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The Halls of Snowpeak


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#1 Selena

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 05:01 PM

Selena struggled with consciousness, sinking into darkness and then clawing her way out again. She was face down on the side of the mountain, all thoughts of supporting her now defeated troops below absent from her mind. A layer of snow was forming on her body and the wind was picking up speed. The cold was temporarily ignored. The heat from her fresh wound had spread throughout her entire body, giving her the false sense of warmth in the blizzard. She clamped her hands down over her injury to stop the blood flow. The cold was good for that, her mind declared amidst panicked mental chattering. Constricted the vessels, made it harder to bleed out. But that wouldn't be enough. Had to heal. How?

She felt an foreign essence - Lazu's power. It had graced her when Chikara plunged the knife into her stomach. Lazu's power. The same thing Labyrinth magic was based on. The people of the Labyrinth could only use his power because he'd given it to them long ago, though most were ignorant of that fact. He'd saturated the underground with it. It was inevitable that the people who lived there would someday learn to harness it. Chikara, the old one, had been a better mage than Selena. Selena had always been more concerned with stabbing things, but she still had ability. Years of training assured her of that. Perhaps she could manipulate the energy. Boost a healing incantation with it.

Her hands warmed as she drew upon her own powers while also trying to redirect the essence of Lazu into a single location. She felt cells begin to rebuild themselves - little shots of electricity running through her injured flesh. It was a slow process, but she risked draining her reserves if she tried to up the power. Selena writhed in the snow, suppressing angry growls and pained screams for as long as she could. But as the healing continued, she became more and more aware of how badly it hurt and how likely she still was to perish before she could complete her work. A ragged howl escaped her throat - full of rage and fear and sorrow.

Maybe she still had a chance.

She recalled her younger days in the Labyrinth, working alongside Chikara as equals for the same goals. They had been the most powerful team in the world, and their friendship had been strong despite the arguing and playful power struggles. What if... well, would it really be so bad? It was just a matter of adjusting her goals. Selena could be the most powerful Koridian general if she wanted to. Leading the divine armies across the globe so that she might force submission out of every living soul on the planet. It would be the same as it always was, and what Selena wanted most right now was some sense of comfort and warmth and safety. If she forgot about her desire for vengeance and begged for Chikara's forgiveness, their vendetta could come to an end and they would be friends again, and...

And that was when every other fiber of her being reared up in rebellion at the mere suggestion of begging her for forgiveness.

That wasn't Chik. That was an abomination. That was multiple people trapped in the hollowed out shell that had been Chikara. Chikara would have never made that sort of empire - so ordered and structured. Locked away in palaces while it was the generals that did the fighting. It was an insult to the lifestyle they had led before. Theirs had been a life of few rules and limitations, all bloodlust and regular lust. The "civilized" empire was no place for them. Selena had attempted to live a civilized life under Khuffie's rule in those first few years. She knew what would happen if she went to Chik's empire. She'd rebel in only a few months, unwilling to keep herself "in check" for the sake of the meek population. Peace would drive her mad. She'd have no purpose, no reason for living. She led soldiers. She didn't babysit civilian populations. War was her very pulse, and without it she would surely die of boredom.

Selena had spent her entire life plaguing and terrifying giant empires. She'd toppled a few. Koridai would be no different. Empires existed to be preyed upon by barbarians like Selena. It was a symbiotic relationship. The barbarians needed empires to have something to fight against, and empires needed barbarians to unify the doomed population. Chikara had willingly made herself into the "prey," and she surely knew that when making the choice to lead such a political entity. She had to know that Selena would pounce upon a civilized nation like a mountain lion upon a deer. It was her own fault. She'd made the choice. And then she'd made the choice to stab Selena, which would only increase her urge to seek revenge. Chikara had brought it all upon herself.

Maybe that's what she wanted - to test Selena's abilities as a solitary leader by giving her a mighty empire to torment on her own. Whatever. Either way, Selena wasn't going to allow herself to die or submit to the Goddess's rule.

She looked down at her hands, covered in red. She moved them to the side, and was pleased to see that her wound had healed enough to put a halt to the further loss of blood. Now she truly felt the cold. She turned her eyes up and took in her surroundings. Wind was coming from the east. There. There was an outcropping of snow covered rocks that would give her cover fro the wind. She crawled on her belly, still too weak to stand on her own, and felt relief when the frigid breeze could no longer get to her.

Selena wrapped herself up in the wool cape she'd worn into battle that day, giving her further shelter from the sub-freezing temperatures. Like a wolf curled up in the snow. Well, she'd solved one problem. No more bleeding. But she had still lost a lot of blood, and she could not walk all the way back to a Calatian outpost by herself under such conditions. Now what?

Maybe if she waited til the storm subsided. Just closed her eyes and took a small nap before setting out...

She didn't know how long she stayed like that. Moments of unconsciousness ruined her sense of time, as did the overcast weather. Time might as well have been as frozen as the snow. Her body temperature continued to drop, flesh turning a sickening shade of blue. Ending her life as a human popsicle. How shameful.

“Selena!”

Present! Wait, what?

“Ma'am! Hang on!”

She turned her head up, poking her eyes out of the fur cape that was providing her with shelter from the cold. Soldier. Calatian soldiers. Where the hell had he come from? Not that she was complaining. Hadn't her unit been killed by that bitch? Maybe one had survived. No, there were more coming. She could see their outlines in the snow. Dozens. Another unit come to reinforce hers? Her heart jumped.

“Set up camp. Get the healers and mages over here now!”

“Yes, sir!”

“Use everything you have!”

“Do you want me to run a message back to Snowpeak about her condition?”

“Yes. Take what you need and go.”

“No,” Selena rasped. “After the storm. Too dangerous.”

“You heard her, then.”

It was difficult to speak, so after that, Selena simply let her soldiers take the lead. They set up a tent and brought her inside. Healers used a variety of herbs and medicines while mages more dedicated to the kinder arts found ways to accelerate her recovery. The storm raged for two days, and it was not until the dawning of the third that Selena's survival was guaranteed.



They came down from the mountains on the easiest pass so that Selena would not risk her health. The downside to this plan was that they would exit the mountains near the borderlands. As they had expected, they ran into a Koridian scouting party. Great. So much for being discreet. Actually, Selena thought to herself, it could be a very good thing. Kill all but one, wound the survivor, and send him screaming back to Chikara. Let the bitch know that she was still alive and kicking. Then rumors would spread. Word of Chikara's battle impotence would reach all corners of the map in a matter of months. The drop in morale could be exploited.

Despite her legs still being a bit wobbly from the near death experience and the hike that had followed, Selena pointed her spear at the leader of the Koridian scouting party. The enemies were rushing up to meet them, not sure at a distance whether she was really who they thought she was. Good. They were rushing into their own deaths.

“Attack them,” Selena said to her troop. “Spare one and leave him to me.”

“Do you really think you should be fighting in your condition?”

“Oh, it takes much more than that to kill me.”

One of her soldiers smirked. “You mean, it takes someone over five feet tall to do some damage?”

“She was twelve feet tall when she attacked me. I swear it.”

“Right.”

Selena snorted. “Well, here they come. Ready yourselves. Pikes forward.”

The few pikemen she had under her command marched to the front of her formation, and Selena took up a position in the center of the line. She and those closest to her took a few steps forward, forming a wedge. Naturally, the Koridian scouts slowed, not wanting to run into a mass of sharp pointy things. Some began to turn around and face the east. No retreat. Selena raised her left hand and waved it forward. The archers in her back ranks fired, and a volley of arrows sailed across the sky, slamming into riders and steeds alike. In the confusion, Selena charged forward with the soldiers at her side.

She speared one horse and knocked the rider off, then proceeded to stab him through the face, taking great joy in seeing one of Chikara's men suffer. A wicked smile spread across her face and she launched a ball of dark magic into another scout, burning and melting down his flesh as the dark flames spread across his body – his screams music to her ears. Her other soldiers swarmed the scouts that remained, chopping off limbs and running them through.

Selena pulled one scout out of the mess by his collar, a nasty arm would already inflicted by one of her overzealous warriors. This was the one. He was young. New recruit, most definitely. More like to squeal the news to everyone in sight, whereas a veteran would keep his mouth shut. Yes, this boy would do nicely.

She wanted to put a knife to his throat, but found that her trusty dagger was missing from its sheath.

Oh, that bitch. She took it.

With a snarl, Selena tossed him back to the ground and pointed the tip of the Kanagida at his face. Good enough. He was a quivering mass of nerves, and she halfway expected the snow to turn a bright shade of yellow as he flailed on the ground. She shoved the spear into the ground next to his head, and then placed her boot on his neck.

“I want you to go back to the Arbiter's Grounds. She's surely locked away there for safe-keeping, the weak willed slut that she is,” Selena hissed. “I want you to tell her and all of her pussywhipped generals that I'm still alive. I'm going to make them watch their empire crumble. I'll force them to listen to the screams of their people as I rip out the intestines of their merchants and strangle them to death with their own guts. I want you to tell her that I'm hunting for her. Do you understand me, boy?”

He nodded. Rapidly.

“Good. Now run along.”

He got up, returned to his horse, and fled over the fields like he was being chased by some foul demon. Selena grinned in pleasure as she watched him run back to his mistress. Chikara. She was going to pay for what she did. Selena looked down at one of the other scouts, still writhing around in pain. Her smile widened. With a mighty thrust of her spear, she ran him through. His stomach. Right where Chikara had gotten her. And she happily watch him die as she did not. Because Selena, you see, had resisted the power of the Goddess. She was more than human.



