallister Aivrid
 

Tir'Coatl

The Scaled King
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The Madam only furthered the Scaled King's endless confusion, now peppering her sentences with words such as 'girls' and 'brothel.' Frankly, he had little idea of what a brothel was or why he was seeing any women to begin with, especially when he had passed by many on the streets here. The fact that they refused to observe weaponry only furthered the strange lore surrounding this place, seeing as many Naga of both genders enjoyed good craftsmanship.

Seeing as the Madam didn't actually answer his question regarding where the weapon was actually meant to be kept, Tir'Coatl begrudgingly placed the spear against the wall beside them. "Then it shall remain here." At Jane's quick response, Tir'Coatl only nodded in agreement. What artisan would refuse to admire the work of another, after all?

The Naga opened his mouth to speak, only to be silenced by the opening of the door. He spun around, his tail slithering about as his gaze met that of the Masked Man. His claws ached, ready to tear into steel and flesh alike. To lunge forth, to rend the guard from where he stood before Tytus could do the same.

Yet Jane had another idea.

In response to her inexplicably friendly response, Tir'Coatl decided to play along. He gave a gracious nod, gesturing to enter. "We are pleased to see you, and on time as well." His gaze drifted to whatever weapons Tytus possessed, glancing at the Madam before adding, "The weapon must be put away for the girls. The Madam's request."

While the concept of utilizing social obligations was an unorthodox one, it could potentially work. If it did not, his claws were always a suitable alternative.

Tytus Amladeris Nathanael McCallister Jane Aivrid
 
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A group of five men played the dice game. A few others just watched just as Nate did. The game they played was simple and similar to some games played on the main continents. Everyone but one man would place a bet. The man that did not bet had stacks of coin before him – he was the banker. Someone, the shooter, would roll three six-sided dice. If the total pips was eleven or above, the banker paid everyone twice their bet. If the total was below eleven, then the banker collected everyone’s bet. After three loses, the shooter would pass the dice. The banker remained the same person.

From the results of the rolls Nate would see, the banker was collecting just a bit more money than he shelled out. Most rolls were just below eleven.

“Heard the rumors?” one player said to another, “About that Neha ship?”

“That big one at the port?” the other player responded, “It came back from out west, yeah?”

“Yeah, a whore was saying a sailor visited and said they found land in the far west. Beyond the Throne.”

“No way? Sure they didn’t mistake the western edge?”

“Said they saw jungle, mountains. No desert. And she also said they sail again tonight!”

The banker finally interrupted with, “You believe these whore lies? Why hadn’t the criers say anything?”



Meanwhile in the Come Right Inn,

The Madam was alarmed by the presence of a fully dressed and armed soldier. Or at least, one in official city attire. Weird blonde knights of dubious morality? Probably a mercenary, just wants release. The Madam could convince her to leave her sword and shield. The lizard thing could be a slave and seemed to listen to its betters.

A Thagretis officer? With a sword at his waist?

Someone could be dead any moment.

The Madam saw Jane and Tir’Coatl’s reactions. She nervously added, “Y-yes. W-would you allow me to secure your arms here while you enjoy your stay?”

Tytus responded with silence for a few moments. Then, he turned to the only other soldier that had journeyed with him.

With urgency in his voice, Tytus commanded, “Get the others! I’ll handle this!

Without delay, the other soldier ran out of the brothel to go find other soldiers or guards.

Tytus turned back to Jane and Tir’Coatl.

He then unbuckled his sword from his belt.

We have time,” Tytus told the two, “I wish to talk.

With a glance to the Madam, Tytus added, "Somewhere private."

If the two accepted, Tytus would give his sword and a knife strapped to his back to the Madam. They would then be led to a room free from other eyes and ears.
 

Jane

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The Scaled King did the thing that Jane thought he absolutely wouldn't do, which was the thing she absolutely wanted him to do: he went along with it. Excellent. Jane certainly wouldn't have minded a swordfight and staining her armor and her hair with Tytus's blood or watching the Scaled King work his succulent magic again, but the problem was that it just wouldn't have stopped there. Others would surely be drawn by the commotion, and they'd be right back to where they were standing before the priestess and staring down the amassed soldiery in all their might. And her chest was still heaving from the exertion of sprinting through the city in their attempted flight. And they were down Nate. Better to at least try the alternative route.

