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Mundus alter || Remake

Meg & May's House of Wonders

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a part of Mundus alter || Remake, by umademeink96.

Meeting hall of the six riders. Also the place the six beasts are reincarnated in.

umademeink96 holds sovereignty over Meg & May's House of Wonders, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

249 readers have been here.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

https://www.roleplaygateway.com/roleplay/mundus-alter

Setting

TBA
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Meg & May's House of Wonders

Meeting hall of the six riders. Also the place the six beasts are reincarnated in.

Minimap

Meg & May's House of Wonders is a part of Gnaji.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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ImageMeg: #65823e May: 679897

Vibration. It was the first sign of something amiss on the continent. It was subtle, barely a hint of a disturbance, but it was enough to make the hair on your arms stand on end. You can tell that something has changed. Whatever thin line that had been drawn to keep balance in the world had snapped and with that thought an overwhelming sense of doom encapsulates you. It’s a feeling you can’t quite place, it must be some deep primal instinct because even though nothing has really changed, the urge to run far, far, away tingles in the tips of your toes.

Your world doesn’t stop vibrating for three full days. You feel tired, nauseous, and there’s a pain in the back of your head that is deeply akin to someone hammering a spike into the base of your skull. It’s not only you that has been affected by the vibration though, the rest of your family seems to be suffering as well. They are irritable, short-tempered, and there’s an underlying hostility amongst your bunch. It feels as if you are treading a field of landmines, one wrong step and they’ll blow you to pieces. You’re beginning to wonder how much longer you can last like this.

At nearly the same time you think this the entire world lurches. You get sent tumbling to the ground and the ground below you violently shakes to such a degree that you can’t get back up. The panic sets in and all you can think about it how when you first felt this change you should have run far, far, away. The ground is splintering to your left, the rumble of the shifting earth sounds more like a growl from a god than an earthquake. The shaking lasts only minutes though, and you find yourself gasping for air when the tremors finally settle. You are sitting at the edge of a massive fission in the ground, and you note the vibration has finally spotted.

Your heart hammers against your ribs as you crawl towards the massive break in the ground, it spans for miles in both directions and you warily peak over the edge. The chasm was deep enough that when you stare into it nothing stares back. A low rumble, an aftershock, moans deep in the abyss and you feel goosebumps prickle over your skin. A large updraft pushes upwards as if the earth is sighing and the warm air makes your eyes tear up.

“Hmmm, now this is certainly peculiar. Isn’t May?”
“Most definitely Meg, not even we had seen this coming.” You are startled by the sudden appearance of two ancient looking women appearing on either side of you. They seem serene, unconcerned with the massive canyon that had just opened up in front of you. They have large grins on their faces, their eyes squinted so much they appeared closed, and they chuckle to each other as if this was not something strange to occur.

“Dear sister, what do you so speculate for such a sudden return?”
“That old coot is probably just bored of hiding out under ground.”
The old woman to your left chuckles, and you find that what ever joke was there is lost to anyone but the two of them. They don’t even seem to notice you, as if they are in a reality all their own.

“Lovely May, your concerns shouldn’t lie here, but in our dear riders.”
“Ah, humans are so very fragile after all. I suppose we should signal for a gathering of the six.” You are completely bewildered by the the casual tones of these women. The riders are the most famous people in all of Mundus alter. Your regions rider, Benedict, may have only been a child but was known all throughout Wolfbane. Once again, you are broken away from your train of thought by the rasped cackle of the two old women in unison.

“Such a pity, the young Benedict-”
“-no longer a rider.” What do they mean? You are filled with a sudden dread, your flight instinct swells in your gut and urges you to run far away from these women. You know you should listen to that feeling deep inside, but find yourself rooted in place. They look at you for the first time since their mysterious arrival and you are certain that these old women are anything but normal. You become so entranced by their sudden interest in you that you don’t notice the single looming claw hovered above you. It is absolutely massive, the claw itself rivalling the size of the full grown Cerberus, and its owner is situated somewhere in the newly formed abyss. You can’t scream as it pierces your midsection, and you can’t try to flee as it starts to drag you down. You only make one desperate attempted to reach towards the two old women, but they make no move, their lips pursed in contempt.

“Such a shame.”
“What a pity.”

“I was going to eat that.”
“I was going to eat that.”

Image
#b03f02
There’s an agitated static in the air, the kind that comes right before a storm.

There isn’t a single cloud in the desert sky. It’s knee deep into the middle of summer and it’s so hot that Amir had no doubt he could fry eggs on the surface of the sand. It wasn’t that Amir didn’t enjoy the heat, he had lived in the desert for almost his whole life, dry heat was nothing new, but this was some next level heat. It was so hot that the entire world was swaying, the heat waves distorting his vision. The boy reached for his water skin, it sat plastered to his side under layers of his white cloth robe in an attempt to shield it from the heat, but even as he drank from the skin the water was washtub warm and hardly satisfying.

A piercing screech above him alerted the boy to the return of his companion. The fiery bird, his beast Hassan, circle stalked him from above akin to the way vultures followed their prey. Normally his companion had no problem perching his rider’s shoulder and nitpicking his poor behavior, but with the level of heat in the desert Hassan’s presence had only been more burdensome to the boy. The phoenix was also very sick of being snapped at by the boy every time he got a little too close, so instead the beast stuck to guiding him from a safe distance in the sky.

It wasn’t only the heat that had Amir’s temper flaring. It was the events that had happened the day before. The earthquake had been so massive that an entire neighborhood of buildings had collapsed in Gnaji town and had caused a city wide panic amongst the already neurotic population. Amir knew it wasn’t a normal earthquake though, he had felt it when the tremors hit, something had tried to rip his soul from his body. It had felt as though someone had taken a white-hot knife and had begun to flay the skin off his body and the boy had recoiled to such an extent that whatever had attacked him fled. He wanted to play off the experience, but when he felt the call from Meg and May it sent him into a panic and turned his mood sour. Just the thought had his heart echoing in his chest. Ba-dump, ba-dump, ba-dump.

Hassan interrupts the boy’s thoughts as he swoops down to the desert Rider’s shoulder. Amir immediately feels his agitation swell, but makes the conscious effort to hold any biting comments. The phoenix doesn’t say anything for a moment, as if testing the waters of Amir’s self control, before reporting to his rider. “Once you reach the peak of this dune The House will be insight, and please Amir, do try to control yourself once you get there.” Hassan speaks to him as f he is a small child, which is nothing unusual, but he still feels irritated with his beast. Amir turns his head ever slightly to make eye contact with his companion, his eyes narrowed dangerously. The bird takes the hint and returns to the sky without another comment and Amir doesn’t know what’s wrong with himself. Hassan and Amir bickered all the time, but it was never serious and Amir never took offense to the motherly scolding Hassan often directed at him. He felt guilty in the moment, pausing at the top on the dune to rub his aching temples, a headache had been growing in the base of his skull since the earthquake and it throbbed in time to his heart. Ba-dump, ba-dump, ba-dump.

He could see the house in the distance, and never had Amir ever been happy to see The House of Wonders, but in that moment with both the heat and a headache ebbing at his patience the boy wanted nothing more than to lay on the cool marble floor of the house. The easily slide down the dune and begun the remaining trek to the house and a much quicker speed than he had been traveling at. The house seems so far off, the heat distorting his ability to tell the actual distance and the only reason he’s positive he is moving forward the the twinkle of the golden bracelets around his ankles jingling with every step he takes. His heart was hammering in his chest, ba-dump, ba-dump, ba-dump.

“Lady Sahira, as usual-”
“-you are the first to arrive.” Amir didn’t even both to snap at them about calling him Sahira as he trudged his sweat-covered body into the cool atmosphere of the house. The two old women spared each other a glance and followed in after the rider and Hassan dove through the doorway to take a perch on the back of Amir’s throne. He didn’t make it more than ten paces into the building before he laid himself down on the marble floor, pressing one of his cheeks against the ground. Amir didn’t think it had ever been this hot in the desert before, and he definitely made his unhappiness known.

“It is SO fucking hot outside.” He groaned, feeling the twins creep up on either side of him. They didn’t say anything at first, watching the boy lay on the ground as he complained about the weather. Amir was aware though, even when he was whining or exhausted the twins kept his senses on edge. Despite the legends saying the twins guided and served the riders Amir could not bring himself to trust them, he always got the feeling that they never actually served the riders at all. The thought caused his heart rate to elevate, a slight panic tensing his muscles. Ba-dump ba-dump, ba-dump.

“Lady Sahira, shouldn’t you have realized by now.”
“There is something not your own inside of you.” The statement made his boiling blood run cold, his mind immediately flashing back to when he felt the attack on his body during the earthquake. Ba-dump, ba-dump, ba-dump. The steady drumming of his heart echoed in the base of his skull as he began to panic. Something that was not him, he sat back on his heels to look at the twins. They were staring at him through squinted eyes and amused smiles, it was predatory. Ba-dump, ba-dump, ba-dump.

“Listen closely-”
“-our sweet Lady Sahira.” That’s when it hit him, his heart was jack-rabbiting in his chest. He could feel it against his ribcage, thudding as if he had just run a marathon, yet the echo in the back of his head did not match the beat of his own heart. Ba-dump, ba-dump, ba-dump. It was rhythmic, steady, with the precision of a metronome. It echoed low and thundering, barely a trace, but still he was aware of it. Someone else’s heartbeat was in his head. He placed his hand over his own heart, feeling it hammer against his palm in panic as his eyes darted between the still smiling twins.

“What the god damn fuck is going on?”

There was a storm coming.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Meg & May
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#, as written by claw
Sand. By the Beyond how he very much hated sand.

It was course and irritating to the skin. It had an almost supernatural tendency to slip into anything that could annoy a person, between the layers of clothing, lurking at the bottom of his boots or rather amazingly even between the eyes. But worst of all seeing sand without water meant two very annoying things. First of all was the ever present heat, that sought to break him and slowly roast him in his shining armour, a feat it was trying ever so hard at yet had not succeed as of yet. It was the second that concerned him far, far more.

The headache that was in insufferable child Amir. Arguably the worst attempt at making a Rider that had ever existed. Of course it would happen during his incarnation. Why wouldn't it?

He had thought himself free of the torments of the damnable desert three months ago, wishing dearly that he had never needed to return. Unbidden the memories of those past months flashed back to his head in a great wave. It was always when he was busy he got called away.

Indeed it had taken him almost two whole weeks just to return to Amstra city. Both he and Mavegen were exhausted from the strain the deserts heat had put on them and that almost doubled their return trip across the continent. After reuniting the Rider Serafina with the others he had left almost immediately, which to be entirely fair was exactly what he said he would do. Without any hesitation he had taken once more to the skies and made his way back north.

Passing through the Wolfsbane mountains was particularly difficult for him, not for the cold climate or frequent snows, rather for the fact he knew the remnants of the tribe that had been slaughtered by the banks of a river in Gnaji were somewhere in the great expanse of the mountains. Though he longed to hunt for them, and to bringer their slavers to brutal justice as was his way, he knew that he could never find them. It had been too long since they had been taken and he was just one man and in a foreign land at that. So it was with a heavy heart that he was forced to fly onwards, knowing it would be a black stain on his honour forever more.

It wasn't long after until he had returned to Amstra and in turn to his home, the Smiths Keep in the very heart of the vast metropolis. He had to wonder if Amstra city was the largest city in all of Mundus Alter, or just the most populated. Certainly it was a vast stronghold, with many different walls sectioning off the city. He flew over it all the same in the middle of the night and returned to the Keep with most of its occupants still sound asleep. His regent, Chancellor Vex was most pleased to see his kings return, though Trytheus could see he was less pleased to be roused from his sleep in the middle of the night.

Trytheus himself was only afforded a short rest before was was called back into action once more. It was only a few days later when he was once more venturing forth, chance would have it that he had returned just days before the Knights of the Order of the Forge ventured forth from Amstra City to tour the country, trying to rid the land of evil and the unjust as they found them. It was an event that was scheduled to occur bi-annually and it generally only lasted a month or two, but in one extreme case it once lasted for twelve years. The reason being that through a number of seeing unrelated events the Order set on a series of wild chases across the entirety of the vast country in an attempt to catch a band of rebels that were sowing destruction in their wake and leaving confusion wherever they appeared.

Regardless that was many years before this incarnation of Trytheus was alive and in recent years the Grand Tour had been blissfully short and often times eventful at least. As was the tradition of the Tour knights divided up into Chapters, each with a specific mission to fulfil and then they were to set forth in their vast number out into the countryside. In total a solid number of knights were able to partake in the Tour this time around, roughly 21,000 knights and apprentices set forth from the great bastion of Amstra City to enact their Chapters missions for the following months. Trytheus's own Chapter was one of those few Chapters that had decided to simply ride from one edge of the country to the other aiding the other Chapters in need. Few undertook this task for they felt there was little glory to be gained in playing a supporting role. Of course none spoke ill of the king doing as such.

Trytheus and his Chapter of roughly 500 knights ventured first southwards. Following closely on the trail of the larger Chapters it wasn't long until they came across signs of their passing. Crops had been harvested to feed the vast armies on the move and trees were cut down to make for firewood. Yet the common people did not complain for their food being eaten, for they were always paid well for their troubles and nor did anybody complain for the trees being cut, for in truth the forests of Amstra were far too large for their own good, often being the hiding spot for outlaws and brigands and besides, the trees often reclaimed the land they had lost within a few years. The Grand Tour was as much a part of Amstran life and nature as much as the changing of the seasons were. Some peasant folk even felt that without it monsters not men would once more rule the vast plains and woodlands. Of course the sudden influx of gold didn't hurt too much either.

Trytheus himself spent many nights in taverns in small villages that often times had no name and the people living there just knew it as 'home'. They were certainly happy to see the king himself eating and drinking alongside them, laughing at their jokes and helping them in their plights such as they were. In one village Trytheus solved a dispute between two farmers over who should own a patch of land, he did so by suggesting that their children marry and both farmers own the land together. At first they naturally were fairly opposed to the idea, until they actually put it into practice and discovered they both knew skills the other did not. Trytheus left confident that the two farmers would be very successful after that.

In another village he was placed on the trail of a vicious monster that was hunting the livestock and supposedly had taken to stalking any villagers that were out late at night. The people were becoming too afraid to venture outside at all, lest the creature reveal itself. Trytheus vowed to hunt it down and quickly set about trying to lure the beast out. It took a few days for the monster to take the bait of sheep sitting in a open field but eventually the creature revealed itself to be a squat, grey skinned ogre, with hideous features to match. Trytheus struck quickly and from the sky, actually landing atop of the beast and bringing it down with his own weight. The monster struggled briefly and would have most likely thrown the Rider from its back, had its head not been obliterated by the sudden appearance of Trytheus's great war hammer. The village people were certainly pleased to see the end of that particular incident as Trytheus and his knights ventured further south.

Indeed for a better part of a month this was roughly the way of things. They would go from village to village, either helping the poor folk who had yet to see any knights on the Grand Tour, or else trying to find word of any knights in need. It was not long until Trytheus came across just such a thing. The Chapter that was being led by a Lord Ares, was currently having just a little bit of difficulty with a vast clan of outlaws, bandits and other assorted villainy that had taken up residence in an enormous forest that lay close to where the border of Amstra faded into the Unclaimed Lands, where monsters ruled and most men dared not risk their lives. Trytheus set off in search of these men.

It took a couple of days but they eventually came across the encampment of Lord Ares and his some 700 knights. They were camped a short distance from the edge of the forest and had no intention of moving any closer. The reason being was clear to see for any to see. A small herd of Adamantoise were currently grazing in the fertile grasslands between the camp and the forest. Though calling them small was vast inaccurate. The bull Adamantoise was easily the size of a small mountain, with tusks the size of a small ship. Even trying to get around the vast creatures would be an issue.

