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Author Topic: I don't believe in your institutions  (Read 1054 times)

Description: Attn: Brood

Offline Bane Celebrimbor

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    • pd2opal
    • warlord
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      Commander

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      Brood of the True Born

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      Dea al Mon

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      Dash

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I don't believe in your institutions
« on: May 01, 18, 01:27:11 PM »

The Broodmother

Bane Celebrimbor stepped out of his small hut. His body ached from the Black Widow who had made use of him the night before, but it was a pleased ache that left him feeling whole and somewhat refreshed. Life as one of the Brood was so different from among the Dea al Mon, and yet there was something that called to him far more than when he'd been part of the Ebon Guard and their regimented life.

They are monsters. The thought came through his mind again as he walked toward the gathering that was held at the center of the bawn. The Brood Mother had called to her captains, her voice a song that drew ardor and hunger within his mind, and she'd summoned them to the heart of their camp. Bane walked past some of those who bore his mark -- the white hand printed into their faces where he'd laid his brand. He could feel their hunger, their want, their need and knew with the exertion of his strength he could summon them to obey his will. He was strong, now, not the weak creature he was becoming toward the end of his life.

You are a monster now, too. The thought again lingered, hateful and clawing. It tried to dig under his skin to his heart to make it clench and despair, but he could not show weakness before the Brood Mother.

She stood over most of them, her body altered by the bond with the ancient spirit and her own shifting and changing of her body. Carapace coverered what ought to have been soft skin. Long claws replaced what was once fingertips. Long bone tendrils, bound to her body and made alive from creatures she'd harvested of the Morwuud, swayed like extra limbs. The Brood Mother turned to him, and with blazing eyes she looked into his soul and his spirit.

"My children." Was there ever a voice so beautiful and terrible at once? "Our Hope has received a powerful portent. A vision of the North. In Devinos there is a Priestess of the Untamed. Someone who has found a door to the outer realms, and brought with it knowledge lost to our errant cousins."

The Brood Mother's eyes turned across the commanders and warriors of the Brood -- for all of them were warriors save for the children -- and then settled onto Bane specifically. "She has touched upon the spirit of Loku, has felt our blessed mother's breath.

I require her. I require the knowledge she has of the Door.

The ancient spells of the Dea al Mon, used to isolate us, could be turned to the power of the Brood. With the guidance of our blessed mother, we could accelerate the Waste and leave our mark upon the bodies of every Dea al Mon.

Who will lead the bands north into Oberaula, and establish a vanguard for our sojourn into a new age?"


Devinos had been untouched by the Brood, Oberaula especially. The people there would not expect their attack. They'd be afraid. They'd be unsuspecting. It would lead to chaos, death, and terror.

The Bane of Before would have been disgusted, afraid, and swear she had no right. But that voice was just a whisper now.

He lifted his hand, and as he did a dark orange glow surrounded his fingertips. The white hand upon each of his warriors lit up, and they stepped forward with a snarl of pain and anger.

"I will go."

Offline Wraith Estalon

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • warlord
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      The Brood of the True Born

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      Dea al Mon

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      [Link]

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      Gavin

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      17

    • Unending Hatred. Unyielding Soul.

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 18, 12:12:35 AM »
The Broodmother was the most beautiful and most terrifying being he had ever known, wrapped into a single enigmatic form. He’d been blind once, long ago, but she’d torn the scales from his eyes and shown him a world without fear and pain. She’d showed him the life and power that everyone could have if they simply chose it over all else. Her path was open to everyone, excluding none because of such frivolous things such as caste, status, or service. Even since Chance brought him across, Wraith had dedicated himself to showing others the way.

So when the Broodmother said that a Priestess of the Untamed had come into their lands with knowledge that she required, Wraith understood his duty.

Bane accepted the task first.

Wraith remained silent. She would either give the others their own duties or she would leave that task to the one she’d selected to join them. It did not matter, either way. He would have chances to meet the Dea al Mon in battle. He would see Valor Tanithil again, would return him to Mother Night to contemplate his folly. He would return to Shade Alerron’s family and bring them among the Brood to begin their new lives. He’d foreseen that future during his rest, his mind journeying the spaces between all things before bringing him back to this place to stand among his people.

He hoped there would be blood to spill before this was over.

I will lend my aid to Prince Celebrimbor’s mission.” Wraith said, speaking up after Bane was done. He would do as he said and help Bane bring back the Untamed Priestess. She was as good as captured. And once she was, Wraith could return to his task of bringing others forward into the Broodmother’s light so that they could see the truth.

Only the Broodmother knew the path through suffering and into life eternal.

There are no strings on me.

Offline Ash Caraslin

  • Character Account
    • pd2sapphire
    • warlord
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      Protector of the Den

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      The Brood

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      Dea al Mon

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      halyonix

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 18, 12:53:23 AM »
Ash did not like being in the presence of the Broodmother.

Her voice, beautiful and terrible, washed over him like someone petting his fur from the wrong direction. He knew it was because he fought his transformation, vehemently protested becoming this monster like the others. Yet her voice still called him, still summoned him, and, because he also refused to care for himself, he was too emotionally exhausted to resist.

So he came, with the other Protectors, slinking forward like the called hounds that they were, milling with the other Brood imbued with canine spirits, one restless, rabid, slavering pack, ready to be unleashed on the hunt.

An Untamed Priestess. In their Territory. A prize, a treasure. A poor soul to be captured, converted, consumed, and discarded once the glorious Broodmother had what she wanted.

A way to spread the disease that was the Brood.

Ash looked away. He needed to keep these thoughts quiet. If she discovered his defiance…

Was death better than life as a monster?

He knew the reason he lingered in this awful, conflicted state: his twin Sparrow. If there was the slightest chance that he could return to her side, whole and reverted, he would endure this curse. But that did not mean he had to go along with Genesis’s missions.

With a voice suited better for howling than speaking, Ash said, “I will remain, to protect the cubs.” There weren’t literal cubs to protect -- they were the ones who had just been changed, weakened from their transformation, who needed care while the spirit bonded with its new flesh. Ash, when not guarding the literary and arcane artifacts that the Brood secreted, did that with one of the other Brood, Orchid.

He offered comfort where he could, laving wounds both physical and emotional, for all that his torn soul could. Sometimes he thought it would be kinder simply to slit their throats but he was neither brave enough nor did he have the strength to fight the frenzied spirit within him that commanded him to protect. Protect even the damned.

Thus he did. And he hated himself more.

His stubby fingernails like claws scraped against the stone as he turned to Bane, dipping his head low, submissively. “Good hunting,” he wished the Commander of the Brood, though he did not truly hope for it.

Offline Orchid Tanithil

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    • ss2green
    • hwitch
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      Protector of the Den

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      Dea al Mon

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      Erica (Originally Astarte)

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 18, 09:37:20 PM »
The Broodmother was beautiful.  Terrible, but beautiful.  Her voice was like the greatest massage, caressing every nerve with gentle promise and terror.  Many amongst the Brood hated themselves for accepting the Gift.. at least at first.

But she didn't.  She'd been dying.  She'd felt it.  The Waste had been clawing at her soul, taking all that made her.. unique.  And then Wraith had found her.  Brought her to the Mother, and the Mother had rescued her.  Fed her blood and flesh and given her new Life.  As terrible as Mother could be.. she was still beautiful.  Still perfect.

