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The Book of Amascut

Chapter 6

So long years of tense peace dragged on. Trade overland though the pass of the Mehkmets was impossible, since the pass was in the control of the Dark Imperator's army. Though Zaros greatly desired the Kharid's resources, he imposed a blockade in trade with the Kharid. But the overland route was all he could stop, as the navies of Tumeken and Elidnis's peoples conspired with the the navy of Saradomin's people to keep Zaros out of the southern and eastern seas. Confined to the two great rivers bracketing the former lands of the Mehkmets and the frozen seas of the north, Zaros' long shadow did not darken the sea trade. Saradomin expanded his control over the southern shores of the continent and the islands of the south sea, which the false Lord of Light, god of the bird-like Icyene, ruled over with an iron fist. It was for the greater good of denying Zaros a port on the Southern Sea. And in this, he had the co-operation of Armadyl, false Lord of Justice and Peace, god of the man-like Aviansie. But now the Kharid was surrounded by seas heavily plied by Saradomist ships to the north-east and to the west and trade with followers of the false Lord of Light only improved, at best, from sour to bittersweet.

As darkness spread in the world above less souls arrived in the underworld deserving of the afterlife and Icthlarin began to doubt Amascut's intentions. He feared the day that no soul would be judged worthy of continued existence and all would be devoured by the Devourer. That, and the continued accidental slayings of the Mahjarrat by the Priesthood of the Lioness set the sibling Lords of Death quarreling. Still, Icthlarin had neither eyes nor ears to know what his people were doing in secret, especially the misdeeds of Sliske and his allies. And neither did Tumeken, as he could only see his children fight over trivial things. He left Elidinis's side, perhaps thinking her responsible for the flaws in their children, and set to create divine children with only his power.

The growth in skill and numbers of the Priesthood of the Lioness and of those that followed the ways of the slayer had helped push the battle temporarily beyond the Zarosian fortification of Kharid-Et which was now isolated and under siege. Yet Tumeken, on his way to survey the lands won back, passed by without assisting those laying siege to the fortress. He visited the lands of the Bedabin, who had fled south to join the rest of the Kharid. He visited Auspah, whose people had been forcibly relocated north by Zaros. And then he visited the pass of the Mehkmets, which was held by the Mehkmets once again, and there he elevated a guard to godhood to honor the Mehkmets and all who fought for the Kharid. He then passed to the west coast of the Kharid, where a verdant jungle grew, and feeling mischievous he elevated a monkey to godhood. He passed to the east coast, to Ullek, a city that had grown rich in trade with the Hallowlands, and they threw him an grand feast. In gratitude and in commemoration of the gluttonous feast, he picked a crocodile from Ullek's swamps and raised it to godhood. And finally to the southern shore, in its lonely sad dunes, Tumeken elevated a scarab beetle to godhood, just to prove his power and to bother a shy, lowly creature. He saw these new gods as his true children, wrought entirely by his own power, and he loved them more than Amascut and Icthlarin, flawed children of Tumeken and Elidinis and their flawed love.

It wasn't long until Zaros again held all the lands north of Kharid-Et, despite these new gods and the Mahjarrat and the slayers and Priesthood of the Lioness. There arose a new horror in Zaros' army, a chimera of Icyene, Aviansie, Vampyre, and Demon Slave, with frightful power and frightful intelligence. Zaros' angel of death commanded a legion of her own, and many slayers tested her strength, but their efforts resulted in naught. Darkness continued to spread within the Kharid as well, and none except Amascut knew its source but she held her tongue until she knew with certainty that she could convince her brother of the truth. Soon she had her proof. Her Priesthood uncovered a large gathering of Sliske's wights, and bringing along Icthlarin, she went to the temple that hid the wights. Towering above it, Amascut tore the ceiling of of the temple, but with difficulty, for Enakhra the temple builder had weaved foul spells to keep the the stones bound to each other and the eyes of the gods away from it. Amascut invited Icthlarin to inspect the interior, and he saw a a small army of wights, standing shoulder to shoulder, awaiting their commander. Recognizing the spellwork that both animated them and held them fast, Ictharin summoned Sliske and demanded he release the souls gathered there to the Underworld. Sliske pleaded with Ictlarin, telling him that the wight army would be the new immortal defense against Zaros, and as Zarosian forces inevitably fell, their numbers would add to those of the Kharid. Many already in Sliske's army were infact former Zarosians, slain by Sliske himself and now bound to serve him. In great anger, Icthlarin chastised Sliske, and Amascut was suprised that this wasn't the first time Sliske's nefariousness was uncovered. Icthlarin severed the wights' bonds and sent the freed souls to the underworld himself. Sliske never looked abashed or angered, but only smiled as he graciously dismissed himself.

Amascut's surprise turned to angry disbelief and she ground the temple and the buildings around it to dust. She let Icthlarin know all she knew of Sliske's secret deeds and of the shared lineage of Icthlarin's Stern Judges and Zaros, the Empty Lord himself. This Elidinis and Tumeken overheard, causing Tumeken to become troubled. Tumekel the loyal heard too, and he confessed that Sliske and many other mahjarrat had spoken to Zaros at Kharid-Et, and Zaros had claimed that the Mahjarrat were his siblings and that he would restore the power they had lost in the war.

But it was far too late to act on this, for many of the mahjarrat had grown weary of being servile to Icthlarin and were ready to betray him, conviced by Sliske's manipulation. Among these were Azzanadra the Pious, Zamorak the Ambitious, Palkeera the Shadow-Warper, Enakhra the Temple Builder, Wahisietel the Curious, and Zemouregal the Vain. At Kharid-Et they pledged loyalty to Zaros with Demon Lord Ceres as their witness. As proof of their loyalty they added their fearsome power to Zaros' legions, and once again the legions marched far into the Kharid.

Tearfully, Tumeken gathered his children, both those made with Elidinis' help and on his own, and Elidinis herself, and Tumekel and the remaining loyal mahjarrat, and the masses of humanity still willing to fight the coming tide of darkness. They were to fight, they were to sacrifice, and the Kharid would forever remember them, for the Kharid would survive. Temekel and the few loyal Mahjarrat led the massed humanity in a last desperate charge of the Light against the Dark, and Tumeken now a towering colossus of light and fire, lumbered behind them. Elidinis withdrew to the river, and slowly, all that was green became brown and dry and shriveled. Amascut, realizing the secret meaning of her father's words, started begging him and then screaming at him to stop, as his four younger creations held her. Her pleading quickly became anger at the betrayal by her father's pets and at Icthlarin standing proud, with joyful tears in his eyes and arms crossed, as his father marched into battle. Tumeken raised his luminous arms and Amascut cursed all involved in this treachery as white light and immense heat, as if the sun itself had touched the earth, blinded and reduced all to ash.

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The Book of Amascut

Chapter 5

The tumultuous sea of emotion that the afterlife had become buffeted Icthlarin as he made his way back to the gates, but the sea had changed. Gone were the currents and eddies he had learned and new beasts prowled. Where was he and what were these dark souls? What hell had twisted them so, and more importantly from which hell did they escape? The beasts circled the god, altering the very currents as they did so. Icthlarin prepared to banish the beasts but curious teeth nipped at his arms before he did so.

A tremendous pride filled his chest now that he knew he was the son of such a great and kind and wise father, who was willing to sacrifice so much for his people.

No, this couldn't be hell, this was heaven.

Emboldened teeth bit down on his leg, and his world has naught but white, burning light and the accusing hateful screams of his sister across innumerable ages and uncountable worlds. He cowered at the foot of the volcano where he abandoned her as the searing ashes of a dead star rained down and he prayed a boulder would crush him before the mountain rightfully tore him asunder.

No, this was a hell! No, something new! A trick!

