• Graded • The Shadow Smuggler

Rising from the stony plateau overlooking the rivers and plains of the western continent, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from this same rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence, eagerly spreading its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the different factions set aside their agendas long enough to see this through?

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• Graded • The Shadow Smuggler

Postby Navyri » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:08 pm

Navyri

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Some are born to sweet delight...


12th of Saun, 717

Continuation of The Audacity of Others

The insect had deteriorated and blown away like dust in the wind, the shriveled and decayed corpse of a hand returning to its healthy if damaged self. Navyri watched his fingers for a moment in quiet fascination, like a cat that has seen something that has caught its interest. First a man with a wild shadow, and now this? She gave a smirk of approval, watching how his hand now laid extended to take hers, hovering her own palm above his, “You have the most interesting ploys.”

Her eyes had narrowed, not in distaste, but in questioning. A man capable of disintegrating flesh with a single touch? Perhaps it had been a minor thought to him - a reflex - or perhaps it had been done on purpose as a means of intimidation. Whatever his game, the way he looked and behaved… This man had power and that was worth the risk. Navyri slipped her small hand in his and gripped it firmly, looking in his eyes, “A deal it is,” she repeated slowly, giving their hands a slow, deliberate shake and waiting to feel a decay of her skin.

His touch was cool like hers, but no pain came. Instead, he gave her simple instructions which she nodded at. Navyri would meet him and his leader tomorrow and slid from her spot on the bench only taking a single step. She watched him leave first, his expensive robes disappearing down the street when she patted her shoulder and Curio came flying.


~~~

Sundown was Nayvri’s favorite time. It was when she felt the world rest, and the people slow. On the water… it was endless and breathtaking. Watching the sun dip beneath the horizon and the vast shadows kiss the waves and surround her with nothing but the stars to light her way…

Etzos was not as stunning at night. Its populace required light to see and function, and they held their torches and lanterns close, illuminating the flaws and endless slim of human city life. She stuck to the shadows, feeling areas of her body lighten and almost flatten to her rightful form when she momentarily touched complete darkness. Curio was flying overhead, concealed and sending flashes of images to her and she moved confidently, each turn she took through the Citzen’s Market hidden from the eyes of any suspicious guards. Wrapped around her neck and made into a nice hood was a silk scarf, her eyes scanning those around her.

She looked at the gate and slid into the shadows, finding herself most overlooked when hiding in plain sight. Waiting, she felt the remains of the day’s heat clinging to the air around her and tried not to shift too much in discomfort. Marrow would be arriving soon, and hopefully with the leader of Al’Angyryl. The Naer had spent most of the day lurking in shady establishments and reading bounty boards, trying to find any trace of the faction to understand its presence in the city. From her investigation, it would seem this little group was well known for its murderous encounters, but was gaining a steady foothold in the city.

This did not worry her, for where there was power, money often followed. And where there was money, Navyri lied in wait. She had faced death before and had wronged a number of dangerous individuals, but working alongside them?

A challenge she had yet to encounter, and it gave the Naer a small thrill. Pressing against the wall behind her, her skin began to fade and then darken, melting into shadow as she moved along the stones, becoming a wickedly curious creature. Her movement range increased with every trill that passed and the sun’s influence began to wilt. She explored where she could, staying where it was darkest while her eyes glowed and she felt Curio scratching at the inside of her mind.

Marrow and his companion were approaching.

She smiled, her shadow form a dark blur as it darted across the walls and slithering upon the ground until the duo’s torchlight began to cut into her and she rose like a wraith before them. The light warmed the ether in her body and she stepped into the glow, her body solidifying into its rightful illusion and she looked into the face of the notorious Marrow, her eyes like two flames of liquid silver.

“Right on schedule,” She smiled and then looked to the man he had brought, immediately having to refrain from instinctually taking a step back. His presence alone shocked her, and despite being the same height as her, managed to make the Naer feel infinitely smaller. Such a reaction was unfamiliar to her, and the shadow woman had to remember her own capabilities to find her voice again, “Navyri Vy’Pyjr, at your service.”


...Some are born toendless night.
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The Shadow Smuggler

Postby Squirrel » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:20 pm

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"Navyri Vy'Pyjr," a voice repeated, as if savouring the words on its tongue. He immediately regretted it, and made half a retching noise in disgust. The stupid names they all came up with were foul to the tongue, often either difficult to pronounce, or unimaginative, or just plain stupid, with some hidden meaning in lesser tongues and dialects bred from a distant backwater where they married their cousins or something. He didn't care. "At my service, you are."

