Hunters of Terra Dolor (Role Playing Section)

Dahlexpert

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“I have an opportunity for you and your clan, I’m offering you a chance to join my tribe of assorted tribes. The people that fallow me are the Bloddy axes, Winter tooth and the black rock clans.”

“Hum that’s quiet the impressive tribe you got there I will admit I’m surprised that you got all these tribes to work together and not kill each other, so I will at least hear you out what will we do in your tribe?”

“I plan on taking you to a new land, far west of here beyond the great sea. There are plenty of monsters there, we also work with certain monsters such as giants and harpy’s.

Commotions could be hear be hand the leader of the thunder clan. “You allow giants and harpy’s to join you how is that even possible, there nothing but wild beast!?”

“Some may be seen as wild beast, but the ones with us across the ocean have some common since and intelligent so they joined my tribe of Norsca.”

“Humm interesting so you want my clan to join you huh, if we get to hunt the monsters there across the sea. If you help us out with a certain hunt then well join you see how this giant tribe work together, see were hunting a giant mammoth been after this heard for years if you help us kill the matriarch we can gather the heard and bring them to your side.”

Lorica scratched her chin and smiled. “Alright, I’m sure we could use those monsters and it would be interesting to see how both winter tooth and the bloody Axes deal with capturing these monsters. Best we get moving then.”

The large hunting group went deeper into the mountain the wind started to pick up and the cold starting to freeze them, the thunder tribe not being affected by the snow much. When they went deeper into the mountain they found the giant herd, one of the thunder tribe members went into the herd and scared on of the mammoth causing a stampede, the horde chased after the mammoths heard with the wolf riders going ahead with Lorica seeing a giant mammoth bigger than the rest of them they threw spears at the giant mammoth getting her attention. The mammoth charged the wolf riders and went after them more wolf riders threw spears into the giant beast. Keeping her in one area, the mammoth changed trying to get out of the circle of wolf riders.” Alight bring it down!” The leader of the thunder tribe ordered threw more spears into the mammoth, alongside the tribe Lorica horde who were pounding it with arrows. Eventually the mammoth went down and the thunder tribe started to carve the beast right there taking tones of meat off the beast and taking it’s tusks, they decided to make camp around the beast and the thunder tribe leader went to Lorica and shook her hand.

“Thanks for your help with this beast, been after this monster for months. So you say you’re from across the sea huh, and you’re a raider huh. While I admit my tribe hasn’t done many pillaging we will proudly join you and your tribe of Norsca.”

“Great to hear so my new friend do you have a name?”

“Skah, is my name leader of the thunder tribe, and I look forward to joining you across the sea.”

After a few days, and the thunder tribe going back for the mammoth herd capturing mostly the young and made their way to the beach were Scarlet was waiting for them with a fleet of ships.

“Wow after a few weeks you gathered quiet the horde, by the way Lorica you look different.”

When Lorica approached her hair length was to her back she also had tattoos on her arms and chest.” Well I guess you could say I’m enjoying the culture of my new friends.” When she turned around she saw the tribes amazed at the site of the ships some never seeing one before.” Alight my friends climb aboard we have a war to win and animals to hunt in Terra Dora!” Lorica lead her people and beast on to the ships and they traveled to Terra Dorra.
 

Black0ut

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Feb 5, 2015
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Black0ut and Frostlich1228 present:
Lovely Dreams
(set before The final battle)
The Light Elf searched out his longtime musical compadre, spending hours on the task before retiring to the bar. He hoped, that like before, he could perhaps summon her with his music. He began playing, a more hopeful and jovial tone that attracted more people to the bar to listen to him play. He even added his voice, singing a ballad in Elven that was original and poetic.

Eventually a certain shy sheepy made her way over to him, admiring his music quietly.

He finished with a crescendo, switching to Doloran to finish with, "A valiant stride of hearth and home!"

Getting up from the piano, he noticed Mags. "Hey, Bard of Wonders... funny enough I was hoping to talk to you... I kinda need a favor..."

"Oh? Sorry. I've been... Out lately..." She smiled. "What's wrong friend?"

"I seem to have angered my closest friend here and I... well, I hear dreams are very good ways of viewing how someone feels about you. At least, they can't lie in a dream. So I was wondering..." He started, not eager to finish his sentence.

"You... Want me to go into their dreams without their permission?" Magdalene hesitated.

"A very big favor." Edan repeated, sighing ever so slightly. "I... I know if I try to bring myself to talk to her without understanding why we're at such odds, I'll be an asshole or she'll be a bitch and it'll all fall apart." He closed his eyes tight, as if to ward off that possible future.

"I... I don't have many friends and... Far fewer that... that I can consider family, even if they don't. The joys of being orphaned in slavery... anyways... this was, or rather, is the last chance I have to fix my friendship with Titania. I don't have any more plans on how to do it left after this, Mags." He opened his eyes, one blue and hopeful, the other a gaping hole.

"I shouldn't do this... How would you feel if you had someone sneak into your mind with telling you?" The Sheep explained.

"It's hard to in the first place... But context is everything. If it was for a good enough reason, I wouldn't mind too much, I'd only be mildly annoyed." Edan replied. "Also, might I point out, I've only been a person for four years and some change. Before that, I had no idea about how to treat others properly outside of a kill or be killed society. It's still kinda hard for me to fathom most of your 'free' concepts, Mags."

She sighed. "Okay... But only surface level stuff... You've been a good friend to me..."

"Don't mention it. I want you to be happy." The Sheep slid off the stool slowly. "So. It's pretty late now. They might be asleep."

Jay nodded, before a bolt of water, with a faint light in it, sped out of the bar towards her room. For a few moments a concentrated look appeared on his face., before be nodded. "Titania is there. I bet it'll-" Cutting himself off, he realized an important detail he had to tell Mags, "You might, uh, see some of my memory's. Nightmare fuel and the like. Just... Don't be too upset with me, okay?"

"I'll... Try not to be... I know it's bad... My Sister went through something similar..." Mags admitted.

"Still... Your sister didn't- eh.... Best not to compare my pain with hers. Just... Be aware you might see me killing someone or... being tortured." He warned once more, gesturing for them to start walking.

Walking alongside him Mags to her room, she steadied herself in case what he had warned her of happened. She took a deep breath. "I... I want to help you... Jay... You're a good person, even if you don't think so. There is a good person in there. I know it. Somewhere under all the pain and hardship..."

His eye took on a distant look. "That's what they all say..." He said under his breath, before speaking louder. "A lot of it made me an evil-ish person. Maybe there is a nugget of good, a grain of gold against the sand, but... Far too late for me to probably use it. Still let's me be nice though, so there's at least one small blessing."

Magdalene stopped and faced him, her eyes soft and caring. "I know I can't fix what you've been though. No one can fix that. Going through that will change how you are forever. But I'll be there for you. Every day. That's what family does."

Sancros paused, before smiling at her. "You are one of three people I consider family, gwathel (sister). Not many like me enough or do well enough to make me attached to them... I suppose I'm trying to say thank you." He said softly, before continuing their walk to her room.

"Don't mention it. It's always good to have more friends." Mags patted him on the back lightly.

Arriving in her room, he sat next to the door. "So... I presume I have to sleep now?" He asked, closing his eyes.

"Yeah. Just lay down on the bed." The bed was soft and the pillow fluffy. "I hope no one gets the wrong idea."

"Oh, for what? That I'm sleeping with you? Technically I am." He joked, getting up to lay down on the bed. "Methos will kill me later, it's fine..."

"I'll take the chair..." The Sheep Thrope pulled up a chair next to the bed. "Ready?"

He took a moment to hesitantly lower his mental barriers before responding. "I am... Here's hoping..." He murmured, already trying to fall asleep.

Magdalene strummed her harp, filling the air with a familiar magic and in only a brief moment, he was thrust into his dreams, asleep.

A younger, teenage Sancros lay tied between two posts, his wrists bloodied as well as his body. He held a cocky grin despite his face being bludgeoned to the point he couldn't open his right eye, but all one had to do was smell the air to realize the stink of fear he exuded. "What are you going to do to me today, Godfrey? Break my arms, flay the skin from my back? You-"

"Slave two hundred and... Whatever, for raping the plantation owner's daughter, I'm going to enjoy breaking your spirit and destroying your body."

Sancros spat a was of blood at the torturer, his eyes still holding a wild spark of freedom to them. "I didn't fucking touch her, even when she asked me to lay with her."

"And I suppose her ripped dress and undergarments was her doing, eh? Maybe that cut of your number into her chest was just her 'playing' around, huh?"

The Light Elf's face paled at the guard's comment, as his bravado faded. "I would never touch a woman like that, I-"

"Are a filthy, godsdamned, unclean, stupid and trashy rapist... A Light Elf in other words." Godfrey sneered, taking a normal hammer that was gleamed red from its other victims. He raised it over his head while Jay struggled against his restraints madly, a look of sheer panic on his face.

The hammer stopped suddenly, someone grabbing it from behind. Mags voice spoke up, "You disgusting animal. Get off of him."

"Eh?! Who the hell's are you? Wait..." He looked back at Sancros before laughing. "You must be a slave from Themosa... While that would prevent the boss normally we do have a black market for your kind here..." He turned surpringly quickly, grabbing her wrist. "But maybe I should sample- gah!" A hard kick from Sancros sent the man stumbling.

"Go! Run as quickly as you can from this godsforsaken place! Be free fro-" Sancros cried out before a meat fist hit him hard in his jaw, the audible crack of it breaking filling the air.

"Dirty, miserable pile of shit... I don't tolerate rudeness." Godfrey growled before turning to deal with the newcomer.

Mags summoned her large Scythe into her hands, placing the blade against his throat. "Care to try that again? Touch me again. I'd put your head on my wall but I wouldn't want to touch that disgusting greasy nest on your head."

The man glared at her, but made no effort to move. "Just wait. You may have the upper hand now, but in a few days, a week? Enjoy your freedom, criminal."

Sancros jaw hanged open, tears streaming down his eyes, both in happiness and fear. But there appeared to be concern in his eyes, directly for her. "Tha- tha ooh." He tried to say.

"Oh. I'm crafty. But who's the real criminal Mr. Thrope Black Market?" She brought the edge of the blade closer to his neck.

"You, little slave. That's still property, and he doesn't get to leave unless the boss says so..." Geofrey argued, as he lowered his eyes for a moment before going back up to her face. "Besides, that's a killer. He stabs his fellow slaves and doesn't lose any sleep over it. Don't you, number two hundred something or other?"

The Light Elf tried to say something that came out as a mangled scream, the pain the only sound he could muster.

"Alright. I've had enough of you already. You aren't going to be able to torture him any more..." She said, pulling the Scythe blade through the dream man's neck.

He fell dead, fading away into mist as the younger Light Elf panicked, trying to free his wrists once more, blood slowly draining down his arms.

Taking the point of the weapon and cutting him from the ropes, she offered him her hand up.

He hesitated for a moment, his eyes scanning hers suspiciously. He relaxed ever so slightly as he took her hand, but he seemed to grow older, and lost that spark of freedom and life in his eyes. He stopped and looked like he normally did. He opened his mouth as he glanced at her before closing it.
 
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Black0ut

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[REDACTED], Washington
Lovely Dreams, part 2

"Sorry... Seems you got a really bad dream to enter into... I... I hope I didn't cause you undue stress?" He practically whispered, looking away.

"It's okay. I'm sorry Jay..." She looked down.

"Shit happens. I was born into slavery, you got a family. I don't envy you nor do I adore you for that. It's just a fact." He replied softly, pulling his trademark scarf up. "So... How do we, uh... Proceed, as it were?"

"Baphomet?" She called out, a small demon lamb crawling out of Mags' shirt and onto her shoulder, growing into his full form.

"Well. Hello again Jay Sancros. What brings you here?" He asked casually.

"Oh, looting and pillaging all worlds or dimensions. At least, that'll be the official statement if I meet anyone else." He started before his clothes fully formed into his scientific set of clothing. "In truth... I need to question someone, without them lying. I'm only allowed surface thoughts as a requisite for this visit... although, truth be told, I expected to be ripped apart by you if I stepped foot in this plane after battling Magdalene..."

"You wouldn't get in here if you fought Magdalene. If I was helping her when you fought, you would've been crushed." He bragged.

"Baphomet!" The Sheep put her hands on her hips.

The Nightgaunt sighed. "I'm merely toying with him."

Sancros blinked, then he started laughing uncontrollably. "You? Beat me in the physical realm?!" It took a couple moments for Sancros to calm himself. "I have very strong mental defences, so illusions don't work, and a spell, that while it deteriorates my body, creates a corrupted being that continues even if I die... and that's if I don't use my staff fighting to try to win. Good luck with beating that, friend." The Light Elf walked over putting a hand on his arm. "But, seriously, stop bragging. Immortal beings keep bragging to me and if you all keep doing so, you might make a lowly hedge mage think you're somewhat respecting him."

"I dunno Jay, my Boy here is pretty strong..." She patted his arm.

"True... Even in this dream realm, I can sense his power. He does possess a lot of strength and were he to unleash it fully, I wouldn't last very long. That said, how much of it is due to this place amplifying it is questionable..." He started shrugging before stepping back."But what can I say? A weak mage should never go into a pissing contest thinking they'd win." Sancros hoped he hadn't revealed how strong he truly was to Mags' guardian.

"Alright. Baphomet. If you would."

The Dream Demon nodded, tearing a hole into the fabric of the dream that led out into the Raw Dreamscape.

"Interesting... I will most certainly write about this..." The Light Elf murmured, his eyes gazing at the hole. "So... Baphomet, can I ask what happened when the attack on the Manor occurred?" The Light Elf waited for the Demon to move into the hole before he did.

"Xelitha'qha put a suggestion into Magdalene's head to obey her and protect Esmeralda. I was fighting to try to break that suggestion for much of the time, but Magdalene was fighting me back, even if she didn't know it." He briefly summarized.

"So when I incapacitated her and Methos put her to sleep, Xelia couldn't continue controlling her. Gotcha." Sancros briefly glanced at Mags, his face fighting to suppress his emotions but the shame bubbled out of all the cracks in his facade. "Any... ways, shall we be going? I don't think the other Dream Demons would like me..."

"Let's." Mags nodded, taking his hand and guiding him through the tear and on to a floating rock in the middle of a rather psycodelic looking void, Nightgaunts passing to and fro. "Now. First things first think of the person you want to find. Think hard. Memories, good times, things like that."

Think he did as he remembered several of his missions, but more importantly when she had freed him. She had a soft smile as she helped him up, letting him lean on her despite not knowing he could walk and she began apologizing for what slavers had done to him his whole life. The Light Elf smiled as he recalled all the fond moments he had with Titania. "I wish I could show you every nice thing she did for me... You'd probably smile too."

The Void Whizzed past them at a rapid pace, islands rocketing by until eventually they slowed, coming upon a little shadowy orb. "This... This is probably it."

"Any advise for what to do? This is the first time I've gone into a dream..." Sancros murmured, tilting his head to try to see better into the orb without any success.

"Just... Step in and observe... That's what you wanted to do, Right?" Mags looked over at him.

"That simple, huh? Hopefully, I can figure out how she feels about me in a grand sense…" He murmured before stepping towards it, placing a hesitant foot into it.

Titania seemed to be relaxing with Kva, the former of the two smiling as she snuggled into her lover.

"Soooooo, why do you have to be so beautiful? I mean, people stare at you when we go out..." Titania flirted, shamlessly planting a kiss on Kva's lips. Her eyes looked they way they normally did, without the coldness and cruelty they promised when she was awake.

Ah, so this is what she dreams about... fair enough. I hope she's at least a bit happy... and I hope the dream can at least tell me how she feels about me... Sancros thought, smiling as he watched.

"I don't know dear... I am a corpse, am I really that beautiful?" Kva joked playfully, letting out a softer side of herself.

Mags felt sadness upon seeing the Dhampire, "Oh..."

"I had a feeling one of them wouldn't make it... But she looks happier than she used to. Perhaps... Perhaps it's better if we just leave. I..." Sancros murmured back, silently cursing his softness at seeing her pain.

"As radiant as the sun, and far more eye-catching than a tomboyish noble girl. You're perfect in every way, Dhampy." Titania brushed a finger through Kva's hair, a loving smile prominent on her face.

