Hunters of Terra Dolor (Role Playing Section)

ZombieSplitter53

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Erin nodded. "I suppose you'll be wanting to sample my mind now instead of waiting until you've fixed them since that'll take a while, yes?" she directed to Xelia. "How do we know you won't just take off once you get what you want and leave them... broken?"

"Because... I've already started some what... I have done a little work on Vesp to restore her emotions, but it's a long process." Xelia looked over at the Woman in Question. "There is a least of hint of something now, however, small, mostly distain."

The Bat Thrope looked over, "I... I am feeling... Zomezhing... I zhink? It's... Been so long..."

"And I hold my relationship with Esmeralda very highly. I know how close you are with her, betraying you would be betraying her... Besides... I want to fix this." Xelitha'qha pointed out.

"Mom..." Betty sighed. "Do you feel... Any love for me?"

"I... I know how much I love you... From before..." She said, reaching out to take her daughter's hand. "But I don't feel it... I barely remember what feeling zhings is... Like..."

"It's okay." Erin gave her an encouraging smile. "I'm sure it is only a matter of time." She turned to Xelia, her smile noticeably dropping. "Alright... you can have what you want."

"Are... You sure? Don't consider this as payment, I would've helped them anyway." Xelitha'qha told her honestly.

Erin nodded. "There is a part of me that I admit I want gone. And... Amy is a part of the woman I love. A part of me wants her to be happy. As long as you promise Amy and my copy will be treated right."

"Of course... Amy is like a kinda daughter to me. I'll make sure she'll have a nice place... Far away." Xelia nodded.

Gus leaned down, "Who's Amy?"

"I... Don't know..." Vesp responded.

Erin turned to Betty. "Should we tell them or do you think that would just over complicate things?" she asked softly.

"They... Probably already have enough on their plates..." Betty rubbed her neck.

Erin nodded in agreement. "So... what do we do?" she asked Xelia. "Will this hurt?"

"Well... No... But it can be a little, invasive? I'll try to make it as comfortable as possible." Xelia told her awkwardly, never having been in this kind of situation before.

Erin nodded, sitting in a chair and closing her eyes. "Do what you must."

Betty walked up and held Erin's hand, not just for support, but also to be close in case she tried anything.

Xelitha'qha stepped behind her, leaning down and placing her five tendrils over Erin's head. They were very slightly slimey and immediately sent a shiver down her spine. Erin could then feel a force inside her head, gently probing, it was strange, very much so, but it wasn't forceful or painful at all.

"Erin...? Are you doing okay?" Betty asked carefully.

Erin nodded ever so slightly. "I-I can... see what she meant by invasive..."

A voice spoke inside her head, "She's very deep within your subconscious... This could get very uncomfortable, I could... Make it feel better, if you wish..."

Erin hesitated. "Um... okay. G-go ahead."

Two of her tentacles slithered into her large rabbit ears, snaking their way through the tubes in her head. It was extremely unpleasant, her head naturally twitching. It then suddenly began to feel... Good... Really good... Pleasure coursing through her body, centered on her head.

Erin slowly smiled. "That's good... what are you doing...?"

Betty lowered her brow, slightly disturbed by the display, "You... Like it?"

Erin nodded. "It feels like... my pleasure centers are being directly stimulated..."

"I'm trying to make it less unpleasant for her." Xelia psied to everyone. Suddenly, the Illithid leaned Erin's head back, a final tentacle pushing up into her nose, the pleasure amping up a fair bit, it was amazing, perhaps even faintly addictive, like an ecstasy filled brain massage.

Erin gave them all a dopey smile, feeling pleasure like she never had before. She actually drooled a bit as her eyes rolled back.

Eventually though, it came to an end, much to Erin's dissatisfaction, as the Illithids tentacles we're removed from her head. The Rabbit came down from her high slowly though, a courtesy from Xelia. "There. Done."

Betty raised an eyebrow at her, then looked over at Erin. "Honey? You okay?"

"Yeeeeeeah..." Erin blinked a few times. She wiped her mouth a d turned beat red. "Well... th-this is embarrassing..."

"Maybe I uh... Overdid it..." Xelitha'qha chuckled, "I hope I didn't embarrass you too much..."

Betty shot Xelia a sharp gaze, "Yeah... Maybe..."

"I'm fine... I'm fine. Never had my brain tickled..." Erin stood up and looked back. "You got what you needed?"

"I did. It'll take a few Days to properly make a body... I... My Lab is gone..." Xelia just realized, "Perhaps I'll ask the Gods for help."

Erin looked at Betty's parents. "What comes next with them? How... long do you think it will take?"

Xelia shrugged, "Months... A Year... Five Years... It all depends on how much new information their minds can take me putting back in. I will tell you that Augustus will take at least twice as long as Vesp Though."

"Where are they going to be until zhen?" Betty asked, Vesp whispering in Gus' ear not too far away.

"They'll stay with you of course. They're your family." The Illithid told them. "I'll come by every day to work on them for a few hours, I'll keep that up until they're better."

Erin nodded. Despite the circumstances, she was compelled to say, "Thank you Xelia."

Xelitha'qha held up her gangly hands. "Please. Don't thank me. I don't deserve it. I'm doing this to try and fix my past mistakes."

"Well... We appreciate it... I appreciate it... It would've been much easier to do nothing." Betty replied.

"Oh. So much easier. But, that's the price of righting my wrongs." Xelia looked over at the crates, "Amy... You should thank them."

Amy poked out, having found one of Betty's goggles, "These Goggles are pretty slick..."

"Amy..."

"Alright Mom...!" She fought playfully, looking over and giving the two of them a sincere smile. "Thank you two. Really."

"You're welcome." Erin looked between Vesp, Gus, and Erin. "Well, hopefully we can help to. Being around people will help your mother with her emotions, and you can help fill in gaps in his memories. It won't be easy, but they'll... they'll be okay." Her mind seemed to wonder for a moment, and she had a sad look on her face.

Betty put her good arm around Erin's shoulder comfortingly, "I'm sorry we couldn't help your Parents... But they'd be so proud of you, you saved the world..."

Erin smiled at her, and placed her head on Betty's shoulder. "Come on. Let's go find them a room, some fresh clothes, and get them something to eat."

"Wait..." Vesp interrupted. "Is... Zhis is Havenbrook isn't it? Are you a Hunter?"

Betty smiled proudly. "I am... And zhis is..."

"Following in our footsteps?" The Bat Confirmed, looking around. "You look so tough... Beautiful... You and your girlfriend zhere..."

"Fiance." Betty corrected, a happiness welling up in her, despite the circumstances.

Vesp tilted her head, and they could see the edge of her lip curl up, just slightly. "I feel... Happy... You're zo amazing, my Betty..."

Xelia blinked, "That's... I'll... Leave you all alone. We'll be aaround. Come Amy. We should get out of their way."

The Illithid and the duplicate made a hasty exit as the two newlyfound parents brought bought Betty and Erin into their arms, Augustus encompassing all three of them. He smiled. "Your Mother has told me so much..."

"I never zhought I'd zee you again..." Vesp spoke, her voice had something there, it was so easy to miss. "I love you." The Fly couldn't stop the tears from coming down, snuggling into her Mother's shoulder.
 

ZombieSplitter53

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They were taken to Erin and Betty's rooms and given some clothes, except for Gus, who had nothing that would fit him. Thinking quickly, Betty cut holes out of a large grey sheets they had laying around, sewing other parts together to create a makeshift pair of Shirt and Pants. After allowing them a few minutes to get dressed, Betty and Erin took them to the Cafeteria, the place having changed radically in twenty years and walked up to the cook. "Mr. Everett! How's the cooking today?"

An older looking Man, maybe sixty, with greying, thinning hair and an eye patch; probably the oldest chef in the entire place, turned around smiling. "Still pretty busy after the..."

Vesp stepped up slowly. "Everett? Still a cook? After all zhis time?"

The Old man wiped off his glasses. "B-Bat!? Bear!? You two are... We all thought you were dead..."

"Not quite yet." Gus chuckled, "It's uh... Good to see you. We're... Visiting the place..."

"Y-Yeah... Uhuh... Well I'm damn sure going to make you the best shit we have you big boyscout! We're going to have a catch-up party later with you two!" The Man seemed to gain a pep to his step, making his way back to the kitchen.

"I didn't know Mr. Everett was here zhat long..." Betty chuckled.

"I... Don't know who that was..." Gus sighed sadly.

"Just an old man we used to tease while eating lunch. We got pretty close." Vesp patted him on his shoulder.

Erin rubbed Gus' arm. "It'll take you time, but things will fall into place. Soon enough, you'll remember everything."

Betty scanned the room, but before she could find a chair Vesp slowly made her way towards a table, where a familiar Netzi was sitting. Betty just smiled as the other three of them quietly made their way over.

Ed grunted as he tried to turn a somewhat rusted screw on a small box, having barely touched his food. His 'good' hand was locking up, and he couldn't quiet get a solid grip with his artificial hand. "Damnblasted piece of crap arm!" he muttered loudly. "Never works when I really need it..."

"Need zome help with zhat? Old Man?" Vesp said as she sat down next to him, reaching over and turning the screw for him.

"Well, thank you beautiful! And don't let my age fool you, I might be old, but I can still..." Ed trailed off as he started at her. "V-Vesp? No... no way... you... is that really...?"

She still looked ragged, but there was no mistaking those signature cuts and chinks out of her large bat ears. The only thing throwing him off was her strange, emotionless tonage. "Hey Squirrel. Ze years were hard on you, weren't zhey?"

"Y-yeah, um... yeah." Ed stared at her for the longest time, like he was looking at a ghost. Her appearance didn't help with that. She still looked youthful, however, and for the first time in a long time, Ed truly felt old. "I... we all though... you were gone. You were dead. It has been so long!" He had an almost pleading look to him. "Where have you been?!"

"Our mission... Went... Poorly... Zhankfully..." Vesp looked back at Betty and Erin, Gus now walking up. "We had zome help getting home. I missed you... You know..."

"I missed you too... so much..." Ed looked like he was fighting back tears. "Gus! It has been too long! You look... um... I mean, you look good... ish..."

He blinked, gulping hard, "You look... Great. Never better."

"Gus. Zhis is Edminfar. Our closest friend." Vesp sighed, looking into Ed's eyes. "We... Didn't come back... completely unscathed... I'm afraid..."

"I'd imagine." Ed looked up at Gus, and saw the unfamiliarity in his eyes. "How... much has he forgotten?"

"Everyzhing before... Havenbrook, You, Ze Mission, even Betty." The Bat Thrope explained. "I... Lost my Emotions... It turned out we were hunting a... Creature zhat could manipulate our minds..."