And then the Masked Man did the thing that Jane thought he absolutely wouldn't do, which was the thing she absolutely wanted him to do: he went along with it. What a lovely, lovely day.

Jane threw down her heater shield (unapologetically rude, but a paying patron was a paying patron) and she unbuckled her own sheathed sword and tossed it down by her shield. Did her whip count? It counted. She decided it did--penance would come for what she was about to do soon enough. So she unhooked her cat o' nine tails whip from the back of her belt and tossed it down by her armaments as well.

We have time,” Tytus told the two, “I wish to talk.

With a glance to the Madam, Tytus added, "Somewhere private."
Jane pressed her hands together in front of herself in the likeness of a woman praying but the gesture, with due consideration of what she was thinking, was anything but. More so it was a gesture of grasping her excitement between her palms than any indication of piety in the near future. She leaned her shoulder and her head toward Tytus and her hair likewise dangled forward.

She said to him, "I'm fucking happy you're a man of good taste."

A quick look to the Madam, "How about a room with a nice big hot bath for us? Do you have those here?" And an aside to the Scaled King, "You'll love that, huh."

Then, she straightened up her posture and looked back to Tytus. "On me. My treat." She touched and jiggled a small pouch on her belt it gave the metallic jingle of coins for added emphasis. "Generosity is a virtue, friend. Astra forgives so let's put this mess behind us for a moment."

Jane sized Tytus from his Mask to his toes with a couple coy flicks of her eyes. Said with a grin, "Name's Jane. Just Jane."

Provided the Scaled King assented, Jane would follow the Madam to their designated room for privacy. And talk. And whatever else came after that.

Tytus Amladeris Tir'Coatl Nathanael McCallister Aivrid
 
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Jane would see Tytus to be dressed head-to-toe in some sort of garment and chainmail. Note a bit of smooth skin showed. That was, not until he removed his spiked gauntlets as well to reveal fair skin on his calloused hands.

The mask remained as Tytus handed his sword, a knife, and the gauntlets to the Madam. None of Tytus’s reactions via his face were shown to Jane or Tir’Coatl.

Tytus told Jane, “I’m Tytus. And just a room, Madam.

Unless Tir’Coatl broke the act, the Madam would oblige and guide the three to a private room on the ground level. The room sported several cushions with a large, soft bed in the middle that sat low to the ground.



Celestia would find herself transported to a strange new city. The portal stone she traveled to sat in the middle of a town square. A floating temple sat above. The skyline of the city sported even more structures suspended in the air.

However unlike when the first few foreigners arrived, the town square’s activity had died down considerably. Rather than civilians moving around to the market or their jobs, only soldiers would greet Celestia. Now that foreigners were appearing at the Portal Stone, the city sought to secure it.

Guards stood at all the main roads from to the town square.

One soldier stepped toward Celestia and ordered, “Drop your weapon! If you cooperate, we can guarantee your safety!”

Celestia would be the first tourist to the city that could fly above the soldiers barricading the roads. In the distance, she would be able to see a pillar of fire rising into the air with a massive palace in the distance beyond it.
 

Celestia

Healer
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Celestia stepped out into what appeared to be the middle of a town. She glanced around to take in sight of it, looking up at the skies that were the clear opposite from where she left. She felt uneasy as she looked around, having no clue about where she was or how far she traveled. Celestia looked back at the portal stone - would she even know how to find her way back?

The Avariel was taken by surprise when armored men rushed towards her and demanded that she drop her weapons. Celestia’s eyes widened in surprise, and she suddenly looked flustered.

“I...but…” She began to reach for her weapons to drop just to keep peace as she had been taught. However, she paused for a moment then, tightening her grip on the spear in her hand. Celestia stopped what she was doing and looked the soldier before her in the eye. This was bigger than her. This was bigger than all her little lessons in Thyasari. This was bigger than what the Elders believed. This was a matter of life and complete annihilation.

