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Winston Borne

Champion to himself, hero to none, Hazarmaveth's chosen mortal for reasons unclear (wip?)

328 views · last seen in Ulmish Mountains
a character in “Pantheon: Whims of the Gods”, as played by MartinVole

Description

Name: Winston Borne

Race: Halfbreed (Human/Beastman)

Age: 27

Gender: Male

Skills:

He is a survivalist, learning many skills to protect and keep himself alive, like hunting and tracking, trap-making and disarming, effective ways to kill wildlife both natural and supernatural and which parts to eat, and various remedies as well as poisons. He's compensated for his lost arm through using his feet and teeth as compensation. Ultimately, his skills revolve around survival.

Weapons: Knives, hunting axe, caltrops

Powers: Above average hearing and scent, somewhat above average strength, very basic magical skill, unbridled will to live

Notable feats:

Has been before Hazarmaveth 14 times where most mortals only see him once or twice.

Has slain several raiders by luring them through a series of traps, finishing the stragglers himself.

Killed and eaten a few great beasts, including a traveler-killing serpent. He slew it by choking it with a wet cloth rope until its own flames built up and cooked it from the inside.

Strengths: Tough, strong willed if not ungodly levels of stubborn, physically strong, adaptive, skilled in multiple hunting weapons including a crossbow, and a cleverness clearly taught to him by Hazarmaveth.

Weaknesses: Paranoid, short-tempered, crude and disrespectful to most gods, and a compromised balance due to his loss of his right arm as well as a poor right eye.

Goals: To be remembered and become the new "god of death" through the promised hand of Hazarmaveth's first born... who is yet to actually exist.

Personality:

He comes across as aloof, disrespectful, and crude, rarely showing any regard to authority other than that of his own. He is secretive, given to cynicism and snark, seeing a truly noble and selfless act as improbable. Given as he is, an outcast of most society, he has nothing but enmity for most races having reasons of his own to dislike them, including most younger gods whom he views as pampered, petty, and foreign to any real suffering.

He has positive traits, however. He has a strong appreciation for natural beauty, having learned to coexist with it in order to survive. He has bouts of cunning and understanding, and is not big on breaking his word once he's said it. He's a closet romantic and a lover of old tales and music. He is also shown capable of caring for another living thing than himself through his pet, Enyo, a black-on-silver ferret.

So begins...

Winston Borne's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hazarmaveth Character Portrait: Winston Borne

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Somewhere in the eastern section of the forest the halfbreed Winston Borne walks out and away, alone along an old path headed nowhere in particular, just... anywhere. On his shoulder his ferrety companion eats away at a dried piece of meat.

This aimless venture, however, is rudely interrupted. Out in the distance there appears to be an old man in a black robe being accusted by a group of large wild dogs. Winston looks out at it, squints his eyes and tries to move on.

"Strong devour the weak, Enyo, dog-eat-dog and all that," he says, Enyo unresponsively continues eating. "How the world works."

He continues walking, starting to pass by the scene, the man yells for help. Borne grunts and Enyo glances in the man's direction before returning to the food.

"And besides, in this world there ain't no heroes, just fools who stick their neck out only to lose their heads." He says, trying to pick up his pace some, he glances over at Enyo. "Cut it out, don't look at me like that. Ain't my fault, just how it is, y'know."

He stops in his tracks and looks back then rubs his chin.

"Smart girl, live people can pay better than lootin' their corpses," he says, as if responding to Enyo. "Ah, what the hell."

He turns and runs straight in the old man's direction, who is now backed against a tree. The wild dogs notice him, but only after he manages to punt the nearest one, the old man winces at this action. The wild dogs turn and begin to head in the opposite direction only for Borne to grab one by the tail.

"Young man, thank you but that won't be..." The old man says.

"Don't thank me yet, gotta make sure the pack don't regroup later." Winston says pinning the dog underfoot and drawing a knife. "Suspect this is the alpha."

"Borne..." The old man responds, his voice changing. "Must you always be so... excessive?"

The dogs disappear in a black smoke and the old man's form changes to that of Hazarmaveth.

"What..." He looks bewildered and turns around immediately pointing his knife to the god of death who simply stares at him. "What the hell is thi- you... did I..?"

He drops his knife and backs away looking himself over then looks at Enyo with a sigh of relief. Hazarmaveth pulls out a black letter from his "robes" and hands it to Borne. He looks it over before breaking the seal and pulling out the letter. He reads it for a while then suddenly crumples it and tosses it to the ground.

"I ain't playin' no god's games, I ain't no gussied up puppet... plaything!" He yells in a rage at the god, he pecks at his own head. "Don't you even... remember what you said to me the third time? How you hated how mortals were used? You said a god's ordeal was..."

"Was their own and should not burden others. Yes, I remember." Hazarmaveth responds, cutting off Borne. "But they have gone ahead with this plan, and Ulm would only grow more irate with a council of gods pestering them."

"As would I if I had to deal with a bunch of pretentious, self-righteous, egotistical..." Borne fumes, a clear disdain in his voice.

"They are not... eh... but anyways, you are like a son to me, a transient I've taken in and taught, even if it was under inopportune and... unfortunate circumstances." Hazarmaveth interrupts. "I know you, you don't wish suffering on others, the type you've endured and been enduring for all this time. This is your chance to be something, to prove you are more than a halfbreed. That you can make a difference. You will do the right thing, by no other whim but your own."

Borne simply stares at Hazarmaveth grogily during his spiele then proceeds to slowly clap at the air, a gesture that would make more sense had he still had his right arm. He then picks up the letter, stuffs it in his pack and turns around and proceeds on without a word. Then pauses for a moment.

