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Adservatae Animae (the Guarding Spirits) RP 
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Lady Sloth
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[Before you begin, don't forget to read the OOC & Character thread, and post your bio there!]

--

Her first breath in a thousand years was crisp and cold--harsh in her throat of stone. Her second breath was deeper, greedier, cracking her lungs, her ribs, with its sudden force. Curatrix Pacis slowly opened her heavy-lidded eyes, shedding a mineral crust from her lashes. Chunks of lichen and moss crumbled to the ground as she tore out of her rocky shell, stepping away from the cliff face at the top of the Holy Mountain, overlooking the great Eastern land of Euroa. Her stiff muscles twitched under her brilliantly colored fur. Coming back to life.

She scanned the horizon, looking over the slowly darkening landscape. A gentle breeze flowed across the tops of the trees, while the sun threw its final ray of light against the craggy mountains before falling beneath the curve of the earth. Euroa was different from what she remembered. Smaller cities; fewer buildings. Farms crisscrossed what had once been wild, wooded places. The smell was the same, however. It was her land, her home, her people. And they needed her. She felt their need, their silent supplications, coursing through her veins as her long-cold blood warmed within her.

Evil was afoot. Pacis could not yet see nor smell it, but there was no other power that could call her from her sleep other than discord and violence--treachery, malice, ill-will, threatening her people and her beautiful Euroa.

She began her descent from the Holy Mountain, ready to face whatever might lie in wait below.

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pax.


Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:36 am
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[google translate told me lux so...I went with it. :P also, it kinda forms "deluxe" which amuses me, but for the sake of accuracy I will change it.]


The young girl sat solemnly in the shade of a great pine tree, its roots rose up around her to obscure her from the greater world. She was remarkably clean, for one so deep within the wilderness, and wore a plain white dress, unblemished by dirt or stain. She sat curled up in the fetal position, her arms wrapped around her legs in an attempt to comfort herself, and she shook slightly, betraying her fear and anxiety. Occasionally, she would peek between her legs at a rock pile about twenty feet from where she lay, but could not stare for long.
The rock pile appeared to be the result of a small avalanche, as it sat at the base of a small hill. At first it appeared entirely unremarkable, but if one looked long enough they would notice two bodies crushed beneath the stones, a grisly scene hidden amongst dust and debris. One appeared to be a middle-aged woman, the other a young child, though neither could be properly identified.
The girl was alone for a while, alternating between staring at the pile and hiding her head in her lap. Each time she raised her head, she seemed to hope that something would change on the rock pile, but it never did. However, this last time she looked, she was shocked to find a large white bird was propped on one of the rocks, peering down at the bodies within. She stared at it for a while, confused as to what I was and what it was doing here. The bird caught on and noticed the girl, growing seemingly excited to have found her. It immediately hopped off the rock it was perched on and wandered in her direction. When it came within about five feet it stopped, slowing to a crawl and lowering its head submissively. The girl seemed at first strangely mesmerized by the animal, but otherwise appeared unafraid as it approached her and eventually came up beside her. They stared at each other for a few moments, before the bird rested its head gently against the young girls side. This seemed to be all the permission she needed, and the girl grabbed the bird, bringing it in for a hug, a move the animal did not protest.They sat like that for a moment, the girl hanging on to the bird like it would a stuffed toy, visibly finding comfort in having a companion.

"I'm scared, birdy..." she muttered in a weak, gentle voice.
"I know." the bird responded comfortingly. If she was all bothered by the now talking animal, she did not show it.
"What happened to mommy?" She asked, looking down at the bird for answers.
"Mommy has gone away for now."
"Where did mommy go?"
"I don't know. She is someone good though."
"Can you bring mommy here?"
"Why don't you want to go to mommy?"
"Because there are monsters out there..." She said weakly, holding the bird tighter. "They made the rocks fall that hurt me."

The bird bristled at her mention of monsters. There shouldn't be anything here! He thought. This is sacred ground, how could a demon even be here...maybe that is what happened to the mother. The thought scared him, but he did his best to hide that fact. How did she see it at all? Could she see spirits in life?

"We need to go now." He said at last, trying to be as soft and gentle as possible.
"Where are we going?" The child asked innocently.
"Somewhere safe, away from the monsters."
"Will mommy be there?"
"Maybe. We won't know unless we go."
"But what about the monsters?"
"I'll protect you from the monsters."
"Do you promise?"
"I promise."

This seemed to placate the child, and she released the bird. Hopping up onto one of the trees roots, he scanned the forest, waiting for the child to come to her feet. He was the size and shape of a raven, except for his brilliant white plumage and beak. The light seemed to dance off his feathers, as if he was covered in tiny diamonds. This enraptured the girl, and she stood up and smiled, pleased by the sight.

"Are you ready?" the Raven asked. "Yup!" She replied, her mood noticeably improved. He began trotting off on the ground, with the girl in tow. He didn't want to fly, as it would be too quick and would distance himself too much from her, so he resorted to the slower process of walking. They traveled for some time, the raven keeping a couple feet in front. As time went by, he grew more and more nervous, head darting back and forth as he scanned the trees to the side. The child picked up in it, and asked the raven curiously "What're you looking for, birdy?"

"What is your name, dear?" He replied, trying to remain calm.
"Maria."
"We need to go a little quicker. Can you do that Maria?"
"Why. birdy?"
"Well, we want to get away from the monsters, don't we?"

This seemed to bother Maria, but the raven was more concerned that they were moving quickly, and he took to the air, circling over the child. His eyes were darting back and forth now, as he followed several dark, moving figures in the shadows.

"Maria, we need to run now!" the Raven said, urgency in his voice. This isn't right. Why are they here?!?

"Why birdy?" She asked, growing concerned. "Just run! Towards the mountain!" He said at last, as one of the dark shapes began to move out of the treeline towards them. The girl took off as fast as her little legs could carry with the raven in pursuit, willing her to move faster. She couldn't move properly in her white dress, and after about fifteen yards she tripped, falling face first into a small dip in the ground.

"Owww, I hurt my leg!" She whined in clear distress. Diving down next to her, he positioned himself defensively between her and the figures moving towards them. He was practically glowing now, but by his body language and face it was obvious that he was distressed. "Keep your head down!" he commanded the girl, and she curled up once again. I can't fight them all...but I can't just leave her! Silently, the raven prayed for a miracle.

_________________
Poets have hitherto been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

-G.K. Chesterton


Last edited by TomIsAwesome on Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:12 pm
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Lady Sloth
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The wind died a sudden death as Pacis made her way down the mountain face. She heard a sound, like whispering. Her ears perked up, seeking out its source. An acrid smoke began to fill the sky, spiraling upward to obscure the bright sliver of moon hanging between the stars. They were here. The shadows were back.

