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*Heirs of the Nether Realm (Rated-R)*

Schade

Steel-Clad Wonder
Crown Prince Alistair Duchannes Harkon II (Vampire)
Location: Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic


The orcish woman replied to Alistair in an overly casual manner, as if she had never been to a fancy event like this before. It was a breath of fresh air in the ocean of prim ladies and stuck up nobles, and Alistair let his guard down ever so slightly, while still on the lookout for that siren. “The name’s Shura, by the way — hey, you wanna go outside and spar?” she then said, gesturing toward his sword. "Oh, no no, this is purely for aesthetic purposes" Alistair then said. That was a lie, but he didn't want to, and he didnt feel like this woman was the kind to take no for an answer. Besides, he didnt need his father to yell him out because he heard rumors that he was swinging blades with a degenerate at a lawish establishment. Rumors tended to hold greater value than truth in the royal circles after all. "However, i did spot a rather combat-ready-looking siren wielding a trident somewhere around here.." he then began to say, but was cut off by a sudden loud thundering sound.

All of a sudden, it's as if a switch had been turned on. An earthquake switch at that, and following that, a chaos switch. Everyone paniced over the span of maybe 3 seconds, and ran towards the exit, towards the windows, towards the center, towards the bathrooms... what? Seems like everyones sense of direction gets a bit altered when in panic mode. Luckily for Alistair though, he was of royal birth, and had several classes on how to behave in an emergency. Remaining calm was on top of the list, and while he couldn't exactly see any exits anywhere, the huge blue man he had spotted earlier made for a good checkpoint, and if he remembered the floor plan of the grand hall correctly, he was moving towards the exit. Alistair got up and gestured to panicing guests to move and follow the blue man to the exit, making sure everyone was doing ok and that nobody's ridiculously large ballgowns was stuck inderneath rubble. That would've been the real controversy.

However, standing still and gesturing to people was no easy task. Being ragdolled around, it would take time for him to find his footing, and once the crowd managed to peter out, he could see a lavishly dressed woman stuck under some rubble. She was alone, and cried her pretty makeup off, revealing her to be.. hm, not that attractive. Regardless, she was in need, and it was the noble thing to help her. Before he could, however, he heard a strangely alluring voice in his head go "Move! Make Way!", and while he was on his way to the woman, he stopped, turned in place and proceeded to push people aside like a maniac, becoming just another paniced guest in the crowd. He couldn't move, at all. It was as if he was being controlled by.. magic? Oh no, is this necromancy? Is there a necromancer among the guests? Don't they know how unethical it is to just assume control over someone like this?

fighting his way through the crowd and usnig his strength to physically throw people out of the way, he managed to, against his will, find his way to who he assumed was the spellcaster: A pale elven man of slender body build, with... an unsettling face to say the least. "Not quite the finale I imagined for the ball," he mused to the man, "though I can't say I mind terribly." the els said as he casually strutted amongst his newly created personal circle. "Unhand me you fiend!" Alistair shouted at him as he threw away a child, fairly certain he threw it into a broken chandelier. the rest of the crew was equally discomforted, with some crying, some swearing and others just being awkwardly quiet. It was outlawed in many realms to use necromancy on "living" people, and it was treated as a severe breach of both personal space, character and morale. Nevertheless, it seemed like this was happening, and Alistair could only bite his lips in embarrassment as they fought their way out of the crowd.
 

Vern

Why not both?
Shura Deadeye
Location: Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic


“Oh, no no,” the man said, evidently less than enthralled at the idea of a friendly little tussle, “This is purely for aesthetic purposes. However, i did spot a rather combat-ready-looking siren wielding a trident somewhere around here.."

Before Shura could laugh and show him the trident — she’d already forgotten what the Siren said about keeping it hidden — the entire ballroom began to shake. Everything descended into chaos as people ran around, some attempting to flee, others to protect themselves. Shura herself was more excited than terrified, and as the sound of a chandelier slamming down into the floor provided a little flourish above the screaming and shaking, she gave the man with a sword a nudge. "What are you waiting for?" She grinned, starting to walk in the direction of the exit, “Let’s get out of here.”

It appeared that most of the exits were blocked, but that didn’t bother her too much. She made her way along with the man — they were heading the same way, after all — and watched as he ushered people along, directing them in what she could only interpret as a princely fashion. Grinning, she pointed the way with the trident, but soon realised that it was more unnerving than helpful, and promptly stopped. “Well then,” she said, giving the man a wave, “It was nice meeting, you, but I’ll go on ahea — ”

Before she could finish her sentence, the man, as if suddenly possessed by some sort of… demonic rage, began running into the crowd, throwing people aside like rag-dolls. Unable to contain her laughter at the ridiculousness of the situation, she followed after him, snickering as she helped up a few of the people he’d knocked over — as well as catching the baby he threw and setting it into the arms of a nearby woman, who probably wasn’t its mother, but was definitely more fit for taking care of a newborn than she was (given that the baby, upon looking at her warpaint, had started bawling).

Help,” A childish voice floated up to her ears as she felt a tug on her clothing, “Please.

Shura looked down to see a bird-creature with black feathers, looking up at her with pleading eyes. “You looking for your parents?” She asked, casually looping an arm around his shoulder and guiding him through the crowd. Even though she wasn’t exactly short, this ball seemed to be quite densely populated by very tall people, so she couldn’t do a great job of looking for a pair of probably-undersized bird-people. On the other hand, she knew someone who could, and that someone definitely towered over the crowd. “Hey, hey, blue boy!” She called, pushing through the crowd as gently as she could, “Have you seen any bird-people around?”
 

Monster Guy

Fairy type Trainer
Prince Sky Sparkledust
Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic


"Weeee!" Sky exclaimed as the blue haired woman took him off her shoulder, and carried him in her hand, held him close to her chest. He went on quite ride. The ground shook, and the girl had fallen a few times in the ensuing chaos. The girl had summoned some wind at their backs to get the people ahead to move out of their way. Serious stuff was happening.

In the middle of all this, they were approached by a really creepy looking elf. At least... he thought he was an elf. His eyes were weird... and he had horns... He had never known elves to have horns before... He also accompanied by an entourage of zombies. That was was odd choice of company in an of itself, but among them was the vampire prince that he had shared a dance with earlier. He didn't seem to be acting like himself.

The blue haired woman also seemed to be terrified of this weird man. Sky himself couldn't stop himself from shuddering. He knew what he had to do next. He grew back to a six feet, and blew some fairy dust in her face, hoping to calm her down. "Don't be scared. We'll get out of this. I know we will!" The Prince was beaming with enthusiasm that fairies were known for.

Then he flew up to the scary looking man. He was even weirder up close. "Hey mister! Um... what'cha doing to my friend over there?" He asked gesturing to Alistair. "Would ya mind letting him go?"
 

Dragalge

"Orange" Magical Girl
Princess Millefuille Mist II
Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic

During the festivities that partook in the Grand Hall, the ground began to shake the establishment all around the premises. Screams scattered throughout inside the ballroom as cracks began to appear under everyone. Millefuille panicked, calling out for her retainers and their platoons to help guide the people out in this turmoil. Millefuille saw Camille to the north from where she was at, making her way towards her but lost her footing due to the immense crowds trying to flee.

"AH" shouted Millefuille as she fell on her face. She got up before more people would potentially make Millefuille lose her footing once more. Scurrying towards Camille in the rumblings, bits of the roof began falling down in front of her. Between this and the crowds, going to Camille increasingly became difficult to where she lost sight of her. Granted, Millefuille was barely able to keep an eye on Camille in the first place, but the roof beginning to come down had just made things harder on herself.

Millefuille lost her footing again and when she got back up, she noticed more rubble scattered on the ground with various guards injured from the debris. One of those was Pierre who had been hit hard by a medium-sized chunk from the roof on his back. She moved through the crowds as fast as she could towards Pierre only to notice that he was in severe pain.

"Please, princess. You have to go without me. Your life is more valuable then...some retainer...AH." screamed Pierre in agony.

"I won't allow it. What would my parents say if-" Millefuille replied but not before she could finish with Pierre interrupting her.

"What would your parents say if you were gone." Pierre speaking back to Millefuille. Before Millefuille could say anything else, more debris came falling down on Pierre and in front of Millefuille. Taking her retainer's advice without hesitation, Millefuille ran off without Pierre, fearing for his retainer's safety. Millefuille looked up and around the area to make sure she could avoid any debris and bumps from crowds as much as she could.
 

VampirateMace

Internet Overlord
Laun (Jötunn) & Muninn (Falcon)
Location: Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic

With Tassie on his arm, Laun continued to carve a path towards the door. He was big and people didn't want to be in his way. Magical effects such as wind whipped around the group further encouraging exodus. During this time he was vaguely aware of a fairy landing on her, then totally aware of it's complete obliviousness to the situation. He looked down as she cradled the fairy to her bosom, “Tiny Man, we are in obvious danger, the building is liable to collapse at this rate!”

