Birthstone Spirits: The Revival

Birthstone Spirits: The Revival

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Introduction

Every culture has its inhuman oddity. But in all aspects of Airesian myth, from the ancient scrolls of legends past, to the modern religions of today, the paramount of darkness and mystery is manifested through the Cyclopean. It’s a figure that every Airesian child knows from warning, whispered stories before bed-- the lost soul whose life was so tortured that, even after death, it was forced into a second existence of deformity and torment. Some say that they roam and ravage the world at night, their only driving force being the promise of human blood and flesh. Others say that they exist only to service of their king, a nameless evil that was never human to begin with.

The Cyclopean are a species from nightmares--statuesque, lizard-like beings with no eyes or noses. They flex and crack their jaws to show off their many rows of long, jagged teeth. They cannot see, but they are very sensitive to movement and vibrations in the space around them. Like humans, they stand up-right, with long hands and feet outfitted with claws best suited for picking their meals apart. When day breaks they flee, and the last vision that their (very lucky) survivors can bear to remember, is the whip of the scaly beasts’ long, tapering tail as it disappears around the nearest corner.

Behold, the tormentors of Aires for centuries. And according folklore, the only protection the Airesian people had against the jaws of these beasts, was the good-will of their Goddess, a religious idol to which they prayed extensively. The Goddess brought them water, and the Goddess brought them light. But the most valuable gift the Goddess bestowed upon her people was protection by the Month Warriors, 12 valiant fighters carved from the gemstones of the month and bound in human flesh. These were her demigods and the last line of defense between humanity and chaos.

When powerful evil began to consume Aires, the Month Warriors gave their lives in one final showdown against the greatest of Cyclopean--their unnamed king. But as the king of darkness lay dying, he vanished before the final blow was struck. Although, a being of such evil could not leave without a curse. The warriors were consumed by their gems, trapped inside, and reduced to glimmers on a cave floor.

The curse? The powers of the month warriors could only be released if the stone is worn by the right spirit. The Goddess worried that the stones would be destroyed, so she gathered them in her arms and scattered them across the multiverse. While few stones remained on Aires itself, many ended up on Earth, hidden from the gaze of darkness.

But this is only one of the many fantastic falsities that grandmothers tell their grandchildren. Airesian people rarely think of the Goddess, the myths or the monsters. It is a land of trade, war, medicine and the sciences--the tales of the beasts from hundreds of years ago are best suited for the gullible, the elderly and the monks. By now, all had become old legends. Yet looming on the horizon, a darkness stirs.



Plot:

A new chapter in the history and mythos of Aires is about to begin. The fate of this world lies in the hands of twelve young people who have somehow come into possession of the cursed stones. The stones have chosen who will wield them, gifting their new chosen warriors with fantastical powers. But for now, their hosts are oblivious to these abilities.

The new chapter in the Month Warrior Saga begins not on Aires but in New York City’s own Central Park. Something about today, a sunny day in the middle of summer, has drawn them unwittingly together. Some are New Yorkers partaking in their own natural oasis in the midst of a concrete jungle. Others have had circumstances draw them to the Big Apple from across the country or, indeed, the world.

Then there are those unlucky few who are not simply from another country, but from another world. All twelve have been brought together to witness a fantastical and life changing event. Unaware of their own destinies, the new Month Warriors, linked only by an old myth, some pieces of jewelry and their souls, are forced to embark on a dynamic coming of age journey filled with tragedy, adventure, mysticism, love, and, friendship.


Stones/Powers explained:
January-Garnet- The stone of life itself. Healing, and in extreme case, revival
February-Amethyst- The stone of electricity. Electrical storms and technopathy.
March-Aquamarine- The stone of wind. Power of the wind and storms.
April-Diamond- The stone of water, bending and manipulation, bringer of rain
May-Emerald- The stone of nature. Communication with animals and manipulation of plants, rocks and soil.
June-Pearl- The stone of protection. Conjurer of shields and forcefields.
July-Ruby- The stone of fire. Fire powers and heat.
August-Peridot- The stone of light. One of the two stones of illusions. Dopplegangers can be created, though very few. The focus is on quality over quantity. Their strength is close to that of their creator.
September-Sapphire- The stone of the mind. Mind reading as well as the ability to create mental forums.
October-Opal- The stone of darkness. The second stone of illusions. Multiple dopplegangers can be created. However, this is quantity over quality. Therefore, they are weaker. Rather than create, these powers can be used to conceal.
November-Citrine/Topaz- The stone of the dead. Connections to the spirit realm and communications with the deceased. Energy forces such as life can be manipulated.
December-Turquoise- The stone of frost. Manipulation and creation of ice and snow.

d: Characters so far:
January: Ron Muller
February: Tallyho Abel
March: Dorian Steinsson
April: OPEN (Original Character abandoned)
May: Willow Elaine Stryder
June: Pene Michaels
July: Roisín O'Connor
Aug: Calliope Alexander
Sept: OPEN (Original Character abandoned)
Oct: Xavier Sanchez
Nov: Angela Taylor
Dec: Kris Li



The World of Aires: Culture, Geography, and Government
***The pictures I'm using were drawn by TitusLunter on deviantart.com. They are not my own.***


There are eight continent-countries on the planet:

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The Rose Kingdom:
The Rose Kingdom is a land that sits on the far west side of the map. It is a land of grassy, hilly terrain that outstretches from sea to sea. While men are considered “superior”, women still have rights and are able to take on unconventional roles (knighthood, military) without too much question. As for the government, it is a strict monarchy with a massive military. The economy is thriving because of it’s hold on the lumber industry and its high turnover, serf-powered agricultural system. The most important city in the country is its capital Ve Marie, which was named after one of the greatest queens in history, Queen Marie the Merciful. Ve Marie is home to the Laude palace and the famous World Court House where cases around the globe are tried in honor of the five tenets of good citizenship. One of the RK's most notable monuments is The Stone which is rumored to be the exact spot where the Goddess carved the warriors. The stone also serves as the coronation spot for the RK's monarchs.

