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It must have been so obvious there was growing tension between Mirriad and Theodoras. She looked to the being who spoke and she gave a weak flash of a smile,
[b “He lost a lot, during the last war. I can understand his reluctance, but it does not mean I agree with him. And the choice falls to me.”] She murmured and looked to Theodoras who was deliberately ignoring her.
[b “How do you choose between the one you love, despite them never loving you in return, and what’s right for the world you know?”] When she said it out loud, she knew how ridiculous it must have sounded to the other being. She wanted nothing more than for someone else to make the decision so she wouldn’t risk hatred and loathing from Theo, but she had to bear this burden.
She had to lead an army and yet she couldn’t make a simple choice. She She would be a laughing stock among the other armies. Her eyes had lingered on Theodoras and she looked away finally from the blond elf and back to the Raptorian. She didn’t expect anyone to make the decision for her but Raptorians grew older than the likes of men, so perhaps in his years he had learnt something. The atmosphere was so mixed, some sang together over flaggons of drink, others moped and sat in silence, others had gone to inform their loved ones that war was going to come. Mirriad was surprised to see Theodoras amongst the singing men and different species. It seemed song didn’t have barricades. She never wanted to see the vibrancy from him fade, much less see him die. Mirriad sighed softly,
[b “And the Raptorians? They will fight?”] She asked him quietly.
The Raptorian was probably the first to notice when an individual approached the second floor balcony, having been watching everything quietly and not engaging in further conversation. Zosk was also most likely the first to lend his attention to the individual, whom soon proved to be Jarod Fenix; the Second in command of the guild branch here. The banging on the railing was painful to the Raptorian's ears, but he recognized the necessity and listened in pure silence as Fenix went about the briefing. The orb presented was most curious to Zosk, so much so that it held a strange familiarity to it. Had he seen it before? Was it some melding of older Lizardmen magica? He couldn't say, but he would try his best not to forget that feeling.
By the time the briefing was over, Zosk was lost in thought and concern for his people. The Dinosaurian species as a whole had suffered more than any other species did in the last Demon War; having been among the first to be attacked by the hordes and being the first to form the vanguard in response. Some tribes and species were wiped out completely, whilst others still hadn't fully recovered even after all this time. The Raptorians were in better shape than others, but were still in no position to make up the majority of a vanguard again. Zosk would no doubt have to return home, relay this news and do what he could to rally the Dinosaurian tribes again. This time, if they could at least be prepared, then maybe such losses could be avoided.
The Raptorian was turning to go when his vision passed over the Elf woman from before. Talkien, was it? A male Elf was departing from her side at a pace that suggested tensions, but for what? Were they split on what to do? Did one of them not wish to fight? The thought irritated Zosk, as this was no time to show cowardice or selfishness for one's own survival of their species. Did one of them not realize that everyone was in danger? Zosk wanted answers if possible, so he directly approached the Elf woman, not speaking until he was within 3 feet of her.
[b " Your comrade seems unhappy. Does he not wish to fight? Bad idea not to. Everyone in danger. Must fight to protect tribe. I know I will fight. Will make Dinosaurians fight, too. We lost so many last war. Must be prepared this time. "]
Mirriad and her companion stayed icily quiet, watching proceedings. Mirriad was concerned for what would happen. And the orb unsettled her, she had guessed the studies would turn up some sort of demonic force in their world but she didn’t expect it to be such a threat so quickly. Her father had been alive during the first and brutal war, he had seen many comrades fall and rarely spoke about how bad it got. Still, she stayed quiet throughout Jarod’s speech, not flinching when he banged his sword for attention. Her gaze didn’t falter once but she knew the High Elves could not sit out of this fight. If they were to take on demons again they would need help. Their haven in the deep forests would not hold back forces for long.
She lifted her gaze to Theodoras, as if puzzled somewhat on what he was thinking. It made no matter, as daughter to her father, she had final say on what the High Elves would do in this situation and where there stance was. She would not risk hiding away in their white city amongst the trees and watching other kingdoms and cities fall, knowing they would be next. She turned back to the crowds as Jarod finished and dismissed the crowd. Sure enough it began to melt away but many stayed to discuss the matter at hand. Although Mirriad did not let her face betray anything, she was worried. Species and kingdoms would disagree and agree on some things. Mirriad has inherited all the ferocity of her father and his keen eye for war, but she lacked his logic and skill for speech’s. She could not rally her people the same way he could. She had been but a tiny child, a wisp of dark hair when her father had first rallied his people to war and departed the city. Mirriad had been terrified he would not return, she had wept into her caretakers cloak for days. Not this time. She was no longer a frightened wisp, but a bold flame.
