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Call of the Darkness

By Nullification

+Watch
Replies: 549 / 1 years ago

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[center [pic https://i.ibb.co/LvSyktQ/B606-F133-0-D15-4-F82-A532-DE061-DE50-D7-C.jpg]]

[center [font consolas In the Lands to the North, something has stirred. A darkness unlike any other in it's thickness.]]

[center [font consolas And it spreads, leaking and devouring.]]

[center [font consolas Dark magic, a cult has arisen with a heathen at it's forefront and this will not stand. Together in the South, a Council decide to task two 'magicks' with the task of undoing this dark Cult that threatens the world as they know it.]]

[center [font consolas Magicks, more commonly known as warlocks or witches, are trained at a young age. Most of the time they have their own given strength, whether it be an element such as fire or water, other times they can shape-shift, heal or something of the likes. It differs from person to person. Much of the time, apprentices stick with their Masters and they live in a sort of mutual respect of each other. Magicks age slower, and it is not uncommon for them to be hermits. Although, they are somewhat of local celebrities in their towns. The more powerful Magicks can have intense magic within them. The battle of light and dark has begun, and it will only end with the death of one of them.]]

[center [font consolas The Cult calls itself the Divine, believing themselves to do the world mercy by 'cleansing' the lands. At their head is a creature born from darkness, taking on whatever form it pleases at the time. This darkness ebbs into everything. The puppet master pulls the strings of those under its influence, making it a substantial foe. Divine members bear a deep mark embedded in their skin like inky tendrils. Creatures and humans alike, but these markings make for a new puppet and now and then the Lord in the North speaks through his vessels. Do not touch the dark puppets, or suffer his mark and become his newest toy.]]

[center [font consolas Cut off the head of the snake. Rip up the source root and stem, or are they on the wrong side? Faint whispers and voices enrapture the Magicks, all the whole dripping poison in their minds. Whispers of how they are being lied to, of how the other is plotting a betrayal. ]]

[center [font consolas Crafted by the old Councils, from the Elders who had once predicted such a darkness would come, a metal made from light to be used to take down the Lord in the North. If they make it that far, surrounded by sickening shadows that foam at the mouth. The Lord in the North won’t risk his throne so easily. ]]

[center [font consolas End the bad guy and return to their tower heroes of the world, simple. ]]

[center [pic https://i.ibb.co/JtnDh0R/A6-C32253-74-B9-4993-A86-E-044-E5-EECAAEF.jpg]]

[b [font consolas Message me for any interest.]]

Standard ES Rules apply, of course.
I don’t expect a post everyday but please don’t leave me waiting a month without any update!
This is really open to ideas and concepts to bounce around and I love creativity!
Taog was alright, he was okay he pressed a kiss to her forehead. Juniper sighed out in shaky relief, the fears leaving her in an instant and she let herself catch up mentally. Ren lay dead, his career too and she looked to the others. It could have easily been any of them and she tilted her head. Had Ren gone after Taog first because of his powers? She was just glad he hadn’t succeeded. She smoothed Taog’s hair back from his face and gave him one more look over before glancing over to see Mirriam and Tian discussing whether they leave or not. She swallowed some as she tried to steel her nerves. Riding in the dark wasn’t desirable but she didn’t want to stay here, their location was known and she didn’t need to ask Taog who had been truly behind the assassination attempt.

Juniper got to her feet, it was difficult to avoid the blood and she looked to her horse in the moonlight, saddling up as best she could in the low light. She was no better rested but she knew they had to leave. The Great One could send anyone after them and she had a horrible feeling this wouldn’t be the last assassination attempt. She drew her cloak around herself and she fixed her things in place. Travelling at night was more dangerous, Timbre and Barut even seemed on edge.
“Stay close, no wandering off.” Barut said and Juniper thought of biting back that maybe her and Taog knew fine well what they were doing considering they had warned them about this. She kept pace well enough and noticed Mirriam struggling to stay awake.
“Fey are not nocturnal creatures.” She ground out, trying to lift the atmosphere and Juniper only nodded. Earth fey lavished themselves one the sun usually and she looked to Taog, still concerned maybe something else was to come. The awakening had frightened her, forced adrenaline through her system and just an instant too late and it would all be over.