Around them people cried, and looking Laun he could see an armored man and others making a violent path for what kind of looked like an elf? Laun would like to have stopped such an injustice as this, but he was kind of trapped at the moment, and as such his only goal was very clear; get out, preferably with as many of his new friends as he could. His eyes met those of the demon possessed elf with a glare, “But you, are clearly a coward.”

The fairy seemed like minded on the subject, not only trying to calm Tassie, but calling for the demon to release one of the undead he'd taken control of. Laun couldn't say he knew a lot about necromancy, but it was his understanding that controlling the undead against their will was considered bad form.

The crowd surged forward, and Laun could see that the people exiting just ahead of them were splitting off in all directions, but they seemed hesitant to actually run. There was also some bright source of light. He squinted, “What is going on out there?”

But then someone was shouting to him. Even through the panic, he recognized the voice and the name she'd given him, it was the orc he'd shared drinks with. She appeared to be practically carrying a small bird-creature, and asked if he'd seen any others. Laun took a quick confirmatory glance around before shouting back, “No, not for a while now!”

Soon after their whole group was swept outside, the princess of Nexus being swept up with them, to where the panicked crowd was milling. And Laun could see why now. There were cracks in the ground, glowing white-hot with hints of blue and violet. It was almost beautiful until he saw someone on the edge get pushed too close and explode in a flash of bright white. Still others were trying to hop over the terrifying cracks, some succeeding, but others exploding.

~ He did not notice the dark robed figures on the outside, dissolving into ash on the wind.

Laun felt a fear he'd not yet experienced as he pondered if they should try to jump. There was a caw, barely audible over the din of the crowd, and something grey dropped down onto his head. Was his Falcon, Muninn, somehow trapped here too? So it seemed like jumping was the only way out, but it also appeared to end quite poorly for many that attempted it. Summoning up his courage, Laun suggested the obvious to the others, “Guys, I don't think we have any choice by to jump that,” he turned his attention to the fairy, “Muninn hasn't flow out for some reason, so I don't know if you'll be able to either.”

But as their turn to attempt to cross came, an elderly wizard suddenly threw himself in front of them. He pulled a large glowing blue crystal from his robe pocket and thrust it into Laun's free hand. The old man's voice was shaky and cracked as he insisted, “Young ones, it's too dangerous. You heirs are the future of our realm. You must find a way to re-stabilize reality.”

“Re-stabilize reality?” pondered Laun aloud as his vision became a brilliant field of blue light.

***Mysterious Mountaintop***

As the light faded, and the glowing stone in Laun's hand grew dark, the group found themselves now standing on a chilly slate grey mountaintop, surrounded by finely carved white pillars, that held up a high vaulted ceiling. Near each pillar was finely carved marble basin of crystal clear water, and just beyond the other end of the pillars was carved a rough cave entrance, leading down into the the mountain. In the middle of this open building floated a glowing white four-armed figure in flowing pure white robes, their features and physical gender nearly impossible to make out. The figure's head lifted slightly and a feminine voice it made it's awareness of their presence known:

“With me now nine stand tall,
but before the end at least one will fall,
to prove their birthright is real,
each one must now accept fate's deal,
to set right again what is wrong,
these heirs must seek out what is gone,
all will have to play their part,
but temptation looms from the start,

For the daughter of the seas,
these temptations come in threes,
handsome as though choices may be,
the truth is plain as she will see,


For the spirit of light and air,
he'll have to decide what is fair,
since justice cannot go unaided,
we'll see his choice when joy is faded,


For him who reigns over night,
there will be an uphill fight,
we shall see if he can stand any longer,
when he finds the enemy is stronger,


For the one born into loss,
flightless despite his feather's gloss,
when he spies a great reward,
he's to hold himself like a lord,


For the child dual in nature,
her fate hangs on a filature,
she may find that she thinks twice,
when she is expected to sacrifice,


For the student of all magic,
there shall come something tragic,
in finding what mankind has lost,
something precious will be the cost,


For the roughest of the bunch,
she may have always had a hunch,
that destiny requires greater,
than one who'd become a traitor,


For the warrior skilled shaping ice,
not every choice will be so nice,
in finding what one needs to lead,
he'll have to choose a path and creed,


For the body doomed to fail,
he must find himself a new jail,
for where fresh power is found,
they'll find victory starts to sound,


When this all has come to pass,
and those left hear sounds of brass,
then one final action is to be taken,
which may leave both worlds shaken,
but the balance then will be restored,
and these heirs will be all adored.”

When it had made an end to speaking, the figure floated lower, hanging it's head and folding it's arms over it's chest. Laun stared at her for a long while before realizing that a short hooded figure was gesturing for them to come from near the cave entrance. He looked at the rest of the group, then took a curious step towards the stranger. After a moment's hesitation, he started forward.

Up close he could see it was dwarven man, somewhere around middle age, with a ragged scar down his right cheek. He whispered gruffly to the group, “The oracle must take her rest, but our settlement knows well her prophecies. Come. We'll take care of you this night, and prepare you for the trials ahead.”

The dwarf lead them down a dim winding passageway. The tunnel was roughly carved, lit by the occasional wall-mounted torch, and crude carvings of different species preforming culturally relevant rituals are scattered across the walls. In some places the floor was angled down, while in others it was carved into steps. Then they are led through a few better and better carved passageways, the surfaces getting smoother as they went, and the wall carvings became more regular and more dwarf exclusive. Finally they were lead into a fairly large room, not like the ballroom, but decently sized, with a high intricately carved ceiling. In the middle of the room was a large table where a few dwarven women were setting out platters of hearty food, meats, dense breads, and root vegetables, as well as pitchers of mead and ale. The grizzled middle age dwarf then invited them warmly, “Please, come and eat while we prepare a room for you to rest in. Be sure to get your fill, you will need your strength for the trials ahead.”

And with that the dwarf took his leave.
 

Skillfulness

Well-Known Member
Garnet Culture-CouncilSon-Scholar
Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic


Garnet definitely chose the correct person to approach. The tall, green-skinned woman put her arm around his shoulder and started to guide him. From his first impression, the size, skin color, and eye color implied she was an Orc. This was his first time personally meeting one and part of him was incredibly excited to learn anything from her. Were it not for the terrified crowd swarming around him, he would be overcome with all the questions he wanted to ask. At the moment, his survival was at the forefront of his mind instead.

“Hey, hey, blue boy!” she called out, “Have you seen any bird-people around?” They approached a tall, blue-skinned humanoid, a Jötunn if Garnet recalled correctly. He had met their kind one time as the Frozen Wastes were decently close to the Craggy Mountains. The excitement of meeting new people from new places was helping distract him from the chaos. People shoved them around, but the Orc held him close. Garnet was racking his brains to remember all he could about the Jötunn and Orc people while he was led along. If he stopped thinking for a moment he might panic considering he was separated from his parents in a disaster situation. He sqwacked nervously and waved to the Jötunn.

Looking up, Garnet saw the end of the entryway and knew they had arrived outside, but stopped making progress. The sea of people and creatures made it impossible for him to see further than ten or so feet so he clung to the Orc and peeped quietly to comfort himself. Something felt very wrong. He thought he saw some black feathers and his heart soared, but they only belonged to a Harpy. Garnet was completely dependant on these people for getting through the crowd safely. He feared if he strayed too far from them he could be trampled or pushed out to some greater danger. He noticed a falcon from above land on the Jötunn and a moment later his vision was engulfed in a bright blue light.

Mysterious Mountaintop

Garnet shivered and groaned. He peeked his eyes open, now adjusted after the impossibly bright light. Around him was a group of people, including the Jötunn and Orc. They appeared to be on the top of a mountain with a beautiful grouping of carved pillars in front of them. His eyes wandered to the center where a white body floated; it had four-arms and glowed, clothed in white robes. Garnet felt a mixture of awe an anxiety at the sight. How was this creature here? How did they all get here? Why were they here? Were his parents alright, left behind?

Before his thoughts could spiral out of control, taken over by fear, the figure spoke. The voice was so pure and angelic. Immediately Garnet reached for his notebook, the less organized one, and started scribbling in his shorthand every word he could. It said such strange things in such a lovely voice. Garnet wanted to remember every syllable. When it finished speaking, he looked down at his notes and started mumbling little bits.

Nine stand tall… play their part… expected to sacrifice… destiny requires…” He said this all so quietly that none of the others should have heard, but he also barely noticed that they were moving as a group until nearly everyone had moved towards the doorway. He squeaked and jogged to catch up with their longer strides. Sticking close to the Orc, Garnet pulled out his spare robe and placed it on over his ceremonial vestments. Mostly he wanted the comfort of his familiar cloak, the clothing he bonded with and could use as camouflage if he needed. It would also protect the important outfit. He wondered if his parents would be upset if he got them dirty at all and had to stifle the rising fear yet again. This would be a recurring theme, but so far Garnet was too filled with adrenaline to notice himself denying his fears.