So when her voice called to her children - when that beautiful and terrifying voice summoned at their tethers - she obeyed.  She found herself smiling as the Mother spoke of visions and other realms.  Found herself smiling at the idea that they could be that much closer to saving the rest of their people.. at bringing her first mother and father into the family.

She pressed through the crowd, following the beautiful tug of the Mother's voice and the remembered promise of her touch.  She was a shimmering and pale rainbow amongst dark and scarred shadows.  For all that it made her seem more delicate, she was not.  She was the Serpent Khidma.  She could crush opponents without ever laying a finger on them. 

Those delicate fingers brushed over shoulders as she drifted through the crowd, her fingers finally moving over Ash's shoulder.  Her Fang.  Her lover, her companion.. her tormented friend.  She smiled, laying her cheek on his shoulder.

"I.. will do asss the Mother wishesssss.  Whether it be to ssstay with the cubsss or go."  Her tongue slipped out from her lips, playing over Ash's cheek in a warm gesture of recognition.  He tasted of the forest, and his own sweat.  A mix she found delightful, and appropriately primal for the situation.

Her eyes turned to Bane, an impish little smile playing on her lips as she rested those milky white eyes on him in delight.  "Make sssure not to break Her."  He might.   It was too easy to break things now - she'd accidentally crushed the first two Dea al Mon that she'd caught in the woods.  She hadn't meant to - she'd just meant to hold them.  To bring them back to the Mother and have her judge them worthy of Rebirth or not.

But .. she'd squeezed too tightly.  Bane was more terrifying than she.  Stronger, and beautiful, and vicious.  She gave him that delighted smile anyways... because he was as the Mother had made him.  And so he was beautiful.

Offline Bane Celebrimbor

  • Character Account
    • pd2opal
    • warlord
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      Commander

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      Brood of the True Born

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      Dea al Mon

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      Dash

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #4 on: Jun 30, 18, 01:57:07 PM »

Bane felt sickness in his gut spread; revulsion and disgust as the Broodmother flashed a dark, haunting smile at her. Why did his body tug at him to desire her? Why did he lust for this demon bitch that commanded the ruination of his people?

He had to go. He had to contain the damage. He had to make sure that this Untamed was kept unspoiled and unbroken. Orchid's concern was a valid one. If Chance or Wraith got to her first they might spoil her for the Broodmother. Might..

His thoughts had shifted from benevolent to focused on maintaining the prize. What was going on?

"Gather your war party, Bane Celebrimbor. Wraith Estalon gather three closest to you to act as your own guard. Orchid Tanithil, you will go with them to assure that the Untamed woman is safe." The Broodmother's words were like burning honey to his ears. She stepped forward and focused on him alone. As she did she swayed her hips in a sensual fashion that highlighted the chitinous extra limbs she bore, the swell of her waist, the fullness of her curvaceous body...

She laid clawed fingers on his chest and he felt the sudden pressure of the razor tips against his skin. Barely they did not cut into his flesh as she drew near and whispered. Her mouth was a promise of salvation and utter ecstasy. "Bring her to me unspoiled, Bane, and I will see that your reward is great."

He visibly shivered. Was it lust? Disgust? Excitement? Terror? They all seemed to be the same thing in this moment.

She drew back and conjured a crystal, handing it to him. "Hope Galoneth, our beloved Seer, has crafted this to lead you to your prey. It will show you her face and act as a compass to guide you." The Broodmother then turned and headed back toward the tree and the caves beyond. "Ash. Bring the cubs with you and come with me." She said over her shoulder, not turning to regard the Den Watcher. Bane watched her go and resisted the urge to follow after her. Instead he crushed his right hand into a fist and the Blood Opal swelled in power. The hand upon his thralls burned bright and they let out growls of pain as he shifted his gaze to Wraith and Orchid both.

"The Winds will be watched." He said with a hint of distaste as he summoned his knowledge of the Ebon Guard and their patterns. "We can't just cross the border without a fight, either, and we lack the numbers for a full scale assault.

So. We'll need to get past the patrols another way."
He gestured to the ground then, his face stern and set.

"We go north and then we combine our Craft to dig beneath the earth. We'll work in shifts to form a tunnel, then come up in Esgarth, then move north along the border."

Another flow of Blood Opal light from his hand, and he growled as his thralls snarled in rage and hunger. "Let's go."

Offline Ash Caraslin

  • Character Account
    • pd2sapphire
    • warlord
    • Role

      Protector of the Den

    • Faction

      The Brood

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      Dea al Mon

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      [Link]

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      halyonix

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      18

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #5 on: Jul 05, 18, 03:39:00 PM »
Orchid’s tongue on his cheek had him turning his head towards her. Carefully, his teeth grazed just behind her ear, a gentle sort of playful between monsters. It was a quick, bestial exchange of affection, recognition of the something between them. Then it was over, as Orchid teased Bane about how fragile the Untamed Priestess would probably be.

The Broodmother spoke with Bane and then directed Orchid to assist in their efforts. So, they were to be separated in this mission. “Be careful,” he whisper-growled at her, his voice scraping across gravel. And then, even softer, “Return to me.” He might be a monster but he could at least care about someone in his life at times.

But to Ash’s chafing, the Broodmother wished for him to bring her the cubs and stay near her side. Again, he had that feeling of his fur being rubbed the wrong way. Behind him, one of his wolf brothers howled fiercely, indicating that the pack would answer her command. They would work together to bring in the vulnerable and defend their Queen.

Though he felt that same song swell in his throat, Ash resisted the aching need to add to that howl.

His throat constricted but he managed to eek out, “As my Queen commands,” with a deferential dip of his head, before he slunk off like the good little hound he was to enact her orders.

Would it be so bad of him to wish that they were unsuccessful? Could the Darkness be just for once, denying them victory?

Or did the Darkness not care who won and who died and who lived in this conflicted state of half-life?

Offline Orchid Tanithil

  • Character Account
    • ss2green
    • hwitch
    • Role

      Protector of the Den

    • Faction

      Brood of the True Born

    • Territory

      Dea al Mon

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Erica (Originally Astarte)

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      43

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #6 on: Jul 07, 18, 08:19:11 PM »
Ash's teeth against her skin made her smile.  She enjoyed his play, his teeth and his claws against her flesh.  Sometimes, when they did things particularly well, he even drew Blood.  Others.. others she sometimes sank her teeth into him, squeezing his body against hers until both of them balanced on the edge of pain and pleasure, uncertain of where they wished to fall.

Her beautiful Ash, her wolf, was still torn between this life and his old one.  Did he not see that he could have both?  That he need only fetch his sister, and bring her to the Mother for salvation from the cold death that awaited her if she remained an enemy?  Sometimes she thought of asking - and then reminded herself that he wasn't ready.

Maybe, one day.. she might.  Or perhaps she would find him a gift.. yes, a pretty gift to help him settle in a bit better.  She'd have to think on it while she was travelling. She did so love to travel.

Orchid Tanithil, you will go with them to assure that the Untamed woman is safe.

Instantly she straightened, more at attention in this moment than she had been before.  Before, the Broodmother had been speaking to all her children.  In that moment, she was speaking to Orchid.  And in that moment, like others before it, those words sank deeper into her psyche than they should. 

In that moment, her mission was solidified.  She would bring back the Priestess... unspoiled.  UnBroken.  And if any of her bretheren lost their control and attempted to ruin what they were fetching.. well..