“Lena!”

Oh, god, she was being hugged. Being dead and then suddenly not being dead always seemed to generate that sort of response. The people of Snowpeak were certainly glad to see her back in action. Selena pried the young woman's arms off of her neck and escaped down the hall toward the throne room. Had to check in and see what was going on. When she saw another happy warrior of Calatia running up to greet her, Selena ducked under the embrace, stormed through the throne room doors, and promptly sealed them shut again.

And... Rhiannon was nowhere to be found. Just some advisers. Well, that would do.

“Where's Rhia?”

“She's leading an expedition with General Leo, ma'am.”

“Does she know I'm alive?”

“I'm not sure, ma'am. I don't think so. No official messengers have been sent there due to the low profile they're meant to keep. Do you want me to send word to her? I can bring her back. I'm sure Leo will be able to handle things on his own.”

“No, don't bother. That girl needs to get out of the castle and do some fighting for a change,” Selena said. “What about Wisp?”

“Overseeing construction of a new military camp on the Twins pass,” he said, referring to two neighboring peaks.

“Showsni?”

“Studying battle reports.”

Selena resisted the urge to pout. They were all busy. “What about Rova?”

“Perhaps at the Mead Hall.”

“It's a good thing I came back!”

“I agree, ma'am,” the adviser said with a smile. “How are you feeling? If you need time to rest, that's perfectly understandable.”

“No. Koridai is wanting to finally start this war, and I intend to meet them head on,” Selena said. “Go send messengers to town. Tell the people I'm going to make an announcement on the front steps of the castle.”

“As you wish.”



An hour later, Selena stood on the front steps of the old Snowpeak Ruins in blue tinted armor with golden trim. Combat ready rather than for decoration. The only ceremonial piece of clothing she had on was a white cape, which blew in the gentle wind behind her. Her spear was in her right hand, placed firmly on the stone as if she were a statue of an old goddess of war.

“We were told that Chikara is invulnerable. We were told that she was a goddess that could crush us all with a thought, but I always knew the truth. Despite her powers, she is still the same hapless leader that sent our old domains into ruin through her laziness and indecisiveness. Even with the ability to destroy continents, she hasn't been able to wipe us off the map. Now I am living proof that she is incapable of killing a single human female, let alone slaughter a whole army. In her urge to suppress the powers of Lazu, she has made herself weak. As I speak, rumors of my return are spreading through Koridai. The people are losing faith in their goddess. They are doubting her power, and rightfully so. Their moral is dropping, and we will take advantage of it. Koridians fear me. They fear us. That's a powerful weapon in its own right.”

“Her generals have attempted to start the inevitable war between our countries. I say it is time for us to meet them. To do this, the heroes of Calatia must stand up and shout their war cries to the heavens in order to make themselves known to our enemies. We are warriors. They are merely citizens. Her limp wristed people will be unable to mount a proper defense when our armies reach their lands. Now is the time to prepare. Sharpen your blades, find your closest allies, and get ready to tear the imperials a new one. To victory!”

Selena slammed the end of her spear on the stone steps once and then descended into the crowd to recruit some brave souls for the upcoming war.



--

ooc: Now's a good time for Calatian RPers to jump in if they haven't already. No pressure here. Just sweet little Selena. :o

#2 Egann

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 02:33 PM

*Borrows Lena's scout walk-on character.* :mehehe:

#3 ~Celesta~

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 04:44 PM



Celesta was humming lightly to herself as she wiped a glassclean and carefully set it back to its place under her ice bar. It was a quiet day at the Mead Hall today, orat least it was until a messenger came in.



“Selena has returned to us!” He called out and several people gasped in surprise and happiness at thenews. “She wishes to make an announcementto us all. Please go to the front stepsof the castle as soon as you can! Andpass this message on.” He then promptlyleft, without another word to them.



Several people got up and rushed out quickly, others seemedto turn to Celesta, to see her reaction. “Well it sounds important, and it would be nice to see Selenaagain. I am closing the bar for herannouncement, go on and hear it.” Sheshooed them out and then headed for the castle as well.



Celesta felt her heart sink at the end of Selena’sspeech. As many members of the crowdroared out their war calls, Celesta could only stand in fear of what was tocome. She had seen this scene before,hopeful speeches of victory, triumphant cries from those around her. It was happening again…another war…and morepeople would die in front of her. Herhead spun with thoughts and memories, of fallen friends of her past. Her whole body trembled as she sunk to herknees for balance. Many people aroundher looked worried and offered to help her up, her mind instantly pictured themhurt or dead before her, just like her home village. She had just found herself a home here, shewanted to stay here forever, she was happy…and now more war came to take itaway.



She balled her fists in the snow, chanting through clenchedteeth “No, not again, it won’t happen again.” She wouldn’t let another village be taken fromher, no more homes destroyed. Standingon her own she took a deep breath gathering her courage. She would protect her friends, her home, herpeople, all of them, with her last breath she would ensure their safety. Chikara’s Empire would fall, by her own handsif she had to. “Never again.” Her feetmoved by their own accord, heading towards Selena, who was looking at the crowd,hope filling her eyes.



“I will go!” She shouted,her voice stern and unwavering, “I will fight for our Kingdom.” Everyone in the crowd turned to her and sherealized in surprise that she was the first to volunteer, hopefully the firstof many.



--

Ooc: she's kinda wimpy right now, but she gets stronger whenshe has something important to protect.  How'd I do?  It'sbeen years since I've tried this






Edited by ~Celesta~, 19 February 2010 - 04:50 PM.


#4 Khallos

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 05:51 PM

Khallos grimaced as the Huscarls drilled below him, there purpose doubtful since the loss of the Queen. Still even in these grim times Khallos would continue doing his duty by training and enlarging the Royal Guard. If the average Calatian dedicated themselves to battle, the Huscarls lived and breathed it; in the eventuality that Snowpeak fell these courageous men and women would fight to the bitter end.

Blocking the blow of an aspiring Huscarl, Khallos spun her aside and beat her down with his shield. Grabbing the spear of another, Khallos pulled him close and headbutted the trainee to the floor. As he rushed at two more trainees Khallos heard his name called.

"Sir, I have been sent here with pressing news".

Khallos immediatly called hold and ended the training, besides after 5 hours of fighting it was only fair to allow his men food and rest. Heh, I'm was getting soft.

"Yes, what do you have to tell me?", Khallos asked the messenger as he checked his weapons.

"Sir...her Majesty is not dead, she is in fact making an announcement at the steps of the Castle very shortly."

"How? She's alive!?" Khallos' face was filled with a renewed energy and hope.

"Our troops found her a few days ago, they were only delayed by a storm. You see sh-"

Khallos interrupted and pushed the messenger aside as he rushed for his horse, and saddled up. He knew that Selena cared not for his ragged and sweaty state, she wanted soldiers not fops in finery. Grabbing a flask off a nearby servant he took a swig of water while two of his best fighters saddled up ready to fight for their Captain and above all their Monarch.

--

Riding into the open area that was in front of the ruins of Snowpeak, Khallos realised he was late.

Selena's voice carried across the square "...is the time to prepare. Sharpen your blades, find your closest allies, and get ready to tear the imperials a new one. To victory!”

Seeing a figure step forward, Khallos was pleasantly surprised to Celesta from the Mead Hall stand in front of Selena and be the first to volunteer.

Composing himself, Khallos wove through the crowd and saluted Selena with his sword.

"It'd be the greatest honour for me to fight once again by your side Ma'am; Lena."

Khallos was happy, the Kingdom had its ruler back and even better was preparing to march to war.

#5 Sir Deimos

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 12:27 AM

Synile wakes up suddenly, and jolts up out of his futon, the last remnants of his dream still haunt his memory. His dream was the same one it had been every night for the past month, Selena, his old comrade, bleeding out somewhere in the snow. Slowly his breathing returns to normal. He cherished the Labyrinth, and the people he had met there. They were a family, and the thought of losing a member of that family isn't something Synile has come to terms with.

Synile, still hung over, wobbles over to the wash basin in his shack, and shack it was. The only furniture, aside from the bed and basin, were racks of swords, and displays for his armor. He stares into the water in the basin and regards his reflection in the water. Synile swirls the water around with his fingers, lost in nonsensical thoughts. Water... How liquidy. It's warm too. Warm liquid... Wiquid... Lirm... Liquarm... Wiquid... Lirm wiquid... Heh... Heheheh.... Synile hears some kind of commotion outside and comes to his senses after the brief mental word jumble, and washes his face and body. Something was occurring outside, and now his curiosity was piqued.

The town was bustling, and Synile had little reason why. He followed some of his fellow Labyrinth ex-patriots to Calatia, but ever since he's arrived here he's mostly been a drunken mess, living on the outskirts of the town. This naturally promotes seclusion. He dresses quickly, grabs his nodachi and slings it across his back, leaving his battle katana at home for now. Tossing the cloak across his back, he heads down to where the sounds of commotion are coming from. Along the way, Synile takes to pantomiming cutting down invisible enemies with a sword. Synile runs an invisible man through, and kicks his corpse off of the blade. After the kick, he's marveled to find himself in the middle of the town. It seemed the majority of people were grouped around the old ruins of the mountain. Synile liked ruins, it was usually quiet, and filled with a mystical energy. The feeling reminded him of the more unexplainable portions of the Labyrinth, having more to do with feeling small in the course of time than anything else. Despite the hardships he feels he's experienced, in several thousand years would the world care? Would the scars he had put on the earth still show themselves.