“Please, come and eat while we prepare a room for you to rest in. Be sure to get your fill, you will need your strength for the trials ahead.” The robed figure who had led them down through the mountain had made it to their destination. It was an expansive cave; extravagant in it’s own way and not too dissimilar from the ballroom it seemed to him. Dwarves sat at a large table in the center of the room having a big meal. Garnet looked out at them and scowled. He didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to mingle with different people, didn’t want to be here. He wanted to know his parents were ok and he wanted to be back home with them. This whole Inter-Kingdom Ball had been wonderful to start, but clearly something had gone wrong and now Garnet had wished he and his family had never been chosen to attend this year. Bitterly, he couldn’t ignore the fact that someone else of his species would have been in danger instead, so part of him was glad no one else was in his place.

Hmph, not hungry,” Garnet announced in a gruff, female voice. He was still practically attached to the Orc, standing as close to her as he could without actually touching her. “I’m scared,” he said with a shaky, youthful man's voice. The phrase was learned when they happened upon a half-dead human in the Infernal Desert. It was an incredibly sad sight, so Garnet picked something he said and promised himself to use his voice again. There was no way he could have been saved, but Garnet could save his voice. He wrapped himself in his arms and pulled his cloak tight, following the group as they moved but mostly refusing any offers of nourishment.
 

Tangeh

Well-Known Member
Princess Tasoula Kasiani Eliades
Location: Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic

Sky squealed in joy as Tassie found herself jostled around by every failed attempt to push through the crowds. The only one of them capable of escaping at the moment was thrilled to be in this situation. Fantastic. Laun scolded him for it, but Tassie didn't want to encourage him to leave. Maybe it was just her siren instincts talking, or maybe it was genuine fear that she'd be persuading him to his death.

Speaking of fear, she heard a commotion and glanced over, her eyes instantly falling on a tall... Tassie froze, her vision transfixed on the man's eyes - or, rather, lack of eyes. Somewhere in the back of her mind her mother's voice echoed: 'See that one? Rumour has it he's the new de facto heir of the demon kingdom. Now I would never discourage you from trying your luck, but maybe... break some rules and use your voice for that one? Better to be safe, my dear.' He wasn't so scary from the other end of the ball, but now she felt her anxiety skyrocketing as he approached and started talking to them. She took a step back, unable to retreat further than that due to the crowds. Her flight instinct was denied, and her fight instinct was clashing with her siren instinct to look nice and cute and pretty for the strange strange man who was staring at her suspiciously hungrily.

She felt Sky wriggle out of her grasp, and out of the corner of her eye noticed him shooting up past her own height. She turned and instantly earned herself a face full of sweet smelling dust. She couldn't avoid inhaling it and coughed - but then her fear instantly dissolved and she smiled dopily at the beaming fairy prince. "Don't be scared. We'll get out of this. I know we will!" he said, and she cooed at his positivity, not even noticing people now brushing past them on their way to escape the collapsing building.

"You are so sweet, handsome fairy prince," she giggled, brushing up happily against him and holding onto him for support as another tremor ripped through the building. "Wheeee, oh I like the shaking floor, so very fun~" She heard another voice calling to Laun, and vaguely recognized the orc from earlier - and her trident! "Eee!" Tassie exclaimed happily, waltzing over to the orc woman and embracing her in a hug. "You kept my trident safe! You are so very kind. Thank you very much!" She kissed the orc on the cheek and pried the trident back into her possession. She hugged it like it was a lost friend and shifted it to her right hand as her eyes fell on the little kenku. "Aww, hello little one!" She cooed and tried to kneel down to his level, but was nearly knocked over by a screaming ballgoer, so she straighted and smiled at Laun instead, holding out her trident victoriously. "I have my trident!" she announced unnecessarily with a wide grin and skipped back over to him.

Tassie grabbed Laun's arm again - he seemed to be moving awfully fast through the crowds now - and Tassie made the mistake of glancing backwards: straight into the eyes of the demon. Her face fell, and she waved the trident in front of her. "Move or I blast you!" she screamed, her eyes wild with terror. Fortunately they made it out with no blasting needed - which was good, because Tassie didn't technically know how to blast people. The ground was splitting with white hot light, and Tassie nearly collapsed as she saw somebody be disintegrated in front of their eyes. Laun suggested they jump, and Tassie didn't need the demon's influence to feel horror at that notion. "No, no, no, no," she repeated, trying to pull Laun back, but also prepared to let him go and run should he actually attempt it. No way she was doing that.

Just before he would have crossed though, an elderly wizard suddenly appeared in front of them. “Young ones, it's too dangerous. You heirs are the future of our realm. You must find a way to re-stabilize reality.” A flash of light, and then -

Location: Mysterious Mountaintop

The light faded, and the temperature dropped. Tassie rubbed her bare arm with her free hand and stared around her new surroundings. Was she dead? She hoped not - though it looked like a lot of the male heirs had survived, so maybe the afterlife wouldn't be so bad -

A strange four-armed figure started speaking, and Tassie furrowed her brow as she tried to make sense of what it was saying. It dawned on her halfway through the speech that it seemed to be talking about each of them individually. She couldn't remember what it had said about her - maybe she would need to ask the little kenku, who was attentively taking notes.

After the speech was over, a little dwarf arrived to take them to a room to "rest". They had prepared a grand meal, and the scent of meat caused Tassie's stomach to growl. The kenku bleated that he - no, wait, she? - didn't want any food, but Tassie was not in agreement. She broke away, keeping a wary eye out for the demon, and followed her nose to a plate of lightly seared tuna and began helping herself. She didn't usually eat fish cooked, but she enjoyed the taste none the less. She found water too, her throat still burning from earlier, and once again nearly gagged at the bland taste. She recalled her etiquette classes and sought out the little white cylinder that contained salt and shook a generous amount into her glass. Much better.
 
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GoldenHouou

antagoonist
Crown Prince Aeon the Feared
Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic


Before the group Aeon had addressed could dignify him with a reply, another voice called out to him from somewhere to his right. Curious as to its origin, the demon turned. He found one of his newly acquired henchmen looking his way with displeasure and defiance - even as he dutifully threw away another humanoid obstacle. Aeon chuckled.

“Unhand?” he spread his hands out, continuing as if genuinely unaware of his own transgression. “As you can see, I’ve not laid a finger on you.”

With a dismissive gesture at the man’s complaints, Aeon continued: “Rest comes after work. Do continue as you were; you’re doing a splendid job so far.”

Forbidden or no, he could get used to this power.

As he turned back to the trio he’d spotted earlier, his eyes met with the Jötunn’s. The man met his eyes with a glare and accused him of cowardice, of all things. If Aeon could’ve blinked, he’d done so in confusion. He couldn’t guess at what the man had meant by his comment, but then, Jötunn were not the brightest of creatures out there from what he’d seen. Perhaps the man misunderstood the meaning of the term.

Before Aeon could offer a reply one way or another, the two’s eye contact was broken by a... rather peculiar sight. The siren, previously so gripped with fear, was stumbling around in what looked like drunken stupor, marveling at the joys of the shaking floor.

It... was quite concerning. But also somewhat mesmerizing to watch, in a carriage-wreck sort of way.

The source of her ecstasy became clear soon enough. Out of nowhere, Aeon’s necromantic ways were brought into question yet again. This time by a bright pink fairy with mismatched eyes - the likely culprit behind the siren’s state. As if devoid of fear himself, the creature flew up close to him - an act he hadn’t seen anyone do willingly in decades. How curious. Perhaps it took a while for his powers to have an effect on a creature made up of so much positivity? No matter, the longer the fairy lingered in his presence, the faster that would be rectified.

The man had manners when it came to speech at least, requesting the vampire’s release rather than demanding it. How precious. Were he someone else, he might’ve just felt obliged to comply. Unfortunately, he was not a man known for his benevolence. And considering this flippant creature had just denied him the siren’s fear with his powers, he did not feel particularly generous towards him in turn.

“I’m afraid I would mind,” Aeon replied simply, tone chillingly formal - though the usual, hellish echo that accompanied his words made even polite speech sound, well, demonic. “I’m quite fond of the current arrangement, you see. Unless you would like to take your friend’s place?”

His mouth twisted into an unnaturally wide grin at that.

They reached the exit before the fairy could give an answer.

Out there, they were quickly faced with an issue far more pressing than the morality of his powers; the ground was breaking apart. White light spilled from the cracks, disintegrating whatever - and whomever - dared touch it. The accumulated fear out here was perhaps even greater than it had been inside. People were clustered on the corners of the cracks, some trapped and fully aware of the fate that would soon befall them. Even the Jötunn produced a sudden burst of fear as he contemplated jumping over a crack.

Aeon didn’t want it to end.

But it did, as abruptly as it had started.

An elderly man appeared out of thin air and, with a few enigmatic words, whisked them away.

--​

Mysterious Mountaintop

Aeon was quite glad he was resistant to cold.