"Do you still remember your promise?" Borne says.

"Yes." Hazarmaveth responds. "But should you really hinge your entire...?"

"Good." Borne responds interrupting the god beginning to head off again.

"I could make your travel easier." Hazarmaveth says. "It is the least I could offer for your troubles."

"No." Borne says. "Think I'll find a place to drink off this sudden ache in my skull. I guess... I'll see you in a week or whatever... or sooner if I die of alcahol poisoning."

They part ways, Hazarmaveth returning to Shalom, certain that his chosen will be ready when the time comes.

"That's right." Borne walks on pulling something from his pocket, a small bottle of black fluid. "By my whim."

The setting changes from wylde-forest to Etheria and the Astral Sea

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Karvana Character Portrait: Entorios Character Portrait: Karvana's Champions/Exalted Character Portrait: Klethi Character Portrait: Ulm Character Portrait: Hazarmaveth Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Vescteseg Character Portrait: Winston Borne

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#, as written by Taunbon
Serena, Herald of the Mother
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Serena loathed Entorios more than most other deities. When he sung, she was compelled, as a mortal, to listen and be enchanted even when she did not wish to be. It was both demeaning and robbed her of what little power she had. It was violating and wrong, robbing away free will as it tried to shove its own hollow, empty 'emotions' there instead. Why the God had decided to sing a pointless tale was beyond here, if the other gods were so foolish as to base this off a story from old then they were equal fools.

Then, to her eternal annoyance, the Godking decided that Entorios' mindless rabbles had sense to them, perhaps his musics stole the freewill and violated the gods just as it did mortals? If so, perhaps they should fashion a muzzle from the adamant when they got their hands on it. If they wanted deniability then an Exalted could not come, Mother would protect them, and their numbers were fairly well known in the mortal realms even if they were, more often than naught, cursed and hissed with loathing by the 'civilized' races like those pathetic elves.

She assumed the God of Corruptions issue with the heroes was more to do with the lack of his share if they should succeed, but Serena didn't much care if a war against the giants 'ended' badly for everyone. With that, it came to an end as they all left one after another after, Ulm, had 'coincidentally' wandered into Vescteseg's realm at such a peculiar time and then Klethi, herself, departed after making some declaration or another, Serena hadn't been fully listening as she had been pondering on how convenient it was for Ulm, the Titan that rarely left his mountain, to move just as they planned on sending some 'heroes' into his realm.

Bowing her head to the Godking, Serena sent a silent prayer to the Mother and, moments later, a dark portal swallowed her up returning her home.

Back within the Obsidian Palace, she let her shoulders fall ever so slightly as her green eyes found her Mother had changed her shape, again. This time, her lower body had become a monstrous spider abdomen and legs, with large insect appendages sprouting from her back, a look she used often.


The Mother
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"Over so soon?" Karvana asked, surprised that the meeting had ended so soon given her fellow deities... natures. Turning her head away from the portal that was showing the final moments of the raid, the Beastmen leader, Shaggroth, having just been slain by the human captain in single combat, "Come here, my herald, tell me what transpired," out of the corner of her eye, she spotted the captain removing the head of Shaggroth to be shown to his leaders as a grizzly trophy, the corner of her lips twitched at the action.

She did so love when they did that. Killed the terrible 'monsters' then desecrated their corpses, paraded their corpses around and spoke about how they were the 'glorious heroes' that slain the monsters while oblivious to their own monstrous actions, but it was always easier to ignore the monster within their own souls by loathing the monsters around them. She would keep an eye on the captain, perhaps he would become one of her children yet.

Focusing her attention on Serena, she watched with a small smile flirting across her lips as her herald sat on the steps and leaned against her leg, the skull on her head being pushed back as she took solace in her comfort. Her six knees bent as one as she leaned down to run her knuckles over Serena's pale cheek, "Speak, my dear."




Tapping her finger against her lips, her eyes were dancing with amusement, "A quest? How amusing," tilting her head to exaggerate her body language, "What to bring to the little party... I wonder?" After a few seconds, Karvana waved her hand, "No matter, I have time to think on it later, let us view this little half-breed morsel, shall we?"

Waving her hand, the 'window' changed to that of a bar showing Winston Borne speaking to Hazarmareth in a tavern. While the 'window' was impossible to see for mortals, Karvana didn't doubt Hazarmareth could not see it if he looked. Her eyes traced the half-breed, taking note of his missing eye and arm, the scars, and his more bestial adornments, "How precious," Karvana said, "What stories I missed due to Hazarmareth keeping him a secret from me. Tsk, tsk."

"He doesn't like the gods," Serena said, her eyes closed uninterested in the 'boy' as she continued to rest against Karvana's leg.

"So it seems," Karvana said as he left after speaking on whatever 'agreement' they had, "But now I am here. With a few pushes and nudges, he will come to me, his mother."

"I wouldn't be so sure," Serena said, "He seems close to Hazarmareth," her tone annoyed at the 'boy' taking attention away from her. Perhaps she should tag along and 'remove' him. Making sure to leave so few pieces not even Hazarmareth could put him back together again.

"He will. They always do," she said, a hint of finality in her voice, "But let us see what else is on? Shall we? Let us watch this demi-god," Karvana said, her voice mocking the word, "that will be leading this little 'quest'."

With a wave of her hand, the window changed once more, this time, to the demi-god sitting in the bar. Hands at her side, Karvana watched the woman, content to see what skills she had, and to determine what to send with their party, perhaps she would even let the little demi-goddess pick?

