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[Dominion's War] Godling's Requiem Empty [Dominion's War] Godling's Requiem

Post by Star Phoenix on 3/25/2019, 10:44 pm

The whole universe is change, and life itself is but what you deem it.

In the beginning, there was The Heart. This powerful artifact that coalesced fortune and deflected calamities, was the epicenter of war in the world of Karma; for control of the Heart would mean control over every dominion of Karma itself. Choirs of the draconic Gods dueled the masses of ghastly Devils, with the bloody war coming to a tense conclusion when the Heart was stolen by an unknown intervening party. Now, mortalkind rises from the ashes of the Olde Age, with the few remaining Gods and Devils casting their influence among the mortal populace to reclaim what was lost to them. As calls of rebellion against the divine and demonic grow by the day, a new chaotic age is about to unfurl. And at its center? A small, beating pulse.

Welcome to Dominion’s War.

~~~

[Present day. Akval, Telamon. The world of Karma]

The smell of rotting flesh, aged by years of decay, pierced through the senses like a knife through butter. Black beady eyes that anxiously flitted about their surroundings, heralding naught but pure despair in the wake of what was to come. The sounds of faint screams alerted the small horde of grotesque creatures, who gnashed their razor-sharp fangs in hunger as they scurried towards the source of the noise.

Through the emerald-green foliage and ancient ruins stood a lone man, his arms braced in front of him and his stance defiant. Behind him lay the crumpled body of a woman, whose long hair was swept across her face, obscuring her condition. But the white-hot tears of rage in the man’s eyes told the story all too clearly, and he let out a howl of anger as the lanky creatures hungrily made their way towards him.

“You Fae bastards… I’LL KILL ALL OF YOU!!!” He let out another cry of anguish before running towards the horde at speeds nearly too fast for the eye to follow. The gold-colored bracer on his left arm seemed to shimmer in the patches of sunlight he passed under, and when he thrust his punch forward…!

Albrave Vernithier awoke with a start. His neon purple-colored eyes swept the room he was currently in, taking stock of his location before relaxing. The room he’d rented at the Diamond Sandshark in the city of Akval -- his current place of residence. The young man let out a sigh as he ran his hand through his hair, leaning back on the torn-up couch he’d fallen asleep on. After so much time had passed since that particular incident, he still had nightmares of the night when he’d lost *her*. That pain had never dulled.

His eyes rested on the golden bracer on his forearm, softening slightly at the sight of it. It was still so hard to be sure if that journey to the Hallowed Forge had been worth it, now that he knew of its secrets. Secrets that he’d deigned not to tell the others in the Ash Lodge about, and he was sure they’d kill him if they ever found out he’d been withholding information. For one of his rank, that was far beyond unacceptable. The fact that it was a personal expedition would matter little in their eyes.

Within the Ash Lodge organization, there existed four individuals who stood as the vanguard of the Lodgemen -- often performing high-difficulty missions and contracts with ease. These exceptional four had their titles whispered in backway alleys, where street gangs feared even uttering the term: The Four Horsemen. Al himself was known as the Red Horseman of War, and was the lone half-God of the Horsemen’s ranks -- it was fairly agreed upon that Albrave was the strongest physically of the four, though it was always tough to compete with the tactical superiority of the White Horseman of Conquest, Eltaire Lancea.

What were the others doing these days? Probably not reminiscing the death of a woman they barely knew, he was sure.

“Wynona…” The name caressed his tongue and lingered in the air, kissing his ears with its sound. The golden bracer caught the ray of sunlight from the window as he lowered his hand a bit, its luster blossoming even more of those memories that he wanted to both forget and treasure. He let himself close his eyes as a journey through a lane of memory began to unfurl in his mind…

~~~

[Some time ago. The Silvarean Grove. The world of Karma]

The Hallowed Forge.

