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PLAYERS INVOLVED: @SherniKaur @Fyfergrund, and anyone else who wishes to join! :D
SETTING: In the Glorria Mountain Range!
WEATHER: Currently, there is a magestorm going on in Halgia, and it is especially bad in the Glorria Mountain Range. The Gods help our charries. :p
TIME: A little behind! RP'ing 10 days before current.
CHARACTERS INVOLVED: Maharani (Sherni)
This post has been edited by SherniKaur: Apr 21 2018, 04:08 PM
Maharani had loved magestorms.
Their wild, untamable beauty had always drawn her attention while she had trained under the protection of the warded barracks of her home, and the swirling colors and reiatsu-charged lightning that had the potential to decimate entire cities had taken her breath away. She recalled watching them in awe for hours upon hours when she should have been asleep; nothing could peel her eyes away from the chaotic wonder.
But now, while she heaved her six-foot-four self up a mountainside in the Glorria range with a muscular arm, shielding herself from the unyielding winds of a magestorm, Maharani could not come up with enough profanities to mutter whichever "deity" had allowed them to be created. Another bead of sweat trickling down her sun-kissed face, Maharani shook her head to push stray strands of her hair out of her face; when it moved, her black hair seemed to ripple into various hues of blue and green--the same colors as her wings.
Another bolt of lightning struck at her shield of air, and although Maharani flinched at how much reiatsu it drained from her, the lightning bounced off of it. Maharani could tell that she was about to reach her limit.
And then it hit her: Maharani couldn’t rely on her wings to save her if she fell, either.
It was a completely alien feeling and Maharani hated it; she could always rely on her wings to steady her when she fell, and they had caught her every time. But tied to Maharani’s body to prevent them from being ripped away by the savage winds of the magestorm, Maharani’s blue, green, and black wings were of no use to her. The irony, however, somehow amused the Darkened Seraph, her red lips curling up into a small smile and her dark eyes dancing with delight; her favorite game to play had been jumping off the largest cliff she could find and catching wind currents under her wings, and now, her wings couldn’t even brace her if she fell. She remembered when she had introduced that game to Harian--
Her lover’s name alone was powerful enough to bring back memories that hit Maharani like a blow to her gut. The pain that rippled through her caused her hand to slip from her handhold. Maharani cried out, now dangling off the mountainside with only one hand as her lifeline.
To make matters worse, while she scrambled for another ledge to grab on to, the rest of her power evaporated; she no longer had anything to protect herself from the winds. Instantly, Maharani was ripped away from the mountainside--
And hurled towards the five-hundred-foot plunge below.
Maharani wasn't the only one visiting the Glorria Mountains. Arkadian and his band had come to the mountains to pit their skills against the magestorms, flying among the storms themselves and making sport with the various bursts of energy the storms released. Dangerous as it was, Arkadian found it all the more thrilling.
He dodged a bolt of lightning, folding his wings to his body as he rolled out of the way, scales tingling from the violent burst of energy, teeth bared in a wild grin and eyes gleaming with excitement. Then he dove towards the top of the mountains below, intending to pass close enough to the mountainside to be able to reach out and touch it, when he spotted a lone figure scaling the rocks. As he watched, still diving, the figure was abruptly torn from the rocks, and plummeted.
Overcome by curiosity, and a desire to pit himself against time and weather, Arkadian angled his wings, altering his trajectory so he was aiming directly towards the falling figure as he folded his wings tight to his body, occasionally shifting them to keep aiming straight for his target. Behind him, having noticed his change in course, the rest of his band settled on the mountainside, goading him on and making small wagers amongst each other concerning his success or failure.
Despite Maharani's head start towards the ground, Arkadian was steadily closing the gap between them, but it was going to be close. He grinned in exhilaration as the ground rushed up to meet them, and as he drew closer, he reached out his forepaws to snatch her from the air as he passed by, knowing he'd have only one shot at this. He passed by close enough to see it was a female with wings strapped to her back, and, minding his talons, he reached out to grab her as he unfolded his wings, passing close enough to the ground to lash out with his tail and carve a small furrow in the ground before soaring skyward.