Juniper drew her hood up to keep the night chill at bay and Timbre sang no songs this time. The group was silent as they moved and Juniper felt they were being watched still, very much like back at the Elves. She couldn’t shake the tension from her, fierce protectiveness highlighted and she half dared something to happen because she felt ready. It was adrenaline, nothing more than that but more and more lives were being lost and the attempt on Taog’s had sparked a drive to face the Great One and end this all.
“I want him to suffer.” Juniper confessed quietly to Taog, ashamed of it almost, “I want him to know the pain he has given everyone else, the losses...” she mumbled. It was selfish and it was nothing short of vengeance and Juniper had never been a hateful creature but as the days went by, the more they realised was at stake, the more she wanted to make sure this creature of darkness suffered for his crimes. Dawn was shimmering over the horizon and Juniper averted her eyes from Taog, a new day and daylight threatening to expose her new found anger.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 2h ago
Juniper moved, grabbed Ren by the hair and pulled him back. Together, the Fey and Ren fell, but Juniper acted quicker. Timbre's axe hit with swiftness and certainty. Taog heard the squelching combined with a sickening crunch. He scrambled to get up and continue the fight but he didn't have to. Timbre's blow had been enough. Juniper was there then. Her hand cupped his face and Taog pulled her close in a protective streak. She was alright. So was he.
It'd just startled him. If he hadn't woken when he did, Ren could've gotten away with it, same as he had done to the other poor girl.
"Yeah, I'm alright," Taog comforted Juniper. "Thank you."
His eyes flickered to Timbre. The Dwarf gave him a nod.

"No, not everyone," Tian said solemnly, crouching down to the other victim Ren had made. "But it isn't something we can undo." Timbre looked a little forlorn at that, all of them wishing they could've acted sooner. Under the false security of the desolate plains and this cave, they'd let their guard down.

Barut had the decency to look guilty, reluctantly expressing his theory about what had happened. Juniper's expression conveyed her fear. Taog pressed a kiss to her forehead.
"I'm okay," he promised.
Together they'd finally gotten rid of the prying eyes of Ren's lifeless expression.
"It wasn't Ren," Taog finally managed, heart rate sinking to something more closely to normal.
"...someone was acting through him."
Barut looked at Taog when those words came to his ears and he contemplated it, ponderously redirecting his gaze at the blood now flowing freely across the cave floor. They couldn't sleep here. Not like this. Morning would arrive soon anyway, so Barut figured it was best to start their journey up again, slowly.

"We can't ride the horses in the dark," Mirriam pointed out.
"We can't stay here either," Tian countered easily. It wasn't even a discussion. Both of them silently reached a compromise and soon Taog stepped out of the cage, glad to be away from the sour smell of burning flesh and blood.
War would be like this. Bloodshed and chaos.
That didn't make it any easier to witness or instigate. Slowly, hesitantly, Taog moved on. He greeted the horses and set to work readying them up for travel. It was too late to back out now. They had to face the Great One and stop him.
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 2h ago
Juniper let Taog be, instead choosing to let him rest and settling close by. The fire was enticing and the warmth in the room was wonderful. If she could have ignored everything then it might have even been peaceful but there were lingering thoughts. If the Vale had fallen then that meant the Great zone was putting plans to action and she did her best not to overthink every little possibility because there was no way she could know and even Taog wouldn’t know everything. Sleep claimed her easily and her dreams were soundless, nothing of importance and just darkness. There was movement filter through, causing her to shift and then she heard Taog, eyes opening as she turned to see Ren with a blade far too close for comfort. Juniper sat upright, about to intervene and try to drag the creature from Taog but flames erupted and Juniper watched. Ren didn’t even react to the burning, she knew how painful Taog’s flames could be but there was just nothing.

Juniper saw Timbre with the axe, he was lifting it and Juniper moved, grabbing Ren by the hair and pulling him back, sending them both tumbling to the floor and Juniper slid out of the way as Timbre brought down his axe with devastating consequences. Juniper flinched and swallowed. She looked to see Ren’s carer with their throat slit, she couldn’t heal death and she looked to Taog, heart beating wildly as she approached, cupping his face and looking him over,
“Are you alright?” She asked, having Ren around was a bad idea and she had told Barut that, she had voiced her concerns to him only to be told it was part of a plan and now one lay dead and Taog could have been murdered just as easily in his sleep. Worry made way for anger and Juniper looked to Barut,
“Was this your plan?! We should never have carried him with us.” She muttered hotly as she let go of Taog. Barut watched the two and there was a small flicker of guilt mark his features as Ren and his carer’s body seeped blood into the stone which failed to absorb anything. The smell of burnt flesh assaulted her nostrils.