All of them could be replaced.  She would mourn them, of course.. especially if the one to do such a thing was Wraith.  But the Broodmother's wishes were more important by far.  Fortunately.. Wraith would never move against the Broodmother.  Not even unwillingly.  She knew that as she knew her own heartbeat.

So she smiled, dipping her head in a delightful nod before turning her attention to Ash and his farewells.  He whispered to her, ordered her to return.. and so she set her snakelike tongue against his lips in a quick farewell of her own. "Alwaysss lover."

Then.. then Bane had her attention.  He spoke of the patrols, and the need to get around them.  This was wise.  She'd rather be subtle than warlike anyways.. the more people they killed, the fewer family members they would have.  If they were to truly save the Dea al Mon.. they had to show them the truth of their existence.

They had to prove that the Brood were the next step - that the Mother had designs for her children, and the Broodmother was their guide.

"North, tunnelssss.. Essssgarth.."

She whispered it, repeating the words to drill them into her mind.  Bane's thralls growled and snarled.. but they didn't bother her.  She simply smiled, turning her attention towards Wraith with an appreciative glint in her eye. 

"Come, my ssssavior.. we have a Priessstess to fetch, you and I.. and sssso very much to catch up about on the way."

Offline Wraith Estalon

  • Character Account
    • rose2opal
    • warlord
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      The Brood of the True Born

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      Dea al Mon

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      [Link]

    • OOC

      Gavin

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    • Unending Hatred. Unyielding Soul.

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #7 on: Jul 27, 18, 10:21:53 PM »
Wraith Estalon gather three closest to you to act as your own guard.”

The Broodmother commanded and Wraith obeyed. Some among the Brood were conflicted about the new lives they’d chosen to lead. Wraith was not. The life of Shade Alerron ended when Valor Tanathil slashed him to ribbons and left him to bleed to death on the forest floor. Joining with his Other had purged his mind of doubt, of pain, of conflict. Dea al Mon belonged to the Brood and it was only a matter of time before her lesser children understood what the Brood of the Trueborn knew in their bones: this wasn’t  a war and it never had been.

It was only a countdown until the bathed the forests in the blood in the of the weak. A mercy killing long overdue.

Threads went out before the Broodmother uttered her last word. He reached for Pestilence, Scythe, and Grave, demanding that they join him at once. Three of many that Wraith had rescued from shattered lives that served no purpose. The Broodmother had sent him forth, trusting in his judgement to lead her children home to the place they were always meant to be. Now they would feel no fear. They would not watch the light darken in the eyes of people who were supposed to care for them as hope faded away. Wraith had brought them into the presence of the one being in all of the Ebon Wood would could restore not just their lives, but their hope and sense of purpose.

Some called it the Waste, but Wraith considered it a sacred Promise. A Promise that life was more than pain, suffering, and death.

We will not fail you, Broodmother.” Wraith said, bowing his head to the woman who defied all classification and understanding. She was the sun in his sky. She could not be labeled or quantified to help small minds process her glory. One understood or they did not.

The others said their goodbyes. Wraith’s guard arrived and the Opal Warlord was looked to Bane and Orchid, sweet little Orchid, and nodded. She said that they had things to catch up on, but Wraith’s mind was focused on the mission at hand. They would find the Untamed Priestess and bring her back in one piece, as the Broodmother commanded.

Let us go.

They headed north.

Once the tunneling began, it went well with their combined Craft. When they finally reached Esgarth, however, Wraith would pass everyone through the soil up to the surface in order to avoid giving away their presence with a hole in the earth. From there, they would move follow the border as Bane commanded. The Broodmother would have the Priestess. The Dea al Mon would come one step closer to salvation.

The Brood would triumph.

There are no strings on me.

Offline Bane Celebrimbor

  • Character Account
    • pd2opal
    • warlord
    • Role

      Commander

    • Faction

      Brood of the True Born

    • Territory

      Dea al Mon

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Dash

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      7

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #8 on: Aug 09, 18, 12:09:33 PM »
Bane did not wish to harm the Dea al Mon. In his heart, he was still uncertain if he truly was one of the Brood, or a willing captive doing what it took to survive. Sometimes at night, alone in his thoughts, it was difficult to tell the difference.

While the idea of tunneling to Esgarth was ingenious, it would not be easy. He had the thralls carry with them all that they could in supplies; Food and water especially. While the tunnel would give them the advantage of surprise and stealth, they would lose time that could never be replaced.

But Bane did not wish to kill any of the Ebon Guard or the Red Cloaks - brothers and sisters of the order he had once been part of. The sacred promise to defend Dea al Mon still rang true in him, even if its master had shifted.

Did the Broodmother know his heart? It was always a fear that she could sense his treacherous loyalty to his people. But something else warred at him, told him that she knew exactly that, and that she had sent him on this mission because he would choose guile and mercy over savagery and directness. At times he doubted, but to those he was leading he revealed none of these things. He was the newest of the Broodmother's Generals. He would have to prove himself.

So when they reached the site he called on the power of his Brand. The Thralls howled in pain as he snarled out a "DIG!" that filled the air. The Thralls obeyed, and part of him felt exalted in that domination of the monsters that had preyed on his friends and fellow soldiers. They set to work, using their Jewels until they were near breaking to carve out a pathway into the earth of Kassel and move forward. When they were exhausted, he had them pulled aside to eat, drink, and rest, and then a new team would step in.

Bane did not join them in their endeavor, but others did. Fifty strong, the Brood worked in shifts over several days to make their pathway up north. Ten feet deep, they would be fully submerged in the ground and would avoid most of the protections of the Ebon Guard and the Red Cloaks. In time the tunnel might be discovered and collapsed, but they had the element of surprise.

Nearly a week later, Bane emerged first from the tunnel near the site. Guided by the crystal given to him by the Broodmother, he saw the features clearly of the Untamed Priestess and knew where it guided him. They emerged in the early morning -- just an hour after dawn -- and the crystal tugged and pointed him to the east:

The border of Dea al Mon and the Untamed Lands.

"We are here." he snarled and drew his blade. "She will not be alone." There will be too many for prisoners, it would be wise to kill them all. But he did not give into that urge and spoke with reason and focus.

"If we find Queen, Priestess, or Black Widow, take them alive. Kill the others. Secure the site. The Broodmother will join us once we have our foothold."

A snarl, unbidden, came from the General then. "Go."

Offline Eliisa Lykke

  • Character Account
    • ss2opal
    • priestess
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      Dea al Mon

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      Erica

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #9 on: Aug 09, 18, 02:10:33 PM »
The night was beautiful here.  The sounds of the forest, the glimpse of stars through the leaves, and the overall sense of.. she wasn't sure what it was.  There was something here.  Something more awake, more - just more

The forest of the Dea al Mon felt alive in a way she'd never felt before, and she wondered if perhaps the Darkness was closer here than it was in other places. 

Glacia claimed they had the Darkness' favor.. but she couldn't imagine those cold people had something like this here.  If they did, then why would their people run to other territories and give up the connection that could be had?

She often spent most of the night in her prayers, her meditations, her rituals.  Out here, in the campsite near the border?  She continued that trend.  Tonight, however - tonight was not just about regular prayers.  Tonight was about thanking the All-Mother for guiding her to those that needed her, and for seeing to her survival in the bones of her world.

Tonight was about gratitude. 

