by tooth & claw dragons

where darkness and chaos reign...
Welcome to the land of dragons and elves; demons and death. Here, you may weave tales of all creatures, great and small - magic is found in everything, and many worlds one can explore are open for discovery. By Tooth And Claw Dragons, often shortened to BTACD, is an original high fantasy role-play site with over eighty species and ten solid worlds, fifteen years strong. Freedom of creativity is boundless within the established lore, and member suggestions are not only accepted, but encouraged. We release new content monthly, and are always expanding our wondrous Realms. Come and play with magic, honor the great gods, and beware the balance that governs all...
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 Seeking Guidance, Nirn Prays to Leartes
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PLAYERS INVOLVED: Fyfergrund and Mavanger

SETTING: Felnova, Khankirae, Laerte's Temple

WEATHER: Sunny, warm

TIME: Alu, the 23rd of Meiva; 13030, Current

CHARACTERS INVOLVED: Laertes, Nirn

Nirn was in trouble. Not physically, no. She was in trouble emotionally. Just recently, her whole life had changed. She had learned that not only had the Faction been lying to her, but that they were the true murderers of her family. She had also come upon the realization that she had been killing innocent beings for years, misled by the faction and their lies. That was over now She had denounced the faction, and now stood before the temple of Laertes, far from her home.

She gazed up at the structure, slightly in awe. Laertes, the god of war, peace, and balance. She stepped forward, climbing the stairs somberly, her blades in their sheaths. She looked up, towards the heavens. Who else to ask for aid from, than the one she wronged? She had carried out a war against peace, and disrupted the balance. Only Laertes could tell her how to restore it, she felt.

She entered the temple, walking past the sounds of sparring and the low murmur of speech. She moved forward, towards the quieter garden, intent on finding somewhere peaceful to meditate, and to pray. Maybe, just maybe, if she prayed hard enough, Laertes would give her guidance, or something.

Once she entered the garden, she sat on her knees. She placed her hands on her knees, and closed her eyes. She spoke quietly, as to not disturd the peace.

"Laertes, I'm not one to pray. I never had been. But I've been led astray, and on that path I disrupted your balance. I joined the crusade against the dragons. I killed many. But now, I've denounced the Faction and their ways, but I don't know how to fight them. Please, I beg of you, show me the way."
^
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For a time, nothing seemed to happen. The soft sounds of temple activity continued to reach the peaceful garden. The distant sound of weapons and armor clanging as some of the priests sparred in a distant part of the temple still sounded, and the soft voices of other priests and visitors holding quiet conversations drifted through the air. A gentle breeze stirred the leaves, and whispered through the garden.

But they slowly faded out as a silent, powerful presence surrounded Nirn like a soundless wind. Although the god wasn't physically present, Leartes had heard her prayer. Around her, the garden seemed to expand, and the rest of the temple seemed to fade away, leaving her alone with his divine presence.

Solemn regard fell upon her as, before her on the ground, her blades appeared, red with fresh blood, and mournful cries just barely reached her ears as above her, Leartes's divine presence hung heavily. But the cries faded away with one last sigh as two drops of gleaming water fell upon the blades, washing them clean, and the powerful presence around her seemed to withdraw a short ways, as though granting her a reprieve from retribution.

Instead, his presence wrapped gently around her, slowly drawing her to her feet as around her, the garden gave way to what felt like a battlefield just before the battle was joined, though upon the plain she stood alone with only Leartes's divine presence to accompany her.
^
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For a moment, Nirn felt... disheartened. She had known that the gods were elusive. Mortal affairs were likely of little concern to them, but deep down, she had hoped Laertes would hear her, and answer. She didn't know what she would do, but she would find her way.

And then, she felt it. She opened her eyes, and looked around. The temple was gone, along with everyone in it. In its stead, the garden ad grown, seemingly endless in all directions. A shimmer of light, and Nirn turned forward. She froze- Her blades, coated with blood. Screams. There were no words, but she knew who it belonged to, the innocents she had killed.

