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Kachinonai Aku

"A long time ago, I made a choice and now I fear I made the wrong one. An... oversight that I shall correct if possible."

0 · 672 views · located in Jeildea

a character in “Princess of Massacre || Rebellion”, as played by Taunbon

Description

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Kachinonai Aku. His name is literally 'Worthless Scum'. He was never graced with a middle name and now sees no point in it. This is a name that few people know or remember as Kachinonai Aku was a no one living in the slums of Airen. He rarely, if ever, calls himself this and prefers to make use of made up names and alias when introducing himself.
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We all don masks, I am simply a more literal example.

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Image[ Name ]
Kachinonai Aku

[ Nicknames/Aliases ]
The Mangled Lord
The Crippled Spider
Shadow of Airen
The Whisperer


[ Age ]
27

[ Gender ]
Male

[ Race ]
Human

[ Role/Occupation ]
Companion/Spy Master/Information Broker/Crime Lord/Possible Traitor


Image[ Hair Color ]
His hair, which is almost never see, is an almost obsidian black with an odd sheen to it.

[ Eye Color ]
Emerald Green

[ Skin Tone ]
Pale, he does not get much sun.

[ Height ]
6'3

[ Weight ]
193 lbs.

[ General Description ]

The first thing someone notices when looking upon Aku is the iconic mask that he always wears. He never takes it off in front of others and will sleep in it before removing it in the presence of others. His mask has spawned a large series of rumors of what his face must look like. Some believe he is hideous, others that he is a woman, and many believe that he is divinely beautiful behind his mask, but the first is correct. Aku is not a handsome man, his face is disfigured and has been since birth. There is a massive discoloration running down the right side of his face, marring it a deep red as if his face had been burned. His nose looks as if it has been broken over and over again as it leans towards the left. His cheeks are gaunt and lopsided with the left rising a little above the right causing his mouth to be angled which do not justice to his lips which are far too thin for his already sickly thin face. He is not a handsome man behind his mask.

His long obsidian hair comes down to his shoulders and is usually held back by his hood and runs down between his head and the clothe of the hood. He will sometimes lower the hood and allow people to see the shiny black hair and pale skin, but it is not often. His entire body is covered in a large coat that he does not take off no matter the weather, this would normally make him smell rather badly, but the coat is enchanted to be far lighter then it appears and allows air to flow in to keep him cool, should his body temperature lower, the coat will thicken and keep air out making it an invaluable traveling tool. Besides this, his other most noticeable feature is his left leg. It is badly mangled making it shorter then his right leg and bending at an odd angle. Aku must use a cane to walk. Perhaps, fortunately, he is a gifted rider.

His deep emerald eyes stare out from his mask and seem to capture every action and motion in the world around him. Constantly shifting and searching, looking through people as if they were glass. Due to his mask, his voice bounces off of it giving it a unique tone.


Image[ Likes ]
Information|| Information is Power. Only a fool shares power.
Tea|| A man, no matter how busy, always has time to enjoy a nice cup of tea.
Intelligence/Cunning|| I do so love a sharp and beautiful mind.
birds|| I must admit to some level of jealousy at their freedom, but I do like to hear them sing.
Wit|| There is nothing like finding someone with a sharp tongue and even sharper wit.
Gold|| Gold will never lie to you. Never betray you. It is a man's truest friend.
Art/Love|| While I am not one to admit it, I do enjoy the arts from paintings to sculptures to works of literacy. Love will forever be beyond my grasp, I know this, but I suffer from a childish desire to see love in others flourish. A most unbecoming trait for one such as I.

[ Dislikes ]
x His body|| My body is a cage that holds me back. Makes me weak. Vulnerable. I disgust myself and others.
x Snow|| It mocks me in its perfection. I cannot help but want to tarnish it.
x Weakness/Pity|| I have no time for either in this world. Stand tall or be trodden on, I care not which you choose.
x Fire|| All Fire can do is spread and destroy all in its path. Its favor is fleeting and comes at a price.
x Handsome Men|| 'Beauty is skin deep' 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' Odd, yet I still feel the desire to mar their pretty little faces. Perhaps then such naive quotes will leave this world once and for all.
x Naivety|| The world is a dark and cruel place. I have no time or patience for those who live in ignorance.
x Brutes|| Mindless brutes are nothing but marginally smarter dogs. They serve their purpose and are disposable. They should be changed regularly least they forget their purpose.

[ Strengths ]
Intelligent|| Aku is an extremely intelligent and shrewd man. His mind is his greatest weapon and tool. He remembers the smallest of details with perfect clarity, is incredibly observant able to see things most people would miss and is very astute.
Perfectionist|| He does not stop until he believes whatever he has been doing is perfect. This makes him very meticulous and slower at jobs and actions then most people, but his finished product or result is always superb.
Liar|| A master of deceit and deception, Aku can tell a man the sky was green, and they would look to be sure before doubting his words. The fact he wears a mask helps conceal his thoughts and helps hide any reaction that would give him away. His natural eloquence helps greatly in this as he is a wonderful persuasive speaker.
Pain Tolerance|| To this day, his leg causes him extreme physical anguish that his mind blocks out instinctively making him numb to most physical sensation. Born and raised in a world of physical and mental anguish has made Aku an extraordinarily tough man with torture being a very length choice when used against him.
Tolerant|| He is willing and able to put up with a lot of annoyances and even people he despises if he believes it necessary, but he has a long memory, and he does not forget slights even if he chooses to overlook them for the time being.
Determination|| His determination and iron will is almost supernatural. A man who would drag himself through miles of shattered glass and rusty nails if it was required, someone who would limp to the edge of the world if he had to. If he is 'heroic' in any way, it is his determination.

[ Weaknesses ]
Vengeful|| Aku never forgets or forgives a slight or disrespect towards him. While he may overlook something and not bring it up or allow something to go by unanswered, it does not mean it goes unnoticed. He will harbor his anger and hatred over the smallest of insults for months upon a time, and one way or another, he will have his vengeance.
Distant|| A distant man both emotionally and physically. He does not allow himself to become attached to people and rarely, if ever, engages in personal contact.
Distrust|| Simply put Aku does not trust others. He is constantly looking for signs of treachery or deceit, and if someone looks for something long enough, they will find it even if it is imagined.
Condescending|| When speaking, he will often sound like he is talking down to others as if they are mere children who need to be educated which can, and does, get on peoples nerves.
'Pacifist'|| No, he has nothing against murder or killing or even underhanded tactics, he just prefers to not get his own hands dirty.


[ Abilities/Skills ]
Information|| Aku is a master at gathering information be it indirectly or directly. He will remember the smallest things people say or do and file it away, he is adept at employing spies, street urchins, prostitutes, stable hands, and other eyes and ears that people do not notice to do his bidding, and he is very adept at torture.
Lightning|| Aku's cane allows him to use it as a 'lightning rod' of sorts able to produce lightning magic from it, a very expensive and rare artifact he acquired as his main method of fighting as, being a cripple, he would be of little to no use in direct combat or hand to hand fighting.
Wealthy|| While not a true ability or talent, gold has a way of making life easier. What better way to 'put in his part' for the group then taking care of the finances? Do they honestly think the Inn Keepers allow them to stay and feed them for free?
Tactician|| A master planner and tactician, Aku generally thinks four or five steps ahead of a foe and is very much a 'general' and not a front line fighter.

[ Personality ]

Aku is a calculating man. Constantly weighing decisions in his mind as he watches the world with his hard emerald eyes. He is very meticulous and thoughtful thinking out every action he and others do, analyzing it, turning it over in his mind, looking at it from different views in an effort to better understand them and the options that lay before him. This distant, cold exterior is a man willing to throw away anyone and everyone for his own ambitions and goals. For the most part people are merely tools and currency in his eyes, if they cannot be used then they have no value or purpose.

Within this cold exterior lies a burning sun of ambition and desires that he dare not think upon too long. Aku is a man who has crawled through the dirt and filth for most of his life, and he has always looked to the stars and always will. There is always a way to fly higher, to extend his reach just a few more inches, to stretch his influence another street. This does make him rather ruthless in his pursuit of his ambitions which are often known only to himself, and many would call it an obsession of greed and perhaps they are right. Aku knows what it is like to go hungry, to have nothing, to be nothing. He will never be nothing again and this does make him have a compulsive need to acquire wealth in any way possible no matter how underhanded the activity may be for gold, even if earned through the blood and misery of others, buys just as much as any other gold.

Desires and determination run his very core of his being. Aku chases what he wants and does not let it go for he pushes himself farther then any other and believes that all he has gone through in his life is all the right he needs to do what he wills. His desires are many and numerous the most reoccurring being for power and knowledge, but there is one deeper inside of him that he does not speak or think of, his desire to be accepted for what lies behind his mask. He is not naive enough to hope that he will ever be loved by any being as people like him can be loved, but not those who are like him and look like him. Life was not a fairy tail where the beauty falls in love with the beast, no, she falls in love with the other beauty and the beast is left to rot in the darkness of the cellar, but acceptance... trust... yes, this he can hope for. Even without it, even with nothing, Aku will continue to fight, crawl, and pull his shattered and broken body along because he will not give up. He will never allow himself to fall or lean on others.

Despite this, despite all of this, Aku does enjoy simple things. He enjoys drinking a nice cup of tea, a simple hot meal, listening to the birds, watching a creek flow, reading a nice poem or examining a humble painting. It is... an odd mixture of things but despite him hating and envying beauty, he loves of it none the less and is easily captured and enthralled by beauty that nature and humanity can inspire. All in all, Aku is a shattered and broken man, held together by ambition and an iron will that hides behind the comfort and safety of an unreadable mask.


Image[ History ]

The man who would become known and spoken about in hushed whispers by those few graced enough to know of his existence was born to a prostitute on the lower docks in a warehouse in Vastiral, a city within Airen. The nation of Airen is a hard place, a strong place that has no room for the feeble or weak, like Aku who was born manged and deformed, the prostitute incapable and unwilling to take care of such a child, or any child, left him at the door of an orphanage located in the center of the industrial quarter wrapped up in old linen clothes and without a name. The Brierheart Ophanarium was an orphanage in only name as it truly served as a front and 'recruiting' spot for a large band of thieves, cutthroats, and mercenaries who stylishly named themselves the 'Black Water Regiment' as if adding regiment made them superior or gave them a semblance of discipline.