Immediately immersing himself in a delusion 'stealth mission' fantasy, Synile pulls his hood up, and envelopes his face. With a stealthy foot he sneaks up towards the Snowpeak Ruins to check out the commotion. Synile removes the nodachi from his back and clutches the scabbard in his left hand. He had no idea what to expect with the crowd of people up ahead. It could be good news, however, if it wasn't he'd be ready for any contingency. However, the closer he got the more apparent it was that the crowds murmur was more of a happy one than anything else. Synile abandons his stealth mission for now, and pushes his way through the throng of people. It was a voice he had immediately recognized.

"...ur blades, find your closest allies, and get ready to tear the imperials a new one. To victory!”

"Selena..." He whispered aloud, mostly to himself. Synile watched as Celesta, and then Khallos immediately threw their arms in for the cause. Synile took a look at his right hand. It was trembling... The last time he wielded his sword for a faction was back in the glory days, for the Labyrinth, for the forces of darkness, decadence, and pleasure... Unbridled excitement, Synile spins, and unsheathes his nodachi. An energy, as if from nowhere, seems to power his arms, and with lightning speed his sword finds its way to millimeters away from Selena's breastplate. "Hello there young one. I see you have returned to us." A huge smile erupts onto Synile's face, unable to contain his joy. "I thought another child had become wayward." Some of the Calatian guards unsheathe their weapons, even though they can plainly tell the reactions came too late. Completely disregarding the soldiers' presence, Synile re-sheathes his nodachi. "It does my heart good to see you alive, although I knew it would take something hearty as hell to take you out. After all, you can keep pace with me. My sword is yours, miss... If I'm still worth having. The mind is a terrible thing to waste they say..."

#6 Selena

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 03:17 AM

ooc: Welcome, everybody! And yes, Celesta, you're doing fine. You all are. ;)
--


Celesta was the first. That was... unexpected. Selena had frequented the Mead Hall many times (though certainly not to the extent of certain other Calatians), and Celesta had always struck her as a woman that was far too sweet to plunge headlong into offensive combat. Defense, certainly. She knew Celesta would defend Calatia with as much passion as any other seasoned warrior. It was common knowledge that you did not speak ill of anything on the Mead Hall's menu without risking bodily harm. Selena would have expected her to keep quiet and do whatever was requested, but to be the first to stand up and dedicate herself to the cause in front of everyone? Well, if Calatia's mead guru was so brave and eager to volunteer, things were definitely looking up.

Selena desired to go up and thank Celesta for her pledge, but then there was... a smell.

"It'd be the greatest honour for me to fight once again by your side Ma'am; Lena."

Goddess's tits, why? A sword was raised. The armpit was offered to the breeze, and the scent grew exponentially worse as the seconds ticked by in agony. It was Khallos, a warrior that Selena had fought alongside for many years. He was a true brother-at-arms, having stuck with her through the highest and lowest points of her military career and various reigns. In a more innocent, if dangerous age, they had shed the blood of Desert Defenders for the sake of the Labyrinth and its queen. They had both become disillusioned by the gradual shift in Chikara's personality, from queen of evil to directionless regent. Then the greatest betrayal of all - the rise of Chikara as a goddess, turning her back against the Labyrinth and its values. As sure as the seasons changed, Khallos had followed Selena to each new dorm she'd claimed. And for all of these reasons, Selena felt that their bond was close enough to share her true feelings about his declaration.

"Did you sleep inside corpse recently?!" Selena let out a high pitched howl against her will.

And then came another longtime companion of Selena's. Synile. He was older than Selena and had been in the Labyrinth even longer than she had, which was a fact he continually tried to rub in her face. Not that she really cared. She was the one that ended up ruling it and all subsequent domains. Victory was hers! He pointed a rather large, intimidating blade at her chest. No matter. A traditional greeting that Selena received from many people for an equally varied list of reasons. The Calatian guards unfamiliar with Labyrinth customs went on the alert, but she waved them off. He was just delusional and in need of something to stab. Not a real threat. As a major plus, at least Synile didn't smell like ass. Just alcohol.

"Hey, Synile. Don't worry. If you have limited quantities of something, you aren't likely to waste it."

She slung her arm around both of their necks to pull them in for a friendly hug, showing off one of her rare smiles. Almost dying on account of that damned hobbit-woman-goddess was reason enough to take joy from the presence of longtime friends. And then she had to inhale, and there was that smell again. She released both men and grimaced.

"Celesta, do have anything strong nearby? You know. So I can burn the insides of my nostrils?"

#7 ~Celesta~

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 02:17 PM

Celesta fought the urge to gag at the smell as she laughed at Selena's request.

"I am sure I have something back at home that could cover that stink, but it would be easiest to just throw him in the nearby river, a good scrub would get that out," She turned to Khallos "And if you did so on a regular basis it would permanently remove the problem."

She laughed more, feeling more confident in her decision. Everyone of these people were worth protecting with her life.

Edited by ~Celesta~, 21 February 2010 - 02:18 PM.


#8 Khallos

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 09:38 AM

"Did you sleep inside corpse recently?!"

Khallos suddenly realised that it wasn't as if he had just interrupted his training and come sweating before court, he hadn't washed since Selena's disappearance. Obviously none of the Huscarls thought not to tell me. Then again he had not left the military quarters of Snowpeak in an age, no one from the outside of rank to remind him he stank.

Khallos was then surprised that after such a compliment worthy of Selena she hugged him, although a few seconds later let go of both him and Synile. Khallos himself caught a whiff of Synile and realised that if he smelt worse than standing next to a barrel of raw alcohol he must reek.

Selena asked, "Celesta, do have anything strong nearby? You know. So I can burn the insides of my nostrils?"

"I am sure I have something back at home that could cover that stink, but it would be easiest to just throw him in the nearby river, a good scrub would get that out," Celesta turned to Khallos "And if you did so on a regular basis it would permanently remove the problem."

Khallos grunted in acknowledgment of the abuse, than lowered his nose to his armpit. Suddenly jerking his head upwards in a daze, he took a few steps back.

"Well I might stand slightly apart from you now Lena, I get the impression that for some reason I might dent your recruitment drive."

Signalling to the two Huscarls that followed him, he ordered them to continue training.

"I will extend the offer of fighting to them later, although I have no doubt all shall take up arms against the Goddess".

Saluting rather more quickly again Khallos then took a few steps back behind Selena and grinned at the crowd whilst waiting for the next volunteer to step forth.

#9 Selena

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 10:10 PM

ooc: Chronicles Lesson Number 1 (for the new people). There is a linear timeline, so your character can't be in more than one place. Meaning, usually, that you can only participate in one thread at a time. If wanting to join a different thread (like Money for the Cause), you must first "depart" the original thread and then "arrive" in the one you want to join.

--


"I like Celesta's suggestion. Swimming is very good for building up stamina and muscle tone. Perhaps you and the Huscarls should start swimming against the river current for practice," Selena said. "At least the other citizens of Calatia won't have to suffer from this... stench. As for the cold? Well, it's good to build up a resistance to it. We'll have an advantage over the Koridians, should they stray too close to home."

With that out of the way, Selena fixed her attention back on Celesta. Now was as good as time as any. "By the way, I'm impressed that you volunteered first. War is a multifaceted thing. I won't demand that you charge into the battlefield like Stinky and his soldiers. I know raw aggression was never much your style. You're a defender in spirit. It's in both your best interest and Calatia's best interest to nurture that. Besides, all of these troops are going to need a daily supply of mead to keep their spirits up. I have a feeling that you'll be of great use in no matter what field you end up."

The crowd was full of energy as they mentally prepared themselves for war. A continual chant of 'Calatia! Calatia!' began to dominate the background noise. Good. The kingdom needed that kind of energy. There would be a long road ahead of them, but as long as Selena continued to portray Chikara as a hollow shell of the warlord she used to be, then their morale would be just fine. No one in charge of Koridai was going to risk their goddess's life. She would practically be a non-combatant. The more she stayed out of the battles, the less faith her people would have. The odd publicity stunt battle would have little effect on things.

It was then that Selena noticed someone coming at her through the crowd. Another volunteer? No, a messenger from one of the units guarding the capital. He looked worried. Selena's smile fell back into her characteristic frown.

"Lady Selena, a warning from the south," the messenger said. "Princess Rhiannon and General Leo went on a mission to acquire a vast sum of gold from a neutral party - remnants of the Guild."

Selena's eyes widened. "The Guild? You trusted Khuffie's former hands?! Chikara used to be an influential member of the Alliance council!"

"It seemed legitimate at the time, ma'am." The messenger's voice became timid. "They expressed extreme dislike of Chikara and Koridai's regulations. They said it was bad for business. They preferred our... informal laws."

"And now Rhiannon and Leo are up to their asses in trouble, aren't they?"

"One of our local observation towers got a good view down the mountain during the last cloud break. They've yet to reach their destination, but there's a Praetorian task force waiting for them at the rendezvous point. In addition to a sizable force of Koridian border patrol soldiers within striking distance. Our team is horribly outnumbered, ma'am. If we send a unit down the mountains now, we might be able to arrive just in time to bail them out."

Selena pointed to Khallos. "The Huscarls - fifty of the least winded."