Legend had it that the Forge had been a site where the New Age of Gods had crafted weapons in their own image, after the artifact known as The Heart had been lost to the people of Karma. This was a story that Al had heard as a young boy, huddling close to the storyteller who’d spun the tale to him -- Asgrand Vernithier, the man who’d also given him a home. In the time since Verdura had fallen to civil war, refugees like Albrave had stuck together for protection from the predatory highwaymen and traffickers that’d opted to take advantage of the crisis. For times like this, to lose one’s self in the valleys of stories had been one of their greatest comforts in times of distress.

Perhaps what kept Albrave motivated now were the memories of being a dirty kid hiding in the shadows from exploiters. He brushed his blonde hair away from his face before crouching beneath the underbrush, carefully studying what he saw on the other side of the thick forest growth that had hindered him.

“Now, that’s something different.” Al let out a whistle as he beheld the sight before him. Massive islands of magnetic stone floated above the ground, somehow dwarfing the size of the Lucent Bastille’s capital city. And though previously it was obscured by the thick forests, Albrave could now see the blueish-purple radiance of an aurora borealis dancing across the skies. The Silvarean Grove he’d traversed gave way for a small forest glade, with the clearing having naught but the crumbling ruins of a long-forgotten building. Nature had already reclaimed much of the structure, with vines and greenery hugging the exterior tightly. Here, in this place, was said to be the resting place of the Hallowed Forge.

The Half-God slowly approached the ruins, slightly adjusting the collar of his cloak as the purple fabric began to flap wildly in the breeze. Strange. The wind hadn’t seemed that strong just a moment ago. Al paused, his brow raised. How in the world was it possible for a blacksmith to work in a place like this? Sure, the scenery was idyllic -- what with the blue luminescence of the fluorescent Queenly Sage flowers and the soft musical tones of Oracle Finches -- but wouldn’t a blacksmith need a more appropriate location? No other buildings seemed to be in sight; this Forge was likely the only thing built in this space. Or perhaps, those other buildings had been long destroyed and this single building was all that remained.

He couldn’t be sure.

What he was sure of, however, was the growing strength of the winds in the glade. The Red Horseman of War cautiously began walking forward again, keeping his body tensed slightly so as to react to anything that might jump out. Something was off, though he couldn’t immediately tell what. With each step he took, he could feel himself becoming more and more aware of the feeling that he was being watched. As he stood in front of the ruins of the Hallowed Forge and placed a hand on the structure, he turned slightly to glance at the figure who’d manifested behind him. In a whirlwind of petals, the woman who’d appeared stared at him with a look he couldn’t quite discern.

“Sneaking up on people can be quite hazardous for your health, you know.” Albrave finally said, turning to face the woman face-to-face. What caught his eye hadn’t been the brunette locks of hair that she sported, nor the neon purple coloration of her eyes. Instead, it was the dark-green undertone of her skin, the soft-glowing purple markings on her figure, and the leaf-like dress that adorned her. But as Albrave studied her more closely, the thought crossed his mind that the dress itself was a part of her as well. This woman was certainly of no race of people he’d seen before.

“Silent type, I take it?” Albrave smirked, shoving his hands into his pants pockets as he slouched over. “Let me tell you, I’m not the ki- urk!”

His words were cut off as barbed vines that shot up from the earth coiled around his body, restricting his movements and lifting him up from the ground a few feet. His eyes widened in surprise and pain as the barbs dug into the thin fabric that he wore to tear into his body. The woman simply stared at him blankly, before she sighed and looked down for a moment before meeting his gaze.