It was odd that they would take in someone like him, a deformed little freak who would never grow to be of any really use, but they did. They named him Kachinonai Aku. Worthless Scum, it seemed they were not quite as clever with his name as they were with the name for their little group. Life in such a place was hard, food was scarce and he was always malnourished and starving having to search for scraps as many of the other children would constantly beat him and steal his food. They called him 'freak' at the time, he did not understand why he was hated so. But overtime, he too started to believe he was a freak. A monster. An animal, but now he knows that he was... good for them. Every time they looked at him, the other children knew they were not as bad off. They may be starving, they may get beaten, but at least they weren't the freak who had to crawl on the ground like a dog because he couldn't stand up. Who had to lap at puddles formed from the rain dripping through the roof, who spoke in broken syllables and stutters. At least, they weren't him.

But Aku was smarter then he appeared, he taught himself how to read and write with old waterlogged books, taught himself basic mathematics, fashioned a cane out of old rotting wood so that he could try and walk, try and fit in with the others, but to no avail. Everything he did only set him apart further. Now he was a freak who wanted to be a human, there was almost something poetic about that a freak wanting to be a human among a group of people who barely qualified as such. When he was twelve, it was time to 'work' for the cutthroats did not 'raise' them for free, they were like animals being raised for a purpose. The girls, at eighteen, were sent to work the corners making money by working on their backs and 'entertaining' men. So used to the sad state of life, they simply accepted it as their fate, those who were especially pretty were often forced to have drugs until they became addicted to the high, addicted to the pleasure and would do anything for anyone to get that feeling back.

The boys... they were a bit luckier. They were sent into the streets to gather money as pickpockets. Those that did not return with something did not eat and were beaten. Those that were discovered hiding money or purchasing something with money that was no theirs were beaten till they were an inch till death... a few times... the men did not stop in time and the child died anyways. Aku used his appearance to his advantage, hobbling and crawling on the ground like an animal, begging for coins from passing men and women. Their looks of pity... scorn... disgust... revolution... how some spit on him as they past... the muttering of freak... how it burned into his mind.. Searing into his memory, but it worked. They would rather toss coins at him then have to bear the sight of him a moment longer. He did this for years until he was sixteen when the 'Black Water Regiment' discovered his talents of the mind. They put him to work balancing the books, and from there, Aku learned one important fact. The one who controlled the gold, controlled the world.

It was a simple task to see a bag of gold disappear here and there. A coin 'slipped' here and sometimes there until he had enough money to buy clothes and a carriage out of the city and into a 'new life', but he was foolish to believe anywhere else would be different. He left Vastiral and arrived in Toshiro. He left a freak and arrived a freak. He was still an outcast, but this time, he was a smart outcast. Using what little gold he had, he invested in various merchant groups and stores, always staying in the shadows when making the offers, a common occurrence in a land like Airen, and amassed a small fortune. At nineteen, he was a wealthy, if not unknown man.

It was then that he fell in love with a young woman who worked as a bartender in an inn he had 'acquired'. Akira. She was no great beauty, in fact, she was rather plain with bright blue eyes that sparkled with hidden intelligence and passion for life. Her smile had a way of lighting up the small room, even reaching to the dark corner that he would huddle in with his hood obscuring his face. He loved her from a distance, and one day, he got the crazy idea to approach her. Why not? He was wealthy, he could provide for her. He was intelligent and he longed for true companionship in every sense of the word, after closing, he approached her and introduced himself, pushing down his hood and smiling at her with a cracked, broken face. She screamed. If he closes his eyes, he can still see her face and hear that heart wrenching scream. He could still hear the sound of running feat as men walking along the street came to see what the commotion was. One look at her then Aku told them all they needed to know. He was a monster who was in the midst of trying to rape a poor girl, not a shy man trying to open his heart. He was beaten to the point of death in the middle of the street and left to rot. For hours he lay there, his face broken more then it already was, his blood long since dried on his face when he saw it. A mask, a simple thing of metal painted by some small child as a toy, left in the corner of the alleyway. Crawling over to it, as the men had been kind enough to break his cane, he reached out and took hold of it, took hold of His future. In that instant, Kachinonai Aku died and the Shadow of Airen was born.

Over the next couple of years he built up his shadow empire, taking over various stores, gangs, mercenary companies and shadow organizations until he had a web of power that spread through the nation. Of course he heard of the Princess of Massacres, and he kept tabs on her and her exploits as well as her sister, but stayed out of their affair as he thought it had little to do with him. He sold information on them both as well as purchased them as they were a hot commodity, but he had no desire to meet either... that was... until he aided in the Princess of Massacre's murder. Why? Very simple. Aku did not believe she was good for the nations. She was dangerous, seemed unbalanced, insane, and had far too much influence and power. For the good of the nations, for the good of the world, for the good of himself, she had to be removed, so he aided in the plot to have her removed, but he was not the mastermind. Far from it. Merely a supporter.

When she returned, it was Aku who found out about it and informed the others, but... as the weeks went on, he pondered on the situation. Her Sister, the Black Empress was growing far too powerful for his liking. While Aku is a man who controls corruption it was becoming too rampant. Even he knew that a building cannot stand if all its pillars and foundations are withered and decayed. Perhaps, just perhaps, he had bet on the wrong sister. He monitored and watched for information on them, gathering what Intel he could, selling it to the various nations at times and hiding some at others as he thought of what to do, until he came to a conclusion. He needed a hands on approach. Last time, he had stayed out of it for too long and merely picked the side that already had plans in motion, this time, he would see the so called Princess of Massacre himself and judge.

It was not too hard to find them with his connections, he looked for a pattern and waited for them to come to him, and he offered his services. While he could not fight, he was very wealthy and well connected and could aid them in accomplishing their goals and help them hide their location and goals from the other nations, bounty hunters, and powers that be. Not a man to leave much to chance, Aku offered much in return for very little. He would be allowed to travel with them and observe their rise and struggle in return he would aid them. It has been two years, and Aku is still not sure what to make of them, and if they are smart, they do not know what to make of him either nor should they trust him as he never told them he aided in her murder and that, should he find her lacking, he will do so again.

[ Others ]


So begins...

Kachinonai Aku's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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#, as written by [Akane]
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"Dawn approaches and the day starts anew. The story is reaching it's end so let it begin."


As morning dawned upon a quiet town, the still air was disrupted a the scream of a young woman. The residents of this town awoke, sleep still clinging to their minds as they stumbled to their windows to figure what was causing a commotion. The girl screamed once more when no one came and this time guards appeared, drawn by the idea that they would finally get some action in such a peaceful town. They looked about and their gaze fell upon the cause of trouble.

Grizzly remains of what seemed human hung from the statue of the town's deity. Sitting expectantly at the base of the statue was the head. With urgent whispers and commands the head guard ordered his fellows to remove the body and someone to escort the girl home. As they scurried off to do so, something caught the man's eye. Tucked beneath the head was a bloodstained note. He cautiously, drew it out, almost dreading what he would find inside. Was it a taunt? A threat? With shaking fingers he nearly tore the parchment in half and dropped in fear before falling to his knees, prayers flying from his lips. She was back...

At edge of the sleepy town, with a quick strides Adrienne Adamantis smirked in satisfaction with hersel as she left. She would surely be scolded by the Cripple for being so rash and confirming her return to the public so soon. It would insight a wave of panic and many other things she could careless about. Then again...he was right. But then again she could careless. In the end she would bring this land the peace they desired, even if her life would be to forfeit.

At the same time, her consciousness slipped into the dark thoughts of her mind, just aware enough that she could navigate through the twisted roots and clawed grip of her surroundings. The past years...for a time she had wandered with two supernatural beings, learned of her cursed existance and what she was. It was disheartening. To be tormented like this, constantly wracked by the guilt and regrets of the past. Confusion, anger, panic, and other emotions swirled inside her threatening to pull her into a world of despair.

It was when the familiar scent of burning wood reached her nostrils, Adrienne pushed the thoughts to depths of her dark mind and brushed it off with a sigh of deep annoyance with herself.

Noisily, she crashed through the underbrush only to find her companions sleeping bodies littered every inch of the available space. She glanced around once before shifting her crystal eyes to the black feather clasped in her hand. Ominous pulses of energy traveled up her arm and urged her...This was the usual occurrence when she came into possession of her feathers. If she gave in, negative emotions of rage, anger, sadness, and so on, reached a peak that would cause harm to those around her. So, until someone awoke and was there to keep her calm, sane, she had to put off the urge to absorb the damn feather.

Behind the aloof expression, her discontent was building. It was dawn already. Why hadn't anyone woken up? She felt drained and all she wanted to do was get this ordeal over with.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis
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#, as written by Taunbon
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Aku's sharp emerald eyes snapped open at the sound, but he remained still, allowing his back to remain pressed against the trunk of tree as, should it be intruders, he had no desire to fall over and alert them to his state of being, far be it from him to encourage them to make him their first victim. Scanning the gray surroundings, the morning light struggling through the trees to reach the makeshift camp site, his eyes fell on the princess. Holding the feather in her hand and staring at it, he let his eyes roam her for a few moments, drinking in the details as he always did, from her long white hair to her fair skin, indeed, a foolish man would consider the woman beautiful, but Aku was not a fool.

Deciding he could not pretend to be asleep forever, he struggled to sit straight, having to place both his hands on the ground next to him and push in order to get his mangled body to obey him. Aku always chose to sleep against something when they were out, forgoing the use of a tent, which he could not carry or set up even if he wished to, and blankets preferring to use merely his enchanted coat to do that duty for him, his cane shifted uncomfortably against his lap where he left it, within easy reach should he need to move or defend himself during the night. Or zap any pesky wandering fingers who thought they could slip off his mask as he dozed.

Settling into a more comfortable position, he let his eyes rest on the princess once again, noting how she seemed lost in her world, that simply would not do. She tended to be... unreasonable then, truly a temperamental woman. His sharp emerald eyes traced up and down her body again scanning for any signs of blood and dirt, but he found none which he was grateful for. It was almost as if the woman made it her job to make his life as difficult as possible. It was hard enough to hide a group of handsome, plus one, group wandering the wilds especially one who had long white hair without them causing a ruckus every where they went. He had to grease more then a few palms and silence many whom Aku suspected knew more then they should which included a family of four.

