The spiritual successor to The Fury Of The Elemental Gods!
The Elemental Clans are ten clans scattered throughout Mobius that are each tied to one of the Elemental Gods. Although they don't always get along, major conflicts outside of their respective territories are rare.
Unfortunately, now their deities have disappeared, all contact being severed between them and the Clans' priests and priestesses. Enraged, terrified and shocked, the ten Clans grow restless. Only a mysterious 11th Clan that worships a being of Nothingness known as Nihlus knows what happened to the Elemental Gods...
- Stick to the plot. Do not alter it to revolve around your character, do not change it drastically, etc.
- Don't throw in new, major plot elements without discussing it with me beforehand. That means no deus ex machina shit coming out of nowhere, and no suddenly introducing powerful, game-changing artifacts/items.
- No Godmodding. You should all know what this means; no auto-hitting, no random attacks, no constant avoidance of damage, etc
- No Trolling.
- No picking random fights with others.
- Do not just randomly jump into a scene. Either ask, or build up your arrival accordingly (I.E "Suddenly, such and such and such" or "Meanwhile, somewhere else blah blah blah")
- No controlling other users' characters without their permission.
- Don't have your character be a part of the Elemental Clans without discussing it with me beforehand. There's a whole blog for making Elemental Clanspeople here. If you're using a character that you've already created to be a member of the Elemental Clans (such as Outback the Hunter, owned by TheDarkMantis15 (Talk)), then that's fine.
- You can have your character be an enemy to the Clans, but keep Rules #2 and #3 in mind.
- Put effort in your posts. I mean it; none of this "Person: Shadow Ball! *uses Shadow Ball*" crap.
- Acceptable method: (Person: Shadow Ball! *charges up a concentrated ball of shadow energy, and then fires it at Person 2*)
- Preferred method: ("Shadow Ball!" Person yelled. Cupping his hands in front of him, he began charging up a concentrated ball of pure shadows. After a few seconds he threw the ball at Person 2.)
Moderators are the peacekeepers of the RP (their names are in green). Listen to them if they tell you that you broke a rule, and don't throw a hissy pissy fit if they give out constructive criticism on how you RP.
- Ryushusupercat - RP Owner/Moderator
- Strikes: 0/0
- Saren the Dark Lynx - RP Moderator
- Strikes: 0/0
- Reens the Hedgehog - Participant
- Strikes: 0/0
- BloodSonic1 - Participant
- Strikes: 0/0
- The Elemental Clans - played by Ryu and others w/ permission; also anyone can play random villagers/soldiers, but only I get to play Clan leaders/Second-in-commands.
- The Elemental Gods - played by Ryu and others w/ permission.
- Amanzi the Mandarin Dragonet - Played by Reens the Hedgehog. A Water Clan Alchemist with a dark secret.
- Solex - Played by BloodSonic1.
Those who wish to attack the clans.
- The Trolls - played by anyone.
- Rancor the Lynx - played by Ryu; the traitor of the Dark Clan!
- Nihlic Clan of Nihlus - played by anyone w/ permission. These guys are often traitors to their own clans, and can be seen wielding any elemental ability, not to mention rare and high-powered abilities. These can members are followers of Nihlus, the alternate version of Evil, God of the Trolls.
- Emrys Vaughn - Played by Saren, The Lord Serpent is seeking power, power that only the clans might have; to that end he's willing to employ any method he can.
[Within a foggy, dark place on Mobius, a massive, black-robed echidna with a bone mask covering his face stands before the ten Elemental Gods, restrained by the mist itself]
???: And so it comes that I, Nihlus, the Older Brother of the Elemental Gods, truly a band of over-glorified Chaos beasts with elements instead of the might of Chaos, have taken my younger siblings captive after these many thousand years. It wasn't that hard either. I mean, who set you against each other? Who was that dark little voice whispering in your ears, telling you that your opposite number was out to get you and your clan, causing the infighting that stopped your clans from seeing the truth, and stopped you from remembering or seeing that you had an older brother. None of you can challenge me, although I invite you try. I desire to see your elemental spears in action, to learn their power and how to use them properly. Please, siblings, try me.
Voidstar: You're mad...!! No wonder Ka exiled you!!
Nihlus: Ka? Exile? You are wrong. I was the first of you, the one existent first, as Chaos is with the Chaos Beasts. I was not created, I EXISTED, as did they. Ka may have created you, but NOBODY created me. That is why all of your powers are barely a drop within mine - I am a GOD, you are mere beasts, no better than your genetic spawn. I, too, have beasts at my command, and even my ascot, my alternate side as it were, on my side. Slowly, the Chaos Beasts shall join you in prison, then each of the Nega Beasts, Sol Beasts, and even the entire army of Anarchy Creatures, to prove that I truly am the Ultimate Power within the multiverse, because your "Creator" cannot interfere with the events of the Multiverse, only his own "Realm". Now, doesn't that make you mad. Come on, take it out. Attack me. Fiamme, the hothead of the group, come on, strike me down with that spear of yours, and prove me wrong.
Fiamme: And so I shall!!
[A large spear of molten rock and fire manifests in her hands. She hurls it with both hands, roaring. It flies like a dart at Nihlus, only for him to catch it with both hands, the spear vanishing in a flash of light.]
Nihlus: Is that it? I'm disappointed. Maybe if you all attack at once...
Voidstar: Yes. All together now, my brothers and sisters...!
[All ten manifest their respective spear attacks and hurl them at Nihlus, all at the same time. Within Nihlus's hands appeared A ripple of energy, a mirage-like sword that he used to destroy some of the spears, the others vanishing on contact with him with mirage-like ripples where they struck.]
Nihlus: Well, too bad. I didn't expect you to give up so easily, but that was your strongest? Your signature? No wonder you came here unprepared for your convocation, purely because I drew you here. You are nothing to my power.
Kyanos: It did nothing...?!
Nihlus: Surprised? It is as I said: I am a god, you are mere beasts in my image.
Celeritas: You are no god; you are a devil!
[Nihlus simply raises an eyebrow, before laughing at the comment]
Nihlus: Actually, I am neither. I am the Master Elemental Beast, and you all represent the Lesser Beasts. Like the Chaos Beasts have their emeralds, I shall decide on a prison for you...with my aspect's help.
[A black silhouette appears in the mist. They all turn to look at it as it takes on a form similar to Nihlus, but in the form of a giant, uber-haired recolor. He laughs as Nihlus sweeps his hand dramatically.]
Nihlus: As a God, I have aspects, Gods based on myself that are essentially me with an altered personality and abilities. Presenting my aspect known as Evilagram, God of the Trolls!
Evil: Yea, that's right, pathetic fools. Now, the true Elemental God and I have buisness, so be good prisoners, and the mist won't cause you more pain than needed.
Nihlus: The mist is part of my powers. It dampens your powers when I want it to, and restricts you movements too...like now.
Neso: You won't get away with this...!!
Nihlus: And whom shall stop me? You? Chaos and his band of beasts? Chrono? That alien Vitiosis? Trollus, who Evil can control? The Ring beasts? I doubt it. I have taken steps to prevent any of them getting involved.
[None of them can think of an argument. Nihlus smirks.]
Nihlus: You see? I am not afraid of you. Goodbye for now, my siblings. [Nihlus strides out, while Evil seems to fade]
The Fire Clan
"....sir?" she asked, looking towards him. The lion was silent at first.
"....do you sense that, Enshoku?" he finally said. "That change in the air?"
He did not turn to look at her, his gaze fixated at the valley below them.
"Change?" she asked softly. The lion nodded, his brow furrowed in worry.
"Something is wrong...very wrong..."
The wolf, Enshoku, said nothing. Other than the two leaders mulling over the unusual circumstances, life seemed to continue as normal in the Fire Clan Village. Children were running around and playing, farmers were tending to crops grown in the rich, volcanic soil, and soldiers were ever watchful for danger.
Yet there was no denying that the air was unnaturally tense.
Yet somewhere on the borders of the village, a thirty-seven year old human male of Egyptian descent with dark brown hair kept at a medium length with an unkempt look, he was 5'8" and weighed a little over 167 lbs. With a few tattoos on the right side of his face, hazy blue eyes and his left eyebrow studded with three silver piercings. One thing of note was that he had a gold and a silver ring worn on his left pointer and middle fingers, with both resembling a snake eating its own tail.