The Dhampire chuckled, bringing her in and kissing her on the cheek. Suddenly however, Kva looked their way, her eyes seeming to acknowledge them there.

"I don't suppose dreams are able to pierce through the veil we're under, right?" Sancros whispered, staring right at Kva.

Titania just snuggled into her love even more and sighed happily.

"Not unless we reveal ourselves..." Mags told him.

Kva just raised her eyebrow, "Are you sure Mags?"

"I... Uh... What?" The Sheep blinked.

"You were saying?" Sancros murmured, before thinking hard on it.

"Mags is here? Why can't I see her?" Titania asked, turning around in Kva's arms. "Feel free to come into my dream, if you want."

"Taydar?" Sancros asked, trying to use his arcane eyes to examine her.

"No. It's me." Kva told him. "It's good to see you two again."

"Kva... Are you... How?" Mags seemed confused.

"It's... A long explaination, please, come in." The Dark Elf Dhampire motioned.

"So... I am somewhat concerned, confused, and overjoyed that I'm speaking with you. I just have no idea how you're here, stronger than you were before, and seemingly existing." Sancros said quietly, entering and sitting in a familiar chair.

"That roughly means 'Hello Kva, I've missed you. How are you even here.' The simple answer is that she's on break, so she came to visit me in my dreams." Titania kissed Kva's cheek. "And I'm always happy when she does..."

"Break? Do you mean...? Wait... right! You're a priestess of Taydar and so he had your soul." The Light Elf's eyes lit up with understanding, before growing slightly suspicious. "Should I be worried why you spend your breaks with Titania?"

"No. Why would you?" Kva chuckled. "I'm a Reaper Now."

"But how can you enter people's dreams?" Magdalene continued.

"Haven't you heard not to look a gift horse in the mouth?" The Fencer sighed. "I'm a spirit entering her mind from the outside."

"Listen... Besides me not understanding your colloquialisms, I'm happy you're back." Jay said quietly in Elven, as he rubbed his temples. "But you can understand the worry your job brings. I'm still struggling with this whole trust thing and Reapers collect souls- even when they're off."

"Not when a Demigod manufactured a deal with her surprisingly shy cousin." Titania countered in perfect Elven.
 
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Black0ut

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[REDACTED], Washington
Lovely Dreams, pt.3

"How in the four hells did you learn our language? Last I checked, you could only speak it broken..."

Titania frowned, sighing. "That's what caught your attention, not the whole deal with Taydar? Faith taught me how to speak if better, and I've been learning Sim-nez on my own." She answered, closing her eyes.

"I don't usually get to speak in Elven. Most Vampires speak Doloran, even if it is a three hundred year old variant of it." Kva chuckled, returning in Elven.

"Want to make it a habit then, my love?" Titania asked, rubbing Kva's arm.

"While this is a private time for you two, I must once again intrude. I came to..." Sancros hesitated ever so slightly before continuing, "spy on you, in a way. The only reason I do so is to... Understand what I've done wrong."

"What? You haven't done anything wrong. I thought you were pissed off at me... We stopped hanging out when we had that conversation in the ha-"

"I know and I would rather not remember that conversation." Edan rubbed his temples again, trying desperately not to 'accidentally' insult the wolf Thrope. "Titania, a bit of tact when discussing touchy subjects goes a long way."

"So are we friends again, are we not...?"

"We are. I just... was hoping to und-"

"Doesn't matter why you came, all that matters is that you came with the intention of repairing our friendship." The Wolf Thrope interrupted, offering him a rather sweet smile before her eyes opened up in excitement. "Before I forget, Kva, you know if you want to spend a week with me in person you can, right?"

"I heard a few things. That and you went on a date with Taydar?" The Reaper laughed uncharacteristically. "Do you want to have a weird skeleton ghost Vampire three-way?"

"No, but... He'll probably end up getting laid by a tramp. Anyways, it wasn't a date, but I did decide to treat him to lunch for hearing me out." Titania explained, a chuckle escaping her lips. "You get a break for an entire week, doing whatever you want. After that week, I'll work for about two months hunting down souls for my cousin."

"It's not easy. For the short time I've been doing it they can put up a fight." Kva warned. "Luckily I'll be there to help you."

"I don't think Taydar will let you, but I appreciate your offer nonetheless." Titania said sweetly, before her face changed briefly to the cold murderous look she had adopted. "I don't think they'll pose much of a threat when I'm a bit... Cranky. I have been taking multiple Hunts at a time." Her clothes appeared to stain red as did her sharp teeth before the more innocent-looking, non-bloodsoaked form she had earlier took hold.

"That... was surprisingly creepy." Sancros murmured, rubbing his head.

"What, this?" Titania became blood-soaked once again, her sharp teeth glittering.

"Yes, that."

"Mags, Dream demon, I don't look scary, do I?" Titania asked, tilting her head to the side.

Baphomet chuckled, poking his head through the portal. "Not so much so, little Wolf."

"Oh no! Not the big bad wolf! Please don't eat meeee!" Maggie added jokingly.

"Well, I'll leave you two in denial." Titania replied jokingly, her appearance shifting back to normal. "Wouldn't want you two to think I'm not an innocent little demigod, would I?"

"No, of course not, miss corpse pile." Jay snarked, before looking at Kva to explain his comment.

"Technically not a corpse. My body is still in the Regalis Crypt, I'm more like a Semi-Corporeal phantom." Kva corrected.

Jay rubbed his head. "Not what I meant... Titania's ridiculous battle rage-"

"Not ridiculous; useful." Titania countered, shaking her head.

"Your armor, clothes, and skin are normally stained in blood." Jay rolled his eyes. "As I was saying, her battle rage has made corpse piles... And her recent piles are just tiny bits. Hence a bit of the concern I have and why I believed this underhanded way of knowing if she truly hated me was my only option I had..."

"Jay. I don't think I need to tell you she loves you. She's been very worried." Kva said with a caring Jay was unused to seeing from her.

"I... I was hoping for that, but... it's so hard to believe it. I'm a Light Elf, scorned, hated, and reviled in at least three countries." He started, the youthfulness he had fading away. He looked tired, with dark circles lining his eyes like a blanket, his arm faded as did his eye, leaving him how he normally looked. "Why would anyone, let alone nice and sweet people, give two shits about me?" His only eye seemed to grow more dead and bitter, making his open socket seem warm and inviting.

"Jay..." Titania whispered, raising a hand that hesitated from touching the Light Elf. Her concern bled through her face, as she tried to think of a way to cheer up her depressed best friend.

Magdalene leaned forward. "Jay... I'm a Thrope... So is Titania... We're just as hated as the Light Elves... They think we're Savage animals."

"And I'm a Vampire." Kva chimed in. "We are probably the most hated race in the world right now after what happened at Helvan."

Mags nodded, gently touching his bicep. "But we all love each other. All of us were made to feel lesser than we are. But to accept that... Is like letting those sick people win... So... Be open to love, let yourself live your life as the person they never wanted you to be... We'll help you... We'll show them..."

He sighed, looking more worn-out. "Four years isn't enough to fix several decades of being broken. O-of... well, Mags, you briefly saw what happened to m-me." A single tear slipped through his defenses through the physical and dream worlds. He wiped it away quickly, hoping that no one had seen it. "I am no longer confident, no longer... strong. I..."

Titania slid out of Kva's arms to hug Edan. "I care. So does Magdalene, Betty, Faith, and Kva. Not to mention you're family. We all love you and we all worry about you."

He remained silent, before speaking so quietly in Elven, he could barely be heard. "I only have a sliver of sanity, of kindness. Everything else was beaten out of me. Love, hate, acceptance, ignorance, xenophobia, xenophilia... these are free concepts: ideas formed from an outside opinion of slavery. Survival, betrayal, murder, revenge, fear, beatings... that was all I knew. If you saw all the pain I have experienced, you would pity me. If you saw all the pain I inflicted, you would despise me."

He looked over to where he sensed the Dream demon. "Baphomet, you have more than likely viewed my dreams. Does that come even close to the worst memory dream I've had?"

"I... Did see some things when I entered your mind... And it is horrid... Truly monsterous..." He nodded, then leaned in. "But remind yourself... That they are just that now... Dreams and Memories... These people, Havenbrook... They are your reality and everything you are feeling with them is real... Tangible... And just like dreams can affect your reality, your reality can affect dreams, and perhaps one day... Even heal them..."

Edan went silent, closing his eye as he seemed to have an unreadable look. "You are all right, of course. But understand that I'm in my twenties, relatively speaking, and I've only been free for a small part of my life. Your... Affection for me is foreign to me still. Even Syl's is sometimes. I..." He started, sighing as he tried to get out of Titania's hold.

Failing that, he merely stood up, lifting her up with him. "I never had friends. Not a damn one until you, Titania. I lost what little family I had. My mother... And I had people who I thought were friends sell me out for things I never did, just to get extra food."

"I've had a hard life, and while some days I feel like using my magic to put a hole through my head, I still have a daughter to raise. So... stop worrying. This is nothing new for me, these memories, this attitude. You just now have the ability to see through my daily facade." He said quietly, offering a rueful smile. His gaze quickly went over all three women. He bowed deeply, with Titania clinging on almost making it a comical sight. "I believe I have ruined everyone's nights. I apologize profusely."

Titania said nothing, but her eyes had welled up, both in her dream and in the waking world, as she cried tears at the pain she only now realized she had scratched the surface to.

Mags thought of Carol... How much pain she must be feeling... How much pain everyone is feeling... And tears came down her face as well, embracing Jay in a hug as well. "You're a good friend... A good Brother..."

"Not really... A good, older brother probably shouldn't make their sisters cry." He said softly. Slowly, his arm came back as he wrapped both of his around Titania and Mags.

Kva smiled lightly, reaching over Titania's shoulder. "You're strong... Whether it's that or just an unbreakable will to survive... I don't know... But I see a good future for you, for what it's worth..."
 

Black0ut

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[REDACTED], Washington
Black0ut (Who forgot to post this) & Frostlich1228 present:
An Unusual Friend

Blood poured out of the wound, soaking the tourniquet that covered it. Another less severe wound, a stab wound to be precise, was bandaged as well, but was less important than the artery piercing one. Weak pulses of magic went out from the damaged shadow man, said shadows fading and reappearing as he weakened. "Please... please answer... I still have much to do... You wouldn't... break your... promise, would you?" Shini whispered weakly, knowing he would succumb to his wounds in a few minutes.

Suddenly, something opened up in front of him, a kind of vortex of swirling dark blue energy.

"Might want to... hurry. Else you'll... talk with a corpse..." Shini got out, the shadows around his face pulling back to show the blood trailing out of the Assassin's mouth.

"My My Shini... How did you let this happen to you..." A Pale Blue skinned Illithid in a swirling Dark Blue robe stepped out, looking him over. "I thought I trained you better..."

"Ambush and lucky shot." He murmured, his skin growing more pale. His shadows flickered more erratically, as he continued speaking. "Could use... a little... healing." He coughed, his eyes losing focus before he snapped back to reality.

She reached down, a long, damp and wet arm reaching out over his wound. Water energy swirled around it, the magic seeping in and stitching the wound together.

He relaxed into the ground, the shadows coming down to reveal a youthful face. "Thank you. I suppose I now owe you a favor?" He murmured tiredly, gently grabbing his master's arm.

"No... But what an excellent suggestion..." The Hermaphrodite tapped her chin.

"So... what do you want? Keep in mind, it'll be a moment before I can do what you want..." He murmured, before getting up to give the Illithid a hug. "And please... don't make it anything too weird... or lecherous..."

"Lecherous?" She rubbed his head. "I'm above such things... I'm not like my Siblings in that regard..."

"True... but you could do such a thing if you felt like it." He replied, offering a tired and lazy grin. "How's the battle for the sea going? Is Uladan still being a piece of shit to C-man?"

"Always... Although... He has been leaving for the surface more than usual lately... Wonder why that is..." Anaqua shrugged.

"Pet mortal? Maybe one of his children wished to see him?" He suggested, shaking his head somewhat at the thought. "And as to why I'm hurt, I'm investigating for a weak Goddess. She wanted to know why her daughter was targeted, and I accepted it out of boredom. Didn't think there was an ambush laid for me with masterwork weapons." He gently leaned in, his legs buckling somewhat from the shock his body had gone through. "Maybe we can go somewhere a bit more private to talk? I wouldn't want to ruin your reputation..."

Anaqua seemed intrigued opening a portal back to her lair. "After you..."

Shini gave her one last hug before entering, unused to travelling by portal. "Instantaneous travel will never make me feel comfortable..." He murmured under his breath.

As soon as he entered, the smell of cool sea air hit his nose. He entered into a small dimly lit cave, columns and spirals carved into the damp stone walls. Directly ahead were stairs carved into the stone leading up to a intricately decorated carved stone throne flanked by two pools of water which Anaqua quickly made her way up to, sitting down.

"I see you've had time to make the place nicer." He commented, before his eyes grew more serious. "The Gods are dividing. Which is bad, considering that if a civil war happens, the other gods, Hastur, Yig, and anyone else, could attempt to seize power, or open the world to the realm where they all come from. Which... will set everyone back due to the infighting that will happen."

"Well... I have been informed by my dear Sister that Hastur is making arrangements to bring my Master's Father into the world. Which would of course, be beneficial for us..." Anaqua tapped the arm of his chair, his voice deepening to an older, wise man voice. "She also knows that our aid would prevent Yig and our brother from easily interfering..."

"At a cost. Hastur never keeps an alliance for long and if he does, he waits until you're weak to betray you." Shini countered, shaking his head slowly. "Anaqua, please don't tell me you're actually considering this..."

"It's obviously more beneficial for Xelia... It keeps her safe from Yig." Anaqua stated simply. "But there is some great opportunity for gain if Lord Chuthu's father returned."

"With Havenbrook fighting Hastur and with the original Terran Gods attention focused more on the world, this has a high probability to fail... And that's if the asshole who sired me doesn't get involved. Yig will eventually catch wind and he'll slaughter the Light Elf." Shini countered, rubbing his head. "This could set you and C back a few hundred years and by that point, I don't think I'll be much use to you. Skeletons tend to be very weak after all."

"Well..." Anaqua'Sirenis leaned forward. "Perhaps on your deathbed you will be willing to go all the way with your training."

"Won't exactly make me better at my job... Archons can't exactly go waltzing around the world, gathering you information." A shadowy hand poked the Illithid's head. "Or give you a hug when you want one... still don't understand why you're nice to me when it gives you a weakness you're siblings can exploit..." He questioned, curious eyes settling on the Hermaphrodite's.

"Am I nice to you? I can honestly say I wasn't making an effort..." The Eldritch Spawn taunted.

"Then you shall suffer me now" Shini darted forward practically tackling the Illithid with a hug. "We shall finally see if you will break with emotion, Master! I have grown and learned techniques that have ridiculous names just for this purpose!"

Anaqua stood awkwardly still. "Lord Chuthu help me..."

Shini laughed merrily. "I think you may find that original God is fine with me attacking you with affection. This is punishment for not at least kidnapping me for a hello or a hug or 'I'm still alive and well'." The assassin teased, taking a step back. "Best to remember that you set this whole problem yourself. After all, taking me in and teaching me magic is far kinder than hitting me so hard that my soul has a handprint on it."

"If that's your measure of kindness then it's hardly a high bar." Anaqua pointed out. "At least you didn't meet my brother. He has no servants as far as I know, none that last anyhow."

"Fuck Yig and your brother. One is an asshole and the other could be beaten by me with little to no effort." He grumbled, before shaking his head. "And it is, considering I hate everyone equally and isolate myself. Yet, I don't hate you and maybe a couple others have made the list over the years, but you are the first. I doubt you'd be merciful if someone killed me... but whether it's because you like me or if you just consider me property is the real question."

"Fuck my-... Mortal colloquialisms right..." The Illithid shook her head, her voice switching again with a sigh. "I have put a lot of time and effort into you. That is why you could best my brother. And that is why I would find those who killed you."

"So, project." He shrugged, offering an easy-going smile. "I wonder if that's the only reason. You usually do not let your apprentices live as mortals... if memory serves, you should've made me an Archon by now... oh well. Perhaps I'm just too entertaining for you to convert right away."