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Constance:
Constance is a land that sits south of the Rose Kingdom. It is usually very rainy there and filled with various small bodies of water, swamps, and grass marshes. Its people are from many parts of the world, and is known globally as a melting pot of culture and heritage. While men are seen as the bread winners, women are treated with great honor because of Constance’s reputation as one of the most religious continent-countries. As for the government, Constance is a democracy with ambassadors and elected officials. The economy is moderately strong.

Constance's capital is called Tiara, a city that is home to the continent's political officials. Constance is also the home of the Vinn Compound, an infamous international prison that houses the worst offenders to circulate through the World Court.

Tiara is also home to the Grand Harbinger. The Grand Harbinger is Aires' version of the Pope, and the leader of the Monastery of the Sun, a religious school that produces most of Aires' clergy and eventually, the next Grand Harbinger.

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Solace:
Solace is a land in the southwest corner of the world. It is the most agrarian of all of the countries with its flat lands, high grass, and long mountain ranges. In its rural and sparse settlements, men and women are considered equal and share many of the same farm duties. Because of their position as a leading food export country, their economy is pretty strong but they are not as materialistic as the R.K.

Farmers from around the continent flock to Malboro, the capital city, in hopes of selling their goods at the biggest flea market in the world.

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Hales:
Hales is brimming with snowy mountains and expansive tundras. Like solace, Hales is pretty rural. However, it is a monarchy and despite its size, it has one of the most resilient militaries on the planet. The monarchies in Hales and the R.K. rival one another. Men and women are treated equally in rural areas. But in the capital city, there is a distinct separation between the genders. Despite their advances in technology and medicine, most people in the country are poor because of a disproportionate allocation of resources.

Kora, Hales' capital, is the technological capital of the world and scientists have been developing new “fireless” lights (electric lights) and writing machines (typewriters.) Rumor has it that scientists have made advances in developing weapons likened to "arrows shot by a flick of a finger," or guns. This, and many other developments, are what makes Hales a militaristic leader and a great ally for weaker countries.

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The Trading Islands:
The Trading Islands are a collection of connected man-made ports on small growths of land in the Grand ocean. It sits at the very center of the map making it the perfect trading spot. It is best known for fishing, shipping, and pirates. Men and women are equal, but the land has an “every man for himself” mentality. Money may run through this land, but it runs right into the pockets of the other governments, leaving the economy weak. The economy runs awry because of a lack of government management, and constant disputes between the merchants of the Rose Kingdom, Hales and Eastern Isle. Because there is no government, the three other countries take it upon themselves to implement their laws on their territory, which causes conflict for each of them back home. Many counties fight to claim this area because of its ability to link the west to Mansland.

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Mansland:
Mansland is a tropical landmass in the northeast. It is richest in resources, making it a prize to the more militaristic countries. The people stick close to tradition, but the families are very matriarchal. There is no huge government, but people divide themselves into tribes. Little is known about the technologies and culture of Mansland because its people remain very private. What we do know is that any outsiders who dare to venture into the forest without permission end up dead or missing.

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Eastern Isle:
Eastern Isle is a long continent on the Far East end of the map that is filled with high mountains and tropical jungles. The land has a figurehead emperor, but in reality is run by the military. Because of how far away it is from the other militaristic nations, it puts a lot of effort into trading with Mansland and Ira. Its economy is nearly as strong as that of the Rose Kingdom, but again, they aren’t as materialistic.

Toggle Rules

1.Be Respectful.
2.Be Mature
3.Posts written are expected to be at least one paragraph long, no one-liners.
4.No god playing.
5.Be thoughtful about your characters. Keep human nature in mind.
6.***Do not steal this game plot and post somewhere else.
7.Nice writing is expected, but mistakes can be forgiven.
8.If you have never played this game with me before please make your character from Earth instead of Aires.
9.Questions concerning characters can be sent through a private message or posted in OOC.
10. You cannot reserve a position. If you are interested in a month, please make your intentions known in OOC and put your best character sheet forward. There is no guarantee that you will get what you applied for but generally there is plenty of space.

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 11 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood

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Tallyho bit back a gasp as the woman left the room with her knife as quickly as she came. She blinked hard as she appraised the redhead— drawing a line from the blood on his shirt, to his wound, to her plate and back again. But she never made direct eye contact with him as he bounced back from his own maiming, apologizing for how much he had most definitely upset her stomach. He treated the display like passed gas in public.

She glanced at the young man who challenged him, curious as to what his response would be. Surely he didn’t think that Haru was an ordinary man by this point? And while Tallyho couldn’t confirm that all he had told them was true, she definitely understood that, from this encounter, they weren’t dealing with an unremarkable person.