From behind Navyri, he stepped out of a fold in the breeze itself; the air slowly parting, as if a personal carriage, or a curtain drawn back with the wave of a hand. Or both. A tall, gaunt fellow that towered above the small gathering, nearly reaching seven feet, and though it looked more as though he'd been stretched out on a torture rack than gained such height naturally, he wore it with an air of simple acceptance. He was above them in all ways. His upper body bare, but decked with bands of gold and silver, jewels hanging from them that sparkled even in the darkest night, providing their own illumination. On his fingers, rings of all kinds. Some would have called it garish.

Craning his neck and rolling his eyes, for a moment his gaze hit her; or rather, bored into her. Ice-blue and just as cold, dangerous and deadly. Then, all in a moment, warm and soft, as he spread his arms out for her. A handsome face with a hard jaw, thick black hair swept back like a crow's wings. Youthful, but oh-so-flawless. His face, too, he wore with casual grace. He deserved everything that he had. Whatever attention she gave him, he deserved and more. Whatever he asked for her, he deserved her unquestioning obedience and complete admiration.

"I have a task for you, little one," he said softly, floating slowly towards her, barely passing a glance towards the other two in his passing. Whoever they were, they weren't important. "One I want to discuss in private. One that you will do for me, privately." His voice brokered no argument. His wide smiles that showed too much teeth were as sharp as the beak of a vulture. "I don't care how you do it. I don't care why you do it. But you will do it, won't you little one." His hands were already slowly draping themselves over her shoulders, drawing her back, as he flashed a glance to the other two present. One filled with menace and a hidden promise. Perhaps even a little mirth, as they passed over the dangerous one. Oh, more than a little mirth.
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The Shadow Smuggler

Postby Neronin » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:48 am

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The road wound and Neronin caught sight of the Etzori gate as he lead Noth by a half step, walking with the torch held high. He hadn’t taken an active role in recruiting for the organization before this girl, but he thought Noth would be happy with his choice to bring her into the fold. She clearly had some remarkable capabilities that he was eager to show the dark warrior. The necromancer peered at the shadowy gate as they approached from the direction of the farmlands beyond. He did not see her, but that hardly meant anything. He had no special powers of observation and he was sure she would show up eventually.

Sure enough when the light from his torch began to invade the shadows set by the high walls of the gatehouse the seemed to materialize out of the shadows. It was less that the torch illuminated her and more, as he now knew, that the light shifted her form from shadow to whatever facade this beautiful female was. But just as he approached and she gave her name, her eyes shifting from Neronin to Noth, another voice spoke. With a shifting of the wind a man that was so much more than man stepped out of thin air beside Navyri.

Neronin jumped in shock, his eyes roving over the appearance. He was tall and weirdly stretched with obvious and opulent wreath bedecking his form. His dress was obviously foreign and Neronin felt a sinking feeling in his stomach as he gazed up at the being. He began to suspect what this was, and how dangerous their situation had become. The necromancer’s thin eyes shifted to Navyri, watching her for a reaction. Had she set them up? Judging by the newcomer’s tone and words, he had meant to surprise her as much as them, but he could be playing with them.

Neronin took a tentative step back and glanced at Noth. He began to swirl the necrotic energy within him, awakening the spark just in case. “Navyri. What is this?” He asked in a low voice. The necromancer tried to keep the worry from his voice while careful not to seem accusing either. Something told him this oddity was not to be trifled with lightly. And either way, a fight here meant Black Guards bearing down upon them in minutes, being so close to the city.

Neronin turned his eyes once again on Noth. He tried to convey no verbally the threat he felt from the newcomer and that he was ready if they needed to be. Inwardly Neronin wished that he had brought his Maimers with him. He felt naked now, without the undead to protect his person from this other. Neronin subtly shifted his weight onto the balls of his feet incase the situation become hostile. He could feel the tension in the air as if everyone, save for the other-worldly being, was holding their breath. In contrast, he seemed as relaxed as ever. His hands draped over Navyri like a man would touch his hound.

“Mongrel, this is her, but I know not this other one.” Neronin finally said. If nothing else, it would break the tension.
“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.” - Lovecraft
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The Shadow Smuggler

Postby Noth » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:47 am

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Traveling during the night-time was always blatantly different than traveling during the day. The sunlight always revealed more to the eyes than the moonlight was capable of doing, but there seemed to be far more noises when darkness fell than when the world was lit up by the brilliant candles in the sky. Perhaps it was simply the natural increase of caution which occurred in living beings when shadow fell, and their ability to see took a detrimental turn, or perhaps it was simply that there were more creatures roaming and becoming active during the night, nocturnal animals certainly didn’t often frolic about except for when the lesser celestial body hung above.