She let out a shaky breath. She hadn't known how she had been misled, but that didn't matter. She was blind, and willingly. Deep down, she had always felt that what she was doing was wrong. Killing fleeing or defenseless dragons had always disturbed her. It had never stopped her, though. She had needed revenge, and she hadn't cared where it came from.

She could feel the crushing weight of Laertes, his judgement, her sins. Tears fell from her face as she sobbed in relief as the two drops fell, absolving her, the oppressive weight lifting slightly. She felt herself lifted to er feet as the garden faded away, replaced by plains bearing an ominous air. The air of battle. She began to reach for her blades before recoiling, instead calling on her magics, a faint light surrounding her hand as she prepared her illusions.
^
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Beneath Nirn's feet the ground trembled with a foreboding rhythm as if a multitude of warriors were marching upon her in perfect order, and a deep mist began to cover the battlefield as if to mask their approach. Faintly, muffled by the mist, the sound of armored soldiers marching forward began to reach her ears as the mist continued to creep forward as if to envelop her.

But, as she began to call upon her magic, the glow around her hand brightened into a brilliant white with lack runes flickering across it before a sudden surge of power erupted up her arm and through her body. As the surge of power coursed through her, it brought with it a fierce, burning sensation as if it strove to burn its way out of her body before abruptly fading.

A soothing wind surrounded her, a cool balm driving away the burning pain, and the magic she called upon increased in power as, unseen behind her, a fifth tail grew, and before her, the spreading mist seemed to hesitate, and retreat a bit as newly bestowed power filled her. But the approaching footsteps didn't falter, and the sound of thunderous drums joined the sound of marching feet.

Her blades, still lying upon the ground, abruptly rose, as if gripped by an unseen warrior, and danced through the air as if flourished by unseen hands, poised between her and the unseen army marching upon her. The dancing blades, together with the divine presence hanging over her, ensured she would not face the oncoming horde alone.
^
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The mist descended upon her, and she prepared her illusions and spells. Nirn staggered as she felt it. The raw power, coursing through her body. she stumbled forward, barely staying on her feet. It... hurt. It burned, and she could feel that pain. She didn't have time to examine the runes floating around her hand, nor did she care to.

And then, as quickly as it came, the pain was gone. She could feel the power, and it was hers to command as the mist faltered. Still, however, her ears could pick up the marching troops. She called on her magic, a slew of nightmarish illusions appearing behind her, as she prepared for the coming engagement.

The blades before her drew her eyes as they rose in their deadly dance. She didn't know who wielded them, but something inside her gut told her it was Laertes. Regardless, she would welcome the help. She a wave of her hand, giant spiders, nightmarish shades, and abhorrent monsters swarmed the mist. Those who came to oppose her would never know their true enemy.
^
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As the illusionary monstrosities swarmed into the mist, they vanished from her sight, and the sounds of fierce battle reached her ears. The mist seemed to withdraw even more, carrying the sounds of battle with it while screams of fear echoed across the battlefield as unseen soldier battled unfeeling monster. The battle seemed to be reaching a stalemate, but the sounds of marching feet continued, and grew louder.

Then the mist began its approach as the sounds of marching feet began to overwhelm the sounds of battle. The dancing blades kept it at bay, but it continued to grow thicker beyond the reach of their gleaming edges, and circle around as if seeking to surround her. Unheard, but still felt, was a call for reinforcements from her unseen monstrosities, still fighting in the mist ahead.

Around her, invisible but almost tangible, more power flowed as if awaiting her call, silently urging her to push herself harder than she ever could before. A faint glow appeared, again white with shifting black runes moving across it before their meaning could be discerned, drifting within reach of her hand, and all she had to do was reach out and grasp it to make it hers to command.
^
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Nirn stepped forward as she her her illusions calling to her. That wasn't right- she had never brought true life to an illusion before. The closest she had come was a web of enchantments binding the illusion to reality, and that only worked on inanimate objects, like her swords. She stepped forward towards the mist once more as it swirled and the unseen battle waged.