“No.”

Her jaw tightened before she spoke again,Arethil is in danger. There is a beast… a dragon larger than mountains, large enough to eclipse the sun, dangerous enough to swallow the world, wise enough to overcome petty attempts to destroy it. That dragon is running unchecked,” She took steps towards the soldier as she spoke, “I have come here to learn how to slay the beast before we all die and you will not stop me,” She showed him the spear, “Do your job by warning your people and make your people safe.”

She didn’t give him the chance to respond or process what she had said. With a large push of her wings and a blast of air that would topple the men back, she took to the air. Celestia moved swiftly through the sky, a mere blur to most that would gaze up to look. She made her way over directly to the palace in the distance. With luck, it would provide some answers.

Kara Orin
 

Nathanael McCallister

Werewolf Monster Hunter
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Nate doesnt sat anything off the bat about the ship visiting what sounded like their home continent.
He simply watches the game. He spins a coin on his pointer finger. And tilts his head as some of Tytus' men left the establishment without Tytus and they went down the street. He would walk up and lean outside of the door listening in on the conversation. Jane offering such a thing to someone else? Interesting.

Nate smiles, it seemed to be the two of them and Tytus, nothing he felt he needed to worry about. Jane was a grown woman and could take care of herself after all. And from the sounds of it, it seemed like Tytus now only wanted to talk.

The hunter was now a bit more relaxed and looks around, he wasn't one for group entertainment in that manor. Often working with Jane and one other person for a job. So he figured he'd let them do their own thing, and it might also be better if he wasn't there since Aivrid did mention his "disease" to Tytus.

The hunt making up his mind goes to find out about that ship, keeping an eye out for the guards but not really making any real effort in concealing himself unless he felt he needed to.
 

Szesh

The Silver Flame
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[Continued from The Great Ones Beneath - Main Event]

At once they were in a new place altogether. A town square, with bright, clean buildings. The ringing in his ears persisted. No… not ringing… horns? He looked up, and saw an enormous pillar of light pierce the sky, surrounded by a swirling whirlwind of fire. It was… not what he had been hoping for.

Where were they?

There were people here, but they were armed. Szesh had appeared in the square kneeling, with Zeri still in his arms. He had to hope that they were not hostile, had to trust that he had not been steered wrong.

He said the only word he could think of. ”Help.”


 

Jane

The Sanguine Penitent
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Just a room. Eh, so the Masked Man was a little shy. That was okay. Maybe it was Astra working in mysterious ways, nudging her away from using certain unconventional tactics and into more orthodox ones. Maybe it was Tychan--talk was his domain after all, and it was solely talk that Tytus was ostensibly interested in.

Well. Praise be, anyway. A fight was averted (there could have been so much blood...) and perhaps an amiable resolution would be reached. If it wasn't one of her Favored Enemies, Astra frowned on Jane traipsing about lopping off heads and slicing necks. Not unless she or someone else was threatened. Which, yes, happened, but Tytus was up for some parley now...

...and if the situation changed the Scaled King still had his teeth and claws and blood magic and Jane could give him a nice shiny Blessing and smear some of the gory aftermath of his work on her face once it was done. Astra would understand. Not that last bit--that was going earn her some floggings--but the first part.

So Jane went along with the Madam as she led the curious assortment of the three to the room, sans hot bath (so disappointing), and left them to their privacy. Jane went to the large bed and sat down with a sigh and spread her hands out behind her to lean back slightly, taking the weight off her feet and relaxing for a moment after that horrendous sprint through the lengths of the city's alleyways.

To Tytus she said, "How much free time do you have, sailor?"

Sailor. A little term of endearment from her.

Tytus Amladeris Tir'Coatl Nathanael McCallister Aivrid Celestia Szesh
 

Aivrid

...and a dozen other titles
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Of course he could not expect things to go as planned. Fire blazed. Priestess cut herself. The storm grew in a different way.