The soul devouring beasts were banished, and Icthlarin surveyed the the damage the beasts had done to the currents. No, it wasn't damage. The currents were never meant to exist, and neither were the eddies that trapped souls within collective interminable hells and heavens. The presence of the beasts had disturbed the eddies into colliding and falling apart, spilling freed souls into new currents that carried them to their ultimate freedom on the other side of the opened Gates of the Underworld. But it wasn't the river that awaited them, it was the Fiery Eye that Saw all that Icthlarin had done, the Ear that Proclaimed his sins to all in the Underworld, and the Mouth that Consumed all the pain he had caused. The Lioness, the true Maned Lioness, stood at the gates and her hateful, accusing screams shook the Afterlife.

It took Icthlarin and all the Mahjarrat who weren't occupied on the battle lines or routing out spies to subdue the mad goddess and partially enervate her. The Gates to the Underworld were shut again, but the bridge remained. For the first time in ages, the shores of the River Noumenon were lonely, almost empty. When Amascut regained her senses, the river once again let her know as it knew. Surrounding her besides her tearful brother were Azzanadra the pious, Temekel the loyal, Wahisietel the curious, and Sliske the foul, who stole souls from the shores when Icthlarin wasn't looking, among others. On the opposite shore, hunting the devourer beasts, were young Zamorak the Ambitious, Palkeera the Shadow-Warper, and Zemouregal the vain. The river knew little of what happened in the world above, but it did know this: while Amascut, the Judge of the Dead, was away the Mahjarrat had become judges of the people, enforcers of Icthlarin's and Tumeken's will, the Stern Judges of the living. And not only were they mighty warriors and magicians, they were shapeshifters, and many Zarosian spies and poor unfortunates merely suspected of spying were sent to the shore of the River Noumenon after getting caught by these Faceless Ones in a lie. The most unfortunate, however, were snatched back up only to be sent down again multiple times. On the dead and barren world they came from they did not have much opportunity to practice such dark crafts, but here on this world so rich and full of life, the only thing stopping them was Icthlarin himself. Poor distracted Icthlarin, burdened with the guilt of the loss of his sister and unable to earn his father's forgiveness. For Tumeken saw all the Mahjarrat had done yet did nothing for Icthlarin's sake. Icthlarin had brought evil into the Kharid to save it from evil, and for now that is what they did. Icthlarin would learn the consequences of his action, but Tumeken barely perceived the consequences of his inaction. And this the river knew neither, but Tumeken's former Eye witnessed it: a shared parentage between between the dark divine warriors and the Dark Imperator of the north.

Icthlarin and his foul tribe know knew they had a way to subdue the Judge of the Dead, and she feared that one day they might end her completely. She felt acutely, then, the terrible price gods pay for their divinity. There would be no afterlife for her, no shore of the River Noumenon would await her arrival. The River wouldn't carry her past who she was in life and beyond her death, beyond all she experienced and all people knew of her. She wouldn't become what she is in herself. She would just cease. Halt. End.

Much like the evil souls she ate as a reward for their treachery. She returned to her duty as Judge of the Dead, relieving some of the burden Icthlarin bared. Most of the devourer beasts that crossed the bridge to the river's opposite shore had been banished, but a great majority of those that bounded into the open Gates and into the wildly churning Afterlife remained there, calming the great and tumultuous seas of spirit as they hunted. For a while Icthlarin was thankful for the calming effects of the beasts, yet greatly disturbed by their appetite for the destruction of souls. There were still a great many hells and havens and violent currents about them, so Icthlarin still had necessity to leave the Gates for long periods to guide souls past the gnashing jaws of devour beasts and to the "right" afterlives, as some of the more powerful eddies had become.

The Mahjarrat came to the Underworld regularly to confer with Icthlarin. He dared not bring any past the Gates, though, for he knew how eager they were to learn the mysteries of the dead and what some of them would do with such knowledge. Thus he had no help against Amascut's devourer beasts. Not all Mahjarrat came to confer with Icthlarin; Sliske in particular had a habit of timing his visits while he was away, and always with a large group of his fellow Mahjarrat. They would feign disappointment everytime, and Zemouregal would almost always complain the loudest, yet they would stay for a while pretending to wait for the Shepherd of the Dead. Under the Judge of the Dead's furious gaze, they pilfered souls, yet the Judge did not pass judgement, for they were reminders of her own lack of mortality. This the river knew, as it knew the dark intentions of these mahjarrat. The souls were destined to be Sliske's personal grand army of wights, and he intended to complete the enervation of Amascut and even Icthlarin one day. For on the day Amascut returned, they felt a shadow of a joy and ecstasy they had not felt since leaving their home. This the river knew, yet Icthlarin had neither eyes nor ears to understand.

All Icthlarin heard and saw were a steady decline in souls judged worthy of even the afterlife, and almost none judged worthy of rebirth. Those that did earn rebirth were usually picked from among those huddled around his sister's false image. The population of devourer beasts haunting the afterlife never seemed to shrink either, but perhaps they were multiplying. Would that even be possible? But the Judge of the Dead told the Shepherd of the Dead that a corrupting darkness was seeping into the Kharid, despite the valiant efforts of his Stern Judges to stop the darkness from pouring in from the north. The Reaper of the Dead also had the ear of Icthlarin when he told of the curious, repetitive deaths of individuals that were becoming worryingly common. The old adageYou only die once was for some reason being proven wrong.

The Priesthood of Amascut expanded greatly after their Goddess's return, as did the number of people following the ways of the slayer. Adventurous slayers often passed through the increasingly fortified border between the Kharid and the Zarosian Empire and forged murderous and destructive trails deep into the north and each trip seemed to increase the wisdom of the slayer, somehow. In the Kharid, the Priests and Priestesses taught the mysteries of the body and the causes of death to the people and became great healers, and inoculated the people from many evils. Yet in secret they moved against the hidden actions of the Stern Judges. As the Faceless Ones shape-shifted, so did the priests and priestesses, stalking about like stray cats and pouncing as lions and larupias and kyatts. The reinvigorated Priesthood of the Lioness began having as much success as the Stern Judges at uncovering traitors to the Kharid, but their methods of dealing with the traitors became more violent and destructive with each year. At times it would seem that even Amasccut would appear, swelled with rage, and collapse buildings, even temples dedicated to her family, upon the heads of traitors. That a Faceless One in disguise was at times found dead in the debris was always an unfortunate coincidence and oversight. How could it be the True Lioness, when she remained at her post at the Gates of the Underworld? And so the children of the Kharid began to fear the Priesthood of the Lioness, but still would cautiously chide each-other
Judge not the Deathbringer, lest she judge you
From fear came respect, however, and the priesthood still grew.
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The Book of Amascut

Chapter 4

On the shore of the River Noumenon, Amascut knew what had happened in her absence before her senses could even experience it, and before her mind could infer it. She had been gone for long ages and the underworld had no Judge. On the opposite shore the Reaper laid down his sorrowful harvest, far more bountiful than the harvest had been collected in ages past. So many were human, but there too were a few of the warrior bird-like men that worshiped the false Lord of Light, and some of the war-ready man-like birds, so like her father, so enamored with justice, yet so unlike her father. In her years of absence, green creatures of every size but of generally of the same hulking man shape had begun to arrive, born for war and proud to have died in battle. Agile pointy eared giants stalked through the crowds desperate to find each other and find solace, and both pointy eared and round eared midgets desperate to make themselves smaller hid from themselves and their shame. Absent were those from the forces of the Empty Lord save for a rare representative of the enslaved lower castes of Pandemonium.

With joy they looked upon the Vaults of the Blessed Underworld
Their bonds broken, their fates by chance no longer that of their Lords
They fell into the river and they were no longer fire
They were no longer boiling hot flesh and no longer searing ash
They were no longer their lives or their deaths
The river swept beyond experience and they were no longer the river
They where what they are in themselves.

The Ferryman, not bound to the Empty Lord and not bound to the Dukes bound to the Empty Lord, yet still bound, floated who he could over his own freedom, in the shadow of the beginnings of a bridge one of his masters had begun building over the river. Now his other master had returned. And she would disapprove of the bridge. This the river knew.

