Balance

An Unexpected Journey Home Pt 2

22nd of Reaping 383 ONT, Al’Callani Estate outside of High Port, 2:50pm

The shimmer disappeared as quickly as it began and the slight disorientation of travelling like that disappeared leaving Tar Di blinking and looking around in the dim light of the main hall. Lazy afternoon light left puddles of vibrant green carpet and warm polished wood amidst the shadows. At the back a small fire popped and crackled in the fireplace. The wood of the walls were carved in amazing detail and depicted scenes that she could only guess were either the histories of the elves or fables of some sort. A great table ran lengthwise in the main hall decorated with no less than four flower arrangements and had a small burbling fountain in the centre. On the far wall hung four portraits though one was covered with a thin black cloth.

“If you’ll excuse me, Miss Hikari, I’ll summon my parents and we can give you a proper welcome.” Tar Di noted that the lippy elf girl was acting a lot more humble now that Hikari had shown off some power and watched as Charisia gave a better curtsey before limping away and leaning heavily on her cane. So it wasn’t for show, hmmm.

She looked to Hikari and was surprised to see her close to tears. Tar Di did not understand. If anything she should be annoyed or smug about putting the elf in her place. More so given that Hikari had shared how she had been pushed to leave at an early age and all but disowned by the family. Hearing Charisia calling out for her parents, Tar di had to ask, “Why are we meeting them? We’ve, well you’ve done more than you needed to and we can go back to the palace at any time.”

“I did that to her,” Hikari responded, “It was my fault she has to use that cane. I wasn’t watching her close enough.” She looked down at the arachnid and touched it gently on the back. “No, we are still us and we will not forget that.”

Her mentor was strange enough before meeting and joining with the arachnid. Tar Di was still mad at hikari for not letting her go along into the temple. It sounded like they had a lot of fun down there and came out with some new abilities. Though losing her eyes was not something Tar Di wanted to experience. The problem was that just like when Paprikka had become Hikari and changed so too had she changed from her experiences in the temple and Tar Di was still trying to figure her out.

“So? That was Paprikka’s past and not you and it doesn’t mean we need to stay here any longer than it takes for you to recite that spell again to get us out of here. She’s rude, stuck up and way too elf for my taste. Her parents are probably the same.” Annoyance crept into her voice as Tar Di poked one of the carvings in the wall. Maybe she could make them move and enact the scenes so she’d know what the story was.

Hikari sighed, something she did a lot around Tar Di, and shook her head. “No, we will stay for a while. There is something that we need to do before we leave here, something that might help things change.”

“Change? These are minor elven nobles. They are set for life. What needs to change here?”

“Watch, listen and look closely Tar Di. Things are not as good as they appear.” Great, now she’d gone off being cryptic again. Why couldn’t Hikari be more direct and fun? All these rules, all these stupid tasks that she made Tar Di have to figure out on her own. Well maybe she would enchant the walls then just to… Wait? What was that?

Tar di spun around and looked towards a darker corner and froze a chill running up her spine. Shadows and shapes moved where none should move and clung to the wall. Faint purples, and reds much like auras but not on people slipped from shadow to shadow. Looking around she felt like this place, this estate was close to being a house of ghosts. But as soon as she tried to focus on one it would disappear on her.

Large doors on the other side opened and two elves, slightly older looking than Charisia to Tar Di’s eyes came through dressed equally as fine as their daughter had been. They smiled and gave the proper bows and greeting which Hikari returned in equal measure adding in the ‘we’ and her title for good measure which made them much more pleased with her presence. To Tar Di and Thorbil they barely glanced and she could tell they thought she was nothing more than Hikari’s servant or some such. Well that just meant she didn’t have to listen to the boring conversation they were going to have.

“…would be honoured to stay for dinner and spend the night. The Archmage is a busy man and would not miss us for an evening.” Wait what? Damn it all. She was seriously going to have to talk to Hikari about her ideas of fun and a good time. This just wasn’t right. Then she noticed Charisia standing off to the side and the youngest Al’Callani had a strange expression on her face. Looking back to the other two she noticed that both Liliahna and Etheronim were not as happy about it as they appeared. So why were they staying? Hikari wanted her to figure that part out. Well she wasn’t going to play along. After all how often did one get to explore an elven mansion?

A few servants began to move around cleaning and clearing things off and Tar Di was allowed to wander off with Hikari and the elves moving off to something called a solarium. For her part she was curious about the shrouded painting and moved over to it. Lifting the sheet she saw it was a picture of a youthful and happy Paprikka and she looked to be only a few years younger than Charisia was now. Well that was boring. Dropping the sheet she proceeded to wander off and made her way to other rooms in the house. But if there was something to be found beyond a dozen or so empty bedrooms and storage closets and only a half dozen servants quarters that even looked possibly occupied Tar Di was not seeing it.

Dinner was good, not Hikari cooking good but better than most places she’d eaten at and Tar Di did her best to be polite and behave mostly to avoid a lecture later. After dinner they were shown to a set of rooms that had been hastily cleaned and many apologies were given and polite conversation before they were allowed to close the door and get ready for bed.