The setting changes from etheria-and-the-astral-sea to Arkngthan

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Kurn, God of Enlightenment Character Portrait: Klethi Character Portrait: Hazarmaveth Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Winston Borne

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Hazarmaveth just leans back as poor Fenris has his episode, starting to consider withdrawing his statement of sanity, not that he blames him for it. The sound of a Shalom gateway closing is heard and out of the corner of his eye he catches a glimpse of Borne and one of his seekers, the former hunched and mouth agape. It is implied he may have been there for a while.

"What was that?" Borne mutters.

He storms up to Fenris and Hazarmaveth, latter whom looks to his seeker motioning towards the clearly still intoxicated halfbreed. The seeker reacts only by shrugging while holding and petting Enyo.

"Di-did you bribe seeker Tulin with a ferret?" The god of death asks in disbelief. "You weren't supposed to arrive until you were sobe-"

"Yeah, I'm s-sober enough," he says, his speech somewhat slurred and slouching quite a bit, "Sober enough to see... this... t-this..."

He looks Fenris over, scrutinizing him for every detail. He then leans back and his eyes widen into a look of disbelief.

"Eh... elf?" a clear uncertainty in his tone as he gets up into Fenris's face. "You... are elven, right, boy?"

"Yes, he is." Hazarmaveth responds.

Borne glances over at his mentor then back to Fenris and shrugs backing away, Hazarmaveth clearly relieved and a bit surprised he didn't strike poor Fenris. The halfbreed turns towards Lycaon and his daughter Nymeria.

"Oh, would you look at this place and you guys, do any good smiting lately?"

Hazarmaveth pokes Borne in the back of the head with his cane, to which nearly causes him to lose balance and topple into the floor.

"Greetings lord Lycaon, lady Nymeria..." he says with forced elegance, then he looks to Fenris. "I am Winston Borne, the divine joke and apparent cheater of death."

He takes a bow, then raises up with a smirk upon his face.

"Hope you don't take offense but I do have a request should we succeed in this... venture."

The setting changes from arkngthan to Etheria and the Astral Sea

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Kurn, God of Enlightenment Character Portrait: Klethi Character Portrait: Hazarmaveth Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Winston Borne

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The pain that was plaguing the god king's head as he tried to retrain his inner beast was slightly eased by the amusement he had gotten from Fenris's floundering attempts at social graces. He had try hold back laughter as the young elf talked about having sex with Nymeria. He believed he finally understood why Klethi kept the mortal around felt a little sorry for the elf that Nymeria was likely to beat into a pulp if things progressed as they were going.

Nymeria on the other hand didn't find the elf funny at all. Why would this rather average looking lesser being think that he had any chance with a half-goddess like herself. Before she could retort he sneezed all over her outstretch hand.
"Why has father sent a fool like you to accompany me?" the demigoddess said with obvious disgust as she wiped the snot off on her shirt. "And only a fool would mistake you for a demigod. What I meant was that I became a thane of the elven high-king during the years I spent in his court."

Before the princess could continue her verbal assault on Fenris, Hazermaveth and Borne entered the throne room. She was surprised that her second companion lacked an arm and an eye, but she was rather amused by his drunkenness. She wasn't sure how useful the two would be on her quest but at least she'd be entertained. When Borne requested to succeed Nymeria laughed and said. "Of course. What fun would failing our endeavor be?"

Lycaon judged the third hero as he entered into the great hall. Borne appeared to be ragged, but if what he heard was true the man was a survivor and that would be useful. He straitend his posture to some extent and said "My champions you are welcome to any part of Arkngthan. I have arranged rooms for you all in the palace. If you need to find anything ask my daughter. She seems hard on the outside but she's better once you get to know her. Also, mortal with one arm, I can't recall your name but I could give you a new arm if you'd like before your quest."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Kurn, God of Enlightenment Character Portrait: Klethi Character Portrait: Hazarmaveth Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Winston Borne

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Kurn, God of Enlightenment

From the light that Kurn had disappeared into came two balls of light that floated down to the floor near the group of beings. One flashed into Kurn once again, the other landed on his shoulder and became a white snow owl. Kurn smiled and waved at everyone present. "Sorry for my sudden absence, I had to grab my contribution to this little quest. This is Feroun, a wild owl who lives near my temple. He will be a useful addition to this quest, my only question is who will be his guardian while he is away?" He would only let Feroun go on the quest if one of the participants would take care of him.

He decided a little more information on Feroun would be best, and the hoot that Feroun let out seemed to agree with him. "Feroun is a gentle soul like myself, and for some reason understands this language quiet well. He can hunt for himself while on the journey, but I warn you all. If he is harmed because his keeper was not fulfilling their duties my punishment will be swift and unforgiving." He did not seem to be kidding, and he set Feroun down on the floor as he slowly walked into the center of the group and awaited someone to claim him.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Kurn, God of Enlightenment Character Portrait: Klethi Character Portrait: Hazarmaveth Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Winston Borne

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"Winston Borne sire, and though the offer is tempting... a saying goes: 'rather I be with one eye that sees twice as well, than two eyes that are half as good,'" He drops to the floor and almost effortlessly props himself up with his one arm, wobbling some still under the effects of intoxication. "As... you can see, like the one eye that is twice that of two, my left arm has more than compensated for the absent other,"

He then hops back onto his feet, only to lose his balance and fall over backwards.

"I think it means if I was suddenly given two arms the time to readjust would make me less effective."

Upon the arrival of Feroun Enyo squeezes out from the seeker's arms and scurries to her master's shoulder. He looks to her then to Kurn with a shrug and chuckles.

"Well, I myself am spoken for, my buddy over there."

Enyo chatters and begins to wash her face, Borne looks to her as if she had said something.

"Well, I suppose a god's owl could breathe fire, but that would be silly."