He called her a Month Warrior, a reincarnation of a legend that made the bread and butter of her childhood. The blonde remembered weekly lessons where she’d recite their elements, homelands and battles in unison with her peers. The teachers always told them that the reason Sun People roamed the earth was to honor the belief that soil cannot be owned by man, and to celebrate the international roots of the gemstone demigods who were born and molded from different tribes and traditions.

She also remembered the full moon revivals where the caravan would perform dances reenacting the final fight. They’d tell the story through the strong, bounding leaps from the male dancers and effortless, floating twirls from the women. By the night’s end, the dancers would have charismatically demonstrated what it’s like to watch centuries pass from the inside of a diamond.

But after each performance, she became more and more skeptical about its meaning. To her, these traditions were outdated and foolish, especially when she could see the world around her living in freedom, owning land and living for themselves with no strings attached. But what an ironic turn of events it would be if she, a heathen of sorts, were to actually become a part of her ancestors’ wildest dreams? That she would finally gain independence from one identity in exchange for her undying allegiance to another?

It felt like forever as all of these things went through her head, all the while her eyes were glued to the blood-soaked towel slopping across the floor. She was becoming overwhelmed by the deep coppery smell and soon began to feel like she had eaten far too much. A wisp of air escaped her lips as she hoisted herself up from her chair clumsily. She tripped over herself as she stood, and the chair tumbled onto its side before she abruptly trudged out of the room. She could be found outside lurching and vomiting over the front porch.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Angela Taylor

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#, as written by Linnea
With someone she could call a friend, even if it was sudden and fueled mostly by fear of being alone, Angela felt a lot safer than before. She could relax a little bit and stop wondering who was out there to kill her and who was an actual farmer. That plus the fact that there were those in the group she had arrived with that could actually fight was a comfort she didn't know she needed until now.

She nodded as she listened to Dorian. So he was a soldier after all! Angela ignored her lack of knowledge of Hales, for her geography was never very good, but was more than happy to discuss the legend.

"Oh! So you gotta chop their heads off? I guess it makes sense! Vampires need a stake in the heart, and werewolves need silver stuff, so a... Cyclopin? Cyclopean! Yeah! That needing it's own special way to be killed makes sense! But I don't think I've ever heard the story. Actually, most of the stories I hear, you can't actually kill the monster. Vampires and stuff are special. God, imagine squaring up with Bloody Mary! Or wrestling Bigfoot!" She laughed and gave a couple quick playful punches to the air. Then, she grew a little uneasy as she gave it more thought. She bit her lip and looked to the floor.

"But if this thing was just supposed to be a legend or whatever, then what was it doing in real life? Most monsters aren't actually supposed to be real. Ugh, I don't even want to think about what else might exist if this thing does."

She waved and smiled to the others as she passed them and grabbed her new clothes along the way to the bath house. Though she didn't really like the idea of changing into clothes from this strange place, it was better than letting herself get scratched up by wheat again. A bit of protection would do her good.

Apparently, she was smelly and dirty enough for others to take notice and point the way to the baths before she could even ask. It was unfortunate, but she supposed that not even her favorite body spray could hold it's own against monster fights and star bridges. Angela was more surprised that no one seemed to mind the fact that her makeup was ruined. There were so many smudges around her eyes that she looked like a raccoon.

After her bath, which was more of her using wet cloth to clean around her scratches than actually soaking, she reapplied her makeup (remembering the setting spray this time) and put on the dress she was given. It was simple and flowing dusty pink that reminded her more of a nightgown than an actual dress. Still, it was better than what she had before.

She entered the dining room a bit late and found there was already food on the table. Her stomach ached with hunger she didn't even realize was there until now. She ate slowly, still only halfway through her chicken when Haru began to speak.

Her prior thoughts of grand adventure had been an excellent coping mechanism at the time, but actually hearing the man say she was in another only further upset her. Surely, he was insane. Absolutely batshit crazy. Sure, Angela had experienced some odd things. That didn't mean she was in another world. If anything, it most likely meant she had been drugged. The city had been crowded enough, it was possible. She'd seen the shows on tv.

Haru continued his ramble, and Angela was surprised to hear a more in depth version of the story Dorian mention. She almost wondered if the soldier was in on the whole thing, a person on the inside to keep them under control. But, if he was, that would make her judgment terrible and leave her with one less person to depend on. She didn't want to think about that. Plus, he seemed just as shocked. Or, as shocked as he could get.

Angela was shocked, too. She nearly choked on her soup when Haru suggested she and the others were destined warriors. Lightly touching her own choker, she wondered just how high she was. Or was this a cult? That's explain how Dorian knew the legend and even why this place didn't have any cell reception. She couldn't say she heard of a single cult with a good cell phone plan.

So, obviously, she had to get out of here. That had to wait a little longer, though. She had many questions. Why them? Why her? Where were they? How did they get there? What was that knife for? Ron had asked a pretty valid question, she thought.

Before she could ask anything, before she could even open her mouth, Haru slit his own throat. As the blood spilled down, Angela could feel the blood from her own body curl and drain from her face. She shook, gripping the table with all her might in an attempt to keep herself from falling over. She felt faint.

That wasn't fake. She could smell the metallic tang of the blood, see it dripping.

At Dorian's advice, she shakily poured herself a glass of wine and took a large swig. It didn't take long for the glass to be empty. She cursed her high tolerance, for now was definitely a moment she didn't want to be sober for.