“Enough, what’s done is done.” Timber remarked as he eyed the dead Ren with utter disgust.
“Is everyone alright?” He asked as he looked around. Everyone was awake now, besides the two dead and Mirriam set about making sure no one else had been assaulted in their sleep. This was dangerous and Ren could have killed Taog so easily if he hadn’t awoken in time. Tian looked worried, Mirriam looked troubled and Timbre and Barut looked nothing short of offended at the event. Juniper turned back to Taog, eyes searching him for any sort of injury.
“Ren likely acted off of orders.” Barut mused in the background but Juniper chose not to hear him, favouring looking Taog over, frightened.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 9h ago
It didn't take Timbre long to find a suitable cave to spend the night. While Barut and Timbre checked for other inhabitants, Taog dismounted, stroking his horse's fur with long, broad movements before releasing the beast from the simple saddle that had been provided. While Mirriam and Juniper supplied their meal, Taog made sure the horses were comfortably tied in a place where they could forage.
Soon he was sat down in the cave, watching the small fire trail smoke in an ever darkening sky. Food was offered and Taog looked up before taking it.
Would he dream?
"I might," Taog said honestly. He ate, hungry after a day's journey. As sick as he'd felt travelling the ocean, as easily his body had shaken feeling ill and his appetite had returned.
"I feel they won't be good dreams," he told Juniper with a weary smile.
He looked down at the meal, thinking over what was to come. He'd already said too much by letting Juniper know the Vale might've been attacked. It wouldn't end with the Vale.

While they travelled, the lands upon which the humans resided would be tainted even further. Crops would fail to sprout. Food would rot on the soil they grew upon.
The harbour where they'd boarded the Bath Rose would give rise to the first of the Great One's hollow puppets, travelling with empty expressions to their chosen battle-field and spreading their blight like a virus amongst men.
Likewise, the forests of the Elves would show increasing rot. No new saplings sprouted from the ground and trees as old as settlements withered. Unlike the humans however, Tyren hadn't needed convincing to act.
The blight had yet to reach the Fey.

Taog shot awake, restless due to his dreams. In the dying embers of the fire, he caught the glint of something meticallic. Without thinking, Taog reached out and snatched hold of Ren's wrist.
Rather than empty, Ren's eyes were filled with malice. He was strong.
The blade was pushed closer and closer to his throat.
"Stop," Taog bit out. Their scuffle on the cave's floor woke Mirriam, who shot back at the sight of Ren's carer. Their throat was sliced.
The others woke at Mirriam's outcry.
"Taog," Tian said, startled. Timbre reached for his knife, found it missing and cursed, reaching for his axe instead. Barut didn't have the time to full grasp what was going on, but before he could flames burst forth from Taog's hands, where he held Ren.
Taog grit his teeth.
"I never liked your eyes," he spat. Ren didn't relent. It was as if he didn't even feel his arms were burning. The scent of burning flesh was horrible.
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 9h ago
Juniper watched Taog and shook her head,
“I think I miss the jungle.” She said quietly. To go from a place so rich in her own magic and then to come out here where it was cooler was strange. She rubbed her eyes and rode alongside Taog, keeping awake and watching Timbre art about finding a cave. It seemed like a long time since they had slept in a cave, way back at the start when they had come across Barut’s little rebellion and Juniper just followed. Timbre soon came across a cave, it seemed empty and he tethered his horse nearby. He and Barut went to check the cave but it was a shallow one for the most part and they seemed pleased enough. A couple of tunnels splintered off but didn’t seem to go anywhere in particular.
“We can rest here for the night.” Barut said and Juniper watched him. Barut was a natural leader, he knew what he was doing and she found it bewildering that he wouldn’t be the one to lead them in battle. Maybe Eritreya would, he seemed to know enough about combat.

Juniper slid from the horse and stretched her limbs out, grumbling a little. It wasn’t going to be a comfortable night but she would just be grateful for some warmth. She eyed the entrance of the cave, waving a hand and some thick vines and leaves curtained the entrance for the majority and she hoped that would keep them at least a little safer than usual. She helped Mirriam with food and she wanted to ask the woman how she was feeling with Gray gone but she didn’t.
“Here, hand those out. Timbre might go and hunt in these areas, rabbits I’d imagine but for now it’s plain and simple.” Mirriam remarked quietly. Juniper supposed it didn’t bother her either way as she started to hand bowls out and sat by the fire. The veil of vines and leaves kept the heat in and it was comfortable.