The twilight hybrid became distracted by the assorted noises creeping forth from the nearby woods, listening intently to the gentle chirps of crickets as they migrated throughout the area, and the soft rustle of foliage as it was moved aside for the sake of meandering beasts. There would be predators out in the dark, he knew, and yet he walked without fear, casting an occasional glimpse to his side as his necromantic ally to ensure that he was sound of body and mind. His ally delved into dark and secretive matters, and so it seemed incredibly unlikely that he would be frightened by something as mild as a wolf on the prowl, but it was best to be observant of one’s allies lest they assume in error.

Recruitment had always been an issue for the fledgling faction. It was difficult to discern what type of person someone was without spending resources they did not have to follow and watch them. They needed people who were morally loose enough so that they would not object to the criminal activities they partook in, but who were not so sociopathic or apathetic that they would gladly betray their employers for the sake of additional coin. The nature of their activities made it hard to even ask someone about their views on certain subjects, because one could not rightly stroll through the streets of Etzos questioning each person they met whether or not they condoned armed robbery and ruthless murder.

Nevertheless, the twilight hybrid had managed over time to gather together a small cadre of trustworthy allies, and they acted as the core of the group. Their endeavors had managed to secure many of the fragmented and disjointed forces of the Don’s criminal empire as well, and they had quietly continued to align such splintered factions into their own, absorbing them into their growing organization.

Marrow had apparently found someone who would be capable of furthering one of their goals; the establishment of a smuggling ring as they had discussed and had been recommended by the Don, now an invaluable advisor and manager under their sway. A Naerikk smuggler if her description was to be interpreted correctly, and whilst Noth trusted the judgement of his ally, he preferred to meet any potential recruits himself; especially those with such a potentially critical role in the future of their smuggling operation.

The pair finally came near to the gate, the firelight lapping away hungrily at the nearby shadows, encroaching upon their near absolute control of the landscape until finally they had managed to reveal the faint outline of the gate, and with it, the presence of a young woman who had only moments ago been completely unseen. She called forth, signaling that they had appeared ‘right on time’, and promptly identified herself as Navyri Vy’Pjyr. Crimson eyes set about their normal routine analysis, glancing at both her prominent physical features as well as the items with which she adorned herself, though, that study was cut frighteningly short when he detected the slightest flicker of movement, a sudden shift in the wind itself that alerted his Avriel eyes to the presence of something behind her, even before it had fully stepped free of the shadow.

It reached forward, revealing itself to them and speaking the girl’s name with its unusual tone, as though it took great pleasure in being able to utter them, though the flicker of dissatisfaction upon its face an instant later spoke of other internal thoughts on the matter. He was a tall person, stretching far above the assembled people before him, though it was a strangely disproportionate height, as though his body had been yanked in two directions until he had elongated as opposed to a natural growth. The hybrid was immediately reminded of Marrow’s creations; the Maimers, and how artificially their flesh had been churned and shaped. He did not bother wearing an upper layer of clothing, allowing his flesh to be openly seen, though bands of gold and ornaments of foreign make and opulent craftsmanship coated his form. He was frighteningly gaudy in appearance in the same way that Noth was simply frightening in his own, and though he was aesthetically pleasing to gaze upon; if one ignored his stretched figure, of course, the hybrid immediately felt himself become repulsed by the man.

Of course, he was not so foolish as to be unable to read the signs before him, and he had laid eyes upon several of the petty godlings before, had even spoken to one previously in the season. It came as little surprise that they would all be out in force, maneuvering throughout the populace in their vile schemes, subverting the motivations of those they called their own so as to better enforce their wretched plans. The way that he had appeared seemingly out of thin air, the way that the wind swept at his feet, not allowing him to be tarnished by the unruly matter upon the ground, and the strange way that he spoke, as if though he were somehow above them all… all of these added up to the conclusion that the ‘thing’ before them was one of them. One of the enemy, though which was still up for debate.

He stifled a disgruntled statement of reproof, instead swallowing his hate for an instant to read the greater picture. The Immortal was speaking to Ms. Vy’Pyjr as though she belonged to him, and it seemed quite likely given his smugness that that particular sentiment was true, at least to a degree. Whilst he held absolutely no adoration nor fellow feeling for the divine beings, he did understand that he likely required the services of Navyri for the sake of the smuggling business being produced, and to assail the Immortal was to invite both the possibility of rapid dismemberment, and the potential of disillusionment in regards to the job she was being offered. Neither were acceptable options.

Yet, the twilight hybrid could not rightfully just allow the Immortal to walk away, to showcase his control over the situation so artfully. He cast a glimpse at his side, eyeing Marrow’s features for several trills, the readiness to fight evident in his well-known features, the tension hanging in the air as the monstrous Avriel determined the course of the remainder of their interaction. The sickening pleasure that the other-worldly abomination took as he wrecked their meeting, his aesthetically pleasing eyes meeting ones forged of crimson and displaying just as much absolute hatred as could be mustered.


“Navyri, is it?”