"What the fuck... What the actual fuck..."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander

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Calliope rolled over and buried herself deeper into the warmth of her duvet, sighing contentedly as she tried to keep her eyes screwed shut. Even so she could feel the sleep fading almost as quickly as it had come and as wonderful it was to remain trapped here she knew she’d most likely be unable to find any proper sleep if she tried. Turning over again with a somewhat resigned sigh this time she scrambled over to where her phone lay on the bedside table and glanced at the laminated digits telling her she’d managed roughly 8 hours of uninterrupted rest, taking her right through to early afternoon. Certainly explained why she was beginning to feel a little peckish and also leaving her with plenty of time to spend before settling down for the night and seeing if she could improve her ranking. After untangling herself from the bed she stumbled into the shower, doing her best to make herself presentable afterwards though she did end up having to spend a little while massaging some life back into her leg when it had been wracked by a rather painful spasm. Standing up gingerly she stared at herself in the mirror and gently let her fingers trace the edge of the chain around her neck before resting on the large Peridot jewel in the heart of the pendant as it rested atop her cleavage.

Once feeling a bit more like a living person she selected a simple white blouse with a pair of dark blue skinny jeans. Grabbing her brown leather jacket she did a little twirl in her mirror. She picked up her rucksack having never quick managed to survive with just a handbag due to her necessity with taking her laptop and other “essentials” with her at all times. The bag itself contained a few gadgets and tools she always felt would come in handy even if she only used them once or twice a year but her time in the army had left her a little paranoid at being caught unawares; even if what they’d mostly succeed in allowing her to game wherever she was rather than helping her survive the wilderness.

As she was about the leave her apartment she spotted a black baseball style beret her brother got her a few Christmas’ ago hanging from the chair in the corner of the room. She strode over and placed it on her head a jaunty angle as she remembered tossing it aside last night after she’d returned from a frisky little club and settled down for a couple of hours of Overwatch. Satisfied with how she looked and amused by her escapades she made a quick exit, and descended into the hustle and bustle of New York.

On her way down she quickly checked her emails to see if there had been any word from the seller for the parts she’d order to finish her Mercy cosplay for Halloween, muttering to herself about yet another delay as it turned up blank while other items were simply listed as awaiting dispatch. Disappointed with the lack of progress she decided to swing by the local coffee house and picked up a tuna and melted cheese Panini accompanied by a large Frappuccino lathered in whipped cream.

After finishing the food and feeling rather energetic she decided to take a detour through central park, her footsteps bouncing in time with her music all the way causing her to almost break into dance and even result in the odd spin; much to the bemusement or outright confusion of any onlookers. As she sauntered through the foliage of the cities heart she felt a calming sensation that reminded her of parents different homes where the landscape was more akin to roaming farmland than it was the chaos of the city. As she hummed along with the song she glanced up to see that the sun was beginning to set and decided to head a little more inwards. Completely lost in the moment as the area around her seemed deserted she burst into full song, while her necklace glowed warmly against her skin. As she ran the words across her lips she didn’t notice her feet dancing as the pain in them felt too distant but for a moment.

”To see the thin line between me and you and you and me.”

As she continued, almost lost in her own world she didn’t know the commotion going on nearby as her music drowned out both her singing and the cries of strangers in battle with an unseen monster. While the conflict raged on she darted through the park, passing inches out of harm when trees buckled and weapons flew overhead as they missed their mark. Her focus was brought back to reality as the setting sun’s rays were blotted out for a moment by a flash of bright, white light. Turning sideways she lost her balance and stumbled as the light surged forwards in a wave that poured out through the trees, threatening to overwhelm her. Uncertain of what she was looking at she panicked from her sudden loss of balance and the growing warmth of her necklace. As she freaked out a little she ran afoul of the terrain, completely losing her footing and falling backwards sharply, her head landing with a heavy thud against a nearby root which caused her vision to swim.

”Because it's a mighty thin line” She sighed as her sight of the world blurred. For a moment she felt as if she was carrying something heavy with all her might yet at the same time floating through the air as if someone was carrying her. As her eyes fluttered closed she could have sworn she saw her own face smiling re-assuringly down at her and then she knew no more.


She awakened with a start and stared around her in shock, trying to make sense of the wooden walls and the simple cot she was lying in, which appeared half full of hay inside a barn. Stumbling to her feet she hesitantly made her way over to the barn door and peered out into the blinding light of a setting sun that was similar yet different from the one she’d seen in central park.

”I’ve a feeling I’m not in Kansas anymore… Though this place looks more like Kansas than New York.”

She wondered to herself as she noticed a nearby House where she could see several people gathered around a table partaking in what looked to be a meal. Slowly she crept over, glancing around at the rolling fields of wheat which seemed to surround the house. The displacement of where she was and where she knew she’d been was starting to unnerve her and she could feel herself starting to shake a little as she made her way to the patio door.

Standing a little taller she pushed the door open and stepped into the room beyond where the gathering was taking place, however the sight within made her stop instantly. The sight of a woman dragging a blade across the throat of an unarmed man as he sat among, what could either be family or strangers for all she could determine, but regardless the act itself caused her to fill with rage to see such cowardliness. Despite the mortal wound the man continued unaffected as if nothing had happened but still his throat continued to bleed all the same. She felt her blood run cold at the sight, completely at a loss of what to make of what she was seeing.