"Please... Don't give yourself so much credit..." Anaqua sighed. "You had a point. It's easier to hide as you are. Besides, I have little need to control you, you have proven your loyalty."

"Yeah... but you forgot a bad habit of teasing you and of seeing you try to be cold towards me... I don't believe I should mention the last time you tried to do that. You were cranky with me for years..." He started, gathering Anaqua into a hug. "Besides, you know I'm not touchy-feely with anyone else. Only you get to suffer my affection... and even should I be turned into an Archon, I'll have nothing better than to just pester you."

"Ah I..." The Illithid shook her head. "Mortals are so bizarre..."

"Indeed, and you have one that adores you. Probably should try to fix that" He chuckled, rubbing the Illithid's head.

"Why?" The normally cold Illithid shook her head. "Why do you 'adore' me? What is the point?"

"The point is not logical or reasonable in any sense. It is because of how you've treated me... And how you've taken care of me, that I care about you. I'd fight Yig if he hurt you, or any of the Elders... save C-man. He's actually pretty cool." Shini started rambling before shrugging. "Point is, despite your reputation of being cold and cruel... you've been nice to me. Whenever I've asked for help, you arrive as quickly as you can. And you keep tabs on me... I think."
 

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An Unusual Friend, pt.2

"I do... But I don't understand why that translates to extra emotion from you." Anaqua further asked.

"Consider the following: I have no family to interact with, no lovers to be with, and no siblings to annoy. You're all I got." Shini shrugged, frowning. "As for keeping tabs, I find it endearing you would do so, even if all you see me as is a bargaining chip to use."

Anaqua looked to the side, sighing as she felt slightly bad. "You're not simply a bargaining chip. You're useful."

"Useful is a such a veiled term... I am a bargaining chip among your siblings. You're the only one who can beat me and I could defeat both your siblings if I planned it out. Useful indeed as a bargaining chip to dissuade them." He sighed as well, his eyes losing a little of their merriment.

"What do you want me to say exactly? That I love you?" The Illithid shook her head slowly.

"No. I don't believe you do and coaxing it out of you when you don't feel so is not what I want. If it were the case you did so, I'd have heard it by now." He answered, the merriment slowly fading away into a calm of nonchalance. "But I'll take what I can get, whether it's being a tool for you to use or a friend to talk with."

"I do not have 'friends' Shini. Why try to be one?" Anaqua asked him honestly.

"Because then you can relax without worry or fear from me and enjoy yourself. I know you're on guard due to your sibling and the Terrans, but you do deserve to relax every once in a while. Maybe even acquire the vague concept known as 'fun' if you can." He replied, two shadow versions of the assassin appearing to nod at his words.

"What kind of fun would even be done?" The usually serious Illithid crossed her arms.

"It could range from the innocent like simply going out and exploring a town's wares and services, to potentially torturing someone if that's what you want to do." He answered, taking a knee to be more formal.

"So.... Something enjoyable then?" The Illithid tapped her leg. "Hmm... How would you like a swim?"

"Alright... but if it's in the ocean, please remember that my shadows are not for breathing underwater... I don't want to nearly drown again." He grumbled lightheartedly, nodding his head as he started stretching.

"We are currently at the bottom of the ocean. However, I have a plan for that." Anaqua offered.

"Which is?"

An Dark Blue aura surrounded her and after a few moments it ceased. Suddenly, ripples formed in the water of one of the pools, a presence being felt by the Assassin.

It was then that an grey skinned, leech like creature, crawled out on to the floor of the cave, it's body moist and sticky like that of a frog. It had a landprey like mouth with circular teeth and three blood red eyes that protruded slightly out it's head, blinking out of sync with eachother. It crawled of further with it's relatively small clawed arms at the from of it's body, revealing that it's lower half split off into several thick tendrils, seeming as if they went on for much longer beneath the surface of the pool.

Anaqua smiled, "Shini. This... Is an Aboleth…"

"Pleasure to meet you, Aboleth." Shini greeted respectfully, his entire laidback demeanor shifting into a polite and cold businessman persona.

"I am an Aboleth. That is not my name young thing." The Creature spoke I'm to his mind, it's slime coating the stone floor.

Shini flexed his power, both physical and magical. "Being part of the Elder Gods is, I think, something to show respect... especially when it's Yig. But whatever. People always are rude to me at least three times, before I snap." He grumbled, his shadows slowly surrounding himself. "I meant it as a term to greet you as I do not know your name."

The creature seemed to let out an audible sigh. "You young things think that simply because you are born of an Old One, you are special. Your power is a fleeting thing. As is your existence. You are of no grand significance..."

"I don't believe I am special. I just know I have a lot of power. The only ones who truly are of significance are the Old Ones. You and I do not matter. And chances are in about four hundred years, I'll be dead. Whether you remind me of that or not is irrelevant." Shini answered, his tone more cold and methodical.

"Enough... Both of you." Anaqua stopped them, holding up a hand. "Nijahra. Shini here is my apprentice and you will treat him with the respect you are owed me."

"And Shini. Aboleth's have a hard time seeing worth I things that live such short lives." The Illithid pointed out. "The Aboleth Race itself is older than mine. Older than the Gods. Older than even the earliest life on this planet and they remember in perfect detail everything their ancestors did. However, their actual power in regards to combat would only likely match yours. So they have allied with Lord Chthulu."

Shini nodded. "I see. In that case, I shall be more polite and ignore any 'young thing' comments." He answered, his eyes flicking over to his master, before settling on the Aboleth. "Nijahra, despite how we both have talked to one another, I am pleased to have met you."

The Creature relented. "Very well. What is it you want Anaqua?"

"You're going to give him the capability to swim down here." The Illithid explained.

"Very well... Come creature. Rest your hand on my body." Nijahra spoke again, Shini able to pick up more of a feminine tone now, rather than the masculine he had heard previously.

The Assassin murmured something under his breath as he did as he was told. "I hope this isn't a plan to steal my soul..." He said, his eyes locking onto the Illithid's.

The Mucus like substance coated his hand, seeping through his pores and into his skin quickly. The next breath Shini tried to take, he didn't inhale anything, he tried again, nothing, he was beginning to suffocate.

"What is it... with drowning... me...?" He barely got out, his mind reflecting on how Anaqua wanted to go for a swim. Hoping this wasn't stupid, his shadowy versions of himself quickly shoved him into the pool the Aboleth had risen out of.

He took in a mouth full of water, however he immediately found he could breath in it as if it was normal air. It was then he heard Anaqua's voice from above, "Impressive Shini. You're clever, that's what I like about you. And before you say anything, no, I wouldn't have let you die."

"I should really make a list of all the times you've nearly drowned me, master. I'm sure you're home would be filled with the list." He grumbled, his shadowy clones frowning at her as they repeated his message. "And I know you consider me too valuable to kill off yet, so the thought never crossed my mind."

"It was merely a test of your intelligence." The Illithid stepped into the water as well as the Aboleth. Shini could see now that from Head to Tail, Nijahra was at least twenty feet long.

"Interesting..." He murmured to himself eyeing the Aboleth's unique body structure. He studied it for a few more seconds before turning his attention to Anaqua "Well, I'm glad I passed... but I am serious about that list, I might show it to you if we ever end up in an argument over how many times I've nearly drowned. Regardless, lead the way and I'll try to keep up."

"One more thing." The Illithid put her hand on his chest, filling him with energy. "So the water pressure doesn't turn you into a ball of meat."

"Was hoping you were gonna do that. Would've been a short swim for me." He murmured, nodding his head at her in thanks, before his shadows obscured him in the water. "Where to?"

"We are going to survey the army, then head to the city." Anaqua responded simply.

"Undetected Surveillance... that's one of my best qualities. I'll follow behind you... but my magic signature may be very faint to you." He warned before seemingly disappearing. As he said before, there was a barely perceptible magic signature near where he was.

"We are surveying our own forces. They need to see us. If they don't, they might forget we are here, always watching..." The Illithid explained to him.

His voice seemed to come from everywhere. "Well, an invisible hand that you hide might be a bit more apropos for what you suggest. I'll be here to talk to you, but it'll also serve as a reminder that some of your people could be listening in."

Anaqua sighed lightly, his persistence nothing new. "Very well…”

He laughed, a short and hard thing, before he spoke. "You should know by now I don't like people... why do you think I prefer killing them?"

"You and Nijahra are more similar than you think." Anaqua pointed out, the Aboleth sighing mentally.

"Perhaps as a fine pet, if he wasn't yours already."

"I prefer tool. And besides, I doubt many could make me a pet if they tried." Shini replied, his voice growing distant, as if he was drifting away. "But if you wish to keep up this somewhat rude banter, I can loosen my tongue to retort every time you communicate with me. I assure you, Anaqua hated me when I was a little younger due to how shitty I could be."
 

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An Unusual Friend, pt3

“I blame Yig Personally. You're much more reasonable now." Anaqua'Sirenis chuckled.

"Yeah... at least now, I can tease you for how you got me out of my shell when we first met." He replied in a laidback tone, apparently having returned closer to the pair.

The group quickly swam out into the pitch black water, the only lights being one from Anaqua, created by her magic. However, when he looked down he saw what looked to be hundreds of thousands of pale blue lights in formation on the ocean floor, marching.

Several shadows floated down, imperceptible if you weren't looking for them. "Nice force."

"These are only the ones not currently fighting. There are many more." Anaqua smiled, "The Cthuli Army is readying itself for a strike at the Surface... Very soon...."

"Hopefully they're ready to deal with the Terrans' forces..." He murmured to himself, the words barely understandable. "You need me to help with the invasion?"

"Likely no. Open combat is hardly your forte." Anaqua reminded him.

"True, but assassination is. Give me a day or range of days when something will happen and I can kill most mortals, or very rarely, something ancient and powerful. That is how I'd help your invasion, Master." He reminded the Illithid, a hand gently patting her back.

"Hmm... You are correct..." Anaqua noted devilishly as they swam, the large sillhouette of a dark structure revealing itself before them.

"So... tell me who I'm killing. Keep in mind, if it interferes with any of my other work, you'll have to pay me with a favor and an outing of my choosing." Several shadows passed in front of her, one materializing a face that smiled maliciously.

"Oh really? I think teaching you all you know and taking you in exempts of having to do favors." Anaqua stopped suddenly, floating in the water.

"No, that exempts me from taking contracts against you, and eliminating said individuals if I can, inconveniencing if I cannot. It ensures I follow any order you give, save with a few exceptions that allow me to remain, or rather, appear like a neutral third-party. And seeing as I have done so in and out of your care, favors can be acquired..." Shini replied, materializing in front of her as his keen and smart eyes locked onto hers. "and even if I accrue any from you, they have been small scale: Make sure no one can interfere in an interrogation, or simply spend time with me. Even when your favors have dwarfed mine in how big they are, I still do them. I believe small favors are not asking much, Master... or do you still disagree?"

"Why do you allow this Young Thing to talk back so much? Should an example not be made?" Nijahra asked, seemingly bemused.

Anaqua sighed slightly. "He's endearing. Besides, if they all did what I asked all the time with no question, it would get boring."

Shini's gaze drifted over to the Aboleth, the coldness of his profession bleeding through, as if he was plotting the best way to kill the ancient being. "There's that, and it's because I was asked to be objective. One must consider all angles and words before coming to a decision." He answered quietly, tilting his head. "And I assure you, I will accept the punishment that will surely come, or should Anaqua be kind, I'll deliver an adequate punishment to myself. I just prefer to not hear it from you, Nijahra." His shadows slowly circled around him, raising an eyebrow before his various shadows, some seemingly far, migrated back.

"No threats or possible infiltrators detected, Master." He replied after a moment, taking out a dull knife with runes on it to inspect any potential damage.

"You would not have an easy time killing me young thing. I know what you are thinking. I know your desires, your fears, your strengths and your weaknesses." The Aboleth said flippantly and matter-of-factly.

"Enough. Now." Anaqua'Sirenis called back without looking.

"If I wanted to kill you, I'd have already attempted it. I just don't like you, as you don't like me. Now, I believe we should follow Master Anaqua, unless you hate me that much?" Shini replied, his tone bored as he swam after Anaqua, seemingly leaving himself open to attack from the Aboleth.

As they reached the City, a massive Cyclopean spiraled out, spikes jutting out from the center and an strange blue glow emanating out from the center, pulsing lightly like a small heartbeat.

"Interesting..." He murmured under his breath, taking in the strange sight with some awe. "So this is what a city under the waves looks like..."

"Welcome... To R'lyeh... The city of Cthulhu..." Anaqua panned the sight with her hand like a showman.

"It is a marvel for sure..." Shini muttered, his eyes lightening from their normal coldness into unrestrained curiosity.

"Mortals haven't stepped foot there in eons... Shini... Would you be interested in speaking to Lord Cthulhu in person?" The Illithid smiled.

The assassin did his best to kneel as he lowered his head. "I'd be beyond honored, Master." He answered, his voice far more respectful and eloquent than it had been.

Anaqua rubbed his head, "See? That's my boy."

"I don't deserve such a title." He murmured, still keeping his head lowered as small shadows kept him still.

"Come. Let's go walk the streets of the city..."

"As you wish." Shini floated up from his attempted kneeling position. He followed closely behind, masking his presence save his eyes.

It took almost ten minutes to swim down to the seafloor and to the floor of the city, or it would have been if Anaqua hadn't teleported them. Once they reached the bottom, they ended up behind the army, however a few Cthuli walked past them, some like normal fish, others with bobbing lure lights upon their heads and rows of gnarly, sharp teeth. Another walked by, it's head fanned out like that of a hammerhead shark, much bulkier than the others as it with it's elongated, frowning mouth filled with serrated teeth.

For most of the Cthuli, Shini hid himself well, being undetected as he moved. However, upon seeing the hammerhead, Shini's mouth materialized into a predatory grin, disappearing only after a half second of the creature seeing it.

The Fishman tilted it's head, letting out a series of gutteral, wet, grunts and growls in response.

Several shadows ran by and lightly tapped its shoulder, only to disappear into the surroundings. "Go back to whatever you were doing." Shini said quietly from seemingly everywhere.

It just stood there, it's strange hammerhead eyes looking off into the void.

Anaqua chuckled, "They aren't generally very smart Shini..."

"Shame." The Assassin sighed, continuing forward while his shadow people faded.

The anchient unfathomably old towers of the city looked over them, flows of magic, like leylines, pulsed down the streets towards the city heart... And that's where they were heading.

Shadows flowed around a specific point into a humanoid shape, Shini's nervousness slightly noticeable.

"Calm yourself Shini... All you have to do is be respectful and courteous." Anaqua pointed out to him.

The Assassin nodded, but the look of unease in his eyes was still visible, some mortal part of him screaming for him to run as fast as he can.

The building pulsed brighter as they walked, the Cthuli in the city now bowing to them on the way to the center Tower, Anaqua'Sirenis following behind her student dotingly.

He took in the atmosphere and grandeur, as he held his breath, too intimidated to actually speak, his bright eyes examining all the potential escape routes he could take if need be.

It quickly set in there wasn't many places he could go as the crushing pressure of the deep ocean was waiting patiently to squash him as soon as the protection spell cast on him ended.

Realizing his time limit was approaching, several layers of shadowy shields formed over him, to buy him time if the spell faded. "Master? I can detect that the protection from the ocean is fading..."

They soon reached the tower, however there was no door, just a blank spot in the wall where a door should've been. Anaqua quickly cast a spell as she placed her hand on the wall, a dark portal opening up as the other hand simultaneously pushed Shini in.

He was immediately confronted with a pitch black space, tiny pin pricks of white light, like stars, surrounded him.
 

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An Unusual Friend, pt.4

He merely took a hesitant step forward. He tried to sense when the spell keeping him alive would end, while simultaneously trying to figure out where he was, or rather, what room.

They soon reached the tower, however there was no door, just a blank spot in the wall where a door should've been. Anaqua quickly cast a spell as she placed her hand on the wall, a dark portal opening up as the other hand simultaneously pushed Shini in. He was immediately confronted with a pitch black space, tiny pin pricks of white light, like stars, surrounded him.

He merely took a hesitant step forward. He tried to sense when the spell keeping him alive would end, while simultaneously trying to figure out where he was, or rather, what room.