He nodded his appreciation to Marrow for identifying her. “We are here to do business with you, and we shall be here when you are finished.” He did not attempt to diffuse a sense of caring or pleasure into his voice as the Immortal had done when he had spoken her name, though he also refrained from allowing obvious disgust taint his features when he had finished.

And so, the Avriel smiled at the god, and raised his hand towards the pair, waving his fingers as though he were dismissing a servant from his presence before turning back towards Marrow, keeping track of the pair through his peripheral vision, but otherwise giving the impression that he cared almost nothing for them.


“So, how are arrangements proceeding on the warehouse?”
He began, shifting the conversation towards a differing subject; one filled with far fewer Immortals.



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Credit to Pegasus

As a note: Noth is a Grandmaster in Intimidation. That means that he's at least as scary as the Count from Sesame Street. Beware.

"The tyrant confuses those he can't convince, corrupts those he can't confuse, and crushes those he can't corrupt." - Anonymous
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The Shadow Smuggler

Postby Navyri » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:13 pm

Navyri

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Some are born to sweet delight...


12th of Saun, 717

Thirty-eight years.

The span of time that had passed since she had heard from the Immortal of Greed, and the first in which he had spoken her name. And yet, it had all passed so quickly. Navyri had been smiling pleasantly at the two prospective business partners when the wind shifted. She did not initially notice the way in which the man unfolded himself from thin air, like the wings of a bird stretching upwards… And upwards he went. His height towered over the trio before him and his voice held the familiarity of someone known for decades.

The young woman gasped, jumping slightly, having not sensed the presence of another so close. Her eyes began to widen at Marrow’s surprise and her voice caught in her throat as she spun, laying eyes on the man watching her with danger in his eyes, “Y-you’re back,” she whispered, leaning back to look at him fully. He was dressed even more lavishly than she remembered, but the cold glint in his eyes remained the same. She blinked, noticing the way his eyes melted from icy to warm and shifted in discomfort. His necklaces and rings clinked and swished when he extended his arms out towards her, and Navyri suddenly felt a panic clutch her stomach. It was clear that this arrival displeased those actually expected and her trust for Delroth was limited. He had tried abandoning her once, and had only saved her life after promising a great debt. Was… was that why he was here now?

No doubt. He had a job for her, and she watched him, her eyes bouncing between the wealth that clung to him and the sharp teeth smiling down at her. Now, perhaps she realized she had been given so to do as she liked (or had forgotten about her?), and now… now it was time to prove her value. Isn't that what she had always wanted? Navyri brightened, recovering from the shock and faced Marrow and his employer once more, rushing to explain “An old… friend come to visit.”

It was a bad lie, but the only explanation she could offer at the moment. Delroth was already descending upon her, hands draping upon her shoulders and pulling her back. He was speaking softly, the silent threat clear as day. There would be no room for discussion, no chance to deny him of this. She slowly moved with him, one step after another, already nodding in acquiescence. And then…

Marrow’s companion spoke to her directly, and lifted a hand in adjournment. Disrespectful. Tense under the immortal’s touch, Navyri completely halted at the gesture, stuck between two terrifying parties, and morosely gave a small shake of her head in disapproval. There was no doubt in her mind that the immortal and his hawk eyes had seen the signal and fear brushed against her spine.

One did not simply dismiss Delroth.


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The Shadow Smuggler

Postby Squirrel » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:36 pm

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He drew her back, gently, towards the safety of shadow. But against her shoulders, his fingers tightened a fraction. For just a moment his fingertips were talons, pinching little pinpricks just shy of drawing blood, but the next they were ordinary fingers once more, soothing the spots with gentle rubbing motions, while he made soft, near-soundless cooing noises. Oh, he would not hurt his prize. "I don't like your friends," he told her in an emotionless voice as he leaned down close enough to Navyri's ear that she could feel the warmth of his breath touching her scalp. If that puffed-up little bird thought that it was going to mock any Immortal and survive, then it was a very foolish one. To mock him, most foolish of all. He was the hawk. The eagle. And the vulture. "They will learn to be more respectful." As he spoke, his back to the pair, feathers sprouted from his naked back. A simple dusting, that became a cloak, materialising into two giant black-feathered wings. Not attached to Delroth, however; attached to a giant vulture, taller than a man and with wings large enough that its tips brushed both sides of the alleyway at once, and it hadn't even spread out to its full size.

It swept towards the pair at a ridiculous speed and, just shy of colliding into them both, swept its wings back and caught their throats in two giant thick-taloned feet, knocking them back with its sheer weight until they collided with the nearest wall. There it held them, screeching and beating its wings constantly, drowning any protests or pleas under heavy wing-beats. The two should feel thankful they were allowed to witness one of Delroth's familiars at all, although this one had a particular dark streak. It wouldn't hesitate to use its maliciously curved beak to strip their hides if they so much as attempted an escape. Not until Delroth finished his much more important work. Not until he could see to the two personally, and carry out proper judgement for the little bird's error.