The whispering intensified--foul conniving, backbiting, treachery, bombarding Pacis on all sides, filling her ears with hopeless sibilance. She jumped from stone to stone, regaining her ancient agility with the practice, her muscles slowly drawing from their memory to bring her back to her previous physical condition. As the white noise built up around her, she burst into a gallop, leaping about with the nimbleness of a mountain goat and the speed of a jaguar. Someone was in trouble. When she reached the base of the mountain she turned sharply, circling clockwise around its vast perimeter, tossing her head back and forth to search for signs of what evil had broken her millennial rest. Then, she spotted them: two shadows, darting out of the trees toward the Holy Mountain, behind where she had once stood guard, as if they had been sneaking up on her.

But it wasn't only her they were sneaking up on. A bright white light caught her eye, shining as it was underneath the smoke spread over them. A small girl in a white dress, and a small white object in-between her and danger. As it flapped its wings and cawed, Pacis thought she saw a snow-white raven.

Still galloping full-tilt, Pacis made some quick decisions: first, the bird was clearly her ally in this case, positioned as it was between the shadows and the girl. Second, the shadows needed to be dispatched immediately. Why they sought the girl, Pacis did not know: only that they circled her now like vultures, waiting for a chance to dive into their prey.

With a great leap and an earth-shaking roar, Pacis flung herself into the nearest of the shadow beasts, digging claws into its thick hide, tearing skin with her teeth, looking for a weak point in its anatomy. Her momentum was too much for it to withstand, and they fell and rolled together across the ground, bouncing off the roots of trees, each gaining and losing the advantage in swift succession with the pull of gravity. This creature loosely resembled a bear, its inky fur thick, its skin too large for its body, sliding around under Pacis' grip without giving her the purchase needed for a proper attack. Its eyes were naught but sunken holes inside its skull. Its teeth, soon firmly clamped above Pacis' elbow, were blood-red, oozing rot into her flesh.

They grappled like this for quite a while, each seeking the other's jugular. When their frenzied rolling stopped, the shadow bear stood astride an upside-down Pacis, striking at her throat with its rotten teeth as Pacis pushed back with her front paws, grimacing and growling fiercely. She dug long stripes into its cheeks with her claws, and a black, putrescent fluid poured out of the wounds, onto her face. As next the creature struck at her, she caught his head in a swift embrace, pulling herself up onto one shoulder and biting deeply above it. The creature reared up in pain, giving Pacis a hold in its stomach with her back claws, from whence she pushed herself over the creature's back, spinning quickly to attack it from behind. Once she clamped her teeth around its spine, it took one sharp twist and pull of her head to snap its neck. The creature then, in death, collapsed into mere smoke and shadow.

Panting heavily, Pacis spun around, seeking out the second creature before it could attack the girl behind her back.

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Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:59 am
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The creatures emerged from the woods, undaunted by the raven's attempt at a display of power and revealing their true form. They could be likened to animals; two wolves and a bear, but only on the loosest of definitions. Their fur was ragged and decaying, improperly covering its form, no doubt the product of large lumps of muscle that protruded from odd sections, giving it a misshapen and vat-grown appearance. The creatures moved improperly, as if its exterior skin was lazily draped over some other figure, ambulations seeming to pull the flesh a split second before it moved in response, giving the distinct and disturbing suggestion that whatever the creature truly was was being hidden beneath a false exterior, and that whatever it was had either taken that form force-ably, or, even more disturbing, had grown outward from the inside. Despite their grotesque and seemingly inhibited appearance, there was no question their deadly capacity or intent. Large, dirty claws extended maliciously from each of the creatures' appendages, and the quantity of muscle, as well as the fluidity of their movement, implied tremendous speed and physical power.

Despite the obvious danger, the raven relaxed a little. He still held little hope for success, but a glimmer of said hope did creep into him.

They're young. he thought. Newly formed and weak...weaker that is. If they had been any older or any bigger I couldn't fight them....but I don't know if I can fight all three!

The three creatures were either aware of their advantage or so caught with bloodlust they charged without abandon at the pair. Had he had the time, the raven imagined he could have mounted a proper defense of some sort, but the ferocity and speed of his foes offense caught him off guard. The bear came first, barging ahead of its companions, with the still unprepared raven in sight. Before it got within a dozen feet, a great roar broke out from the tree line and the blur of a creature moving at tremendous speed collided with the bear, dragging it down and away from the group. The two wolves stopped and followed the pair as they tumbled down the hill, buying the raven the distraction it so desperately needed.

Exploding in light, the white bird took off into the air, charging at the nearest of the wolves, Cawing loudly and bearing its talons. The wolf creature was unimpressed, and when the bird came within range it swept one great paw at it, slicing it neatly into four sections. Rather than blood and flesh, the raven exploded into a cloud of feathers that drifted around the now surprised wolf. For a moment it looked confused, but that confusion turned to panic when in a flash each individual feather transformed into a separate raven, each flying rapidly and loudly around the creature. Now assailed by dozens of foes from all directions, the wolf cried out in frustration, a deep, inhuman noise that shook the girl to her already frightened core. Flailing wildly and ineffectually, the creature desperately tried to fight off the murder of ravens that now assailed him, their attack discombobulating the wolf and guiding it over and away from the girl. Every successful strike by the wolf only succeeded in spawning more birds, which continued to amass in a growing field of flapping white ravens.

The second wolf only laughed at its companion's situation and took the chance to attack the girl, charging the short distance between itself and its victim in seconds. With a vicious roar, it dived, driving one pawful of wicked claws into the belly of the young maiden. Instead of flesh and blood, the wolf found only dirt and frustration as his claws dug into the ground, the image of Maria vanishing as if it had never been there. Angered that it had been deceived, the wolf struggled to remove its claws from the ground as it panned around lasciviously for any sign of its prey.

Some feet away and covered in a illusion of his devising, the raven carefully and gently prodded Maria along and away from the creatures, trying to soothe her fears with a calm voice and motivate her to move despite her injured leg. The bird was akin to mirrored glass now, reflecting every quantum light in a brilliant display as he controlled the glamours that now protected their escape. He had avoided their pursuers for now, but he knew all to well the prestidigitation that had gotten this far was not permanent, and he hoped that whatever had removed the bear had survived the encounter.

_________________
Poets have hitherto been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

-G.K. Chesterton


Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:28 pm
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Lady Sloth
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[I KEEP WRITING PARAGRAPHS AND THEN IT GETS LOST TO THE ETHER. THIS IS VERY FRUSTRATING. ~ sorry for delay of response. ~]

Before Pacis writhed the second, wolf-like creature, snapping and spinning and growling as if being attacked by a swarm of angry, invisible bees. She perked her ears up, watching it. Blackened spittle flew from its maddening mouth. It seemed to be enveloped in an unearthly glow, but what was attacking it, Pacis could not divine. She approached it cautiously, unnoticed as it howled and whined and chased its own tail. Striking at it with claws extended, she caught it by the shoulders, pulling it swiftly to her and crushing the side of its misshapen head in her powerful jaws. It collapsed into yet more smoke and shadow. The mysterious light that had held it in thrall disappeared into thin air.