But the river knew still more. In Amascut's absence, and in Icthlarin's naiveté, several powerful souls had crossed the river, worthy souls and foul, evil souls, and they crossed into the afterlife. Warped was the afterlife now, warped into personal hells and havens trapping souls in eternal wells of guilt and shame and rapturous unceasing uncaring joy and abuse. A violent storm of warring spirit and emotion buffeted a mighty wall that rose up and protected the river, and the rest of the underworld, and the world itself from a conflict that had grown far greater than what existed above. The wall was always there, but it was fortified now, and the gates too, now strengthened. New were the massive statues flanking the gates, the Jackal and the Lioness.

A maneless lioness. Not Amascut, a maneless lioness, a random lioness, an ideal lioness, not Amascut as she was, but as Icthlarin and Tumeken and Elidinis and the Kharid and the World and the Universe and Mah wished she was. A memory, an idealized memory, never a reality.

Her rage grew until it dwarfed the statues and she raised her hand to smash them and the gates. The green creatures on the opposite shore rejoiced and readied to prove themselves worthy, readied themselves to be redeemed. But near the false image of the Lioness gathered souls who begged her to stop. The river knew who they were, and in front of Amascut stood and lived generations of slayers of monsters and warrior priests and warrior priestess. The river knew the lives they lived and the lives they ended and the hope that they had that they would be reborn. Before Amascut was the huge mound of bones of all who were ended by the faithful and faithless followers of the way of the slayer. Now the faithless had faith again and their hope was confirmed. They knew Icthlarin had passed on beyond the gate, to shepherd souls through the storm.

The bones were wreathed in flames and Amascut flung open the Gates of the Underworld. The Mouth Consumed the smoke and the Ear Proclaimed the Words that Destroy Civilizations into the emotional maelstrom of the Afterlife. Stones rose from the depths of the River Noumenon to complete the bridge. All on the opposite shore save for the green brutes fled from the river's edge and the bridge for fear of the storm the mad goddess had unleashed, but the brutes charged toward glory. Glory did not rush forward to meet them, for Amascut manipulated it and it filled those that waited for her faithfully and faithlessly by her false image. What met the souls of those green war-eager brutes were the slayers of their bodies reborn as the devourers of their spirits, armed with boundless hatred, unending shame, heart-breaking sadness, ego-shredding guilt, and unrelenting ecstasy. The brutes were barely an impediment to the group of soul devouring beasts that bounded across the bridge to the opposite shore. The majority of the beasts, however, poured into the storm beyond the gate, seeking to destroy heavens and hells alike to consume the souls within.

The Lioness's bountiful mercy lined the shores of the River Noumenon while Amascut awaited at the gates of the underworld for her brother's return.
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The Book of Amascut

Chapter 3

Amascut left the Dreamer, who she know knew was Mah, and the world both of them were abandoned on, which she now knew was Freneskae. The way back home was closed, for she no longer had the help of her brother, the cowardly, traitorous cur. Neither did she have the power of the dark divine warriors, who she now knew as the Mahjarrat, as her brother did when he fled with them. Her power was as nothing compared as the Dark Imperator, the Empty Lord, the king of monsters, when he escaped Mah and made his way across the Universe. Mah had stolen so much from Amascut, so much of her life, so much of her time, so much of her fate, so much of her love, so much of her hatred and played with it, tasted it, crushed it, molded it, shaped it. But the Eye Understood and the Mouth Consumed and the Ear Proclaimed until the Dreamer, drained of life and understanding and willingness to fight the cold poison that ate at her heart since time before Time, dreamed again. Amascut had in turn, stolen little from Mah, but it was enough to make her own way across the Universe.

The Universe was wide. It was wider than she remembered, with many more worlds than she recalled. But with new eyes she judged the worlds and their peoples. She saw their potential and what could have been. She saw what should of been, and what was actually passing before her. She saw terror sown across the Universe, a fear of death and a hunger for life that should have never been. She saw marks of a devourer of worlds, and witnessed the incomprehensible mountains of rotting flesh and decaying spirits, and she heard words that consumed entire star systems and reduced civilization to ash. Many worlds reeked of the poison her sibling, who she now knew was Wen, had planted in her heart in the time before Time, and many of those worlds where also touched by the pretender Lord of Light. Many cried out for mercy to the Judge of Souls and mercy she did grant. She saved many from from the terror she saw and the words she heard and the evil she tasted. She saved many from the hells that their afterlives had become. For them, the only mercy was the oblivion found in Her stomach.

And so the Eye Understood and the Mouth Consumed and the Ear Proclaimed and the Judge showed mercy.

Time passed without any reliable count, but Amascut finally returned home to the Kharid. She saw signs on land that showed the military might of Zaros had pushed far south into the Kharid, but her eye looked far to the north and she saw that Zaros and his monstrous Empire were pushed back. She fell prostrate on the banks of the Elid and sobbed. Had she judged wrong? The Mahjarrat had done what Icthlarin had hoped, they had defended the Kharid and brought peace to its people. And though they hadn't eliminated the threat Zaros posed (for how could they? they were created in his shadow…) they had spared the Kharid from the calamitous intents of the Empty Lord and his Dark Empire.

All Kharid, except for the lands of the Mehkmet and the Auspah and the Bedabin.

From where her tears fell, water welled up from the ground. The trees bent their branches and leaves away from her and the clouds parted above her. Elidinis and Tumeken appeared by her and bade her to rise, and each embraced their long lost daughter. Amascut, still red-haired and handsome, the apple of her Father's eye, had changed as the Kharid had changed but it was Tumeken who perceived the greatest difference. Or, rather, didn't perceive. She was no longer His Eye, she was no longer His Ear, she was no longer His Mouth. Elidinis, noting the cold pain of estrangement overtaking Tumeken's heart and Amascut's growing confusion about Tumeken's distance and Icthlarin's absence urged Amascut to go to her brother. Relief and rage warred as Amascut cast her eye to the far north again, and she pried the battle lines. There she saw Kharidian warriors and a generation of her slayers and warrior priests and priestesses that she had never seen and a portion of the divine warriors they had encountered on Freneskae. But Icthlarin was not there. All the cur ever wanted was to please his father and defend his father's people, but how could he please a father so cold, so harsh? Where was the coward? Elidinis urged Amascut again to go to her brother and then looked to the river.

And the Eye Understood. As she turned her fiery gaze on Tumeken, she descended to the underworld, to the shores of the River Noumenon.
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The Book of Amascut

Chapter 2

Here, before Amascut was the Dreamer. Here was the caster of shadows which reached across the universe. Here was but part of the truth that the Eye perceived in half-formed worlds. Many of the eyes of the Dreamer were ruined, but those that weren't dwarfed the Fierce Eye of Tumeken herself. She felt rage, rage at this lifeless world that she had been abandoned on. She felt a long desperate loneliness that stretched into timespans innumerable, into millennia she didn't know existed. And hunger.

The Dreamer awoke and wailed, and her cries shook the mountain, freeing boulders that the hellish weather had been loosening for decades. In fear, the boulders themselves raced down the mountain to escape the wrath of their creator. All eyes on the mountain turned toward the settlement of the dark divine warriors - the dreams of the Dreamer, the Mahjarrat - as the boulders continued their ruinous stampede. All eyes burned with rage at that cowardly cur, at that curious new life form, at Icthlarin, damn his egg-sucking teeth, he stole all the dreams, he stole all the hope, he stole all the joy left in the world. And he brought all the world's nightmares to life.

But the Dreamer had a new Eye to replace those ruined by her traitorous, cowardly sibling, her traitorous, cowardly creation, DAMN ICTHLARIN, LORD OF DEATH, STEALER OF DREAMS, FATHER OF NIGHTMARES! DAMN WEN! DAMN ZAROS! And the Eye understood. And the Dreamer had a new hope, a potential she saw before all time. A Light the Eye only only perceived dimly before. And the Eye understood. And the Dreamer had a new joy, Fierce Amascut, Rage Incarnate, Destroyer of Nightmares, Devourer of Evil, Eye of Tumeken and His Judgment Against His People, Against All Peoples, Against the Whole Universe. And the Eye understood. And the Dreamer had a new way to satisfy her hunger. And the Devourer understood. And the Eye understood. And the Dreamer had an Eye that perceived all Truth.