“So, did you figure it out yet?” Hikari asked through a yawn.

“No,” Tar Di shrugged, “It’s just an old house with a lot of rooms and a few elves and halflings in it. Lots of it is unused but there isn’t anything wrong with the house or the people.” Tar di paused, “They still have a picture of you in the main room, which was odd.”

“I noticed it too,” Hikari nodded. “Was that all?” Tar Di nodded and Hikari sighed and shook her head. “Sleep well then. We will leave at first light.”

That bothered Tar Di. She’d missed something or managed to disappoint Hikari and she didn’t know how or why. Maybe she could ask Thorbil. He didn’t speak much and had a strange need to call Hikari Mistress but he was a good and honest sort. Wait, where was Thorbil? Thinking back he’d disappeared sometime before dinner and had not returned. Hikari wasn’t concerned or she would be taking the place apart piece by piece to find her friend so he wasn’t in danger. But where was he then? And where had the stuck up Charisia gone? She’d barely eaten anything before running off. This had to be related to what Hikari was talking about. Stupid Hikari and her stupid cryptic-ness.

Tar Di wasn’t going to get to sleep thinking about this and rolled out of bed. “Have to pee.” She told Hikari and slipping on her clothes left the room.

The shadows she’d seen earlier had disappeared or hidden with the arrival of Etheronim and his wife but now, with the estate once more quiet they were moving about again. Tar Di hated this, hated being able to see things like this and how no one else ever could. But they seemed to be rippling and moving in a particular pattern tonight and finding a bit of courage Tar Di followed after to see where they led.

Out of the guest wing and away from the Al’Callani side and out the back door. Slipping from the mansion she followed a well-worn path towards a small side building. Light blazed from a partially open doorway and odd sounds came from within. Tar Di approached cautiously trying to make no sound and stepped up to the door to look in…

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An Unexpected Journey Home Pt 1

22nd of Reaping 383 ONT, Streets of High Port, 1:12pm.

They left the pastry shop with Tar Di and Thorbil happily eating their purchases and Hikari with a greater understanding of a few new baking techniques for a couple difficult dishes she’d wanted to try. As promised, Hikari was showing Tar Di around High Port and by extension her dwarven shadow and the Tukin Knight for good measure. She was fairly certain Dallan had been here before. She didn’t mind the company and it was fun showing them where Paprikka had spent a good part of her life when she wasn’t back at the Al’Callani Estate. Even Phobia was interested in exploring and seeing for herself what she’d learned through Hikari’s memories. For her part, Hikari was getting a new view of the city with her magicked eyes and a new understanding of how and why buildings and streets were the way they are.

It was also nice to be out in the city without actually being on an errand or important mission or worrying about anything beyond finding the best vantage points to see the sights. A welcome bit of relaxation away from the others and the problems of the world that always found them. It felt like the list of people and places they needed to save or visit or complete a task at were growing with each new stop into port. But today was for forgetting all of that and just enjoying the good weather and good company.

“Why you stupid, good for nothing lawn ornament! The contents of that jar are worth more than you’ll make in a lifetime.” The angry words floated down the street and Hikari’s group all turned to look as a young elven woman berated a Halfling servant who was trying desperately to find something to scoop up the powder that was now all over the cobbles. Young, light hair, expensive and stylish clothing and an ornate cane which she had raised as if to strike or at least threaten the Halfling with it made Hikari freeze in place. She knew that woman, knew her as well as she knew herself. Even after being apart for almost twenty years she would never forget her cousin and onetime sister. Charisia Al‘Calanni, the only daughter of Etheronim and Liliahna Al’Callani and the only family Paprikka ever knew.

The rant continued though she did little beyond waving her cane around. Beside her and the Halfling was an overly large pack bulging with various bottles and jars. Hikari was moving before she even realized it. Getting close she saw the silvery contents spread amongst the glass and cobbles and sighed. It was one of the ingredients they used in the weaving process of their silks, one that helped strengthen the fibers from wear. She turned and asked Thorbil to purchase a new jar from the merchant dropping a few gold into his hands before looking back to Charisia.

The elven woman moved to block Hikari’s access to the powder and glared at her. “Keep moving half-breed, I’ll not let you take what is mine. Not without paying me for it.” Pleasant as always, Hikari sighed and shook her head. The Halfling woman still kneeling in the street picking out shards of glass from the silver powder was also known to Hikari. Mavis Thistlewood was a quiet woman whose family had long served the Al’Callani line and should have retired years ago. For her to be out with Charisia was not a good sign.

“We’d like to help you, my friend is going to purchase a new jar and we can…”

“How about no. I’ve a rule about trusting people wearing carcasses.” She sniffed and looked over Hikari’s shoulder at Tar Di, Dallan and the returning Thorbil. “And given the company you keep I’d say mercenaries at best and adventurers at worst. What? Couldn’t shake down some poor sod on the road for their hard earned coin so you came to the city to cause trouble?”
Hikari took a deep breath feeling Phobia’s unhappiness and knowing the others were wondering why she was even trying. She didn’t want to do it but with Charisia’s upbringing it was going to be the only way to get her to listen. She showed off the broach from the archmage. “That is no way to treat those who are guests of the Archmage. We would expect more from you Charisia Al’Calanni or have your manners devolved to match those of the wild elves? Don’t be foolish and turn away help freely offered.”