As for attire he was wearing a simple brown cloak as a small cloud of gunpowder seemed to follow him, particles dropping from his skin it seemed. "Hmm, this should be the place..~"
It was not long before the man was spotted by a couple of soldiers, guarding the entrance of the village.
The three soldiers swiftly approached. They seemed to be quite suspicious of him.
"What business do you have here??"
The man stopped, looking at the three with a deceptively peaceful expression on his face. "Be at peace, for I am but a humble aspect of fire~" He spoke, opening his eyes to reveal slits like that of a snake.
The three were about to draw their weapons when the man spoke. The female raccoon narrowed her eyes at him.
"An aspect of fire, huh...?"
While she seemed suspicious of him, the male badger seemed to take a different approach.
"Wait...guys, could this be one of our deities...??"
The male hedgelynx crossed his arms.
"He's not any of the Primordials, that's for sure...none of them take a human form."
"Surely the priests and priestesses would know," said the badger. "But he is still an aspect of fire itself; we should give him the respect he deserves. It's not often at all than an aspect or Elemental crosses dimensions to travel to Mobius."
At that point, the badger got down on one knee as a sign of respect.
"Please forgive my friends, Great Aspect. Things are incredibly tense here; our primary deity has completely vanished, and our priests and priestesses are unable to contact her..."
With a finely crafted smile, Emrys waved off the badger's bowing. "There is no need to bow, after all, it is only healthy to regard such claims with suspicion unless given proof.. As to your primary deity... I myself have not received any contact from her recently either."
Emrys spoke, his voice laden with honey as he weaved his web of lies and deceptions. "But, if I may have an audience with your leader I will be more than happy to prove my claims..~"
The badger rose to his feet as he listened intently to the man, looking somber when he claimed that he had no contact with Fiamme either. But he seemed to brighten up some.
"Y-Yes, of course, Great Aspect! Sir Firestorm would be glad to have an audience with one such as yourself!"
"Excellent my good friend, lead me to this Sir Firestorm~" Emrys chuckled. The badger nodded and motioned for Emrys to follow him back to the village, with the raccoon and hedgelynx following, as well.
It did not take them long to reach the village, and the badger led Emrys to a relatively burly lion.
"Sir Firestorm...there is someone who wishes to meet you."
The lion turned towards the badger and Emrys.
"Greetings, I understand that you are the leader of this clan...? Firestorm is it..?" Emrys spoke, offering a polite bow to show respect.
"Yes; I am Drakath Firestorm, leader of the Fire Clan of Fiamme. It is not often we get human visitors...what brings you here?"
"Human I may look, but a humble aspect of fire I truly am." Emrys spoke, a serene smile on his face as he further propagated the lie he spoke. "I seek answers to a great mystery that has led me to cross dimensions."
"My apologies, Aspect of Fire," said the lion, bowing a bit. "A great mystery? So you do not know how you got here, Aspect of Fire?"
"Nay, I simply crossed dimensions; the answer I seek is rather.. concerning.. Your chief deity hasn't been responding has it..?" Emrys asked.
The lion's expression turned somber and he shook his head.
"No, none of our priests and priestesses can find any trace of her energy, and even our other deities seem to be far more silent than normal..."
"Now that is peculiar.." Emrys said, as if he were actually concerned. "But tell me.. Is there any sort of protocol for this..?"
"....well...to be honest, nobody ever expected something like this to happen, so...no protocol was ever set up."
He crossed his arms, looking off to the side a bit.
"Foolish, I know. But, as long as my clan is still alive and well, then life will continue as normal. My priority lies in protecting my village and its inhabitants, after all."
He sighed and shook his head.
"But everyone is worried, and I have no idea how to alleviate their fears..."
Emrys only smiled. "Fret not my friend, your tribe isn't completely cut off from divinity..~ After all, I am an aspect of fire, after all."
"That is true. Perhaps we still have a chance to regain our footing after all, if an Aspect of Fire has granted us the privilege of their presence."
Emrys nodded. "I'm almost certain you will~"
By now, other villagers were starting to gather around Emrys and Drakath, looking quite curious.
Emrys smirked, looking over the villagers. "Shall you tell them or should I~? They're your people, after all.."
The lion nodded, before turning to the gathering crowd.
"My people, we may have finally found respite from our troubles. An Aspect of Fire has graced us with his presence!"
The villagers started mumbling amongst themselves, their voices filled with awe, yet keeping their attention on Drakath and Emrys.
Emrys nodded, taking in the crowd's expressions as he prepared to deliver a speech meant to rouse the hearts of the civilians in order to instill loyalty to his words like any politician would.
The villagers seemed to sense that Emrys was about to speak, and their attention to him became more focused, clearly wanting to hear what he had to say. Drakath merely nodded respectfully.
"People of the esteemed Fire clan, Times are dire indeed; but do not lose faith.. Even as your chief deity does not respond, know that the eyes of the divine flame are still upon their favored sons and daughters.. Know that we shall endure this crisis, nay.. We shall emerge stronger than ever!! For opportunity favors those who take the initiative!! Now, who here is willing to stand by my side! As we face the tumultuous times ahead things may look bleak, but only those with faith in their hearts and the will to serve the flame shall persevere!"
The crowd broke into raucous cheers, jumping up and down and pumping their fists in excitement. Clearly, Emrys' words had inspired them greatly. Drakath smiled, glad to see his people were responding positively; he wanted them to be happy and confident, after all.
Emrys smiled, though on the inside it was a vicious sneer; things were going according to plan and manipulating these people had proved to be easier than he expected, still he made sure to step carefully. Wouldn't want to arouse suspicion, that would make his overall plans a lot harder than they need be.
"S-Sir-...uhh...Great Aspect," asked one of the villagers, stepping forward cautiously. "I-Is there anything that you wish for us to do?"
"Call it a personal fancy.. But I am curious about your armory~" Emrys spoke with a smile.
The villager seemed a bit hesitant about that, and looked to Drakath for guidance. The lion frowned slightly, as if mulling this over.
"Well...honestly, I'm not sure what a being of your power and stature would want with fire weapons, but it could not hurt you allow you to see the vault."
Drakath nodded then.
"Please, follow me, Aspect of Fire," he said, as he started walking towards the back of the village; a large vault built of stone and oak wood was standing there, being guarded by three soldiers.
"Oooohhh, now this is impressive~" Emrys said, marveling at the structure. The three soldiers, while curious of Emrys' presence, moved out of the way as him and Drakath approached the vault. It was well-maintained; the stone was pinkish rhyolite rock, and the oak was polished. The double-doors were held closed by a wooden barricade (or whatever that thing is called), which Drakath lifted out of the way, before opening said doors.
The inside of the vault was not lit yet, but, after using his pyrokinesis to light the torches, it was clear that the interior was as well cared-for as the outside. The various weapons rested upon their own stands, and looked as polished as the day they were forged.
Emrys walked inside, marveling at the craftsmanship. "Ooh lalaa, such marvelous tools of battle.. Is there a history behind them?" He asked Drakath, a glint of curiosity in his eyes.
"Well, each of them has their own unique history, yes," said Drakath, looking around the room a bit. "I do not know all of them by heart, however."
"A shame really.. The histories of such marvelous tools of war deserve to be known, wouldn't you agree? Oh but where are my manners.. I should be thanking you for allowing me the honor to witness such artistry after all~"
"You're the first...err, 'outsider', who's gotten the privilege of looking into this vault," said Drakath, crossing his arms. "There's little point in making a weapon's entire history known when so few people will even get to see them; it's not like this is museum, after all."
He nodded, smiling a bit.
"It is an honor that you have come to us in the first place, Aspect of Fire. But, you are welcome; normally the only people who get to observe this craftsmanship are those who maintain said weapons."
He chuckled a bit.
"Ahh, there is sound logic behind your reasoning Drakath." Emrys smiled. "Afterall; such treasures are best left hidden.. To prevent would-be thieves who toy with forces beyond their reckoning from trying to steal them."
The lion's expression became somber once more.
