Kyo

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  1. CLOSED Lucky Number 8

    "Yes, I am." Munenori said with a nod. He cast his eyes over the students, pondering his words. It would be foolish to explain his theories in front of them. If they realised what they were doing it would likely cause panic and ultimately disrupt his tests. "Miss Hayashi. I will require the tissue samples now. Three samples should suffice." He said to her, hoping she would understand what he meant. "Yes, Doctor!" Hitomi chimed, then she walked back to the room adjacent and closed the door behind her. When she returned, she saw that the decapitated ghoul's body had been moved into the corner, and while the rest of the ghouls stood or sat around on the other side of the room, two were bent over the corpse, tearing great chunks from it with their fangs and consuming the flesh greedily. Letting out a short breath, Hitomi shook her head. It was true, feeding on a ghoul might satiate their hunger, slightly. But it would be a short, ineffective and unpleasant meal. Ghouls could consume one another, but it was not something that most civilised or right-minded ghouls would partake in. But, she understood that when the hunger took over, it was like they were burning alive, and it had to be sated no matter what. She walked over to the corpse and picked up the dead ghoul's head. Examining it for a few moments, she tore a piece of scalp from the head and then plucked hairs from each of the ghouls feeding on the corpse. She glanced over the rest of the ghouls who were talking amongst themselves, and then rejoined the students. "Here you are, Doctor!" Hitomi exclaimed, placing each hair down on the metal counter in front of him and the small chunk of flesh and hair beside them. She flashed him a smile, licking her fingers clean, then sat down and took a sip of coffee. "Thank you." Munenori replied as he carefully picked up each piece of tissue with a pair of tweezers and placed them in individual petri dishes. He handed each of them to a group of 4 students. "Each group go in to seperate rooms and tests the samples. I've prepared instructions for each of you. Follow them, record the results and I will come and check on you in a while." Each of the students gathered what they needed and went off in to their seperate rooms to perform the tests, some excited while others a little quizical about the origins of the samples. However their murmurings were kept to a low and they obediently carried out their tasks, leaving Munenori alone in the room with Hitomi. He leant against one of the tables and folded his arms over his chest, bowing his head deep in thought. "This brings back memories." He said. "It has been a while since my curiosity has been peaked like this." Hitomi remained silent, taking a long sip of coffee in response. She watched the human 'doctor' for a long while before finally letting out a breath, "You are fortunate." She replied. "Undoubtedly so." Munenori replied with a swift nod. His gaze turned to Hitomi and he eyed her, he thought, much like she probably eyed her prey. She was a fierce and deadly creature, one who could easily end his life in but a blink of an eye. Yet he did not fear her, through no fault of her own. Impressive as she was, he was perhaps broken in that aspect. He had spent so much time around Ghouls, doing great and terrible things, things that made the figure in front of him seem decidedly less impressive. "What about your curiosity, Miss Hayashi? Do you wish to know my hypothesis...do you wish to know what those students are trying to discover?" "The explanation matters little to me," Hitomi replied, taking another sip of her coffee and letting the mug warm her hands, "Whatever you find, I will use to help locate the cause of the problem." She brought the mug up to her nose and smelled the rich aroma before replying, "And snuff it out." She said finally. "That is my purpose." "How uncivilised." Munenori replied. "Are you even aware of how truly adaptable your DNA is? On a fundamental level, at your very core, your DNA adapts so quickly to foreign stimuli. For this reason you have become quickly immune to human diseases, you heal your wounds quickly. Other than your rather limited range of sustenance you are in many ways a truly optimal species. Yet the adaptibility of your genes leaves you open to sudden and incredibly rapid mutation. Exposure to rare and foreign substances can completely change your genetic make up in amazingly complex ways." "I am aware." Hitomi replied, "Civilised or not, the cause does not trouble me as greatly as the solution. Life is precious," She said, finishing her coffee, "All life." She added, putting the mug down as her eyes fell back on Munenori again, "I don't expect you, of all humans, to understand that." "A fair assessment." Munenori agreed. "You would not be alone in your estimation of my character, I assure you. Perhaps there was a time when there existed a naive boy who held similar thoughts to your own. However the more I discovered the more I realised that lives...were not a relevant factor. I take no pleasure in inflicting injury or death upon anyone...but equally I do not feel guilt either." Munenori gave a soft smirk. "There are several possible explanations for this feral Ghoul to exist. I cannot eliminate the possibility that it is a neurological condition. It could simply mean that the Ghoul has lost his or her mind. However if that is the case then I cannot help you, and so it is best to pursue the options in which I can." Munenori stood up straight again, and began pacing the room with his hands held behind his back. "Mutation is the most likely culprit. Based on that hypothesis alone I can deduce that the catalyst of such a sudden transformation is a rare material that the Ghoul has never been exposed to. From there it is simply a case of testing the reactions of each possible substance on a piece of tissue, and examining the effects. I have narrowed it down to three such substances. KX-Q4T, a synthetic compound that has only recently made it's way to Tokyo. It is a chemical compound found in a band of women's perfume that launched around a month or so ago. It is quite expensive, I would imagine only the wealthiest humans would own a bottle." Munenori held up his hand with two fingers outstretched, the same fingers Hitomi had broken, which were now deeply bruised from the trauma she had inflicted. "The second subtstance is a brand of insect repellant, also a synthetic production. This has been in use for 6 months now, however the effects may be slow. You should hope that this is not the substance we find to instigate a reaction, or you may find yourself with an epidemic on your hands very soon." Hitomi listened to the Doctor's theories until at last he paused, "You've given me two explanations, Doctor. The third?" "The possibility is an allergic reaction. This would be the most desired result, in terms of damage control. Allergies are random and can happen at any time. It is possible that a sudden allergic reaction to even common substances can cause a rather severe mutation within a Ghoul. In this case my theory is that the reaction would cause an exceptional increase in the speed at which a Ghoul burns through energy. Essentially they would need to feed more often, and the hunger would likely reach a point of cognitive breakdown much more rapidly. The third groups are performing a simple allergy test that human doctors would do." "Then we will have to hope that it is options one, or three." Hitomi replied simply, and stood up to walk back to the kitchen. She placed her mug in the sink and her stomach growled. Ignoring it, she washed her mug and let it rest where it could dry on the side. "How much longer are your tests going to take?" She asked. Munenori stopped pacing and opened the door to one of the rooms. "I will check." He said as he entered. One by one he entered each room, surveyed the results, and moved on to the next. After a moment he escorted two of the groups to the door. "Thank you for your help. You can go for now." He said with a warm smile. As the groups filed out, only 4 students remained, awaiting further instruction inside their lab. "Allergy has been ruled out on this occasion, but I expected as much, it was a long shot." Munenori admitted. "However, so has the pesticides. The likely culprit is KX-Q4T. The tests showed rapid deterioration of the tissue sample. The reaction was incredibly rapid. If the Ghoul who is suffering from this affliction is still alive...then he or she is most likely in considerable pain. No doubt by this point the mind will have gone completely insane. However there is one more test that must be done to confirm." Munenori glanced at the remaining students behind the glass window. "Bring one of the Ghouls, skin contact with KX-Q4T should be enough to cause a reaction. Please wear gloves when you apply it. We will observe the reaction and..." Munenori paused for a moment. "...If the test is a success...the subject will become extremely volatile. I assume you will be able to handle that?"
  2. CLOSED Lucky Number 8

    Upon entering his apartment, Ikitsuki Munenori was greeted by an attractive, blonde haired young woman. He was a young man approaching 30, dressed in a casual grey suit with a white shirt, the neck unbuttoned with no tie. He was slim and unassuming, hardly athletic but not out of shape. His black hair was cut in a stylish layered fashion, his fringe cascading over to his right. Behind his thin framed, rectangular glasses, his eyes were an olive colour and seemed calm and yet alert. "Yes, this is my apartment." Munenori replied finally, his voice calm and well mannered. He closed the door behind him and stepped in to the room. "How...considerate of you to to walk in to danger like that. What if the burglar had still been inside?" His tone was still mild mannered, but his eyes never wavered from the girl, the bright glare of his glasses caught in the moonlight as he made his way to the open plan kitchen. "Ah!" She gasped and quickly went to approach Munenori, but as she did so, she clumsily knocked the glass decanter from the table, it shattered with a clear ringing, "I-I'm s-so sorry, Sir!" She bent down and started to pick up the pieces from the ground, "I didn't mean to, i'll pay for it." She added, "A-and I didn't think about the burglar still being here, I guess... I just rushed in." She smiled at the man and offered the largest pieces of the decanter to him. "I'm very sorry." "It's alright." Munenori replied. "Just put that on the side, I'll clean it up later." He added as he turned from the girl and opened the fridge, his frame suddenly illuminated by the bright light. He plucked a carton of milk from the fridge and closed it, and found a glass in one of the cabinets, placing them both on the bar area between him and the girl. "Curious...I may not have much but what I do have is quite valuable...and yet nothing appears to be stolen. What would you make of that?" He asked as he poured the cold milk in to the glass. "I-I don't know." She replied, pressing a finger to her lips as her eyes went vacant, "I don't really think a burglar is thinking straight either way." She placed the broken glass on the table top and stood up, brushing her coat off. "It's not the best of circumstances, but," She smiled and shook her head, shaking off her embarrassment, "I'm Hayashi Hitomi, pleased to meet you." Hitomi walked forwards and then bowed to Munenori and waited, her gaze wandered over the apartment, "You have a lovely place, Sir." She added, then she looked as though she regretted saying that, "Ah-- b-besides the mess..." She whispered, looking at the glass and the broken door, and then her gaze settled back on him. Munenori's gaze lingered on the woman. While his expression was gentle, he could not hide the way his eyes examined each detail of her, observing her every move. "Doctor Ikitsuki Munenori." He replied, before taking the glass of milk and sipping from it, relinquishing it from his lips with an audible gasp. "Ah...refreshing!" He said with a sliver of a smile. "Well Miss Hayashi, you have my gratitude for coming to my rescue, but as you can see I am unharmed...and the thief appears to have fled. Strange though...I suppose I will check the security cameras in the hallway. I'm sute the police will find that very useful." "I think that's the best course of action, Sir." Hitomi smiled at Munenori, "Well, if you think the burglar is gone, then i'll find my way out also. I'm sorry," She laughed, "I didn't mean to barge in like this, I should have thought first." "Of course." Munenori replied. "I won't keep you much longer...although..." Munenori gestured towards the fridge, "I feel like I should offer you something for your kindness. A glass of milk? Perhaps some trifle?" Munenori glanced at the espresso maker on the counter. "or would you prefer a coffee?" "Oh! Mmm..." Hitomi mused over her options until finally she clapped her hands together, "Oh, I can't choose! They all sound nice. Whatever's easiest for you, Sir." She looked around the apartment, noticed the sofa and sat down, smoothing out her coat. "You said you were a Doctor, didn't you?" She asked, "What kind of Doctor? Like a heart doctor?" "Research." Munenori replied as he opened the fridge, pulling out the bowl of trifle and placing it on the side. He found a bowl and spoon and served his guest a portion, placing it on the coffee table beside the sofa. "My current position is somewhat dull, I admit. There are far more interesting things to talk about. Such as our mysterious burglar. Forgive me but I struggle to stop myself from analysing at times. It just seems peculiar that a burglar would not steal a single item...it's as if he had more sordid means at mind, or she for that matter." "It's pretty strange!" Hitomi nodded with a smile, and picked up her bowl of trifle and examined it with her spoon as she spoke, "What kind of research do you do?" She asked, scooping out a spoonful of trifle, and eating it with relish. "Oh!" She gasped, shaking her head, "It's very sweet," She chuckled but then shrugged her shoulders, "But then, I haven't had much to eat today." Then she resumed eating. "At the moment I am researching cell mutation for a local University. The findings are quite disappointing to say the least. Poor funding, poor equipment. The facilities are not quite as up to scratch as I have become accustomed to." Munenori replied. "What about you Miss Hayashi? What do you do?" "Oh, that's interesting!" Hitomi replied, "But a bit above my head." She added, laughing. Hitomi rolled her spoon around inside her bowl and licked the back of the spoon before putting the dessert aside. "No, really, I haven't been totally truthful with you, Sir." Hitomi leant back in the sofa to the point her feet were in the air and she bobbed them up and down as she spoke, "I know you're a researcher, and I work for a company that would fund your research." She inclined her head and smiled pleasantly but a moment later she stood up, "I just need the bathroom, one sec!" She exclaimed and then walked off and shut the door. A minute or two later, she walked back out holding a compact and examining herself in the mirror. "Just a touch up! So, should I tell them you're interested?" Hitomi sat back down and rested her head on her arm with a lazy grin. In the short time she had been in the bathroom, Munenori’s demeanour had shifted. Still calm and collected, and yet his mild mannered behaviour had been cast aside. He leant forward on the sofa, pressing his fingers together in front of his face. “Interesting…†he said darkly, before slipping in to another contemplative pause. After a moment he pulled his fingers from each other, and adjusted his glasses, before leaning back on the sofa, crossing on of his legs over the other. “That explains the rather poor act you’re putting on.†He said with a smile. “Although I fail to see why any reputable organisation would feel the need to break in my door. I have an email address, you know?†"Oh, i'm sorry!" Hitomi chuckled, "Life is deception, though!" She then stood up and sat beside Munenori and placed her hand on his, "Now, let's play a game!" She said excitedly, "My favourite game, is questions and answers!" She smiled and then gripped his wrist and pinned it to his leg, "Question one! How many ghouls did you kill?" Her eyes lit up as she waited patiently, her smile still etched on her face, like a mask. Munenori’s eyes had become wide and alert, a mixture of perhaps a small shred of fear, but mostly revelation. “Oho…interesting.†Munenori replied. “I cannot give you an exact sum…I stopped counting after a while. North of 100 at the very least. And not one of them had to resolve to willingly eat something which, for you, must have been quite putrid.†"Took you long enough!" Hitomi clapped on the hand gripping Munenori's. "Well done, Dr. Ghoul!" Then she rolled her eyes and chuckled, "And, well, i'm not quite the same as the ghouls you 'studied', ne?" She used her free hand to grip Munenori's forefinger and slightly pulled back on it, though she did not exert any real force behind the action, it was clear her questions carried a penalty if answered unsatisfactorily, "Question two! What did your research on ghouls reveal? Physically, socially, politically?" “Politically…I am unsure.†Munenori began. “I believe the research was initially funded under the guise of finding a cure, or somehow combatting your kind. If the results had been more favourable I imagine it would have had a huge political impact. However that was not the case, by the time I was shut down, my own employers thought me a mad man. Anyway I digress…†Munenori sighed, acutely aware of the pain this woman could inflict on him. “Socially…I confess to not getting to know my subjects particularly. My research was biological in nature, the feelings of the subject were rarely of importance. So I suppose we reach the physical revelation.†Munenori took a deep breath, but could not help but smile slightly. “My discoveries are something I could discuss in length, and I will if that is what you wish. But we are talking about 3 years of research. Although I suppose the fundamental discovery is that…†Munenori paused for a moment, gathering his words. “Ghoul cells are highly predisposed to sudden and rapid mutation. All they require is the slightest nudge, with the right stimuli…and a great deal of things can transpire within them.