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Amir Taheri

Rex ardenti collibus

0 · 841 views · located in Languinre

a character in “Mundus alter”, as played by umademeink96

Description

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❊|Name|❊
Amir Taheri

❊|Nickname(s)❊|
Ami, King of the Burning Hills

❊|Age|❊
19

❊|Birth Date|❊
August 13th

❊|Gender|❊
Male

❊|Sexual Orientation|❊
Bisexual

❊|Beast |❊
Hassan the Phoenix

❊|Region|❊
Gnaji


❊|Appearance|❊
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❊|Appearance|❊
Hair Color || Blonde
Eye Color || Light Brown
Height || 5’ 5”
Build || Lean, but muscular
Scars/Markings || Over his chest where his heart is there is a ragged scar that denotes he is the reincarnation of the first phoenix rider.
Weaponry || A large dagger crafted in Amstra that is super heat resistant




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❊|Personality|❊
Positive Traits

BRAVE || Amir has grown up in a way that has ensured that the unknown and the more powerful do not scare him. He is known for never backing down from a challenge despite the odds and never fearing the challenges put before him. Amir often jokes that his bravery was passed down from the first phoenix rider, who was supposed to be the first human to have approached Huitzilopochtli.

WITTY || Amir’s mind is as quick as his own feet and he is never one to let the opportunity to crack a joke slide no who inappropriate the time may be. He likes to believe that his wit is one of the ways to show off his intelligence, although whether that is true or not it is up for debate.

CHARMING || The blond man is extremely charismatic to the public. He appears likable and considerate to the people in his region and has a very good reputation. Amir handles being in public very well and loves the attention.

CUNNING || Despite being very charismatic his public image is very calculated and planned, Amir acts in ways that make his life more easy and his friendly public image is a well devised front to hide an almost rotten personality.

Negative Traits

SELF-PERSERVING || Amir is in it only for himself, and he tries to make sure he and Hassan are the only ones that know it. Although he doesn’t back down from a challenge if Amir truly believed an action would put him at a disadvantage then he wouldn’t bother with it. He is mainly concerned with himself.

PRIDEFUL || He has an infatuation with himself and everything he does. Of all the things in the world his greatest pleasure comes from his own successes, his pride will prove to be his downfall one day.

CRASS || Amir has an extremely foul mouth and of all his negative traits it is the hardest to hide. In public he still swears, but when he is with the riders or Hassan his mouth is dirtier than a sailors.

ARROGANT || Amir genuinely believes he is better than everyone else. He is the reincarnate of the first rider to approach Huizilopochtli, and he possess power over a strong and rare monster. He doesn’t actually respect anyone else and believes that he is superior to everyone else.

Likes || Himself, Hassan, Sword Fighting, Fire

Dislikes || Large bodies of water, excessive effort

Fears || Thunder, Death, Abandonment

Strengths || Athletic, Sword Fighting, Leadership skills

Weaknesses || The web of lies he's crafted, shitty personality, arrogance

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❊|History|❊

The first rider to possess the Phoenix monster was also the first rider that approached Huitzilopochtli in the legend. She had originally come from the area now known as Gnaji and the climate and criminal activity there was just as brutal as it was now. Her name had been Sahira Kolessi, and she had been a part of a nomadic clan that traversed the deserts that made up Gnaji, bringing livestock from the coast inwards towards rivers that flowed through the continent. Her life had been content, a little tough if anything, but it had never been unpleasant. Her family was good to her, and she was extremely close with the entire tribe.

When Huitzilopochtli made its appearance in the Ryridge Mountains the entire continent had known about it, but being so far away from the mountains the tribe did not worry too much about the creature’s appearance in the land. The giant monster did not move for the first seven months since its arrival, although Sahira had heard stories of how menacing and terrifying the creature had looked sitting there… just staring, smiling. But these stories had never been relevant to the first rider, until a group of bandits raided her tribe, killing nearly everyone and leaving almost nothing left to survive on in the middle of the desert. Alone and desperate Sahira began her trek to Huitzilopochtli, an idea that the giant monster would be able to exact her revenge upon the bandits that killed her family.

By the time she reached the plateau that Huitzilopochtli had sat itself down on it had been eight months since it had made an appearance and yet to move at all. When she approached the monster its giant pupil twitched after her, and despite the resolution she had brought with her the words she had wanted to say caught in her throat in the presence of the creature. They stared at each other and to Sahira it felt like the monster bore itself into her soul, and all the resolution was lost. She stood frozen until it finished speaking and then ran away as fast as she could, Huitzilopochtli was more terrifying than anything she had ever seen. She never wanted to go back, but the words the creature spoke never left her mind.

She travelled the entire continent, not wanting to go back to Gnaji or the plateau, and then, over a year later, she heard the monster roar. Upon returning to the plateau, five other humans stood with her and the ancient monster granted her the last phoenix and forever. The fire bird she was granted bonded with Sahira immediately, it had wise eyes and tears that could heal everything but old age and death. The creature spoke to her with a soft voice and a crackle in its tone, but the fire that covered its body gave Sahira power. She named the last phoenix Hassan.

She took the power of the Phoenix and travelled to the region given to her and established a town named Gnaji in the middle of the desert where her tribe was attacked. From there she became a crusader in the crime ridden deserts, diving into dangerous situations knowing that Hassan’s tears could heal even the worst of wounds. She had even lost an arm at once, but the tears of a phoenix could heal even that. Sahira continued fighting the crime that had overrun the region and looking for the bandit group that had killed her tribe. She never got the chance though, during a raid on a criminal organization Sahira got stabbed through the heart with a dagger, and she died before Hassan could heal her with his tears.

The last phoenix died with Sahira, the animal so loyal to her that it died with Sahira on her last breath, turning to ash only to be reborn in the House of Wonders. The phoenix rider has become easy to spot when reincarnated because they have a scar over their heart and fire in their eyes. And as tradition, the phoenix will only live as long as its rider.


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|Face Claim|
Alibaba Saluja

|HEXCode|
#B03F02

So begins...

Amir Taheri's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: May and Meg
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“Welcome to Meg-“

“-and May’s House of Wonders"

An old wooden house nearly materializes out of thing air. It stands tall at two stories and it bordered by a rickety looking cast iron fence. The sun feels so hot on the back of your neck it feels as if thousands of white hot needles are pressing against your pores and you are tempted to believe that this, as have been the last four watering holes, is merely a mirage manifested by your mind in a desperate attempt to gain shelter from the unrelenting sun.

As you approach the building does not disappear and you feel your heart rate pick up, finally, shelter. Your legs feel as if fifty-pound weights had been strapped to the ankles, but you manage force yourself forward, willing momentum to throw your steps into a run. “Oh my, look-“


”-what we have here.” Two women that look older than time itself stand on the steps leading up to the inside of the strange house. The sand displaces as you force your feet down and you nearly collapse with each step. Each breath scraps against your lungs like fire, sand particles cut against the flesh of your lungs and you can’t help but wonder if you could possibly drown in your own blood. The old women are smiling at you, arms extend in welcome and you can’t keep the smile off your face. You had accepted death in the middle of this desert, your tongue is so swollen in your mouth you can’t even speak, you’ve sweat so much there is no more liquid to be expelled from your body. Your eyes crinkle and your lungs wheeze out grateful for the women. If you were hydrated there would have been tears in your eyes. “Come in-“

“-my darling.” They say with smiles that never fade. They seem to be so old their wrinkles have folded over themselves and their skin looks as if it were crafted from worn leather. You can’t be bothered to care about their odd behavior though, not when you are so desperate for anything but the sun. You are close enough to touch them now, and you reach towards them, your hands caked with a thick layer of dust and grim, it hurts to stretch the skin of your hands as you splay your palms open. You are so, so grateful for this place. “Oh dear, it seems-“

“We’ve made a mistake. This human-“

“-is not a rider.” One of the woman’s voices changes from the soft, fragile nature of the elderly, to a menacing baritone. You don’t have the energy or reflexes to stop your hands from interlocking with the two women’s. The moment you make contact they take you in a vice grip. The bones of your hands snap without any resistance and if you could have screamed you would have. Their grins widen menacingly and their crinkled old eyes black out. You are in too much pain to resist whatever monster trap you have stumbled into. All you can do is watch as the two old women begin to mesh together in a series cracks and squelches of adjusting bones and fusing flesh. The monster that holds you in its death grip is nothing you’ve ever seen in the books, but it is by far the most terrifying. It is possibly even scarier than the legendary Huitzilopotchli. The creature holding you cackles. “You hear that May? It thinks-“

“-we’re scarier than Huitzilopochtli!” The beast erupts into a fit of laughter again before sobering quickly.

“We’ll kill you quickly now.”
“We’ll kill you quickly now.”
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Clink. Clink. Clink.

The methodical ringing of golden bracelets around a young man’s ankles was the only sound to keep him company as he trekked through the desert. The clink that echoed with each step was proof he was moving forward. A trick he had learned because sometimes you needed something to ground you when all your surroundings looked exactly the same. It seemed especially hot today though, the white cloth scarf draped over his head was doing little to ease the burn of the sun. The blonde man reached towards his side, feeling the camel-skin water pouch was also a comfort as its contents sloshed up against his side with each step the man took forward.

A screech rang out above him, it sounded the way heat made the air quiver and he wondered if it was hot enough to alter sound waves. A bright flurry of flames passed over his vision and Amir sighed as his beast, Hassan, perched itself on his shoulder. It was a bird made of fire, yet its flames did not catch his clothing or skin, they only aided in making him hotter than he already was. The blonde man could feel the sweat drops dripping down his cheeks and with some annoyance he shoved at the bird’s body. Hassan let out a startled squawk as it lost its balance, and he heard the frantic rustle of feathers as it tried to regain itself.

“That was quite rude Amir, you know I have no control of my body temperature.” It whispered to him, reclaiming the perch of his shoulder. The man sighed, reaching up to stroke the fiery feathers, they were extremely warm, but they did not burn him. He didn’t quite understand how the phoenix worked, but Hassan had assured him that the bird’s fire would never burn him.

“Fuck you, let me be miserable. Are we almost there?” He could feel Hassan’s annoyance with him even with no physical cues from the bird, the prolonged silence was enough to tell Amir that the beast was getting tired of his persistent whining. He was caught off guard, however, when the beast nipped his ear. He jumped and shoved the bird again in distain, this time it didn’t return to his shoulder and flew towards the clear blue sky. Amir stopped walking to follow the burning bird in the sky. He watched Hassan circle the sky a few times before diving back to him.

“It’s just ahead, however; the twins seem… preoccupied.” Amir raised and eyebrow curious. When the twins called a meeting Amir was generally the first of the riders to arrive to the House of Wonders, he was the closest so it only made sense that he was there first. Meg and May weren’t in the habit of receiving visitors, and Amir couldn’t contain his apprehension. The man could tell Hassan felt his unease because the bird nipped his ear again. “Things should be taken care of by the time you get there, so stop whining. It’s so unbecoming for the leader of Gnaji”

Amir nodded, but Hassan’s words did little to satiate his curiosity, the man didn’t even retort as Hassan nagged him. He walked in silence while Hassan began to chatter, the bird’s voice was a comfort, but still once the house came into view he couldn’t help but feel like he needed to hide and fell in to a crouch. Meg and May were in their true form, a terrifying two-headed monster, with what looked to be a normal human crushed in their grip. Amir rose eyebrow at the scene, the twins hardly ever donned their true form, and the man pulled himself to his feet, leaning his forearms against the scorching cast iron fence.