Nothing noticeable changed about the air around them, but every word said between Delroth and Navyri disappeared beyond just a few feet, as though snatched by the air itself, a high-speed, silent wind. "Don't mind them," he told Navyri soothingly, stroking a hand down her hair and smiling. "Not now. I have something I want you to do for me. Something very important... suited to your talents, I know." The hand at her head moved down, stroking along a cheek, and cupped her chin between his graceful fingers to draw it up, where he could look down into her eyes. His piercing blue eyes. Cold and warm, friendly and vicious. "Something special of mine has been stolen. The thief has been... taken care of... but what he has taken, he has already passed to another."

It was clear from his tone that the thief had been very thoroughly taken care of, though the Immortal still ground his teeth and his eyes flashed dangerously at the mere mention of something of his remaining lost. "A small wooden carving of a raven, standing on the edge of a tower. It is unlike any... mundane trinket, you will find as soon as you lay eyes upon it. You will find it for me and take it back. If you truly wish to please me, you will make sure the person possessing it will know my displeasure."

He gave one last stroke back up her cheek. "Do this for me, little one. You would not want to know my displeasure, too." With that, he released her. The invisible barrier around them disintegrated like an outward breath. And Delroth's face hardened as he turned back towards Navyri's two friends. "I think you should fly along now, little one." It was not a command, in the same way as a suggestion from a father down to a young daughter was not a command. In his own way, he truly cared for his little ones. He enjoyed them too much to let anything horrid happen to them, and what he was about to do to her friends was not something she would like watching. "When you have what I seek, you will call for me. I will be watching."
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The Shadow Smuggler

Postby Neronin » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:09 pm

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The being’s stirring power brought a cold chill to Neronin’s skin. It was a power that simply spoke of more potent stirrings than his own. Neronin had the sense to understand that. The danger he felt emanating from the being and now that great bird he created in his bones. The instinct for survival took over and he acted before thought itself. Neronin stepped forward and bowed deeply, hoping the great being would be curious enough to not attack. Neronin was Etzori to his bones in some ways, not least amongst them his stubborn hate of the Immortals. However, the necromancer felt that here before him now was one of their number. Life meant more to him than pride. Even if it didn’t, it was simply instinct to make himself subservient.

“Forgive my acquaintance, great one.” Neronin spoke as he rose to a half bow. He glanced at Mongrel, willing him to swallow his pride and keep his teeth together. “He is savage and ill-suited to the presence of such an illustrious and powerful visage such as yours.” Neronin flicked his fingers back towards Noth and with a spiraled tendril of black magic. Neronin’s form shifted into that of a gaunt undead as his black veiny skin became alight with the vile green of his sparks necrotic power. The tendril would slip into Noth, bringing him to his knees and chilling him. Neronin knew he would be furious, but it was best to ensure his silence through a Sap rather than leave such things to chance.

“I am honored and privileged to bear witness to the majesty and divinity of the most praised, the most wise of beings.” Neronin did not really know who this powerful entity was, but it did not matter. He was indeed powerful and as such the praise was warranted. The necromancer hoped his grisly image would not prompt the Immortal into attack as he spoke on. “We would gladly depart and leave you and your,” His eyes flashed with venomous coldness as they fell upon Navyri briefly, “Servant to your secret business. Thank you, once again, for privileging us with your presence.”

Neronin hesitated after that, unsure of whether he should attempt to kiss one of the being’s rings or else kneel. He had never supplicated himself thus and felt the deep stirrings of self-loathing as he did so. Pride was a weakness though, and he disdained weakness most of all. As he kept his pose in a half bow with arms splayed out behind him, Neronin kept up the steady stream of the Sap spell towards Noth.

The mage’s mind raced as he thought of other possible escapes from the situation. The bird, he thought as he eyed the beast, could be killed. The Immortal on the other hand, seemed out of his reach in that regard. Neronin’s mind went to his second spark, much less used. He could try to flee through the dark portals it provided. He had never attempted to bring others through one, but perhaps Noth could be saved that way. He glanced once again at the dark warrior and wondered what manner of retribution the half-avriel would attempt if they survived this. He had no doubt the warrior’s temper was flaring with this betrayal. The mage hoped he would have foresight and see this as the opposite.
“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.” - Lovecraft
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The Shadow Smuggler

Postby Noth » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:27 am

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It seemed rather evident that he might have made a mistake. Admittedly, he had never actively attempted to fight against an Immortal, so he wasn’t altogether sure of what to expect, but it was not as if though it was unheard of for mortals to rise up against the petty godlings, and it was at least fairly common knowledge that they were extremely powerful in their chosen domains. The Avriel watched with some mild trepidation as the Immortal pressed himself nearer to Navyri’s ear, whispering something unheard to her as a large set of feathers began to materialize behind him. At first, Noth thought that they must have been attached to the Immortal, and from his angle that certainly seemed a viable option. Instead, the wings quickly grew into a head and body, and the presence of the giant bird became known to them all.