So she had walked her circle, spilling drops of her Blood as she went.  And she had lit her candles, cut some of her hair to offer it up.  She had settled in for the night, folding her hands so that she could settle into the Dark, and offer up her prayers.

She had felt the shifting in that Abyss as something prowled about.  She had wrapped her Blood Magic about her Self, hiding herself in the Darkness of the Mother's embrace while she soaked up the strength of the Night.

Wake up...

The whisper had her eyes opening, her Self racing back up, and up, until she was truly aware of her body.  She was too late.  As with the Border Spell, she could not shout the warning in enough time. 

"Look out!" 

Her words were lost in the howls of... creatures.  Monsters that boiled up from beneath the ground, erupting in a wave and spilling to the ground with slobbering menace.

She wrapped herself in a Shield, pulling the small knife she used as a ceremonial blade in this land.  Just a useful dagger, nothing fancy.  It served its purpose, though what use it would be against these beasts, she had no idea.

She must find the Queen.  She must make sure that Solstice got away from these.. these things.  One of those monsters saw her, and she saw it lifts face towards the sky.  There was a glowing.. brand upon its face, a brand that caught her eye and made her breath still in fear even before that howl left its lips.

Lady Solstice!  Hide.  Monsters are here, and.. oh Darkness...

Almost as one, those monsters turned their attention to her.  "All Mother be merciful..." 

She ran.  Terror lit her nerves afire, and she bolted as if the gates of Hell were open behind her.  Towards the Master of the Guard, where she had seen him last.  Towards swords, and spells, and hopefully safety.   Mother let my feet be swift.

Offline Solstice Moriwen

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #10 on: Aug 21, 18, 02:03:01 PM »
Night in the forests of the Dea al Mon was filled with the natural song of the breeze brushing the treetops and the soothing susurrus of nocturnal creatures moving about. Outsiders to this realm might find it terrifying, being surrounded by the noise of things unseen, but the Dea al Mon were used to it. The night held no terrors for them, only a different shade of peace from the daylight.

Though she was aware of the Rihland Priestess’s usual schedule and whereabouts, Solstice had her own District to run and the matter of Eliisa had become something closer to a formality rather than a genuine interest. The border rift remained lightly guarded until it could be repaired and Solstice’s Master of the Guard had assigned an escort to Eliisa whenever she so wished to leave the grounds. It had been some quiet weeks since their first encounter with the Jhinka and a nervous peace had begun to resettle in the area.

Still, Solstice’s admonition to remain vigilant would have been wasted anyway. They had not planned for something to this degree.

The sun had long past its set and the moon was rising as the Queen of Oberaula drifted from her study towards her bedroom, soft witchlight from the wall sconces illuminating her path. The peace of the night promised to continue and Solstice looked forward to a night full of rest before her day tomorrow.

Her bare feet had just crossed the threshold to her room when there came an alarming buzz along the strand of Opal, just before Eliisa’s voice could be heard shouting, **Lady Solstice!  Hide.  Monsters are here, and.. oh Darkness…**

Solstice paused. Analyzed. Reviewed.

**Espadon, where is Priestess Eliisa tonight?** she asked of her Master of the Guard. There was a long pause before he responded and when he did, Solstice rapidly put pieces together within her mind. Monsters. Eliisa did not know yet the Brood in their hideous forms. That narrowed it down immediately. Tilting her head back, looking in the direction of the rift, her voice came ringing across an Opal thread over the estate: **We are under attack! Defend the Priestess!**

The Court flew into action. Solstice turned, began calling in various light armoring and weaponry as she was allowed to carry in her status, and flowed like water intent upon carving a channel through rock towards the stables, where she knew her men would be gathering.

Her Master of the Guard had already taken the fastest responders in the direction of the rift, hopefully towards Eliisa, and Solstice did not halt them to wait for her. Around the estate, additional wards and Shields sprung to life, layers upon layers of protection that Solstice was about to leave out of responsibility for the Untamed Priestess and the rift she had been unable to mend. She left with a contingent of two dozen warriors, her horse charging right behind the point guard as they ran.

**Priestess! We come for you,** Solstice sent ahead to Eliisa. She had every faith that Espadon would find Eliisa first and then secure the area.

She did not fathom how wrong she would be.

Offline Bane Celebrimbor

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #11 on: Sep 13, 18, 02:05:20 PM »
The mark upon the faces of the enthralled was Bane's own hand burned into their flesh. Even now he could sense their hunger, their lust for battle and war. They let out a mass of roars and shouts - not unified, for they were not true soldiers - and gave chase after the fleeing Priestess like a pack of wolves in search for a single fawn. Some ran, others used their hands as well as their feet like beasts, some others hobbled for the ways their bodies had shifted had begun to warp their bones and muscles. Most of Bane's branded were more advanced in the Waste, their shapes more monstrous than he and some of the others who still looked like the Dea al Mon they had left behind.

Sometimes he wondered if he, too, would lose his mind and become little more than a rabid dog kept on a leash, like his thralls.

Some of the District Guard arrived, but though they were strong men of the Dea al Mon they were no match for the ravenous hunger and bloodlust of the Brood. Two of his Branded fell, but the others charged over their corpses and fell upon the protectors of the Priestess. Screams and cries filled the air as the Branded stopped their charge to disembowl and feast upon the flesh of the Guard. Their craving for blood and the meat of their former people was too great even for Bane's command to override.

Not that he would - terror was an effective weapon, he knew from being on the other end of it.

But now Bane was no longer afraid. He conjured forth his weapon and pointed his blade toward the Master of the Guard who came to lead the defense of the area. "Take that one alive! Kill the rest!" He called and charged forward, his blade swinging with abandon.

These are your people, Bane. You are killing your own people!

There is only one people now, and they serve the Broodmother.


And as his blade met against the shield of one of the still-loyal, he heard no other sound than the song of battle. Not even the cries of his conscience that told him what he was doing was wrong.

Offline Wraith Estalon

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #12 on: Oct 03, 18, 12:36:04 PM »
Wraith almost felt sorry for the Dea al Mon.

Almost.

They believed that they fought for a just cause. They could not see the web of lies and deceit that bound them. They could not feel how trapped they had become in their stagnation and failure. Some among the Dea al Mon recognized that their world was crumbling beneath their feet, shifting into something new and greater, but they couldn’t allow it. Despite the poison in their minds and veins, this world was safe. It was mapped and known and understood, as far as the Children of the Ebon Wood could know it. The loss of his such comforts and privileges would cast them out among the cold, forcing them evolve or die. They would be forced to see themselves without illusions and learn if they were truly worthy to call themselves Loku’s fiercest children.

They would resist until the bitter end and it made Wraith want to scream in anger and frustration every time they turned away from the truth.

Scream he did.

He inhaled and then loosed his ear-piercing wail, watching as the District Guard who rode toward him with the intent to slay suddenly gripped their skulls in agony. Worse, their horses (who couldn’t shield themselves) bucked and whinnied in terror, throwing riders from their saddles to the forest floor. One warrior was trampled by his mount. Others screamed in pain and fury, writhing as their ears bled and the interminable sound stretched on for what felt like an eternity. Wraith did not sing his dirge for that long, but he wanted to. He could have. But the time had come to set them free.