“What are they doing Hassan?”

“I think they were just bored of waiting for you.” His bird whispered to him and Amir couldn’t look away as the monster tore the man in half, each head consuming one half. Being the Leader of Gnaji he often saw carnage, was often the cause of it, but this was on an entirely different level from anything he had ever executed.

“Are you ladies fucking finished messing around?” He quipped at the monster in an attempt to hide that the twins had actually frightened him. The monster turned its two geometric heads towards him and Amir felt his muscles tense under its gaze. They stood frozen for a moment before the monster started deconstructing itself and the twins separated into their human skins.

“Welcome, Lady Sahira, Hassan. We apologize for any inconvenience”
“Welcome, Lady Sahira, Hassan. We apologize for any inconvenience”

Amir scoffed, pushing himself off the fence and walking towards the familiar sight of the Gemini twins. Now that they were back in their familiar form he could finally feel his heart rate go under control. He walked forward and past the twins before he decided to acknowledge them, the fear he felt before making him more defensive and he bite out a response as he entered the House of Wonders.

“I told you to stop fucking calling me a woman, and the wrong name. I’m not the first rider.”

“Oh but Lady Sahira, our dear rider-“
“You have only ever been her.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg
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"Melgrove."

Alasahe did not turn her gaze from the ocean stretched out before her, reaching all of the way to the horizon, and beyond. The water was midnight blue, white crests frothing up in the ship's wake. The view was suddenly overlain by a vision of the deck of the ship as seen from above, floating placidly on top of the sparkling sea. The vision calmed her, as did the simple pleasure Fiir filtered down to her, of watching the radiance play out across the water. Alasahe snorted and tilted her face up towards the sky just as Fiir's shadow slid by.

"Are we there yet?" she said, still studying the sky.

"The port town is within sight, Melgrove. We will make anchor in two hours or so."

She narrowed her eyes and glanced over her shoulder at the robed figure several paces behind her. "You promised me we would make the port town before noon," she snapped. The figure, to his credit, did not shrink away, but he suddenly went very still. Fiir's shadow passed over head again and the dragon swooped down to the ocean's surface a few miles away, skimming his claws lazily through the water, watching the spray shoot high in the air, sunlight playing through it. He wondered absently at her ire, but without much interest.

"Our delays were unforeseeable, Melgrove. Please forgive me." Alasahe snorted again, and took hold of a line, hauling herself up onto the rail of the ship.

"Fiir and I will continue from here on our own. See to our business in town and then await me here." Fiir was suddenly there, cruising alongside the ship, scarlet wings stretched wide as he snapped at the surface of the water. Alasahe watched his wings carefully for a moment and then leap from the ship, sliding down his upturned wing towards his back. She rolled into the leather saddle fastened there and deftly strapped herself in, ignoring Fiir's annoyed rumble. "See to it that any delays for our return journey are well-foreseen," she snapped and yanked on the makeshift reigns, prompting Fiir high into the sky. He rumbled again and Alasahe rolled her eyes.

"And now what's wrong with you?" she said, much of the heat gone from her voice. Fiir thought longingly again about the surface of the water and Alasahe sighed. "Pull it together, will you? We have work to do."

The trip from the coast of Gnaji to the House of Wonders was never long from the air. Soon, the seas of sands (which Fiir regarded disdainfully) gave way to browning grass ringed by an old cast-iron fence. Fiir swooped lower and Alasahe caught sight of the Gemini Twins greeting a small, blonde-haired figure. Fiir landed heavily, throwing sand in all directions. Alasahe leaped from his back reaching up to knock him in the shoulder affectionately. The top of her head didn't even reach his shoulder, but he bent his neck to snap playfully at her shoulder. Alasahe leaped out of the way and knocked him in the snout lightly. "I'll call for you if you're needed," she said and turned to approach the looming two-story. Fiir was still fairly protective of her, would be for a few more decades. It annoyed him when she died and was made small and helpless again.

She approached the house calmly. This was a place of minimal danger, although she'd never felt quite comfortable among the Gemini Twins.

"Welcome, Dragon-Rider."
"Welcome, Dragon-Rider."

Alasahe inclined her head to the twins, stopping so that she was level with Amir. "Are the others here yet?" she asked, brushing past him. "Or are we the first?"

The setting changes from Meg and May's House of Wonders to Another World

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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Heat. Oh the heat was unbearable. Why were there deserts and places hot enough that it was visible to see the heat rise with the naked eye? There was hardly a thing that lived out here anyway. It was a waste of space if anyone asked Dae and he was completely miserable during this half the journey. There weren't even trees or shade to gain reprieve. He had been perfectly fine on the boat when they sailed to this distant and mysterious shore but now it was just annoying. Why couldn't the twins live on a grassy island? Or better yet, why couldn't it be raining? Dae sighed to himself and adjusted the wet cloth that he had placed over his head to keep the sun at bay and cool himself off. His golden strands fell limply against his face and stuck to his skin in the most annoying way possible. His amber colored eyes gazed out into the distance and he couldn't help the smile that touched his lips when he saw the fence and the house that was his destination.

"Finally! We are almost there!" he called to his constant companion. Truly, Aquarian would be the one suffering the most in this heat. He was surprised the siren wasn't panting beside him. "How are you holding up?"

"I am fine, Dae. Unlike you, I have a layer of cool water drawn around my body," the siren grinned. "I am perfectly hydrated and cool."


"Show off. Why didn't you tell me you could do that? You could have saved me a miserable trek."

"You didn't ask. I assumed you wanted to torture yourself. You do that all the time after all. Always the martyr," Aquarian mocked.

Dae's eye twitched and he glared at his taller guide. "I do not play the martyr and I don't like pain. I am just not selfish. Why must you always say things like that?"

"Because it is true. Did you want me to cool you down?" the siren questioned with a grin playing on his full lips. The siren's sea-foam eyes sparkled with mirth at his rider's frustration with him as his own long hair flowed around him as if he were beneath the waves of the ocean.

"There is no point now," Dae grumbled, "We are here."

Dae pulled the shirt off of his head and quickly pulled it on properly. He did not wish to call attention to himself after all and it was best to be appropriately clothed when meeting strangers that were not part of the Tribe. He saw a great dragon lifting into the sky then and had to assume there was at least one rider already waiting inside the house. Who was the Dragon Rider this time? He ran a hand through his own hair to try and fix the mess induced by the shirt. He was surprised when Aquarian helped him fix it. Then again, Aquarian was a vain creature. He was probably helping Dae only to ensure the preservation of his own image. Dae represented him just as Aquarian represented Dae after all.

Dae saw Meg and Mary first at the door and offered them a polite bow.
"Welcome Maelstrom, our Siren-Rider. And to you, Aquarian."
"Welcome Maelstrom, our Siren-Rider. And to you, Aquarian."

"You are the-"
"-third to arrive."

Dae entered the room and quickly settled his gaze on the two other riders in the room. One male and one female. Considering the male had the phoenix fluttering about him, it was safe to assume the girl was the dragon rider. So, they were waiting on three more riders; the Griffin, Cerberus, and Pegasus. He was eager to see them as well. He gave the two a nod in greeting.
"Hello." He leaned against a wall a small distance away from the two and took out his flask to take a long drought of water to try and hydrate himself a bit. He was so not used to the sweltering of the desert.

The setting changes from Another World to Meg and May's House of Wonders

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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#, as written by claw
Drifting from air current to air current, gliding across the desert sands, flew the griffon. It flew more like an eagle than a raven, flapping its great wings only to add a burst of speed to the next updraft as it picked its way through the sky, ever onwards to its destination. The greatest downside to this however was for the human perched on the griffon Mavegens back, clad from head to toe his bright steel armour, small stars and diamonds gave away where the metal had been folded over and over many times in its construction, a rare skill indeed. The simple act of moving from warm spot to warm spot in the blistering heat of the desert meant that the Rider Trytheus Morrela, was essentially being slowly roasted alive in his suit, with the only small bliss being his open visor- yet that did not prevent the odd stray specks of sand somehow managing to fly the half mile up to land in his eye, a worryingly frequent problem.

He rode in silence, unlike the other Riders, man and beast had no telepathic link to communicate- griffons were far too proud for that- instead they learned over the long years, how to judge each others body language, so that they needed to only glance at each other to speak to each other. Even know he could tell that Mavegen wished to be done in the desert, her shoulders rolled in their sockets and her head turned constantly on a swivel. He had to admit to himself that he shared the same sentiment, indeed a part of him wished to remove at least some part of his shining armour, he was far too stubborn to actually contemplate doing it, so instead he enduring the blistering heat as the sunlight bounced off his grieves and his long red and gold cloak fluttering loudly in the wind behind him, even as it howled in the gap in his helm.

He had to admit to himself that the very nature of this was folly, he was needed in his kingdom now more than ever. The Kingdom of Amstra had ever been a realm under the threat of turmoil, its economical power also made it a ripe target for criminals and lawlessness, no matter how many the Amstrian army stamped out or the Forge Knights removed, in a matter of years they would simply reform, usually smarter and larger than before, as if something had decided that Amstra had to be limited, he couldn't help but recall the audience he was holding a week ago before he departed.

"And so your Grace, it has come to my attention that the very same band has been raiding my own lands as well as those of Lord Vais." The fat man droned on. Lord Vais and the current speaker, Lord Rikkar, were two minor land holders on the southern border of Amstra, though they had both been encouraged many times before to expand their lands further south into the unclaimed lands, they often cited many reasons not to, ranging from monsters to bandits to a lack of funds, personally Trytheus simply believed that they wished to spend more time in the capital rather than empower the kingdom.

Like many things in the Smiths Keep, the forge imagery was ever present, be it the hammer wielding Forge Knights, or the fact the very throne itself was designed to look like a giant, multitiered anvil, the whole motif was unavoidable. Sat on that throne was Trytheus himself, though his full title would be King Trytheus Morrela CCCXXXII, King of Amstra and Griffon Rider, Lord Commander of the Order of the Forge and Lord Millitant of the armies of Amstra. He now presided over the third time the two lords had sought an audience for the same issue.
"I have no doubt that these bandits and brigands are a realm threat, my lord, though twice I have ordered support to be lended to you. What happened to them? Was my aide waylaid? OR was it simply ineffective."
"Of course not, your Grace." Lord Rikkar spluttered, narrowly insulting the crown. "The fault was ours, we underestimated the strength and underhand guile of these outlaws."
"I see." Trytheus sighed, the growing incompetence of the border lords was a worrying issue, he had begun to wonder if a number of them were beginning to brew rebellion in their distance lands. He was about to simple send them away when he felt a twinge in the back of his mind, like a mental slap in his head, glancing down at Mavegen, was slept at the foot of his throne, he saw that she had awoken and the two of them locked eyes, it appeared they had been summoned.
"My lords Rikkar and Vias, I shall send to you a contingent of Forge Knights to assist in the removal of any unwanted troubles to the kingdoms security." The threat there was clear, yet they naturally couldn't complain about it, they had gotten the support they wanted and were swiftly ushered from the throne room. "Chancellor Vex, you are my regent until my return, I trust you will keep things in order." The Chancellor was a former Forge Knight, whose days in his armour had long since passed.