He opened his mouth, his voice bouncing against the mask echoing his voice, "What to do. What to do," Aku said reaching up to mockingly stroke the bottom of his mask as if in deep thought, "Do I absorb this feather? Take my old power? But do I wish to be my old self? Am I even like my old self? Will it make the pain go away? Will I understand my destiny? Questions. Questions. Questions," he said leaning the back of his hooded head against the bark, "How they vex thee so, whatever shall my fair Princess do?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Kouri Suishou Character Portrait: Yuzuki Armanago
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"Yuna, kill him!" Her body moved on its own, Yuna had no control; if her Master ordered it, it would be done. The Elf's marks glowed with the radiance of a thousand suns, the world lit up in colors that belonged to otherworldly beings. Yuna's hand had gone through his chest, his blood dripping from her fingertips. The female collapsed with the body, tears stinging her eyes. The pure white elf marks on her body slowly began to change color, staining a permanent red. "You did well Yuna," his hand pat her head, like a loyal dog that had killed the annoying squirrel that was eating the plants in her Masters garden. Is that what she had become... A dog? Barking when he said speak, rolling over to her Masters every whim.

A new character arrived on the grassy plains of the meadow. Her Master was dead, his heard severed, his appendages spilled. The Elf's eyes were wide with both horror and awe. The sword wielder held out her hand, crimson glistening in the low light. "Join me and you will never be controlled by these monsters again."


Yuna awoke with a gasp, every night was the dream. She was free, at least, she had been, however Yuna pledged her alliance to the Princess until Adrienne reached her goal. Speaking of which, where was the Mistress? Yuna arose from the collection of bushes she had been camping out under and raked her hands through her hair. The sun had not yet risen and Adrienne was already on the move. "I should prepare tea... And ointment in case she's injured." Mused the elf quietly, she didn't want to wake anyone up.

She searched through her bag of meager belongings and pulled out a small pot and some bandages, Yuna was just about to do something else when her ears twitched, a stick had broken somewhere close by. She grabbed her bow and quiver, a weapon she had been using since she could walk, and slowly began to make her way towards the disturbance. Walking on silent booted feet across the dead foliage, the only light in the early morning came from her markings which were glowing softly. Her feathers ruffled as a cool breeze passed through them. Yuna folded her wings as much as she could against her back in order to keep them from hitting trees.

She knocked an arrow, searching for the thing that had made the noise. Yuna was deep in the forest now and was keeping a vigilant eye out for anything. She pulled back the bow string, something had moved to her left. Quickly Yuna turned and let the arrow fly, hitting the deer in the chest. Breakfast was going to be great this morning! She marched over to the animal and pulled out the arrow, wiping the blood off on her skirt. "Thank you for your life." Yuna grabbed the thing by the horns and began to pull, tripping over herself and landing in the mud. Whimpering softly Yuna stood and straightened her gloves, grabbing the buck by the head once more and pulling with all her strength back in the direction of the camp.

When she arrived Adrienne had returned, wearing her favorite color; blood. "Oh, good morning Mistress!" Yuna bowed quickly, wiping her dirty hands on her skirt. "I wanted to have breakfast ready when you returned from your trip, but I was a bit held up." She tugged on one of her ears with her right hand, a bad habit she had developed when she was nervous, and with the other gestured towards the animal. "Are you injured? I have ointment and bandages ready." She carefully made her way around the sleeping bodies, keeping her voice and footsteps low. It was only when Yuna reached the other side that she tripped over her foot and face planted in the dirt. "Ow, ow, ow." Yuna spit out a few dead leaves and moved to sit upright. "Oh, good morning Aku!" She said, seeing the older man was awake and teasing Adrienne.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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There never was much to Vern's dreams, or at least not in creativity. For him it was always a return visit to old moments of his life, in particular the harrowing moments where his life had come so close to an end. Currently this one had him turning a corner of some nondescript building, followed by two fellow soldiers. Even their faces were vague, and it looked like the two of them were both wounded. They had been moving cautiously, as they had to be wary of some enemies. They then began to run, as it seemed they were now being bombarded by some kind of attack from some unseen enemies. Vern had no clue what the attacks even were or where they were coming from, he just knew that he needed to get the hell outta the line of fire. He turned, looking to see one of the soldiers he had been running with had fallen to the ground. They laid in a pool of red, not moving. He was urged on by the remaining soldier, and so he kept running towards another corner to get themselves out of the line of fire. As he rounded the corner though, he was greeted by a soldier dressed in a uniform of the enemy they were fighting. Both Vern and the enemy had caught each other by surprise, but the enemy had been moving this way with his weapon at the ready; it recognized Vern almost immediately as an enemy and it made the only sound that Vern had heard during the entire dream. It was the sound of ignited gases exciting the barrel of its rifle, propelling a bullet towards Vern.

As the bang of the gun reached his ears, Vern shot up from where he was sleeping, eye wide as he looked around in confusion. He quickly looked around to see just where he was and what was going on. He was sitting next to some brush, a small campfire only a few feet away from him. He saw the white haired woman he was travelling with standing nearby, blood splatter here and there on her as she held onto a feather. He continued his search, seeing the masked Aku sitting against the tree saying something, but Vern was still a little out of it and couldn't really understand. The other were here and there, still asleep, as well as the carcass of a deer. It made Vern blink slightly, then his gaze settled on the prone figure that was Yuna spitting some leaves from her mouth before speaking. "Oh, good morning Aku!" she said, her's being the first words that registered in his mind as it fully came to from its groggy state.

"Ugh..." was all Vern could muster as he laid back down, "Well, you're definitely better than a bullet." he muttered as he put his hands over both his eyes. He laid there for a few moments, just collecting his thoughts before taking a deep breath and sitting up again, letting his hands drop as a flat slab of rock rose up out of the ground behind him. He leaned back against it as he yawned then ran his fingers through his hair. "I didn't miss anything too excitin' now did I?" He simply asked, looking out towards them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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#, as written by phooka
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Sleeping. Dreaming. Words that tasted strange and foreign on the tongue of Agrona Caedwyn. Spirits of her kind needed neither, could attain neither. The closest that she could come was a form of spiritual suspension where she was neither alive nor dead and her consciousness became a part of the aether until her physical reawakening. Needless to say, it was not something that she performed habitually. In fact, the only time that she had used it was as an experiment many hundreds of years ago to see if she could commune with any of her siblings through it in an attempt to find them. It hadn't worked and the aether tempted her very little, along with the vulnerability such a state left the body in.

Therefore, the Spirit did as she did every night after the rest of the group fell asleep in their cute little camps: she wandered. Her skirts flowed behind her with swishing sounds over the floor of the forest as she walked and one could easily confuse her for an apparition the way she walked as though the uneven and treacherous ground was the smooth granite of ballroom tiles with unearthly grace.

As the sun peeked through the holes in the lace of the tops of the trees, Agrona turned and began backtracking back to the camp where she knew the group would be beginning to stir. When she reached the camp she saw that Adrienne had not yet returned from her outing and none of the others were quite awake, so the Spirit silently dug through her things and brought out some traveling robes that would be more sensible on the road than the 'sleeping' gown that she was currently wearing and then slipped back out into the woods to change into them.

Not far from the camp, Agrona could make out the sounds of the group rising and their princess's return and so she made her way back and slipped in silently, making her way over to her sleeping arrangement and traveling bags with a knowing smile and began packing her things back together, careful not to rouse Aglaeca who's set up was beside her's.

A sweep of the campsite with her clear blue eyes showed that other than her and Adrienne; Yuna, Vern, and Aku were also awake. Vern didn't quite look awake yet and Yuna appeared to have had quite an adventure already that morning, covered in dirt and with a large buck in tow. Agrona shook her head with wonder at mortals, such strange and unpredictable creatures.

When her things were in a neat pack, she stood leaning against a tree next to her little Devil's sleeping form and said not a word, content with just watching the dustlings interact and waiting for Aglaeca to wake.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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#, as written by MeshET
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The moon was falling and the sun was peeking out the horizon. The calm dawn ray slowly reveals and lights up the interior of the deep forest. The leaves that was once covered by the darkness of the night regained their color of a healthy green as dawn approaches. Critters wonder about the nature as they start off their day conversing with other animals in their own language. As light reveals yet more of the forest, a man was standing in the middle of the thick forest. The ray of light slowly shone upon his body, the complicated markings on his black boat becoming apparent. A light gust breezed past him, as his coat and hair flapped against the wind.

Affirming the rising of the sun, Lyon raised his hands. He brought it closer and closer to his mask, but just as he touched it, he stopped. However, he continued his motion after. He opened his palms and placed it over his mask. With only a slight pull, the mask came off. As easily as picking up a paper on the table, he removed his mask.

Behind the mask hid a pair of closed eyes, where promptly after removing the mask, opened. It was of without an iris. A grey spot replaced where the red eyes should have been. Similar to dead fish eyes, it was very obvious that the eyes had lost their sight. No matter how much he tried to blink, Lyon couldn't see anything. He could feel standing on the ground, the small wind that breezes by every now and then, the sounds of the various animals around yet he cannot see any of it. "Hmph. As expected."

Lyon places the mask back on after that. He periodically checks whether his sight had been returned to him. Even after maybe the thousandth time, he would try again and again, if not staying positive by telling himself that it would be back the next time he does it. However as reality would have it, it never did. Although the mask was all he needed to see like a normal man again, he would rather throw it away to somewhere obscure. Somewhere he would never have to lay his eyes or hear about ever again. But after meeting Adrienne and his fellow companions, he needs the mask to protect them. The mask has a weakness however.

The mask, in return for granting sight and some supernatural powers, consumes his soul. It's not like completely selling your soul to a devil. You don't lose a huge chunk of it that moment. Rather, when a certain amount of powers are used, it takes away a small part of the soul as a price. When it does, Lyon experiences a noxious feeling, similar to when falling ill to fever. He had only explained this to Adrienne as to not worry the other companions, but he knows that this is not going to work. He needs to find an alternative sooner or later.



He decides to return to where his companions were camping. There are already a few members awake. Yuna, covered in blood and Vern, apparently only awake. Then there is Aku, who is sitting against the bark of a tree in his hood and Agrona, standing beside the sleeping Aglaeca, a young boy but is actually a powerful being. What the boy was, Lyon did not know, but he is content enough knowing that the boy and the lady beside him were helping Adrienne, just like everyone else. There was also Adrienne, awake as usual and seems to be off in her own world, so he decided to let her be.