One warrior recovered and got to his feet, swaying as he drew his weapon. He was fast. Before the Brood Mother saved him, Wraith knew that his former self would have been hard pressed to fight back against such an attack. Now, though, his senses were sharper. His mind was clear, protected by the Other. He wished that Silence could see be here now, could bring her wrath to bear against the unworthy.

The Prince’s blade sang through the air, slicing downward with deadly intent to split Wraith from brow to groin in a single stroke. The strike passed through his body without harm, the tip of the blade planting itself in the hard earth. Wraith walked straight through the stunned male, drawing his own blade and turned to face him. The Prince attacked again.

Wraith parried the strike with supernatural speed, then launched a volley of crisscrossing strikes that the Prince parried and danced away from. The duel of swordsman ship continued, even when both men were assaulted by members of the opposing group. The Prince attacked him again, driving Wraith back toward his people. But a thrust meant to run the Warlord through left him overextended when Wraith sidestepped and the Opal Warlord drove the point of his elbow into the side of the Prince’s helmet.

The concussed Prince saw stars, legs wobbling as the world spun.

Wraith scrambled and destroyed the male’s eardrums, his equilibrium, rendered him deaf. The Prince fell to his knees.

Wraith drove his sword through the back of the Prince's neck and out through his throat.

Your skill is great, but you lack vision. Do better in your next life, brother.

The Prince gurgled, choking on blood, then fell face-down in the dirt and didn't move again.

Wraith sought the Untamed Priestess.

He wished to question her vision next.

There are no strings on me.

Offline Orchid Tanithil

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #13 on: Oct 03, 18, 01:15:17 PM »
The Brood boiled from their hole in the ground, and after their first rush, Orchid slithered relatively unnoticed into the open air.  Compared to the slobbering beasts under Bane's control, or the wicked threat of Bane and Wraith themselves, Orchid was little more than a ghostly mirage in the moonlight.  Her tongue flicked into the air, tasting and testing for the scent of Priestess on the wind.

There.  That direction. 

She followed after the pack of ravening Brood, leaping over fallen bodies still being tasted by the enthralled monsters.  It was no different to run here than it was to run in the forests with Ash.  Here, the fallen logs were bodies of the Dea al Mon, and the gurgling of the brook was replaced instead by the gurgling of dying bodies.

That did not bother her so much - though later she might mourn that so many of her people were lost.  No, in this moment, she had one directive to follow.  She was to ensure the Untamed Priestess was brought to the Broodmother unspoiled, unBroken.  This moment, this stretch of heartbeats, was meant to bring her new Mother the gift that she had spoken of.

She slowed as she came near Wraith, a smile spreading across her cheeks as she lifted a ghostly hand to point in the proper direction.  The Untamed Priestess was racing towards an impressive captain with soldiers at his command and so Orchid let loose a smile.

Her fingers curled back, as if beckoning... and the Priestess tripped as the foliage of the  vines and brush along the ground tangled about her legs.  "Remember Wraith - unsssspoiled, unbroken."  She said it in a sing song hiss, her pace picking up again as she began to race towards their downed prey.

The screams were delightful.  The Priestess was panicked, struggling to remove herself from clasping vines and brush.  She was slowed.  And Orchid's eyes narrowed on the beasts that bore the soldiers of the Dea al Mon racing towards her prey.  The horses were innocent - she would not kill them if she did not have to. 

Instead, she flicked her eyes towards the guard to the left of the Captain, her fingers clenching tight.  The man let out a scream as his armor and clothing began to dig into his flesh, cutting off circulation and air.  A crack sounded from his chest, and she threw his corpse at the Captain shouting commands.

Her attention drifted towards the Priestess, tendrils of her Green coating those thrashing limbs and gently wrapping them tight to the struggling body.  The screams began to grow more shrill and Orchid simply smiled. 

"Espadon!"  The Priestess had a nice voice, Orchid decided, even as she ensured that those flailing limbs were now held tight to the body of the woman they had been sent to find.  She could, theoretically, pull the woman closer.  She could do so - but it would leave the Priestess open to arrows or spells flung her way.  Better to focus instead on shielding and keeping their prey in place.

The Priestess was fighting, using body and Craft to try to free herself - it would do her no good.  But it was admirable.  Her spirit was strong for an Untamed.  "Sssssshhhhh..."  Orchid's lips let out a hiss as she began pulling the Priestess closer, her Green thrumming at her breast as she enjoyed the sensation of victory.  **I have her.  Feel free to pluck her up, and bring her with us.  We should retreat, and bring her home.**


Offline Bane Celebrimbor

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #14 on: Dec 29, 18, 01:55:59 AM »
The cacophony of war drowned out whatever trepidation Bane had come to Devinos with. Now he had only his mission, the other Brood beneath his command around him instead of the soldiers that once had worn armor of dark gray.

Blood coated his weapon, his hands - the blood of his fellow Dea al Mon. Yet he could not stop to consider the treason he'd committed as he stood in the midst of an important mission given to him by She. The Broodmother, as much otherworldly figure as she was both jailer and savior, had tasked him with this task of retrieval. To fail her would not only shame the trust she had bestowed upon him, but would grant him a terrible death at the hands, fangs, and claws of those beneath his command.

So he imbued his Mark with his dark power and the Thralls murdered those whom were once his countrymen. Wraith's terrible scream filled the air and put horror in his bones, but he was just a prisoner now to the will to serve. The terror fueled his limbs and his blade swung with terrible ferocity. The strength of the guard was broken, and between the Thralls and the rest of the Brood, the Captain was forced to retreat with his men.

What was left, now, was the unclean creature from beyond the boundaries of Dea al Mon. He did not understand why the Broodmother desired her, just that she was wanted.

"Bind her. The Thralls will carry her. Orchid, hold her still. Wraith, I will go with the Thralls and Orchid and begin back for the Ebon Wood. Claim whatever prisoners or lives you desire - the remaining forces are yours. Rejoin us when you are finished."

With quick orders, he infused his Mark once more. The Thralls screamed, but they obeyed, and began to carry the strange Priestess into the depths that they had erupted from. Their force moved en masse, and began forging their way back to the Morwuud.

He could already hear the siren's call of home...




Days later, and the air of the dark wood began to flow through the tunnel. They found themselves on the surface again in the night. A moon hung high above them, bathing them in silver illumination, and the wearied general took a deep breath of the forest air. Nodding, he motioned for the others to follow them up. The Thralls were hungry, and more than once he'd had to bash one that had wanted to eat - or fuck - or fuck and eat - their prisoners.

"Make camp. Then hunt in the woods." Bane snarled as he infused his Mark, and the Thralls howled in glee as they anticipated fresh meat upon their tongues. They quickly formed a firepit and the perimiter, working more efficiently despite their lack of anything but rudimentary Craft. In short order the location was secured and they set off rushing into the woods - a pack of predators more dangerous than any wolf.

"We will rest here, then move deeper into Kassel." He said to the others, nodding as he moved to settle by the fire and motioned that the Priestess - the Untamed - to be moved near him. Wraith and Orchid would join him around the fire. Their places were assured. The rest would have to sit in their shadow.

He settled into his seat on the cool ground, wearied and tired, but for the moment content with victory.

Offline Eliisa Lykke

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #15 on: Dec 29, 18, 02:14:38 AM »
Vines and Craft coated along her skin - and her skin felt as if it would crawl away.  Every heartbeat, every breath, she was drawn closer to the monsters.  They snapped their jaws and drooled upon the forest floor.. but not one set of teeth found their way into her skin.  That was almost more terrifying, really, for if they did not want to eat her then what did they want her for?