When the offensively bright light faded, a silent chill greeted them instead. Gone were the delightful screams and the sea of fear he’d feasted on but a moment prior; all that remained now was what emanated from the eight others that accompanied him. The biggest supplier of it was a small kenku shivering in the wind, a poor little thing indeed. Even his little entourage of servants was gone-- save for the vampire prince himself. Oh, and Famine, his--- ‘bunny’. He seemed to have made it out of the ball unharmed as well. Aeon didn't try particularly hard to care.

The demon looked around in search for the wizard. In his place, he found a strange, four-armed figured floating in the center of the area. What... was that? He had never seen a species quite like this.

Before he could ponder on that further, the figure spoke. It--- she, he supposed, spoke in rhyme, and at some point it dawned on him that she was addressing each of them in turn. Aeon listened idly, only truly perking up when he recognized himself in her words. He did not like what he heard.

New jail? Was she suggesting him to get rid of what he had now?

A funny creature, this one.

The figured offered no further explanations. Instead, a dwarven man begun to lead the group down into a tunnel. Aeon was not a fan of being tossed around for no reason, yet he had little desire to remain alone at the mountaintop - and the lingering fear that still persisted within the group was enough to entice him to follow.

An assortment of food awaited them ahead, but Aeon found no interest in it. He had filled himself on enough terror to last him a while, and regular food offered him very little nutrition anyhow. He wasn’t really hungry - but he was curious about his new companions. Hmm, but who should he get to know first?

His eyes caught sight of the siren, keeping her distance as she made for the food table. If he hadn’t known any better, he would have sworn she was specifically trying to stay away from him.

He grinned.

Aeon had managed but a step after her when he suddenly remembered the vampire. He found him among the group, then addressed him with a nod. “You were quite helpful, my little bat. Until I’ve further need of you, do enjoy yourself as you please.”

While you still can, was left unsaid - but certainly implied.

“As for you,” he glanced at Famine, who was staring intently at the food laid out for him. The dwarves, that was, not the dishes. “Touch nothing.”

With that, Aeon joined the siren. He walked up next to her, pretending to peruse the food for a moment with a low hum. Arms folded neatly behind his back and form bent slightly forward as to cast a shadow over her, he went from looking at the food into staring right at her in absolute silence.

After a while more, he finally broke the silence. Though he had not touched anything himself, he spoke as if having a casual conversation over dinner. He even had a smile, be that it wasn't quite a normal one. “Delicious, isn’t it?”
 

Monster Guy

Fairy type Trainer
Prince Sky Sparkledust
Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic


“I’m afraid I would mind,” The other man replied. Though, now seeing him up close, Sky could see this wasn't an ordinary elf. There was only emptiness where his eyes should have been, and there was a scary echo to his voice. He cringed. “I’m quite fond of the current arrangement, you see. Unless you would like to take your friend’s place?”

Sky was suddenly gripped by fear. He let out a high pitched scream, and flew off in a hurry. "Nooooo! Don't eat meeeeeee!" He shrunk down to Fairy size, and hid in the blue haired girl's hair. Hoping he would never have to see that frightening creature again.

They managed to make it outside, where things became even more crazy. The ground beneath their feet was beginning to split open, as white hot light burst out. The light disintegrated whoever it touched. The Jötunn suggested jumping over it, which for Sky was not that big of a deal. He had wings, he could easily fly over it. Although, the The Jötunn seemed to think he wouldn't be able to for some reason...

Fortunately, no one had to jump, and Sky didn't need to fly over anything. A mysterious old man said a few words, and magically whisked them away to parts unknown.

Location: Mysterious Mountaintop

The next thing Sky became aware of, was that it was suddenly cold. Sky was not dressed to deal with this. He wrapped his arms around himself and shivered, before remembering he was sitting on the blue haired girl's head. He wrapped some locks of her hair around himself, hoping for warmth. It only helped a little...

A strange four-armed figure started speaking, and Sky couldn't make heads or tails what this thing was talking about. It seemed like this thing was talking about each of them, but that still didn't make anything clearer.

After the speech was over, a little dwarf arrived to take them to a room to rest and prepare for whatever was going to happen next. They had prepared a grand meal for them. Sky took the dwarf's advice, and flew up to the food and took small samples of everything available as well as a tiny class of ale. Since he was in Fairy size, it was actually quite large portions of food and drink from his persepctive.

He was about to sit on the blue haired girl's head again, but that creepy man from before also decided to talk to her. Sky was in no mood to have a conversation with him again. So, he sat on the head of a small bird person. They were completely covered in feathers, making a nice soft seat for Sky to sit on. "Congratulations you lucky child. You have the fairy prince on your head!" Sky chuckled.
 
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Tangeh

Well-Known Member
Princess Tasoula Kasiani Eliades
Location: Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic

A tall figure walked up next to Tassie, and for a few awkward moments neither of them said anything. Tassie didn't need to shift her gaze to realize it was the demon man from before. The odd wave of fear that accompanied his appearance told her as much. Once again Tassie found herself frozen, torn between being sweet and friendly or fleeing as far away as she could manage. She thought she felt his presence ebb closer to her, and made the mistake of glancing over - only to flinch back so hard her water glass sloshed over as she realized he was looming over her like some kind of - well - demon. She stared for a few moments with a hand covering her chest as she struggled to compose herself without making a scene. His face twisting into a sick grin. “Delicious, isn’t it?” Even his voice had a disturbing deep echo to it.

Tassie glanced down at her plate of tuna, and then at the Demon's plate of - nothing: he had no plate. Delicious? What was delicious? Her face twisted into confusion for a few moments, and then she realized - he must be able to see with those strange dots of light in his eyes, which were moving sort of like pupils, she guessed? Eugh, Tassie did not want to look at them for very long. Her eyes darted away from his eyes and onto more interesting aspects of his body. Despite his admittedly disturbing facial features, his chest was really well-toned, and his revealing attire showed it off perfectly. The other elves she'd seen definitely didn't have nearly this much muscle going on. She blinked, her eyes travelling quickly to other areas of his body. Yes, aside from his eyes everything looked intact. Her face slowly broke into a grin. "Oh, how nice of you to say ~ " she gushed sweetly without making eye contact. "You look delicious as well!"

She downed the water in a few seconds flat and set the tuna aside in favour of moving experimentally closer to the man. She shivered involuntarily as she closed the gap - oh yes, this was way better from her perspective. No face, just abs. She hummed happily to herself, hypnotized by his body, and reached out idly to examine the gold plates that covered his chest. This could work, as long as she could avoid looking at his face. Although - he was probably just staring at the top of her head right now, given where she was looking and their height difference. She gathered her courage and looked up again, just barely containing a grimace and hiding it behind a forced smile. "You have interesting attire. I like it very much. Where are you from, mister...?" She realized she didn't know his name and paused to let him fill it in - her mother hadn't told her what it was. She probably didn't know it, with him being a new heir. Tassie beamed at him as brightly as she could muster. "My name is Princess Tasoula, heir to the Siren Kingdom. You may call me Tassie if you wish though; I would not mind at all." She glanced around - she knew they'd come out of winding hallways, but unlike in the ballroom, she'd no idea of the layout. Drat. She snaked her mouth closer to his ear. "Once they get our rooms prepared..." she whispered, "come visit me... you will not be disappointed."

She giggled and backed away - making eye contact again definitely helped with that - and gave a departing wink as she reclaimed her tuna, got more water, and settled herself at the long banquet table. No need hanging around and teasing herself further right now. Besides, there were a few other men around that she could have a gander at. Of course, she'd already had more than just a gander at Laun, but she certainly didn't mind more - then there was the handsome and friendly fairy, she still needed to work on him a bit, but he definitely seemed to like her - and the gay vampire prince, now that one would be a challenge. Probably not one to tackle tonight. Four men - more than she was used to, but not as many as she'd had access to at the Ball...

...The Ball... Tassie's face suddenly fell into a frown. What was wrong with her, residual fairy dust? She had more important things to be concerned about. Her mother... what had happened to her mother? And if the whole realm was at stake, what about the rest of her kin? Thaïs, Danaë, Eustacia, Alethea, and innocent little Lilika? What would become of them? She stared at her plate and took another bite of fish. Her appetite wasn't strong anymore, but she knew she had to fuel herself. Whatever was lying ahead - whatever was causing this - she needed to put an end to it.
 

GoldenHouou

antagoonist
Crown Prince Aeon the Feared
Dwarven Cave


At first, everything seemed to be going exactly as Aeon had anticipated. The air around the siren was steadily thickening with fear, culminating into a start once she finally mustered up the will to meet his gaze. The hesitance over his words and the way she eventually averted her eyes... yes, it was all just as Aeon had imagined, and he reveled in it all.

But then things took an... unexpected turn. Instead of trying to avoid looking at him altogether or slinking away in fear, she started to examine him. Aeon was too tall to see where her eyes were exactly, but he could hazard a few good guesses. He could practically feel her gaze burning into his exposed chest, stomach, and---

... Was she grinning?