The others were still sleeping or off somewhere, so Lyon decided to stand beside one of the trees and took out his book, titled 'Valkyrie Ascension', continuing from where he left off.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis
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#, as written by moahi
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Aglaeca's eyes opened to the golden spots of sunlight peeking through the leaves. There were voices and activities going all around him as his groggy mind registered the figures moving and talking. It still felt like a few seconds have passed since he had fallen asleep, but of course the time differences between the underworld and the over world were quite large, and for Aglaeca, who had lived for countless years, days and sometimes months were like minutes to him, passing before they even made an lasting impression on him. It seemed like only a few days since they had met the princess and gained so many companions, and even after his many years in the over world, he could never quite get used to the time they had there.

Sitting up slowly, he rubbed his eyes sleepily and yawned, before almost instinctively calling out "Agrona?" to check her presence, a habit he had developed over the past hundred years they had been working together. Though he knew that she might still be taking her stroll in the forest, he checked nevertheless, before catching sight of her leaning against the tree a few paces beside him, already fully cloaked in her travelling attire, dressed and ready. "You sure are early... had a good sleep?" He asked half-teasingly, knowing full well that sleep was an activity that she did not indulge in, unlike him, who considered it as a luxury.

Allowing his light purple eyes to wander to the others, Yuna, who was almost covered in mud and blood, dragging a deer seemed to already have had her share of a adventure, along with Adrienne, the princess who was , holding a pitch black feather, part of the raw power of the whole contract that he had turned into feathers as it was too much for his power to hold. The echoing voice coming from the man with the mask was definitely Aku, and leaning against a tree was Lyon, reading. Vern probably just woke up like he did, not seeming too energetic yet. The whole camp seemed to be stirring... exactly how late was he in waking up? Still, it seemed like there was not much going on yet.

Flopping back onto his back in boredom, he turned his head slightly to Agrona and asked"Now what?" He had woken up, though it seemed like there was nothing much for him to do, except for waiting for the group to carry on in their journey.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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#, as written by Skwidge
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”Can’t you hear them? They’re calling, they don’t want me to go….”





*~*~*~*

A haunting, eerie melody, the sounds of a harp and the rustle of leaves…. The cries of loons against a sweeping tide, crashing and rolling over some distant shore. Audona could hear incomprehensible whispers every once in a while, almost as if they were emanating from the swishing, whirling tide. She could feel herself wandering as she always did- alone with the souls and sounds of others just out of reach, no matter how hard she strived to near them. But everything was dark and she had to rely on her sense of hearing, which was quickly diminishing into that of someone trapped underwater- gargled and mumbled.

Suddenly everything went deathly silent, as if a deep evil had appeared and all the birds had scattered, the wind held its breath, the water froze paralyzed with fear. A deep thumping stirred somewhere, increasing its tempo and volume with every passing moment. With every beat, Aislinn could feel water begin to fill her lungs, but she could do nothing about it- couldn’t even cry out, for everything was muted except for the unending racing of a heart. A crippling fear was slowly inching towards her, bringing a cold chill and a numbness to her bones that addled her mind to no end. Just as the thumping reached its crescendo, the evil almost upon her, her lungs had opened up despite being filled with water, and it was when she was about to finally scream that she heard a distinct snicker, and everything was dissolving around her- the tenseness of her body, the water in her lungs, the evil presence that lurked above her, it tingled into nothingness.

A voice sounded, different from the prior malicious exhale of breath.

”Oisin; Audona....”

*~*~*~*


The Water Horse’s eyes suddenly opened, the rectangular pupils contracting as morning light met them from the breaks in the leafy canopy above. All hints of sleep one would have expected on any creature were not a part of the Kelpie’s appearance- she was wide awake, almost as if she had never let her mind slip into a resting state in the first place.

A loud whoosh of air passed her nostrils as she stamped her hoof against the ground, shaking her mane of the leaves and bits of grass that undoubtedly made their way into the hair while she slept. She tilted her head and shifted it sideways to stretch her neck a bit before she angled her head up to peer at the treetops with strange, yellow pupils, her maw parting to taste the fresh morning air.

Her musings did not last for more than a second as she returned her head to its original position, staring out into the dim forest. Audona’s nostrils flared and her eyes narrowed, her hoof once more meeting the soft earth below with an irritable stamp. The scent of burnt wood lingered in the air, and the distant sound of mortals stirring filled her ears. How long had it been since was forced into this group, to do the bidding of a snow-capped maiden?

Almost every night Aislinn was tethered to some tree or other, despite the fact that she could not leave regardless, what with her tether in the possession of Fuilteach. She was bound to this place- wherever the woman went she was forced to follow, diminished to nothing more than a pack mule or a simple cart. But she was always stationed far away from the group- a term that had been established two years ago when the Kelpie would refuse to settle in the midst of others- screaming, howling, stamping, decimating anything within reach of her teeth.

She would not allow herself to be ogled every night by those who did not understand, who worked her all day and forced her to share their company. She would not share anyone’s company at night, lest the Water Horse’s ill temper be stirred. It did not matter how far from the group she was- if only off to the side of their resting area distinctly apart from them, or out of sight completely.

However, during the day Aislinn remained rather docile, settled into her fate and allowing herself to be led to wherever the next feather rested. Though, if anyone got too close to her, she would swerve or extend her neck to try to snap her jaws together on any unwary finger or wandering hand. That was another one of her rules- she was not to be touched except when being loaded or unloaded, or when being released into the water. In all reality, it was only the Massacre Princess who did so, as she held possession of the bridle and thus was ‘allowed’ contact.

It wasn’t so much that she despised the others and wanted to bring harm to them, but rather that she was scared and uneasy when in their presence. She didn’t want to be poked and jabbed like a caged animal; everything she did was of an intent of self-preservation and mistrust. There was also the fact that she despised being under the control of another, was in despair that she could not continue her search, no matter how pointless it may be.

Audona stood beside that tree, waiting for the others to get off their lazy bums, for Fuilteach to come and untie her and load supplies onto her back and begin the start of another day. Her situation was not all bad. Despite her longing to be alone, having the company of others where she was previously cursed to wander in solitude was sort of a plus. She didn’t like being with them because of the circumstances, but she made the best of it where she could. It wasn’t like Caoimhe was ignorant or harbored a deep seated hatred for them. No, she was fairly incapable of such- rather focused on the hopelessness of her existence as a whole. In fact, she was somewhat curious about a few of them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis
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It seemed the little elf had been a busy bee. He inclined his head forward slightly to return her greetings, which were far too warm and pleasant for the present company to warrant. His emerald eyes fell on the carcass of the deer she had managed to drag all the way into the camp leaving a trail of blood and disturbed earth behind her. It was impressive that the small woman had managed to drag such a large beast what was, most likely, a considerable distance. He only hoped she had field dressed it as he had no desire for her to gut it in the middle of the camp and leave the entrails there as that would, certainly, cause a rather morbid stench.

It seemed the return of their 'beloved' princess was the catalyst as it seemed everyone was rousing from their slumber, or in the case of the spirit, whatever she did while they slept, but they were not really of his concern. Save for a select few, they were nothing more then the muscle and sycophants of the princess.

Turning his head slightly, he watched the Princess as she absorbed the dark feather once again, he had always been curious of the process, what it would look and feel like, but it seemed he was not going to be able to see it today as her hair, once again, seemed keen on defying his intentions. So, instead, he sated himself with observing her once again. It did not take long, but the sudden change in the air was almost visible, once again something had changed, once again he was forced to watch her behavior to see what had changed, once again, he was preparing to judge her.

Their gaze met and he held it. It seemed he had attracted the attention of his beloved princess. As she walked towards him, he let his gaze fall slightly, not from fear or intimidation, but merely to watch how her body moved as was his hobby. He found everyone had a certain walk or subconscious feel to them as they moved, he always linked the princess to a cat. A predator, but not on that was overly powerful or large. While he could easily picture her stalking the shadows, she was not beheld by them. There was a certain fluidity present.

Aku only brought his eyes back up to meet hers when she stopped by him, and much to his amusement and annoyance, tapped on his mask. The soft clack seeming to echo in his ears. It seemed his presence had some effect, she had certainly seemed to improve in word play. Insulting both his body and his shady past in one phrase, if she had not seem set on continuing in her path, he would have reply, but he would let her have this little win. The trick when dealing with people was to allow them to have just enough room to believe they had control.

With the princess gone, and the others doing what they will, he leaned the back of his head, enjoying the feel of his hood pressed against the bark, he allowed himself to enjoy the few rays of sunlight that were peaking through the trees. It was odd... besides the rustling of the leaves as the occasional breeze blew through, it was... quiet. There was not the occasional song or squalling of the birds.

The rustling of grass caught his attention, and he turned his green eyes to the princess once again and her 'horse'. He was not a fool that was no mere horse, until he met the princess, he had assumed those beast, the Kelpie, were nothing more then fantasies created by the minds of lonely fishermen, but it seemed the legend had some small measure of truth. The beast was... odd, of course, stories of turning to human form was ludicrous, but it was a unique creature.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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Vern nodded his head some as Adrienne stared at him, the kinda stare that would set normal people on edge at the least. Vern however had stared down plenty of mean things in his life by now, so by simple conditioning he no longer was rattled by simple angry gazes. ”Well, guess that could be considered good, if not a little borin’.” He said while stretching his arms up above his head. He followed Adrienne’s gaze when she turned her head, looking over to see Agrona standing next to the waking Aglaeca.

Vern watched the two for a few moments, having lowered his arms. He wasn’t weirded out at the prospect of having non-human in the group or to be working with them; he was perfectly fine with the two and Yuna despite them being of some other race. The thing Yuna had over them though was that Vern knew she was an elf, and not just because of the cute looks or the more obvious ears, but ‘cause she’d actually mentioned it. Those two, he hadn’t an idea of what they were and that made it a little difficult for him to completely trust them. He’d work with them though, but there would always be the little barrier ‘til they told the whole truth.

His eye moved back over to the Princess, turning when he heard a rather ragged inhale of air come from her. He couldn’t see her face, as her hair had fallen over to hide it but was soon moved back as she lifted up her head. He also noticed that the feather she had previously held was now gone. He kept a watch on her for a few moments, but then decided he’d best get himself around. Standing up, leaning back to stretch some more, his back popping in a few places as he did so, he then let the rock wall he was leaning against sink back into the ground as he turned to check on his rucksack. It held what provisions and such that he needed, and he simply checked to make sure everything was in order.