Trytheus was quickly brought out of his reverie by the swiftly approaching House of May and Meg, as well it would seem the presence of three other riders, once more he was cured to be the fourth to arrive. Mavegen landed a short distance away from the others and Trytheus swiftly dismounted, a quick glance back was enough to tell him that Mavegen was more than happy for the armoured weight to be removed from her back. He strode across the desert sands, his feet sinking slightly under him, before halting before the Gemini twins and bowing before them as tradition dictates.
"Greetings, Ladies Gemini. It is an honour to finally meet you in this life."
"Greetings to you, Griffon Rider. You are the fourth to arrive."
"Greetings to you, Griffon Rider. You are the fourth to arrive."

With an inclination of his head, he stepped past the two and headed inside, pleased to be out of the ever present sun. Once inside he cast a quickly glance at the other riders, though he did not know any of them personally, he had of course read all about them. Though he did not try to make himself overly comfortable, he did permit himself to remove his helm, and to shake the stray snad from his hair.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Benedict Trish Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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Amir sauntered past the sisters and into the structure. He had been to the House of Wonders on multiple occasions, Hassan had been able to guide him to the obscure place multiple times when they needed information that not even his best informants had on the goings-on of Tempress Cape. Generally though, the information sought from the twins was monster related. It still amazed him, however; how big the inside of the House of Wonders actually was. He was sure that the twins had done some sort of strange monster space distortion thing, but that didn’t stop the awe.

In the opening foyer, the floor was made of white and black marble that stretched as far back as three times the size of the outside, and the ceiling stretched up so high he could barely make out where it ended. In the back a grand staircase stood proudly, leading up to a cut out second floor and served as a balcony to peer down upon the first floor. The walls of the second floor were entirely bookcases, packed tightly without room for even a single more novella. Amir walked forward, pulling the white cloth he had been using to shield his face as he observed the newly decorated first floor. The golden bracelets clanked softly as he moved forward. A grand oak table sat in the very middle of the floor, masked servants rushed around, busily setting order to things that Amir hadn’t realized had been out of place in the first place.

The table had seven chairs stationed around it, each carved to represent one of the riders and then a throne for the twins as well. The Gemini throne was large enough to fit two people, though he was sure that was on purpose, and it looked as through two separate chairs had been artfully fused together. Existing in harmony despite being two separate entities. Amir scanned the other thrones until he spotted the wooden carving that had to have been for the phoenix rider. The wood had been shaped to mimic rising flames, yet they weren’t harsh or violet, and they billowed up the wooden surface warmly. The throne’s flames morphed into the plumage that was distinctly familiar and a wooden phoenix lay atop the throne looking down softly at the empty space where someone would sit. The sight filled him with something distinctly nostalgic, but before he could think on it he was pulled away from his thoughts.

"Are the others here yet? Or are we the first?" Amir looked to his right to see a silver haired girl walking past him. Alasahe was the only one of the riders that Amir had met prior to this meeting and he could feel the distasteful frown press his lips down as she spoke. She was much too honest for him, and even when they had worked together they hadn’t been able to get along.

“Oh great.. Melgrove,”
He started sarcastically, and his tone vocalized an eye roll as he spoke. “Glad to see you’re still as pleasant as ever.” He purposely ignored her question, not seeing a reason to give her any information freely no matter how insignificant. Hassan clucked at him, tugging at the earring that was dangling from his earlobe and he pushed lightly at his beast. The phoenix was a big believer in things like manners, and while Amir agrees politeness was the best way to lower someone’s guard he couldn’t stand people like Alasahe, who valued honesty over anything else. He briefly pondered that idea of attacking, but that damn beast of hers was nothing to bat and eye at. He may have been a skilled fighter, but he doubted he could take on an ancient dragon. Amir hadn’t realized he had been gripping the hilt of his dagger until his grip on the instrument lessened.

"Hello." Amir turned to see another rider had arrived already. The rider was quite good looking, and if the presence of a partner was any further a clue he’d have to guess the man was the siren rider. He had spoken to the twins before about the different riders, and they had informed him the siren rider was nearly always beautiful. He cast a smirk at Alasahe before making his way over to the new rider, his jewelry clanked softly with his movement, and Amir reached out to the man, offering his hand.

“Hi, my name’s Amir Taheri, I’m the Phoenix Rider. You’ve got to be the Siren Rider, right? What’s your name?” Before he could get an answer another rider arrived. His presence was large and dominating, it cause Amir to look over his shoulder as the man entered the house, donned head to toe in armor. As Amir watched him he could tell the man was leader, his commanding presence left no room to argue and he hadn’t even said anything. It was quite impressive.

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Character Portrait: Benedict Trish Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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"Sir Trish I am afraid I can take you no further."

Benedict recalled the words of his handler very clearly as he'd been walking for what felt like miles. He hadn't heard much about the Gemini Twins nor their location but he had heard tales from the handlers of past riders who said very simply that the House of Wonders only allowed the worthy. It didn't worry him as Ben himself was a rider (young, but a rider still), but tickled his curiosity as to what was so exclusive that they need be in the desert.

"There is no one here," a raspy voice hissed from beneath the boy's feet.

"Maybe nobody wants to come out this far," Ben shrugged as he adjusted his hat.

The three headed beast shook its center head before the rest voiced their disapproval.

"I smell blood!"

"There's a killer!"

"We should catch!"

"We should kill!"

"Kill!"


"We don't have time for that," Benedict sighed, wiping sweat off of his forehead, "I'm almost out of water."

"Why do you need water?

"We drank three hours ago."

"Just kill the next traveler and steal their water."


Despite the wide brim and his threadbare clothing, he was a mountain boy at heart and thus, not used to the sweltering desert or blinding sun. He wanted to go home or back to the milder side of Gnaji. Well except for the part where he didn't because he really did want to see the House of Wonders. Orpheus did too. The two were united in their determination to find the unknown and in Benedict's case, learn from it. He liked to think that these treks were worth taking on so long as the destination provided something he hadn't known before. Granted, some of his reactions have been less than good (i.e. taking a page from Orpheus's book and smashing a priceless vase after the owner refused to sell it) but no one needed to know about that. No one would believe him.

"So are we going to kill them?"

Benedict glanced upward and saw a griffin flying overhead before sighing. He could feel the restlessness, the urge to run ahead of their rider but also the sense of duty that tethered Orpheus to him. The Cerberus was, unfortunately, still quite young (reflecting Benedict's own age) so it was not yet big or strong enough to carry him for great distances without needing breaks. Well that wasn't true. They could theoretically carry him but they would merely be too distracted. Half the time they preferred running in Ben's shadow to being out in the sun.

Still they somehow managed to finish their long walk to the House of Wonders where the twins greeted him.

"Greetings to you, young Ulysses. You are the fifth to arrive."
"Greetings to you, young Ulysses. You are the fifth to arrive."

Orpheus circled around the twins, sniffing them thoroughly (one of the heads nearly peeking under Meg's dress) before Benedict started walking inside.

"Or-phe-us come on!" he called, gesturing for them to follow.

The two (technically four) met the other four duos, each of varying appearance but likely all the same age.

Typical that they'd all be adults.

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Character Portrait: Benedict Trish Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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Dae's eyes scanned the strange house he found himself in. He had never been here before so its wonders were new. Actually, he had been here many times over in past lives but not the current life time. The carving of the house was truly exquisite. The people of Sui Generis were craftsman and he himself loved carving wood when he wasn't painting or fulfilling his duties as the guardian of Sui Generis and its trade routes, so he could truly understand and appreciate the structure and architecture that went into this home. He found himself extending a hand to caress some of the knobs and delicate lines of the railing, people and creatures forgotten for the moment. He was always one to take note of the smallest detail and ignore the social interactions around him. He took less stock in those. What was a little conversation compared to art that would last beyond millennial and forever gather millions of perceptions?

Dae walked over to his seat then and traced the beautiful and intriguing wood work that shaped the almost lifelike looking shells of varying sizes and species. He had the suspicion that this was his work. The lines felt familiar to him as if he had been the one to slave away the many hours it took to make this chair. His first life must have been the one to carve the piece.

He was brought out of his revere when he noticed he was being approached. He turned his gaze upward and saw Amir, the Phoenix-Rider coming towards him. He straightened himself and offered a small polite smile as Aquarian leaned over to wrap his arms around Dae's neck and draped himself like a charm on his rider. The siren watched Amir with interest and tilted his head to the side as he took in his features. And this is why Dae and Aquarian worked well as a team regardless of their point of views. While Dae took in the scenery and details, Aquarian observed the people and interactions so they made up for the others downfall. Their mental connection allows the observations to pass freely between them.

Before he could speak, the door opened again and both he and Aquarian looked to the door to see the man that entered. His presence was intriguing. He was imposing with his armor but Dae could tell that even without it he would be intimidating. He walked with the grace of a prowling animal and as tall as the oldest fir. This was a man proud in his heritage and it was easy to tell he was the Griffin-Rider. How interesting that they all had such different personalities and yet worked well throughout the generations. He pulled his gaze away from the newcomer to look back at Amir.

"Dae," he answered and extended his hand to shake Amir's hand firmly. "And yes, I am the Siren-Rider. Nice to meet you."

"And I am Aquarian," the siren answered though the rider hadn't spoken to him.

Then another rider appeared; smaller than the rest. He was a child compared to the rest of them if the three-headed dog behind him was any indication. Dae couldn't help but grin. Cerberus looked adorable as a puppy! Even the rider was adorable. It did cause him to worry though. He was yet a child. He would need to be protected while they were on this mission. He knew better than to underestimate the young rider however. He was sure the rider was capable of keeping up with them in a fight. It was just something in Dae that always made him partial to bring those younger under his wing, so to speak. He would wait to approach. As always, he was the cautious one. He always liked to wait to get a feel of those around him before he intervened. He had already learned much from Amir and Alasahe. They must have met each other before this gathering and it was obvious they did not like each other. It would be wise to stay out of their squabble and not take sides. Both were formidable warriors and too hot headed. Any slight would set them off it seemed.

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Character Portrait: Benedict Trish Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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To say Trytheus was stoic was an understatement, his face betrayed no emotion as he cast a long look across the room. A small part of him was pleased that his entrance could cause all the others to turn and look at his presence. His eyes were drawn to the dragon that clung to the wall.

"Such a pitiful creature." He mused to himself. "Relying on fear and fire to be respected among beasts, it is no true king of beasts, no matter how it would dream it." As if on cue, Mavegen crossed the threshold to stand alongside him, the griffon was taller even than him, by a good many hands indeed, and without the added weight of the saddle pressing down on her back she could now stand tall and proud, though he was always impressed at how easily the griffon could remove her saddle when she wished.

Something seemed wrong though, her head was tilted at an angle and her eyes kept darting to... Oh but of course, the Siren-Rider, the ruler of the lands directly to the north of Amstra, he began to step deeper inside as he cast a glare towards his neighbor, brief but still present. He did not trust the Siren-Rider, if nothing else he mistrusted the vast difference between them, the griffon was honour, bravery and justice, the siren however, that monster was one of treachery and falsehood. Naturally the Phoenix-Rider was associating himself with the Siren-Rider, it seemed to be the reoccurring trait that people quickly found themselves desiring the Siren-Rider. Trytheus scoffed at the idea of lust and such temporary loyalty that it brings, nations are forged on the bonds of battle and hardship, tragedies are forged on the notions of love and companionship. Indeed he scoffed at even calling the pair true riders, they seemed more companion to their beasts than rider. He turned back to catch Mavegen looking at him, she simply gave a shake of her mane, she did not disapprove of his opinion it seemed, but was simply indifferent about the two themselves.

