The Great Ones The Great Ones Beneath

  • The Veil Falls

    Three times a year Lessat, the largest of Arethil's two moons, eclipses the sun. This time the event falls on Hallow's Eve. All across the world spirits start to appear, reliving their gruesome ends. They cannot be interacted with.

    Join us for this year's Halloween event. More information coming soon!

Intro Post New

Kara Orin

Staff
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622
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Tonight, the planets and moons align for the first time in centuries.

Astronomists knew this event approached since decades before. For thousands of years, intelligent beings gazed up at the stars and pondered their movements. One educated in cosmology knew these celestial objects always moved in predictable ways. Strange ways sometimes, but consistently predictable.

A trio of astronomers sat at their camp within the Forbidden City. They paid hefty sums to maps and wards to allow them to travel this far into this hostile land just for this moment. Before them sat the Moondial – a mysterious timepiece that only accurately tells time during the full moon of Lessat. No scholar knew with certainty the purpose of this stone construction. The towers of the Serpent’s Teeth stretched on beyond the Moondial.

“It’s almost time,” one of the astronomers said as Arethil’s brightly lit moons, Lessat and Pneria, aligned. The Blood stars could also be seen this night straightening out into a line with the moons.

The shadow of the Moondial soon approached the centerpoint. And once it got there…




Kara leaned on the handrail of a balcony looking up into the night sky. Several students have heard of rumors of the upcoming alignment and gazed up from different parts of the College.

When the moons, planets, and Blood stars finally aligned in the night sky, there were many ooh’s and aah’s among the stargazers. Kara silently watched the cosmic event. As the minutes passed, the wonder of the event faded from some students.

Yet after some time had passed, a terrifyingly loud noise rang out…


Glass windows shook almost as if a small earthquake occurred. Citizens throughout the city woke from the noise.

And this same explosive noise ripped through cities throughout Arethil. First through Amol-Kalit, then Vel Anir, and Fal’Addas. Even Alliria and Cerak At’Thul felt something hours later. Several areas heard an echo follow up some time afterward.

In the time after this boom, a dark cloud slowly rose from the west to block out the stars. With the light from the moons, it was clear this came from the direction of the Forbidden City…




In time, Bhathairk awoke to the rumbling of an apparent earthquake. Some of the less sturdy buildings crumbled from the brief few seconds of quaking. To many orcs, this was the only time they experienced such a thing. The Spine was much more likely to have earthquakes than this part of Epressa.

Eventually, the ground ceased to shake. Yet within the Undercity of Bhathairk, rumbling continued to ring out out from the dark depths.

Something approaches the city from beneath.




Within a city that would rival many others in apparent wealth, a stone sat in the center of a busy square. Whereas it was night in western Liadain, the morning sun already greeted this city.

Suddenly, this stone began to glow in a way not seen for untold ages.

Another Portal Stone activated. And those that frequently used them elsewhere on Arethil could tell a new one had manifested…

OOC:
TLDR: There's a big, almost volcanic-like explosion somewhere in the direction of the Forbidden City. Something rumbles beneath Bhathairk. And a new city has its portal stone activating.


See the OOC Thread
 

Szesh

The Silver Flame
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The tremors shook Szesh from his sleep, and he sat bolt upright on the dirt floor. The lone orc he shared the room with also sat up suddenly, yelling curses in a language Szesh had yet to learn.

He had been here only a month, but he found it to be the most welcoming city he had been to yet, and he wondered why he had not come sooner. The orcs respected his strength, and it did not take long for him to find a place in a small security company. It wasn’t terribly exciting, but frankly he had had enough excitement in his recent life.

It seemed Arethil had other plans for him, however.

He stepped outside alongside the citizens of the city to witness the celestial alignment. He’d heard whisperings of it before but hadn’t paid it much mind. What truly terrified him as he stared at the sky now were the Blood Stars.

In Draconian mythology, these were the most significant of heavenly bodies. They were the eyes of Draco, the First, through which he observed the mortal realms. The scar of exile carved into Szesh’s back always burnt most fiercely when under their gaze, and now it seared as bright and hot as the day it had been cut. The eyes had never appeared in this way before. What did it mean?

The hours following were filled with turmoil. Szesh was probably more needed at the company now than ever before, but he had more pressing matters to attend to. As night turned to daylight, news spread quickly of a new portal stone coming alive. The shamans had felt it, and Szesh had no reason to question them.

He knew he must go. Draco had no kindness to give to exiles, but still he felt it call to him. He would have left hours ago, but the persistent rumbling beneath the city troubled him. Perhaps Draco had plans for him here, as well.
 

Zeri Rekani

Novice
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Zeri had risen before the dawn. Gotten dressed: moccasins and loin cloth and halter top and bracers. Her Ma and Pa were still sleeping, as were her two older brothers. She stepped out of her home and into the pre-dawn dark of Bhathairk as the rising crescent of blue began to push away the black and stars of night and this so low to the horizon that it could not be seen yet above the spanning enclosure of Bhathairk's structures.