He looked up to see most of the others were up and about by now, or at the very least awake. ”Mornin’, Lyon.” he said noticing the quiet, masked man first. Vern continued digging though his ruck, pulling out a small canteen of water and taking a quick drink from it before putting it back away. He closed it up, now looking up towards Aglaeca and Agrona and saying ”Mornin’ta you two also.” before standing up again.
Looking towards Aku, who was still leaning against the tree, Vern simply nodded his head to the man. It’d taken a few months, but Vern had learned by now that he and Aku were not the most compatible of people. There was no ill feelings on Vern’s end towards the crippled, masked man; Vern though could tell that Aku did not care much for the one-eyed-ex-soldier. Whatever it might be, Vern hadn’t a clue so he simply shrugged and let it be.

He turned to look at Yuna, noticing Adrienne leave the area to probably retrieve the ornery Kelpie, chuckling a bit as he looked over her rather dirty form. ”Been havin’ yourself an adventure this mornin’, eh Yunnie?” He looked over to the buck he had noticed earlier, smiling a bit as he did. ”Lookin’ forward to a solid meal like that, can tell you that much; good catch.” he finished while looking back to the elf. Giving her one last smile, he then made his way past her and towards the edge of the camp. He figured that they’d have a few before they all were ready to get moving on out, and since he was set to go, he’d take the time and practice a bit.

He moved to where the camp was still in sight, as he had no need to get to far away from them, and found a solid looking tree to work with. Cracking his neck, he let his arms hang to his side as he concentrated on the relic around his neck. He could feel the magic flow from it, then only a moment later heard the sound of rock scraping against itself as it roses up from the ground. He then felt the flat pieces of rock surround and conform to the shape of his hands and forearms, a piece also tailing off along the spike of his elbow. He lifted his arms up, flexing them and his hands, feeling the slightly increased weight on his arms and testing the flexibility he still had. Even after having had this relic for more than five years by this point, it still always amazed him some what the magic could do. The relic seemed to support the rocks on his arm so that they didn’t weight them down too much, and the relic was even capable of moving and shaping the rocks in a way that it didn’t rob him of any flexibility in his hands or elbows. Smiling, he then began his quick and simple punch combinations, using the tree as his target; enjoying the light thunk that resounded each time his stone covered fists would meet with the solid trunk of the tree.

He cast a quick glance over to the The Princess when she returned to the camp with the odd horse in tow. He stopped for a moment, somewhat distracted by the strange creature, but shook his head and went back to his combinations. He had no intention of going near it, less he get something nipped or bit by it, and he was close enough that if he was needed, The Princess, or anybody, could call out to him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis
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"Yeah, I heard it as soon as I woke up." Yuna replied to Vern although it was obvious. She had cleaned out the deer on her way, which was why she was covered in blood, Yuna hadn't wanted the campsite to smell of rotting appendages and it would also keep any wild animals at bay because the scent of meat was stronger then the group's dirty aroma. "Good morning Argona, good morning Aglaeca," the elf didn't like the devil very much because of something in her past, but Yuna would not ignore him because she was raised better then to be so petty as to hold a grudge.

Yuna took out her knife and began to strip the carcass, she was happy that everyone seemed in good spirits this morning. Perhaps a hearty breakfast would help to fuel a great adventure on this beautiful day! A unexplained feeling of panic rose in her throat and Yuna placed the knife on the ground, calmly going through her bag to make sure the relic was still there. Yes, the ancient stone was nested in the cloth on the bottom of her satchel. With a sigh of relief Yuna leaned back and closed her haversack, going back to her previous task of collecting nutriment from the dead animal.

Once she finished Yuna went a bit away from the camp and hung up the meat on a nearby tree so that she could collect wood for the fire. Yuna didn't want to light the fire at their bivouac because she didn't want to draw attention to their presence. The fire was started and slowly she roasted the meat over the flames, glad that there was enough meat for everyone to not only have seconds, but thirds. It had been a large, fat, animal that clearly had, had a good, long life before Yuna had hunted it. "Mm, I can't wait to eat!" She sing songed, licking her lips. She had learned to love whatever food came her way and was no longer particularly picky about what it might be; whether an edible plant, or a desert rat.

The elf put out the fire, all of the meat was done and she had even brewed a pot of tea for Aku from the mint leaves she had been keeping in her bag. Hopefully Yuna would have some time to forge for plants later, but first she wanted to present everyone with the food while it was still warm.

When Yuna returned, Adrienne was arriving with the Kelpie. A wondrous beast that often entranced Yuna; she had no idea if Kelpie ate elves but Yuna was sure to steer clear of the beautiful horse just in case. "Food's ready!" The elf declared, hoping she had projected enough for her all of friends to hear, even the ones that had wandered into the woods. Yuna placed the large leaf with the roasted meat on a dead tree stump and took out a cup to pour the tea for Aku. "Here you go," she said, bringing the cup and two pieces of meat to the older man so that he wouldn't have to get up.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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#, as written by phooka
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Movement in her peripherals caused Aerona to shift her focus back to the form of Aglaeca who was just beginning to come to from his slumber. He spoke her name sleepily and she quietly responded with a simple "I'm here" to confirm her presence to him. Her eyes then swept back across the group and Agrona saw that Lyon had returned leaving everybody but the Kelpie accounted for.

"You sure are early... had a good sleep?" She whipped her head back towards her companion, feigning irritation at the joke that he had made, they both knew each other too long to miss the hint of sarcasm in the other's voice when making such wisecracks.

Her mock anger split into a smile, "oh you know that I did. Now get up and get ready, little monster, or we'll all be waiting on you." However, Agrona saw that her little friend's attention was focused more on the group than on their shared banter, so she also turned her own attentions back towards the rest, her face a mixture of curiosity and amusement. It seemed that Adrienne had gone off to untie the pesky kelpie. Not that she minded the horse's presence, she actually quite enjoyed to think of all of the chaos such a beast could cause if it decided to. As Adrienne was away, the rest of the group carried on in a sleepy manner. The only member who seemed truly away was Yuna, the little elf girl, who was presently stripping the carcass of and preparing deer. While eating wasn't a necessity for the Spirit, she did enjoy partaking in it but the prospect of venison for breakfast did not appeal to her picky palette as it wasn't what she considered to be a breakfast-food. And so, with a melodramatic sigh, Aerona turned her attention to the other members of the group. Unfortunately, neither Aku nor Vern managed to hold her attention very long and all that Lyon was doing was reading, so she turned her eyes back to Aglaeca who was flopped on the ground in a similar state of boredom as she. "Now what?" he asked, his head turned the slightest bit in her direction.

The Spirit gathered her skirts and sat down beside him, "I suppose all that we can do is wait for the dustlings to do something interesting. Funny, their time is fleeting yet they waste it by never doing anything interesting." She closed her eyes, unlike the Mortals she had all the time in the world and, while bored at the moment, she knew how quickly moments get lost in the current of time when you have lived so long as she. If no one else does, perhaps I might have to stir something up, It'd be a shame to give these mortals so much peace. I don't understand how they're not bored out of their minds.' Agrona thought with slight irritation.

Soon, however, the rustling of the underbrush alerted Agrona to the approach of the leader of the group and the kelpie. She reopened her eyes and watched Adrienne. She seemed to be agitated, her posture appeared tense and uncomfortable. The Spirit rose to her feet and she approached the other woman, slightly concerned though not bothering to show it. "Is everything alright, Princess?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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#, as written by MeshET
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In the barren fields, where the fallen comrades remained on the ground, a single body retained life. Her purple armor battered and her lance coated in crimson red, her white hair fluttered about in the air as blood slowly trickled down from her forehead. With one eyes closed, she observed the remains of the battlefield before her. Her comrades, all dressed in similar purple armor, lays lifelessly on the ground, many stabbed and without a head, rarely was there ever a clean body. Beyond the graveyard, armies scattered about the land, injured and in no less serious condition than the female warrior. Yet they stood up, determined.

With a silent roar, battle spirits were stirred up once again in her heart. Her will and determination rises to a higher peak and ignoring the pain that numbs her entire body, she charged forward with her lance in hand. The soldiers responded to their brave enemy, forgetting their injuries as well and going forth into a battle against one of the strongest Valkyrie in the land, without the fear of death itself.




"Mornin', Lyon."

A voice disrupted his attention on his book, as he brought his head up to discern the voice. Vern, apparently already awake since Lyon last saw him, greeted him as he dug through his bag for a small canteen before shoving it back into his bag and walking off. The laid-back fighter was one of the few rare people with the rare color of red for hair. Throughout the course of his journeys, he was told and convinced that the color red was hardly found anywhere and due to that, Lyon's red hair was always the once thing that most people spot for in a crowd. But with his skills and natural ability to retain a small presence, he managed to escape what could be considered life and death situations for him.

He didn't planned to do anything about it however. He believes that this color of his was given to him by his parents, and though he may not have the chance to see her, his mother had one of the most beautiful hair as described by his father. He was blessed with such a color for hair, but had he not lost his sight, maybe he could have appreciated it more.

Lyon despises the color of his hair. For whatever reasons, ever since he possessed this unknown accursed illness that suddenly took his sight one day, robbing him of whatever chance he could have to remember the face of his mother. But Lyon turned away from that awful memory. He closed his eyes lightly, hidden under the mask he wore. Moments later, he opened his eyes again. Everyone else was currently more or less awake, with the Princess bringing back Audona, the Kelpie. Namely, a magical water horse that Adrienne had brought with her along with the group. She was used as a luggage carrier, carrying most of the group's equipment and such. While Lyon certainly did not disagree that having someone - or something - do most of the carrying would definitely lighten the burden on the group, he felt as if he needed to do his work as well, if not to kill off some of the guilt he built inside him. Surely enough, he wanted to treat the horse as an equal, but he didn't dared to speak up for he thought he might overstep certain bounds set by either the group or the horse herself. She was never fond of humans.

Nevertheless, he remained quiet. Agrona seems to have gotten up and went to where the Princess emerged from, asking whether if there was a problem. Deciding that it was best to look directly at the direction of where the two was, he brought his attention back to his book, still splitting a part of his concentration to the conversation in order to see whether anything was really wrong. It was a hunch of his, but he had a feeling something will happen soon. Or he could just be paranoid. Either way, he'll find out soon enough.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Luo Qingzhao Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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#, as written by moahi
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"I suppose all that we can do is wait for the dustlings to do something interesting. Funny, their time is fleeting yet they waste it by never doing anything interesting."