Hikari watched as her cousin’s face went through a range of emotions from surprise to anger before settling on grudging respect and burning curiosity as she recognized the symbol. She gave the barest of nods and stared closely at Hikari, “My most sincere apologies.” Hikari doubted that. “It has been a day of frustration and I’ve now lost both my ingredients as well as ride home. Anything you can do to help would be appreciated.”

“Tar Di, hold the jar close to the powder. Thorbil, can you see to Mrs Thistlewood please?” Both moved to do as directed with her apprentice glaring at her cousin. A few incantations later and the powder was collected and resealed with the broken glass removed from the street.

“Thank you, it is better than nothing I suppose.” Charisia eyed the mostly full jar doubtfully. “Though I’m curious as to how you knew my name and that of my servant.”

“We know much about your family Charisia and would help where we could despite or because of the past we share.” Hikari’s answer did nothing beyond annoy Charisia and she shoved the jar back into the large pack. “But talking in the street is probably not the best for this conversation. So we would suggest a more comfortable place to discuss things.”

“I am certain my parents would welcome someone who has the favour of the Archmage under their roof and they would show you every courtesy including a wonderful meal. But it is a bit of a journey and I am sure the Archmage would rather you be nearby.”

“It’s not an issue. We can help you get home much faster than renting a carriage and we can all go at once if you are done here?” Charisia gave a slow nod of acceptance having deduced that Hikari meant to use magic.

“I can send her where she belongs. I have just the spell that should work.” Tar Di pipes up and for the longest of moments Hikari actually ponders letting her do it. It would be interesting to find out which plane or place her one time sister ended up.

“Not today Tar Di. Today we will just make sure she gets home with a simple teleport spell.” Hikari motioned for them all to gather close so she could cat the spell and bring them all to the estate she grew up at.

“Teleport? How boring. I had this really interesting idea about an inter-planar worm that makes holes you can travel through and go anywhere in the blink of an eye. Wait, don’t you have to be familiar with the area to get close to where you want to go?”

Hikari nodded impressed that Tar Di remembered that much at least, “We have more than a passing familiarity with the place.” Charisia gave her an odd look obviously not recognizing Hikari but nodded a little less sure but wanting to return home hours ahead of her current schedule was enough for her to take the chance. “Dallan, could you let Thalion know I’ll be away for a day or so please?”

He nodded, “Of course Hikari. Though Ze might want to know where and why.”

“Home, we go to Paprikka’s home.” She grinned, “And Ze can wonder all Ze wants about that.”

Hearing no disagreements Hikari motioned for those going to stay close and cast her spell. She pictured the entryway of the estate with a clarity that surprised her and the magic pulled them through moments later leaving them standing in the estates main hall facing the entry way…

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Pegging Alignment Pt 2

23rd of Reaping ONT, the Illustrious Gardens of the Sun Priestess, Highport, Elven Court, 3:54pm

Erindale met the steely stare of the Knight of Quenya and slowly inhaled a deep breath, stiffening his back as if summoning some inner power or strength before rearranging the laws of the universe to have significantly less Thalion in them.

“Are these words true Sir Thalion Alfrin of Lyithalus Vineyard? Do you speak to me with the strength and certainty of moral superiority? Or are these just the words of a coward who fears being caught and so wets himself before slinking away into the night?” Thalion shook with anger but knew better then to threaten or strike a mage.

“I assure you Arch Magus, I am no coward, and my word speaks only truth” he said invoking the ancient creed of Calaquendi. The Arch Magus nodded once, simply and complete.

“Good.” He said

“Good?” that was not what Thalion had expected, he cocked his head to the side, but already the Arch magus was stepping into the clearing, in nine quick steps he was at the now vacated mating grounds and stooping to examine stool left nearby, Thalion hurried to catch up

“… someone has been feeding the Pegasus middlemist buds… perhaps it was not our good unicorns fault after all…” the mage mused as he rubbed the stole between his fingers

“What do you mean good?” Thalion asked, Erindale looked up from his crouched position, wiping his hands together and magically cleaning them as he stood

“I mean good; you passed the test… we can now work together in earnest” he said leaning to the left and right to gauge which direction the Pegasus might have trotted off in

“the test? It was a test?” Thalion asked, still confused but quickly growing annoyed

“Of course it was a test… I have to say, you had me worried their for awhile… Killing the Speaker of the Sun… Ha, like I would ask a Knight of Reeve to do such a task…. Your friends appear a little blood thirsty, but morality is an elven gift, so as long as you keep the gripplie in check I can hardly place to deep a blame, all creatures must act within their nature, no matter how violent or depraved we believe it to be” the Arch Magus took off down the left most path, ushering the Knight of Quenya to follow.