It wasn't as large a force as Selena would have expected from the evil Empire, but, then again, this was Chikara and her lackies. They may have gotten the first strike, but they'd wasted it by only sending in a limited amount of troops. She had intended to strike fast, strike hard, and finish Koridai off before they could stop her. One chained attack leading into another - no time for the enemy to regroup. These small attacks would do nothing but give Calatians motivation to fight harder. Then again, perhaps it was too easy. Everyone knew that Selena was attached to her protege. But most now assumed that she was dead, and they would have no idea that Rhiannon chose to oversee this mission personally. Well, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

There was one benefit of living on a mountain. Selena looked down the slopes, packed with fresh snow from the last storm. It wouldn't take long to descend down to the southern borderlands. She smiled and looked back over her shoulder at the others.

"We're going skiing. Who wants to go save Rhia's sorry backside?"


--
ooc: Haven't "left" this thread yet - gotta get in some skiing action first. :o You're welcome to stay here, but given that Rhia and Leo are in trouble in the other thread, I think it's best we storm in as the cavalry and kick some Koridian ass. We can return here after. For victory mead.

#10 Sir Deimos

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 01:17 AM

"Selena, you must have been closer to death than I thought to smile like that." Synile gives her a wry smile of his own. "It's been a long time since I've waved my sword at the enemy in the name of war. I fear that I have some preparations to make, and will have to catch up with you and your cohorts." Without waiting for a response, Synile turns his back towards the group and begins to wander off, raising his right hand as a gesture of farewell. They don't need me on that trip, but I need the practice...

Synile quickly found himself secluded on the outskirts of the village, and swung open the door to his shack. The inside of the one roomed building was covered in blood. The only bit of wall not coated in blood was a one foot by one foot square. It very crudely read, "Kill them all." Synile gasps, completely caught off guard. He rubs his eyes, and finds his room completely back to normal. A hallucination. It was all just in his head. God damned visions are gonna give me a heart attack. He walks into his shack and tosses his cloak onto the bed. If he was going to war, there were some preparations to make.

"You can't save them."

"Of course I can..."

"Just give it up."

"Hahahahah, you won't win the match this time."

"I'm who you really are. It's better to be alone now, then alone because you failed them."

"I won't fail. I'm not worried about failure."

"You can lie to those with whom you ally, but you can't lie to yourself..."

"Yeah, well..." Synile let out a heavy sigh. Now I'm talking to myself again... At least I caught it this time. Now, where are those damned throwing knives...?

Edited by Synile, 24 February 2010 - 01:19 AM.


#11 Khallos

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 04:24 AM

Grunting at the swimming jibe, Khallos grunted. He knew he was a bad swimmer and to hell if he was going to be taking lessons from the troops he trained. Besides he'd demand all swam fully armoured...while good practice would be for all intents and purposes suicidal.

Still observing the crowd Khallos noticed another man pushing through the throng,"Lady Selena, a warning from the south," the man, a messenger announced. "Princess Rhiannon and General Leo went on a mission to acquire a vast sum of gold from a neutral party - remnants of the Guild."

Selena's eyes widened. "The Guild? You trusted Khuffie's former hands?! Chikara used to be an influential member of the Alliance council!"

"It seemed legitimate at the time, ma'am." The messenger's voice became timid. "They expressed extreme dislike of Chikara and Koridai's regulations. They said it was bad for business. They preferred our... informal laws."

"And now Rhiannon and Leo are up to their asses in trouble, aren't they?"

"One of our local observation towers got a good view down the mountain during the last cloud break. They've yet to reach their destination, but there's a Praetorian task force waiting for them at the rendezvous point. In addition to a sizable force of Koridian border patrol soldiers within striking distance. Our team is horribly outnumbered, ma'am. If we send a unit down the mountains now, we might be able to arrive just in time to bail them out."

Selena pointed to Khallos. "The Huscarls - fifty of the least winded."

Khallos saluted and rushed to his horse and mounted. "I shall return with your men immediately", not waiting for a response from Selena, Khallos rode off through the crowd, fortunately his smell easily creating an easy way through, although the people he passed did tend to stop chanting Calatia and instead cover their faces.

---

Arriving back at the military quarters he entered his office and immediately regretted it, his desk was a mess of paper work and there was scattered with empty Crimson Cuisine boxes. I'll get a clerk to sort this filth hole out later, more important things to be done.

Striding out on to the parade ground Khallos started bellowing orders,

"Sergeants prepare a félag of 50 of today's freshest and most experienced, we go forth to save Lady Rhiannon and General Crimson! For Calatia! Death to Koridai!"

"For Calatia! Death to Koridai!" the assembled soldiers shouted in return.

Khallos turned to one of the Huscarl commanders, "Captain Grimm, get 10 men to bring the comany's weapons, we'll be needing a good mix of weaponry, but tell the troops to favour spears...and make sure at least 5 bring bows. Oh and bring the boat. We meet just behind Snowpeak Ruins"

Grimm saluted and ran off, while Khallos strapped a spear to his back and grabbed his skis; the Huscarls could all ride, but there was usually not enough horses, they however could all ski brilliantly for a circumstance such as this.

Khallos set off for the gates of the barracks and was joined by a 50 man strong force armed to the teeth, grinning Khallos simply shouted "For Calatia!" and marched to battle with the Huscarls following.

---

Arriving back at Selena, Khallos signalled for his men to stop.

"Ready when you are Ma'am."

"What the hell is that?" she responded.

"Uh?"

"The boat!"

"Well I discovered that the flat bottomed longships make for excellent sleds, nothing more terrifying than one of these monsters coming down a mountain full of vikings...also damned useful for taking supplies and weapons to the fray. So yeah."

She grunted back, seemingly satisfied that Khallos was deranged as ever.

#12 ~Celesta~

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 03:17 PM

“…Besides, all of these troops are going to need a dailysupply of mead to keep their spirits up. I have a feeling that you'll be ofgreat use in no matter what field you end up."



Celesta considered Selena’s words carefully. She was right, it would be best for everyoneto play their strengths, and while she was fairly good at fighting, she was amuch stronger healer and mage than anything else. She was so lost in her thoughts that she barelyregistered the messenger who had come to them.



"Lady Selena, a warning from the south," themessenger said. "Princess Rhiannon and General Leo went on a mission toacquire a vast sum of gold from a neutral party - remnants of the Guild."



Selena's eyes widened. "The Guild? You trustedKhuffie's former hands?! Chikara used to be an influential member of theAlliance council!"



"It seemed legitimate at the time, ma'am." Themessenger's voice became timid. "They expressed extreme dislike of Chikaraand Koridai's regulations. They said it was bad for business. They preferredour... informal laws."



"And now Rhiannon and Leo are up to their asses introuble, aren't they?"



"One of our local observation towers got a good viewdown the mountain during the last cloud break. They've yet to reach theirdestination, but there's a Praetorian task force waiting for them at therendezvous point. In addition to a sizable force of Koridian border patrolsoldiers within striking distance. Our team is horribly outnumbered, ma'am. Ifwe send a unit down the mountains now, we might be able to arrive just in timeto bail them out."



Selena pointed to Khallos. "The Huscarls - fifty of theleast winded.” Selena paused in thoughtfor a moment before addressing the rest of them. “We're going skiing. Who wants to go saveRhia's sorry backside?"



“I’d love to ski, and it sounds like she could use a hand.” Celesta smiled. “And if those Huscarls smell anywhere near asbad as Khallos I am sure we will have no trouble with this ambush.” She watched as Khallos ran off, followingSelena’s orders. “I also considered yourwords from before and I believe it would be best for me to stay back from thefront lines. I am not the strongest offighters, but I am one of the strongest healers and a great mage. I would be happy to stay back and help anywounded as well those who need a good morale boost.” Nodding to herself, satisfied with herchoice.



Selena seemed to nod along with her, approving of her choiceas well. Celesta then summoned her staffto her side, the only thing she would need for battle as she never really likedto wear armor. For a short while shelistened to the stillness of the air around her, relaxing and mentallypreparing herself for what was to come. Khallos’s return pulled her from her trance and she gaped at what histroops brought along with them…a boat?



Khallos explained himself smugly, "Well I discoveredthat the flat bottomed longships make for excellent sleds, nothing moreterrifying than one of these monsters coming down a mountain full ofvikings...also damned useful for taking supplies and weapons to the fray. Soyeah."



Selena seemed to approve of the crazy idea and Celestacouldn’t hold back her laughter. Whenshe finally finished and wiped away the tears from the corner of her eyes shesmiled to the both of them. “Oh thisshould be very interesting!”



#13 Chikara Nadir

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 10:19 PM

Where one messenger had been left for Chikara, dozens were arriving in Snowpeak for Selena's benefit.

First was a leathery old man from the cusp of the Taj Nar mountains, a metal miner who had seen far too long a life to be worried by much in the world. Yet he came to the Hall with the feeling that it was his duty to describe the events that had conspired around his home, the caves that were his livelihood collapsing in one go with most everyone he knew inside. When he had reached his hometown, it was to find that all but the housewives and their young children had been spared, anyone old enough to work or fight had seemingly collapsed. A woman had greeted him, he claimed, clad in white and gold, and told him that the plague of bad luck would spread until Selena had been informed of it.

Next was the half-grown boy from ranch country to the south, wide-eyed and bloodied atop a horse whose saddle was clearly not meant for him. He arrived at the Hall while the moon was still high, wearied from hours of travel. His home, renowned for its prize battle steeds, had been attacked by an unknown enemy, made of shadows that darted from house to house. Any horses that were able to escape their stables had been seen stopping in their tracks, bloated beyond all possibility -- only to explode moments later. He, too, had met the woman who said that his mother and siblings would live if he raced the sun and reached the peak of the mountains before dawn.