Theodoras looked to proceedings and remained as unshaken as Mirriad. However, he was unsure of joining this war. His brother and father had perished in the war, he had not been old enough to follow them to such places. He kept his family name alive, at the cost of his father and brother. They had gotten involved once, and once was enough. Their forest and city would keep them safe, the light that radiated was enough to keep away thousands. He wanted their people to have no part in this but the look in Mirriad’s eyes said differently. He leant in.
[b “You cannot be contemplating such a thing after the first time. We lost hundreds, thousands.”] he said quietly to her.
Mirriad did not look at him,
[b “We are of this world, are we not?”] She replied, calmly. She accepted his questioning only because of her deep love of the Male.
[b “You would command hundreds more to die.”] He whispered.
Mirriad snatched a glare at him, switching to her Elven tongue.
[i [b “I would command the to fight, not sit in the tall halls whilst the world burns around us. My father lead us to victory. I would do the same.”]]
[b [i “You would condemn me to such fire?”]] Theodoras asked her in Elven.
Mirriad looked shocked he would even suggested such a thing, a slight hurt flashing on her features. She was still young, she had much to learn but for Theodoras to even thing that she would wish such a death upon him, it hurt worse than a wound. She turned her gaze from him and didn’t reply, letting the silence fall heavy between them.
[b “If you think that low of me, then hide in your halls, Theodoras. But I will fight with my people.”] She said, switching back to the more common language. Theodoras grew frustrated and got up in a swift movement and gave her a look as if he wanted to say something but did not, instead drawing a sharp breath and moving away amongst the crowds. Theodoras would not watch her die in some battle that could have been avoided with more discussions. He had no choice though, she was stubborn and stupid. He engrossed himself in conversation with others whilst Mirriad sat alone.
From the shadows behind the balcony of the second level of the guild hall; Jarod Fenix watched all the adventurers, scholars, generals and persons otherwise gather in the opening as they waited. Some were obviously impatient, whilst others seemed to be enjoying themselves in the company of others.
His eyes shifted back towards the paperwork he held in his hands, going through the next few pages with an irritated look on his face. After a few moments of silence he turned to the scholars behind him and spoke, his voice a very irritated one.
[b " Somebody wanna explain to me why I have to be the one to announce this shit again? I mean, who am I really? "]
[i " Because you're the Huatli Adventurer's Guild second, that's why Jarod. "]
Jarod scrunched his nose at the fact and looked back down at the paperwork. It was true; he was indeed the second in command of the Capitol's Adventurer's Guild, and acted as the first when the First was missing. Missing.. What a word for the situation. Durand was actually dead; KIA'd in the last recon mission of the lands to the south where the demons were invading. Of course, none of that information had been made public just yet, so the duty of briefing everyone fell to him.
Jarod groaned aloud, muttering incoherently as he went over the last fell pages before handing them to the Scholar to his left; Damion, was his name? Jarod grabbed his sword; a 6 foot long greatsword with no hilt, supposedly forged with a dragon's soul trapped inside, which explained it's simple design. Supposedly, anyways he thought as he walked onto the open balcony overlooking the rest of the hall. Jarod watched for a minute as the rabble continued, totally oblivious of his entry. He sighed and slammed the flat side of his sword onto the balcony railing, a metallic smack reverberating throughout the entire guild hall, bringing all noise to a dead stop. As everyone in sight turned their attention to him, he took a deep breath and prepared.
[b " Afternoon everyone! I am Jarod Fenix, Second in command of the Huatli Adventurer's Guild branch. Regrettably First Commander Durand is unavailable for this briefing, and as such I am the one delivering it. As you know, the Scholar's Association has been hard at work investigating every bit of information they get regarding the Demons, for the past 300 years. What was discovered recently, brings more questions than answers. BUT! We have a direction finally. "]
Jarod turned sideways and motioned for one of the Scholars to approach the balcony, whom obeyed without delay. Once they stopped side-by-side with him, the Scholar raised up into his hands an object for everyone to see; a glowing orb of energy, deep red in hue and solid in state. The Scholar continued to hold it up as Jarod continued, now absolutely having everyone's attention.