Though she had not noticed it before, there was a third, also vaguely wolf-shaped, shadow further upslope. It darted to and fro, attacking mounds of dirt with inexplicable viciousness. It too was shrouded in a subtle, unearthly glow. A benevolent force had deceived them, Pacis realized, putting them off the scent, while the white bird and little girl continued their panicked flight toward the Holy Mountain. Looking back toward her millennial home, she could see them at its base, spots of vulnerable white against the foul gray air. The bird was now hard and bright as diamond: even in this be-shadowed place, he drew all available light unto himself, dazzling Pacis with his raw, mystical power. He himself had deceived the shadows. To protect the girl.

Then she recognized him for what he was: a psychopomp; spirit guide to the dead. Countless ravens had brought their charges to the top of Pacis' mountain over the past thousand years, seeking passage to the heavens from the Holy summit. This white one was unique among them. She had seen him once or twice, in the stupor of petrous slumber. What little she remembered of him was not so much a memory as an impression: an instinct to trust and companionship. Surely she had not been wakened to destroy three mere half-grown shadows in the forest--whatever threat was nigh, she hoped she could count on this raven for further assistance. Whether or not the raven would recognize her, however, she did not know.

The glowing spell faded of its own accord and the third creature caught sight of Pacis, snapping to attention and rushing at her with the ferocity of confusion and embarrassment. She moved aside only enough to miss its snapping teeth, colliding with it shoulder to shoulder. Her superior strength caught it off-balance, and she flung it to the ground with one foreleg, diving after it to catch its throat in her teeth and tear its windpipe from its moldy skin.

Behind her the whispers of the Veil intensified, and the smoke from the three dispatched creatures seemed to gather in a specific point in the sky. More shadows seemed to be forming in the depths of the forest. She looked to the bird and his bloodstained companion, galloping after them. As long as this girl lingered in-between worlds, she would not be safe. Though the bird could fly, he was handicapped by the girl's pained pace. The summit was not too far now. Catching up to them, Pacis skidded to a stop next to the girl, laying down on the ground beside her.

"Climb onto my back, child," she asked of the frightened, weeping girl. "I am known as the Protector of Peace. There is not much further to go--if you come with me, your suffering will soon be over."

The girl trembled, tears and blood streaking her face. She looked to her psychopomp for assurance. After a moment of thought he nodded at her, gesturing with one wing for her to accept the invitation. Very gently the child climbed aboard, hugging Pacis tightly and burying her face in the back of Pacis' neck. "I want my mommy," the girl mumbled into a mouthful of fur.

Making eye contact with the raven and nodding, Pacis scaled the mountain as quickly as possible without making the journey over-rough for the girl. The raven soared to the top of the mountain and landed up top, waiting. At the base of the mountain the shadows pulsated and gathered strength. But the summit was within her reach, and now they were there, and now the girl would be safe. Pacis looked out over Euroa, and rubbed her face gingerly against one of the girl's little hands on her shoulder. She looked up at the raven again. It was now up to him to summon the entrance to the afterlife (or however it was they did it; Pacis wasn't entirely sure of the finer details), and put an end to their current danger.

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Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:52 pm
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[I know the feeling. My personal pet peeve is when I'm half way through typing, and I lose internet.]

This is wrong. This is all wrong. It's not supposed to happen this way.

The Raven desperately tried to make sense of the recent events, all the while trying to goad the young girl onward and hide his stress and fatigue. The act of deceiving both foes from such a distance had drained him. Furthermore, he had applied a secondary feature of his abilities; his glow was more than for just show, as he was desperately trying to rejuvenate and mend the young girl with the remedial properties of his manifested light. He didn't know how much longer he could keep up the exertion, but he knew he had to continue.

Rule number one: Never abandon your charge, and do everything in your power to guard them.

It was the first of three rules he had been taught as a young fledgling, first learning the "trade" of being a spirit guide. They were the unbreakable commandments of his kind, and they drove him to push himself to his physical limit, even as he obeyed the second of his three commands.

Rule number two: If at all possible, never fight the demons. That is not your place.

Demons. That's what they called these manifestations of darkness and hate. This command was more one of practicality if anything. Guides like himself were not suited for such a thing, even one as gifted as himself. Too many souls and guides had perished because they stood their ground when they should have run and hid. He had no intention of making the same mistake. But that was not what concerned him at the moment. What really bothered him was why the demons were hear at all. This was the holy mountain! By definition, demons should have been repulsed by the place, and it should be impossible for such creatures to form anywhere nearby. But the uncomfortable truth was that they were here now, which meant something was deeply wrong with the situation.

A tick in the back of his mind told him that the first of his illusions had ended, causing a spike of panic in the bird. While this did relieve some of the pressure, he couldn't help but think that the demons had managed to shatter his enchantment, something he had never known a creature of that level to succeed in. A minute later, the second illusion shattered. While this freed up a great deal of his energy, he imagined that at any moment the two wolves would come barging through the treeline, and he would be powerless against them.

Its going to be alright. Be at peace.

The Raven had no idea where this thought had come from, but it was infectious. At once, his concerns melted, comforted by some ethereal force he could not identify. It was more than just himself, and he could see the young girl relax visibly.
Bursting through the treeline came an image of green, blue and white. Any other time, he would have jumped when a creature surprised him like that, but something about his current mood suppressed his fear. The creature appeared to be a lioness of sorts, except its color scheme. What would such a creature be doing...

The Raven gasped, as realization hit him. It was a guardian! A real one, standing right before him! He was at once elated and anxious; he'd always born a fascination with those warrior spirits, even going so far as to give himself a guardian title! Now it all seemed so petty and childish in the presence of the real thing.

"Climb onto my back, child, I am known as the Protector of Peace. There is not much further to go--if you come with me, your suffering will soon be over."

The guardian's voice was surprisingly gentle for such a potentially ferocious creature, and the raven had no question now where the sense of peace was coming from. To his surprise, Maria turned to look to him for assurance, a testament to how much she trusted him. Without hesitation he nodded, signaling for the girl to go with the lioness. With some reluctance she climbed on the guardian's back, stealing one last glance at the raven before burying her face in the lioness' fur. In a moment, they were off and up the hill, traveling swiftly on the Protector of Peace's sure footing. Not long after she had left, the sense of foreboding returned to the raven, and he turned to look back at where they had come from.

Heavens above! This can't be happening!