Trytheus was greeted by Lord Ares himself on his arrival. The armoured man knelt as the king dismounted, as did the small honour guard of knights that were gathered.
"Your Grace. It is indeed a honour to see you here. I assume that you heard of our trouble?"
"Indeed. Though I had not been informed of the presence of those particular giants over there."
"Neither had we your Grace." Lord Ares led Trytheus and Mavegen through the camp as he talked. "We had come here in search of a man by the name of Goros, who was calling himself the Bandit King of the South." The lord scoffed at the title. "In truth he is little more than a brute who managed to hit harder than his other bandits. Nonetheless though, he has been a rather large threat to the nearby town of Listria. We have a rough idea of where his camp is in the forest..."
"But you cannot reach there for the Adamantoise." Interjected Trytheus, cutting off the lord before he could finish the summary of why they were here. In truth he hadn't known about any 'Goros' or why the Chapter was even here, only that they had run into difficulty that was preventing them from finishing their mission.
"Very much so your Grace. Those things are far too territorial for us to get anywhere near them and they can run far faster than a horse. I suspect even trying to ride around them would startle them and as best as I can tell this is the most direct route to the bandits lair. We have reached a fair impasse here as best as we can tell." Trytheus thought for a moment as he looked out on the herd that was blocking their way. It was only six beasts, one bull, two mothers and two calf's as well as what looked like a female that was most likely past her prime.
"They may be able to outrun a horse, Lord Ares, but I highly doubt they can outpace a flying Griffon. Inform your men that tomorrow they are to ride directly for the borders of the forest. I shall draw the beasts away as best I can. My own Chapter will be riding behind yours, so I recommend that you ride swiftly."
"Of course your Grace. I shall inform the men to begin tearing down the less vital parts of the camp now." Trytheus nodded as he continued to study the vast beasts, looking for some sign of weakness in them. Of course, when faced with such slow and placid titans it was a bit harder to figure out if one of them carried a limp or it was just how they moved. It didn't help his concentration that every time one of them took a step he could feel the shock of it through the ground. The vast creatures must surely weigh as much as castle, how they managed to move all that mass was a miracle to be sure.

The next day say Trytheus rise early and eating a short and simple breakfast. He knew he was about to do something particularly stupid and not to mention the aerobatics alone would be enough to forcibly remove any large amount of food in his gut. He waited atop Mavegen as the knights finished packing away their tents and stripping down the camp. It was an hour after dawn that the men finally gathered behind him in a disorganised mass.
"Lord Ares. Remember to ride hard, and ride fast. This may go sour very quickly." With his command given, Mavegen launched herself into the skies once more, flying directly at the bull. The beasts great head came up to look at the Griffon just as Trytheus lashed out with his hammer, hitting the monster in the side of its head. There was a loud clang and an involuntary yell of pain and the hammer simply bounced off the skull and jerked the Riders arm back in its socket. Clearly the skull was far too strong for him to be able to do any real damage to it, instead his should flared in pain as a result. He was confident it was not dislocated but he had certainly jarred it.

But the plan wasn't to try to kill the monster, he knew full well he alone couldn't bring down a bull Adamantoise. Instead the great beast swung its head after the Griffon, trying to swipe her from the air with its massive tusks. Mavegen spun and dropped under the oncoming danger, flying back the way they came. Trytheus could see the creature was getting more and more irritated, and it only took one more pass for the monster to be annoyed enough to give chase. It let out a vast bellow of its primal annoyance as it lumbered after the flying pair. Just as Trytheus had predicted, the herd mentality of the gigantic monsters meant that where the bull went, the others followed. First they followed calmly, then perhaps sensing the anger of their bull they too joined the chase. Trytheus was glad not to be on the ground, for the great stampede was creating a horrific earthquake far below. Indeed, as he got a chance to spy the knights riding at full speed for the safety of the woods, he could see that the horses were struggling to keep their footing as they ran, often times stumbling on a step and almost fumbling over.

The chase went on for longer than Trytheus had expected. Though the knights quickly made it to the forest edge, the Adamantoise weren't so compliant with giving up the chase. In the end they had lead them away for nearly a full league before they changed direction and flew a distance eastwards, a further full miles before the Adamantoise were finally satisfied that they had chased them off. The entire chase and the return journey was a painfully long hour before Trytheus finally landed once more. Very glad that he had not eaten hearty that morning.

He was greeted just inside the confines of the trees by Lord Ares again, who didn't need much encouragement to begin heading deeper into the forest. The trees pressed close together and the air inside was very dark, to say the least. It was clear that these trees had never been threatened by a woodsmans axe and the ground was littered in roots and deadwood. It quickly became apparent that the army could only ride two abreast, at least to begin with. The further they went the more inhospitable the ground was becoming and it became increasingly clear that although this may be the most direct route to wherever it was that the self proclaimed bandit king had made his residence, it was evidently not the route they were using to move in and out of the forest. After about an hour of riding, most knights were forced to dismount, to save their horses the risk of stumbling with them on their backs. A horse falling here had a great enough chance of breaking a leg even without the added weight of an armoured knight to increase the danger.

At least Trytheus felt like it had been an hour. If it were not for the increasing density of trees both living and dead there would be no passage of time. The sunlight could not reach the forest floor and it was like a cave inside and it was uncomfortably warm at that. Every now and then Trytheus would ride through a cloud of flies and had to spend the next few minutes fishing stray insects from his helmet. Looking around he could sometimes catch quick glimpses of life trying to get away from the parade of knights struggling to make their way through the forest. Squirrels jumped from tree to tree and small birds perched upon thin branches, their heads twisting about as they tried to make sense of the armoured men in their homes. Often small groups of deer would cut across in front of Trytheus and Ares as they tried to avoid them. At one point he was fairly sure he heard what sounded like one deer crashing into the side of one of the horses behind him, judging by the sounds of both deer and horse screaming in surprise and a string of curses followed by laughter of the men around them. Every now and then there was a yell and a number of clattering noises as a knight tripped over a root or a log. In the end only Trytheus could remain mounted and free of risk of making unnecessary noise, Mavegen was far more sure footed than any horse.

They continued onwards in this manner for the better part of the day and Trytheus was beginning to wonder that if the outlaws weren't using the most direct route how long they must have to travel just to leave their lair. In fact they came across the place rather suddenly and unexpectedly. A large palisade of wood was erected around what was presumably the perimeter of the encampment and rather cleverly the bandits had the sense to place greenery on it. The unaware passer by would probably assumed it was just another clump of trees until they paid it any closer inspection. At the sight of the wall Trytheus finally dismounted and there was the soft sound of metal sliding from leather as the knights behind all drew their war hammers, the staple weapon of the Knights of the Order of the Forge. The knights tied their horses to nearby trees whilst their apprentices stayed behind to ensure nothing happened to the proud beasts and once more the procession carried on, this time circling around the palisade. It was a worryingly large creation, clearly designed to protect a vast number of people or land and he could only begin to wonder what would drive just that many people to disregard the laws of the land and take up the banner of some outlaw. Perhaps some people were just born with the notions of banditry in their hearts and were drawn to these out of the way places. Still if the size of their base was anything to judge by this clan was certainly more than a threat to the local area. He vaguely remembered the number of times lords Rikkar and Vias made visits to his court asking for more men and gold to put down these kind of threats. Then he had simply assumed they were wasting the resources, but now that he could see what they might have been dealing with for himself he wasn't so sure of that fact.

It took nearly half an hours trecking through the rough ground until Trytheus came across what appeared to be the main entrance into the stronghold. In truth it was little more than a giant hole in the wall with a rough road leading out of it, which was evidently the result of many feet passing too and fro. Oddly enough the entrance was completely unguarded. Something didn't feel right about this entire thing. Approaching slowly, he kept his back to wooden wall as best he could and eventually made his way to the opening. Taking a risk he peered inside the outlaw stronghold. And saw nothing.

Confused his entered the the opening and still nothing came out to attack him. He was quickly followed by Ares and the the knights, who seemed as equally confused. The small army quickly spread out to investigate the place. Long hunts made of roughly hewn wood sat in rows in the surprisingly flat ground, stores of firewood lay stacked up in piles under rough shelters. A number of camp fires lay cold and forgotten, a thick layer of ash the testament to their heavy use. A few knights broke into the huts to reveal long rows of empty cots, the odd table with chairs around it, some laying on the floor or with a leg broken. Other huts revealed empty hemp bags, the kind used to carry grain, or crates with one of the sides ripped open and sometimes small scraps of leather or some morsel of food laying in a dark corner. The more they searched the more it became increasingly clear that the bandits had caught word of the coming army and vanished. Yet two things didn't right with Trytheus. Firstly though the place had been nearly entirely picked clean of anything useful it had clearly been done in haste and most likely it had occurred in the last few days alone. The second major thing was the fact that the base could clearly house many thousands of men, and could possibly hold even more besides. How that sheer number of men could simply vanish with all their supplies and not leave a trace was a worrying thing.

It was part of the way through searching the simple buildings that Lord Ares approached Trytheus, who was stood in the centre of the complex.
"Your Grace. It is clear that this region is under threat by a rouge band of outlaws. But the size of them.... I do not think that we alone are enough to bring these outlaws to justice if we met them in the field."
"Indeed, I suspect you are correct there. We shall need more than twelve hundred knights, formidable though they may be. Tell me, who is the Marshal of these Reaches?" The Marshals were the high born lords who were in command of the large regions of Amstra, directly below the king in rank they made up the most influential and powerful men in the entire kingdom. The Reaches was simply the name of the regions they governed, there was 17 Reaches in total; Amstra, Canan, Reion, Mulasice, Ental, Rist, Belegand, Shirien, Lockmead, Farfinger, Anterious, Dyanious, Robsiour, Gabrieon, Numeroiur, Kalenheart and Festonious. The aim of the Marshals was to manage their own particular Reach, for the king cannot be everywhere at once, whilst the idea of the Reaches was to ensure no one man had too much power, lest they use that to further their own goals rather than to protect to the people.
"This is the Reach of Mulasice your Grace, governed by the Prince Proles." Trytheus nodded, it was just his misfortune that this predicament would occur in the boundaries of the lands of the Prince Proles, they were not exactly on the greatest of terms and he was loath to go to him for aid in this manor. Besides, he reminded him of that annoying desert rat that he had barely gotten rid of, no he would have to look to the Chapters for aid.
"And what about any Chapters we can call on?" Lord Ares considered for a moment before nodding.
"We may be able to sire. My elder brother, Earl Grafis, is currently leading a Chapter of some thirteen hundred knights, as well as somehow managing to obtain the support of a sellsword company to boot. He may be convinced to aid us." In truth it would have to be convincing. Even the word of the king holds little in the way of command during the Grand Tour, if it conflicts with the quest the Chapter has elected the undertake. Indeed, even if Earl Grafis did decide to aid them, there's no guarantee that the knights would join him. Each knight joins a Chapter of his own free will because he agrees with the quest that the Chapter has chosen to undertake. Sometimes knights will leave a Chapter to join another if they feel their old quest is not worthy to be fulfilled or if they disagree with how the original Chapter is undertaking the quest they may elect to form their own Chapter to finish their quest their own way.
"Very well. I shall seek out this Earl Grafis and ask him to lend his hammer to this cause. Though tell me, what is it his Chapter is seeking?" Trytheus spoke as he made his way back towards the opening where Mavegen was waiting for him.
"They currently hunt for an artefact which they are calling 'the Titan'. As far as I can work out they have managed to find the skull of his so called 'Titan' and last I heard from Grafis they are now trying to find the spine. Though I admit I am unsure what exactly it all is. In any case, I wish you good fortune sire!"
"And good fortune to you in your hunt for this outlaw Lord Ares." With that Trytheus remounted Mavegen and the two made their way down the bandit road.

Even though they paid close attention to their surroundings there continued to be no sign of the outlaws or where they could have vanished to, and so with no other choice they headed northwards in search of the whereabouts of Earl Grafis. It took a week for Trytheus to find any word of where the Earl could be. Some villagers had heard that they had passed nearby and again when he got closer to where they Earls Chapter had supposedly been he was met with the same statement. At least he was sure that he was heading in the right direction. A few more days eventually yielded him an actual first account witness to where the Earl may be headed, the tavern keeper of a now surprisingly well off tavern was more than happy to inform him that the Earl had headed a short ways eastwards towards an abandoned fort in the hills. With this last nugget of knowledge Trytheus finally managed to catch up with the elusive Earl.

He indeed found the Earls Chapter in the ruins of a old fortress, he could see that there was a large number of unruly sellswords, as Lord Ares had reported, yet he couldn't help but note that they were made to camp outside of the fort whilst the knights remained inside. He had to wonder if there was some animosity between the two groups. He landed inside and dismounted Mavegen, being quickly met by one of the Earls knights he was led inside the dilapidated structure. It was a precarious thing the further up they went, as there was a couple of holes in either the walls or the floor. Yet there wasn't any misfortunes on the way up to the highest room where Grafis had made his temporary residence. He was admitted inside and the knight quickly vacated as Grafis approached.

"Your Grace! A pleasure to see you!" The man was a giant. Even taller than Trytheus himself and with a deep booming voice to match, his armour looked barely enough to contain the mass of muscle underneath and a full beard tumbled its way down his chest, the taller man extended a hand and the two grasped each others forearms in a warriors greeting. "Pray tell what brings you all the way out here sire. I though you and your Chapter had decided to help other Chapters in need."
"Indeed it so Earl Grafis."
"Please, your Grace, just Grafis." The hulking man interrupted, causing Trytheus to purse his lips in slight annoyance.
"I came here to seek your aid in the name of your brother, Lord Ares. He has been hunting a particularly large band of outlaws, possibly many thousands in strength, and the aid of your Chapter would be greatly appreciated."
"Ah. I'm not surprised little Ares needs his big brother to help him out! Did you know he once managed to fall down a well and I had to dig him out?" The giant man laughed merrily at the memory. "Come come sire, I shall show you what my Chapter is seeking out here." Grafis motioned towards the table behind him. Trytheus followed even though he noted rather irritably that Grafis had failed to mention if he would help his brother.

Sat atop the table were to huge pieces of armour, a helmet and the rear part of a curiass. For comparison Grafis picked his own helmet up off of the floor, which had a massive mane like that of a lion worked into the back of it and placed it next to the other helmet. They were surprisingly a close fit sizewise though the design was far different. The strange helmet looked like it had been made out of mix of bone and gold and it had the small stars and diamonds that was a sign of metal being folded over on itself many times over in the forging process, it was this technique that gave Amstran steel its famous strength and impenetrability. The design itself was unlike anything he had seen before, instead of a slit visor as was often the case of Amstran helms, this strange piece had two open holes where the sockets were and rather than had an enclosed mouth guard, it ended it what was made to look the top teeth of a skull, whilst the mouth was protected from the sides by a pair of tusks that reminded him of the Adamantoise that he had encountered a few days prior. The backplate was less remarkable, undoubtedly the front would be more impressive to look at. Yet there was something even stranger about the two pieces, on closer inspection of the inside he could just about make out strange ruins and even stranger yet when he placed the helmet in the dark he could just about make out a faint red glow emanating from it.
"I presume then, that this is the 'Titan' Ares told me about."
"Aye sire. Or at least as much as we have been able to find. I intend to find all the missing pieces and take it for my own. I doubt there is another knight in the Southern Reaches even big enough to wear it!" Once more he let out a loud laughter.
"You certainly are a worthy candidate for such, Grafis. But what of your brother? He could use your ability to track down missing items if nothing else."
"What? Has Little Ares lost a few thousand outlaws sire?" Another laugh. "Well no matter. I'm afraid sire I cannot simply go off of the Titans trail. This armour looks to be thousands of years old. It may even be older than Amstra itself. We could very well be looking at the armour of the man who taught your good self sire." That would indeed be an incredible find Trytheus had to admit, the man who taught his first life and indeed what had even been around before the Kingdom of Amstra was a mystery nobody knew.
"As much as I must commend your efforts Grafis, I cannot simply return empty handed." Grafis nodded and placed his meaty hands on his hips as he contemplated what to do.
"Like I said sire, I can't just up and leave the trail, I'm pretty sure the so called 'ribs of the Titan' are somewhere nearby after all. But I'll speak to the lads and to that sellsword company that owes me a few favours, I'll see what I can do, don't you worry about that. If nothing else I'll try to put the word out to any other Chapters in the area. But come your Grace. its getting late and we have some good ale here. I insist you feast with us tonight." Trytheus sighed, seeing their king there might convince a few of the knights here to come back with him to help Ares, besides it would be more efficient to leave with any who were coming with him.

A few hours passed and dusk found a collection of knights enjoying a hearty feast in the grassy courtyard. The apprentices had built a large bonfire and then set a number of tables in a square around the fire. With the closeness to the fire the food was kept decently warm, as were the knights. Most of whom had elected to remove their armour, with the notable exceptions of Grafis and Trytheus, Mavegen sat at her usual position to his left whilst Trytheus was given a seat of honour at Grafis's left side. The feast was a surprisingly loud and joyous affair, even though only a few hundred were able to sit at the square itself, small campfires lit up the faces of other knights who were still at least some part of the festivities. Frequently Grafis and his booming laugh eclipsed all other noise as he recalled some part of his and Ares childhood. It seemed that Lord Ares had a fair history of running into problems that seemed far too extreme to be solved, and it was often Grafis who had to come in to rescue his younger brother. Notably one time Ares managed to get kidnapped by a mother bear and Grafis had to wrestle the giant creature before it could feed Ares to her young.