Apparently, the siren chose to take his words as some sort of a compliment, and proceeded to return it in kind. There were... many things people had called him in centuries past, but delicious was certainly not one of them. Oh, but her erratic behaviour did not end there. Defying her unease, she downed her water as if it was liquid courage and did the unthinkable; she came closer. Very close, in fact - enough for her hand to reach the gold of his attire. Aeon quirked a brow. Was she actually touching him? A demon? Was she mad?

He followed her antics with morbid curiosity as she kept looking him over. Then, so suddenly it nearly startled Aeon himself, she turned to look back up at him. She was attractive, he could not deny it - and from this close up, it was all the more obvious. Not that he had expected anything less - sirens were desirable by nature. It did not explain her sudden bout of boldness, however.

She asked about his name and home, and though Aeon knew she did not truly care about the answer, he was too caught off guard to stop himself from answering.

“Aeon, of-- the Feared,” the confusion in his voice sounded rather curious when paired with the hellish echo, “from the Infernal Desert, but-” he hesitated for too long, and so she got to continue. She introduced herself as Princess Tasoula - or Tassie, as she offered to be called, and then got onto her tiptoes to coo into his ear.

"Once they get our rooms prepared... come visit me... you will not be disappointed."

Was she... suggesting...?

If Aeon’s eyes weren’t physically unable to widen, they would’ve been the size of saucers.

It’s not as if the concept was foreign to him; he’d produced a number of imps over the centuries, some of which served as his slaves to this day. But never before had a non-demonic party been the one to willingly suggest such an act, not when he was this far along his demon transformation. Then again, he also had not dealt much with sirens, save for when he’d tried on a few of their bodies in his experimental days. Considering they were exclusively female, he had not worn them since. Were they all this brazen? They were probably all this brazen. What a terrifying lot.

Before Aeon realized it, the siren was gone. He could tell her fear had never fully subsided, but it clearly had not been the only prominent emotion in her. Had his fearsome presence truly come second to... to carnal cravings? Oh, that one wench from the Lust Clan would’ve had a field day had she witnessed this. He’d need to make sure to cut down the lust demons’ numbers before this woman alone birthed a dozen more of them.

Aeon could have given chase to Tassi--- Tasoula and used his fear-induction to make her reconsider her offer. Or he could have sought out the small bird and scared him half to death. Either would have allowed him to regain at least some dignity as a demon of fear.

He did neither of those things.

Instead, the demon prince sat down on the nearest seat, reached for the strongest alcohol he could find and begun contemplating his existence - and the siren’s offer, much to his own dismay.

Somewhere a few tables down, Famine was taking advantage of its master’s distracted state and devoured an entire roast pig.
 

VampirateMace

Internet Overlord
Laun (Jötunn) & Muninn (Falcon)
Location: Dwarf Caverns

“Hold up,” commented Laun, leaning forward and reaching for the retreating dwarf's shoulder. The short rugged man looked back up at him quizzically and Laun explained, “I need to ask you a few questions. . . For starters, you folks knew this was going to happen?”

“Not exactly,” replied the dwarf glancing over at the rest of the group who were gathered by the table. He shuffled a bit as he spoke, “We knew a great trial was coming, at some time, and that a group of young rulers would rise up to face it. But when it would be, and the details we knew not. We will do what we can to prepare you for the trials ahead, but we cannot say exactly what they'll be.”

Laun sighed, “This is troubling. You probably understand that. You don't even know what we're excepted to do? . . so, how do the carvings up there relate to the prophecy?”
. . .

Once they'd finished their conversation, Laun let the dwarf go and turned back to check on the rest of the group. Some were standing around, a few of whom still looked afraid, while others seemed content to eat, or at least content to use eating as a means of dealing with the situation.

Spotting Tassie specifically, he noticed she'd found herself some fish to eat. However she wasn't eating at the moment, rather she was conversing with the strange elf that had been making undead serve him before as he disregarded the safety of those around him, and she seemed to be actively avoiding his gaze. Laun felt a surge of irritation as she backed away and apparently tried to busy herself with procuring more food so that she'd seem busy.

He took the opportunity to approach Aeon, who was now seated and drinking some strong dwarven ale. He slapped a hand down on the table, and leaned in, causing even the heavy dwarven construction to creak a little. It was a little unsettling looking at the eyeless elf, but his jealousy and irritation were enough to overcome any fear he had. He half-asked, half-demanded, “Hey! Are you hassling my fiancé? I don't know what your deal is, but if you're bothering her, we're gonna have a problem. Got it?”

Laun stood upright again, then turned and snatched one of the tankards of dwarven ale off the table. He took a hearty swig, then returned his gaze to Tassie, assuming he should probably go sit with her.
 

Skillfulness

Well-Known Member
Garnet Culture-CouncilSon-Scholar
Hall of the Dwarven People

While the others in their group gradually migrated towards the tables, Garnet lingered. In order to distract his anxiety, he flipped through his notes. There was only a handful of pages from the ball. There were the phrases he heard from the Goblin bartender and some other idle chit-chat he picked up. There were a handful of quick sketches as well; they included various species he had never encountered and the incredible scenery of the Grand Hall. It did cause his mind to wander back to the previous events though. It wasn’t looking good when their group was whisked away and he avoided the hypotheticals of what could’ve happened after they disappeared.

Instead, he moved on to his notes about the mountaintop prophecy. The person, creature, was pure white and almost appeared like a statue to Garnet. Considering the white, stone pillars around it, perhaps it was a stone statue given life. Or infused with magic. There was also the marble basin. What purpose did it serve? The most interesting thing by far was the grandiose speech. His shorthand notes picked up the most important things, as far as he was concerned. Hopefully there was a written copy of it somewhere? Regardless, based on his scribbles, it seemed to be broken into 3 parts; an intro, an ending, and the bulk of it being the prophetic information. In the middle section, there seemed to be 9 separate call-outs, first describing a person, then describing possibly a trail to overcome? That would also match up with what the first dwarf had mentioned. “Be sure to get your fill, you will need your strength for the trials ahead.”

Finally Garnet closed his notebook and sighed. He glanced around the room and started accepting this new direction his life was taking. There was no way he was prepared for this, but he had to play along if he ever hoped to get back to his parents. He was sure he would get back soon, he had to. What would he do if something happened to his parents? Would he be expected to run the Culture division on his own? At this point, he noticed he was gasping slightly, starting to hyperventilate. He clutched his arms and tried distracting himself again. Different tactic. Looking around, the hall was actually kind of cozy, like the mountains from home. It was roomy, filled with dim chatter, and overall comforting. He also couldn’t ignore his nagging hunger much longer. Though still uninterested in eating and socializing, he would have to do at least one of those things soon.

Then, he felt a small pressure on his head. Garnet stiffened slightly, but didn’t instantly react. He did however squawk in shock when a voice spouted out from above him.

"Congratulations you lucky child. You have the fairy prince on your head!" The voice was much different from the female Orc’s and it had to have been the source of the pressure on his head. Panic latched on to him and he started swatting at his head. What was on top of him?? He felt it leave, then find purchase again, then he swatted again and it left and came back again. Clearly this thing didn’t want to leave. He chattered in frustration and fear, but stopped for a moment to clear his head. There had to be something logical and not totally terrifying going on. Garnet thought he glimpsed a pink winged body while it fluttered around him. Then he remembered the voice announced he was the Fairy Prince. That handy piece of knowledge was forgotten in his panic. He knew they could change size and based on the weight he felt on his head, it all sort of added up. Now, he just felt embarrassed for trying to shoo him off his head.

Sorry,” Garnet started in a gentle baritone voice. Then, in a small voice he continued, “You startled me.” He pulled his second notebook out and scribble a short message that read; Stay up there if you like, I’m going to get some food, maybe talk with one of the dwarves. He gently placed the note on his head and let go once he felt the Fairy take it from him. Then, he slowly approached one of the less populated tables. He found a few grainy foods, bread and biscuits, then he started looking for a dwarf that appeared friendly and approachable. He wanted to ask about what to expect tomorrow. Though if he was honest, he would rather know more about their people. Their people lived in the same region as his, but they had been more reclusive and he didn’t have many chances to meet them in person. Garnet spotted an elderly looking dwarf and stepped towards her.

Excuse me,” Garnet said in a young man’s voice, one of his favorites. Then he held out a note; My name is Garnet, Culture-CouncilSon-Scholar. Could you tell us more about what to expect tomorrow? Also, would you mind telling me more about your people? I’m curious about your society as a scholar of cultures.
 

Vern

Why not both?
Shura Deadeye
Location: Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic —> Mysterious Mountains —> Dwarven Cavern


When she heard the Jotunn shout back that there were no bird-people to be seen, Shura sighed and gave her charge a pat on the back. “Your parents are not around,” she said, “So you stick with me for now. It’ll be safer here.”

She warded the bird with her arm as people jostled back and forth, a little bit annoyed at the disorder as nobles scrambled for the exit, sometimes tossing others aside behind them. No orc would stoop so low as to endanger others in order to save their own skins. Although perhaps, those nobles did so because of this desperate fear of death, that overpowering impulse that she herself had never felt. Her father had told her that once — that she mustn’t judge others for their fear, which was beyond their control.