The shadowy essence of the presumably deceased demons were swirling in the air angrily, like some dark swarm of insects roused from its nest. The Raven knew all to well what this meant; they would soon form into a singular creature with power many times that of its components. This was something that was beyond him. They called it the Joining, and he'd heard stories from the other Guides. They say it would take several guardians working in unison to kill the creature that resulted, and they only formed when an area had become so corrupted, that defeated demons could not disperse properly. That this was happening at the base of the Holy Mountain spoke of an evil that ran deeper than what he could imagine. Quickly, his fear turned to dread. He had to get to the mountain and open the passage for the girl quickly, or she would be consumed by this monster's relentless hunger.

Taking to the skies, he ascended the mountain as quickly as he could. The advantage of flight meant he reached his destination far before the other two, that destination being an inconspicuous cave entrance near the top of the mountain. If he entered it right now, he would find it terminated after a few dozen feet to rock wall. With a thought, however, the raven could open it as a passage to the Heavens, permitting the girl entrance to salvation. He inhaled and closed his eyes, focusing on the task at hand...

Rule Number Three: Never permit a demon access to the heavenly portals, and do not open them when they are near. Doing so risks corrupting all that is good.

The raven stopped, racked by indecision. Once the Joining was completed, this place would become extremely dangerous for the likes of her, but opening the portal would be to break one of the fundamental laws of his kind. He paused, unsure what to do as the lionness finished her climb up the mountain.

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Poets have hitherto been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

-G.K. Chesterton


Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:15 am
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Velox lay on the shingles of the inn's roof, eying the fading light on the horizon. He had arrived at the town a week prior from that direction, steadily moving east, and all the while the days have been growing shorter. Normally Vel would see that as a blessing, but the general pattern of affairs was all but comforting. Crops were starting to fail and livestock were growing sickly, though rain had been plentiful and no pests or vermin were rampant. This 'famine' seemed to be spreading westward, so, naturally, the cat headed east, toward what he hoped would be the source. What he would do if he found such a thing, he had yet to decide. 

This village was in worse shape than the others he had passed through so far. The stores of food were in poor condition and even the water smelled wrong. The locals were growing increasingly anxious, and those that still held hope desperately petitioned the heavens with what little offerings they had. He himself hadn't eaten in 2 days, not because he was above stealing a hare or two from people in need if he had to, but because in their desperation, these people would probably fight hard for what ever they had left. He didn't want their smelly scraps, anyway.

A conversation he had been eavesdropping on finally transitioned from the topic of farming to the subject of the recent disappearances. Vel had picked up from a tom yesterday that two men had gone missing in the woods last week on two separate occasions. In the village's current state, that wasn't too surprising. Any one of the locals here looked like the could keel over at any hour, and if one wandered into the forest it would only be a matter of time before they fell victim to the elements or wild things. Still, he did not take these people for fools, and he had been trying to dig for further information. A later rumor on the mangled state of the corpses had caught his ear, and since then he suspected these incidents called for his attention. The current conversation mostly focused on one of the men in particular, apparently one who was thought to be able to handle himself in a fight, before the speakers tone turned to one of frustration: "--all times, you would think Liz would have known better then to go on some da/n pilgrimage to the shrines. That woman always thought herself invincible... If she doesn't get back in the next hour, I'm taking one of her horses to bring her back myself." the other man said something about a trail being overgrown this time of year, telling the other not to worry to try to calm him down. The first continued, rubbing his face, "it's not even Liz I'm worried about, but she had to go and bring her kid."

Twighlight would fade in another five minutes, and the timing was about right. Velox stepped off the roof and landed lightly into the alley and began to pad towards the outskirts of town, towards the path they were referring to, and towards that ominous looking mountain. The timing was about right: he was hungry, and it was a good night for a hunt.

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Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.


Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:53 pm
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It didn't take long before Pacis realized that the bird was stalling--staring at the cave entrance, but doing nothing. With growing anxiety, she turned back to look at the growing cloud of smoke behind them, rapidly shifting her gaze between it and the albino psychopomp. He too seemed to be growing ever more nervous, and constantly looked back over his shoulder also. Still, he did nothing. A crisis of conscience, then. Pacis knew what he was afraid of: that the evil surrounding them might pass through the portal with the girl, seeping corrosively into the heavenly realms. Gatekeeper as he was, he couldn't risk opening them if there was a chance something might go wrong.

But, it was imperative he opened them and allowed the dead girl to pass, lest this burgeoning evil grow ever stronger. The girl would certainly be killed--again. Lost to a deeper underworld than Pacis had access to or knowledge of.

"What are you waiting for?!" Pacis shouted at the bird, running up to the shallow cave and depositing the whimpering girl inside. "Open it!"

"But, I.... I--" the bird stammered, unsure of how to express his hesitation.

"I'll take care of the shadows," Pacis promised, gravely. "They are yet weak, even though they trespass upon this hallowed ground. Any attempt at a Joining is sure to fail." She hardened her gaze, drawing her brow downward. "I will make sure of it."

Gingerly kissing the girl on the forehead, Pacis turned around, her tail twitching behind her. She then burst into a gallop, taking a flying leap off the edge of the cliff, plunging into the gathering smoke before landing on the ground down far below, hardly breaking her stride and continuing her gallop away from the mountain. The smoke stung her eyes, burned her throat and lungs. It clung to her skin and fur, falling with her out of the sky, following her as she ran away. She took a deep drink of it and held her breath, despite the intense surge of pain that accompanied the inhalation. So long as she held some of the smoke inside her, the rest of the smoke could not leave her, could not attempt the Joining, nor terrorize the psychopomp and his charge any longer.

How long Pacis could hold her breath while running at her top speed, she did not know. But it would be long enough for the Raven to get the girl in white to safety.

It had to be.

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Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:50 pm
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The undergrowth had been pressed recently without any attempt made at concealing the tracks, so Velox was able to maintain a quick pace deep into the forest. There was a tension in the air, one that he had felt before and one which was always followed by a challenge that encompassed many more beings than just him alone. He broke his run when he quickly came across signs of struggle in the brush, around an area with a pine tree at the base of a hill. Vel was able to catch the smell before he spotted them, and he spat with anger when he discovered the little girl’s body. By the looks of it, they hadn’t been there for more than a few hours and he could have intercepted them if he had known their intentions. There was no point on dwelling on it; whatever did this may still be in the area, because it sure as heck wasn’t an accident.

The trail continued towards the mountain, and it looked like there was further violence only a few hundred feet ahead. Velox broke off into a run once again, this time taking to the lower branches next to the trail. We’ll see how much this guy likes getting jumped for a change. He bounded to a low hanging branch next to the second area of interest. There, splattered on the ground, was blood not more than an hour spilled. But mixed with it was rot uncharacteristically darkening the surrounding brush. Velox cursed. This was new, and he hated new. New made him feel like he was jumping headlong across a gap before he had picked out the holds he would grasp for. He figured these disappearances to be caused by some animal driven mad by the recent corruption of the land and water, a wolf maybe. He didn’t like wolves at the best of times, but he at least could take one down without any serious danger. This was a different story, and he started to feel like he had perhaps run into something way over his head.