Truthfully Trytheus was enjoying himself, be it the anecdotes of a childhood that he never had the privileged to experience, the good food or the simple music one of the knights was playing on a lute he found that this band of brothers was certainly his place to be. If he were not king, or needed to return to Ares as soon as possible he would have preferred to adventure with a group such as this, though duty and justice meant that whimsical dream could never be.

And yet despite his good mood, something felt gravely wrong. His head felt hazy and his chest was oddly tight, had he been a weaker drinker he might have suspected the mead was affecting his system but he had not had nearly enough to get that affect, even if Amstran alcohol was some of the strongest in the world. This felt more like some unseen force was holding onto him. He made to stand up and turned to Grafis.
"I'm afraid you'll have to excuse me for a moment, I feel that I may have eaten something to quick-ARGGGH." his sentence was quickly cut short as he doubled over in pain, crashing into the table as Mavegen and Grafis jumped up in surprise. It felt as though his very heart was being torn from his chest by force. He could feel the strings of his life being forcibly ripped away by some unseen force. He knew that he would die if he allowed that to happen, this would be the end of him and Amstra would plunge once more into chaos as they waited for him to grow once more.

He refused to let that happen.

As his defiance to this intrusion grew, so did his iron will to survive, to do the good and just thing. He could feel the vile intentions of this thing and he refused.

And as he pulled back with his own strength he could sense whatever it was that was trying to wretch his very being out losing its grip before snapping away all together. Whatever had tried to kill him had failed. He looked up from the table, breathing heavily and saw the gathered Chapter had grown deathly silent as the looked on for some sign of what had just happened to their king.
"Sire. Are you alright?" asked a concerned Grafis.
"I do not know. But I must find out." He quickly straitened up and looked at Mavegen, the look of worry was present in her eyes and he gave her a brief smile to assure her whatever had happened was passed. "I'm afraid I must leave the feast early. I shall seek out the Ladies Gemini and uncover what just occurred."
"You need not apologise sire. I wish you good fortune on your search, and good health besides." Trytheus turned to reattach Mavegens saddle before swiftly mounting his companion.
"And good fortune on your hunt for the Titan Earl Grafis. I look forward to learning its origins." With that he was in the sky once more and bound for the south west yet again.

At first his journey was uneventful. But then every now and again he could hear snippets of alien thoughts at the back of his mind that seemed so familiar and yet so terrifyingly foreign to him. It was as though he were in a very deep cave and far far above he could just make out the faint whispers of a distance rainstorm. Always far and yet somehow near, he tried very desperately to block out the thoughts. He filled his mind with the terrain as he passed by, yet when he slept it was far different.

He never dreamt, his body had become accustomed to simply recharging without the need to induce anything to keep his mind occupied. Now he could dreams that were certainly not of his mind. They were thoughts of darkness and vastness beyond his compression. They were thoughts of such polarity and impossibility that it genuinely frightened him upon awakening, fearing that the body he awoke to wouldn't be his own but rather whatever to the form of this outsider. It felt all too clear to him that whatever had tried to kill him had left a lasting side affect.

And so that brought him to where he was now, bearing down at the home of the Ladies Gemini, seeking the answers he needed. Though a part of him wondered if this was the punishment for not slaying the Rider Serafina, yet it seemed remarkably belated if it was. Mavegen landed outside with a soft thunk and displacement of sand and Trytheus all but lept from her back as he made his way hurriedly inside.

And once more the world spites him.

"What the god damn fuck is going on?" Of course the boy would be here too. Though judging by the panic in his voice it could be that he was experiencing something like he himself was.

"And apt question. Though of course it could be worded far better." Trytheus strode inside and bowed to the Gemini twins, then looked down at Amir. "For goodness sake, get off of the floor Amir. You may like to act like a dog but have some shred of decency for once." He looked back at the Gemini twins to see that they were both looking at him, and he couldn't help but notice the coldness in their eyes. The almost malicious look in those ever knowing orbs.
"Why Griffon Rider, you should know..."
"Those thoughts are not your own..."
"I had identified that. But who's are they? And why did they try to kill me?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Niamh Una Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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Dae raced through the jungle that he knew so well. His blond locked waved wildly across his face but his eyes were unblinking. He brought his head lower to the chimera he rode. The lioness's breathing was shallow as the tribal leader edged her on faster. The dragon head to the left hissed and the goat head bleated in response while its snake tail rattled behind her. And still, he pushed her harder. He and Aquarian beside him riding his chimera's mate, needed to get to the heart of the village and get everyone moving. Something was wrong. Very wrong. He wish he had never gone to the trading routes between his land and Amstra. It had taken him too far away from the village. His warriors raced behind him and only spurred the need to get home. They needed to protect Alre'zin.

And there was his home; a beautiful village with homes elaborately built up in the trees all connected by brides and vines. Since architecture was something Sui Generis was known for, no one had to worry about loose houses or poorly built pieces toppling over. The houses were usually facing the center of the village where they often came down to share stories around the campfire and take their meals together. In a circle around the various houses stood finely crafted wood totems and statues. The farther out you went, the story and legends of the ancestors were revealed. The network probably looked much like a spider web inside the aging circle of a tree base. It was as it should be. Everyone was interconnected and drew together. Dae thought it was a poetic metaphor for how they lived. A perfect architectural design. And the center of this tree was the heart of his village and was Dae's destination. Dae gave a click of his tongue to tell his chimera to slow down. The beast skidded to a halt with his ensemble not far behind.

The leader of the Alre'zin, panted as he sat up on the chimera and lifted the flute made out of a powdery white and pink conch shell and blew on it hard, releasing a shrill call. With the positioning of the houses, the wind carries the sharp note outward, warning the people to gather only what was necessary for survival and head for higher ground. Instantly there was an uproar as people began to do what they had been advised. Dae gave a nod, his eyes bright and piercing thanks to the black paint outlining them and going down like the cheetah tears. Blue and read feathers were woven into his hair and stuck at all angles thanks to his recent exertion and some of the extension cascaded down to his chest which was also painted. Around his upper arm a circle of russet arrows marked his skin. Down his chest and back, baby blue lines swayed and curled in an elaborate wave tattoo letting all see exactly who he was. Like the rest of his people however, he sported the lightweight pants crafted from animal skin. The right side had a black leather strip going down that was tied to the right side of his hip and did well to distract enemies from what his leg was really doing. Though he was bare chested, he did have leather straps crisscrossing to hold his flasks of water, daggers, and of course, his claw blades resting on his hips.

Then before anything else could be done, the earthquake shook the world. Everything broke into chaos. The shuttering knocked everyone off balance and humans and animals like dropped to the ground and all they could do was scream in panic. The earth split open and swallowed the poor souls that happened to be on the edge. Though it didn't trike the middle of the village, it easily disrupted the web by felling trees on the edge of the newly forming chasm. Dae and the rest of his people watched in dismay as their bridge collapsed and some of their homes dropped from their perch with people trapped inside. Dae managed to crawl towards the edge and he and the others did the best they could to help those that managed to cling to the earth. The animals stopped listening to their handles and fled for their own lives.

When the shaking finally let up and allowed for movement, Dae scrambled to his feet and looked over the edge of the chasm but saw nothing below. It was a bit eerie. How far did that go down? Maybe later he could ask Aquarian to use some water to get them both down as far as they could but he had other problems right now. An earthquake that size was going to cause a tsunami. Maybe the main village was going to evaporate after all. He turned to his people who were in various states of panic and sorrow at those they had lost. "Everyone! Hire ground now!" He called out as he urged the people to move.

When he was sure everyone was on high ground and mostly okay, he and Aquarian raced back down to the village. "All right Aquarian, I am counting on you to keep the waves from making more of a mess. Try and get that water down that chasm." Getting it to empty was much easier than trying to completely re-route the incoming water. Dae saw the waves come on quickly he tensed as the powerful rushing water came towards them. Though it was Aquarian beating back the waves, Dae remained just in case an animal decided to come rushing over to them. Aquarian couldn't lose focus or else everything would be lost.

Aquarian spread his webbed fingers and used his control to push most of the raging water into the hole in the earth as it reached for them. The forest would still flood but at least the village would be safe from being reduced to splintered wood. Just when Dae thought things were settling down, Dae felt something slam right into him like the unforgiving claws of the Harpies. He gasped and stumbled backward and ended up down on one knee as he tried to stabilize himself. The world was spinning. It felt like fire burning from the center of his chest out through the rest of his body and his mind. It wanted to take everything over but he couldn't let it gain control.

"Dae!" Aquarian called.

"Stay f-focused on the water!" he instructed. Dae touched his forehead. And if that initial invisible impact wasn't enough, something else slammed into him to. An overwhelming pressure enveloped him and a sense of dread and doom clawed at him. It was dark and depressing and all he wanted to do was curl up and cry. He took a few steadying breath as he tried to get a grip of himself. That is when he realized these... this darkness he was feeling... it wasn't his feeling. It had come out of nowhere and it.. wasn't his but it sure as hell was unnerving. He wanted the dark feeling to go away but it wasn't going anywhere.

Dae took in a deep breath and got to his feet. The waves had calmed and he realized he was wet. Aquarian had diverted the destructive wave, but there was still water everywhere and he had been kneeling in it. Aquarian rushed to his side then. "Dae... you feel weird."

"Yes, yes I do," he answered and touched the center of his chest where the foreboding darkness resided. Something was very wrong. He needed to go to Meg and May's. None of this was normal. "Damn... at a time like this... " He hated leaving his people in this situation. They needed him here. He sighed. Well, time to do some damage control and get on his way.

~~*~~


Dae ran through the god forsaken dessert on his way towards Meg and May's house. Since he didn't have much time to gather clothing and the like, he was still in his tribal attire, minus the body paint he traditionally wore. His chest was bear which did make him a little uncomfortable considering the other riders were not tribal and were always fully clothed. Ok maybe Amir wasn't always fully clothed since the dessert was pretty hot. There was nothing he could do about it now but it had helped make the dessert more manageable. He even still sported the dangling feather earrings.

At his side, Aquarian similarly supported the traditional garb but unlike Dae, he loved the look and liked to flaunt it. He still had the white and blue paint on his chest, back and face and shoulders that marked him as the siren. He even sported the shells in his hair. Aquarian rushed to catch up to Dae when he realized the man had gotten farther ahead of him while he was sight seeing.

"Dae! What is such the rush? We will have to wait for all the other riders to get there anyway."

"If you haven't noticed, it is the dessert. And I do not want to encounter one of those blasted worms again. And this feeling..." he grumbled. "I will feel better once we get there." And he did give a sigh of relief when he got closer to the house. He picked up the speed and panted lightly when he finally reached the door of the house. Like usual, Meg and May were standing by the door with their knowing smiles.

"Siren Rider-"

"-Welcome. did you know?"

"Those emotions are not your own."

"Those emotions are not your own."

Dae gave a nod. Yup, they knew. "Yes," he answered "Whose are they?"

"Patience, Siren Rider."
"You are not all here."

Dae sighed, a little impatient before he entered the house with Aquarian beside him. He glanced around and immediately spotted Amir sitting down with Hassan and Trytheus. Neither of them looked too happy but he couldn't blame them. Dae gave a wave to them both before he sat down in his seat with Aquarian beside him. And now was the waiting game.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Niamh Una Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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A feeling had begun to overwhelm the forest for three whole days. The birds had not graced the morning airs with their song. The busy woodland critters that had usually gone about their activities had become distant and reserved. The trees seemed to groan ominously as their limbs were punished by the rapidly shifting winds. Something was wrong.

In the center of the forest, a large stone tower nested in the base of an even larger redwood tree. A tremendous site to behold, the tower itself was four stories high and was dwarved in comparison to the tree, reaching nearly nine and a half stories. The tower had no ceiling, the large canopy the redwood provided was more than enough protection from the rain. The lack of ceiling gave Barnabus, the elegant black Pegasus, easy access to the large wooden floor that housed his bedding, as well as a large bed well Jilpryis slept. Next to the bed was a railing, enclosing a staircase that lead to the base of the tower, where her various necessities were stored. Beyond the railing was a doorway with no door, leading out to a wooden deck overlooking the forest, constructed of wooden planks and supported by slanted wooden beams bolted into the face of the tower. In the center of the deck was a large cushion, where Jilpryis currently knelt, as she had been for the last three days. She was dressed in a flowing floral dress that came to rest just above her ankles, covering a large amount of her body. Her long blond braid had been wound tightly and pinned up to the back of her head, and she wore slippers instead of her usual sandals.

She had not moved, save for once a day to drink and relieve herself. She hadn't felt the need for food, focusing too much of her attention on the matter at hand. She sat sat, with her mind cast out among the forest. Together through her mental link with Barnabus, they had been trying to come to a conclusion about the strange feeling that had settled over their home. They were very much in tune with the nature of magic, and since the first day, a disturbance, a foreign entity, a conscious disruption lingering over the trees. The worst part about this disturbance was the way it felt, it felt hungry. Like an ominous gnawing force that was feeding on the life energy of the forest. She hadn't experienced anything like it before. Accompanied with this strange feeling was a fatigue, and a pain in the base of her skull, it made her have to struggle to accomplish her tasks, but only managed to hinder her progress, never prevent it. No matter how many minds she had touched while searching the forest, none of them were capable of distinguishing where this force came from. They were all worried that the forest felt like it was shifting, like something deep below the surface of the earth was churning...moving...

Just when she had begun to think her efforts were in vain, vibrating force suddenly escalated drastically to point of destruction. An epic shift in the earth shook the entire tower, and only moments later a rumbling below the surface gave way to a large chasm. The forest floor opened, slowly at first, large portions of ground and rocks cascading into what appeared to be an endless abyss. The forest was filled with the howl of animals, the shrill screeching of birds, and the terrible trembling choir of the earth being ripped open. Trees were pulled effortlessly from their roots, heaved by gravity into the darkness below, some animals not fortunate enough to make it away before the chasm claimed them. Shock surged through Jilpryis as she was nearly thrown from the deck she perched on, slamming into the railing, gripping tightly at the wooden rails as the breath was knocked out of her lungs. Instantly she felt the panic from Barnabus as he reared from the other room, his wings exploding outward and forcing his mass toward her, clearing the small wall between himself and the deck. He remained suspended in the air, leveling off just below the railing where his partner clutched the shifting wood. "Come Jill, you cannot linger long." His commanding tone rang in her mind, urging her to her feet.

With an effort, she swung herself over the railing, falling freely for a couple seconds before landing in her leather saddle strapped to Barnabus' back. It was a less elegant saddle then they normally used, but the small leather one was more comfortable for long periods of wear, and they had been flight ready for the past three days. Once she was safely secured to her saddle, Barnabus surged forward toward the chasm, the edge of the large opening getting dangerously close to their tower. "We can't let the tower fall!" He exclaimed, coming to a hover, facing the tower. Acknowledging him, Jilpryis reached out with her mind, melding into their magic force, encompassing the tower with an invisible pressure to keep it in place. The ground gave way at the base of the tower, the magical effect suddenly draining her energy as it held the base of the tower in place. It was an extraordinary effort, overwhelming her almost immediately. "Don't be a fool! The roots, use the roots!" His tone was derisive, but he was right. She could feel his own power combining with hers as he took on the task of holding the tower in place, allowing her time to tamper with the roots of the great redwood tree. Engrossing her mind with the flow of magic, she willed the roots to grow. A straining in the roots sapped at her energy, but it was little compared to the previous task. After a moment of straining, the roots erupted in a spiderweb of thick, gripping roots. They spiraled around the base of the tower several times in matter of seconds, securing the tower to the base of the tree. As Barnabus began to release his hold on the stone construct, it shifted briefly toward the chasm, and slowed to a halt. Their tower was safe, but now angled slightly, perched precariously over the endless expanse below.

"What could have caused this? Such a terrible force..." Barnabus was silent for a moment, and she realized that the forest had become silent as well, now that the ground had stopped shifting. The only sound was the beat of his wings, and the low huff of his breath from his exertion. "I cannot say. We must consult with the twins. I'm sure the others will be heading there as well." She nodded and Barnabus shifted back toward the tower, flapping his wings to get them closer to the tower. He brought them once more to their floor, his hooves clacking on the wooden floor as he came to a stop. Jilpryis swung down from her saddle, rushing for her large storage trunk by the bed, her dress billowing lightly behind her. Kneeling in front of the trunk, she threw the lid open. Rummaging through the various trinkets until she came across what appeared to be a waterskin, but a dozen times the normal size, fitted with a large strap with several clips. She stuck her arm through the strap, draping it across her chest and resting the pouch on her back and closed the trunk with an audible 'clunk' Making her way to the staircase, motioned for Barnabus. "I'll meet you below, we'll leave immediately." With that she disappeared into the spiraling staircase. Barnabus snorted in approval, surging his wings into flight once more, circling their floor once before drifting to the ground below.