He halted behind the throne that was designated for him, it was a tall sweeping affair, with feathers carved from the wood that splayed out from the back of the throne itself, the arm rests ended in gilded talons but as for that it was carved with patterns that what must be what the currents of wind appeared to the eyes of the griffon. He would not take to his throne before the Gemini twins took theirs, as a mark of respect.

The arrival of another newcomer made his head slowly turn, it was a boy. Apparently some ill fate had befallen the Cerberus-Rider of late, as their latest incarnation hardly seemed large enough to hold a sword, let alone control that unruly three headed monster. He heard a snort behind him from Mavegen, it seemed the griffon disliked the unpredictable and unruly nature of the cerberus, and he couldn't help but agree on that.

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Character Portrait: Benedict Trish Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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Amir watched the griffon rider observe all of them. Even without words it was easy to tell the man was judging all of them, a distinct look of, I-am-better-than-all-these-people sat smugly on his features. A look Amir often saw on the faces of crime lords when they thought they had subdued the Great Phoenix Rider, and Amir actually liked that. He had been told the Amstra King was all about those noble traits such as honor and loyalty, but it was nice to see him looking down on others. They all were riders after all, they were better than the rest.

"Dae, and yes, I am the Siren-Rider. Nice to meet you."
Amir gave him a warm smile and ever slightly he could hear Hassan’s exasperated sigh from where he sat on Amir’s shoulder. Disappointing Hassan with his actions had become a regular, somewhat enjoyable, occurrence ever since Amir had hit puberty. He liked to think that despite Hassan’s growing disappointment in him, if he ever got into something seriously bad his red-feathered beast would stop him. He was about to continue when Dae’s siren spoke first. It caught him a bit off guard, as Hassan only vocalized bird relevant sounds, all words the phoenix spoke were only inside Amir’s head. "And I am Aquarian."

“Dae and Aquarian,” He started, letting the names roll off his tongue. They were quite the pair, considering the siren wasn’t too hard on the eyes either. He smiled at the beast and then gestured to his own. The bird straightened, his fiery plumage puffing outwards and brightening to show itself off. Hassan, like his rider, enjoyed showing off, albeit subtly. “This shit head here is Hassan, owe my life to this bird on multiple different counts.” Shit head in this case meant nothing but affection, though the bird still nipped his earring. Amir laughed, pushing at his beast and it clucked back at him as if to scold the man. “Sorry about him, it’s really easy to get him all fired up.”

Hassan was going to bite him again for the horribly placed pun, but the entrance of the young Cerberus rider stopped both of them. He was young, really young, and so was his Cerberus, though that just meant it was less threatening for the time being. The kid was the Cerberus rider, probably the one that struggled the most with controlling their beast, Amir doubted that the kid was anything less than capable. May and Meg trailed in after the boy, they shot both their glances towards Amir and Dae, a call to get to their places among the table as they slid into their respective throne. “Amir, please, try to control your mouth.”

Amir motioned for Dae and Aquarian to follow, it was time to get to business. “Relax bird-brain, when am I ever not on my best behavior? He waved off his bird, who fluttered to the perch at the top of his throne and slide into the wooden chair with ease. The wood was hard, but the throne was carved as if it was made to fit his body, which it actually probably was some thousand years ago. Amir scanned the other riders, surprised to see the twins had started the meeting despite missing one the unicorn rider. He was pretty sure the current reincarnation was a female, but to start without her was surely unusual.

“We have called you here today, five riders-”
“-to discuss a matter of utmost urgency The twins began, speaking in broken sentences as they always have.

“The unicorn is dead!”
“But its rider lives on!” The two threw their hands into the air in sync, their words suddenly going faster, overlapping. “Bandits killed the unicorn and stole the rider-”

“-leaving the unicorn to rot in Languinre. But, my dear riders,”
“A dead unicorn is far more dangerous than a living one.” Amir felt his blood run cold. Unicorns were peaceful monsters with a strong magical resonance, if a unicorn died naturally its body became one with the earth and nourished it further. But if it were killed, all the land would-

“-rot and die. That is correct my dear Sahira, that unicorn carcass is toxic to any and all living things.”
“If left too long that rotten meat will reanimate as a Kelpie-”
“-quite the fearsome beast.” Amir tensed under the word kelpie, they were fearsome beasts that made there homes in water, poisoning anything that came too close. Such a creature would wreck havoc across Mundus alter. “There are few ways to kill the kelpie, but-”

“-alas, this beast has yet to turn. Burn its body-”
“-with a fire made with faery wood to stop the change.” Amir sighed, he had seen a kelpie before, at the cape, it had completely destroyed over a third of all the activity just by passing through, they were incredibly dangerous monsters. “But this is not the end of our tale.”

“A new unicorn has not appeared. The unicorn rider is-”
“still alive. Some of you must go-”

“And kill her.”
“And kill her. For a rider without their beast-”

“Is worthless.”

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Character Portrait: Benedict Trish Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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Before Benedict could do himself the pleasure of introducing himself it seemed that Orpheus already had the job covered.

"Bark! Bark! This table is made of bark!"

"It's the bird-horse we saw earlier!"

"Kill bird-horse!"

"No! Kill the other bird. It's burning."


The Cerberus ran around the room, surveying the different riders as they announced their names. It was the first time in a long time that the pup had been around so many new monsters (typically being in more human-dense areas). They felt the urge to jump and swipe at the great phoenix known as Hassan, but the fire also felt rather intimidating given their...past experiences (i.e. needing to be bandaged after running through a campfire to catch a racoon. Nonetheless, they were ready to unleash a torrent of barking before feeling a mental pang of pain.

"This is not the time."

Orpheus's demeanor changed, stopping to skitter back to their rider as introductions continued. He recognized Amir and Alashe as royalty for their respective kingdoms, but the siren and griffin riders were lost on him as he'd come in later than everyone else. Nonetheless he could ask their names at a later time. He needed to get to his seat, which stood out against their grandiose counterparts.

As the legend went, each throne was carved out in the image of the rider and their monster (such as the flames for the phoenix or seashells for the siren), but Cerberus was the exception. Ulysses being a simple man merely wanted cushions for his back and seat as well as holder for his walking stick. Who was once the oldest among all the riders was now the youngest and the irony was not lost on him...even if Orpheus didn't care so much. The identity of the chair lied in the ebony, shiny in some places, but dulled where it counted. Scratches covered the legs and back where teeth might have once been and at the top, three separate sets of eyes carved and painted red.

After Benedict sat he slid his walking stick into the holder provided by the chair and patted to signal Orpheus to sit upon his lap. The dog obliged and quietly, they all listened to the Gemini Twins describe the mission ahead of them. Though the unicorn died its rider was still alive and both needed to be disposed of.

"Kill?"

"Yes let's go! I want to kill them."

"Can we kill the human first?"


Benny raised an eyebrow. While he could feel the dog's blood lust in the back of his mind the thought of traveling to Languine interested him more. He'd never been there before and it wasn't as though he had easy access to the memories of his predecessors. It was all too interesting to pass up.

"We're willing to go."

The setting changes from Meg and May's House of Wonders to Another World

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Character Portrait: Benedict Trish Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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Dae couldn't help the quirk of his lips at Amir's interaction with Hassan. It reminded him of his own conversations with Aquarian. it was easy to see that the name calling was just teasing and subtle affection. Amir seemed to speak whatever thought came to mind. That was a good thing in Dae's book. That meant he was less to lie an cheat. He wore his heart on his sleeve. He wasn't used to the man's choice of words, but it was refreshing. His people didn't often swear around him in conversation considering his status. He almost felt normal around these riders. What an odd thought.

Dae glanced to the side when he felt eyes on him and saw the Griffin-Rider glaring at him with such disdain. He arched an eyebrow at the judgmental gaze. He knew that in the past they weren't too friendly with each other, but their borders were still united. Dae ensured that both their trade routes remained safe and he had never raised a hand to his neighbor. Why should he look at him with such anger and distrust? It seemed that some riders didn't like to let the past go. The rider didn't even know what he was like in this life time. He shook his head before taking his seat as instructed and waited for the twins to begin their meeting. He did find it strange that they were starting before the Unicorn-Rider arrived. Aquarian himself leaned against the chair and crossed his arms as he waited.

The rider's eyes widened as the twin's spoke and leaned back in his chair contemplating the courses of action before them. He hugged himself and tapped his index finger on his lips. They had to kill the unicorn and its rider? It seemed like such a waste. The rider needed aid from her brothers and sister riders. It was not her fault misfortune fell upon her. It did strike home the fact that though their lives were all bonded together, not a single one of them owed the other a thing. Their only worth was the bond they had to their creatures and without it... the rider was useless. It really was a shame. He wanted to go and help the rider but he knew there was nothing they could do about the fact that she had lost her worth. How unfortunate. In the end, killing the rider was probably a mercy anyway.

So, he would either go after the unicorn before it turned Kelpie or go after the rider and the bandits. He looked over at Aquarian who eyed him, silent as Dae worked through his thoughts. Where would their strengths be the most useful? No matter how he thought about it, going after the Kelpie was the best option for them.

Is this your heart talking or your rationality? Aquarian asked mentally and toyed with one of the few blue strands in his own hair, testing his rider's resolve.

My rationality. I wish to spare the rider, but that is not a choice for us right now. You and I both know that if that unicorn changes, we are the best chance at going after it in the water. We can't let it escape and poison the water and surface somewhere else where it will kill unchecked until we get to it again.

Dae cleared his throat and turned his attention to the twins who were eyeing him. He had no doubt that they to would have known what he was thinking. "I can only assume we are going to be splitting up to deal with these two tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. I would like to be on the team to go after the Kelpie. If we fail to burn the body in time and it shifts, it will escape towards the ocean. Aquarian and I are the only ones here that can breathe underwater and go after it. Aquarian's speed will be our asset beneath the waves to steer it back towards the rest of the group for the finishing blow," he announced. "We would also be able to set up a trap in the water to slow it down. We need to make sure it doesn't escape by that route."

The setting changes from Another World to Meg and May's House of Wonders

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Character Portrait: Benedict Trish Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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With the Gemini twins now arrived, and seated, he himself could sit. It felt strange how much sitting down he was being made to do of late, Amstra was at a point where it required the deft touch of diplomacy rather than riding into battle, the majority of the bands of bandits had been crushed the last few years, all that remained were the organised crime syndicates and the nobles smuggling rings, though no doubt by the time he had returned the bandits would have begun to rise again. Mavegen sat next to his throne, their eyes now at an equal level, to the observer it would appear the two were all but carbon copies of each other, they both sat upright, their eyes unwavering and proud, it had always been this way with the griffon and the rider.

Though he was not expecting the news, he kept his expression blank, better that than let the others know his mind. To kidnap a rider and slay its beast? Such things happened barely once every quarter millennium if the ancient carvings his past lives had left behind were to be believed, he wondered how such a thing could happen, either the Unicorn-Rider was especially weak, or else something dark was at work here for simple brigands to manage such a task.

He kept quiet until the others had talked, as was his custom, and all others turned their attention to him, as he was the last to contribute to the meeting. Though he did not revel in the task, he understood the necessity of it, they were bound to their beasts, as their beasts were to them, they were the symbol of their immortal power and their right to rule.