To say that it was a large beast would have been something of an understatement, though admittedly it was not quite as large as some others that were known to him. Taller than a man, certainly, but he was uncertain as to whether it would measure up properly to something as large as a bear or even a moose in pure height. What it lacked in ridiculous height it made up for in a wingspan suiting its creator, almost certainly capable of reaching both ends of the gate nearby should it have decided to spread its wings out fully.

Instinct screamed in his mind to arm himself, and his arm immediately dropped down to the adamantite mace at his side, but the creature was far faster than he, and a moment later he felt the weight of its massive talon squeeze cruelly around his neck and hurtle him towards the nearest wall, knocking the breath from his lungs with brutish force, and eliciting a wheeze from the dark hybrid. The chainmail hauberk across his body had helped to reduce some of the force of the blow, but it was not capable of absorbing it all. Noth quickly found himself strapped to the wall by the large and predatory bird, its talons resting temptingly across his neck as though it would have delighted to hear its masters call to slice his head clean off. He was uncertain as to whether the cruel claw would actually be capable of rending through the steel protecting him, but it had been created by an Immortal, so it seemed possible. Even if it was incapable of piercing the armor he wore, it would almost certainly have no issue with thrashing him against the wall until he was a bloody pulp of a man, so rent and ruined that even the necromancer beside him would have issue reforming his corpse.

Some bits passed as the Immortal conversed with his enslaved servant, the large bird before him still pinning him fairly effectively to the wall. Even in his current position, however, he was not altogether so uncertain that he couldn’t slay the bird, especially with the help of Marrow. It could be sapped, lose its strength, and then the hybrid could bash it a single time in the chest with his mace and end its unnatural life. True, it was a large beast, but it was nonetheless still a bird, and he knew that those possessed light and hollowed bones unused to the types of brute force he could instill with his mace. A solid blow to its chest would almost certainly shatter its ribs; if birds of its kind truly had them, and send them spiraling into his lungs until it was nothing but a gurgling pet choking upon its own blood as its lungs filled with crimson agony.

But… then what? They could reanimate it and send it at the Immortal, but it seemed altogether unlikely that the godling would be so troubled in putting down one of his pets, or simply sending it back to the ether from whence it had appeared. Then he would be more frustrated with them for having scorned him so heartily, and the suffering and pain which accompanied the anger of Immortals was something renowned.

Noth was in an uncomfortable position strategically, and none of his usual schemes and plots were coming to any sort of fruition in his mind, each one tempered with unacceptable losses or risks. The Immortal had since finished with his conversation, and began to approach them. The hybrid recognized that he would have to think his way out of the scenario somehow, but there was simply nothing…

Perhaps that would be what saved Marrow from his wrath when an instant later the necromancer shot a dark bolt towards him, and he felt his world go entirely too frigid. He dropped to his knees, his armor suddenly weighing far more than he was capable of carrying, but thankfully causing him to plant at least somewhat upright as opposed to sprawling over completely into the dirt. The world seemed incredibly chilled, to the point where he could feel it in his bones, a painful sensation of warmth leaving his body. His heart pumped in his chest, and he had the inclination to perceive the chill like a parasite, gradually wrapping around the vital organ until even it was frosty with the dark power. Every beat of his heart was somewhat hurtful, though it was a sufferable agony.

His attention had been turned inward, and though he heard words uttered, and recognized their tone as apologetic and groveling, he could not fashion his mind into a proper enough state to give them much thought. He thought that he could stand if he truly wanted after a couple of bits, becoming somewhat accustomed to the cold, but he knew that he would be no match whatsoever for anyone in his state, and he doubted that it would improve his situation drastically to arise to his feet, so with the help of his ally, he swallowed his pride, and remained upon his knees before the Immortal and its bird.

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Credit to Pegasus

As a note: Noth is a Grandmaster in Intimidation. That means that he's at least as scary as the Count from Sesame Street. Beware.

"The tyrant confuses those he can't convince, corrupts those he can't confuse, and crushes those he can't corrupt." - Anonymous
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Noth
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The Shadow Smuggler

Postby Squirrel » Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:43 pm

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As he approached the two, Delroth drank deeply from the praise. Oh, there was truly nothing sweeter than the begging and pleading tones of mortals. Of course, at the end of the day, they were still only mortals. Fickle, fragile things, occasionally showing thin veins of power stolen from the corpses of his kin. He wasn't a fool - he knew they were only dropping to their knees and showering him with praise in hopes of mercy. He was vain, it was true, and he accepted it wholeheartedly without the slightest bit of guilt; anyone else with a body, with the power that he possessed would love themselves just as much he was sure. He was not a blind, petty, ignorant fool though. Oh no.