Then came the farmer from the swamplands, their rice crops somehow suffocated and droughted within minutes' time, and soon after a pair of women from the slopping hills who said that the vineyards and orchards had drowned. Dams had burst, windmills collapsed, herds of cattle gone insane and stampeded one another. From the furthest corners of the nation the reports swarmed into the capital past dawn, some of the survivors young, some old, some healthy but scared, and some badly wounded. All shared only a handful of things in common- their town's dependency on a major staple of food or military goods, the promise of sparing young children and their mothers, and the pale woman dressed in silk and gold fineries who told each of them to carry the message.

They were distraught enough by the situation and the distance that many had to travel, late morning coming and going and still stragglers appearing to join their group. Some soldiers and doctors had been dispatched to survey the damage for themselves of the areas, while others stayed with the shellshocked victims to get full reports and deal with any physical or mental incapacities they might have received. Yet Selena was nowhere to be seen in the hall; already she had left on another mission, they said, and would have messengers sent after her in all due haste.

In the meanwhile, they were left to crowd the grand open halls which were now on some level being used as a waiting room and emergency ward, waiting for reassurance that most soldiers were unable to give them with any certainty.

Then came the second wave of reports from a group of city dwellers who said that a crowd was growing in the center of Snowpeak, watching a small woman dressed in far too little clothing who was doing magic tricks. Coins appearing and disappearing, levitating, then finally such amusements as allowing herself to be run through by a soldier's pike, only to make his head disappear into thin air. Apparently she wasn't very good, as the woman was unable to explain where the head had gone, let alone to put it back on his shoulders.

And what was worse, she said that she would not leave town until the leader of the kingdom had come to her show. This was bound to be a long day.

#14 Selena

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 10:58 PM

Selena kicked the side of the boat to test out its strength. Well, a "sled" was as good a a pair of skis, and she could certainly cram more troops into it for a rapid deployment. Although how stable would it really be down the mountain? She supposed the oars could be used to redirect it if necessary. She did the same thing with her feet when riding down on a toboggan. Not that... she ever did that in her spare time. No, all strategy meetings and sparring sessions. No time for sledding or skiing down Snowpeak. Yes.

"Well, that'll do. I guess," she said.

The Huscarls began to 'board' the vessel and settle themselves in. After the twentieth person was seated, Selena herself grabbed the side of the ship and prepared to climb up. That was when she noticed yet another messenger heading down from the castle. Great. Now what? Had Steel himself shown up to command the Koridai soldiers? Good, she wouldn't mind a rematch. He'd gotten in her way during Olimandias, and it had ruined her chances of escaping the chaos in peace. Or this Solomon person. She hadn't faced him on the battlefield before. Complete unknown, and for that reason, she was anxious to study him. Couldn't be any more of a threat than Steel, and Selena had proven her might against him during the first Dorm War. The only person who could rival Selena was...

"Lady Selena, you must abort your mission and return to Snowpeak at once!"

Uh oh.

"What do you want? I'm already having to save the sorry asses of two people. How many more now? Can't you people do anything without me?"

"She's here. She wants to see you."

Selena sighed and let go of the ship, dropping back down into the snow. "Somehow I don't think you mean that pretty nurse that took a liking to me."

"One of the miners suffered from an unnatural cave-in. He lost almost everything. Then a boy showed up, battered and bruised. People just keep coming, and they say that this will all keep happening until you see her. She's waiting for you in the center of Snowpeak. She's torturing our citizens. Dressed in white and gold, shorter than I thought, but... you have to do something to stop her!"

"I suppose this means that she got my little message.

Selena repressed the urge to grab the nearest Huscarl and rip out his trachea with her bare hands just to vent out the anger. That damned bitch. Selena knew that Chikara would be unhappy, but to show up personally? Who allowed her to do that? They had her locked up like a canary in a cage, only useful if she whistled when danger was approaching the Arbiter's Grounds. Chikara hadn't been 'out' since, well, the stabbing. And that had been a random attack, as Lazu had been the one in charge. Maybe it was him again. The partially healed wound on her side was still aching, and it was unwise for her to even battle for Rhia's sake at this stage. Now she would have to get into a fight with Chikara? Lazu? ..Chikzu? Whoever the hell it was at this point.

And to make her choose between saving Rhiannon and saving the town! The fury built up within her, that old rage coming back into her eyes. Perhaps Selena had underestimated her. She'd grown used to the lazy, weak, and jaded Chikara. This was a trick that would have been used by the old fearsome Queen of the Labyrinth, not what she had become. To put someone into such a lose-lose situation... well, Selena had to admit that she hadn't prepared for it. Admitted that to herself. Clearly wouldn't admit it out loud, and especially not to her.

"Huscarls!" Selena shouted. "Continue your mission. Reinforce Princess Rhiannon and General Leo. Fight with everything you have. Celesta, you may go or stay, but if you aim to stay here, I suggest you hide."

She turned to Khallos.

"You come with me. I want ex-Labyrinth with me. She's less likely to kill us and get sentimental. Just don't mention anything about her furry feet or taste in women. You don't know what will set her off at this point. Hopefully we'll see Synile on the way back. We'd better hurry. Either she's slaying our troops, or killing them through the rapid spread of whatever STDs she's been carrying for the last few centuries."

Selena marched back up the mountain at a brisk pace, ignoring the biting cold of the snow and ice, focused only on the image of Snowpeak ahead. There was a crowd. The occasional scream, followed by gasps and awed noises. The image became clear to her once she got on the same level of terrain as the castle. It was Chikara, dressed in a nearly see-through dress with a crown atop her head. Impaled on a spear, and then not. She was... doing magic tricks. That bitch. Waiting around, hoping that Selena would just come crawling too her like some willing sla... She was just going back to save her people and rid them of a nasty pest. That was all.

She appeared at the edge of the town center, white cape still dancing in the wind, a furious look on her face.

"YOU!"

She snapped her fingers and pointed to the east. The crowd began to flee the town center, leaving Chikara and her former denizens of darkness to stand alone.

"I see you got my message. What's the matter? Didn't you like it?"

#15 Chikara Nadir

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 12:08 AM

Chikara was in the middle of giving a rather violent tongue-lashing (of the physical kind) to a flustered Calatian soldier who had gotten too close to her face when trying to run her through, and spent a few seconds longer finishing the kiss before giving any attention to Selena and her small entourage. She wiped a thin line of blood and saliva from her lips, letting the man drop to the ground like a limp doll from her needlessly strong grip, then slowly turned her crimson gaze to her treacherous daughter with all the respect a lion would give to a thieving buzzard.

"You came. Took you long enough, I was almost beginning to suspect you thought there might be someone more important than me." She took a step forward with her age-old saunter, barefoot in the snowy courtyard and needlessly shining with glitter in the mountain light. "Of course I got your message. For a gift filled with that much love, I had go reciprocate personally. I even was nice enough to let the mothers and their young live -- I have such sweet memories of our own days back in the Labyrinth when you'd cling onto me at waist height, long before you were chasing any other skirts…"

The goddess incarnate released a long exaggerated sigh, continuing to dance forward nearly on tip toe in the cold without so much as reaching for any of the weapons at her waist. In fact, her arms were open as though to expect an affectionate hug. "My sweet little Lena, all grown up and running her own little commune of wild folk. Good move, though, faking dead and hiding your cover until I was long gone and you could strike out again. Any more manipulative and I'd think you were trying to be just like your mother."

She put a hand to her mouth for a second, faking that she'd just remembered something important. "Oh, sorry about killing all those people…I just never know how to get you to pay attention to me anymore. You lead such a busy life, never have time for the woman who protected and spared you all those times. That's alright, though. When you kneel down to me and allow Calatia to become a subsidiary of Koridai all will be forgiven. It will be just like the good old days, me in control of everything while you beat up the opposition; it was what you were always best at."

#16 Selena

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 12:37 AM

Selena smiled, ignoring the fact that Chikara's exact proposition was one her mind also conjured up during her near death experience. But she was back in her right mind now. No more blood loss - at least for a few more minutes.

No matter how angry she was about Chikara's arrival, she couldn't help but try and break her spirit. Infuriate her. She was good at that.

"That was... so precious. No, really. That was the most darling thing I've ever seen a big scary warlord do. It's like a morbid twelve year old ballerina just waltzed right into Snowpeak and demanded that I surrender my kingdom to her. Trust me, this story will keep my spirits high on my many war campaigns against your people. Thank you, Chikara. You don't know how much this means to me."

"The jealousy is a nice touch, too. The boys in Koridai must not be providing you with enough attention. Either that, or they're not quite what you expected. What a pity. Your Empire is so dull that you've come up here to visit and seek my company." Selena put her hands on her hips. "Can't say I know of the etiquette book where it states that you stab someone to announce your desire to visit. You're supposed to be classy now. A goddess. A queen of a real country with civilized people. Rules. Regulations. Order. The things I was raised to crush and hurt simply for hurting's sake. You're so boring now that you've turned good. Even this isn't enough to redeem you."

"Asking me to surrender was clearly a joke, so you must just be here because you're bored. Can I go out and fight alongside Rhiannon now? She's more fun that you are."

#17 Chikara Nadir

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 01:07 AM

"Oh, silly little thing, thinking I came here to amuse myself. No, no. Of course you're entertaining enough…" Chikara looked her peer-turned-enemy up and down with a slight crinkle of her nose to indicate she'd smelled something foul, "but this is all business."