[b " This orb was found in the south, in the corrupted lands that the demons started appearing in. It is pure energy, and so far has proven impossible to destroy. We have reason to believe that someONE.. Or something.. Is behind all of this once again. As the Adventurer's Guild, we have been given the opportunity to offer missions to those willing to go out and explore the corrupted lands, bringing back more orbs like this or any other items of interest for the Scholar's Association to study. ']
With that, there was a roar from the crowd; from excitement to contempt to condemnation and fear. Every possible emotion was conveyed, loudly, in an immediate instant before Jarod. He allowed the roaring to continue for about a minute before slamming his sword down on the railway again, silencing everyone. With that, the Scholar lowered the orb and left the balcony, having accomplished their part in the briefing.
[b " Understand this, the demons are coming. Again, and have most likely the same plans as they did before. If you value these lands, your family, your people and your life; You will make sacrifices for the preservation of all we know. For those who wish to react defensively, you may work with the armies for that purpose. All the connections needed are here today for that purpose. Every species representatives? I appreciate you all coming, as I wanted everyone to be on the same page. If there are any further questions, Scholars all over are here today for assistance with answering. Dismissed. "]
With that, the noise picked up once again in the guild hall, though not as loudly as before. Jarod was quick to remove himself from the balcony, and made his way through the staircases and hallways to return to Durand's office. As much as he hated discussions and paperwork, he still had more today to do. He still had generals, and the Huatli leadership to speak to directly. His day? Was only just beginning.
Mirriad looked to the creature,
[b “I’m sure it is the same thing that brings you here. You know of my people I’m sure, that we live in the light...but a darkness is creeping in.”] She said quietly, falling almost completely silent when the pixie made an appearance nearby. Raptorians were apparently more exciting than the elves but she was silently glad about it. The less excitement, the better. She was beginning to feel cramped and she silently moved away from the crowds, watching from afar. She had no issues being in the thick of things but her preference was always to watch. She shifted her silken hair from her face, pointed ears peaking out from beneath the locks.
How peculiar it was to be in different species company. She observed the goings on and narrowed her eyes warily, of course a mixture of such creatures would bring great conflict in such a close setting. Old rivalries, she supposed. Her bow was light on her back and within easy reach. Elves preferred long ranged attacks and she was a deadly and quick shot, their blades, on of which hung around her hip beneath the cloak, was just as sharp and light but she was not as skilled for brute force. Her father was a high standing elf and apparently had a suitor waiting, one she had known since she was a mere child, Theodoras. A handsome elf with a lot of potential and one of noble standing. Things since their engagement had been odd as anyone could imagine of course. She so desperately wanted it to work but he seemed reluctant somehow.
Her gaze swept over the ever growing crowds and she wondered who else would be joining them. They had much to discuss.
As if from nowhere a swift hand upon her shoulder roused her from thinking as she paused a moment. She recognised the touch. Theodoras with his long blond hair, straight jaw and high cheekbones looked down at her.
[b “You did not think your father would send you alone.”] he said to her quietly. He stood close to her and watched, dressed more boldly, no cloak hiding his features. His bright blue eyes stood vividly against his pale, flawless skin.
[b “A raptorian. I believed they were dead before now. How odd.”] He said quietly, shifting to sit, his demeanour a lot more relaxed than Mirriad’s it could be easily seen.
He offered the seat beside him to Mirriad who took it politely and the two watched as creatures and people flirted too and fro.
As the afternoon sun flooded in from the high windows in the stone walls, bathing all the occupants in its warm rays, the barest of breezes wafting in each time the door opened, the Guild Hall was becoming stuffy. The cramp confines as people tried to check in, representatives from around the world pack into the one room and slowly filing into the next made many grow irritable. The growing noise and restlessness was lost to a little fairy sitting on the reception bench. A splitting headache had caused her to seek solitude near the vase of flowers, her face pressed against the cool glass as she waited her turn to check in. She was mentally cursing those higher than her for being the cause of her predicament. She didn't want to be here. Not only that, she lost those she came with.
It should be known that Fairies and Pixies are so small that they do only feel one emotion at a time, but they are also so easily distracted that if they are not kept focused, they tend to flutter off to find amusement.
Opening one eye, she soon realised as to what was causing a stir amongst the populace. A Raptorian had entered the Guild Hall and he was the biggest creature she had ever come across. She managed to open both eyes and stare in awe.
Excitement bubbled up inside her. A real Raptorian!! How exciting! The other fairies told her about these creatures! They were not a part of the Fae realm so ever seeing one was restricted to when her duties allowed her to spend time on Sera.