At least there would be no innocent lives stolen and she looked to Taog. What if the Vale really had fallen, would Drit and the others have already perished? It was a terrible feeling to not be able to change something. Juniper had fond memories of the Vale and the people who resided there, she had no enemies and had never been poorly treated. She knew Taog had different memories but she doubted he wished them any harm.
“Will you dream?” Juniper asked as she handed him a warm bowl, sitting down beside him and stirring her broth around thoughtfully, grateful for the lack of rabbit. Maybe his dreams would show him more of what had happened but she was almost sure it wouldn’t be pleasant.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 10h ago
To war. Taog knew they would be expected to do so, from what he'd seen. Several fights at least, though Taog was sure that wasn't the entirety of the war. At some point, they would have to face the Great One. Despite the pending destiny looming over them, Taog stopped feeling nervous after a while. The rock plains were boring and little was going on. A fierce breeze swept across the land from the ocean in and Taog noted that Mirriam, Tian and Juniper were wrapping tighter in their cloaks. Barut tried to be stubborn about it, but only Timbre felt completely at ease with the colder weather.

"Are you okay?" Taog asked.
He'd seen Juniper doze and start herself awake.
She offered her water-skin, which Taog took. He drank a little, but his eyes remained trained on Juniper.
"We can ride together?" he offered. The cold was notable, but his magic kept him warm plenty to withstand it. At least there was no snow. Taog decided he hadn't like that or the frozen lake much.

"We should find a cave," Barut called out to Timbre, trusting the Dwarf to be better versed on the lay of the land.
"Aye," Timbre acknowledged, prompting his horse to take the lead, breaking off his conversation with the half-breed Fey.
Taog gave Juniper a smile. At least they'd be warm in a cave.
After the plains had really given way to the horizon, Taog found that looking such a distance was pretty too, in its own, desolate way. He felt open and exposed as well, somehow. Fields like these were perfect for fighting, he figured. No one to get hurt, no houses or stray people to wander in on the fight by accident. Just warriors and their leaders would fight.

Taog wondered how they would challenge the Great One to fight.
If they'd even found him.
They had so much help, but they were still only a small group, adrift and travelling. Taog wondered what a true fight would look like.
Taog brushed a hand by his mouth and returned the water-skin. He feared for Juniper in the same way she had feared for him on the boat. If he could ask June not to participate in the fight, he would, but they would need all the strength they could ask for.
Taog yawned. The light on the plains was dreary and dreams had been close ever since he'd seen the Vale. It was the start of something greater, he was sure. Taog wasn't sure whether he wanted to dream or not. He feared for what he might see.
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 11h ago
Juniper watched Taog, the Vale? She didn't think seeing the Vale was a big deal, then again they weren't allowed to go to the Vale in his dreams, the ones they shared. She shifted her gaze to Tian and then back to Taog as they rode onwards and it was Taog's next words that bothered her. Attacked? She swallowed slightly, why would the Great One bother? More were dead then, if the Vale had been attacked it meant that more people had died needlessly. They were too far away to go and help and likely too late to make any difference. No matter the makings of the Vale, it had still been home and Juniper had friends there, Drit had been like a father figure to her which made him all the more important now she knew her birth father had perished.

Mountains and uneven ground rolled upon them and Juniper was quiet. Timbre seemed to be in his element in this area. She ran a hand through her hair and the horses seemed to be easily dealing with all of the trials they came upon.
"Are we expected to go to war?" She asked quietly. The thought of becoming swallowed in the fray on the battlefields was worrying. Eritreya had tried to train them, the others had helped with their magic and she had to admit that it was useful but by no means were they ready for a full blown fight. She didn't know the words he was humming but she supposed they were Dwarven songs and Juniper found them somewhat reassuring. She nestled down in her cloak, feeling the chill slightly especially since leaving the humid jungles and she was growing tired in the cooler air somehow. Juniper couldn't sleep though, even if the rocking of the horse and unsteady footing beneath them wasn't enough now she had a host of concerns and her mind went back to the celebration night when they were Chosen. The Vale had seemed so alive, friendly faces and bright dances. Was it over?