------


Jilpyris squinted against the heat as the soared through the desert. She clung to her partner's mane, entranced by the beat of his wings, the only other noise among the roar of the wind, pelting them with sand from the desert below. They had been over the desert for a couple of hours now, and Barnabus began to show signs of tiring. His breathing came in deep huffs, and a white foam crusted the corners of his mouth. The large waterskin she had dug from the trunk was secured to his side, full of water from a river not far from their home. Sensing her partner's fatigue, Jilpryis uncorked the waterskin and, calling upon the power of magic, drew the water from within. Using gentle motions of her hand, she funneled the stream from the neck of the skin to her partner's mouth, forming a small pool at his maw. He swallowed gratefully several times, then twitched his head to the side, signaling he had finished. She withdrew the water, willing the stream back into the skin before she secured the cork. Patting the side of his broad neck, she nuzzled back into his mane, eager for their trip to be over.

Another hour passed before they had finally arrived at the home of the twins, Meg and May. She could see the twins standing on their porch, as if they were expecting her and Barnabus. He shifted the beat of his wings, leveling off so he could land, clacking onto the stone walkway in front of their home. "Sisters, I have news of a str-"

"Strange force of magic, yes."

"We know, we have been expecting you."

"Pegasus rider. More will be revealed when the rest arrive."

Jilpryis nodded, bowing slightly as the twins made their way back into their home, and she followed. In the main room were several of the other riders, Amir, Trytheus and Dae. She bowed to the three of them, taking her own place standing by the open window, Barnabus remained outside with his head poking in.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Niamh Una Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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{0Hexcode: #8126290}000000000000



It doesn't matter the season, the Ryridge Mountains always seem to be covered in snow. Thankfully for those who called this area home it was merely a light blanket of the cool white substance. Nothing compared to the sight of the untouched dusting as it made the trees glisten in the vibrant light of the rising sun. No matter how cold it was the radiance of the sun reflected off of a fresh blanket of snow made the mountains seem inviting.

Wolfbane city mimicked so much of the surrounding environment that you'd think it was intentionally designed that way. Much of the architecture was delicately crafted from the finest white marble mined from the depths of the very mountains the city rested upon. The grey veins sparkled in the light while the alabaster surface around it emanated the cold elegance of Ryridge. Buildings stood taller than those of other areas with columns, statues and apexes that towered high above resembling the crests of the mountains that were visible all around them. Everything about the city radiated wealth, sophistication and class. The societal totem pole didn't exist here but only an upper and lower class. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Wolfbane was cold and fragile much like a museum, and most of the residents looked at Enyo Custos like the unruly child that ran through it screaming and threatening the balance of priceless heirlooms. Exaggerations of course. Most who even tried to talk to her were only greeted by sullen silence. A vigilante. No good. A nuisance. Take your pick, they've all been said before. Even after Nyx came into her life the names didn't dissipate but faded to hushed whispers when her back was turned. The upper class looked down their noses at her from behind silk curtains in their marble villas.

Enyo didn't do it for them, nor did she care about their prolonged glances and words that dripped with poison. At least with Nyx they kept their distance. Her Cerberus towered high into the grey sky much like the columns that plagued the city. Something about a three headed beast with eyes as big as a child's head set their teeth on edge, but only those who feared her and her companion.

That day was nothing different than every other day that passed in the Ryridge mountains. A light steady snow fell continuously, only seeming to add to the magnificent splendor the city had. Enyo didn't stay inside wrapped under exotic fabrics, huddled near the fire with tea that was far too expensive for its worth. She was in the heart of the city in the open courtyard many of the young children played in. Nyx took up nearly half of the rectangular clearing, sitting upon her haunches as the orphans of Wolfbane ran around her. Although she seemed like a terrifying monster to those who dare not get to know her, to the children she was their friend.

Every time a little one no older than four ran past Nyx, one of the heads would plant a large sloppy lick on them which took up nearly their entire face. But they only giggled and continued to play in the snow. Enyo liked this spot more than any others. She felt like she could have an eye on everything when she was at the heart of the city, and the orphans loved when she brought Nyx to play with them. The Cerberus always enjoyed the attention and even though the children were like mice in comparison, she was always so gentle and nurturing with them.

When the first rumbled shook the ground beneath Enyo, she looked towards Nyx only assuming that her companion got too excited in the games with the children. She easily made the ground quake with an appropriately time jump, or beat of her tail. But as Enyo's gaze met the gaze of those six yellows eyes another quake sent her stumbling over into a near by column. She would have fallen to the ground if her hands didn't brace themselves against the cool marble. Then it came again. The children started screaming, some hid beneath Nyx while others went for cover inside. The Cerberus quickly moved to her feet while the little ones scurried beneath her, grasping tight to her massive legs.

As Enyo tried to make her way across the courtyard to Nyx another tremble rattled the city. The sound of crumbling architecture, structures collapsing and frantic citizens rang through the air. But all in a moment it felt like all the earth stood still, the sound ripped from the atmosphere like the still before the storm. Then a large crack reverberated off the buildings around her as the ground before her split. Enyo stood there frozen as she watched the courtyard separate before her eyes. Herself on one side while Nyx and the children too scared to move on the other.

But one child, a little girl by the name of Ophelia began to slowly creep forward. She wasn't a day over three and looked to Enyo like the big sister she never had. She extended her tiny little hand towards Enyo who was on the other side of the crater while her feet kept inching forward. "Enyo!"

"Get back to Nyx!" She yelled over the quakes, pointing towards the Cerberus. Another shake knocked Enyo to her knees and sent the ground at the edges of the crater to start crumbling inward. Ophelia screamed as the earth before her started to concave into the abysmal crevice. Without a moments hesitation or thought, Enyo scrambled to her feet. She reared back before bolting towards the growing void. Pushing off the edge, she jumped through the air. Her arms wrapped around the young girl just as the ground beneath her went to give way. Enyo brought her close to her as she slid across the ground to a halt.

As she went to stand a piercing pain rang through her head causing her to collapse onto her knees. Enyo brought her hands up to cover her eyes as she tightly shut her eyes. Images, words, thoughts raced through her head faster than she could make out their meaning. She only got glimpses, fire, death, destruction... then nothing.

"...Enyo?" Ophelia tugged at her shirt bringing her back to reality. The girl pointed towards Enyo causing her to impulsively bring her fingers to her nose. Upon withdrawing them she saw the crimson that stained them.

She sniffled before quickly wiping the blood from her face. Her gaze met Nyx in a silent interaction. She didn't know what was going on or what to do, but something in her companions eyes told her that she knew where to go. "Get them out of the city, away from anything that can be brought down by reoccuring quakes!" Enyo shouted towards the childrens' care giver. Without another word she guided the children towards the woman then mounted her Cerberus.

***

Enyo was a child of the winter, born and raised in the mountains never knowing anything even closely related to heat. She had no idea where she was going or where Nyx was going. And her communication with her Cerberus wasn't that of dialogue but the simple reading of gestures and expressions. She trusted her companion and knew that where ever she was taking her she'd be safe. But not knowing the destination, Enyo was enable to prepare for the harsh terrane.

Before she was surrounded by sand, Enyo already had stripped down to the a single layer of clothing and still felt like her skin would melt straight off her bones and sink into the sand to be lost forever. Hours ago she lost the ability to tell if the onslaught of seizure like visions and thoughts were real or hallucinations brought on by the sweltering heat. Her bloody noses dried up as quickly as they came making her look even more like death than she already did. With every breath or movement she could feel the sweat almost pouring off of her. Enyo almost could have cried at the sight of the house on the horizon if there was anything left in her to create tears. Nyx found the last bit of energy she could and barreled towards the building in the distance.

When they had finally reached it, Enyo tried to climb off of the Cerberus but ended up just falling into the sand. She motioned for Nyx to move towards the large shadow created by the house as she trudged her way up the steps. Beyond the point of politeness or patience, Enyo opened the doors and entered the room. She paid little to no mind to the occupants of the room, first bee lining for a source of water. She rummaged around until she came upon 3 bucket like objects, and proceeded to fill them to the brim with water. She took them out to Nyx who took a worst beating than herself due to her black fur that absorbed so much of the sun's heat.

As Enyo reentered the house she parted her lips as to speak an apology for her rudeness but all that escaped was a raspy crack. She smiled weakly while resting her back against the nearest wall, allowing herself to slide down until she sat upon the ground. Her hand raised to wipe the dried blood from beneath her nose. Her eyes squinted as felt the threat of yet more images flashing in her head, the sharp noise singing in her ear canals.

"Cerberus Rider."

"Cerberus Rider."

Enyo froze mid wiping away the dried crimson trail from her face when the elder twins addressed her. She was too tired to wrap her mind around this strange place she had never been before. But something inside said this was where she needed to be and Nyx seemed to feel the same when she brought her directly here.

"Your mind..."

"Has a visitor."

"...What?" Her voice cracked as her gaze moved about the others in the room.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Niamh Una Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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Amir swore there was a change in atmosphere before the twins could even begin to answer his question. It felt like a tepid flame of vanity had been lit in the large room, drying the air and increasing the surrounding pressure. The change instantly had his nerves grating, the boy’s already poor mood souring further and twisting in his gut. Amir could tell Hassan saw the shift, the bird was positioned towards the doorway and he was not, Hassan could see the coming storm. And then, ever so slightly, just above the never ending thudding of a heart not his own, the faintest sound of metal against metal.

“No.”
Dread.

“And apt question. Though of course it could be worded far better.” Disgust. It was the only thing that could properly describe the expression that blanketed the boy’s face. As the armored pain in the ass strode in with what could only be described as urgency Amir felt his lip curling, felt his eye twitch, and heard the guttural, yet exasperated, moan gurgle in the back of his throat in protest to Trytheus’s return into his life. He made no move to get off the floor though, despite the fact the marble his skin sat suctioned to had warmed to match his temperature. “For goodness sake, get off of the floor Amir. You may like to act like a dog but have some shred of decency for once.” All it took was one comment from the armored man to set his muscles tense and to have his teeth grating. It wasn’t even the worst thing Trytheus had ever said to him, at this point an insult of that caliber between the two was more like small talk between friends, but his nerves flared anyways.

“You haven’t even been here for thirty fucking seconds and your already throwing half assed insults at me. If you’re gonna be rude, at least put some effort into making it hurt. Fucking moron.” He sent a glare towards the griffon rider as he shoved himself off the floor with more force then necessary, it caused the golden ornaments he has strewn about his body to clatter loudly against each other. He could feel the twins’ eyes on him, burning holes in his shoulder blades and the boy could picture the smug grins mirrored on their faces. He was in no mood to hear one of Trytheus’ lectures of valiance and justice, nor could he take the full frontal force of an anecdote of how much of a hero the man proclaimed to be, or how tragic his past was. Everything about Trytheus pissed Amir off on a regular day, but today, with a headache that hammered a bit deeper into his skull with every thud, and the unruly heat, and the panic he was feeling, there was nothing keeping his temper restrained. Amir’s defensive mechanisms included swearing even more than usual and lashing out like a cornered animal. Hassan cooed at him from its perch on his throne, causing the boy’s attention to turn away from the vigilante rider. “Amir, please reign in your emotions before the other riders arrive, it’s so unsightly to see you like that.”

The boy felt his eye twitch in irritation, but Hassan’s voice in his head ebbed some of the anger. Honestly, at that point he couldn’t even justify his own anger, all he knew was that it still felt heavy in his gut and Trytheus was just one heroic nut job story away from Amir lunging at him. He rubbed frustrated circles into his temples for a brief moment before letting out an equally frustrated sigh. He followed it by a quick intake of breath, his eyes shooting back up to meet Trytheus’. It was a second wind to vent at the man as they had during their first journey together through the desert in a much less venomous tone than that of Amir’s first comment had been. But he was cut off by the arrival of Dae. Amir felt his eyebrows jump in surprise. Dae had been his favorite of the riders, mostly because his face looked like it had been sculpted by gods, but also because he had been the only rider to respond back to his antics with something other than annoyance or lectures. Amir had never really met the Cerberus rider, the boy was too young and he had no self restraint when it came to his language, and Melgrove had been a more toned down version of Trytheus, and Serafina… Serafina had been too broken to really understand, too close to the things Amir didn’t want to have to think about. The boy doubted he’d ever be able to treat her the same as the other riders. So instead he tried to force his usual obnoxiously flirty smiles, but it seemed to fall flat.

“Dae, glad to see the gods crafted more than just your face.” He managed to wink in the Siren Rider’s direction, but the comment didn’t carry his usual bode of energy, and it wasn’t nearly as lewd as he would usually be. He tried again for round two, taking in Aquarian’s appearance. “Fish Cakes isn’t lookin too bad either. It’s very primal, not really my thing if I’m being honest, but I hear it’s a popular kink in other regions.” That one was sort of better, but the boy couldn’t get his mind to focus, the drumming against his skull wasn’t getting any easier to drown out. He zoned out for a brief moment, feeling the beat pulse in his brain, before Hassan tugged at a chunk of his blonde hair. The boy blinked, his eyes landing on Trytheus, who just so happened to be in his field of vision, and felt himself scoff before moving towards the gathering table and lounging back into the dip of the wooden throne.

The boy allowed himself to relax in the chair, settling deeper, closing his eyes once again, and tried to focus his mind somewhere other than the heartbeat in his head. It wasn’t until he heard the empty clack of horseshoes against the marble did the boy open his eyes, perking up to see Serafina. The faint glimmer of something other than irritation was dashed from his expression when the boy laid eyes on a pitch black Pegasus accompanying a small blonde girl. She was definitely not Serafina. The small thing with blonde hair bowed to them and Amir glanced between the other two riders to see if they were just as confused as he was. Meg and May would never let someone that was not a rider into the House of Wonders, regular humans were simply not allowed. Any regular human that accidentally happened upon the estate were disposed off. The thought had images the boy wanted to forget flashing his memory, the monstrous form that was the Gemini Twin’s true self. “What the everlasting fuck is happening?”

The twins strode in not a moment after his comment, eyes squinted and smug grins abound, they bowed to the small blonde thing as they would a rider.

“Dearest Sahira, please show-”
“-our newest Pegasus Rider some courtesy.” Amir’s eyes darted between the girl and the twins for a moment, trying to put together what was going on. As a rider he was naturally well versed in the history of the other riders, even if a rider died young, a reincarnation always came back as a baby. This girl was nearly his own age, it did not make sense. It had never worked that way, never in history had something like this happen. “That’s impossible.. Serafina was still alive not even three fucking months ago!”

“Lady Sahira!”
“Lady Sahira!” The twins snapped, raising their voices at him, but not changing the serene expressions they wore. It was eerie, unnatural.

“YOU will come to find half are not who they were.”
“As not all cling to life as you three have.” Amir looked at them with an incredulous expression. They had said so little, yet the impact of their words felt as if they had just broken his ribs. Amir’s right fist clenched by his side in frustration. He didn’t understand, Serafina had clung to her life so desperately in the basement of that building in Tempress Cape. He couldn’t fathom she being weak enough to succumb to what ever had stolen her sole. His mind flashed back to the earthquake, when it felt as if someone had been searing his skin off with a scalding knife. It had to have been then when this had happened. His eyes flicked down to the ruby encrusted bangle around his right wrist, the blonde boy had stolen it from the basement Serafina had been held it, at first it had only been a trophy, but had since served as a reminder of that day.

“Damnnit!” The blonde slammed his fist against the table in frustration. “I don’t fucking get it!” The boy suspected after the outburst the room would have fallen into an awkward silence, but even that was interrupted when a girl with a bloody nose barged into the room, dissipating the suddenly tense atmosphere and appeared to have no idea she had done so. Amir looked on his surprise as the girl hurried along, in a world all her own, as she carried three buckets of water outside. The boy fell back into the dip of his throne with a sigh, so the kid didn’t make it either. As morbid as it was, at least he wouldn’t have to watch his mouth around some kid anymore.

Amir propped an elbow on the arm of his throne, nesting his cheek against his palm. The loose white cloth of his sleeve rolled down revealing the usual barrage of golden bangles he sported as the newly made Cerberus Rider returned into the room, the twins greeting her. With five of the riders here, two of them being new, Amir took the opportunity to speak up before Dae or Trytheus got the chance to ask more questions.