†Listening quietly with a smile plastered on her face, Hitomi nodded occasionally and when Munenori had finished she let out a cheer, "Very good, Dr. Ghoul!" She exclaimed, and then patted him on the back, "Now we're on the right path!" Then suddenly, she snapped his forefinger back ninety degrees. Munenori released a short howl and grit his teeth, clutching at his mangled hand. "Sorry, Dr. Ghoul!" She patted the man on the head like a pet, "But you know things I need to know! But, i'll make you a deal." She held her forefinger up to her lips and thought absent-mindedly for a moment, "Mmm, tell me... what would cause a ghoul to start killing humans for no reason, that is, mm... a reason other than food or sport. Tell me, and... I promise I won't hurt you any more..." Then as an afterthought she added, "Or eat you." She released Munenori's hand as a gesture of good will and sat with her hands on her lap. Munenori struggled to not curse the woman under his breath. Even a calm and composed man such as himself was unable to suppress the natural reactions of his own body. His entire hand throbbed, to him it felt like it was on fire. Severe pain like that had him struggling, unable to focus. It was this reaction that lead weaker men to give in to fear, and to give their torturers what they wanted. With a slow but shakey exhalation of breath, he tried to focus. “Your promises hold little value at this point.†He said, trying to keep his voice steady. “It will save us both time if you stop making them. The facts are simple. I hold something of value to you, but if I give it up to you, then I am no longer of worth. You will kill me. I know I would do the same. If I were you…staring at a man who is responsible for a mass genocide of your kind. Do you think I have any illusions at all that you would allow me to live if I were not of some value to you alive?†"Oh!" Hitomi giggled, "You have me!" She held her hands up, "The higher-ups say they want you alive, but i'll admit that if you just told me, I think I might just eat you anyway." Her sweet smile gave no hint of aggression, yet her eyes were wide with excitement, "Who's to know?!" She laughed, and then reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a phone. "But, you still broke my rules!" She held out her hand and slowly, hesitantly, Munenori reached out. Hitomi took hold of the man's middle finger, and for the second time, snapped it ninety degrees in the wrong direction. Munenori released another low howl of pain while Hitomi scrolled down her phone contacts and hit "Call", then "Speaker" and laid the phone down on the table. The phone rang twice, and then a voice answered. "What is it?" The speaker's voice was deep, and authoritative. "Dr. Ikitsuki is worried! He says i'll eat him if he tells me what I need to know!" She glanced at the doctor and then looked back at the phone and rested her head back on her arm. "The doctor is not to be killed, or you will be hunted down and destroyed, Orochi or not. And drop that ridiculous mask, Hayashi. " The man on the other end of the line hung up and when Munenori looked back to Hitomi, her demeanour had changed. Gone was her 'sweet as sugar' persona, all smiles and bubblegum. What was left behind was a cold, dead stare. "Give me your hand." Hitomi demanded with a forceful tone, she took hold of the doctor's hand and quickly snapped his fingers back into place and stood up, "Get your jacket. I'm taking you to your lab. Now." Munenori took a deep breath, but eventually complied without a word. He didn’t know what this woman’s game was, nor did another voice over a phone provide him with any more peace of mind. The fact was simple. His life was on the line, and he would suffer all of his fingers being broken before he would allow himself to die. He clearly had leverage, he just had to find out what it was. If he could give them the right answers, but keep his life valuable, then perhaps this could one day become favourable to him. “You know.†He finally spoke up before they exited the apartment. “I find myself once again mentioning how unnecessary your attempts to coerce me are. If you want a consultation, all you had to do was ask.â€
  3. Star Wars: The Old Republic

    Leaving Dax to rest Ashara made her way to the HoloNet room. When she entered it was filled with the civilians Dax had saved, over 20 of them. She gave a soft sigh. Her ship wasn't really built to hold so many. She cleared her throat before addressing them. "Excuse me, everybody." She began. "I know you are all very tired and scared right now. I need to speak with the Republic authorities right now. So you will all have to clear this room. If you go find my droid he will find you somewhere suitable to stay for the moment." her voice was calm and polite, but it left no room for question. Slowly but without complaint, the civilians left the room so that Ashara was alone. She closed the door behind her and stepped up to the console, patching a call through to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. As the call went through, a hologram of a man about her height materialised before her. However he was clearly not human. His skin was wrinkled, and his face and eyes were covered by a antiox breath mask and a pair of protective goggles. Around his jaw there were small black tusks sticking out. The Kel Dor Jedi's form was instantly recognizable to Ashara, however, and she gave a short bow to the man. "Grand Master Zym." She said as she lifted her head. Zym gave a her a nod back. "Ashara, you're alive. That is good to see." Zym said "Fleets have arrived at Ilum, but our forces are already spread thin across the Galaxy. I am afraid this does not look good. The Senate are holding an emergency meeting at the moment. I've sent the rest of the Council in my stead, I wanted to speak to you personally. What happened down there?" "I am afraid there is not much to say." Ashara replied. "The Imperial Fleet came out of nowhere. We didn't stand a chance. Master Raella and I tried to fight them off as best as we could but..." "I know. I felt it from here." Zym replied. "He was a good man. A bit...off, at times. Still...he will be missed." "I do have some good news." Ashara said. "I have about 2 dozen civilians aboard my ship. It's a little crowded, but I would like to get them to safety as soon as possible." "Fantastic work, Ashara." Zym commended. "It is my Padawan who deserves the credit." Ashara replied. "She...is resting at the moment. She took a blaster to her stomach. She'll be fine." "Quite a test The Force has put on her, in that case." Zym said with a sagely nod. "I am glad she has passed. Very well, there is a civilian transport en route to Courscant not far from you. I'll send the coordinates to your ship and let the Captain know you are on your way. You can drop your passengers off with them." "Thank you." Ashara said with another bow of her head. "Shall we return to Coruscant afterwards for a full debrief?" "Not yet." Zym shook his head. "I'll need more time, what with this Senate meeting. However...we may have a lead. Our intelligence network is already on to something. I'd like you and your Padawan to go to Ord Mantell. I'll be in touch before you arrive." "Grand Master..." Ashara said apprehensively. "I think Dax might need some time to rest. She has witnessed a lot...and she was not prepared for entering a battle. We were supposed to be training her in a safe place. I don't want to endanger her again, not so soon." "Worrying for your Padawan is admirable." Zym replied. "However, I am afraid our resources are spread thin. I need someone with your skills, Ashara. If you would rather leave Dax on the transport she can return to Coruscant. Although...no training you give her will ever be as effective as the real thing. She could learn a lot from this." "She is...cocky. Emotional." Ashara replied. "I worry that she is not ready." "Hmph!" Zym seemed quite amused by the comment. "I seem to remember a cocky young Twi'lek who was very similar. I wonder how she would have felt if Master Zhen Ko had excluded her from travelling with him. Hmm?" "...Yes, you're right." Ashara replied. "I'll make my way to the transport and await your instructions." "Good. Until then, Ashara." Zym said finally, and then his hologram disappeared. Ashara let out another sigh. She wished to be alone right now. Sadly this wasn't possible. She had guests, and a lot to do. She left the room and made her way to the bridge where X2 was waiting. "Those passengers sure can whine, Ashara." X2 said as she stepped on to the bridge. "You would think they would be more grateful at having their lives saved." "They are scared, X2." Ashara replied. "Try to show a little understanding." "I am not programmed to facilitate fear based responses." X2 replied. "It would be somewhat counter-productive for a droid to get in a panic, don't you think?" "Fine." Ashara replied, too tired to argue. "There should be coordinates coming in. Set a course and keep in communication with the Captain of the civlian transport. Let me know when we're on approach." "Roger, roger." X2 replied. "Pardon?" Ashara asked. "I do not know...it just came to me." "Dax..." Ashara said as she gently shook her Padawan's arm to wake her. "Dax...you need to wake up now." Blinking the sleep from her eyes, Dax looked up at Ashara with a confused expression, "What's happening?" She asked, trying to pull herself up. "We're boarding a Republic Civilian Vessel." Ashara explained. "We'll be stopping briefly to re-supply. We should probably get you cleaned up and in some fresh clothes as well." She added. "I'll get changed." Dax replied, and stood up. Her wound still hurt, but the Kolto had clearly helped a lot, at least she felt mobile enough to move on her own. She took a deep breath and walked back down towards her quarters, down the stairs and past the engine room. On her way there, she received endless stares and strange expressions from the civilians they were transporting. She couldn't make sense of their expressions, she'd never seen anything like it. Instead, she focused on getting back to her room and changing. Once she was in a fresh set of clothes, she returned to Ashara, once again passing the gawping civilians on her way. "This feels weird." She said to Ashara, commenting on their new passengers, as she sat down in a chair beside the pilot's seat. Ashara sat in the seat next to her and began pushing buttons on the console. "This is Jedi Knight Ashara Ven requesting clearance to dock." She said aloud. A moment passed and then a voice echoed through the bridge. "This is Republic Wanderer Class Vessel Mesmer. You are clear for landing, I repeat, you are clear for landing." Ashara began to steer the ship in to the large cruiser's docking bay as they approached. the side of the vessel. They passed through the shielded docking bay and into the hangar, before gently descending, until they touched the floor. After a moment Ashara opened the exit and allow the ramp to fall down. "Come on then." Ashara replied as she got up. "We won't be stopping for long so say what you have to say." She put her hand on Dax's shoulder and gave her a soft smile. Then she made her way off of the ship.
  4. Star Wars: The Old Republic

    Rising from the snow covered ground, the Apprentice Djara sneered at Ashara, pacing around her, his eyes fixed on her form. "Your spirit to fight on is useless, Jedi" he snarled. "The fall of your people on Ilum is imminent. You are vastly outnumbered...and your fleets far from reach." "Must you begin running your mouth already?" Ashara replied. "I have found discussion with your kind to be particularly fruitless." "So you would rather have a quick death?" Djara replied. "I am feeling somewhat merciful today, so on this occasion I will allow it." "I have no intention of dying today" Ashara replied before going at sprint. She closed in on Djara and brought her dual saber upwards to deflect his downward slash, turning on her body to move round him, and bringing her dualsaber forward again to deflect another blow. The pair clashed in a flurry of blows, the humming and screeching of their weapons travelling through the snow. With an angry yell Djara lunged forward with a wild horizontal slash and Ashara leapt back with an acrobatic flip, landing and thrusting her hand forward for another Force Push. However this time Djara was prepared, letting out a chilling scream, powered by The Force, counteracting the blast. Meanwhile Master Raella faced off against the Sith Master, holding his lightsaber up over his shoulder, with his free hand out-stretched in the Soresu form. The Sith Master approached with a slow but purposeful stride, a wide grin across his face. Then as they came within arms length he struck, unleashing a furious display of precision strikes, each artfully deflected by the Jedi Master. The Sith Master lunged forward with a joust and Raella stepped nimbly to the side, the red beam of the lightsaber only grazing his chest. He swung his lightsaber downwards at a diagonal angle, but the Sith Master leant backwards, narrowly avoiding the blow, bringing his lightsaber up and to clash with Raella's. He lifted his leg and struck a powerful kick the the old Master's chest and sent him crashing through the snow. Raella rolled along the power, before leaping to his feet once more. "Your body betrays you, old man" The Sith Master called out. "You are weak." "My body may be old and tired." Raella replied. "But my ally is The Force, and a strong ally it is." "You will see just how strong!" The Sith Master cried, as he held out his hand and lightning crackled in to existence, shooting across the gap striking Raella in the chest, causing him to seize up under it's relentless assault. The Sith Master advanced slowly, as Raella fell to his knees, gently moaning in pain from the electricity coursing through him. "Master!" Ashara yelled out. Djara too advantage of her distraction and advanced, but Ashara was still too quick and deflected his strike, swiftly kicking him in the chest, sending him tumbling away with the power of The Force. She ran to Raella, hurling her dualsaber at the Sith Master, it's green beams hurtling through the air, causing the Pureblood Sith to stop his assault and dive out of the way. He scrambled to his feet as Ashara's lightsaber found it's way back to her hand. She reached Raella and pulled him to his feet. "Are you alright?" "Do...do not worry about me." Raella replied. "The fight is still upon us." He ignited his lightsaber once more, and with a deep breath he drew energy from The Force, and sprinted forward. He launched an offensive flurry on the Sith Master, forcing him to keep defending himself. Ashara joined the fight and the Sith Master was caught duelling them both, frantically trying to deflect their blows and quickly growing tired. As victory began to loom, Djara returned the the fray. The young Apprentice came to his masters aid with a powerful Force Push, kncoking Ashara backwards and having her tumble through the snow. She got up to face him and ran forward, but the Sith through his lightsaber at her. She leapt in to the air, her body twisting over the hurled blade. Djara so his opportunity, and held his hand aloft, catching her in the air and holding her there. Ashara gasped as she felt the tight grip of the Dark Side crushing her throat, stopping her from breathing. With his free hand Djara summoned his lightsaber and approached her. "Foolish of you to let your guard down like that, Jedi." He said with a smirk. Raella tried to break free from his fight with the Sith Master, but alas he could not shake his foe. He helplessly watched as Ashara's life began to dwindle away. Djara was within arms reach of her now, his lightsaber gripped tightly, prepared to strike her down. With a sudden burst of energy, the old Master let out a pained yell, slashing furiously at the Sith Master, who was caught off guard by the sudden display of force. He jousted at Raella's neck, but the Jedi ducked and bypassed his opponent, thrusting his lightsaber backward at his hip, it's blade penetrating the Sith Master through his torso. He removed it switly and the Sith fell to his knees. Raella wasted no time, sprinting for Djara with his lightsaber poised to strike. Djara turned and delivered a swift roundhouse kick to Raella's head, sending him to the ground with a thump. Wasting no time with gloating, he brought his lightsaber down on the old Master, snuffing out the last of his life. In the turmoil he had released his grip on Ashara and she dropped to the ground. Paused in the her moment of sorrow, she lingered on the last sensation of Raella's energy disappearing, becoming one with the Force. She took a deep breath, trying to find peace. However in doing so, her senses travelled further, and she felt the panic of her young Padawan. "Dax..." she whispered to herself. She pushed her finger to her ear, activating the communicator earpiece embedded inside. "X2...come in, please." "Ashara!" an alarmed robotic voice echoed in her ear. "Are you all right? It sounds like there is a war going on out there." "X2 listen to me...start the ship. Take it round the side of the Temple. Find the secluded hangar...find Dax." "Are you not coming, Ashara." X2 asked her. "Just go!" Ashara cried finally, ending the communication. Djara and the Sith Master had had turned their attention to her once more. While the Sith Master was gravely wounded, he yet lived. She was unsure if she could take on both of them at once. The Master's control of the Dark Side was incredibly strong, and his Apprentice, while young, was fuelled by his rage. She stood up, igniting her dualsaber as the distant roar of her ship's engine echoed through the air. Djara eyed her like a hunter would it's prey. His Master slowly walked towards them. "What are you waiting for, Djara?" he replied weakly. "Kill her! Strike her down and claim my victory!" "No, Master." Djara replied. "The victory is mine." Without warning he swung his arm out to the side, his lightsaber cutting through his Master's head, ending his life and his body collapsed lifelessly to the ground. Ashara did not flinch, but inside she felt a deep sorrow. That was what it was to be Sith, to cruelly murder your own Master in his moment of weakness. All for their own glory and passion. From what she understood of the Sith;s way, it meant Djara was the Master now. She could sense the thrill of his personal victory empowering him, making him far more dangerous than before. With one last deep breath she advanced on him, and for once, her future was clouded.