Juniper opened her eyes with a start, almost asleep on the horse and she sucked in a breath. She rubbed her eyes and had almost dropped off atop the horse. She sighed out softly, Timbre's song still lingered in the air and Mirriam and Barut were speaking quietly up ahead. Juniper leaned down to find her water skin, taking some water and she offered some up to Taog in case he was thirsty with the journey.
"Mountains are always cold." She said quietly and Timbre chuckled as he looked over his shoulder,
"Marvellous isn't it?" He said before going back to his melody.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 1d ago
When Barut and Timbre were bartering for horses, Juniper approached him. Taog shook his head, "it wasn't clear." He swallowed, hesitating for a second with a pained expression.
"It was the Vale and there was a dark man," Taog confessed. It was all he'd seen. He wasn't even sure why the images had unsettled him enough to worry Tian and Juniper.
"I wanted to take a closer look, but..."
Tian raised her eyebrows. It wasn't her fault Taog had been about to step into the ocean blindly. Taog gave Juniper a wan smile. While the nightmarish vision bore semblance to some of the visions from before, which he'd watched play out together with the Eye, this one wasn't his future. He'd only ever seen the consequences of what had transpired. Taog was sure that was why the vision was blurred and distant. Someone else's future.
Someone close to them.
"I think the Vale might have been attacked," Taog said softly, so only Juniper would hear. There was nothing they could do. They were too far away to leave any impact.
Taog squeezed Juniper's hand and then stepped back when Timbre brought over a horse.

Unlike the horses gifted to them by the elder of the Vale, these steeds were strong and powerful working horses. Taog was offered an only slightly bigger one and it bristled at changing hands.
He missed the horses they'd been gifted.
Taog sighed out and stroked the animal's neck, hushing it. Soon the animal was trying to nibble on his hair, curious after his horns and Taog figured it would then be comfortable enough to let him ride. Unlike before, when the journey had been exciting and new, Taog felt the weight of where they were travelling. The field of Renmar were battlegrounds. They would fight and people were die. Until now, his dreams had been just that; dreams. Taog wasn't sure whether he wanted to be right about what he'd dreamt now or not. If he was wrong, maybe more would survive the uncoming battles.
Taog's eyes were distant as he pondered his worries. He felt horribly inadequately prepared for what was to come. Their training had been at a standstill because of their travel on the ocean and visit to the Fey. And even then Taog knew that some of the battles wouldn't be theirs to fight.

The weather turned as they travelled deeper into land. Rather than the lush and sun-kissed jungle, they were met with rocky plains and ominous clouds, looming over a distant mountain-range. Timbre seemed more keen. The Dwarf was humming to himself. Taog tried to hear the words, but didn't understand them.
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 1d ago
Juniper followed the group, the further they got towards the outskirts of the jungle, the more she felt the magic dissipate from the atmosphere. She caught a glimpse of the harbour, musing over getting some horses. It would make their journey that bit easier. She was distracted by Taog, who looked as if he was seeing something faraway. Maybe it wasn't faraway at all, he had seen something and Tian pulled him back to the here and now. She watched the exchange and tilted her head, pondering what he had seen. At least they weren't going back on the ocean and she let Barut and Timbre take over talks for horses as she followed towards the harbour. She slowed some so she could speak with Taog.

"What did you see?" She asked him quietly, still unsure of whether it was rude to ask or not. He looked a little on edge though and he had mentioned a nightmare. Juniper had learned one thing with Taog, they were never just nightmares or just dreams. She had once dismissed them as such, but over time she had learned that they were things he had to see. Juniper watched Barut and Timbre bargaining for a good deal on some horses. Juniper didn't pay them much mind, she knew Barut and Timbre would come to some sort of agreement and it didn't look like this place got much traffic or patronage. Her eyes shifted back to Taog, questioningly. Was it bad omens? Juniper felt like something had changed, something had shifted somewhere but she didn't know what exactly. It was probably just Taog seeing something making her feel uneasy.