One of those vines wrapped around her lips, and she almost gratefully sank her teeth into them.  Gratefully because it gave her jaw something to do.  Gratefully because as she was hefted past the bodies, she did not have to look at them.

Lady Moriwen...

Was it right to reach out?  Was it better to let the Lady think she was dead?  No.. no.  For so long as she could feel the Queen in her range, she would try to talk.  Or at least that was the thought.  Until the pale woman pulled her close, smiling at her.  Were those fangs behind those lips?  And dead eyes?  No.. no she was very much alive.  This was not a Demon Dead, this was.. something else.

They were off through the woods, back towards that wretched hole that she had fled from - and when they entered it?  Her heart began pounding, eyes squeezing shut as fresh terror pumped in her veins.

They're taking me below, Lady Moriwen!  Please!



Days.  Days of travelling beneath the ground helped numb her to the horror of passing through the earth yet again.  The solidity of the earth above her head was as nothing compared to the snaps and howls of the things that kept licking their lips at her. 

When one of them tried to curl claws around her calf, she'd screamed - or rather, tried to scream.  The vines were in the way.  Then that terrifying male, the one that did not look so monstrous until one dared to really see him, bashed the creature against the wall.

After that, the strange female removed the vine from her lips to feed her, to give her water.  She was simply relieved that the food was not meat.  She didn't want to imagine where meat would have come from in the hands of the monsters that had her now. 

Further into the earth they moved, and finally they emerged into night air.  The fresh scent, the touch of wind on her face, was only sullied by the fact that those snarls and howls were more eerie in the open air than in the ground.  She was laid out between the odd leader of these brutes and the fire, and her eyes squeezed shut as she yet again sent off a prayer to the Mother for... what?  Survival?  Mercy?  Guidance?  Anything. 

At this point, she would take even the whisper of a dream's hope of finding a way out of.. whatever strange situation she'd found herself in.  Despite thinking she would be fairly used to the movements of these beasts, she still jumped when that odd screaming male sat near the fire.  Orchid - the female - she seemed far more in control than the rest. 

Or at least, that's what she had thought.  The woman leaned close, laughing lightly.  "If you don't calm down, Priesssstessss... your heart may give out.  Wraith will sssssave you, if he can." 

Oh Mother's Mercy... please don't let them touch me.

"I... I... I'm fine.  Th.. Thank you."

Offline Solstice Moriwen

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #16 on: Jan 03, 19, 11:26:23 AM »
The guards that Espadon had brought with him had not been enough. The Brood had brought more – more heinous, more malicious, more

They swarmed around the contingent, overwhelmed the wards and Shields. So many of them, all bearing the same burning mark, all screaming for revenge or worse. One by one, Espadon and his guards were overcome and each death would haunt the Master of the Guard for the rest of his days. **Lady, there are too many! Stay away!** he roared to his Queen, the mother of his son. His life. The Brood had taken Eliisa, the Priestess, entangling her in strange vines, and Espadon saw no way to retrieve her just then. They should regroup, mount a full assault, and track the monsters in their dark wood.

If he survived this moment…

Espadon parried the claws of one of the thralls, backing away from the fight more and more, as he sought other options like survival. At his side, another of his men fell, screaming in agony as the thralls devoured him eagerly. Espadon had gained the high ground and was keeping pacing with the blows, when he heard the hunting horn of his soldiers. He spared a moment’s glance to see two dozen more allies charging into battle, weapons gleaming in the moonlight. The second contingent from Oberaula. Arriving just in time to help.

And his Queen among them.

“Solstice, no!” he roared. It was a moment that burned into his mind then and for what remaining moments he had. Solstice astride her pale mare, charging with her paltry weapons at one of the Brood who dared to invade her territory. The Brood turning, locking gazes with her. Howling. Screaming, with such intensity that it broke the concentration of those protecting her. Her Opal Shield shattering under the attacks of so many. The look of fear that crossed his Queen’s face as she knew she made a fatal error.

Espadon roared in answer but it lacked the piercing pain of Wraith’s howl.

He watched as the remaining Brood swarmed over Solstice, pulling her from her horse into their bloodthirsty throng. Heard the gleeful cries of victory as that same throng flowed away like rapidly retreating water, carrying his Queen with them. Impossible to catch. Solstice screaming, her voice rising above the cacophony. Even with his Killing Edge, Espadon saw that moment of failure, as keen as the blade coming at him from behind.

Oberaula, its heart and soul, were now lost. The Brood had won.

Offline Wraith Estalon

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #17 on: Jan 03, 19, 11:46:56 PM »
Wraith killed indiscriminately. He slew the Dea al Mon where they stood and watched as the Thralls and remaining forces tore them from their horses, broke their bodies, and ripped at their armor and flesh. One of the warriors, however, drew his notice. He fought savagely, fiercely against the remaining Brood warriors to reach the high ground as he sought a way to save the Priestess that they’d come to take. When the hunting horn sounded, and others joined the fray, Wraith turned to see a Queen leading warriors into the fray on horseback.

For a moment, he was simply arrested at the sight of her in her glorious fury.

And then fate asserted itself.

Wraith shielded himself from sight and moved for the hill as the Master of the Guard’s attention was on his Queen. He drove his blade through Espadon’s back, between plates of his armor, and felt it burst free through his gut. The Master of the Guard roared in agony and dropped to his knees. Wraith twisted the blade sharply left, then right, forcing the man to drop his blade. Espadon reached down, gauntleted hands grasping the blade and attempting to pull or push it free. But blade cut his fingers and added to the pain of his wounds. Together, they watched as the swarm carried away the Queen of Oberaula District. He felt, as much as heard, the desperation, the sheer defeat in the Master of the Guard’s anguished cries.

Wraith twisted the blade once more and leaned in close to Espadon.

I’ve been where you are now. A monster emerged from shadows and darkness to murder my people, men that I’d trained with for years and years. None of us deserved it, but we were betrayed by a Queen with no morals.” Wraith said.

Around them, the fighting raged on. One of Espadon’s fellows thought to interrupt their discussion, but a pair of thralls caught her before she could reach them and tore her apart, eliciting another cry of rage and pain from the Master of the Guard. Wraith sank into his Opal and used the force of his power to push his way into Espadon’s mind, tearing into his outer barriers with fury and rage. Espadon resisted, fought him as hard as he dared, but then Wraith inhaled and began to hum a mournful dirge into the Master of the Guard’s ear.

The world shifted on its axis. Espadon couldn’t tell which direction was up or down. His ears bled. His eyes vision blurred. He tried to resist, to shield himself, but too soon his jewels strained beneath his demands.

And then they broke entirely.

Wraith held him fast.

That monster murdered my men and then turned his blade on me. I fought, just like you. I resisted, just like you. But you can’t fight a whirlwind any more than you can stop the sun from rising. He cut me apart and left me to die on the blood-soaked ground with all my failures laid out before me.” Wraith said.

He didn’t even bury me. All I could think about as I lay dying was that I wish he’d buried me so that my family didn’t have to see me like this. For what it’s worth, I envy you. All of you.” Wraith said.

And then Wraith called upon his Jewels once again and pressed Espadon into the ground and then through it, phasing him into the forest floor as deep as he could go, where he wouldn’t be found. Satisfied, Wraith released the effect and let the Master of the Guard solidify, interring him in the earth.