  5. Star Wars: The Old Republic

    Ashara emerged from the hallway and folded her arms so that her hands disappeared inside the sleeves of her robe. She gave Dax a smile that suggested she was impressed with her Padawan. "You've been down here for quite a while." She said to Dax, "I thought you would have given up hours ago. I actually managed to get in the first decent bit of meditation since I took you as my Padawan. So, did you learn anything useful?" "Most of it's a load of old rubbish." She replied, and after a brief pause, she looked off to one side, "I suppose there's a few things of interest down here." "Perhaps only a few for you, but this place, like many other archives of the Jedi Order, is full of useful lessons." Ashara replied. "...I never wanted a Padawan. Children are naive, and yet think they know everything. A disturbing trait to say the least. Yet here I am, trying my hardest to show you as much as I can, in the hope that you will become a greater Jedi than I." "Yeah, well..." Dax began, her tone a little snarky, but something seemed to change her mind and her tone along with it, "... thanks." She muttered. "It is I who should be thanking you." Ashara corrected. "I was not forced to take you on. I saw something within you, and so far you have done nothing to prove me otherwise. You still have a lot to learn, but you are doing so quickly. Some Padawan take weeks or even months to construct their first lightsaber. You did so in but a day. However...pride will either make you lazy, or overly ambitious. That is why I will keep pushing you, never letting you become idle in your endeavours. Already your goals are taking form, even if it is only to learn a new lightsaber form." "Oh, you noticed that, huh?" Dax grinned and shrugged, "Well, Master Vash told me that there are two things that are a greater threat to the Jedi than anything else, she said, "The Sith, and yourself, and at least you can 'saber the former"," Dax laughed, "I guess I just wanted to be ready, if I ever met a Sith. Plus, it looks like it was most suited to me." "You should hope you never meet a Sith." Ashara replied. "It is a terrible thing to embrace the Dark Side. The Sith wield great power, but at a terrible cost." "But Master..." Dax paused and frowned, she had used that title before but it had never come out quite so naturally as it had then. "... but... I know, i've seen some of what the Sith have done, it was... monstrous. But aren't many of the Sith originally Jedi?" She shook her head, "I don't understand, why do so many Jedi become Sith, i've so rarely heard of Sith becoming Jedi. Why do we have to be in opposition?" "I don't have the absolute answer for that one." Ashara replied, "However, perhaps most obvious is our conflicting ideologies. The Sith value passion, emotion, and conflict. They believe that conflict forces one to become better, to evolve and grow stronger. Strife brings meaning to their victories, and they feast upon such dark emotions to grow stronger. They fail to see that the question is not how to become stronger, but rather should we. The Sith pay a terrible price for their power. That is why it is so easy to become Sith, but not to become a Jedi." Ashara paused for a moment, choosing her words carefully. "Sometimes you may find our code to be strict and uncompromising, but it must be so. Jedi do not even get to indulge in love. Yet it is a powerful and wonderful feeling, do not think we cast it away out of fear or condemnation. It is a sacrifice, one we must make to stay true to ourselves. We are gifted with the knowledge of The Force, and if we squander that gift...then we are no better than the Sith." "I don't think love, or passion or emotions need to be cast aside. I don't know if I can do that, or if i'd even want to, but... I don't think it's right to seek conflict just to make yourself stronger, at the expense of others." Dax sighed and shrugged, "I think there has to be a better path, if we're even capable of it." "Many have shared your views on that." Ashara replied. "And they have fallen to the Dark Side as a result. The forbidding of love is necessary. When people think of love...they think of the happy moments. However...what of loss and suffering? Can you imagine what losing something so important could do to a Jedi? It twists their mind...the pain and anger leads to hatred. To the Dark-" Ashara stopped in her tracks, swaying on the spot, lifting her hand to gently clutch her forehead as if in pain. "Well, I feel how I feel. But I would never do--" Dax watched her Master's strange turn, "Master, are you alright?" She stepped forwards to put her hand on Ashara's shoulder and then something strange pulled her away. She started to feel queasy, like someone was gripping her stomach and squeezing it. "I don't... feel very..." She looked around, confused, but her concern shifted to Ashara, who seemed far worse. Dax reached out and gripped Ashara's shoulder, looking for answers as much as anything. Ashara took a deep breath, finding strength enough to regain her composure. "There has been a disturbance in The Force...you have sensed it too." Ashara said finally. "This is not good, Dax. A feeling such as this can only mean...Sith approach Ilum." "Sith are coming here?!" Dax choked back some bile, "I'm not strong enough..." She shook her head, trying to clear it. Ashara, ignoring her Padawan for a moment, took her holo-recorder from her belt and switched it on. As it scanned her form she spoke into it. "This is Jedi Knight Ashara Ven, This is a call to all Republic Vessels in range. The Empire have launched a strike on Ilum, I repeat, The Empire have launched a strike on Ilum. Please send all available fleets immediately!" Ashara then closed the recorder and turned to her Padawan once more. "Dax, I am afraid this is not a fight we can win. It is too risky to wait for the Republic Fleets to arrive with reinforcements. We must escape, and hope to fight another day. Quickly...sweep the halls of the Temple. Evacuate all civilians, there are many who cannot defend themselves. You must lead them to safety." "Evacuate them where?!" Dax was almost shouting, "T-they won't listen to me!!" "Dax...I know this is difficult. This goes far beyond any training I could possibly give you at this point." Ashara admitted. "But I believe in you. You told me that you wanted to become a Jedi to help people, well this is that time. Round everyone up and lead them to the the tunnels in the East Wing. Follow them and you will reach a secluded edge. I will take the front entrance and clear a path to the ship, I will bring it round to get you. Dax...you can do this. The Force is strong in you." "A-alright." Dax looked around at the temple, for a moment, unsure what she was going to do, then a fire lit inside her, "Be careful!" She yelled, and then ran as quickly as she could towards the temple. Ashara let out a heavy sigh, and then headed off on her own, pulling her hood up over her head. She went at a sprint along the main hallway of the Temple, and as she reached the entrance, she found Master Raella waiting for her. The old man had a sombre look in his eyes. "Master Raella, we have to leave." Ashara cried as she reached him. "This Temple is my home...I won't let those scoundrels desecrate it!" Raella replied indignantly. "If it's a fight they want...then I will see they find it, and they shall regret it!" "Master Raella..." Ashara sighed "Enough, child." Raella replied. "The enemy is already at our doorstep. Let's take the fight to them, and with any luck we will see you and your Padawan out of this alive." Ashara went to speak, but found herself lost for words. Eventually she simply nodded. Master Raella walked out ahead of her, his blue lightsaber igniting as the noble old Jedi walked out in to a blizzard of snow. Ashara took a moment to compose herself and then she followed. Outside the peaceful courtyard had become a battlefield. The few Republic forces stationed at the Temple were bunkered down, desperately trying to hold back the approaching Imperial Troopers, as blasts of red and green lasers flew through the air. Ashara held out her hand and her lightsaber flew into it, igniting immediately. She took two steps, before the blaster fire reached her. Then she went forward in a flurry, spinning her dualsaber, deflecting the blasts away from her and back at her enemies. To her right, Master Raella was doing the same, his composure as rock hard as stone as he expertly deflected the blasts. Over their heads an Imperial drop ship cut through the blizzard, two dark figures standing at the open side. The ship lowered, and the figures descended before the ship had touched the ground, landing with a soft tap on the floor. One was dressed in an elaborate set of robes, with armoured shoulder guards, and a high collar that went up to his chin. The Sith's skin was a brilliant crimson, and tendrils hung from his chin. His eyes were as red as his skin, and his head bald. He was a Sith not only in name, but in heritage. A race known now as the Pureblood Sith, natives of Korriban. To his right was a thinner, gaunter young man. A grey skinned Rattataki, completely hairless with pale white eyes, and tribal tattoos etched across his head. "The Jedi have come to play." The pureblood sneered. "Do not fail me Djara. We will end these pitiful creatures, and lay waste to their precious Temple." "Yes, Master" The Rattataki, Djara, replied. "I will bathe this world in their blood." "Good, feed on your rage, my Apprentice." The pureblood said finally. And then each of them ignited their lightsabers, beams of brilliant crimson illuminated through the blizzard. Ashara did not waste any time. Harnessing The Force she sprinted at incredible speed, deflecting blaster fire as she went. The first trooper who neared her went down from his own blaster shot, deflected back at him. She was on the next, ducking low and spinning, bringing her lightsaber up and through his chest, before moving onwards, leaping and vaulting over a shattered wall, making a bee line for the Sith. She sensed Master Raella alongside her, his attention drawn to the pureblood. Ashara locked eyes with the Rattataki, and the Sith leapt towards her, aided by the Force, holding his lightsaber aloft in both hands. As he closed on her, she brought back her free hand, stopping her sprint, taking a breath. Then in one swift motion she pushed her hand forward, and The Force moved with her, blasting the Sith in the air and sending him crashing backwards in to the snow, but far from defeated.
  6. Menus look stylish as fuck! The whole game looks stylish as fuck! Pretty freakin' hype right now!
  7. Star Wars: The Old Republic

    Ashara put a hand on her hip and examined Dax, who had freshly emerged from her trial. Quickly she was beginning to understand that Dax lacked the depth required to assess her experiences and articulate them fully, either that or she was just deliberately difficult. Either way, it seemed that she had grasped the concept of the challenge in her own way. Indeed, finding a suitable crystal was not the challenge, rather the journey that transpired. Young Jedi would learn courage, patience and understanding. Ashara admitted to herself that Dax had achieved those things, and so she deserved to at least try to construct her lightsaber. “Very well.†She said finally. “Follow me.†Ashara took Dax back through the temple until finally they reached an oval room, lined with work benches. On each bench there were various hilts, grips, wirings and a variety of other items, some tiny and hard to distinguish. Ashara stepped in to the room and ushered Dax in. “There are plenty of parts here to construct a sturdy lightsaber.†She explained. “However, each lightsaber is different. You must consider how you will build yours.†Ashara held up her hand, and her own lightsaber emerged from beneath her robes, pulled to her hand by the invisible Force. On closer inspection her lightsaber was constructed with a clean, silver metal. It’s central grip was constructed of tan leather that was wrapped and bound tightly around the metal. Her hilt was longer than most lightsabers, and had an emitter on each end, indicating a dualsaber build. “The crystal you have chosen allows The Force that travels through you, to travel through this weapon. Just as a Jedi is an extension of The Force, the lightsaber is the extension of a Jedi.†Ashara said as she held out her hand, and her lightsaber hovered in the air. Then, slowly, all of it’s pieces began to part from one another, each holding in place, the same distance from one another, all waiting to be joined together again. “You must know where every piece goes. Consider weight and balance, consider how different types of focusing crystals will react with your own.†As she finished speaking, Ashara’s lightsaber reconstructed itself, and slowly fell back to her hand. She ignited it, glowing beams of green emerging from either side with buzzing screech, before settling in to a gentle hum. “So…alright.†Dax replied, looking down at the little blue crystal in her palm, What’s the first step?†She asked and then concentrated. The sky blue crystal slowly levitated into the air and hovered a few inches above her hand. Ashara extinguished her lightsaber and pocketed it, examining Dax’s blue crystal. “I honestly can’t help you on this one either. You should know the fundamentals from your initiate training at the Academy. There are several options at your disposal, but you should choose which is right for you. Use The Force, let it guide you as you construct the lightsaber.†“Fine.†Dax sighed, letting the crystal drop into her open palm. She crossed the room and looked around, then sat down at one of the workbenches. After a few moments of uncomfortable shifting, she stood back up again and paced around until eventually (and quite suddenly) she collapsed to the ground in a sitting cross-knee position. Placing the crystal on her lap, Dax let out a deep breath and a mutter of annoyance before she laid her hands on her knees and closed her eyes. Slowly, the crystal in her lap lifted into the air in front of her, and she scrunched her face up in concentration as she sensed the room for the pieces she needed. She had a picture in her mind’s eye of Ashara’s lightsaber, and wanted to mimic it as it’s appearance appealed to her. The various parts of her lightsaber began to interlock and she let a smile touch the corner of her lips as she felt the weapon forming before her. But as she finished the skeleton of the lightsaber, she found the more intricate pieces difficult to manoeuvre. Soon, she found herself unable to push an energy modulation circuit into place and frustration quickly overtook her thoughts until she could no longer concentrate. Suddenly, her lightsaber frame, along with a dozen other pieces, collapsed to the ground like metal rain. Dax opened her eyes and threw her hands up to the skies as she stood up, “Oh!†She growled, “I can’t do it, it won’t listen!†She pointed at the lightsaber accusingly as though it would reply. “Don’t be silly. You have trained for this.†Ashara replied, her voice stern but encouraging. “This is just like at the Initiate’s Trial. In fact, it’s easier because you can take as much time as you need.†Ashara sat herself down facing Dax, positioning herself so that they were mirrored. “I am quite accustomed to long waits in silence. The only one who remains impatient is you, the materials are here, they are ready. You must ready yourself. Your heart is willing but your mind…†Ashara took a deep inhalation of breath, closing her eyes. Her voice became calm, and slow. “…your mind is scattered, constantly distracting itself with doubt, fear and worry. Remember; there is no emotion, only peace.†Ashara took another deep breath. “Your fear is what allows you to fail. Your doubt is a barrier of your own creation. The more you fail, the more your fear and doubt grows. You must release yourself from them...there is no passion…†Another deep breath followed. “…only serenity…now…try again.†“Easy for you to say…†Dax muttered back at her Master, but sat back down regardless. Cricking her neck, Dax closed her eyes and repeated, “No emotion, only peace…†She let out a long sigh and resumed, "Only peace..." she repeated, like a mantra. She reached out with The Force, and lifted her lightsaber off the ground, and then the rest of the remaining pieces. After she was sure she had everything ready, she let out a growl as though she were cautioning her lightsaber to comply, and then began to move the pieces into place. For a second time she found herself unable to push the circuit into place, but as she found greater force unable to prevail, she attempted to turn the circuit and wiggle it in, millimetre by millimetre until at last, it fell into place. Dax felt as though a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders, and with a bemused expression she slowly formed the final pieces of the lightsaber into place and locked the cover panel on the side. Opening her eyes, Dax saw the lightsaber hovering in front of her. It reminded her of Ashara’s lightsaber, as though it was another weapon made by the same person, but it was also uniquely hers. Unlike Ashara’s lightsaber, the handle was curved to facilitate the use of the Makashi fighting style, a suggestion that Master Vash had made to her in training, to take advantage of her race’s natural flexibility. “I did it…†she muttered, raising her brow in surprise as she looked to Ashara. “I have a lightsaber!†She yelled, and leapt to her feet, holding the weapon up to the ceiling in excited victory. Ashara stood up, folding her arms, a soft smile on her face. “Impressive.†She said to Dax. “Well done. You have completed the first and most important task that all Padawan must experience. As your Master I am proud of you. Now, how about we get something to eat. Afterwards you can head to bed. Meditate on your experiences before you go to sleep, and you will realise things that are impossible to see in the moment. Then, in the morning…†Ashara turned around to leave the room. “…I believe there are some old training droids somewhere around here. In the morning we can see how your lightsaber does in a combat simulation.â€
  8. Star Wars: The Old Republic