Aglaeca sat up from the ground, grinning slightly at the irritation evident in her voice. Agrona was never quite content with giving humans some time for their peace, and like him, she never quite understood how they could not tire of their constant activities. “But thats what makes them interesting, is it not?” he asked, a glint coming into his eyes. For once he looked closer to the creature that he was instead of a normal boy. However, it was gone as soon as it came, his attention directed to the rest of the group, the others who were carrying on in their usual ways, and Yuna, who was the only one wide awake, preparing the deer carcass for their breakfast. The idea of food sounded almost ludicrous to the young devil, whose favorite food used to be the souls of sinners, but he did need nourishment while he was in the over world, after all.

The sound from the undergrowth snapped him out of his thoughts as the princess appeared, leading the odd-looking horse. He had seen many monsters in his stay in the underworld, but none of them looked quite like the kelpie, both beautiful and chaotic. It was a very interesting creature to say the least, though he was sure to stay away from it. He could recover fine, but he did not fancy getting bitten the least.

The princess soon caught his attention as Agrona walked over to her, asking if she was alright. That wasn’t something you see everyday. It was not always that Adrienne appeared irritable and tense, seemingly disturbed by something, to the point that Agrona actually noticed it and was concerned for her. Something was not right this morning, and he could have sworn he saw shadows following the princess, flitting just out of sight whenever she tried to catch sight of them. It could be a part of his imagination though, but he narrowed his eyes at that nevertheless, before getting up and brushing himself off, heading toward Agrona and the Adrienne.

“Something is off today, did we get a few more observers?” He asked them, inclining his head slightly. He didn’t think it was quite a big problem, as the group was more than capable of finishing them off, but you can’t be too careful with things like that.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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#, as written by Skwidge
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With the rustling of the underbrush, Audona tilted her head to peer down at the snow-capped woman, paying little heed to the words that proceeded from her lips as she approached. A soft huff of air passed her nostrils as the other began working on the knots that held her to the tree. The woman seemed to struggle a bit at first with the knots which caused the Kelpie to shift somewhat impatiently, but Adrienne made quick work once she figured them out.

Caoimhe made no attempts to resist as the Princess of Massacre led her back to the group- an unusual occurrence, as it seemed the Kelpie loved to inconvenience the woman as much as possible in any way she could to display her disdain for any one situation. Perhaps it was because she was distracted by that dream, or she was uneasy having been in this area for such a long time. Her maw was about an inch or two away from the woman’s shoulder, being led very closely to the other’s body. Yet she did not try to lash out or bite- she never had attempted to do so with the Princess. It was pointless, and no doubt she would receive some sort of punishment. And the last thing she wanted was more contact or time with Fuilteach.

However, about the same time that Adrienne felt an unnatural presence in the forest with them, Audona made an abrupt stop and steadied her shoulders as she threw her head up softly to pull at the tether in the woman’s hand, a snort leaving her nostrils as she lowered her neck forward and stared at Fuilteach with those strange pupils of hers. Her tail swatted loudly against her haunches, turning her head this way and that to shake her mane out a bit. Her eyes then settled forward, ready to reunite with the group. She did not like being watched, and whatever the other presence was, it bothered her to no end- unsurprising when considering she rarely stayed around when she felt uneasy or threatened. Her actions obviously confirmed Miss Massacre’s suspicions as well, though such confirmation was unneeded.

Adrienne did not dilly dally, and was soon dashing forward; Aislinn might have been caught off guard had she not been watching the woman intently, but her legs moved almost as soon as the snow-capped maiden’s did. Audona was surprised, though- it almost seemed as if she were… concerned? Adrienne did not run from any sort of fight, it wasn’t in her personality to do so.

They appeared in the small clearing shortly after to find everyone minding their own business and apparently greeting one another. However, at the woman’s appearance, everyone turned their head to see what was up. Each one in turn looked first from Fuilteach then to herself. This was why she did not like being in their presence- no matter how many times they may have seen her, they still ogled every time. It made her feel small and her captivity all the more pressing a fact.

While she did not particularly meet the gaze of any one of them, she watched them in turn as they watched her. From the distant Folaigh who sat against the trunk of a tree calculating everyone around him despite the fact that it was hard to tell where his gaze rested, to AonSuil who lingered a little ways out pummeling some poor tree or other- she could feel his half-gaze resting on her form for a moment, the wooden thunks of the tree pausing for a moment before resuming- then the chirpy voice of Uallach as she announced a meal had been prepared, suddenly appearing beside Folaigh and offering him a preparation of some meat or other- practically staring at Audona the whole time she wandered over to the cripple- the little Plá and restless Colgach seemingly hovering beside a tree, and finally Púicín who for some reason or other held a book in his hand despite his dead eyes.

Aislinn dug a hoof into the ground, upsetting the dirt there as she diverted her attention away from the group. She heard what each and every one of them were actually called, but just as they did not care or bother to use her name, she did not use theirs. It seemed unreasonable and foolish, in both the fact that she did not want to accept such personal qualities- that these beings were capable of having any past or warrant for their name, that they were anything other than inconsiderate and selfish- and that they did not give her the same consideration; they likened her to nothing more than a mindless creature, only to be used as a beast of burden and nothing more, like she didn’t have a past, that she didn’t have an actual purpose other than to be taken advantage of and used until she was no longer of any importance or advantage.

Her thoughts were interrupted when Colgach seemed to be approaching them with words appearing to be as sweet as honey and actually concerned. "Is everything alright, Princess?" Audona’s pupils narrowed with every step the spirit committed towards them, and she pulled her head back abruptly with a snort of discontent once she decided the other had come too close. The majority of her dislike for the group rested on the two other inhuman creatures. Spirits were tricky and selfish- they took advantage of whatever they could whenever they could, bringing misery and pain for their own twisted delight.

Demons and demonically tainted spirits were worse. They tortured souls to no end, eventually devouring them once they grew bored. They made twisted deals with hosts, never really fulfilling their part of the pact and making the life of their host a living hell. They were blood-ravaged creatures, thirsting for life’s liquid but never really satisfied by it. No, they went for the soul itself, ripping it apart slowly if they could get to it before it disappeared into the afterlife. Should they, the essence of a creature would be lost to all existence, locked in a state of excruciating pain and nothingness, doomed to relive every second of their death and destruction, the only thing they could feel or even have some semblance of existence being that pain.

At least, that was what Audona knew of them. And why should she think these two to be any different? There was no reason for her to suspect abnormality. Each inhuman had its way of dealing with things, and while these two seemed content for the time being, Aislinn did not believe it for a second. The Kelpie couldn’t really be blamed- after all, it was a concoction of both types that made her into what she was, that cursed her to her own existence. Perhaps she should be thankful for her impossible being- that she did not have to suffer nothingness. But that was far from her mind.

The little Plá was quick to follow at Agrona’s heels as soon as he realized she had moved, and he too spoke when he neared the three of them, “Something is off today, did we get a few more observers?” Aislinn really seemed to snap when the other settled about a foot or two away. She reared back ever so slightly, her front legs lifting about two or three inches from the ground, pulling Adrienne back a bit as her neck shifted backwards.

An unnatural snarl left her maw, directed towards the both of them as her hooves hit the dirt and she lurched forward with a feral snort, pulling her shoulders back and lifting her chin in a threatening manner. She might suffer one being close for a while, but the both of them she would rarely accept. When she was close to either turbulent being, it would stir her own malicious nature, and Audona did not like that. She didn’t want to sink down to such levels; she did not want to allow her existence as a Kelpie to rear up, murderous and chaotic and delighting in destruction and pain. She was not that creature. She would not let her humanity slip through her fingers just like that….

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Lu Fei and Shi Xin Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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#, as written by Layla

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The sky fell everyday.

The sun sank beneath the horizon like a fickle limb evacuating the body when the miles stretched too far. Not tonight, it would say, and the clouds would mirror promises they would never keep, sweeping across the ceiling and abandoning the earth to brown into a crisp with crevices lining its brittle face like an ageing man. Rain fell, lightning fell and leaves fell from a million different branches to be trampled by the creatures that in turn hacked the trees to the ground. They fell like bodies or perhaps bodies fell like pieces of wood, but mother nature was unbiased. She embraced them all, pulverising them into dust particles that would one day shiver into diamonds. Perhaps there was beauty in death, but certainly, not in this.

The girl - if you could call this lump a girl - dangled from the statue with her limbs askew. Blood pooled on her fingertips to collapse onto the top of her head, her head which was not on top of her shoulders where it should have been. The corpse's vacant gaze was oblivious to the crowd that pressed around it in huddles, its ears deaf to the muttered prayers and trembling whispers. The sight of the gawking crowd with their faces ashen with disgust made Xin ache. Why was nobody lowering her body? Why were they prolonging her torture by leaving her there like a slab of meat at a butcher's window? Her family would arrive soon, and nobody deserved to see their daughter, sister or wife so brutally mutilated. Xin stepped forward.

"Don't." Fei's fingers curled around her wrist and jerked her backwards. She scathed him with a glare. "This isn't in our jurisdiction."

"Yeah, neither is clothes shopping so why don't we just run around naked?" She jerked her wrist. He tightened his grip. "Let go."

"Don't be rash."

"Oh, okay, give me a moment," she said sarcastically. "I'll just go ahead and find somewhere to die."

"Don't be absurd." Frustration escaped his lips in a long sigh.

"What, now you want me to kill myself twice? That is biologically impossible."

"So is reason, it seems," he said.

"Only on Tuesdays."

Movement in the crowd diverted their attention. The body was being lowered from its perch but the guards were struggling to grasp the fragments, what was left of her skin slippery with blood. Fei tugged her arm lightly and said in a gentler tone, "come on." This time she followed.

They'd been in Billarf's Tavern - what sorcery impelled a person to name their child Billarf? - when they heard the scream. Fei had been content to continue reading The Anthropological Treatises of Josëfaen Harchdenbraich but Xin insisted that they check that no one was being slaughtered by "intergalactic elvish priests," albeit somewhat reluctantly. She'd been playing Drunkard's Cards with a number of brutes the night before. The battle had been intense, lasting all through the night. It would've ended with her as the victor of a small fortune - the only reason Fei ever tolerated her "petty games" - had she not been such a selfless, beautiful soul. Alas, a hero of Jeildae could not rest when justice called.