“So you are not going to kill the Speaker of the Sun?” Thalion confirmed following after the wizard, who made it maybe two dozen paces before stopping at a purplish bush

“The only one who is going to die is the Steward of this Park for planting a red middlemist bush in a unicorn mating circle” the Arch Magus said with a menace in his voice. He examined the bush for a few long moments before turning back to Thalion, his dark expression turning to a jovial smile in an instant “but no, of course we are not going to slay the foundation of elvish culture just because it annoys us. You are a good man Thalion Alfrin, a little slow, but good none the less. If we want to save our people in earnest we have much to do, and I feel we can work well together… head back to your ship, good things are coming your way, and once they have we will have much to discuss”

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Pegging Alignment
in which Thanion does not pee thier pants

23rd of Reaping ONT illustrious Gardens of the Sun Priestess 3:46pm
As I approached Erindale through the thick foliage of the serene garden, he held up a finger for silence motioning me forward quietly.
The sounds I had been puzzling over resolved in my mind as I came to the clearing and could see what appeared to be a Pegasus mounting a Unicorn.
Erindale silently observed them a few more seconds before loudly exhaling and appearing somewhat diminished. The moment was over so quickly I almost thought I had imagined it.
“No Pegicorn shall come from this union.” He looked at me for the fist time, “there’s always next year.” He Inclined his head to me and stood straighter. “What is it you need Captain?”
I cleared my throat. “Is it safe speak plainly Archmagis Erindale?”
“Please, call me Archmagis. And of course, I never allow anyone to overhear my conversations.”
“Of course, Thank you for agreeing to meet me.” My hand felt clammy but I refrained from wiping them on my trousers.
“Well?” he arched a carefully cultivated eyebrow.
“I want you to know that I hold you in the highest respect.”
His green eyes narrowed.
“I have spent the past few days communing with my Goddess meditating on the code of Ashla, soul searching and being told off by a tart tongued Angel. I cannot preform the task you have requested of me.” Having stated my reason for coming I could feel my confidence returning. Regardless of the outcome of this meeting I was on the right path.
“I need you to understand that I agree with you, the elves need you at the helm. In these tumultuous times we as a race have forgotten what it was like to be great, we have forgotten what it is to bestow the gifts of civilization, education and beauty upon the lessor races. We have forgotten what it was like to have angels advising our government because everything we did had such impact on the entire world. I remember those times through the teachings but you were there. You lived it. Through my travels I have seen the world is darker without us it’s dirtier and less hopeful. The elvish nation must be lead by someone who’s purpose is to restore our greatness and influence. I don’t believe that we are doomed yet, there are so many different magics in the world and brilliant minds. If I assassinate the speaker I will be contributing to the downfall of the elves. We will survive because we are better, not because we stoop into the darkness. I will embody that which is the best of our great nation. I will follow this map, if I come out of that journey cynical and without it will be because that is necessary not because I destroyed it within myself. We need to fight, not quit. We are not the pathetic waste of space that those fleeing believe us to be. Look to the younger generation. Those who survived the cataclysm and the war are tired. But those of us who came after aren’t done yet. I believe that you can change the message and you will find support. I will back your bid for leadership 100 percent. If one sad tired old man has the power to end the elves then surly one such as you, has the power to save them. Make your intentions known and I will join you. I will fight in your army or spread your word over argyle. When you are ready call and I will come. In the meantime, I will follow this map to find the solution to the problem of our numbers.” I stood tall and held his gaze waiting for a response.

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Poloticing, Elven Style

22nd of Reaping 383 ONT, Sun Citadel of Arados, Highport, Elven Court 4:23pm

Erindale, Arch Magus of the Tower of High Sorcery, and Hero of Argyle walked the halls of the Sun Citadel of Arados. His red and yellow robes flapped in the gentle breeze of a Reaping afternoon as he mentally stretched his mind and began to float up three stories and stepped into a higher corridor. The large marble columns and ancient mosaics sparkled in the afternoon light as Erindale spotted his quarry.

“Admiral Fadithas, a word if you will” he called. The Admiral turned and gave him a steely look. The fellow was born with a paddle shaft instead of a spine, the way he stood, his hair was mostly grey and close cropped. He had heavy pale blue eyes and a face like stone that had seen far more sun and weather than any civilised elf should. He wore his jerkin of blue and golden applets, the admiral would never be seen out of uniform, and his cutlass hung at his belt in perfect polish.

“Master Erindale, my time grows short today perhaps…”

“Won’t take but a moment Admiral” Erindale said cutting him off and hurrying to close the distance between them. He knew the man was too well disciplined to roll his eyes, but knew as well that he likely was mentally doing just that. “I will walk with you, assuming you are heading from your afternoon briefing back to the dockyards?” the Admiral appeared vexed that the Sorcerer knew his schedule so well, but merely nodded and the two began their journey

“What is it I can do for you Arch Margus? It is not oft you consult with your peers in the military” Erindale knew it was a test and ignored the bait… peers in the military; that was rich, he had few peers on Argyle, and none were in elven military.