“So, the fucks the deal here? These guys fresh outta the metaphorical reincarnation womb, do they remember anything? Is Ben inside that one, and Serafina in other just in different bodies? Do they have a life before being riders or did they just flash into existence? Or better question, do they retain memories from life before being a rider? What should we be expecting here?” In truth, he was only really curious to see if Serafina and her memories still were retained inside that weird small girl or not, but the other questions also peaked his interest.

“Lady Sahira, the riders you see before you are just as you.”
“The Cerberus Rider bears the name Orpheus just as the Phoenix Rider retains Sahira.”

“Ok, yeah, no, my fault for asking. Won't fucking happen again.” That had been just as helpful as the twins usually were when it came to Amir asking questions. Answering in ways that made everything he asked obsolete.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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He knew it would be foolish to expect the boy to have grown some sensibilities in only the span of three short months, but he had at least had some small shred of hope that the few days they had spent in each others presence would have done something, anything to help mature the boy. Sadly it seemed that fate was not on his side, nor did it seem to ever be inclined to be whilst he was halfway to melting into his own armour. It didn't help matters much that Amir decided that acting childish in the presence of the Ladies Gemini, he only hoped that a being such as Amir was a one time error and his later lives would never have to deal with such an issue.

"You haven’t even been here for thirty fucking seconds and your already throwing half assed insults at me. If you’re gonna be rude, at least put some effort into making it hurt. Fucking moron." Trytheus sighed like a disappointed teacher at Amirs slightly predictable response. Could he not go five minutes without having to swear? Was it so difficult to him?
"You know full well that if you did not act like that I would not have to say anything." He shook his head and crossed his arms, still vaguely aware that the Ladies Gemini were still watching the exchange. He couldn't help but feel an involuntary half smile of victory as Amir stood, or rather jumped, up like a child still throwing a tantrum.
"And yet you still get up when you are told. It seems I was wrong, dogs can be tamed after all."

With his observational jab finished Trytheus stepped deeper inside the house, making his way over to the table where the riders chairs were sat waiting for him. Amir had once more returned to be annoying afterthought on the fringes of his mind when he was about to sit down. Only the sound of the door opening behind him made him turn to see the Siren-Rider wearing.... What in all his lives was he wearing? Not only did it seem deeply impractical, it also seemed to serve no purpose. What in the world could somebody wearing barely enough to cover the back of book be doing, other than something greatly indecent no doubt. Unless that was what the standard fashion in the far north, by comparison Amir and his overly exuberant garb seemed almost tame, which was slightly worrying for the people of north Amstra. He offered a brief, if abrupt nod in greeting before taking his seat.

And almost instantly he felt his ire rising once again. It was as thought Amir existed simply to bring annoyance into his daily life, he had to wonder if that was detrimental to his health.
"Dae, glad to see the gods crafted more than just your face. Fish Cakes isn’t lookin too bad either. It’s very primal, not really my thing if I’m being honest, but I hear it’s a popular kink in other regions."
"If three of us are gathered in one location, especially this one, I am entirely convinced we are here for a linked reason. And I am equally sure that reason is not to satisfy your hedonistic perversions Amir." He heard the boy scoff off to his side as he kept his gaze steadily forwards. He wasn't entirely sure he would have been able to resist the urge to remove his helm and throw it at the boy else wise. It didn't help matters that the boy crossed his vision to reach his own chair, which he promptly decided to be lazy in. How could one person be the avatar of insufferably?

His attention was drawn by the sound of horse shoes on stone, the familiar noise almost made him feel at ease with the place once more. He turned his head, at least fairly happy to see Serafina once more, he felt that the two had more in common than he had with the other Riders, both were beings of good and justice in one capacity or another. His almost pleased expression was frozen in an instant.

The sound of horse shoes didn't come from the feet of a keplie as he was expecting, but in stead a jet black pegasus stood by the opening, alongside a girl he had never seen before. That certainly wasn't Serafina. His eyes widened in shock as his mind ran through the consequences of this. Had the price for their failure to finish the mission that the Ladies Gemini been dealt out? Had the attempt on his life been the repercussions of his part in that debacle? He sorely wished he had his war hammer on hand, but it sat waiting for him on Mavegens saddle, where she too lay trying to recover some of her stamina from the journey. He could feel his gut steel itself as his mind began to race, he wondered if coming here was the worst mistake he could possibly have made.

And it certainly didn't help make matters worse that Amir was evidently reacting to this entire situation with far less grace than he could manage. True Serafina had been alive not three months ago, but did he need to shout about it? But if she were gone and reincarnated, why were they still alive? Why were they allowed go cross the threshold of this place and live to be able to breath their moments away when death was only a few steps away from them. Nothing of this made sense in any angle that he could work out. Evidently the attempt on his life had struck at himself as well as the Siren-Rider, and Amir too it seemed. Yet something had stopped them three from dying and allowed them to continue. For Trytheus he was fairly sure his simple refusal to allow the violation to occur was what had saved him, but the other two? They did not have his will power so how had they survived? And were they as equally affected by the monstrous whispering that ebbed and flowed at the back of his mind? If they had been attacked what purpose did it serve for them to be reinstated into entirely new fully formed beings? What would that even mean for himself? Would the cycle of his being be broken by an adult not knowing the duties that were laid out before him? His mind reeled endlessly inwards as he tried to comprehend the damage that would be done with Amstras guardian there to protect it, without one with a lifetime of training who would the Marshals rally behind? Who would serve as the symbol of good and power to strive to emulate? The devastation would be so great as Amstra consumed itself that countless thousands would die and the shattered remains of the great kingdom would degenerate into total anarchy.

The arrival of another only served to greater deepen his despair. This newcomer must also be one of the new Riders, already filled with dread he could see that she was the new Cerberus-Rider. It was hard enough to comprehend that the Rider Serafina, a woman he had known only briefly and indeed felt that somewhere they held a connected mind. But to know an innocent child had simply been brushed aside to make way for what? An inexperienced girl? He hadn't even learned the name of the boy and he couldn't help but feel that he had made some form of failing for that. He wondered if there had been something he could have done in the past to warrant this entire thing to occur. Again and again he thought of every situation that could have brought it to being and time and time again he was led to the same result. This was the direct result of disobeying the Ladies Geminis command. It was the voice of Amir that brought him sharply out of the dark reverie in his mind.

"Ok, yeah, no, my fault for asking. Won't fucking happen again." Trytheus could feel his mouth moving before he could even stop himself speaking out.
"And have you not considered that this may indeed be your fault boy? Our fault? That the actions in that shit-stained blemish on humanity called Tempress Cove could be the cause of this? Did I not tell you that sparing Serafina could lead to damnation and destruction for us all? And here we are facing just the results I had warned against!" Trytheus pushed himself angrily to his feet, venting the frustration and disparate fear that he felt gnawing at his gut. "Or perhaps you are under the illusion that you remain utterly blameless? That one good action simply erases the bad that you have committed in your life? I fear that you are under the impression that inaction is inexcusable, as opposed to being as equally deplorable as partaking in the act of evil itself! Tell me, if you do not think this our just punishment for disobeying a direct command, a necessary command at that, do your people think you above reproach? Do they look up at you and call you hero? Or is it far more likely they sit in chains and spite your name, the name of the one who abandoned them and disregarded their existence? After all, where are the people that we failed to defend in that blasted desert? Do they sit around camp fires and trade happy stories of the hero that saved their people from extinction, or do they sit in chains or lie in shallow graves in some distant part of the world because you were too uncaring to lift a finger to those in greater need than any other?" Angrily Trytheus raised a hand to point at the new Riders "If this was our punishment, do you think those sold into slavery would be the first to celebrate your refusal? Or the first to wish it upon you?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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Just as Dae took his seat on the throne fashioned like the waves and shells that he himself had created, he heard Amir calling out to him. "Dae, glad to see the gods crafted more than just your face. Fish Cakes isn’t lookin too bad either. It’s very primal, not really my thing if I’m being honest, but I hear it’s a popular kink in other regions." Dae looked over at him and his already heat flushed cheeks darkened, spreading down his neck to lightly touch his tanned shoulders. And this was why he generally wanted to be fully clothed when leaving Sui Generis. Though this garb was natural in the summer time it was.... it was attention grabbing to say the least anywhere else. He desperately wished he had grabbed a change of clothes before he left but his mind had been so focused on getting here, his attire hadn't seemed important. He reached up and toyed with the feathered earring in his left ear trying to get a hold of himself. His emotions were twisting with the emotions of the other person or creature or whatever the hell else was inside of him. He didn't have as much control over himself as he normally did.

Aquarian saved him from responding by leaning over him to be closer to Amir himself and fluttered his eyes at the other rider. It wasn't lost on Dae that the now laying position Aquarian and taken up over him provide a bit more allure they way he had to writhe and get into that position. "Why Amir, these markings are paint. I am sure a bit of laving will wipe away these primal lines. Maybe then I'll be more alluring than my rider," Aquarian purred. "Want to give it a go? Maybe even Dae will join in, hm? He wiped off his tribal markings in such a boring manner," he commented idly.

"Aquarian!" Dae growled and promptly shoved the siren off of his lap and the two chairs he was lounging on.

The siren hit the floor with a loud thump and a pout just as Trytheus spoke up about gathering here for a reason other than hedonistic pursuits. Dae sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. This was worse than the first time they had all gathered. At least then they were all acting civil. Now Amir and Trytheus were just going at it. Again. Those two really needed to find something to agree on. Their constant squabbling did nothing to aid a situation. They acted like children trying to have the final word. He took a deep breath to calm himself and his seesawing emotions as Aquarian took his seat again in a much more somber mood than he had earlier.

Then the door opened. He looked up and his eyes widened. He could clearly see a Pegasus. What happened to the kelpie? Was this... where was Serafina? What had happened to her? The last time hey had seen each other, she was healing him. She had various wounds herself bu she had been a competent healer. She seemed in good health despite the physical abuse. He opened his mouth to voice his concern for the warrior healer but then Amir spoke up for all of them in rather colorful colloquial language. Regardless, Amir had some damn good questions.

And if that wasn't bad enough, he saw another girl rushing back out with water. He gasped involuntarily when he saw the obviously older Cerberus. Oh no! Little Benedict to? He had been so young! Truly, it was quite the tragedy for a child to have to die. The pain was one he and Aquarian were quite familiar with from past lives and it hit a deep chord in the Siren Rider. He reached up to touch his chest where his heart ached for the child rider. He even felt tears in his eyes but he did not let the fall. He shouldn't get so sentimental. These were just reincarnations. They were the same people. They all were. Different face, different name, but always the same underneath. That was why they were all riders. The devastation and the feeling of doom and despair surged through him again. It was the alien emotion mingling with his own and amplifying it all over again. His hand tightened into a fist as he panted, his heart fluttering in his chest as the dark emotions swarmed him and around the pearl that anchored his soul with Aquarian's. If that was swallowed up or even cracked, it would could devastate Aquarian and take his magic away or kill them both or even separate their souls. If they got separated, what would happen then?

"Dae?" Aquarian asked with worry in his voice as he reached over to touch him and his own chest. He could feel the despair as well. He nuzzled him softly and Dae shook his head.

"I'll be fine. Just give me a moment. It is... trying again." he explained. He took a few more deep breaths, well aware that the ladies Gemini were watching him with the gleaming light of a hawk circling over a mouse. It was damn unnerving. He turned his attention then to Trytheus and Amir who were at it again. Damn those two! Couldn't they stop bickering for two damn seconds? And Trytheus was blaming Amir for saving Serafina? That didn't make sense! How could his happen for saving a rider? They had salvaged both rider and beast! The anger started to boil then. Normally these things didn't bother him but in that moment, it was all grating on his nerves. How could he pretend to be calm when there was this misery looming?

"Trytheus, Amir, you are both only instigating a fight! How can you pass judgement on someone else not part of your kingdom? Trytheus, You know nothing of what Amir's life has been like, what he does and doe not do, just as I do not know you and the other riders and your customs. I think it bad form of a man who calls upon justice to make such ghastly accusations to a fellow brethren. You are a man beyond our years and yet you consistently continue to argue with a man half your age. Amir is a rider for a reason just like all of us are. Your character insults are not doing anyone any good. And how can you blame Amir for saving Lady Serafina? She was your sister in arms! How can you just do what you are told? What if an order is the wrong order? If you two hadn't saved Serafina, the kelpie would have escaped! She was the only one that was able to calm the beast and stop its rampage! I certainly wouldn't be sitting here today without her. Orders aren't everything.

"Now would the two of you please shut up? We have more important things to discuss. If you haven't noticed, there are two new riders standing in front of you and you have greeted them with shouts. You've even talked about killing a rider in front of their current reincarnation. Is that really necessary behavior? This issue is far greater than the two of you and what happened at the Cove. Far greater..."
he answered and touched his chest again where he felt the doom stronger than ever. He turned his attention away from them to look at the two female riders. He hoped that whatever they had to do next would go smoothly. He couldn't handle this irritability. It just wasn't him. He wanted to get rid of this so he could go back to Sui Generis and help clean up the mess the earthquake and tsunami caused.

"The Siren's Pearl is correct."

"This is far greater than any one rider."

Dae looked over at the twins, even more unnerved now. This feeling he had was right? That wasn't a good thought. If it was right, there was nothing left except darkness and misery. And damn it, he hated when the ladies called him 'Siren's Pearl'. As was their way, they totally disregarded the current 'shell' of a rider and focused on something that didn't change. It was still degrading to be refereed to as an object even if the object itself was very important. He sighed and though he wanted to just sit in his chair and say nothing, he felt he was obligated to say something to the new arrivals. Trytheus and Amir were causing quite a scene for them and if the twins were right, that meant that these riders were meeting them for the first time. He gave a bow from his seat, not wishing to stand at the moment.

"Hello, Sisters. I am Dae and the man beside me is my beast, the siren Aquarian." he introduced. "I am sorry you had to hear that debacle upon arrival." There. Now they should feel a little more welcome than the way Amir and Trytheus treated them, what with their shouts and pointing and calling them mistakes. Though tragic, death and reincarnation were part of the territory as a rider. Dae leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. He frowned then. Two new riders. What of the dragon rider Alasahe? She had been a strong rider. Had she been reincarnated to? The twins had said 'half' of the riders were not the same. How was it that he, Amir, and Trytheus had survived when the other riders had not? And where was the new dragon rider? He hoped she or he didn't run into more problems.

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Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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Whatever kind of greeting Jilpryis was expecting, it wasn't this one. Almost as soon as she entered the home the air in the room seemed to grow still to the point where everyone might as well be holding their breath. She managed to catch the last bit of greetings exchanged between the two younger gentlemen, but the larger, armor clad man in the corner just stared at her, it was unnerving. She felt the reassuring press of Barnabus on her mind, and she relaxed slightly. "Your past lives have not yet been revealed to you, young one. These are your comrades, you will come to remember them. Do not be taken aback by their actions, your previous selves have faced many trials with the people in this room, they mean you no harm."

Barnabus' words were comforting, but not for very long. Almost as soon as she had begun to relax, the others referred to as her 'comrades' began pointing fingers at her and the other girl who had only recently arrived. They spoke of death and punishment, with their fingers lashed in her direction. She wasn't sure what any of them were going on about, only that Barnabus had promised they meant her no harm. It certainly didn't feel like it at this point. The young blond boy seemed at first to be the most distressed by the two newcomer's presence, even going as far as to refer to them as "That one, and that one". His language was especially vulgar, adding an unnecessary impact to his words. She could feel her face start to flush with embarrassment, turning her pale skin a bright red.

Before she could make any attempts to explain herself, the armor clad man began raising his voice. Clearly she wasn't about to be able to get a word in edgewise. She inhaled sharply as the armor clad man voiced his own opinion, and it wouldn't have bothered her had he not done the same thing as the blonde. Again she found her self staring down the barrel of another accusing hand. She had no idea what either of them were talking about, which only added more to the frustration, but she could only assume it had something to do with the previous lives Barnabus had mentioned.

A twitching disturbance emanated through her being, the same twitching she had begun to experience several days before the opening in the earth. She noticed the other male at the table, the one with the Siren creature, looked a bit disturbed. After a moment his partner inquired about it, but she sensed it had something to do with the strange feelings she had.

Once again before she made an attempt to speak someone else spoke. This time the male with the Siren had an outburst. Not so much an outburst as loudly explaining why there was no reason for the other's current behavior. Admittedly she agreed, they had been told they would receive an explanation, but these two seemed more intent to shout it out.