Hazarmaveth seeing this quietly writes in the air: "It should go away after being around the others."

Hearing Fenris's meltdown, Borne finds himself broken from his bout of delusion. He looks to him and sighs. He doesn't like elves, not as a race but something more to do with an attitude, an attitude Fenris lacks. Despite his attempts to get aggravated he's growing more sympathetic, and that is kind of aggravating. He looks at the elf scratching his chin and twisting his jaw thinking on what to say.

"So what if he's no demigod, are we to measure worth by a bloodline? By that account I am far less than he." The halfbreed says in response to Nymeria then gestures pointing to his head. "And only a fool weighs somebody by their physical strength alone."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Aeristhatia Character Portrait: Kurn, God of Enlightenment Character Portrait: Klethi Character Portrait: Hazarmaveth Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne

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Bursting through the doors with plenty of unnecessary Flair, Aeristhatia greeted everyone with glee. "Sorry I'm late! My little Mercutio had to look his best..." She gave him an annoyed sideways glance. "But here he is! I introduce to you, Sir Mercutio Benedict Abernathy Potts!" The animal came waddling in, examining the scenery. "I say, what a lovely group of fellows and ladies. I was told I was to be accompanying one of-" Mercutio Paused Mid-sentence as his beady eyes came to rest on Nymeria. "Well, Hello there miss. I must say you do look rather..." Mercutio couldn't think of the word for attractive to the eye, so he did his best. "Robust..." He could hear Aeristhatia giggle in the background. "Forgive me. My language is not at its best, milady." He glared the best he could at Aeristhatia. "So who is it that I am meant to be helping, hm?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Aeristhatia Character Portrait: Kurn, God of Enlightenment Character Portrait: Klethi Character Portrait: Hazarmaveth Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne

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As Kurn presented Feroun Nymeria eyed the owl. She hadn't had an avian companion since her hawk Apollo was devoured by Belirand two years ago in their fight. Kurn's humble yet polite mannerisms caused Nymeria to realize how rude she was acting. The unremarkable elf wanted to get into her pants but if the god's trusted him maybe there was something more to him. For the most part she was only acting rude to annoy her father. Was she any better if she took her problems out on the poor atheist. She decided to wait and let the others have a chance at the owl first. After no one claimed it, the demigoddess walked up to the owl and said "I'll take you if you'll have me." She was then interrupted by Aeristhatia and the incredible talking platypus. She was surprised that even the platypus seemed to want her but she shrugged it off and responded.
"It's perfectly fine my dear beaver duck hybrid friend. I'm sure our friend Fenris can learn a few manners from you." she said as she shook his equivalent of a hand.

Lycaon watched the heroes speak and thought that perhaps they might have a chance. When Fenris broke down and asked about leaving he responded by conjuring a silver lyre out of the air and having a servant hand it to the elf. "Your going with my daughter, the other fellow, and the platypus whether you like it or not. I hope this lyre is to your liking. If you'd rather another instrument it can change itself upon your command. Now I must go. I have something else I must work on for your quest. And Borne when you return my offer still stands." With that and a flash of bright silver light he was gone.

Nymeria commented to her three companions. "I've heard of this divine liquor called Star Tears. They must have it at a bar somewhere here. I suggest that we make its acquisition our immediate goal and we can discuss our plans over a few glasses. I'm sure one of you gentleman would want to buy a lady like me a drink."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Aeristhatia Character Portrait: Kurn, God of Enlightenment Character Portrait: Klethi Character Portrait: Hazarmaveth Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne

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((OOC: Valerian, you have full control over Feroun now, well Nymeria does anyway. He speaks to people through mental images sounds and sensations, so keep that in mind.))


Kurn, God of Enlightenment

Feroun turned around with a light jump as Nymeria approached and stared up at her in the avian way all birds did. Without question the bird flapped it's way up to her shoulder and stayed there, marking her as it's keeper. Kurn himself was pleased with the outcome and was now ready for the platypus to arrive. The attitude and voice of the platypus sent Kurn into a fit of laughter where he stood next to Lycaon. He doubled over from his hysterical humor and squirmed on the floor without any regrets of his laughter.

He eventually sobered and stood whipping the tears from his eyes. He manifested a glass wine bottle of water and poured his tears into it off his fingernail and hid the bottle in his robes. It seemed Nymeria had a taste for the Star Tears now so he would make an attempt to keep her away from it during the day and during the quest. Little did she know he was one of two gods who could make it, and he would not disclose the second one.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Fenris

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Necessary divine training montage music- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYlkYkHkZxs
As the week before the quest went on our band of heroes prepared themselves for the journey ahead. Nymeria spent hours practicing her swordplay and archery and the others prepared themselves in their own respective ways. As time went on Nymeria's disdain of Fenris from his earlier advances slightly decreased as she grew used to the awkward elf along with the rest of her companions. As they prepared many of the various gods visited them to observe the various champions and take bets on whether or not the heroes would be able to survive their journey.

When the day of the quest finally began Lycaon called forth Borne, Nymeria, Fenris, Mercutio, Enyo, and Feroun into the great hall. The heroes stood before the god-king as he gave them his blessing for their journey. Lycaon had taken his most regal form as a handsome young man in his 30s with his silver hair, six wings, and kingly raiments.

"You may all have various opinions of the gods, myself, and my court; however, I do appreciate your decision to embark on this hazardous journey. Relations among the gods aren't going as well as they appear to you mortals and I fear if you do not acquire this adamant than I won't be able to stop the inevitable war or myself. I have watched you all over the past few weeks and beleive that you are among the best heroes the mortal world has to offer. Borne, you are a survivor capable of cheating death more than any other human being in history. Mercutio, you are freak of nature among freaks of nature; however, in being a sentient duck beaver thing you aren't what anyone would expect to be a hero and are therefore extremely useful. Fenris, you don't give yourself credit for what you can do and can be but I'm sure you can learn on the road ahead. Nymeria, your my own daughter and I know that you are both strong and clever, but do not let your pride and temper be your downfall as I fear the same traits in myself will inevitably bring mine. Before you go I have one last gift for you."