And Zeri went for a run. Ahh, and it felt wonderful! She had come back to Bhathairk after a quest into the Spine and an outing on the Great Hunt of Luuruk-Hur, but since then she had not gone out of the gates much. Some more hunting trips with her Pa, spear-fishing with her Ma, but not much else. Even though they had made an allowance for her to go on that quest into the Spine on behalf of the Circle of Shamans, both Ma and Pa--completely reversing their earlier stances--had grown far more worried for her. Far more...clinging? Zeri thought it to be so. And she knew that it came from a place of love: Ma and Pa were obviously worried about her doing things on her own, but Zeri also suspected that they didn't want to let her go. Her elder sister had already gone out traveling on her own, and Ma and Pa--a touch selfishly, perhaps--didn't want to lose Zeri as well to the life of adventure.

But she yearned to be roaming free! And having been cooped up in Bhathairk for some time now, she found the outlet of running every day to channel and release that vigorous energy. Some of the tribesorc guardsmen were alarmed when she first started doing it, so early of hour that she did, nearly all of them thinking that there was some kind of trouble. But in time they got used to it. Zeri smiled and waved to the guardsmen every morning too as she went jogging by--some of them even waved and smiled back.

Sunrise had come, and long, spidery shadows were cast along the ground where the very top of the sun peeked over the rooftops of the huts and homes and shops and walls of Bhathairk.

And Zeri started to jog back in the direction of home. A light sweat worked up, and it along with the cool dawn air was comfortable enough. Relaxing, in a way, despite the physical exertion.

Because today was the day she had thought to surreptitiously leave home. To set off on her own. Against the wishes of Ma and Pa.

* * * * *​

But on her way home everything would change: the very earth itself began to shake, as if Arethil was being torn apart and the center of this cracking was beneath Zeri's feet.

She stumbled and gave out a yelp of surprise. Other tribesorcs around her on the streets at the time were all likewise surprised, glancing about with looks of wild alertness or steady apprehension or superstitious fear. A home near Zeri--quite literally right next to her--even collapsed in on itself! The moment of quaking seemed to last forever, so strange and unprecedented as it was, but in reality it had only been less than a minute.

Zeri stayed to help the ad hoc group of orcs in digging through the rubble to rescue those inside the ruined home--a family of tribeshumans, integrated members of the tribe of Bhathairk. Hugs and tears were shared among the family and with some of the rescuing group and Zeri herself.

Yet it wasn't over. At first Zeri thought that the Spirits of Earth--those of dirt and rock and plants and other such things--had a wild whim, similar to the Spirits of Air making a thunderstorm.

But the rumbling that continued unabated beneath her feet, coming from the Bhathairk Undercity, seemed increasingly to Zeri to be anything but natural.

So she ran along home. To check on her Ma and Pa and her brothers, yes, of course, to make sure they were all okay and to let them see that she, too, was alright.

But also to grab her spear, her hunting bow, her quiver, and covertly leave.

Bhathairk had already been ravaged by the Amalgamation months ago. And Zeri simply felt compelled to do something, anything, to ensure that a tragedy on the scale of that did not strike her home again. She could not sit idle, as her Ma and Pa would no doubt have her do.

She thought of Jirou, the Lone Warrior. Of the Armored Thirteen. Of Caliane, the Angel of Fire. Heroes she had witnessed with her own eyes.

And she hoped to channel their bravery.

* * * * *​

Zeri stood now by an abandoned shop. A leather tannery, once owned by a family of tribesorcs with whom the Rekani family had been friends. They had all been taken by a sickness many years ago, back before Zeri had her neck tattoo--when she was still a girl. And in all the intervening years nothing had been done with the shop.

But Zeri knew a secret about it. A secret from long ago: there was a cellar in there, and the cellar had a false wall, and through that false wall was a tunnel leading down to the Bhathairk Undercity. All of the other entrances around the city she assumed were being watched by the tribe, by guardsmen and warriors and shamans and others. Here, though, Zeri could get down to the Undercity without anyone judging her, deeming her unworthy, unable, incapable, weak. She could do this! Find whatever was causing this rumbling and either stop it if she could and take that information to the Circle of Shamans or the Council of Elders.

Zeri looked up and down the street the abandoned shop was on. Many orcs had come out from their homes, for fear of another quake bringing their very own roofs down on their heads. She didn't particularly want any tribesorcs to see her entering here, but...the longer she stood out on the street, looking this way and that, wouldn't that arouse curiosity too?

Go. Just go. No wait! Wait! N-Not yet. Hold on. Now! No. Not a good time. You can't stay here forever! What are they going to do, run and tell Ma and Pa? And then what, they come get you? They won't come get you, all you're doing is standing outside a shop of some old friends. But isn't that weird too? Aaaaahhh, come on, just...why is this the difficult part??

Zeri made a resolution. Count to three. Then go.

"One..." she said out loud.

"Two..."

"Three."
 

Jane

The Sanguine Penitent
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Jane was sleeping her ass off below deck. Armor off and scattered below the rack she slept on along with her weapons, one arm and one leg hanging over the side, her hair absolutely askew, mouth wide open and a trickle of drool that was often the hallmark of a deep and luxurious rest running down her cheek and chin.