And the Eye plucked herself out. The Devourer drank deeply from the wound. The Dreamer slept once again. The Eye wouldn't belong to the Dreamer, or to Tumeken, for the Eye understood. The Eye was Justice, the Eye was Judgment. And so the Dreamer and her world prison was damned.
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The Book of Amascut

Chapter 1

There was a time when the Kharid was a lush land, full of life. Tumeken, the Sun, blessed the land with light and the fire that motivates life from the sky above, and the mighty Elidinis, the river, blessed the land with water, which carries life. And life sprung up from the rich earth, nurtured by the two lords of life.

And it was at this time that Elidinis carried all manner of creatures to this land, creatures that would drink from her waters, and wade in her waters, and enjoy the fruits of the land and the hunting on the land, and thus become fruitful and be hunted themselves. And it was at this time that Tumeken brought his chosen people to these lands, and never did they see such wonders as those Tumeken and Elidinis had created here. Tumeken and Elidinis saw it fit to adopt forms like the non-human creatures as well as human-like creatures, so that they could be with their people, both known and unknown. Tumeken adopted the form of the high soaring falcon so like them he could watch over his land and fly to his people with speed. Elidinis chose for her form the river-horse, placid-looking and bountiful, yet rabidly protective and deceptively powerful and deadly.

But as there was life, there was also death, for deathless life is unnatural, selfish, dangerous, and unholy. The gods themselves pay a great price for their immortality, yea, even the lords of life have paid for the sin of undeath. And Tumeken and Elidinis wanted their children to know what they had lost, so their two children became lords of death, guardians of the underworld. There was a son, Icthlarin, ever loyal, eager to please, and constantly seeking approval, so he adopted the form of such a creature: a jackal-like dog. There was also a daughter, also, Amascut, fierce and handsome, with a discerning eye that saw all truth, for it was the fiery Eye of Tumeken. The Eye is Tumeken's justice and judgment upon his people, and so great was the Eye that the Lioness had a spectacular mane, despite being a Daughter of Tumeken and despite being a Lioness. All who gazed on her red hair knew that their god in the sky gazed back.

And so the Kharid was peaceful and prosperous. Outside the Kharid, other gods and other peoples walked, either making eachother prosperous or terrorizing eachother. The Kharid had rich forests, with excellent timber, and traded with foreign lands. The people of the Kharid ventured into the seas and islands of the southeastern seas and made good trade; they traded with the bird-like men of Hallowvale who came in ships over the northeastern seas; they traded with the pointy eared giants and midgets who came in ships from the west; they traded with the occasional strange creature from the Crystal Kingdom who traded with the Mehkmets, including men-like birds from lands they claimed were north of the pointy eared giants. And so trade enriched the Kharid, both by the way of the sea and by overland routes that went through the lands of the increasingly prosperous Mehkmet tribe in the northern Kharid. But all was not well, of course there was disorder in the order and there was evil amongst the good and there was life and death. It was Icthlarin's role to conduct souls to the afterlife, but before he could do so, souls had to pass before the fierce Eye of Tumeken. To those worthy, exceptional souls, Amascut offered them rebirth by weaving a new life from the remains of an old and spent body. To those unworthy of even the afterlife, Amascut destroyed them utterly, devouring both body and soul.

The Mehkmets of the north, though they had become prosperous because of the pass they guarded, were also in the most danger, for most lived north of the pass, the door to the Kharid. Further to the north monsters stirred, so monstrous to become gods themselves. Adventurers, blessed with the fierceness of Amascut and her knowledge of life and death carried the wrath of Tumeken and his fiery Eye to the north. These were the first slayers. And so the safety of the Mehkmets and the safety of the rest of the tribes in the Kharid were won.

But this safety ended shortly after slayers started reporting back that a new monster had been borne into the world. A king of monsters, a Dark Imperator, an Empty Lord, who had sacrificed one of the mightiest god-beasts of the north in order to bring in twelve legions of demons to the land. A sickening aura that demanded loyalty, yea, even devotion, which pacified even the most nefarious of the demon lords and the most chaotic of the demon slaves. Warrior-priests and priestesses of the Eye and the Lioness's Wrath added their strength to the warriors of the Mehkmet and volunteers from the other Kharidian tribes in preparation for the coming storm.

The Kharidian Pantheon weren't alone in preparing. The Lord of the bird-like men of the Hallowlands to the north-east not only fortified his western border with this new Dark Empire; in a move to protect his Holy Island in the South Sea, he invaded the Crystal Kingdom, for he feared it would be a weak buffer. Myriad and beautiful were the towers of the Crystal Kingdom, but they were weak and delicate, as were the inhabitants. The Crystal Kingdom was shattered and only a few creatures made entirely of light survived, but these too disappeared as the Lord of the bird-like men fortified the shattered ruins, declaring himself the Lord of Light who would drive away the Darkness. The Eye saw this, and she passed judgment, but the Wrath of Tumeken, the true Lord of Light, would be stayed against the pretender. For now, perhaps, both Lights would burn together against the growing Dark. Still, trade with Hallowvale started to sour.

It was at this time that Icthlarin, ever loyal, eager to please, and constantly seeking approval began to worry, for as strong as Tumeken and Elidinis made them, as blessed they were with the knowledge of Amascut's way of the slayer, would Tumeken's people stand a chance against the demonic legions of the Empty Lord? Would they not be like dry pine needles before the breath of the dragons, guided by the Dark Imperator's new dragonriders? Would they not be like grapes, crushed and juiced to reward vampyres loyal to the king of monsters? It was at this time that Icthlarin began worrying that he and his sister, Amascut, had been banished to the Underworld as a punishment; banished from defending the Kharid with their own divine power. It was at this time that Icthlarin craved his own people, not in order to overshadow his father's people, but to protect his father's people and to regain Tumeken's praise. He knew, from his all-seeing sister, that the Empty Lord had gained his powerful allies on other worlds strung across the Universe, many from worlds that were universes themselves. He entreated his sister to help him to find his people, the Kharid's new protectors, for she was the best judge of souls. Amascut, seeing the wisdom in what he said, agreed, and they both abandoned their duties in the underworld in order to search the Universe for help.

They came across many worlds. Many empty, many in ruins, many, to their great dread, somehow incomplete. For what god is so powerful as to create a world, even an incomplete one? They meet many peoples, many unwilling to fight on a foreign world for the benefit of a foreign people, some seemingly touched by the Empty Lord or the pretender Lord of Light. Those few willing to follow Icthlarin and Amascut into war were either judged too weak and frail, or too evil to bring back. It was at this time that Icthlarin grew wearied of Amascut's judgements, for no-one they met was good enough for her. They were about to reach the end of the Universe when they arrived at one last world, an ash-covered, smog and lava-filled hellscape. Lightning raked the sky and the ground, searching for life to snuff out. Yet, there was life, sentient life. A civilization of hardened warriors yielding both enormous physical and magical strength, and with frightful strategic intelligence. These, finally, were the people Icthlarin sought out, but Amascut could not judge them. When the two gods approached this warrior tribe, she realized why as Icthlarin told them of a war taking place far across the Universe on a world much more green and much less deadly than this one. The warriors had no souls, they were like the gods themselves; instead of having a soul, they had divinity. The divine warriors argued the merits of leaving their home to fight a war that wasn't theirs, and their words quickly became fists flying through the air, and blades tearing through armor, and profane magic spells. The Eye saw, then that these warriors had not given up their souls for divine power, they were created that way. Created after the shadow of the Dark Imperator himself.

In the shadow of the volcano that loomed over all of them.

Amascut warned Icthlarin of this, and of her deep misgivings. But Icthlarin heard no warning, only praise for the dark warriors' power and potential. Amascut looked to the volcano in desperation and in fear, for what would create such fearsome things? Possibly the destroyer of such things, as well. Two of the warriors who had objected to leaving were killed, one in a ritual that restored the living to beyond their former power and health. The warriors had resolved to leave with Icthlarin and Amascut and made preparations to do so, but Amascut walked away from the warriors' village and up the mountain.