    Ashara and Master Rozahn found themselves standing at the edge of the upper floors, fazing out over the main hall of the Jedi Temple. Ashara leaned on the barrier and looked out ahead, lost in thought for a moment. Rozahn gently put his hand on her shoulder. "You caught me rather off guard there, Miss Ven." he said. "Master..." She went to explain herself but Rozahn cut her off. "You have done a great thing for that child. You have given her a future." Rozahn said with a soft smile. "I...apologise, for how that went." Ashara replied. "I did not intend to trick you or back you in to a corner. I had accepted the decision the Council had made, or at least I thought I did. I acted to quickly and for that I am so sorry." "Do not worry yourself, Miss Ven." Rozahn said encouragingly. "I will deal with the rest of the Council. They will not approve but I will see that this decision is not undone. Master Zhen Ko would have done the same." "Master Ko would have been welcomed as Dax's trainer. Unfortunately even with this decision I will shoulder the burden. I do not want the Council to take responsibility for this should the Mirialan people object." "Ashara the Mirialan are not barbarians, we can approach this diplomatically." Rozahn reassured. "I am sure we can approach this diplomatically. Although if they request anything from you, I would advise you accept their conditions. Within reason." "Well we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." Ashara said with a heavy sigh. "Forgive me but I must rest. Making snap decisions like this...I'm not used to it. It is...taxing, to say the least." "Very well, Miss Ven" Rozahn said as Ashara went to leave. "Although if I may ask, where do you intend to take young Dax? I heard you say you were leaving Courscant." "I will train him as my Master trained me." Ashara replied simply. "Good night, Master Rozahn." The next morning Ashara made her way through the corridors of the initiate dormitories, paying little notice of the slack-jawed stares she received from the Bear Clan initiates who passed her by. Finally she stepped in to a small room that was shared by a few initiates. Standing over an untidy bed, Dax was busy packing her things to leave. "Dax." Ashara said, announcing herself. "Are you almost ready? We need to leave soon." Kneeling over the side of her bed, Dax picked up a holo projector and turned it on. Blue light projected up from the little disc in the palm of her hand until she saw a miniature holographic version of her friend, Taka. She was a few years younger than she was now. "Turn it off, Dax. This is dumb..." She said, shaking her head."First day of lightsaber training, think you're ready?" Dax heard her own voice."I think i'll beat your ass." Taka goaded her. Dax smiled, but pressed the off button and the recording fizzled out mid-conversation."I'm ready." Dax replied to Ashara and turned to face her master. Though her hair remained as unruly and uncut as it had ever been, a long braid had been woven into her hair on the right-hand side - the sign of a padawan, "Where are we going?" She asked. "Patience, you shall know soon enough." Ashara replied. "Come now, walk with me."Ashara and Dax left the quiet confines of the dormitory and came out on to the main hall, where they walked down the centre, great golden pillars on either side of them. "Dax" Ashara said to her young Padawan. "I want you to remember the lessons you have learned here. It is easy to forget this life when you are away for so long, seeing so many new things. The principles taught here must guide your path. Do you understand?""Yeah. Don't forget things. Got it." Dax replied with a smile."Good." Ashara said finally, and the pair walked in silence as they left the Temple and emerged out on to the bright, sunny morning on Coruscant. Cars flew overhead and people wandered along the bridged walkways connecting each of the larger structures within the city. Whereas many travelled by car, Ashara had decided for them to walk on this occasion. "So tell me, Dax." Ashara spoke once more as they walked. "Do you have goals in mind for your future? Aside from carrying out the duties of the Jedi Council, we are allowed to seek our own paths. I myself am a Consular. I spend my life seeking knowledge and refining my understanding of The Force. Often that can mean visiting ancient temples and ruins, and sometimes it means spending months researching in the Archives. Often it is simply long periods of meditation." Ashara could almost feel her Padawan's heart sink at the prospect. "I will train you as only I know how. However, you should have your own goals.""I..." Dax grinned and shook her head, "I don't think i'm gonna be a Consular, thanks." She stretched and put her hands behind her head as they walked, "Y'know, I think I just want to help people, I want to be where the action is." "A Jedi should never seek conflict, Dax." Ashara warned. "While it is a worthy endeavour to want to help others, we must always proceed with caution. Sometimes helping people means making difficult decisions, and in many cases you won't be thanked by many. Not that you should be looking for praise either. My point is...a lot of the time it is better to help by walking the quieter, less exciting path.""Yeah..." Dax thought for a moment, "Well, i'm not looking for conflict, just... conflict resolution.""Well I suppose you are still young yet. There is time." Ashara replied. They then continued on in silence once more, which continued all the way to the spaceport. They walked through the large corridors and passed the guarded checkpoints, Ashara took care of the procedures so that they could travel out of Coruscant. After everything had been checked and approved they finally go inside an elevator which took them down in to their hangar. They emerged in a giant, open spaced room of grey metal, with Republic banners decorating the walls. And in the centre of the Hangar was a Corellian Defender-Class Light Corvette. The starship was specifically designed to be used by the Jedi, and this was Ashara's personal ship. Sprayed a bold red and white, the starship was built for a small crew, with guns mounted at the front and two large engines at the back. "This will be your home from now on." Ashara said to Dax. "At least while we're travelling.""Whoah..." Dax's impressed whistle echoed around the room, "Only transport I ever took brought me from Mirial to Coruscant, and that was just some old rust bucket. I guess I can get used to having my own room." She grinned to herself as she stared up at the ship."It is a small vessel, but it has been furnished so that it is slightly more...homely than your average starship." Ashara said as she walked up the walkway to the ship. "Come along, I'll show you around." They entered the starship together and emerged in a main hallway. The room was a light gray, with blue lighting along the ceiling. Ashara gestured to the orange strip lighting across the steps directly in front of them. "Up front is the bridge. I expect you to learn to pilot this ship, as well as understand each of the roles required, manning the guns, taking care of the engine." Ashara gestured behind Dax, to the raised area behind the steps they had came in. "There is a HoloNet room through there where we can communicate with other Jedi, or perhaps Senators on occasion. There is also a table lounge there where you can relax." Ashara pointed to her right, "On your left is the escape pods and. On the far side there is a board room, although It is not in use very often, and on the far right is my bedroom. Below deck is the cargo hold, engine room, and your own room." Ashara paused for a moment. "Your room is quite minimalist I'm afraid. I did not anticipate having someone on board quite so soon.""I'm used to minimalist. It'll just be nice not having to share a room for once..." Dax looked around the ship and then muttered to herself, "... old socks and fart." Then she walked up into the bridge and looked at the consoles that held a hundred different buttons. "What's this big button do?" She asked, and pressed it immediately."Secondary cannons primed." The computer's voice acknowledged."Oh, ah--" Dax pulled her hands back into her chest and looked at Ashara sheepishly. "Well clearly you have a lot to learn if you are to become a pilot." Ashara said with a sigh as she entered the bridge. "Thankfully I do have some help around here besides you.""Good morning, Ashara" A tinny voice declared from behind her, as a protocol droid walked up the steps, it's body made of silver metal. "Oh we have a guest. I am X24K, endentured service droid to Ashara. Pleased to meet your acquantaince.""Hello X2" Ashara said with a soft smile. "This is Dax. She will be joining us from now on, as my Padawan.""Excellent. It get's pretty boring around here. You don't talk very much, Ashara." X24K replied. "So. Dax. I hope you speak more than your Master.""Endentured?" Dax laughed so hard she snorted as she breathed in, "Yeah..." She raised an eyebrow as she looked the droid over, "My teachers in the temple would probably tell you I talk too much." "Well lucky for you telling you to 'shut' up' is against my programming." X2 replied. "Ah, the droid life. You cannot beat it." he added in a sarcastic tone. "I found X2 when I was investigating a death stick dealing ring on Nar Shadaa. They toyed with his programming a bit, as you can see. I was going to fix him but...I've grown fond of him.""Those guys were pretty rough, I will not lie." X2 said. "Although they did have better conversation than you, Ashara.""Anyway..." Ashara said, ignoring the droid's comment. "X2 looks after the ship. He keeps it clean, well maintained and fully stocked. He's also an excellent co-pilot. He can teach you as much as I can about flying this ship." "Well I make a lot of mess, so that'll keep you busy, at least." Dax replied, looking at the droid. Then she picked up her bag and walked past X2 and down a flight of stairs and along a metal gantry. She passed a couple of doors and at last, found her room. The door hissed open and she stepped inside. Minimalist was an understatement. There looked like a hastily put together bunk on top of what had been a desk, and a lamp. There was nothing else. Just dark grey walls, however, there was one point of interest. Dax approached a viewing port beside her bed and smiled. That'd be great to look out of when they got into space. She placed her bag on her bed and sat beside it, letting out a deep sigh and looking around the room. "Okay, i'm bored." She muttered, after just a minute or so, then stood up and left to find out what her Master was doing. "Good, you're back" Ashara said as Dax entered the bridge once more. "We're about to take off."Ashara stepped over to the holographic terminal which showed a map of the known Galaxy. "I'm setting coordinates for Ilum." Ashara said as she keyed information in to the console. "It's far off in the outer rim and away from any conflict. It's also a sacred place for Jedi. When we get there we will begin your training, and if you know anything about Ilum I'm sure you will have guessed." Ashara turned around to face Dax again. "You will construct your first lightsaber using the crystals found on Ilum. It is a tradition within the Order, one that I did as a Padawan as well.""Awesome." Dax said simply, a lop-sided grin spreading across her face."Okay, now go sit over at that console." Ashara instructed. "You can help me take off. Once we're in space the computer will take care of the rest. But don't touch anything unless I tell you to."
  9. Star Wars: The Old Republic

    "Well that Baan kid certainly cleaned up." Krem side with an impressed smirk. "I know who I have my eye on, that's for sure." "All of the students have performed well" Dessa Ro agreed with a nod. "There are a few who have caught my attention." "Well you can have your pick, I want Baan. He's a good fit for me, he'll be a great Jedi." Krem replied. "What about you, Ashara? anyone catch you eye?" Ashara took pause, unsure of how to answer the question. After a moment she cleared her throat. "None of them." she replied firmly. "Seriously? Are you looking for some kind of prodigy or something? These kids have potential." Krem argued. "Now Krem, Miss Ven has her reasons and they should be respected." Master Rozahn interjected. "Thank you, Master Rozahn." Ashara replied. "I think I will take my leave now. Ashara gave a soft bow before turning on her heel and leaving the training hall. She made her way to one of the many meditation chambers that were built inside the temple. The room was dimly lit and empty besides a single cushioned chair in the centre. As the blast doors closed behind her the room fell deathly silent. These rooms were designed to completely block all outside noise, so that a Jedi could meditate in a truly quiet location. Ashara sat herself on the cushion and crossed her legs, laying her hands over her lap and closing her eyes. Once again she focused on her breathing, although this time she felt calm wash over her more rapidly. Her thoughts began to wash away and her memory of the day faded from her mind. For a moment she felt a wondeful sensation of warmth and light and then, slowly, images and sounds began to infiltrate her mind once more. But they were not of the present, they were from a long time ago. A time where she was young, and free of responsibility. A time where she was as naive as the children she had witnessed in the trials. Ashara was much younger, only about 16 years old. She was dressed in the clean, cream coloured garb of a Jedi Padawan, and her lekku were unbound, with a leather head piece strapped around her forehead. She was sat on her knees, peering deeply at the man before her. He was in his early 40's, with short brown hair that was swept back making him look quite dashing along with his stubbled beard. The man had olive green skin and his face was decorated in geometric-shaped tattoos. His eyes were closed as he sat in deep meditation, while his padawan stared at him intently, waiting for his eyes to open. However, young Ashara's patience was thin and finally she relented, lifting her finger and poking him gently on the nose. "Boop!" "Tch!" the Mirialan man said as he made a soft jerk at the sudden invasion of his personal space. He opened his eyes to reveal their light purple hue. At first he scowled at his apprentice, but momentarily it softened, and he gave a begrudging smile. "Your supposed to be meditating, Ashara." he said with a sigh, "I highly doubt that poking my nose will help you become one with The Force." "We've been meditating for three hours!" Ashara protested. "I'm bored. Can we go break a few training droids? I want to show you how much better I've gotten." "Ashara in two long years you have already shown master of Shi-Cho and are well on your way to mastering Shien. You have already proven you are a more than competent duelist. Where you are lacking is in here" her Master poked her forehead with his index finger. "Without mastery of the Force your proficiency at combat is fruitless." "Oh come on!" Ashara said as she flopped on to her back and lifted her legs in to the air. "I can push stuff, and pull stuff. I think I even mind-tricked that Rodian spice merchant we met on Tattooine. I've pretty much got the important stuff down, Master Ko" "Oh really?" Master Ko replied, rolling his eyes. "So you can conceal yourself from sight using The Force?" "Well..." Ashara paused. "No, but-" "Can you hear The Force whispering in your ear? Guding you to your destiny?" "No..." "Can you make yourself faster? Can you make your skin strong and reslient? Can you expel your body of toxins?" "Alright!" Ashara snapped. "Okay...I get it. I'm no good at this stuff." Ashara sighed and turned her gaze from Master Ko, a sadness in her eyes. Ko shook his head and gave another soft smile. "Do you know why I took you as my Padawan, Ashara?" he asked. "I'm guessing it's not because I stomped those other wimps in the trials, huh?" she replied. "While that was amusing, no, it is not the reason." Ko stood up and reached out to Ashara, pulling her to her feet to face him. "The Force guided me to you. It took me in it's hand, just as I hold your right now, and it lead me to you. Through meditation I saw many things that are still to come, and most importantly I saw you. You have so much potential, and you will be a truly wonderful Jedi. That is the path that has been chosen for you, just as it is mine to guide you." "I don't feel like I have a destiny." Ashara replied. "I made it where I was because I chose it." "Ashara, every gesture, no matter how small, has a huge effect on the world around us." Ko explained. "One day you will understand. Even something as simple as poking an old man on his nose and disturbing his meditation can make a huge difference. After all, would I be telling you all this if you hadn't?" "I guess not..." Ashara said, looking down at her feet. Then she looked up at her Master and smiled. "Thanks, Master Ko!" Ashara's eyes opened once more and she was alone in the meditation room once more. She had been alone for many years now. Had her solitude came at a price? Where was the kind hearted young woman that she once was? She sighed and shook her head. "Zhen Ko, you old fool..." she said to herself. "Even now you can't help but guide me..." Getting up from her cushion Ashara composed herself and left the room. She made her way through the grand halls of the Jedi Temple and found herself in one of the four towers, stood outside the doors to the Council of First Knowledge. She gently pushed open the door and stepped inside. Inside she was greeted by the familiar face of Master Rozahn who served as a member of this Council. With him were 3 other Masters, one of whom was present via holonet communication. They turned to face her and Master Rozahn ushered her in. "Miss Ven, come in please." he said as he waved her over. "We were just finishing up. Is there something I can help you with my dear?" "Yes...yes there is." Ashara replied hesitantly. "It's about the Initiate Trials. Has a decision been reached?" "Why yes, of course." Rozahn replied. "Are you keen to hear the results, or do you wish to come and see during the official announcement." "I only wish to know if the Mirialan passed. Dax I think her name was." Ashara said as she stood with her arms behind her back. "Dax Arandel." Rozahn clarified. "Hmm...she did pass, yes. A good thing too, she is getting of age. It is a shame that she will not likely become a Padawan." "Can I ask why?" Ashara asked. Rozahn looked at her solmenly, and shook his head. "No interest has been shown in her. Without someone to train her further, she will no doubt become a member of the Service Corps." "What if..." Ashara hesitated again. "What if I were to show interest? May I take her on as my Padawan?" "Well...I am glad you have finally taken that step Miss Ven. I am sure that we can make some sort of arrangement, I-" "It is not possible, Master Rozahn." came the response from the Council member over the holonet. She was a stern looking woman, she looked to be in her fifties. "Master Corvana...I think that-" Rozahn tried to protest but Corvana cut him off once more. "Dax is a Mirialan, Master Rozahn. She can only be trained by one of her own species." Corvana explained. "It is a tradition among her people, and not one I am willing to break so easily." "But...there were no Mirialan Jedi at the trial." Ashara said. "If that is the case then she never stood a chance of becoming a Padawan. How is that fair?" "We cannot meddle in her destiny. This is how it should be." replied the third Council Member. "We do not normally get involved in the choosing of a Padawan, but I am afraid that this is not acceptable. There will be no further discussion on the matter." "But Leiana, Ashara is a very talented-" "Her talents are not in question!" Corvana chimed in again. "In this case I am afraid it does not matter. The answer is no, Miss Ven." "I..." Ashara paused, staring at her feet again like she did when she was a young girl. "I understand. I'll take my leave. Thank you." Ashara gave a sigh and turned around, leaving the Council Chamber. Well, that was that. That was what she got for making snap decisions. She resigned herself to what she had always knew. She was not meant to teach others.