"I take no pleasure in saying that this task is of great importance." He declared in a rich baritone. "But destroying the body of the unicorn is not my place, should we arrive too late then I am ill suited to combating a creature who is most at home in the water, my domain is of open skies and wide plains, not vast waterways, which is why the Siren-Rider should be the leader of undertaking that task." He lent forwards in his throne, to ensure he had their full attention, he only wished he also knew their names, it helps get people on board if one addressees them by name rather than title. "Additionally I believe the range advantage of a flying dragon, would be of great use in this task, as dealing with organised banditry is often a business that requires some discretion, it is also no place for a child, the task of destroying the unicorn or the beast that it forms, should fall to the siren, dragon and cerberus. I am far more accustomed to dealing with human bandits than I am with roaming beasts, so I propose that I go to slay the Unicorn-Rider and eliminate these bandits. Though to go alone would be fool hardy and could result in an ever greater issue for the others, so I propose that the Phoenix-Rider accompany me, I hear tell that he too deals with bandits and piracy in his own lands and such is well suited for the task." Trytheus was a natural born warrior, and over the years he had become an adept tactician, as was required for him, he expected some disagreement- it was only natural, yet as far as he could see it was the best course of action that relied on all the strengths of the riders present, then again his lack of knowledge on the parts of the others could mean he was overlooking a useful trait or another, something which could prove disastrous, but it was a necessary risk

The setting changes from Meg and May's House of Wonders to Another World

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Character Portrait: Benedict Trish Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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Amir let himself lean into his throne, his head tilting up to look at Hassan who was peering down at him with soft eyes. The bird at settled comfortably atop the wooden phoenix and was taking in all the other riders as they discussed, no doubt working through its own knowledge and experience with kelpies. He didn't care for whatever Alasahe had to say, but he did give credit to the small cerberus rider for having the courage to volunteer for the mission. He smiled as Hassan clucked quietly at him and he reached up to tap the bird’s beak , it responded with a shake of the head and scolded him. “You should be paying attention to your meeting Amir, this is a very serious matter.”

Amir rolled his eyes at the bird, it was always a serious matter, though he did have a point. Even if Amir had never met the Unicorn rider they still were all bonded as riders. It wouldn’t be like slaying a crime lord, it would be like murdering a sister. He shifted his weight uncomfortably as the other riders began giving their two cents on the situation. Amir didn’t really care for where he ended up on the outside, but he secretly hoped that he wouldn’t be going after the kelpie. Fire and water did not go well together, he would be placed at a large disadvantage.

Amir raised an eyebrow as the griffin rider began speaking his part the boy almost got up and left. He had heard the griffin rider liked to… take command, but this was ridiculous. His speech left no room for argument; it was annoying that he thought he knew what was best. But it was even more that it was a solid plan because he didn’t want the man to be right. Meg and May listened to the griffin rider speak as well, the old twins looked on amused with what looked like a sparkle of recognition in their eyes, clearly the griffin rider was living up to his bloodline.

“Your skills as a tactician are still sharp Griffin-Rider.”
“The unicorn rider has been located in Tempress Cape, a place our Lady Sahira is very familiar with.” They gestured towards Amir and he sighed in annoyance. The twins called everyone by their beast except him, and he was pretty sure they were doing it on purpose now. He supposed he was going to have to take it, he and the twins knew Amir was no match for them. So he turned his attention to his partner, the griffin rider.

“So me and Tall, Dark and Armor are headed for the promise land aye? Sounds good to me. Let’s get a move on.” As he pushed himself out of the throne he saluted everyone at the table making sure to send a wink towards Dae before looking at Alasahe and the young Cerberus rider. “See ya on the flip side.”

He was going to end the sentence with an elegant ‘motherfucker’, but decided against it with the kid present. He figured the griffin rider would follow him out, he didn’t seem like the type to waste time. Hassan flew after him, it tail feathers alight with warm looking flames that licked against the air. As he was exiting the room he heard the tail end of the twin’s speech.

“Languinre is full of monsters attracted by the unicorn’s good magic, they are mostly harmless, and finding faery wood should not be a huge issue.”
“Near the body of the dead unicorn everything will be dead, and there is be darker presences, there will be no faery wood near the body so you will have to collect it along the way.”

Amir left the room, looking up at the sun and pulled the white scarf back over his head. “What d’ya think Hassan, about a day walk to the palace? Get some intel on Tempress and then set out to kill a rider?”

Hassan chirped at him, stretching its wings before answering. “I am not sure the griffin rider would be keen on walking through the desert for an entire day.”

Amir snorted, “I’m sure the Ever Noble and Great Griffin Rider will have no trouble with a little walk in some sand.”

The setting changes from Another World to Gnaji

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Character Portrait: Benedict Trish Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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"Your skills as a tactician are still sharp Griffin-Rider."
"The unicorn rider has been located in Tempress Cape, a place our Lady Sahira is very familiar with."
Trytheus bowed his head at the praise, accepting it, yet not attempting to force the issue. He disliked the idea that others viewed him as a vainglorious and in love with his own image, as some of the Forge Knights were of late, it was an often occurring issue that would rear its ugly head, often times one or another Forge Knight would believe himself greater than the established order or believe the Order itself was above all others and would try to press their claim heavily, often with force being the only resolution.

He looked across at the phoenix rider as he departed the meeting without being dismissed, he couldn't quiet decide if the brash personality or the ever glaring heat of the sun was going to cause the larger headache.
"Ladies Gemini, by your leave I depart to undertake this most necessary of tasks." He gave a short bow to the twins, with Mavegen giving an upwards jolt of her head in acknowledgement as the two turned together to leave, he swiftly donned his helm once more, leaving on his face exposed, unlike his new companion he did not give a passing remark to the others, or wish them fair well- simply because he did not think they needed it, their task was a simple one and of no great danger if they acted with haste.

He picked up Mavegens saddle from where it lay just beyond the door and knelt down before the griffon, it was a mark of respect from man to beast, asking rather than assuming that the saddle be placed and he be permitted to ride once more. Mavegen was a slight tilt of the head and raising her left foreclaw, a gesture he recognised as a smile and acceptance, he gave a short nod in reply. The saddle was a simple thing, hard boiled leather that served only for something to hold him on during aerial maneuvers, as well as a place to hold his warhammer, a weapon he crafted himself as was tradition. The last piece of the saddle to be fitted was the bridle, which unlike with a horse was placed around Mavegens powerful neck, he did not direct Mavegen in flight, instead the reins were for him to hold onto, lest he fall off to his early reincarnation before his time. With his riding gear reattached his gave a gentle pat on Mavegens shoulder, as a kind thank you for her patience in the task and swiftly mounted, before being carried down to where the phoenix rider stood.

"I’m sure the Ever Noble and Great Griffin Rider will have no trouble with a little walk in some sand."
It would be the personality then.
"Indeed I would not, 'Sahria', but the deserts are not a place for a man in plate and Mavegen shall carry none but I. Enjoy the sands of your homeland as I enjoy its sky, I shall return if we see something of note or the sun reaches four fingers hence from the horizon. Don't get lost." Without waiting for a chance to retort, Mavegen took first one then another bound before bursting upwards into the air, her wings splayed out as she pushed herself upwards, resulting in Trytheus' cloak to billow out behind him, and for a great blast of sand to be kicked up into the air.

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Amir watched on unimpressed as the griffin rider saddled his beast like a work horse and rolled his eyes. This guy was such a stick in the mud with his ‘traditions’, and ‘etiquette’, and Amir did not see them getting along in the future. The griffin didn’t look much better than the rider, but then again, maybe they were a match made in heaven. Two creatures that were too serious for their own good. The blonde boy leaned against the cast iron rail as the griffin rider saddled up, clearly the armor clad man had no plan of actually walking the desert and Amir sighed, letting his head loll backwards. “Patience Amir, the griffin rider is our ally.

The blonde boy felt his lip curl as the rider called him by the first reincarnation. Maybe the reason the man had the personality of a damp rock was because any semblance of a personality he had burned up inside that armor he never took off. When with the griffin carrying him the man would suffer from heat stroke far before he reached Gnaji. But Amir kept his mouth shut, surely Mr. My-way-or-the-highway would figure that out on his own. “The name’s Amir, not that you bothered.” He muttered bitterly as the man mounted his beast.

He covered his face as the griffin took off, the huge blast of sand causing him to go into a coughing fit. He glared up at the sky as the man and beast became soared into the sky. He shook the excess sand off himself and started walking back in the direction of his town. “I shall return if we see something of note or the sun reaches four fingers hence from the horizon.” He mocked in annoyance, “I can’t believe that pretentious piece of walking chainmail had the nerve to tell me not to get lost. He’ll be lucky if he happens to see the town from the sky because anyone not from here thinks everything looks the same.”

“You seem agitated Amir.” His beast said with amusement, and Amir shoved the bird off his shoulder again, but he had the slightest hint of a smile on his lips. The phoenix circled his head like a vulture and swooped at the blonde boy, Amir barely dodged it but he was laughing as the next swoop came. Hassan hovered a few feet in front of him, its head cocked to the side as if to say, ‘Come and get me.’ With a mischievous grin Amir darted forward after his companion, a huge grin on his face as he dove forward.

They continued on with this game, until the journey finally reached the beginning of the dead zone. The barren uninhabitable part of Gnaji that was not desert, but dried and cracked land that spanned for miles in multiple different directions. Many nomadic clans travelled the land here with lifestock because it was easier than trekking through loose sand, and many bandit groups resided in this land because of the clans that herded their livestock.

“The mid river is about an hour away from us now, we are making good time. I suspect that the griffin rider will make an appearance sometime before we reach it though.” Amir nodded, a soft frown rested on his lips as he scanned the flat expanse of land. It was completely empty for now, but with out the sand dunes it would be impossible to stay hidden from any of the bad groups that had taken residence in the dead zone. Amir pulled at his scarf before taking a drink of water from his camel skin.

“Well if you’re right about that I better start thinking of more ways to annoy the shit out of the guy.”

The setting changes from Gnaji to Meg and May's House of Wonders

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Character Portrait: Benedict Trish Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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Benedict nodded along to everyone's discussion, choosing to remain silent while he soaked in the information. They all knew more about this strategy stuff and while it was interesting his mind wandered more toward the lush greenery, the animals, and of course the unicorn's carcass. Meg and May, being the old and wise beings they were made him curious about the actual amount of harm that a rotting unicorn could do. It couldn't be that bad right? And if it wasn't could he touch it? Sketching would be a for sure thing (he liked drawing), but imagine if he could grab the unicorn horn or a hair or something.

"Additionally I believe the range advantage of a flying dragon, would be of great use in this task, as dealing with organised banditry is often a business that requires some discretion, it is also no place for a child, the task of destroying the unicorn or the beast that it forms, should fall to the siren, dragon and cerberus."

"Child?"

"He thinks we can't kill rider?"

"Kill him."

"Kill the bird-horse too."


Orpheus stiffened as the three pairs of eyes glared at the griffin-rider with a hint of aggression. Tiny as they were, the three would have none of those insults. It was bad enough that they'd yet to outgrow any of the other beasts, but to be told they would not be able to fight some weak humans was awful.

Calm down, we are not here to argue. We're a team here, Ben thought, petting their body.