At that moment, a commotion stirred the forest between his tree and the mountain, that distance no longer being very great. Five minutes ago, Vel would have taken that cue as his moment to strike, but given his recent findings, he no longer felt confident enough to give away his position. He silently leaped into a nearby pine and climbed further up the tree. The sap dirtied his claws, but the thick branches would make for an ideal vantage point. Whatever was moving towards him was traveling at an alarming speed, faster than a wolf, he thought, which on made him worry more. Not a minute after he was settled, a large, oddly colored, lioness burst through the area. This would have taken him aback if he hadn’t given up this being a normal night prior; he hadn’t seen a lioness in years, and that was hundreds of miles west. It had a desperate but determined look in it’s eyes, and it was too strange to not be involved in any of this. But following close on her tail was a dense essence of what he could only compare to the emotion he felt emanating from a dying, defeated predator before he put it down, unfiltered hate without any degree of respect or empathy. He almost thought that lioness was the culprit, but now once again he was lost to the complexity of the matter. He had an instinctual feeling, however, that whatever was happening tonight was tied to the corrupting famine of the land, and he traveled too far to turn back now. He wasn’t sure what he would do, but he knew it wasn’t retreat, and so he took off in pursuit of the pair before he lost sight of them.

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Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.


Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:07 pm
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When the guardian turned and took off down the hill, the raven knew he had no choice in the matter. He was going to open the portal. Policy otherwise would have been to retreat to a place of sanctity, but if the holy mountain was unsafe, he couldn't imagine anywhere else they could go to. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on the tunnel mentally. After a few moments, he hopped down beside the young girl.

"Go ahead. You'll be safe if you go inside."
"But...It's dark in there...will you go with me?"

The raven stopped and thought. He wasn't allowed to enter the portal, not until he had completed his Contract and was permitted to enter the Heavens. To be honest, he wasn't quite sure what happens when one walked into the portal. Well, its not like he was going into the Heavens, he was just walking the girl inside.

"Okay. I'll go first."

Starting off first, he entered the cave, beckoning the girl forward with a warm smile and a tilt of the head. This seemed to do the trick, and Maria followed afterwards. Using his abilities to illuminate the cave, the raven led first down the winding passage deeper into the cave. As they traveled further, the light from the raven seemed to dim, and the walls began to grow more and more abstract. In the distance, a bright light began to shine, as if they were exiting a long tunnel into daylight. Before long, the walls and floor vanished entirely into black, and all they could see was the overwhelming light that was before them.

"Welcome, young one."

The voice came from a figure that materialized out of the light. It was human in shape, but through the light only appeared as a shadowy silhouette. It knelt down and extended an inviting hand to Maria. At first she turned to look to the raven for assurance, but soon took the figure's hand, which began leading her off into the light. The raven relaxed, happy to see his charge safe, his task completed.

So this is what Elysium looks like....I can look forward to this.

He turned to leave, stepping away into the light, but the light wasn't done with him yet.

EDITUS CANDOR. YOU HAVE BROKEN THE LAWS YOU SWORE TO UPHOLD.

Candor froze at the sound of the booming voice. It seemed to be coming from everywhere simultaneously, but instinctively he spun around. The human figure and the girl were gone, and in its place was a massive creature, bearing the body of a lion and the head and wings of a great eagle; a gryphon, one of the eternal sentinels of Elysium. He couldn't make out its appearance, instead only seeing its shadow before the great light of the Heavens.

YOU KNOWINGLY OPENED THE PASSAGE WHEN THE WORLD AROUND WAS CORRUPT. DOING SO YOU HAVE RISKED ALL THAT IS GOOD. YOU HAVE ALSO ENTERED THE PORTAL BEFORE YOU HAVE COMPLETED YOUR CONTRACT.

"I...but...I didn't..." Candor stuttured, utterly overwhelmed by the power of the creature before you.

FOR THESE CRIMES ALONE WOULD HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENT TO CONDEMN YOU. BUT YOUR TRESPASSES FAR ECLIPSE THAT. I SENSE THAT NOT ONLY IS THE HOLY MOUNTAIN COVERED IN CORRUPTION, BUT THE PROTECTOR OF PEACE WHO GUARDS THESE LANDS IS INFUSED WITH EVIL.

Even if he had had the will to speak, Candor could have offered no defense, so completely surprised by the sentinel's accusations. Beneath the great creature's condemning gaze, he could do nothing but take the abuse.

NEVER BEFORE HAS A GUARDIAN FALLEN TOO CORRUPTION. IN DOING SO YOU HAVE COMMITTED A GREATER SIN THAN ANY BEFORE YOU. FOR ONE SO GIFTED, THIS IS ESPECIALLY HEINOUS.

Candor cowed down, a crushing since of shame and fear overwhelming him.

FOR THESE CRIMES I REVOKE YOUR RIGHT TO THE CONTRACT. I ALSO DECLARE YOU AN ENEMY OF THE HEAVENS. YOU SHALL NEVER SEE THE FIELDS OF ELYSIUM, AND WHILE YOU LIVE YOU SHALL BE PURSUED BY THOSE WHO SERVE THE CAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. NOW, BEGONE!

The light, and the gryphon with it, receded away from Candor until he could see again. He was at the entrance of the cave that he had entered, no sign that it had ever once been a portal to another realm. Candor couldn't care about that, however. He was wrapped in crushing shock and depression, only able to stare blindly at the hole.

Everything....Everything I ever worked for...gone....

Without the Contract, he could never enter heaven. As he was neither a spirit nor physical, should he die here, he would simply cease to exist, a fate that truly and totally terrified him. That he at one moment gone from seeing his task completed to the realization of utter failure overwhelmed him, and he stood, numb to any feeling. He looked down at his chest to find a small, red X, that seemed to glow and pulse with life of its own. He immediately recognized it as the Damning Mark, a symbol of his being marked by the Heavens as a traitor and an enemy. If this bothered him, he couldn't feel it beneath the lack of sensation he had at the moment.

Candor stood like that for a few minutes, before finally a rush of emotion flooded into him. At first, it was fear for his future, then shame at his failure. Finally, came anger. Firstly at himself, then at the Guardian for convincing him to open the portal, but that didn't last long. Finally, he settled on the mass of evil in the distance. It seemed such an easy target to blame; he had not corrupted the guardian nor the mountain, it alone was responsible for his plight. This anger welled up within Candor, granting him focus and, to his surprise, tremendous power. He had never fueled his abilities with emotion before, but he was now glowing like a star on the mountain top, his frustrations aimed at the great mass of shadow down the hill.

"I....I will destroy you..."