They sighed through the streets now as the city ascended into the new day, dodging the cascading bucketfuls of murky water and the merchants shoving their wares at weary passer-bys. The twins stretched their consciousness in search of stolen and unregistered Variants, tendrils of an invisible sight passing over the vivid array of fruits and vegetables, through the cracks of uneven pavement, rummaging through the pockets of scrawny children. It was a natural instinct now. They'd recovered innumerable Variants in the last decade alone. Just last year they'd uncovered one of the Shadow of Airen's strongholds, returning dozens of rare Irelian artefacts hidden amongst other stolen goods to the Irelian government.

Finding lost Variants was the least unpleasant of their duties. Today their purpose was to "arrest and garner information from a suspected Irelian traitor and associate of the Shadow," but they knew better. There would be no trial nor polite inquiry, just the rattle of bones and steel, especially if the Irelian defence force believed them to be partners to the notorious Shadow, and certainly not if they were traitors. If there was nothing else Irelia condemned, it would be Irelians who betrayed the nation.

"You care too much," Fei stated abruptly.

"And you care too little," Xin replied, preoccupied with the glint of a silver clasp. Vines sprouted from the gleaming lily, swirling into an intricate bracelet that winked from the merchant's store.

"That is not untrue," he said, a whisper of a smile tugging at his lips. As they wandered away from the city centre, Fei's gaze drifted towards the forest that loomed behind the sprinkle of houses that dotted the areas sporadically. The number of people had waned considerably the further they'd traveled, the lovely cobblestone streets fading into patches of cracked cement that crept through the dirt paths. Fei rested a hand on his sister's arm, head tilted towards the trees. He stepped into the forest, gliding through the mess of wild flora like a silent ghost.

"Do you feel that?' Fei whispered, holding himself remarkably still between a thorny bush and poisoned mushrooms.

"Yeah, my breasts are aching too." Xin massaged her chest with the palms of her hands. "I think it's that time of the month again."

"Hilarious," Fei said drily.

"It really isn't. I wish these things lasted an hour instead of a week." She sighed. "I mean, okay, you've made your point. I'm not pregnant. You can go now."

"Shh." Fei stepped back, forcing her behind him.

A snarl jerked through the forest, distorted and unnatural. It nearly distracted Xin from the roaring hiss of the artefact. It was something other, not quite Variant but possessing an immense energy that was reminiscent of Sakuradite in its purest form, humming with the desire to act, alive.

"What the hell is that?" she gasped.

"I think they can hear us."

"They? Who's they? We're the only ones here. Gosh, Fei, you really need to learn to stop speaking in riddles because nobody understands y-"

"You're hungover," Fei admonished, a hint of surprise lacing his words as he looked at her, really looked at her. It was difficult to differentiate between the effects of alcohol and her personality when it came to whatever it was that made her say bizarre things most of the time, but why had he not realised? Of course. Of course she would be hungover.

"Of course I'm not hungover," she said, exasperated. "I'm still drunk."

"Run."

"What?"

"Run."

"I can't, I'm wearing high-"

He threw his weight into her, snatching her arm as he dashed past. Xin stumbled behind him before finding her footing. Fei urged her forward, entirely prepared for her to outrun him as she always did, regardless of her footwear. She had to.

The Variant would have to wait, because whatever else was in the forest with them, it was not human.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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Aku starred at the offerings for a few seconds before reaching up and taking the offered items. The glass of tea's warmth slipping through his gloves, a pleasant feeling on such a morning. It was always an annoyance when others went out of their way for him due to his... disabilities, but it was something he had gotten used to in the last few years, that, and he had no intention of turning away perfectly fine tea.

"Gracious of you, Yuna, my thanks," Aku said to the little elf who was a frustrating thing on her own. Inhumanly beautiful and far too 'kind' at times, it sickened him on some level that someone like her was running around in the world. A large part of him had wanted to see that hope get crush, that light in her eyes slowly wither and die before the harsh reality of the world, but then, that warmth was also a comfort at times, and perhaps, the world could use some light. It would be dull if it got so dark that a man could not see their hand in front of their face.

He gently picked up a strip of meat between two fingers, and brought it to the front of his mask and gave it a small sniff, before reaching up with his other hand and lifting the bottom of his mask just far enough to slip the meat up into his mouth. Yes, it had always amused him how others would constantly watch him as he ate for the first time, assuming he took off his mask to do so when it was a very simply matter to turn his head and lift the very bottom of it up.

The meat was rough and gamey, lacking any real seasonings, but that was hardly Yuna's fault. Although, the next location they stopped in, he was going to be sure to acquire some salt. Aku chewed quietly, letting his eyes roam each person in their morning actives, and trying to ignore the very annoying sounds of fist hitting bark. Why the boy had decided on ruining the peaceful silence with his nonsensical desire for physical violence would never be something he could understand.

His emerald eyes snapped to his 'beloved' princess as she called for two of them to join her. The brute and the blind man, well, that was fine, it saved him the effort of having to worry about her doing something incredibly foolish when she was not in his sight. She felt more like a troublesome pet that he had to constantly apologize for more then a 'great warrior'. But there was some difference, even a troublesome pet could be forced to obey, but the Princess wasn't someone he could bend quiet so easily. Was she worth the effort?

"So the Princess enters the dark woods with two men all on her lonesome, my, oh my," Aku said to no one in particularly bringing his cup of tea to his mouth and taking a small sip, the heat stinging his tongue, "I can only imagine the sheer horror of a little Princess running around."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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Yuna did not concern herself with things such as watching Aku eat, or whether or not the Kelpie took a liking to her. They were things that carried no weight; small matters that would not keep her up at night. The young elf finished her helping, it was rather easy for her to chew the gamy meat for elves had sharper teeth than a normal human. When Vern complimented her cooking, she looked up and smiled, grateful for the comment. It was very hard to cook without spices and herbs, but she tried to use the familiar plants around her to give breakfast at least a bit of flavor. "Thank you, I'm glad you like it."

A rustling caught her attention, the Kelpie's whine confirming her thoughts. Someone else was out there; Adrienne seemed to sense it as well and took off, calling Vern and Lyon to assist her. The elf frowned, she never got to help on these hunts but alas it was for the best as she vowed to never kill unless it was for survival. Fifteen minutes, that was all the time they had to pack up. Yuna went over to the bush where she had been keeping her belongings and put away her things. The rest of her leaves, the salve for injuries, her quiver and bow. It all fit into the bag she slung over her shoulder.

Now that she was ready to go Yuna wondered what else she could do. The old man didn't seem to appreciate it when she offered him help. Argona and Al seemed to like to keep to themselves as well. Perhaps she could associate with the Kelpie then? Cautiously the elf walked over to the beautiful lake dwelling creature and wondered how something so marvelous could be such a deviant. "Would you like some meat?" Yuna asked, offering a piece that hadn't been eaten. She knew these animals enjoyed the taste of flesh and she hoped it wouldn't attempt to eat the elf instead of the food.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Lu Fei and Shi Xin Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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#, as written by Layla

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Silence screamed in the nanosecond following the Princess of Massacre's words before a series of deafening whistles devoured it whole. The twins hissed three notes that teased one another like static harmonies, sounding more like the wail of machines than humans or animals. The sound roared throughout the forest, its intangible fingers dancing through every nook and crevice, seeking its Sakuradite prey. Every Variant weapon within a one mile radius shivered so furiously smoke danced from the friction the vibrations caused, and nearly every, if not all the Variants jerked into flight, slicing through the forest like pack animals answering the call of their Alpha and Omega. They jerked to a stop around the two figures now poised for battle, hovering around them like obedient dogs in a circular formation, before pointing themselves at their masters' enemies. There was hardly a pause before they arched towards the Princess of Massacre and her male companion.

A simple gold pen slipped into Fei's palm, shimmering into a gold staff that was taller than even him. His Variant Khakkharra caught the morning sun and amplified it, jarring in its abrupt luminescence. He wasted no time as he lunged for the woman who'd known their identities, the deadly point of his spear arching over his head to slice into where the woman stood. He moved with a fluid grace reminiscent of sea creatures gliding through water as he held the woman's gaze with eyes that gleamed like sapphire gems, his features utterly devoid of emotion.

The welcoming smile Xin bore had bled into something eerie, a dimple that might've been adorable in any other circumstance decorating her feral grin. The delicate canines that echoed Fei's had lengthened to clang against her bottom teeth, alabaster metal colliding like the bite of swords as she bared her teeth at the man she'd playfully teased moments before. Still, she barely changed form, choosing instead to slip the straw-thin needles that held her hair between her fingertips. She swung her arms outward and released the needles at the two trees she'd carefully calibrated would fall where her enemies were. The needles gleamed, hissing and flattening into thin, razor sheets that sliced through the thick trunks of the old trees. There were a groan as the branches swayed before the trees toppled down like fallen beasts. She leaped backwards with an inhuman speed to avoid them, falling into a crouch that kicked smoke and embers into the air as she skidded to a stop.

Sakuradite pulsed in their bones and hummed in their veins, granting them impossible skill with their Variant weapons. No creature, no matter how skilled or experienced, should have been able to bend the will of a Variant, much less multiple. with such liquid grace and precision. Xin beamed, taunting, like a feline playing with its prey. They needed them alive, this she knew from the glare Fei lodged between her eyes. They needed one of them alive. The boy would have to do.

"Oh, just the Public Library of Airen," she replied to the earlier question. "You have an overdue book. I believe it was called 'Premeditated Murder Made Easy.'"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Agrona Caedwyn Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Lu Fei and Shi Xin Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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"Everyone prepare to leave in fifteen. Vern and Lyon, come with me." Agleacea held himself back from groaning with disappointment. Hardly anything came for him to actually have fun, and now she was going to hunt without him? There were souls, and he could sense it, a more primitive, demonic instinct to consume them, leaving them in darkness. Still, he held back the desire to destroy, and simply nodded, shooting a curious look at the kelpie. It never seemed to like it when the both of them were there, but most people didn’t, anyway. He was somewhat used to being hated and shied away from, so he stepped back, leaving the kelpie alone to her own private space.

“Be back soon!” He called after them as the princess went into the forest, along with Vern and Lyon. “Geez… and it was such a perfect opportunity to get my breakfast too…” he muttered under his breath as he looked at the forest. He could vaguely sense their souls, though they were different, somewhat. It was odd, but they didn’t feel like normal humans, or sinners by the looks of it. There was something off about them, like they were made that way, but again he might be too paranoid about it.