As much as he wanted to have more input on the conversation (in part due to Orpheus's desires) he sat patiently in order to listen to the rest of Amir's input. It seemed the two assigned rider killers would have to walk around in the desert which suited the Cerberus rider just fine. He was tired of the sand anyway.

"This is fine by me," he shrugged, "however we will need an alternative form of travel since I cannot ride my beast like the rest of you."

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It was beginning to grow boring flying in circles. Though he was used to the task, namely of a flying scout, he was more accustomed to performing it for men loyal to him, and who knew how to ride a horse when it came to undertaking any length of journey, the fool of a rider bellow had thought that simply walking through the desert was the better option it seemed, it would take days to cross the bland yellow blot on the landscape. It did not help matters that the desert seemed to stretch on forever, the sweltering heat was more than he could bare, he was far more accustomed to the cool and colder air of his homeland, indeed he was beginning to miss the rolling green plains of Amstra.

What he did need right now however was water. His waterskin had run dry a day prior, and neither he nor Mavegen had been able to find a decent source of clean water since then, a week of flying with only a single stop to sleep two days ago and nothing to drink in the blistering heat of the desert was likely enough to be his death, he could only imagine how much the griffon beneath him was struggling, though he was proud to see that she did not show it, she never did show her pain. A gentle tilt to the left was enough to draw his eyes to a glimmer of light reflecting off of a river a short distance ahead.

"I see it too, I believe we've earned a small respite, and besides it may be our only chance to drink without the annoyance of the Phoenix-Rider." Mavegen responded with a screeching call which surprised him, it was not often she called out in joy, the desert much be taking its toll on her. It was only a further ten minutes flying away until the pair had landed at the bank of the river, though doubtless it would have been further had they been foolish enough to travel on foot. The banks of the river were where sand gave way to dirt and mud and where tufts of tough grass clung to some semblance of life at the edge of the desert. As Mavegen made her way to the water Trytheus dismounted and took the waterskin from where it was held on the saddle, placing it into the water before taking his fill of it, he drank enough to quench his thirst- he did not notice the burning in his throat from the dryness until the water rushed past it, burning his throat with its coolness. Once he had drunk enough he placed the skin into the water to fill it once more and then returned it to the saddle.

Taking a moment to look around, he stood up to better observe his surroundings. The river upstream was impossible to see, the sharp bend and an incline prevented him from viewing it, downstream the river continued on a ways before it too took a bend and vanished from sight, whilst on the opposite side of the river there was only the endless stretching desert that seemed to last forever. Something seemed off about this river though, point he stood was a natural watering hole, the ground sloped gently down to the water and it was wide enough for many to drink at once, yet there were no creatures here, not even birds. If the absence of life was not enough the air had an odd yet familiar smell it it, a tang he could almost recognise as...

He was brought out of his trail of thought by Mavegen, who gave a snort of surprise beside him, he turned to see what was the matter but as he turned he saw it. A thick cover of blood was drifting downstream from around the bend of the river. He began running at once, with a speed that seemed unlikely for a man of his size and in heavy armour, he made sure to stay on the hard dirt rather than the soft mud or sand, they would only slow him down, and on a hill he did not need that, the reason for his haste was the sheer amount of blood that was heading downstream, it wasn't just a light film across the surface, the entire river was saturated with blood, the very water was turning crimson.

Cresting the hill, his gut lurched and his heart sank. He was too late. Before him was a scene of pure carnage, horses lay with their throats cut, saddles pulled off of them and crates of what must have contained goods were broken open, little baubles and trinkets were scattered across the sands. The worst of it though, was not the slain horses and their broken goods, it was the people. Men had fallen with hands on their swords and not a chance to draw them, they had fallen trying to protect their goods, and to let their families to flee, all along the river bank were the scattered and bloody corpses of women and children, some floating in the river- arrows pointing skywards from their backs as they had been cut down trying to flee the slaughter. They had had no warning, no chance to prepare, and dozens had died for it, the ground was red, the river was tainted yet to him, it was not the first time he had encountered such a sight, though it pained him to see it at all he knew that the fact the birds had not arrived to feed there was still some hope of retribution. Without a second thought he climbed aboard Mavegen and was once more into the air.

It did not take overly long to find the Phoenix-Rider, the lone figure in the desert with only a bird for company stood out in the barren landscape, perhaps the traveling community would have stood out if he had been paying attention more as they flew, these were not his lands yet he was still responsible, the fault lay with him, he had failed to protect the weak when they needed aid and he would accept the punishment for his failings when the time was right. Mavegen made a B-line for the rider and landed a short distance away, casting up another cloud of sand that stuck to the pair in their haste, yet most shook itself free as Mavegen ran across the desert sands he called ahead to Amir.

"Bandits at the river ahead! We were too late to save the wondering people they slew, but the killers are not far gone. The deaths are only recent, if we hurry we can catch them, though I cannot track them in this desert. The Unicorn-Rider can wait for now, right now the deaths of four dozen men, women and children are to be avenged."

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Amir walked next to Hassan in silence since they had reached the dead zone. There was too much open area here, too many opportunities to be attacked or struck by an arrow from a bandit over the horizon. Hassan had let them fall into the silence, probably keeping an eye out for any possible treats, same as him. Once they reached the mid river it would only take a couple hours, and travelling by night would be a lot easier than day travelling. He looked up to the sky, there was still plenty of daylight left though, the sun wasn’t even close to ‘four fingers hence the horizon’ so he had some time before the griffin rider came to bother him with his airs of superiority and unnecessary armor.

“There is a strong smell of blood north east of here, it seems bandits have attacked one of the nomadic clans.”
Amir paused, looking towards the east. He felt his grip tighten on the dagger at his side as he looked towards the east before the blonde boy started walking a north west direction. He couldn’t go chasing after bandits every time Hassan smelled blood, he’d never stop, plus it wasn’t in his nature play a hero when there was no one around to witness it.

Amir looked up to see something heading in his direction from the sky and felt a pang of annoyance as the griffin rider closed in on them. He thought he’d have more time to himself before the man returned, and had a distinct feeling this had something to do with the blood smell Hassan had worried about. He covered himself and Hassan right before the griffin landed, avoiding the spray of sand that came with the landing. He shook himself off as the man shot past him on the griffin, screaming about… avenging someone?

“What, wait! We don’t have time for this!” The man was already ahead of him though, charging head first into who knows what, and Amir felt himself sigh, he thought this man was supposed to be a level headed leader. He started running after them, but he wouldn’t be able to match the running griffin. “Hassan, stop them before they do something stupid.”

The bird nodded, launching itself off his shoulder and soaring forward with a high pitched shriek. The bird was able to gain on the griffin with ease, the sandy terrain probably inhibiting the griffin’s ability to run, and once it was a good deal ahead of them erupted into a large fireball to stop the creature in its tracks and giving Amir time to catch up.

“What the ever-loving fuck is wrong with you?” He started when he finally caught up. Hassan lowered the wall of fire and returned to his shoulder. “First of all, you have no idea which direction these bandits even went in! Second, if they killed as many people as you said they did, how many bandits do you think there actually are? What gives you the idea that you and your beast could take on what has to be at least one hundred bandits on your own? What if you got your beast killed, because your over glorified pigeon-cat sure as hell is going to sacrifice itself for you. You’ll end up like the unicorn rider if you go in like a stupid ass psychotic vigilante. This kind of thing happens all the time in Gnaji, we don’t have the manpower or resources to ‘avenge’ every fucking person that dies unjustly in this region. They know the risk and they except the consequences of living in the dead zone. Grow the fuck up, we have a mission to attend to, we are riders not heroes.”

After his rant Amir didn’t even both to look to see if the other rider was following after him, he didn’t want to deal with someone like that. He could find and kill the unicorn rider on his own. He knew Tempress Cape, he had people in the Cape, it wouldn’t be hard to sneak in and out before anyone had even noticed something had gone wrong.

The setting changes from Gnaji to Meg and May's House of Wonders

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Character Portrait: Benedict Trish Character Portrait: Trytheus Morrela Character Portrait: Amir Taheri Character Portrait: Alasahe, The Melgrove Character Portrait: May and Meg Character Portrait: Dae Valen
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Dae was amused as the Griffon-rider spoke, assuming command of the whole situation. He knew that he would so it really wasn't all that surprising. A bit peeving for sure, as Amir was already flustered, but foreseeable. He was a bit surprised when the man had appointed him as leader of the second group going after the Kelpie however. He figured the man hated him enough that he wouldn't trust him as a leader. The comment even earned a small quirk of his lips. He was still concerned with the Cerberus rider. Going after the Kelpie could pose more dangerous for him considering the three headed dog was yet a puppy and harder to control. What if the dog decided to rush forward and bite the dead carcass? The poisons in the shifting creature could kill the dog and Dae would be severely heart broken if they had to kill the young boy as a result. He never wanted a hand in killing a child. Caring for children had always been ingrained in the siren rider considering the fact that the his ancestor had struck the deal because of her own dead children.

Focus, Dae. You're getting side-tracked. Aquarian murmured in his head. Dae spared him a glance before he sat forward and watched Amir and Trytheus depart. They too needed to get a move on. There was no time to waste. Dae looked over at the younger rider as he began to speak then and gave a nod. The two of them were at a disadvantage. The Cerberus was too small yet to carry its rider and there was no way he could ride on Aquarian, though quite a sight that would be.

He cleared his throat then and turned his attention to his team. "Benedict has a point. I can't ride Aquarian through the desert either. Walking is going to take a lot of time for us. Alasahe, would you and your dragon be willing to carry us so that we may reach our destination faster? If that is not a possibility, I propose then that you fly on ahead and scout the area. Since you will have the advantage of flight and speed, you'd be able to search for the wood we require. It will be easier to spot over the landscape from the sky compared to the ground. You would also be the first one to reach the carcass. You'd be able to monitor the change and help set up a barrier to keep the creature from escaping by land. That would leave Benedict and myself to travel by land till we get to the boat waiting at the shore. If you can still carry Benedict and the Cerberus however, that would be the better option. That way the two of you can get a head start and you'll have back up if need be.

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Though he had been expecting a response, for the phoenix rider to just simply turn on him, without stopping to consider the folly of his actions? That truly surprised Trytheus. He was forced to raise a hand to shield his face from the aggressive heat of the wall of fire, whilst Mavegen turned around to face the oncoming rider, her back arched and posed to pounce. And then it got worse, Amir began to talk, nay accuse him.

"What the ever-loving fuck is wrong with you? First of all, you have no idea which direction these bandits even went in! Second, if they killed as many people as you said they did, how many bandits do you think there actually are? What gives you the idea that you and your beast could take on what has to be at least one hundred bandits on your own? What if you got your beast killed, because your over glorified pigeon-cat sure as hell is going to sacrifice itself for you. You’ll end up like the unicorn rider if you go in like a stupid ass psychotic vigilante. This kind of thing happens all the time in Gnaji, we don’t have the manpower or resources to ‘avenge’ every fucking person that dies unjustly in this region. They know the risk and they except the consequences of living in the dead zone. Grow the fuck up, we have a mission to attend to, we are riders not heroes."

An anger boiled up within him, he had faced deserters and dissenters, bandits and brigands, but to see his own fellow rider, to be so utterly amoral, so indifferent to the suffering of other and the pursuit of justice? The outlaws of Amstra may have no desire to follow the law but they understood it, respected its place, this one... Did he even acknowledge its existence? Was he so willing to be so weak, so... Evil? He threw himself from Mavegens saddle and followed after Amir, his greater height allowing him to gain ground.