"I see." Ed lowered his head sadly. "I'm sorry. I was going to try and find you. To save you. But I... things got... complicated..." He rose his prosthetic arm to show what he meant.

"You wouldn't have fared much better anyway..." Vesp told him truthfully, touching his burn scarred side, "I don't blame you, but what happened to you?"

"Took a magic explosion from a rather powerful warlock to the face," he answered. "I was lucky to survive. We never did get that bastard. I bet he is still out there somewhere, causing trouble..."

"Who's Lead Hunter now? Because zhis place is too nice for a certain zomeone to still be in charge." She looked over at a nearby table enjoying an appetizing meal. "And is zhat real food?"

Ed laughed. "Oh yes. The current head treats us quite well. She is Wilhelmina Havenbrook, the niece of the former head. Took the job from him after killing the bastard in revenge for him killing her parents."

"Zhat is exactly ze kind of zhing I would expect from him." Vesp replied, "I figured he wouldn't even come look for us, ze cost being too high and all. Anything higher zhan zero was too high for him."

Gus sat down, barely fitting in the chair. "From what I've been told, he acted like an asshole. Maybe it's a good thing I don't remember him..."

"He was not a very nice man, no. And a poor businessman. Things have improved so much under Mina." Ed looked around and cleared his throat. "Uh... don't mind the lack of Hunters. We just had a big fight. Many were lost, and many others were either injured or took time off."

Vesp looked back at her Daughter, Betty quickly noticing and following her gaze towards her stump. "Zhat... Happened in that fight too..."

"Must've been quite ze fight." Vesp returned her gaze. "I'd like to meet zhis Mina. Eventually. Anyone else still around from our days?"

"Oh! Uh, there's Eraqus." Betty added.

"Eraqus? Zhat Elf with ze stick up his ass? We weren't exactly good friends..."

Betty chuckled. "From what I've heard, he's gotten better. Though it is up to you whether you want to see him again."

Betty scratched her cheek. "Eraqus is nice to us. I'm sure you'd be friends with him now."

"He probably doesn't even remember our Faces." Betty's Mother pointed out. "Honestly. I just want to catch up with Eddy here."

"How close were we?" Gus leaned in.

"We did a lot together. Zhis little guy even helped us get married." Vesp said, putting her elbows on the table. "I zhink maybe he can even help us recover."

"I would love to," Ed said excitedly. "Gus, you and I will catch up on everything. I won't spare a single detail. And Vesp..." He smiled widely. "I can think of a few ways to illicit some emotions if you want."

"Still Married. And honestly it would be ze most boring sex you've ever had. Buuut..." She looked over at Gus who shrugged. "Maybe when we recover. Zhat way you have inzentive."

"Mom! Ew!?" Betty plugged her ears.

"You're a grown Woman. Calm down." Vesp shook her head, "It's like we never left."
 

Dahlexpert

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The fallowing is done by Dhalexpert&ZombieSplitter53

Cleansing the garden

The great dessert

After weeks of training the Norsca army finally made it to the great dessert.” Ugh do we even Know if Marilith is still alive or not?” Crixus asked.

“It doesn’t matter, we will find a way to cure her!” Wulfric said determined to free Marilith.

Angelika walked behind them, used to the desert heat, though she had a parasol to protect her light complexion from the sun. "You... really care about my mom, huh?" she asked.

“Of course I care for her little one, and don’t worry I will be sure to free her. If only we knew what this cactus looked like?”

"Hmm..." The Ophidian girl reached into her bad, rummaging around until she found a book on botany. "Well... there are no pictures, but most grow as as large, round, and bulbous, usually about two to three feet tall, with smaller versions growing around a center. They only grow naturally in the Duchy, making them super expensive anywhere else. Um... oh... uh oh..."

“Ugh oh what kiddo, is there some trouble?” Crixus asked.

"A little. Depends on your idea of trouble." She put the book away and pointed east by southeast. "The closest batch is that way. Not too far. But the cactus flower is so valuable, they are all guarded by Ophidian groups that claim ownership over the fields. So we either have to talk to them first, or try and sneak the flower out."

"Or we could fight them, and take the flower by force!" Wulfric said pulling out his battle ax.

"Now hold on Wulfric, I know you wanna free Marailth but let's try to talk to them. After all we wanna get this race on our side after all." Crixus reassured Wulfric trying to calm him down.

"It... probably doesn't mean much... but I agree with Crixus," Angelika said. "Showing we are cooperative will help us in the long run."

Anaxilea flew down to the group." It might be a good idea to talk to these Ophans, besides we have been riding for days. Hope full they could give us some water."

After walking a bit longer, they came across two sights on the horizon. To the southeast was a field of green, likely the mandragora fields. To the northeast, a small settlement of Ophidians. It was time to make their decision.

"Alright, Wulfric you take the army into town see if you could find any supplies. And try not to kill anyone. ME and Angelika will take her mother to the feilds and see if we could convince them to give us the flower, and probley the cactus itself."

The team split up, Crixus gingerly making their way down to the cactus field. There were four guards there, who all gathered together and looked ready to fight if need be. "Halt!" the tallest one ordered.

"Now now relax buddy I come in peace, see I'm just looking for a flower."

"You want the flower of the mandragora," the man said with a chuckle. "And like so many before you, you expect it for free..."

"Crixus," Angelika whispered. "That armor... these aren't raiders. They're soldiers of the royal Ophidian army."

"Ou great more royalty for me to deal with." Crixus took a deep breath." Look one of my friends was turned to stone by a monster and I was told that a flower from this cactus could cure her."

"These fields belong to the royal family," the soldier stated. "We cannot simply give them away." He frowned. "Besides, it is too dangerous to enter the fields right now."

"And why is that, why is it dangerous to go into the fields now isn't always dangerous to deal with this type of plant?"

The soldier hesitated, but finally said, "A flock of Cockatrice have made a home of the fields. They nest and feed off the cactus, immune to its effects. We are usually able to keep their numbers from growing, but we have been dealing with this war Yig has plunged us in and we are lacking in numbers..."

Crixus rubbed his chin and smiled." Well it's your luck see me and my clan have dealt with this monster, so fortunately for you we could deal with these cockatrice for you if you hire us."

"Hire you, huh?" The soldier rubbed his scaly chin. "And what would you expect as payment?"

"Money weapons, information were I could find Yig and his fucking cult so my people could deal with them."

"Deal with him?" The soldier raised an eyebrow. "And why do you wish to fight him?"

"We kill him you join my clan, everyone is happy and this country is freed from a crazy old one and his followers."

The soldiers murmured quietly. The head soldier rose his hand to silence them. "I don't know about joining you, but we will not stop you from trying to kill him. I'm sure you will be rewarded handsomely. If you'll permit me a minute or two, I will contact my superior officer."

"By all means call your supervisor, in the mean time I will go and gather my people and figure out a way that we could get them out of your fields." As Crixus walked away from the guards he breathed a sigh of relief.

By the time they returned, the Ophidian soldier had called tge officer. He directed them towards a small encampment not too far from the fields. Despite being royal military, the tents were old and shabby and the soldiers worn and torn. It looked no nicer then the average raiders camp.

Wulfric, Crixus, and Angelika entered the largets tent in the middle of the camp, an aged Ophidian with a well-worn face sitting behind a desk. "A human, huh? They didn't tell me that. Usually the sell swords claiming they can be of service are Ophidians." He looked at the smallest of the trio. "I see you take well care of your slave girl at least."

Wulfric growled and moved forward but Crixus held him back." We don't keep slaves in our tribe she is one of us, now then I would like to know what are we dealing with how many are there?"

"Straight to business and a human who works with Ophidians. I like that." The man grabbed an apple out of a small bowl and tossed it to Angelika. "Introductions first though. Not all Ophidians are beyond manners, even if some of our people would make you think otherwise. I am General Sklag. And your names?"

"I'm Crixus and this hulking human being is Wulfric, and believe me I know your race isn't all bad. We have plenty of your kind in our ranks. I also feel like telling you that my people we are the tribe of Norsca."

"Norsca..." Sklag rubbed his chin. "The raiders who took over Helvan? I heard you survived and were causing a ruckus in Themosa." He laughed. "Guess I should be glad you're here to talk and not fight! Hahaha!"

"We were with the resistance up there, until there gods damn leader decided to betray us. But we will deal with her later for the meantime, can you please inform us on how many of these monsters are we dealing with?"

Sklag slowly stood up, his old bones creaking a bit. He walked past Angelika, patting her on the head as she munched on the fruit, and took some papers out of a drawer. Placing them on the main table, he pointed to a crude map of the cactus field.
 

Dahlexpert

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"As I am sure you can imagine, we have already gathered the flowers on the outside mandragora, but there are still some on the inside that have flowers in bloom. The problem is the fifty or so dragon-chickens nesting around them. My guard told me you said you have dealt with Cockatrice before. So you know how dangerous they can be?"

"Yea we can't let them breath on us or scratch us otherwise we be turned to stone, so what I plan on doing is driving them out with ether smoke or gun fire drive them in a panic to get them out of the guardian and into the open dessert. That way we wont damage the cactus”.

The old general nodded. "That sound like a good idea. Unfortunately I don't have any men to spare to help you, but I was told you brought a sizable force of your own."

"Yea what's left of our people, I just have one request though." Crixus whistled and some of his men brought the statue of Maralith." Can you keep watch of our friend here?"

Sklag looked her over. "Well, I'll be damned. The Black Lotus herself. Thought she was invincible. Guess not. Yeah, I'll keepnher safe. I'm assuming she is why you are here?" He walked over to a safe, opening it and pulling out a medium sized bag of coins. "I am afraid this is all I can offer you for gold, but we have plenty of extra weapons to pay you with, and I'll tell you everything I know about that Bastard Yig."

“That works perfectly for us, I should also tell you in a warning. If we bits of rock taken off her, my big friend will probably kill them.”

"Oh?... ah, I understand." Sklag nodded to Wulfric. "I will make sure she is as safe as possible. You have my word."

“Thank you for the reassurance.” Wulfric said

The Norscans moved out Crixus made his way to the fields.

The same soldier from before had the others stand aside. "The General informed us of the situation. What would you like us to do?"

“Wait here for now I’m goanna go see if I can get their attention.

The soldiers stepped aside, the head of the group saying, "Be careful. And remember getting pricked by the mandragora is just as dangerous as being scratched by those monsters."

“I know but don’t worry I don’t plan on being there long.” As Crixus entered the fields he saw a lot of Cockatoo eating cactus, Crixus aimed his pistols at two of the monsters and fired them at the two monsters.