As he finished speaking a door opened in the side of the room and three wolves ran in to the center of the room obediently. The god king lifted his right hand and yellow beams of light flew from his hands and went into the three wolves causing them to fall to the ground and begin glowing and transforming before the heroes eyes. As the change went on the light grew until it formed a massive beam that shot strait through the floor and back into Etheria to create more of these new creatures. The glowing subsided and where the wolves once stood were now creatures that looked like giant wolves but with bodies better built for speed, endurance and riding.

"You have just witnessed a miracle at work. Something few mortals ever get to see. The birth of a new semi-intelligent race. These wargs will serve you as mounts. They have near human intelligence and are capable of understanding human speech though they cannot speak themselves. They will serve you well on your journey." as he finished speaking a silver light emanated from him until it filled the entire room and as soon as it subsided the heroes were on the outskirts of the Ulmish mountains with their wargs fully saddled and loaded with supplies.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Fenris

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(bah, sorry, burned out)

The setting changes from etheria-and-the-astral-sea to Arkngthan

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Fenris

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In the weeks Borne had spent much of his time to himself, and surprisingly kept relatively sober. When he wasn't trying to keep his skills sharp he was carving a piece of wood with his nail, talking to his ferret, and looking into a jar of black liquid. What interactions he did with the others were brief and at times awkward, but he tried to be more courteous than he was before. With the platypus he kept mentioning that Enyo is a talking animal too and that it was nice for her to no longer be the only one, likely to even Mercutio's confusion. It grew clear that he had very little interactions with other people, having hinted he essentially been raised by Hazarmaveth after his mother's death, some of it showed more but he remained relatively crude, sleeping wherever he felt tired not too unlike an animal.

At the time of the gathering he had taken his cloak and worn it specifically over his missing arm. It was clear from the weight that it was converted in order to hold his various instruments including knives and self-made devices, knowing well he'd need quite a few.

He squinted quite a bit in front of Lycaon, all the bright light was a bit much for him, in between each flash trying to make some he had tried to pose a question, then soon found himself atop a warg and not far from the Ulmish mountain border.

"Well," Borne groaned. "At least we are done zapping about... I think."

Enyo squirms in the pack on his back. As usual he acts as if this means something more than being restless.

"Huh? What? Yeah, did we happen to have a... plan?"

The setting changes from arkngthan to Etheria

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Karvana's Champions/Exalted Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Fenris

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Borne grunted a bit at this sudden introduction, less than pleased to see a goblin, let alone one sent by... her. He clenches his fists, knuckles turning white, pupils dilated, hair starting to bristle from the back of his neck yet unseen through the cloak obscuring it. He draws back some like he is ready to strike and... ... ... sneezes. Enyo pops up from his pack with hair standing on end.

"Pardon me,." He says gravelly. "So... Skarruk? I am Borne, this is Enyo."

Borne paces around Skarruk, watching for any reaction, scrutinizing him. He stops and lets out a disappointed sigh, having noticed the strangulation marks and how unprepared he seems to be.

"Well that is a pity," he mutters under his breath. "Well, welcome aboard."

He points forwards to the trail for his mount to see, moving on down a trail to scout ahead.

"Oh well, might as well get moving now that everyone is here, and by the way, Skarruk..." He pauses, glances at Fenris and says something in broken but legible Gou'Toki, something he hoped only Skarruk understood. "Avoid the elf, Klethi cursed him with bad fortune and it could spread."

He wasn't going to take any risks, even with an unprepared wretch as he.

Watching, eh? In that case I hope she finds what I've got in store very entertaining. He grins under his scarf as he continues on the trail.

The setting changes from etheria to Etheria and the Astral Sea

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Karvana's Champions/Exalted Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Fenris

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As the heroes materialized on the boarder of Ulm's lands Nymeria stretched out her arms. She hated living in Arknghtan were her father was in control, but here in the wilderness there were no masters and servants, just a vast wilderness perfect for adventures.

"Gotta love divine teleportation." she said cheerfully. "I was only about four when I had the fortune of experiencing it for the first time." When she heard Fenris's complaint regarding riding she responded by saying, "I don't think you have much of a choice but ride Fenris my perverted friend. The mountains of the giants is too dangerous to stay in one place for too long and we'll cover more ground on these magnificent beasts than on foot. Anyway it looks like this one likes you and it would be a shame to hurt her feelings." as the demigoddess spoke she mounted her own warg.

"Of course we've got a plan." she then said to Borne. "We ride into the mountains, retrieve the adamant before Ulm notices, and kill anything that dares get in our way."

The young woman's excitement was quickly drained when she saw Serena and the Mother's champion enter the portal. Nymeria had little love for goblins. They had killed several of her former comrades in battle and she had sent a good few dozen of their number to join her fallen allies. She had to admit that she did like the spider creature though. She wondered if she were to ask nice enough if she could try riding it or if she could get it when its master was killed on their quest.

Nymeria was surprised that Karvana also showed interest in Borne; perhaps, he would be a far more useful companion than she thought. After Borne and the newcomer had finished speaking she rode over to Skarruk and offered him her hand.