Behind him Anaqua suddenly appeared, gripping his head in her hands and casting a protective spell on his mind, just in case. “Are you ready Shini? He should sense us at any moment now… if he hasn't already…”

His shadows seemed to stabilize as they swirled around his face. He gave the Illithid an almost demonic smile, as his eyes hardened. “I am. Let's see how the Lord of the water is doing.”

The darkness itself seemed to bend and warp before them. Slowly, a being of giant proportions appeared. Dark green skin, and humanoid in shape save for the squid-like face, his proportions, is size,and his very presence threatened to drive Shini insane. Cthulhu stayed seated where he was, eyes closed, still as death. “Who disturbs my rest?” his voice boomed out, seeming to come from everywhere at once.

Anaqua stepped forward, kneeling and motioning for Shini to do the same, “Great and Powerful Master… I have come to introduce you to one who will be instrumental in our plans… My Apprentice… Shini… So you may meet him and judge his worth for yourself.”

Cthulhu somehow growled without actually making a sound. Though nothing physically changing, Shini felt as though he was being examined down to his very soul. “I sense the low one in him. Vile, wretched reptile. Speak! Are you of his blood?!”

“I am, but I owe no loyalty to him, Sire.” Shini responded, his voice a whisper, as his shadows dissipated from his body, revealing simple leather clothing.

“He came all this way from the Snake’s den to search us out, offering himself to our cause and understanding the glory of your power.” The Illithid spoke with reverence.

“Mmm… your defiance to the reptile pleases me,” Cthulhu admitted. “But I have many servants. What sets you apart from all the other rabble?”

“Master Anaqua has let me operate independently, gaining some prestige and renown as a prized Assassin. This in turn has made the Terran Gods seek me out, either to kill, or to be used as a means to eliminate someone. This, coupled with the fact no one knows my origins or if I am connected to any Old God, makes me an ideal sleeper agent, Milord. I possess immense strength from Yig, which is a last resort, as well as Shadow magic and superb archery skills.” Shini answered in his whispered tones.

Anaqua visibly cringed when Shini addressed Yig by name in his presence, but she hoped her Master would be merciful. “He has a direct line of communication with Ranseca, and with that, all the other Terran Gods.”

“The messenger goddess…” It was as though the Old One leaned forward, but still did not move. “It would not be your intent… to play both sides to see who comes out on top, is it?”

“No. Terrans hold no special affection from me, nor do I like… the Snake, was it? If I could, I'd imprison the Terrans in their Hell, and kill the Snake. I have no other unmentioned loyalties, Sire.” Shini replied, even the slight mention of Yig dying producing a large and cruel smile on his face.

Cthulhu seemed to pick up on that. “And you trust him completely, Anaqua? Enough to risk yourself to my wrathe should he betray us?”

“Yes Master. I have carefully molded this one… He is bound to me by duty, and by Magic, as I taught him all he knows…” The Mage nodded, looking up slowly.

“Mmm… very well.” Shini felt a very, very slight lifting of the pressure on him. “Shini… you shall from this day forth be a full minion of the Great Cthulhu. Anaqua will be trusted with you care, your supervision, and your missions. Serve me well. I do not respond well to faliure.”

“I will never fail you, Milford. I have never failed an assassination, much less disappointed someone far more wise and powerful than myself.” He replied, his shadows forming a cloak forming over him. “Would you like a demonstration of my skills, Sire, or shall I proceed with a normal mission?”

“A demonstration will not be needed. I shall be watching you closely, and will see your skills in action.” The Old One slowly faded from sight. “Remember that. I will always be watching…”

Shini smiled, The smile growing more. “I do hope your contracts will be interesting… after all, killing some of the Terrans sounds like a good start…”
 

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Frostlich1228&Black0ut (Who posted this late too) present:
Healing the Heart

After returning from their journey into Titania's mind, Mags looked over at Jay while we awakened. "So Jay... Are we... Still doing Sylvie?"

"Have to... But with her, perhaps... Well, I don't know how to broach the subject with her. As you can tell, I'm not the best with words, hence the robotic cadence I possess when I talked." He said as soon as he regained his senses.

"Well... Just... Approach her the same way you approached Titania. She loves you very much too." Mags replied.

"Mags, I care about you, but I don't think you understand how... hard it is to talk to people, let alone to people I love." He said with a sigh. "I'm afraid to lose people I care about, mainly because of the many, many betrayals and deaths of those closest to me. That, added with a beaten in shyness makes it hard, no, impossible to go to those closest to me to discuss my problems."

Several full-bodied constructs of water and light began tidying the immaculate room up further. "Not to mention that I have spared everyone my past... problems. You're the first to see a glimmer of what happened to me. How well does that bode for me telling Sylvie how shitty I am currently? You answer too, Baphomet."

"Jay... I... I don't know much about Sylvie... But I know above all else that she loves you... She gave you her child... And..." Mags put her head in her hands and sighed sadly. "She'll be there for you... No matter what..."

"That doesn't put any of my fears to rest... but I suppose you may be right. Better to speak frankly than to be governed by fear." He grumbled before getting up. His cleaners disappeared as he closed his eyes and opened his magical eye to scan for Sylvie's unique signature.

The Isles drifted by again, orbs upon orbs floating... But... What he expected was to find one... Instead, there were at least a hundred, circling around a giant pulsing central sphere almost like electrons around an atom.

"What in the four hells...?" Sancros murmured, trying to discern the various orbs, trying desperately to find Sylvie.

Focusing harder, he noticed one of the orbs trying to pull away from the system every time it went past him, but failing each time. Mags stepped forward cautiously. "I've never seen anything like that... Maybe... Grab it when it's close to you..."

His eye injury healing as well as looking younger, Edan grabbed onto the orb trying to slow it down enough to peer into it with a youthful enthusiasm.

He felt his being pulled into the orb quickly, almost like a person desperately clutching at a trinket before it falls and breaks. He quickly found himself in a forest much like Neren'teva, tall trees surrounding him with a thin layer of moss coating the bark and rocks, the soil slightly damp from a recent rainfall.

"Curious... very curious..." The Light Elf murmured, as a dream version of his staff appeared by his side, almost acting as a cane for the young mage.

After walking a few feet he saw a small green haired human girl sitting in the grass picking flowers. She lifted up a small velvet bud to her face and sniffed it, smiling pleasantly.

He walked over to her, sitting down as soon as he was near her. "Hello." He said softly, offering a gentle smile.

She gave him a soft, knowing look, then smiled. "Hi Edan... Do you wanna pick flowers with me?"

"I would love to." He said with a warm smile, following her example.

"It's funny seeing you out here and not in the village." She chuckled, pulling a small Daisy out of the ground.

"Why? I love nature just as much as you." He said sweetly, his staff floating mischievously behind him.

"Oh? Why didn't you say so?"

"Well-" he started before his staff gently rapped against the back of his head. "Oww... I like to be mysterious and cool. Wouldn't telling you defeat the purpose?"

"Maybe...? I don't know... Do you think Jasmine will like flowers?" Sylvie asked

"Probably. If she's anything like her mother, she'll love flowers. Hells, she'll like flowers if she's even like me." He let out a soft laugh, before it slowly faded into a solemn look.

Sylvie gently wrapped her arms around him. "I love you..."

"If you saw all I have done, everything I've experienced, would you still feel that way?" He asked rhetorically, sadness and worry in his eyes. "I know that love can be fluid, that it can change. I know that I always will love you, but... I don't know how you'll react if you knew my past in its entirety."

"How will you know if you don't tell me?" The Little Girl asked. "You're keeping it from me because what If I hate you? What if I stop loving you? But those are just a bunch of ifs. You can't live in if land."

He paused, looking at her with surprise. Nodding at her words, he held up a single blue flower. "I do worry. For I am like a flower; there is a small part of me that's still good, a core. Foolishly, or maybe brilliantly, I gave that part of myself to you. If you do hate me, or... well, that fragile part I've kept safe will vanish... and with it my emotions." He said softly, pinning the flower in her hair. "Yet... I do not want to share what worries me and upset you. Probably shouldn't do what I'm about to... But what the hell, I'm already breaking anyways."

He opened not only his mind, but quite literally bared his soul to her. "Be careful... Once you see, you can't un-see my atrocities."

"Whatever it is... I need to see it..." Sylvie looked directly into his eyes, preparing herself for what she might see.

At first, it was blurry, as he could not keep the memories he had when he was incredibly young. But then a rather beautiful Light Elf woman began to appear, smiling at him. A few dozen moments of being with her was almost heartwarming, whether it be that the woman never lost her gentle smile, or the fact of the love radiating off her. Then, a tragic day. One Sancros' very soul shuddered at. His mother was beaten, her left eye unable. Blood poured out of her mouth as punches to her stomach and face to open up more cuts and crushed organs.

Edan cried out for his mom, only for the woman to cringe and try to soothe him into silence in Elven. A smack, a stab, and a whip were the only recourse from his verbal betrayal. The vision blurred for a few moments before returning to a gruesome image: His mom's face was soaked with tears and blood, her hand had been severed as has the tips of her ears.

More visions flew past after Sancros' mother's death, mostly just beatings, workings, and the occasional friend that would be sold off a few years later. Then came a betrayal. Sancros was thirteen and twitterpated with another slave girl. He had planned to run away with her, but unbeknownst to Jay, his best friend had already taken her. So being lured out, he was attacked by both of them and stabbed with rusty weapons. Despite nearly losing a hand and a foot, he killed both of them and stayed next to their bodies shaking for a couple hours before reporting the attack to which he was healed and then beaten.

As the memories came by faster, a cruelness and coldness filtered through as Sancros killed more people, some in self-defense, many not. He eviscerated, bled, chopped and stabbed his way to house positions where he wouldn't be hurt as much. He killed those that trusted him, betraying their friendship at even the slightest bit of inconvenience. So much blood soaked his hands that Hell was certainly his destination.

Then came a brief moment of hope, of light, of the goodness he had abandoned for over forty years. Titania had just bought him and had treated him kindly, making her akin to his best Masters and Mistresses. Their first night together he had been holding a knife over Titania, ready to kill her and escape when the Thrope had opened her eyes with only compassion in her eyes. She had even said he could take her life if it would make him feel better. He stabbed into her shoulder, and yet while a grimace of pain greeted him, all she did was hug him.

Bandits were killed in their travels and a basic information network was established, one that came with very strict rules. He killed betrayers only, but his guilt had returned to him. Yet his rage did not go, culminating in his incineration.

As he started dying, leaning on a tree, a sense of calm and acceptance, even happiness, started coursing through him, until the Light Elf saw a beautiful woman above him, a worried, panicked expression on her face.

As she took care of him that day and the coming days, sometimes performing lewd actions, he felt something he never had, a feeling that made him toss all his logic aside.

Through their time together, he slowly became nicer and kinder, opening his heart to others. He still carried resentment but it was no longer a blinding hate.

Finally, intimacy happened causing him to be happy and content for once. And soon after, he had a beautiful baby girl. The love he felt was simply amazing, for he cared just as deeply about his child as he did his fiancée.

Then another hard-hitting betrayal. The image made his soul shudder, the very essence he had quake in horror, pain, rage before simply emptying out into nothing. An empty space where his emotions had been. His network suffered, as many died, usually under the conviction of petty crimes.

Slowly, his morality returned, more fragile than ever, with a tiredness that never seemed to go away, despite how many times people told him how much they cared, or how much they loved him.

His soul was very dark, only a sliver of the good Edan left. If it could have flesh, it would be scarred beyond all reasoning, and it was wholeheartedly afraid of her opinion.
 

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Healing the heart, cont.


When he looked back at Sylvie, she was older, wiser looking, not the naive little girl he had found, but still very much human. But there was a sad look of understanding on her face, her eyes darted down, then back up to his, bringing him in suddenly for a silent but still emotional embrace.

He was stunned and slowly wrapped his arms around her. He held her as if she was the most precious thing in the world. "Broken people don't usually have happy endings, Syl." He whispered, the hint of his pain peeking through. "They usually die alone... They don't find those they love, they don't have kids who'll be safe. I... I can't understand why you love me. You who has a purpose and freedom... And compassion. Who treats others fairly. Who fights for those she loves. Yet, I am broken, chained, and cruel. I am a broken piece of glass with not enough remaining to reforge. I am a monster who has killed so many innocent people. So why? Why do you care, do you love me? Why, when all logic should tell you to run as far as you can, do you come closer? Why, Sylvie Laurent?" His voice cracked, as tears streamed down his face. All the decades of abuse, of the killing, and the struggle to survive boiled up within his last fragment of goodness, while the large part of his soul was merely numb and cold; unfeeling.

"Because I still have faith in you. Because I'm all you have. I shouldn't have taken Ahusirra's deal... I should've realized what it would do to you..." Sylvie clenched onto him. "I'm sorry Edan..."

"That did hurt me. I will not lie. You are the reason that there is only a fragment of the man you love." He said softly, before pulling back. "But I understand. I understand why you did what you did. One versus the many. That was a selfless deal and I respect that you did it." His appearance faded into his more haggard one he had in reality. He closed his eyes and smiled. "Even then, I told you I would accept your decision. I still love you, with what's left of me. That will never change. So, you have nothing to apologize for. However, I'm sorry I'm too weak of a man, Sylvie. You deserve someone stronger to stand by your side and keep you company, not... well, me."

"You are strong. You just... Struggle..." Sylvie told him. "Even after everything you've been through you persevered... That fact that you're here with me today proves that you're strong..."

"Strong enough to endure things worse than hell, weak enough to break when pushed with heartache." His face turned guilty as he took a deep breath. "I thought... about getting Ledona to split my soul in two. You'd get what's left of the good part of me and... what's left just goes on to do whatever horrible things are lurking in the back of mind. That way, you'd still have me in a sense. A happier and nicer me and I would... be able to be able to be two entities at the expense of how I am now. I thought... I think it easier on everyone if they didn't have to put up with a complicated, horrible person like me."

"Jay..." She chuckled. "I almost made a deal with Destani... To fetch a version of me from a timeline where Ahusirra's ritual killed me, and put it in my old body... That way she could live with you... Completely Human... While I fulfill my responsibilities to Ahusirra alone..."

"Heh... guess we're both a little depressed and hopeless... but... if I did find out, that would hurt me, far worse than if you stayed with me." He wrapped his arms around her, his eye scanning into hers. "I love you. Yes, you can hurt me bad, but I won't stop loving you. You and Jasmine are my world, and I will fight to the death for you. So don't think for a second an alternate version of you would make me happy. Only this one, the one who makes mistakes and treats me well, is the one I want. No one else. So... maybe this a childish request, but... please don't leave me..." He held her hostage with so much affection that it outdid every moment he had spent with her, his eye containing so much love for her it was apparent that she had his heart in its entirety.

Tears ran down the young woman's cheeks as she hugged him tightly. She smiled as she cried, "We're so bad at this..."

"Entirely bad at it. But we somehow make it work and are still madly, almost insanely, in love." He agreed, wiping the tears from her eyes with his only arm. "But you owe me many, many, many cuddles in the future."

"I'm going to give you so many cuddles..." She nuzzled him.

He sighed happily as he closed his eye, enjoying the moment. "You are still the most beautiful woman in the world, Syl. Should I tickle you to get you to be the most goofiest one?"

"Take your chance now. Wood isn't very ticklish..." She giggled.

Grinning, he followed her advice and proceeded to do so. "Have I told you how cute you are?" Edan teased.

"Maybe... Let's just... Stay here a while..." The Huntress snuggled him, the two spending a long time together as Mags watched from afar, not interrupting their moment.
 

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Black0ut(I'm on a friggin' roll!)&ZombieSplitter53
Propositions and Babies

A woman with long silver hair and bangs, with a red dress and stiletto heels knocked at Mina's door. She was unrecognizable as her ears blended in with her hair. She exuded nobility and had the elegance of a princess. She waited for the door to open without saying a word.

Mina slowly opened the door, looking a bit tired from all the paperwork. "Can I help you?" she asked, not recognizing her at first. "Wait... you..."