One dropped dead, the other left alive but bleeding out. The other fifty or so turned and cried out at the same time, a strange concofony of hald squawks, half roars, followed by a stampede of the creatures out for Crixus' blood.

Crixus ran out of the fields making sure not to touch and thorns from the cactus, he made his way outside." Alright boys and girls ready up, I already killed two of these damn beast. But there's still a small army of them, don't let them touch you or breath on you, so archers your very important here. Everyone else get ready!"

The Cockatrice horde rushed towards the entrance, an angry mob out to kill any who wouldndisturb their nesting grounds.

the first few Cockatrice were hit with Crossbow bolts, killing about ten or so of the feathery beast." Keep firing don't let them get close to you, fread the magical weapons just in case Grot think you could hit them with your club?" Crixus asked.

"I'm on it." Grot rushed forward, lifting his massive weapon. The Cockatrice skidded to a stop before their fallen flock and retreated back into the field, Grot only hitting two or three of them. He moved to pursue, but stopped at the entrance. "I don't think I can fit without getting pricked," the giant said.

"Anaxilea Think you could get a good view of these bastards from the sky, it's clear that these things know there at a disadvantage. As much as I want us to bomb the place, we can't destroy the field."

"You got it Crixus." The harpy flew up and got an good look at the fields, they saw the cockatrice moving through the cactus fields. "Yep there going right to this big cockatrice in the back of the field.

Angelika, watching from the back, had her eyes briefly glow. When they went back to normal, she shouted. "Crixus! The lady in the pendant has an idea! Do you have any poison?"

"Poison, never really had to use the stuff but we do have plenty of the stuff just to purify it later for potions, why do you ask?"

"I-I have an idea on how to drive them out. You said smoke them out in a figurative sense, but what if we did it in a more literal one?" Angelika pulled a pencil from her bag and traced a large circle in the sand. "Here. Pour a bunch of it in the center of this."

Crixus rubbed his chin." Grabbed the barrel of poison, hay Anaxilea pull back we got a plane. give us a few hours to make a few bombs filled with poisons. Wulfric i'm gonna need you yo help them out, alright buddy."

Wulfric nodded his head, and rubbed Angelicas." Your mother would be so proud of you, when she wakes up."

Everyone who knew alchemy made a similar circle, drawing the intricate designs in them and pouring the liquid poison in the center. They then used alchemy to turn the sand into glass containers around the poison, then turned the liquid into a gas.

Before too long, they had two dozen glass poison bombs. Angelika smiled proudly. "Okay. Now all we need is for the harpies to drop these in the center of the field in a way that covers it. They shouldn't effect the mandragora, but the Cockatrice will either die or run out for you guys to pick off."

"Anaxilea you heard the kid you people are up, Groot try throwing a few into the field as well. Crixus ordered.

Grot lowered his hand, having half the glass bombs carefully loaded on, before he hucked them into the field. For all his faults, Grot was a surprisingly accurate shot.

The raiders looked on as the poison started to kill off the cockatrice, one by one. The harpy also tossed poison bombs into the field hopefully taking down any straggler." Ready up people there may still be some alive trying to escape."

Three dozen of them indeed rushed out of the purple cloud. Knowing they couldn't go back, they charged the raiders. Grot brought down his massive club, killing a few and blocking their way back.

Wulfric charged into the monsters and swung his duel ax and sliced the lower jaw of five of the Cockatrice while the Other Norscans took spears and thrusting them into the sides of the monsters.

The creatures barely stood any chance. They were far outnumbered and out matched. Two veered off to the side, however, and made a beeline for Angelika.
 

Dahlexpert

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"No!" Crixus quickly made his way to the child trying his best to get to her, but the beast were to fast for Crixus and the his beast were to preoccupied with the battle as was Wulfric.

Angelika let out a scream, closing her eyes and holding out her arms. Her jewel started to glow, and a barrier suddenly sprang up around her, one the monsters bounced off of and hit the ground.

Crixus jumped forward and slammed his sword into the one on the ground, the second one went to bight Crixus but he used his shield to block the bite, the shield slowly started to turn to stone. Crixus took his arm out of the shield and started to use the stone shield as a weapon bashing it against the monster.

Angelika dropped to the ground, letting out a slow, nervous sigh. "Th-thank you, Mr. Crixus! You saved me!"

Crixus continued to smash the head of the beast until it stopped moving and it's skull was exposed." Sure no problem kid." Wulfric and the others made their way to Crixus and Angelica." Kiddo are you alright?"

"I'm great!" She jumped to her feet. "Mr..." She flinched at the dead creature's exposed skull, and averted her eyes. "Mr. Crixus saved me! Like a true knight! He was so brave..."

"I'm no knight kid, your family I was just defending my people was all that was. I'm no knight in shining armor like you read in a story. Now then let's go the guard’s men and get your mother free of her prison, and collect our reward."

Angelika nodded and followed them towards the cactus field. It took a while for the poison cloud to clear, but they entered soon afterwards. The inside of the field was circular, and many of the mandragora had beautiful pinkish-purple flowers blooming on them. "That's what we're looking for said the head soldier, pointing at them."

"Hum hay do you mind if a take about three of the cactus's and the flowers?" Crixus asked.

The soldier blinked several times. "Take the entire cactuses? Um... let me contact the general..." He stepped away, pulling out a scrying disc.

"Crixus what are we gonna do with a cactus of this danger?" Wulfric asked.

"Because I think turning Korra in to stone would be an ideal punishment, she won't be killed she'll still be alive and we could turn her back when approate."

Angelika's shoulders slumped. "That... doesn't sound very nice. I mean... to go through all this trouble to save my mom, then 8nflict the same pain on Korra?"

"She betrayed us kid, she left us when we are at are weakest. When we were out saving this contestant she took that as an opportunity to leave us. Not to mention she left all of our noncombatants undefended, if Veronica father had a mind he probable attack our town. If he is then I just hope that Rumi and the baby get out."

"Still..." Angelika muttered, not liking the idea of revenge.

The soldier returned. "The general said you my take one small mandragora, and one large one. Any more and we would have to cut your payment. We rely very much on these plants to sell their flowers."

"I'm fine with that, so is there anyway to cut these things with out getting pricked?" Crixus asked the man.

Wulfric then walked to the kid." Kid there is something about this, this is not just revenge. We had a deal with Korra one that she broke, we worked with Korra and she broke that deal it's principle. Now were not gonna kill her but this way we can change her back."

Angelika sighed. "Okay. I understand."

It was obvious the Ophidians had dug up the cactus before, having special shovels to get to the roots without getting too close. They even provided pots and special bags to cover them, clear to let sunlight in but strong so nothing would poke through. Once that was done, the soldier asked them to return to General Sklag.

Crixus and Wulfric made there way to the general." Well then my friend your Cockatrice problem has been solved, your fields are safe now how is our friend?"

Sklag motioned to the petrified woman at the side of the room. "Not a scratch on her." He walked over to a safe. "I have a small confession to make."

"Sir please don't let this be the part that you don't want to pay us, and instead want to fight us. Helvan thought the same thing when they were being attacked by demons, it did not end well for them when they decide to skip out on our pay." Crixus threaten.

"No, no. Nothing so drastic. I'm no fool." Sklag produced a vile of a pink and purple liquid. "I actually have a potion of the mandragora ready. I would have told you, but I was afraid if I did, you would have decided not to help us and would have just forced us to guve you the potion. But I am of course willing to give it to you now so you do not have to wait the two days it takes to brew it."

"Huh I actually appropriate that, that's very smart. But it would be good for my people to also learn how to make these, besides I believe us learning this would be beneficial. But overall thank you."

Skalg bowed his head. "Not usually my policy to work with raiders, especially one of the strongest group in all of Terra Dolor, but this worked out well." He placed a sac on the table. "Here is your gold, and I already told the armory to expect you. Once you are rested and ready to leave, I will give you the information on Yig Incan gather, along with a bit of food and water we can spare."

"Thank you for your kindness, and you have nothing to fear from us. Believe it or not were not completely bad, we have our own code and rules to keep us from being savage. Now can you tell us how do we free our friend, do we pour this on her or what?"

"You simply need to pour it on her head. The fluid will soak into her and revive her."

"Thank you General for your help." Crixus and Wulfric left the tent with Marilith. once away from the feilds they poured the liquid on Marilith head.

The stone started to crack, and for a moent, it looked like she would fall apart. Instead, a layer of stone fell away, and Marilith was restored, looking around in a confused state. "What's going on? Where are we? What happened to the cultists?"

Wulfric hugged Marilith.” We’re In the great dessert country, we came to cure you.”

"Cure me..." Marilith hugged him lightly while she remembered everything. "Thank you. I didn't... know if you could... or would..."

“Ou come now I said I would and we keep our word you should know that.”

"R-right... sorry." Marilith held her head. "It feels like no time has passed for me. It is... weird. What happened with the cultist? We won, right?"

“We won thanks to some old friends,also. Mrs Korra decided to take Veronica and her rebellion and split on us.”

Marilith blinked. "She what? But... why?! I thought we had a deal!"

“Yeah will she just now decided that working with raiders is bad for her reputation. So she wrote a letter thanking us gave us the city and went off to do a suicide mission, now you’re caught up.” Crixus said.

"A letter?" Marilith folded her arms and muttered, "Stupid bitch was too cowardly to say it to our faces, huh? When I get my hands on her..."

“It’s not just Korra.” Wulfric added.” You’re goddess has also been contacting us through your necklace.”

"Oh?" Marilith smiled. "Hope she has had good things to say."

Well the only way she’s been contacting us, is when you’re necklace and eyes glow. You also don’t remember being in that state.

"Really?" Marilith scratched her head. "Who did she... possess? Angelika?"

“Yes she also possessed you two during the battle, you’re the one that told us what those monsters were.”

“Look this is nice and all that, but our general friend told us we’re Yig cultist are. So then Marilith feel like getting back to it?” Crixus asked

She punched her left fists into her right palms. "Sounds like a fun time. Can't wait to get back into the action."

“Well scout ahead for now and see if I could challenge the bastard, no need for us to lose what’s left of the army.”
 

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A Date with a Goddess


Titania trained hard, her skin slightly bruised under her platemail armor. She needed to be stronger to keep Kva safe, to keep her Goddaughter safe. Panting, she kneeled, debating whether or not to take her helm off. No... I have to get used to wearing it more often...

There was a sudden gust of wind, faster then the usual stray breeze, and a familiar voice said, with a hint of a snicker, "Wow, you must be baking like an oven in that!"

"Well, not all of us have the luxury of being a God, Mom. I got a figure and muscles to maintain." Titania countered, taking off her helmet. "What's up? Need a secondary message delivered? Family time?"