"Well...regrettably, we have had someone steal from this vault before; a former soldier of the Fire Clan. He...slew a Summoner out of anger, and, of course, he had to be banished, along with his sister. But he broke into the vault and stole a broadsword; the Blade of Infernal Ruin."
"The Blade of Infernal Ruin...?" Emrys asked; his interest in the story behind such a weapon quite apparent.
"Yes...the most I know of it's story is that it was forged from a claw discarded by the Primordial Berylsythe. It's a destructive weapon, able to hurl explosive blasts of fire by swinging the blade."
"Such a powerful weapon indeed.. Say, would you be opposed to me borrowing one of the weapons inside the vault in order to retrieve the missing blade..?" Emrys asked, for once his smile showed a hint of his serpentine nature.
For once, Drakath seemed to falter now, and he frowned, crossing his arms once more.
"A weapon? But...since you are an Aspect of Fire, and not a mere mortal like I, what need would you have for one?"
"Whatever is preventing the head deity of the fire clan from responding to your summons is also affecting me as well; my power has been rather.. Limited shall we say, ever since I successfully breached the dimensional barrier to arrive here; these weapons boost the power of those whose affinity lay with fire, so I think it would be prudent for me to borrow one of these weapons to offset the loss in power I face in this realm.." Emrys spoke, further weaving his net of lies and half truths to his advantage.
"Plus I do not lie when I say that I am practiced in the use of weapons like the ones in your vault~"
The lion nodded now.
"My apologize, Aspect of Fire, such a thing did not cross my mind."
He looked over towards the weapons.
"Which one suits your fancy the most?"
Emrys pointed at the Stave of Fire's Fury. "This one~" He grinned.
Drakath carefully lifted the weapon from where it rested; it was an ornately-carved staff of polished oaken wood, topped with a Flammanite gemstone set within an ornate golden socket; a ring of phoenix feathers encircled the base of the socket. He passed the staff to Emrys.
"All I ask is that you return this when you have finished your quest, Aspect of Fire," he said.
"Do not worry; I will~" Emrys lied, a serene smile on his face as he held the staff gently.
"I am very grateful for your assistance, Aspect of Fire."
Emrys chuckled. "It's the least I could do afterall~"
Drakath bowed graciously.
"I wish you luck on your quest, Aspect of Fire," he said, nodding.
Emrys nodded. "Any Idea where I may find this traitorous scoundrel?" He asked.
Drakath frowned and shook his head.
"Sad to say, I have absolutely no idea where he and his sister have gone off to now..."
"A shame, guess I'll have to do it the old fashioned way~"
"So it seems...good luck on your quest."
The Dark Clan
Meanwhile, in the Fearful Caverns, Maliseer and her second-in-command Henge were consorting with the Dark Clan's priests and priestesses in one of the cavern's smaller chambers; they were trying to get some sort of sign of Voidstar's presence. Naturally, there was virtually no signal to go on.
"Surely there must be something?" Henge questioned, frowning slightly. An elderly female weasel was slightly hunched in front of what looked like a small shrine.
"Voidstar couldn't have just disappeared off the face of Mobius!"
"I have sensed nothing," the weasel priestess said, narrowing her milky-white eyes at Henge.
"None of us can understand why he's not giving us a sign."
"But he can't just be gone...!"
Maliseer turned her gaze towards the entrance to the main chamber, silent as she ignored the argument.
The Ice Clan
"This isn't right," she mumbled to herself. "Why can't I sense Kyanos' presence?"
She leaned against a tree, sighing. Close to the Ice Clan village, a female hedgehog was busy engaging in target practice, her face calm and focused as she shot the center of the wooden training dummy with her bow, small shards of ice flecking off the frozen arrowhead as it lodged into the dummy. A rare smile spreads across her lips, as if satisfied with her marksman ability. She nocked another Ice Arrow into her bow, now aiming for the head of the training dummy.
Before she got the chance to fire again, a male pacarana approached her, carrying some kind of small pouch.
"Ark! Mind testing something out for me?"
The hedgehog turned towards him, raising an eyebrow.
"If you're asking me to drink some new concoction-"
He just shook his head, holding out the small pouch.
"No, no, I've got a better idea. Mind passing me that arrow?"
Slightly confused, she nevertheless handed him the ice arrow. He took it and examined it, before tying the small pouch onto it, directly behind the arrowhead. He then handed it back to her.
"Okay, now, shoot this at that dummy."
She smiled a bit, seeming to understand what he was doing, and nocked the loaded arrow onto her bow, before firing it at the dummy. The arrow hit it square in the head, while the pouch broke open at the same time, releasing a large burst of snow and ice all around the dummy.
"Any kind of potion or elixir you can fit into that pouch, you could attach to an arrow and launch it!" said the pacarana, clasping his hands together. "Imagine the possibilities!"
The Water Clan
The atmosphere in the Water Clan village was currently no different than it was in the other villages of the Elemental Clans; seemingly normal, but actually tense and fearful. Two scouts and a Summoner (a slender female dunnart, a slightly curvy female deer, and a somewhat lanky male desman) were pacing nervously in front of the waterfall that hid the entrance to the Golden Cove and the Water Clan village, as if waiting for something. The dunnart was accompanied by her Summon, a Sea Imp.
Finally the desman stopped pacing and turned towards the coastline.
"They're...they're gone, right?"
The rat nodded, although her expression was still a bit grim.
"We found no traces of Nihlic Clan forces around here. But we have no idea what they're capable of; they could just be hiding."
The desman let out a whine in response, starting to fidget a bit.
"Please don't say that...!"
The rat tapped the male's snout rather sharply, frowning.
"Would you rather I lied and said there were no chances of Nihlic forces coming here, and then we find them attacking us in the middle of the night?" she said, narrowing her eyes slightly. "I'm trying to be realistic here, Rasto. And realistically, we all need to be full alert."
The desman backed up slightly, rubbing his nose.
"I-I know...I'm sorry..."
The rat sighed and crossed her arms.
"All of us are on edge, there's no denying that. We just...need to stay calm and keep ours wits about us, yeah?"
She offered a smile as the other three Mobians nodded in response.
"Good, that's what I like to see."
The deer looked up towards the sky; the sun was starting to sink towards the horizon, and the clouds were drenched in colors of pink, blue, purple and orange.
"It's getting late," she said, a slight breeze making her shiver slightly.
"I guess we should think about getting back inside and finding out who's gonna do a night shift."
The female dunnart then stepped forward a bit.
"Uhh...I can probably take the night shift for a few hours," she said, her Sea Imp Summon at her side. "I'll have Bubbles with me, after all."
"If you'll be alright with that, Sulama," said the rat, smiling.
"I'll have someone come out in three hours and trade with you, okay?"
"That'd work out fine!"
The sun had now disappeared below the horizon; Sulama and Bubbles were standing near the waterfall, an oil lantern sitting next to the dunnart. She yawned and stretched, a bit wearier than she though she'd be. She hoped that someone would swap places with her soon...
"Maybe this wasn't the best idea...I'm getting really tired."
Sulama sat down next to Bubbles, who was now curled up a bit, apparently having dozed off. The sound of footfalls approaching their location didn't really catch the dunnart's attention at first, having thought it was someone come to relieve her of the nightwatch.
"Thank god, a replacement. Now I can get some sl-"
As she happened to look up, she saw a rather foreboding figure standing not ten feet from her, carrying a sword that glowed dimly. Grabbing the lantern and quickly climbing to her feet, Sulama held the light out towards the stranger, eyes wide. Bubbles had sprang up as well, chittering angrily.
"Wh-Who's there?! Who are you?!"
The figure said nothing, but started to walk towards the Water Clan Summoner with a strong and purposeful stride. Lantern light fell upon the stranger's face, revealing him to be a Mobianized Typhlosion wearing a chestpiece, pauldrons and gauntlets crafted from obsidian. The sword in his hand had muted flames dancing around the blade, and he grinned at Sulama, his sharp white teeth being illuminated by the light.
"Well, well, well," he purred, eyes narrowing slightly at the dunnart. He strode closer to her, looming; he was a good foot taller than her.
"I didn't think the Water Clan would be smart enough to have guards on watch, but even still, I'm disappointed; only one meager girl and her pet? That's all they can afford to send out?"