She reached out, hesitating before she grabbed the glowing orb. She had been misled once before under the guise of a war. She glanced up as her creations yowled for help. She made up a mind- she had not created these illusions so that they could be led to a slaughter like lambs. She grabbed the orb.

Magic leaped to life as she felt even more power flowing into her. she raised her hands as a number of the worst creatures she could think of rose, from dragons to demons, along with several beasts made of shadow and darkness. She took a deep breathe, and willed them forward, and forward they went, into the mist with one prime directive. Fight.

She pulled on the power again, searching for the source. Maybe, just maybe, if she could find it, she could discover the meaning of this... vision. She was unsure if that was the proper term, though. It was more like a figment of her mind, as of yet unexplored. She wouldn't know until she discovered the meaning behind this, though.
^
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Again, the surge of power coursed through her body as she took the orb, and again, the mist seemed to retreat before her as a sixth tail joined the fifth. It retreated still further as she summoned more illusionary creatures into existence, but only so far. The sounds of battle grew still louder as her new creations surged into the mist to join their beleaguered comrades.

The calls for help fell silent, replaced with more triumphant calls, but the sound of marching feet continued its relentless pounding. As fiercely as her creations were surely fighting within the mist, there seemed to be no end to the relentless horde marching upon them, and upon Nirn herself, hidden within the swirling mist.

Then, the vision, the divine epiphany, changed slightly as she pulled upon the power surrounding her once more. Another agonizing surge coursed through her as, for a brief moment, she could feel Felnova's agony caused by the sundered Royal Bond, and the resulting imbalance that threatened to tear the entire Realm apart. Then the feeling faded, but remained faintly within the mist itself. However, now, as the sounds of fighting faded, she could see a banner, the banner of the Faction itself, now revealed by the increased power within her.

The banner itself was planted firmly in the ground as the all-enveloping mist flowed from it. Her blades drifted back towards her, and one planted itself in the ground as the other hung in the air before her, blade pointed towards the banner, hilt before her, within arm's reach, as if beckoning her to take it and cut through the pole holding the Faction banner aloft. The divine presence surrounding her waited expectantly, as if urging for her to take up her blade and strike.
^
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Nirn prepared to send more creatures. The sounds now were of triumph, but another battle was soon to begin. She had to win- she had to stop them. She didn't know why, but she felt that it was the faction, marching on all of dragon kind,and she had to at least delay them.

Nirn froze as the blade drifted before her.After everything she had done, all the dragons she had helped kill with them... could she really pick up a sword again? it was a link the her bloody past, one she would most rather leave behind. She shook her head. If she forgot her past, she would simply fall into the same trap as before. She could use the blades, one last time, to cut down this banner.

She reached out, but stopped again. A moment of doubt crossed her mind. What if she was wrong?What if this wan't her path, even for this final step? The blade hung, silent, as judging as the god above her. It didn't move. She grabbed it, in one motion rushing towards the banner, screaming with all her rage, hatred, and hurt, bringing her blade on the haft of the pole.
^
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As the blade met the haft of the pole holding the banner aloft,several things happened all at once. First, the blade sliced through the pole, sending the banner to the ground, the pervasive mist disappeared along with the sounds of battle and marching feet. Second, Nirn found herself once more standing in the center of a vast, peaceful garden. Third, a great phoenix, with brilliant white wings an tail of the deepest black, soared overhead, and disappeared as, around her, the divine presence faded.

Then, as if waking from a dream, she would find herself once more sitting on her knees, hands resting atop them, back in the peaceful garden inside Leartes' temple. Before her sat an elven priest wearing a black and white robe, hands folded over a naginata resting on his lap. A dark, hardwood shaft about as long as she was tall was topped with a deceptively delicate-looking blade of dragonsung steel that gleamed in the sunlight, and tipped with a dragonsung steel ferrule, was cradled in his lap.