Little did she know, the ship she and Nathanael McCallister had taken out to the island in the Cortosi Coast/Akea'oma'o Sea area to deal with those freakish Cowmen had finally made it to port. They both sort of planned on heading elsewhere, using a Portal Stone to do so quickly. It so happened that the closest Stone was the Falwood Stone, the one between Vel Anir and Fal'Addas and just about on the shore of the Cortosi waters (ah, what a familiar coastline).

The sun had set hours ago and--prior to that--Jane had whipped the hell out of herself. Astra-approved floggings in secret, of course. Well, mostly in secret. There was a potato-peeler down in the storeroom beside the galley who was awfully surprised when Jane came in and stripped to expose her back and with only a wink and nary a word turned and proceeded to flagellate herself in his presence. Penance was rough--Astra knew that. Nykios sure as hell knew that.

And it was also exhausting. Hence, dead to the world sleep. Her back might have healed up in the intervening time, but it didn't come with a rejuvenation of her energy, oh no.

So she slept, even as the ship was moored in Elyr-Ideth--the mostly elven (and partly human, thanks in part to the efforts of Vel Anir) port town in the inlet closest to the portal stone. Even as the sailors started to unload their hauled goods and the few other passengers disembarked.

Jane would sleep until either Nate or some surly sailor came to wake her ass up.
 

Tenrof

A Shadow out of Time
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A soft sigh, as otherworldly energy stirs and roils.

He never should have invested too much. Now he would reap the fruit of his labors upon this earth, and with the rest of those he had chosen... occupied, he would have to send for one, final agent.

In the deserts of Amol Kalit, nearing the edge of the Forbidden City, the Shadow drew from his side, a lantern. From its glowing white center he drew forth a mote of light.

A Bane of Dreams...

A Scale of Ebony...

A Heart of Void...


He intoned in a whisper.

"The Purest of Souls..."

And did he now let fall a drop of this silvery ichor upon the desert sands and from it did spring forth a youngling spirit. A fledgling, yes, but perhaps with aid, it would become one to stand against this coming darkness, if only a little.

"Go forth, young Kouri. Be a beacon to those entrapped in the dark."
 

Nathanael McCallister

Werewolf Monster Hunter
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Ahhh shore! LAND! SOLID EARTH! Something that Nate had missed during their sea voyage to the Falwood/Vel'Anir port town of Elyr-Ideth. His stomach was not too happy with him for some of the journey but eventually, it had settled down and actually let him be able to eat something other than broth. Which was a welcome thing indeed.

They had been on this ship since a little bit after the cowman-thing. Something which he was more than happy to get away from, far, far away from. That stench was something he was not in a hurry to remember in a hurry or in his lifetime again!

Nate lets out a sigh of relief at the sight of the port and pier as they wrangled their way into it. The hunter chuckles and heads down below deck to wake up sleeping beauty. He had no idea how long she had stayed up last night since he was above deck for most of the journey. But she deserved the name today as he quietly walks up to Jane and shakes her shoulder.

"Wake up sleeping beauty." He grumbles and waited for Jane to wake up, as he still shook her shoulder, "We made it to the port." The hunter looks bored, "Let's get off this dead tree and finally get some work done before I see if one of these guys is a monster after all."

Jane
 

Ezra Archiva

Summoner of Elbion
Elbion College
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The courtyard of the College was filled with murmuring crowds of students, eyes wandering the night sky. Stars twinkled and dimmed as clouds drifted past them, blissfully unaware of the historic event that would come to pass shortly. Ezra leaned against a tree, sat atop a simple picnic blanket with a notebook in his hands, and his gaze set at that wondrous night sky.

After all, the alignment of the celestial bodies was not a common occurrence. To have the chance to see one, when another would surely not come for another thousand years, was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. The crowd held its breath as the bodies aligned, a fantastical display of stellar movements, and released a collective ooh and aah at the sight.

Before the moment passed, Ezra got to work. He quickly scrawled on the book before him, tracing and sketching the mesmerizing skyscape he saw above—eyes darting from the page and the stars. A few of his colleagues crawled over from the own groups to idly watch his drawing, adding the occasional pointer or tip. He responded in kind, nodding along as he filled the air with idle chatter. The night was serene. It was calm, as students slowly drifted back to their dorms while others stayed to converse with friends. The Night was serene.

As the noise rang out, screams accompanied it as windows shattered and the ground shook. It passed over them like a wave, deafening and volatile in its sweeping pulse. What was meant to be a curved, graceful line of ink turned into a harsh dash of black against the white page as the sound rocked Ezra.

The conjurer tried to stand amongst the crowd, the sound seemingly moving away. He called out, "Is everyone okay?", his voice boosted with a subtle touch of thaumaturgy. A murmur of agreement and acknowledgment ran through the crowd.

It left one last question as the mage set his gaze towards a blackened sky, towards the Forbidden City.

What was that?
 