Before she could think any more about this, the siren she’d met earlier waltzed over her and snatched the trident away, leaning over and kissed her on the cheek. As far as Shura was concerned, that was about as well as things could’ve gone — she’d have the pleasure of bragging about receiving a kiss from a siren when she returned home. Given the fact that she was a woman, it would certainly ruffle some feathers of some of her slightly more insecure tribe-mates, and that was always a pleasure.

Eventually, the crowd thinned, and she ushered the little bird out into the open, where giant crevasses split the ground apart, each glowing with a sinister purple light. A few people disappeared in bursts of white light, while others managed to leap over the cracks — evidently, some sort of magic. Pulling the bird along with her, Shura muscled her way over to stand by the Jotunn, deciding that it was best to stick to someone who could be trusted not to shove her over the side of a crevasse if they decided it’d suit their needs.

“Hey, bird,” she said, looking down at the creature accompanying her, “Do you have any idea what —

Before she could finish her question, the world was engulfed with a bright blue light, and they were somewhere else.

-(-O-)-
The glowing crevasses and the hall behind her were gone, replaced by strange pillars that held up a domed ceiling of what looked like some sort of temple. There was a strange figure floating in front of them, glowing an ethereal white. Wary, Shura unsheathed the knife she’d hidden underneath her ceremonial garb, glancing around her for any sign of danger.

The being spoke in a strange, lyrical tone. Having never really been one for that sort of art, she only half-listened to the poem — but a few words seemed to be directed at her, something about destiny and traitors. She furrowed her brow at that, but decided it wasn’t worth worrying about. Like most orcs, she didn’t care for things like fate, and if any so-called destiny tried to force itself onto her, she just had to beat it until it leaves.

When the figure finished, it seemed to fall into some sort of tired slumber, and Shura’s attention turned to something she could understand: a dwarf, standing at the entrance to the temple. There was a scar down his cheek, and Shura immediately liked him — as far as she cared, anyone who’d fought a battle in their life was a friend of hers. Walking besides the bird boy, who seemed to take comfort in her presence, she gleefully followed everyone else as the dwarf led them down the mountain, through some tunnels, and into a cavern where a feast was set out before them.

“Please,” The dwarf said, “Come and eat while we prepare a room for you to rest in. Be sure to get your fill, you will need your strength for the trials ahead.”

Shura didn’t need to be told twice, and now that they were out of the fancy ballroom, she saw no reason to hold back. “Thanks, mister!” She called, eagerly walking forward, only to hear the bird hanging by her proclaim that he wasn’t hungry, and he was scared.

“Don’t worry, you’re safe with us,” she announced, a little more gruffly than she’d intended, “You heard the man — we’ll have stuff to do, so eat while you still can.” Leaving the little bird to puzzle over things on his own — she never knew how to deal with the brooding type — she made good on her own advice, reaching forward with her hand and picking up a large chunk of greasy meat, devouring it in a few savage gulps. It wasn’t as good as the food of her home, being a good bit overcooked, in her opinion, but it was appetising enough. Ignoring the vegetables, she gorged herself on everything else on the table, washing down bread and meat with copious amounts of ale.

Ale is good. She thought to herself. If she remained sober for too long, the ridiculous nature of everything that’d happened today would catch up with her, and she wasn’t in the mood for thinking. Orcs hold their liquor well, so it’d take a long while before she was sufficiently intoxicated, but there's no better time to start than the present.

Once the pit in her stomach had gotten a bit less demanding, she looked up at the others — after all, it’s no fun to eat alone. The bird boy was busy asking questions to one of the dwarfs, and blue boy was busy having some sort of argument with a very unpleasant-looking man. The only person who seemed to be unoccupied was the siren, so Shura walked over to her, looping her arm around her shoulder in typical orc fashion — friendly and cheerful, if a little on the aggressive side.

Seeing the melancholic expression on the siren’s face, she grinned, and reached for a large jug of ale that she plunked down on the table in front of them. “Stop frowning,” Shura laughed, nudging the jug towards her, “If you have time to be sad, use it to drink instead."
 
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Schade

Steel-Clad Wonder
Crown Prince Alistair Duchannes Harkon II (Vampire)
Location: Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic

Necromantic servitude would proove to be a somewhat daze-inducing affair, as Alistair honestly didn't really register everything going on around him due to being too focused on the fact that he was now someone elses personal sock puppet. Well, he and a handful of others. As they al managed to get out of the establishment, they were met with a new pressing issue: The ground beneath them was in the process of crumbling away, cracking open in several places to reveal a binding light. Alistair mentally flinched, hoping to his ancestors that the light weren't UV lights, and breathed a sigh of relief when he was ok.. Well, as ok as he could be in this given situation. Alistair didn't really notice how they all got away from this situation, nor did he care, seeing as, as long as they were safe he'd just roll with it for now. The creature controlling him had to end it at some point, right?

The first thing Alistair noticed when he came to was that the temperature was a lot colder than it had been at the Nexus. He became aware of a chilly breeze hitting from somewhere. It was a nice feeling, as Alistair always preferred the cold over heat anyway. He noticed how most of the people that were with them mere moments ago weren't there anymore, and instead they were greeted by... what was that? A humanoid being with four arms stretched out in the "Holier than thou" way he had seen depicted in older texts so many times before. He didn't recognize this one though, even after it became to speak in a weird poetic way, addressing each and every one of the people present. It was a bit hard to actually understand what was being said to whom, as Alistair barely knew any of them beyond the awkward formal greeting he had done at the Nexus.

The strangely divine being didn't offer any sort of explainations, as divine creatures often skip doing just to stir up additional drama for whoever had to listen through their weird prophecies. Lucky for Alistair, they wouldn't just stand around and discuss it any further either, as a dwarven man had appeared from.. somewhere outside of Alistairs line of sight, and he still couldn't move his body. The tunnels they were led through were crude, but definitely stereotypically dwarven in structure, based on books he had read before. The hallways they were following eventually led them into a decently sized dining room, where other dwarves were setting out food on a table. Ok, so now they were some sort of dinner guests? This was all very weird and out of context to Alistair, who was certain he' missed something. One of the dwarves addressed them as if they had been expecting them, saying somehthing about a trial or something. He raised an arm to support his head as he was thinking about all this.. wait, he could move now? Looking around, his captor was busy chatting up the siren by the table. Wasting no time, Alistair used his vampiric speed and ran out the same way they had come in, leaning up against a wall when he exited the entrance of which they came through earlier, in the same room as the divine thing.

Leaning up against the wall, he moved his arms around for a bit and shrugged to ensure he had full control of his motoric functions again. He punched the wall in frustration, hard. Where were they? They had been at the ball, and then something had happened, which led to more somethings and now they were here being wine-and-dine'd for some trials, as the dwarven woman had said. This made little to no sense. Did his father know about this? He had been sent out on "Quests" before, but this seemed a bit too over the top to be one of those. Nothing really made any sense, and while he knew he would likely get at least some answers if he went back and sopke to the others, he was still wary about that necromancer.
 

Dragalge

"Orange" Magical Girl
Princess Millefuille Mist II
Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic

In the midst of the chaos, Millefuille was continuing to run away from the incident involving her retainer. She was worried about her other retainers as she was scattering around in the ballroom looking for them. Millefuille became stressed as a result and began slowing down more due to even more people around her moving at the same time. Eventually, a couple of dwarves bumped into her, knocking her down on the floor. Because of the panic, Millefuille tried her best to get back on her feet less she got stomped on by the stampede of people trying to leave the premises. Just as Millefuille got back on her feet, a blue light swallowed her, warping her to another location unknown to her.

Mysterious Mountaintops

"H-huh? W-where am I? ...A...temple? And where did everyone go?" Millefuille pondered to herself, surprised at the unfamiliar setting. She was standing under a mysterious structure composed of stone. Looking more forward was a four-armed being floating above with a group of others around her. The others were of varying race which took Millefuille's interest in addition to the strange figure. It then spoke out, speaking out words in a manner like that of poems. One such speech had said

"For the student of all magic,
there shall come something tragic,
in finding what mankind has lost,
something precious will be the cost,"

"Well I'm a student of magic but is this referring to...me?" Millefuille asked herself in regards to the poem. She put it back in her mind for the time being. After that, a being of short stature caught her attention as it wanted her and the rest to come to it. Millefuille hesitantly followed the rest of the group and upon arrival, the hooded figure turned out to be a dwarf. This dwarf asked them to stay in the cave to eat and rest for some upcoming trials that awaited Millefuille and the rest of the group. She didn't know what to think, from being taken away from her home to a cave she had no idea what was inside. Millefuille didn't think the others had any sort of malicious intent and decided to reluctantly put her worries away for now.