  10. Nestled within the hills and valley of northern Rhaegal, where the air was warm and the earth dry but still bountiful with fresh grass and green leafed trees, the city of Amerus stood proudly. Constructed in the shape of a large hexagon, the edge entirely surrounded by defensive walls of grey stone, Amerus was a small city holding only a few thousand people. A large cobbled crossroad stretched through the centre of Amerus, each road converging on to the large Cathedral in the centre. The houses were constructed of sandstone with dark wooden lining, with grey slate tiled roofs, thick with moss that had collected over the years. While the houses were homely they were also quite old, apparent in the cracked wood and split stone. Most of the homes were built tightly together, leaving a labyrinth of tight, off from the roads. Around the Cathedral the space between each building grew, eventually opening out on to a large courtyard where market stalls were positioned in between small patches of garden, where children played. Many people gathered outside of the large Cathedral, a house of worship for those that followed The Light, long considered the force of all goodness in the world, symbolised as a brilliant shining sun. On the surface the day seemed much like any other. Merchants sold their wares, children played, housekeepers cleaned and cooked. The wealthy walked freely, purchasing fine silks, garments, delicious cakes and the odd trinket or two, as is their want. And yet across from the Cathedral was the Keep, a strong building of grey stone, and stood atop it a man in silver plated armour, a sword sheathed at his side and a white tabard with a symbol of the golden sun across his chest. His shoulder length brown hair blew in the warm breeze as Lord Michael Dumont looked down on his people with worry. He was a man in his late 30s, somewhat young for a Lord, but like any he had been chosen for the role by the King himself. Granted Amerus was one of the smallest cities of Rhaegal, but it was clean and the people were mostly happy. Mostly. His mind was rattled with the rumours and reports that had come flooding in. Entire stretches of farmland scorched to ash. The farmers and their families, nowhere to be seen. Already their livestock for the region was dwindling, and now something like this? He didn’t dare speak it’s name. Fortune would soon smile upon Amerus once more, the King had saw to that. It was for this reason that Lord Dumont was nervous. His wandering mind was suddenly brought back to reality at the raw rattling of brass horns. He turned to the Eastern gate where the sound was coming from. The Guards along the wall had spotted someone approaching the city walls. No doubt it was them. He adjusted his tabard and walked swiftly inside the Keep. The armour was mostly a display for his approaching guests, it was important that he cut an imposing figure. As he descended the stone steps of the torch lit keep her heard the distant rumbling. As expected, they had come in force. Lord Dumont made his way through the corridors of the Keep before finally emerging once more in to the light and on to the courtyard, where his citizens had began to form a crowd, huddling together to clear a path. He looked down the road and finally laid eyes on his guests. Padding along the cobblestone road, causing fearful gasps from watching citizens, came enormous wolves the height of horses, each of them shades of grey, brown and black. Atop these large, saddled beasts, were imposing men and women. Each of them was muscular, and dressed in crimson leathers and tunics, with fur lined collars and white trousers. Some wore scarves and bandanas around their head and face, while others had long, flowing hair. Most notably though was there olive skin, their hardened expressions, and their pointed ears. Lord Dumont stood at the top of the steps to his keep, folding his arms, trying to maintain a calm composure. The riders gathered in the large space outside the Keep, whilst a lone grey wolf stepped ahead of them, it’s rider a tall, strong man with long blonde hair, tied back in thick braids that lay down his back. A strange dark stone piercing hung on his left lobe, and dark spikes were pierced along the bridge of his nose. The man stepped down from the beast and ran his hand through it’s fur for a moment. The guards approached him tentatively, and the man frowned, sensing their apprehension. “What’s the matter, men? Have you never seen a Worg before?†he asked firmly, inferring to the large grey wolf behind him. “Don’t worry. Maugrim here doesn’t much like the taste of man flesh, too much iron in your diet. He’ll have a bit of chicken if you’re offering though.†“Uh…quite.†One of the guards replied. “Will they be needing stables?†“Not unless you think it necessary.†The sharp eared man replied. “They don’t like being cooped up for too long. If it’s all the same they’ll be much happier right here.†“My only concern is, well, the people of the town might find it…†“Enough.†Lord Dumont spoke as he descended the stairs. “Our Guests have travelled a long way to help us. I’m sure they are in need of food, and the same for their…Worgs.†“Best listen to your master.†The sharp eared man said with a wry grin, exposing a pair of sharp canines. Lord Dumont noted that this man was quite extraordinary even among his own race. For all intents and purposes he was but a man, but there was something wild and unyielding about his nature that reminded one of a beast, no different to the creature he rode on. “You must be the hunters from Agrines.†Lord Dumont said. “I am Michael Dumont, Lord of Amerus, Paladin of the Light, Ordained servant to the King of Rhaegal. I am pleased to meet your acquaintance.†“Right then, that’s a lot of title you’ve got.†The Agrinian replied. “I suppose in that case I am Krios Hakar, Lord of fuck all and servant to no one, and I’ll be very pleased to meet you once you show me that dinner you mentioned.†“Indeed…†Lord Dumont said with a wearied sigh. “Will your men be joining us in the keep?†“I’ll save them the boredom.†Krios replied. “We don’t get nice days like this in Agrines. This is practically a vacation, I’m sure they’d rather sit out and enjoy the weather. If you put out some food and water, wine if you’re feeling generous. They’ll be more than happy with that.†“Very well. In that case we can continue this conversation indoors if you don’t mind.†Lord Dumont said finally, motioning back towards the keep. Krios gave a short nod and followed the Lord in to the Keep. They walked in silence through the main corridor, and finally came to a dining hall, with food and wine waiting for them. Without waiting Krios unclipped the sheathed bastard sword from his belt and placed it on the table with a thud, before finding himself a chair and sitting in it. Spotting a whole roast chicken he picked it up with his bare hands, taking a bite out of it and chomping the meat down, chasing it with a healthy gulp of wine. Lord Dumont began to remove his plate armour, revealing a finely tailored tunic underneath. He sat opposite his guest, trying not to roll his eyes at the barbaric eating habits displayed before him. “I counted twenty in your party. Is such a large group of you necessary?†Dumont asked. “Ha!†Krios spat through a mouthful of chicken. “We could have done with a few more if I’m honest. I’m afraid you got the short straw on that one. I reckon you don’t know Agron Rakfang personally, but I’ll tell you in no uncertain terms, he doesn’t care much for taking orders. Especially from a King he’s sworn no allegiance to.†“The summons was merely protocol.†Dumont replied defensively. “No disrespect was meant, we sincerely require your aid.†“I bet you do.†Krios said with a nod. “Thing is we have our own mess to sort out. The only reason you got any men is because we never turn down a hunt. Don’t you worry though, my company will take care of that dragon.†Dumont winced at the sound of the word, a fact that Krios seemed to find quite amusing. “What? It’s not going to burst through the wall just because you said it’s name.†“It is a sore subject.†Dumont replied. “Such a thing has…never happened before. I worry for my people. I fear we are not prepared to face such a creature. I myself have seen what these creatures can do. In a march through Moraigh my men and I encountered a wyvern, nasty creatures.†Dumont comment was only met by a soft chuckling. Krios looked genuinally amused, as if Dumont has told a particularly good joke. Slowly his chuckle took the form of a hearty laugh, and Krios banged his fist on the table as if this was a method to stop the involuntary mirth. “I’m sorry…what do you find so funny?†Dumont asked. “Well…a wyvern? How big are they down there? 20ft long? Not exactly big buggers are they?†Krios grinned. “Plus they don’t have the strong front legs like a Dragon.†Krios looked at Dumont with an almost sinister glare, his greyish blue eyes lit up under the torches. “A dragon will easily grow to 60ft long. And if size doesn’t scare you, there’s plenty more to be fearful of. The gust kicked up from their wings can knock a man clean off the floor, their scales are harder than that shiny armour you’ve got. They’ll sniff you out with no trouble and track you for miles on end, for days and weeks if they feel the need…†Dumont swallowed hard as he tried to picture this creature descending on Amerus. If Krios spoke truth, then this creature could bring the city to rubble. “But you lot face them all the time, right? They can be beaten.†“True enough.†Krios added. “But it’s no easy task. There is no greater challenge than a dragon hunt. Their smart too, one wrong move and the whole plan falls apart. We have to track them for weeks, learn their flight patterns, their routines. Before we even think of moving out we have to pinpoint the right moment to launch an assault. Everything matters. The time of day, location, the direction of the wind. If it’s not just right then it can go south very quickly.†“This is troubling.†Dumont replied, massaging his temples as he spoke. “Our Scouts have spotted this creature only 2 days away at the most. It’s moving through the mountains, flying high and out of sight.†“Sound about right.†Krios nodded. “This is new territory. Dragons don’t come down this way, and a good thing too. This land is ripe for the picking. The beast will keep the high ground, way out of sight. Their eyesight isn’t the best up close, but they can see for miles ahead. They’ll find their prey…then they’ll dive, clinging to the valleys. The first fly over they’ll scan their mark, second fly over their shoot white hot flames, scorch the land and burn any threats to ash.†“So they don’t eat men?†Dumont asked “Not if they have a choice. They prefer livestock, pigs and cows mostly.†Krios said before pausing to drain his goblet of wine. “Most of the time they’ll just torch the lot of us. And it’s nothing like the fire that warms your homes at night. They ignite a liquid fuel they build up in glands in their neck. It clings to your skin, tears through flesh like butter and turns your bones to ash.†“This does not inspire confidence.†Dumont looked worriedly at his guest. “I assume you have a plan?†“Of sorts.†Krios admitted. “We don’t know these lands. My men will ride out at dawn and take stock of the surroundings. I’ll have a better idea of what to do at that point. We wouldn’t say no to more able hunters though. If you can find any who can stomach it they’d be welcome.†“I’ll look in to it.†Dumont said with a nod. “At the very least you have my help.†“Not afraid to get your hands dirty, I like it.†Krios grinned. “In that case there is one more thing you will need to sort out for me. Gather all of our meat, alive or dead.†“What for?†Dumont asked. “If I find a good spot, we’ll lure the dragon there. If there’s no meat left in the city, there’s a chance the dragon will leave you be. If we take all the livestock and meat reserves the dragon will catch it’s scent and track us, that way your people are safe.†“But without meat all we have is grain and vegetables. People will grow weak, and get sick. It will take us years to recover that amount of livestock. You cannot be serious.†“Put it this way, Dumont.†Krios said finally. “If you keep the meat inside Amerus, you’ll have no people left to worry over.â€
  11. His paws lightly treaded through the crinkly floor of the lush, green forest, it’s ancient trees stretching upwards, the branches decorated with full, green leaves. A brilliant, almost blinding, white light shone through the gaps, sparkling particles of dust illuminated in their beams. The wolf was coated in snow white fur, with keen blueish grey eyes focused forward. The white wolf moved carefully, but with purpose as he weaved through the trees, over the old, risen roots and passing through the gaps of the bushes, which were decorated with red berries. A soft breeze moved with him, and the leaves in the trees shook with delight. Wading through a shallow river, the wolf scaled the bank and examined the upturned and broken trees ahead. Something had torn itself them, pained and confused. The wolf followed the path of destruction and emerged in a small clearing, with bright light shining down upon the form of an enormous creature, it’s scales like a black ink, adorned with spikes and barbs. It’s wings lay in tatters as the creature lay flat across the ground, it’s body detracting and expanding rhythmically, each breath a chore. The wolf approached the tortured creature, the black dragon. The dragon’s eyes opened wide, and alert as it scanned the wolf. However it quickly grew too tired for even that much, and it’s gaze fell lazily away from the wolf, staring blankly off in to the distance. The white wolf carefully circled the dragon, examining it’s form. It’s scales were scarred in places, with fresher wounds elsewhere that wept with blood. Most notably though, were the thick, black iron chains that were coiled around it, restricting it from movement. The dragon’s expression was deeply troubled, it’s eyes so full of fear. The wolf wondered how such a creature could have fear of anything in this world. But as if to answer the wolf’s wonderings, the sky began to rumble and bang with fury. Dark clouds were forming quickly, devouring the warm light in mere moment. The chains around the dragon began to tighten of their own accord, constricting the creature. It’s eyes once more became alert, and full of terror. Then from the sky came a thunderous, booming, female voice. “Ashok Val Morghar! Gurog Shala Noshtur!†The dragon let out a stifled moan, and the white wolf reared back, his tail pointing straight out, lowering it’s front and snarling, it’s teeth fully exposed and an angry, and terrifying look in it’s eyes. The dragon’s eyes lit up, emanating ethereal flames of a sinister green. The dragon suddenly became calm, composed. It no longer seemed troubled by it’s wounds, and lifted it’s head from the ground. It turned and cast it’s ominous stare over the white wolf. The commanding voice returned, but this time it came from the dragon itself. “Val a roshvek urukma gor…Alfar!†Krios’ eyes opened and he shot up in his bed with a start. His bare olive skin was a stark contrast to the pure white sheets that still covered his lower half. The room he was in was small, and minimalist, with grey stone brick walls, and dark wood supports. There was a small bed side table to his right, but there was nothing on it. His clothes and weapons were nowhere to found. Confused he rose from the bed, letting the silk sheets fall to the floor. He went to walk from the room, when the door opened and a stout young woman dressed in a skirt and overalls stepped in with a tray, which unceremoniously crashed to the floor as the woman surveyed Krios stood naked as the day he was born, apart from clean bandages wrapped around his chest. “Ah! S-so sorry, s-sir.†She stammered as she began to pick up the tray and placed the various things back on it. “I did not expect you to be…up?†She said as her gaze descended further south. Krios frowned and looked around the room once more. “Where is my sword? And my clothes?†He asked. “Oh we took them away when you fell asleep.†The woman replied. “We have to keep the place tidy. Don’t worry they are all um…oh where are they?...Oh! Right here!†the maid finally realised that she had been carrying his clothes on the tray, all neatly folded. “I forgot…that was why I came in here.†“Good, thank you.†Krios replied as he snatched the clothing from her and unfolding it. He examined his tunic, it looked different somehow. He sniffed it and frowned. “What did you do to my clothes?†He asked. “Um…†the maid looked a little confused. “We…washed them?†“Why?†Krios demanded. “They were covered in dirt and blood.†The maid said. Krios sighed before beginning to dress himself. “I don’t see why you had to soak them in lavender. It’s a disgusting smell.†He grumbled. “Better than wet dog…†the maid muttered in response. “Your things are down stairs. Lord Dumont is sitting for breakfast, you may as well join him.†“Good. I will.†Krios said as he pulled on his boots, and then finally tied the white sash around his waist. He left the woman to tidy the room and went down the winding stone stairs of the keep and found himself once again in the presence of Lord Dumont. “Ah, so the hero finally awakens.†Dumont said with a warm smile. “Come my friend, eat with me. You certainly deserve it.†“For doing what exactly?†Krios asked as he sat at the table and snatched a bread roll from one of the baskets and took a bite. “You didn’t strike as the modest type.†Dumon said. “You have saved Amerus, I am very grateful. Everyone is, in fact.†“The whole hunt was a failure. The dragon still lives.†Krios replied. “19 men and women died…and for nothing.†“Please, Krios, the dragon’s wounds were surely fatal. It fled in to the mountains to die alone, surely?†Dumont asked. “Perhaps.†Krios replied. “But they can be surprisingly resilient. Also…there seems to be more to this. I have only just awoken from dreamsight and what I have discovered is…troubling.†“Dreamsight? What is that? A premonition?†Dumont asked, putting down his food. “I am no Seer, Dumont†Krios replied. “Dreamsight is…a remnant of our ancestors I suppose. When Agrinians take the blood ritual, we awaken our senses. It allows us to see that which is often overlooked, and in to the hearts of those we look upon, both man and beast. Sometimes what we see is too complex to understand at the time. Soon after we will enter a Dreamsight. In our dream we become our true self, in my dreams I am a white wolf. The dreams play out a scenario, and from it we can come to understand that which we have seen in the past.†Krios took another bite of his bread and stopped to chew it, and swallowed. “In my dream I encountered the dragon. It was shackled and weak, readying for death.†Krios explained. “But then…a voice called out to the dragon, a voice that caused the creature great pain and fear. It spoke in a tongue I do not understand. However the meaning is clear…something is out there that has struck fear in to that creature.†“But what could possibly scare a dragon?†Dumont asked. “What indeed…†Krios mused. “Whatever it is…it has a hold over this creature. What’s more I know where it is headed.†“You intend…to follow it? On your own?†Dumont shook his head. “You have a death wish my friend, it cannot be done.†“All the same, I cannot allow it to end like this.†Krios replied. “I will honour my brothers and sisters by ending this. Or die trying.†“…I must say I didn’t realise your people were so righteous.†Dumont said, a smile returning to his face. “but I am afraid you cannot leave just yet.†“And why is that?†Krios asked. “Maugrim left this morning with Shak’ti.†Dumont said flatly. “They went hunting with some of the locals. They should be back by nightfall.†“Damn…well then I guess I’m stuck here for now.†Krios resigned. “Well don’t worry, friend. You will be well looked after while you’re here. It’s the least I can do.†Dumont said as he stood up. “Oh that reminds me. Your pay…†Dumont reached below the table and pulled a heavy pouch of coin out from under it, and placed it on the table. “There’s enough there to buy a nice house, or tour the whore houses for three months and drink all the wine you can hold. Whichever you prefer.†Krios shook his head. “I have no need for coin. Although…†Krios thought for a moment. “How fares Syl? I’d like to see him, and Ondine too.†“Last I heard he was in bad shape…but he will live.†Dumont replied. “He’s being kept at the healer’s home. I think Ondine is out wandering the town as well.†“Thank you.†Krios said as he got up. “I will speak with them.†He took the pouch from the table. “They will no doubt have more use for this than I.†“Again you surprise me, Krios.†Dumont said. “I hope that you find what you seek.†“I will, I have no doubt of that.†Krios replied finally, before leaving the keep in search of Syl and Ondine.