When Dae had finished scolding the others, he gave an awkward seated bow from his chair toward herself and the other newcomer, and introduced himself and his partner. "Please, there is no need for apology, what's done is done. I am called Jilpryis, and my partner is Barnabus." She curtsied politely in return, offering a half smile. "However..." She began, shifting her attention to Amir and Try, the half smile fading completely. "I am aware I currently do not possess the information you seek, and I do not intend to input my opinion on things I know nothing about. What I do know is that Barnabus came to me, and told me I had a better purpose to serve, and I believed him. Since then, I have awaited for this purpose to be revealed to me, and I believe I am correct in assuming my purpose has something to do with this Serafina's shortcomings. You'll come to realize that despite being this reincarnation you speak of, I've retained much of my own self's personality, and I have no intentions of being the reason for another's punishment. Surely men such as yourselves are aware that nothing can be done to change the past, so I hope you're done with this misplaced anger and ready to see what can be done to alleviate this punishment of yours."

Straightening her dress, she folded her hands behind her back. "And quit pointing so much, it's rude."

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Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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#, as written by mjolnir
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So she was brought to a house in the middle of the desert on the back of a Cerberus that presented itself to her not a few weeks prior. And as if that wasn't enough to swallow she was surrounded by these other people with their own strange assortments of beasts. Enyo had no idea what to make of the situation nor did anyone what to make of her presence or the other young female in the room.

“So, the fucks the deal here?" The too eager break in the silence took her by surprise causing her to inhale sharply and glance towards the culprit of the outburst. "These guys fresh outta the metaphorical reincarnation womb, do they remember anything? Is Ben inside that one, and Serafina in other just in different bodies? Do they have a life before being riders or did they just flash into existence? Or better question, do they retain memories from life before being a rider? What should we be expecting here?”

When the blonde male referred to her as 'that one' Enyo moved to her feet. She wanted to say something, she didn't know what but something. But before she got a chance the eldest male in the room had all too much to say. Fault!? Were they some accident? He began to continue talking down to the blonde one like he was some idiot and he had all the power in the world. Both had egos too big to be in the same room. The rant carried on to things Enyo had no idea about. And when he was finished she just stood there with her mouth a gape. She'd almost prefer dealing with the snobbery from the upper class citizens in Wolfbane City compared to this. At least there they respected her, they were also just terrified of her.

She was half tempted to leave. She didn't come her to be treated like some circus animal. Hell she didn't know she was even coming here, Nyx guided her here for some god forsaken reason. Enyo found herself glancing out the window and to no surprise three pairs of yellow eyes stared back at her. They never could have a typical conversation, it didn't work like that. But she knew Nyx was telling her not to leave, that this is where she belonged, and it was that that made her tense up.

The last of the males decided it was his turn to make his voice known. Enyo inhaled sharply, keeping her head downcast and eyes shut. She didn't need yet another one pointing fingers at her, referring to her as that one or whatever else. But this one just turned to argue at the other two. And when he told them to shut up, she finally raised her head up to look upon him. He gave her and the other girl a bow from his seat and introduced himself, also apologizing for the argument.

Jilpryis was the name of the girl as she introduced herself. As she spoke Enyo's eyes drifted towards the six entirely different chairs? Thrones? She had no idea. But her gaze kept returning to one, one that seemed to call to her. She slowly made her way over towards it, while listening to Jilpryis as she spoke. The girl wasn't addressing her though. Enyo ran her hand along the dark stained wood as a familiar sensation enveloped her. It was a simple chair, nothing extraordinary. Which made sense because in, at least, her case she was nothing more than ordinary. A chameleon that was easily looked over, plain and simple. It didn't seem as flamboyant or over the top as some of the others. Just a basic wooden throne stained so dark it was nearly black. The back rest and seat were covered in a dark leather with metal grommets securing it in place.

Enyo moved before the seat, placing her hands upon the armrests as the girl finished. She then sighed assuming now she probably should speak... Only seemed right. "I'm Enyo." She took the seat, resting her elbows upon the armrests as she tried to gauge the seat and her environment. "Enyo Custos. And the giant black fur ball is Nyx."

She leaned back in her seat and realized the room was still quiet. Enyo was never much of a talker, more of an observer but she felt like she couldn't get off as easily as to just introduce herself. "And thank you... For the apology." Her gaze met Dae's for a moment as she gave a slight head nod. "I had no idea that I was coming here, or what I am doing here in the first place. Nyx lead me here, and if it weren't for that I would be gone already. I didn't not come here to be gawked at like some alien... If that's what I desired I would have remained in Wolfbane City. At least there I felt welcome."

Enyo sighed, glancing down at her hands as she twiddle her fingers. She crossed one leg over the other, lightly bouncing the foot that was midair before speaking again. "I am sorry that I am not what you wanted or expected. But believe it or not it is offensive being accused of being the result of someone's fault. That would imply that I am here accidentally or what has happened to me was an accident." Her gaze locked onto Trytheus' at that moment for it was his comment that implied such. "I assure you I am not. And speaking for Jilpryis and myself, just because we are new to whatever is going on... Does not mean we don't deserve the same respect."

With that she slouched back in her seat, pursing her lips slightly while waving her hand dismissively. "But from the look of things some of you don't seem to respect each other any more than us." Enyo was pretty sure she spoke more there than she had in the last week. She had nothing further to say and allowed herself to remain silent and resume observing. She didn't like this already. She didn't ask to become some reincarnated Cerberus Rider. She didn't asked to be brought to the edge of the desert only to be chastised and looked down upon. For a moment she thought this was somewhere where she could finally be treated as an equal. But she was undoubtedly mistaken.

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Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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“She was the only one that was able to calm the beast and stop its rampage! I certainly wouldn't be sitting here today without her. Orders aren't everything.” The smug grin that wormed it’s way across Amir’s features was not in the least bit subtle when Dae started his quip at Trytheus. Amir was mad at Trytheus, livid actually, he had so much to say back the hammer-wielding ass, but Dae had beat him to a rant. It surprised him into a silence, as even though he had not spent great amounts of time with the siren rider Dae hadn’t raised his voice before. The shocked silence morphed into waggling his eyebrows at Try in victory accompanied by his smug ass grin. For all the time Trytheus spent scolding him on their journey to Tempress Cape it was nice to see someone else snap at him.

Amir wasn’t one to let things go, he was fully prepared to start his attack on Trytheus. It was going to be some grand rant over Trytheus telling Amir he was shitty for not helping the innocent, and then being told he was shitty for helping the innocent and Trytheus needing to make up his mind, but Dae started addressing the new riders. Annoyance stirred in his fingertips, causing them to drum the arm of his throne briefly. The boy had begun to doubt his decision of saving Serafina when Trytheus had brought up disobeying orders, because he had no idea the limits of the twins, but when they confirmed a higher power at work it failed to comfort him. The Gemini Twins were always vague, always making him question things, and he had since given up on the idea of a god or gods. Just monsters stronger than the rest, monsters like Huitzilpochtli that were able to do things like force human souls to reincarnate for forever.

“Please, there is no need for apology, what's done is done. I am called Jilpryis, and my partner is Barnabus.” The blonde girl, the Pegasus rider that was no longer Serafina, introduced herself on cue with Dae’s invitation. Her voice, her stature, nothing like Serafina. It made his heartache, she had been the only one he felt he had an actual connection to. Her experiences were unfortunate, but it had been what had connected them, made Amir feel like there was a person out there that could understand why he was the way he was. The girl that stood in front of him was nothing like that, he didn’t want to look at her. He was fine with that, he could keep his temper at bay even as that heartbeat continued to pulse at the edges of his mind, but when she mentioned Serafina it had his fingers curling around the arms of his throne in irritation. That girl knew nothing of the riders, she may have a beast that followed her and the soul of the first unicorn rider, but he would not see her as an equal. He didn’t dignify her with a response, any words that would fall from his mouth in that moment would undoubtedly be spat.

The new Cerberus Rider was the next to introduce herself. While ignoring the, what he deemed, false rider, he hadn’t missed the other girl curiously exploring the throne of the Cerberus Rider, Amir wasn’t as close to Benedict. The rage he felt when he looked at Jilpryis was not present when he looked at her, but he did not like the girl all the same. Maybe it was because them becoming riders like this was cheating. They may not have chosen this life, but they had been regular people beforehand from what he had gathered. He couldn’t get his mind around how a reincarnation cycle that had been constant and unchanging for centuries could suddenly be thrown away. At least she seemed like someone he might be able to get along with.

“That would imply that I am here accidentally or what has happened to me was an accident… But from the look of things some of you don't seem to respect each other any more than us." Scratch that. His head snapped to attention and he made eye contact with the Cerberus Rider. He pushed himself out of his throne, slamming both his palms against the wooden surface of the gathering table, his golden bangles rattling, and leaned in towards the girl.

“Shut up.” He growled, his own heart hammered rapidly in his chest, yet the stranger’s heartbeat remained steady against his skull. It only furthered to antagonize him though, flaring his temper with each beat. “You aren’t accidents, you’re mistakes. You might carry the souls of the first riders, but you also have your own minds, you aren’t anything like us. I’ve been raised in solitude since my earliest memory, given a fucking sword when I six, and taught to lead a goddamn region before I could pronounce leadership. I’ve been taking down large scale crime organizations since I was ten and have lived through unspeakable pain… All of us have. Dae and Trytheus, myself, we were born into these lives. All you are is a stranger.

“Serafina and Benedict were our comrades, our friends, and now they are gone and we don’t know why. We haven’t been given a reason and you fucking brats are getting butt hurt because we aren’t giving you respect? Being a rider is more than just a title and a cool pet so get off your goddamn high horse because I don’t have a single fucking reason to give either of you respect.”


“Lady Sahira!”
“Lady Sahira!”

Amir was yanked back into his seat by the twins who appeared on either side of him. He didn’t struggle against them, their brittle looking arms possessing the unnatural strength to hold him down. He wasn’t a complete fool, and had no reason to anger the twins further, that would be a death wish. He looked between them, the elderly ladies smiling down at him.

“Please mind yourself our darling Sahira.”
“No matter what, so long their bodies retain-”
“-the souls of the first riders, they will be-”
“-welcome here as riders. As is the rule we follow.”

They released him once they finished, and the boy was left rubbing his forearms where their grip had been. There would definitely be bruises left where the twin’s dumb ass bony fingers had been. He looked between the new riders, well it was more of a glare, but didn’t make another move to criticize them. The twins knew they had power over him, their eyes burning into him from their spot at the gathering table was a stronger shackle on his actions than their grip had been.

Hassan maneuvered down from his perch on the throne and draped himself over his rider’s shoulders. The long fiery tail feathers of the bird cascaded down his shoulder and warmed his arm. The boy let out a frustrated sigh, and perched his elbow against the arm of the throne, resting his chin in the crook of his palm. The bird cooed softly at him, but he ignored it, looking stubbornly away from the bird. Hassan chirped at him again, this time taking a piece of his blonde hair and tugging gently on a chunk of it. “Yelling at these girls will not bring Serafina back Amir, apologize.” When the boy made no move to apologize to the new riders Hassan took a large section of his hair and yanked it much harder, causing Amir to yelp.

“Fine, fine, you stupid bird.” He grumbled, though there was the slightest trace of a smile in his voice. He looked between the two girls for a moment and let out another defeated sigh. “Sorry for losing my temper… and yelling at you.”

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Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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#, as written by claw
It took Trytheus a moment to compose himself. Of course that northern wildling would defend the desert rat, seeing as they both seemed so eager to rush towards each other thinking without their brains. Both of them held an insufferable sense of self righteousness, as if their positions as Riders was simply enough for them to cast judgement upon him. Him! The eldest living Rider and easily the most experienced in such matters of blame and the undertaking of orders, were they sworn to vows? Were they bound to the people as they were to their beasts? He had no shadow of a doubt if they were both to swear any form of vow their attitude would turn around far quicker than any words he could try to drill into their thick skulls.

He slowly sat back down, it was evident that starting a fight was the least important matter to be addressed here. These new Riders were the anomalies that were certainly the priority. Still, he glared at Amir and his stupid grin that looked all too like he had been struck in the nether-regions. If looks could kill it was fairly certain to assume that Trytheus's look could melt stone. He focused on his breathing, long and slow, in an attempt to resume some form of decorum.

These new Riders, if they could really be called as such, were a pressing issue to say the least. If they were given their beasts fully fledged and they themselves having already lived lives outside of the cycle, then what did that mean for their next lives? Had the rules been altered so they no longer are reincarnated to newborn children? Was this the end of the age of Riders as they knew it? What would come of the kingdoms if every few years a fully grown Rider was able to take control? Doubtless war and anarchy would be the result. And who could say how many countless would die from the resulting strife?

His attention was brought back to the Riders as one of them spoke, the one calling herself Jilpryis. It seemed indeed that Serafina was truly gone and was not returning. It was a sad thing to be sure, but in the end it was inevitable for their lives to die and be replaced. Even he had died in a sense to become Trytheus. The Pegasus-Rider was attempting to approach this from a position of logic and reason, it was clear that her presence was not one of malicious nature. Yet she also understood so little about their own natures. Did it really mean so little that she was replacing another person? Yet he realised he couldn't comprehend what it must be to replace the one before you with an entirely new person. He never had to endure that internal conflict.

It was the other one however, this Enyo, was a polar opposite. She spoke with arrogance and acted as though she, an outsider, was deserving of some form of special treatment. As though her presence was something to be worshipped and respected just by virtue of her being here. Once more he felt his irritation rising, and almost disgust at the disrespect these half Riders were showing. What did she know of showing respect? To act as if she was deserving the same levels of solidarity as a trueborn Rider was an insult of the lives that had come before her. Could they even be considered a part of the cycle if they were not even born to it.

And surprisingly out of the chances in the world, it seemed Amir also shared in his sensibilities. The fact the boy had managed to think of these thoughts without any prompting from himself only reinforced his own standpoint. His listened to Amirs angry rant, agreeing with the message behind it, if not with the words themselves, and he was about to voice his support when Amir was forced into his seat once more. He blinked in surprise as the Ladies Gemini held down the boy, he had not even seen the pair move and it was evident that they possessed great strength. If they were the danger that sought them harm he knew even more than before he would have to watch his words now.

"As utterly deplorable as the boy is. I am forced to agree with him." He turned his head to look at the half Riders, his muddy brown eyes switching from first one, then to the other. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Trytheus Morrela, the three hundred and thirty second incarnation to hold that name. Let tell you about choice. We three Riders, Amir, Dae and I, were born to this role. You two were simply given it at a whim, having already led a life as a freeborn. We did not have that luxury. You have led lives without a purpose. Without the duty of a Rider to defend your people. You have been one of our number a few scant days and act as though you should know what that even means." He kept his voice calm and steady, well aware that he was being watched by more than just Riders.

"The fact of the matter is you are mistakes, accidents in the cycle of rebirth. In the time I was made to endure in the presence of Amir, I learned that although he could do a far better job of it, he has spent his life combating banditry and outlaws in one aspect or another. I have lived my life sworn to vows of servitude to the people and to the Order. If you think yourself something special for being born a Rider, or that you are deserving recognition for the fact allow me to educate you on how the cycle of the Griffon-Rider works. I was not born under the name Trytheus, indeed I do not even remember my birth name. I gave up all semblance of choice, all illusions of leading my own life free of the difficulties of doing the good and right thing. Understand that none of us wished to be born to our paths, indeed how could we even wish to be born at all? Yet you have had the freedom of lives we have not, and could not have. You are errors, and will be given respect once you have proven yourself worthy of it." He looked up at the Ladies Gemini, aware they were still watching him with that unworldly grin. He attention shifted down to Amir, hopefully the boy didn't start getting attached to him now that he was being sided with, before he turned his gaze back to the outsiders "You may indeed be welcome here. But you are not Riders born and made. You have no more authority over us or your beasts than a stablehand his lords warhorse."

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Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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Things were quite livid. At least Trytheus and Amir had stopped biting each other like the chimera heads often did. They were all on the same side after all. He was not pleased that Amir started to yell at the female riders but there wasn't much he could say about that. The Ladies Gemini had already gone to Amir and forced him to gain some control over his outburst. Nothing he could say would ever be able to rival the warning the sisters had just given the Phoenix Rider. He was well aware that the sisters could easily rip any one of them apart without a second glance. It was still a mystery to him why they would even help them and give them missions. They chose to cooperate with them and call to them in time of need but one must never forget the danger behind those wiley grins.