While he could not hear her words he could understand her sentiment. In truth he was impressed by how readily the servants of the Holy Elder Dragon were willing to die to destroy his enemies. He would need to instill something similar in his own servants.

He raised his hand and fired off a bolt of magical energy towards the priestess; the purple projectile shot through the storm in an attempt to end her life -- and thus her spell -- quicker than she had intended. No matter the effect, Aivrid gathered the remaining energy in the air in the palm of his hand. The fire had not truly been expended. That would pay the cost elsewhere.

He advanced to the edge of the field of silence and placed his free hand on the ground. The street around him flattened and shifted, forming a magic circle with the remaining energy. While he preferred to write such things with his own claws, Aivrid knew he did not have much time; in the distance the horns blew and the priests gathered. His circle complete, he waited at its center for new opponents to present themselves. Waiting benefited him, at least for now. Too long and the gathered clergy might become troublesome.

And so he waited.
 
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Not much,” Tytus replied to Jane with a dry tone.

Tytus remained standing near the door. His arms relaxed idly with one hand folded over the other. His face kept bouncing back and forth between Jane and Tir’Coatl.

Going back to what Jane and others aid at the Portal Stone, Tytus asked, “Is it true? You’re not from the Southern Cities? Some other place, this Falwood?



For now, Nate would not see any guards returning, for now. The men by the brothel continued to gamble away their money.

Rumors of the Neha ship were common in the red light district – that it was the most massive ship people had ever seen, that the crew seemed strange, and more.

It would not take a while for Nate to learn that the city’s port was outside the city walls to the west. The journey to the port would definitely make it impossible for him to easily come back to assist Jane and Tir’Coatl if they ran into trouble. It would be simple to leave, but the city checked those that returned through the city gates. That was assuming that guards at the city gates were not looking for the foreigners that appeared earlier.



Szesh and Zeri would be surrounded by guards and soldiers. The roads were blocked. Fire could be seen in the distance.

“Another flier!” one soldier yelled at the sight of Szesh.

Several soldiers approached with weapons drawn. They looked upon Szesh with a hostile fire in their eyes. His Draconian appearance was too similar to the Lizardfolk that plagued Thagretis’s countryside.

Yet as soon as Szesh spoke, they stopped. Shock appeared on their faces. Lizardfolk could barely talk, much less ask for help. Thagretis citizens thought all they cared about was food.

Seeing the Szesh held a bruised half-orc and did not eat her, they assumed either Szesh was not a Lizardfolk or that foreign Lizardfolk were just different. The injuries on Szesh became more apparent.

“You speak?” the captain of the soldiers asked.

However as they drew closer, the bruises became more recognizable.

“The plague…” one soldier whispered.

Fortunately for Szesh and Zeri though, the city had an interest in learning from these foreigners that kept materializing in the middle of the city. The captain approached without fear. He was a devout believer.

“Where’re you from?” the captain asked, “Who’s your god there?”



Celestia would pass near the chaos caused by Aivrid. If she continued on to the palace, she would eventually reach the massive Thykla Palace. It seemed as if a highly decorated fortress – walls so steep that if Celestia did not have wings she would have no hope of seeing the higher levels or roof. Gold trimmings adorned the palace.

Dragon statues could be seen all over the palace. Compared to the actual Drakormir, there was an artistic license to His exact image as depicted in Thagretis.

Windows and balconies could be reached via air, if Celestia opted to avoid the front door. However, there were soldiers stationed that would spot the woman and man the palace’s ballista to fire upon her if she got too close.



Meanwhile, Airvrid chose to stay and continued to fight.

The scene was merely a street, not a crossway. Therefore, there were only two main paths for the road. Forward, to the palace and now dead High Priestess. Or back, to the Portal Stone.

From the Portal Stone, a mass of soldiers and priests appeared. Similar to the last group. Soldiers with weapons in hand; priests with staves in hand. They left the ceremonial incense and bells behind. This was now a proper garrison.

From the Palace, another band approached. The soldiers appeared gaudier in appearance. Likely elites. Same as the priests. A man stood in the middle of this group – leading everyone. His attire was the most opulent of everyone’s. A robe with intricate decorations. Plate armor with gold trimmings. A silver mask. A tall miter sat upon his head.