”What the bloody hell?!” As Cali cried out and stumbled back towards the door she’d entered she could feel a sense of Déjà vu in both her words and actions.

The bloody hell…

Her body almost looked like it had an echo which was leaving aftereffects reminiscent of contrails in the wake of an aircraft. They were gone almost instantly, making her feel empty in their wake as they fled.

The bloody hell…

As they died away her fingers slowly covered her mouth in shock while the other lightly brushed against her necklace which was almost melting with heat against her flesh yet didn’t hurt like it had earlier and felt strangely right. The strangeness of it all was causing her to struggle to process events however and she instantly felt more akin to a deer caught in headlights than the calm professional she should have been.

”W-wha… Who… How?” She mumbled, her eyes darting around the room before settling on the strange man with his throat still faintly leaking fluid.

”Where are we? And how do we get back?” Her voice was a little hard as she fought down her fears to replace them with the calm she’d always drawn on in conflict.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander

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Haru pressed his mouth into a thin line as one girl brushed past him to barf on the porch, and another girl stifled her drink down out of fright. Apparently that wasn’t the best approach he could have taken to prove his authenticity. His misguided efforts were punctuated by the horror of a straggler who missed his entire spiel.

”Where are we? And how do we get back?”

Haru slowly ground his molars together, a stress-related habit he started to notice a lifetime ago. Obviously he had his work cut out for him: Most of them weren’t fighters and some of them, from first appearances at least, didn’t seem like team players. This slow and steady approach wasn’t really his thing and in retrospect he wasn’t sure why he tried it in the first place. He couldn’t get a read on how the others felt about this cutthroat scene, but if witnessing him survive what should have been a life-ending injury wasn’t enough to get them to believe in at least a bit of magic, then he didn’t see any point in testing out any more elaborate ways to get them up to par with what was happening. If handling them with kid-gloves and scare tactics wouldn’t work, he was left with being as painfully honest as possible.

He glanced at his partner in theatrics who had just finished lopping up the last of his blood from the floor.

“I suppose I was never good at making people feel good about less than ideal situations,” he hummed with a slightly glum smirk. “Could you check on the one outside? See if she’s in good shape to come back in with us?”

The woman with the scar nodded and left the room immediately. As she exited, the redhead hoisted himself up from his chair and turned to the new young woman. He wiped his hand on his cloth napkin and extended it for her to take.

“I’m sorry you missed dinner. I’ll be sure to have them bring you something before you turn in for the night,” he said. He felt sympathy for them, he really did. Waking up with a completely different life’s purpose and being bound to that position by destiny was a taxing realization for him too.

“I hope that you will give me time to explain your situation.”

-x-


Tallyho drew back from the railing as the woman with the scar tapped her back. She had a surprisingly calm reaction to the sudden physical contact, and silently looked at the woman who in turn looked at her longingly.

“I know what you’re thinking,” the woman said, accompanying the words with a soothing back rub. “But Haru… You have to trust him. All of us here who work on this farm, we had nowhere to go.”

Tallyho caught her eyes dancing along the woman’s long, brown scar and turned her eyes away, embarrassed by her own curiosity.

“We were all deplorable: A score of outcasts, sinners, prostitutes and drunks before we came to this farm. The world, not even our own families had anything to do with us. None of us had purpose in the way we lived and no one was willing to help us find it. But when deplorables like me come to this farm, suddenly we get a break—a break from a world who casts a judging eye and ever looks back. He doesn’t care where we came from, only that we are willing to live past it and become better before it’s too late. And I think he does this because he knows what it’s like to make mistakes and never be forgiven.”

Tallyho didn’t look back at the woman but her breathing evened out, and after a few moments she spoke.

“You believe in all that stuff? The Old Thought? The Goddess and the Month Warriors?”

The woman smirked as she pushed a dark hair out of her face.

“I don’t believe in one God. I have many. They are in the trees, they are in the fire… But I do believe in humans. And I believe an honest man when I see one.”

-x-


When Tallyho entered the room again, Haru released a sharp breath. Third time was the charm.

“Let me try this again… I realize how this all sounds, trust me. And if I didn’t have to be here doing this, I wouldn’t be. But this is Aires. You are not on earth anymore. You are not ordinary people. You were brought here to defend, not just this world, but your loved ones just a reality away. You are chosen—and each of you wield extraordinary capabilities that I’d be happy to delve into later.”

Haru glanced at Tallyho, who was still reeling from her gastric episode. He’d need to give them a taste of it if he had any hope of convincing them.

“You are Tallyho Abel, you were born on February 17th, and you received this amethyst necklace from your Baba as a birthday present when you turned fifteen. You can control the lightning and electrical currents… Angela Taylor, November 2nd, you like tarot cards and other… interesting things. But that’s fitting because with your topaz you can communicate with and manipulate the energy of the dead.”

Haru went on and on like this, introducing each person in the room, telling them a bit about themselves and rounding it off with their special power. He did this for everyone until he got to himself.

“And again, my name is Haru Sinwood. I don’t know my exact birthday anymore but I know that I was born in the summer years and years ago. I am one of twelve men and women sworn to protect and prepare you for the fight to come. I was once an important person in this world… A military official from an old, cold country called Hales. They called me The Red Commander. I was cruel back then, and when I died I was punished to this… in between state. Alive and not alive… I guess in some of your religions you might call this purgatory? My spirit was not allowed to pass to its final resting place, and so…” He gestured to the fresh wound on his neck. “I cannot die. Not yet… I cannot die until I complete my mission. And so here I’ve been, roaming and waiting for you. And now here I am.”