And there, on the slopes, she found more creations, more shadows. These were no longer shadows of the Dark Imperator as the dark divine warriors had been, but they were living nightmares. The Warrior Goddess had no trouble with banishing the nightmares with the fiery light of day but as she did, the mountain and the Dreamer in it stirred.

When Amascut banished the last of the Dreamer's nightmares, the Dreamer opened her eyes.

And wailed.
myriadbeautiful: The god Guthix. Kind of a horned Yeti? (God Guthix)
The barrier protecting Gielinor calls out to Yrael, the Bright Shiner "Stop! Please, do not step onto this world. I beg you."

The threshold of the front door widens greatly and then becomes a black void. Only Yrael and Guthix, Gielinor's self-appointed protector, are present in the void.
myriadbeautiful: (myriad and beautiful)
The front door opens out into a room that could use some a lot of love in order to looks nice again. Welcome to the slums of Varrock!

Sarah waves Ibani, Quinlan, and Yrael through. "My sister and the rest of the gang are in the other room. Come on in so we can get started."
myriadbeautiful: (Lucien)
"The VTAM corporation. How quaint. Running a legitimate business."

A robed figure stands outside of VTAM's headquarters. One hand is occupied with making sure his would-be mugger does not run away, leaving the other free to knock on the door.

The door opens and a young man pokes his head out. "Hello, my name is Pete," he greets. "How may I help you?" he asks, wearing an amiable grin.

"Hello, Pete." Says the robed figure. "I awarded your corporation a contract a while back but I am growing concerned that the terms of the contract haven't been fulfilled."

"Oh, we are sorry about that. I'll gladly make an inquiry about the status of your contract. May I have your name, sir?"

"Lucien. I wish to speak to Straven Enroy as well."

Pete blanches at the robed figure's name. "One moment, sir," he says as he ducks back in and closes the door carefully. Angering a client like Lucien would be a very, very bad thing to do.

The rush of movement underground and in the buildings surrounding the entrance to the VTAM corporation do not go unnoticed by Lucien. He turns to his would-be mugger and taunts, "It is a good thing you are still alive. I think these negotiations are about to get complicated."

The door opens again and it isn't Pete who open it and steps through. Straven Enroy comes out instead, wearing his finest business suit. He doesn't even try to smile as he says, "Lucien. This is about the shield, isn't it?"

"Yes," responds Lucien, "it has been more than half a year. Don't tell me that it is still in the museum."

"Actually, we managed to steal it. But the gang split in half and so did the shield."

"WHAT? How?!"

"The Raven witch! Actually, both of them. The older sister started fighting me over whether we should sell it to you and the the younger one just marched up to it and split it over her knee. They took half the gang with them and half of the shield."

"Lies!" Lucien lets go of his mugger and grabs Straven by the lapels of his coat. Shaking Straven, he asks, "How is that possible? A human barely has the strength to dent a metal shield, and that is on a good day against a weak metal." At the sound of crossbows being leveled at him, he releases Straven. "Your thugs know that if I am in their range they are most definitely in mine, right?"

Straven smooths his lapels as best as he can. "She used a spell; I don't know how she did it. I wasn't about to ask her to do it a second time. Her sister threatened that I would be the next thing that she would break." He looks at Lucien, daring him. "You can try taking our half of the shield, and it may be easy for you, but you would still have to find where the Ravens and their Black Arms are hiding and then take their half of it from them. That is what we have been doing all this time."

"Hah. All I have to do is break a bunch more of you fragile things? It probably would be easy, but what would I do with a broken shield? And what proof do I have the shield is actually broken?" Lucien asks, mockingly.

"I am not sure that Raven witch is even human anymore. What I would give to see you break her and her sister. But if you think I am foolish enough to bring our half of the shield within your reach you are sorely mistaken."

"Would you bring it out if I promised to let you watch me break the Ravens?" Lucien asks with a chuckle. Oh... the perversions of man.

"You would have to find them before I do," answers Straven, sternly. So no. Mostly.

"Very well," answers Lucien. "Either way, Straven, both you and the Raven sisters will pay for this, sooner or later."

Ancient magicks swirl around Lucien's form, and he disappears.
myriadbeautiful: (Morytania)
A hooded and robed figure stalks along the streets of southern Varrock. It is mildly unusual. But in among the dilapidated buildings of the southern section of the city, unusual can happen. The Guard hardly ever ventures south of the square and the nobility never do, save for hurried trips in protected carriages out of the City through the southern gate. Unusual happens all the time. Money disappears, valuables and antiques disappear, even people disappear.

Perhaps it is a visiting Zamorakian priest. It is someone from outside of the neighborhood in any case, and for certain people morality depends on geography. Or sometimes, such morality gets replaced with a calculation of the likelyhood of accidentally planting the seeds of the strangling vine of vendetta in one's own home. Zamorakians will fight back, most times viciously, so it is best to end fights with them quickly.

Out of the shadows a second figure pounces on the first.

"Your money or your life!" barks the second at the first. The second embraces the first from behind, holding a dagger just below the first's jaw.

"What prompt customer service!" exclaims a deep resonant voice from inside the robes. The jaw presses back on the dagger's edge several times, daring it to make a cut. "Can you help me find your employers? I am afraid the time I gave them to fulfill a contract is up."

The dagger quivers, unnerved by the bravado of the jaw. This was supposed to be quick. Is the priest mad? He has spoken as if the dagger wasn't there and hadn't made a move to regain his freedom. It can still be quick. The dagger takes the jaw's dare and stabs into the first's neck.

The first tenses up with pain as the dagger retreats from the wound in the neck and prepares to make another wound in the chest. But the dagger falters and falls from the hand of the second, as the second stumbles away from the first and crumples to the ground.

The dagger gets picked up by the first with a calmness that refuses to recognize the potential fatality of the situation. Then the first walks over to the second and crouches next to him. Surprisingly the first can speak.

"Ah, blood magics, so convenient. I was hoping not to have to recoup my losses. You alone will not be able to repay me," the first says to the second, sternly. "I think you might actually be too stupid to understand what I have been saying, so let me simplify for you. Where is Straven Enroy?"
myriadbeautiful: (Default)
Deep below the sand of the southern Kharid, the normally cool tunnels used for untold spans of history by the people of the desert to flee what dangers may roam the surface are a tad bit hotter. The scabarites, the deserts current set of outcasts and refugees, are scurrying about, fulfilling their mistress's newest request.

In a great ceramic vessel held aloft by thick chains and pulleys is the glowing liquid result of the combination of an absurd amount of steel and superheat spells being cast by the scabarite mages below.

"That is enough heat" calls out the red shelled Mistress from her perch high in the great gallery. "Half of you assist with the chains, half of the rest move up to higher ground to guide the pouring. The remaining fraction keep casting."

With great care, the chains are manipulated to cause the molten steel to pour into a half buried second vessel.

"Load the cauldron again and get back to melting."

"If you don't mind, what are we going to do with these columns of steel?" asks a scabarite.

"The Devourer has requested that they be made. I shall be delivering them after they cool myself."

"To the Devourer Herself?"

"To someplace where She can receive and use them."

"But they are so large. Will you be able to lift them?"

"I only need to be able to drop them."
myriadbeautiful: (myriad and beautiful)
In secret places underneath the Kharidian Desert, in alcoves in hundreds of isolation cells of the tunnels that snake this way and that, hidden by the shifting sands, a prayer echoes, repeated without cease.

May the wrath of our Lady, the Devourer, be with Gordon Freeman

May his death spread like a plague

May he bring enlightenment to our enemies

The Devourer knows that Gordon intends on bringing the wrath contained in the urn of dead stars to bear should his mission fail, but she also knows that divine wrath can't hurt.
myriadbeautiful: (Default)

Ali is acting weird, calling himself Ali the Murderous and staring into the desert all the time. Ali and Ali think that Ali bumped into Sumona, the weird lady who is afraid of cats.