"S-State your name," Sulama said, doing her best to keep calm; the shaking of the hand holding the lantern betrayed her true feelings.
"Oh, yes; we must be formal, eh?" said the Typhlosion, thrusting the blade into the earth and then leaning on it.
"I am Sedrick. And you are...?"
"S-...S-Sulama," the dunnart stuttered, ears drooping slightly; the predatory gleam in Sedrick's eyes was unsettling her deeply.
"Why the stutter, Sulama? Surely you're not afraid of little old me, are you?"
At this, he straightened up and leered down at her, chuckling a bit. Bubbles hissed threateningly at him, to which he glared at the Sea Imp.
"Stuff it, you abomination!"
Sulama motioned for Bubbles to stand down, prompting another chuckle from Sedrick.
"So it IS your pet, hmm?"
The dunnart looked up at the Typhlosion, trying to maintain her calm.
"Bubbles is my Summon," she said, frowning. "She's not a pet. But either way, I'm going to have to ask you to leave. We're not taking visitors from strangers at these stressful times, especially not with reports of Nihlic Clan members skulking around."
The Typhlosion gasped a bit, feigning a rather dramatic look of hurt. "Skulking? Is that what you think I'm doing?" he asked, a hand to his heart.
"Oh, no no no, there's nothing skulkish or sneaky about my intentions, girl..."
His voice had taken on a decidedly sinister snarl as he ripped his blade from the ground, the metal igniting into flames.
"I'm here to make sure you heathens know your place; beneath the feet of Nihlus and his children...!"
As soon as Sedrick had grabbed his weapon, Sulama stepped back towards the waterfall, but in one swift motion, he had lunged forward and grabbed ahold of her arm, tossing her to the side and away from the entrance to the Water Clan village with frightening strength. She hit the ground hard, letting out a pained gasp and rolling onto her side. The Typhlosion had turned towards her now, raising his blade as if to swing at her. From behind, Bubbles had leapt, landing on Sedrick's back and starting to claw at his head. He let out a furious roar.
"MONGREL!! GET OFF ME!!"
He staggered around, trying to dislodge the angry Sea Imp from his cranium, before his free claw found its way to her throat, grabbing on tight and causing her to screech.
Sulama, still a bit dazed from being tossed, managed to climb to her feet, just as Sedrick flung the Sea Imp at her. The collision sent them both onto the ground with a thud.
"Weak. You're weak! You worship a pitiful god who's naught but a speck compared to Nihlus!" Sedrick snarled at her, starting to approach once again. With a growl, he drove his fiery blade downward, aiming to impale Sulama. With a gasp, she managed to roll out of the way just in time, feeling the heated air gust against her shoulder. The sword became embedded in the ground, and a bestial snarl ripped from the Typhlosion's throat. Abandoning his weapon, he turned on Sulama, who had just managed to climb to her feet; Bubbles was at her Summoner's side once again.
"Tenacious little whelp, are we?" he hissed, advancing towards her, his claws sparking with electricity. The sight of the electricity seemed to scare the dunnart, and Sedrick grinned, relishing her fear.
"Oh, you like my electricity? It's just one of the benefits of being a Pokemon; I get to choose from more than just one Element!"
He suddenly charged at her, the burst of speed not giving Sulama time to react properly. An electrically-charged fist drove itself just below her ribcage, causing a wheezy yelp to escape her mouth. The electricity coursing from his balled fist into her body paralyzed her, and caused her to collapse, unable to move. She coughed up a bit of blood; Sedrick had struck her hard.
Gazing at Sulama's crumpled form, the Typhlosion finally gained a satisfied smirk, striding over to the spot where his sword was embedded in the ground; the soil within a one foot radius was scorched and smouldering. He wrenched it from the ground, his ears perking slightly; frantic, indistinguishable voices were coming from the waterfall. With a faint growl he turned away from the Golden Cove and beat a hasty retreat; despite his prowess in battle, he would be no match for multiple, combat capable hydromancers and hydrokinetics.
Besides, he would be foolishly going against his superior's orders if he stayed and fought.
Meanwhile, in the Water Clan's alchemy room, Amanzi the Mandarin Dragonet was busy mixing different chemicals together, trying to create a potion that would buff melee attacks. However, she was having a little bit of trouble measuring said ingredients, and ended up making a useless brew that would cause plants to grow. She sighed, raising her goggles.
"I'm never going to be more than an assistant," she complained bitterly to herself under her breath. "If I can't even make a simple melee buff, how am I supposed to help them whenever they go to battle? 'Ooh, our Gods will help us! They always come through for us!' Pfft, yeah, like they even exist..."
There seemed to be quite a bustle outside, and panicked voices could be heard.
"Where's a medic?! She's paralyzed!"
"What's going on?" Amanzi pulled on her coat and left the room, running outside. "You guys! What happened?"
"Sulama's been attacked while she was out on watch...!" The dunnart's sister, Lusawin, was beside her, looking panicked. "She's been paralyzed...!"
"What if it was someone from the Electric Clan?!" one villager cried.
"They live all the way in Yurashia," said Lusawin, shaking her head. "There's no way they'd send soldiers that far just for an attack like this. It must've been an electricity wielder from the Nihlic Clan..."
"That's what her wounds are suggesting at least," Amanzi thought out loud, "but we have to find a medic to make absolutely sure of it. We can't just start another bicker between our clans without relative cause."
"Amanzi is right," said Lusawin, nodding. "We can't just stand here and debate; Sulama needs medical attention right away."
The two soldiers who were carrying Sulama started to carry her towards one of the medical huts; she herself was unconscious.
The Earth Clan
The Troll Moonbase was remarkably quiet, considering the nature of it's inhabitants. For once, there was no dank airhorn music filling the air, nor any crude jokes flying from room to room at the top of the occupants lungs. No, most of them were out in Mobius, following missions that few understood. For the hedgehog in the hooded jacket and his pajama-clad companion, the quiet was frustrating, as neither knew what awaited them in the so-called "throne room". After a moment, the doors slowly opened themselves, and the duo entered.
A deep voice rang out in the metallic room. "Thank you for coming, Reaper." The hedgehog pair knelt as their leader stood and moved away from the throne. "I am sorry for keeping you back for so long." The self-proclaimed True Lord of Mobius was not the most impressive figure in the world, a simple white and orange Shadow-lookalike dressed in a formal but comfortable style, but as Reaper stood and looked at him, the aura around this hedgehog was one of power. He was no simple Troll. The doors closed behind them, and even the faint humming of machinery was blocked off by the impressive soundproofing this room had.
"It was no issue, my liege," he began. "It gave me time to help Anne build her strength." The sickly female waved slightly, and Reaper could feel her telepathic nudging. "Now, Lord Rageik, can I ask what we have been called for?" The demon nodded.
"It is a mission of great importance to me, personally. I would have dealt with it myself, but the Clans have other duties for me to attend to." He gestured, and a hologram of a sword rippled into existence. It looked like a plain katana at a distance, but Reaper's trained eye spotted the telltale amber markings in the blade, and the tiny gemstone finery that made up the tsuba. His eyes widened, and Anne's shock filled their telepathic bond.
"A relic?" she mumbled. Rageik simply nodded.
"Yes, it is. This sword, Trizaterrador belongs to my brother, Hades. He was forced to abandon it at the end of the War, when he fled underground to Asphodel to avoid being sealed. It is imbued with a powerful connection to the element of Earth, so when he located it, he immediately asked me to retrieve it. Unfortunately, until now the Earth Clan has been well-guarded, and there has been no method for you to get in." Rageik paced and gestured once again, changing the image displayed to an image of the Earth Clan's armory. "The Clan is in on edge with the disappearance of Temblor, but at the same time those that are most aware..."
"See the least." Reaper finished. He understood the basic premise. "Anne is to be my support?" The thin girl raised her head and smiled faintly as Rageik nodded.
"Her ability to influence moods over long distance, plus your telepathic bond, makes her an ideal assistance for this. Do you believe you can retrieve it for me?" Reaper raised his head and lowered his hood, revealing the hybrid quills and orange marks that Rageik's blood had given him.