You get to die before your Queen betrays you.

Wraith stood and looked to the rest of the Brood who were still standing.

Leave none alive!

____________________________________________________________________

Sometime later, Wraith joined Orchid, the Untamed Priestess, and Bane by the fireside while the rest of their people hunted the woods or otherwise found their places. He cleaned his sword quietly, though he could not stop thinking about the Master of the Guard for Oberaula. Should he have taken him prisoner? Brought him face to face with his Queen so that he understood just how deeply she would eventually betray him? Was it wrong to show him the mercy of the grave when he could have opened his mind to greater and further knowledge?

No, he decided. Wraith wanted to remember him as he was. Fierce and proud, an echo of what the Dea al Mon could be if they simply opened their eyes. There would be others to bring before the Broodmother and initiate into the mysteries.

He looked to Bane. “We have the Untamed that the Broodmother wanted. What will you do with the Queen?” he asked.

There are no strings on me.

Offline Bane Celebrimbor

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #18 on: Mar 20, 19, 04:33:38 PM »
Genesis Gil-Ganus



"We will give her the same chance that the rest of us have been given, Wraith." The voice of the Broodmother rang out, piercing through the gloom of the woods in answer to his question. Bane looked up, finding that the leader of the Brood had seemingly snuck up on them, no doubt in thanks to the power of the Ebon Gray that hung openly between her breasts upon chitinous skin. Tall and alien, Genesis Gil-Gannus would have been instilled trepidation by herself, what with her flesh and claws that looked more insectoid than Dea al Mon, and the massive spurs of hardened bone that sprouted from her back like flightless wings. But when the trees shook and turned aside, shoved away by the Broodmother's escort, that was when Bane's heart truly fell into his stomach.

The massive beast stood nearly fifteen feet tall on its hindquarters, an alligator that had grown in size, hunger, and fearsomeness under the ministrations of the Broodmother. It let out a sound that wasn't quite a growl, but more like a sound of rolling thunder that went through the earth and into his feet and then his very bones. Bright golden eyes almost glowed in the dark with the light of the fire, and it sniffed into the air with massive nostrils that inhaled their scent with the force of a stiff breeze.

More of the Brood appeared then, coming out of the woods, a whole group of packs that followed after the Broodmother. Bane rose to his feet and bowed, then summoned back his thralls so that they could do the same.

A conflict of emotions swam through him: Fear, hate, lust, doubt, and most disturbingly.. hope. Everything cae from this singular, alien woman before him, too young in her face to be as terrifying as he'd always found her to be.

The Broodmother stepped forward and her clawed fingers moved down to gently stroke across the top of his head. He could feel the points graze along his hair, barely lacking the pressure and the contact needed to scalp him. "You've done well, Captain." She purred and then turned her alien eyes to the captives.

"Carry them with us. We will take them to the tree."

Their voyage from there was swift. They placed the Queen and the Untamed upon the back of the Broodmother's 'pet' and with its bulk it easily made the way for them forward. The Broodmother then spent time speaking softly to both he and Wraith, seeking all the details of their voyage and then gingerly reassured them both of their excellent service, their work being incredibly valuable. Something big was ahead, she promised. Something valuable.

Something that would change them forever.

The grove that held the ancient tree that served as the heart of the Brood's rituals was more alight than most would consider for the heart of the Morwuud. Soft lights of green, purple, and red flowed from the insects and fungus that grew deep in the dark wood, and the grove itself held soft grasses where an abundance of the Brood came to rest and commune. They were a social people, still, even though their transformations had made them even more feral than the Dea al Mon they had once been.

As Eliisa and Solstice were drawn into the heart of the grove they soon sensed why the grass was so rich and the trees here so strong - the soil was soaked with blood, so much so that whatever mud pressed against their clothing was tinged with dark red hues. The Brood Mother stood beneath the tree, then leaned down with her clawed fingertips and tore off the vines that held them.

"You stand amidst the future." She stood back, the nearly seven foot tall woman giving space for them both to rise. "You have a choice to embrace it or be left behind. Look around you." Genesis gestured to all of the Brood, thousands of them teeming in the grove and in the woods around, an army of the possessed. "Ask them their stories, learn from their pains, you will see that we are not the monsters. Those you have left behind are the true terrors of our land."

Offline Eliisa Lykke

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #19 on: Apr 02, 19, 10:45:20 AM »
That voice was... terrifying.  Beautiful, and terrifying; wrong and yet alluring in a way that bespoke of being touched by something other.  She couldn't even scream, not even when she was forced to see where she would be 'placed'.  Eliisa Lykke did not think of herself as a coward - but in that moment, she was forced to concede that she might be.  She had not thought she could be more terrified than she had been during the course of this 'trip'.  She had been wrong.

Terror had a new face.

The great beast lumbered beneath her, and Eliisa could only pray to the Darkness that the Mother would be merciful and grant to her and Solstice... something.  What would that something be?  A swift and painless death?  A lack of torture?

She wasn't sure what she wanted - but she did not want to suffer at the fangs, teeth, and claws of the beasts that had carried her this far.  She let her eyes remain ever upwards, studying the canopy of leaves above her and straining for a hint of starlight.  It did not appear.

She did though.  That alien face entered her vision and Eliisa shrank back.  She let out a muffled yelp as those great claws shredded the vines that had so aptly kept her in place for the eternity of travel, and she commanded.

Eliisa tried to keep close to Solstice, even as her eyes were drawn to the sight of the horde of feral beasts that looked on.  Some, she knew, wanted to devour her.  Some... she couldn't say.

There was the odd pale woman with the milky eyes.  The pale male who had killed so many in the battle... the 'Captain' that had led the assault... there were the rabid soldiers and there were eyes from hundreds; nay, thousands of onlookers.

Her breath caught, and she felt her eyes widen.  Even if she tried, she would not be able to outrun these creatures.  And... creatures was the wrong word.  Even as some of them made her skin crawl, there was the sense of people here.  They were not soul-less... whatever they were. 

Ask them their stories...

Eliisa had always been a collector of stories.  HEr teeth sank into her lip, her mouth dry with expected fear.  But she would at least, before her death, hear some stories.  "Which story would I hear first?"  Her voice cracked under the strain, yes, but she asked the question anyways.  Her eyes carefully moved back towards the alien bone woman, and she forced her eyes upwards. 

Forced herself to look the monster in the face.  It is almost as bad as looking towards Father's.

"Yours?"

Offline Reaper Menegroth

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #20 on: Apr 03, 19, 03:09:21 PM »
They were back! They were back! They were back! Reaper just could not contain herself any longer. Bouncing with glee, eyes wide with happiness, she ran for the clearing where the Brood was gathering to welcome home the returning war party. **Fang! Fang! She’s back-back-back,** she sang to her friend. Back, back, back, Orchid was back.

The moment Reaper’s nimble feet touched the edge of the clearing, she stopped. “Ooooh,” she breathed, looking up and up and up at the tall, tall beast that the Broodmother had commanded carry their prize home. Oh, wasn’t that amazing! Look at what the Broodmother could do! Were there more of those creatures or just the one? Had it been a person like Reaper had been a person or had it been something else and now just better like Reaper was better? Questions, questions, questions.