Dwarven Cavern

Inside the cave was a dining room with many dwarves preparing a meal for what it seemed to be for everyone that was inside. Millefuille had never seen a place filled with only dwarves or any kind of gathering of a certain species in general. Usually it was either a lot of humans or a mixture of different races but not a conglomerate of a single kind.

"Are ya hungry, lass? How about ya try some of our meat in a bit! It's full of fat so I can guarantee you'll be satisfied in every bite!" a dwarf preparing the table said to Millefuille.

"I'm good for now but thanks!" Millefuille happily said to the dwarf. Instead, her attention was the focus of the other people inside the cavern too. One such guest took her by surprise when they had slammed their fist into the wall. She had asked in a bit of a worried manner "A-are you alright, sir? I hope your hand isn't too injured from what you did!"
 

VampirateMace

Internet Overlord
To Garnet (Skill):
The old dwarf woman looked a little startled as she turned to Garnet. Her expression softened as she looked over him, “Well aren't we the curious little one? . . .Our people have lived in this mountain for longer than anyone can remember, certainly longer than I've been alive. The Oracle has been here for that long a well, maybe longer, giving prophecies about times to come. . . but unfortunately they are rather vague and so I can't really tell you that much. . . I do know your journey will be long and hard, but we will prepare you the best we can, and pray for your safe return.”


To Alistair (Schade):
The Oracle floated from it's resting place, layers of silk, hair, and four arms trailing behind it, until it was just before Alistair. It's echoing voice was softer than before, directed at him alone,

“Prince that lives by stealing life,
you will know the truest strife,
when all the world seems like distraction,
await the right moment to take action.”


Finished speaking she gave him a soft smile, and turned, floating back to the center of her temple.


Laun (Jötunn) & Muninn (Falcon)
Location: Dwarf Caverns

Laun took a seat on the other side of Tassie, reaching for a tankard of ale himself. He looked to Shura and Tassie, in agreement with Shura, “It doesn't seem like there's anything more we can do tonight, we might as well appreciate their hospitality.”

He took a long swig, then turned his attention to the food. There seemed to be all sorts of meats, cooked in the hearty dwarven style, even saltwater fish despite being within a mountain. He helped himself to a good portion of roasted beef and root vegetables, breaking off a little piece of meat to hand to Muninn. The bird snapped it up greedily and gulped it down whole. Laun chuckled and started to indulge in the food as well.


After those that were eating and drinking had had their fill, the group was led to a large chamber with several dwarf-sized single person beds, carved from the same stone as the floor, and dressed with fluffy mattresses, fur and wool blankets, and fat goose-down filled pillows. Pelts covered the cold stone floor, and a curtain covered arch in the corner led to washroom.

Exhausted and slightly drunk, Laun didn't feel like expending the effort to complain on the short beds, but instead just curled up in a ball on the first free bed he came to. Muninn landed on the stone headboard (which was carved right out of the wall) above him and tucked his head beneath his wing.


Morning found the group awakening to the scents of yet more food and drink. While they were sleeping, a small table was set up in the middle of the room, which was now overladen with pitchers of coffee, tea, and milk, as well as platters of biscuits, eggs, fried potatoes, meats, and yogurt.

Laun groaned, crawling off the furs he'd not bothered to get under the night before. His body felt stiff from sleeping in a small space like that, and he was starting to realize he might have drank more than he realized. Yawning he stood and made his way to the washroom. He followed that with a trip to the table. He wasn't that interested in the food, but a bit of coffee with a splash of unicorn milk didn't sound objectionable. Muninn cawed and landed on his shoulder as he stood up from stooping to retrieve a mug and a pitcher of coffee. After carefully setting the pitcher back down and repeating the actions with the milk, he retrieved a bit of fried meat for the bird a well, who held it in his beak proud to have gotten food again so soon. Laun sipped the dwarven coffee, which turned out to be pretty strong, and commented to Munnin, “Yeah, you're going to get fat and you know it.”

After a while the grizzled dwarf that led them down to the caverns the night before and another scruffier looking dwarf entered the room. They were both carrying a couple of rucksacks in each hand. As they passed out these leather bags, the grizzled dwarf explaining simply, “Young heirs, we've brought some provisions and supplies for your journey. But there's something more for each of you down in the workshop, if you'll follow me.”

(Rucksacks contain; dried food, canteens of water, blankets, tinder boxes, candles, camping knives, and small medical kits.)

He led the group further into the caverns, and into a large room crowded with equipment and workstations. The room was also very hot, the source of which seemed to be the lava that dripped though one of the corners, surrounded by forge equipment. Several dwarves were at work around the room, and one looked up upon their entry, quickly throwing off his googles and gloves and making his way over. The grizzled dwarf introduced him, “Vestus here is our forgemaster. He's personally overseen the creation of the gear we have for you today.”

“Aye, I was starting to doubt we'd see it in my lifetime,” replied Vestus proudly, “The Oracle never was good at giving dates, or details, but from what we gleaned, there will be combat. And if that's what y'all must face, nothing better ya can have than gear forged in our mountain.”

*Vestus then presents the following items to each of the party members. The faint hum of magic can be detected from each of the items, and to those with knowledge of the arcane it's apparent they each have hidden properties:

VampirateMace (Laun, Jötunn)
- Dark steel twin scythes, marked with runes and chained together. The handles are wrapped in off-white leather.
- When the runes are ctivated, these blades do additional acid-like damage.

Monster Guy (Sky, Fairy)
- A surprisingly light bronze shield in the shape of a star, with silver accents. Has leather straps on the backside to attach it to the arm or strap it over his back.
- This shield can protect it's owner against not just impacts, but can endure attacks of fire and ice without getting hot or cold.

Tangeh (Tasoula, Siren)
- Bracers made a of a silvery metal and medium brown leather. The top of each bracer is set with a large oval aquamarine stone.
- Touching the stones will allow Sirens to heal light injuries without being submerged in water.

Schade (Alistair, Vampire)
- A slightly heavy black round shield with gold accents, and a symbol in the center depicting a crescent moon. On the back are attached straps and a black chain so it can be held or slung it over one's back.
- This shield deflects damage back onto attackers, and under moonlight, the deflected damage doubles.

Vern (Shura, Orc)
- A large bronze colored warhammer, accented with silver and marked with silver runes. The handle is wrapped in chocolate brown leather.
- When activated, this hammer hits with a thunderous boom, throwing back those it hits.

Skillfullness (Garnet, Kenku)
- A light crossbow made of a silvery metal with golden accents. It always seems to have a silver colored bolt loaded.
- The bolts from this crossbow are explosive and deal extra damage after being embedded in their target.

Dragalge (Millefuille, Magical Human)
- A wand intricately carved from a solid piece of amethyst, and decorated with silver bands.
- This wand can be used as a focus for spellcasting, it can also be used to rapidly fire small bolts of purple energy at targets.

GoldenHouou (Aeon, Demon)
- A slightly heavy sword made from a black metal, twin gully run down the blade to a large red gem imbedded in it. The handle is of the same black metal, accented with gold.
- When this blade has tasted blood, it runs down the gullies to the stone which glows bright red. The gem then release a special energy that increases the speed of it's user.
 
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Monster Guy

Fairy type Trainer
Prince Sky Sparkledust (Fairy)
Dwarf Caverns


Just as Sky took a seat on the bird child's head, they swatted at him. Sky hovered up, then sat back down again. Then the bird guy swatted again, Sky hovered up, then sat back down. This went on for a while. The Fairy prince was actually enjoying himself. "Weee!"

Eventually, the bird child must have gotten bored of this game, because he finally spoke. “Sorry,” His voice did not match the body it came out of. “You startled me.” This time his voice did match the body it came out of. He then pulled out a notebook and scribbled a short message that read; Stay up there if you like, I’m going to get some food, maybe talk with one of the dwarves.

"It's alright, I was enjoying the game!" The child then spoke to a dwarven elder, but she didn't say anything that was particularly helpful. After that, it was time for bed. The group was escorted to a large chamber, filled with a bunch of dwarf sized beds. These beds may have been too small for some of the taller members of their group, but in Fairy size, these beds were more than big enough for Sky. He immediately flew off the bird kid's head, rand claimed the closest bed and tucked himself into the fluffy sheets. "Good night everyone!" He managed to fall asleep quickly, and had a very restful night. For a moment he had forgotten he wasn't sleeping in his own bed at the Fairyland palace.

The next morning, Sky woke up to the smell of lots of food cooking. Sky sat up, stretched his arms, and yawned loudly before zipping down to wear all the food was. There was quite a lot of different things to choose from. Sky took a sample of everything there, but took a particularly large helping (from his point of view) of the yogurt. It was the sweetest thing they had.

After breakfast was over, the group were led deeper into the caverns. There they were given backpacks with various supplies. Then, they were taken to another part of the cavern. This area appeared to be a dawrven workshop where they crafted and built stuff. One of the dwarves stood up from his work, and gave everyone some special equipment. Sky grew to human size to accept his gift. He had received a star shaped bronze shield. He could tell it had some sort of magical properties, but didn't know exactly what. The Fairy Prince admired his reflection in the polished bronze shield, and fixed his blonde hair. Then strapped it to his arm. "Thank you very much good sir. It's so pretty!"