White Swallow

The White Swallow of Narra
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The Sayyiduna financed his exploits in sometimes questionable ways. One lesser one, however, was offering arrangements and parties of his armies to various other people who needed protection while travelling the sands and had the coin for such.

Surely, travel to the moondial, in the middle of one of the most heinously dangerous places had its own requirements of protection for the astronomers. And so, the party of The White Swallow and Zakarriya accompanied them.
Whatever happened along the way, mattered little, for the two warbands now stood a good distance from the astronomers, their eyes peering up at the sky as the astral objects slowly began to overlap.

In some ways, it was indeed beautiful, at the same time, it was also quite harrowing.
The White Swallow was a little man compared to Zakariyya, to Azrana, to his Sayyiduna.
But one truly felt the weight of the whole universe, the loneliness of the desert, the vast limitless reaches of the unknown far up above. How tiny each person truly was, whether a leper or king.
Did the celestial objects stare back at them? In them within and onto Arethil?

The world was terrifying.
 
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Jane

The Sanguine Penitent
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Jane stirred. Groaned, when Nate shook her shoulder. Mumbled something utterly incomprehensible, but likely in the realm of wanting "five more minutes." But when Nate kept talking, saying that they had made it to port, she turned her head and opened one eye and then the other and looked up at him.

"Ughhh...I thought it was going to take longer than this. These guys can't sail for shit."

Slowly, in the manner of someone whose willpower only just rose above the whispering temptations of a warm bed, Jane swung her other leg over the edge of the rack and sat hunched. She straightened out her arming dress some. Arming dress--less of a proper dress, more of an arming doublet with a skirt, despite however fancy it might look.

...before I see if one of these guys is a monster after all.

"What're you gonna do," Jane said groggily, her words slightly slurred by the heavy weight of waking up in the middle of deep sleep, "sniff 'em? Heh, heh. Sniff 'em. Ahhhh...Nate, don't ever change."

She bent over while still sat on the rack and pulled out the pieces of her armor to be more easily accessible. She stood, stretched and yawned, and said, "Hey. Nate. Can you help me put these on? It's a pain in the ass to do it myself."

Not even five minutes awake, and already she had a flogging added to the tally for that profanity. Coulda been sleeping for those five minutes if these sailors were as bad as she thought they were. Why'd they have to actually be competent?

Ah well. Maybe they could get some more rest in Elyr-Ideth, or after they went through the Portal Stone to wherever it was Nate wanted to go; Jane forgot and her sleep-addled mind wasn't allowing her to remember just yet. It was probably going to be after, wasn't it? Nate never stopped. He was just that kind of man.

Hell of a commitment. Made her want to do a little better. How about that?

Nathanael McCallister
 

Gerra

The Emperor
The Empire
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601
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Atop the great palace ziggurat of Amol-Kalit, in the open-air plateau, the festivities that had been cacophonous before now stood in complete silence. Dancers ceased their movements. Musicians let their instruments die. Goblets of wine half-raised to lips hung, arrested mid-motion, as all looked in awe in the direction of the noise that had rolled through the land like an earthquake.

Above them, the twins moons had aligned and bathed the stars in blood.

Archlector Snaaib stood at the edge of the balcony, robed in white, his hands hidden within his sleeves. He looked over as the god-emperor approached.

"Gerra... an eruption?"

The half-giant's eyes burned like smoldering embers as he stared off into the night, in the direction of the Forbidden City across the Gulf of Annuk.

"That was no volcano."

He turned and in a voice so deep and loud that all could feel it in their guts he rumbled, "Make preparations. Summon my captains. We will investigate the source."

* * *

An hour later, the god-emperor sat in the barge as they made the short trip across the width of the Baal-Duru. Golden chain mail glittered beneath his black tunic. Gauntleted hands clenched and unclenched around the haft of Annuk's Scepter, which sat upon his lap, its flanged head glowing faintly with a soft, red light.

Immortals surrounded him, masked and silent.

Forty barges made their way across the river, brimming with horses and men and women in armor.

Whatever had occurred, the Empire would be prepared to meet it in force.
 

Nathanael McCallister

Werewolf Monster Hunter
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"Sniff 'em? Heh, heh. Sniff 'em. Ahhhh...Nate, don't ever change.
Nate chuckled, “Yes Im gonna run around the whole bloody ship and sniff every single one of these scurvy ridden people. Sounds like a good plan.” He shakes his head, they smelt anyways.

"Hey. Nate. Can you help me put these on? It's a pain in the ass to do it myself."
The hunter nods his head and helps Jane put on her armor, he definitely agreed that armor was a pain in the ass to put on by yourself. But maybe if they got it modified so it was not such an ass to put on then maybe both of them getting ready might be quicker. Even though Nate didn’t really take his armor off in the field for safety reasons.

After a few moments they managed to get Jane’s armor on her, “You can sleep when we get to a proper inn with proper bedding and less rats. Might actually be better for you also.” He taps Jane’s armor with his knuckles and heads upstairs whenever Jane was finally in her feet and he hops off the side of the ship onto the pier and stretches.