"BOY!" He bellowed, the word was a command, to stop, to turn and now was the time to listen to him and it echoed across the desert dunes. "I do not know what stupidity runs through your brain, but I am not about to allow it to cause this world further harm. " His anger was a force that could be felt through his words, if not his eyes. "The bandits will not have gone far, I may not be able to find them swiftly but you can. And I will not allow them to simply leave without justice being served to them!" He advanced once more, not caring if Amir should perceive it as a threat, perhaps the point would be made then. "For thirty years I have ruled Amstra, for thirty years I have been fighting this very same evil, bandits and beasts in the shape of men have plagued my lands for thousands of years as they do yours, and yet I fight. I have fought and I have died for the protection of my people! And now you have the chance to do them same for the ones you have been sworn to defend and you will do nothing?" His armoured fist pounded at the hammer and anvil clasp that held his cloak. "I am a Knight of the Order of the Forge. It is my duty as a knight to defend the weak from the wicked and to destroy those that would do the innocent harm, to say that you do not have the ability to aid them, when you are simply turning away is nothing short of sloth and laziness. Justice is made by those that enforce them, and that is the mission we were given. To rule justly and with nobility thousands of years ago, you may not remember the act but I have never let it fall into darkness and obscurity, we were raised to immortality to protect the innocent of these lands, all innocent, be they man or beast. We are heroes because we are riders, it is our everlasting mission, our eternal duty to watch over those less fortunate than us. For you to need one such as me to remind you, I only begin to fear for the lives that have been lost by your inaction. Or do you simply not care for that too? Is the desert too precious for you that you cannot see the people in it? " As he continued on his tirade he stepped closer and closer to Amir, until he was towering above him, looking straight into his eyes.

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“BOY!” Amir stopped and turned on his heels as Trytheus started an onslaught of what sounded to him as nothing but misguided nonsense. As he took his steps forward Amir held his ground, but Hassan was not having the aggressive approach however, and as the man got up in Amir’s face the beast got low and hissed at him. The action would no doubt cause the griffin to come over in some annoying act of loyalty to its rider, but Amir held his ground never looking away. The man’s words did not sway his opinion in the slightest, to him it was naïve and one-sided and all it did was make the man look like a coddled castle rat.

“They only stupid one is you! I will not aide you on a suicide mission just to satisfy your own self-serving boner of justice! What kind of baby sized brains do you possess to believe that there are actually real life concepts of good and evil? How many of the bandits that you have slain in your kingdom were just trying to support a family that your government fucked over? How many of those nobles that serve you have secret agendas of their own? You agreed to go on a mission to slay a girl because someone attacked her and her beast died! Don’t tell me how I don’t run my region correctly when you’re a fucking hypocrite!” He glared hard and nearly spit in the man’s face but somehow managed to resist the urge.

The bandits that lived in the dead zone were people unlike any other. Their roots were in Tempress Cape so taking out one of the travelling bands, no matter how large, would be inconsequential and energy wasting in the long run. Plus, these bandits were monstrous, cannibalistic men and women that spared little thought for anything other than what they wanted. They were violent and crude, and Amir had been caught by others from this organization before. He had been tortured, had his limbs ripped off and his eyes crushed in their sockets, he would not go through that again. They weren’t worth going after here, it made more sense to go after the head rather than the tail, but he doubted this man would bother listening to him.

“You know what? Fine, go on your crusade of justice, I hope you have a fucking blast! They are going south east towards the South River, but I’m not fucking going. I know I’m not a hero and I’m here to do this job, and only this job. Have fun getting you and your beast killed.” Amir took a step back, his hand covering the hilt of his dagger as he watched for the man to make a move. Only once he felt a safe distance away did he begin stalking back in his original direction as he had not yet reached the mid river. He could feel Hassan on his shoulder, watching the griffin and its rider as he continued back on his journey.

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Trytheus stood there, boiling with rage. Had one of his men been so insolent to him, he would have struck them down where they stood, instead he could only stand there, muscles tight and bunched as he listened to the boy belittle him and question his ability to lead, the sacrifices he had made. Though he did gloat to himself that the boys bravery was far less than that of his beast, evidently he was too frightened to walk away normally, instead he had to back away like the desert rat he was. Trytheus wasn't going to be the first to turn either, instead he had the boy fixed in a steely gaze, until he eventually turned and carried on into the desert, with any luck he'd be captured in the hunt for the Unicorn-Rider and learn some humility.

He turned and strode back to Mavegen, she had not moved from where she stood, she did not need to- the boy was no threat. Upon his return she gave a snort to indicate her annoyance.
"I know, old friend, but be glad we are rid of him for now." He sighed himself in frustration and climbed back onto the griffons back and the pair turned south east. They would hunt down these bandits and bring the justice they deserved, and then they would return to their assigned task. With a cloud of sand they were airborne once more.

It took three hours of flying in circles, of scanning the same stretches of desert over and over, looking desperately for the puffs of sand or glimmer of light on metal that would give away the bandit band. In the end though, they found them. The bandits had set up camp, or more likely had just at their camp. Flying low he could see their number was surprisingly small, less than twenty of them, they must use surprise and fear as their primary weapons if they were to operate against larger numbers.

Landing behind a dune, Trytheus dismounted and removed his warhammer from its holster, it was a beautifully crafted weapon, its head made to resemble an eagle in flight. Looking over to Mavegen, he gave her a nod that he was ready, no doubt though she keep see his trepidation for the coming conflict, he was outnumbered and these might not even be the right group he was hunting for. Time would tell.

He strode over the dune and down the sands towards the camp, there were few sentries- doubtless they thought themselves immune out here in the wilderness, and even with his shining armour it was not until he was within a stones throw of the camp that he was noticed.
"Ey! You there! What do you want?" The mans voice was course and rough, no doubt a result of the long days of being surrounded by sand. Trytheus did not stop, he was not afraid of one man and his rough hewn bow.
"I am seeking a band roaming these parts, I was hoping your leader could direct me to them." He kept walking as he talked, and strode right past the man. The stunned look on his face was more than enough to realise that this man had not had someone with enough guts simply to walk past him before, nor had he encountered a man in full plate armour before, such things would be rare found in an expansive desert.

He found the remainder of the group around a large camp fire, which seemed unnecessary in the afternoon heat. A man covered in golden jewelry stood up and approached him, he stank of rotten meat and was missing most of his green teeth.
"An' what the fuck do you want metal man?" He ignored the man at first and looked around the camp, his gaze lingered on the camp fire, something cooked there, perhaps a desert cat or some other creature. In one of the open tents was a number of chests, some slightly pushed open with their contents spilling out, golden trinkets and bolts of fine silks littered the floor. But one tent held a number of empty cages, except for one which held five people inside, in a space far too small for them, and he recognised their clothing- it was the same as the dead villagers from the river. He turned back to the fire as he saw now what it was, it was a man roasting on a spit, being prepared to be eaten. He look at the smaller bandit leader with a cold fire in his eyes.

"Your head." Without giving the bandits time to react he lashed out with his warhammer, catching their leader in the chest, he fell on his back with a sickening crunch, before slapping his visor down. Next was the sentry who had followed him in, the fool had been standing close behind, admiring his armour, and he was caught by a metal elbow to the nose, which cracked in a spray of blood, the man squealed and fell to his knees, clutching his face. He did not feel the blow the split his head open. The rest were at him then, swords drawn and shrieking like foxes in their rage to get to him. The first he took out with a two handed to the pelvis, the shattered bone could not hold his body up and he collapsed in a ruptured mess. The next he took with the return swing, raising upwards to strike the next man under the arm, smashing his bones and driving his collar bone into his own neck. They were starting to bunch up now, realising that to approach the hammer was to toll the bell of death. It was not enough for the next bandit, who was struck in the face by the embossed pommel of his hammer, splitting his head open.

A sudden pain flared in his shoulder and he saw an arrow clatter onto the ground, the sentries had rushed to discover the source of the chaos and screaming in their midst and had found the man clad in steel. Less craft may have been pierced but not his armour, it was not just of a greater quality but its design was far beyond that of a normal smith, the metal had been folded again and again in the forging, with different metal dust being added with each fold, it gave the suit its distinct stars and diamonds and also gave it a toughness many times greater than normal steel. Even so it did not stop the blossom of pain in his left shoulder where he had been struck, he did not want to be struck again.

Fortunately the bandit archer did not get off another shot, with a screech of fury Mavegen came flying out of the desert, she had circled around the camp and seeing the sentries run in, she had struck. The man knew only a brief flash of agony before talons ripped him in two, the next got only a sight of her beak as it closed on his neck, all but decapitating the man.

With the two of them, and the shock element of the griffons attack, it was a short but bloody affair after that. Trytheus and Mavegen fell on them like a storm, giving no mercy to the bandits as they struck them down. In the end they were slain, every single one of them lay where they had fallen. Expect for the bandit leader himself, when Trytheus found him again he lay wheezing on the ground, his ribs crushed and his lungs no doubt punctured.
"Wait, wait." He gasped as the bloody king approached. "I.. I can offer you g.. gold. Women! Men! Please."
"I want your head." Trytheus repeated before drawing his dagger on his belt and plunged it into the throat of the dying man.

He placed his hammer down on the ground and reeled back. Though he had overcome greater odds, it was not untouched, his shoulder still flared with pain and would no doubt bruise, he was fairly sure he had a gash on his forehead were a bandits spear had struck him in the head, the helm saved his life but it didn't stop injuries. It hurt to breath on left side and he assumed his ribs were bruised, but for the most part he was unhurt, it would take a few weeks before the last marks would vanish but in a few days they wouldn't even trouble him.

He turned back to the caged group, he found the key to the cage laying on a table nearby and unlocked it, letting them spill out onto the cool sand. He couldn't tell at first but he saw that they were three men and a young boy and girl, he did not need to imagine what had happened to any women that had been captured.
"Thank you good sir, thank you so much." Said the eldest man.
"But who are you?" Asked a second.
"I am Trytheus Morrela, three hundred of thirty second male incarnation of that name and King of Amstra. I came because I discovered where the bandits had attack your people at the river. Though I was travelling with the Phoenix-Rider, I come alone because he was too weak and cowardly to come himself. He readily abandoned you to your fate."
"He just let us be taken? My wife and child were killed by these bandits!"
"He did. Let the word spread, let the people of Gnaji know that the Pheonix-Rider cares naught for justice, look not for his aid for he shall give you none. The boy cares only for himself."

He was too tired to continue talking though, he turned away before the rescued villagers could pile more questions on him. Re returned to the body of the bandit leader, now pale from the loss of blood and grasped his knife, sawing back and forth until the head ripped free, the last few drops of blood dripping out of the empty hole. He took a moment to clean his dagger and hammer head, it was a messy business, removing banditry, before heading back over to Mavegen, as always the griffons had come out of the fight unscathed, he was always surprised that she had been unharmed in combat all these long years. He tied the bandits stinking head to the saddle, before holstering his hammer and climbing aboard. Though he disliked the procedure of head taking, it was a necessary part of removing further banditry, it was not enough to crush them but to also instill enough fear into those that would take up banditry, that if they decided to follow that path, it would only end in pain.