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Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:21 pm
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The sun broke through the clouds with a sudden brilliance, and the dissonant background noise of conspiratory malice cut off with equal suddenness, consumed by a rushing vacuum of silence. The rising shadows retreated into the depths whence they had emerged. Pacis skidded to a stop on the parched earth, kicking up a cloud of dust, falling onto her face. She coughed a hacking, desperate cough into the ground, expelling the nefarious smoke from her lungs so that it might evaporate in the light of this midnight sun. Her coughing soon gave way to vomiting, infected blood and rot purging itself from her system. When all traces of evil had left her body, Pacis was left only with minor wounds: a bitten, bleeding elbow; painful, burning lungs; sore throat. She scraped the remnants of her bile off the top of her tongue with her teeth, recoiling at the bitter taste.

The portal to the Heavens had been opened; the girl had passed through, and was safe. Pacis sighed a deep sigh of relief. The Holy Mountain had not been completely corrupted: it still could summon the purifying sun when connected to the Elysian Fields. Pacis had been banking on that, on the evil which moved so boldly under the cover of night and roiling clouds to flee the sight of Sol rising. She coughed again, flecks of blood dampening the dust around her. They had won this battle, but the evil was far from defeated. It had merely fallen back to gather strength, rally its forces--she had to find where it had retreated to, and engage it there; destroy it before it destroyed her.

She couldn't do it by herself, however. Had any of the other Guardian Spirits awoken? Or was her dear Euroa the only land in danger at this time?

She slowly rose to her feet, wiping her eyes and face with her front paws. The psychopomp would be a valuable ally in this fight, if he consented to it. He'd already proven his power and tenacity, daring to open the portal when it was forbidden--for the greater good, Pacis hoped he realized. She would have to talk to him about it. What good would it serve Elysium to close itself off against the souls of the innocent? The more innocence this evil fed upon, the stronger it would get, until even impregnable Elysium would become vulnerable to attack. Of course, the Guardians of the Elysian Fields would not admit such as being possible. They, um... heh, they and Curatrix Pacis didn't exactly get along in the past. But that was old history she had no intention of delving into now. She would protect Euroa--and all of Orbis Terrae for that matter--without their help. (Again.) And Elysium would reap the benefits of her endeavors (...again), whether they acknowledged it or not.

She turned back around to face the Holy Mountain, scanning the sky to find the bird again, wanting to meet and introduce herself to him properly, this time. But then she noticed, right behind her, a very large cat, watching her carefully with its golden eyes. Its mottled brown-and-black fur was scraggly and unkempt, and it regarded Pacis with a great amount of suspicion. It was maybe a fourth Pacis' size. As it perked its ears up and watched her, Pacis took a deep sniff of it--him--and recognized him as what he was: one of the Feles Mutantes, or the Werecat race. She wondered what he had and had not seen and perceived while the shadows had held this place in thrall. She also wondered what he thought of the sun having risen in the middle of the night. And also why he had been following her as she ran, drawing the evil as far away from the opening portal as she could.

Perhaps he couldn't see her colors. Perhaps he saw a mountain lion, as some people did, and his motionlessness was caused by a healthy fear and self-preservation instinct. But, no, animal eyes generally saw her for what she was. She thought she sensed a deep curiosity emanating from him, not so much as fear.

"Salve," she offered, after they had stood for quite some time staring at each other. "Nomen mihi est--" er, wait, no. common tongue, common tongue. "I mean, um, my name is Curatrix Pacis. And you are...?"

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Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:34 pm
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Midway through a jump between trees, the forest was suddenly illuminated with light, which almost made Vel hiss with surprise as his eyes burned momentarily. He paused to shield his face, waiting until his eyes adjusted to the new light. This won't do, he thought, it wouldn't be so bad being stuck in this chaos if I were in my element, but now even the cosmos themselves are acting off balance Not far from him, the oddly colored, oddly located, oddly acting, odd lioness also paused, though somewhat less gracefully, and began to get sick on the forest floor. The shadow-death-angry thing seemed to have disappeared, however, and Vel was grateful for that. Still, he didn't think he was in the clear yet with this lioness. She appeared to be coughing up something like what he had seen on the forest floor near those murders, and she was certainly large enough to take on a few villagers without a problem. This may very well be his target. If he was going to strike, now would be an opportune time: she seemed out of sorts after that sprint, and possibly diseased. Even with that advantage however, he doubted he could best her, especially now that time and space were playing tricks on him and he was exposed to a mid day sun.

The big cat, recovering from her bout and displacing his attack opening, lifted up her head and, to his horror, started staring directly at him. It was definitely turning out to be a bad night... day... thing. They stared at each other for a moment, then the lioness began spouting some strange words before cutting in: "I mean, um, my name is Curatrix Pacis. And you are...?" The name sounded familiar: he had heard it, or names like it, in countless lore references. Tales of guardians and miracles and tragedies and fantasy. It seemed like a good bluff, if nothing else, but then something occurred to him. The oddity odd odds of the past hour were just odd enough to fall into place with those old stories, and this lioness topped it all. Perhaps she could be a guardian, but equally likely was the possibility that she was a just a conjuration of his food-poisoned, traumatized mind. Either way, he was lost and he was in no position to make reasonable conclusions. He answered, "IIIII'mmmm ....... not buying it, what did you do to that woman and her little girl?!" Until he figured his way out of this situation, he would talk; he could do with any source of information at this point anyway.

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Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.


Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:41 pm
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"Woman?" Pacis was confused by the question, as she hadn't seen any woman: only the soul of a little dead girl. It occurred to Pacis that she had never learned how the girl had died. Only that evil had been watching, vulture-like, for her soul to separate from her body, that it might pounce and steal it. "The girl has ascended to the Elysian Fields. She is at peace now."

Pacis hoped the deeper peace that she carried within her heart was strong enough to soothe the suspicions of this Feles Mutans. It seemed to her that he had come to do the same thing she and the psychopomp had decided to do: protect and save this girl--and apparently her mother, also. Her mother... where had that soul gone? Surely it had not been a wicked one, or Pacis would have had to fight it, too. Banish it to Hades before it took root in Orbis Terrae. It must have been snatched, then, before the psychopomp even reached it. The very thought made Pacis sick to her stomach once more.

"I believe the girl's body is somewhere around here," Pacis offered. "Let's go find it, and learn the means of her bodily death. I fear the cause of it may be demonic, however," Pacis said, gravely.

She kept glancing back up to the top of the Mountain, awaiting the return of the albino spirit guide. She needed, desperately, to talk to him. She began padding toward the Holy Mountain again, her dry, cracked tongue hanging out of her mouth in a pant. There were various different shrines encircling the base of the mountain, some of which were dedicated to her (which always made her feel weird, but the prayers offered therein were never of a worshipful nature, but rather a supplicatory one--perhaps, in fact, such a prayer had been the catalyst of her awakening).

Indeed, there seemed to have been a cave-in at her own shrine at the mountain's foot. She stopped in horror. Two bodies lay buried underneath the rubble, shattered limbs hanging out between the rocks.

"I assure you I had no part in this," she said to the Werecat, eyes closed against hot tears.