“Need anything before we head to the portal stone?” He’d ask Jane just making sure, Nate had a huge hunk of what he needed. He sort of stored provisions out of preparation for anything really. But he had no idea if Jane would need anything. But one thing was certain, the land left weird after being in a ship for so long.

Jane
 
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Ashuanar

Vizier of the Imperial Army
The Empire
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146
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One such barge, adjacent to the god-emperor's, carried Ashuanar. At the forefront of the vessel did he stand, his face covered, his eyes peering out across the river as they made their way. In his right hand he held his spear, stood straight up alongside him, and his other hung loosely at his side.

And from the armband he wore, from the spirits of those creatures bound to it, he felt a trembling. But not one of fear, or dismay - but excitement. As though they perceived something that he could not.

It troubled him.

Behind him, many of his Sipahi warriors, dressed like he and set atop horses with spears and bows at the ready. Their composure hinted at their mettle - faithful and emboldened by the presence of their god.

He turned his head one way, viewing the Emperor's progress. He turned his head the other, seeing his other neighbour's as well. And all seemed in order for them to make way without hindrance, and get to the bottom of this disturbance in short order.

As for him, stood on his feet with no steed to show - he would choose a different one when the time came, one far too large to be carried in such a way.
 

Kiia Sidra

High Priestess
The Empire
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Kiia stood on a tall spire within Annuakat. She, and a small group of her newest followers, had been observing the alignment as it floated across the sky, above the festivities of the larger gathering below. Incense burned heavy, and songs of Abtatu and the heavens rang out into the warm night. At the moment of parallelity, Kiia raised her arms.

“Blessings upo--”

She was thrown to the ground by a terrible shudder, and a cacophonous boom deafened her. Clay pots smashed to the ground and people, once singing, screamed it horror. By the time Kiia regained her senses, she could see the dark clouds rising to the West, and she knew immediately where it must have come from.

The people called to her for answers. Why have the gods done this? What has Abtatu brought to us? Are we safe? Are we doomed?

She did not answer, instead standing slowly, her eyes on the celestial alignment and he mind thinking a thousand thoughts at once. For the first time in anyone’s memory, she shook. Her hands and knees quivered and her lip was unsteady.

She did not know what had happened, but she had some theories, and every one of them terrified her.

~*~​

She stood now in white silk adorned with gold. She wore a thick necklace, ornaments in her ears, a shining belt, and broader clasps at her shoulders. Whatever they faced across the river would be formidable, and she would be dressed to meet it. Soldiers had their armor, but this was her uniform. Within her mind she repeated prayers beseeched Abtatu, asking for Their protection and guidance.
 

Zier Xya Zythos

Let's Be Honest, My Title Is Dumbass.
Monster Hunters
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"JUST FUCKING PUSH HIM!!"
Zier had planned to stop by a small fight club for a while, then go out and gaze upon the celestial alignment like everyone else, but things didn't go as planned; unbeknown to him, the event was already taking place and he stayed long than intended.

The arena wasn't anything luxurious, but what exactly is a pretty fight pit? although, this one was probably below average. Only a handful of spectators were here for obvious reasons.

He had overstayed because he walked in and issued an open challenge to any person that stepped into the pen with him. The rules were simple: Knock him off his feet and you win. No weapons. He found himself 6 - 0 and he's still going, sustaining a few nasty bruises and scrapes.

His seventh challenger entered the pen and he certainly didn't look like someone that would go down easily, but neither was Zier. A few seconds passed and the ground started to tremor violently, followed by a deafening boom, knocking people off their feet and sending Zier stumbling. Glass was shattering as people started to scream. Amid the chaos, his challenger took the opportunity to give one good shove to the staggering elf, and that was an abrupt end to his winning streak.

When the earth settled down, people were either heading to the betting booth or exiting the place. What the hell??? Scrambling to his feet and running outside, the first thing he saw were the confused faces of people who were also caught off guard the quake. There's one upside to this, Zier was able to see the alignment before it passed. Everything seemed normal... Except for the ominous, dark clouds looming over The Forbidden City.

• • •​

Perhaps the College would be better equip to assuage his mind, because he had A LOT of questions. Does the earth normally quake happen when the celestial alignment rolls around? Why is the sky darkening like that over the forbidden city? WHAT was that noise??? Arriving in the Courtyard, he realised that everyone might be just as perplexed as him. It was the same sight near the fight club, confused murmurs and broken glass.

"Well.. isn't this a lovely night."
 

Jane

The Sanguine Penitent
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114
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Armor on. Sheathed sword on her hip again. Heater shield in her left hand. The cloud of sleep more or less banished from her head. Alright, fine, time to make the best of the day. Night. Yeah, still night.

"Proper bedding. You're singing a sweet song to me, Nate." She arched her back some as they headed toward the stairs to the deck, closing her eyes and curling her lips as she did. "Better for me. I'll say. I like sailing, but I've never liked sleeping on a ship. Any sailor who tells you otherwise is a damn liar."