Then he turned to the rest of the group. "Guys, we're going on an adventure!" He threw a fist in the air, and made some magical sparkles shine around himself. Then, he shrank back down to Fairy size, and sat down on the Vampire prince's shoulder. Who seemed... slightly better after the events of last night. Although... he couldn't be exactly sure of that. He always looked dark and brooding. "Hey friendo! How is everything?"
 
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GoldenHouou

antagoonist
Crown Prince Aeon the Feared
Dwarven Cave


Aeon hadn't yet entirely recovered from his earlier... encounter, when his solitude was intruded upon once more. This time, it was the Jötunn. The man practically slammed his giant hand down on the table, rattling everything from the food trays to Aeon's pint. The demon arched an eyebrow. He could only guess it was the Jötunn's attempt at intimidation. No doubt a fine tactic, were he not faced with the manifestation of fear itself. If... he still had the right to call himself such.

He shrugged that thought away and addressed the intruder with practiced calm, "May I help y-"

The Jötunn was faster. With what was clearly ire in his voice, the giant proceeded to tell him off for... for bothering his fiancée?

Unable to blink to express his immense confusion, Aeon opted to just keep staring. Fiancée? He could not remember hassling anyone of the sort since they'd left the ball. In fact, the only woman he had talked to since their arrival, was---

...

Ever so slowly, Aeon leaned to peek past the giant. He stole a glance at Tasoula in the distance, then looked back to the Jötunn. No. No, it couldn't be.

The poor fool.

With a very heavy sigh, Aeon prepared to deliver an impromptu lecture on sirens and their reproductive habits - only to realize he was not quite insane enough for it mid-breath. So, instead, he shook his head and turned back to his drink without a word. From the corner of his eye, he could see the Jötunn eventually walk away, most likely in order to join his fiancée a few tables over.

Aeon finished the rest of his drink with one swig, then stood from his spot. He was not about to stay within earshot of their impending conversation. He was already dangerously close to learning how to feel pity.

It was easy enough to find a dwarf willing to show him to their collective chamber, with a bed set for each heir. It was a surprising arrangement, but Aeon supposed they did not have enough room for individual chambers.

He chuckled. Hopefully, no one would find it disturbing that not only did he never close his eyes, they just so happened to glow in the dark.

With that in mind, the demon purposefully chose a central bed.

--​

Aeon found himself sitting at the breakfast table early, though he was hardly interested in consuming anything offered. He was still full from the feast of fear at the ball, and regular food would've done nothing to sate him besides.

With that said, he had gathered a sizable plate of different kinds of meat in front of him. Famine had disobeyed his orders yesterday, so the bunny was due for some disciplinary action - and what better way to torture an ever-hungry bunny than swing delicious meats in front of its face and deny it a single bite?

Aeon was busily stacking meat slices onto Famine's face when a few dwarves with large sacks entered the room.

“Young heirs, we've brought some provisions and supplies for your journey. But there's something more for each of you down in the workshop, if you'll follow me.”

Oh?

Aeon tossed the meats aside, dropped Famine on the floor and joined the others on their journey down. The bunny gave a forlorn look at the meats, then dragged its feet after its master.

In the workshop, they were introduced to a man called Vestus, who indicated there would be combat in their future - and offered each of them a weapon to make the task easier. Aeon was gifted an intricate sword of black and gold, with a large red gem - of magical nature, he noted. He accepted it with an amused smirk. Beautiful as the blade was, weapons were... not something he'd needed in ages. His bare hands were much more potent than the sharpest blade or truest arrow.

Even so, he knew better than to refuse a gift, so he gave a small bow and took a step back to let the next person receive their respective weapon.

Aeon turned the blade in his hands, running a finger along its edge until it cut into his flesh. It was indeed sharp - pleasantly so. His blood trickled down onto the floor, sizzling as it burned holes into whatever it came into contact with - except the sword. It truly was well-made.

"I wonder," he mused to no one in particular as he kept pressing a finger deeper into the blade, unflinching even as it cut further into his flesh, "how easily would this slice bone? Mm, if only we had a volunteer..."

Famine hid behind the legs of whomever stood closest, unwilling to be chosen as the 'volunteer' - again.
 
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Tangeh

Well-Known Member
Princess Tasoula “Tassie” Kasiani Eliades
Location: Ballroom of the Grand Hall in Nexus: City of Magic


Tassie, lost in thought, started when the orc woman plunked herself down and wrapped her arm over Tassie's shoulder. Tassie gave the orc a blank look as she was instructed to stop frowning and drink. Tassie quirked a brow at the jug of ale that had been pushed in her direction and leaned in to examine it, as if she were studying it for the first time. She knew what it was – sometimes they stole tankards from the passing fishermen – but otherwise sirens didn't consume much alcohol. It was infeasible to consume liquid underwater, and this was one of the longest times she'd ever spent out of the ocean. She tilted the jug into an empty mug on the table and sipped curiously at it. “Is that an orc saying?” Tassie asked innocently. “It is like an old saying we have at home, 'ο ποταμός συνεχίζει να ρέει'. It means something like 'life goes on'. I do not think yours translates as well into the siren language, but I will share it with my citizens, if I see them again...” She frowned again, then blinked and took a length drink. “When I see them again.” Tassie paused for a few moments, her brow furrowing in thought. “Um, what is your name?”

But just then Laun reappeared on Tassie's other side, and her attention was quickly diverted. She hid her previous anxieties behind a smile as he suggested there was nothing more they could do, so they may as well appreciate their hospitality. Maybe that was a saying from his homeland, though it wasn't as catchy, and Tassie was too preoccupied with him being beside her to ask about it. “Are you sure there is nothing more we can do?” Tassie purred, putting one hand on his arm. But he seemed preoccupied with getting food, so Tassie tried to busy herself with that as well.

Tassie sampled more fish, and more water, and more ale. By the end of the night, though she hadn't had as much to drink as the others, she was feeling a pleasant buzz across her consciousness. She got an unpleasant surprise when she realized they were all meant to share the same room – well, there went her offer to the demon. She doubted she could get away with much in such an intimate space. She crawled into a bed and tried to settle herself. Given she shared a bed with four other sirens at home, it was comforting to have a lot of bodies close to her... even if they were still strangers. And even if they weren't underwater. And even if the bed was tiny. She wasn't as tall as some of the other heirs – she had no idea how Laun was faring – but she still felt cramped. As tempting as it was to try to crawl into bed with one of the others, she literally wouldn't fit.

This cumulated into one of the worst sleeps Tassie had ever had – not only was she unable to find a comfortable position to sleep and was really missing another body to cuddle next to, it was almost as if her body kept forgetting she wasn't underwater, as she continuously woke up feeling very dizzy and tingly, yet gasping for air – or water. It wasn't her first time sleeping above water, but it was the first time since they went on camping expeditions in grade school to learn about human settlements before their hormones kicked in, exempting the odd nap while sunbathing.

She started her day off with several glasses of water to soothe her dry throat, not even caring about the lack of salt, then wandered back out to the main area, stretching and wincing as her body reminded her about all the weird sleeping positions she'd tried out last night. She consumed more fish and salted water for breakfast – sirens weren't exactly known for their broad palate – and then two dwarves entered the room, both carrying a number of leather rucksacks. Tassie glanced inside hers and was once again reminded of the camping trips she took in grade school. Then they were led into a very hot room and each gifted with a piece of equipment that they'd apparently fashioned themselves.

Many of her to-be comrades were gifted weapons or shields, but Tassie was gifted a pair of bracers. She'd never seen anything like them, but the large aquamarine stone at the top had her particularly fascinated. “This is very pretty,” Tassie decided, slipping them onto her forearms slowly, given she was balancing her trident in one arm. She probably could figure out the straps on her own, but turned to Laun instead. “Help, please?” she asked sweetly, holding her arms so that he could fascine the straps.

Sky was excited by the prospect of adventure and leapt gleefully into the air to celebrate – was he not afraid of failure or never seeing his family again? That was high on Tassie's mind. Oh well; he was cute, so she smiled at him anyways. Aeon's reaction to receiving his sword was unusual to say the least. He tested it on himself, slicing his own finger until his blood sizzled holes in the floor. ...Was that normal? Tassie was pretty sure that was not normal. She remembered her technique from yesterday and focused away from his bloody hand and toward his chest. Ugh, how unfair to have such a lovely body on such a disturbing individual. She zoned out for a couple moments, staring transfixed at his sculpted abs...

A little creature dashed between her legs and she glanced down. Oh, it was a … hm, she'd seen this animal before in books, but she couldn't even remember the name of it in the siren language, let alone the common language. Ugh, so many land animals, and all so similar. She crouched down. Its fur looked so soft. She'd never been so close to an animal before unless it was a fish she was about to skewer. She reached out curiously to touch it, completely oblivious to the reason it was hiding near her in the first place.
 
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