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Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:17 pm
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"They were killed by the demons you banished, Guardian."

Candor sat in the trees behind the pair of felines. he looked much the same, but his temperament was considerably more downtrodden. His chest was stained with dirt, where he rubbed it on himself in an apparent attempt to hide the Mark, but this had only failed.

"They seemed to have caused the avalanche, that killed the mother and the child. Somehow, fate blinded them to the girl's presence, but the mother was...was not so fortunate." That last part was particularly difficult for Candor to get out, and it was obvious he was blaming himself for their loss. He looked wearily at the second creature, another cat like the Guardian but smaller. It was obviously intelligent, so he paid it no ill will.

"I want to thank you, Guardian, for your assistance. Without it I would have never succeeded in..." He paused. "...delivering the girl to safety. My name is Editus Candor. Curato-" He cut himself off, remembering his self-declared title was pointless in the company of the real deal. "I am a Spirit Guide for the..." He stopped again, realizing he could not say that in all honestly. Sighing deeply, he moved on. "There is something I would like to know; how is it that demons could come to appear on the slopes of the holy mountain?"

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Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:47 pm
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[too lazy to edit, please read as before Tom's post. It fits well enough]

The lioness, Pacis she called herself, still made no move towards aggression. Instead, she seemed perturbed by his question. She seemed less and less like a demon the longer he stared at her. He felt the same intensity of emotion coming from this cat as he did from the shadow, only instead of the hate he felt resonating through its being this lioness seemed to give him a fleeting impression of peace, like staring out over the ocean at the horizon. And it was far too colorful; demons are never this flamboyant, it’s like a rule or something along with ‘demons don’t like the sun’. No, this cat wasn’t a demon, and it certainly didn’t seem to be a crazed animal of the wild. Velox wasn’t ready to throw caution to the wind and trust her lest he become an easily fooled snack, but he felt safe enough to follow her from a distance. Besides, he was fairly sure he could outrun her, as long as the forest doesn’t decide to change itself to the savannah, though even that seemed possible after the weird events of this hunt. He decided to accept her invitation “Alright, lass. After you, then.”

She led him back to the pile of rubble, the site of the murder. It became apparent that she had not yet come across it, and she seemed visibly taken aback by the sight as she said "I assure you I had no part in this," Vel watched from a safe distance but felt rather awkward as Pacis struggled against the moment. He knew ruses, and she was either brilliant with her facade or completely sincere, and he held too much pride to admit he was being outsmarted. “I wouldn’t suppose so, no.” he said quietly, though loud enough for her to hear, “not like a lioness to kill with a bunch of rocks.. too flashy, ruins --” he stopped as the lioness glared at him. He paused first before asking, “You’re sure you didn’t do it?” Pacis gave a curt nod before turning back to the bodies, “Then what are you so upset about? These things happen, it isn’t for those in our position to mourn their parting, let’s just take what we can from this scene and be on our way, I’ve had my fill of the dead for one day” Velox finished as he crouched down on some moss, never taking his eye off of Pacis.

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Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.


Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:08 pm
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Pacis shook her head at the bird's question, heaving a deep sigh that burned her polluted lungs. "I do not know, friend," she said wearily. "It is this mountain's connection to the Elysian Fields that provides its aura of light. But the connection between Elysium and Orbis Terrae as been weakening--has it not?" She looked up at Candor, blinking remnants of tears and soot from her eyes.

There was something on the bird's chest. Barely visible, but certainly there: a red mark. An X. He had been... what was it, banished? He had been punished for something. Pacis' countenance fell. For either the good he had done, or for something he had no control over. What greater purpose did the Elysian Gryphons have for this decision? She hoped there was something more to it than met the eye. Otherwise... but, no, she wasn't going to think about it anymore. Her domain was Euroa; this land had been given to her, and passage beyond it would not be her fate until time itself stopped and Orbis Terrae fell into oblivion (and even then, it was entirely possible she would share Euroa's fate, rather than transcend it).

The red mark would not be visible to anyone who had not laid eyes on the heavenly realms. No one need know of it but her and him. That mark changed a lot of things, however. Dare she ask him to fight with her, knowing that failure would result in--would result--would return him to the nonexistence from whence all originally came?

"All of Euroa is falling to darkness," Pacis lamented, looking out toward the human settlements in the distance. "The last stronghold of peace and light has been disturbed. She has not fallen yet, however." She gave a weak smile to both of her new companions. "After all, I have awoken, have I not?"

She looked up at Candor again. "My friend, tell me, do you not recognize me as I am today?"

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Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:44 pm
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Velox was just getting used to the lioness' company when another strange being alighted on a nearby tree. Vel was hardly surprised by the new arrival, he seemed to be growing immune to this day's surprises. Still, he had scoffed at the uniqueness of the bird's plumage. "Does anyone in this forest not appear as if they were born in a cloud," he said, rolling his eyes. The other two paid him no heed, as his comment got drowned out by the rather serious discussion, and he flopped down on his moss. He kept his ears perked up, however, for several reasons: the guardian and bird were discussing his quest (and their quest apparently as well) which he desperately needed clarity in, and the bird identifying the lioness on his own will could give support to her claim, which would ease the werecat's nerves.

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Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.


Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:58 am
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A large, black wolf-like creature walked deeper into the wood. Its rotten skin with matted fur hung off of its form so that it nearly dragged against the ground. In its mouth it held a woman in a white dress, though the dress no longer looked white as it was stained with thick black saliva where she was being held in the wolf's mouth. As the woman whimpered, the wolf would toss her within its jaws hoping to get a taste of her misery, careful not to swallow, because this prize was not for this lupus daemon.

She was carried for what seemed like days to her, but was only a few hours, until they reached a sheer cliff face. Walking around it would surely be a day’s travel. It appeared to be common granite, with minerals sparkling in the moonlight. What moonlight? The daemon turned around toward the direction of the Holy Mountain, where it had come from, and saw a bright light shining through the canopy of the wood. The light burned its eyes as single rays penetrated the darkness and it turned away from them, back to the wall. The wolf dropped the woman to the ground and she immediately tried to crawl away, but her legs were paralyzed with terror. As a heavy paw stomped upon her back to hold her down, pressing black saliva into her wounds, stinging her, she let out a gasp and cried for her daughter. The wolf found it harder to resist this new flavor emanating from the woman. Ooh, just to have a taste.

The wolf stared intently at the cliff face, opened its mouth and coughed out a tarry ooze that stuck to the granite and made it sizzle, followed by black mist that swirled around it, turning the granite to volcanic glass. It spoke, “Spelunca tenebrarum.” A cave appeared in the glass. Stalactites, like shards of broken mirrors, hung from the ceiling, the more jagged of which still had fur stuck to them from previous entrants. After one more glance rearward, and no longer seeing the mysterious light, the wolf picked the crying woman up in its jaws and entered the cave. Once it was inside the entrance closed with a loud, almost metallic clap that echoed forever into the darkness.