I have been watching her. She is up to something. A couple years back Ali disappeared and then Ali also disappeared. Then Ali, then Ali, then Ali. The thing they have all in common? Sumona. They began obsessing over her then they disappear. Sumona replaced our Ali with a new Ali, one who gets into fights all the time. He broke Ali's nose, and keeps on sticking fudgesicles in Ali's hair.

This morning, a pirate came to Sumona's house with a wooden crate. A pirate! Everyone knows that no one trades by sea anymore, but I saw a pirate delivering a crate! How far is the nearest seaport? But the pirate was very grumbly about being in the desert. When Sumona asked about the trade with the East the pirate became very angry and he left the crate and he walked away angry and he used the carpet to go back south. He was from Menaphos. I bet.

If Sumona catches me now you know why.


Southwest of Canifis

"How can anything live here?" asks the man-sized scarab beetle-thing. "I can't even see the sun though all these miserable clouds." The beetle-thing, another of the scarabite race which inhabits this world, is one of the grey-shelled, and female. She, like the rest of her race, walks upright on her two hindlegs, leaving her two other pairs of limbs free to use tools, use weapons, or carry loads, a task which two of those limbs of hers are currently occupied with. On one side she carries a cage full of the cutest grenades ever seen, on the other a mini-icebox.
"Life is a stubborn thing," comments the scarabite behind her. At least that is what this woman looks like to the scarabite in front. "If your study hasn't shown you that, you will soon learn, Cheles Khepri." Cheles, like almost all of her brethren, have eyes that are easily deceived by the Deceiver. The human following behind her, carrying their food, does not look or even register as human to Cheles. No, it isn't the red haired Scourge of the Desert following her; it is the resplendent, red-shelled Mistress, spiritual guide to the awakened brothers and prophet of Scarabas. It is the Mistress who is checking the food and commenting, "Curious, no ghast has come by to rot our food."

It is the Devourer ███████ who eats any ghasts that come near, tempted by the food and the lifeforce of the scarabite wandering through the swamps. It is the goddess of destruction who finally grants them an end to their terrible, hungry existence.

"What a blessing that is. Scarabas watches over us even in this place," says Cheles.

Wrong God. "Yes, it is." The Mistress looks ahead. "I think this is a good place to stop. Look, swamp lizards," she points out. "We will perform our first live test on them."

"I do not mean to question your wisdom, but won't they just set the chinchompas on fire before they get in range?" Lizard is a misnomer. Swamp lizards are actually a variety of salamander, and here they have plenty of swamp tar and volatile gases to gulp down and spit back out as flaming balls of death.

"They will, but here's the thing. Chinchompas have learned not to hunt salamanders. It will control for natural behaviour," ███████ says with a smirk. "We are attempting to convince them to go against their instinct, remember?"

"Ah, yes, but the chinchompas will still explode prematurely."

"We'll see, we'll see. They might be able to contain their explosions a bit better. Or we might, rather. I want to see how they do under stress. Prepare the first subject as we discussed."

Cheles plucks a cute fuzzy red chinchompa out of the cage of cute fuzzy grenades, and with her other forelimbs she opens the icebox, scoops out a wad of ground spiced grub, and closes the box. After rolling the meat into a tiny ball, she gives it to the chinchompa, which happily takes the food in its two front paws and starts nibbling on it. When the food is gone, Cheles points the chinchompa toward the swamp lizards and whispers "food".

She sets the chinchompa on the ground.

The chinchompa make a beeline toward a swamp lizard.

A burst of fire erupts from the swamp lizard's mouth.

The chinchompa's fur gets singed, but it continues its charge toward the lizard.

On the second burst of fire from the lizard, the chinchompa dies. Explosively. So does the lizard.

███████ is giggling. Cackling. "That worked! That worked!" Bog water and mud, thrown into the air by the explosion, rains down on ███████ and Cheles. "It worked!"

"If ground-up slugling didn't work, I fear what we would have had to do to get something stronger," Cheles says, clearing her head of mud and bog water.

"Oh, probably just developing an extract and concentrating it, probably. If not, we would just have to hunt for adults."

"Adults? So there is a legitimate reason they are called sluglings and not just slugs..."

"There was a long time ago. But things changed. Their life cycles were much different."

"The old stories about the Slug Queen are true?"

"I only know what is in the stories of that time. I am not that old." LIES LIES LIES. "But now is not the time to discuss ancient history, now is the time to perform the experiment again. The swamp lizards are going to be a bit more prepared this time, I think. I want to see what happens."

As Cheles prepares a second chinchompa, ███████ scans the sky. Someone had to hear that explosion. Someone has to be listening. Listening for thoughts, for sentience.

But not for thoughts with teeth. Not for her name, not…

The chinchompa makes a beeline for its target.

███████ slides over a set of throwing knives to Cheles and scurries off to hide in a bush.

Cheles, bewildered, protests.

"Vyre," answers the bush.

"But I don't know how…"

"That is your advantage," the bush answers back.

A dark winged shape sweeps in from the sky, a humanoid sporting the wings and fearsome facial features of a bat. "Scarabite! Why are your kind invading these lands?"

"Filth that feeds off the ichor of filth!" Cheles shoots back. "We come to cleanse this land! We bring blessed purity to this place of rot, which hides from Tumeken's wrath!"

"Tumeken!" The vyrewatch patrolman laughs, "Who worships him outside of the desert? And even there, not all do. He is weak; even ones such as our Lords can cast a shadow over the land so that He cannot gaze through."

"FILTH!!" shouts Cheles as she begins wildly throwing the knives her Mistress gave her.

The vampyre did not need a warning from Cheles that an attack was coming, as her thoughts were plain to him even before he brought attention to himself. He dodges the first knives but as Cheles throws more, her thoughts become clouded with rage and her aim confused by her deepening realization that she doesn't know how to throw knives.

He can't dodge the knife that isn't aimed.

A knife finds its way to his right leg and produces a nasty, jagged gash.


The exploding chinchompa takes him by surprise and the vampyre is knocked to the ground, right in front of the bush ███████ was hiding in before she pounced on him.

Horror is apparent on the vampyre's face. It is the red haired monster of the desert, little red riding hood, Death come to claim her rightful dues. He can already feel her thoughts devouring his.

A memory creeps up to the surface of his mind and he truly begins stuggling against her. She hasn't been killing her victims, not lately. She has been scarring those she catches, calling down the wrath of her father and the wrath of the clouds to paint cruel messages on the bodies and minds of her victims.

Why hasn't she killed him yet?

"Not my eyes! Not my eyes!"

Cheles gets up after being knocked down by the explosion and walks over, "Mistress? What is he talking about?"

███████, still holding down the vampyre, considers the question. "I do not know, except that he does not see what you see, perhaps." Addressing the vampyre, "You are awfully young. When were you sired?"

"Please, do not leave me alive! Kill me! Please!" pleads the vampyre.

"What are you blathering on about? Of course I am going to kill you."

"LIES! You have been using us to send messages to the royal family."


That gives the vampyre pause. ███████ hasn't shut off her memory devouring thoughts yet, but through them, he can feel… curiosity? "You really don't know?"

"What kind of message can I send by plucking out eyeballs?"

"Blinding with the sun and sealing our eyes behind burned eyelids, breaking wings, calling the lightning to knock us out of the sky?"

"Why are you giving me ideas? What was the message?"

"I don't know!"

███████ calls Cheles over, "Hold his arm down for me."

Cheles wonders why the Mistress can't just use one of her free claws, but she complies.

███████ moves her now free hand over to one of the vampyre's eyes letting him watch as the coalescing fire magic bends the light around it. "Well, since you don't know, I will let you in on the secret. That means you get to live. Or unlive, whatever you call it."


"Gyaaah!" the vampyre's head is briefly engulfed in flame.

"Tell Vanescula that I grow tired if her father's inaction. These clouds won't shield him forever from my father's intentions, especially if I no longer am amused by their presence."

"Your father?" asks Cheles.

"Our Father Who art in heaven." ███████ answers. She gets off the vampyre.