His eyes were half-closed in meditation, until something alerted him to her return to the waking world. "Have you found what you were looking for, thrice-blessed of Leartes?" he inquired softly, one thin eyebrow rising.
^
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As her blade met the pole, and the mist led away revealing the garden once more, she gasped, throwing the blade to the ground as she backed away, gasping for air. Never again. She would never again touch her blades, nor summon them, for any act of violence, against anyone, or anything. She had killed too many innocents with them. Already she was burdened with what she had done. She needed not the cold reminders before her. Above her, a phoenix soared, and she glanced up.

And then, the vision was over. She opened her eyes slowly, taking a shaky breath. Before her, despite her wishes to get in and out without disturbing anyone, sat an elf. He wore the traditional garments of Laertes. He held a beautiful weapon, as expected of a priest of Laertes, and seemed deep in meditation. When he spoke, she jumped, clearing her throat. His words startled her more, however.

Thrice blessed by Laertes? She could remember the vision, but she was unsure of how she was blessed. As she opened her mouth ask what he meant, she realized what the blessings were. She could feel three new appendages, tails. She could feel the power that came with them too, and knew in her heart why she had been granted these tails.

"I have. I did not expect to, but I have. I expected to be left on my own to find my path. Did Laertes send you to me, as well?" she asked quietly.
^
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The priest nodded in understanding. The gods spoke to their followers in many different ways, some more impressive, or perhaps terrifying, than others. Much like ho he himself was, a short while ago, filled with the notion that he should go into the garden, instead of the sparring rooms, and take the naginata he had with him instead of putting it back in its rack.

"In his own way, yes, he did. Though I suspect his message for you was rather more dramatic. I can sense his presence lingering here," he mused, a small smile crossing his face. Then he looked down at the naginata on his lap, tracing a forefinger along its length. "And I suspect this is meant for you, as the blades you entered with are nowhere to be seen."

It was true. At some point during her vision, Leartes' divine essence had washed over them, dispelling them entirely, further washing away the recent events of her past. The priest then stood, and thumped the haft of the weapon in his hand against the ground. "Are you ready to walk the path he has laid out for you?"
^
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Nirn nodded as the man spoke. Is seemed that Laertes had a flair for the dramatic, if even those around her knew of his ways. Or, they were his priests, and simply attuned to such things. She liked to think it was the former, and chuckled softly, despite her recent experience.

"I think it would be hard to be more dramatic than what he showed me." she said. When he mentioned her blades, the first thing she did, out of pure instinct, was to try and cast them away. As her hands passed through empty air, however, she glanced down, hearing the priest finish his sentence. It seemed he was correct-either she subconsciously dispelled them during the vision, or Laertes dispelled them for her.

She stood as the priest stood, straightening herselfas she reached for the haft of the weapon. "I know my path now, and I am ready to walk it." she said, nodding solemnly. She would take this weapon, and she would use it to aid the dragons, to defeat the dragons and reinstate the rule of the dragons.
^
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The priest grinned a bit. Leartes was many things, but subtle was not among them. Not when compared to most of his divine compatriots. No, whether in person through divine visions, he tended to leave quite an impression. Then, when Nirn reached out her hand, he handed her the naginata, and nodded slightly.

"Then take this, so that you may strike down your enemies. And this, so that the faithful of Leartes will know you for one who bear's our divine Lord's blessing, and offer you what aid they might have to give," he intoned, raising his hands to remove a pendant from around his neck displaying the head of Leartes himself, gazing straight, with his left three eyes closed, and the right three wide open.
^
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Nirn smiled- the elf before her had an infectious one. She took the naginata, weighing it in her hand. It was a well balanced weapon, and light for a polearm. She could use this, rather well she thought. She nodded thankfully towards him, as he revealed the pendant. She blinked.

"Thank you, Priest. I don't know how to repay you other than following the path Laertes has set for me, so I hope that is enough." she said, bowing respectfully before turning away. She made her way out of the temple, as quietly as she had come, seeing the place in a new light. She was no longer lost, no.

Now she had a purpose, one that the gods themselves had given her. She would destroy the faction, and their holding. She would avenge her innocence, and the innocents that she had killed in her ignorance.
^
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