"I can dress up too, LW. I'm just... more of a tomboy. But where are my manners," Titania curtsied, a gentle smile appearing as she did so, "I am Lady Titania Regallis of Bevland. It is a pleasure to formally meet you, Lady Wilhelmina Havenbrook." The Thrope looked at Mina, noticing how tired she was. "I believe you may need some help to combat the paperwork. May I assist you in that endeavor?"

Mina giggled. "No, that's okay. I'm just about finished now. But what's going on? Why are you all dressed up? You... look really good."

"Really good? You might give a girl the wrong idea..." Titania flirted lightly, smiling as she winked. "But shouldn't I dress up if I have a business proposition for you?"

"Buisness proposition, huh?" Mina smiled. "I like the sound of that. I'm always looking for new ideas and ventures from my most trust allies. Please, come in. Let's hear what's on your mind."

Titania walked, in taking a seat at Mina's desk. She waited for her fellow noble to arrive at her seat before continuing. "The Regallis are fighters and teachers, one of the best in Bevland. We have plenty of recruits come far and wide, some as far as Mirandia and Stormrend, with even Ophidians joining our tutalage. We could send some of those graduated trainees, or even proficient trainees here to you, Lady Havenbrook."

Mina sighed. "That... would actually be very helpful right now. We lost a lot of good men and women back there. Our numbers haven't been this low since the days when my uncle was running things."

"However, even though I've been told I will be the next matriarch of Regallis, I still need something in exchange. Two somethings." Titania leaned back in her chair, offering an apologetic smile.

"Of course. Nothing in this world worth having is free." Mina clasped her hands together. "Does this mean you are are better terms with your estranged family?"

"Yes... as the next head of the Regallis line. Technically, I'm supposed eligible to be voted onto the Bevland council since I am now a landed noble." Titania clasped her hands together. "I'm investing in you, partly because your a good friend of mine... But should we, the Regallis lineage, need aid, I'm hoping that Havenbrook can answer that call. In other words, an alliance between our Houses."

Mina nodded. "That sounds only fair. After all, we would be getting a lot of recruits from your house. I accept."


"Perfect. Expect a secretary to come in the following weeks for your signature and official statement." Titania replied, overjoyed. "However, since this is still in your favor, due to how weakened you are, I'll need you to offer me something else to balance the deal. I have something in mind, but feel free to throw out some ideas."

"There are few things I can think of. S Rank status, a raise, some free shares. But these are all things you deserve anyway. Please... tell me your idea."

"As much as the greedy part of me wants to take your deal and run with it, I need something to benefit my House." Titania explained, rubbing one of her ears. "Truthfully, I want only the alliance, but supplying you with Hunters when we have a diplomatic advantage... Well, pissy nobles are pissy. We could do a monetary exchange, but I feel that's kinda shitty as your friend. I could requisition trade between our towns, but we aren't merchant nobles and I don't know any goods you produce that we don't already have. I could ask to pick off your best people to serve as houseguards, but... Again, feels too scummy. I kinda need something that my minor nobles will be okay with and that won't fuck you over. Hence why I need something else to pacify the pricks..."

Mina nodded. "You've put a lot of thought into this. It is nice to hear you came to the meeting prepared."

"Well, I can't let someone who's a friend get screwed over, right? Best to research what would screw you over and choose something else than blindly go in and screw you over later." Titania shrugged, offering a somewhat meek grin. "Will this affect my friendship with you...?"

Mina chuckled. "Yes. It'll make us grow closer. Some of my best friends are business partners."

"Still... I don't like having to extort you for an alliance so you get more men..." Titania's differently colored eyes looked down before looking back up with a bit more confidence. "Give me something good and I'll give you one of our best assassins and one of our master trainers."

Mina leaned against her hands. "How about exclusive rights to all Havenbrook Organization products before anyone else gets to see them in Bevland, and a 10% discount to all those in your noble house and their immediate allies."

"What kind of products are we talking about?" Titania asked, tilting her head to the side.

Mina shrugged. "What are you looking for. The Organization isn't just about the Guild. We have our hands in the distribution of food, we have weapon productions, including firearms, and we are the leader in automobile production. We might not be as big as Themosa but we have our toes in megitech as well. Erin owns several patents herself."

Titania nodded, and smiled. "I think exclusive product rights will work for us. Keep in mind, we don't have many Houses with us, so less people will look for cost reductions. Two warrior houses, minor noble families who swore fealty in the Nocturnum War, that kind of thing."

Lady Havenbrook stood up and offered her hand. "I think we have a deal then."
 

Black0ut

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Propositions and Babies, cont.


Titania followed suit and shook Mina's hand. "We do, Miss Havenbrook. But now that business is over, want to relax for a bit, talk about stuff?”

Mina nodded, frowning. "I understand you took quite the damage in that fight. Almost dying, and literally in need of divine intervention to stop it. That must... I can't imagine how that might have made you feel."

"It... put things in perspective. I now know how Kva felt when I was holding her... But more than that, I felt a calm, peace so potent that... Well, I haven't felt since. I still have a healthy fear of death and I still want to make something of myself. If anything its driven me to be more ambitious." Titania answered, before her gaze lowered. "With Everybody focused on Yog up front when we had the advantage, we didn't look for where his tentacles were going or how he positioned them: our wounded. Everyone bunched together; manaless mages, wounded fighters, our guards for them... Regardless, even if he took out an organ or two, I'm still around. And that means I get to annoy the shit out of you, Mina... But you're saved for the moment because I'm wearing a dress." Titania grinned, a veritable twinkle in her eyes.

Mina nodded. "I'm glad to have you. You know, I don't have... many friends among the staff here. Why would I? I'm the unapproachable boss. I'm just happy that... one of the few friends I have... is still around to annoy the shit out of me."

Titania reached across the table to grab Mina's hand. "I'm not going to leave you, death or otherwise. Heh, I went back in time to save you, so I guess you can say I'm a stubborn bitch who likes to keep her best friends." Titania said softly, closing her eyes. "You are perfectly fine the way you are. Yes, you can be bossy. You can be a bit bitchy. Sometimes you can be unsociable. But underneath it all, you are kind, sweet, and loving. It's why most settle for you as a boss; we all can tell that you've been through hell, some more than others, but you still care for everyone. There is so much that you do that we recognize, from the most accomplished Hunter to the greenest Blacksmith or scientist. So don't think for a second that people don't want to be your friend... Because you made us into a family."

"Thank you, Titania," Mina said softly, wiping a tear from her eye. "I was... wondering if you would do something for me."

"Name it." The Thrope confidently replied, smiling at one of her closest friends.

"I've already asked Eraqus to be my child..." Mina remembered the baby from the broken time. "...be my daughter's godfather. But... I was unsure who to ask to be her godmother..."

"And you think I might be a good pick? Me?" Titania clarified, seemingly dumbfounded. "I mean I'll be happy to be her Godmother... But aren't there better picks than me?"

Mina laughed. "Well, besides you being the woman I am closest to right now, you having the makings of a mother despite your... more feral moments. I mean, word has you practically have two children already."

"Faith and Andy, yes. But Andy... I'm not sure if she feels the same about me. Not to mention that I've been more of a training instructor and less of a mother." Titania countered, rubbing one of her ears. "Not to mention the horrible fear of messing up with either of them... What if your daughter ends up hating me?"

Mina frowned. "I really don't see that happening. Have you... told Andy how you feel?"

"After she lost her real mother in the war for Helvan? I don't think it too... Well, right to bring that up." Titania answered wearily, rubbing her temples.

Mina nodded. "I understand. And I leave your business in your hands. As for being my girl's godmother, it is of course up to you. But I really hope you'll say yes."

"Low self-esteem or not, it's an honor to be considered as a Godmother... So yes, I will be happy to be her Godmother." The Thrope said with a merry glint in her eyes.

Mina clapped her hands together. "Excellent. Don't worry, there isn't some fancy ceremony."

"Whew... Guess I won't be making a fool of myself..." Titania pretended to wipe sweat from her brow. "So... When are you due, LW? Just so I can make sure to be there for you?"

"Honestly?" Mina placed a hand on her belly. "Any day now. Could be a week. Could be today."

"Well, if I'm nearby when your water breaks, I'll be the one getting you to medical wing." Titania half-offered, half-told Mina. "So... What's her name?"

"Valerie," Mina answered, affectionately rubbing her belly. "After a special friend I had as a child."

"Well, I bet that little Valerie will grow up to be a wonderful woman. Probably given how much her mom is a troublemaker, I'll have to keep an eye on her too." Titania said with a smile, reaching across the desk to boop Mina's nose.

Mina chuckled, and then let out a laugh. "You'll have to stick around here for a while to keep an eye on her, you know?"

"Of course. How else will she find out that the scary Thrope is nice?" Titania joked. "I miss a month, she'll run screaming to you when I come back."

Lady Havenbrook nodded. She slowly stood up, circling around the desk, and pulled Titania into a big, tight hug.

Titania hugged her back, her ears laying down on her hair. "I love you too. And I'm not going anywhere if I can help it."
 

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Frostlich1228 & Black0ut (I'm freeeeee) present:
Breaking the Godly Stereotype

Jay sat leaning against his tree, looking at a mechanical arm that he had purchased. It had many, many problems, but he supposed it would work. He hadn't been too nice to everyone. He even had a mechanical eye, being of a far better quality, although the clockwork being visible might've been a bit more stunning towards others than the gaping hole that he originally had. Sighing, he closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. He longed for the days where things were simple and not complicated.

Suddenly he watched as an Auburn portal opened up quite a ways away from him, the vortex pulsing and vibrating as it held open.

He blinked before closing his eyes. "Whoever is making a portal, I'm tired and just want to sleep..." He grumbled, his staff tilting to the side.

Suddenly Magdalene stepped halfway out looking back inside, "I did it! Whoa... That's crazy..."

Sancros opened his eyes, tilting his head to stare dumbfoundedly at Mags, no words coming to him.

Mags held out her hand and seemed to focus, the portal closing behind her. She was wearing an intricately crafted Yellow Dress with Pink Flowers sewn in it. She also had a sash and crown of pink and white flowers as well as yellow heels. The Sheep smiled, "Woo! Okay... Now the clothes..."

Suddenly, her new outfit almost faded away, turning back into the leathers she was normally known for wearing.

He finally regained his senses and pretended to be asleep, the only audible sounds coming from him being the clockwork sounds his arm made.

She looked around, looking for anyone she could find, not really seeing anyone, she began to walk back towards the Manor doing her best to be inconspicuous.

However, before she could a small watery corruption beast with wings flew in front of her, before flying near Sancros.

She immediately picked up on it, following it over to the 'sleeping' Jay. As soon as she saw him she backed up a few places before looking closer at him, seeing his eyes closed. However, she was definitely skeptical that he was really asleep.

The creature flew off, disappearing into the forest. The Light Elf's arm seemed to seize up and crank up to seemingly point at her, the fingers unmoving.

"Uh.... Jay?" She approached slowly. "Nice... Arm?"

The arm suddenly snapped back into position with a loud noise prompting the mage to open his eyes. The mechanical one whirred as it seemingly focused on Mags. "Hello, gwathel (sister). Somebody told me you wanted to talk... So I laid here hoping you'd come looking. Sorry about that." He said in a monotone voice. "What was it you wanted to tell me?"

"Uhh... What? I just found you sleeping in the woods..." The Sheep Thrope scratched her head in confusion.

He rolled his eyes, before a large ball of water formed over Magdalene. "You know I can sense magic, especially when there's a wormhole and said person doesn't mask their magical aura for fucking miles, right? I may have lied to try to get you to tell the truth, but still... Mags, do you really think I'm that stupid?" His mechanical arm rubbed his head as his gaze narrowed, his expectant and almost disapproving eyes demanding her to tell him.

"Jay... I uh..." Mags put her head in her hands. "I didn't want people to find out, but I'm obviously new at this..."

"I believe you owe me a long... Detailed... Chat about this, Gwathel." Jay said quietly his magical aura flaring up malevolently, but his real eye showed only a hint of his real emotions: brotherly concern

"Well..." She rubbed her neck. "You're looking at the... Newest Goddess of the Pantheon... Hehe..."

"Long... Detailed... Explanation." Sancros repeated, closing his normal eye, the unnerving clockwork's gears visibly stopping with each of his words.

"After the Battle Methos helped me recover... It was hard with Baphomet... Gone..." She lowered her head. "I could feel myself getting weaker every day... It was getting harder and harder to open my eyes again every time I went to sleep... I mentioned that I was only Mortal, but she suggested that perhaps... I could ask Atherella to make me a God.."

"I... Know your distaste for the Gods... But I thought, if I became one, maybe I could actually convince them to be better, to help people... Like they should..." The Sheep told him. "Besides, I couldn't have Methos spending all her time keeping me awake. And now she'll never have to be alone again."

"You do realize... I will never stop caring about you, God or not. But... You will have to watch all of us who are mortal die. I hope you will be able to weather that, Mags." He said softly, opening his real eye. "Of course, you'll have to visit me at least once a week if you live with the others. Kinda owe me for this being a somewhat unpleasant birthday gift."

"I know... And it'll be hard... But I promise I'll never forget about you..." Mags sat down next to him. "Every Slave I save from this point on, I'll think of you. You're looking at the Goddess of Family and the Hearth. It's my job to help bring separated families together, and give people families that may not have one. And you know that includes freeing slaves."

"A little too late for me, but if you can save children from my fate..." He trailed off, his gaze skybound. Waves of water and light floated into the sky with a flick of his mechanical wrist. "You know, it's a weird thing to want to live after you experience hell. I... Still debate the logic of letting myself continue. If someone breaks me further than I am, I could hurt the people I care about. But dying or killing myself... That still hurts those I love." His metallic hand slowly closed and opened, as he turned his gaze to it. "I don't think I'll ever be okay enough to live in a civilized place or move on to a less violent profession. I'm not able to function enough. If I'm allowed to be realistic, I'll probably be the first one you lose... but, for now, you'll have to suffer me." He playfully began to ruffle her hair.

"Well. Maybe your family should be the first one I fix." She leaned up next to him. "As... Soon as I figure out what special power I have that might help me do that..."

"My mother is dead, as is my father. I'm an only child to boot, so you probably can't do that for me. I appreciate the thought though." The Light Elf patted her head, as his mechanical arm went limp. "Damn glitchy arm... Anyways, use your powers for those who need it. That's what you should do."

"Not them... Jasmine... And Sylvie..." She looked him in the eye. "They're your family."

Jay nodded. "They are. And I acknowledge them as such. The only bad piece is me." He countered, before rubbing his temple with his free hand. "Why do you say my family is broken?"

"I'm not saying that. I'm saying it's... well... Struggling a little..." Mags said, giving him a smile. "But I think after that dream conversation with Sylvie, it's heading in a good direction."

"True, I guess. But then not all of us are capable of seeing each other in both wakefulness and dreams." He shrugged, his arm coming back to working order. "Only because you could enter the dream world could I bare my soul to Sylvie. So in truth, you're the reason I'm not currently dust in the wind." Jay coughed, his suicidal talk too disturbing to keep going with, given how happy Mags was. "A-anyways... You still play? I'm feeling like a show at Havenbrook might be in order-"

Jay's mechanical eye stilled, as did his mind. The shadows were familiar, from the last battle he had.

Shini, or rather several of him, stepped out. "Hello. I presume you two are being touchy feely over things? Like Gods and overcoming depression?" On all the Shinis, their masks were all pulled up but their eyes had turned a dark color, almost like the void was looking at them.

Mags quickly stood up, putting herself between Jay and the new threat. Her Scythe apparated in her hands, holding it ready to strike. "Who-... You, you're the one from the fight... What do you want?"

A shadow pierced Sancros' chest from behind, but no blood came out. Instead the Light Elf went limp as a mostly dark orb floated out. "So... I wanted to talk without restraint and without any additional ears. So, Magdalene... You seemed to have disappeared from the face of Terra Dolor... Which means you were with a God or Gods. Mind explaining? You do, I give your friend his soul back."

"You...!" She narrowed her eyes. "Give him back. Right now. And maybe I won't have the Gods hunt you and your Illithid down."

"I work for Cthulu. Kinda bad if you kill something of his. I also am a child of Yig. You struggled with one old God, two would destroy you." He countered, before shadows formed around the Light Elf's soul. "Listen, I didn't come for a fight, just information. Hell, normally in this situation, I would just use his soul as a battery. Instead, I'm willing to let him go in exchange for a few answers. I'm not being unfair here..."