"Family time... of sorts." Ranseca leaned against the wall. The color hard returned to her complexion, and her hair was changing back to its normal color. "I, uh... I don't want to sound cliche, but I'm really proud of how you handled yourself in that fight." Her gaze dropped a tad. "I was told how close I came to losing you. If that had happened... I... don't know what I'd do..."

Titania stood up, audibly still panting. "Hey... I'm not dying and you're not losing me. You get to have me for a hundred years or so..." She slowly walked over to hug Ranseca.

Ranseca flinched a little at the cold armor, but accepted the hug lovingly. "I, um..." She cleared her throat. "I was wondering if... maybe I could have you... for a bit longer then that..."

"What, you want to get the gods of Life and Death to extend my life? I'm not quite sure they'll go for it." Titania raised an eyebrow.

"No." Ranseca shrugged. "Well, maybe they would. We do owe you guys. But no, I had something else in mind. I was thinking of extending your life indefinitely. You're a demigoddess, my dear. What if we were to... drop the demi part?"

"Become a Goddess...?" Titania murmured, a pensive look on her face. "I thought mortals could only become Demigods at the most... how would one even go about that?"

"Aetherella," Ranseca answered. "I didn't learn this until a few days ago, but none of the original gods were born gods, not even my parents. The Goddess of the gods turned ten mortals into gods. She could do the same for you!"

"Why would she consider me? I didn't help that much in the battle against Yog..." Titania countered, frowning somewhat. "Don't get me wrong, the thought... I do like the idea, it just makes me wonder why... Maybe I should talk to her so I understand..."

Ranseca nodded. "I was thinking the same thing. Can we go right now?" she asked excitedly.

"Well, sure, but I might be a little heavy in full plate..." Titania warned, as she tried to blur only to run out of breath and slow down. "Yup, portal or carry it seems..."

Ranseca giggled. "Maybe you should take a moment to change..."

"Into what? A dress? I can pull it off, but the heels are always terrible..." She shook her head, mock horror on her face. "I personally think battle armor suits me well, maybe even better, but... If you think I should go more formal, I'll defer to you."

Ranseca shook her head. "No, no. You're probably right, and she isn't the kind of deity that worries about formalities." She started to run in a circle but slowed to a stop. "You know... I haven't opened a portal like a normal goddess in so long. I wonder if I still know how..." She snapped her fingers, and a yellow portal sparking with electricity opened. The goddess smiled in satisfaction. "Still got it."

"Of course. My mom is a very talented and amazing Goddess." Titania complimented, as she walked through. "But she's still a sweet, lovable goofball."

Ranseca walked in after, giggling. "She is right down the street. Be polite, but don't be intimidated. She is very pleasant to talk to. You're going to love her."

"Right... Hopefully, she likes me..." Titania murmured, sheathing her sword. She walked at a brisk pace, a hand rubbing her ear nervously.

"Titania!" Aetherella exclaimed when they came to her door. "Welcome! Come in, come in. May I call you by your first name? I realize you are a nobel and all..."

"It's perfectly fine... I'm not that uptight with nobility privileges. They're kinda ridiculous anyways." Titania said with a smile, bowing her head.

Aetherella bowed back. "I am glad you came. Please, come sit down. Your mother wanted us to talk."

Titania paused, as she debated whether to sit on the Goddess' furniture, as it was probably ten, twenty times what she could ever afford. After another moment of hesitation, she sat down. "W-well... Um... She told me you needed people to be eternal guardians. So, I'm interested in helping you."

"Excellent." Aetherella sat across from her. "The thing is... I must go away again soon. My power has diminished after all the work I have done, and it will take a hundred years for it to come back. During that time, you will be unable to reach me if another crisis arises, so I was hoping to make a few more angels to help handle any... trouble."

"Well... I won't lie; while I do come to you to help, I have five big commitments already made. Two of those commitments are my daughters, one is my Reaper fiance, and lastly, as the next head of the Regallis bloodline, I'll need to manage my household for a couple years before I can choose a successor to run my House. And the last is to be a Godmother to my best friend's daughter." Titania explained, rubbing her ear as she did so. "I know that might be a bit too much baggage for a potential Angel to have..."

"And because of this, you hesitate. Because you are afraid your other responsibilities will prevent you from doing your duties to me to their fullest." Aetherella chuckled softly. "You are an extremely responsible person with a honorable heart, aren't you?"

"Not always and certainly not when I'm coming off a blood rage..." Titania murmured, shaking her head, "which makes me a bad Regallis for not adhering to our codex. So... in essence, yes and no."

"What... is your family's codex?" Ranseca asked curiously.

"It's our history and rules, and like any noble house, guarded heavily. If you had married Dad, he probably would've shown or told you." Titania explained, smiling goofily. "I'll summarize the history part: we were peasants who the ruler of Bevland made noble. We became Knights and warriors, with some Gods owing us favors. As the ages past, we trained those who would defend the land. As for our rules, consider knightly rhetoric and you get our rules... Although, most of the Regallis line doesn't follow the Regalia rules anymore."

"You know... you can still fulfill your duties on Terra and still serve the gods," Aetherella stated. "You'll just be a... special case. Of course, the real question is if you're interested."

"I am. My fiance died protecting this world and my children fought hard to save it. Having the ability to protect this world that my family worked hard to keep safe... Well, I'd be a fool not to take it." The Thrope replied, but held a frown. "Which leaves a question: " Why take someone like me in lieu of people like the Knights of the old Vampire War? They are strong individuals... Some with immortality that they worked hard to get."

"Because I have looked into your heart and seen that you deserve it, even more so then they." Aetherella placed a hand over her chest. "I am simply... drawn to some people. Even I can not fully explain it."

"Since that's the case... I guess a bit of formality is needed." Titania stood up and kneeled, her sword out of its sheath. She held it so the blade pointed towards the ground with her hands on the hilt. "I, Titania Regallis, hereby swear fealty to you, Aetherella, Goddess of the Gods. Save for my sworn word to five tasks, you may use me as you see fit; whether that be against former friends or newfound enemies. I swear to be your shield in battle and your sword in war. I shall strive to uphold your virtues and your honor, so as to not sully your name. Do you accept my vassalage, Lady Supreme?"
 
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Aetherella stood and bowed deeply. "I do. Dear Titania, one who has lived among mortals as a demigod, a woman between two worlds, please use your time as a mortal to remember the pains of mortality and ise it to better serve those below. You have proven yourself. In valor. In nobility. In strength and bravery. Avoid pride, but do not forget that you earned this." She held out her hand to offer a golden apple. "Eat of this fruit... and join us as a goddess... as one of my precious angels."

Titania stayed kneeling, but she grabbed the fruit. She smiled as she took a bite, a small tinge of fear at this unknown process popping up. Welp, here goes nothing...

The change was quick. There was no outward physical change, but she felt different inside. Her training injuries healed, and she felt a surge of energy. Ever sense heightened, especially her sight and hearing. For a few seconds, everything seemed to slow down to a crawl. She realized it was her who was speeding up, becoming faster in movement and reflexes then she had ever imagined.

"Whoa..." She said simply, her voice sped up. She concentrated on slowing herself down, to speak more normally. "This is... an interesting feeling. I feel better, like I could race my mom without her giving me a handicap, and like I could cross blades with Nemesis and not immediately die..." Titania still hadn't moved save to grab the apple, still kneeling in her armor.

"Your probably as fast as me," Ranseca noted. "Maybe even a little faster, considering how much practice you've put into it."

Aetherella held out her hand. "Please, arise. You are my newest angel. Like a child to me, and I do not expect you to prostrate yourself before me."

With a swift motion, the new Goddess sheathed her blade, and took Aetherella's hand. "Still, respect must be given. I still owe you several times over for saving me and for choosing me to represent you when everyone faced Yog." Titania said quietly, staring bowing her head still to the Goddess Supreme.

Aetherella smiled widely. "I knew it was the best decision I could make choosing you. You and the others will serve this would well, my dear."

"I'll ensure that this world remains safe while you rest... But, when you wake, or even if you're not too busy, would you like to explore a town or two?" Titania asked, a warm smile on her face.

Aetherella smiled even wider. "That sounds absolutely lovely. It has been so long since I walked among mortals. Well... it has been so long I have walked among anyone come to think of it..."

"It'll be a good experience, then! We could go to a clothing shop or a tavern, though I do warn that while the music from bards are great, some individuals might try to romance you for sex, or just a relationship. Ultimately up to you where we go, though." Titania suggested, before realizing that she was not in appropriate attire to go out, but merely shrugged at her realization.

"Would you like to change what you are wearing?" Aetherella asked. "Basic materialization is something you should easily be able to do now. Simply imagine what you want to be wearing, and let your magic do the rest."

"Well, full plate armor isn't very practical for a run on the town." Titania agreed, as she followed the instructions, closing her eyes to try to see herself in an outfit that would be a bit more appropriate. Titania saw herself in her original leather armor that was colored a dark blue, with metal bits colored a black sewn in. A bangle formed on her arm that had engravings with words her family or friends had said to her. "Umm... Is this okay? Did I do it?" Titania asked, her eyes still closed.

Ranseca giggled. "You look lovely dear."

Aetherella nodded in agreement. "That was a very good first time. Worry not. You are not standing in your birthday suit."

"That would be incredibly awkward..." Titania muttered, opening her eyes to see her current state of dress. She let out a relieved sigh, rubbing one of her ears. "If I was, I'd have died from embarrassment."

Aetherella laughed. "You will find dying a little more difficult now. But I understand your hyperbole. Since you are dressed for the occasion now, would you like to go out on a town with me now?"

"Certainly. Not everyday I get to do things with a Goddess who created the Pantheon." Titania replied, her face turning a couple shades of red.

"Please, don't be embarrassed." Aetherella offered her hand. "Think of me as... just another friend. A... a good friend."

Titania took her hand. "A good friend it is. Keep in mind, that might make me treat you less like a Goddess and more like any kind of person."

"Oh heaven forbid," Aetherella siad with a snicker. She took Ranseca's hand with her free one, and in an instant, they were in a town north of the Havenbrook manor. The Goddess took in a deep breath. "Ah... the air is so thin up there, it is nice to get some fresh air down here."

"I have to agree. It's pretty nice... Wait till you try the food here. You might just love it. Angels do come to this town." Titania bragged, before holding her free hand out. "Well, where would you like to go first?"

"Well, after bragging about the food, why not do that?" Aetherella suggested. "I don't really have to eat, so I do not indulge very often."

"Restaurant it is. Luckily, I still have my coin purse, so feel free to choose whatever you want." Titania offered as she led them both over to the place that do many Hunters had come before, most for romantic outings, but just as many to relax with a friend. With it being a 'seat yourself', Titania led her group over to a table that had a view of the forest with rolling hills. "So, thoughts so far?"