"I accept the task." Anne's excitement flowed, but he could feel her annoyance at his terms. "Sorry, we accept." Rageik chuckled, and the hologram disappeared with a final gesture.
"Then good luck. For the return of our people."
"And for the rise of the True Lord of Mobius." Reaper replied. The traditional farewell of the Everaith Clan always felt clunky to the Power Hedgehog, but he used it in deference to the people that adopted him. With that, Rageik turned and walked back towards his throne and holographic desks, plotting another step in his constant war. Reaper knelt once again, and the familiar weight of Anne climbing onto his back reassured him.
"To the Ruins of Sephazer we go, then. Chaos Control." In a blink of light, the two were gone.
The Ruins of Sephazer, located on the Mobian continent of Soumerca, were the home of the Earth Clan of Temblor. Despite the disappearance of their deity, the stoic clanspeople hid their distress well, and life seemed to resume as normal there. The priests and priestesses had given up trying to contact Temblor, and instead turned their pleas towards other deities of theirs; but unfortunately, they too seemed to be silent. Not even Sephazer himself, for whom the Earth Clan's home was named, was able to provide answers.
The entrance of the Power Hedgehogs was as silent as they had hoped. Neither of them had ever ventured into the Ruins, so it was a rough coordinate Chaos Control. Not an ideal method, but one Reaper was accustomed to. Hunched down in the rocky outcroppings, Reaper felt Anne's warmth slip from his back. He turned, and watched as she slowly pulled herself into a meditative seating position, legs crossed and back straight, even with her eyes closed. A slight shudder ran through her body, and Reaper almost considered giving her his jacket there and then, but it hit him, as it always did. Anne was opening herself up to the world psychically. Instead of rushing in, he let her explore and gather information for him. No words were needed, not with this bond. She shared his vision, and their thoughts were joined through her combat meditation. Instead, he settled into a passive guard stance, and hoped that she wouldn't detect trouble nearby.
Close to the entrance of the Ruins, a couple of soldiers were patrolling the outside of it; a male groundhog, a female shrew and a male stag beetle. They had no knowledge of the presence of Anne and Reaper.
Reaper could feel the soldiers through Anne's strength. She wasn't directly focusing on them, not yet. Her meditation needed time to build in strength to influence them into making mistakes. Finally, she picked one, the groundhog. A slight smile crossed her face, and she nodded to Reaper. Instantly, he began to move, his stealth training taking over. Anne began to focus on the groundhog, bringing her telepathic might on his head. Reaper moved in the same direction, and could feel the meditation falter. He knew her plan, and summoned a fan from hammerspace to his hand, and prepared himself for a stealthy strike.
The groundhog stopped and put a hand up to his left temple, groaning.
His two companions stopped and stared at him.
"Bundok, are you okay?" asked the shrew?
"I-It feels like something's crushing my skull...!"
Reaper was in mid-air when he heard that, and immediately launched an Air Slash from his fan, aimed at the feet of the two that were left, and transitioned into an Aerial Ace towards the beetle without touching the ground. A second fan rippled into existence as he accelerated further, appearing as a shadowy blur surrounded by air currents.
Not expecting the sudden attack, the shrew and the beetle were knocked off their feet. The groundhog, Bundok, had fallen to his knees, overwhelmed by pain. The beetle was trying to climb to his feet as Reaper rushed at him. The hedgehog didn't even slow down, simply slamming foot-first into his target, and using that to launch himself into the air again, leaving the groundhog to suffer Anne's psychic grasp while he prepared himself to knock the other two out. As much as stealth could work, making the Earth Clan flinch into believing the Wind Clan sent an assassin would be just as worthwhile.
Reaper's foot collided directly with the stag beetle's horn, causing him to stagger back, dazed; the horn was connected to his skull, after all. The shrew scrambled to her feet, her hand grasping wildly for the hilt of her sabre.
"INTRUDER FROM THE WIND CLAN!" she called out, managing to climb to her feet.
"INTRUDER FROM THE WIND CLAN!"
It seems she had fallen for Reaper's planned ploy. He sighed, although he sent Anne an excited pulse through their bond. As he expected, he felt nothing in response, her focus was on keeping Bundok suppressed until he passed out.
"Oh, be quiet," he growled. Another Air Slash flicked towards the shrew, followed by Reaper's feet as he launched himself, foot-first, with another Aerial Ace. By no means was this his most advanced combat strategy, but the fact that he was still yet to touch the ground worked nicely for that "airborne assassin" feel.
By this time, Bundok had collapsed, unconscious. The stag beetle had recovered from Reaper's kick to the face and picked up his quarterstaff, which he had set by the village entrance. The shrew was able to counter the Air Slash by charging her blade with Earth energy and cutting the blade of wind, but she most likely wouldn't be able to stop Reaper's Aerial Ace.
Reaper felt Anne open back up. The touch was faint at first, but it quickly expanded to cover the lands of the Clan. Anne's battle coordination was starting to work it's magic. Reaper could feel her plucking at threads, picking targets and causing tiny little sensory distortions for those preparing to fight. Nerves, tension, fear. Things she sought to create for him to exploit. He let his body go rigid as he slammed into the shrew, but pushed himself into the air not with the impact, but with an Aeroblast to the ground at their feet. His hood threatened to slide off, but he tightened it as he sailed back into the air, fans in his hands and ready to strike.
Reaper's foot slammed directly into the shrew's sternum, causing her to rocket backwards and into a nearby wall. She hit it hard, collapsing into a heap on the ground.
The stag beetle hefted his quarterstaff and got between the shrew and Reaper, bracing himself for the hedgehog's attack. Reaper started to spin, slowly at first, but rapidly increasing in pace. Finally, just as he seemed to blur, a pair of silver darts flew from his figure, straight at the beetle. Reaper stopped rotating at that moment, and launched an Air Slash directly behind them, accelerating the folded, thrown fans even faster.
The darts were coming too fast for the beetle to try and deflect them with his weapon; he had no choice but to try and bear the brunt of the assault using his thick, armored forearms. Bundok was still unconscious, while the shrew, Polvere, was struggling to climb to her feet, breathing raggedly. Reaper timed his movements with the fans, launching himself directly behind them with an Aerial Ace, but cut just short of the beetle's arms. Instead, he slowed enough to be distinct, and rolled into an axe kick.
The beetle still had his arms shielding his face, and didn't quite see Reaper coming at him with an axe kick. He moved them away just as Reaper's attack was about to hit him. Reaper didn't pull his punches, either, and simply slammed into the beetle.
Reaper's foot collided with the beetle's chest, although he was a good deal brawnier than Polvere was; regardless, the attack staggered him and made him stumble backwards. Reaper didn't bother slowing down the assault any further, instead transitioning to a blur of rapid punches and kicks, all the while hovering just off the ground with a pillar of air. As tempting as it would be to simply fly on his own accord, he needed to keep the appearance of manipulating wind.
Unable to recover, due to how swiftly Reaper was attacking him, the beetle was slowly forced backwards from the assault. Polvere had finally gotten back to her feet and stumbled towards the two; she was breathing hard and painfully. Slamming the blade of her weapon into the ground, she made shards of stone erupt below Reaper, hoping to hit him. Reaper simply sighed, and stopped throwing punches for a moment. And then he pushed the air currents around him outwards, a defensive use of Whirlwind to throw the rocks, and those attacking him, away.
"I'm here for something your clan has in it's vaults. If you're going to try to stop me, then you're going to need more than this," Reaper taunted, taking the time to refresh his energy and check Anne's scan. Sure enough, he could feel the Earth Clan start to swarm, like an angered cloud of bees. He smiled, and cracked his neck. If these three fighters could last this long, perhaps he'd be forced to draw his scythe and reveal the truth if the full clan came out.
The stones were blasted away and scattered on the ground around Reaper, while the shrew drew her weapon out of the earth. No longer being attacked repeatedly, the beetle was able to steady himself, although it was clear he was battered. He readied with quarterstaff, seeing that Reaper appeared to be distracted, and attacked with a forceful jab.
Reaper sighed, and reached into Hammerspace once again. However, instead of calling upon his fans again, a new weapon emerged. A long oak shaft, with a wickedly curved blade at the end. Idly, he used the scythe to deflect the quarterstaff jab.