He took a long look around the room. If this didn’t help then he wasn’t sure what else he could do. He took a step back, opening the door to whichever party felt the need to leave.

“I can’t prove much more at this point. I want you to be able to go home to your families. But this cannot be done until your purpose is fulfilled, and I don’t have the power to make it so. Only the Goddess. But if you do not trust me, and you want to take your chances out there alone… Well you are adults and I cannot stop you. Please, walk through this door and do not look back. I can only warn that you are safer together as a team than alone. Nothing out there is like anything most of you have ever experienced.

But if you do trust me then great. I will get you settled and take care of you. I will take you to the mountains to get proper training because in a world like this you need to know how to defend yourself. Most importantly, I will help you unlock your powers. And the sooner we win the war, the sooner you get home.”

And with that Haru was officially tapped out. If they chose to leave so be it. He only hoped that he’d be able to work with what he had even if the team wasn’t complete.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood

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Blood poured out onto the table in a seemingly endless stream. The man he had challenged, Haru, had just slit his throat. What was surprising was not that he had slit his throat, but that he still lived. The act itself did not stun him, as oil fields were riddled with accidents much more horrid then simply bleeding out. Explosions, burning, and suffocation were commonplace in the North Dakotan oil fields. Suddenly it dawned upon him. He really was in a new world, with old technology and old rules. A period that just so happen to be part of the time frame that he had studied in college. And his father said that he would never find any use with a history major with a pre-modern emphasis. Jokes on you dad! He thought to himself as he began to grin and laugh uncontrollably.

After calming down, Ron finally spoke. "I now see your point. You aren't a normal person and this is definitely not Earth. If I am an important warrior like you claim and you want me to work with you, then you have to meet my demands. I have no want to return to my home, where I'm only another generic cog in the machine. Here I could make a difference and be remembered. So with that, you will have to meet these demands or else I will find work somewhere else.

Firstly, I want to be paid a great deal of gold or silver. For all intents and purposes, I am a mercenary, not a volunteer. As such I expect to be paid accordingly. Second, I will need reading material for our journey. Maps and books detailing the politics and culture of this world would be perfect. Third, I will need a great deal of sulfur, charcoal, saltpeter and bronze at out destination so that I may craft my new weapons. Lastly I will ask for a request at a future time. These terms are nonnegotiable."

He paused for a moment before remembering one last detail. "By the way, what exactly is my power?" Ron asked.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander

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The reactions around the room were telling enough. One girl fled the room to go wretch outside, perhaps spurred on by the gore or the iron scent thick in the room. Angela took his advice with a shiver, mumbling what sounded like a plea to ducks* under her breath. Then there was another woman who entered the room, another Earthling from what Dorian could tell, who was greeted with all of the violence and none of the context. He found himself rather concerned with the prospective Month Warriors around him.

*At least he thought she was. Dorian, while rather good at picking out Common words, was not equally competent in Common slang or swears. Therefore, even though he though the context was maybe a little weird, he assumed Angela’s people just had some sort of affinity for waterfowl while in distress. Aliens, am I right?

Dorian sipped his own wine as she demanded another variation of what had already been explained. If the atmosphere had been any different and Dorian practically anyone else, he would have laughed from the way exasperation was radiating off of Haru in waves. The other man was clearly a professional people-wrangler, however. He pulled himself together and treated them to another round of “who, what, when, where, and why” as the scarred woman was sent off to retrieve the girl who’d made her escape.

By the time he had finished with the basics once more(maybe not for the last time as Dorian noticed that there were still less than twelve people gathered around the table) and the girl had returned, Haru was ready to begin his final pitch to the group, more tired and less idealistic than when he’d begun. And it was in that explanation, mixed with very necessary introductions, that a few things clicked.

For one, Dorian realized where he’d heard Haru’s name before. The Red Commander was sitting before him, a bit shorter and scrawnier than the history books would have the people of Hales imagine but him nevertheless. Although the man glossed over his accolades and history, Dorian knew. The story had been ingrained in his mind, the military tactics analyzed from countless angles, the biography researched, and, of course, his fatal flaw examined to within an inch of its life.

It was like a Romanian had met Vlad Tepes or, in a more positive comparison, someone from around the area of Carthage gazing upon Hannibal. Eerily historical, incredibly amazing, and perhaps a little disappointing (which was more Hales’ speculative scholars’ s faults than Haru’s own).

He also realized that this really would be easier if he had been stuck on Earth rather than still on Aires. While he and Tallyho* could feasibly leave, find their ways home with some trials and tribulations, these Earthlings were stuck at the mercy of being strangers in a strange land. If any of them chose to leave on their own, they’d have to be complete idiots or, if he was being charitable, temporarily insane.

*It was fortunate Haru had just taken care of introductions when he did. Dorian had been maybe thirty seconds away from mentally dubbing Tallyho “the vomiting blonde” to differentiate her from the other women in the group. Now she was Tallyho, the other Airesian, which was a much better title in the grand scheme of things.