“I have need of a ship, a loyal one to carry out an important mission of state for the Tower of Sorcery” the Admiral stopped in his tracks, eyes wide

“You know the state of affairs well Erindale, I do not just have ships waiting in harbor to be called upon at the whims of Wizards… I barely have enough ships to patrol the Court, let alone sending a vessel away… what is this mission? Why do you need a ship?”

“Admiral, Admiral” Erindale said placatingly “Believe it or not, I have read your reports, no matter how dry they may be, and am aware of our current situation, I come not only with requests but with solutions to our problems” the Admiral held the Wizards gaze for a moment before he nodded and began walking once more, taking this as a signal to continue the Wizard continued with his plan reaching into his satchel and pulling out a scroll “This, is a ship that has just been registered with High Port as its home port, I have been over the paperwork myself and have assured its legitimacy, it is a fine schooner known humbly as the Champions Fist” The Admiral took the scroll slowing his pace while he opened it and skimmed the documents, Erindale continued “It is Captained and partially owned by one Thalion Alfirin, Knight of Quenya, as you can see he has a good military background” Erindale finished passing another scroll to the Admiral

“I see,” The Admiral mused glancing over the documentation “But it says here he was an Eagle Knight, not a Grey Corsair…” The Admiral trailed off as he continued to read the elven file

“Details Admiral, Details, you can arrange a transfer, you have done it before, I’d like him to command my mission, I would like him brought in at the rank of Ductor at least but would prefer Navarchus”

“Narvarchus?” The Admiral looked up annoyed, he held the rank of Warden, and served only twenty years, that is a big jump”

“He already Captain’s a ship, he has extensive experience with mercenary companies and nautical trade, has recent experience doing your job, by freeing elven slaves and dodging six different human vessels and as you can see, he also apprenticed under Captain Folas Cailana, read the file Admiral, he is perfect” Erindale said briskly pointing to several different lines in the file, while continuing a rapid pace of walking”

“So you wish me to call in a retired knight, conscript his ship, and transfer him to an entirely different wing of the military and promote him four ranks… all because you need a ship?”

“Precisely” Erindale said, a fire in his gaze

“and how exactly does Sir Thalion feel about this? Not everyone wants to be called into duty”

“How you choose to break the news to him is up to you Admiral, I wouldn’t dream of meddling in the affairs of the Grey Corsairs” Erindale said, sarcasm dripping from his tongue

“Of course, my mistake” The Admiral said annoyance rising in his tone

“Have it done for me by the end of the week Admiral, and I will assure to show up to small council and cast my vote in favour of new cannons for the Luvon Joynore this spring, I’ll even enchant one personally” to this the Admiral stopped and took a second appraising look at the files before him.

“So be it Arch Magus, I bid you good day and long walks upon this land”

“Peaceful afternoons to you Admiral”

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Goddess Unclothed

21st Readying – Aleau’s Temple in High Port

She came to them clad in a gown of diaphanous starlight, wind teasing her hair and eyes smouldering of the night sky. Her hair fell to the small of her back, its ebony strands sparkling as if all the starry universe were contained within; slowly she moved, pulling that hair in caresses over her skin and theirs, slowly, so achingly slow.

To each of the supplicants of Aleau, the Goddess of the Night Wind surrendered to pleasure, paying homage to the Lady of Water with every sigh, every moan; all were given the utmost reverence. So hot was her mouth on their skin that they pleaded for relief, begged for release, and she gave it to them. Wisps of air licked in the wake of her tongue, teasing and playing until their bodies could stand the pleasure no more, and they cried out, spent. Tears fell unabashedly and at their exclamations of adoration she simply smiled before starting all over – they would get the absolution they paid for, and by a Goddess no less.

As for Rispa, while the second in command had bought the remainder of the night to make a discreet request to the Goddess herself, Miriel was at the temple as a promise; as such she treated her to no less than the others. Miriel led the dashing pirate to bed and demonstrated just why it was such a shame that not much was known of the Strix; their mating rituals were quite extensive, designed to bring every inch of pleasure out of their partners. Strix are warriors, after all, and their culture recognized the need to heal the soul from the violence of Life in a myriad of ways.

“Divine One,” Rispa said, gasping for breath in between cries of pleasure; it was close to dawn and there’d been no stop in the homage to Aleau, so Rispa’s voice was hoarse and well-used.

Miriel raised her head so she could gaze at Rispa’s face. With her teeth biting her bottom lip and hands tied to the bed with a lash made of pure wind, the pirate looked quite fetching. “Yes, supplicant?”

“Will you…will you come visit me at Pirates Swoop, if you should find yourself there?”

“You’ve promised me a church, my sweet girl. That kind of promise gives the gods all manner of reasons to keep a very close, personal, eye on the one who made it…I know that most intimately,” Miriel said, giving Rispa a playful lick before staring beyond the pirate to one of the many lit candles in the room.