"Since you are willing to fight to the death, how about I grant it?" With the dark hood pulled down over his head, and the long scythe in hand, Reaper's appearance touched towards the otherworldly. "Please, bring your best."
Although it was clear the beetle was quite battered, he refused to step down, brandishing his weapon in both hands after Reaper parried his blow.
"I will not allow you to cause any further destruction...!"
Reaper snorted, and spun the scythe in a rapid set of spirals. "You should rest. I'm out of your league." And with that, he began to launch Air Slashes from his spiraling scythe.
The beetle twirls his staff, aiming to try and block the multiple Air Slashes. He manages to block all but one, which catches him across the shoulder, making him stagger back a bit. The shrew staggered towards her companion, clutching the hilt of her weapon tightly.
"Whatever...it is...you've come here for," she wheezed out, trembling slightly. "You're not...going to get it...Wind Clan scum!"
The groundhog was still unconscious. Reaper smirked, and slowly reigned in the rapid spins of his scythe as he began to prepare for something stronger. He could feel Anne's telepathic nudging about their mission, but this guard team needed to be dealt with. Even with her warnings, he could feel her push energy through their bond, expanding the size of the forming Aeroblast to something beyond anything Reaper had used before, leaving it resembling a small tornado circling around his body.
"I'd suggest you surrender."
The beetle and shrew's eyes widened in fear at the sight of the growing Aeroblast encircling Reaper.They might very well die if they tried to stay and fight that; the shrew was already on the verge of losing consciousness from her wounds. The beetle backed up, towards the unconscious groundhog, before hefting him up and supporting him on his shoulder and arm.
"B-Berugu, we can't surrender!" the shrew wheezed, looking over her shoulder at the beetle.
"Polvere...we can't fight that..."
Reaper simply smiled, his scythe twirls growing finer as he accentuated the tornado. If nothing else, the monstrous funnel would make an effective distraction; though he feared that it would ruin his disguise as a simple assassin. Anne's nudging hinted towards a ploy to throw them off; and a faint grin crossed his face as he pulled a hand from the shaft of his staff.
Anne's natural talent with Light, Darkness and psionic forces manifested itself around his fingers, and he soon found himself clutching a solid illusion of a gemstone, humming faintly with life and air - a perfect replica of a Wind Clan relic capable of enhancing powers. "My mission is of the utmost importance. I say once more, you should surrender."
The violent whirlwind emanating from Reaper's scythe whipped and rocked the plantlife all around it, and small pebbles and clumps of dust began to shift around, as well. The replica that manifested itself in his hand easily fooled Berugu and Polvere, and they backed off even further, towards the village entrance.
"W-We have to get help," said Polvere, staggering slightly as she clutched at her chest. Berugu, who was still hefting the unconscious groundhog, shook his head.
"No. He'll raze the entire village if we get in his way," he said, backing off as well. "We need to retreat..."
The Electric Clan
Things were even more tense within the Electric Clan's village. Not only had the younger brother of the clan leader, Voltassa Stormdriver, gone missing, but there were claims of Egg Army activity dangerously close to Electric Clan territory; these claims came from traders attempting to trade goods with the nearby city-state of Chun-Nan.
"You're just trying to pull my leg," said a male cat, crossing his arms. "There haven't been any Egg Soldiers around here in about five months."
The female ferret shook her head. She was one of the soldiers that had accompanied the trading caravan to Chun-Nan.
"I'm not at all. There were a couple hanging around in Chun-Nan. Had the Eggman logo on the back of their outfits. They didn't engage us, thankfully."
The cat started to pace a bit, crossing his arms.
"Great...just what we needed now; Egg Soldiers potentially sniffing around the village," he muttered, shaking his head. "As if our leader's kid brother going missing wasn't bad enough..."
"Calm down, Jonowych," said the ferret, walking towards him. "Like I said, those Egg Soldiers didn't engage us; they didn't even notice us, so I see no reason for them to suddenly show up here."
The Nature Clan
"Man.. What a drag.." A certain spectral Lynx with a cavalry saber strapped to his waist complained.. He had honestly been wandering near the Great Forest while drunk; and he had apparently caused a few minor fires along the outskirts with his black flames.
None of the fires had reached the Nature Clan village; hopefully none of the fires were big enough for their smoke to rise up high enough to be seen...
Depending on the height of the trees, the smoke might actually be visible.
The trees that made up most of the Great Forest were only about 20 feet tall, give or take a few feet. Faint wisps of smoke curled up above the canopy, and these were seen by a female linsang out patrolling the outskirts of the Nature Clan village. Her eyes widened and she immediately jumped to attention, running into the village.
"Fire!! Fire in the Great Forest!!"
The village itself was sitting to the northeast of where the fires had started, and while the smoke made it possible to discern the direction, it was hard to tell how far away said fires were. Nevertheless, Nature Clan soldiers had begun to mobilize, getting ready to investigate the fires.
The lynx didn't really move far from the scene of the crime; in fact he seemed to be talking to himself. Course it may be because of the contents of the bottle in his hand.
About seven soldiers in total (a mixture of battle mages, knights and regular soldiers) started to head towards the source of the fires, intent on finding the culprit.
"H-hey.. Charoooon... Why the bloody 'ell am I even 'ere in this arsehole of a 'ump! Shitty Sword..!"
Since the lynx was making no effort to conceal himself from the approaching Nature Clan soldiers, he was quickly spotted by one of them, and one of them, a female rakali, started to walk towards him.
"Who are you...?? Did you start these fires?!" she demanded.
"Ehhhhh; Charon I'll talk to you later, some weird hippy is asking me some boring questions..? Yes I know I started the fires! No I don't know who these tools are!"
The rakali just raised an eyebrow; was he talking to his sword?
"I'll talk to you later Charon; the Seven Dwarves are still here." Exspira sighed; glancing at the seven Nature Clan soldiers. ".... Aren't you hippies supposed to be mining diamonds or gangbanging some virgin you have locked up in your huts?"
The rakali scowled, her hands balling into fists. One of her companions, a male lemur carrying a partisan, stepped forward and put a hand on her shoulder.
"Getting angry won't help," he mumbled to her, before turning his attention to the lynx.
"Since you started those fires, sir, how about you get to work snuffing them, hmm?"
"Hm.. Nah; I'm only doing this land a favor; overgrowth is a problem these days.. Good to purge it with an old fashioned fire.."
The lemur only laughed.
"Trust me, the forest does not need a purging; we take perfectly good care of it, and have considerably less volatile ways of dealing with old, dying trees."
".... Wow; you really are hippies, well have fun with your fire troubles~"
"Ugh, you selfish little-"
The lemur only looked at the rakali with a gentle expression.
"We can handle this," he said; some of the soldiers had brought buckets with them to deal with the fire, and were already starting to fill them in a nearby river.
"Are you suuuuure?" Exspira snickered. "..... PFFFT!" He suddenly started laughing. "Y-yeah.. I-I'll tell them later!!" Exspira shouted, slapping his knee.
- (.... Man it is awkward without fro to play the spirits that live in Exspira's head.)
The soldiers looked over at him; the ones with the buckets were bringing them back now.
"What are you snickering about?" the lemur asked.
"Figure it ooouuuut~" Exspira drew out the 'o' and the 'u's; attempting to walk through the soldiers, phasing through them should they try to stop him.
The soldiers did not bother to try and stop him, instead turning their attention to the flaming mess he left behind. The soldiers carrying the buckets went to go dump them out on the fire.
They found that the black flames would not be put out so easily; rather they just seemed to blaze further when water was added to them.
Understandably, this worried the soldiers a lot.
"Water's just making it worse...??"
The lemur frowned, rubbing his chin.
"This isn't good...maybe...we could smother it with dirt?"
No one really liked the idea of tearing up the ground, but they couldn't let the fire spread. The female rakali, using her Floromancy, caused thick vines to burst from the ground, scooping up as much dirt as possible before depositing it upon the fire.
That just made the flames spread even more; perhaps they should step back and examine the fire more closely, after all, it's rather obvious that it wasn't behaving like normal fire seeing as water didn't extinguish it and there are no signs that would indicate it to be a gas fire of any sort.
The lemur frowned again, peering at the fire a bit more closely.