"So the Princess enters the dark woods with two men all on her lonesome, my, oh my, I can only imagine the sheer horror of a little Princess running around."
Aku spoke then, snapping him out of his thoughts, as he fixed his bright purple orbs on the crippled man, a mischievous smile dancing on his lips.“So… do you want to go after her on that horse thing? Because I am going in there, all right.” he asked, shooting a meaningful look at the kelpie. It would be rather funny to see how Audona reacts to that after all, a bit of amusement for him. Still the uneasy feeling nagged at him, and his curiosity to finding a new type of soul was far too much. “Yep, I’m going after them.” He said, again, as if testing and confirming that statement, before running off in all his demonic speed, like a child who was out to play. It would be fun watching them fight, and even joining in if he wanted to, the perfect thing for a morning exercise. If he was lucky, he might even get to eat the souls too. At least, that was what he thought when he tree almost fell on him.

“Whaa?!” He yelped, nimbly dodging aside as he grabbed the trunk and lifted it up, no problem at all. He could already see Adrienne’s silver hair, her back facing him along with Vern. Lyon was probably hidden somewhere, being the cautious person he was, and Aglaeca scanned the surroundings one last time, before focusing his attention on the enemies, one of which was pointing a weapon at the princess. A variant. The skill the boy was able to wield them with was brilliant, his actions almost perfect as he attacked, looking like a dance. Too perfect. It almost made him feel uneasy, but there were more serious things at hand.

“Hey Adrienne, Vern! You guys okay?” He called out, carefully leaving lyon’s name out in case they hadn’t noticed the man just yet. Though he was sure that they could dodge it, he still held the tree, ready to hurl it in case the princess or his companion can’t dodge the blows.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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The sudden voice in the silence broke his concentration, and Aku looked up at the small, demonic boy, or small demon that took the form of a little boy... or perhaps a small, demon boy? Then again... did it really matter? Was there a noticeable difference between the nuances? He granted there was some difference between each of them, but was it noticeable enough for him to make a true distinction? Even more importantly, did he truly care? No, he supposed he did not. Lost in this thoughts over the subtle difference in address, he did not have time to answer him before he was taking off in the direction that the Princess went off to.

With the two men, his beloved princess, and the boy, whose classification would be determined at a later date, gone from the camp, Aku would almost venture that it looked as if he was going to have a decent morning so far as mornings went. Reaching into his small pack next to him, for security purposes, he pulled out a small black notebook as well as a small pen and started to write, the pen scratching paper filling the fairly quiet woods.

As he reached for his nearly empty cup of tea, he flinched as the loud, ear-splitting wail filled the woods, the sound distorting and changing due to the trees until whatever initial purpose the sound had was indiscernible to Aku. So great was the sound that it had nearly surprised him enough to force him to drop his tea, which any lesser man would have, but Aku was no lesser man and was made of sterner stuff when it came to holding onto his tea, the only solace he had on these long treks to recover their beloved Princess.

Although, there was a new question that arose due to that scream, just what had the princess gotten herself into this time? He supposed it would be unfair to assume it was her, but he was never a fair person to begin with. The odds were very strong that his beloved princess had done something... incredibly... stupid again, and he had less then little desire to go limping around the forest chasing after whatever terrible beast made that sound. She had her two boys with her and the little demon had gone off as well, perhaps others would follow, but Aku was not going to be one of those. If she died here then so be it, it made his job a little easier, but the Princess was a fairly annoyingly hard person to kill, so she would probably survive. Perhaps, if he was lucky, the group would lose a few members, save him a few coins at the next town.

Taking the overdue sip from his quickly vanishing tea, Aku returned to his work, the scraping of pen against paper filling the air once again.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vern Baralli Character Portrait: Aglaeca Nero Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Lu Fei and Shi Xin Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis Character Portrait: Lyon Kazuto
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Yuna was delighted by the fact that the Kelpie had taken the offering; her smile widened in surprise and amazement. Perhaps the two could be a bit friendlier now? It was while she was waiting with her things that Aglaeca stood and announced he was taking his leave with the wondrous creature that had since turned her back on them all. . Yuna yawned and hugged her knees, she was sitting on the ground now having moved away from the horse since it no longer wanted anything to do with them. Consequently invading Yuna's mind were images of Adrienne being attacked and she winced, a splitting headache developing behind her eyes. She could see the Princess of Massacre in trouble, a pack odd dog like beasts approaching with the speed of a cheetah, snapping at anything that moved. The elf dropped her things, leaving her bag with the relic, her quiver of arrows, and bow before running, leaping over branches and avoiding trees; her elegant white wings tucked in as much as the bones would allow so that she could reach the Princess faster.

"BFNATEXTRA NITM!"(This is actual Elvish) She yelled, using two fingers to aim and shoot the Kagene away from Adrienne. "Are you alright?" Yuna asked, rushing to the Princess's side, her wings untucking flitting about nervously, as she looked over the woman. She noticed the bite marks in Adrienne's side but knew she couldn't use magic because the Adrienne had told her that she was immune to spells. Luckily there was a healing salve in Yuna's backpack, but she had left that back at the camp.

The pink haired female went to check on the others, knowing that her Princess was more capable and competent when it came to fighting then any of them. A loud crash brought her attention to the falling tree and Vern rolling right out from under it before Aglaeca caught it. Knowing that he had it under control, Yuna turned to face the opponents. One had legs that looked like they could cross whole lands in one stride, the other had hard, rugged features; both had faces any human could easily fall in love with. Luckily, Yuna was not human and so she was not affected by their stunning aesthetic and perfect symmetry. "So you're the ones I smelled earlier," she turned to them, knees bent in case she had to flee or dodge.

Yuna pushed her gloves up, wondering for a fraction of a second as to where Lyon had fled to. Yuna noticed Aglaeca hadn't called the man's name, perhaps he had died in the first few seconds of battle? No, Lyon was smarter then that. She wasn't going to make assumptions based on appearances. Just like these two, no doubt they were deadly, taking down a huge tree like that and letting Kagene loose? Where had they gotten that kind of summoning power, or had it merely been coincidence that the demon beasts appeared?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuna Ran Character Portrait: Kachinonai Aku Character Portrait: Lu Fei and Shi Xin Character Portrait: Audona Aislinn Caoimhe Character Portrait: Adrienne M. Adamantis
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#, as written by Layla

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Fei sidestepped the creature’s kick, bringing his arms forward to trap its leg between his forearms. It was as if it had predicted such a manoeuvre as the leg was tucked safely behind it mere moments before his limbs could react. It thrust its weapon towards his abdomen. Fei swung his body away from the jab as he parried the variant’s attack with his own, its strength hissing through his bones. He did not doubt the jab would have fractured a few of his ribs had it met its mark.

“Vern, take over here,” it called from its crouch a distance away before bursting into a sprint towards – Xin. Fei made to attack the creature but its companion slinked towards him, blocking his path with his frivolous words. “You folks seemed like such nice people too, but ‘ey I always like a good fight.” Fei brought his variant forward to impale the one-eyed demon’s throat.

His staff sank into what was indisputably, not flesh. It felt like a rotting corpse. Fei jerked his variant from the inner burrows of the screeching mass, its limbs slinking towards him like inky shadows. The forest was engulfed in the mars black presence of madness and evil. They echoes of old tortures ripped from their shriveled bodies as they devoured the morning sun and the people beneath it.

“Xin!” he called, spinning to peak above the piles of rotting creatures who grappled for a taste of his human flesh. His variant had rippled into a circular shield, twelve spokes extending from its middle. The gold surface hissed with smoke, embers licking the heart of the variant sun before bursting into a revolving flame. The sun disk resting at its center spun with increasing speed and the creatures flinched from the heat or light before stalking forward, screams alive with fury. Fei searched for his sister as he unsheathed the blade at his back.

“Fei!” There was no humour in his sister’s voice now, only a crawling panic that kissed frost along her spine. She could not see her brother, barely grasped the low growl of his voice through the wailing of the tortured souls. She stared into the pulsing glass of the creatures’ eyes that threatened to burst from their sockets as whatever agony they had endured struggled to escape. A branch caught her ankle as she stumbled backwards and then it was not a branch at all, but the crackle of bones as the fingers dug crescent moons into her flesh. Pain leapt from her ankle to her mind as she jerked her leg free.

The stench of decay fingered in her hair of multitudinous horrors as the faceless creatures gasped. Hungry, they hissed. Hungry. The bark of the tree pressed splinters into Xin’s back. She hadn’t realised she’d been retreating. A creature lunged towards her.

“Xin, get up. The creatures grappled against the shield of flames he held before them. Xin pushed herself from the ground, clutching her hands in front of her to stifle the tremors that snaked through her veins.

“Okay,” she told Fei. “Okay,” she told herself.

Xin’s skin rippled.

“Split,” she hissed. Fei nodded, turning away from her to brace himself in front of the two women – the creature he’d fought against minutes before and a strange girl with a frailty that contradicted the fierceness of her gaze as she crouched in front of the Princess of Massacre.

"So you're the ones I smelled earlier," the little one growled. Fei turned his back on the two figures, bringing his sword and shield forward to defend them against the creeping monsters. He swung the blade across the abdomen of a dark one, eliciting a blood-curdling scream.

“We are not the enemy,” he said.

Meanwhile a light had unfurled in Xin’s chest, pushing past the walls of her skin to give her a faint luminescence that grew with each pulse of her heartbeat. A flame flickered in her gaze, but did not rise. She bared her open palms and a gleam of pearl white teeth at the dark creatures. “Catch me if you can,” she purred before throwing herself into motion.

The trees devoured her figure as she dashed through them like a glowing beacon, her high-heeled shoes abandoned on the forest floor. Gripping a low-hanging branch, she swung herself up onto a tree, leaping, swinging, taunting. Soon there was no other tree for her to swing towards as a clearing emerged, filled with the same manic beings. Xin watched as two shadowed beings crept towards a beast of unparalleled beauty. The fur on its back glistened as it reared backwards, muscles bulging in its hind legs. It was a stunning manifestation of pure grace. Xin chewed her lower lip.

You’re insane, a logical part of her growled, a part which slumbered more often than not. I know, she told it, and the branch dug into her feet as she propelled herself from it. In that moment of flight, something snaked beneath her skin and ripped through her arms. Two long, wicked blades sliced through her wrists until the pommel of the swords rested in her palms. The pain was a familiar companion, like the ache of her limbs after an intense run. The gaping slits sealed shut, threads of skin overlapping and returning to its seamless form.

Xin’s twin swords sank into the bodies of two shadow creatures as she landed on one knee. Blood like soiled ink splattered against her skin as she tore her weapons from their bodies and attacked.