She jumped into the air and would have flown over to inspect the beast if her forgotten headache had not caused her to plummet into the bench with no more than a soft thump and the puff of fairy dust.
So, the Elf could speak after all, and chose to speak to him of all people. But given how they were 4 feet apart, could Zosk really even pretend to be surprised? The Raptorian lowered back down onto all fours and shifted so that he was facing her directly, it now being easier that being on all fours made it so that the average Human and Elf were taller than him. His golden eyes blinked gently as he looked her over carefully, and noting that she was indeed shorter than most Elves.
[b "I am Zosk, Chieftan of the Raptorians. We are Dinosaurian. Different from Lizardmen, but they are Kin. "]
His voice was low and rough, with his speech short and to the point. Despite having been taught the Human language by a human, most Lizardmen had issues speaking it fluently due to the complexity of it in regards to syllables and pronunciations. Zosk was no exception to that reality, but he was fluent enough to speak clearly and be well understood. The Elf had lowered her head and was not looking at Zosk directly, which annoyed the Raptorian. Despite that, he had previously been made aware that it was a custom amongst Elfkind, and so he decided it best to overlook it and take no offense in the notion.
[b " Talkien, yes? What brings you to Huatli? "]
As Zosk had learned from his mentors some time ago, conversation was usually the best form of; " Breaking the ice ", as they called it. Even to this day, that saying was still an oddity to the Raptorian, despite how much sense it made. Alas, conversation was the best way to learn, and learning was indeed something Zosk always had an appreciate for. Knowledge was power, after all.
Mirriad was entranced by all of the different things here. Shops and colours. She could hear murmurs growing louder and she raised an eyebrow, pretty sure she wouldn’t be the one causing this. She looked to see a beast of a creature. She had never seen a Lizard man in the flesh. There were vague writings of them and drawings but honestly she had never paid them much attention. Her father believed most of them had died out, apparently not so many that they couldnt send a representative. It was strange to her, this creature and she did wonder if it spoke. This must have been their representative for their species. She watched the creature carefully and although her demeanour didn’t quite show it, the fangs he exposed in a yawn were certainly intimidating and she didn’t quite fancy being on the receiving end of those.
She was far from home and fairly young for an elf, only a few hundred years old. Basically a teenager was the closest thing she could relate herself to. She watched him for a while.
[b “I am Mirriad Talkien. Sent from the High Elves in the northern forests.”] she introduced herself in a soft voice, it was steady though with a certain type of strength behind it. Perhaps not brute strength as her slim frame meant she would most likely be no match for the 800 pound beast but a different strength, perhaps it was intellectual strength or maybe even something else. Her size usually meant she was a good idol to go hide in shadows and move swiftly. Most knew elves were swift and light on their feet with quick reflexes. Although she was small in size, she could be the formidable foe without even realising it at this young stage. Of course she was wary of this creature because he could snap at her in a heartbeat and those massive jaws would do her some serious damage. Elves were tougher to kill than humans but they were far from indestructible. They could not heal death. She lowered her gaze, a common sign of respect or at least she hoped that was the intention. She was not afraid of him as she could stand her ground quite well but she was not stupid.
The main city; Huatli was it? Even to this day, Zosk had trouble recalling its name. However, it never failed to withhold its' title as the capitol city of Sera, not only in size but also in stature. Scholars, diplomats, warriors, adventurers from the land over came to the capitol city for endless needs and ends. The same went for the species, aswell; from Humans to Elves of all kinds to Dwarves, Lizardmen and other species of respective Anthropians and their kin. However, Zosk and his kind never failed to stand out even in Huatli.
Zosk was a Raptorian, a subspecies of Dinosaurians that held close kin ties to the " standard " Lizardmen but being starkly different at the same time. Being 8 feet tall at the standard slouched-esque stand that all Lizardmen and Dinosaurians, Zosk was large even for his kin. The same went for his length, as with his tail included he was approximately 12 feet long, which was a problem in Huatli as his size made traversing most stores and walkways difficult when things got crowded. His bulk was nothing to shy away from either, for Zosk weighed a healthy 800 pounds; easily earning the title of being the largest Raptorian, to date.