"It's good to know at least one of you two knows how to address your betters properly." Not that he truly expected Navyri to, but it wouldn't hurt the girl. "And while I'd like nothing better than to rid you of my sight, it seems this one over here wants a little private time with me." His gaze slid over the horrid little half-dead creature to the Avriel dropping to his knees before him, slumped. Shame the armour hid most of its body from his gaze. He could have Ilkashan rend it from his body, but it'd likely tear away limbs in the process. He wouldn't want Navyri to see such horrid things happen to her friends. Most importantly though... though its face, whenever it raised to meet him, was quite a horrid and chilling thing to look upon even for one of his sheer strength and presence, was rather pretty. In another time, he would have taken the half-dead thing for a servant. And the half-bird for a pet. In another time.

The giant summoned vulture hopped back and swooped into the sky, vanishing through the clouds, and Delroth crouched down directly before Noth, entirely ignoring Neronin. "That is what you want, isn't it?" A hand reached down and grabbed a fistful of Noth's feathers, grabbing his head and dragging it up to meet burning orange-red eyes to ice-cold blue. "Are you jealous of little Navyri, that she earns my attention and my praise? Speak up, come on. Because if that's what you really want, trust me, I can give you plenty." His grip tightened, digging well-groomed fingernails into the side of the half-birds skull, driving them harder than the talons of the vulture. "I have a pretty little cage that would suit you just fine, I think. Oh yes. It's a little on the small side, but don't worry, I know just how to fix that."

The Immortal's voice dropped lower as he leaned in closer, becoming barely more than a whisper. "Your blood shares my power." Tingles spread through Noth's skull. "Not all of it, since your disgusting pig of a father thought to mate with a lesser species. Or maybe your bitch mother fucked everything that breathed and half the things that didn't. I don't care." The air itself around Noth started to sparkle and crack with power. Raw power. Some Immortals restrained their use of their own power, for one reason or another - Delroth was not one of those Immortals. He basked in his own strength often, and eons of practice meant he was good at manipulating it. What he was about to do would draw upon a great deal of it, however. "My power made you, made your entire species long before you were ever born, ever conceived. It can unmake you just as easily. Most interestingly though, it can do all the things in between!"

Sheer power surged through Noth. It coursed through his veins, through his skull until it felt fit to burst, down his limbs, lighting up every sense of pleasure and pain until he'd hardly be able to tell where his limbs truly ended any more. Blinding white light shone from every slip of exposed skin, dancing shapes on Delroth's naked torso as he laughed.

In front of Delroth's crouched shape sat the empty armour that Noth had once occupied. All his clothes, arranged in messy heaps. And sat on them all, an ordinary-sized parrot. Bright red plumage, fading through yellows and blues on its one right wing. It also carried the same horizontal scars over its abdomen as Noth once had... and, perhaps the most amusing of all, it spoke in Noth's voice, albeit in a much higher pitch. Noth would be entirely aware of what he was, Delroth took exceptional care to avoid altering his mental state, since that'd obviously spoil the fun. "So, little birdy. What do you think? Do you have anything to say now?"
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Squirrel
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The Shadow Smuggler

Postby Noth » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:09 pm

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Noth could understand why the Immortals so often desired to be praised. It was true that they were powerful beings, especially when compared with the scrawny and fragile nature of the mortal races, and so it seemed natural that they would place themselves above those delicate creatures. It was also true that it was a genuinely delightful thing to be praised for one’s actions and personality, to be given the recognition that all beings secretly craved, the honor and the plaudits that everyone wished could be granted unto them. Even a single compliment of the sort was enough to raise someone from the mires of a sulking mood, and convince them that their path required no rectification, and that they had chosen well in how they managed their lives.

It seemed logical to Noth that the Immortals would all desire that affirmation that they were doing what was right, especially given the conflicting ideologies that they constantly flaunted against one another in their terrible wars. The hybrid could understand too what it was like to be without parents, to suddenly find that the only anchor of one’s life had been ripped away from them, and that they were floating through an endless ocean of trials and tribulations without an oar with which to direct themselves, nor even the knowledge to properly navigate through the assorted troubles of life.

The twilight hybrid found himself staring directly at the Immortal, crimson eyes laying upon the divinely formed being before him. It was a strange concept to think that something so powerful could be so petty and horrendous at the same time, but it was well-documented that the nature of the godlings was capricious and fluctuating so as to fit their wishes at any given time. They were arbitrary and unpredictable, running their groundless decisions under the façade that their logic was simply superior to that of the mortals, and that they acted in their ways because they were fundamentally superior to those who had existed for a lesser time than they. That reasoning had perverted what might have been the guiding hand of a benevolent dictator race, and turned them all instead into despotic and tyrannical authoritarians, unwilling to ever submit themselves to counsel, choosing instead to roil in their own filthy decisions, even when it became clear that they were the wrong ones.