The flame on not one but all of the candles flared violently in unsubtle reminder, and Miriel could feel the seething anger behind it, bringing out a shocked gasp from Rispa. Inclining her head slightly at the fire Miriel commanded the night wind to blow all of the candles out in one fell swoop. Darkness enveloped them both before the wind blew the balcony doors wide open, illuminating the room with the moon’s soft light.

Miriel rose on all fours and crawled up the naked body below her, giving the pirate a lingering kiss while causing the whip of wind to curl itself around Rispa’s body in its most sensitive places. “Do not worry, my sweet girl; we give ourselves to the Lady of Water and her pleasure. There’s no room for Fire here – we carry it between us already – and the Night has not yet gotten its due.”

Rispa whimpered.

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Out of the Ocean and into the Fire Pt 3

They sat in the hall, the mood was tense. The fire folk did not eat or drink, they stood at the ready, prepared to draw and begin battle at any moment. In response Sa’Nara stayed by her mistress’s side, and Aruik never far from her, trying to watch them all, deciding what order they would kill the enemy in when things inevitably came to blows. The Queen of flames sat in a small chair, her flames scorched its surface but did not burn through it, she glowered at Miriel who perched on her thrown, attempting to showcase confidence with little success as unease slipped through the chinks of her emotional armor.

“You are bluster and breath” the Queen of Inferno said at last, as if making up her mind. You sneak into my realm and steal souls from me like a thief in the night. You bed my husband like a floozy or slut. You offer an alliance claiming dominion of Wind and Air and yet you have not challenged or finished stealing those from Aurora yet… when she notices your theft she will come for you… and lastly in a sad attempt to mollify me you offer me what… work as a message carrier? To tell my own servant of the quest I gave her? To urge my servant to do my bidding? This is your grand offer? Words are wind and you are little more” She stood, the chair she was seated on turning exploding into flame and sizzling to ash in seconds. She marched a step forward, menacingly, causing Aruik to draw her great sword and the other creatures in the room to respond in kind. Each step of the Lady of Inferno permanently seared a footprint into the floor. Aruik stood her ground, none would pass her and threaten her Goddess. “I grow tired of your theatrics…. You have wronged me ‘Goddess’ now make it right, or prepare to be challenged!” the words cried out as the temperature in the room shot up.

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Out of the Ocean and Into the Fire Pt 2

Miriel blinked, rising to her full height. “He did not say he was your husband, Goddess, and truth be told we did not sleep as much as we had sex – OUCH!”

“Mistress!” Ariuk hissed, elbowing Miriel in the shoulder before flashing Ymeri a worried smile.

“I am merely agreeing with her Ladyship,” Miriel answered, pointing at her Ordinal and shaking her head at the Lady of Inferno.

The angel’s shoulders slumped in defeat. “Yes, Mistress.”

Ymeri looked back and forth between them in anger. “YOU DARE MOCK ME?!”

“I have said nothing but the truth, Goddess. I am sorry about Flitt though; I should have stayed to speak with you.”

“YOU SLEEP WITH MY HUSBAND AND SEEK TO PLACATE ME WITH THE FROG?!”

Miriel cocked her head, then shrugged. “I do not have to apologize about Kelizandri; he is a grown man, er, God, after all. Petition your disfavour to him, not I.”

Ymeri’s eyes flashed, flames flickering out of those dangerous orbs, causing Ariuk and Sa’Nara to grasp each other’s hands behind their Goddess’ back.

“YOU DARE PRESUME TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO?!”

Miriel winced, but continued. “What would you have me do, Goddess? I cannot turn back time.”

“YOU WILL CEASE ANY FURTHER CONTACT WITH HIM, WHORE!”

“He’s the one who came to me, Goddess.” Miriel’s eyes narrowed, and then she frowned. “I’m hardly in a position to refuse the Brackish Emperor, especially when he obviously has a plan for me. Tell me, Goddess; do you dare presume tell him what to do?”

The sea below them began to churn violently, and a sound much like thunder, driven by waves upon waves crashing in on themselves, erupted in warning; both Ymeri and Miriel flinched back quickly. Ymeri’s flames doused themselves suddenly and the goddess hissed in fear before remembering that she was not alone and righted herself, glaring at the younger goddess before her.

Miriel held up her hands and quickly said “Wait, wait, wait. Hear me out. I have a suggestion on how to make things right by you.”

“AS IF I WOULD LISTEN TO A THIEF AND SLUT,” Ymeri growled; the fire Goddess clenched her hands into fists, her knuckles cracking. The flaming entourage behind her smiled eagerly and moved into obvious fighting stances.

“Ally with me.”

The Queen of the Inferno first stared incredulously at the smaller Goddess, then bent her head over her back and burst out laughing; the harsh sound created tongues of flame that licked over Ymeri’s body and her followers. The goddess’ voice came out loud and echoing, dripping with sarcasm and superiority. “YOU…WISH ME…TO ALLY MYSELFTHE QUEEN OF THE INFERNO! TO ALLY MYSELF WITH YOU?? A NOBODY GODDESS WHO HAS YET TO PROVE THAT SHE WON’T DIE BY A WAVE OF MY HAND??”