  12. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    Rhyming confuses me i suppose.
  13. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    uh...yeah I have no idea.
  14. The agony of her wounds had sent the dragon in to a frenzy. With a tremendous roar she thrashed, tearing up the binding roots from the ground beneath in a maelstrom of tooth and scale. Once more a tremendous screech followed by another incendiary blaze that lit up the earth at her feet. Caught in the struggle, Ondine was indeed in great danger. However fate smiled upon her as filthy paws tread the dirt, the worgs had regrouped, at least those that still lived, each with their rider intact. Of the 20 that had stormed in to battle, only 5 remained. Leading the charge, Krios let out a triumphant roar. “The beast is wounded! Now is the time!†Krios called to his remaining riders. “Shak’ti! Make sure she does not learn the taste of Orc!†“Got it!†Came the response from his right. Shak’ti tugged on Kobi’s fur and the wolf pulled off from the pack, while the remaining riders notched their arrows, and loosed them on the dragon. It’s menacing eyes latched on them, so full of pain and unbridled fury. With vicious hiss another stream of fire escaped her maw, spraying across the sky and descending on the riders. “Disengage!†Krios roared, but the dragons reaction had been too quick. The heat scorched his back as he narrowly escaped the fate his fellow riders had met behind him. He faultered for but a moment. He had lost all of them, only Shak’ti and himself remained. But now was not the time for grieving the fallen. Kobi slid to a halt as Shak’ti leapt from it’s back, landing next to Ondine, and with a single fluid movement she had grabbed the orc and dragged her to her feet. She with Kobi’s help she managed to pick Azu up from the dirt as well. Frantically she hurried Ondine on to her mount. “You’ve fought well, but now is not the time to die!†She yelled as she smacked Azu’s behind sharply. “Go! Take your friend to safety!†She demanded of the creature, who did not need to be asked twice. Despite it’s exhaustion, the noble Terabou bounded off, carrying Ondine with her. Shak’ti grinned and leapt back on to Kobi’s back, sprinting away from the dragon and circling around it. Kobi sprinted across the field as Krios kept the beast’s eyes on him. However in the worgs haste it had drawn to close to the tail, which whipped across his route. Shak’ti moved on to her feet on the worg’s back, and with a kick of her legs she leapt, the jagged tail cutting through the space between her and Kobi, only narrowly avoid her flesh. As she cleared the danger she fell back on to Kobi, and scrambled to balance herself once more. She tugged on Kobi’s fur again and the worg moved to run parrelel to the dragon. Once again Shak’ti got to her feet and pushed off from Kobi, landing clumsily on the top of the dragon’s hing leg, but gripped tightly and pulled herself up, and immediately in to a sprint along it’s back. As she ran she drew the short axe from her side and leapt at the creatures neck with a mighty roar, she brought the axe down on the creature’s neck and it flailed in pain, tossing her to the dirt. Caked in mud she pushed herself to her feet, but the dragon had already set it’s sights on her. It’s head lunged at her like a whip, a row of razor sharp teeth pointed her way. A smirk crossed her face. So this was how it would end for her. She could accept this much. However a mass of fur obscured her view as Kobi lunged to her defence, his body caught in the dragon’s jaw, and it yelped as the black terror bit down and punctured it’s hide. “K-Kobi!†Shak’ti screamed, her world spinning out of focus. The dragon shook it’s head back and forth before tossing the worg to the ground, where it lay helplessly. Then with a final heave the dragon finally tore the roots away from underneath it. She was free now, and she bounded away from the worg and his partner, who had fallen to her knees at Kobi’s side. Spreading it’s wings out, the dragon prepared to take flight, but instead her gaze fell upon her one remaining foe. Maugrim snarled furiously as it stared off the dragon. Krios descended from his partners back, his eyes fixed on the dragon, striding forward slowly and with purpose. “Maugrim, Shak’ti needs you right now.†He said to his old friend. “Go.†Without question the wolf obeyed Krios on this occasion, sensing this was a time to trust his partner. The wolf sprinted off as Krios drew drew his sword with a sharp screech of the metal cutting through the air, causing the dragon to stay focused on him. The crimson sheen of the blade reflected starkly against the bright lights of the burning field. The dragon seemed transfixed by this phenomenon and took pause, assessing the figure that stood before him. "Look at you...such an awesome creature..." he said to the beast, "But many of your kind of fallen to this blade...come on then! Let's see who is the true predator among us!" Krios yelled the last part, and the dragon responded with a vicious snarl, rearing back, prepared to attack. A mad grin spread across Krios' face as he twirled the blade in his hand, testing his grip. The dragon let out another blood curdling roar and bounded forward, a cascade of flames jetting out of it's mouth. Krios went at a sprint, diving to avoid the fire and closing the gap. The dragon lunged at him, it's teeth bared for the kill. Krios swung his blade upwards, clipping her mouth and causing her to screech and lash out again. Krios rolled along the dirt to avoid the strike, and brought his blade to the creature again, causing it to yelp in pain. Krios held his arms out, his chest puffed out like a gladiator in an arena. "Is this all you have!? You'll have to do better than that, beastie!" He called out, "I am no insignificant creature that you can squash and discard! I am Agrinian! Do you hear me you fucking monster!? Oh great calamity! I will not be fucking ignored!" Krios began to spit at every utterance, his rage boiling his blood and finally surfacing. The dragon hissed in response, before lunging once more. Krios leapt, his anger bringing him untold strength as he took a dive to the left and rolled once more, making a run for under the creature's belly. The coiling neck followed him and a let of flame erupted from it's throat and blanketed the ground, chasing him rapidly. In the nick of time he reached the creatures leg and leapt, scaling it to avoid the flames. However the dragon, with a single beat of it's wing, brought a gust of air down upon him so intense that it knocked him clear from the leg and through the air. He twisted his body and held his sword aloft in his hands, as he descending on the creatures neck he drove it straight downwards, piercing even the tough scales on the top of it's neck. The Dragon wailed in pain, it's neck thrashing about, throwing Krios from him. He crashed to the ground, sword still in hand. He got to his feet quickly but as he did he saw the dragon's head coming for him, low to the ground and weaving towards him like a snake. The head tilted as the teeth opened, and they were almost around him by the time he had the presence of mind to move. He leapt once more, the teeth closing around him. By but a hair he avoided the jaws as they snapped shut, and he landed at it's side with a forward roll. Immediately he swung his sword, a horizontal slash across the side of her face, and then he lunched, piercing the blade straight through the part of her neck under her jaw, which was swollen like it was full with liquid. The dragon became silent, only it's loud snorting breath heaving through her nostrils remained. Her reptilian eye darted towards Krios, but she remained still. The Agrinian looked at the fierce creature, that had all of a sudden become so still. She knew what he had done, after all they were such smart creatures. "This is the end for you I'm afraid. Though it's fair to say you've took more from me than I you." Krios said to the creature. And with a final cry of rage he tore the blade from the dragon, and a dark liquid began to pour from the wound. A thick oil substance. The very thing that fuelled her flames. He turned his back to the creature, she was not dead but she was defeated. With her fire gone and the heavy wounds she sustained, she was beaten. However, as Krios soon learned, vengeance is a far more powerful motivator than logic and well being. The dragon hissed again, and the sparks on the roof of her mouth cracked. A Jet of flame erupted in her mouth, but with her gland punctured, the fuel erupted with a violent burst. The blast knocked Krios forwards and clean off his feet, before he feel in to the dirt with force, and heard a crack. The nearby flames were hot on his skin, and the pained wails of the dragon seemed distant, and echoed inside his mind. He felt dazed and confused, a pounding in his head matched with the rhythmic sounds of wings beating. A black mass flew over his eyeline, and the roars became more and more distant. He felt it fading away. All of it fading. Cold crept in. Darkness. Nothingness. And then as if it had only been mere seconds, it all came rushing back. Krios shot up in the dirt to the sound of snarling and barking. He coughed, finally feeling the effects of the smoke he was inhaling. He stood up, and felt a pain in the side of his chest. Most likely he had broken a rib or two. He slowly stumbled through the pockets of burning grass. Dumont's soldiers had poured on to the battlefield, but the dragon was nowhere to be seen. He followed the sound of the snarling worg to it's source, clutching his ribs as he walked. The midnight worg stood protectively over Syl's unconscious form, shielding him from the encroaching soldiers that she perceived as a threat. As one tried to approach from her side to pull Syl to safety she lashed out, snapping at the man who yelped and stumbled back out of the way. Her deep, rumbling growl was like thunder to their ears. Movement alerted her to a new threat until she saw that it was Krios approaching. Despite his status, her lips curled back and her yellow eyes seemed as wild as the fires that surrounded her. As Krios neared her, she took a step back but did not retreat. Her snarling intensified and she lowered herself tight to the ground, as though she was ready to leap. "Akela!" Krios cried, his voice low and authoritative. He eyed the worg who appeared fearful and apprehensive. It was Skarra's companion, and by the way she was acting Krios knew Skarra had fallen to the dragon. He sighed, approaching slowly but the worg continued to snarl at him. Clearly it was distraught. However a familiar low, warning growl emanated from behind him. Maugrim's giant form padded along from his right, taking the lead, eyeing it's kin with a it's light blue eyes. It stood tall with a dominant presence, it's tail raised in the air. It gave another short bark aimed at Akela. Maugrim's bark resonated through the burning fields, silence following it. The soldiers remained still, and Akela slowly stepped back, still baring her fangs until she was beside Syl. She slowly lowered herself to the ground, ran a tongue out over the side of her nose and at last, rested her head upon the ground. Watching with wary eyes as the soldiers finally approached cautiously. Krios approached Syl, and grimaced at the sight. He crouched down to get a closer look, but it did not look any better. He breathed a heavy sigh and looked over the Alfar's face and body. He was breathing but unconscious, and his burns were bad. Growing somewhat uncomfortable all of a sudden he stood again and turned to one of the soldiers. "See to his wounds. Quickly." Krios ordered. "If you allow him to die, Akela will likely rip your face off. She's trusting you...so save him." and with that Krios stepped back from Syl's body, turning away and staring off in to the distance. He had not anticipated Syl to get injured. How could that have been? Krios knew the dangers better than anyone, and yet he felt responsible for this somehow. "Have your men look for an Orc, Ondine. I know she's alive, she can't have been carried far." Krios walked off to continue the search himself, but he felt the soft nip of teeth at his arm as Maugrim pulled on him. "What is it?" he asked of his partner. The worg looked searchingly in to his eyes but did not utter a sound. Krios could feel the sadness in Maugrim's heart, and a sense of urgency. "Shak'ti...and Kobi." Krios said finally. "Come, show me." And with that he took off on Maugrim's back, tearing across the scorched lands once more. Finally after a short sprint, Maugrim slowed as he approached the mass of white fur that was illuminated in the raging fires. He got off of the worg and Maugrim took off ahead of him, stopping at Kobi's body and dropping down, nudging at his head and neck. As he arrived Krios noticed Shak'ti lying with her body draped across Kobi's fur. A soft but rapid breathing pulsed across the worg's body. Krios knelt down, wrapping his arms around Shak'ti and placing one hand on Kobi, feeling his short and sharp breaths. "Krios..." Shak'ti whispered through short breaths. She was crying. "...He's not going to make it...is he?" Krios looked to Maugrim, who was continuing to nudge and lick Kobi, trying to comfort him as best he could. Krios sighed and pulled Shak'ti tighter to his chest. "I don't think so." He replied finally. "It's my fault!" Shak'ti snapped through her cries of anguish. "I shouldn't have..." "Shak'ti...do not blame yourself. You and Kobi are one...you both would do the same for one another." "But now...now he's..." She couldn't finish her sentence. Krios ran his fingers through the worgs fur, which was soaked with blood. "He's in pain." Krios said to her. "He shouldn't suffer any more." "No...Krios please...we might be able to-" "Shak'ti..." Krios cut her off. He reached for his belt and drew a dagger from it. "We are miles from the nearest town. He is suffering needlessly. To end it for him is the kindest thing we can do." Shak'ti physically shook, her grief rattling through her entire body. With a harsh gulp she held out her hand. "I will do it then...it has to be me." "No." Krios replied. "I am this pack's Alpha. It is my burden. Go...say goodbye to him." Slowly Shak'ti pulled herself up, shuffling along the ground and resting next to Kobi's head. The worg's dark eyes looked searchingly in to hers. She leaned in, her hand over his jaw, her eyes locked on his. She smiled softly, as tears streamed down her face. Fighting back the urge to cry out, she gently rubbed the side of his jaw. "It's okay...hey...it's okay" she whispered as she continued to look longingly in to his dark, soulful eyes. "...you're my brave man...you saved me, Kobi" her voice stammered as she took another heavy sigh. As she did, Krios gently leaned over Kobi, placing the blade firmly against his neck. For a moment the worg looked panicked, but Shak'ti willed him to keep his eyes on her. "...Goodbye, my heart...my soul..." Shak'ti leaned forward, hugging herself against Kobi, Krios took a deep breath, and then he pulled the blade across as quickly as he could. The worg tensed for but a moment, and then it became so still. "...my friend!" Shak'ti cried, finally allowing her emotions to flow out freely, as she buried her face in the worgs fur, crying out in to the night. Krios wrapped his arms around her once more. Maugrim stood up, giving a soft, mournful whine. Then he nuzzled his nose against Shak'ti's arm, before finally resting his head upon her, his big blue eyes so full of sorrow. As Shak'ti had lost a part of herself, he had lost a brother. Together they lay in a silent embrace, their pack taken from them, they were all each other had left.
  15. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    In fairness if i had even ab average level of intelligence i probably could have figured it out quicker.
  16. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    Yajuu is correct. As for Ice's, initially i felt that it was also a letter solution, or perhaps a number. I assumed initially that the descriptors would indicate where to cut parts of the letter or number away to make new symbols that relate, but I've since disregarded that. I now believe this is similar to a previous riddle involving the removing of letters from a word, which i answered earlier as "heroine". This would be easy if we knew the starter word but that would defeat the purpose. So at the very least i know how to solve the word, based on the methods of the previous riddle. The first hint implies removing the first letter of the solution word. The second letter implies removing the last letter. The third requires removing both sides of what remains. If we follow the same formula this means removing 1 letter on each side. The final implies that it is two less than the original. This makes no sense as a number since we have removed four, not two. So this implies a symbolic number, i.e a roman numeral. So if we know there are at least 5 letters. So 2 less than 5 is 3 or III, which does not work. If there were three IIIs remaining then the total plus the other four we removed would be...seven. Hmm...seven. Seven Remove thw first letter Even - in suppose that is "equal" Remove the last. Eve - this could be be classed as being "2nd" Lets take the last two away V - roman numeral for 5. Seven is two higher than five, but the word is 5 letters and thus fits our process. That took me two fucking hours. And most of that time was spent being completely off base. That kne was hard. Nice easy riddle next plz!
  17. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    For the record nobody has the right answer yet. Also i dunno what Ice's is but i will try to figure it out once i can sit down with a pen and paper. I suppose a hint at mine for people: the answer is a letter.
  18. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    If you throw me from the window, I will leave a grieving wife. Bring me back, but in the door, and You'll see someone giving life! What am I?