With a huff, they were back into the sky. The sun was starting to dip down to the horizon now, if they discovered the Phoenix-Rider before they made their way to Tempress Cape, he would cast the bandits head at his feet before setting off to continue his own way, unless the boy tried to make amends. He wondered sluggishly what would come of the villagers, they had full access to the stolen goods of the bandits now, no doubt they would rebuild their society and grow into a strong people, at least the desert would hear of their kings failure in the end. He hardly noticed he was drooping in the saddle and it wasn't until he slumped against Mavegens strong neck that he realised, he didn't have to the strength to stay awake any more. And so after nearly three days of being awake, suffering the blistering heat in his travels and the meeting of riders and eradicating a bandit band, he fell asleep, holding his bestial friend and companion close as he drifted into dreams.

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Amir heard as the man finally left to go on his self-serving crusade of justice and had never felt more relieved in his life. Nothing was worse than a man that honestly thought justice was the only way to live a life correctly, to go on those pointless missions that ended up wasting more time and energy than the good it served. He couldn’t believe the man was so utterly ridiculous, he deserved the death a hundred bloodthirsty bandits would undoubtedly bring him. There was no such thing as a hero in this world, and anyone that believed otherwise was no doubt a fool.

Looking up to the sky Amir judged that they had about four hours of daylight left before it became night. The blonde boy preferred the night though, travelling was easier, cooler, and less risky because while bigger and badder wildlife came out, he could spot a group of thugs a mile away in the flat land of the dead zone. Not to mention without His Royal Pain in the Ass around, to be a reflective beacon for anyone within a five-mile radius, moving even during the day would prove to be a lot less dangerous. “The Mid-river is coming up Amir.”


The bird suddenly spoke pulling Amir from his thoughts. On the horizon he could see the wavering visual that signified the approach of a body of water. He quietly thanked it companion and continued forward in an attempt to rid himself of thoughts of the Do Good King. He did not think that the loss of the tribe the griffin rider had spoken about was not a tragedy, loss of life was nearly always tragic, but this king did not dwell in Gnaji. He would soon learn attempting to avenge every last death would end in his own demise, if he was not already dead from the suicide run he was currently on. These tribes that lived in the dead zone knew the risk, they knew that it was dangerous, yet even so they chose this life. The suicidal king would have to learn that the way of life in a place like Gnaji was not at all similar to coddled living of a rich and plentiful land like Amstra.

Upon reaching the river he was greeted with the scene the griffin rider probably saw. It was the rotting bodies of a decimated tribe that were swelling and stinking under the hot sun of the desert. Torn up carcasses of livestock not worth the meat on their bones, and overturned cargo of trinkets and other useless goods bandits would have no use for. He weaved through the bodies, closing the eyes of the people that had died too suddenly to do it themselves. He picked up a small trinket from the over turned cargo, it was a wooden carving of a horse. He turned it over in his hand, letting his fingers glide over the smoothed wood of its body. He outstretched his arm so his palm faced the sky with the wooden horse in it. He whistled for his bird and motioned to the wooden horse. The phoenix enveloped the wooden figure in a warm flame as it began to burn to ash.

“Your fight is over my brothers and sisters.” He called out, loud enough so if these people were still alive they would hear him. Amir feared death, he feared of an afterlife and despite being just a mere reincarnation, the idea that one day this consciousness would end frightened him. Funeral and death customs were of the few he respected of all the tribes and clans of Gnaji. He had studied and learned all of them so if he can upon scenes such as this he could help pass on the souls of the people. For this tribe they burned items that they had put their labor into, the smoke was supposed to reveal the path to the afterlife, and by wiping the ash of the burnt memento on the forehead of the dead it would guide their spirit into a pleasant afterlife. He went to each body, sprinkling a bit of ash onto the forehead of each of the dead before moving on with his journey. There were two hours of daylight left now.

He waded into the water and made his way through the mid river with ease after that. He cleaned his hands of the blood and ash, his thoughts drifted back to the griffin rider, annoyingly enough, he could only hope the man would not return. After looking at the carnage for himself, most of the slaughtered had been warriors of the tribe, he could only assume the women and children had been taken for the slave trade or to be eaten, but it was definitely a large band. He had estimated one hundred on a whim in the midst of the fight, but there was a good chance this band could have consisted of even two hundred people. The carnage left behind by the tribe showed it to be a larger one, with strong warriors that were not to be taken lightly. He clicked his tongue in disgust, heroic people were so annoying.

It wasn’t until an hour before dusk did Amir sees the unnaturally large bird in the sky that could only belong to the griffin and its rider. Amir felt himself scowl in disgust, with any luck the griffin would pass right on over him, and hopefully be shot down by one of the tribes looking for a meal. He was disappointed the man had survived, but also curious, and disgustingly enough, impressed. To slay two hundred men on his own would make him a fearsome opponent.

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Trytheus was suddenly jostled awake by the griffon beneath him, a swift bump from the shoulder caused his head to rattle around enough in its helm to jolt him awake. Almost instantly the pain in his body flared into existence once more, he was fairly sure that the gash on his forehead had scabbed over by now, but that just raised the question of how long he had been asleep. Locating the sun, he extended his hand to the horizon and turned it palm inwards, then he closed his fingers until his fingers filled the space between the ball of light and the edge of the world, only one fingers hence. There was an hour until dark and he had only been asleep for about half of an hour.

But what could have made Mavegen want to awaken him then? Looking down, he noticed they were drifting downwards and to the left, back towards the river, that very same river. But they weren't aiming for the far side, rather they were landing near... Of course, the Phoenix-Rider. Trytheus groaned, as much from the sharp pain in his ribs as at the thought of having to endure the stupidity of the self-centered brat on the desert floor bellow.

The pair landed a short distance away and Trytheus dismounted, with visible discomfort from his left side- he was considering forging a shield to protect his more vulnerable side. He straightened up with a hiss of pain before reaching over to the bandits head and untying it from the saddle, the damned thing stunk just as bad as it had when he had removed it. He turned, holding the disgusting lump by its hair, he was glad to be wearing gauntlets, and strode over to where Amir stood, oddly the boy had a strange expression on his face, one he could not place.

Mavegen could see that he was pushing past the pain as best he could, he was walking tall and proud yet every left step his body tilted slightly, giving him an odd wobbling gait, perhaps he had bruised a fair few more ribs than he realised. The griffon would have been happy to help her rider, but she knew the man would be too proud to accept it, too stubborn to look weak, it was an admirable trait for sure. When he was ten paces away from Amir, Trytheus flung the decapitated head to Amirs feet, he had the sense to throw with his right hand.

"That isn't heroism boy, that's justice." He spat after the head had landed with a wet thunk in the sand. He reached up removed his helm, the left side of his face was covered with dried blood, from just above the eye to his neck, the scabbed gash ran from hairline to temple, though it wasn't a very great wound if it had scabbed over in only half an hour. He turned back to where Mavegen was finishing removing her saddle, he often wondered was other hidden talents the beast had, he doubted she could be captured in a net that was for sure. With the saddle removed, she dragged it over to where Trytheus stood, dropping it next to him before walking a few paces closer to Amir. She sized both him and Hassan up with intelligent, dark eyes, she gave a snort and shook her head in a begrudging greeting, and in some small part telling Amir to grow up.

Trytheus meanwhile was pulling the rolled up woolen bedspread that resided at the back of the saddle, alongside his waterskin and food. He placed it down and unrolled it next to the saddle, taking out some salted beef and a small bag of dried vegetables.
"Mavegen has not slept in a week, we are setting up camp here. And I for one am too tired to walk further in this desert until the morning." He threw a chunk of beef to the griffon who snatched it out of the air, whilst he winced in pain from his shoulder. He took a bite of some himself, the tack was hard and cold, but he paid that little heed. Slumping down on the bedspread that served as his mattress, with his back up against the saddle he held out a lump of the cold beef to Amir, right now he didn't care if the brat took the offer to share his camp or to carry on into the desert and be eaten by some desert cat or another monster, it was just about being the bigger man and being more mature in the situation.

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Amir stopped walking as the griffin landed and the man dismounted. He looked exhausted, though that was to be expected if he had dove head first into a horse of bandits, and it was so obvious that he was hurting is posture looked as though he shoved the stick that was always present even further up his ass, though Amir refrained from saying it. Anyone that could take on that many bandits and live was an ally he couldn’t afford to lose. He didn’t move as the man got closer and let whatever the griffin rider was holding be thrown to his feet.

He picked up the head without much hesitation. It was definitely from the brutal crime ring made famous in the dead zone for their beast-like actions. He turned the head over, examining its structure, but more specifically the ear. A little golden cuff was secured to the man’s right ear, a red gem encrusted into the piece of jewelry and he suppressed a sigh. That earring the mark of a middle command leader in this organization, in other words, this man had been the leader of band that had attacked the tribe at the river. He dropped the head unceremoniously and began thinking of ways to swallow his pride to get on this man’s good side.

“That isn't heroism boy, that's justice.”
He even held his tongue when the man dropped that utterly ridiculous line. He held back his retorts on justice being too relative of a term, as anyone could say they were acting in the name of justice, and it was therefore a waste to base any actions around such a weak and flimsy resolve, but he did not say it. As did he ignore the beast as it looked down on him, and he wanted to slit both their throats at this point. It wasn’t until the man took his helmet off did Amir spot his in. The gash on his head.

“That wound, if it was cause by a an arrow top or any metal weapon, will be poisoned.” He approached casually, although keeping his distance and shrugged his shoulder for Hassan to assist the man. The phoenix did not say anything, already well aware of Amir’s scheming, and perched on the man’s armored shoulder. It peered at the scabbing wound for a moment before stretching its body and dropping a single tear on the scab. The tears of the phoenix could heal any wound in moments and that would include ridding the body of any poison that entered the system through that wound. “If you were poisoned you’re gonna feel a cool wave rush through your body, but that’s normal. It’s the magic healing you”

He whistled for Hassan’s return and while the bird did come back to him, it circled his head once before going to investigate the griffin beast. He felt slightly betrayed, but let it happen. As long as the griffin did not act in aggression there was no need to interfere with the beasts. Hassan perched itself on the larger beast’s head, bending down to peer into one of the griffin’s large eyes. It was nearly the size of Hassan’s head, but he didn’t perturbed by the fact as he clucked noisily at the creature. Amir only turned back to the griffin rider when he started speaking. He couldn’t stop thinking that the man wouldn’t have been exhausted if he hadn’t gone on his justice crusade. Sure the man had come back alive, better than Amir thought he would have, but the best time the blonde boy travelled the desert was the night. He stopped himself from walking off though, that man’s strength was undeniable. Instead, he pulled out the thin blanket from his own pack and spread it across the sand, bringing a tent would back been too bulky, and setting it up in the dead zone would be too noticeable. As long as it didn’t rain he’d be fine.

He was surprised, however, by the sudden offering of food from the griffin rider. He eyed the man carefully for a moment, but took it all the same, ripping off nearly three quarters of the meat and tossing it in Hassan’s direction. The bird jumped at the offering, snagging it and swallowing whole before going back to pestering the griffin. He turned to the man, offering a hand. “Amir Taheri, Phoenix Rider.”

It occurred to him that they had never formally exchanged names, and while all the griffin riders sported the name of the first, he found it weird that they had never had such a formality. “Also, just a pointer, your armor is a giant metallic sign for the dead zone, any raider in a five mile radius will be on us if you keep that on… Also, how did you exactly manage to take out a whole trope of bandits?” That was the question he had been dying to ask since the man showed up still alive.