An order was given immediately given upon sight of Aivrid. The bannermen from the Palace soldiers gave a signal. The priests channeled magic. Sigils appeared.

The armored priest said this:

And He declared; let magic cease its course.

The gathered priests casted only one spell: dispel magic. It would attempt to remove stop any magical effects around Aivrid.

Aivrid Celestia Szesh Zeri Rekani Jane Nathanael McCallister Tir'Coatl
 

Nathanael McCallister

Werewolf Monster Hunter
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“Well atleast I got an inkling of a possible route out of this place.” Nate mumbles to himself and heads back to the brothel.

Whenever he gets there simply heads on in and puts his weapon on the table. A feat in itself really, he never lets anyone have his sword. “I’m just looking for some company here.” He tells the Madam with a smile, “Nothing too crazy, just a good conversation starter.” He puts a few coins on the table also.

He just wanted someone else to talk to rather then the boring game and gossip outside of the brothel, and this was less in the open also.
 

Zeri Rekani

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Portal Stones were frightening to use.

And what was more frightening still was where Szesh and Zeri ended up. She had only ever used the Taagi Baara and Spine Portal Stones, so only truly knew what the environs around those two looked like. She knew that the Belgrath Portal Stone was actually inside the city and by her understanding this was the only one where this was so.

Yet here they were. Standing beside a Stone in the heart of a city the like of which was on the same grand scale of awe as the emergence of the Black Dragon Neha--it was the first city beside Bhathairk that Zeri had ever visited, and her mind could scarcely comprehend the sheer immensity of difference between the two. Her imagination when told stories of Arethil's other major cities--Alliria and Elbion and Vel Anir and Annuakat and others--was proven now ill-equipped for the task, lacking the raw creativity to ascribe to them the majesty that was befitting. (Was that...building floating?? Were the Spirits of Air helping with that?)

It was not all majesty, however. In the distance there was an incredible fire and brilliant lights, and around Szesh and her a legion of armored humans had them immediately surrounded. Zeri instinctively drew back in what limited manner she could, fearfully shying from the soldiers and pressing closer to Szesh as he carried her. Her small fists trying to hide under her chin.

Another flier!

You speak?

The plague...


The words of the first two barely registered in her new fright, but the last. The plague. Zeri caught on to that, yet it did little more than leave her confused. What did he mean by the plague? The bruises? They were just bruises from her falls.

Then a man in better crafted armor stepped forward and asked his questions. Zeri looked to him with her right eye, her left still closed by the now crusted curtain of blood from the gash on her forehead.

"B-Bhathairk," she said, simply compelled to answer by the captain's projection of authority. "There's no...there's the Spirits. The-the Spirits which pervade everything!"

And almost immediately thereafter, her eye narrowed anxiously as if bracing for an impact and she said, "Please...don't..."

Tytus Amladeris Szesh Aivrid Celestia Tir'Coatl Nathanael McCallister
 

Aivrid

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The dispel hit him. In half a second the four blocks around him were flattened by the rapid transformation of Aivrid back into his true form. His senses and being returned, Aivrid was quick to break the forces opposing him. His enormous barbed tail swept the street behind him of the priests and soldiers, while a few beats of his enormous wings was an attempt to force the more elite warriors and casters away from him.

"Your Holy Elder Dragon will not be enough to protect you. Apologies, lovac of your great god -- but today, I must bend the rules of the xorvintaal." His eyes focused on what he assumed to be the Archprophet. His magical sight in his true form was natural; no spells or other tools required. He saw that his opponent here was strong but still he would not be enough to stop Aivrid.

He raised his claws and drew in the air once more, then pushed the circular rune forward, where it floated above the Archprophet and the clergy.

"Thrik arcaniss."

The rune disappeared, the cost was paid; this battle may be costly but he was not foolish enough to avoid the payment. Aivrid created an antimagic field large enough to envelop the Archprophet and his entourage. Moments later Aivrid brought his great maw to bear and let loose a torrent of purple flames.