  19. On their return to camp Krios and Syl were greeted to a scene of merriment. A blazing bonfire and the songs of his people rang out through the air. The sight of fresh meat was awarded with cheers, and the Agrinians moved quickly to take the hunt’s bountry from Krios and Syl, in order to prepare it for eating. A warm smile spread across Krios’ face, his eyes lit up in the light of the fire. Excitement brimmed up inside him, as the hunt drew ever closer. However before he could join the festivities, his interest was turned to the steady, guttural growl that muddied through the singing and cheering. His gaze fell upon the large, grey form of Maugrim, who emerged from the night and cutting an imposing figure in the harsh light of the fire. Krios’ stance changed swiftly, he lowered himself in to a crouch, his hands held open and in front of him. Maugrim’s growl grew in ferocity, his teeth bared as he padded towards Krios, his tail straight and ridged. The hackles along his back were raised, and the large beast was crouched as he crept forward, poised and ready to strike. Krios mimicked his posture, as best a two legged creature could at least. They circled each other, each gauging the other one intently. Krios did not fear his closest companion, but he was no fool. He did not dare take his sight away from him though. To do so was a mark of extreme disrespect in this instance, an act that would likely have his throat swiftly torn to shreds. Each movement was deliberate and careful, and almost akin to a strange dance. The Agrinians watched with keen interest, but none of them took action. Finally Maugrim had tired of the dance, and bounded forward, pushing off his back legs, his teeth bared and on a route to Krios’ throat. However the hunter was prepared, and ran forwards with an almighty cry, ducking beneath the worg’s raised body, using the strength from his legs to push upwards, tackling the creature from underneath where he could avoid the deadly teeth and claws. Despite it’s extreme size, Krios’ positioning had provided him strength enough to force Maugrim upwards, turning him to the side and crashing in to the ground. The beast rallied quickly however, and as Krios approached it turned round and went for him again, successfully sinking it’s teeth in to the throat and upper shoulder area. Krios dropped lower from the weight pressing on him, but managed to stay on his feet, his arms clutching around the worg’s giant neck, before releasing his grip and hammering the worg in the side of his neck, again and again in the same spot until Maugrim released his grip. Krios’s shoulder and neck area were bleeding, but the wounds were shallow and would cause no lasting damage. Maugrim had paused his aggression, and Krios took the beast’s head in his hands and placed his own forehead in line with Maugrim’s. The pair stood in their embrace for a moment, and became strangely peaceful having had such a fierce exchange prior. Maugrim let out a short, low rumble from his throat and Krios responded by stroking under the worg’s neck and mouth. “I know.†He said to the worg. “…I know.†Then he released Maugrim and turned around once more. The Agrinians went back to doing their thing without another word, and Maugrim padded off to lie down. Krios re-joined Syl and folded his arms. “That’s what happens when you take a stranger hunting with you and leave your worg behind.†Krios explained with a soft smirk. “It is a shared relationship…sometimes I have to be put in my place. After all I am not his Master by any means, but we are bonded forever. That was his way of reminding me of that.†Syl did not respond, but his expression made it clear that the Alfar understood entirely, certainly more than any human ever could. Krios couldn’t help but find Syl incredibly interesting. He was a mysterious creature, when Krios looked within him as only an Agrinian could, he saw both Ice and Fire. Everything about him seemed strange to Krios, and yet Syl seemed to understand him implicitly. He may not have agreed, true enough, but he understood. The exchange was once again cut short by the sound of distant rumbling. This time the entire camp went on alert, searching in to the darkness for the source. Hooves were beating along the ground and growing louder. The clunking and screeching suggested wooden wheels, carts no doubt. Then from the valleys came the flecks of light that illuminated the riders. However this light was no torch flame, but a brilliant light like the sun. The torches had been imbued with this magical light to guide their way. It was clear who approached now, Lord Dumont and his men. Within a few minutes they had reached the camp and slowed their horses. Michael Dumont himself was the first to descend from his steed, dressed once again in his brilliant armour. “Krios, what is the meaning of this?†Dumont asked as he pointed at the bonfire. “Surely a flame such as this will attract the creature here!†“Of course.†Krios replied. “Have you forgotten why we are here, Lord Paladin?†“But what if it comes too soon? It could pick us off in the dark!†Dumont protested. “It won’t. It’ll be here just as the sun is coming up. By that time this fire will be extinguished, and we will be hidden from it’s scent.†Krios explained. “The embers and smoke coat the area, and coat our skin. That smell of fire and ash is all a dragon knows, that smell follows it wherever it goes. But flesh, pink, still fresh and walking around. It’ll find that without a worry. When the dragon arrives it will go for the livestock you’ve brought, but it needs to think that we are no longer here.†“I assume you have a plan then?†Dumont asked. “I do. Get your men settled and meet me by the fire.†Krios said. Syl followed him, and from the corner of his eye Krios spotted Ondine coming back to the camp from somewhere. He caught her eye and waved her over. “Come, you must listen†he said before walking to the fire and taking a seat on the ground. Once Dumont had ordered his men to unpack he joined the group and at last Krios began to speak of his plan. “Preparations will begin shortly so I will keep this as brief as I can†he began, “We will release the livestock near the lake. Then we will hide your horses, your carts and anything else. Dumont, you and your men will hide in the rocks and await my signal. You must stand with them, for without the enchantments you provide their arrows will be useless. Are we clear?†Krios turned to Dumont who had remained standing. He nodded. “You can count on me and my men, friend.†Dumont replied. “With the Light on our side we will drive back the darkness.†“This is no creature born of evil, Dumont.†Krios warned. “But your magic will still be valuable. Now, my men and I will go in to hiding with the worgs in the forests nearby. When I give my signal, Dumont, your men will fire their arrows upon the beast’s back and wings. This will temporarily dissuade it from taking to the air and will allow us to close in. Syl, your task is to bind the dragon as soon as you are in range. Ondine, ride with Syl. I want him concentrating on his task and I need someone to watch his back. You are no doubt the one who will care the most for his welfare, and so I know you will put your heart in to it. When you can, speak to my men. They will show you our formations so that you can move with the pack.†“When grounded a dragon is no easy kill. It will be angry, very angry. It will blast fire from it’s mouth and scorch the landscape. The jets can reach a fair distance and the fire spreads quickly. If you follow our formations you will know the patterns and avoid the fire. It is important that you never stop moving. The moment you stop you are as good as dead. The hardest part is closing the gap, once we get closer the beast will have more in store for us however. Teeth and claws will be the new contenders, and while they are big, they are quicker than you can imagine. Predictable movements will get you killed.†Krios stood up, his gaze staring in to the heart of the bonfire before them. “Dragon scales are impervious to most weapons. Enchantments, enhancements, runes, whatever you have please use it. Ondine, I assume that Glaive is for more than decoration. I feel its power and importance. You should have no trouble cutting the beast if it comes to it. If you get the chance, strike the underbelly, the neck and the throat. This position will also keep you relatively safe from harm. Stay away from it’s head, while it can be cut it poses the most risk to your life. Also watch it’s tail, if that bastard hits you expect to be winded at the least, your ribs shattered at worst.†“And what of my men?†Dumont asked. “I assume we continue the assault from above?†“Yes.†Krios replied. “But when my men reach the dragon, use precision. If my men are killed by a stray fucking arrow it will be on your head. I won’t lie, expect death. I have no doubts that some will suffer that fate. For us…†Krios turned to his comrades who were all busy getting half drunk. “For us death is something we have already accepted, a long time ago. However, if we do this right then many more lives will be saved. And the bounty is…quite considerable. The scales can be used to forge Dragonsteel, I would imagine that’s quite rare in Rhaegal. You should fetch a fair sum should you wish it.†“And what of you?†Dumont asked. “Surely you would not do this without reward?†“Agrinians have no need for coin.†Krios replied. “The hunt itself is a worthy reward. Although…perhaps coin will become necessary in the future for us. Especially if we have to keep coming through Rhaegal.†“I don’t follow†Dumont said, frowning slightly. “I examined the land, I looked through your maps and of the areas where the dragon has been spotted, and I’m afraid this might not be the end of it all. All the movements suggest that this Dragon has moved in from the West. It is not of Agrines.†“That’s not possible. We’d have heard word from Caspar or Avelyn if a dragon had been seen in those regions.†Dumont replied dismissively. “And how long has it been since you’ve heard word from them at all? Avelyn is out in the middle of nowhere. And Caspar belongs to the Merchants Guild, what makes you think they’d have any interest in warning you?†Krios gave an excited grin. “This dragon is from Rhaegal, I’m certain of it.†The last word seemed to have almost cast a spell upon the group. Each had been silenced, and only the sound of the roaring fire could be heard. For what seemed like hours they waited, silently. Then the men began to move. The bonfire was extinguished, the livestock were released and each man and woman took their place. The darkness faded, and the midnight blue turned to a dark crimson shade as the sun began to rise. One the edge of the forest the worgs were stood in wait, the Agrinian riders on their back. At the forefront was Krios, on the back of Maugrim. At his right was Shak’ti riding Kobi. To his left was Ondine and Syl, and scattered around him were the rest of the Agrinians. Krios had barely spoke since the conversation on the previous evening. His eyes looked out on to the open field that would soon become a battleground. He relished these moment, where his fingers were numb and his hairs stood on end. What lay ahead was life or death. Would he die today? He liked to wonder to himself that very question quite often. Perhaps he would charge out and be turned to ash before it even begins. One wrong move, that was all it took. There was a screech from a hawk in the sky. Shak’ti turned to Krios and nodded. “It’s coming.†“Good.†Krios replied. “Stay down and out of sight.†The group complied, their worgs crouching in the to thick brush of the forest, their riders hugging tight to their bodies. There was silence, and a thick tension in the air. For a moment Krios let himself wonder if it was a false alarm. Then he heard the low whistle of wind as wings cut through it. Once again the sky went black. The enormous shadow flew straight over the forest, and out on the field. Still it’s height was too high for them to see it, but the shadow printed on the floor of this summer dawn cut an imposing figure, a giant monster. A harbinger of death. Then came the cry, a deafening, guttural roar that echoed in every corner. The forest shook as animals fled, and the distant screeches of the frightened livestock could be heard. Then the creature descended, and Krios’ eyes lit up. The draconian lizard landed gracefully, it’s black scales shimmering in the rise of the sun. Even at a distance it was an imposing figure, it’s back and front legs were thick and strong, with giant claws that scraped the ground as it walked. It’s tail was long and covered in spines and ridges. The wings were enormous, like constructs of leather and steel, with hooked bone-like claws at the top of each wing, the creatures would use these to cling to the sides of mountains. The dragon’s back and neck featured a series of ridged spikes, and the crown of it’s head was just that, a crown. Bone as hard as steel sat outside of it’s scales, three jagged horns that pointed skywards. The plated worked down it#s snout, and finished with a large spike on his nose, it’s nostrils flared and emitting plumes of smoke. It’s jaw was strong, and the teeth were sharp and menacing. This collosal giant oozed terror and chaos, it was the wrath of nature itself. And yet… “…Strange…†Krios muttered. “What? Is something wrong?†Shak’ti asked. “I’m not sure…it’s nothing. We proceed as planned.†Krios replied. “It’s a real beauty though, isn’t she? Definitely a female, it’s bloody massive. Black scales though…never thought I’d see that.†A grin spread across Krios’ face once more. “Let’s not waste any time. On my mark…†The party were poised to strike. They waited patiently for the right moment, until the time finally came and Krios thrust his arm forward. “Go!†he yelled, and suddenly the worgs shot out of the trees like arrows from a bow. Bounding across the plains, their collective rumbling drew the dragon’s attention. The beast turned from it’s food and locked eyes with them. She let out another blood curdling roar as her wings fanned out. But before she could push off, arrows twinkled in the sky above, raining down on her wings, causing the beast to cry in pain. The worgs drew nearer and the beast crouched down on it’s front legs, then, with a deep breath it blanketed the plains in white hot flames that cut across the grass in an instant. The animals were running around in a panic, but the worgs pressed on, lead by Krios at the front. “Come on Syl…†He growled under his breath, “Don’t disappoint me.â€
  20. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    Is it THE VOICES IN MY HEAD!?