"Not being unfair!? You're holding my friend hostage! My family! Clearly, we should've killed you back when we had the chance!" Magdalene fought back. "If you didn't come for a fight you should've thought better than to threaten my family... Now, last warning... Let him go. Or else I swear on Aetherella herself that I will destroy you, your Illithid, and Cthulhu too if I have to."

"I can kill him, Magdalene. I ask only for information for the release of Jay Sancros. That is fair. You attack me, I consume his soul. You attack Anaqua, I will kill most everyone in Havenbrook. You so much as do anything to piss me off, I will ensure that your family members die one by one... And then I'll make you fight them. After all... I'm not here." Shini said coldly, as his clones all cracked their necks.
 

Black0ut

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Breaking the Godly Stereotype, cont.


"You have no idea... Who you're threatening... Do you think you can just come here and take my Family to use as a Bargaining chip and call it fair!? After we helped you get the person you love back!? This is how you repay us!?" She grit her teeth, her eyes filled with fire. "You already killed at least a dozen of our friends during the fight! The fact that we let you go at all, was saintly mercy on our parts... Are you so arrogant... That you've forgotten that!?"

"No... I remember. I remember having the only family I had taken from me. I recall your Havenbrook family helped me get them back. I also recall your Betty thinking about shooting me." He said his eyes cold and dark. "I use people and then kill them. Instead of doing that, I am willing to let a powerful mage, who would let me have a powerful corpse warrior and an amazing battery, go free. All I ask is that you answer just a few questions. Considering that I kill people for a living, this is very much fair."

"Then you have a pretty terrible idea of what Fair is..." She eyed the soul carefully. "Here's the thing... I don't believe you. You haven't exactly proven you won't just kill him and me after you get your information anyway. You'd probably call that fair too."

"I can't, remember? After all, the only way to call the gods on me, Anaqua, and Cthlhu is if you were one yourself." Shini reasoned, one of the shadow clones grabbing Sancros' body to lean him against a tree. "And while I am about as strong as a Terran God, I don't want enemies. For proof, I work for Ranseca in my free time. Your friends with her daughter's best friend. See the issue of me deciding to kill off Jay? Answers are all I want and I will leave you be. That is a fair deal, Goddess."

"Goddess? Looks like you already have your information..."

"Not enough. Goddess of what?" Shini asked.

"You bastard..." Mags grit her teeth. "Goddess of Nightmares. I can hurt you anywhere. I could kill you from across the world without even a fight. Even you need to sleep."

"Cute. Not accurate though. Methos controls dreams and dreams can be nightmares. Don't lie, please. I'm trying to be as polite as possible, given the circumstances. So answer my questions and I will put his soul back. This isn't personal, I need information and you're the most app to do so. It could have been Ranseca instead, but she's one of my clients, so you drew the short stick. What are you God of?"

"Fuck you. Honestly, you're scum." Mags just shook her head. She could grab it if she was fast enough, she should be fast enough, she just had to tap into it. Who knows what Cthulhu could do with this information, we couldn't have a repeat of what happened with Hastur, but she wasn't sure if she was used to her new powers enough to take a risk like that.

"You know what this means right? Your Godly Allies, they're done when I tell them about this. Ranseca? That's her daughter's closest friend you're holding there. Are you really willing to betray your client? Just for some information?" Magdalene put a single foot forward.

"What makes you assume I'm working towards some reward? This is independent research gathering. No handler. I just want to make sure to know what to avoid so I... Wait... You called him family? You've been talking about Families. That's what you're a God of... How about this: You tell me the truth of your aspects as a God, I will leave and never touch your family again... Unless another God commands it. I will make sure Sancros gets his soul back, and you... You can keep hating what you don't know. Deal? And before you try to make a move, I can consume souls incredibly fast, seeing as there is no body to dissolve. Anyways, deal, Magdalene?"

"I don't even know. Honestly. I was transformed yesterday." She sighed in defeat. "Is that good enough for you? I came back here to check on my friends. See how they were doing after the fight."

Shini's shadow clones frowned collectively. A tendril floated back over to Sancros' body. "I... Suppose... That will work. So you're just the God of Family? That's it? No other add-ons to that title?"

"I don't know anything. Probably? Aetherella said something about it taking time to find out." The Sheep shrugged, "Now put his soul back."

"Alright. Just... Keep in mind, I will want to know, as our deal was to leave you alone if I knew your aspects. However, would calling you via crystal be better?" He asked as the soul started to be pushed back in.

"So now you want to call me!? The deal was I told you what I knew, that was it." Mags appeared to be getting more and more frustrated. "I'm not going to be your Mole within the Gods."

Shini pulled the soul away. "Look! All I fucking want is to know what kind of God you are. That's it. I don't want you as a mole, because moles turn. So, when you figure out what kind of God you are, you'll tell me and that will be our last communiqué. So, take the deal, and you get Mr. Isolationism here back."

"No... I don't think so..." Suddenly a portal opened up next the Demigod and in not even a fraction of a second, the body and Soul were pulled through. Looking back at the Sheep, her form flickered and shifted, vanishing into nothing, revealing it to be a fake.

"Sad to say, but I already took part of his soul. If you want it back, his good side, meet me at the Stormrend capital." The Shini clones said, before fading away into the ether.

She screamed at the top of her lungs, "I'll find you you corrupted fucker! I will! Do you hear me?!"

A shadowy version formed up. "I asked for very simple things. Had you agreed and not taken his soul, I would've put it back and left you alone. This... This is your own fault."

"No. This is your fault! Give him back right now or I promise I'll come after you!" The Sheep quickly spun around to face it.

"I said I would. Come to Stormrend, take a crystal from me to communicate later and I will hand back the good, sweet aspects of his soul. Murder me and you'll never get him back." He said quietly, shaking his head. "And to think you wouldn't be ruled by emotions..."

"No one attacks my family. No one." She glared, pretty much slapping the crystal out of clone's hand. "You miscalculated."

"I asked. I never attacked you. I could've, but I didn't. I have been rather nice. Codes of Conduct and all that. All I wanted was for you to, later on, say 'oh hey assassin dude, I'm the Goddess of this and that.' I am greeting you, Sheep. And considering I still haven't used the part of his soul for you blatantly telling me to fuck off, I think I'm being rather nice." He yelled, irritated. "And I apologize for yelling, but you are fucking irritating! He's not your chosen, as you don't know what God you are, he doesn't worship you, and he's mortal. You had no ownership or protection to offer him. He, by all rights, was fair game. Hell, I could've just killed him and been done with it, but I took the 'good' option instead. He isn't your blood relative, he's a friend of yours."

"You don't understand anything..." She gave him a look if digust. "I just lost someone very important to me and you come not a week later and try and take another one!? If I find out you killed him, I don't care how many Old Ones you hide behind. I will destroy every single one of them if it means I can get to you. The least you could've done was leave him out of it and just asked me instead of using him as a bargaining chip! But you're a coward! You can't even be here to do it yourself!"

"Give me my brother back Dammit!" She radiated power as she screamed, the kind you'd only see from a much older, Original God.

"Interesting..." He whispered before shaking his head. "I am as honorable as an assassin can be. Why do you think I wanted to make a deal? I honor mine. You owed me an answer that wasn't I don't know. When I know the answer, you can have your brother back. Be careful, though. If you press me too hard, I will leave his soul either in corruption or find a demon to haul it off." The being said softly. "Calm down and be open to reason, Magdalene."

"Try it." She shook her head. "If you really want this information so badly, leave us out of it and just ask Aetherella. She'll make sure you aren't going to give it to Cthulhu and doom the world again."

"How... were you listening to the whole, 'I'm not doing this for Cthulhu, this is me asking'? I don't intend to report this..." Shini groaned, rubbing his temples. "I'll go meet your Goddess, but until I get an answer, it stays in a remote location as collateral."

"I'll meet you there. I'm not giving you any opportunity to try anything funny with her." The Newly Made Goddess told him aggressively.

"Okay. I still think you overreacted and still are, but whatever calms you down." Shini said emotionlessly, rolling his eyes at the New Goddess.

"How would you react if I used your Illithid's soul as leverage?" She didn't even blink.

"You couldn't, as you would start another war. But hypothetically? I would get enough Old God children to kill you. But I would talk to your Gods about why I did so." Shini started, before shaking his head. "But if you wanted questions, I'd answer them."

"Well you're even worse than I thought. About what I'd expect from a coward like you though." Mags opened a portal behind her. "I'll see you up there. If you don't live up to your word..."

"It will take me a bit to get up to your sky realm. I can't teleport, so expect your Goddess to summon me forward." He said as the shadowy puppet began to disappear, only for the faint screams of a man to be heard.

Magdalene clenched her fist so hard it turned white, heading through the portal quickly to find Methos and Atherella.
 

ZombieSplitter53

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Dahlexpert & ZombieSplitter53
Family meets Family


Mirandia
Capital City of Alexandria
Alexandria Central Rail Station

December 19th, 3349

Esmeralda stood in her cute winter ware, pinks and yellows galore. She was sitting on a bench alone while Charter got them something warm to drink. She was nervous as she waited for the next train to arrive, tapping her foot and fidgeting. "Almost time..."

"Ou come on Es you've been to my home before, you know what's it like." Charter looked at Es brother and sister. "It's them that will probable have there jaw drop."

Diamante shrugged. "I'll be fine. Seen these big places. I travel a lot. It's Rubi that'll be shocked."

"Hope they get here soon. I'm freezing my nips off." Safria shivered. "Is your estate really that big? Sure you're not exaggerating?"

Esmeralda giggled. "Trust me, he's not."

"It's really big, though to me it's not much. I'm more worried that what will happen when our fathers meet, one is a very protective father and want's a lot form his children. And then there's my father who is a decelerated warrior and is, well a tactical business man."

"Oh, they're here!" Esmeralda jumped up as the train started to pull into the station. She kissed Charter on the cheek and said, "I know they'll get along swimmingly. I mean... I'm pretty sure... at least I hope they do."

The train squealed to a stop, and after several other passengers, Esmeralda's father and mother stepped out of the train, Rubi trailing close behind, looking around nervously.

Rubi heard a wolf howling, and she quickly ran to Slone and hugged him. " Charter looked at Es father and extended his hand." Hello sir it's been a while, it's um good to see you." Charter then bowed his head to Es mother." And you as well mam."

She bowed back, and Ouro took his hand with a surprisingly strong grip. He gave Charter a small smile and said, "A pleasure. So... what's this I hear about you helping to save the world?"

Charter sighed. "IT's a long, long story. One with me screwing up a lot and letting my emotions getting the better of me. But as for me saving the world sure it was a tough battle, the toughest of my life but yea I saved the world. I'm sure there will be bards singing about it for generations."

Diamante chuckled. "So humble."

"Oh, let the boy boast," Prata insisted, walking over and giving Charter a big hug. "It is so good to see you again, my future son-in-law. I am looking forward to meeting your parents."

Charter hugged Prata back. "It will be an interesting to say the lease to say the lease." Charter picked up Prata bag." Alright then shall we get a move on then, there's a carriage waiting for us to take you all to my home."

Everyone nodded, and followed behind Charter, Diamante carrying Runi's bag. The shy girl stuck Slone's side as if afraid to get nabbed. "This is such a big city. S-so many people must live here. I-is... crime a problem?"

“Well there’s crime everywhere kid but Mirandia there’s a little bit less?” Character looked down at Runi and picked her up and put her in Sloan.” Better kiddo?”

Rubi giggled. "Yes, thank you."

Once they reached the large, extravagant carriage, Prata placed a hand over her mouth. "Oh, my. This looks every so expensive. I mean... we could always walk..."

"Not in your condition." Ouro urged her forward. "If we are going to let the boy boast, we can also let him treat us to a nice ride. Right, Charter?"

“Right And Trust me this is not boasting, it’s one of my family’s carriages. They don’t mind lending it to you at all, I mean we’re going to be one big family after all.” Character said smiling ear to ear.

Esmeralda's family nodded, though all looked nervous about excepting such extravagance, even Es who already had. They climbed in, marvelling at the comfort as the carriage took off. They all stared out in wonder at the enormous cityscape, only Diamante not looking awestruck, though he was amused by the others. "About how far to the Van Dam estate?" he asked.

“Hum it’s pretty far off it’s a few miles out the city, so I would say it will take us about an hour or so to get there. So just enjoy the ride.”

Everyone did as he suggested, enjoying the carriage ride that was magically heated, chatting about the sights and sounds, and having the time of their lives just from a simple ride in luxury. It surely was a sign of the simpler life they had led.

Everyone did as he suggested, enjoying the carriage ride that was magically heated, chatting about the sights and sounds, and having the time of their lives just from a simple ride in luxury. It surely was a sign of the simpler life they had led.

They were all amazed, even Diamante despite his earlier claims. "Whoa..." Safria uttered, flabbergasted.

"This is all yours?" Prata asked.

"It's a bit big, isn't it?" Ouro stated, as if judging it. "I mean... what do you need that many rooms for?" His wife nudged him. "What? I'm just saying..."

“Well That castle is mostly for the soldiers to live in, that castle is for training soldiers I used to live there to. But my home is the manor behind the castle.” As they passed the castle they say a giant mansion.

"Wow..." Safria looked out on it. "I think it's bigger then the Havenbrook Manor. I knew your family was rich, but this is like..."

"Rich rich," Rubi whispered in a somewhat intimidated voice, like she didn't belong. They all had that look about them.

Once outside the carriage Character helped Esmeralda off the carriage and escorted her family to the manor, Character ran the bell and the light Elf butler.

“A master Character good to see you safe and sound, and hello Mrs Esmeralda I see your doing well.”

"Yup." She rubbed her belly. "Baby bump is nice and healthy to. And this is my family." She waved her hand back. "I do hope you were expecting us."

"Yes Mr and Mrs Van Dam told me everything days in advance, so I can make the proper arrangement for dinner. Do you need help with your bags madam? " Charls asked Es mother.

Prata watched as he toom her bags from Charter and blushed. "I am... not used to being so spoiled." She smiled at her husband. "Except by you of course, dear."

Ouro chuckled and stepped in. "Can we have our bags moved to our room so I can meet with the lord of the house?"

"Of course sir, I will show you all to your rooms." Charls escorted Es family to there different guest rooms, Except for Esmerelda who will be in Charter's room, while they were being escorted they saw a bunch of servants some being light elves and humans. The light Elves explained that they have served the family for generations, some seeing as a right because the Van Dams pay them very well and treat them and there family's well. During the tour they ran into a small child being held by a woman in her fortys.

"Ou Hello you must be Esmerelda's family, I'm Eva Van Dam it's such a pleasure to meet you all."

"Please, the pleasure is all ours," Prata insisted. "And who is this delightful little one?"

"This is Cassia, our grand daughter form my other son and his wife. Eva put Cassia down and grabbed a bag of potions. "Charter also told me about your condition, I'm not sure if these will help you but I hope it does."

"Oh, that is ever so kind of you." Es' mother took the bag gratefully.

"How... much do you want for them?" her husband asked.

"Dad." Safria rolled her eyes. "They're a gift."

"One does not assume everything is free in a stranger's house," Ouro lecture. "Better to ask then assume."

"It's a gift, I see you also have children of your own it's a pleasure to meet you three. So do you have any names?"
 

ZombieSplitter53

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Esmeralda gasped. "Oh, I am so rude! I'm sorry. This is my big brother Diamante, and my sisters Safria and Rubi. And my parents are Ouro and Prada."

"It's a pleasure to meet you all, unfortunately my husband and my other son is currently working so they won't be back for quiet some time."

"That's alright mom, I'm sure I can find something for them to do. Isn't that right Cassy." Charter picked up his niece and started cuddling her.

Esmeralda's eyes lit up to see him get along with a child so well. Rubi asked, "I think mother should get some rest. It was a long trip..."

"Ou right of course, it's best i'll take her to the guess room for her to rest. You all um I guess if you have any questions ask Charter." Eva said taking Prada to the guest room.

Ouro said, "I'm going to look around the mansion if that is okay. Is there anywhere I should know not to go?"