"Here, he didn't have many horses to spare." Timbre handed Juniper a horse. He was smaller than her last steed, but broader and looked more like a packhorse or carriage horse. She stroked its nose, settling the beast to a calmer state as it shifted from hoof to hoof. She fixed her cloak and mounted the horse, fairly easily and it seemed she had gotten better at that, although climbing would still be a real hinderance until she practiced more but given she was out of a jungle she didn't imagine she would need her climbing skills anytime soon. She gathered her reins and got comfortable, at least for a while given it was set to be a long trek.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 1d ago
The earth elemental begged their safe return, placed her hand on the tree and all but faded into the bark, moss and leaves. Within the blink of an eye, the tree was just an ordinary plant once more. In a mirror echo of Juniper, Taog reached for his neck. Nothing but Mirriam's relieved smile seemed to suggest they had actually received the elemental's blessing.
Timbre seemed to have it by the right end, calling the tree magic.
Like the water elemental, the earth elemental was no more forthcoming about what a blessing was supposed to do, or how they were supposed to call on it in a time of need. Taog figured it was a mark that let the elementals know where they were, what was going on and then, when the time was right, they would lend their aid.

Taog shook his head and shrugged.
Air and fire remained.
Barut then told them their next destination; the fields of Renmar. Somehow, Taog felt uneasy at hearing the name, though it held no significance to his past. Perhaps the future then? Taog felt he might dream, if they let him, but they had to travel far.
A battle field then.
Their discussion was cut short by Barut. Taog put his hands behind his head and followed the sorcerer at a leisurely pace. As Fey, they definitely had the advantage over the other races when it came to travelling through the jungle. Taog felt at ease, travelling was light and simple. Food was bountiful.
They didn't have to do chores either, he noted. Other than the usual food-gathering and making fire for the ones that wanted cooked food and hot drinks.

They hadn't ventured into the jungle far before happening on the Fey village and soon the beach was in view again. Together, they set about gathering their equipment, left behind when the Fey ambushed them the other day. Taog helped pack some things.
"We'll follow the water," Barut explained to Timbre, who was already dreading returning to the jungle.
"There's a harbour, we can get horses and make better time," he ventured.

Taog stared out across the ocean.
A fierce, cold wind came from it, chasing off the warm magic he'd basked in while in the jungle. Taog shuddered at the cold.
For a moment, he felt as if in a dream. Taog turned and saw a dark figure, ambling across what looked like the Vale. The dream wouldn't sharpen. He tried to move closer, see who the figure was, but Tian caught his shoulder. Taog stumbled back into the real world.
"A waking dream?" she asked gently.
Taog nodded, a little distracted still, as if the dream was only a breath away from returning.
"More like a nightmare," he said finally.
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 1d ago
Juniper watched, mystified by the Elemental before them. The Elemental seemed saddened at Taog’s words, stricken a little and she watched the dance of emotions splayed over her face and Juniper knew answers didn’t need to be spoken.
“What a curious union, fire and earth.” The Elemental carried on lazily, but with no less playfulness in her tone. She giggled and more flowers seemed to sprout from her hair,
“Very well. A blessing from the Elementals is no small thing.” She continued, moving around the tree and surveying it as birds hopped down to perch near her.
“Take mine, both of you. You will come to know what I means when the time is right.” She cooed and watched the two Half-Fey, eyes bright with mystery and wisdom. She knew so much, Juniper could feel that somehow she knew more than she could speak.

“Go safely, and when this is over, should you be able to, return to this place.” Earth tapped the tree with a smile. She finally placed her hand on the tree and seemed to meld with it, fading into the bark and moss, becoming one and the tree shimmered, a few new branches growing and then it was silent. Juniper removed her hand from the tree and stared in the quiet for a while. She reached up to the back of her neck, felt nothing but Mirriam was smiling in relief.
“Water and Earth.” Mirriam remarked, eyeing the back of Taog’s neck, expectantly and finding the etched in symbol there. It was a pity the two fey couldn’t see it themselves. It would look beautiful if they completed it. This was no small thing that they were accomplishing.
“Magic trees.” Timbre scoffed and chuckled a little, rubbing the back of his head and Juniper turned to look at them, the embarrassment earlier utterly forgotten about.

“What does she mean ‘we’ll know what it means’?” Juniper asked and was reluctant to leave the tree. The Earth Elemental has claimed it, blessed it? She wasn’t quite so sure. Mirriam only shrugged, just as mystified and looked to the others.
“Air and Fire remain, they will seek us out.” She murmured and Barut nodded,
“We should make our way to the meeting point, the fields of Remnar.” He muttered,
“Our forces will be gathering there for the battles ahead.” It had been quiet, no disturbances from the Council and Barut was on edge about that. Mothra and the Dwarven council member had come in quick succession and Barut knew others would come or the Great One would send something to try and take the group away, like swatting a fly.