They emerged onto the deck of the ship, and Jane spared a glance skyward. Hey, look at the moons. That was mildly interesting to look at. In Cerak, there was some vulgar slang for the moons: they were called Big Fucker and Little Fucker. And it seemed tonight they were having themselves a good time in the sky. Probably happened more often than Jane knew. She knew the practical knowledge of finding one's cardinal direction while out at sea by the stars, but everything else was dispensed with.

Jane hopped off of the ship along with Nate and landed on the pier. For the time of night, there were quite a few people in Elyr-Ideth out on the streets. Chatting about something. Chatting and pointing and making grandiose gestures.

Need anything before we head to the portal stone?

She shook her head. "I had a nice meal before I put my head to the pillow. It helped. Full stomach and all." That and the flogging session that came before it. "I can restock my pack once we go through the Portal Stone and settle down in some inn."

She brushed her hair--swatted at it, really--in an effort to try it get it mostly straight and unfrazzled. Good enough. She had no idea how some of her once-fellow Sisters of the Citadel managed long hair with all that sailing, sweating, and bloodletting. Shorter was better.

Another yawn attacked her. Viciously. Forced her mouth wide open and her eyes tightly closed and she brought the back of her gauntleted hand up to cover it far too late. She then had the presence of mind to check and make sure she had her Portal Stone key in the coin pouch of her belt. Opened the pouch and actually fished inside and took it out and held it up and for Nate to see.

She grinned. Said, "Ah ha, look. Didn't lose it--Astra be praised. I'm getting better at this."

And Jane started off with him down the pier.

Nathanael McCallister
 

Tereth Adathar

Hunter of Evil
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Tereth didn't like the desert, but unfortunately there was work here in abundance. So he endured the hot and spent as much time as he could out of the sun.

Of course, the nights weren't much better. Scalding heat was replaced with drops to frigid temperatures, as was the way of the desert. Still, it was preferable to the day in Tereth's mind.

He shook the complaints from his head, deciding that he'd done enough griping already and looked up to the night sky above. It was bright from the moons as they came together and despite being no sort of an astronomer, even he noted how unusual it looked.

And then the ground began to shake. It rumbled with a ferocity that terrified him and a rift opened next to him.

What the...! he leapt to his feet as the small building next to him fell free and plummeted into the fissure. He sprung aside as people in the small town began to scream and flail as the ground continued to shake. Portions of buildings began to drop away and Tereth was flung from his feet and half-crawled, half-scrambled through the sand to the nearest cover.

He didn't know how long it lasted, but when the ground finally ceased its shaking, Tereth's eyes drew toward the horizon as the blackness became even deeper and the stars began to blot out. Something unnatural moved from the far side of the world.
 
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Nathanael McCallister

Werewolf Monster Hunter
Monster Hunters
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122
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"As long as you got food, water and aren't sick or something that's all I care about."

Nate shrugs looking at the moons align, something tugged a bit at him as if he wanted to just go a run. Something else was going on with those moons, something more powerful then he could think of.

"Well, I'll be damned the moons are aligned." He tilts his head while they walked down the pier, father's books may have mentioned something like that from years ago. But as far as he was aware it was only a legend.

He was lost in thought for a moment thinking of the moons.

She then had the presence of mind to check and make sure she had her Portal Stone key in the coin pouch of her belt. Opened the pouch and actually fished inside and took it out and held it up and for Nate to see.

Nate looks at the key, "Don't jinx us Jane, the last thing we want is something that valuable getting into someone other than the two of our hands." The key was nice looking and did fetch a high price. "Though I am glad you did not lose it to the pirate ship or the sea. Otherwise, you would be the one diving for it." He chuckles at the thought of such a thing.

The townsfolk paid them no mind as they walked past them all of them were too busy getting a good look at the moons as they briskly made their way to the portal stone with Nate not saying much as he was obviously worried about the moons to almost walk into the portal stone.

Stopping all of a sudden Nate blinks, "Well that's nice-looking." He sighs and sits on top of the stone, "Let's do this Jane."

Jane walks up, and uses the key in the portal stone and they blink out of the Falwood area, for some place else.

Jane
 
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It was official - Alexios hated the Forbidden City even more than before and he had barely left the fucking thing behind him! Scowling, he searched around himself for the noble scholar he had helped get there before said scholar went down some stairs and went insane.

Sounded like a long story but it really wasn't; the scholar was insane now and his only hope of getting paid was that the scholar's family would be happy to just accept that.

He didn't think they would honestly.

The ground shook and both he and the scholar went tumbling down in the sand. Unfortunately for both the scholar and Alexios' chances of getting paid, the poor man landed badly against an exposed stone.

Alexios stared blankly at dead man for a moment before staring back in the direction of the Forbidden City. It was a good day's walk away from where he was now but it looked so incredibly wrong now. The sands around it had been whipped up and the clouds above lingers low.

He could swear he could feel heat and see lights through the sand but he couldn't say for sure.

"I am never getting paid for this shitshow..."
 