“When I’d sensed unknown Immortal Vigor approach, part of me had hoped that my time here would be at an end… But I see now that my other assumption was correct -- you are no Grand Dragon. Just a mere Godling.” The smooth features of her face barely moved as she spoke, and her voice echoed with a sound not unlike that of jingling bells. In the moment that she uttered a sound, the birds immediately silenced their songs, and the world fell into a hushed silence. The woman slowly walked towards him, meeting his purple eyes with her own. Albrave watched her studiously, trying his best to ignore the pinpricks of pain that the barbs cutting into his flesh had dealt. A Grand Dragon… wasn’t that a term for the Ancient Gods who’d survived the War for the Heart generations ago? Was this woman truly that old? Granted, she didn’t seem too elderly, but…

“What’s brought you here, perusing these woods? Hm?” She brushed a finger against his face, and Albrave could feel himself becoming increasingly aware of the way her hair seemed to float in the slight breeze. Despite his current position, he didn’t quite have the feeling that the situation had to be resolved through a fight. “Surely not a stroll for pleasure. Wandering these forests alone can be quite hazardous for your health, you know.”

A slight smile played across her lips as she mirrored the words Albrave had previously spoken. Soft chuckles escaped her briefly before she folded her arms across her midsection, the barbed prison turning the young man to face her. She studied him for a moment. “And, as you are not the next Sentry, there is no need for your presence here. Begone.”

With those words, Al could feel the vines around him tighten as they hoisted him a bit higher and curved backwards a bit. The young man stole a glance at the woman, who seemed largely indifferent to the situation she had placed him into. She gave him a sideways glance before turning away. And in that instant, the world became a blur. High-speed winds whipped past his face as he was hurled by the vines back into the Silvarean Grove, and he threw his arms up in front of himself to brace for impact.

The woman turned her attention to the building ruins behind her, placing a hand on the archway that served as the entrance. The divine Sutras that guarded this place and sealed it from intruders… were they weakening? The question gave her pause. Was such a thing even possible? What would that mean for her role as the Forge’s Sentry? And what of the fate of the Forge itself? These were questions to which she had no answers.

She gazed into the ruins, beholding the Forge with worry clear in her eyes. Should her worries come true… what would she do? There was the thought of attempting to cross The Great Divide to bring the Forge to the Land of Gods, but she’d no way of managing such a feat. At least, as far as she knew.

Perhaps if she were to use the Forge’s power…?

“Tch! You’ve got some damned nerve!!” She spun quickly in surprise, seeing a disheveled Albrave pick a twig out of his hair in annoyance as he staggered his way out into the clearing. A scowl plastered his face as he stared down the woman. “Kinda rude to just yeet a guy without hearin’ him out first.”

The green-skinned woman stared at him in confusion. She was sure that the amount of force she’d thrown with would be enough to kill him upon his impact. So why was he still alive? She spoke softly, her curiosity finally overcoming her hostility.

“Just who are you, Godling?”

~~~

[Present day. Akval, Telamon. The world of Karma]

Wynona.

A green-skinned woman that he’d known for a short while, but few had ever had such an impact on Albrave. That is to say, she was the first other half-God he’d met, although the term was difficult to apply to her. It was far more accurate to say that she’d been a half-God in her first life, before she’d been reborn as the Forge’s Sentry. Even now, he was unsure if he put much stock in those accounts of her past that she’d told him -- it seemed too contrived to possibly true.

Yet, that same woman was the one who’d allowed him to craft and wear the golden bracer that he wore now. Regardless of the fact or fiction in Wynona’s tale, the truth had been that this bracer had helped him combat the horde of Fae that had overrun the Forge. And, thankfully, the weapon didn’t clash with his use of Aura Forging, which was instrumental to Albrave being able to overcome opposition that he faced.

He sat up from where he sat on the couch, shaking his head a bit. He had a mission to get back to. There’d be time to reminisce about Wynona later -- he’d made sure to stop thinking about that time before shit had hit the fan. Before those damned Fae had come and ruined everything…!

He didn’t bother to hide his scowl.

As irritable as ever, he stood up from the couch and let out a brief yawn before glancing around his apartment. There wasn’t much there aside from some ratty furniture and bare furnishings, making the place seem barren. He grunted.

Maybe he’d get a plant.

_________________
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