"Don't go to my father's office, he has a lot of paper work in there and it would be a pain for him to rearrange everything."

Ouro nodded. "Guess I'll go look around town," Diamante said. "Have a few friends I can meet up with. Will you be okay escorting the girls around by yourself, Charter?"

"Ou yea it will be like old times, hell i'm she smiles a lot more these days and is a lot less mopey. So i'm sure I could show them around town, come along you two." Charter was about to leave and looked at Rubi." You two kiddo, might as well see if I can get you out of your sell two, after all I helped one of your sisters with her down look on life i'm sure I could help you."

Rubi slowly nodded, running over and sticking close to him while they left the mansion. "S-so, um..." Rubi cleared her throat. "W-what do you... do for fun in a big city like this?"

"There are a few restaurants, me typically I used to train with the new recruits. But since I'm sure you ladies don't wanna see me get into fights, tell me what you wanna see and I'll see if I can do it."

The three looked at each other, and Rubi said, "I've... never seen you fight. Maybe a... little demonstration?"

“Hum Alright then I guess we’re going to the castle then, the four got into the carriage and traveled to the castle. Once there cheers could be heard all around.

"Wow." Safria nudged him. "Pretty popular, eh?"

“Hail to the god slayer, welcome home Character! The cheers went on and on for a good five minutes.”

“Alright Alright calm down everyone, I was nothing special just me, saving your assess. Now I’m looking for a sparing partner, so who wants to fight a legend!?”

The largest of the group stepped forward, a man a few feet taller then Charter. "I'll spar with you, god slayer. But you better not go easy on me. Wouldn't want to look bad in front of your three girlfriends."

“Alright then I won’t go easy, but leave my wife and her two sisters out of it.”

"Of course." He pointed at Charter. "The only one I want right now is you."

Safria chuckled. "Whoa, big boy. Better watch how he grabs you, Charter."

The man stammered. "Sh-shut up! I didn't mean it that way!"

Rubi scratched her head. "I don't get it." Safria whispered in her ear, and she blushed.

“Don’t worry that’s just how she is, so come on I’ll let you get the first hit in Alright.”

The large man cracked his knuckled, grinning widely, and threw a massive right hook Charter's way.

Character evaded the right hook, grabbed the mans arm and flipped him to the ground.” Ou come now, I said I would let you get the first hit didn’t mean I was gonna let you hit me.”

The man grunted and heaved, his own weight working to injure him more. He was far from finished, rolling around and throwing an uppercut as he stood.

Charter blocked the upper and kicked him in the gut. "Come on now, i'm barley trying here your gonna have to try a lot more then this. Use your brain here come on."

The man grinned, and used his brain in a literal fashion, grabbing Charter's shoulders and headbutting him.

Charter noes started to bleed and Charter finally started to get serious Charter hip tossed the man to the ground, and started to punch the mans face repeatedly.

Rubi gasped and held a hand over her mouth. Safria laughed and cheered him on. The man swung up at Charter to knock him away. He stood up, but fell to his knee immediately. "Okay... okay... you win..."

"That's a damn shame I was just starting to get into it to, aw well." Charter turned around and raised his arms." So does anyone else wish to step up to me?"

Everyone looked intimidated, and backed off. "I'll give it a go!" From behind the big, muscular men came a woman at least a head shorter then Charter, skinny but athletic with the dark skin and pointed ears of an Elf. She jumped left and right, throwing a few punches forward.

"Okay then do you want me to go all out to as well, or do you want to see how this fight goes?"

"Oh, you can go however you want. Just know I'm not pulling any punches after that display." She rushed him. She was fast, even faster then she looked. She was able to throw in three fast jabs to his right side before retreating back.

Charter held his side and smiled. Charter then charged the woman but she kept donging and weaving Charter's blows and hitting Charter where she could.

She ducked her head back from a swing that would have knocked her on her ass, then back flipped away, grinning and wiping some sweat away. "You're pretty good. This is actually kinda hard."

Charter then grind and whipped some sweat off his head." Your not bad yourself, however all those flips and being flashy doesn't always help." Charter then looked at the woman charged at her, and swung a few punches at her. She dodged the punches Charter was throwing and back away, but unlike the past few time Charter stayed on top of her and she was caught off guard and got punched in the stomach.

She let out a loud 'oof', and dropped to her knees. She breathed heavily, having a hard time catching her breath. When she finally did, she started laughing. She looked up and smiled at Charter. "Thanks."

Charter looked confused by the thanks." Um is there a reason why your thanking me after taking a punch in the gut?"

She slowly stood up. "Thanks... for showing these scrubs I can take a hit and get back up. Maybe now I'll get a decent fight out of them when sparring." She rubbed her aching stomach. "Wow... that's gonna bruise..."

"Can you get going, i'm sure you could keep showing them what you got if you wish to continue and keep fighting."

"Sure. Ready for round two?"

"Round two I've barley started round one here, come on now your gonna have to give yourself more credit then that. Now then let us continue." Charter then charged the woman this time keeping up with the woman and punches her in the jaw.

It was a blow that should have knocked her out, but she saw it coming at the last moment and moved her body with the blow, taking less damage and using the momentum to spin kick into Charter's neck.

Charter fell to his knees, as the elf went to knee Charter face. He blocked the blow and gave her an upper cut and tossed her away to the ground.

She skidded across the stone, scraping her knees, but she didn't seem to notice or care as she ran to catch him off guard, going for a drop kick to the chest.

Charter blocked the attack but was still pushed back a but, but before she could recover Charter kicked her in her ribs reeling her back.

She did several flips and caught herself on her feet, but stood prone for a few moments, woozy.

"Are you alright, I didn't kick you to hard did I um can you keep going or are you done?"

The woman gave him an angry look and rushed forward, sweeping his legs. "Don't underestimate me!"
 

ZombieSplitter53

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Charter landed on the ground, but rose his legs up and lunged his feet into the Elf cheats sending her to the ground.

She laid there, panting heavily. "That... all you... got...?"

"No not even close, but you look tired as hell. And truth be told I would rather not knock you out, I'm pretty sure everyone around here won't be underestimating you ever again."

She chuckled. "Thanks. Sorry for... losing my temper back there."

"It's fine, I don't mind it that much," Charter patted the Elf on the head." But keep on training i'm sure will make something of yourself, and will find some place for you as a soldier.With how quick you are I would say your more of an archer with your hit and run style."

She grinned. "I am pretty skilled with a bow. Thanks."

"Um... Mister... I mean, Charter." Rubi walked over, looking a bit pale. "C-can we... go get something to eat? All this... violence... has really made me work up an appetite..."

"Sure thing Rubi well get you something to eat, thanks for the sparing sections everyone it was a joy sparing with you." Charter took the three girls back to the carriage and Charter relaxed for a bit. But he looked at Esmeralda." Think I went to far even though I wasn't trying?"

"Hmm? No, no. I mean... that first guy was a chump, and that lady wanted a proper fight. Are you asking because of Rubi?" She rubbed her pale sister's shoulder. "She has hemophobia."

Rubi lowered her head. "I thought you were going to sword fight. I... d-did't expect so much... b-blood..."

"Rubi, weather if it was swords a mace ax, staff or whatever there was gonna be blood. Hell if there was an actual weapon it would have been even bloodier, now with wooden versions of those weapons It would have left bruises. So me using my hands was the best option do you understand what I'm saying?"

Rubi nodded. "S-sorry. I can... be pretty dumb sometimes..."

"Your not dumb, your just inexperience about the world. My sister Elma was the same way, she didn't know how the world worked or how it was now she's one of the guilds most powerful mage."

"Yeah." Safria nudged her. "So don't beat yourself up. That's my job."

Rubi chuckled, smiling softly. Esmeralda clapped her hands together. "So, where are we going to eat? Oh! I heard your father invested in a fancy club. Can we go there?"

“I heard about this place as well, caught me and my sis off guard. But I don’t see why not.”

"Excellent!" Safria sat back. "As the son of a top investor, maybe they'll give you the royal treatment, huh?"

“I certainly hope not, I don’t want any special treatment.”

When they arrived at the door, a Stormrend human man in a kimono adjusted his glasses. "I'll have to confiscate... oh. Mr. Van Dam. I was unaware you were in town."

“Yeah I’m here mostly on family visit, Um any way can I get a table for Um four?”

"Of course." He opened the door and held it open for them to enter. "Please, follow me. I will get you the best table possible."

Character groaned at the special treatment, and it was the best seat with a perfect view of the district.

On the stage at the end of the room, a fairly popular, and likely expensive to book, band played soft Mirandian jazz. A waitress came over with a big smile, her clothes fancy and clean pressed. "Master Tien says we have special guests with us. Please, what can I get you?"

Rubi looked at the menu. "It's, um... a little expensive, Charter. W-what is the most I-I can get?"

“Whatever you want because these two will make me bankrupt the way they eat. So I’m gonna put this on my dads tab and pay later.”

The waitress nodded. "Of course! What can I get you?"

"I want a steak. A big one." Safria grinned. "Medium rare, you know, just enough to say it is cooked. A bunch of mashed potatoes and green beans. And a Elliviana Iced Tea."

Esmeralda smiled. "You have sushi I see. Unusual for this kind of restaurant."

The waitress notted. "The boss likes to have a little slice of home here. Would you like to try the chef's platter. It is a favorite of those into Stormrend cuisine."

Es nodded. "That's lovely. None of the green spicy stuff though. Don't think the baby would like it. And... hmm, oolong tea? Oh, and a side salad. Oh, and your egg drop soup."

All eyes turned to Rubi, who ducked behind her menu. After a moment of silence, she muttered. "I-I... I-I-I've always... w-wanted to try lobster. But... if that is too expensive... sorry..."

“It’s fine Rubi, now as for me. Just Um just give me the chief special.”

"You got it. And to drink?"

"Um... lemonade?" Rubi asked.

“Ail and keep them coming for me will you.”

"You got it!" The waitress took her leave with the same smile.

"So Charter..." Safria munched on a slice of bread. "What exactly does your family do to be so rich?"

“A lot of things mom runs an alchemy shop, dad runs a trading business we’re he trades all sorts of goods all over Terra Dora. He also runs the military known as the iron legion, were deployed all over when needed.”

"Wow, that s-sounds like a lot of work," Rubi said, upset she didn't have a menu to shyly hide behind anymore. "D-do they make time for... for fun and vacations?"

“Here and there, but they mostly work. My father ties to make free time, but he’s mostly busy.”

"Wish we could offer them a stay back home," Safria stated. "But our house isn't a mansion, as you've seen, and after this fancy living, I doubt they'd be happy staying at an inn."

“You kidding, I’m sure my family would enjoy some time being regular people again. Hell my dad May have been born rich, but he was a soldier. He used to sleep at inns under tents and hunt monsters, and my mom was always an alchemist to a normal family. So I’m sure being a regular house would be a great chance of pace for them.”

"Then we should give it a try sometime," Esmeralda declared excitedly.

The food came and they enjoyed some mild banter and conversation. They were nearly finished when a woman called out, "Charter Van Dam! It's been so long!"

Character narrowed his eyes at the woman.”’has it now please jog my memory of who you are again?”

"Of course you don't remember me." She offered her hand. "We only met once while I was having a meeting with your father. I'm Sakura Mikami, the proud owner of this establishment. And I wouldn't have made it if not for your father's contributions."

Character shook the woman’s hand.” Well it’s great to see you again, I’m glad that my father helped you out with this place. But I’m kinda in the middle of something here.”

Esmeralda poked him. "Don't be rude, Charter. She is a friend of your fathers, and we are guests at her restaurant."

Character rolled his eyes.” Alright sorry I’m glad to hear that my father helped you with this place, and by the looks of things it’s really popular.”

Sakura nodded, not remarking on any insulting behavior. "Thank you. By the way, are you familiar with the upcoming Spring elections by chance? I'll actually be running."

“Ou are you now, sorry if I’m kind been busy with other things to remember political stuff. So then why are you running?”

Sakura folded her arms. "Because the idiot Judge I'm running against is an old fool that doesn't know what he is doing anymore. You know he nearly destroyed this place based on false info from a bitter ex-employee?"

"So you are actually running against an active Judge?" Es asked in surprise.

Safria shrugged. "What's the big idea. This is a democratic nation right?"

"Yes, but the Judges are held in such high regard, they almost always change because of retirement, not election," Esmeralda explained. "From what I've read, no one has actually ran against a judge in thirty years. And another forty years before that."
 

ZombieSplitter53

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“Hum well if i decided to stay here long enough for this election you got my vote. After all if this place was destroyed I’m sure my dad doesn’t like that, or being accused of something he never did.”

"That's right. No one likes that." Sakura placed her hands on her hips. "That mean ol' Judge started to accuse him with no evidence! I could survive, but I would hate for your father to take a hit to his reputation for no reason. He has been so kind to me..."

“Well that’s good to hear at least, and I do hope this place continues to succeed because everyone seems to like it.” Character downed his bottle of ale.” But Mrs Sakura I do hope that everything goes well for you in that election.”

She smiled widely. "Thank you, my boy. Now I will leave you, your fiance and her... sisters?... in piece." She patted him on the shoulder. "And have all the ale you want. It's on the house."

"Ou I appriciate that, I'll be sure to drink them by the bottle". Charter said opening another bottle and drinking it.

Sakura chuckled at that as she left them alone. Esmeralda rolled her eyes, Safria cheered for him to 'chug, chug, chug', and Rubi watched, both impressed and amused.

After Charter finished his drink he looked at Esmerelda. "Ou come on love can I not drink and celibate? After all the world is saved our child is fine and our family are about to meet, not to mention we need to prepare for the wedding."

Esmeralda blinked. "Oh, you're right. I've spent so much time thinking of marrying you but the actual wedding slipped my mind."

“Yeah see I’m not the best at that, so do any of you three have any idea how to plan this? Or would you like to go over this with my mothers?”

Rubi and Safria exchanged a look, and at the same time said, "Mothers."

"Sorry, what I meant to say was my mom and your mom go over wedding plans. Guess the alcohol is slowly getting to me."

Safria nodded, chuckling. "That makes more sense. I guess we should leave it up to them. Knowing our mother, she already has a bunch of ideas."

"And knowing my mom she also has plenty of ideas of how this wedding will go." Charter wrapped his arm around Esmeralda." But it doesn't matter as long as I have you and our son I'm happy."

Esmeralda snuggled against him. Rubi let out an audible 'aww', making Safria chuckle, and once again thank the gods she hadn't ruined their relationship.

"Whelp we have been avoiding this for some time, best we get back home. By now my father and brother should be back at the home by now, so let's go see how our fathers get along."

Everyone's shoulders slumped. This would either be very interesting... or very painful. As the four left the club and went back to the carriage and went back to the Van Dam estate, when they open the door they saw Charter father and Es father shaking hands.

"A fine boy you have raised," Ouro stated. "He treats my Esmeralda good. Probably better then myself. You should be proud."

"I am, he's a good man even when he was a child he was more mature then other kids his age. I remember him constantly getting into fights protecting his little brother and sister, as well with the others he trained with. He was always a good man even as a child." Axton looked at the door to see the man he was talking about. "Ah speaking of the man himself Charter how are you son?"

Charter walked in and hugged his dad." Doing just fine dad, just showing the girls around."

"Mr. Van Dam, let me introduce you." Ouro walked over to his girls. "Naturally you already met Esmeralda. The little punk here is Safria, and this is my shy flower Rubi. My son, Diamante, is here too. I just hope he isn't out getting into trouble somewhere."

“It’s a delight to meet you all, I hope my son showed you all a wonderful time. But Character We’re is Elma?”

“She’s at the guild, she is still recovering her magic after the battle.”

Esmeralda nodded. "She was quite drained. From what Charter told, she fought very bravely. She needs time to recover though. Her boyfriend is taking care of her."

Charter slammed his head into his hand as his father never knew about Elma boyfriend.” Boyfriend, my Elma has a boyfriend?”

Safria elbowed Es, who bit her lip. "Oops. Um... y-yes. I mean, I... I'm not sure how... serious... they make such a cute... h-he's very nice."

Axton raised his eyebrow.” I’ll get to that bridge when I get to it, but for now this is about you two.” Axton hugged both Character and Esmeralda.” So then Mrs Esmeralda, when are you due?”