And the worst part? He actually agreed with Amir and Trytheus's sentiments though he really did not like the way they were going about this. No, these riders in front of them were not Lady Serafina and Ben and no, they did not have to go through the turmoil of living their whole lives with the responsibilities of a rider on their shoulders, but they did not deserve to be treated this way. Whatever happened had happened for a reason and they couldn't turn back time, only move forward. It would take a while before he could see these women as equals and he would still see them as the two fallen riders, but these women were riders. They had the same soul as the riders before them though he and the others could not reconcile the image of their former faces. They were gathered here for the same purpose and they were going to have to work together to resolve whatever strangeness was going on. Though he felt the emotional turmoil, he needed to remember the ebb and flow of the waves; think logically and rationally. He turned his stormy gaze over to the female riders; Enyo and Jilpryis. And soon, a third stranger would join them no doubt.

"Mistakes? Accidents? No. Everything happens for a reason," he mused out loud more to himself than anything. The Ladies Gemini made that clear enough if nothing else. These two were riders for a reason. "I do not believe you are those things, Enyo, Jilpryis, but I must concede that I agree with those two, though not with the way they have addressed it" he answered and tilted his head towards Amir and Trytheus. "You have the soul of the riders before you and thus are our comrades and have my respect as people. I will gladly stand beside you in the fights to come but you must also understand that your appearance means that two of our friends have died. Two riders that we have fought beside and who have shown their skill and devotion to this brotherhood and to the people they serve." Though he hadn't known the others long, they had acted when it counted. Ben and Alasahe had fought beside him and it was little Ben that had tried to save him from the blast of fire and Lady Serafina that treated the poison from the kelpie. They proved their convictions. Lady Serafina had gone through hell and back to save her beast and survive long enough and would never give up in the face of discomfort. And here, this Enyo talked about leaving because she didn't feel welcome. Well, the world wasn't all beds of roses and kelp. You had to suffer if you were ever going to do anything about it.

"Enyo, right? You say that you would just leave and go back to your city because Amir and Trytheus didn't offer open arms? Unfortunately it does not work that way. You have a responsibility now regardless of whether you picked it or not. You have the title of rider but you still have yet to earn it as Trytheus and Amir stated." After all, it was true that he, Amir, and Trytheus had been born to their roles. They had all been forced to take up the mantle of rider and protect their people whether they liked it or not. "As you have noticed, Amir and Trytheus don't get a long but when it comes down to life or death, they will have each others back because it is our duty to do so. We fight along side each other in the face of death and knowing full well that we may not wake up tomorrow. If you want respect, then be the rider you were made to be now. Discomfort because of cross words should be the least of your concerns. The one before you was just a little child and he fought bravely beside me like a hardened warrior. There is going to be so much more that you will have to sacrifice because your wants and your desires don't matter anymore. Out of everything we have sacrificed for others and how much we will continue to suffer and give up... you can't just come in here spouting that you would much rather walk away because the situation doesn't agree with you. A lot of situations don't agree with me and I don't have the luxury to say 'I don't feel like it'. I would much rather be home to help my people clean up after the earthquake and tsunami hit it but instead, I am here. Stand up proud, take up your burden, and deal with it."

Dae wasn't saying these things to be mean or cruel, but the new rider needed a wake up call. They didn't have a choice when it came to protecting others. It was their duty to serve and no one one could walk away from that. She needed to understand the gravity of the situation. No one could just walk away because they argued a bit. The situation could be handled better by Amir and Trytheus, but the point was that they had to stick together to get things done and ensure there was a future for their world. There were so many things that Dae had wanted in his life that he wasn't allowed to have because of who he was. Who they all were. And maybe it was because he still saw little Ben's face behind her angry one. It was hard to hear her talk about leaving when Ben hadn't turned away in the face of grave danger. He had been the bravest child he had ever known. He deserved to be called a rider.

Dae settled his gaze on Sera-er... Jilpryis. She seemed level headed at least. Perhaps he had a kindred spirit in her. She seemed to be far more reasonable than other reincarnation and willing to do her duty. He hoped that remained the case. He did give her a nod to acknowledge her words. He really didn't want to join the conversation again however. He just wanted to get on with this so they could be on their way. He knew that they couldn't continue without the dragon rider however.

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Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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As Amir began to rage about the way they were behaving, she could feel the familiar lump in her throat that meant she was going to cry. "Peace, Jilpryis. These bodies have suffered many trials, and not all of their anger is their own. The meaning behind their words is true, but do not think that you will not ever be worthy of their respect. I saw in you the potential to be just as valuable as any of the others before you. Your trials have not yet begun, regardless of hardships you've faced in the past. You will face things you wouldn't have been able to comprehend in your previous life. Whatever you take from my words, know that I chose you." Barnabus brushed against her mind, soothing her as he always did.

Taking a deep breath, she watched as the twins assisted Amir back into his seat. From her spot by the window, she could see the two remaining empty seats, and given the different looks, she could assume which one was "hers", but she made no attempt to move toward it. She felt it wouldn't be proper in the others eyes for her to claim their former comrade's place, at least not now. A trifling matter to be sure, she was perfectly content to stand.

She paid closer attention to Trytheus as he addressed the two, for despite his rather intimidating appearance, spoke in a far more polite manner than the vulgarity slung by Amir. She held his gaze to display her devoted attention, and when he had concluded, she gave a slight bow of her head. As Dae began to speak, it was apparent his entire speech wasn't directed to the both of them, and he spoke directly to Enyo for a portion. She took that opportunity to address Trytheus. Despite the stinging of his words, he spoke with conviction, which was admirable to say the least.

"A pleasure to meet you, Trytheus. Though I do regret it wasn't on better terms. I assure you I hold no sense of entitlement to either this role or your respect. Nor do I act as if I retain any more knowledge of the role as a rider than has been revealed to me by my partner. I understand your frustration, but I cannot yet begin to understand your cause, because my life before this was hardly one of hardship or duty to uphold honor. I can only hope that in time I can prove that despite being a mistake I am as capable of performing tasks required of me as of others."

As she concluded she noticed Dae was looking at her. As she met his gaze he gave a nod, and she suddenly became embarrassed, though she was not sure why. She offered a genuine smile, closing her eyes and nodding her head in return. For the first time since she had accepted this role, she felt a sense of confidence build within her chest.

She paid no attention the to apology cast forth from Amir, seeing as how it didn't contain any vulgarity, she hardly felt he possibly could have meant it, rather it has been coaxed out of him from his partner for the sake of appearances. Instead she twitched her nose, acting as though she hadn't heard what he'd said.

"You have chosen your words well, Jilpryis. I am proud of you young one." She cast a glance over he shoulder out the window, her eyes settling upon the large luminescent black orbs that were her partner's. She was glad to be here, with him, with them.

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Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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The blonde's hands slammed onto the table causing Enyo to jump in her seat. “Shut up.” Her hands grasped the armrest as she looked towards him. “You aren’t accidents, you’re mistakes." Mistakes. Mistakes? Enyo's gaze shifted to look down as she began to bounce her legs furiously. Her left hand raised to rub her temples as she tried to remain calm. But that word was like a trigger to her. Mistake. A word she's been hearing as long as she could remember. That's all the orphans were ever seen as in Wolfbane City. It was only that and worse as she grew older.

She hid her eyes as the male continued to unload at her. No surprise that everything Enyo says is misunderstood or taken the wrong way. She rarely talks and the one time she parts her lips everything is thrown back at her. She had no choice in this they same as them. So what if this was sprung upon her more recently than them? So what if she wasn't living this life for her entire life? They don't know anything about her life, they haven't even tried to. What kind of respect did he think she wanted? She didn't want people bowing at her feet... Just to be treated like a person not an it... a thing.

Enyo wanted to defend herself but then in the same breath she didn't want to add to the fire that was quickly consuming the room. She peaked out from between her fingers when he apologized after the twins made him. She didn't say anything though and wouldn't have had a chance either way because the other one decided it was his turn again. And there they were again. Talking about how she didn't have the right because she wasn't born into the life. He spoke of her having freedom before this. Another assumption about her life that he had absolutely no idea about but he still seemed hell bent on pointing the finger.

Mistakes.

There it was again. Every time that word slipped from someone's lips Enyo felt the emotions rolling up her throat, the tears trying make themselves know. But she wouldn't let that happen. She wouldn't give them the satisfaction of bringing her to her breaking point. He then spoke about 'worthy authority'.... She didn't ask for authority over anyone. Just respect, respect to be greeted not gawked at when she joined them all. And now somehow they were all putting words in her mouth. And in Trytheus' opinion apparently she doesn't deserve to respected anymore than a stablehand. She shook her head as her hand moved to cover her mouth, while she stared blankly at a spot on the ground.

At least the friendliest of them at least had the decency to say that she wasn't a mistake. That was a start. But that was short lived as well. The first portion was harmless but then he addressed just her and her comment about leaving. Another misunderstanding. Enyo knew she belonged here and she trusted Nyx, and that she brought her here because she needed to be here. She only meant that if she didn't have that feeling, she would have left. But regardless now, what's done is done.

But it was the comment about the person before her was a child. Enyo felt her heart seize in her chest momentarily. She replaced a child? A kid died so that she could be here. She slouched down her seat as the realization hit. She understood their anger but it wasn't her fault. If she had a choice she'd sacrifice herself so that a child didn't have to die but she doesn't have that kind of power. He then spoke about how she should suck up everything and get over being disrespected. She was proud of whatever was happening to her, it made her feel like she had purpose... But at least not this moment.

Enyo over heard Jilpryis talking to Trytheus, "...I assure you I hold no sense of entitlement to either this role or your respect..."

She didn't need to hear anymore. Enyo stood up and made her way towards the door. She wasn't leaving but just needed fresh air away from everyone to clear her mind. Once she was out on the porch she let out a deep sigh as she allowed herself to sit upon the steps and bury her face in her hands. It was only a moment or two before something large blocked the sunlight, and she didn't have to look up to know it was Nyx. The beast nuzzled one of its heads into her lap. Her eyes looked up at Enyo as if to say it all will pass and she does belong her. Enyo gave a halfhearted smile while petting her head.

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Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Skyla Bauru Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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Having someone agree with him shouldn’t have made Amir’s skin crawl. In fact, he should have been ecstatic, beaming, or at least comforted by the knowledge that his opinion was shared by a comrade, but the sheer fact that the person who spoke up was Trytheus still left a stale, unsatisfied, taste in his mouth. He couldn’t really retort back or pick at the man when their opinions aligned, the most he could muster was a condescending lip curl in the man’s direction when Trytheus happened to glance his way. Amir briefly pondered the idea that he might be a little too obsessed with hating Try if he was still attempting to think of excuses to piss the man off when they were on the same side of an argument. It was most likely because the man started his speech with, ‘As utterly deplorable as this boy is.’ He did not have an obsession with the Griffon Rider, it was just everything the man did grated his nerves.

“As you have noticed, Amir and Trytheus don't get a long but when it comes down to life or death, they will have each others back because it is our duty to do so.”
Amir had turned his attention to his forearms, where the bruising was already showing from the grip of the Gemini twins. He traced his fingers lightly over the tender skin. He had been listening to Dae take his crack at the fake riders. The Siren Rider was much more gentle, much more willing to accept them, than Amir or Trytheus had been, but the fact that all three of their opinions aligned was surprising. Amir, Try, and Dae had such drastically different outlooks on life that opinion sharing was rare, especially between Amir and Try, maybe the true purpose of these new riders was to unite their divided minds. Until Dae brought up Trytheus having his back in a life or death situation, the boy couldn’t hold back the disbelieving scoff followed by a short bitter laugh.

“Yeah, life and death situations. Except that one time you fucking abandoned Serafina and I in the middle of Tempress Cape after alerting the entire goddamn city to our presence. Good times, you really had my back there buddy. Remember my arm being fucking sliced off? Cause I sure as hell do.” It was a short interjection, and the boy quickly went back to fussing over his arms as Dae continued expressing his opinion on the new riders. The boy only took a slight moment to look at the new Cerberus Rider, most of the criticism was being directed at her, and the boy felt himself stiffen.

She looked like she was about to burst into tears. Her expression quivered ever slightly, just enough to tell she was holding back the build up of emotions. He swore under his breath, and flicked his eyes towards Jilpryis. She seemed to be taking the attack a lot better than the other girl, but he had actually forgotten for a moment that yelling at people elicited responses other than rage. It seemed he had spent so much time literally screaming at Trytheus, who was dense as a rock and seemingly could not have his feelings hurt, that he had forgotten that other people had emotions. His intention weren’t to make this girl cry, he was just so upset about Serafina. He hadn’t even spent a long time with the Unicorn Rider, but after seeing so much of himself in her he couldn’t help but feel like losing her was losing that part of himself he wanted to heal.

When she got up from the gathering table and left the house the boy felt his gut churn with something that had to be akin to guilt. His eyes darted over the the Pegasus rider, she seemed much more confident in herself, but she still hadn’t approached the table. With all the rambling speeches over it let an awkward quietness roll over the group, a silence made more awkward by Enyo getting up from the table and leaving. He cleared his throat and shifted his weight.

“You can come sit at the table at least. Standing there must be fucking awkward.” He hadn’t even meant to swear in that sentence, but cussing after every other syllable had become so engrained in his system that he was doing it without even thinking. His eyes darted between the already sitting riders, unsure what else to say. He had already apologized for his outburst, which was no doubt the cruelest, but the apology hadn’t been well received by either, probably because Hassan made him do it. But apologizing again would seem like an overkill, he’d much prefer if these girls would be more like Trytheus, as god awful the thought, and just yell back at him when he said something rude. He instead jabbed his thumb at his own chest, introducing himself.

“I’m Amir, ah, Amir Taheri… Phoenix Rider I guess… This is Hassan, he’s kinda like my conscious, and the reason I still retain all my limbs, been with me almost my entire life... aaand yeah that’s it.” And horribly, horribly uncomfortable was how he felt. He didn’t cuss a single time in his rambling introduction, and it actually made him uncomfortable. Forcing himself to be nice to someone probably made it even more awkward for everyone currently present, no doubt it was too entirely out of character for him to not be crass.

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Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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It was truly an auspicious day. For not only Amir and Trytheus to agree on the standpoint, yet for Dae, doubtless one who thought himself so above it all and far more than level headed than both of them combined, to be in alignment with them. Such things would be rare found indeed, if they were not faced with a common enemy. In his mind, Trytheus couldn't see the false Riders as anything other than that. His nature of viewing the world in blocks of black and white simply prevented him from allowing himself to warm to the newcomers.

And naturally, it appeared to be a part of Amirs nature to make incessant comments on the world around him. Trytheus could just make him muttering about he was left behind in that blasted city and he lost an arm. As far as Trytheus was concerned neither of those were relevant considering how Amir both escaped the city and regained his arm, and he made his thoughts known,
"You survived." He stated dully and matter of factly as though it was the most minute detail in the change of someone's day. His attention was brought back to the outsiders when he realised one was speaking to him, the small blonde girl who had called herself Jilpyris to be precise.

"A pleasure to meet you, Trytheus. Though I do regret it wasn't on better terms. I assure you I hold no sense of entitlement to either this role or your respect. Nor do I act as if I retain any more knowledge of the role as a rider than has been revealed to me by my partner. I understand your frustration, but I cannot yet begin to understand your cause, because my life before this was hardly one of hardship or duty to uphold honor. I can only hope that in time I can prove that despite being a mistake I am as capable of performing tasks required of me as of others." It seemed as though this one was certainly different from the other, more arrogant false Rider. She at least knew she was an outsider here, and it certainly and most importantly she seemed all too willing to try and change that fact as best she could.
"You understand then that you will have to work for your place amongst equals. I can appreciate that fact, and as long as you try to fulfil the role set before you, you may one day prove yourself worthy of it."

Yet even as he spoke he could see out of the corner of his eye the other outsider, the girl calling herself Enyo, breaking before finally running from the room. She was weak and Trytheus had no other word for it. When her arrogance had failed she turned to anger, when her anger had failed her she had turned to tears. He scoffed at her departure, reading her body language as easy as one would read a parchment. Trytheus was unusually gifted at the art of reading a persons body language for it was how he and the Griffon Mavegen communicated. Where the other Riders maintained a psychic bond with their beasts that allowed them to speak freely, the Griffon was too proud a creature to allow such an intrusion. Instead the two learned how to read each other and by and large others around themselves. It was this long learned skill that told him that Enyo wasn't planning on fleeing the house as he might have suspected, but instead was either trying to silicate a response of sympathy or guilt, or else attempt to waste their time with her absence. Either way he would feel no pleasantness towards her in his heart. He fully rejected her being there and indeed rejected her nature as much as he could, though of course he did not word these thoughts, fearing the repercussions laid down by the Ladies Gemini.