Or terribly greedy, as it turned out. The man from earlier, the one Dorian had decided that he disliked from the moment he saw Ron shooting so haphazardly in Central Park, was speaking again after a brief and rather troubling laughing fit. Dorian didn’t recognize every word he used, and cultural differences were springing up quickly leading to questions. Among them:

Why would he want something as silly and decorative as gold and silver?
Why would a man whose life and, as Haru had hinted, own planet were at stake decide to play pretend mercenary?
Why, in the name of the Goddess, was he trying to construct a hand-cannon*?
And why did things have to be so terribly ironic? A wannabe war lord (anyone stocking up on jewels and hoping to bring new weapons to a foreign land could be little else) who had the powers of a healer**, not a fighter.

*Dorian, while no genius, knew those ingredients by heart. This was mostly because his uncle had spent the duration of the hand-canon’s invention process speaking of nothing else to the extent where Dorian was reasonably certain that even he could make one with the proper tools.

**Even as he recalled that little tidbit, he could practically hear his grandmother’s gloating. “Oh, my! Who would have thought? My lessons weren’t so useless after all, little Dor. Your Baba’s ramblings about month warriors are not so boring now.”

Dorian wasn’t about to try to reason with someone so painfully self-important (which was good because Dorian’s reasoning tactics tended to involve threats of or actual physical violence). In a continuance of the world’s great irony, Ron’s selfish demands actually helped Haru more than anything in this regard. Ron’s laundry list of demands allowed Dorian to brush aside his own qualms about magic jewels, month warriors, and prophecies in order to embrace the side that was “I’m not with that guy” or “Please don’t let an immortal historical figure think I’m poor enough of a soldier to agree with [b]that guy[/]”.

He turned to Haru and, perhaps just to finish this endless cycle of demands and explanations, spoke in Common for everyone to understand.

“I go, no cost. It is most good interest for Hales. Protects world and home.” He nodded his head sharply, reaffirming his stance. After all, if they were really month warriors, it would do Hales a good deal of good to have one of their own represented among the group.

“And I can carry burden of two. I and the Braghlnucht’s*. It is not bad deal.” He indicated Ron with an almost cheerful tilt of his head in the other man’s direction. He had no issues with shouldering the burden of two if it meant less muss and fuss over Ron’s non-negotiable terms. The sooner this was settled, after all, the sooner they could begin. More importantly, the sooner they began, the sooner Dorian could go home.

*This is the closest approximation of the actual word to ever be written. In Halesian, Braghlnucht is a word so foul that it has no Common equivalent. Even hardened soldiers and criminals would flinch at the word, the ghostly taste of the soap that their mothers and grandmothers cleaned their mouths out with for even beginning to say the word still haunting them. Apparently Dorian was not fond of people who attempted to profit from dire situations, or perhaps he just didn’t like the look of Ron’s face. Or both.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood

0.00 INK

Surely Ron (that was his name, right?) was a mad man? He had to be. His demands seemed less plausible to Tallyho than the fact that she was just told that she had elemental super powers. She wondered how he could ask so much for a role that’s supposed to be so sanctified. If she only learned one thing from being raised in a manic cult of Old Thought fanatics, it was that the legend of the month warriors was motivated by salvaging the good of humanity and not acquiring gold. And to be honest, while Haru seemed well to do, the blonde doubted that he could produce everything Ron wanted. And to top it all off, none of them, save for the warrior now known as Dorian, could even introduce themselves as a mercenary without being laughed out of the nearest tavern. Being the no-talent tent attendant that she was, Tallyho could smell a lack of skill, competence and experience in a subject a day’s travel away. Every mercenary she's ever seen was a big, burly hunk of muscle that expressed himself with the sheer force of his knuckles and the sharpness of his steel. Not his words! Ron didn't look nearly as strong. Ron was no mercenary.


As he went on with his terms, Tallyho shifted her attention to Haru who was watching the young man patiently. She studied his face and the way his eyes were peppered with hints of disbelief and amusement. She’d catch his mouth tremble, stifling back a smirk or a chuckle. And by the time Ron wrapped up his verbal contract, the warrior from Hales had written his antics off publicly. At least she wasn’t the only one who thought demanding gold was overkill.


-x-



Haru let the reactions run their course, though he raised his eyebrows at “Braghlnucht.” The redhead hadn’t heard that word in ages and it really took him back. He glanced at Ron, halfway expecting him to jump up and punch Dorian in the throat (at least that’s what Haru would have done), but he remembered that most of the earthlings wouldn’t have a grasp on what that meant. Finally, Haru took his chance to step back in. He cleared his throat and began his gentle dissent.


Admittedly, he couldn’t process Ron’s demands simply because he was still stuck on the man calling himself a “mercenary.” Never in the past few centuries had he wanted to crawl into his crypt more than he did at that moment. This group was going to be very difficult and the January warrior’s tone deaf demands were all the proof he needed. Haru had been away from the sand table for so long that he wasn’t sure if he still had the fire to reel them in and get them prepared enough to stay alive in this world. And at this rate, he was starting to worry that he’d lose at least two of them in the first month. Most aggravatingly, he wondered when the other guardians would stop what they’re doing and come join the party. He lucked out with technically being the guardian of February(Tallyho), but Goddess bless the immortal soul pledged to this guy.