"My eye! You have blinded me," the vampyre laments.

"Half-blinded. Cheles, sit him up. Can he still fly, do you think?"

Cheles inspects his wings. "Nothing broken or torn. Some bruising, but he'll fly."

"You have ruined me."

"You are fine, except for your eye and that leg-OH," Bomf!


"There, now fly."

The vampyre doesn't budge.

"Fine, you are suicidal now." ███████ plucks a chinchompa out of the cage and feeds it a wad of ground slugling. "You die in 275 heartbeats," she whispers to the furry critter. She hands it to the vampyre, who embraces it.

"That probably isn't enough to kill you, just maim you severely. But if I did truly ruin you, there is a small chance you will die."

███████ and Cheles teleport away leaving the vampyre alone with the chinchompa.

Soon after, the vampyre leaves the cute fuzzy on the ground and flies off.

myriadbeautiful: (Default)
Day broke, and Apmeken still had not returned. Repairs to the village had started even though some were unsure that such repairs were worth the effort. Scouts had spotted two armies of humans moving toward the settlement, threatening to grind the village into dirt in another of their silly fights. There was doubt Apmeken would return in time, especially after the strange wave of nausea and a small tremor struck the village during the dawn hour.

Mid-morning, the three youngsters that went missing during the night returned, telling wild tales of the battle between Apmeken and the red haired woman who stormed through the village calling down fire from the sky. They had told the tale many times, and were in the middle of retelling the story when one of the youngsters fell silent. It wasn't only him; a third of the apes and monkeys in the village were struck dumb. The panic didn't quite reach the level of the night before until a third of the village's inhabitants went blind. The sounds of the panic then died for the remaining third as their ears became useless.

The three youngsters found each other and hid in a dark corner of a burnt out hut. The village erupted in chaos.

Apmeken found herself in the Pantheon. There was only darkness and silence there. No, there was warmth. A familiar warmth.

"Apmeken!" The god of the sun and the light, chief god of the desert, Tumeken was moved by the sight of Apmeken. "What happened to you?"

Apmeken felt the rich warm sensation of Tumeken's hand upon her shoulder. Life itself was pouring into her, but her wounds would not heal. She could not communicate what was in her heart, and it ached at the strain. She couldn't hear Tumeken's words, but it was so much more than that. She could not hear his heart and couldn't see the questions racing through his mind. Who would do such a thing? Who is capable? And he could not see her heart, or hear the answers racing through her mind. Your daughter, she has fallen so far. Life has no meaning to her but pain. But her heart, it ached at the words, for Tumeken had already suffered so much because of Amascut's actions.

She turned away from Tumeken and faded.

Tumeken could only weep as he lost another daughter.

There was no day and no night in that tunnel. Only the constant pounding of Leeuni, Ayuni, and Eruni on rock, weakened just a bit by ███████'s fire magic. And the pain, the constant pain of her right hand as her flesh tried to grow back into the confining gauntlet. Every time she used her magic, the gauntlet vibrated violently, reopening the wounds originally made by the pebbles. Her lungs burned. There was no more oxygen left in the tunnel. It had been consumed by the fire long ago and replaced by noxious fumes.

The first bit of air from the outside was glorious and the light of the sun even more so. ███████ scrambled outside as soon as the hole was wide enough and collapsed facing upward, taking in the sunlight. And she grinned. She was covered in earth and flecks of rock. Her father was above and watched as she was born into the world not by the river goddess Elidinis, but by the earth itself. And she did not care.

Leeuni, Ayuni, and Eruni followed out of the tunnel, and stood over ███████, who was by then laughing madly at the sun. Their shadows hid ███████ form her father's view, and he from hers. "I never want to see another monkey in this desert again!" ███████ yelled. The three great gorillas bristled, but then ███████ amended, "Pets and slaves are all right, though."

The gorillas thundered off and left ███████ to laugh at the sun some more.

Things had settled in the village somewhat but the threat of the oncoming skirmish between Al Kharid and Menaphos loomed. And the illness that robbed all of a sense or of speech was still unexplained. Groups here and there had found ways of coping but many were declaring the doom of the world and the death of Apmeken. Doom came, in the form of three godly beings that came racing down the mountain. They were monstrous gorillas, butchers, who wielded great magic power and physical strength. One wore a hungry mouth as a face mask and it devoured monkeys whole. One wore an all seeing eye as its mask, and its gaze bored into souls and into the secret hiding places. And the third was the worst. It called out to the demons, and the demons listened.

The three young monkeys ███████ had abducted to entice Apmeken to pursue her were the only ones to escape the village, and the three butchers pursued them across the desert until the monkeys stole a boat and sailed into the south sea. They were as good as dead out in the ocean, and the butchers relented.

But the three young monkeys did not die. The currents carried them into the bay of a lush tropical island. All were overjoyed at the sight, except the one who was blind. But he heard the chittering of monkeys and the howls of apes coming from the island, and he too was overjoyed. Their ship ran aground and they climbed down, kissing the sandy beach. "Praise be to Apmeken, for bringing us to Paradise. We shall sing her praises forever," two of the monkeys began. The third was silent and only smiled in agreement.

Monkeys and a smattering of apes surrounded the newcomers to the island, unsure of what to do. They looked uneasily at each other, confused. A gorilla approached and two of the three newcomers recoiled in fear. The blind one kept praising Apmeken until the gorilla shouted, "Silence! Infidels! There is but one god, and his name is Marimbo!" The blind one then recoiled, frightened by the volume of the gorilla's voice.

"Marimbo? Has not Apmeken visited these shores?" The blind one asked.

The mute was shaking his head in a panic but was not seen by the deaf one. He only saw the blind one mouth the word 'Apmeken' and chirped "Praise her name and her wisdom." The gorilla backhanded the deaf one and knocked him out. The mute one leaped at the gorilla, but the gorilla promptly swatted him out of the air, then knocked the blind one out for good measure.

"Take them to the prison," the gorilla ordered.

"But sir, we didn't get their names," one of the native monkeys protested.

"The blind one is Mizaru, the deaf one is Kikazaru, and the dumb one is Iwazaru."


myriadbeautiful: (Morytania)
Maera was in ruins.

Patrols of the werewolf lands were usually peaceful. These people did not dare rebel against Lord Drakan. They loved their Lord, they would die for him. They would not trouble their Lord with petty squabbles.

But there was Maera, destroyed. In the middle of the most peaceful part of Morytania, Meara was reduced to ash and rubble.

The Vyrewatch patrolmen could scarcely believe it. In the swamps to the south they had been called down by some lost pups who babbled on and on about the girl in the red hood. The girl in the red hood was real. The girl in the red hood was in their village, but not accompanied by men and their axes. She brought monsters with her, monsters that had skin that was hard, yellow, and went clik-clak-clik-clak. The girl in the red hood was cruel, she was a deceitful monster.

The vyrewatch would have dismissed the account as the fanciful and wild imaginings of children if it wasn't for the consistent mental impression present on all four of the werewolf pups. The girl in the red hood was an old wives's tale meant to keep the pups from associating with humans. What the pups saw was not the girl in the red hood; it was a woman, red haired and red eyed.

The vyrewatch flew there, carrying the trembling children in their arms. From above they could not see or feel anything unusual, save for the absence of the village and of the mental activity of those who once lived there. There where whisperings spreading that The Slayer herself was in Morytania, frustrated by the lack of progress the fresh influx of her disciples have made. The children's sighting of her was unnerving. The vyrewatch circled in the air many times before deciding it was safe to land.

Upon landing, the children wriggled out of the patrolmen's arms and ran over to the headless and slightly burnt corpse of a large wolf-like creature. As soon as they reached it, the corpse lost its shape, releasing a foul stench. The children began to howl, mourning what was their mother, according to the thoughts intercepted by the vyrewatch.

One of the vyrewatch poked at another corpse, and it too collapsed. There were no bones to hold it up.