Masaru

The Bright Star
Member
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22
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The heavy scaled lid of a huge sapphire eye snapped open as the echoing explosion sounded throughout the land. It had been a long time since anything had bothered the dragon. The large beast elongated equine neck stretched as the silvery blue scales reflected in the ambient moonlight that penetrated into its mountain home. Large cavernous nostrils flared as it breathed deeply of the night air and for the first time in 500 years the dragon felt fear.

Thunderous steps echoed across the mountains as Masaru, The Bright Star, bounded to the entrance of its lair and launched itself into the night sky. A deft spin in the air and huge leathery wing snapped open and huge muscles pumped carrying the gargantuan creature into the sky. Blood stars stared down from beside the aligned moons that kept their silent vigil over the world.

"Has it been so long already." Masaru thought as wings pumped with increased haste.

The dragon released a deafening roar as it left its territory. An announcement, a warning to lesser beings, now was not the time to hinder the silver mountain dragon. It was the time for fear. And the Forbidden City called.

Gerra
 
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Méchanteau

Unliving Terror of the Seas
Member
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64
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Wrapped in fine linens and anointed with sacred oils, Méchanteau had endured great pains to experience the fickle mortal pleasure of the dream. The challenge was of an esoteric variety, something to do with realigning astral bodies and the irreality that came from it, but as a lich quite fond of worldly matters he had absolutely no interest on the astral dance — such nonsense had more to do with Bel-Ayya anyway. He was also clad in symbols and sigils, the quite typical Tabin-Uric loaded balance that weighed his phylactery as light as a feather was of course the foremost of all. With each flicker of the ash candle the lich felt a soft warm nothing. It didn't gnaw on the insides of his skull like a maggot would, but it flowed sweetly like wine and the kisses of a mother, sensations both that felt more than bygones as his mind cast itself into the past. He would dream.

Time lost its meaning, but so did space. That sensation of warmth sublimated, hitting even deep in the marrow, and yet he could not recall when he had last felt warm or cold. Those were just words to him, and useless ones at that, but the fleshies could go on and on about the stuff to the point of self-parody. The sun could burn red with rage, the winds could blow wild and bitingly, he was dead to them and treated as such. He was in fact dead to the whole world, and thus forced to adapt. Take a role, become the part, lose himself to at last lord over all. But, as much as he sailed and as many as hoarded, the question remained; why was he still around? And it wasn't by Tabin-Ur's grace, although he made for a fine patron, his god simply did not operate so generously — or at all. This curiosity, a bitter insecurity, put quite a bit of a damper on the pirate's usual ease of being. He did not care for it. Hence why he was so hellbent on dreaming, he was hemorrhaging money with each day spent in languid trance.

If he was to waste away in perfect stillness, the comforts of a tomb could placate the boredom somewhat. But again, his consciousness was dimming and space mattered not at all. Would anyone care that he had strolled to the most gilded temple in the Forbidden City and laid in the most jewel-encrusted sarcophagus he could find? Perhaps the mummy whose rest he had disturbed, but the poor sap could do nothing but beat on the lid in a slow steady beat that Méchanteau found strangely soothing.

Then came a loud noise, which he found hard to ignore. A moment later the mummy gave up, slightly bringing down the skeleton from the trance state. Not long after there were the sounds of an amassing army, even a ritual... At very last Méchanteau relented. He would dream the next time the moons decided to whatever it was they did. Holding to his khopesh, and still attired in wildly rich and anachronistic garbs, the oil-soaked skeleton — it was a good thing that lichfire was only spiritual — peeked from the worn slit on the stone. It took a glimpse of the now crumbled and truly dead mummy for Méchanteau to realize he did not feel cold or warm. Just tired.
 
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A city unlike any on Liadain and Epressa greeted Jane and Nate. They would be standing next to a portal stone in the middle of a town square. Instead of the moons, the morning sun greeted them. No end to the streets could be seen. A city wall and massive palace on top of a hill peeked over the rooftops. An “island” with a temple-looking building floated in the air above the town square. Many similar structures could be seen.

Many humans already populated the town square. Most came to start their days – either going to the market or to do other business. Yet the glowing portal stone drew their attention on this day.

None of them had seen this in their lifetimes.

And now two human-looking beings popped into reality next to the stone.

Observers began to talk. Through the cacophony, words in the Common Trade Tongue could be heard. Yet none were in the Elbion, Allirian, Anirian, or any other continental accent. Their attire also did not match anything typical in the major cities.

You,” a voice called out to Jane and Nate.

The man wore some bits of armor and a metal mask obscuring his face. Tytus would be what he was called by. His hand rested on the hilt of a short sword sheathed at his side.

Where’d you come from?!” Tytus asked, “Foreigners to Thagretis?!