His attention was shifted once more by Amir, who as was the usual fashion, was struggling to make it through a single sentence without uttering a single swear. Trytheus sighed disappointedly, perhaps one day he would be cured of the affliction but apparently that day was not today. He listened to the boys stammering introduction and the fact that he actually made it through it without swearing simply passed him by. The false Riders had put him in a foul mood and he couldn't stop himself from commenting on Hassans presence as Amirs concious.
"By which Amir means that he is a terrible example of humanity and is required to have constant supervision. I truly pity the poor creature for having to endure that torment."

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Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Skyla Bauru Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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"Now you've gone and done it," Aquarian answered idly and let his fingers of his free hand walk on the armrest. He was resting his head in the palm of his other head a bit bored and tired with the situation. He didn't particularly care that Dae was lecturing the others and the whole conversation was getting old really fast. He was more upset that Dae hadn't let him have his fun and Amir hadn't responded to his flirtatious invite even if Dae shoved him to the floor like an over grown dog. Still however, Dae sometimes needed a hint. Dae wasn't a social butterfly so when he spoke, he often was far too blunt or spoke in a manner that ended up in situations like this and word vomit. Dae really needed to stick to saying little. When the new girl Enyo departed from the house, Aquarian rolled his head to look up at his rider."For a sensitive person, you can be insensitive."

Dae himself had deflated. He looked after the rider that hat left the room feeling very guilty for what he had said. Yes he was emotional about the situation but he should have taken better care with his words. He hadn't meant to hurt her but looking back at his words he realized that though he didn't say any profanity or degraded the new riders the way Trytheus and Amir did he was no better. He acted as if he were far superior than them. That was not okay at any level. They were all riders such as he stated earlier. They were equal regardless of the situation. He was sad for Ben and Sera but it wasn't these new riders fault for it. He sighed softly to himself and his hands clenched the arms of his chair. He needed to talk to Enyo.

Then Amir spoke up and even tried to be civil towards Jilpryis. He had to give him props for that. He hadn't expected that. Amir was always surprising him. He was glad that he invited the Pegasus rider to sit at the table with them. Before he could even smile in Amir's direction, Tryethus spoke up again. Unfortunately Trytheus didn't have anything really that nice to add though he didn't snap at the new rider. But oh, he was trying to instigate a fight with Amir again. Oh for the love all the shells in the world, Amir had just calmed down. Why was Trytheus trying to bring this all up again? He was always saying such rude things about other peoples character. Why? Why did he do this? Did he take pleasure in putting people down? Did he really think of himself that high above everyone else? It was really annoying and hurtful and was making him very angry that Trytheus, the rider of justice, would act this way. He had hoped that the two of them could get along.

"You are a grown man, Trytheus. Would you give it a rest for once? Don't you ever have anything nice to say about anyone but yourself?" he groaned as he got up from his seat.

Aquarian sat up and grabbed his rider's arm and quirked an eyebrow at him. Just what exactly was Dae up to now? He wasn't going to go ranting on Trytheus, was he? "I am going to talk to Enyo," he explained and the siren let his rider go. "Good. I can take lounge on your seat then," he grinned and did just that. He flopped down on the seat so that his back was pressed against one of the arms while his feet dangled on the other side. He let his head fall back and he gave Amir a grin while he was upside down. The shells on his person clinked as he moved and tangled in his hair. "Why don't you ignore Trytheus and just focus on me, Hotstuff? I promise, I am much prettier to look at." Dae rolled his eyes at his siren's antics. "You need to give it a rest to." Dae walked around the table and headed out the door. The first thing he saw was the gigantic Cerberus. He forgot how big it could get. He walked over to Enyo and sat down beside her. He was quiet for a moment trying to gather his thoughts and figure out what to say to her. He really felt awful for making her cry.

"Enyo... I am sorry. I lost myself in there and I should not have said what I did. You are a rider just like the rest of us and I should not have let myself be fueled by emotion." He brought his hands up as fists and pressed them together before he gave her a bow from where he was sitting beside her. It was how his people asked for forgiveness when they know full well they had slighted another person. "I hope we can start over at some point. I understand if I am undeserving of your forgiveness right now. I hope to make it up to you in the days to come."

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Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Skyla Bauru Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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Skyla ran through the streets like a hound dog. Her eyes were fixed on the bastard just ahead of her. He thought he was going to get away with all of his crimes but Skyla wasn't going to let that happen. She'd much rather die than let the pirate Silver Bane escape her sights again. She'd been after this particular pirate for a year now. He was notorious for kidnapping children and turning them into well bred slaves. He also had quite the fighting ring in the Cape so he was some pretty nasty shit and deserved what was coming to him. She was happy that she had spotted him while she and her dragon Ferringaw had been on heir way to the mysterious house in Gnaji that he kept telling her about. She had spotted him trying to drag a couple of kids onto his boat and she couldn't let it happen so here she was, hot on the man's heels. He thought he was going to get away. Silly thing.

Skyla grinned darkly, her light strawberry hair whipping in the wind behind her as they both turned the corner of one of the alleys. The man skidded to a halt when he saw the massive white dragon cutting off his escape route in the sewers. Skya didn't stop. She rushed forward and used her momentum to kick the bastard hard. The pirate toppled over himself with a satisfying 'crack' of ribs. The man wheezed, the wind leaving his lungs for the moment. Skyla wasn't about to let him try and recover. She jumped on the man's back, her light blue eyes reflecting a fire that burned just as hot as the one Ferringaw produced.

"You thought you were goin' t' get away from me? You be finally goin' t' answer for yer crimes, ya bastard," she growled in his ear, falling back on her pirate speech as she often did while on the hunt or when she forgot she needed to be proper. She pressed down on his chest as she twisted his arms and earned a satisfying groan from the man. "Where be t' three other missin' sprogs?"

"I don't know what you be talkin' about," the pirate grumbled against the ground.

""Don't lie t' me you cretin. I know you took 3 sprogs two days ago. Where be they? Or do you want me t' melt yer arm into t' ground?" For added effect, Ferringaw inhaled deeply, causing a thrum to fill the air as he prepared his fire deep in his throat. The pirate's eye widened as he squirmed.

"Okay! Okay! They be in t' cellar on Dreggin street. House at t' end o' t' street.

"See? That wasn't t' bad, now was it? Let's go." Skyla cuffed his hands behind him and got off of him. She gave a nod to Ferringaw who swallowed his flame and leaned over to pick the man up by the shirt and stared carrying him like he was his next meal. The pirate gave a cry of pain as the motion made his ribs ache. Skyla paid him no mind as she hurried down the street the man mentioned and stopped in front of the house. Ferringaw smashed the door down with a flick of his forked tail and the rider quickly rushed in, her eyes searching wildly. After moving rugs and other furniture around the house, she finally found the door to the cellar and shoved it aside. She slid down into the darkness and used her flint to light up one of the torches. And just like the pirate had said, there were 3 young children huddled together for warmth at the far end of the cellar. The entire room smelled like shit and mold. Skyla smiled softly when the kids, two girl and one boy, looked up at her. They looked scared. The poor dears.

Skyla knelt down in front of them. "Don't you worry. You be safe now," she cooed. She set the torch in one of the iron holders and took out a small dagger and cut the ropes that tied the children together and to the wall behind them. When the kids were free, she stood up and the three glanced at each other before getting shakily up as well. She motioned for them to follow her up and she heard the gasps and cries when the kids saw the dragon waiting outside. They cowards away a moment before they took off running back towards their homes. Skyla rested her hands on her hips as she watched them. She was glad they had stopped on their way. She was sure they were late for whatever was going on but it was worth it. She walked her dragon to the station then where they dropped off their pirate and the Coppers paid her the reward money.

Skyla tied the loot to her belt and she caressed the marble like scales of her companion. "I reckon we be best on our way," she mused. He gave a thrum of approval and leaned down so that his rider could get up onto his back. The dragon extended his wings and the two of them took off into the sky. Skyla grinned against her dragon's neck and ran her hands over him. He truly was a magnificent creature and he saw her worthy and together, they'd be a great team. They'd bring an end to the pirate menace and make Melgrove a decent place to reside, even if it was surrounded by marshlands. It didn't take much longer before the strange house was visible. There was a massive shape outside as well. When Skyla squinted it was the three headed dog Cerberus. She smiled a bit exited to meet the other riders that had gathered. She could feel them as if they were part of her. She knew that some were angry. They felt hot. She wondered why they were so angry. Still though, she was excited to finally meet the riders that she already felt in her body. And she'd never seen a Cerberus or a siren or a griffon or a phoenix. She couldn't wait!

The two landed with a spray of sand and dust and Skyla easily slid off the dragons back, a bright smile on her lips. She waved at the two riders she saw on the steps outside of the house. One of them was the Cerberus Rider. Who was the other? Skyla tried to fix her wind tossed hair into a more manageable pony tail and made sure the pirate mark on her arm was covered by her sleeve. [color=#1289]"Hello! Sorry I'm late!"[/color] she greeted and hurried over. She looked between the riders then and curtsied for them. She wasn't normally this formal but she wanted the riders to like her to. "My name is Skyla. The dragon behind me is Ferringaw. It is a pleasure to meet you three," she said, including the Cerberus in her greetings.

Dae looked up and took a moment to reconcile the image of the stranger who was taking Alasahe's place. He gave her a nod. They were finally all here. "Hello Skyla. I am Dae Valen, siren rider. As fair warning, the other two male riders will not greet you nicely. Be prepared for that." he explained.

Skyla frowned. Why would they react negatively? "I see. Thank you for the warning, Dae." She looked him up and down. He was wearing very little clothing, but she did recognize the the style for his region. It was exciting to see someone from the other countries up close. She'd never had that opportunity. She was excited all over again as she turned to the other girl as she waited for her introduction as well. She was the one that hailed from Wolfbane, right? She'd never been there!

Inside the house, Meg and May were grinning. "All of our-"

"-riders are finally here."

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Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Skyla Bauru Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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Nyx's head raised from Enyo's lap just before she heard the sound of foot steps. She sniffled, bringing her hands up to wipe her eyes. She then raised her hand, waving as she spoke, "I'm coming back inside... I just needed air."

But the footsteps continued, until the person who made them sat beside her. Dae was quiet for a moment before speaking, "Enyo... I am sorry." She glanced over her shoulder towards him, brushing her dark hair behind her ear. "I lost myself in there and I should not have said what I did. You are a rider just like the rest of us and I should not have let myself be fueled by emotion." Dae then pressed his fists together and bowed towards her from where he sat. "I hope we can start over at some point. I understand if I am undeserving of your forgiveness right now. I hope to make it up to you in the days to come."

Enyo smiled softly towards him, nodding her head. "No need to apologize... I understand why you said it." She twiddled her fingers in her lap while looking towards Nyx, "Sometimes what I say doesn't come out the way I want it to... I don't talk much." She gave a halfhearted chuckle. It wasn't that she didn't like talking more of the fact that most of her company was under the age of five and couldn't form complete sentences.

There was a long pause in conversation as Enyo tried to figure out how to word what she was going to say right so it wasn't misinterpreted. Then she finally just decided to avoid detail and put it plainly, "It wasn't you or what you said that made me leave the room." She glanced over at Dae just before a cloud of sand blew over them, causing her to raise her hand to block her face.

A lively strawberry blonde slid off the back of a massive dragon that seemed to be the only beast as large scale as Enyo's own Cerberus. She smiled while waving towards her and Dae. Enyo raised her hand and gave a slight wave with the best smile she could manage. "Hello! Sorry I'm late!" The girl then curtsied before introducing herself, "My name is Skyla. The dragon behind me is Ferringaw. It is a pleasure to meet you three."

Dae nodded towards the girl responding with his own introduction, "Hello Skyla. I am Dae Valen, siren rider. As fair warning, the other two male riders will not greet you nicely. Be prepared for that." Skyla then thanked him for the warning.

"No they won't." Enyo sighed as she pushed off her knees, moving to her feet. "I'm Enyo Custos. And that-" She paused momentarily when she saw her Cerberus already nuzzling the dragon with two of its heads while the third sniffed and licked its head, "Giant softy would be Nyx... She's really about as terrifying as a bunny rabbit... Well if she likes you."

She chuckled softly, giving Nyx a pat on the rear haunches before pivoting and heading towards the door. Enyo took a deep breath trying to compose herself once more. There just words... Once I prove myself they'll stop. At least that's what she hoped for. With that she made her way back inside silently, not looking towards the two men afraid it'd instigate more debate. She found her way back to her seat, lowering herself into it. She crossed her right leg over the left and rested her hands in her lap.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Enyo Custos Character Portrait: Jilpryis Isaara Character Portrait: Skyla Bauru Character Portrait: Dae Valen Character Portrait: Meg & May
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"By which Amir means that he is a terrible example of humanity and is required to have constant supervision. I truly pity the poor creature for having to endure that torment." It was impulsive when the boy felt his temper spike after the comment and vault himself over the table at the armor clad man. He was so wound up from the heat, and these fake riders, and having to see Trytheus again, and never seeing Serafina again, and the hammering in the back of his head that he couldn’t see a reason not to physically attack the Griffon Rider.

Even as Aquarian tried to redirect Amir’s attention to himself the boy was already hurling himself over the gathering table. Hassan let out a surprised squawk as he was jolted from the boy’s shoulder, having no time to try and control the blonde boy and stop him from doing something rash. Trytheus was covered in armor, and Amir had attacked him on multiple different occasions only to be the one to end up more injured due to the hard, sparkling, cover that protected Trytheus. If he could knock that stupid helmet the boy would at least be able to get in a nice black eye on the pompous asshole’s face. “Is it possible for you to not be a dick for five fucking seconds?”

Amir wasn’t even halfway across the table when all the momentum he had put into lunging at the Griffon Rider was halted as if he had slammed head first into a brick wall. Pain exploded in both his shoulders as the bony fingers of the twins dug into his flesh and forced him back into his seat for the second time that day. Their expressions as still as they always were, but their grip on his shoulders told him he was talking on thin ice now. He recoiled back into himself, the force of being stopped dead in his tracks felt like his had tore the muscle along his neck and shoulder blades.

“All of our-”
“riders are finally here.” Amir looked up, his anger towards Try ebbing slightly as the final rider made her appearance. He knew it couldn’t have been Alasahe, the girl would never allow herself to be late to a Gathering, and the sight of a strawberry blonde girl was much less impactful after exerting so much energy resenting the other two. He glanced at her and the ache he had felt when he realized Serafina was gone was still there with this stranger, but not nearly as prevalent. Alasahe had been the rider he had known best, they had gone on multiple raids on The Cape to stop pirate bands that were getting a little too confident in their abilities, it was saddening that she was gone. He didn’t make an effort to acknowledge her though, instead choosing to slump in his throne and nurse his throbbing shoulders.

“Gather Riders, there is a matter of urgency that must be addressed.”

“Huitzilopochtli has awoken.”

“Huitzilopochtli has awoken.”

“And it is your jobs to find a way to put it back to sleep. This ancient monster-”

“-whose very presence brings chaos and destruction, is a power no human is capable of stopping.”

“If it is left undisturbed-”
“-Mundus alter will surely cease to exist.”

“The Siren and the Pegasus must seek out a beast who in age rivals Huitzilopochtli. She is ancient and powerful, residing deep within Sui Generis, and an ally that the riders must seek.”

“The Dragon and the Cerberus must seek out a powerful magical weapon capable to fending off this ancient beast.

“Lady Sahira.”
“Master Trytheus.”

“You both are forbidden from aiding your fellow riders-”
“-until you can make amends.”

“Darling Sahira, you are to accompany the Griffin Rider to his home region to learn-”

“Of Amstrian culture. Both may only return once you have a mutual understanding of one another.” Amir jolted in his seat. He made to argue against the twins, but one look in there direction had him subdued and slouching back into his seat. Twice he had tried the Gemini Twins that day, any further and there wasn’t a doubt in his mind they would rip him apart and eat him alive.

“Fine, whatever you say.” He grumbled, shooting a glare at Trytheus. He couldn’t even begin to imagine was Amstra would be like, no doubt clone upon clone of Trytheus walking around judging people on appearance alone and screaming at anyone who didn’t abide by their strict and narrow point of view. He continued to pout as the twins continued with some other information for the riders, even the fake ones, that were going on what would probably be epic quests to stop Huitzilopochtli.

“You only have six months before Huitzilopochtli accumulates the power-”
“-needed to destroy Mundus alter, but alas-”

“These assets are not the only advantages you have against it.”
“Its heartbeat, thoughts, emotions, dreams, magic, and perception.”

“It is tied to you-”
“-as you are tied to it.”

“Best of luck riders, may the stars be in your favor.”
“Best of luck riders, may the stars be in your favor.”