Juniper tilted her head,
“Drit said the Fields of Remnar was where the races used to battle before the Great One took control?” She mumbled.
“Aye, fitting it should all end there.” Timber ground out and Juniper wondered if that meant they would see Eritreya and the others there too, the Elves and the Dwarves and anyone else who saw fit to join their cause. Apprehension bloomed once more and Juniper could only nod in silent agreement.
“Firstly, let’s get out of this jungle. The Fey won’t like us hanging around.” Barut remarked tersely and gestured for them to carry on.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 1d ago
When finally the jungle subsided to open way to the small clearing they'd found to plant their tree, Taog saw that it was in full bloom. Not only that, plants and other life had started to surround it, filling the gap left in the jungle, almost absorbing the once open patch back into dense green surroundings. Juniper's skin glowed with her inherent magic as she investigated the tree. Taog cocked his head, felt the elemental's presence before he could even see her.
More plant than Fey, the elemental had playfully peeked around the tree's trunk to find Juniper there. Taog wanted to say something, warn Juniper, but the Earth Fey opened her eyes while they all stood agape. Tian hushed Timbre, and even Ren was silent.

In a gentle voice, like the rustling of leaves, the elemental spoke.
Taog wasn't sure whether to return the grin she sent them. He wasn't sure about this elemental in general. It wasn't an unpleasant presence in any way, much like Juniper, he figured. Taog could feel the elemental's presence, unlike some other magical creatures, so their power had to be formidable for him to sense her.
Why would they think they were curious creatures?
They were just half-breeds. Rejects to the full races and he was an outcast to those of even the Vale. Why would the elementals see fit to bless them, of all beings? Wouldn't Fey like Mirriam or Seers like Tian be more suitable to receive their blessing?

When the elemental approached Juniper, Taog took a few steps forward, apprehensive and feeling a protective streak loom up from the pit of his gut. The elemental's gaze stalled him in his tracks however and Taog realized there was no threat. They were being watched, observed, more so than threatened.
Taog relaxed his stance a little at that realization, but didn't dare tear away his eyes.

"When the rot comes here, will you be safe?" Taog asked.
His question seemed to sadden the elemental. Her fingers lowered from Juniper's chin as her eyes danced across the jungle.
Taog already knew; the elemental would abandon the jungle, flee the rot and return only when it was safe, perhaps to help recover it. That was, if the Fey didn't act timely enough. He shook his head. His question no longer needed a spoken reply.
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 1d ago
Juniper followed and Tian was acting like a sprite. She thought she knew where they were going, it seemed familiar and Juniper glanced to Taog at his words.
“Our tree?” What would they want to do with their tree? It felt a little strange, honestly. She had thought that was something private, something between the two of them, she knew it was just a tree but she still felt a touch invaded. She furrowed her brow and looked to the others. Juniper fixed her hair and fixed her clothes, a touch nervous and she followed as they came upon the tree which was surprise to her. It was now in full bloom and she looked to Taog. They hadn’t done this.

Juniper eyed the tree as she stepped forwards, hesitantly and investigating the tree. She knew there was magic here but she could sense something else as she reached forward and touched her fingertips to the bark of the tree very gently. She closed her eyes and much like before, her markings lit up but this time it was like a breeze kicked up and seemed to blow her hair and she breathed it in, this wasn’t a threat. Juniper opened her eyes to see a woman standing at the base of the tree. She had leaves in her hair, her dress made of flowers and petals. She looked absolutely beautiful. She wasn’t fey though, she was more advanced than that. Juniper almost took a step back, hand still resting on the tree. The woman had autumn coloured eyes, she was breathtaking and Juniper looked to the others, not sure what to do and slightly afraid.

“I was wondering when you would come back.” The Elemental said and smiled softly, each step she took breathed life into the ground beneath her, flowers and such sprouting up. The Earth incarnate looked to the others, grinning delicately in the light.
“Water wasn’t wrong, you are curious creatures. Half breeds, of Earth and fire.” She whispered, birds and critters completely at ease around her and Juniper could see barky markings on her bare arms. She was one with nature completely, with earth. She was the tree.

Juniper smiled a little, she still looked so beautiful and young and vibrant. The Elemental turned to June, lifting her chin a little and smiling at the half Fey.
“What things you and he could accomplish, Hm?” She whispered quietly and turned her gaze to Taog. Juniper swallowed a little and didn’t know what to say,
“Will you help us?” She asked quietly.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 2d ago
A lover's quarrel? Taog shook his head, awkwardly placing his hands behind his head, stance casual, though he felt anything but. He couldn't get the image how just how beautiful Juniper was out of his head and it was confusing, the way his body reacted without him meaning to. Taog tried and failed to keep the blush from his face when Juniper stammered it was nothing like a spat between lovers. He looked away.