"It's gotta be some kind of magical fire," he said, crossing his arms. "Why else would water and dirt not snuff it?"
The fire gave off a mixed vibe; mixing the dark and fire attributes together to create something that burns with more intensity at the cost of any real form of precision control.
"Damn it...it's got some Darkness attribute to it..."
"Then how do we stop it...?? It could engulf the entire forest...!"
Exspira watched them, growing a bit impatient. ".... If it'll speed things up to the good part.." He snapped his fingers, willing the flames to snuff themselves out.
The soldiers looked shocked to see the flames suddenly snuffed themselves out. They looked around, trying to find out just why they did, but couldn't see anything.
"Well, uhh...that takes care of that, then," said one of the soldiers, a female dunnart. The lemur frowned.
"This is quite suspicious...I feel like that lynx may still be around here..."
Exspira didn't bother listening in after snuffing the fires; instead wandering deeper inside the forest.
"We should just get back to the village," said the rakali, crossing her arms. "We don't know if we'll have to prepare to defend or not..."
Feeling that he had wandered far enough, Exspira had found a quiet little grove with a fresh water pond near the center; really it was an idyllic fishing spot if he had a fishing rod and bait.
There was nobody else around the small grove, but the pond was filled with aquatic life.
Exspira gave a small smile at this, removing his sheathed saber from his waist and setting it next to him he sat down; taking off his boots and dipping his feet in the water.
The water was pleasantly cool and crystal-clear, and the life within primarily consisted of different kinds of fish, with some aquatic plants, and the occasional frog and water-strider, as well.
"This is nice.." Exspira muttered.
The Light Clan
In the northern quadrant of the Whitewood Zone of Eurish, a female panda carrying a shortbow is patrolling the area that surrounds Hope Tower, the home of the Light Clan of Celeritas. She yawns a bit as she walks, straying a bit further into the forest of birch and Ghostwood trees. The shadows of the trees' leaves dance in the breeze, as she notices a single shadow of a bird, framed like a portrait, in an opening in the trees.
The shadow suddenly morphs into another animal, one the panda could not immediately identify. Looking for the source of the shadow, she sees a gold hedgehog, lounging on a branch making shadow puppets through an opening in the canopy, a distant look on his face as he only mildly focuses on his puppetry, as though he had done this a thousand times before.
Frowning, she steps up closer, craning her head upwards to get a better look at him. He seemed to be the source of the shifting shadows...
"Who are you?" she asked, crossing her arms as she looked up at him, hoping to get his attention; he didn't even seem to be focusing on his craft.
The hedgehog barely reacted to her presence, remaining silent for a few seconds. "Do all things become one, like shadows do?" He seemed to ponder to himself, rather than ask the panda. "If our shadows are indistinguishable when they touch, do we too, all become nothing but an image of something greater.... When we approach one another?" His hands shifted, creating an oddly accurate shape of the female Panda in his personal puppet show.
The panda seemed to be mulling over the question herself, now; it really was something to think about, now, wasn't it? While she herself had no control over shadows, there was obviously no denying that they existed, and, generally, they did blend together when they touched...
As she pondered, she saw the shadows shift to become her shape, and her eyes widened.
The hedgehog suddenly snapped from his daze, the shadows morphing to look more like his hands should as an imitation of the panda's form. The branch he lazed on gently lowered him to the ground, and as he landed on his feet, it rose back up.
"What was I just doing...? Oh, excuse me, you asked me who I was. They call me Solex." He directly addressed the panda, much less vacantly than he seemed before.
She watched as the shadow changed shape once more, this time looking like his actual hands trying to mimic her form, and stepped back a bit as the branch lowered itself to let the hedgehog get onto the ground.
"Solex, huh?" she said, crossing her arms. "Well, this is...an interesting first meeting, to be sure. My name is Heldere."
She held out a hand for him to shake. He didn't take it, looking towards Hope Tower instead.
"Likewise. I'd almost forgotten what it was like in the presence of the Clans. Suffocatingly insufferable, don't you think?"
This caused her to frown and withdraw her hand.
"And what is that supposed to mean, huh?" she asked, narrowing her eyes at him.
"Well, just look at them." Solex gestured his hand towards Hope Tower. "A shining beacon of purity and comfort, beauty and goodness as far as the light touches. An inherently discriminatory thing."
He prattled on, with no regard for Heldere. "Light shows the difference, red and green, blue and yellow, and it's so ingrained in our being that in light, we have a preference. You like blue and don't like brown, or you love pink and hate orange. You see beauty and ugliness, and call it such, and dislike one. In light, there is a line, a distinction, between everything, and you must choose because it is our nature in the light. They even call it Hope as if they're the only good in the world, only accepting those who add to light, or accept light, or need it's boon to survive."
Heldere said nothing, as if Solex's words had gotten to her quite deeply. She crossed her arms and stared at the ground, mulling over what he said; what if he was right? What if the light revealed and reveled in an absolute bias towards itself while shunning all else? She had no idea how to respond, to argue or retort.
She always envisioned her clan as a force of good, helping those in need whenever they could, but, of course, there was a deeply ingrained mistrust of those who wielded the Element of Darkness. there was no denying that the Light Clan was biased as all hell...but the same could easily be said for the other Clans, as well...
"Do not the other clans also live in light?" Solex questioned, as if reading her mind. "Are there such beings who live without any light at all?"
Heldere was jolted out of her thoughts looking over at him.
"Well...uhh...we're the only clan made entirely of Light-wielders, as far as I know," she said. "All the other Elemental Clans follow a different Element, like fire, water, earth..."
She sighed a bit.
"I...I mean, I guess you could say they 'live without light'..."
Solex smirked, tilting his head slightly. "Do they? Fire produces light, the earth and plants absorb light to survive, and even in the shadows as we are now, light shines through. Surely, these things are all necessary, no?"
He waved his hand dismissively. "Excuse me for posturing speciously. Like any other skill, talking shit demands practice."
She put a hand to her chin, thinking.
"Well...you do have a point, there," she said, looking back at him. "Light exists in far more ways than I've realized."
He raised an eyebrow amusedly. "What are you, a Light Clan member? Single-minded and out of touch with the world, come on now."
"W-Well...yes, I am a member of the Light Clan," she said, frowning slightly at the comment about her being 'single-minded and out of touch with the world'.
"Oh." Solex's smile and brows dropped. "Well.... Forgive my rudeness, but perhaps you see clearly then. So if you can answer my 3 questions, you can do what you like with me for, shall we say, trespassing."
One hand shot behind his back while the other raised quickly with a single finger pointed upwards. "Question the first. How did I move the tree?"
She seemed slightly confused by Solex's abrupt change in tone, but said nothing about it. She watched as he pointed upwards, towards the trees, and rubbed at her chin.
"Uhh...did you use Nature-manipulation on it...?" she asked.
Solex smirked again, pointing a second finger. "Question the second. Why did you see my shadow puppet take your shape?"
"Why? Well, uhh...I mean, that's what it looked like to me," said Heldere, looking slightly confused.
He chuckled a bit, before raising a third and looking at Heldere more directly. "Question the last. What's my clan and rank?"
She blinked a bit.
"I...I-I don't know...I mean, I saw you controlling shadows, but I don't think you're a member of the Dark Clan, seeing as how you said you've forgotten what it was like to 'be in their presence'..."
"You answered with a question, an obvious statement and a ruling out." Solex cut in, holding out his wrists as though to be handcuffed. "Congratulations, you answered my questions and won."
Heldere seemed shocked at this.
"W-Wait, I did?" she asked, blinking a bit. "I...umm...well...what now, then...?"
"Like I said. You do whatever you want with me for trespassing in your precious light. Or I could insult your clan for a while until you decide to take me." Solex shrugged. "I'm not particular."
Heldere frowned, not particularly fond of his attitude. She put a hand on her hip as she glared at him.
"If you hate my clan so much, then why not just...leave?" she asked. "I'm willing to let you go; you don't seem like you want to destroy us, after all..."
Solex's hands dropped, and he looked at her as though over glasses, stupefied.
"And here I thought you were one of the good ones. Who said I hate your clan? We're all the same in darkness, after all."