"Due? I don't have to be back home for a while."

Safria snickered. "He means the baby, genius."

"Oh! About two and a half months. So late February, early March."

“And it’s going to be a boy, in case you’re curious.”

“Ou I finally get a grandsons!” Eva said while walking down the stairs.” Ou such wonderful news of you two having a boy, but more importantly. Who’s planning the wedding?”

Esmeralda held her hands together. "Well, we're not entirely sure... how to plan a wedding, so we were hoping you and my mother would help with that."

Eva squilled with excitement.” Ou I will be honored m, it’s best I start asking your mother about how ligh Elves do there weddings.” She said while going back upstairs.

“Ugh boy we’ve done it now, I’m sure she might go over board with it.”

Ouro scratched his chin. "I fear my wife will not be much better. Something tells me this is going to put me in serious debt..."

“Well I could always pay for it Ouro.” Axton said.” I don’t want you going into dept with this wedding, besides i can get my money back in a few days.”

"A few days?" Ouro blinked, thinking it must be nice to be so rich. "Very well. But please, I insist that my family at least provide all the floral arrangements. It's what we do after all."

“I have no problem with that whatsoever.”

The door then opened with Emile coming in with his wife.” Daddy!” Cassia ran to her father and Emile picked her up.

“Hay sweetheart how are you?” Emile then looked behind his daughter and saw his brother and Esmeralda were there.” Character Es it’s been to long you two, who are the rest of these people?”

"Emile, this is my father Ouro, and my sisters Safria and Rubi." Es introduced them in turn.

Safria leaned over to Rubi and whispered, "Is every man in this family a hunk?", making Rubi giggle and blush.

Emile extended his hand to Es sisters. "Nice to meet you two i'm Emile, I lead the city guard in Miridia it's great to meet you two."

They each shook his hand, Rubi saying, "Y-your daughter is beautiful."

"That she is, she's my pride and joy. Though my wife here is a good second to my daughter, but enough about me tell me about you two. I would love to hear about you all."

Safria shrugged. "Not much to say about me. I was a delinquent, a cutter, and a drug user, but Esmeralda and Charter helped me get past that." She nudged her head to the side. "Rubi is, like... the pure one. Daddy's girl, studying to take over the family business... probably still a virgin..."

"Safriaaaaaaa!" Rubi held her hands over her beat red face.

"Oh, and shy as he..." Safria looked at the small child and smiled. "As heck."

"Humm Well i'm glad that my brother helped you out with your problems, Though I gotta say Charter you could have mentioned that Es sisters were beautiful."

"I didn't meet them at the time, sorry." Charter rubbed Rubi head.

"Hum well good point, anyway i'm going to go and rest up. Work was pain today, so wake me when dinner is ready." Emile put Cassia down and went up stairs.

"Well... our children are getting along together," Ouro stated. "And I'm sure our wives are getting on well. Maybe you and I could get along, Mr. Van Dam, with a little... business proposition?"

"I'm always game for another business deal, But I'm interested in this after all I don't usually get to Negotiate with a business with flowers. But I'm interested to hear you out."

"Ou boy, Es you must be tired after walking around all day let me take you to my room so you could relax for a little while."

Esmeralda nodded. "That would be nice." She leaned close and said, "The baby wants me to rest too. He keeps kicking me."

Charter put his hand on her belly and felt a small shift in her stomach." Alright you two, let's give you some rest. I'm sure the baby is just full from the clubs food." Charter then lifted Esmeralda carrying her in his arms. "Best get you off your feet while I'm at it huh love."

She leaned against him with a big smile. "Love you, Charter."

Charter kissed Esmeralda forehead." I love you two, and don't ever forget I will always be there for you both you and our son."
 

ZombieSplitter53

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Frostlich1228 & ZombieSplitter53
Long Awaited Reunion


Betty sat in her room, getting some things ready, but mostly tidying up as she waited for Xelia to arrive. As much as she didn't trust the Illithid, especially after what had transpired during the Manor Attack, Esmeralda seems to very much care for her, and she did help them. She just wanted her parents, that was it. Hopefully she'd be reasonable and it wouldn't have to escalate, she was going to find them one way or another.

Erin watched her with a sad look, knowing how nervous she surely was. "Do you think she'll... be cooperative?"

"If not we could use Esmeralda to guilt her... I'm trying to be optimistic though, she did help us fight Yog..." Betty sighed, wiping her hands on her apron.

"You know I'll support you no matter what?" Erin stated. "Even if it gets... violent."

"Hopefully it won't come to zhat..." Betty looked over at her gauntlet, currently resting on the other side of the room. "Do you zhink I should grab it, just in case?"

Erin bit her lip. "Can't really use it yet, my dear," she reminded Betty, nudging her head towards Betty's stump.

"Oh..." Betty looked down again, "Right... It's weird, sometimes I can still kind of feel my arm..."

"Well, that makes sense, you have two after all!" A peppy voice spoke up from behind her, an almost exact copy if Betty stood there, wearing a colorful and fruity dress.

The Engineer turned around, her eyes almost bulging out of her head in fear as she fell backwards, screaming bloody murder. Betty instinctually picked up a wrench off of a nearby table to her left, throwing it at her but missing by a few feet. "NO! Nonono! I thought I was done with you! Get away from me!!"

"Betty!" Erin ran to her side. She pulled out a small wand and pointed at the copy. "Who are you?! What are you?!"

Betty almost curled up into a ball, "Go away... Go away! You're not me! You're not..."

"Wow... You still have a lot of problems don't you..." The copy held her hands up, "Don't mind her, my name is Amy. Nice to meet you, well, I've technically met you before."

Erin eyed Amy suspiciously. "Betty, do you... know this imposter?"

Amy just gave her a big smile as Betty peeked her eye out of her huddled position. "E-Erin? You can see her?"

"Of course she can. I'm real Betty. I mean I was real before, but now that I'm not stuck in your head anymore, I'm really real." Amy poked her own cheek.

"Not stuck...? Wh-What? What's going on...?" Betty looked up at the clone fully, shaking her head slowly.

"That's what I'd like to know." Erin glared at Amy. "All I know is your very presence is disturbing my fiancee, so start talking. Where did you come from? And what do you mean you were in Betty's head? Are you some kind of... apparition conjured from her nightmares? Her fears?"

"Oh. C'mon Erin, you should remember me, or are you trying to forget that time you spent with Daddy?" Amy chuckled, focusing on her now.

Erin flinched, unnerved. "What... w-what are you talking about. You mean... when we were..."

"Leave her alone!" Betty protested. "I... I don't know how you're here but you won't be tormenting her too..."

"I'm a part of you, Betty. I came from you." Her eyes darted over to Erin again. "But Daddy made me. And now I'm my own person, I don't need to fight with you in your head anymore."

"You... y-you were made from... Erin's inhibitions?" Erin muttered. "From that... person those collars made here?"

"Basically." Amy stated.

"What do you want...?" Betty asked, still shaking slightly.

"I am here for someone..." Amy smiled at the Rabbit. "I'm here for you Erin. Not you, Erin, My Erin... Where is she, by the way? Is she in there still, trying to get out like I was?"

Erin shuddered, her hands her shaking a bit. "I-I don't know what you're talking about..."

Amy took a step closer, but Betty got close to Erin. "Leave her alone!"

"Why? My love is stuck inside her head! Looking at the world through a window just like you two, I want her back..."

"Enough!" A Psionically amplified voice rung out from the door to the lab, Xelia standing there. She looked strange, her hood down and her bandages removed revealing her alien like head and her single large eye. "Amy Stop... I was wondering where you were..."

"But Mom!" Amy stomped her foot.

"I said back off Amy!" Xelitha'qha floated forward, her leg having been healed. "What a great start to this exchange..."

"Mom?!" Erin said in shock. "You made this... this twisted amalgamation of dark desires?"

"I didn't make her! I... I just gave her a body." Xelia sighed. "I was trying to keep her away from you..."

"Why... How!?" Betty didn't take her eyes off the copy.

"When I took you hostage during the attack I did a once over of your mind, that's where I found her. Struggling to get out as an observer in your head." The Illithid explained in length. "I removed her as a potential resource for later... I was planning on giving her as a gift for Esmeralda considering I thought you were going to die... Then I realized what Hastur had planned for her, I couldn't just leave Amy there to be recycled or eaten or used against us..."

"Who gave you permission to sample someone's mind?" Erin demanded. "First her parents, now this? Do you have some vendetta against Betty for some reason?"

"I didn't have permission! That was when you were trying to kill me, or am I mistaken? I wasn't exactly worried about your feelings then." Xelia defended her.

"Yeah. I would've died in there if it wasn't for her! Or I would've been trapped forever." Amy added in. "Besides, she probably helped Betty, I'm sure you've been wondering why I haven't popped up to bug you recently."

"I... I thought I got rid of you... Zhat I defeated you... I thought I was finally rid of you!" Betty grit her teeth.

"Why do you hate me so much you! You made me! I come from your head!" The Copy Fought.

"You're everything I hate about myself!"

"I'm everything you refuse to admit! That doesn't make it any less true!"

"Calm down!" Erin cleared her throat. "Everyone... calm down..."

They all collectively quieted down, looking at Erin. After a moment, Xelia spoke up. "Amy wants me to go into your head, Erin, and give her partner a body too."

Erin folded her arms. "No."

Amy let out a single laugh. "What do you mean, no?"

Erin raised an eyebrow. "I mean no. Why should I let you violate me like you did Betty? Give me one good reason."

"Violate is kind of a extreme term..." Xelia added awkwardly.

Amy growled lightly, "Because she's trapped inside your head! Unable to do anything but watch! You would really make her go through the exact same thing that you hated Daddy for?"

Amy sighed, her eyes turning empathetic, "Look. If you do it, you'll never have to deal with us ever again... We'll be gone forever and you can just... Forget about us..."

Erin frowned, and looked over to Betty. Betty just seemed to be deep in thought before noticing Erin looking at her. Her eyes focused on Xelia. "Where... Are my Parents. Show me my parents and maybe we'll consider it..."
 

ZombieSplitter53

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The Illithid nodded, "Of course. They're here... I already retrieved them..."

"And how are they?" Erin turned to her. "You said you did something to them only you could undo."

"I did... And... I can..." Xelia sighed.

"But...? Don't play with me." Betty glared.

"I can fix it. Just..." Xelitha'qha sighed, "Should I go get them first?"

"Tell me what's wrong! Stop beating around the bush!" The Engineer demanded.

"Alright... Alright... While I can fix them, it'll take a long time... I'm not exactly as used to fixing people and I didn't realize how much damage I did..." Xelia admitted, lowering her head. "You should... See for yourself..."

Erin hesitantly said, "Let... let's see them..."

"I'll be right back..." Xelia regretfully floated out, leaving the three to once again stand alone in the room.

Erin eyed Amy up and down. She was such an exact copy. If it wasn't for the personality differences... "I still don't like you poking around in my brain and taking something dark... something I don't like... and giving it physical form. But... if Betty gets her parents back... and if they can be returned to a normal state... I'll do it. I shouldn't have to make a deal. Xelia should return them no matter what. But I am willing to do anything to restore Betty's family..."

"Erin..." Betty almost felt sad. "You don't have to if you really don't want to..."

"I... I just can't keep going knowing she's trapped in there... We just want to live free and as far away as possible..." Amy explained somberly. "I know you hate us, but can't you give her that? Can't you let her leave?"

Betty sighed. "How do I know... you'll stay out of trouble. You're like a... dark version of Betty's light. And this copy will be a dark version of me. How do I know she won't use her powers... my powers... for wicked purposes?"

"We're not your evil twins. We're... Just personalities Daddy created when he controlled you, and now we have nowhere to go." Amy sighed, explaining simply. "You hate us because you didn't like who Daddy turned you into, that's fine, but that doesn't make us any less worthy of freedom too."

Erin held up her hands. "Okay, okay. I get it. Just please... stop calling him daddy. It feels... inappropriate and off putting."

"I call him that because he is. He made me?" Amy pointed out.

"Erin's right... Please?" The Engineer supported, Amy sighing.

Erin slowly sunk into a chair, removing her thin glasses and rubbing her eyes. "I don't suppose you know what was done to Betty's parents? Or how to reverse it? Or why they were taken?"

"I can answer it." Xelitha'qha stepped back into the door, sighing. "I didn't have them too far away..."

Betty stood up, ringing her hands nervously, "Well... Where are zhey?"

A voice suddenly spoke from behind her, the voice dead and lifeless, lacking any emotion. "What did you bring us for Monster? What is zhis place?"

Erin watched her lover to see how she would react.

"M-Mom?" Betty stepped forward.

Xelia stepped aside, revealing two Thropes that they both had seen on their time adventure, but both looking haggard and weary. They were thin and skinny, even her Father Gus, standing ten feet tall, was lacking much of his muscle tone, each had large, dark bags under their eyes. They both looked like they had been through hell, and they had been, for decades.

Vesp looked up at Xelia, who was silent, giving her a nod, then she saw the iconic features of her Daughter, the dark skin, the Dark eyes. Thankfully Amy had hid herself from view, standing behind a stack of boxes. "B-Betty?"

"Momma?" The Engineer let out a few tears, running down her face.

"Is it really you? Zhis isn't zome trick?" The Bat spoke, but there was still nothing in her tone, no hint of any emotion.

"I'm... I'm real Mom... It's really me..." Betty stepped up to her, the Bat Thrope standing completely still, even as Betty reached out for a hug, it took Vesp a few seconds to even return it.

"What have you done to them?" Erin demanded. "Why? Why them? Why anyone?!"

"I'm not... going to try and justify my actions... They were wrong... That's why I brought them here..." Xelia closed her eye. "Vesp... I... I took away her emotions..."

"W-What!?" Betty looked back at her Mom. "Is zhat true?"

She nodded. "It is dear... I don't feel anything anymore... I don't know why she's doing zhis, but don't trust her, she's a monster."

Her Father slowly crouched through the door, looking around, then at Vesp. His voice had emotion, confusion. "Vesp...? Who is this?"

"Gus... Zhis is... Our Daughter... I told you about her..." The Bat looked up at him.

"You... You took his memories away...?" Betty looked at Xelia again, a burning rage barely being suppressed.

"Your Mother is right... I am a Monster..." The Illithid shook her head.

"It's reversible though, right?" Erin asked, practically pleading. "You said you could. You said it would be hard but you could. Surely... surely you wouldn't have tried to trade them to us for Esmeralda like this."

"I can reverse it! It'll just... Take time..." Xelitha'qha pleaded back. "They've been like this for decades. Taking stuff out is simple enough but putting stuff back in is... Doing too much at once could overload their minds, especially with Augustus."

"You aren't trying to help us. I guarantee it. Why ze zudden change of heart?" Vesp looked back.

"It's... A long story..." The Illithid told her. "Betty helped us see..."

Just tell me one thing," Erin started. "Why them? Were they just right for your experiments, or were they just unlucky."

"They tried to kill me. They were investigating disappearances related to my experiments and arrived at my door. I defeated them and then used them." Xelitha'qha explained.

"So. You were what zhey fought..." Betty shook her head. "I had figured as much..."

"I didn't seek them out. It was just a coincidence. I don't like killing people usually, I found it wasteful when I could... Use them..." Xelia tried to explain.

"You used us a slaves. Like little pets to do whatever you wanted, you messed with our heads until zome of us just broke, zhen you discarded zhem. We are just toys to you." Vesp looked back, chiding her, but there was no anger there, just a cold factuality.

"Betty, can I... talk to you for a moment?" Erin asked.

"Of course..." As Betty looked up, Vesp just blinked at her. "Mom... Do you... We won't be far..."

"Alright..." She nodded, standing up as Betty regretfully moved over to Erin.

"Are you sure that it's them?" Erin whispered. "They could just be more copies, and the emotions and memory thing could be an excuse for why they'd act differently."

"Why would she tell us not to trust her? And she can make a perfect copy, why make a fake one with flaws?" Betty sighed, "But you could be right... Who knows if she's reading our minds..."

"Still, she... seems remorseful," Erin stated hesitantly. "And besides, it isn't like we have any other choice..."

"I... I zhink it's them..." Betty looked back at her Mother. "I don't know... I can just feel it..."