Mirriam's reply was just as vague as Tian's might have been, saying the Earth elementals might be somewhere. Was there merit to Elroch's story? Mirriam said the elementals might find them, so maybe it was true that the air played with them all, whispering of what had become of them.
When they had all finished their meal, Barut and Timbre took the lead. Timbre's lead was lacking elegance. The Dwarf tore through the jungle like a bore trying to track through a dense shrub. Taog sighed out and followed at a slower pace, confident they would be easy to catch up to.

Tian crossed their path from the side, startling Barut.
She chuckled, "nervous, Barut?"
Barut took in a deep breath and gave a head-shake that conveyed that he wasn't, and was at the same time.
"This way," Tian said playfully.
"No," Timbre said, "the beach is this way."
Barut clapped Timbre's shoulder, "I don't think we have a choice," he said.
Defeated at having missed the opportunity to get out of the jungle as quick as possible, Timbre sighed out and groaned. Taog laughed at the Dwarf's plight, but was curious what Tian was after.
He pushed some branches out of the way and followed the narrow path Tian had chosen. Animals skittered out of their way as they passed, birds fluttered off. It was obvious they weren't used to trespassers.
And then Taog started to slowly recognize certain landmarks. A particularly gnarly tree; the way the mushrooms hugged the side of the bark.
"We're going to the tree," Taog told Juniper.
Barut caught his words, but remained confused.
"The seed June received from the Seers, we planted it near here," Taog explained.
Tian still lead the way and Taog started to recognize more and more about the path they'd taken the other day. Why would they lead them back there?
Taog felt the tree had been something that belonged to him and Juniper together, not someone else.
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 2d ago
Juniper was resigned to just relax by the water for a while, time ran away with her and she heard some movement and glanced up to see Taog looking totally flustered and Juniper went a rather unflattering shade of bright red.
“Taog! Sorry I didn’t-“ She stammered was she pulled her cloak more around herself, trying to stammer our apologies as Taog turned around and Juniper swallowed slightly.
“Th-thanks, I’ll be right over I just-“ She couldn’t seem to formulate words but was rather making words and trying to save herself some embarrassment. She watched Taog and somehow every stupid little imperfection with herself felt totally exposed. She watched Taog go off and breathed out when he disappeared. She waited for a moment and then went about getting dressed.

She eyed the breakfast and picked it up, heading back towards the others, actively avoiding making eye contact with Taog, clearing her throat and sitting down nearby.
“Where do we find the Uh- Earth elemental?” She asked, pushing conversation and Timbre eyed her over. He looked to her and then Taog,
“Lovers quarrel?” He asked and Juniper just shot him a look and she wasn’t about to divulge the issue. It wasn’t a quarrel it was just humiliating.
“N-no, nothing like that. It’s alright I was just-“ The explanation died on her lips and she busied herself with breakfast. Mirriam looked utterly confused and just shook her head.
“Somewhere.” She replies to Juniper’s question and gave a shrug.
“Then Fire and Air, but I feel like they’ll find us. Blessings from Elemental’s, that news travels fast and no doubt they’ll want to meet you.” She said to them both and Juniper reached up to her neck, she couldn’t feel anything.

Juniper looked to Taog for a moment, hair drying slowly but it was proving difficult in the humid atmosphere. Juniper tied it back, using a summoned vine to keep it in place with a red flower for decoration and she looked to Mirriam,
“What happened?” She asked quietly and Juniper just shook her head and Mirriam thought for a while. Juniper had bathed, Taog had- Oh! Mirriam hid a small, amused smile at the situation. She doubted either of them had been with the opposite gender before and she couldn’t help it. She didn’t let on that she understood to save them anymore embarrassment.

Juniper finished and got to her feet. How were they supposed to find the Elemental’s then? Or did they not have to? She hummed a little to herself and tried not to linger on being so hot and bothered after the impromptu discovery by the water and a million doubts went through her mind. Had he been just embarrassed? Did he find her displeasing in so little? She grabbed her bag and fixed some her clothing as Barut and Timbre started to lead the way.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 2d ago

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