"Well, you sure don't seem to hold them in a respectable regard at all," she said, raising an eyebrow.
"And I don't believe that we're 'all the same in darkness'; there are more things than just darkness that define a person, after all..."
"But who can tell in the darkness?" Solex pondered. "Are we all really so different when it comes down to it? I mean, I would probably ignore my home while casually chatting with some dark-user, letting him secretly worm shadows into Hope Tower and possibly harm everyone I loved too." He shrugged, eyes closed and smiling. "Common mistake."
Her eyes widened at this, and she looked over her shoulder, back towards her home. She turned her attention back to him, glaring again.
"What did you do?!" she barked, backing up; she was preparing to run back to Hope Tower, to make sure that everyone was okay. She may have just been a humble scout, but she still had a duty to her people.
"Me? Who said I was ever here?" He chuckled, vanishing into the ground as a shadow.
She watched him vanish into the ground, before running back towards Hope Tower; she had to make sure everyone was okay.
When she got there, she was shocked to see that everything was perfectly normal. No shadows menacing the villagers, nobody injured...she crossed her arms and frowned.
Sighing, she just walked forward; that hedgehog had just been trying to upset her.
"Well, if it's that easy..." Solex uttered, now leaning behind Heldere as if he had always been there.
Heldere jumped in shock and whirled around to see Solex, eyes wide.
"Wh-What are you-"
"-Doing here?" Solex interjected, winking at her. "Whatever I want to, clearly. But hey, if all that entails is telling you confusing things and then bald-faced lying to you, well, we've got nothing to worry about. Ain't that right?"
"If you're willing to straight-up lie to me about endangering my home and friends, then that makes it very difficult to trust you, now, doesn't it?" she retorted, crossing her arms. "Even if you haven't attacked me or anyone I care about, you still haven't given me a reason to trust you."
"I didn't ask for your trust." He responded, smiling again. "Just your eyes."
"My eyes...? What do you mean by that?"
"One last question for you." Solex winked again. "When you see a light, even one from above, is light all there is, or a hidden abyss waiting to swallow you?"
He tapped his nose, then pointed behind Heldere, aiming to vanish again when she looked away.
That question seemed to have confused her, but she looked behind her when Solex pointed, not realizing that he was about disappear on her.
"See you at light's out~" Solex chimed, disappearing into a shadow.
But he was already gone, and Heldere was calling out to empty air. Her arms dropped to her sides, and she sighed, before, once again, turning around and walking inside Hope Tower. Everything seemed perfectly fine inside, despite the fact that their chief deity seemed to have completely disappeared; unsurprisingly, this worried everyone, but they tried to keep life going as normal.
By now, the sun was starting to dip below the horizon, and those who weren't out on watch were getting ready to sleep. Heldere started to make her way towards her sleeping quarters; normally, she shared the room with a female dibbler named Terane, but she was out in the sick bay with a fever.
Heldere changed into her pajamas, and eventually crawled into bed, turning off the lantern on the bedside table. Almost as soon as she did, she heard someone above her.
"Sleep well." Solex cooed, lying on the ceiling as if defying gravity.
Heldere very nearly screamed, eyes flying open as she quickly fumbled for the bedside lantern, nearly knocking it over; thankfully, the 'flame' produced by it was of the magical sort, and its sole function was to produce light.After turning on the lantern, she looked around frantically, trying to find the source of the voice, before looking up to see Solex. She grabbed the lantern and held it up to improve vision.
"What are you-" she hissed, narrowing her eyes at him.
Solex seemed to ignore the animosity. "Lights went out, so here I am, as promised. Going well?"
"I wasn't expecting you to show up in my room," Heldere said, setting the lantern back on the bedside table. She sighed a bit.
"So...yes, the lights went out. So...umm...yeah, going well, I guess..."
She felt rather awkward; this guy was hovering on the damn ceiling, while she was sitting in bed, in her pajamas.
"You're lucky my room-mate's in sick bay, at the moment," she said, crossing her arms. "I really have no idea how I'd explain all this to her..."
Solex sat upside down on the ceiling, crossed legged, staring down at her. "That would've been fun to see. But just my luck, it's just you and me."
He smiled and clapped his hands together. "So! I never got to let you ask many questions, did I?"
Heldere just frowned, sitting back slightly as she watched Solex adjust his position on the ceiling.
"Well...no, you really didn't," she admitted. "For starters, where on Mobius did you even come from? And I don't mean just sneaking into here, I mean further back than that."
Solex just frowned in confusion. The ceiling he sat on turned black, and moved down through the air, righting Solex's orientation as he floated down on his new shadow platform, stopping at eye level with Heldere. The ceiling was left untouched as Solex tilted his head at her.
"You mean like.... Why was I in that tree?" He asked, eyes shifting with puzzlement.
"Well...that's part of it, yes; why were you up there? What made you decide to travel to that particular area of the Whitewood Zone? It almost seemed like you knew where Hope Tower was, too..."
"Mostly boredom, little bit of guidance, probably some luck..." He trailed off, still obviously confused.
Heldere frowned, but did not have any reason to believe that Solex was lying to her.
"...well...what were you doing before you came here?" she then asked.
"More of the same as when you saw me, I'd think." Solex was still obviously confused, though seemed more focused on his answers. "Is this going somewhere, or are you just asking questions because the chance is here?"
"I guess I'm trying to figure out just who and what you are," Heldere admitted, rubbing the back of her neck. "I mean, I shouldn't have any reason to be suspicious of you, but..."
She sighed a bit.
"The fact that I now have a chance to ask questions is a big reason too, to be honest."
"Sure, the fact that I copied your shadow, lied to you, made you freak out a little bit, then showed up in your room uninvited when you were going to sleep and looked down at you from the ceiling while you were wearing pajamas, which by the way was a very nice view, is absolutely no cause for suspicion." Solex listed bluntly, smiling to himself. "But please, go on with your questions."
"Well...yeah, that's true; you did lie to me," Heldere admitted, frowning a bit. Her eyes then widened.
"For the love of-...you were watching me while I undressed?!" she barked, but quickly dropped her voice back down to a vehement whisper.
"You didn't have the decency to at least look away?!"
"I wasn't watching. I wasn't even here until you turned out the lights." Solex shifted his legs, slowly becoming uncomfortable on his magic carpet of darkness.
She just grumbled and crossed her arms.
"How long were you staring at me for...?"
"Just the time we were talking." He shrugged. "It's rude not to look at someone when they're talking."
She pulled the blanket up over her breasts a bit, frowning.
"Yeah, I know...well...I still can't help but feel like you showed up in the forest for some specific reason..."
"There is almost certainly a reason for meeting you specifically." Solex's darkness shifted from a flat, floating platform into a more proper chair, letting him place his feet on the floor while remaining seated, leaning forward onto his arms a bit.
"Unfortunately I'm not aware what that might be as of now. The shadows don't tell me everything."
"There probably is," she agreed, nodding a bit. She blinked, raising an eyebrow.
"The shadows...talk to you?" she asked, somewhat confused.
"Whispers most of the time." Solex closed his eyes as if focusing. "The thoughts and desires of those around me, things they don't want others to know, harsh emotions, the will of the shadows itself occasionally."
"...I see," Heldere mused, nodding a bit. "So, you say these shadows tell you the 'thoughts and desires of those around you'; can they tell you the thoughts of anyone around you...? Can they..tell you secrets from people around...?"
"People create their own shadows." Solex said, looking at her. "Not all of them make noise, but sometimes yes. If I listen to them."
"Ah, that's true...people make shadows," she said, nodding a bit. "Err...is it only the shadows of living things that can make noise to you...?'
"Darkness doesn't discriminate." Solex replied.
"What makes you so sure of that?"
He paused. "I just meant that everything has a shadow.... Living or not, doesn't make different kinds of shadows, it's all the same."
"Ohh," she said, nodding a bit. "That makes more sense."
"Did you have any other questions?" Solex's shadow-seat morphed into a lounge chair shape, and he leaned back in it.
"I...don't think I have anymore right now," she said, rubbing the back of her head. "Other than, well...what do you plan to do now?"
Solex's eyebrows raised, he looked at the second bed in the room, then back to Heldere. "Mind if I borrow that bed for the night?"