"I'm Nymeria. Daughter of Lycaon, Thane of the Elven high-kin, slayer of the dread dragon Belirand, and champion of the god-king Lycaon. I am glad to meet you and hope your spear will be of use to our party."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Karvana's Champions/Exalted Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Fenris

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Fenris felt his cheeks grow hot when Nymeria called him a pervert, but he chose not to even look at her until she said the worg liked him. "...how can you tell?" He looked at the creature, which minutes ago didn't even exist. Or did it? Just as a normal animal. There went the "gods" meddling in life exactly like they shouldn't.
Fenris approached the animal and spoke quietly with his back to his companions. "Hello. My name is Fenris. I hope you don't mind, but I think I'm going to have to ride you. I'll try not to be heavy."
Fenris recognized the language Borne spoke in but didn't understand the words. He placed a tentative hand on the wolf-mount's neck before half-turning back to the rest of the party. He had the most neutral response to the appearance of the goblin. "...hello." Goblinoids were the lowest tier in Azal society; as a species they were regarded as slow, and their failure to grasp arithmetic or literacy made them easy to dupe and swindle. Azal had no laws against tricking a less intelligent gambler. But Fenris didn't judge people by their ability to judge outcomes, and most of his experiences with goblins made him more pitiful than distasteful. "I am Fenris." He did not have any desire to make introductions. He had much desire to get this done quickly. "Mercutio, would you like to share my saddle? Or I can empty one of these saddlebags, and we can travel akimbo." He played with buttons and rifled through the contents of the bags on his side of the worg. "This one carries only food, and is a perfect size for you. Unless you prefer more room. Mount, I do not know your name. If we shared a language I would ask it. In case somehow you do understand me, that platypus is Mercutio." He pointed. "Would you mind if he accompanied me?" Fenris may have looked silly talking at the creature, but he regarded it seriously, taken great concern in receiving some sign of consent.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Karvana's Champions/Exalted Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Fenris

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Mercutio Looked warily at the goblins, hiding his discontent behing dignity. "Salutations, dear friends. I am said to weigh no more than a loaf of bread, so do not fear for your strength!" He took a flourishing bow and waddled over to Nymeria. Remembering Fenris's advice on terms of endearment, he attempted some light conversation. "My dear gal, Fenris would like to inform you that he thinks you are very porky! Although I am not very familiar with terms of endearment, I believe that to be very kind indeed, and so I do say I must agree. You are very porky, my dear! " He patted her leg, (as it was all he could reach,) and walked away back to Fenris and the goblins, smiling with glee. "I can ride however you may need me to, Fenny!" He enjoyed the feeling of giving one a "nickname" as it made him feel closer to his Fenris's level of intelligence. "I can even take the reins If you need me to! However, I would be most comfortable in one of your wolf-pouches, as well as anywhere else." All things considered, Mercutio was quite timid around the beast, but felt somewhat safe around Fenris.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Karvana's Champions/Exalted Character Portrait: Klethi Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Fenris

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#, as written by Taunbon
Skarruk's black eyes jumped from person to person, trying to measure them as he evaluated their gear and potential valuables in the back of his mind. His nose was assaulted by the new scents and smells that were almost overpowering from the mangy smell of the over-sized wolves, the smell of human's, dew from the planets, to the atrocious stench of an elf that nearly made him gag as his stomach rolled threatening to spill his earlier meal over the side of Shebaba.

His gaze snapped to the human male... thing. His nose said it was human but also something else. The missing arm would, normally, point at a weakling and perspective target, but considering the size of the group, Skarruk wasn't sure he wanted to pursue such a thing just yet. If he looked closer, he may have been able to pick out the differences between his face and the human female's face, but they all looked just as alien and hideous as the other to make such an action, especially at the time, not a notion that passed his mind.

His body jerked in the saddle when the human spoke in broken Gou'Toki, Skarruk only had a very rough understanding of the 'common' tongue and did not expect another to be able to speak the tongue of his kind. Even though it was... terribly done, broken with an atrocious accent, it was better then when the Herald spoke as her lack of... anything in her voice had been incredibly disconcerting. Skarruk had no idea who this 'Klethi' was, and he had no idea why the human man, Borne, thought he would want to get closer to the foul smelling elf. Even now, the stench was assaulting his nose, how they could stand to be around such creatures surprised and amazed him, he had heard tell of cowardly, weak goblins that were exiled from their tribes and made way down to the realms of the weaklings and had learned to overcome the stench of the elven kind, but Skarruk could not fathom how that was possible.

Movement snapped his attention to the human female, the one who radiated danger and sent his instincts screaming to flee, she grew closer, and his grip on his spear tightened when she held out her hand to him and started to talk. He had no idea what some of the words were like 'thane' or that it seemed this 'Lycaon' was some sort of deity to her. But he did understand the word Dragon. She had killed a dragon? His first thought was she was lying, obviously, but his instincts told him it was true. If she wasn't so hideous as the rest of her kind, he may have been able to tell what she was saying, but their facial expressions were as alien as they were bizarre.

His black eyes fell to her hand... what did she want? Skarruk had no idea why her hand was just sticking out to him like that... Did... Did she want tribute?! That had to be it! Why else would she show weakness by extending an empty hand to him unless it was in confidence of her victory and the demand of tribute for his life!? He almost struck out at her hand, but if he did, he would die. If not from her, then from the wolves. Growling, he bent down to reach in one of the satchels that hung from Shebaba and removed a small, black obsidian stone and pressed it into her hand, his heart breaking at having to give up even one of his valuables.

The setting changes from etheria-and-the-astral-sea to Etheria

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Karvana's Champions/Exalted Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Fenris

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Borne hears the "plan" and rubs his hand across his forehead. To him it just sounded like: Break in, kill stuff and get the adamant. Even to him this sounded reckless.