“Yes,” Miriel answered, neither amused nor intimidated.

Ymeri’s eyes, still aflame, flickered once to Miriel, then over to her “army” of two Ordinals, before she snapped her fingers. A ball of fire appeared in the air beside her head, churning in a ball that got bigger and brighter before the Lady Inferno casually snapped her fingers again, sending it roaring towards the tree top palace whilst giving Miriel a devilish smirk.

Without taking her own eyes off of Ymeri, Miriel breathed in, and suddenly the fire petered out quicker than it had appeared, to reappear momentarily afterwards in the Goddess of the Night Wind’s breath as she exhaled slowly and deliberately. A towering tornado of blinding fire and smoke spun itself into being from her breath, and Miriel directed the dripping hellfire to blast into the air and oblivion above her. It left her lips with a sigh, and, singed though they were, Miriel cocked her head at Ymeri and smiled back at her.

“I have no doubt, Ymeri, that you would reduce me and mine to ashes; I do not dispute your power.” Miriel’s gaze hardened. “But do not discount mine. Wind was never meant to extinguish your flames, but to spread them, make them hotter! I can help you.”

“HAH!”

“Your flame in the Fire Nation is in danger of being smothered – ”

“CURSED ZUKO, HIS CORRUPTION KNOWS NO BOUNDS,” the fire Goddess hissed.

Miriel nodded. “Yes, that is known to me. One of my holy Companions was, or perhaps still is, a follower of yours, who I may be in a position to assist. Hikari may not wear his face but she holds Hiro’s soul within her and all that was dear to him.”

At the mention of the fallen hero’s name, Ymeri’s visage softened, and the eternal flames that licked her body seemed to purr and undulate sensually. “HIRO…” the Lady of Flame whispered longingly, eyes distant and wanting. The host of fire creatures behind her squirmed uncomfortably as the flame heated to a degree even beyond their comfort level.

“I will not promise you souls, nor will I give Flitt’s back, but I can remind Hikari that she is Hiro’s successor and that she is needed to succeed in taking back what is yours, when he could not. I would join her, not because she is half stupid, not because she is one of my Companions, but because I would be your ally, and a fiercely loyal one at that. Come in and be welcomed at my table, and we can discuss the terms of our alliance. Without burning my people and stuff,” Miriel added hastily, her Ordinals violently nodding their agreement.

The Lady of Inferno’s gaze flickered over to Miriel and took on a calculating and thoughtful look…

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Out of the Ocean and Into the Fire Pt 1

The Palace of the Evening Breeze sat empty, Miriel sat on the floor in the corner and let out a long low sigh of relief. It was the first time in nearly nine months that things had been quiet. She looked as an air elemental slowly huffed around the room emptying partially drunken goblets into a large vase to later be thrown out. Two other elementals had brooms and were slowly pushing them around the floor sweeping up the deep covering a debris, bones and other garbage that had been thrown their during the feasting and revelry. Aruik slumped into the room with Sa’nara nearly dead on their feet, Aruik pulled a tankard of mead from a table and dropped against a table near her Goddess, Sa’nara laid down on the a relative clean spot placing her head in her goddess lap. The three sighed, content but tired and looking at the monumental task that lay before them.

“Comet Coming for Us!” a voice called from the window. Miriel leapt to her feet and bounded to see what was happening. The serf had not lied, a large red and yellow comet hurled towards her tree, but instead of slamming into it in a fiery explosion, instead it stopped, and from it began to march Fire Salamanders and Azure, Fire Giants and Furbogs, hosts of Fire Elementals and at last, a women wrought of pure unbridled flame. Y’meri, Primordial, Elemental Lord of Fire.

“Oh Shit” Miriel swore, she snapped her fingers and the room righted itself, the waste and debris gone, the mead and wine bottles filled, the floors and tables gleaming. She nodded her head for her Ordinals to follow and leapt from the window, offering but a single beat of her wings to slow her fall and landed gracefully in a neat kneeling crouch to formally greet her guests

“Goddess Y’meri, I …” She began but was interrupted by words of heat and inferno

“YOU SLUT! YOU STEEL MY SOULS AND HAVE SLEPT WITH MY HUSBAND!” She roared, the dry heat emitting from her in waves of anger

“I… What?” Miriel asked, a little taken aback

“DO NOT DENY IT, YOU STINK OF THE SEA, OF HIM!”

To Be Continued

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The Brackish Emporer, and Me Pt 4

When he came to her it was not as expected, she had expected something, more… mortal? But it was not like that. The Trinity did not join, they took up three opposing points, each drawing a weapon of some kind and faced outwards. The Ethereal Seas could be a dangerous place, even for Gods and Goddesses and they would allow no harm to come to the Brackish Emperor whilst he was…. Distracted.