The lupus daemon carried the woman to a central cavern that was dimly lit with cauldrons of blazing brimstone. The smell of sulfur was overwhelming to the woman, but it only seemed to mask the scent of rotten flesh, and she wanted to vomit but couldn’t. The journey ended before a circular pool, where the wolf dropped her to the marble floor. It burned, but it wasn’t hot. In fact it wasn’t marble at all, but salt. A cloud of black smoke seemed to dance within the pool in a chaotic fashion, spinning and pulsating to music that could not be heard. But she did hear the screams; by the heavens, it's dancing to the screams. They came from under the floor. Beneath the cauldrons she could see hundreds of people, scarred, burned, bleeding; occupying (because she couldn’t call it living) trenches where embers and ash dropped upon them from the open bottoms of the burning vessels. All she could do is hide her face in her hands and bawl; she didn’t notice the salt on her hands stinging her eyes, as she realized where she was. The pool was a throne, and it was for the Devorans Animorum, the Devourer of Souls.

If there was light there would have been a flash, but instead it was an instant of pure darkness that consumed the room, and a humongous wolf, far larger than the one that had carried her, appeared inside the pool. It shook violently as it manifested, its fur not so much fur as solid smoke that covered most of its body and what wasn’t covered appeared to be infectious lesions that emitted a pungent odor. This new wolf approached the woman, and after a long inhale…

“Ahh, Liz”
“Ho...How…Why do you know me?”
“I know you, AND Maria. Your anguish smells sweet to me.”

The Devorans Animorum glanced forward, past Liz, at the wolf that had brought her and inquired, “Jorhim, where's the girl?”

“I brought you the woman.”
“Where’s the girl?”
“She’s all I could carry.”
“WHERE…IS…THE…GIRL?!” the giant wolf roared back at Jorhim, spitting dark, boiling slime as it spoke, and orange flames flashing from its otherwise empty eye sockets.

Jorhim cowered at the roar,”There was this bird, a white one and it attacked us”
“A bird?”
“And a cat. No, a mountain lion”
“There were four of you. And you’re telling me a bird and a cat got in your way?”
“They weren’t normal, the bird glowed.”
Grrrrrrrr….
“And the lion was green. And blue.”
GRRRRRRRR! “Where are the others?!” it said with a snarl, bearing its teeth.
“The lion killed them. And took the girl up the mountain.”
“What mountain?"
“The Holy Mountain, where we killed them.”
“You were supposed to kill them on the path, you fool. You woke a guardian! What else are you not telling me?”
“There was a bright light. Like the sun. At the top of the mountain.”

This enraged the Devorans Animorum, and lunged at Jorhim and grasped his head in its massive jaws. “You let the girl pass to Elysium!”

“I did what you sai…” The mighty teeth crushed Jorhims skull, and he dissolved into dark vapor, and was inhaled into the giant wolf.

Liz heard the entire conversation, and joy filled her as she heard that her daughter’s soul had been saved and delivered to the heavens. The Devorans Animorum turned to her, and said,”You won’t taste as good as you would have moments ago.”

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Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:35 am
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While the guardian was talking, Candor's gaze broke and drifted up to the mountain. The light had receded now, returning the land to its twilight darkness. In the distance, a thin line of light was breaking over the horizon; it seemed morning was coming soon, and all too symbolic gesture he thought.

"I used to be able to open passages miles from the mountain, but over the last few years I've had to come closer and closer to the mountain itself. Now I imagine I won't be able to open them anywhere else..." He said in response to the guardian's first comment. He briefly wondered if he would still be able to open portals at all , given his current.....condition, but his other abilities seemed to remain intact, so he imagined that one would be as well.

What is it the gryphons are so afraid of...?

"The last stronghold of peace and light has been disturbed. She has not fallen yet, however." The guardian gave a weak smile to both of her new companions. "After all, I have awoken, have I not?"

Candor chuckled, a bit of humor returning to his appearance. "Aye, that is something to be grateful for."

The Guardian looked up at Candor again. "My friend, tell me, do you not recognize me as I am today?"

Candor paused, confused by her comment. Why would he recognize her? She had been asleep for far longer than Candor had been alive. But there was a glimmer of recognition, like something from one's child hood....

"The Guardian of Peace!" It all came together in a burst of revelation. her comment to Maria earlier now clicked in his mind, as myths and tales all came together at once.

"But..." He looked back confused, "I thought you were dead? That's what the gryphons told me..."

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Poets have hitherto been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

-G.K. Chesterton


Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:15 pm
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Lady Sloth
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Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:33 am
Posts: 2417
Location: CO
[I'm going to write a few lines spoken by Editus Candor, in order to speed up the flow of the narrative a little. Please let me know if they are out-of-character so I may change them.]

"Dead to them, maybe," Pacis said, shaking her head. "My essence has been tied to this world, and my fate joined to her fate also. To them, all creatures unable or unwilling to someday reach their paradise are but the walking dead." Pacis went silent for a moment, apparently experiencing some sort of flashback or unbidden memory, whose contents were steeped in melancholy. Her distraction did not last long, however, as she quickly repressed it. "I was encased in stone at the top of this mountain for quite some time. But I have come and gone a little since first being placed here.

"All that, however, is the immutable past. As for the present: I am in desperate need of your assistance, Corve carissime. The evil that shrouds this mountain in darkness has taken root deep underneath Euroa. How far its tendrils reach, I cannot say. Only that there is a chance, however slight, that if we find it, defeat it, and banish it from here, the souls it has devoured may be recovered."

Editus Candor looked confused for a moment. "I thought--are those souls not lost to us by now?"

Pacis heaved a sigh, which still shot needles of pain through her chest. "It depends on what has been done to them, where they are being kept, what it is we are to face..." She gave a weak smile. "Very little in the spirit world is permanent, though," she said. "The cosmos, after all, is at its core a vast expanse of intersecting circles: What now moves away from us will yet reverse direction and return. Time heals--and destroys--and heals--all things."

Candor nodded slowly. "I will destroy the evil that manifested here," he promised. "...Or, at least, help to do so..."

"As night falls, this mountain will no longer be safe. We must retreat from here, lest the shadows find us once more." She turned to the Feles Mutans, who had settled down in the moss, watching them. She was surprised at how little time it took before she no longer noticed him there, no longer paid him any heed as he sat in plain sight. He, too, may be very useful in this battle. She was hesitant, however, to extend friendship to him, being as he was a purely mortal entity; however, she did not want to lose track of him, either. Addressing him, she said, "Amice mi. I have been asleep for quite some time, and I do not know my way around as once I did." She began to pant again, her cracked, bleeding, blackened tongue hanging from her mouth. "I am in desperate need of water, and shelter. Could you find it in your heart to lead my tired body to either thing?"

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Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:36 pm
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