  21. Avatar: Reborn from Ash

    Yaozu stepped off of the airship, walking down the ramp with the few other passengers. As he reached the bottom of the ramp he saw a familiar face in the distance, although it was buried in to the confines of the fur coat she was wearing. "She made it..." he said to himself, smiling. As he went to approach her, Juro escaped from inside his jacket and ran off down the path of crushed snow, stopping just short of Fang, cocking his head to the side with a vacant expression. Fang stared down at the little creature with a blank expression, "What?" She muttered. Juro continued to stare at her. "I don't have anything for you." His beady eyes bore into her soul. "Take it!!" She barked, throwing her bag of supplies to the ground and stomping past the little creature. Yaozu laughed a little as Fang approached him. "I see you made it." he said with a smile. "Barely." Fang muttered, looking back at Juro with a scowl before turning back to face the Avatar, "So, let me look at you..." Fang walked up to Yaozu and examined him thoroughly, taking a couple of circles around the boy before she stood back and said at last, "You're short now, but..." Fang sniffed, "You smell less, so..." She shrugged and then a thought occurred to her, "But then I might have a cold..." "Yeah I kinda felt like that the first time I came here." Yaozu replied. "Fire Nation born and bred, so this is sorta like my worst nightmare..." Yaozu watched as Juro sniffed Fang's supplies, poking his nose in her pack, before becoming bored and pushing up on his front paws and standing on his head. "...We both are actually, me and Juro." Yaozu looked over at the town and it was as if he had only just noticed it for the first time. "Oh...I forgot that it was the festival. This might not actually be so bad. Come on, let's go look around and find somewhere to stay. Then we can figure out what to do next." Yaozu walked towards Juro, who fell on his butt before looking surprised, blinking slowly. Then as he noticed Yaozu he climbed up on his shoulder and dived back in to the top of his coat for warmth. Yaozu picked up Fang's things and tossed them to her. "I don't think a fire ferret has much use for this stuff so you should probably keep it." The pair headed back towards the town, walking through the busy streets. There was a smell of grilled fish in the air from the market stalls, and lanterns were hung up and lit across the rooftops. "So do you know about the Festival of Lights?" Yaozu asked as they walked. "Only what i've been told," Fang replied. "It's probably the best time to come here." Yaozu explained. "This time every year they have a week long festival to celebrate the anniversary of Harmonic Convergence. Specifically when Avatar Korra opened the Spirit Portals, and that lead to the Southern and Northern Tribes uniting. They have games, markets, food and drinks. Oh and they do these really great performances. Hey we should go see one!" Yaozu didn't wait for a response. "Come on!" Yaozu went off at a jog, leading Fang in to a large square. In the centre of the square there was a large pond full of water, and surrounding it were 4 people dressed in blue fur clothing. A crowd had begun to gather. "Hey this is it, come see!" Yaozu called to Fang as he found a space in the crowd and watched intently. The four waterbender took their stance, bending at the knees and drawing their arms backwards in a fluid motion, as if pulling a length of rope between their hands. As they did the water in the pool lifted up and out, in to four streams that came winding through the air towards their masters, before each took the shape of a sphere in front of each waterbender. Then the sphere's drew closer together, moving back to the centre before finally merging in to one larger sphere. The waterbenders each stepped elegantly to their left, crouching low and arcing their arms from side to side, and then upwards. As they did the sphere changed, forming a large bulb like shape. The waterbenders waved their hands again, and suddenly the bulb began to part like a blooming flower, before finally taking the shape of a giant lily. The waterbenders' movements became faster, as they brought dust clouds of shimmering ice off of the ground, having it converge around the bottom of the lily, slowly taking the shape of the stem, and the leaves branching off from it, all glittering in an ice that sparkled like diamonds. Finally with a final thrust of their arms the lily on top froze solid, and it's form began to shimmer and glisten. The Waterbenders all took a bow, as people began to clap and cheer, Yaozu included. However, the waterbenders turned at the sound of his cheers and caught sight of him. For a moment they paused, analysing him, and then they frowned in unison. "It's the Avatar!" One of them said accusingly. "...Get him!" Another cried, and the waterbenders began to sprint before him. "Uh-oh!" Yaozu said in a panic, "Stay here! I'll come back for you!" he cried as he took off at a sprint, the waterbenders in hot pursuit. Yaozu turned a corner and sprinted across the street, weaving through the people and trying to get away. He turned to duck down a side alley but a jet of water shot across it and froze solid, blocking his path. Instinctively he leapt, kicking off against the ice and vault upwards on the the roof of the one storey building. His foot tapped against the tiled roof and he ran up it, reaching the middle and running along the beam. Two jets of water shot up from the sides, the waterbenders vaulting on to the roof. One of them came from the front, and sent a jet of water at Yaozu, who stopped and held out his hands, taking control of the water, spinning 360 on his heel to counteract it and sent it back at it's master, right in his face and sending him crashing to the ground. He leapt over the water bender and reached the edge of the roof, leaping off of it and on to the layer of pillowy snow on the ground. There was a soft crunch behind him as the other waterbender landed, but Yaozu reacted, spreading his feet across the ground and pulling his arms up, turning the snow to ice and dragging it upwards in an arc and sending the waterbender on to his backside. Then he ran off down the street once more. People stared as he barged past them, and he heard a distant scratching noise. Suddenly the two remaining water benders shot past him, their boots encased in ice, allowing them to skate across the ground at high speed. They turned effortlessly in front of him, blocking his path. Yaozu leapt out of the way as a pile of snow was launched at him, and he rolled across the ground, gathering snow around him, swirling like a maelstrom, before sending it hurling back towards the waterbender and burying him in it. He went on the offensive against the last one, Yaozu waved his arms and pulled snow from the ground, changing it to water and sending it forwards, snapping at his opponent like a whip. The waterbender pulled the same manoeuvre and used it to deflect the strike, before arcing it around Yaozu's and sending it in to the side of his face, as it turned to snow and blanketed his head. As Yaozu brushed the snow away from his face he heard laughing. His opponent was giggling like a child, and more laughter sounded as the other waterbenders came to him. "You guys..." Yaozu said with a sigh. "You did better than last time" said the one who had bested him. "What are you going here, Yaozu. Taunra never said you were coming." "He didn't know..." Yaozu replied. "It was a...surprise." Yaozu paused for a moment. "Oh...I left my friend. We better go find her." The group made their way back to the square and found Fang. "Fang!" Yaozu cried. "I'm back...sorry. These are student of my waterbending master, Taunra. They have this lame snowball fighting game..." "Hey does she play?" One of them asked. "Uh..." Yaozu began but it was too late, as the waterbender drew some snow from the ground and launched it at Fang's face. As the snowball approached Fang she deftly dodged a few inches to one side, letting the snowball glide harmlessly past her cheek. "My turn!" She chimed, and whirled around and stamped the ground in front of her. Suddenly earth from in front and behind the two students burst up, carried into the air by the rock underneath. The miniature avalanche landed on the two students, smothering them up to their heads. A pair of heads popped out of the snow looking disgruntled. "Hey you cheated!" One of them cried. "Yeah! No Earthbending!" "That's what you get for jumping the gun I guess." Yaozu said, holding back laughter. "Come on get up. Let's go see Taunra." With that the group left, the waterbenders walking ahead of Fang and Yaozu. "That was too funny!" Yaozu said with a grin. "I've always hated that game...waterbending has never been my strong suit." "You think it's mine?" Fang replied, smirking. Yaozu shrugged. "I know, I know. I just meant...I struggled a lot here. I picked up Airbending and Earthbending no problem...this was the first time I really sucked at something." "Everyone sucks at something, old man. Some more than others." Fang replied, cricking her knuckles as she put her hand behind her head and stretched, "There are exceptions, but opposite elements don't usually mesh very well. Your last... you... was an earthbender, but you're a firebender, so... waterbending won't necessarily come to you so quickly." A grin spread across Fang's face as something occurred to her, "Anyway, we can't all be as awesome as me." Yaozu smiled, and the two walked quickly to catch up to the Waterbenders. The hut they sat in was small and minimalist, but a fire was going and it was warm inside at least. Yaozu and Fang sat around a small table on cushions on the floor, with Juro scampering around the room, investigating. The others had went off to find Master Taunra to let him know they were here. At least for now they were alone to speak with one another. "So...about what we said earlier." Yaozu began. "What do you want to do? I mean we could try to confront Lei Shen I don't know how that would turn out. Equally...trying to convince the other leaders isn't easy. People have grown used to peace, the thought of something like this happening doesn't even occur to them.""I..." Fang frowned, "Why are you asking me?!" She exclaimed, pointing at herself. "You're the Avatar!" She jabbed Yaozu in the shoulder. "Anyway, i'm not a politician. And if you put me and Lei Shen in a room together, I don't pretend to know what's going to happen..." She said - punching the floor with her fist several times. "Then maybe we should avoid that scenario" Yaozu replied. "How about we get some rest here and tomorrow we can figure this out. At any rate I think that we should probably avoid Republic City, I'm pretty sure Lei Shen has eyes there. If we approach him alone we could endanger ourselves, so we should look at doing it publicly. Maybe we can find out where he is...or maybe-" Yaozu was cut off as the door opened and in walked an older man dressed in furs. His hair was silver, and long, and he had a thin, long moustache. "Yaozu!" he said with a warm smile. "What a nice surprise. I didn't expect you back so soon. What brings you here my boy?""Taunra!" Yaozu stood up, greeting his old friend with a hug. "Oh...and you have brought a...friend?" Taunra asked, eyeing Fang suspiciously, his gaze travelling the route of her scars, and finally her missing arm. "Yes this is Fang she's..." Yaozu paused. "She's a friend of mine I met back in the Earth Kingdom. I brought her here for the Festival of Lights!" Yaozu lied nervously. Fang watched Yaozu lying to Taunra with a peculiar expression etched on her face. A mixture of confusion and amusement which warped into outright delight as she opened her mouth, "Hi, i'm Fang Zhao, y'know? Daughter of Hong-li Zhao - Earth King." If Yaozu had been drinking tea, he would have ejected it from his mouth with such force that he could have pierced the far wall which only triggered laughter from Fang. "Oh please, old man, you're not fooling this guy." Fang pointed a thumb at Taunra. "That insane flavour saver aside, he's pretty sharp." Then Fang leant in close to Taunra, "Do you tie it up before you drink broth?" She asked in a deliberately loud whisper. "If that is the case,,," Taunra said as he sat down calmly. "Then this must be about the new Empire I've heard so much grumbling about.""Master Taunra I..." Yaozu began"Enough, sit." Taunra commanded, and Yaozu sat down immediately. "Now, I am just a steadily ageing old fool who keeps to himself. I care little for politics, or alleged assassination attempts..." Taunra cast a cursory glance at Fang as he said it. "However you are my student, Yaozu. In that regard I may have the right to question what company you keep. However...your friend Fang here seems rather forthcoming. I'll allow you to explain the whole story before I make my judgement." And so Yaozu did explain, about the meeting with the leaders, and his journey to the Spirt World. He told Taunra of what he and Fang had learned together, and what they sought out to do. In the end there was a long silence which was particularly uncomfortable to Yaozu, who felt embarrassed for lying. In the end it was Taunra that broke the silence. "If what you say is true then I suppose it is quite troubling for those that care about such things. However I cannot allow my student to go barging in to the Earth Empire without a plan. Have you spoke with the leaders about this?""No" Yaozu replied. "We came straight here.""Hmm...well that might have been the better choice. Those blockheads probably wouldn't help you anyway. Might I suggest another option?""Um..is there one?" Yaozu asked. "There is." Taunra explained. "Find the true assassin. If you can capture the perpetrator then you have leverage. People will trust what you say. Fang...you said this assassin was a waterbender correct?""He was a waterbender alright," Fang nodded, "I remember that night like it happened today. Nobody could do something like that without waterbending.""No doubt a mercenary, and no ordinary one at that." Taunra replied. "I know it is not your area of expertise but...was there anything distinguished about this person, the type of waterbending they used, did it stand out?" "It was hot. Really hot." Fang muttered, rubbing her shoulder where her other arm used to attach, "Cuts flesh like butter. Did a number on me, obviously." She rolled her eyes and then leant back and sighed, "Can't we get some alcohol in here or something? I've been sober for ten years - girl could use a drink.""I might be able to whip something up." Taunra replied as he got up and began rifling through his cupboards. "Heating water is pretty advanced. That significantly narrows your search, however, it's not like we keep a list or anything. However it's highly unlikely any assassin would stick around so you're unlikely to find him anywhere near Lei Shen, or the Earth Empire for that matter. He may be in this very town, or the Northern tribe. Or perhaps in the Fire Nation I suppose, but that might stand out." Finally Taunra pulled a dusty old bottle from his cupboard with a pair of glasses, one for him and one for Fang. He placed them on the table and poured the drink. "There is a man named Shila who lives here. He is one of the only people I know who can do such a thing. He trained only a few students, perhaps you can start with him." Taunra took a drink from his cup and gasped audibly. Fang glanced at the liquid in her glass, reached out and picked up the bottle and took a long, deep drink from it then wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. "Phew, that's better." She sniffed, holding the bottle between her feet as she stretched out, "Let's ask him then - in a bit." She took another swig of the bottle."Shila is quite a solitary man, and suspicious of strangers." Taunra said as a caution. "I probably would not be so honest about your origins with him.""I'm sorry about...lying before." Yaozu said. "It's okay, I understand why you did" Taunra said with a soft nod. "Get some rest you two. Oh and Yaozu...if you have time before you leave, I would like to see if you've been keeping your training up. You may have scraped by on your mastery of waterbending, but there is still much more you could learn.""Um...okay." Yaozu said with a nod. "If we have time."
  22. Book 1: Resonance A thick fog swept across the darkness, the wind carrying it gently across the midnight plains. A distant sound of drums rumbled rhythmically through the air. The regimented beat of war drums became louder, until soon they were deafening. A horn sound cut through the drumming, followed by an ear-splitting crescendo of roars. Missiles of flame illuminated the skies. Footsteps crunched through the wet grasslands, together in unison creating a rumble like thunder. spears and blades glinted off the light of the projectiles cascading across the sky. Fury was so thick in the air that he could taste it. He felt sweat pouring from him. Fear gripped him tightly. How had he gotten here? He had no memory of what had transpired before. Before him the armies met one another with a resounding crash and steel met steel. More fire shot skywards, the earth shot up from the ground in chunks, before being volleyed into the crowds. He fell to his knees. It was chaos. He looked to the floor, and the grassy plains were red with blood. "Stop it!" He barked, hammering a clenched fist into the ground. "STOP IT!" There was an explosion in the centre of the battle. He felt the heat wash over him. The light was blinding, but in the centre of it all he saw a lone figure. A man draped in red robes, long grey hair flowing behind him, a thick beard across his face. His arms were outstretched, gently moving through the air, coaxing the fire, swirling it around him. He stood calmly, manipulating this growing vortex of flame. Slowly the armies began to back off, moving away so as not to be burned. The air grew thick with black smoke, and their awe struck faces began to fade away from his view. After a moment, only the man within the vortex remained, and as he looked over the man, the man looked back, staring coldly at him, as if he could see within his very soul. Finally, darkness enveloped him too. Yaozu's eyes sprung open, but he remained motionless, lying on his back. He stared upwards at the dark mahogany ceiling. The young man felt a weight on his chest, and for a moment he contemplated that this was the weight left on him by his dream. However the reasons soon became more literal, as the creature lying on his chest crept forward and in to his field of view. The orange and white furred creature looked at him with innocent, black eyes, before cocking it's head slightly. "Hey...Juro, you little rascal." Yaozu said with a soft smirk as he clapped the Fire Ferret with his hand, ruffling the fure on it's little head. Juro made a high pitched growling noise, before forcing itself out from his grip and running off of the bed. Yaozu sat up and turned to his side, to see there was another figure in the room. This time it was a middle aged man of strong build, his hair short and spiked, beginning to go grey, and a short goatee at his chin. "You were grumbling in your sleep again, kid." The man said with a soft smile, "Poor Juro was just worried about you, that's all." "It was just a crazy dream." Yaozu replied, giving a quick yawn before pulling himself out of bed. His companion did not seem quite as dismissive as he was. "You know if it was anyone else I'd believe that." He said with a raised brow. "You know that your dreams...they're different. You can't just pass them off as your mind running wander." "I know, I know." Yaozu sighed, rolling his eyes. "But this was definitely just a dream. I know the difference by now. This...didn't feel the same. You know, Kuj'ra?" "Actually, I don't" Kuj'ra replied, smirking once more. "I'm not the Avatar kid, my dreams only involve quiet beaches and naked ladies." "Hah!" Yaozu grinned. "I'm sure your wife finds that comforting." "Yeah, right. Like I'm stupid enough to tell her that." Kuj'ra chuckled. "Anyway, you need to get dressed. We're almost there. I'll expect you on deck in ten minutes." "Sure. You go on." Yaozu replied as he waved Kuj'ra off. As the door to his room closed he pulled off his night shirt and opened a wardrobe, pulling out some clothes and throwing them on the bed in a heap. He settled himself in to a pair of black trousers, before fitting on a pair of knee high, grey boots, fastened with black laces in a cross-hatch pattern up the front. He pulled a white vest on over his torso, and then on top of that he put on a dark grey, double breasted jacket, zipped up on the left hand side of his chest. He fastened a red sash around his waist and popped the collar of his jacket so that it covered his neck. Finally dressed he looked in the mirror. He was a fair skinned 18 year old, with green eyes and jet black hair, fashioned in a long mohawk, shaved skin-close at the sides. He pulled the long hair back and tied it back in a high ponytail. Now looking halfway presentable he made his way to the door, Juro padding along behind him before leaping up and clambering on to his shoulder. Yaozu walked along the tight corridor, the metal frames a stark comparison to the wooden frames of his room. He turned a corner and rose up a set of stairs, hearing Kuj'ra talking loudly at the top. The man was outspoken and often blunt, to the point of offending. Yaozu found this quite humorous as the man never intended to insult anybody, he was incredibly warm hearted. Kuj'ra was his mentor, the man who has taught him Firebending when he was just a boy. Even when he had to travel across the world in his early teens, to places his parents and friends could not go, Kuj'ra always came with him. From the icy cold of the Northern Water Tribe, to the peaceful peaks of the Air Nomads, and even to the lush valley of Zaofu where he mastered Earthbending. The most recent trip had been to the Water Tribe, to conquer his weakest element. While his training was considered complete, he still did not feel exceptionally confident with water. Finally he emerged from the steps and out on to a long deck, where crew were busy steering the ship. Yaozu looked up, his vision obscured by the large red canvas of the Fire Nation's Airship balloon. He walked over to the edge and looked over the side to the vast ocean below. Then in the distance he saw their destination. There on the edge of a city, the statue of Avatar Aang greeted those who travelled to Republic City. It had been nearly 200 years since Aang's passing. "This is it, kid." Kuj'ra said as he slapped Yaozu on the back, causing him to lurch forwards slightly. "The training wheels are off. This is your first diplomatic mission as the Avatar. Do you think you can handle it?" "We're attending a summit." Yaozu replied. "A bunch of old men and women bickering over inane discrepancies in the education bills or something equally boring." Yaozu let out a sigh. "I want to see some of the action. I should be helping people. Like Yun Feng and Korra did." "The world doesn't need saving, kid." Kuj'ra replied. "Your predecessors did those things because they had to. They fought for the peace we have now. It's your job to ensure it stays that way. Even if it means a boring summit, right?" "Right..." Yaozu muttered, staring off into the mountains of the Earth Kingdom, way past Republic City. "...Still...what I wouldn't give for even a little trouble, someone I could save..."
  23. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    Nothing. That riddle is as old as...an old thing.
  24. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    My back. Okay. Why can't a man living in the USA be buried in Canada?