Questions that would have to wait. Ducking under one of her taller Brood brothers, Reaper crept forward on all fours, a movement made less awkward nowadays because she had muscles in places normal Dea al Mon didn’t. Another gift of the Broodmother. Wasn’t it just great, being Brood? Reaper could do all sorts of things normal Dea al Mon couldn’t!

Oh, focus. Focus! What was this? Two newcomers! Reaper tried to sniff the psychic winds to catch their scents. Too far away. Even as impetuous as she was, she knew better than to interrupt ritual. If the Broodmother had brought them here, she intended to change them. More friends!

Spotting Orchid towards the back of the returning party, Reaper dashed, vulpine-swift, towards her friend. “You’re back-back-back,” she sang-whispered, not wanting to interrupt but very, very happy that Orchid was back. Hands tips with claws snagged at Orchid's hands to squeeze in welcome. “I told Fang. And Shadow. And Verdant. And Fallow. What did you find? Are we getting new friends?” Those oversized eyes with their feline slit turned towards the weird Priestess standing in the middle of the grove. “She’s beaaauuuutiful,” Reaper breathed softly. Priestesses were good! Priestesses were powerful! Or so everyone said. This was going to be a good thing for the Brood, to have another Priestess!

Offline Solstice Moriwen

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #21 on: Apr 03, 19, 03:36:43 PM »
It was rare that Solstice made such an error. In hindsight, she realized that she had grossly underestimated the strength of the Brood attack, having only watched small, easily dispatched skirmishes with them from afar before. As her horse charged into the fray, Solstice realized how deeply she had erred and that was when her nightmare began.

The Brood had swarmed over her, filled her vision. Their howls in her ears. Her own voice, screaming out her fear. Carried across that monstrous sea away from her beloved Oberaula.

She did not see Espadon fall. She would not discover his fate until much later.

They traveled swiftly for days, at a pace that should have killed some of the weaker thralls. Perhaps it did. Solstice did not spare thought towards that. She kept as close as she was allowed to Eliisa and said nothing. Eventually, her composure grew, as she spent her time compartmentalizing what had happened and coming to terms with what would most likely happen. The spoils of the Brood did not remain unspoiled for long.

Then the nightmare grew.

From the gloom of the woods, she emerged. Chitinous. Monstrous. Terrifying. Even without the Ebon Gray Jewel pulsing upon her breast, her every movement spoke of a great power. Solstice was barely able to meet that petrifying gaze. This…this was the horror that awaited them in Morwuud. This was what the Brood wished to turn all of the Dea al Mon into.

When the great beast that would carry them into the heart of the Morwuud trod forward, Solstice let out a small, terrified whimper.

Unable to rouse any courage to fight, she was placed on its back. Its long stride carried them deeper into the twisted forest, which became lit with purples and reds, rather than the verdant greens Solstice was used to cultivating. When the great monster stopped, the vines holding the two women captive were shredded by those talons the Ebon Gray terror possessed.

“You stand amidst the future,” the alien creature said. She gave them a choice – to embrace this perversion of existence or to embrace oblivion – and gestured for the Brood around them to give Solstice and Eliisa logical reason to choose the former of those options.

It was then that Solstice dared whisper to Eliisa, even though everyone close would hear. “They mean to kill us, Priestess, if we do not become one of them.” It was the truth and if it made the Brood around her angry for speaking it, then it only proved her point.

There was no choice to be made in Solstice’s mind. There was only how long until she accepted her death.

Offline Ash Caraslin

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #22 on: Apr 03, 19, 04:19:46 PM »
The piercing yip of Reaper’s voice came crashing into the muddied stillness of Ash’s mind. **Fang! Fang! She’s back-back-back!** He winced, grateful that no one saw. Reaper could be…difficult…at times. She was far too eager for his mood usually. But she was as close to a friend as Ash could manage amidst the monsters. She did not understand him like Orchid did but she was at least…kind.

There was only one “she” that could instill such elation in Reaper’s voice and that was Orchid. Relief flooded through Ash. Ever since the war party had left, he had been on edge, prowling more than usual, snarling softly under his breath. With the news of their return, Ash now loped towards the grove where the rest of the Brood were heading to prepare a homecoming. Of sorts.

Ash did not want to see what poor souls had been selected for this…gift. And yet, he wanted to see Orchid, see that she was unharmed.

The run was neither long nor arduous, especially for wolf-kin like him. His ground-eating lope had him arriving just in time to see the gargantuan beast commanded by the Broodmother coming to a halt. Unable to look upon the soon-to-be victims, Ash avoided looking at Genesis, Wraith, Bane, and anyone around them. It was Reaper who attracted Ash’s gaze, with her dashing forward, undoubtedly towards Orchid. Ash followed.

And slammed to a halt a strange, arresting, intoxicating scent reached his nostrils.

A Queen?!

No, he could not stand by and watch this. He could not watch a Queen be desecrated or killed. He would assure himself that Orchid was alright and then run away from the ritual. He need not be present, he need not watch…

He needed to see this Queen.

The overwhelming drive tugged at him like a collar lashed around his throat. He even reached up to scratch his neck, just to make sure there wasn’t actually a collar there. Nothing. Just skin. But by the time he made it to Orchid, he was trembling. “You came back,” he rumbled softly, immediately greeting her with a cheek-on-cheek rub. The scent of her filled his nostrils yet could not scour away the scent of the Queen nearby. He wrinkled his nose. “What did you find?” he asked softly, purposefully keeping his back to the clearing so that he did not have to watch.

He could not stop thinking about the Queen.

Offline Orchid Tanithil

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Re: I don't believe in your institutions
« Reply #23 on: Apr 03, 19, 04:48:40 PM »
Orchid could not help but to smile in delight as Reaper dashed towards her.  The Fox was mischevious, quick, and playful - and woe to those that made her vengeful.  Orchid never had, but she'd seen the leftovers of those who could do so... once.

She wasn't certain that anyone ever was allowed to attempt it a second time.  Not that Orchid was afraid of Reaper.  She was not.  Reaper would never hurt her.  Reaper was her friend, a cousin and a sister and a warmth that curled itself around her heart and kept itself tucked in close.  Reaper was a love, not of sex and union but of heart and blood. 

So Orchid let Reaper hug her hands with those clawed digits of hers, and then carefully dragged her own hands from Reaper's claws towards Reaper's face, bringing both of their heads together to rest in welcome.  "Reaper."

She whispered the words, and then smiled before pulling back.  "Whether we are getting new friendssss issss up to them, I think... though I hope sssso.  Mother assssked me to fetch that one."

She nodded to the left, where the pale Untamed was staring out at all of those who had come to see her.  Did she know how much of an honor that was?  Did she understand that the Broodmother almost never summoned so many just to welcome those caught in their webs?

Orchid had never been sent for a specific person before.  It pleased her to see so many appear for her catch.

Her tongue swept out across her lips, catching the taste of Fang in the air.  There.  So close already.  With so many nearby she felt... cocooned.  She almost felt ready for a nap.  But then, being surrounded by so many always made her feel ready for a nap.

At least until she caught the strain in Fang's face and in his movements.  Her hands moved, catching at his neck and pulling him close.  She took a deep breath of him, filling her lungs with his scent of sweat and fur and woods - and pain. 

"An Untamed Priessstesssss. A silver Queen.  And of coursssse I came back.  I told you that I would."  She whispered those words.  Fang was rarely so tense.  She didn't like it.

"What hassss hurt you?"