The mustered bird abandoned its post, launching itself into the sky as it was recalled back to whatever ethereal realm it had inhabited before it had been evoked in wordless sorcery by the Immortal. The aesthetically pleasing, but dysfunctional being before him spoke to him, belittling him with its tone if not necessarily with its words, and the murderous Avriel threatened to bristle underneath his metal coating. It was true, he would have been utterly satisfied if he could simply have spoken towards the godling for several bits, could have finally understood something of the strange way that the beings thought, because it was true they did not operate in quite the same mindset that the mortal races did, because they were far more corrupt and shattered… just like their parents had been.
Harsh nails dug into the side of his head, and though the pain swelled through his nerves, he refused to allow an utterance of suffering to escape his lips, content with swallowing down the prickling sensation for the sake of not letting the wicked Immortal gain any manner of contentment out of his forcible domination. No, he would be obedient, but he refused entirely to be enslaved by the powerful, and so he took what was given, and he mustered his strength within his form, holding silent despite the persecution.

The Immortal questioned him further, asking whether or not he desired the attention of Navyri. In truth, he had very nearly forgotten that she had existed given the tenseness of the scenario, but now his crimson eyes glanced over towards where she had been only moments prior, and perhaps where she still remained, only slightly out of range of his vision. She would need to be dealt with after all of the events had transpired, though he had not settled upon a singular solution as to how she ought to be treated after the ordeal she had inspired with her very presence. The godling spoke of how the blood which boiled through his veins held some of his own power, and the hybrid very nearly smiled at the prospect, biting down upon his tongue motionlessly within his mouth so as to prevent himself from uttering something foolish about how the Immortal was look like he did underneath his vain flesh if they truly shared power.

The insults upon his parents were lost upon the hybrid simply because he had never known them, and it was entirely possible that the words spoken were true. Then again, at least his parents hadn’t shattered cataclysmically into a devastating explosion which had annihilated hundreds of his brothers and sisters and left him brokenly picking up the pieces in a desperate attempt at relocating some of the attention and love they had felt before everything had gone so terribly wrong.

He spoke of how his power had created his race, and in that moment, Noth knew for certain who stood before him, and the sudden anger which gripped at his innards threatened to rend him in twain. He was the one truly responsible for the atrocities of the hybrid’s life, for all of the agony that he had suffered, and suddenly the prickle of fingernails at his skull became something worthless when compared to the arcs he had received punishment for the actions of Delroth. In a way, the monster before him had convinced him to be the monster that he was today, and Noth knew that somewhere in the godlings mind, a part of him gazed upon him, and saw only his own failures and faults staring back.

There was a blinding light, and a shrinking sensation, and suddenly the breeze of the night’s air made him far chillier than he had been. He had been transformed into something small and belittling, and yet it did not seem altogether worse than anything else that he had had occur to him at the hand of Delroth, though this was certainly the most direct act of pain which he had ever inflicted upon him. He worried somewhere in the back of his head whether or not the Immortal would choose to turn him back the way he had been, or whether he would simply leave him in his colorful and unlovable state.

“I’m sorry.” He spoke, the words echoing out into the silence, and they were perhaps some of the most genuine things that the hybrid had ever uttered.

He was sorry… but not for what he had done to Delroth. He was sorry for what he would need to do to Delroth in the future, for the pain he would need to inflict upon him in order to make him understand, for the pain he would feel when he ripped away his brothers and sisters one by one from him until he had no family to call his own, until his entire world had been annihilated. He was sorry for all of those who would be caught in the crossfire of his actions, for all of those young men who would find themselves dead upon the ground for his actions, for all of those young women who would die wondering about whether or not their offspring had survived, and for all of the children that he inevitably knew would perish as an indirect result of his course. He was sorry for the cities that would be despoiled, for the art that would be obliterated, for the great wailing noises that would sound throughout the land, and the choking ash that the infants would view like rain. He was sorry that Idalos would suffer so heavily with him alive, for every life which would be snuffed out, and every idea that would never come to fruition.

He was sorry not for what had occurred, but what would occur, and in that awful thought, the Avriel was genuine.




Image

Credit to Pegasus

As a note: Noth is a Grandmaster in Intimidation. That means that he's at least as scary as the Count from Sesame Street. Beware.

"The tyrant confuses those he can't convince, corrupts those he can't confuse, and crushes those he can't corrupt." - Anonymous
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Noth
Feathered Fiend
 
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