As he flew skyward, he glanced down to see if he'd managed to catch the seraph or not.
Arkadian had indeed succeeded in catching the Seraph; she was clearly unconscious, drained by her climb up the mountainside. Although her body did not move, her mind was abuzz with activity. Nightmares that she had buried for a long time resurfaced, and in her mind, Maharani was screaming for help; for the one phrase that echoed through her head most of all was one that haunted her since… she died:
“I never loved you.”
The third time she heard it, Maharani's eyes flew open. "Make it stop!" she yelled, her words most likely lost in the wind. She noticed that she was flying… but this time, it wasn’t her wings that were carrying her. “Who are you?” Maharani demanded, glaring at the scaled belly of the Western.
Arkadian was filled with a sense of triumph. It had been close, but she was clasped safely in his grip. He stared ahead again, and flew upwards towards the mountaintops and his waiting band. He grinned as he heard their raucous calls and cheers echoing through the mountains. He roared back in wild glee as his wings beat steadily, then glanced down as the seraph in his grip awakened with a shout.
"I am Arkadian. Who are you, who so daringly climbs up mountains with her wings so tightly bound?" he replied, raising her high so he could better talk to her while continuing to fly upward.
Maharani winced at the deafening roar that Arkadian had let out. She sucked in a breath when he lifted her on his own accord, but despite her fear, she looked up to face him, not allowing herself to glance downward. If the Western was paying close enough attention, he would notice that her eyes were a bright sapphire, but when she blinked, they were suddenly a dull hazel.
Not seeming to notice her change in eye color, Maharani responded, “I am Maharani. It is a pleasure to meet you, Arkadian, though I could ask you the same question. What brings you up here during a magestorm?”
Arkadian's teeth bared in a wide grin, and he briefly gazed skyward as a loud rumble of thunder accompanied a burst of pure energy overhead, failing to spot her change in eye color. He gestured towards the storm with his free paw.
"The magestorm, of course! We came here to ride the winds, and the storm makes it quite a challenge!" he explained, gazing skyward once more as another crack sounded, and he abruptly folded his wings and rolled sharply to the side as a bolt of energy lanced downward, passing through the air where he'd been a scant second before.
"Hah! See? It keeps you on your wings!" he declared, spreading his wings again and continuing his flight up to the mountaintop, drawn on by his own enthusiasm and the raucous calls of his comrades. He was close enough to the top that the rest of his band could be clearly seen and heard. He conjured a strong wind behind himself, and with a few more powerful beat of his wings, he reached the summit and landed. Here, among the small band of dragons, the storm was calmed, held back by their combined power.
"You see, my friends? I won!" he declared in celebration as he set Maharani down, held high in pride as the seraph became the target of the curious gazes of the wild band of dragons, some of whom jostled each other as they leaned in closer to get a better look at her. One of them, a burly male with black and red scales and overly long fangs, nudged her lightly with his snout as he sniffed at her wings.
"Wha's wron' wit' your win's?" he asked, tilting his head slightly in curiosity.
“... Riding magestorms,” Maharani repeated dubiously. “How--what--” She blinked up at her savior; when he spun, dodging a bolt of lightning as if he was one himself, she realized that his technique to avoid the magestorm’s furious strikes could perhaps be useful on her quest.
But as Arkadian set her down, roaring in reply to the echo of cheers reverberating through the cave, Maharani stumbled forward, only to be nudged further forward by another one of his friends. Exhausted, she fought her knees to remain standing; the deafening noise wasn’t helping either, and it was beginning to remind her of what had happened… then. Fear clogged her throat as reality faded into memory. She couldn’t breathe; she couldn’t think. Where did all of the air go?
Rapidly trying to suck oxygen into her lungs, Maharani darted her eyes all over the chaos unfolding before her. Explosions rocked around her while she screamed for a medic--
No, not again. Please, not again...
There was no air. Where was the air?
"Wha's wron' wit' your win's?"