"First of all, you should be DEAD." The woman pointed directly at her daughter's stomach, snarling quietly to herself. "I could finish the job at any minute, so don't press your luck. I'm still centuries too long to get gray hairs over hearing my entire nation call me incompetent just because you PRETENDED to be worm food."

She snuffed from her nose, it seemed fitting that in the cold air the steam from her breath was so noticeable. "Secondly, this little claim of land should belong to me. The only reasons I've let your possession of it last for so long are because I've wanted to keep barbarians from mucking up the political system of that civilized empire you so loath, your people don't necessarily have any assets I can't live without, and you KNOW I'm not a fan of cold climates."

Chikara flicked a few loose hairs back behind her ear, suddenly needing to keep her hands busy. She pondered grabbing the next nearest soldier from the crowd that was skulking around her and cracking their neck like a crisp carrot. "I'm here to either receive a formal apology or take Calatia for my own, whichever you prefer. Your face will be in the ground by the end of this regardless; it's up to you whether it's from bowing at the level that you belong or from properly bleeding out like a good girl."

#18 Selena

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 01:28 AM

"My beloved goddess, I have no choice but to honor your request." Selena sighed and walked forward. "I am terribly sorry for what I have done. I am sorry that I enlightened your people about your poor leadership abilities. I am so sorry that you're bored in your homeland. I'm sorry that you, o mighty former queen, now get to spend your days locked away in palaces rather than delight in sin as you used to. I'm sorry that you have no one to bicker with anymore, something so evident now that you've come here to the land of ice and snow."

She smiled.

"Was that sufficient? Just as heartfelt as your desire for this land. You see no value in the Peak Province, yet you're here to bother me about it. I think I know the reason why. You don't want Calatia. You want your people back. You've already gotten bored with playing Queen of the World. You want to be in charge of a band of drunken outlaw warriors again, not a well regulated nation. You want the sense of camaraderie. The ability to be yourself. All the things you cannot do at home. And all the things that I am free to do. Say what you will about those powers, but only one of us has become imprisoned, and it's not me."

"Had you really wanted to rule together, you would have said just that. Not demand that I become subservient. Really, when was the last time I did anything subservient towards you? Never. Only equals at best. I don't take orders well. While you may get off at the thought of wrestling me into submission, it's not going to happen. You're much too short. Of course, you could always hand that empire over to Steel and his lackies, and live your life in sinful merriment with us. Pillaging. Raiding. Chaotic bloodshed. I'm sure your voices like that idea."

Selena shook her head. "No, you're much too grown up and proper for that nowadays. Just give into the fact that you and I are destined to fight for all eternity. Unless you really do miss me that much? And you're really here to declare your undying love for me? That would be equally precious."

#19 Chikara Nadir

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 02:23 AM

Chikara stared forward as Selena made her mock claims of fealty and apology, lowering her head and appearing almost to drift off as she listened to - or perhaps ignored- her opponent insulting her to her face. Her expression was stoic, not quite the Chik she had known by any means. But then again, they both knew that the days of the Labyrinth queen were gone.

"I did not choose to be given this power, Selena. You know as much. To control the fate of the world, if I so chose. To lose control of myself and destroy the world." She shook her head, closing her eyes for a second with a look almost of pain. "I didn't choose to be their leader, either -- they needed me. Just as your slobbish lot need you. Of course, I'm better at it -- always have been. The masses love me because they believe I'm their savior, not because I'm good with a sword. Hell, I think most of them choose to forget I ever knew how to wield one."

The woman slowly turned away, not tensing an ounce out of fear that she would be attacked. Of course Selena or anyone else could try it, but inhuman speed and godly immortality were due reasons for them to stay on guard of their own lives. What was left of the crowd began to part away from her, staring back and forth between the two women -- it was a free show, but they still somewhat wanted to see some action. Chikara was headed toward the center of town, one could almost say with some level of certainty that it was in the general direction of the mead hall.

"Follow," she muttered, stepping into the quickly parting wave of curious and somewhat fearful pedestrians. "You're right that I don't get out of my palace enough; I want to see how bad the alcohol here is. Surely your people can at least do that right."

#20 Selena

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 02:47 AM

"Um..."

Selena watched Chikara march off, and then turned to look at Khallos with an expression of complete confusion. What the fuck was this? She came all the way to Snowpeak, terrorized villagers until she got Selena's attention, frenched a man on the threshold of death, demanded Selena's surrender, and now that she hadn't gotten it... she wanted to go out drinking with the Calatians. Selena returned her gaze to the form of Chikara and mentally warred with herself over what to do. Use this chance to escape and go find Rhia? Oh, but Chik had made it certain that she wanted attention, and if Selena left, more would die just to get it back. No, it was best that she keep Chik calm and Calatia death-free. If that meant partying with their worst enemy, well...

And so on that day, kindhearted Celesta and her Mead Hall became the ironic saviors of Calatia.

"Okay, Khallos. I have no idea what's wrong with her this time. Just play along and don't make any sudden movements," she said. "Act like you're back home. The old home. Treat her normally. Call her a hobbit, a lemon, whatever. Just... oh, hell, I don't know. This is new for me. You don't go drinking with your arch-nemesis. But frankly, I could use a shot or two."

Selena marched after Chikara and trusted that the others would follow. She followed her rival into the Mead Hall - not exactly the best place for Chikara to be. So cold that ice was a predominant feature. The entire bar was made out of it. Sculptures here and there - either of animals or... uh oh. One of Chik getting impaled by a heavily armed Calatian soldier. Selena tipped that one over and let it break before Chik noticed. Hopefully. Knowing that Celesta would still have to catch up, Selena removed a few bottles from behind the bar (as she technically did own the establishment) and opened them.

Selena sat down next to her.

"This is really fucking awkward, you know that, right?"

She took a shot of vodka.

"Erm... apart from surely being happy to stab me, how've you been? I would think not good if you're here."

#21 Chikara Nadir

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 03:20 AM

Making her way into the alcoholic establishment -- how sweet the scent of all that alcohol gathered into one location was -- Chikara had to raise her eyebrow at a few of its features. First, of course, was the temperature. No wonder she loved the high and dry heat of Koridai, toasty even in the most minimal of clothing. Here…

…well, she was regretting being barefoot, that much was for certain. "Do you have any…ah, there we are."

The woman grabbed a full ornamental bearskin hanging from the wall, setting it down across the seat she intended for her own and letting it fall to the floor for her feet. Not quite as toasty as an open fire, but it'd make due. Second was that ice sculpture she noticed and chose to ignore, quickly made waste by Selena. It was almost worth chuckling at; she recognized that craftsmanship from the Labyrinth back in the day.

Plopping herself down with all the air of a sack of rocks, she reached for a bottle of aged wine -- then stopped herself and grabbed a small stone keg of what she could only hope was whisky instead. The worse the alcohol, the better she'd feel about drinking it. And that she did -- straight from the bottle, gulping a few mouthfuls. When the woman stopped, dropping the thing back to the table heavily and wincing at what she would be far too kind as to call bitter, she allowed a small burp from the upset it immediately caused in her esophagus. "That…is horrible."

Naturally, she picked it back up and had another long drink before addressing Selena or even so much as recognizing the presence of the many shocked patrons of the building. "Don't even pretend you care. You want me dead as much as I want it of you. You're only still here right now for two reasons -- I promised myself I would not be the first to attack you while you're healing, that would be cowardly of me. And you know I'm the head of the honorable and righteous nowadays. Second, you know that if you DID attack me, it wouldn't last long. So we're at a nice little stalemate."

Not nearly having drunk enough to yet justify her actions, the goddess wrapped an arm around Selena's armor-clad shoulder and rested her head close. "While you were gone..I assume on your deathbed, your disembodied soul haunted me. Do you remember that? It pestered the hell out of me. I was worried that even death couldn't let me be rid of you. Thank god -- haha, thank Chik! -- that it was just your soul stuck in limbo because you weren't really gone." She still was unwilling to accept that the voice was only in her own head, like all the rest.

"But honestly." The woman rested her bare elbows on the glassy table, grasping her hands together in front of her. "What do we do about this? Even if I wanted to be with your lot, Lazu would never let me. Not that you'd ever wish for peace, it would give you nothing to do. So do we simply continue to battle until the end of the world? One has to assume we're killing each other off faster than the women can pop out tomorrow's soldiers. Not that either of us have any intention of aiding in that effort any time soon."

She rested her finger on the lip of her bottle, running her nail around the opening until the frosty moisture on the surface began to squeak. "I fear there isn't enough alcohol in the world to make this situation worthwhile." Having successfully added nothing but further confusion to the conversation, the woman put the bottle back to her lips and continued to chug.

#22 Sir Deimos

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 03:48 AM

Synile was suited up for full on war. After a lengthy tear through the shack, he had managed to successfully locate the throwing knives he had been looking to find. Five blades over his left hip, one slightly larger modeled throwing knife under his left armpit, and one craftily hidden in the back of each boot. All were concealed rather well underneath the cloak. His prominent features while wearing that thing were the katana on his left hip, and the nodachi slung over his back. The scabbards were rather typically ornamented, but the sheer length of the nodachi attracted attention all on its own. However most of Calatia had gotten used to his sword, as it almost went everywhere he did. Aside from locating a few knives, Synile had freshly polished his blades. Proper oiling made the blade part flesh even easier than the vorpal edges could do alone. There was one final task to see to before he felt comfortable stepping outside of his shack. He grabs what's left of his whiskey and fills his flask with the golden brown liquor. There wasn't even enough to fill the flask. This will have to be fixed before I go anywhere... Synile tosses the bottle and takes a large swig from the flask.