"Ulm is a craftsman on top of being incredibly strong," He states flatly while scratching his shoulder. "Added, he's likely guarded by constructs of some kind."

He turns back and looks at his group, looking for any response from each of them, even for anything non-verbal. He then turns to the warg he is riding upon and grins.

"My first order: you will serve as my equal," He seems to be talking to the warg now. "You're free to make any suggestions or comments, things like that... or in your case gesture or act on them..."

He looks back to the others again.

"Guess we'll think of something on the way there, and deal with whatever gets in our way until then."

The setting changes from etheria to Etheria and the Astral Sea

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Karvana's Champions/Exalted Character Portrait: Klethi Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Fenris

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Nymeria was surprised when the goblin riding the massive spider offered her his stone of obsidian. "I'm really not sure what to say. Thank you." she said slightly flattered to the goblin. She wondered if he wanted a gift back and she searched her pockets for something of equal value. She found her bag of silver coins and took several out. She knew goblins didn't use her kind of money but that they would find silver valuable and a suitable gift. She put several of the coins in the goblins hand as a response to the stone. Perhaps her first assumptions regarding the goblin were wrong.

Her thoughts were soon interrupted by Mercutio greeting her and describing her as porky. She had never been called that in her life. The demi-goddess knew it wasn't the platypus's fault and instead directed her anger towards Fenris. "My dear amphibious friend, you should never call a woman porky." she said to Mercutio. "Go over and tell Fenris that if he says anything like that again then he will become very intimate with my swords." she was relatively annoyed at the elf's decision to walk but at this point she didn't care as long as he was willing to keep up. He'd be riding soon enough.

"I like Borne's idea. It'll be getting dark soon and I want to cover as much ground as possible."



Far away back in Akgnthan Lcaon patiently listened to Klethi's comments as he watched the heroes. He was tired and couldn't wait to see this whole adamant business be finished with but at the same time he had to admit he was interested at watching how his daughter did. "Klethi my dear there is far more to Nymeria and her allies then meets the eye. Its true that she is a bit of a bitch, I think she gets that from me, but her heart is in the right place and when worst comes to worse she will gladly lay down her life to help her companions. Even your Fenris. Now come with me. I'm tired of this place and I have heard that Kurn is watching the quest at his temple with a wide variety of gods and mortals. He has this thing called popcorn that I would love to try."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Karvana's Champions/Exalted Character Portrait: Ulm Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Fenris

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#, as written by Taunbon
Skarruk watched the human woman, Nymeria, with trepidation to see if his tribute would be accepted or not, and to his relief and pain, it was deemed acceptable. To his surprise, she dug into a pouch, one he took special note of and would keep note to look for any such bags on the others, and produced several silver coins. He had heard the other races use such coins as payment, he had found a few himself left behind by adventurers or taken on raids, of course, the goblins preferred the superior way of bartering, or stealing, for goods.

His black eyes rested on the coins in her outstretched hands. A trade? Was that what she wanted? Had she been trying to measure his worth by seeing what he could offer then providing a trade afterwords? If so, he approved. This, Nymeria, had a lick of goblin sense. Reaching out, he took the coins and placed them in one of the numerous satchels, "Good trade," Skarruk said, his squeaky voice rang out with a nod of confirmation along with it.

'Ulm' yet another name he did not know, but the others seemed to. Was he supposed to know who, or what, that was? It seemed that was where they had to go, to this 'Ulm'. Skarruk wasn't sure what they were doing, but if these people were going, this... 'Ulm' had to have valuables worth taking.

"Shebaba," Skarruk said, tapping the spider lightly on the flank. Shebaba chittered in response, her large fangs rubbing together to produce the unique T'sukan Spider sound. His body rode with the odd movements and motions of the large spider as it approached a nearby tree and scaled up its rough surface as simply as one might take a stroll along the road. It came to rest on one of the large bottom branch, while the branch bent from the weight, it made very little sound and no leaves were dislodged from the 'light' step of the spider.

He had taken the high ground not only because it was safer, the leaves above provided him more shade from the harsh sun, and it got him a bit further from the new found smells, some of which which were going to be hard to get used to. When they moved, he would have shebaba jump from tree to tree to keep pace.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lycaon Character Portrait: Karvana's Champions/Exalted Character Portrait: Klethi Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Fenris

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"Well, I didn't want to be the first one to say it," Klethi teased with a smile. "But I think she gets it from you, too. With all due respect, of course. Anyway, are you inviting me as a guest to another god's function? While I'd never turn down a date, I must warn you that you will be responsible for my actions. And my actions are often quite liberal. We may adjourn if you would like to try this 'popcorn' invention. It sounds ghastly, though; what would corn be popped for? Wouldn't that just make a mess?" Now she was quite interested. "Perhaps I will learn its secrets, and Fenris will find himself without suitable vegetables for the duration of his journey."

Fenris watched the exchange. He kept no money on his person (in fact his only possession besides his clothes was the magical instrument). "...is it customary to exchange gifts?" He wouldn't be the first to challenge tradition; he slid what then was a lute from his pocket, but the goblin had mounted his spider and bounded away. "...we will trade later, then?" He held it up to Nymeria. "Or would you like it? Your father gave it to me." Was I supposed to give him something back? I didn't offend him, did I? He was, once again, lost, misunderstanding and over-analyzing social ques.
"I have no intentions of calling you porky," Fenris blurted in an attempt to change subjects. "I don't think you look like a pig at all. Except for obvious mammalian qualities, like hair and lack of fur, of course. Right. We should be going, then." He turned back to the warg. Obviously it couldn't communicate in a language recognized by any of Fenris' companions, but it shifted in such a way that gave him pause. His brows came together for a moment, then parted in understanding, and he spoke a language that was near elvish but rolled with growls and purrs. They two communicated (albeit awkwardly) while everyone else was no doubt waiting impatiently to get started.
"...then I shall all you D'artangion!" The declaration clearly wasn't received well; the warg shook its head. "You're right, that name is silly. Perhaps Recidiver? Then that shall be your spoken name." It was difficult to approximate a language with no spoken qualities to one the rest of the party could use. "Let us be off, then, Recidiver. Mercutio. I will go first." Without waiting for confirmation, he started walking.