Instantly, Maharani was snapped out of her reverie. She hadn’t had a panic attack in years and Maharani would be damned if she did after all the progress that she’d made.
In and out, she thought to herself, rhythmically inhaling and exhaling. It was a calming ritual, of sorts - one that she had created after her panic attacks had begun. Over and over, Maharani would repeat the phrase to herself until her mind had been cleared of any thought but those three words; the method worked every time.
Now calmer than she was before, the Darkened Seraph turned her now-azure eyes to the black Western that had nudged her, addressing him with a calculating stare. Her knees no longer shook, and her back was once again ramrod straight. “I bound them; I couldn’t risk the winds using them to hurl me off the mountainside. Although it didn’t matter in the end.” The corner of her lip curled up in cool amusement at her sore attempt at humor.
Maharani leaned toward him conspiringly, noting his large fangs that she knew could easily snap her in half. “You must tell me, though - out of sheer curiosity, how do you maneuver through the winds all while dodging lightning hurled so fast that it seems to be thrown by the gods themselves?”
The black and red dragon raised his head and twitched his wings, and grinned past his great fangs. "Ins'inc'," he declared. Immediately a smaller blue and white dragoness interjected with, "Practice!"
Following this, the rest of the dragons took this is the time to add their own thoughts, each one offering their own ideas on what made it possible, drowning each other out in a cacophony of discordant voices. It wasn't until Arkadian through himself among them, snapping and snarling and forcing them back a pace that some semblance of order was restored.
Once he was satisfied he'd restored order to an acceptable degree despite having gotten snapped at and jostled around himself in the process did he turn his attention back to Maharani. To him it was life as normal. Behind him, a brown-scaled wyvern crossed her eyes and stuck her tongue out at the back of his head to the amusement of the rest of the band. Arkadian glared over his shoulder, but she continued pulling faces until he flicked the tip of his barbed tail at her, which she dodged with practiced ease.
Then, grinning, he turned his full attention back to the seraph, and shrugged. "We just do it. Or we don't, and get slammed into the ground or tossed through the air. Or fail to see a bolt coming. But it's the danger that makes it such a thrill," he explained, nodding slightly as the rest of his band voiced their agreement. He gestured towards them with a wing. "Each one will tell you it's something different that keeps us alive, and each of them would be right."
Then he lowered his head so he was almost face to face with her. "So, if not to ride the winds or challenge the storm, why were you climbing so high up here? Was it the mountain you sought to challenge?"
“The mountain isn’t the challenge, my dear friends,” grinned Maharani. “What’s inside the mountain is.” She’d watched the dragons tussle with each other with silent amusement, dark eyes glittering, and known that they loved challenges. Perhaps her plan would intrigue them.
But then came his words: “‘Keep us alive…”
Maharani’s smile faded. What kept her alive?
Your mission, whispered a voice in the back of her mind. Focus on the gods-damned mission.
“I’ve lived here for most of my life… and I know that deep inside this mountain lies a thing of legend - guarded by the fiercest warriors of this realm,” she finally said. Leaning in, the Darkened Seraph brought her voice down to an alluring whisper. “They call them Markers, and I’m going to find one. Would you like to join me? It’s full of danger and risk…”
As her words fully sunk in, the wild band of dragons abruptly fell silent, and crowded closer to the seraph, eyeing her with increased interest and intensity, almost like great cats eyeing potential prey, their previous raucous behavior forgotten.
Arkadian, eyes narrowed, lowered his head until it was scant inches from her body, teeth bared slightly. "Find one? That's all? Enter the mountain just to find some legendary stone Marker?" He abruptly grinned, eyes glinting. "What happens after? Do you intend to claim it for your own? Or battle its guardians?"
He raised his head, and settled back on his haunches, eyeing her shrewdly. "And if we join you, what's in it for us? How much is our help worth to you?"