He kicks the door to his shack open and steps out into the frigid air. It may not have the dank qualities of the subterranean, but God damned was cold air nice. Synile takes a deep breath and heads in the direction of the Hall. No wars can be fought without whiskey, that just cannot stand!

"You used to fight without whiskey, in another lifetime."

"Shush! I'm sick of your attitude!" Synile takes another long swig from the container. He found the whiskey was good for helping him ignore the voice. It was always wanting to ruin the mood, even if the mood was ruined to begin with. As he approached the Mead Hall, Synile quickly noticed something was unusual. There was a large crowd gathered out front of the establishment. Synile pushed his way through the throng, and kicked the door to the hall wide open.

"This is really fucking awkward, you know that, right?" Selena's voice echoed throughout the chamber. The hall was so quite one could hear a pin drop. Synile regarded the ice sculpture of Chikara had been destroyed, and then his eyes focus on the former sovereign of the Labyrinth. The woman he had sworn fealty to in another life time.

"HAHAHAHAHAHA" This time, the voice could not be ignored.

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Synile's mad cackling had introduced him to the conversation that had previously been a private one. "So, if it isn't the destroyer! Come to ruin another home?" Synile sat down on Chikara's other side, and motioned for a bottle of whiskey. This was going to be an interesting evening.

#23 Selena

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 04:12 AM

Oh, ew, physical contact. Thank the hell below that it was only for a moment. She didn't even want to know about any "ghosts" of herself that may or may not have been haunting Chik during her downtime. This girl had lost it. And then there was Synile, either amused by the fact that their sworn enemy was drinking at their place or happy that his former queen was back. Regardless, much laughter followed.

"Hi, Synile," Selena said quietly, thanking the heavens above and hells below that Chik's physical contact with her shoulder was brief.

So, what. She'd come here to mull over how to stop fighting after years of nothing but fighting? Chik didn't know how not to fight. It was what made her happy. Of course, just bickering with Selena would have been enough, and that both would have been happier if fighting a common enemy together. Virrat? Vildmark? Impersonal, distant lands. No glory in destroying them. Their old rivalries had been involved wars. They hated the Hall of Heroes with a passion, just as they had the Desert and the Alliance. Vildmark and Virrat hadn't given them reason to fight. Less so now that political treaties had been signed. They were people who had outlived their eras, and it was starting to get to them.

"We fight until our last days on this world, and then we fight in the afterlife for the rest of eternity," Selena said. "What is heaven for warlords, anyway? We don't do well with peace, and finding happiness in the form of glorious paradise doesn't sound promising. Do you want an eternity of us walking along a beach at sunset with cute fuzzy animals and a choir somewhere in the background. No. We all want to go back to the underground and prey on people above. Maybe we'll get an eternity of that if we're lucky. I'd say we should kiss up to a god, but I already told you I'm not going to grovel."

The wound at her abdomen did ache, so she let that be an excuse for more alcohol. She took another shot. A bit better.

"Maybe fate will turn things around someday - get us back on the same team. Until then, we've taken our respective paths. You want world peace and sunshine with hidden inquisitions; I want to keep preying on the civilized just to shake things up. And we most certainly don't trust each other enough to work together at this point. I'd wake up with a dagger in my chest in the middle of the night. Or... worse things could happen. Besides, I deserve revenge for what you did to our home."

"As for Koridai, I can guess what things are like. Worshiped all the time with no one to bicker with. Oh, how dreadful it must be."

A pause.

"Dagger in the night." She looked down at Chik's many belts and sheaths. "You have my knife. I want that back. And I will more than happily wrestle you for it if I have to, wounded stomach and all."

#24 ~Celesta~

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 10:14 PM

ooc: crud I am behind now T.T
---

Celesta had every intention of going to help Rhia and Leo and watched with worry as Selena walked back to Snowpeak. She stayed with the boat, chanting to herself that all was okay, forcing herself to stay for a while.

A sudden sensation bubbled in her chest, she knew this feeling, something was happening and she was needed. She left before the boat headed down the mountain, heading back for Snowpeak, using a spell to make her run faster.

She went for the Mead Hall, the sensation guiding her there. A crowd was outside, something was happening inside but most were too scared to enter. It was the sudden kick to the door that made her stop dead, an involuntary twitch ran through her...her precious hall, someone kicked that damn door again. Does anyone in this village understand how to enter a building without slamming around the door? She hated having to replace door hinges!

Storming up to the door, the crowd parted for her, she inspected her door and confirmed that for now it was unharmed and then she walked into the Hall. To her surprise Chikara was sitting at her bar, one of the decorative furs covering the so called "goddess".

"Sorry I am late." She smiled, do her best to still be polite. She headed behind the bar, nearly slipping on some broken ice on the floor. "Aww, one of my favorite statues broke." She sighed wistfully. "Would you guys like anything specific to drink?" She looked around and suddenly felt outnumbered. All of the people at the bar were originally from the Labyrinth of Doom, she had never allied herself with the Labyrinth. In fact she was in the Hall of Heroes, who were sort of enemies with the Labyrinth. "Just keep smiling!" She thought to herself, hopeful that perhaps she could keep Chik and Lena from starting a fight within her dear Mead Hall.

#25 Sir Deimos

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 11:20 PM

Synile loaded his large flask full of whiskey, and intended to take the rest of the bottle to his house. The bottle was already mostly gone, and Synile was feeling the effects of the liquor. Turning his head, it was easy to put himself back into the mindset of several hundred years prior. In fact, he could swear the conversation has actually happened before, minus the whole... you know, Goddess thing... His vision was starting to blur. Selena was starting to talk about a dagger that she seems to love for various reasons. The alcohol seemed to magnify what he was feeling, and it was rage. The lack of inhibitions was a very dangerous thing. Synile abruptly stands up, and has to correct his balance. He looks over his shoulder and notices Celesta entering the bar, with a very "testing the waters" look on her face. Synile draws the large knife from under his left shoulder, and menacingly points it towards Celesta.

"You... Drink." He was obviously already drunk, but the desire for more liquor was a powerful one. "And you, Lenabear... Where are your fangs now? Are you going to betray us too!?" He was slurring his speech and it was apparent now that he reeked of whiskey. Synile began to stumble away from the bar, but a new thought came to his mind. "And you!" Synile points his unbarred blade at Chikara now. "You would be nothing without us." Synile stumbles back towards the bar, and stabs his knife into the bar, right in front of Chik. "The Chiksey one. I suppose power you can't control is worth the price to pay." Synile grabs Chikara by her clothes and bodily lifts her out of the chair. "Forgive me if I don't show respect these days." Synile could barely tell, but it seemed the dominant voice in his head was screaming with rage. "You'll forgive me if I call you out, but you aren't here to destroy us." Synile lowers her to the chair once more.

"STAB HER! STAB THE TRAITOR!"

"It isn't my intention to stab her." Synile plops back down into his seat. His eyes now fill with a sadness caused by reflecting on times passed, but as soon as it entered his eyes it had fled. Synile grips the hilt of his nodachi, and begins to mumble, and the only words that are audible seem to come across as gibberish.

#26 Chikara Nadir

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 12:48 AM

Chikara allowed herself only to stare at the bottle of bitter liquid before her as Selena spoke words that included more truths than she liked to admit. Her tiara clung to a deeply furrowed brow, an expression far too recognizable these days to members of her court back at the Arbiter's Grounds.

Finally her daughter had made a request disguised as a command, and the matron found herself taking little pleasure in refusing it. "Your knife, of course. The one that killed me." She pulled her hand behind her back, slowly unbinding the sheath from its place on her belt. "It is nice to keep such a souvenir, but otherwise I haven't much use for it. Not to say that I wouldn't mind a little rough tumbling in the dirt."

The goddess flung the thing onto the icy table, muttering over how expensive the leather of the sheath was and how the younger woman should appreciate its worth. "Not that I don't have my fair share of other memories from the war. Stones from the rubble of Khuffie's palace, for instance. Art from the sacred Halls abandoned so long ago," she glanced up at Celesta knowingly, though she bid no ill feelings toward that woman over any of her former Labyrinthine fighters here who had chosen to follow Selena rather than their true queen. "And of course all of the orphans that I, in my infinite grace, have found loving homes for and insisted on providing funding for their education and eventual military or monk training."

She took a slow sip from the bottle, then pushed it away from her again with sharp bare fingertips. "There are a pair of children who just started classes last year, for instance. Adorable little hellions who delight in sculpting monsters out of clay and constantly get themselves into trouble in the play yard for beating up children twice their -"

As excellently as the woman had been able to thusfar ignore some of the racket around them, choosing to pay attention only to the words of the one soldier she had come to visit, Chikara had difficulty ignoring the force of Synile pulling her out of her seat, the bearskin slipping to the floor as she found herself unable to touch ground. "Forgive me if I don't show respect these days." There it was, the high and low of her situation. Goddess to a new nation of crusaders, and swept aside entirely by her former kin.

Even as he released his grip on her silken clothing yet again, the former warlord allowed a low growl to form behind snarled lips, unwilling to let such offense go by unpunished. "If I let any of your filthy, pitiful lot live through the day, it will be of MY OWN choosing."

She lept atop her seat in a single swift motion, arms spread apart in preparation for any offensive moves on Synile's part. "Do ANY of you barbarians need reminding of what you're messing with?"