"I respect that you know how to conduct your business and make your terms. But I'm afraid this isn't a deal that you'll have much control over,” Haru hummed. “In fact, I don’t have the resources to give you such an extravagant wealth of metal. Let alone all twelve of you. However, I will be seeing to it that you learn about Aires and do your fair share of reading. There are also some weapons waiting for you up in the mountains where you’ll be training for the next few seasons. They are very special weapons that belonged to the previous month warriors. Though I suspect you’ll have a learning curve. Too bad the only thing I can provide you with is food, shelter, protection and my undying loyalty (literally),” he sighed sarcastically before settling back into his serious tone.

"Unfortunately I cannot give you all that you’d like. But my offer still stands. You are free to leave, though you'll be at a severe disadvantage. You'll need the protection and support of your fellow warriors more than you think…But it’s your choice. By the way, you have the healing power. Remind me to loan you my copy of Scrapes to Scabs, it was a groundbreaking book, you know? Anyway, for those of you who are committed, I need you up and on the porch at the break of dawn. We will be heading up to our new home for the next few months. Get plenty of rest, and I hope to see you all there… ”


-x-


The last time Tallyho Abel fell asleep, she sunk into her blankets and woke up in a tree. It sounds romantic (or actually not really), but when the moment is mostly associated with the snarling jaws of a monster she didn’t even know existed, the romance kind of starts to lop off like flesh from a corpse. On this day, however, she woke up to Aires: Soft light from a dusty window, a bed head like a fuzzy halo, sore legs and a wafting smell promising her stomach breakfast.
She pulled herself upright, eyes trained on the crisp white sheets hugging her lap, and wondered if she was ever going to see her caravan again or hear her mother sing. She also wondered why she wasn’t as sad about this uncertainty of seeing her family as she thought she was going to be.

-x-


Pull. Loose. Pull. Loose.

When Haru smokes, he likes to pretend that he is The Red Commander again. He imagines that he’s leading his archers in his famous “Red Rain” technique where he corners his enemies and orders his archers to pluck their arrows high into the sky in unison. When gravity takes effect the arrows spiral downwards, raining down on his victims at the bottom of the mountain.

Pull. Loose. Pull. Loose.

He took a long, deep inhale of his cigar as he waited for the warriors to come outside. He asked the hands to greet them with a packed, home cooked meal—biscuits and venison gravy. And he asked another hand to round up a couple of horses and a hay cart big enough to fit the whole group. They were going up the mountain to meet Ryou, another guardian who spent the better part of his eternity training people to fight. These days he has a place up in northern Solace, a secluded academy that takes only a handful of students at a time. Haru hoped that the academy would be a good start in discipline.

Tallyho came outside clutching her sack of biscuits and gravy tightly.

“Ah, so at least there’s one of you,” he said dryly as she approached. “Hop on in the cart and get a good seat. The ride is going to be a day or two. But don’t worry I have extra food packed back there. Don’t eat it all at once.”

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View All » Add Character » 16 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Yasmin De La Rosa
Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson
Character Portrait: Angela Taylor
Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez
Character Portrait: Pene Michaels
Character Portrait: Mal Mayfair
Character Portrait: Kris Li
Character Portrait: Ron Muller
Character Portrait: Roisín O'Connor
Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
Character Portrait: Willow Elaine Stryder
Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander

Newest

Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander
Calliope Alexander

Perilous Peridot

Character Portrait: Willow Elaine Stryder
Willow Elaine Stryder

The quiet Emerald

Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
Haru Sinwood

The Guardian of February

Character Portrait: Roisín O'Connor
Roisín O'Connor

The Rebellious Ruby

Character Portrait: Ron Muller
Ron Muller

The Reckless Garnet

Character Portrait: Mal Mayfair
Mal Mayfair

CHARACTER ABANDONED

Character Portrait: Pene Michaels
Pene Michaels

The Worrisome Pearl

Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez
Xabier Sanchez

The Charming Opal

Character Portrait: Angela Taylor
Angela Taylor

The Cheerful Topaz

Trending

Character Portrait: Angela Taylor
Angela Taylor

The Cheerful Topaz

Character Portrait: Willow Elaine Stryder
Willow Elaine Stryder

The quiet Emerald

Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander
Calliope Alexander

Perilous Peridot

Character Portrait: Mal Mayfair
Mal Mayfair

CHARACTER ABANDONED

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
Tallyho Abel

The Mysterious Amethyst

Character Portrait: Ron Muller
Ron Muller

The Reckless Garnet

Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
Haru Sinwood

The Guardian of February

Character Portrait: Yasmin De La Rosa
Yasmin De La Rosa

CHARACTER ABANDONED

Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez
Xabier Sanchez

The Charming Opal

Most Followed

Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez
Xabier Sanchez

The Charming Opal

Character Portrait: Roisín O'Connor
Roisín O'Connor

The Rebellious Ruby

Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson
Dorian Steinsson

The Chilly Aquamarine

Character Portrait: Mal Mayfair
Mal Mayfair

CHARACTER ABANDONED

Character Portrait: Angela Taylor
Angela Taylor

The Cheerful Topaz

Character Portrait: Pene Michaels
Pene Michaels

The Worrisome Pearl

Character Portrait: Ron Muller
Ron Muller

The Reckless Garnet

Character Portrait: Willow Elaine Stryder
Willow Elaine Stryder

The quiet Emerald

Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander
Calliope Alexander

Perilous Peridot

Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
Haru Sinwood

The Guardian of February


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