“Finding the Marker is only the beginning,” grinned Maharani; Jade eyes met the orbs of every dragon in Arkadian’s arsenal - and held them if they looked rebellious in the slightest. Her reiatsu radiated from her body, expanding to each individual with the rising and falling of her voice. It touched each and every dragon, giving them a purpose, calling them to arms, commanding them to serve her and only her. The allure of it was undeniable, but she only used it slightly; her intent was to discover who was the most resilient in this boisterous crowd. “I am going to destroy it.”
Maharani shrugged nonchalantly at Arkadian’s inquiry. “Jaden is of no worth to me, though I have an abundance of it. If that is your price, then I shall gladly pay it.” Her red lips curved up into a smirk and her eyes glittered as she waited for their reaction.
The exact reactions to the dark seraph's gaze varied. Some gazed back with rapt attention, caught up in the general excitement, while others defied her imperious gaze in various ways, but none of hem showed even the slightest signs of submitting to her will. Even when her alluring reiatsu washed over them, they instinctively rejected the call to serve.
They served no one. They followed Arkadian's leadership because they chose to, not out of any sense of submission, and the feral dragon had only encouraged such free thinking. The very notion of submitting to the command of another was as alien as attempting to breathe underwater. Without a word, they almost instinctively used their own, combined reiatsu to push hers back as they would one of the great magestorms covering much of Evylon, wings rustling and weight shifting as a vague sense of unease settled over them even as they rejected her command.
But, as she revealed her intentions, all unease seemed to vanish as, once again, every dragon in the group abruptly spoke up, offering their own thoughts and concerns. Somehow, despite the din, they managed to reach a general consensus after a few moments of near-deafening discussion. Or at least enough of one for Arkadian to raise his voice over the rest of the group, roaring for silence as he slammed his tail against the ground a few times.
Then, when the racket had died down, the gathered dragons crowded a bit closer, and Arkadian stepped forward and lowered his head, teeth bared in a wide, wild grin, so he could meet her jade eyes with his own gleaming amber orbs. "Jaden means nothing to us. But the thrill, yes, and challenge of facing one of the creatures of legend said to guard the great markers...that is a worthy goal, and its own reward," he declared as, around him, the rest of the gathered dragons nodded and voiced their agreement.
Maharani’s eyes surveyed the bunch, curiosity burning through her. If they are able to withstand my persuasion that easily . . . what can they do against a legion of telepaths? She tilted her head as the Western spoke, her mind racing with the possibilities while she calculated at which angles she could get them on her side. The grin on her lips of ruby never faltered; her now-cerulean eyes never wavered in their amused mask.
“It is decided, then. We shall search for the marker to face its great warriors,” declared Maharani. “And when we triumph, we will roar our victory to the very magestorm that believes it can contain us!” She took a deep breath and tugged at the bindings on her wings; they came off after a few tries.
“But beware,” the Darkened Seraph intoned. “This is neither a mission for those faint of heart, nor is it one for those who fear what comes on the other side of Death’s Realm.” Her wings flared from behind her, blue, and green shimmering on black—like midnight colored with sky and earth. “From this point on, this odyssey will be riddled with peril. If you wish to leave, do it now.”
This post has been edited by SherniKaur: Apr 12 2018, 05:08 PM
By the time the darkened seraph had freed her wings, the feral band of dragons were only half-listening to her words as they stirred into motion, stretching their wings and flexing their limbs in anticipation for the coming endeavor. They lived their lives on the edge of danger, with death as an ever-present companion, so her dramatic speech was largely wasted, though a number of the feral band did take a moment to admire her wings.
"Enough talk. Now is the time for action," grunted a short, stout, craggy-scaled dragon with russet hide. Arkadian turned a wild grin towards the seraph, eyes almost glowing with manic glee. "We dance on the threshold of Death's domain every chance we get! Danger make life all the sweeter!" he declared. Behind Maharani, a small, sleek dragoness with bright blue and purple scales, barely taller than the seraph, nudged her shoulder.
"Come on! Lead the way to this Marker, if you know where it is!" she huffed, eager to get moving. The rest of the band all voiced their agreement, now fully committed to the venture, impatient to get going.
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