Without batting an eyelash, the insane swordbearing man found himself pulled off his seat and above the ground by several inches, hovering there for Chikara to simply stare at for the moment despite his best efforts to struggle out of her invisible grip. "Pitiful. Without the Labyrinth, some of its patrons are left with nothing, I see." She tipped her head back an inch, exhaling an agitated breath from her flared nostrils, and gravity entirely betrayed the man -- he flew backward, slamming into the back wall with enough force for the wall trophies and old battle axes hung up around him to rattle and fall from their hooks.

"Would you try the same?" the woman questioned with a slight tip of her head back toward where Selena sat, now ignoring the stunned body of Synile as he slid down and slumped into a pile on the floor. "To make a move against me and open up that little cut in your side?"

She slowly swiveled, her robes shifting in the cold mountain air as Chik searched the eyes of the mead hall's patrons, seeking any sign of violent dissent. "I promise that not a one of your soldiers could strike me down, nor could the might of your entire army -- even all the armies of the world combined! You people live because I let you live. That's how merciful of a goddess I am. Choose to strike against me, however, and you will end up like the rubbish bleeding out in your throne room right now, your families and homes, EVERYTHING you know destroyed in an instant."

"And I promise that I, of all people, would know that there is no salvation in the afterlife, so your deaths would be as honorable and worthwhile as spit in the dirt."

#27 Selena

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:45 AM

Bar brawls stopped bothering Selena a long time ago, so when Synile flew back into the wall, she was neither surprised nor startled. She just took another drink and let Chikara flaunt her power. It was one of the few joys the old woman had left in her life, so why interrupt? There'd been a mess after his impact, but that could be easily cleaned up. Better than Chik killing random villagers again.

Selena waved her hand in dismissal. "Yes, yes, I know this speech already. We get to live because you allow us to. Which makes me convinced that you really like us here, because it gives you something to fight against. Just why I like Koridai right where it is. You need something to war against. Despite those powers, you're still Chik, and you don't function without struggle or bloodshed. We're the people keeping this land in balance now. Our continual warring prevents one side from completely dominating the continent. We keep each other in check, and we both know that life without the other would be an empty one. As I assume you've found out from whatever 'ghost' visited you when I was not dead. You say you want to kill me, but you don't. Just as I never really wanted to kill you. Can't live together, can't live without each other. You know how it goes."

She picked up the elaborate sheath, entirely surprised that Chik was willing to give her that as well, and popped the knife out for a swift examination. Same old dagger, fully intact and, much to her joy, cleaned of her own blood. She had used that knife all throughout Ikana's existence and for the last couple centuries of the Labyrinth's reign. Selena wasn't the type to attach sentiment to objects, but... well, she'd grown accustomed to its presence. It was nice to have it back. No weapon of hers was worthy of Chikara's possession. Rightful ownership. She stood up and tied it onto her person, then sat back down.

"No, I'm not going to fight now. This ceasefire is a good calm before the storm. Just settle down and enjoy a drink with your old protege before the next cycle of war starts. Pretend like everything is as it was," Selena said quietly. She waved toward Synile. "We've already got a fight in a pub. That should sound like home."

Selena looked at the bottom of her shot glass, pondering over what she could possibly say after all this time. It was awkward but comfortable. Dangerous, yet she wasn't afraid. She'd gotten used to Chikara's moods over the centuries and knew how to judge her body language, even with the changes since Lazu's integration. She hadn't really come to seek Selena's surrender. She'd just come to visit before hell broke loose again. And again, the longer Chikara stayed in Snowpeak, the less time she was leading her own nation.

She took a breath.

"How do you like working with Steel? Calculating, is he not? The best substitute for me that you could possibly find, minus the breasts. Unless he's gained weight recently. Perhaps not as fond of bloodlust, though."

#28 Chikara Nadir

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 02:36 AM

Sated with roughing up Synile after his minor disruption, Chikara sat down on the edge of the table and abruptly stole Selena's bottle of vodka, sipping directly from it now. "Hmm. Steel's the same as always. Talks big, good at strategy. His troops love and respect him. Perfect representation of my glorious empire." She crossed her legs, winking at one of the bar patrons who stared at her too long. "You'd like Solomon, though. It's a wonder he's not Labyrinth-born. I'll warn you in advance to be careful if and when you two cross paths."

"However." She took another long sip, taking her time. There was no need to be speedy, not when Selena wasn't making any moves and the rest of the drinkers nearby were so amusing in their panicked expressions. "You know you're still the only one able to look me in the eye these days? The weaker ones go insane, the stronger ones look away out of respect. I suppose it helps when playing poker, at least."

She watched as her opponent stood to put her dagger in its rightful place, the elder woman's eyes lingering on her hips. "You've certainly been taking care of yourself. Keeping active at the frontlines, I'm sure, when not being sliced up and left on your death bed every now and then. If I weren't immortal to begin with, you'd probably whip me off my feet in a minute's time."

"Then again." Chikara began to rise again, always anxious in these cold climates. "If you manage to find a way to kill Lazu, I welcome you to the challenge. I need a little excitement to return to my life."

#29 Khallos

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:30 PM

ooc: [img]http://forums.legendsalliance.com/public/ALOT.png[/img] of posts in such short time, looks like a terse catch up is needed.

Khallos's mood darkened as he was denied his opportunity to fight, however he knew too that Selena would likewise be in a foul mood about losing the opportunity to kill. Well the presence of Selena herself was near overkill enough to turn around the battle and give some support to Rhia's and Leo's asses. They'll just have to do without us I guess.

Khallos nodded to Grimm to take command then went to Selena's side.

After some rambling from the clearly mad Goddess, Selena turned to him

"Okay, Khallos. I have no idea what's wrong with her this time. Just play along and don't make any sudden movements," she said. "Act like you're back home. The old home. Treat her normally. Call her a hobbit, a lemon, whatever. Just... oh, hell, I don't know. This is new for me. You don't go drinking with your arch-nemesis. But frankly, I could use a shot or two."

Giving the slightest of grins to Selena, Khallos followed her to the Mead Hall.

After watching the destruction of his favourite ice sculpture and then the two great leaders sit down together in a bar of all places, Khallos realised he shouldn't be so surprised. He sat in silence just off the table, to one side, near his liege lady but remaining vaguely neutral in a situation where Chik would not suffer such a close presence from anyone who wasn't from the Labyrinth.

Watching Celesta hurry in with a worried look on her face, no doubt because the Goddess sat on a chair in her bar but also because if there was a barfight here it'd be the mother of all barfights. Synile then entered, still plastered and nearly started the mother of all barfights. Thank the Goddess Synile was a friend to Chik, Khallos could only guess that's why he wasn't a pool of blood.

It didn't stop him fingering the hilt of his sword, Khallos was nervous and rightly so. Hmmm. Another glass of whisky to improve my nerves. Sitting back with his drink he continued watching the verbal spar, deciding any attempt from him to help Synile to his feet might be seen as inflammatory.

#30 Selena

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 04:47 PM

ooc: Yeah... sorry. It's her fault. You know how we get when we argue. :whistle:

--

Mine!

Was the first reaction Selena had to Chik swiping her bottle of vodka. After the goddess had finished drinking, Selena was quick to snatch it back. Her holiness could stick with the whiskey or the mead or any other fine spirits in the Mead Hall. The vodka was hers. Following Chik's example, Selena decided to forget about her shot glass and drink directly from the source. It was faster. She paused for a moment. Could Chikara get drunk? Wouldn't her divine liver filter it all out instantly, just like how all her wounds closed in moments? Or if she could get drunk... Selena blinked. Was it possible to outdrink a deity? One way to find out. Another swig.

"Stop staring at my ass," she warned. A thoughtful look crossed over her face. "Solomon. Yes, I've heard of him. Haven't ever seen him in action, but you say he's good enough for our home, then I look forward to meeting him. Better be careful, though. If he's that fond of bloodlust, I might be able to convince him to join me rather than follow your pathetic lifestyle of order and discreet assassinations. At least I'd give him the chance to be open and honest about his desire to kill."

Selena couldn't help but laugh.

"But you're saying that your generals are kiss-asses, huh? Both literally and figuratively, knowing your preference for brainwashing men with your feminine wiles. I suspect the upper chain of command in Koridai is entirely male for that very reason. Funny, though. You finally have total control over your population after years of whining about how difficult I am, and now you're unhappy. I've been a bad influence."

As Chik stood, so did Selena out of instinct. With all those divine powers, the only thing Selena had left to make herself feel at least somewhat equal was the fact that she was still taller than her petite rival. Hmm. Staring into the eyes was a challenge to authority in the animal kingdom. Wolves stared each other until one backed down or a fight broke out. Chik had gotten used to having no competition over the last few years. Everyone was much too subservient over there. Selena wondered what the other woman would do if she stared her down after so long. Turn away out of shame or surprise, thereby throwing off primal signals that she was inferior? Or just stare back until one of them grew too bored to continue?

So, Selena put one of her arms against the bar, trapping Chikara between herself and the ice (not that Ms. Portals could really be held in place). She stared right into Chikara's eyes - very different from how they used to be, and she admitted that there was some element of raw power behind them. But they were still very much hers, and that familiarity overruled any sense of awe at the magic running through every cell. She didn't feel herself going insane. It probably helped that she'd already been introduced to insanity ages ago.

"You're not that scary," Selena said with a smirk. "I'll take you up on the challenge at some point. We all know how much more exciting your life is with me in it."




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