"It is quite lovely." Aetherella sighed contently, closing her eyes. "The coldness of space is so quiet. So lonely. You don't know how much you miss the sound of simple chattering around you until it is gone."

Ranseca giggled, and said, "A lot of guys are checking us out. Bet we're the hottest trio they have seen in a while."

"A warrior, a school girl, and a woman who exudes both grace and beauty... I get the distinct impression that we're three different fantasies." Titania started as a fairly attractive elven man approached them. "Oh, I should mention, Mom, Graeme sent an envelope to me, since he didn't know how to send it up. It feels like a box, so you want it?"

The man seemed to wait politely for them to finish, but smiled sweetly at Aetherella.

Aetherella smiled sweetly back, waving lightly. Ranseca scratched her chin. "He sent it for me? Um... sure, I'll take it."

Titania paused, wondering if it had fallen in Aetherella's home. Reaching into her armor, she pulled out the envelope. Handing it over, Titania eagerly watching to see what was in the envelope and the box.

"Here are your menus. I'll give you some time to decide your orders." The man said, placing down said menus, before walking away.

"Oh, I see... we read what we want and order it." Aetherella looked at the menu. "Oh, so many choices..."

Ranseca opened the envelope and pulled out the box. Opening it slowly, her eyes lit up when she saw the beautiful ring inside. "Oh, how lovely!" she turned it so Titania could see.

Titania examined it and gasped. "He... Oh. He really did it. Mom... That is the ring from our house. The one that the head of the household has... And only gives to one person... Mom, he's asking you to marry him. Which means he already divorced her." Titania explained, some coldness in her voice at the mere mentioning of her other mother.
 

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Ranseca blinked, and seemed lost in thought for a moment. "I... but I... what... w-what do I do?!"

"Why not just marry him?" Aetherella suggested without looking up from the menu. "He seems to love you if he is making such a bold proposal. Oh, something with bacon sounds lovely..."

"I'm with Aethe. Graeme is getting older and while he did a good job hiding it, he is very miserable without you. He actually has a locket with a small drawing of you.. and. he asked about you when I last saw him. He's head over heels for you, Mom." Titania encouraged, as she now picked up her menu, spying a delicious chicken sandwich.

Ranseca slowly smiled. "Well now... maybe I will. I... I do still care about him. And I regret not making sure he knew that sooner."

"Well, if you do, make sure to keep him away from others with wooden training swords... He still is too strong. Left a platoon of trained mercenaries on the ground severely injured with said sword. His friend was rather annoyed."

The man appeared again, offering a bow to the three women. "Are you ready to order?" He asked, flirtaciously winking at Aetherella.

"That chicken sandwich sounds good." Titania replied, handing him her menu.

"I'll have the fresh salmon with all the trimmings," Ranseca said, mostly mesmerized by the ring.

"If, um... if I get the steak and mashed potatoes, can I get bits of bacon sprinkled on the potatoes," the Goddess asked sweetly, flashing her own flirtatious smile.

"Of course. Anything for you, Madame." He flirted, jotting down some notes on a small pad. He quickly took all of the menus, before smiling at Aetherella as he left to deliver the order.

"I think you got your first suitor from just being down here, Aethe." Titania noted, chuckling as she watched the obviously interested man walk away. "You just flirting or is it a little more than just wanting to flirt?"

"I... am not sure to be honest. I am mostly following his example, but... that is not to say I am not interested." Aetherella scratched her chin. "I must admit, out of all the great and wonderous things I have done in my existence, there is one field I am inexperienced in."

Titania laughed, "No dating? Well, me and my Mom might be able to give you some pointers. Maybe so you can have a fling before you rest."

Ranseca nodded. "Just be natural... as far as your feelings go. Not with the goddess magic. Let him feel special having you, and let him have some control, but don't let him boss you around. Oh, don't tell him who you really are. Might intimidate him off."

"Well, you can throw magic around, as it's acceptable. Just keep it very low level, parlor tricks and the like." Titania added, as she tried to keep a lookout for the guy. "Now, if you wanna try intimate stuff, wait until you've done mom's steps. If you feel that you like him, you can try to see if you can go home with him for a night. What you do there... Well, that's up to you. Don't be too hesitant to say no, if you're not feeling it."

Aetherella nodded eagerly. "You two are very well versed and wise. And I really do appreciate it."

"No problem, Aethe." Titania started before the man returned with their meals, sliding them in front of each Goddess with grace. She mentally grumbled, unhappy she didn't get to say more but her sandwich silenced her pouting.

"Is that all you'll be having for today?" He asked, offering each a smile, lingering on Aetherella a tad longer.

"Do you... mind if I ask you name, my good sir?" Aetherella asked.

"My name is Havi, Miss...?" The man started, folding his hands behind his back.

"My name is... Aethy. It is a vast pleasure to meet you, sir."

"The pleasure is all mine, Miss Aethy. After all, beauty like yours is a rare commodity." The man flirted lightly.

Aetherella bowed her head slightly. "You are quite attractive yourself. "I'm... going to have my meal with my friends here... but when I am finished, I would like to talk with you some more."

"Well, I'm still working, but I'm off in a couple hours. Would that be okay?" Havi asked softly, an apologetic smile ready to accompany his words.

Aetherella nodded. "That's perfect. I'll have time to do some shopping. Thank you so much, Havi."

He semi-bowed before replying, "You're welcome, Miss Aethy." He offered one more flirtatious smile before returning to his job.

Titania tried to suppress a giggle, the effort proving futile as the sound came out anyways. "You two are so adorable..."

"We are?" Aetherella shrugged. "I was just doing what came natural." She took a bite of her potatoes with bacon, and made an almost orgasmic moan that turned heads. "This is so good!"

Titania burst out laughing, barely having enough air to say, "Try not to make that moan... That's an... intimate bedroom noise, Aethy." Titania's sandwich had, unfortunately, been dropped onto the floor.

Aetherella noticed and waited until everyone stopped looking to make it disappear, and a fresh one appeared on Titania's plate. "Sorry about that."

"It's fine." Titania said, wiping a tear away from laughing so hard. "Although if that was for food, I worry about you having sex. Might have the whole of Terra hearing it, if that's the case." Titania took a bite of her sandwich, winking at the older Goddess.

Ranseca couldn't help but laugh. "I'm more worried about the other guy. Imagine what it must be like for a mortal to be intimate with the Goddess of the gods. Like... he has no idea what he is getting into." She wink at Aetherella. "You really are pretty though, so can't blame him."

"I can back that statement up; after all, I am currently engaged to a woman, so... I just might be a good judge." Titania said with a chuckle, enjoying teasing the Goddess of the Gods. "Although, truth be told, if I could dress you up, that guy might get a lot of competition from all the male and female suitors you'd get." Titania took another bite of her sandwich, her mismatched eyes twinkling with mischievous glee.

"Dress me up, huh?" Aetherella gave her a big smile. "That sounds like a lot of fun!"

"Alright, we'll go clothing shopping next. We'll first have to figure out your style, what defines your personality and says 'Me'. Then we'll try to pair the clothes with your shoes, more than likely four inch heels would work... Touch you up with some makeup... And that should be good." Titania planned aloud, finishing her sandwich without noticing.
 

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Aetherella clapped her hands together. "Oh, this sounds like so much fun!" She and Ranseca quickly ate their meals, though the former took some time to savor it, and they were off to dress up the Goddess of the gods.

Walking into a very familiar shop, Titania noted that the fiery owner wasn't in. Instead, a bright and cheery woman stood watch for potential customers. Titania, noticing, began to browse for Aetherella. "So first question: Revealing, Modest, or Fancy clothes?"

The Thrope held up a cut-up sweater that was popular in Kemar, the stomach revealed, while the upper part of it would hold the bust up. The next was a simple red T-shirt, no patterns or logos visible on it. Finally, a low-cut white dress, One that seemed to exude grace and promised to accentuate her figure.

Aetherella tapped her chin in thought. "Oh, I don't know. I've never done something like this before. Though... the dress looks quite nice."

Titania put the other clothes back on their racks, handing the dress to Aethy. She pointed over to a changing room. "Well, then go put it on. We'll wait out here so we can tell you how you look in it." Titania began looking over some high heels, trying to find some that matched the dress.

Aetherella walked off, and Ranseca giggled. "This is so much fun! We're playing dress up with the most powerful being in the cosmos. I hope we do her justice."

"You doubt my skills? I think I should be offended." Titania rolled her eyes, offering a goofy smile to her mother as she found some nice four inch heels. "She'll look good in practically everything." Even better without any clothes... Bad Titania! No lewding the Goddess! Titania shook her head, trying to get the embarrassing thought out of her head.

Ranseca raised an eyebrow, and was about to ask what was on her daughter's mind, when the Goddess out of the dressing room. As expected, the dress was stunning and form fitting. "It fits perfectly!" She declared. "And so comfortable."

Titania stared at the Goddess, her emotions masked, but her thoughts becoming lewd again. "You look lovely. That dress looks fantastic on you." Titania complimented, as she managed to win against her more promiscuous side. She walked over to the Goddess, high heels in hand. "What do you think about these heels? Yes, no, maybe?" You need any help putting them on?

"Maybe. I don't know if I've ever wore heels before." Aetherella smiled. "Will you help me try them on?"

"Sure, I'll help." Titania kneeled down, holding one heel at an angle to help the Goddess slide her foot in. "If you feel you might fall, place a hand on my head to better balance yourself." Titania instructed, most of the lecherous thoughts out of her head, save the one she initially thought about.

Wobbling a little, the Goddess slipped on the heals and walked over to a full length mirror. "Yes... I do believe I like this look. But... are heels supposed to make my butt look so pronounced?"

"They can and, in that dress, your curves are accentuated nicely." Titania noted, trying her best to not to stare at her butt. "Besides, you are beautiful, so why not flaunt it a little?"

Aetherella laughed, and wiggled her butt a little. "You're right. Thank you Ttitania. You are a great friend."

"No problem. I'm happy to help." Titania replied, sneaking a couple glances at the Goddess' rear end. "Out of curiosity, have you ever had makeup put on you, Aethy?"

Aetherella shook her head. "There has never been a need... until now. Do you mind?"

"I won't mind... And it's just your luck that despite me being a tomboy, I know how to use makeup." Titania teased, as she instinctively reached for her makeup kit that would hang on her belt only to realize that it was not there. "Erm... That is if I had my makeup kit..."

Aetherella held out her hand. "Just picture it in your mind and I will do the rest," she offered.