The pleasure was unimaginable, but also hard to put into words, like waves of ecstasy crashing against her soul as tides of pleasure rose and fell in an unnatural sort of harmony. The winds kicked up waves of desire and lust which pulled them together like a current trapped in an unending cycle. It wasn’t until she arrived with him and the Trinity that she realized how long she had coupled, a full lunar cycle! She worried for a moment if she would ever again be able to enjoy the pleasures of a mortal after experiencing… this.

The two walked through the halls of her palace and he spoke to her in soft tones, like ripples of a pond.

“We will need to come to an arrangement, trust I have for you, in this one case, but there are many gods out there, and your realm lacks protection, I have not the time or resources to defend it, and the souls of my son can not be left untended for any ill willed being of minor divine heritage to steal” his words stung, but much as she had shared brutal honesty with him, she knew he was offering now less

“It will be better, I will see to it myself” She vowed, he looked at her hard for a moment, his expression steel; it could not hold, and the green eyes melted to a softer blue

“Those four Citadels, if manned properly would provide excellent defense of the realm” he said pretending to change the subject “but the Cardinals are difficult to tame, I know for a fact Aurora is already trying to sway Iar to her side… the fickle girl, she knows not the guile and malice that the West can hold… many will regret their alliance if forged”

“You think I should go collect them? And steal them from the Goddess of Air?” she asked, Kelezandri gave her the slightest suggestion of a smile, but little more

“I think that we have come to terms, I think that Fargazer may continue his journeys with you, but that until your palace if fit, the other souls of Prometheus will stay under my protection. I think that should you satisfy me with your defenses, then I will relinquish my stewardship to you…” he paused a long moment before continuing “I think we can celebrate this agreement properly however, If the Goddess of the Night Wind will allow me?” she looked at him long and hard, but ultimately decided to trust in the Lord of the Deep giving him a single nod

“MY TRINITY!” His voice boomed, and at once he was the Brackish Dragon once more “I WOULD SHOW THE GODDESS OF THE NIGHT WIND SUCH SPORT THAT THIS REALM HAS NEVER SEEN! EACH OF YOU WILL HAVE THREE MOONS, TO SHOWCASE THE GREATEST SPORT, SONG, PLAYS, DRINKS, FOOD AND DISTRACTIONS THAT YOU MAY CONCIENVE! ALEAU, THEN ANAMACHARA, THEN HANSEL…. SO SAY WE ALL” like a burbling wave that resounded in every particle of moisture Miriel could feel the call come back to her

“SO SAY WE ALL”

And then it began in earnest, ships by the dozens appeared on the horizon, bards, and foods, drinks and Ambrosia. During the first three months Aleau filled their days with music and laughter, their evenings with fruits and ambrosia, their nights with orgy after orgy, and their mornings with spa’s and massages. Masters of all of these arts were imported from across the realms to fulfill every desire of any who so wished it. Miriel had never experienced such stimulation, and as the time of Aleau began to wane, she began to worry and feel remorse for what was to leave, but she needn’t have feared

The time of Anamachara began and things were again new, the mornings were filled with great hunts of mystical beasts let loose into frozen sections of the either, they would fly and stalk their prey, each day proving more cunning ferocious or difficult. The afternoons were great Melee’s as they would armor up and enter the battlefield, fighting and slaying evil beasts in arenas of old. Then the sport would begin, jousting, spear throwing, discus, archery, races of all sorts… into the evening they would feast upon their hunts as well as thousands of other meats as the greatest bards and storytellers would tell tales of hero’s of old, of legendary sports, or of great hunts in time near forgotten. In the evening should one not be too tired or too drunk soldiers would be found to couple, and love would be made is quite corners in a fierce needy celebration of the here and now.

At Last it was Hansel’s time and again though the style changed she did not lack for entertainment. Mornings were spent with wizards who would open portals to new and strange places of the universe and show creatures or worlds yet unknown to mortals. Afternoons had entire troops of players come forward and present the greatest of plays, the final days showcasing some entirely new, and one about Miriel herself and her alliance with the Brackish Emperor. The evenings were filled with tasting concoctions, different amazing potions that would open or expand you brain, or give you perspective of a different creature, Hansel’s potions could make you feel or become almost anything, they would create flavours unfathomed, textures unimaginable… they in a word were divine. The nights were wild and unlike anything ever felt before, as he would call upon his friends from the fey realms, and the waters would become a hazy mist and intoxication would settle as the primal music would play and they would find themselves in savage furious dance, only to snap out of it ravenous and lustful to begin another day anew.

Through it all the Brackish Lord watched form his throne, laughing and smiling, pleased by what his Trinity had brought forth. Upon the waning of the final moon of Hansel’s final month he at long last stood and spoke once more

“We thank the Goddess of the Night Wind for Her hospitality, and wish her realm be richer for our coming, but now as with all tides, we must go”

Goodbyes were shared between her angels and his saints, between her staff and his retinue. The goodbye between the two gods was little more than a look, one that spanned days, and said all. At long last the Brackish Emperor’s retinue boarded their great ships, and slowly set sail sinking over the horizon of the ethereal plane and leaving the palace quiet as it had not been for nearly a year.

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