On an invisible signal from the others, that same vyrewatch took off into the sky and headed toward Canifis. Lord Klause was there. He would know what to do.
myriadbeautiful: (Drakan)
In the dark lands of Morytania, the clouds part only at night. This is only done as a favor to the werewolves, or perhaps to taunt them. In Canifis they bay at the moon, thankful that their master has allowed them to see the sky.

Two pairs of great leathery wings beat in the moonlight, laboring to carry a third eastward.

In a sheet carried between two of the strongest vyrewatch patrol fliers that could be found on short notice was a third, his back, wings, and face burned as if he had been dragged out into the harsh, direct unfiltered sunlight of the southern desert. That such a thing could happen on a perfectly overcast day was disturbing. What's worse was the lack of psychic activity in the area, save for the ghouls, constantly hungry, and the confusing mental imagery coming off the injured vyrewatch. The images provided some clue why there was so much ozone in the air.

Eastward, eastward, they carried their load. The odd details of this vyrewatch's injuries reached Lord Drakan's attention, so eastward they flew, to the great gateless walls of Meiyerditch and Castle Drakan.

On the grounds of Castle Drakan awaited Vanstrom Klause and four vyrewatch Elites, watching the skies. But Vanstrom was not only using his eyes to watch. He felt two figures stalking outside the city walls, where they should not be. Out of place.


Two pairs of wings joined the two vyrewatch patrollers carrying their injured comrade eastward.

"Lord Ranis, Lady Vanescula." The patrollers stopped short of a salute, not wanting to drop their cargo.

"What do we have here?" asked Ranis. "It is shaped funny."

"Yes it is," Vanescula said, a finger pressed to her lips. "Who is it?"

"One of our own, injured"

"And why bring him here?" Ranis asked, taking a peek at what the two patrollers where carrying.

The two carrying the injured vyrewatch glanced at each other, then at their fallen comrade. "Lord Klause requested it." Thoughts swam through the air. How much should we tell them?

So, that is what he is up to. That is what he is excited about. As the two carrying their comrade progressed east, Ranis and Vanescula Drakan flew about them like pestering mosquitos.

Do you see anything special?

Ranis, Vanescula, and the vyrewatch patrol landed in the castle's courtyard, coming in as softly the could and leaving the injured vyrewatch on the ground on the sheet he was carried in on. The Drakans were taking a closer look when Lord Klause approached with four elites.

Clearing his throat to get their attention, "So, what brings you two here?"

"Well, we just couldn't help sensing your excitement about this... delivery," Vanescula replied with a slight smile.

"I must be slipping."

"Why do you hide your thoughts from us?" Ranis demanded.

"You know why, it is in my job description. Why do you hide your thoughts from each other? These little games you play endanger the security of Morytania. There are those who would take advantage you, play you against each other, and turn your little sibling rivalry into something that will tear this kingdom apart," Vanstrom replied, voice calm, but with an edge sharpened with anger and concern.

As if on cue, the injured vyrewatch moaned and visions of red hair, red eyes, and fire lashed out at the gathered vampyres.

"Guards!" Vanstrom called out, "Hoods! All of them! Now!"

There was a brief struggle from Ranis and Vanescula before darkness in the form of sacks impregnated with psychic activity inhibiting minerals descended on their heads.


Footsteps echoed as Vanstrom Klause and his four elites, now joined by two other guards, marched five hooded figures through the countless corridors, magical barriers, and portals of Castle Drakan. Or perhaps not. Even though Ranis and Vanescula's had centuries to become familiar with the the layout of the place they were unsure that they where even in the castle anymore. Portals complicated things.

All the while, the mumbling and moaning from the injured vyrewatch steadily increased. When the echoes seemed to fill a room much much larger than the corridors, the march stopped.

"Ranis? Vanescula? Klause! What are they doing here?" The voice of Lord Lowerniel Vergidiyad Drakan, Regent of the Sanguine Fields, thundered through the chamber, demanding an answer.

"My Lord," started Vanstrom, "they intercepted the delivery. I didn't want to take the risk of the disseminating rumo..."

"Brother!" interjected Vanescula. "Finally we hear your voice in person! Why do you hide from us? Why do you not show your face to your loyal subjects?" She struggled hard against the guard who was charged with keeping the hood over her head. The sounds of Ranis struggling with his guard only emboldened her. There was no way he would be the first to see Lowerniel's face.

They injured vyrewatch suddenly gained coherence and started shouting, "The Destroyer comes! The Destroyer comes! She brings the wrath of her father down upon us! Oh Lord, please hear me! She showed me the Light and it burned and blinded me! Oh Lord, spare us from her hunger!"

"The Destroyer? What is going on Lowerniel?!" Ranis increased his struggles.

"Would you please escort my siblings out of my chambers?"

"Yes, Lord Drakan," responded four of the guards as they began moving Vanescula and Ranis out.

"What is this Lowerniel? If she is training up another army of slayers to come after us, we deserve to know. We deserve to know!" Ranis shouted.

"Slayers..." Vanescula ceased struggling and allowed herself to be guided out, lost in though, all alone in that psychic suppression hood on her head. Sliske's toys and their army fought all the way to Castle Drakan and they had a large company of slayers with them, hardened by the final years of the God Wars. The Morytanian countryside has been lousy with slayers in the last few years. Unorganized and amateurish, yes, but still.

After Ranis and Vanescula were escorted out, Lord Drakan ordered the remaining guards and Vanstrom Klause to unhood the injured vyrewatch and the two that brought him in. They gasped at the combined psychic pressure of Lord Drakan's searching mind and the onslaught of jumbled confused vision and memories from their injured friend. Their friend stood there, his burned, useless wings drooping, mouth agape.

"This makes no sense. Since when does the Devourer bear the power of her father to bring light where there is only darkness?" Lord Drakan mused as he examined the burnt-in hand prints on the injured one's face. "Since when does she have the power to pull lightning from the sky? To cast Killerwatts out of the clouds and dash them to bits upon the earth?" He sorted though the memories of the injured one and of his companions, experienced the smell of ozone, felt the electricity trace a dendritic pattern across the skin. Saw the swamp gas burst into flames. Saw the red hair, the red eyes, the tanned skin. Felt the lack of a psychic presence, the lack of body heat, the lack of mass, the lack of life.

"The Destroyer is powerless! This isn't her! Only her father can bring the sun beneath the clouds, only Saradomin," Lord Drakan spits at the name, "has such power over the lightning. Nothing is as lifeless as what this one felt, save for golems and clockwork beasts."

"She was a death goddess, my lord," Vanstrom reminds him.

"Even gods of death have life within them. Tell me what does a god weigh, Vanstrom?"

"You tell me, you were there for the Empty One's death and Zamorack's ascension. You have personally known two gods."

"No. This was not an encounter with a god. This was a message, this one," Lord Drakan said pointing at the injured one, "was allowed to live. But what was the message, and why was it sent, Vanstrom?"

"The powers of heaven stand against us, my Lord."

"When has it ever been any different?"

The guards finally unhooded and turned loose Ranis and Vanescula deep inside Darkmeyer to the east of Castle Drakan, after which the guards dissipated like smoke, no conversation with the Drakans. Try as they might, they could not gleam even a single clue of how to arrive at their brother's chambers.

Ranis and Vanescula turned to eachother and stood in silence. Even though they were swapping thoughts, nothing of use came of it, they might as well have been wearing thosed damned hoods. Vanescula was the first to attempt speech.


"Vanstrom is playing with us. After that speech about our games."

"What game?"

"Why would he even allow us to hear that? Why sneak us in to brother's chambers when dear old brother has been adamant that we have no direct contact with his high and mighty self?"

"Are you saying he let us feel his emotions?"

"He is the best at hiding his thoughts out of all of us, plus he has those damed hoods. Why didn't I see this?"

"You know, Ranis, I think that even if you did see this beforehand, you would have gone along anyway. In fact, how do I know that's not what you are doing right now?" Vanescula came up to Ranis and leaned her forehead against his. She twirled his hair and looked into his eyes, a wicked gleam in her own. He wants to play with us. You seem ready to play. She giggled. So, let us play.
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