There was no blending in, being an 8 feet tall, 800 pound blue-gray lizard; so Zosk never bothered with it. As Zosk made his way to the main hall of the capitol, he took enough care not to bump into anyone or knock anyone over, exerting as much control of his physicality as he could. The voices, of the voices of chuckles and whispers as he passed through the crowd. Even after all this time, they were still the same; Why is he here? Is he lost? Where are the guards? Where is his shirt? Is he an Adventurer?
Oh right, the clothes part. Zosk chuckled outloud at the thought; a low, deep reverberation in the depths of his throat that sounded like a growl that had been cut off a few times. Most Raptorians wore strapped cloth around their lower bits for protection from the elements and combat, but Zosk was different. He wore specially crafted hide shorts with a utility belt included for necessary add-ons, with the needed straps and roping so he could get in and out of it as needed. All in all, he was certainly the strangest sight here in Huatli.
The sudden change in whispers and other nuances returned Zosk to his attention, and he stood up onto his hind legs to get a view over the crowd, going from 4 feet tall to 8 feet tall and causing the citizens to increase their distance from him. From his new height, he could clearly see the main hall entrance; steps, doors, guards and all. So he returned to all fours and adjusted his course accordingly, and of course got stopped at the doors by the guards. Always happened to Zosk, every fucking time. He could've easily swiped all 6 guards to the side and out of his way, but he was not here to fight them or look for trouble. As the Chieftan of his tribe and envoy of the Raptorian peoples, it was his duty to keep in touch with the Capitol regarding everything Adventurer-related and regarding the investigation that even after 300 years, provided no info about the demons and where they came from.
[i " State your business, Lizard "]
[b " I am Zosk. Chieftan of Raptorians. I was summoned. "]
[i " Very well. Proceed. "]
At least they were good listeners, and thus Zosk proceeded through the doors and into the main hall. As he stepped forward he took in the details and nuances. He had forgotten that in the last 10 years the Guild hall relocated into the Capitol's main hall for convenience; they kept the place tidy, and he appreciated that. Zosk stopped short of where countless bodies had gathered, and noticed that roughly 4 feet to his left an unusually short Human stood there, apart from the rest like him. Human, no that was wrong; her ears were too long for a Human. What was the name again for them.. Elf, yes that was it. Zosk observed the Elf woman for only a few moments before closing both his eyes to yawn; such a physical notion putting his mouth full of fangs on full display.
A black steed stood totally still in the clearing as it’s rider readied herself for the journey. Other elves were gathered in their long cloaks which veiled their faces. They were High Elves, each of them regal in appearance with porcelain skin and long hair. Mirriad stepped forwards from the crowds. Her noble steed was perfectly racked up with everything she would need to make the journey to the city guild. Others would meet her there and she knew to remain wary. There were often disagreements between the different species. Elves disliked dwarves, men were sometimes callous and deceitful, Dark elves tended to be motivated only by themselves and darkness. Mirriad knew it would be a tentative issue. But they all needed to meet.
Her bow was set safely on her back where she could easily reach it should there should anything hinder her journey. The High Elves were a peaceful people, taking into account logic in situations. Some saw them as fairly cold hearted, usually keeping to themselves. Although a few high elves had given their immortality to become mortal to spend their days with men or different races. It was frowned upon but not necessarily a crime. Mirriad nodded to her father who was in a prestigious places amongst the elves there.
[b “Be safe, my daughter. Return to us swiftly and with good news.”] he said to her with a nod. Mirriad bowed her head, her dark hair falling in front of her pale gaze. She spurred her horse into action and sped along the pathways of the forest. Her horse was fit and steady, his hooves drumming against the floor in a steady melody as Mirriad sat perfectly atop him. They were as one being as they rode together.
Mirriad soon slowed the pace as she walked and kept her good up, it would be dangerous for others to know her identity and she saw the spores of the city coming into view and she thought for a while about what she was to expect. She had never interacted with others from different places. She had heard stories of other races and how they had come together in times of hardship and conflict and she almost hoped they could do that again should their findings assure that it was happening again and things were coming to plague them. She rode into the city, a rare place where species could mix but she kept her cloak low, face disguised in shadows as young children gasped and whispered as they watched the stranger enter their midst. She made her way to the guild and dismounted. She was not as tall as other elves. Male elves tended to carry the height, females were shorter, perhaps averaging five foot six to five foot eight. Mirriad was a rather short five foot four. Her mother had been short and it was a strong belief that a human had entered their bloodlines somewhere which would have accounted for her short stature. She swooped into the guild and looked around as she lowered her cloak revealing her features. She was still guarded, naturally of course and awaited the unexpected.
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