"Just try to keep it from being too noticeable..." Titania murmured, doing as she was told. She envisioned the green heart-shaped container that held her blush and contours inside, while on the sides were her trusty containers for her eye shadow.

Aetherella looked around and waited until everyone was looking away before quietly snapping her fingers, and the makeup kit appeared at her side. "That the one?"

"It is. Now to doll you up." Titania swiftly grabbed Aetherella's arm, holding the Goddess' wrist up, while Titania's other arm fumbled for her kit. The former mortal examined her skin, mumbling to herself, before looking into Aethy's eyes, a stern look in her own. "When I put my brushes to your face, do not move. My hands may be precise, but I do not wanna get anything in your eyes, or apply something wrong to your cheeks and that can b happen if you're not still enough. Okay?"

The Goddess nodded. "I leave my fate... my beauty... in your skillful hands."

"So dramatic..." Titania chided, before her hands seemed to leave after images as she tried to apply the makeup as fast as she could while remaining accurate with it. Within moments she was done, having applied blush, contour, eyeliner and eye shadow. Snapping shut her makeup kit and sliding her brushes into their side holsters, she patted the armor she wore, wondering if she had brought her lipstick before smiling when she found the tube. Pulling it out, she slowly applied it, her eyes focused on her task. When she finished, Titania smacked her lips together. "Do what I'm doing, and you should be done."

Aetherella did as she was asked, and gave her a wide smile. "How do I look?"

"Amazing... is a word that comes to mind," Ranseca stated, amazed how quick Titania was getting used to her new speed.

"Gorgeous, Aethy." Titania smiled with impish charm before her gaze fell upon her mom. "What?"

Ranseca chuckled. "Nothing, nothing at all. Mmmmaybe we should leave the Goddess to prepare for her date."

"Right. Aethy, have fun and..." Titania started before dropping to a whisper, "don't break him if you decide to screw him." Titania walked over to her mother, winking at Aetherella "Good luck!"

Aetherella actually blushed as she waved them off. Once out of earshot, Ranseca started laughing. "Wow... you had the hots for her, didn't you?"

"Was it really that obvious?" Titania asked, her cheeks turning a bright red, rubbing her ear.

"To an outsider looking in, a little. Hey, I'm straight and I was a bit turned on." Ranseca came up close and whispered, "Maybe before she goes to sleep, you and Kva can have a little fun with her..."

Titania's face turned an even brighter shade of red. "T-that w-will be up t-to h-h-her." She mumbled, as she seemingly disappeared from all mortal sight, too embarrassed to show herself.
 

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Never Any Rest


It was calm in Aetherium, Mags having left for Havenbrook, Methos having just spent a few hours teaching her how to teleport today. That was... Until another portal opened up not thirty minutes after Magdalene had left, a desperate looking Sheep coming back through and gazing at her lover with desperate, anger filled eyes. "Methos!"

Methos blinked in surprise, quickly putting down a book and standing up. "What is it? Did something happen?"

"Yes!" Mags quickly replied, "That Shadow guy from the fight with Yog! He took my Friend! He used him as a bargaining chip to get information out of me then he took him!"

"Oh, dear! And he still has your friend now? This... Shini, was it?" Methos asked with genuine concern.

"Yeah..." Mags closed her eyes tightly, "I just became a Goddess... I just got home and I've already put my closest friend's life in danger..."

"No, no." Methos placed her hands on Mag's shoulders. "This isn't your doing. This is his. Now... what exactly did he want to know that was worth kidnapping your friend over?"
"What kind of God I was... What Aetherella told me... I think he also wanted me as a mole for him within the Gods..." Mags lowered her head.

"And did you give him any of this information," Methos asked, curiosity in her tone, not judgment.

"Bits... I told him I didn't know much... He knows I'm Goddess of Family now though, he probably thinks he can use that fact to threaten me like this more." Mags put her head in her hands.

Methos shook her head. "Don't blame yourself, please. Now... do you know where he is?"

"Stormrend he said... Probably with that Illithid of his..." Mags responded quietly.

"He... said?" Methos frowned. "So he is expecting us. He is toying with us... and by doing so, testing my patience..."

"I... I was able to get half of his Soul Back..." Mags held up a small, black orb. "He took the rest."

"Well, that's a relief. It would be far more of a hassle if he had the whole soul. And we can see the condition of it through this half." Methos gazed at the soul half, seeing if it was in pain or being mistreated in any way.

After a moment, it vibrated a shook, it was indeed in pain. Mags sighed. "I... Heard him scream before Shini left..."

Methos shook her head. "Alright. Let's go to Stormrend. We can not bring a big force or we'll scare him away. Maybe one other. What do you think? Ranseca? Destani?"

"He said he had a deal with Ranseca... He also said he wanted me to bring him to Aetherella... I thought maybe we could lure him into a trap that way." Magdalene explained.

Methos nodded. "Very well. We will bring Ranseca. What kind of trap did you have in mind?"

"Well. He can make illusions of himself, all we need to do through his bring him here in person and surrounded him. Make sure he can't leave. Then he's ours." The New Goddess suggested.

"Good idea." Methos folded her arms. "We should try and keep Aetherella out of this. She has enough on her plate as it is. But if we need to, we can always try and call on her for help."

"Right..." Mags looked into her eyes with a fiery determination. "I need to save him. It was my fault this happened. I was too careless."

Methos shook her head. "No time for that. You can apologize to him when we get him back. For now, let's get Ranseca and go meet him."

"Let's see what Ranseca knows first. They had some sort of business agreement..." Mags reminded.

Methos nodded, and they left to find the messanger goddess. After explaining the situation, Ranseca sat with a solemn look. "I knew it was too much to hope he wouldn't cause trouble..."

"How do you know him? Jay is Titania's closest friend and he could be being tortured..." Mags exclaimed suddenly.

Ranseca sighed. "He was one of the assassins going after Titania from a rival house. I... told him I'd leave him alone if he left her alone."

"What!? You really made a deal with an Assassin?" Mags protested. "He works for Cthulhu! He killed our friends at the battle! If Cthulhu gets what he wants the Hastur situation could happen all over again!"

"This was before the Hastur fight," Ranseca defended. "And what was I supposed to do? I couldn't defend Titania all the time. Eventually, he would get her unless I made a deal. You wouldn't do the same if Methos was mortal and being targeted?"

"Then maybe we should just kill him." Magdalene looked down, saying uncharacteristically. "If he's going to threaten everyone we love and use that as a bargaining chip. We don't have much choice."

Ranseca looked at her sadly, Methos looked a bit shocked. "Mags, dear," the latter said. "I know your friend is in danger. But don't let this man darken your heart."

"Betty had this little Netzi friend named Tack. He was a really nice person. He was really smart." The Sheep gave them a hard glare, "Shini desintegrated him. Like he didn't even matter. Along with many other of our friends. And right now he's torturing another one. He's left us no option. He's too powerful to let walk around doing Cthulhu's bidding."

Methos and Ranseca exchanged a glance. The speedster goddess cleared her throat. "Before we worry about killing him, we need to worry about getting Jay's souls back. As long as he has that soul half, there is little we can do. Let's... try diplomacy first. For Jay's sake."

"Okay..." She cooled down a moment, recollecting herself. "I trust you Methos."

Methos nodded, and rose to her feet. "Come. The sooner we get there, the sooner we get Jay back."

*****

A rather bright and lovely moon illuminated the Emperor’s palace, yet something was off about it. Maybe it was the curtains seemed to be stuck in the same unmoving position. Perhaps it was the lack of guards that should've been present. More likely was the man pressing himself to walls to hide. Someone wanted the Empress to suffer a bit of poisoning, but not die. Given the Emperor’s general mood and demeanor, it would be foolish to even attempt an assassination.

Shini unsheathed a syringe, tapping it a couple times. He slowly and silently opened the woman's door, her guards unconscious save one who opened his mouth to scream before a knife went into his brain. He walked slowly over to her noting, that while extremely damaged, she did have a beauty to her. One that poison would damage slightly, but would heal. Several shadowy men appeared, one taking the syringe and sliding it gingerly into a vein.

Suddenly a familiar voice spoke from behind him, a normally soft and sweet voice filled with barely contained fury. “If you press that down, you'll regret it. You'll already regret killing that man.”

“I'm working, Magdalene. Besides, this was ordered by other mortals. I'm not liable if they request my services. I'm not even killing her, just debilitating poison. Hit me, and I'll think about dissolving that soul shard.” He whispered, softly pushing the plunger down.

She shook her head, “That's exactly what I hate about Assassin's. Destroying people and trying not to take responsibility for your actions by making up some excuse about doing your job or blaming the gun.”

Mags dashed up quickly and grabbed his arm, pushing it up and pulling the needle out if her neck. “And no. You're not doing your job. Not anymore. I suggest you listen to me before this becomes worse for you.”

“Listen, you’re not my boss, friend, or lover. We have nothing between us and I am trying to respect you, despite the vehemence in your voice, the hate in your words, and the bitchy nature in your eyes. I am an assassin, one of many, and at least one of the more respectful ones. Give me the syringe or, as my clause says, I will kill her as a last resort.” Shini said quietly, the voices indistinguishable from one another due to the several clones.

“No.” She leaned in an inch from his face. “Fuck you. This is done.” She then looked past him, back at the entrance of the room.

Ranseca and Methos exchanged a nervous look, and the former shook her head. “Mags, I… I know this is hard, but… we shouldn’t interfere…”

“What…” Mags couldn't believe what she was hearing. “Then why are you here? Did you forget how Hastur got so strong?”

The speedster goddess looked hurt. “Are you… going to watch this woman from now on? Become her personal protector? You do realize if he fails his mission, they’ll just send another assassin to do the job… or worse.”

“I have actually been taking non-lethal contracts to appease pissing you off even more than I already have. I actually asked for simply poisoning her with a toxin so that she didn’t have to die.” He rubbed his temples, at least the real one did. “And you’re so fucking paranoid that every little thing I do is for C-man. I am a living breathing person with his own wants and desires. Everything I do is not just to further C-man’s goals. Just like everything you do isn’t necessarily for Methos or Aetherella.” He took another syringe out, spraying a little out to compensate for the poison already in the woman’s system.

“Do it and I promise you won't have to worry about living and breathing anymore after tonight.” She said with a death glare. “And good for you, you settled for being only mostly a monster today.”
 
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His eyes took on a serpentine look to them and he seemed to exude an aura. “Methos, Ranseca…. If she strikes me, you cannot defend her. That will be her actions as an individual, not as a member of the pantheon.” He took a deep breath, before his eyes returned to normal. “You hate me, I get it. I will hurt this woman today, and I prefer to keep it as minimal as possible. You may not like it, you may want to kill me, but like your friends are saying, this is a mortal affair. I am not killing her and while you jump up my ass about every little thing I do, I assure you there are close to hundred of assassins killing people as we speak. All I’m doing is sticking a little poison in her arm, on my terms, so that she doesn’t have to die.” A shadow seemed to absorb the syringe as his shadowy clones moved closer to the woman.