The setting changes from etheria-and-the-astral-sea to Ulmish Mountains

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Karvana's Champions/Exalted Character Portrait: Ulm Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Orest Character Portrait: Fenris

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A patrol approached the intrepid party on the borders of Ulm's lands. It consisted of three giants-at-arms and led by the steel-skin giant, Orest. He led the three soldiers through the woods, moving in a lithe manner. The stonewardens had seen a peculiar group of people materialize near the border, proving Ulm's suspicions true. Ulm himself was sitting in his throne, waiting. Orest was sent to intercept this party.

The giants appeared to a clearing on the path, facing the travelers. They almost towered over the trees nearby, standing in a ready pose. Perhaps they were startled, perhaps they tried to fight or run, but either way Orest delivered his line in a sultry, yet monotone and almost echoing voice:

"The All-father demands to know your business here. State your reasons truthfully and ensure co-operation."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Orest

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Enyo's hair stands on its ends and Borne stops dead in his tracks, sizing up the giants and Orest. As he looked over Orest he noted the familiar green sheen from the blades and raised an eyebrow. Impressive. He grins widely as he takes a few steps forward while keeping at a safe distance.

"Compliments to your creator for craftsmanship, you are indeed formidable." He says taking a bow, for once a sense of legitimacy to his tone. "I, Winston Borne, for one am here as a representative of Hazarmaveth, another old one, no ill will is intended towards Ulm or his people."

He continues to scan over Orest, taking mental notes. I wonder what tools were neccesary. He points towards Orest's blades.

"Your swords, is that adamant? Quite a skill Ulm has to craft it so well," He says beginning to trail off into his own interests. "I must admit, I am actually quite interested in the art of creation."

He realized he was starting to get distracted in his own thoughts and shook himself back to the point.

"Would there happen to be more of it? My client too is willing to cooperate, perhaps in reclaiming what is rightfully Ulm's?"

He awaits a response. I wonder if this is the power of first flesh.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Karvana's Champions/Exalted Character Portrait: Ulm Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Orest Character Portrait: Fenris

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Orest's expression showed no change. It was probably capable of producing expressions, but it wasn't needed at the moment. Nevertheless Orest heard exactly what he thought he'd hear. He registered the remark at his weapons and made a demonstration of power. He unsheathed his second sword from the left holster, swinging it like it was a part of his body. He struck a swift slash at the air and rested the sword at his side.

The sword was very balanced and thin in structure. It seemed like it was a living organism from the looks of the hilt and the handle, seeing as they were almost fused together in a sleek and organic manner.

Orest then sheathed his glimmering sword and spoke with his trademark monotonous yet sultry voice:

"Hmmm, i see. Come along then, we will escort you to Heimstaed. The All-father is expecting you there."

He raised a metallic brow and looked at the party expectantly.

The setting changes from ulmish-mountains to Etheria and the Astral Sea

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Karvana's Champions/Exalted Character Portrait: Nymeria Character Portrait: Mercutio the Platypus Character Portrait: Winston Borne Character Portrait: Fenris

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As Fenris spoke Nymeira put her palm to he head. Borne was able to talk the giants into letting them pass but it sounded as if Fenris was negotiating terms of surender. Why would he ever tell the massive giants that they planned on stealing Ulm's adamant? She appreciated his honesty but this was the time for deceit. She put her hands on her sheathed twin adamant swords and readied herself to draw her blades in a moments notice.

"I apologize about my friend here. He's a bit of am idiot normally and he has been hitting the mushrooms hard if you know what I mean. I too like my colege Borne have been sent by the gods to purely observe your adamant and potentially negotiate a trade. There is no trespassing involved since we have been sent as representatives of our masters and would only ever enter your magnificent lands with your permission."

As she spoke she sized her opponents up. The three regular giants were of little concern. There size made them easy to outmaneuver and a good trip could leave them incapacitated. It was te fourth figure that she was worried about. She had never seen a creature like Orest and she had trouble figuring out what the metal giant was until the truth dawned on her. To her horror Orest and her were two of a kind. He was a god made being designed to be the perfect soldier. They both had the same weapons, as far as she could tell the same fighting style, and worst of all they both had the same purpose. The bigest physical difference she noticed was how try were constructed. He was made of metal and flesh while she was composed of ichor and flesh. She wondered what was better. The giant was also different in that he lacked free will. Was that the biggest difference between them? She wondered.

Nymeria was for the most part unfamiliar with fear. She had experienced it before especially in her fight with Belirand but this was different. She was always comforted in knowing she was designed to do what she did. Now she faced another being designed to be a divine champion. The only question that remained was Lycaon or Ulm better at it?

Nymeria knew that fate would ordain that they would be forced to fight and determine who was better but she didn't want to foght him now and with her friends potentially in the crossfire. She hoped he would take he apology and let them go through without expecting any foul play.


Meanwhile far away at the Temple of the Minds Eye a lone travelr wanders on and stumbles to the gods gathered there and anounced that he had found an adamant apple in the woods with the inscription "To te fairest of the gods" inscribed on it. The man then fell dead leaving the apple to the gods themselves to settle.