Jane Nathanael McCallister
 

Kthell

m͙͚̥e̘̹͜o̸̗͕w̷͇͓
Member
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29
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It had been a long journey, but she could finally see the majestic breadth of the Forbidden City’s ruins on the horizon.​
A feeling swelled in her, filling her gut before worming its way to her chest. Anticipation. Excitement. Happiness? Kthell’s ears flattened beneath her makeshift cloak and her tail slashed the air behind her. You’ve no idea what’s there. Calm yourself. And with that, the feeling inside her dulled to a whisper. But it did not disappear.​
She sat perched on a few stone blocks about a day’s leisurely pace out from the Forbidden City. She was a strange sight, but many people saw strange things this far into the desert and this close to the City. A golden-eyed black cat garbed in a wrapped piece of fabric, carefully draped to shield herself from the devilish sun and warm during the frigid nights. A plain leather collar was clasped about her neck.​
As the sun dipped below the horizon, Kthell watched as the night bloomed. The first star appeared, and something in her ached.​
Soon enough, the beauty of the night sky was on display and she realized that she was late. Lessat and Pneria drew closer and closer.. and aligned. She cursed. As if on cue, a frightening boom cracked through the sky and she felt a heavy shockwave beneath her. Her claws extended, scratching against the stone to keep upright, as she was thrown from her seat. Kthell sprung up after a quick roll in the dune and spat out a mouthful of sand, swearing and scrambling back up to her perch.​
Eyes wide, she watched the Forbidden City. There was validation in her expression, but also something she had not shown in ages.​
It was fear.​
 

Vyx'aria

Drow Queen
Dominion
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146
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Vyx’aria was in….a compromising position when the events began to take place. She was in her chambers in the Underrealm, enjoying the company of one of her man toys after a successful raid on the surface world. It was in the middle of everything that a faint rumble echoed and dust plumed from the walls surrounding her.

“What was that?” The male drow spoke up with concern, glancing up at her.

“Nothing,” Vyx murmured as she planted a hand atop his head and pushed him back down.

That was when a second, much larger, rumble resonated throughout the entirety of the Underrealm, rippling from the direction of the Bhathairk Undercity. It was enough to send a decorative stalagcite from above careening down. Vyx’s keen eyes saw it and she promptly yanked the male drow up above herself, the pointed debris driving directly into his back.

With an annoyed sigh, she shoved the limp body of the male elf off, not giving him a second look as she rolled out of her bed. Sinewy muscles flexed as she stretched before putting on her armor piece by piece. She could hear the commotion outside, and she grabbed her blades as she summoned one of her man servants.

“Clean up the mess,” She pointed to the dead drow on the ground as she finished getting dressed and set out into the halls of the drow city. Within moments, she had sent out a rallying cry to gather her kin to go investigate the phenomenon beneath Bhathairk.

Vyx and her fellow soldiers set out into the tunnels that led towards their destination. The drow would be among the first to come across whatever it was that caused such a disturbance.

The military commander was in a foul mood from having her celebratory moment disturbed.
 
Post 2: Eruption New

Kara Orin

Staff
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622
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For those that approached the Forbidden City

A transformed landscape greeted those that travelled toward the Forbidden City. A tower of black “ash” still reached toward the sky. Within three hundred kilometers east of the Forbidden City, the desert shifted into a mass of jagged hills. The moonlight revealed them to be painted a dirty white color. Volcanic glass littered the landscape and crunched at one’s footstep.

And this scar upon the desert continued well beyond the horizon toward the Forbidden City.

For those already near or within the Forbidden City…

At that fateful moment, the lands east of the Forbidden City erupted.

The sound of the explosion deafened everything else.

Dust and shards of volcanic glass flooded the air and rushed into the city itself. It would hurt to breathe. It would be deadly to breathe.

The ground quaked for some time. The earth seemed as delicate as a singing glass that had just been tapped.

The astronomers backed away from the moondial. The Serpent’s Teeth glowed – unshaken.

And as suddenly as the quakes started, they ceased. The sound of falling rocks and debris remained – for those that could still hear.

They would be greeted by the same scar to the east that those traveling from Amol-Kalit would witness.

 

Zathria At'Arel

Drow Commander
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Zathria was in a dead sleep when the shaking began. She rolled from her bed and grabbed one of the blades next to her bed, landing on her feet and searching for the source of the unpleasant disturbance before realizing it was no conspiracy or attacking force but the world itself rumbling.

She muttered and put a steadying hand against the wall, only barely keeping her feet as another rumble shook the caverns. She slipped her armor on and strapped both sabers to her hips before heading into the cavern. There was no time to lose and she wasn't patient. She was one of the first to arrive at the entrance to the caverns, hearing the cry go out to arms for the rest of the forces.

She glanced back and saw Vyx'aria approaching with the rest of the company and moved to intercept her to give report now that the company was assembled.

Two men were already sent into the tunnel ahead of the company, she said, quickly falling into line with her commander. The two men would serve as first contact, and their bodies could serve as a warning marker if something were wrong. Quakes down here could cause disruptions of toxic gas pockets, awakening of other creatures, or instabilities in the caverns not to mention whatever might have caused the shake. They were all veteran enough to know the dangers of the underrealm and how these things could turn poorly. They'd soon find out what faced them, and Zathria couldn't decide if she was eager or dreading it. If it was large enough to shake the earth... well, her sabers may not be enough.