“You… You held my friend's soul over my head! You started this by beginning hostilities with a brand new Goddess! You're a proven threat to all of us. We're not protecting this woman. We're just choosing now to take you for questioning.” Magdalene looked back at Methos and Ranseca. “Does that work for you?”

They exchanged another look, and Methos nodded. “If you come with us now, Shini, and we talk, you can come back in time to… to finish your job…”

“I’m not killing her…” Shini rubbed his temples again, irritated. “I accept your offer on one condition: No harm befalls me as a result of going with you during this line of questioning, and afterwards from any Godly being or their subordinates for a full day. And considering your new Goddess has screamed, threatened, and has now interfered with my day-to-day operations as a mortal assassin, not as Cth- er- my old one’s vassal, I think that is fair to request.”

Ranseca looked to Mags. “This seems a fair request, right?”

The sheep squinted, honestly disgusted by the prospect. “So. We're just letting him kill her. Or. Hurt her forever? We can stop this. Do some good instead of sitting around watching tragedies take place. And it's not like we don't have a good reason. He's in no position to make these kinds of requests.”

“Magdalene.” Methos gave her a sad look. “There are certain rules we must follow as goddess’. This is the best situation. We came here to try and get your friend back, and this is the only way we are going to get him out of the room to even attempt that. Please… I implore you to concede.”

She was quiet for a few moments, just shaking her head, “And where did those rules get us last time. Not even a month ago?”

The Thrope Goddess let her guard down, releasing her hand. “Fine…”

Methos opened a portal and motioned for Shini to enter. “No harm will come to you as long as you are cooperative.”

Shini nodded as his clones came back into him forming dark blue wear. “I will be cooperative, but if she is to live I’m going to have to give her an antidote as the toxin in question is lethal both in low amounts and high amounts… May I stick a needle in this woman to keep her alive, Magdalene?”

“You're lying.” She said simply. “I thought you were going to just hurt her? Now you're saying it's lethal?”

“Death’s Rot is typically lethal. Eating it and having it in your system for an hour will kill you. The powder is lethal, so is the liquid, except if you refine it with another plant, one that is native here. The now diluted poison can be used in a variety of ways: a sleep aid, medication, or in my case, a low grade poison. You however, didn’t let me put the right amount into her veins. There’s more Death’s Rot than anything, and like I said, I. Don’t. Want. To. Kill. Her. She has, so far, five minutes before the poison hits her system and kills her.” Shini groaned, rubbing his head. “You two need to get Scathatch to teach her more… or Huntmaster. Either would be able to teach her what she should know…”

“You little… I would be having those lessons if you didn't take my brother hostage. Now you want me to let you inject her with the rest of your serum and finish your job, how awfully convenient it takes another shot.” The New Goddess said with suspicion. “You have to think I'm an idiot.”

“You are an idiot. Antidote does not translate to poison- why am I arguing this with an infantile Goddess? Ranseca, please get dear old Huntsman for me. And try to hurry, as if I don’t do this, she will die.” The Assassin sat down, frustrated as his eyes had gone snake-like again.

Ranseca sighed. “I was hoping to keep this between us…” She ran out of the room. A minute later, she returned with Reht'nar in tow, the hunter god looking annoyed. “This is her.”

Reht'nar walked up to the Empress and opened her eyelid, examining her pupils. He pricked her finger and sucked out a bit of her blood. “Death’s Rot. Just enough to kill.” He reached into a side pack and pulled out a vial. “I will cure her. This will make her sleep until morning, but I suppose that make things easier for you all.” He pulled out his own syringe, filling it halfway and injecting it into the queen.

He then stood up and opened a portal before looking at everyone. “This is your problem now. Leave me out. You.” He pointed at Shini. “Stop doing things to attract the Gods’ attention.” He pointed at Mags. “You don’t be so paranoid. If he wanted to kill her, he could have just not mentioned that she was on death’s door.” To Methos. “You needed to prepare her more.” Ranseca. “You’re a pest and you talk too fast.” He walked through the portal and closed it before anyone could counter him.

Methos rubbed her brow. “Coming, Shini?”

Shini laughed nervously, “That’s the first person after Anaqua to scold the shit out of me… Yeah… I feel if I don’t and old Huntsman finds out, I will be tortured for a few years…” He walked through the portal Methos had up, stopping to look at Mags. “I’m not evil-”

“But you are a liar.” She interrupted. “You’re a sadistic little wretch.”

“Whatever. Fuck trying to be nice to you.” He walked fully through, his eyes fully serpentine.

The others followed, and they found themselves in a neutral space between dimensions, white all around them. “First thing’s first.” Ranseca folded her arms. “Do you still have the half of Jay’s soul on you?”

“Not at the moment, given the murderous Sheep. Open a portal back to where we are and hiding in the room is a shadow of mine with his soul.” Shini said calmly, his eyes still reflecting his parentage. “I don’t trust Mags not to immediately kill me and given her habit of targeting me, justifiably, I didn’t think she would let me live if I had it nearby that she knew of.” His eyes focused on Mags, waiting to see what she did.

“You're pretty experienced holding people hostage, aren't you.” She crossed her arms. “I don't want any tricks or loophole manipulation out of you. You're going to give it back unconditionally, no deals, no trades. Understand?”

“Oh, I understand. You are stupid. That’s what I’m understanding. Your words were, ‘If I get Aetherella to tell you what you want to know, will you give me back my brother’. That’s all I’ve wanted and I don’t give a damn what you do to me, you will uphold your end of the fucking bargain or I will destroy that part of hs soul. Am I clear?”

“Fuck you.” She smiled. “You're even stupider for buying that. You're sitting here willing to fight three Gods for information. You would be that Illithid's student, you're just about as arrogant and stubborn, apple doesn't fall far I guess. Although maybe Yig is to blame for the Stupidity.”

“Again, you’re infantile. What makes you think I came without contingencies in place? There is a time limit for your friend’s soul. Kill me, you break the terms of the rules you have to follow, he dies. Hurt me, I leave here, your friend dies. You take even a single action to hurt me, your friend dies. So you shut up and look pretty for Methos. I’m not here to deal with you, I’m here to deal with them. You want to join discussions, lose the attitude, stop threatening me and speak with only a hint of your hatred towards me.”

“I agreed not to hurt you. I didn't say anything about Anaqua.” Mags raised her eyebrows.

“True, but then again you’ll travel into restricted territory, and get attacked by C-man. Finally, you’ll make me consider drastic measures, like heading to the land of Ice to find a powerful Old one to kick your ass. I’ll die too, but if you’ve killed Anaqua, what else do I have to lose?”

“I didn't say I'd do it either. I've got a friend.” She looked back up at the two of them. “But isn't that all the proof we need that he's a threat to the God’s?”
 
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Methos blinked rapidly. She had never seen her lover so angry. “W-well… he is a threat. There is no denying that. But we can’t just…”

“No matter what we may want, we can’t just kill him,” Ranseca said, giving Shini a look. “Trust me, I know how you feel. I wanted to kill him myself when he targeted Titania. A part of me still does. But if I had tried, I would have either failed, and he would have killed Titania out of spite, or succeeded and his boss would have reacted...negatively.”

“I-if I may…” Methos cleared her throat. “Why the sudden interest in the mother of the gods? I mean… what information could possibly be worth challenging Mags and threatening our ire?”

“Mags is a new God, with a new domain that I and others will need to avoid. And since she’s a new Goddess, I suspect others will be created for your ranks. This means that the game has changed dramatically, as I can no longer continue with my own way of life. This… change your side has enforced, you have tipped the power balance. I want to know what to avoid, so I don’t piss off anymore of the new Gods. That and I figured coming not as a servant of C-man, but as Shini the mortal assassin was better.” He explained before looking at Ranseca. “I also discovered who was targeting your daughter in the first place. House Bevathalon. Rich mercantile men and very ruthless. You’re lucky they considered her a low threat to be taken out eventually, as if they had turned their full attention to it, she would be dead. Most likely it’s the mother of the current head, the dowager.” He cracked his neck and started stretching. “Now, ask away. I’ll answer any question and release Sancro’s soul as long as I get my information for every new Goddess or God. Just Name and Domain.”

Methos frowned, and waved to Mags. “Can I have a quick word?”

“Okay…” The Sheep walked over.

Methos rubbed the back of her neck. “Mags, he… he was wrong for what he did. If he wanted information, he should have come to an older god. If he wanted to be amicable, he shouldn’t have taken your friend hostage. And you have a right not to trust him after what he did during the battle at Hastur’s castle. But… what he is asking for isn’t completely unreasonable. If it gets your friend’s soul back… I think we should give it to him.”

“And what's stopping him from doing this trick again? And Again? If we buckle and give him what he wants who knows what he might use this info for.” Mags told her gently. “And if we bring Aetherella to him… He could kill her. She's vulnerable.”

“I’m...not seeing an alternative,” Ranseca stated… then sighed. “Actually, I know of one. Aetherella could possess one of us. She would be able to talk to him,but the only one at risk would be the one possessed. As for him doing this again… I don’t see an alternative. I don’t trust him… but I don’t want to lose your friend, Mags.”

“There might be an alternative alternative. What if we detain him? He said we couldn't hurt him. I don't like him running around out there, doing who knows what.” Mags suggested hypothetically.

“For how long?” Ranseca asked. “Days? Weeks? Years? How long until his boss starts looking for him? He won’t act rationally and ask around. Thousands of Cthulhi will invade the surface world. People will die…”

Mags sighed, an idea suddenly popping up as she looked back at Shini. “Okay. We can let you talk to Atherella remotely. But. I want to show you something. That's my condition.”

Shini looked up from a Stormrendian board game he had been playing, given that everyone had begun to talk away from him. He began packing it up without a word, and stood once it was safely in his shadows. “Fair enough. You all assume that an assassin is naturally untrustworthy, and no doubt me stealing Sancro‘s soul will convince you I’m a menace. That is fine, but just so you know, I have no intention of betraying any of you, considering I work for one of you, and the other has never actively tried to fuck me over.” He bowed deeply in Stormrendian fashion. “I accept your conditions… but please don’t use anything underhanded…”

Using her newly learned skills, Mags reached out her hand as she thought of a person. While training with Methos, she had discovered something that she could do, relating to her Godly aspects. A unique power, she had wanted to surprise Methos with it, but oh well… Pulling her arm down and then around in a circle, a magical golden window appeared, it's outside adorned with symbols of warm embers and children playing.

Taking a deep breath, the window clouded up, then became clear, Methos recognized the view on the other side as near Havenbrook. But instead of something uplifting, it showed many graves, all belonging to the Hunter's that died at the battle. There were at least a hundred of them, maybe more.

Shini studied the sight for a moment, before glancing at Mags. “I understand why you would show this but I killed maybe twenty of Havenbrook. I killed more of the Cultists and their beasts, why not show the unmarked graves and damned souls of those people tricked into servitude?”

“No. Keep watching.” She said simply, the mirror clouding, then focusing, then zooming in a single grave. It was a small one, but the objects placed on it were interesting, a wrench and other tools, a number of flowers, and a small statuette of a dog. Suddenly, a girl walked up to it, like she had appeared from nowhere, she looked to be a Thrope, covered in white feathers and green scales all over her body. She laid down a small box onto the grave, falling on her knees and sobbing.

Mags looked over to him. “Her name is Nanscy. And that grave belongs to a Netzi named Tack. A Netzi you killed. Turned to dust.”

He was silent, as his eyes returned to normal. “I remember his face. Even knowing he was going to die, he laughed at his death. And you got his name wrong. It’s Tarciferin. Young, talented, and a bit scarred. I already know all about him. I didn’t know he had a Thrope… friend? Lover?” He started before shaking his head. “Look, if this is to make me regret my actions and turn a new leaf, I won’t. But… I haven’t taken any contracts to kill people. I’ll continue to make the occasional assassination, but I’ll stick to sabotage. Fair?”

The bird woman in the window slowly opened the box, a golden ring with a small green jewel was inside and she just sat there. “He was an honest a pure soul. He made his mistakes but he always did his best. But that redemption he fought so hard for? The love he loved and cared about? Gone.”

Mags then pressed her hand against the Window, swiping and as she did, the picture blurred again, showing a small house of Mirandian design. A Beautiful woman with long blonde hair at in her bedroom, looking down at an official looking letter and crying into her hands. After a moment a small girl ran in that looked like her daughter, “Mommy? What's wrong? Why're you crying?”

She shook her head, “Daddy… Daddy is… He's going away for a while honey… he's…”

The Woman broke down, the letter falling out of her tear soaked hands, revealing the Havenbrook crest on back. Mags spoke softly. “You did that too. Should I show you the other eighteen?”

“You could, but again, I feel only a little remorse for some of them. I have to distance myself when I kill someone… because their faces haunt me. I could tell you about the first fifty people I killed in great detail, their likes and dislikes, their ambitions and goals. They’re dead. I at least make it quick, because I don’t like extending it out. In fact, since you want to show this, how about the man named Koz? An Ophidian who worked hard to keep his child well-fed and safe, but that child was abandoned after the payments stopped coming when dear old dad was killed by a real sadist? He’s in private school, and wants his dad to come home. Kva did nothing. You did nothing. There are many more of those children I personally help, whether they be assassin’s children or just orphans from those I kill. What have you done for them?” Shini crossed his arms, narrowing his eyes.
 
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“You just cast your blame out to everyone but you, don't you…? How can you be so incapable of any emotion? This. Is what you do Assassin. This is the mark you leave on the world. Shattered Dreams and broken lives. That's all I wanted to show you. Kva did many things, but she died leaving the world a better place place than when she left. Can you say the same?”

“No. And I’m fine with that. This world is a balancing act of good and evil, right and wrong. I contribute, not the way you want, but in a way to keep balance. Tragedy breeds new experiences, Joys and hardships for others. And while that may make me a monster, this world made me… or rather Yig did when he raped my mother.” Shini said quietly his eyes challenging Mags. “I am not a good man and when I start getting old, I’ll end up turning into an Archon. I get to look forward to losing my humanity. So while I appreciate you trying to change me, make me better… this is the way I am and I accepted it already.” He took out a board game and held it, staring at it with some trace elements of sorrow, regret, and longing before the look passed away. “Let’s begin this communique with Aetherella.”

Mags said nothing, walking up and placing a hand on his shoulder silently, gently. Shini’s vision became slightly hazy, water involuntarily running down his cheeks and falling onto his lap. Suddenly, the tears gathered into one, a Misty form of a young woman stood in front of him, visible to everyone, this figure was unmistakably his Mother.

He backed away, his eyes shifting between serpentine and human. “No… you… died… I watched you die. HE ripped you apart a-and…” Shini’s voice was tinged with horror and pain, as the assassin tried to process what had just happened.

“But I am here, Sa-”

“N-no! Th-that name died when you…” Shini’s gaze went to Mags. “W-why…?”

“It’s okay, Sam…” The woman said as she went closer to him.

He looked at them all, hurt in his eyes, but revealing that he was indeed human and capable of emotions. “W-w-why?”

But as fast as she came, the watery form began to deteriorate. “Shini. It's really her. If there's anything you wanted to tell her. Now's the Time.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you, that I couldn’t keep you safe… That… I failed to be the son that you wanted. I… I wish I could’ve had a normal life with you and just… had what everyone else had.” Shini said quickly, understanding that he didn’t have the time. “I miss you, Momma. I… always will wish I could be with you for even a moment…”

“I love you too, my Sammy.” The woman said, rubbing the top of his head, before giving it a kiss. “You don’t have to be this way…”

“But if I don’t, then someone more cruel and more broken than I am will take my place and kill people viciously…” Shini whispered, before pulling out the box he had. “I still have our…” He paused, as his mother had fully dissipated. He continued to hold the box out for a moment, stunned. He lowered it and after a few moments, he wiped his eyes, put the box away and stood. His shadows formed over his eyes as he spoke, slowly and softly. “That...That was not okay to do, Magdalene. A-ask… before you do something like that…”

Ranseca gave him a sympathetic look before opening a portal and leaving to go get the Goddess of the gods. Methos stepped forward and said, “For what is worth… she seemed to love you dearly.”

“I'm. Not sure how I just did that… I was just… Going on instinct… I thought about the family you must've had and… that happened…” Magdalene said, seemingly tired.

Methos placed a hand on her shoulder. “Try not to overexert yourself…”

A few seconds later, Ranseca returned. Her aura was different, something they all picked up on immediately. “Mr. Shini,” she said. “It seems you have been causing more trouble just for the sake of seeing me.”

Shini shook, still blown away. “What? O-oh… y-yeah…” He seemed disoriented and not at all focusing on what was happening. This was a far cry from the hardened and merciless assassin that had entered earlier with the three Goddesses, now rendered a stuttering mess that looked, even with shadows, like a breeze might knock him over.

She stepped forward, either unaware of any danger he posed or unafraid of it. “May I read your mind? It will be faster than you explaining yourself.”

“S-sure…” Sam said quietly, sitting down, or much more accurately, falling down. Ther shadows seemed to disperse, either to assist the Goddess, or because he couldn’t concentrate enough on keeping them up, his eyes glazed and distant, seemingly reliving old memories.

Aetherella avoided the old stuff, placing her hands on his head and reading through his recent memories. She flinched, feeling his pain and loss. “Oh, Shini… if only you had come to me sooner, so much of this could have been avoided. Still… at least it is not irreversible.” A flow of information reversed, and he saw the recent recruits to the gods, along with one or two people she was considering and what they would be capable of. When she was finished, she stepped back and asked, “Is that sufficient?”

“It is…” Shini clutched his head, his knuckles turning white from the amount of pressure, before his shadows came back wrapping around him like a blanket, forming the dark blue outfit he had come to use. He stood up, shakily. “Your people already hate me. How could I get to you when they think I’m likely to kill you for it?” He shook his head, hands still pressing hard. “In the room where we came from is Sancros’ soul, untouched and unharmed. S-... somebody open a portal…”

Methos waved her hand and opened the portal back to the bedroom. “Please, hand the soul back to Mags. It is best placed in her hands.”

He walked towards the portal as a tiny shadow moved towards the Gods, gaining in speed before arriving at Mag’s feet. It faded away in seconds to reveal Sancro’s soul. Shini didn’t even look back as a shadow sprang forward as he crossed the portal to leave a couple cuts on the Empress’ cheeks. He left himself wide open, too distraught to even think clearly.

Methos glared at him, but said nothing other then, “Just… let him have that, Mags. Her wounds will heal. His wounded morality will not. If she dies… we will find him and make him pay for lying to us.”

“She'll live.” He whirled around, staring directly into Methos’ eyes. “Let me ask you something. Have you ever had your mother ripped apart by your father, only for her body to be warped into a perverse version? Have you ever been hit by someone far stronger than you as a child? Were you ever abandoned by your parent because you were too weak for them? Look me in the eyes and tell me that you have even an inkling of what I went through.”

Methos took a deep breath. “I haven’t. Nor am I completely innocent of wrongdoing. For what it is worth… I am sorry. I would offer you help… but I doubt you would take it. But if it means anything to you, Yig will have his day… soon, I should hope. As for you… as long as you leave Mags and her family alone, you will have no trouble from me.” Her gaze was a mixture of remorse, sympathy, and even a tinge of guilt.

His eyes narrowed, as his shadows left him. He unbuckled his leather armor to reveal a plethora of scars. “Your kind kills half breeds like me. Nemesis is a fairly good example, I mean most of these scars are from her after all, with others of your Pantheon adding here and there.” Fire seemed to burn in his eyes. “I… do not like most Gods. You all have committed far worse atrocities than any mortal could ever commit. The genocide of the Illithids, the Nocturnam War, or just simply the many small wars you involved yourselves.” His eyes turned back to serpentine, but a tear stream formed from his left eye.

“Before I hated you. But now, I just Pity you.” Mags looked at him. “There is still a chance for you. Your Mother was right. But until you learn to let go of your apathy, you'll be consumed by it. You still have time to do real good Sam.”

“Do not use that name. You have not even come close to being able to call me that.” Shini said quietly, his cold shield coming back up. “Magdalene… enjoy your brother and never talk to me again. Methos and Ranseca, keep her in check and make her keep in line with the basic rules of your Pantheon. Aetherella. Out of everyone here, you have my respect. Thank you.” He turned promptly and began walking away, out of the door.

Magdalene sighed, “I'm sorry. I'm sorry I got so heated. I still don't like him. But I understand him. Just a little.”

Methos nodded. “We can change.” She looked over to Ranseca, or rather, Aetherella. “We will change. We will be better. The world will be better. And maybe, someday… we’ll be able to reach even him, now that we have seen there is something more than a cold blooded assassin. We just… need to have faith.”

“But he's right. We need to help people. We have to be more active on Terra Dolor. I think the rules need to change.” Magdalene openly said.
 
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